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Tabata, Tabata, TABATA

See my good reason for skipping my formal workout yesterday? More on this little “project” later…


Say THAT really fast in row!

So I just finished a mean Tabata workout and WHEW!  That was fun!

If you’re like me and have no idea what Tabata is…

It was founded by a man with the last name Tabata, from Japan.  (Hence the name)  Basically, he conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.  Through this, he discovered that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system.  The athletes who only did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

So what it is – is 4 sets of some type of cardio interval – 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.  So for the one Bob Harper had me do… it was 4 minutes of push-ups, then 4 minutes of walking (alternating) lunges, 4 minutes of sit ups, and 4 minutes of air squats. (OUCH!)

Ok, so I’m thinking… how hard can THIS be?  You get a rest? Since you’re doing 8 reps of each for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off…  very quickly, you feel pain.

The goal is to keep track of your TOTAL NUMBER OF REPS.  (Think Cross-Fit Training)  So you keep counting from the first push-up, and add onto that number when you move onto the next interval.  So if you’re at 51 push ups total, when you get to the walking lunges – you start at 52.

So my total number was 399.  (I know, I was frustrated too… but I’m being honest – SO CLOSE to that even number, but it was my first time!!)  The advanced person in the workout did 477.  Wowza.  Your goal is to keep a journal and each time you do the workout – increase your number!

Fill me in if you’ve tried this – and what types of exercises you’ve done.  If you Google it, as with anything… you’re bound to come up with lots of ideas.  The difficult thing (without a workout partner or trainer, or video) is obviously the timing, and counting.  For me, it was hard enough trying to workout, count and listen to Bob… with the clean up circus going on around me!

But ta-dah… I sort of skipped my time with Bob yesterday (see reason above)…  but I feel great today!  Have an excellent day!

“Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Luke 8:18

YES! I Can Have That!

One of the principles Danna Demetre always talked about was making sure you didn’t tell yourself you “couldn’t” have something.  Once you did, you were bound to desire that something MORE.

Oh my, is that ever true for me. {I’ve admitted, until forced to change by God, I’m impossible!}

However, when you take that thought process and turn it around – so that you are making a choice to NOT have something – to honor God and your body, it reverses the hold food can have on you.

Instead of saying, “I can’t have that muffin, cookie, soda…”  Remind yourself why you don’t need that thing, and how you’re better off without it.  Make it YOUR choice not to want it, vs. believing a lie that you “need it” to survive.

One thing several of my celiac books talk about, is having a positive attitude.  When we get down, that adds to the bogging down of our immune system, which in turn – makes it more likely for you to get sick.  That’s definitely not good when you have an auto-immune disease, but it’s plain NOT GOOD for anyone!

I’ve been on a mission to show the kids what we CAN have – so we can focus on our blessings, vs. counting ourselves as cursed. God uses all things for His good! Gluten Free Pancakes with Dairy/Soy/Gluten free chocolate chips!  They were a big hit!

That idea transfers to anyone’s life.

It’s ok to cry now and then.  Women especially appreciate that emotional release.  BUT, when the focus is on what you can’t have – instead of realizing what we DO have, and CAN have in life… it’s bringing us down.

So, for a short while I was angry about what I wouldn’t be able to have… ever again.  Then I struggled through what my kids couldn’t have or wouldn’t be able to try… and feeling like that some how *I* caused this.  (Who created us again?)  God brought me to a place of peace.

{Thank you God.  Your peace does transcend all understanding.}  His purpose, His ways.

There are LOTS of things I can have, and other options to replace old ones… and more than anything – we have so much in this country…  NO EXCUSES.  NO COMPLAINING!! 

These are a big hit. We stocked up when Target had them on sale at $2.50 a box! They’re dairy free too – so I can have them – yum!

So when people say to me, “Oh I’m so sorry…”  about the celiac disease…. I really don’t feel sad.  Not in the least.  I’m SO grateful and thankful.  I know what I can do to feel well now… and keep my kids healthy – and THAT is a blessing.

This is a tasty treat the kids enjoy! Kettle Corn certified GLUTEN FREE from Target!

Won’t you realize what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy too?  Make a change in the right direction… and do what you can to eliminate those empty calories, that mindless snacking.  Truly eat to live, NOT life to eat.  There is so much more in life than food!  Let Him show you how to be healthy for HIM!!

ME sporting my new G-FREE shirt. I got them for my daughter and I to “celebrate” our family’s new journey to health!

I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the LORD. “For you are called an outcast–‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.'”

  Jeremiah 30:17

My New Home

The grocery store.  It’s a necessary evil isn’t it?

