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Argentina and a health update.

20 Apr

Recently, when people have asked me how I am feeling, I can honestly say that I am feeling better!  I am certainly not 100%.  I still have to sleep a lot and have at least one or two days every week where I feel crappy.  But seriously, who knew knew I would come this far?!  It is incredible.

As far as my diet goes, I am keeping vegan at home.  And once a week or so I will eat some wild fish or some dairy.  Still no interest in chicken or meat.  Of course I am still gluten free, corn free, and soy free.

Mark Burnett, who produced The Bible series (If your family has not seen this…do yourself a favor and watch it.  It is INCREDIBLE!  It will spawn a lot of conversations with your kiddos.  If your kids are small, you should watch it first to make sure they can handle everything in it), spoke on Dr. Oz about how Jesus ate.  He spent years doing intense research in making this show Biblically accurate.  I was thrilled that his conclusion was that he ate a plant based diet, lots of beans, veggies and fruits, a little dairy, and fish.  This is almost exactly how I am eating.  Why wouldn’t I want to eat exactly as He did?  And as a bonus, he only drank water and red wine.  Now THIS is a diet I can handle!  😉

In mid March, our family was blessed with the incredible opportunity to go to Luck’s homeland…Argentina!  We visited family and explored Buenos Aires with his parents.  It was a perfect trip on all accounts.  We were able to find gluten free foods for the kids and for me the entire time.  I stayed vegetarian (nearly impossible to stay vegan and gluten free) except for one, glorious steak.  Argentina is known for BEEF!  I had to indulge once.  I split one steak with the kids and it was a perfect amount.  The kids were just a perfect age for taking in another culture.  We MAY have eaten dulce de leche all day every day.  But as they say, “When in Argentina….”

We came very close to not going.  I came down with the flu on Friday (we left on a Tuesday).  By Sunday (TWO DAYS BEFORE LEAVING), Reid was throwing up, both kids had fever, I was horribly sick, and Lucky felt like he was getting sick.  We prayed for health.  We didn’t want to cancel.  By Monday, everyone but me was fine. But we still didn’t know if we were going to cancel.  By Tuesday(the day we flew out), I turned a corner.  God allowed this trip to continue!  We were so very grateful!

It is amazing to think that I have come this far in my health quest.  PLEASE encourage anyone you know with any kind of illness to try eating plant based.  I feel like my life has been saved.  Remember back when I started this?  I felt it was where God was leading me.  People thought I was nutso!  And I am!!  But this is real.  My illness is real.  And these vegetables have truly given me the ability to travel with my family, to be a part of life, and to start to feel more like myself.  I will take a few days a week in bed.

I am so very grateful!


Our sweet girl got baptized!

8 Jul

We just returned from our favorite week of the year: FAMILY CAMP!  I have heard from many of you that it would not be a vacation for you to be hot and sweaty and a little dirty all week.  But for us, it is perfect!  We got to zip line, climb the rock wall (or miserably fail for the 5th time), wake board, ride horses (adults even got to do a breakfast trail ride), rope swing into the lagoon, slide into water, learn together, sing and worship together, pray together, hear some awesome teachings, watch our own private fireworks show, have date nights/kids crazy nights, play a night time game of Operation Infiltration, play pickleball, NAP!!! (me), play Foosball, eat dessert every night, laugh together, dress up like fools together, and make a ton of memories.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  it is the reason I have a job.  It is worth almost every penny I make.  I don’t get to spend my work money on clothes or other such items. But we get to go to Family Camp (and our house gets cleaned)!!!!

With Lupus, and especially my particular version of the disease, I have to avoid the sun.  This makes all of the above activities a little challenging. However, companies like Coolibar and Athleta carry clothes that are UV protective.  At all times at camp, I was sunscreened, wearing a hat, carrying an umbrella, and covered in the UPF rated clothing.  I may have looked silly, but I was there!  In the lagoon, I have a long sleeve, high neck shirt that I wear and had a big hat tightly secured to my head.  Sorry, I am too prideful I guess to have any pics taken of me like that!

