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Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #20 (Catch Up #3)

Whew, the last catch up post is here! This one covers the last week of February. Next lunch post will be at its regularly scheduled day on Tuesday. And of course, since I haven’t mentioned it already (ha!) there are three big posts/announcements coming in March too! Keep checking the blog or drop your email in the “Follow” box at the right to stay updated.

Monday

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Kiddo1 hasn’t had a lettuce wrap in a long time! We had some leftover pork roast from Sunday night so I figured wrapping it up would be the best way to get him to eat it. There’s also diced cucumber in the wrap. On the right we have carrots sticks and a couple Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday

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Once again we were out of meat leftovers for Tuesday’s lunch (because Monday nights are meatless) but we do almost always have our back-up: ham! We buy Beeler’s uncured ham. Kiddo1 also had his usual carrots and cucumbers, plus a nice-sized little Pink Lady apple and a couple Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies. It was a chocolate chip cookie week around here!

Wednesday

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No leftovers again on Wednesday, this time it was because we went out to eat on Tuesday night – something we rarely do anymore! But it was my birthday and the family wanted to celebrate, so we did a bunch of research to find a place where Kiddo1 could eat foods that he would both enjoy and wouldn’t give him tummy troubles. We found a place willing to make some plain chicken and french fries for him – it was so good we didn’t have any to take home for lunch the next day! So instead of more ham I cut up these meatsticks that everyone in the family loves. The are beef and organ – yes organ – meat, super good for you and you don’t even know it is in there! Kiddo1 was a little weirded out at first but he loves them – and loves freaking out his friends a little when they see the package. Kiddo1 also had a bunch of good-looking veggies and some more Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday

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On Wednesday we had to have tacos (since we missed them on Tuesday night) – a week can’t go by without tacos! For Kiddo1 we had beef tacos again (two weeks in a row!), along with his favorite toppings, romaine and cucumber. He also had more carrots and cookies.

Friday

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On Friday, Kiddo1 had more sausage from the pork buy we got in February. Our whole freezer is full of nothing but pork right now, so we’ll be eating a lot of it! Completing this lunch are more carrots, cucumbers, another mandarin orange, and the rest of the Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.

See you with more lunches on Tuesday! Have a great weekend!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #19 (Catch Up #2)

Here’s our second of three “catch up” lunch posts to get us back on track after a busy no-post February! There are also THREE big posts/announcements scheduled for March coming up too – and they aren’t involving lunch! But for now, let’s get to the wrap up – this post covers the third week of February (no posts for the second week because I was out of town).

Monday – no school, happy President’s Day!

Tuesday

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Kiddo1 had some leftover bits of pork chop on Tuesday with a side of bbq sauce. It’s been difficult finding good bbq sauce – one without corn syrup (or even without a ton of sugar), no artifical flavors/colors, etc. This one is the Woodstock brand and it is pretty tasty, plus organic and a decent ingredients list. Kiddo1 eats it with everything! He also had his usual carrots and cucumber, plus two Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday

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More leftover tacos! This week we had beef tacos, Kiddo1’s favorite. He also had his favorite applesauce and some carrots. And this week we had a good supply of cucumbers so no running out before Wednesday like last week.

Thursday

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Iin February we bought a half pig’s worth of pork and it came with a whole lot of the boys’ favorite – sausage! So you’ll see a few lunches with sausage over the next couple posts. Normally I’m not a huge fan of processed meats – we try to limit ham (but everyone loves it so we’re not too successful), but this sausage isn’t too bad because it is pretty “minimally processed,” if that’s a thing. We talked a lot to the butcher who processed our pork and he left the sausage uncured and kept the ingredients minimal and to our “clean eating” standards. So I can’t complain too much about this sausage! “Rounding out” this lunch – haha, notice all the round foods? – are carrot rounds, cucumber, slices of apple (they don’t brown too much if you keep them stacked up like this) and some slices of vegan dark chocolate truffle from Missionary Chocolates.

Friday

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On Friday, Kiddo1 said he wasn’t too hungry so we packed a fairly minimal lunch of ham sticks (we can’t ever get away from ham!), carrot sticks, a mandarin orange, and more vegan dark chocolate truffle from Missionary Chocolates.