I naturally spent quite a bit of time at the store.  With 10 mouths to feed, I was there at least three times a week.

I kept supplies on hand to make our usual menu, and stocked up on fruits, veggies, bread, milk, cheese and eggs.

Beautiful fruit!

Lately it seems, I go to the store almost daily… and usually I go to three different stores on any given trip!  Mostly for produce and label reading.

I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time, but I still have LOTS to learn.

Soon it won’t be like this – but the past two weeks have been a bit of a blur.

Watching for gluten-free labels and having to read ingredients on every product I pick up is pretty time-consuming, and then trying to remember *I* still can’t have lactose or milk protein (casein) in anything either is quite confusing in my brain fog state.  It’s almost impossible to go WITH multiple children.

I really wish that people could just put (in english) what is in the product… so I didn’t feel like I needed a chemistry degree to figure it out.

I think the word “gluten” on my Google app should be a button I push, as I’m often searching, “contains gluten?”  Why can’t my smart phone just KNOW I’m going to ask about gluten content?

You see quickly why it’s much easier to just eat whole foods.  For me, that’s simple… most products make me sick.   For the kids?   I hope their food intolerance stops here… but for the most part, they’ve been fantastic about the changes.

We got signed up with our local food co-op and got some great foods.   We are now “members” in our local co-op grocery store.  We bought somethings online at and as well.  We bought some bulk things from – and hopefully soon – we’ll be restocked, and I can exhale a bit.

When I realized I needed to start planning food for our vacation as well, I went into overdrive!  The no brainer items suddenly became a bit more complex.

My husband suggested maybe we just cancel the vacation, the task of feeding everyone – and finding some safe restaurants seemed too daunting, and he could tell I was wearing low from being sick, and struggling to eat much lately.

BUT – cancel vacation???

I can’t do that.  I knew I had to figure out a plan to make it work.  I prayed God would fill me up and allow me to see what we needed to do to keep us healthy while traveling.

Things won’t wander too far from how we already do things, the main thing is making sure we have the right snacks available!  We’ve had floor picnics in our hotel for a few years now.  We spread out a tablecloth, and the kids think it’s a blast!  I can go to the grocery store and get fruits, veggies and some supplies to make sandwiches easily, and it’s often WAY cheaper than eating out!

One of my favorite snacks! Carrots and gluten free peanut butter!

{Personally, it’s a lot less stressful than going to a restaurant at the end of a long, nap-less day.}  Now that we’d be going in as a large “picky” group, wanting specifics – I doubt we’ll eat out very much at all, and that’s just fine with us!

We do have some options for when we’re tired of sandwiches, and I’m so thankful for the restaurants who offer gluten-free menu options – especially for the kids!  Back to baking – I have a lot of food to make!

Oh, and if you’re wondering if I’m still working out.  YES.  I am…  and I’m thankful that part of my life has been consistent!  Also, thank you for putting up with my typos and grammar errors, it’s been quite humbling to me.  It’s always easy to being an editor to other people’s writing.  I stink at editing my own and the brain fog only made that worse.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” 

John 16:33

Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow!

Banana Almond Muffins with Pamela’s Baking Mix

Happy May Day!  We had a nice surprise today when our friends dropped by with a may day basket full of gluten-free treats for the kids!  They’re good about asking… “is THIS gluten-free” before just assuming they can have it.  They were DELIGHTED that someone took the time to choose something they could have!

Confession: I’ve been a bit more lenient on the treats lately.  Suckers usually don’t come after apples and peanut butter for snack, with an M & M chaser.

We’ll call it mother’s guilt.

For myself, I think I’ve had a life time of treats, and goodies… {granted, the pain, and health issues to go with it.}  But the more I read, the more I realize…  wow, this really IS all related.

I think of the future and the hope I have for my kids…

Maybe they won’t have the teeth issues I had, with cavities and receding gum surgery… Maybe their odd rashes and discomfort won’t come back…  Maybe my daughter’s cycles will be normal, and maybe they all won’t struggle with the breathing issues, headaches, body cramps, stomach pain and lack of vitamin and fat absorption proven in their nail beds.  MAYBE – they will be healthy.

It sure makes it easier for me to realize what a blessing this for us – to know NOW.

I can’t thank God enough.

So amidst the detoxify of our house from all wheat, barley, rye and their friends… I really do smile and praise God.

Good bye to my favorite hairspray and nail polish and to our wooden spoons, and toaster!  Wheat crumbs be gone!

Here are some muffins I made for the kids with Pamela’s baking mix.  I would eat them myself but they’re not lactose free.  I made this one up, but it has tons of ideas on the back.  This made 2 doz. muffins.


