Posted in Gluten Free, healthy diet, recipe, saving money

Post-Easter Instant Pot Ham and Bean Soup

I bought my Instant Pot  in Nov. 2016…I have used it about every day, multiple times a day, and can’t imagine my gluten-free life without it!!  It reduces my stress levels involving food prep significantly, especially since my diet has had to evolve so greatly.

This is one of my son’s favorite soups, which he calls “camping soup” ever since we read about what cowboys ate back in the day.  Recently I became aware that onions and garlic really upset my stomach (possibly due to chronic SIBO issues) and I had to start removing that from my cooking.  While beans are not Low FODMAP in general, they do not bother my stomach when I’ve soaked them overnight.

(We’ve also been using these digestive enzyme capsules for myself and my husband, and for the kids chewable digestive enzymes , and nobody felt bad or gassy after eating.  With chronic fatigue and high stress overall in our family, I felt it necessary to use digestive enzymes for a time until we’re seeing improvement.  After all, the saying “You are what you eat” is not so accurate; it’s more like, “You are what you absorb.”  Malabsorption issues (leaky gut) can do a number on your health no matter what organic, healthy stuff you’re eating.  If you’re not digesting well, nothing else goes well, at least in my experience.)

I keep shredded or sliced celery and carrots in the freezer for easy meal prep. This turned out so tasty that my son, who is learning a lot of new vocabulary, told me “Congratulations for how well this turned out.” hahaa

IP Ham and Bean Camping Soup

1 lb.  soaked beans (I used red beans, white beans or other are good too)
1 lb ham or ham bone with meat
2 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. diced celery/celery leaves
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional, but adds depth of flavor)
2 qt.s broth or filtered water, up to the fill line on the IP
3/4 c sliced fresh chives (or 1 Tbsp dried)
shake or two of cherrywood smoked sea salt
pepper to taste

1. Combine the above ingredients in the instant pot.
2.  Set IP to manual for 25 minutes, and release pressure naturally, or 30 minutes and release when it beeps.

( These are affiliate links. I hope to save you time searching for something I mention that you may find helpful, too.  If you make a purchase there is no extra cost to you, but it provides me with a small commission as an Amazon Associates member that helps me as I continue providing content for you! Thanks for your support!)

Posted in autism spectrum disorder, Mental Health, sensory processing disorder

Pursuing Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

When you realize that coping has not improved beyond a certain point for your child, and meltdowns that stress the whole family exhaustingly occur daily, it is heartbreaking not to have an immediate solution.  I’ve read book upon book hoping to find the key to ease my son’s struggle with spectrum and SPD/OCD behaviors.  There has been amazing growth in my understanding of how his brain works, which helps immensely in parenting, but I’ve realized that isn’t enough.  He needs more help than I can give him. 

So several months ago I decided to pursue a diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder.  We did the intake process for Kennedy-Krieger Institute for Autism Research and resources.  They called to say the wait list was 11 months out.  I don’t feel like our family has 11 months.  We’re struggling too much.  The constant stress is causing marital friction because we have no energy left for each other anymore.

A few months ago I called about 15 practitioners’ offices to see if they could help us reach a diagnosis.  I got ahold of a live person for about two of those calls.  They couldn’t help.  Maybe three called me back.  That’s when I got him signed up for Kennedy Krieger.   Waited to find out when we could have him assessed there.  After I heard about the wait time, I kept calling other places.  Thought I had a good option lined up, but they double booked, and I felt like that may not be a good sign, and called another 15 places.  Most called back and said they do not do diagnostics for children.

The ones who do work with kids and called back said the wait list is a few months out.  Because there are that many families struggling with spectrum disorders.  And it’s a hard journey.  It’s lonely.  The main caretaker gets burnt out.  The spouse gets burnt out because the one who stays at home is burnt out.

Not everyone understands.  You feel unsupported by those you would like support from but who question your intuition and the whole idea of autism.  If your kid does not present like Rain Man, your kid surely does not have autism, they think!  I want to tell them, “Guys, it’s a processing difference, and it’s a spectrum.  They can need little support and appear like other kids in classroom on the surface, but come home and have no more energy to hold it all together, and then let their frustration out where they feel safest.  Or they can need a lot of support and be nonverbal.  But both kinds of kids and their families can be in a lot of emotional distress because life is so hard with this disorder.”

But I don’t really have to be understood or to explain it at all to them. My job is to advocate for my child and get him and our family the care we need to do more than just survive.  And right now, it stinks big time, but I guess it’s just waiting for the nearest appointment date even if it feels too far away.  

 

 

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, sensory processing disorder

My Favorite SPD Books and Resources for Families

When my son began having disproportionately large meltdowns around the age of two over how things felt and big emotions, and in turn I was struggling to parent him well, figuring out how his mind works really helped me.  I read all these books and they helped me piece together the puzzle of my precious, smart, but inflexible and easily frustrated child.  I hope you can find encouragement and enlightenment in them as well! But first, check out this helpful checklist of common symptoms of SPD in age-specific groupings: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/sensory-processing-issues/sensory-processing-issues-what-youre-seeing

( These are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associates member, I hope to save you time searching for something I mention that you may find helpful, too.  If you make a purchase there is no extra cost to you, but it provides me with a small commission that helps me as I continue providing content for you! Thanks for your support!)