The Root Canal Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought it Would Be

Ten a.m. this past Sunday found me in the dentist chair, getting a very large needle stuck in my gum.

For so long, years honestly, I’ve put off taking care of this tooth that has gone from a small cavity to a large hole in the side. The hole only grew when I was pregnant and got worse over time.

I finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand enduring the pain any more, so I went to a dentist. You can read how that went here. That particular dentist was not in full practice, however, so I went to a very modern dental clinic for a second evaluation. From the beginning I was much more comfortable with them than with the previous dentist.

I had brought the kids with me (no way I couldn’t), and they kept the assistants busy – touching everything, asking what everything was, Logan showing off his loose tooth, etc. – while the doctor checked my mouth and I had a x-ray done in another room. These dentists were very helpful, reassuring me that nowadays the root canal is the better option, and that they prefer to save the tooth if it is savable, rather than pull it. They took time to explain why the root canal was better and they answered all my questions.

I took some time deciding though, because pain is something I just can’t stand. I couldn’t make up my mind whether enduring the pain of a root canal was preferable to the daily ache I felt in the tooth. I’ve heard so much about how painful a root canal can be. I think one thing that helped me decide was the very friendly customer service I got from the clinic – from the next day check-in call asking how the service was, to having the dentist call me personally with answers to some more questions I had.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go for it and set a date to get it done. I chose Sunday so that Glad would be home with the kids. I was so nervous going in, and getting a needle in my jaw first thing didn’t help. I had to wait while half my mouth went numb. The whole left side – cheek, gums, tongue and lips. (If you want to feel something weird, half a mouth is the way to go.)

I tried to lie still and not shake or tense my body. I had to force myself to relax, hard to do when you have to keep your mouth open as wide as possible while it is so numb you can’t feel it. My neck kept tensing up and hurting but I finally figured out how to relax it. At the end of 45 minutes, it was over. They took a mold of my mouth and are making a ceramic cap for the tooth that will be put on in a few days.

And the expected pain? I don’t know if it is the painkillers I’m taking or if it really just doesn’t hurt. I’ve not had any pain. Actually, the thing that has bothered me the most in the past 24 hours is the cut on the side of my tongue that I must have gotten from one of the dental tools.

I feel so much better now that it is done. No more throb or ache in my tooth. No more trying to dig out whatever particle of food happened to be stuck there at the moment. No more avoiding chewing on that side. It’s over.

Now I just have about six other fillings to look forward to. Ā šŸ˜¦

I Finally Forced Myself To Go To the Dentist and This is What Happened

I hate pain of any sort. Iā€™ve always had a very low pain tolerance level. Even a light headache will send me scrambling for a painkiller because otherwise I will be tossing and turning in bed unable to do anything.

About 12 years ago I got a small cavity in the furthest molar on the bottom left side of my mouth. When I went in to have it filled, the experience was so painful that I never had it refilled when that filling eventually fell out.

Then I got pregnant with Logan and the tooth went from small cavity to gaping hole on one side. And it got worse with each subsequent pregnancy. Most of the time it didnā€™t hurt. Other times it ached so badly I would cry. I used the excuse that I was pregnant or breastfeeding to not go, but theĀ realityĀ was that I was reluctant to get it fixed because of my earlier painful experience.

A few months ago, the molar directly above it began hurting. Since the pain was off and on, I figured it was a cavity and I slowly worked up the courage I needed to go to a dentist. I kept putting it off, until a few days ago when the pain was so severe that I couldnā€™t sleep.

I finally went to a local dentist and showed him the two teeth that were hurting. I had a full dental x-ray done (the machine that goes around your head and you have to bite this plastic thing and close your eyes, very weird), and the dentist showed me two things.

First, the huge cavity may or may not be salvageable. A specialist will come and check it out and decide whether a root canal, filling and capping the tooth, would be best, or pulling it out. I still donā€™t know which Iā€™d prefer, though Iā€™m leaning towards pulling.

Second, the tooth that I thought was a new cavity is not one. The pain Iā€™ve been feeling that extends through my whole jaw and even to my ear is caused by an extra tooth that is up in the gum trying to push its way down on top of the tooth that is already there. There is one on the other side of my mouth as well.