– 2  1/2 cups mix

– 1/2 c. water

– 2/3 c. honey or agave

– 2 tsp. pure vanilla

– 1 c. smashed bananas

– top with almond slivers

** Bake at 350 for 16 minutes.

  “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

Mommy, My Tummy Hurts.

My daughter shared her drawing with me this week. She told me that gluten makes her feel sick – so these are her enemies.

It’s never a good thing, when a child tells you their stomach hurts. Most moms might think, great – a stomach bug is coming on – bring on the barf pails and Lysol.

At our house, it’s been a regularly occurring saying for quite some time. Years actually.

I’ve just assumed most of it was in their heads… After all, my stomach hurt most of the time – that’s pretty normal in my mind. Just relax, pray, think of something else.

All the while – I realize, it’s not like pushing the “easy” button when something is going on inside your body that you can’t control.

Last year I thought my daughter had really started stressing out more, having more anxiety, and I was just SURE she had inherited my digestive system… I figured it was hormones. When my 5-year-old son started in with the “my tummy” hurts (and he’s had GI issues, since age 1), and refusing some snacks recently… I really started thinking something could be going on.

But what?

Little did I know in a few short months, we’d be connecting the dots for our family…

That rash my oldest 4 children get, that seems to never go away… is more than just eczema. The tummy aches, head aches, asthma and behavioral issues REALLY could be all connected.

My 12-year-old son’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbow.

My daughter’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbows, knees, hands. Yes, it itches something terrible.

When I inquired about it being a celiac rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) last month at the Dr’s office, I was about 100% positive that’s what it was. Even when my daughter’s blood test for celiac disease came back negative, I<already knew differently.

Apparently, again, the blood test doesn’t allow for what a skin test would show. Her body was saying, “Stop feeding me gluten!”

I’m happy to report, after only one week off of gluten – there has been much improvement at our house. My children with the rashes have almost NO burning, itching rash … which is the first time in YEARS.

Yes, that confirms what I suspected…celiac disease. But I’m happy to have an answer, and way to help them. As my friend said – our food IS our medicine.

All of the children have been so happy to feel well, and have been great about all of the changes. Personally I just want to cry with joy, I’m so thankful to have all of the puzzle pieces fit and KNOW how to help my kids, and myself.

Yes, they may be living without some things, according to the world of indulgence. However, the gift of health will be worth SO much more.

Praise God.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

Pizza – THAT Sounds Good!

I’m all about great tasting food.  After settling for bland the past few months, I have been excited about tasting some things I was missing.

While scouring my 4-ingredient cook book, I stumbled upon some great ideas that seem more like other things we’ve eaten in the past.  Things that would work for myself – and my whole family (so I wasn’t making two meals when avoidable!)  Not to mention, it was also an affordable option.

So I gathered up my ingredients for these easy, healthier pizzas:

Food for Life GF Tortillas 6pk – these were SUPER yummy.

Some Amy’s Tomato Basil Sauce. (Also GF, and for me, this made the punch – YUM!)

So, I added some shredded chicken, prepared with GF chicken broth, from our meal the night before and topped with cheeses.

Now here’s where things went wrong for me…  and I guess I had to make the mistake to figure out what my body was thinking buuut….  I had read most hard cheeses are ok (and gluten-free), but mozzarella wasn’t on that list [I realized later].  As if that wasn’t bad enough,  I know I’m lactose intolerant but I was just hoping, on a whim, that might have been a fluke due to my body being disgruntled about the gluten.

Organic cheddar and mozzarella that we shredded.

So you see here I put only cheddar on a few pizzas, and I was going to keep mine with just cheddar.   However, in the mix of making dinner, and being hungry, and 500 questions, and tripping over feet like an obstacle course in my kitchen (why again did we build a larger home if we were all going to live in a 2 ft square?)…  Anyway – I forgot.  Call me a rookie.

It hit me about 5 minutes into eating it… but I was thinking about how GOOD it was at that point – and I shut out that I was going to regret eating it.  I had 3 small pieces of the whole pizza.

And they were VERY good.

But I felt like I was trapped in my skin all night… and I was swollen and sore for 2 days and back came the head fog.  Boo to the cheese!

How’s that for color? Wa-lah!

I spent that night and a majority of the next day beating myself up for making such a silly mistake, that hurt myself again.  I need to give myself a little grace… it is a lot to remember – I just wish the effects didn’t last so long, or you could just take an epi-pen and make them go away, once you realized it!

Silly cheese, you won’t trick me again!

I will be going back to cheese-less pizza from now on.  I will continue making this for my kids because it was great, and we all loved it.  We just baked them at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; 
He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

What To Eat?