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #18 (Catch Up #1)

Yikes, we are waaaay behind on the lunch posts! February was just a crazy month around here. It started when I went away for a business trip and missed a Tuesday warp up post, then everything else in life got behind schedule too. I’m finally just now catching up so this week I’m going to marathon post all the lunches from February… except for those that I didn’t photograph while I was away.

Another reason lunch posts have been delayed is that I’m working on THREE big posts/announcements that I plan to share in March. So watch out for those as they’re posted this month. For now, on to the lunches of the first week of February!

Monday

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The first school day of February kicked off with our normal carrots and cucumber, plus some leftover chicken from Sunday night. For sweets, Kiddo1 had grapes and his favorite, applesauce.

Tuesday

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We changed up our veggies a bit on Tuesday, with broccoli instead of cucumber. Broccoli is still not Kiddo1’s favorite, but he will eat it if it’s given in small quantities. For protein he had ham, our go-to when there’s no leftover meat (because typically Monday nights are meatless). And rounding out the left side is a small mandarin orange and a chunk of vegan dark chocolate truffle from Missionary Chocolates.

Wednesday

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Wednesday is leftover taco day! This week we had turkey tacos on Tuesday night, so Kiddo1 gets a leftover one with a bit of lettuce. He usually takes cucumber on his tacos as well, but we ran out! Hence the servings of broccoli two days in a row. But we tried to compensate with more grapes and applesauce.

Thursday

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More chicken for lunch on Thursday, plus carrots and another mandarin orange (we must have still been out of cucumbers). More applesauce AND a vegan mint chocolate truffle from Missionary Chocolates. Must have been something special going on…

Friday

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Friday was Kiddo1’s 12th birthday! So he got something very special for lunch – a sandwich! He hasn’t had a sandwich for the whole school year. I usually make bread but it is more for toast, it’s not a real soft sandwich bread. And I haven’t made any bread since the New Year, mostly due to lack of motivation. But we found this amazing bread at the store from a company called New Cascadia. Their bread is pretty much just millet flour and yeast so we can eat it! And it is soft and wonderful. So Kiddo1 got a surprise birthday sandwich with ham, romaine, and cucumber slices. I think it looked pretty good! He also had some carrot sticks and a homemade birthday brownie.

Tomorrow we’ll catch up on the third week of February (skipping the second week because that’s when I was away). More to come!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #17

Welcome back to the weekly lunch posts! We took last week off since we were out of town and not making any school lunches. But now we’ve been back for a full week so we have lunches to share again! Let’s get right to it…

Monday – no school on Monday! A nice way to ease back in to the routine after vacation.

Tuesday

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Lots of sticks for Tuesday’s lunch! Ham, carrots, and cucumbers. The children have been obsessed with these little oranges, so Kiddo1 has been frequently getting them in his lunch. He also had some homemade brownies – yum!

Wednesday

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More carrots, brownies, and a little orange! Also leftover tacos, Kiddo1’s favorite.

Thursday

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Still more little oranges to use up! Kiddo1 also had a salad with ham, cucumber, and romaine lettuce. For dessert – vegan and gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels from Missionary Chocolates.

Friday

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Finally Friday – we made it through the week! Kiddo1 had some chunks of leftover chicken, more carrots and cucumber, red graps, and applesauce for dessert.

 

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #16

Let’s get right to it!

Monday

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We don’t usually get sliced deli meat, but for some reason I picked up a pack over the weekend and made these ham and cucumber rolls. Kiddo1 loved them, like freaked out over them, so we had to make them again for a school lunch. I used a carrot peeler to get the thin slices of cucumber. A pretty easy and fun lunch! Rounding it out is some broccoli, carrots, and applesauce.

Tuesday

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More ham, because again we lacked leftovers, but I guess that just means we’re getting our fill at dinnertime! This time our ham came from a local farmer – we usually get a chunk of Beeler’s uncured ham. This ham is cured, but it’s really, really local and there’s nothing artificial in the curing ingredients. We can’t complain I guess. Also accompanying this lunch is more broccoli, carrots, and cucumber, plus a little orange.

