Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting your children to actually eat their fruits and veggies

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I know.
Blah, blah, blah.

But have you ever tried to get a child, who is "addicted" to the processed food already,
or who struggles with sensory disorders, or ADHD, or Autism, or......
to actually eat fruit and vegetables??
I had to start by not buying processed all.
Because what happens in my house is this:
I buy all these whole food items,
and they scrounge through the pantry when they get hungry.
They don't reach for a banana or apple,
they make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich
or pour a bowl of cereal.
So yeah.....I hide the two boxes of Rice Chex or Whole-Grain Flakes
for those days I have to have something quick I know they will put in their stomachs.

One thing that I am convinced draws children to processed foods (in addition to the sugar and fat)
is the colorful, fun packaging.
I believe that we, as moms, have to be creative when it comes to food preparation 
and how we present the food to our family.

Who says being a stay-at-home-mom is boring and suppresses our creativity or artistic ability?

I have found that taking the time to set the table pretty, with candles,
brings them all to the table more willingly than when I just hand them a bowl of food
and point them to a cluttered table to sit at.
I've found the same when it comes to serving fruits and veggies.
My children are much more willing to eat raw produce than slimy cooked produce.
So I try to make it look more fun!
Who doesn't want to try some of this:


or this:

I'm not saying that you have to be a talented fruit sculptor to get your kids to eat right.
But I am saying that taking a few extra minutes to make the food look pretty
will spark the interest of you child and they will be more likely to try something that looks interesting to them.  Especially if they get to help.

Is that a no-fail guarantee?
I have to fight the processed food addictions in my house every. single. day.
I am seeing progress though.
My children are eating much more fruit than they ever did before.
They still choose homemade cookies over apple slices; but, when I don't make the cookies
and just offer fruit, they are actually eating it.
I'm throwing much less rotten fruit away these days.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The first endocrinologist visit of the year.....and participating in a research study.

I have such mixed feelings about our quarterly visits with Ashlyn's Pediatric Endocrinologist right now.
Her A1C has been very high for the last year.
She is still right at 9.8%.
It needs to be at 7%.
We always hear how the endocrinology clinic at Children's Hospital in Dallas has 1700 patients they treat with 250 new patients each year.
That makes me feel like they are extraordinarily busy, understaffed, and if we didn't show up,
their feelings wouldn't be hurt.
I've resigned myself to the fact that Ashlyn, even at 12.5 years old, is too immature and irresponsible to track her blood sugars throughout the day, so her numbers and ultimately her health is left up to me to manage.
Clearly, we have much more work to do with her on this whole "being responsible" thing.
Most days it feels very lonely and overwhelming when we have no one in our daily lives who understand what this entails on a daily basis and very little family nearby to help support us in this fight.
So, I often go into this with some dread.

But, on the other hand, I usually walk out encouraged.
Our endocrinologist is no nonsense, but witty.
He always listens to my concerns and gives encouragement to KEEP ON, full of grace, and never harsh or judgmental.
He did make Ashlyn look him in the face this last week though, and tell her that she needed to grow up and be more of a participant in this journey.

She has grown nearly an inch in the last 3 months.
He mentioned that being in the throes of puberty usually whacks out blood sugar numbers for a couple YEARS!
He also said that she has some insulin resistance going on as well which is why she takes way more insulin than other girls her age.
She currently takes 52 units (FIFTY-TWO!) of Lantus split between the evening and morning, plus her mealtime Humalog with ratios of 1:4 units for breakfast, 1:4 for lunch, and 1:3 for dinner.  For between meal snacks, we use the most recent mealtime ratio.
As long as we chart every. single. blood sugar reading, and write down every. single. carb she eats, and how much insulin we gave to cover those carbs, we manage to keep her numbers in acceptable ranges (80-150).
But the minute we miss a meal or a snack or a single morsel of food she pops in her mouth.....UUUUP spikes her numbers and throws that A1C off.

As we were preparing to wrap up our visit, our endocrinologist mentioned that another doctor would be popping in to talk with us.
We had never met this doctor before and she began telling us about a study she was conducting on the "impact of pet ownership on glycemic control in youth with Type 1 Diabetes."
This is the perfect thing for Ashlyn!!
Fortunately, we fit the criteria, and fortunately, she was chosen to receive a fish to care for.
She had to fill out a questionnaire about her diabetes and she was immediately reimbursed with a $5 Target gift card!
We walked out of the office with a small little tank, fish food and suppliess, and a $5 gift card to our local PetSmart store to buy a betta fish.

She was instructed to feed the fish both morning and evening and to use those times to also check her blood sugar.
Then, once a week she is to change out the water and also go over her blood sugar readings for the week at the same time.
We're to keep the fish for a year and Ashlyn's A1C will be tracked throughout the year at her quarterly visits with the endocrinologist.
I'm interested to see how this new responsibility will motivate Ashlyn to look for ways to better manage her diabetes.

Ashlyn and her new fish "Periwinkle"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

For the first Saturday of the new year....

"Just think,
You're here not by chance,
but by God's choosing.
His hand formed you
and made you
the person you are.
He compares you to no one else--
you are one of a kind.
You lack nothing
that His grace can't give you.
He has allowed you to be here
at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation."

~Roy Lessin
DaySpring Co-founder

"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1