So, I mentioned I found some helpful cookbooks at the bookstore.  The next question I had was…what CAN I eat?

Love this cookbook, lots of great ideas that are practical and delicious. Helpful for a newbie like myself.

If you’re ever looking for more veggie dishes to make yourself or your family, vegetarian cookbooks are super helpful.

I was relieved to find these great books, as well as lots of online resources.  GLU-ten is hidden in a lot of foods as a preservative or binding compound…  but it’s also in other things I needed to be watchful for.  Mainly, GLUE or things that might have glue type properties.  Licking envelopes, and things like tile grout have gluten in them too.  Not that you’re ingesting grout – but it is a powder, it’s difficult to control.  The more I learned, the more I realized WHY my friend said she would pray for discernment for me, with EVERYTHING I put into my mouth and came in contact with.  It’s a great thing I’m up on how to read labels – praise be to God!

I can eat my sweet potato chips.  THAT is great news, since that was a majority of my carb intake before.  I think it’s NOT a wonder that I loved them so much, they didn’t make me sick!  I can also eat all of the beautiful fruits and vegetables God made for us to enjoy.  SO thankful!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  Matthew 6:25-27

Meeting Myself Face-to-Face [PART FOUR]

The bookstore was a disappointment.  While I found some great cookbooks on gluten-free/vegan, I found nothing on celiac disease.

Up and down the aisles I went.  I really started to feel discouraged.  Maybe celiac disease was SO rare, that there was NO WAY I had it.

I bought a few cookbooks, and a book on food allergies, and off I went to the library.

The library proved to be much more helpful.  I got plenty of great books and I returned home to bury myself in reading during any free moment I had.

Hands down, this book was the most helpful in realizing this described everything I was feeling.

The more I read, the more I KNEW this is what I had.  But I also realized, I probably wasn’t going to be testing positive… because I was simply not eating enough gluten.

After a follow-up appointment to my Dr for one of my children, he inquired about my health and I told him what was going on.  I asked again about the celiac panel, and he then agreed we could try that.

If only I would have known to start here BEFORE making any changes.

It was negative.

Although I wasn’t surprised, as only 15% of people diagnosed, get a positive with a blood test.  It was still a few weeks to my GI appointment at this point.  I figured I could keep a bit of gluten in my diet until my test and perhaps they could do a biopsy and it would show up.

The Dr. then ordered a CT scan.   After previously denying that test out of frustration of “tests” with no answers…  I consented to the test.  Another fairly simple test.  Fast, drink some citrus/glue-tasting stuff, [actually a whole LOT of that disgusting stuff] and with some contrast dye from an IV, they took pictures to see what was going on.  Fifteen minutes and done.  Easy.

After that test, I was reading about something called a “gluten challenge” – where a patient who has gone off of gluten must eat 4-6 pieces of bread a day for 6 weeks, to ensure there is enough to cause a reaction.  That night, I took 2 bites of a multigrain bread for dinner, and the reactions almost took me to the ER.  I bloated within 15 minutes, the pain, cramping, head issues went on for about 5 hours.  The next day I felt like I had been run over by a semi.

It was VERY difficult to eat gluten after going gluten-free.  After that day, I knew I couldn’t do the gluten challenge.  I started realizing all of the hidden places gluten liked to hang out, and WHY it wasn’t obvious to me sooner as to what was making me sick.  Not only that,  apparently, after you continue cutting more gluten out, your body reacts stronger when you try to add it back in.  I ate some salsa a day later, and on day 2 realized it was the salsa making me sick – yes, after I had ingested it TWICE.  Diarrhea plagued me after that, all Easter weekend.

That Monday, the Dr’s office told me that the CT scan was normal.  Apparently I just needed to take some laxative.  I let the nurse know my body already took care of that.  I’m pretty sure they thought I was a hypochondriac.  Ironic, since I did feel so irritable on gluten I thought I might be going crazy!

The more I read however, everything said …. the BIGGEST MISTAKE people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can do, is to go OFF gluten before being tested.  Personally, I don’t see how that’s possible (to stay on gluten while awaiting months of testing) – if you were like me, and realized what was going on.  The first thing you want to do – is to feel well so you STOP eating those things that make you sick, or stop eating period.  The LAST THING you want to do is to continue poisoning your body… and withering away.  I know in my heart that God blessed me with enough information to protect me from things reaching that level.  I don’t know WHY, but it’s part of the reason I feel led to share my story.

I tried to keep some gluten in my system the week before my GI test, but I knew in my heart it probably wouldn’t help.  I just wanted to try – anything to get some solid answers.