Wednesday

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Leftover taco day, of course! This week we had chicken tacos, which Kiddo1 said aren’t his favorite (his favorite are beef tacos) but he still likes them because…. tacos. He had another orange and a special treat – vegan, gluten free chocolate-covered pretzels from Missionary Chocolates.

Thursday

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Kiddo1 hasn’t had a lettuce wrap in his lunch for awhile, and I had some leftover pork that needed a little something extra, so lettuce wrap it was! Of course in the wrap we have cucumber, because that’s all I’m allowed to put in there. More carrots and a rare winter visit from our friend, cantelope. A couple small slices of Missionary Chocolates truffles finish out this yummy lunch.

Friday

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Leftover chicken! Another favorite. With carrots and broccoli, another small orange, and more Missionary Chocolate truffle slices. It was a good week of lunches!

No wrap up next week – we’re off visiting family and playing hookie from school. We’ll be eating yummy lunches with them I’m sure, just not posting about them. Have a great week!

 

30 Days of Yoga, short resolution update

Kiddo1 and I started doing this 30 Days of Yoga challenge, hosted by yogawithadriene.com. We missed a few days because I had (and am still fighting) this horrible cold, but we’re catching up again and we really love it!

It took about a week for Kiddo1 to get into it, but now he says he really likes it. It is a great series and Adriene is a wonderful teacher. I think the series is set up for people who have at least a little yoga experience – having the background knowledge I have about some things has been helpful so I’ve been able to talk Kiddo1 through some poses in a little more detail than he gets from the video alone. But Adriene keeps every day interesting and new so we’re not at all getting bored. One day she’s all about abs, the next we’re focusing on relaxation. I hope that when we’re done with the 30 days we might go back and do the whole series again! I don’t see it getting repetitive at all, since every day is different.

I don’t have much too much else to write about it, but I wanted to put it on here in conjunction with my daily walk resolution. We fell off the walking wagon with school starting up – a couple days a week Kiddo1 doesn’t get home until after dark (since the sun sets at 5 and he has an after-school activity until then) but we have been biking home from school on those days so I feel like that is a suitable replacement for our short walks. My cold really didn’t help keep us going either, but we are determined to not let little set-backs keep us from getting back out there and moving!

We’re going to visit family this month so our next challenge is making sure that we do our yoga and take our walk every day, while we navigate all the family time. Hopefully we will have a reprive every day so we can take care of ourselves (it is more difficult than it sounds!).

Book Review: Cure Tooth Decay

It’s hard to start a review of this book because there is just SO MUCH to write about! I learned a lot from this book, and I highly, highly recommend it, even if you don’t have any issues with your teeth. There’s great advice about diet and oral hygiene: myths are busted, nutritional details are dissected, truths are discovered. It is not the most exciting or suspenseful read, but still well worth it.

Ramiel Nagel, the author, is not a nutritionist or a dentist or even a doctor, but his interest in curing and preventing tooth decay came about when his daughter suffered from multiple cavities and teeth rotting so badly they were turning black. From fear that she would lose many teeth, Ramiel began researching the works of Westin A. Price and Sally Fallon (author of Nourishing Traditions) for help. What he found he applied to himself and his family and he had such success in turning around their oral health that he passed on his newfound knowledge in his book.

Here are the biggest things I took away from this book:

  1. All grains contain an element known as phytic acid. Phytic acid is a snowflake-shaped molecule that acts as a sweeper arm, attaching itself to calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins and minerals in our body and literally sweeping them away so that we cannot absorb them. So even if your grains naturally contain good elements (or are fortified with them, which is a separate issue I’ll get to), they are not absorbed by our bodies because phytic acid steals them. Even the good elements floating around in our bodies are swept away by the cheeky phytic acid. Such a little swipper, that acid! This is the main reason why grains are really not good for us, despite what the grain industry tells us about how many good nutrients are in grains. Yes, the good stuff is in there, no doubt about it, but it our bodies can’t absorb it then it does us no good. Which brings me to my second biggest learning point…
  2. All the elements we consume are not going to serve us unless we can absorb them properly. This one is really fascinating to me. Did you know you can consume all the Vitamin A you want, all day long, but unless it is taken with Vitamin D it is not going to be absorbed? Too much Vitamin A without enough Vitamin D can actually be toxic! This is just one example of how vitamins and minerals need a symbiotic relationship in order to do their good thang for us. They cannot act alone – they need a buddy, a specific buddy, in order to be successful. Also, back to fortified foods – when we add vitamins and minerals to foods that don’t normally have them, our bodies don’t recognize them and don’t absorb them. This is also the case for a lot of vitamins and supplements – when they are not in food, a lot of the time our bodies just don’t understand what they’re getting so they don’t use them. Synthetic vitamins are often received as toxins to our bodies, which is why, Ramiel states, sometimes the odor or color of our urine can be a bit “off” after consuming a multi-vitamin. It’s not that all supplements are bad, but be sure to select one that is food-based, does not have any sugar added, and take in compliment with a rich diet of quality whole foods from which we should be getting the bulk of our vitamins and minerals anyway.
  3. Diet has as much to do with oral health as hygiene. It took me a minute to wrap my brain around the following point – tooth decay is not caused by sugar sitting on your teeth. Tooth decay is caused by sugar replacing the essential vitamins and minerals in our bodies that help our teeth. It is our bodies processing the sugar and using all our good stuff to process it, rather than sending good stuff to our teeth to make them healthy. In other words, when we have a good diet full of good, absorbable vitamins and minerals, our teeth are healthy and strong. When we miss out on those good vitamins and minerals because we’re consuming sugar (and grains), our teeth not only miss out on receiving good stuff but our bodies must also take good stuff that is already there in order to get the toxins out of our systems. When we consume bad stuff we’re hit with a double punch: first missing out on introducing new good stuff, second being robbed of the good stuff that’s already there. Crazy right?
  4. We’re doing oral hygiene all wrong. Brushing teeth is great for removing plaque… but it also pushes plaque up under the gum line. So does flossing – think about it. You’re using a little string to try to pull plaque from a tight space. You’ll get most of it, but the flossing action itself is literally pushing the plaque up to your gums. Ramiel Nagel outlines lots of oral hygiene techniques that serve us much better than the old-school brushing and flossing. I won’t go into the specifics (otherwise you have no incentive to read the book!) but the things I’m starting to try are oil pulling, oral irrigating (Water Pik) with salt water, and herbal powder treatments applied to the gums. Treating our gums well is most important – without a strong neck, the head is floppy. Without strong gums, even healthy teeth can be lost. Also, oral hygiene is not the “be all and end all” solution to oral health that we’ve been taught: “Cleaning teeth will change the environment of your month and it can help slow down the problem [of decay], but it does not stop the original cause of tooth decay.” Caring for your whole self, through a quality, balanced diet and managed self-care is essential to completing the holistic oral health picture. Definitely don’t stop cleaning your mouth! But re-thinking why we use the methods we use and how they are actually successful (or not) is a great step in the right direction.

The only thing I struggled with while reading this book is all the diary. We’re dairy-free right now but Ramiel Nagel recommends lots of raw, grass-fed dairy in order to get a big calcium boost and essential vitamins A and D. There are not a lot of diary-free alternatives given but there are some – diary-free folks are not completely left out of the picture which is really nice. I worry that we’re not able to get enough calcium from vegetables, since we have to consume a ton of calcium-rich veggies to get what we could get from a cup or two of raw milk and some butter. I really hope to get back to raw dairy later this year, if it seems like Kiddo1 can handle it, but until then I guess we’ll just have to really try to get enough veggies. A calcium supplement would be nice, but per #2 above we probably won’t be able to absorb much of it since it will have to be from a synthetic source that does not contain the casein and whey protein that we’re avoiding. (And yes, raw dairy is safe, not scary, contains way more good stuff than pastured, which removes the good and has to be fortified with vitamins… but I digress.)

Overall, this book gives me great hope for the future of our dental health. There are TONS of reviews out there from people who have taken on the Cure Tooth Decay protocol and have seen cavities harden over, dental pain disappear, and dentists who are shocked and amazed at the results from diet and hygiene changes. I’m slowly starting to implement some of these tools with my family – Kiddo1 and I have been taking fermented cod liver oil for a few weeks now and the occasional complaint from him about a sore tooth has gone away. Once he switches up his hygiene routine (it’s taking some convincing) I think he’ll be in even better shape.