The only solution to end the pain? Surgery to remove the tooth! Iā€™m freaking out at the prospect, but with a pain that doesnā€™t let me sleep unless I have a hot water bottle, I am ready to do it. The thought of having my mouth sliced open and having to endure days of swelling and pain afterwards is not fun. But being pain-free afterwards is worth it.

Besides, I may just lose some more weight from this, being stuck on a liquid diet until I can eat without pain. Iā€™ll probably be inhaling painkillers like candy for a while.

Iā€™ll keep you posted about how it goes.

Febrile Seizures – Dangerous? Or Just Scary?

A few weeks ago Logan came down with a fever. He was fine at bedtime, but when I went to take him to the toilet a few hours later, he was burning up. That was the beginning of a very long night.

Logan woke a lot, calling for water, cuddles, blankets, etc. At one point it seemed he had been calling for a while but I was so tired I didn’t hear him. He wet his bed and I had to change him and the bed while he fussed about feeling cold. Just as he was settled, he yelled again and told me, “The castle is rising!” I should have realized then that his temperature was high, but my tired state had fogged my brain and I made him go back to sleep.

At 5:30 a.m. his yelling woke me out of a sound sleep. I dragged myself to his bed again and asked what he needed. It took a minute for me to realize that he was freaking out because he was having a febrile seizure. His body was shaking, his muscles were tense, and he was scared.Ā It wasn’t the first time this had happened, so I was able to keep him calm by talking to him until the seizure stopped.

The commotion in the kids’ room had woken everyone except Scarlett by this time. Lila was asking what was going on and why Logan’s body was shaking like that. After what seemed like a few minutes, but probably wasn’t more than a minute, the seizure stopped. Glad and I got Logan cleaned up (he had wet himself, normal during a seizure) and back into bed. We gave him some paracetamol and put a cool cloth on his forehead to help bring the fever down.

Daddy lay down with Logan while I tried to get Lila to go back to sleep in my bed. Logan was delirious and kept talking nonsense. (Later in the day he told me his bed had been rising off the floor and he thought he had been dreaming while awake.)Ā Once the medicine kicked in and he was cooler, I took his temperature and it was still 103F. I can’t imagine how high it was during the seizure!

This is the second or third time Logan has had a febrile seizure. Had I not read about them shortly before it happened the first time, it would have freaked me out. Ā Febrile seizures are generally not dangerous to a child’s health. They are usually caused by a rapid rise in the temperature of the fever.Ā They occur in children between the ages of 6 months – 6 years, and are more common in boys than girls. Ā In most cases, a medical exam afterwards is not necessary, unless you notice that your child doesn’t seem like themselves after an hour or more, or the fever doesn’t go down after you’ve given them something for it, or if the seizure happens again during the same illness.

Some tips to remember if it happens to your child:

1. Breathe and stay calm- it is scary but not dangerous.

2. Make sure they can’t hurt themselves while their body jerks around. Don’t hold them, but stay close until it ends.

3. They may or may not lose consciousness during the seizure (Logan didn’t).

4. A seizure normally lasts between a few second and 5 minutes, but can go as long as 15 minutes.

5. The child may wet or throw up while it is happening. If they throw up, make sure they are lying on their side so they don’t gag on the vomit.

6. Once the seizure is over and your child is cleaned up and calm, you can give them whichever OTC fever-reducing medication you normally use. Make sure to follow the body weight dosage listed on the bottle and measure out carefully. A cool cloth on the forehead helps too.

This is only a rough listing of things to remember. I suggest you read more on febrile seizures so you can be well-informed and prepared should they ever happen to your child.

Medline Plus – Febrile Seizures

MayoClinic.comĀ -this link has a lot of information on them, spread over several pages. Click the link at the bottom of each section to make sure you get all the pages.

Has your child ever had a febrile seizure? What was your experience?

September Weight Check-in

Last year when I started on my weight loss journey, I went into it not knowing where I was headed or how I was going to get there. I only knew it was time for me to lose the excess weight I had been lugging around since Scarlett’s birth.

When I made my diet changes back in February of this year and began losing weight right away, I was elated, not to mention sure that it would only take 5 months to get to my normal weight, since I began by losing two kilosĀ in one month. But as the months passed, the weight loss slowed down, which I think is normal. I realized it was going to take longer to get back into shape. (You can go here to see my fitness plan and find links to my monthly check-in posts.)