I went into the GI appointment [yes, I skipped the prep part of the story to spare you – it’s horrid, but it’s essential] relieved {literally}, to be at the end of my journey, and I awaited the answers with hope.

This is me, right before we left for my test. I actually felt really good this day. Amazing – all toxic gluten – GONE from my system!

Following my appointment, and feeling well, I tried again to tolerate some comfort foods – but after two days of severe gluten reactions, God gave me the peace I needed, to know in my heart the answer – before I had the results to the test.  I knew it would be a long shot for the results to show enough damage.  I was basically eating gluten light before February with cheese being my number one source of gluten.  Then I ate gluten-free to gluten lite after the Dr. directed me to get rid of lactose…  and I couldn’t eat the amount needed to show the test otherwise.  Not only I couldn’t, I wouldn’t.  I was sick of being sick – and looking forward to feeling healthy.

So Thursday, April 19th, I went back to gluten-free – for GOOD.  I will be meeting with my family Dr. to seek genetic testing – for the sake of our children, and I meet with the GI Dr also at the end of next month.  I have no regrets, or doubts of my diagnosis.  The past years, as I’ve been trying my hardest to eat well, exercise and feel good – my body has been slowly trying to tell me that it’s not getting the vitamins it needs, because it hasn’t been able to absorb them!  Mostly I’m thankful to know now, vs. when I have intestinal cancer.  Sadly, 27% of people who have symptoms and test negative, continue searching for what is making them sick – never retest, and they wind up being positive for celiacs disease when it’s too late.

I always had indented “spoon-like” nails when not pregnant. I just thought I had bad nails. Another sign of a vitamin deficiency that celiacs have.

I’m on day 3, and feeling great.  My swelling has gone down,  no belly aches, bloating or cramping and NO REGRETS. 🙂  I’m more clear-headed than I’ve felt in months – no more forgetting how to speak, as if I were having a stroke.  It’s only going to get better from here!

Here’s to being healthier for HIM!  (and for His peace in times of confusion!)  It’s a strange feeling, but I truly feel like God is allowing me to understanding just how He created me and I’m so thankful.  When I look in the mirror, I finally understand just how this body works!  Thank you God for helping me meet myself face-to-face and for allowing my body to be healthy enough to carry 8 healthy children. [Amazing how we are designed in such a way that would be possible – yes?]

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Cor. 10:31

Always Too Late!

I have a confession.

I like brown long grain rice.

I think about fixing it about an hour after I needed to fix it…. which does me no good and is even worse news for my family.

The rice sits.

I forget to get it made… and I must then substitute something else, which is generally NOT going to be as nutritious if it’s rice in the microwave!

My solution?

Finally get a rice cooker!

Yes, I know - excited about home appliances!

I did it!!  I’m excited to be  the owner of a rice cooker/vegetable steamer!

[ Yes, I realize it’s a big one, but let’s face it – someday I’m going to be fixing A LOT of food for 10 people! ]

Just think, for about 1/2 of a cup of rice – and around 100 calories, you can get about 30 grams of carbs, and about 5 grams of protein!!  Not to mention packed with vitamins, minerals and a low glycemic index for you health!  YUM!  Perfect to go with my steamed veggies!  Didn’t God do a great job of giving us so many whole foods to enjoy?

AND if you get a rice cooker…. you don’t have to sit it on the stove and babysit it for an hour or more!

Hope you have a great weekend!

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,

so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

1 Corinthians 12:9

Broccoli, Asparagus, and Spinach Casserole

Hope this finds you doing wonderful on Holy Week!  What a great spring we’ve had so far – I can’t believe it’s April, can you?

What does spring make you think of?  Personally, I love it when every thing GREENS up!  The sign of NEW life!

Summer can be a difficult time to cook for the family, and I’m always looking for new veggies to try!  (Especially ones that are GREEN that my kids will eat and enjoy!)

This was a hit, I thought I’d share as you prepare to get some summer dishes in line!

Broccoli, Asparagus & Spinach Casserole

2 bunches of broccoli, diced

1 cup asparagus, diced

1 cup fresh spinach

1 slice each Swiss & Provolone cheeses

1 cup of plain greek yogurt

1 cup non fat or unsweetened almond milk

1 T garlic powder

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

2 T grated parmesan for garnish

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Place first three ingredients into bowl

Shred Swiss, provolone and mozzarella cheese slices and add to bowl

Add yogurt, milk and garlic powder to taste.

Mix gently and pour into 9×13 casserole dish.  Bake (covered) for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Add parmesan for garnish before plating.

Serves 8

 “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.   So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “

Isaiah 41:9-10

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