Our favorite spot. There is a swing right here where Luck and I like to start our day, sans kids. We get to pray together and talk about whatever is on our minds. It feels like we are back in college when we sit here together.

This year, Daniella decided that she wanted to be baptized at camp. Baptism is something we feel should be the decision of our kiddos. We do not believe that their salvation rests on their baptism. And we do not think that our deciding for them is them acting in obedience to Scripture.  Dani has mentioned wanting to get baptized but really, really didn’t like the idea of doing it in a baptismal at church.  We really loved the idea getting baptized in a natural setting. And camp has been a place of such huge spiritual growth, it was just a perfect fit.  So my sweet Luck had the privilege of baptizing her.  It was beautiful!

Even though visitors are not allowed in to camp, my parents were welcomed in for the occasion.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate the 4th of July!

Eating our way through Hawaii!!!!

29 Apr

Here is our trip, in food!  All pics were taken with the iphone and not the camera…so please excuse the quality.  I knew I wouldn’t want to pull out the big one (thanks, Players!!!) for every meal.

***I realize that approximately none of you will be interested in the details of this!  However, Luck and I like to keep a log of what we have eaten where in case we ever go back…and this is my log!***

Saturday consisted of:  arriving, eating at Chuck’s, and promptly sleeping!

Chuck’s: Salad bar for starters. There is an assortment of fabulous salads, including 2 with cabbage (I picked out the pieces of wonton in the pic to make it gluten free).  Yay for cruciferous veggies!  Dinner was Monchong (fish) with a cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime and tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans.  Luck had the salad bar and baked Mahi Mahi with basil.  Somehow, they managed to infuse the basil flavor throughout the fish. Served over rice.  Hula pie for dessert!  And some fabulously fruity island drink.

Duke's fabulous fish dish!

Sunday was our day to really sight see.  It was the only day Luck wouldn’t be working that we weren’t flying.  So we drove up to the North Shore, making frequent stops at sights.  It was a FULL day!

Matsumoto General Store: Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

Matsumoto Shave Ice!  So yummy!

The Grass Skirt Grill  in Haleiwa: I had the Ahi bunless burger.  Luck had the Ono burger.  Simple, delicious.

Gas station: Maui chips.

Side of the road: Pickle mango!

We made it back and showered in time to go to dinner with his boss, a co-worker, and their wives.  Dinner was at The Hula Grill: Nalo’s greens salad, mushroom risotto, and grilled asparagus.  Luck had a pupu platter!  Yum!  Oh, and that may or may not be a Mai Tai in the picture ;).

For lunch, Lucky came down during his lunch break to the pool where I was and we ate under an orange umbrella (the reason the lighting of this pic is odd).  He was in his nice work clothes and tie, and I was in a bathing suit.  I definitely got the good end of this trip deal!  He had a cheese pizza and I had this Asian salad.  I had them substitute avocado in place of chicken.  It was fabulous!  Don’t be shy about asking for subs.  Just because they don’t have hearty vegan options doesn’t mean they can’t easily make them!

Dinner was a reception for all of the people at the conference.  One of Luck’s co-workers didn’t go, so I got his ticket.  It was a huge buffet.  I must admit that it is very handy that a lot of engineers and aerospace types are from India. They always have a good variety of vegetarian foods for them!  The one thing I loved was a spaghetti squash dish. NO idea what it was!  But it was good and served with cabbage.  I ate it before I took a pic!  There was also a vegetarian fried rice, some purple SWEET potatoes (I KNOW!!!  Who knew?!?!  I mean, I knew of purple potatoes, but they are actually sweet potatoes!), a baked slightly purple potato, assorted fresh fruit with these coconut little squares, some tomatoes, cucumbers and feta (I served myself the feta, but opted not to eat it), and mango cheesecake and coconut pie.  I actually ate the cheesecake!  A few bites of pie were plenty for me.  But the cheesecake went down the hatch!  Yum!

Luck skipped his morning sessions of the conference so we could head to Pearl Harbor. However, we ended up getting there only to find it would be 4 hours before our tour.  SO…we left there and had breakfast at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Crab: Luck had crab cake hollondaise and I had a veggie omelet without the egg and cheese!  The waiter didn’t know what to do with me.  I basically got sauteed veggies and potatoes on the side.  It was greasy, greasy.  I tried to avoid as much of the grease as possible.  Nevertheless, got in a bunch of veggies and Luck’s fruit in my body!