And now here it is September, and I’m still fighting with myself to get rid of the last few kilos. These are the hardest to shed. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “Well, I lost 8 kilos already. I look and feel better. Why push for the last 7?” Why, self? I’ll tell you why. I want to look and feel my best!

From last November until this June, I exercised 6 days a week with very few missed days. Perhaps that is why when July came I began to feel a need for a break from this intense exercise push. I spent most of July resting, doing a little swimming here or a little walking there, but nothing like the intense running and toning I had been doing. In August I meant to pick it up again, but each time I’d start, after a day or two I’d be too tired to get up in the morning and I’d miss the rest of my workouts for the week.

Then we all got sick with the kind of colds that knock you out. Myself and the kids were all so sick all we could do was watch t.v. Of course they began to recover faster than me, since I still had to care for them. If you have kids then you know what I’m talking about. Thankfully we had just hired a maid to help with the housework, so things didn’t get too dirty while I was sick. It’s been 18 days, and we all still have some lingering sniffles, sore throats, coughs, etc. I think it had to do with the weather changes, or perhaps we caught it from the little girl at Logan and Lila’s art class who had a real bad cough and cold. We were at the class on a Saturday and by Monday we were all sick.

Last Sunday, September 1st, was my weigh-in day. I only weigh in once a month. Since I don’t have a scale at home I go to a local (but still not too close) pharmacy that has a digital scale. I don’t really like daily weigh-in’s anyway. The fluctuations would frustrate me. Up until now, each month I’ve gone with trepidation, wondering if I had really lost anything, or worse, had I gained anything back! Each time I was happy to see loss, though the amount did go down over time.

This time, though, I had gained. I guess I wasn’t too surprised. Less exercise and more rest for me equals weight gain. I’m one of those people who has to exercise regularly to keep my weight down. The gain wasn’t much, only 400 grams. I went from being 72.4 kgs. at the beginning of August to 72.8 kgs. at the beginning of September.

I could have let this little gain get me down, but I remembered to be positive and decided that this was just the push I needed to get back to my workouts. Monday I picked up again by going for a run. It was tough. But I’ve done 4 days so far this week and I feel good. I just have to keep telling myself that I CAN do this. I CAN lose the weight and I CAN get down to my goal weight. Only 7 kilos to go!

Who is Really Stressing You Out?

Motherhood and stress – I find those words together a lot. Mothers all over the internet complain about how their children stress them out.

“My children are fighting and the noise is stressing me out.”

“Driving my children anywhere is so stressful.”

“I can’t shop with my children. Their antics stress me out.”

“Anytime I go anywhere with my child I end up stressed.”

We know that children are high-maintenance, and I’d be lying if I said I never feel stressed. But the question is, is it really the children who are stressing you out? Or are you allowing yourself to be stressed?

Yes, I said allowing. We have the power to decide whether or not to allow a situation to stress us out.Ā We can either let the challenges of parenting get to us, or we can learn how to overcome them.

I know it is easier said than done, but for a mother to maintain her sanity, learning to avoid stress is so important.

Here are a few things I do to keep stress at bay.

1. Exercise

We all know that exercise is a stress-buster, but most of us don’t do it, for whatever reason. We allow our own health to sit on the back burner while we tend to those around us. It might seem noble to put yourself last, but it isn’t good for you.

Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers there is. If you can’t get away from your kids for it, do it with them. Dance in the living room, run at the park, go for a walk. Any exercise is better than none at all! So make time in your schedule for exercise.

2. Breathe

When your children’s antics are getting you riled, stop and breathe. Just take a minute to compose yourself by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and letting it out slowly. Go ahead. Try it now and see how good it makes you feel. Look out the window at nature, or step outside for a minute and breathe, and tell yourself you can handle whatever is bothering you. I promise you will feel the stress melt away.

3. Take time for yourself

Do something for yourself every day. Nap when your child does, read a book or your favorite blog, take a shower (and don’t feel bad if it takes an extra cartoon or two). Put on some makeup or brush your hair. Get dressed. Do something that will help you feel more like a woman and not just a “mom”.

I like to get up early for exercise, then take a shower and have my coffee before the kids get up. Thankfully my kids love to sleep late so early for me is up by 6. If your child is an early riser (or has to get up for school), see when else you can fit in time for you.

