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#1 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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My background is in nutrition and nursing/natural healing. before kids I ate well. When my kids were little they ate well. Now the combination of my own health slump (tired always, headaches) and the kids desire, now that their tastes have changed with maturity, to eat mainly craxkers, bagels and pasta and fruit, has made me read far too much about health.

I've gone from feeding them what I felt was a balanced diet (Protein, veg, fruit, grains, all home made, organic, grass-fed bef, etc) to feeling like I need to reinvent the wheel to feed them as healthfuly as possible. That sugar is the root of all evil, that grains cause cancer and flour/rice/starches are poison.

It's been weeks of no bread, low fruit, etc . . . and it feels wrong, for lack of a better description. It felt good to bake for them, to teach them how to bake, to create colourful meals that they liked. Now I'm forcing veggies and fish with no starches, and only porridge for breakfast, no pancakes. The pancakes I made before were healthy!!!


I've read so many books on nutrition this past year, from Nourishing traditions to paleo diets to raw foods and juicing.


Has this happened to you are did you just decide to discount what you knew/learned? I mean, I've always known sugar was crap but it makes some things tasty. We're talking homemade coookies not hubba bubba gum here.

I think I want balance, not uber-stictness. I can mill my own grains (no sprout/ferment them) if I could just stop thinking of them as poison.

thanks.

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#2 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I cannot imagine why one would think of carbs as poison unless they are on the atkins diet which is extremely unhealthy.

Eating nothing but carbs all day is not healthy either, but I see no reason to cut them out of your children's diets all together. In fact, carbs are important for brain development!!

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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#3 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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WCM, I totally get what you mean. My take: if we ate the way I think we should eat we'd drop the dairy, grains and most beans, and eat mostly plants, flesh and eggs.

But our reality includes two growing school-aged kids and a busy, busy life. We eat a lot of pasta with meat sauce, a lot of chili and corn bread, a lot of casseroles, because that's what I can muster in the time I have. It takes emotional energy, too.

My kids eat a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a couple of cookies almost every school day. Sometimes cheese sticks. Cheese sticks are soooo convenient. It's a little stick of food my kids like to eat that gives them a little shot of energy.

My 15 year old daughter loves to bake cookie and cupcakes. I'm so proud of her! She does a great job.

When I get around to making them my family praises my buttermilk biscuits to high heaven.

Fish: if all 6 1/2 billion of us started eating more fish like is supposed to be good for us, the oceans' fish population would disappear very quickly. So I'm doing the World a favor if we only have my favorite (wild-caught, so it's nutritionally superior) salmon once in a while.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#4 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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One person's food can be another person's poison, and vice versa! I truly believe with my whole heart that there is no "1-way" "right way" or "wrong way" to eat (except, of course, to not overdue it on fast food or sweets)... We all need to get to know our own individual bodies as best as we can and feed it accordingly. I know that I feel best physically, mentally and emotionally when I eat every 2-3 hours, and my diet always consists of: lots of almond and peanut butter butter, sprouted toast, brown rice or quinoa with beans or lentils, lots of steamed green veggies, avocados, raw butter, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, raw milk, red meat (especially lamb!), sardines and tuna, and definitely a daily dose of organic ice cream and some sort of mushy dessert, such as cake or cookies with it. Oh, and I also drink 24 oz. of black, organic coffee every morning and 8-10 oz. of red wine every night, as well as 2 qts. a day of lemon water and 1 qt. a day of water with ACV. I also eat out about once a week, enjoying anything from pizza or pasta to a giant burrito or whatever I'm in the mood for! Honestly, I always feel great, and when on occasion I don't, I can usually pin-point what the culprit was. So anyway, my point is, get to know what your body feels best eating, because no professional, book or website knows this for you.
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#5 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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s I know how you feel.

Sounds like your balanced diet was great for you and your family. I don't like to eat grains very often but make them for my family. I don't think they are poison I just think some people can do better without them. There are societies that are extremely healthy that eat grains. My family would revolt if I stopped letting them have starches and homemade breads/cookies ect.

