Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer time blues...

The temperature now is very hot for the Canadian West Coast - around 30 daily, and the nights don't seem to cool off much. The good thing is that it makes eating less very easy, but it makes the risk of drinking sugary or unhealthy drinks very high. I know I grab whatever is handy at times (canned ice tea, pop)  instead of making sure it's sugar free or has some health value to it. 

I've also been stressed in a way I haven't experienced for a long time. A grown up child returned for a short and disastrous visit; and, my teens are spending way too much time together so they ARGUE and YELL and SWEAR constantly.  

The disastrous visit was heartbreaking. Most of my adult kids are doing well - they may be struggling but their struggles are just what you go through in life as an adult - no protection for that. This one, though, has extra burdens that keep him from creating a good life for himself and don't allow him to understand that it could be better with the right help. Maybe someday that will happen for him, but not today, and that shatters me. It also sends me right back to the high stress I experienced while he was growing up - always being hyper alert and ready to respond to react to some kind of unpredictable behaviour. I had let go of that over the last few years, but it's amazing how fast that returns. 

He left today to return to the town he's been living in for the last few years. I hugged him and said I loved him ---a slight hug in return, nothing more. I guess that's my greatest sorrow - that I can't ever seem to help him understand that I really do love him with all my heart and soul. Or, does that even matter to him?

As for my teens, not much I can do. I schedule in programs and plan for things as I can, but teens make their own choices to a large extent. I am grateful that I'm not dealing with drugs and alcohol so far, but my pride takes a huge nose dive as I hear them screaming their foul words for the neighbors and all to hear. I assume that my neighbors think we parents swear like that in the home (we don't), or that we have never, ever tried to get our children to learn conflict management (we do - and are working on that more and more) - but 5 adolescents + temper dysregulation disorder + fasd+ adhd+ anxiety = loud and obnoxious. 

Next week we go on vacation to visit my family in the Kootenays. Will we survived the 12 hour drive and the week in a hotel? At this moment I have my doubts. 

So, time for major stress management - that means extra swimming time and more meditating and making sure my oxygen intake is strong. Maybe a little wine wouldn't be a bad idea - but only if it's chilled!

Here's a nifty vegan snack for hot afternoons. Chop up a few fresh vegetables and make an easy kale hummus dip. Easy peasy and low cal, healthy, and fast. 

  • 3 cups kale, de-stemmed
  • 1 can of chickpeas, well-rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  1. Add everything to a food processor or high-powered blender and process until smooth.
  2. Enjoy as a dip for raw veggies or crackers, as a spread in a sandwich or wrap or use a dollop on top of a fresh salad.
  3. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sugar addiction...

I was having a chat with a couple of my not-so-littles about their over the top sugar consumption. Like many with fasd and adhd and other diagnoses, they are pretty sugar addicted. They are also very thin due to (I assume) their youth, their hyperactivity and perhaps their genetics. For the most part, they are pretty good about eating vegetables every day and they love fruit (well of course, it contains sugar). But they spend every penny they can get on sugared junk food. There's not much I can do about that, they are quite capable of walking to the corner store on their own, as they do, and you can't monitor a bunch of teens at school or with friends. So, I give the occasional reminder and then pray for their health.

When I was a kid, about 200 years ago, I hardly ever had sugar. It was a big treat to be allowed to have a popsicle once a week, or maybe a small bag of candy at the movies. That was about it. My mom cooked very healthy food and most of what she served was from scratch and often from our own garden. Yes, she worked, but she was one of those women who could do it all, unlike me.  Well, she died of Alzheimer's and I am fat. So, hard to be an example of a sugarless childhood to my kids. No wonder they don't care for my opinion on the matter.

For myself, I still don't eat a lot of sugar, but I eat some and I get way too much in canned drinks in the summer - canned iced tea when we're camping is a big thing for me. In the winter, I consumer too much sugar through breads and spreads, but that is changing as I adapt to the Vegan before 6 food plan. I love it, and not having any trouble with it, but still too much bread. I'm having a struggle with lunches - no cravings or yearnings for anything bad, but lacking in interesting foods that I can take to the office and not spend the entire evening before preparing. A great big salad just doesn't keep me from starving till dinner time and I can't afford to be low energy when I have clients to see or writing deadlines to meet. Ah well, I expect to get better at this. If you have any vegan lunch suggestions, I would love to hear them.

But, back to my skinny, sugar addicted teens. Since I can't be a role model and I know they don't listen to lectures, I can only hope they pick up some healthy practices along the way. In the meantime, I'll keep serving them all the vegetables I can at dinner and hope for the best. I will also be very grateful that my complaint is about their sugar consumption - not about drugs, alcohol, violence, or illegal behaviors!