4. Keep a schedule

This will help you fit in numbers 1 and 3. Time for yourself is imperative so scheduling it will make it happen.

5. Be mature

Remember, they are just children. They are still selfish and self-absorbed. Everything is about them. Don’t take personally anything they say or do.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep stress out of your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

July Weight Check-in

Hi everyone. It’s a new month with new challenges. For some reason I’m feeling extra perky today, and I haven’t even had any coffee yet.

Well, I now weigh 73 kgs. (160.6 lbs.). Not a huge amount of weight lost this month, (only 700 gr.) but something is better than nothing, am I right?

Last month I found myself getting bored with the workout routine I was using, so I tried changing it up a bit by doing a little bit of toning after my running instead of doing two separate toning days a week. I feel I need to change it up a bit more, so I’m playing around with my workouts again.

It’s important to not let boredom set in when you are trying to lose weight, or else the easy thing to do would be to just quit. I still have 8 kgs. to lose so there is no way I’m giving up now. Just to show you how my body has changed, have a look at these pics.

Taken December 2012. I was about 79 kgs.

Taken December 2012. I was about 79 kgs.

Taken June 30, 2013. Weight 73 kgs.

Taken June 30, 2013. Weight 73 kgs.

I’ve discovered that for me, even more than daily exercise, I have to really watch my diet and only eat what my body needs and no more. I’ve reached a point where eating small portions and being full with them is easy; and I feel it when I eat even a bite more than I need. That full feeling is there right away preventing me from overdoing it. Sweets no longer have that same tempting hold on me like they did before. I can have a small portion and be done. Well, unless it is PMS time or my kids are stressing me out. Combine the two and the craving for sweets takes over. It can be hard to resist it, too.

Stress eating is so bad for you. I know it happened to me this past month and I think that is part of the reason why I didn’t lose a whole kilo like I did the previous month. But what to do? At least I didn’t gain anything. That would have been a setback for sure!

In a few weeks we will be going to a beach resort with some friends for a weekend, so I am going to push extra hard until then. I especially need to work on my abs. That is my weak area and it needs some serious focus. Now that I am doing well in the cardiovascular area, it is time to give my abs the attention they need.

I still haven’t given up on this goal that I made last year. While I didn’t actually lose any weight last year, I have this year – a whole 6 kilos since February – so I look forward to meeting this goal soon.

June Weight Check-in

(This is the first of several backlog posts. This one should have gone up on June 1st. )

 

It is pouring rain outside as I sit to type this. The worst of the summer heat is over and we are getting a touch of the southern monsoon. Our monsoon wonā€™t start until the end of the month. May brought intense heat this year, with the peak heat being 43oC on Sunday, May 26th. Was I ever happy to be working indoors that day!

Since then the heat has gone down to a more manageable 35 ā€“ 37oC. Lots of clouds have meant less direct sun, and more time spent outdoors without having sweat pouring off of you.

In order to beat the heat, I always work out early in the morning, around 6 a.m. Yet it has been muggy at that hour and when I finish my exercise, my clothes look like I have been swimming in them.

My weight loss is picking up again, after the difficulties I had in April. In May I lost 1.1 kgs., bringing my current weight to 73.7 kgs. (As of June 1st.) Iā€™m so happy for this. Slow and steady really is the way to go with weight loss, ā€˜cause it means the weight doesnā€™t come back.

I now fit into a size medium for most of my clothes, whereas back in January I was in XL. Over the past few months Iā€™ve stuck with only buying cheap clothes so that I didnā€™t feel bad about getting rid of them when they got too big, and yes, Iā€™ve already had to change all the stuff I bought at the beginning of the year. But that is a good thing when you are losing weight.

I’ve also moved down a bra size. All my life I wore a 36C, but I didnā€™t know the proper way to tell if a bra fits or not and that resulted in many uncomfortable bras. Iā€™ve learned that the bra should fit snug on the outermost hooks when you first buy it (and you move in to the other hooks as it gets stretched from use), and the cups should lie smooth with no wrinkles or bunching. It is also important to try on different styles of the same size bra, because some will fit better than others. Try each one you are thinking of buying; it should be so comfortable that you forget you are wearing it. I think Iā€™m now in the size I should have been wearing all along, a 34B. For the first time in my life I feel comfortable in a bra.

