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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pain and Suffering

P1: I FINALLY heard back from Dr. M at Mount Sinai, who promised she will get her part of our ethics proposal completed and will submit to the ethics board ASAP. I feel a bit better but am still anxious to get the project under way. I also inquired about doing my practicum for school with the counsellor who teaches the miscarriage/infertility certificate program I'm doing. She works out of one of the cities most prestigious fertility clinics and also has her own private practice. She would love to take me on but needs to get approval to do so. Fingers crossed!!!

P2: The dentist was a nightmare on Monday. Big A screamed through the whole procedure. In fact, she was so hysterical, the dentist would only fill the cavities on one side of her mouth and we have to go back AGAIN. Adam commented that they must have accidently given her crying gas instead of laughing gas since it seemed to have no positive affect on her. The dentist was actually getting pissed with her and kept snapping at her to stop crying. Since then, she has been milking this thing for all it's worth. She is still claiming her mouth hurts and she can only eat certain foods. Now, I would be more inclined to believe her if she wasn't claiming that the only food that she can eat are the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I baked. Then again, it's impossible to judge another person's suffering. Maybe the freezing and the laughing gas didn't work? Maybe her teeth are still hurting? I might be convinced if she said broccoli was the only food she could eat.

At 18 months, Little A is absolutely delicious right now. I've whined a lot about wanting my kids to grow up, but I have to say, I would be relatively happy if she stayed just like she is for a while. She is so funny and affectionate and happy most of the time. I just want to eat her up. By this age, Big A and I were already entrenched in regular battles over everything. Aside from refusing to brush her teeth or wear mittens (or put on her Halloween costume), Little A shows few signs of defiance at this point. I just wish she would learn so talk better. Her comprehension is amazing (Adam told her last week that he was disappointed in her because she wouldn't let us brush her teeth and she burst into tears as if her feelings were deeply hurt), but her pronunciation is far off. Somehow bagel gets translated into "meemyl" and mango into "mamo". Yet she can say "pizza" and "eyeglasses" coherently. We still struggle to understand her a lot of the time which leaves us all frustrated.

F1: I've been thinking a lot about sugar lately. Some researchers believe that sugar in our diets is more harmful than sodium. Yet many people malign "artificial" sweeteners in favour of "natural" sugar. Should you avoid saccharin? Well yes, of course, but I don't see it that often anyways anymore. I remember in the 80s when we would go to the U.S. to visit family I would always buy "Chewels" gum, which was filled with this sweet liquid centre that would squirt out when you bit into it. It had a warning on the label that it contained saccharin, which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory experiments. Huh? Why was that on the market? And a better question is, why was I buying it? The flavour ran out after 2 seconds of chewing anyways.

But there are much better alternatives to saccharin (and aspartame) available now. Sucralose (Splenda) is really no more processed than regular table sugar and has been shown to be safe in over 100 peer-reviewed scientific studies. It is also recommended by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest. It has no after taste and is as sweet as sugar with zero calories. I use it in my oatmeal and coffee and tea and sometimes for baking.

If, for whatever reason, using Splenda gives you the heebeejeebees, there are more "natural" options to sugar. Organic Zero, made from erythritol, a sugar alcohol, is organic and "natural" but it is less sweet than sugar, so you have to use more and it is insanely expensive. I used up a whole $18 bag in one week when I was doing my cleanse. Or there are Xylitol products available that are similar, but they are also pricey. There are also a number of stevia products you can use as an alternative sweetener. I used to use stevia for years until I switched to Splenda while Adam and I were family building because there was limited research available about it's safety during pregnancy. I've tried to go back, but have not been able to tolerate the after-taste. Admittedly, I haven't tried Truvia or any of the newer product lines that are supposed to have no after taste.

In any case, the reality is that even if you are eating "natural" and organic foods, if you are taking in too many calories, you are going to have excess body fat and associated health problems. Using a low calorie sweetener is a good way to cut out empty calories. If you are going to use a natural sweetener, avoid the granulated white sugar and at least try something that has some nutritional value and great taste such as agave syrup, honey, maple syrup (the darker the better for a rich flavour!!), or molasses.

F2: This has been a bad fitness week for me. My workouts have sucked because (1) My butt has been hurting more than it has since I started physio, and (2) Yesterday I was plagued with a horrid sinus headache. Fortunately, my physio yesterday improved things in my bottom half. The therapist confirmed that my pelvis and twisted again, which is why I was in so much pain. She yanked it back into place again and said the rehab exercises should help keep it from shifting back. My rehab involves doing core exercises including ones to target the back extensors. These are so effective and low-tech. You don't need ANY weight or equipment. If you haveany postural issues or lower-back pain, I urge you to make them a regular part of your routine.

Performing the back extension:

Lie on your stomach, facedown, arms straight out in front of you, palms down, and legs straight out behind you. Keep your chest, shoulders and hips in contact with the ground and lift your left arm and right leg about one inch off the floor, and stretch out as much as you can. Hold this position for five slow counts and then lower your arm and leg back down. Repeat the same move with your right arm and left leg. Continue alternating sides until you complete 3 sets of 15 repetitions.