Hey, you, take care of yourself. You are entitled to a better day.
Remember, if you have the time and inclination, please check out my other blog, and my Hazardous Parenting facebook page and Youtube site.

Here's a great recipe from my current favorite vegan cookbook:  Oh She Glows
I don't like spicey so I leave out the jalepinos & reduce the cayenne and I try not to use too many canned goods so I substitute for fresh home made sauces and dried beans that I soak overnight. 

Image result for vegan chili picture

My Favourite Vegan Chili

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free



  • 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups diced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 med/lg cloves)
  • 2 jalapeƱos, seeded (if desired) and diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 lg. red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (15-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Homemade vegan sour cream
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and the garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and stir.
  2. Add the jalapeƱos, celery, and bell pepper and saute for another 5-7 minutes or so, until softened.
  3. Now add the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), broth, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high.
  4. Add the drained and rinsed beans, along with the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, cayenne, and hot sauce. Simmer the mixture until thickened, about 10-15 minutes and adjust seasonings to taste if necessary.
  5. Serve with Homemade vegan sour cream, chopped green onion, and cilantro leaves, if desired.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/02/05/my-favourite-vegan-chili-with-homemade-sour-cream/#ixzz38QGBEG4T

Monday, July 21, 2014


I've received a lot of questions about why I chose to call this a *weight loss* blog. People have suggested I should call it a *healthy living* blog, or a *positive lifestyle* blog, or a *vegan food* blog -----something that isn't so limited or value based. Well, I pondered the name for quite some time before I chose the weight loss title. My reason is because I see my weight as a very visible picture of how I've neglected my self care while I've been raising my challenging children.

Every pound is a symbol of how I neglected myself. And now, after years and years of parenting (yes, I've been around a long time - still raising children who are the same age as some of my grandchildren), I am paying the price for taking care of everyone except me. So, when I consider my obesity, it isn't about blaming myself or my stress or my children, it's about realizing that over the years I forgot about me.

I learned, and taught, and wrote about everything I could find and create about how to raise children with behavior disorders. Good for me, I'm proud of myself. I've done, and continue to do, a good job. However, in the process, I didn't do a darned thing about how to take care of myself nor did I help other Hazardous Parents learn to make their own stress management and their own health a priority.

So, those days are gone. I'm taking care of me now, as well as my children, and the weight is the very obvious symbol of how well I'm doing that.

Today I will swim and I will move whenever possible. I will also smile more & worry less. For me, that's a very daunting to do list, but I can try, eh.

Hey friends, remember, you are entitled to a better day.
Check me out at facebook Hazardous Parenting site & on Youtube.

Here's a tasty vegan corn muffin recipe from Madhurams Eggless Cooking:  It's great with a nice vegan stew.

Eggless Cooking

Vegan Corn Muffins
Prep time:15 Mins
Cook time:18 Mins + 5 Mins Cooling
Yields:8 Muffins
You can’t go wrong with this vegan corn muffin recipe. It’s unbelievably simple and delicious.

  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoonSalt
  • 1.5 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer (in place of 1 egg)
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 1 cup Milk (I used Unsweetened Soy Milk)
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (
  1. Preheat oven at 400F/200C for 15 minutes. Grease muffin cups with spray on stuff.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a blender/food processor add Ener-G, water, milk and oil. Blend it thoroughly, for about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 2/3rds full.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Read More:http://www.egglesscooking.com/2009/01/21/vegan-corn-muffins/ 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

So, I went swimming yesterday and managed to add more movement to my day overall. Will be swimming again today, too. However, it's easy enough to get that daily swim in right now - no formal sports to take the kids to throughout the day, and only working half time. The trick will be the same as always - for me to manage to fit in the swimming and anything else once September rolls around and we are back to soccer games and acting classes and piano lessons, and everything else the teens are into, and full time work days. I don't find that I lose motivation, its more a matter of being booked with life and being exhausted from it all. Well, that's a bridge to cross when I get to it. 

You know, I started this blog because I realized that I am not alone in the fat department among Hazardous Parents, and there is plenty of research to show that stress and obesity are strongly linked. I'm not using that as an excuse, I don't have it, it's true. So, managing my stress is #1, and I'm doing that much better. Still, the fat is here like it's glued on with super glue and won't let go. 