This month I will be making some changes to my exercise program to spice it up since boredom is beginning to set in. I’ll let you know how it goes.

May Weight Check-in

It’s come round again; time to check my weight and see how I’ve done with my weight loss this past month.

April was a rather difficult month for me. Like I wrote about in this post, I struggled with unfounded fears, panic attacks, and mood swings. It isn’t easy to explain what I was feeling ’cause it was all so weird and abnormal. I’ve never had such intense fears that I couldn’t explain, nor have I ever had a panic attack in my life. Do read the above-linked post so you can understand what I’m talking about better.

Once the problem got sorted out, I slowly began to feel more like myself. My moods have balanced out, the fears are gone (though I confess a hint of them still hovers around the edges), and the panic attacks are gone. But my body has been through heavy struggles, so I found myself reducing or skipping my exercise this month. I also found myself eating more than I should, with the result that I didn’t lose as much weight as I did the previous two months.

At the April check in I weighed 75.2 kgs. (165.4 lbs.). Now I weigh 74.8 kgs. (164.5 lbs.). I only lost 400 grams, not quite half a kilo, this whole month. But I’m not viewing this as a failed month. No, I learned a little more about my body, how it reacts to being poisoned (really, read this post if you didn’t yet), and I can see where I need to change my workout program.

Now that I’m feeling much better than I was, I’ve started on a new workout plan, one that will help me improve my running. I was already running for 2 minutes at a time for 40 minutes, but it started getting too easy, to the point that is was no longer a challenge. So I was reading Women’s Health Magazine and found this plan that takes you from walking to being able to run for 30 minutes straight.

I began on week four, since I was already doing 2 minutes at a time. Week four starts from 3 minutes, and moves you up to 8 minutes by the end of the week. Today I did the second running day which was 5 minutes at a time, and I wasĀ pleasantlyĀ surprised by how I was able to do it. There are specific toning workouts they include, but many require equipment that I don’t have, so I’m sticking with my current toning workout, especially since I’m still building into it. You can see how I plan to use this running plan on My Fitness Journey page.

According to this plan, I will be able to run for 30 minutes straight in the next 3 weeks. It sounds great, and I hope it will help me trim down more as I continue with healthy eating and portion control.

What changes have you made in your health and fitness this month?

Pasta Salad

Pasta is at the top of my most favorite foods. I like it prepared in most any way, but a pasta salad is great for when it is hot and you want to eat something cool and fresh.Ā Today I will show you how I prepare a pasta salad. It is simple and easy to do, and can be made in advance.

You’ll notice that I haven’t put many quantities. That is because I do it by eye; if the amount looks right, then I use it. That being said, there are always leftovers.

Begin by putting the pasta on to cook. Here I’ve used macaroni but you can use any small pasta that you have on hand. Shapes like shells, bows, spirals, and tubes are fun for kids and look good. I used 150 gr. of pasta, and for 5 of us, it is more than enough.

To save time and water, I first put into the water the veggies that need to cook. I use frozen peas and corn, so I put the peas first and let them cook ’till nearly done. At that point I add the pasta and corn. Depending on the type of pasta you are using, you may or may not want to add the corn yet as it cooks quickly.

Next, choose the veggies you want to use. I tend to use whatever I have on hand, so my salad changes each time. For this particular salad (the one in the photos) I used:

  • spring onion
  • cucumber
  • peas
  • corn
  • carrot
  • bell pepper (capsicum)
  • corianderĀ leaves
  • moong dhal sprouts (sprouts made from greenĀ lentils, found in most veggie shops here)

Other veggies that I have used before include spinach, green beans, onion, lettuce, and more.

Wash the veggies well and chop small. You want them smaller than bite size, both to make eating easier and to make it look nicer. Throw them in a large serving bowl as you go.

555048_4528224898520_42066273_n

Once the pasta and veggies are done, drain and rinse with cold water. You will want to cool them down so you can add them to the raw veggies.

524717_4528243458984_1227230161_n

Choose your protein items. I like to use paneer, chickpeas, chunks of cheddar cheese, peanuts and beans. The sprouts mentioned above are also protein. You could also opt for boiled eggs, shredded chicken, canned tuna (or other cooked fish), etc., whatever your personal favorite is.

