Sunday, August 17, 2014

I want my waist back...

I've been thinking about how long its been since I had a waist. I used to have a lovely waist - I loved to wear my shirts and blouses tucked in with a nice belt to highlight my slimness. Well, I don't think my youngest 5 kids have ever even seen me with a waist  - they likely think I was born without one. 

In looking at old pictures, it seems to have begun disappearing around the time we were first learning that one our sons had a diagnosis of conduct disorder (as well as fasd and adhd). To be clear, I don't blame my son, but I do blame the conduct disorder. The amount of stress that living with someone who has that disorder is huge - and no one was talking about stress management for parents back then. We were all (including me) writing books about how to effectively parent kids who are chronically non-compliant, but no one (including me) was writing any books on how to survive and thrive as the parent of such a person. 

I've since parented several children with that and other diagnoses and my waist became less and less visible with each. We just didn't know about the link between cortisol and obesity - or the link between lack of sleep and obesity. I am okay with the cortisol link now - I manage my stress very well and my book *Recovery from Hazardous Parenting* is all about that.

 I still don't know what to do about the lack of sleep. 

For those of you who haven't parented kids who are occasionally violent and are chronically non-compliant, then let me explain ----- those of us who are parenting kids with these issues don't have the luxury of going to bed when we're tired. We often have to stay up, or at least stay awake, as long as the acting out child or youth is threatening or raging or behaving in a way that indicates potential danger to others, or simply won't stop being noisy, or won't stop stomping in and out of the parents' bedroom with various complaints and demands. This can happen often, and so sleep becomes something we do when we can, not when we need to. I'm sure we all use every known de-escalating technique with our kids, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Either way, sleep is not on the agenda. And then, there is the need to calm and re-assure the other kids after the rager calms. I can't simply roll over and start counting sheep - I need to make sure that my other kids have processed their cortisol in a healthy way so they don't become fat victims like me. 

So, yes indeed, I blame the mental health issues for my lost waist - but I'm doing better at recovering it. Still swimming almost daily and eating really well on my Vegan Before 6 food plan (Mark Bitman). I don't weigh myself because that is self defeating for me, but I have noticed that a couple of pairs of my jeans are loser around the upper thigh - so something is changing. Yippee!

Well, off to buy school supplies today - 4 kids in high school and my last in elementary school. Might have one or two in college this year as well. 

Hey, remember my friends, you are entitled to a better day.  If you have the time or the inclination, please check out my videos on Youtube (search my name) or my adoption course at (search my name or Adoption, What You Need To Know). 

Here's a tasty treat for those mornings when you feel like something special and you've got time to really cook. 

Pan-Seared Oatmeal with Blueberries from Jerry James Stone (@jerryjamesstone) Living / Easy Vegetarian Recipes

October 5, 2011

This recipe uses honey which I know most vegans don't like to consume - but I just can't let go of honey yet - so many health benefits and I don't think it harms the bees in the production process, so I still use it, even before 6. 
  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut (Irish) oats
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Honey-Poached Blueberries
  • 1 small carton of blueberries
  • 1 cup of honey
  • In a large saucepan, add the water, coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and oats, and bring to a boil.Reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until thick.
 Pour the oatmeal into baking dish and cool at room temperature for at least an hour. When the oatmeal sets, it becomes a bit cake-like and is a lot easier to sear.
 Lightly coat your frying pan with some cooking spray and turn up the heat.
Cut the oatmeal into equally-sized cuts and sear each piece on each side.
Bring the honey to a high boil in a small sauce pan.
Put the washed blueberries in a small baking dish or a bowl and pour the boiling honey over the top of them. Let stand. .Top the pan-seared oatmeal with blueberries.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

We've returned from a *sort of* vacation. Our main goal was to have my mom's ashes interred in the little cemetery in Kaslo. My mom spent the happiest years of her life in this little village  and she bought the plot beside her own mom many years ago and was always very clear that this was what she wanted. It's a very old cemetery, on the mountainside. Mom and I used to visit there on occasion when I was a child and teen and even as an adult- we would read the old headstones, some dating back to the 1800's, and just enjoy the beauty of the place. I've always found it very peaceful with a calming energy. The local Anglican minister gave the internment rite, and one of my adult children and her family, along with my 5 youngest, and my four cousins, all attended. My daughters sang the Lord's Prayer. It was really a beautiful and moving ceremony. As we left the town, I felt the first sense of ease within myself that I have experienced since mom died a year ago. I can finally move on. 

So, the rest of the vacation was about swimming in the beautiful Kootenay Lake and the incredible Slocan River, and visiting family and having fun. 

Then, we got home. And, if you are a hazardous parent, you know that it all had to go downhill at that point. My most fragile teen did her predictable meltdown, with the most foul name calling she's done so far, as well as some kicking and destruction. I had tried to be proactive and prevent this, but nothing was going to work. So, we went into rage survival mode for a few hours. A change from her younger years is that now when she comes out of the rage state, there are other forms of acting out, and there is no opportunity for nurturing her or re-connecting. Well, this isn't my first trip to this rodeo - we'll manage. 

I've learned the hard way that if I can't help my child, I can at least help myself, so, I didn't let it stop me from getting to my gym and having my swim. I've become quite diligent about that and I hope I can keep it up once I'm back on a regular work schedule and the weather isn't so cooperative. 

I've also been sticking quite well to Vegan Before 6. It was a little difficult on vacation but I was  at least able to reduce my intake of animal products and was able to stay vegetarian. Of course, most of our vacation was in Nelson, BC and that is a town that thrives on being *alternative* so most food places have really tasty vegetarian and vegan options. 

Hey, remember, you are entitled to a better day. 

Here's a lovely recipe for those of you have back yard peach trees, or anyone who loves a peach desert. I'm going to be making this tonight. Its from my favorite vegan food blog. I bet I make something from the recipes on this blog at least once a week if not more.
 Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
Peach Upside-Down Cake
Peach Upside-Down Cake

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup natural sugar (I used demerara for all the sugar in this recipe)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Liquid ingredients:
1 cup vanilla soy milk mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract)

4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
2 tablespoons natural, raw or brown sugar
1/4 cup natural, raw or brown sugar 
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Combine the liquid ingredients in a separate bowl. Set aside without mixing them together.

Combine the peaches with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Wipe or spray a 10-inch, well-seasoned cast iron skillet with oil. (This step is very important if you want to be able to get the cake out of the pan.) Begin heating it and add the 1/4 cup (or more) of sugar and the water. Heat and stir until the sugar is completely melted. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is bubbly and slightly reduced (but be careful not to burn it). Place the peaches on top of the sugar and remove from heat:

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, stirring briefly, just to moisten. Pour and smooth the batter over the peaches, covering them entirely. Put the skillet into the oven (you may want to place a cookie sheet or foil on the shelf below it to catch drips) and bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean (about 30-40 minutes).

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15-30 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a large plate or serving platter over the top and invert the skillet. Remove the skillet carefully from the cake:

Be sure to scrape any caramelized juices from the pan and smooth them over the peaches.
Serve warm or at room temperature, alone or with vanilla non-dairy ice cream. Makes about 6 servings.

Each serving (based on 8) provides 148 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 166mg Sodium; 2g Fiber. With the sugar and white flour, it's hardly health food, but it is loaded with fruit and is almost totally fat-free.