Also, it dawned on me that even though I am much improved at managing my stress, I still have stress. I can't do anything about that. I have children at home with severe emotional dysregulation. Some are ragers, all are yellers, a couple love to throw those foul words around, and man oh man can they fight with each other. Others are now grown and are a delight to be with, but you don't outgrow f.a.s.d. or the other challenges so they have struggles in their lives that I worry about. While I manage the after effects of cortisol, I still have to endure the events that create it's overload. Well, you know me, I always have to find a solution, so my current project is that I am getting better at how I engage in the conflict and to that end I am taking conflict coaching training and will adapt that to Hazardous Parenting. 

I know that if you are an adoptive parent you will have been fed the myth that if junior develops a secure attachment, then all will be well. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that won't happen. Secure attachment doesn't cure f.a.s.d., or a.d.h.d, or conduct disorder, or temper dysregulation disorder, or any of the  behaviour disorders from which our children so often suffer. And, being a therapist for 30 years, I know that resolving the trauma and the subsequent brain altering that happens from early neglect and abuse takes years, not months, and that the experience of early abandonment will override everything for years, if not a lifetime. 

In the meantime, this all gets acted out as conflict with you, the parent. I'm hoping that my new training will be a real in-road on my own healing process and give me some more tools to get through the day without being overloaded with fat producing cortisol. I'll keep you up to do date in my process.

I'm off to start my day with a lovely vegan bread, toasted, and a mix of something that claims to be coconut and organic peanuts. Mmmm.....sounds a bit risky to me but we'll see. 

Hey friends, you are entitled to a better day.
Check out my other blog at http://www.theadoptioncounselor.com and my Hazardous Parent facebook page and my Youtube videos if you want more ways to cope with the Hazardous Parenting lifestyle. 

Here's a recipe from Mark Bitman for pancakes - don't have time to make them myself this morning but they look yummy.

Toasted Coconut Pancakes

Toasted Coconut Pancakes

Makes 10-12 pancakes (*I need to x 4 that for my household*)
Heat oven to 250°F. Toast ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut in medium skillet over medium heat, shaking pan frequently, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Whisk together 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp each salt and cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and ⅛ tsp baking soda in bowl. In another bowl, whisk together ¾ cup light coconut milk, ½ cup warm water, 1½ Tbsp honey, and 2 tsp pure vanilla extract. Stir into dry ingredients along with toasted coconut to form thin batter.
Heat skillet with 1½ tsp vegetable oil (or use a griddle). For each pancake, pour ¼ cup batter and spread with back of spoon until 4" in diameter. Cook until bubbles form, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, cook 1 to 2 minutes, and transfer to oven to keep warm. Serve with fresh fruit and lime.
NUTRITION (for 3 pancakes) 294 cal, 5 g pro, 33 g carb, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 16 g fat, 9 g sat fat, 447 mg sodium

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Found you....

Can you believe it!? I lost this blog - haven't been able to find it to update. Weird ghosties in the 'net is all I can think has blocked me from this. So, how I've found it and I'm back to stay, I hope, since life doesn't actually allow me the amount control I would prefer to enjoy.

To update, there is no sign of weight loss anywhere on my body. It's stuck at *Very Fat*. I am eating healthily - I read Mark Bitman's book on Vegan Before 6 and have stuck to that with remarkable ease. I'm also seeing my great new doctor regularly to keep up with all of my health issues - all fat related, of course.

I'm doing my best to manage my stress - it never goes down or away - can't happen with 14 children and 8 grandchildren. Some of my adult children move in and out of my home, mostly in. And they bring with them great joy and also many complications and some familiar & irritating behaviors (yes, the same can be said about me) as well as their own stress as they try to work out their adult lives.

I am meditating regularly, that keeps me as close to sane as I can get.

The missing factor - exercise!!! I just don't move enough. It's taken me forever to actually accept that. I have a very sedentary job - either writing or working with clients - and that takes at least 8 hours a day. Then I come home and move around as I deal with drama, angst, rages, laundry, seasonal gardening etc. but that's about it. Then I sit again for a while before bed to watch my favorite tv show (that would be Walking Dead which is isn't on the moment). I did notice that my favorite show is about people who have to keep moving - maybe that's what draws me to it - or it could be that I can relate to a show with characters who really understand stress.

Anyhoo, I am now determined to begin an exercise regime. However, that seems to be a problem since I can only get there cognitively, I really don't want to move any more than I am. In fact, I'd like to move less. There is lots of research right now about the perils of lack of movement. Not that I need proof - I know I have to get off my over sized butt and get going. So, as soon as I finish this blog today I'm going swimming. Yup, off I go. 

I'll let you know tomorrow if I made it.

In the meantime, remember, you are entitled to a better day.
And if you have time, please check out my Hazardous Parenting facebook page  it has daily tips (5 days a week) on how to manage stress in a Hazardous Parenting family life.