I often mix 2 or 3 protein items into the salad, depending on what I have on hand. Paneer gets used the most, as do chickpeas. I love adding a handfulĀ of peanuts as they add crunch and texture. My salad is generally vegetarian since we eat lots of chicken for dinners.

Shown below is 200 gr. of paneer, and I don’t cook it. It is cheese so you don’t have to cook it (but you could lightly fry it if you prefer). Just give it a wash when you take it out of the packet. The dressing will give it lots of flavor.

534083_4528303580487_1177099541_n

Toss in the pasta. The order in which you add stuff to the bowl really doesn’t matter. As you can see, I put the pasta in already but the carrots are still waiting to be chopped.

163566_4528293180227_1417660541_n

Once everything is in the bowl, it is time for the dressing. You could make the dressing in a separate bowl, but I prefer to make it right on top of the salad since the salad itself is still waiting to be properly mixed.

Below you can see all the ingredients (except for the garlic paste) that I use in my dressing – yogurt (that is my very large container of homemade yogurt), olive oil mayonnaise (regular works fine too), salt, pepper, and chili powder.

47802_4528317460834_443737019_n

For the dressing I use roughly 1 partĀ mayonnaiseĀ to 3 parts yogurt. That serving spoon is what I used to measure so it was one spoon of mayonnaise to 3 of yogurt. Add a small amount of garlic paste, about a 1/2 tsp., and the spices. You will have to judge according to your taste, so if it makes it easier to do so, prepare it in a small bowl so that you can add more salt, pepper or chili powder if needed.

523629_4528329061124_1955221567_n

Now slowly mix the dressing into the salad. If your bowl is overflowing like mine, take your time. Slowly turn the bowl as you mix the dressing in and combine all the ingredients. Everything should be covered with dressing. Make sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl so nothing is missed.

388624_4528373022223_785401323_n

If you didn’t pre-mix and taste your dressing, now is the time to do a taste test, just to be sure there is enough salt and spices. You can always add a little more if needed.

This salad can be served right away, or you can chill it in the fridge until needed. I find it actually tastes better the next day, as the flavors in the dressing have had time to blend together.

So there you have my pasta salad. If you try it, let me know how it comes out. I hope you like it.

Our Healthy Diets – and Aspartame

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing my best to change the way we eat at home in order to improve our diets and make sure they are the mostĀ nutritious they can be. Since I found that I needed to change my own diet in order to lose weight,Ā of course I wanted everyone to eat better.Ā So I began to see how I could change my shopping list in order for this to happen.

It was a slow process, changing one or two items at a time, eliminating the less healthy options and replacing them with healthier ones. For example, I switched jam for honey. At first I thought the kids would prefer the jam, but they don’t. They love honey and pick it all the time, so now I no longer buy jam. Though I was buying the healthiest jam I could find, it was still high in white sugar, so I’m happy they love honey. I recently found a place that sells brown sugar so I was able to stop buying white sugar, too.

I also searched until I found real cheese and totally stopped buying the processed stuff. Real cheese is quite expensive here, so it took some time to find one that was in my price range, but it was worth the search.

I do most of my cooking with olive oil, and I keep on hand some sunflower oil for making baked goods, or else I use real butter. I also have a small jar of extra virgin olive oil for salads and hummus and stuff like that.

I used to buy a lot of cookies and other snacks (that I mostly ate), but now I’ve replaced them with more fruit. Good thing my kids are fruit lovers. They will eat it any time. Their preferred snacks are peanuts, raisins, dates, plain crackers (whole grain ones), chikki (a treat made from peanuts or sesame seeds and jaggery), granola, and of course, fruit.

While I used to buy certain items because they made meal prep easier with small kids, now that my kids are older I do make some other things since it is healthier, and often cheaper, than buying them already made. For example, I began making peanut butter this week to cut the cost of what we were spending on it. Logan loves peanut butter and will eat it every day if I let him. But the one I was getting kept going up in price and for one small jar of 460 gr. I was paying the same as for a kilo of chicken. It was way too much. I found that I could buy 1/2 a kilo of plain peanuts for less than half of what I was spending on peanut butter, and it only took me about 10 minutes to whip it up in my blender.