Lunch today was a first for us!  Filipino food!  Don’t ask me what I had!  I couldn’t understand her. But it was vegetarian and yummy!  It had okra, green beans, squash, and who KNOWS what else, served with rice and some rice noodles!  Luck’s was barbecued chicken and pork skewers served with rice.

Luck had to go to a dinner meeting, so we decided we needed another trip to Duke’s to quickly eat off of their bar menu this time.  I had fish tacos, sans the tortilla.  Luck ordered calamari and fries.  We shared everything.  Except my pina colada, because Luck was heading to a long technical meeting. 🙂

We went to a fabulous breakfast place called Eggs and Things.  Such a beautiful view of Waikiki beach!  Luck had the local favorite, the Loco Moco. It was rice, brown gravy, a meat patty, and an egg on top!  I had potatoes and a fruit bowl with granola.  It had this delicious acai frozen center.  And of course the fruit all over the island was beyond delicious.

Luck had a business lunch that day and I went shopping and just ate fruit and another “shave ice.”

That night, we had the BEST meal of the island, hands down.  A Japanese recommendation from Melanie.  Sansei Seafood and Sushi on Waikiki beach.  We started with a yummy drink at the bar. Then we got escorted to the MOST beautiful view at our table.  

We had a carpaccio tuna (yes, raw sushi!), a crab salad hand roll with mango, and then the dish to die for: butterfish in a miso sake glaze.  Too bad we only got a few bites each.  Unbelievably good!

Our last full night on the island was a really fun Luau!  Most of Lucky’s coworkers went and we had a lot of fun.  It wasn’t touristy or cheesy, just a really fun time.  They had all sorts of entertainment for us, including a 13 year old doing amazing fire tricks.  And they had dancing representing all of the Polynesian islands.  I did not want any of the meat at all and opted for them to bring me extras of the salads that were waiting for us at the table when we got there.  Some marinated cucumbers and papaya, a tomato/salmon raw dish, and seaweed that was really yummy.  Plus they had all kinds of fresh fruits on the table.  Plenty to fill up on, for sure!

I passed this plate along to Luck, though I did eat that white potato….don’t let it fool you.  It is a white sweet potato!

Our last lunch was at a place named Il Lupino.  We split 2 salads.  One was an arugula salad with pear and marcona almonds.  The other had no lettuce, just mango, avocado, marinated mushrooms, some tomato, and some marinated onions.  It was all drizzed with a balsamic dressing.  So good!  It needed some variety in texture.  I’d love to make a version of this at home.

The last night, the food was good, but the view was amazing!!!  This was at Haleiwa Joe’s, the Kaneohe location.

As you can see, I did not eat vegan on this trip.  I was definitely plant based for the most part, but had dairy a number of times and fish probably 5 times or so.  I had some no-no’s for me like ice cream and cheesecake.  I even had a few bites of food with gluten in them.  Each time I ate gluten, my stomach felt it immediately.  HOWEVER, (and this is big to me) I never felt sick from anything else!!  That is right, all of the sugar, fish, dairy, alcohol, etc…and I was feeling great!  What an amazing thing for me!  To think that this time last year, we went to San Diego.  I was on all of the meds and trying to eat healthfully.  Yet I had chronic stomach aches!  Looking at what this diet has done for me makes me silent in gratefulness.  I truly have no words.

Thank you, God, for bringing me to this place at this time.  I am so, so blessed!  All of the foods I have given up and replaced with plant based ones are paying off.  And I am grateful!  And most of all, I am excited that I can take a week off here and there and be okay!  Oh, and REALLY?!?!  I got to go to Hawaii?  Who gets to do that?  Especially on a business trip where most of the expenses are covered!!  Lucky and I were like honeymooners.  It was so amazing to get away together and see God’s beautiful creation.  Everything we saw made us pause and reflect on His goodness. His beauty is evident through this gorgeous earth.  We are blessed!