When I start to freak out about stuff like this I think of some older people I know who ate whatever...like my grandpa who is 90 totally living a full happy life...his main foods since I was a child have been 3 gallons of homogonized/UHP a week, Wheatabix cereal, ice cream, and potato salad!

Use your research to incorportate new recipes that sound good to you (like the juicing or raw)...you don't have to do 100% of anything

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#6 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I am struggling with this right now myself. I flipped out the other day when my kids went to dance class and got a dum dum after class. All the other kids had them and no other mom was concerned. My daughter got a piece of candy after school almost every day last year and it bothered me but I was hoping it wouldn't happen this year and they got candy at school the first 2 days and then after dance class and I just blew up. Then I felt guilty for getting mad.

A few years ago I ran across the Feingold Diet and I get Dr. Mercola's natural health newsletter almost every day via e-mail. My favorite reading material is books about health and nutrition. If you look on my bedside table, you will see Super Foods Rx, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Master Your Metabolism, and Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition, and also my nutrition textbook from nursing school. I have articles printed from the internet about nutrition too. My father is a health nut. He is 77 years old and in perfect health, eats no sugar, was vegan until recently when he started eating very limited amounts of turkey and seafood. I was raised to be conscious of what I am eating. I tend to go back and forth about what is okay to eat and what is not. It is becoming an obsession.

Despite being raised by a health conscious father, I ate plenty of crap as a teenager - sodas, candy, hamburger helper, hotdogs, etc...that I would never eat now. I am still alive in my late 30's, and still healthy. After the incident with the dance class, I decided to take a step back and relax.

I've read information about populations with the largest amount of centenarians, and they ate healthy, but no sooo restrictive. I think there has to be a healthy balance. I feed my kids all natural at home, but I've decided not to worry too much about what they get outside the home, as it is not too often. I'm also not going to cut out any major food groups. I plan to revisit the centenarian studies - particular the Seventh Day Adventists, since they eat food widely available in America and just try to keep a healthy balance between what I feed them at home and what they get outside the home.

It is so hard, when you try to learn to much, to know what is the right thing to do.
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#7 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by carolinagirl1 View Post
I am struggling with this right now myself. I flipped out the other day when my kids went to dance class and got a dum dum after class. All the other kids had them and no other mom was concerned. My daughter got a piece of candy after school almost every day last year and it bothered me but I was hoping it wouldn't happen this year and they got candy at school the first 2 days and then after dance class and I just blew up. Then I felt guilty for getting mad.
I'm totally with you here. I don't mean to get you riled up when you've found some peace but this just bugs the heck out of me. Every day?? Why? Was it an incentive for something? Ohhhh, everyday after dance class. Which wasn't daily, I assume? Still!!

I found out that my daughter's first grade teacher handed out daily candies for math assignments (dd is in 10th grade now). Maybe for finishing homework. Regardless, when I found out I nervously asked the teacher about it, having never confronted a teacher about anything before. Her explanation is that it works. It's a bribe and it works for most kids. Well great, but that meant I had to subtract whatever nice treat I was going to give my daughter. Because it wasn't OK with me for my dd to consume candies at school, and the near-weekly birthday doughnuts and cupcakes kids brought to share, and class party cupcakes and potato chips and big jugs of red fruit punch! I pointed out to dd's teacher that over a month all these "it's just a piece of candy" incidents adds up to waaayyy more than is good for growing bodies and brains to consume. Seriously, I should not have to explain this to a teacher.

This was the BIGGEST disappointment for me with dd's introduction to public school. I left it alone, but I seethed.

Anyway.

Seems to me there was an article a few years ago in Nat'l Geographic or Time or whatnot, about centenarians (including a Seventh Day Adventists). I was surprised that these people didn't have more lifestyle factors in common. But I think they all ate less than many people do now. They simply ate smaller portions of every kind of food, their whole lives.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#8 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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I agree with the previous posters who said there is no ONE way everyone should eat. Humans are very adaptable and people from all over the world have eaten a variety of ways and done fine or thrived.

I do Feingold, because it really, really helped me deal with perimenopausal mood swings, but I figure if I am MOSTLY eating Feingold and I have some cheats, it's fine.

I had a non-okay slice of mesquite deli turkey on two pieces of Butternut white bread today for lunch and I enjoyed it. I rarely, rarely eat white sandwich bread...but today it hit the spot. I'm eating a bowl of mixed fruit right now and I'm sure that will balance out my earlier dietary indescretion.

I LOVE Michael Pollan and think the quote "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" is great!

Eating and food should also be a pleasure, not just fuel for our bodies. It's "home" it's part of our cultures, it's part of how we celebrate...food is best when it's enjoyed and I think it is okay to enjoy not so healthy foods ( in moderation for sure) now and then.

I kind of do a combo of whole foods, Feingold and trying to get more organic in there. But... now and then have a brown sugar cinnamon poptart, a hot fudge sundae or whatever is probably on a "bad" food list. I think of it as something I enjoy, I don't have these things often and I figure if the majority of what I eat is basically healthy and whole, having something not so healthy now and then is fine. I don't want my diet to mess up my relationships with people. I went yesterday morning and had brunch at Denny's with my brother. We talked for a loooong time over food that is not so healthy, but the company was good, I had a great time and I had biscuts and gravy and hashbrowns.

I'll be more selective the rest of the week because I've had two meals that aren't fab this week.

My younger son is a whole 'nother story about throwing a wrench into all my plans to feed my kids really healthy foods. After he came along and just refused to eat a lot of things we normally had, I had to readjust my thinking and be thankful he was eating at all. And out of all of us, he is the healthiest...go figure.

Good luck figuring out what works for you and your family! Try different things, see how you feel and keep in mind that there are MANY ways to eat a healthy diet and be well.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#9 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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Seems to me there was an article a few years ago in Nat'l Geographic or Time or whatnot, about centenarians (including a Seventh Day Adventists). I was surprised that these people didn't have more lifestyle factors in common. But I think they all ate less than many people do now. They simply ate smaller portions of every kind of food, their whole lives.

And were more active. I think that's the bottom line for most "extra healthy" societies that have been studied.
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#10 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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I have a critical eye about everything now. I made the mistake of jumping on a bandwagon before and what I've learned is everyone has an agenda. There is no diet that results in everyone living to 100+ and being perfectly healthy all the time. Diet is not the cure for everything. People get sick, it's the nature of the world we live in. I try to sift out the agenda and focus on the best grown and raised food I can find. Carbs are not evil, meat is not evil, chocolate is not evil. Just because hunter gatherers lived without grains or with limited grains does not mean it's the ideal for me. Just because I can choose to live life as a vegan doesn't mean my dog or cat should.

Personally I'm focusing on quality food and enjoying my life and refuse to live a life depriving myself of things I enoy or that make me happy on the possiblity I might live to 100.

I've been vegan, I've been lacto-ovo vegetarian, I've tried macrobiotics, I played around with raw food diet, read up on no carb and super low fat diets and read up on Traditional Foods. I don't ascribe to any of them completely anymore. They each have grains of truth and goodness but get taken to the point where they go too far in their restrictions and limitations or personal philosophy agendas without scientific evidence and lack a balanced approach.

Random Examples:

meat eating is evil, so I insist that my dog or cat eat a vegan diet against it's natural instinct and biology
carbs are evil so all grains are not allowed
sugar is evil so fruit must be limited and even some vegetables
fat is evil so I cut out all animal products and vegetable based oils
mothers milk is inherently "tainted" and so now we must feed homemade formula
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#11 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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To the original poster--I can totally sympathize! I know my family's diet needs an overhaul--we don't eat real junk, but rely far too heavily on organic convenience foods--pasta, breads, crackers, cookies, etc.

There are so many different philosophies out there, it is hard to know which one to follow...and so many of them are extremely strict/unconventional that following them would likely have an impact not just on our health, but on our social lives as well. It seems like many of the people who choose the more extreme diets have severe health problems and these diets are their last resort. It sounds like your family is in decent health, but that you just want your overall diet to be healthier...maybe just making small changes one at a time (ie, eating more whole grains instead of breads and crackers, etc.) would be enough for you??

I love Fi'sMom's post--she seems to be doing almost anything healthy in moderation...I think that is going to be our goal.

Best of luck with whatever you decide!!

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One person's food can be another person's poison, and vice versa! I truly believe with my whole heart that there is no "1-way" "right way" or "wrong way" to eat (except, of course, to not overdue it on fast food or sweets)... We all need to get to know our own individual bodies as best as we can and feed it accordingly. I know that I feel best physically, mentally and emotionally when I eat every 2-3 hours, and my diet always consists of: lots of almond and peanut butter butter, sprouted toast, brown rice or quinoa with beans or lentils, lots of steamed green veggies, avocados, raw butter, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, raw milk, red meat (especially lamb!), sardines and tuna, and definitely a daily dose of organic ice cream and some sort of mushy dessert, such as cake or cookies with it. Oh, and I also drink 24 oz. of black, organic coffee every morning and 8-10 oz. of red wine every night, as well as 2 qts. a day of lemon water and 1 qt. a day of water with ACV. I also eat out about once a week, enjoying anything from pizza or pasta to a giant burrito or whatever I'm in the mood for! Honestly, I always feel great, and when on occasion I don't, I can usually pin-point what the culprit was. So anyway, my point is, get to know what your body feels best eating, because no professional, book or website knows this for you.

Kat, Mama to M (July 2008) and another babe due in Feb '11
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#12 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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Everyone here has said some really great things. I can get a little obsessive over food, esp what my DD eats. I believe what is right for one, isn't right for the other. You just need to decide what diet works best for you and your family. I find that stressing takes the joy out of cooking/eating, and like a pp mentioned, food is social and comforting. I know we should not 'live to eat', but it really is a simple joy in life. There is hardly anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread, IMO. Sugar is a pretty icky thing, so it is best to be avoided. Don't kick yourself for the occasional treat though. My preference is just eating simple, WHOLE foods. We don't eat processed crap and we buy mostly organic. We eat things that have a mother, and don't have ingredients I can't pronounce or that my grandma wouldn't recognize as being edible. Life is too short to live without chocolate, ice cream, or butter

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#13 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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I actually have that National Geographic magazine about the centenarians - I refer back to it from time to time. It seems that the only things the different cultures have in common is that they all eat natural unprocessed foods and they know how to manage stress.

I just wish sometimes that I knew the right answer! Without eliminating whole food groups, I strive to eat natural unprocessed foods, organic if possible. I am in constant fear of cancer, though. It just seems inevitable since sooo many people I know end up with it. I'm constantly looking to avoid this or that toxin and it (the worrying about it) can get to be a burden, ya know?

I too, have to agree with Michael Pollan's philosophy about eating mostly plants, not too much, etc...Seems to be what has increased longevity for many.
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#14 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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I do get what your saying... and what you used to do is what I feel I do. Mostly. I cook dinner at least 4-5 nights a week, and we usually have at least one night of just leftovers with a last one of order out/frozen pizza/hotdogs/picnic dinner/etc.

Honestly, I'm just not ready to climb ontot he dogmatic 'i'm a vegetarian/i'm a traditional foodie/i'm a paleo/i'm a vegan' bandwagons. Theres so many different diets out there that have been *proven* healthy for different people that it makes no sense to me whatsoever to declare absoltuely that much of *ANYTHING* is truelly bad for you (Aside from the SAD of 90% high processed foods.. but I kinda take that one for granted

So, for me, for us, for my family... for now, I'm sticking with Micheal Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. If its 'real' food (ie, I Know what it is!), I eat it. In moderation.
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#15 of 19 Old 08-26-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Sometimes I think self-education can be difficult. After all, when you know better, you want to do better. That said, I stopped beating myself up for wanting Cheetos once in a while and I just get them if I'm in the mood. I just don't share with the kids.

I think everything in moderation is key. If you're eating well, or were eating well, and now you aren't eating grains and it feels like it's wrong, then it's probably wrong. Listen to those instincts. I love pasta but as I've gotten older I eat more and more rice and rice-products and less wheat and wheat-products (but yes, I still eat the Cheetos). I find I get stomachaches from certain wheat items- not all. Probab;ly not a true gluten intolerance, but something similar.

My point is, if it feels wrong, it probably is. Don't beat yourself up over not having the perfect diet, just do the best you can and be happy about it.
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#16 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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We just eat *food* at this house. And we're all pretty darn healthy! Sometimes that food gets some sugar or honey added (especially now that we have our own bees), sometimes we buy some crap or eat out at a not-so-healthy place, but not often. Just do what feels best for your body and your family and to heck w/anyone/anything else.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#17 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I have a critical eye about everything now. I made the mistake of jumping on a bandwagon before and what I've learned is everyone has an agenda. There is no diet that results in everyone living to 100+ and being perfectly healthy all the time. Diet is not the cure for everything. People get sick, it's the nature of the world we live in. I try to sift out the agenda and focus on the best grown and raised food I can find. Carbs are not evil, meat is not evil, chocolate is not evil. Just because hunter gatherers lived without grains or with limited grains does not mean it's the ideal for me. Just because I can choose to live life as a vegan doesn't mean my dog or cat should.

Personally I'm focusing on quality food and enjoying my life and refuse to live a life depriving myself of things I enoy or that make me happy on the possiblity I might live to 100.

I've been vegan, I've been lacto-ovo vegetarian, I've tried macrobiotics, I played around with raw food diet, read up on no carb and super low fat diets and read up on Traditional Foods. I don't ascribe to any of them completely anymore. They each have grains of truth and goodness but get taken to the point where they go too far in their restrictions and limitations or personal philosophy agendas without scientific evidence and lack a balanced approach.

Random Examples:

meat eating is evil, so I insist that my dog or cat eat a vegan diet against it's natural instinct and biology
carbs are evil so all grains are not allowed
sugar is evil so fruit must be limited and even some vegetables
fat is evil so I cut out all animal products and vegetable based oils
mothers milk is inherently "tainted" and so now we must feed homemade formula
Great post full of good sense. Thanks!
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#18 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 03:33 PM
 
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It all depends on your individual metabolism, and that of your children.

I personally do best on a low-grain (not no-grain) diet. I'll have 1-2 portions of grains per day. Some days I'll eat 3-4 servings, but then I feel bloated, find myself craving carbs, and in general get the feeling that I've eaten more grains than are good for me. I also do well on 0-2 servings of fruit per day- I can eat it, but I also do fine without it. I do eat lots of veggies, nuts, and animal protein.

DS isn't satisfied unless he has several servings of grains per day, at every meal. DD2 skips grains completely some days, and wants 3 servings another day- overall she eats more grains than I do but less than the USDA reccomends. DD1 eats tons of fruit and moderate amounts of grains. Getting my younger 2 kids to eat enough veggies is a struggle, so I don't worry if they eat more fruit to compensate.

I also don't worry if DD2's daily grain intake comes from homemade cookies (full of flax, nuts, etc, and low in sugar) rather than the quinoa or brown rice I serve with dinner.

Dinners generally consist of a grain, a veggie or two, and a protein. We each take what we want from each serving dish, in the proportions that feel right for each of us.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#19 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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I think gut issues and insulin resistance problems complicate this issue.

I would love to eat grains, but even "properly-made" NT-style grains make me gain weight and feel hypoglycemic. In addition, I have candida that flares up when I eat starch, sugar, or fruits. *sigh*

So for now, and probably the next few years I will eat mostly fat, protein, and limited veggies. I've heard it takes a while, maybe even two years to get blood sugar under control.

Some friends of mine who've been doing low-carb for more than a year (on Bee Wilder's Candida diet) now find that they can eat limited amounts of starchy veggies and grains without it affecting their blood sugar (as measured with those diabetic finger-prick testing devices).

It's really hard since the rest of the family eat whatever whole foods they want, with no trouble.

It's hard not to feel deprived sometimes, so when it gets bad I make some kind of coconut flour dessert.

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