I have one of those blender sets that comes with different cups and blades, and one is specially for grinding. I just put half the peanuts in with a little salt, then slowly worked the blender until it came to a spreadable consistency. It is lighter than the store bought stuff and not sweet, but the kids eat it with honey anyway so why keep buying something that has extra sugar and is breaking the bank when I can make it for less than half the price, and it is healthier to boot!

I still make my own yogurt because it is cheaper, and I make granola for that reason as well. The plus is that I can make the granola how we like it and it is very healthy.

Learning to like veggies is a little harder since they are not sweet like fruit, but my kids are slowly progressing. Logan was stuck on only having carrot sticks for a long time. They had to be raw (he never ate them cooked) and the only other veggie he sometimes had was cucumber. He is slowly coming around and is trying new things here and there. He now claims to like lettuce, and wants to eat green veggies in order to turn into the Hulk. (Who saysĀ superheroesĀ can’t do anything for kids?)

Lila and Scarlett will try more veggies. Lila loves most raw veggies that I serve, including spinach, but tends to pick out cooked ones. Oh, the other day I made a carrot and cabbage coleslaw, with the cabbage being finely grated instead of chopped. Logan only saw the carrots and raisins, and claimed he loved it. Big win!

It is great to see them eating better, and I am feeling better knowing we are on our way to healthier lives through eating better.

Now onto what I really wanted to write about today.

Despite making all the above-mentioned changes, along with getting more exercise, I was still not feeling as good as I should have been. I really can’t explain exactly how I was feeling, but it was a general “could there be something wrong with me” feeling. At the end of each day I felt blah. I would feel better in the morning but by evening I felt weird again.Ā To top it off, I began having fears I’d never had before, fears of instant death, fears of leaving the house, leaving my kids, being alone in the house when Glad was gone, constant thoughts of “you’re going to die right now”, etc. It was really weird.

Then one night I had something happen that had never happened before – I had a panic attack. IĀ tried to go to bed, but every time I laid down I was sure that was it for me, that I was going to stop breathing. I kept getting up and lying back down, and each time I laid down it would hit me again. I prayed hard and the feeling finally went away.

It continued to happen several times after that. I never knew when it would hit, and I couldn’t figure out what could be the cause. I was beginning to wonder if I was seriously sick or something. I spent a lot of time praying just to get rid of the fear and it helped some but not completely. I also found myself getting upset with the kids more easily, losing my temper and yelling, screaming really, at them for minor things, which was really odd. I’ve never been one to get upset so easily over such small things.

Since I didn’t understand what was happening, I didn’t tell Glad what I was feeling until about 10 days ago when I began to feel this odd pressure in my nose and forehead. We talked about how maybe I should have a medicalĀ check upĀ  but the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced there really wasn’t anything physically wrong.

The day after we talked, I was on Facebook and happened on a picture of diet sodas that had a list of the sideĀ effectsĀ of Aspartame, and one of them was – get this – panic (anxiety) attacks. Now, I don’t drink any soda at all, and have never touched a diet soda in my life, and with all the mostly fresh, natural food I was eating, how could I possibly be getting Aspartame in my diet?

Then I remembered the gum I was using. I like to have some when running to keep my mouth moist, plus I would have one when out with the kids, or at the park, etc. I was chewing two to three pieces of this sugar-free gum daily. So I checked it and, sure enough, the sweetener was Aspartame. I had used this gum for months but was only recently hit with these odd things, so my guess is that it took time to build to danger levels in my body since I wasn’t getting it any other way.

I stopped using it immediately, and now, roughly 10 days since my last piece, I feel better. I can’t prove 100% that the Aspartame was the culprit, but I can say that I am beginning to feel like myself again. The fears are slowly going, since they kind of got stuck in my mind, but now I find it easier to fight them off. I am also no longer having panic attacks. And yes, I’m not yelling at the kids like I was.

I am now becoming aĀ label-reader in the store. I check the ingredients listed in any new item I pick up to be sure there is no artificial sweetener of any kind. I buy very few pre-packaged items these days, so it isn’t too hard to avoid. It’s so sad, though, that the general public is subjected to these types of dangerous food ingredients, all for the sake of skimping on calories.

What is your home diet like? Do you avoid junk and eat healthy? Have you had any problems from using artificial sweeteners?

%d bloggers like this: