Welcome to Mellie's mind...

Where thoughts can be funny, can race at all hours of the day and night and can sometimes not make any sense!

Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sugar is killing US!

sug·ar  (shgr)
1. A sweet crystalline or powdered substance, white when pure, consisting of sucrose obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beets and used in many foods, drinks, and medicines to improve their taste. Also called table sugar.
2. Any of a class of water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates, including sucrose and lactose, having a characteristically sweet taste and classified as monosaccharide, disaccharides, and disaccharides.
3. A unit, such as a lump or cube, in which sugar is dispensed or taken.
4. Slang Sweetheart. Used as a term of endearment.

Number 4 is the only time you should REALLY be using sugar in your life!!!!!!  (Smile)

When I think back to being a child growing up with my mother and another family who raised me my latter part of my younger years I think back to the way sugar was a part of my life.  

I would eat sugar all the time.  It was not uncommon for me and my friends to walk down to the local store daily during the summer to go buy candy.  When I lived with my mother the house always had some kind of pop in the fridge, sometimes there was no food, but there was always pop! I remember on paydays my mother would take us to the Pop Shoppe and each one of us three kids would be able to pick out a case of our favorite flavors... a case!  There would be days when I would live on peanut butter and jelly or some days I would put sugar on white bread and eat that!  (Can you imagine...dipping my bread in sugar and then eating it)  

Later when I was 12 I moved in with a family who took care of me for about 4 years.  In this family we ate dinner everyday, I was blessed not to have to skip meals in this household but we did eat a lot of foods that were high in sugar as well.  Cookies pop, chips, cereal the cupboards were never bare and the mom made sure all of us three kids had our favorite foods.  During my first summer there my friend and I would stay up late talking and in the middle of the night we would go make Totino's microwavable pizzas.  When were were done we would each grab a handful of Chips Ahoy cookies and a glass of milk as well.  No one was ever concerned or thought twice about what we were eating.  Once in awhile the mom would go on a diet, and suggest to my friend that she start watching what she was eating, but it wasn't something that lasted too long.

The other day I was reading about sugar and the Chapter was called:  You ARE a Sugar Addict.  I remember as I turned the page and saw this chapter title, I thought to myself... "No, I am not."  Me, a sugar addict?  Are you kidding... I watch what I eat. I do splurge on dessert once in awhile, but for the most part I am not a sugar addict.  What I did not realize is how dominant sugar is in our society and foods.  It is not just about a pop tart or a sugar coated cereal, it is about an epidemic that is taking over our country and our bodies.

Sugar has zero nutritional value, it weakens your immune system and it throws off your metabolic functions and can be highly addictive.  Sugar is one of the most damaging ingredients in the American diet and it is making us all fat and sick.

Did you know the average American downs 30 teaspoons of added sugar daily?  That's about 480 nutritionally empty calories of added sugar every day.  Refined white sugar is technically sucrose, or common table sugar.  The other sugars you need to be aware of include dextrose (corn sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), maltose (malt sugar), and lactose (milk sugar).

You sometimes hear sugar as being advertised as "natural" food because it is made from natural ingredients in sugarcane and sugar beets.  The majority of people think this means healthy.  BUT 90% of the original source (sugarcane or sugar beets) has been removed and the natural color of sugar is chemically bleached to make it white.  What do you have left?  White sugar stripped of all its minerals and vitamins.  Does this sound healthy to you?  When you digest sugar into your system, the body has to actually borrow from its stores of nutrients in order to process it.  Sugar literally eats up the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

When you eat refined sugar it goes straight into your intestines, bypassing any chemical breakdown in your body.  From there it is absorbed right into your blood stream and your glucose levels spike.  Your brain registers this sugar hit with a drug like reaction and triggers the release of the same natural brain opiods released when shooting Heroin.  All this creates positive feelings, energy and euphoria. 

When your body is addicted to sugar it needs more to feel better and your life and cravings can start forming around this addition.  Remember, sugar is not just candy, cakes and pop, it is also carbohydrates that are quickly converted into sugar such as bagels, rolls, crackers, breads and many more.

When you are on sugar the brain signals insulin to rush in and hold down the sugar. The adrenal glands have to step in to release fat-PRODUCING cortisol to get your glucose levels back up.  

Had enough.. Think it can't get any worse from here..... It does!

Sugar gives you wrinkles:

Sugar makes you fat and it ages your skin and can cause wrinkles.  Eating sugar attacks the collagen and elastin, which are the two key proteins that keep our skin young looking. 

Sugar kills your immune system:

Neutrophils are white blood cells that destroy bacteria in our bodies.  Sugar can cripple neutrophils leaving us more vulnerable to colds, flu and infections.  Sugar is linked to even chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Sugar makes you stupid:

Researches now report that people who have even slightly elevated blood sugar concentrations have short term memory loss.  (ding, ding, ding... that is me!)  Scientist think that high-sugar diets disturb blood sugar metabolism.  When our blood sugar is out of whack, or you have trouble metabolizing the sugar, this SHRINKS memory areas of the brain. 

Had enough yet????? Think it can't get any worse then I have described above?????  Have a seat and hold on... this next one is going to be a hell of a ride.


We all have cells in our bodies that under favorable conditions, COULD mutate into CANCER at anytime.  One of those conditions is a high sugar diet.  Cancer cells multiply rapidly, the process requires energy.  To get enough energy cancer cells supercharge themselves with glucose.
  • Sugar makes tumors grow.  
  • Cancer cells have 6-10 times the number of insulin receptors-molecules that grab on to the hormone-as any other normal cell.  
  • Insulin stimulates cell growth.
  • Sugar raises your insulin levels.
See the connection?  If extra insulin hits a preexisting cancer cell, it makes a bad thing DEADLY.  For cancer, insulin is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Cancer is a painful disease and I hear chemo is something you should want to avoid in life at all costs.  Chemo harms your body, and studies show you never fully recover from it.

Sugar is cleverly hidden in virtually everything we eat, ESPECIALLY packaged and processed foods.  From breads, crackers, soups, sauces low fat foods and diet foods.  Breakfast cereals are the worst.  An example would be if you start your day off with a cup of Raisin bran, you have just ingested 20 grams of sugar.  Packaged hot cereal, like Quaker instant oatmeal, 13 grams of sugar-almost all of it table sugar.  The bagel you grab in the morning, unless you are choosing whole wheat or multigrain, you bagel has essentially has 30 grams of sugar.  That's the same amount as in one piece of chocolate cake.

Sugar hides in food under clever names like beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, sucrose, and turbinado sugar.  These sugars are in everything from protein bars and shakes, to breads and dairy. 

Armed with this information I went into my fridge and my pantry and started looking at the ingredients of the products my family consumes.  I almost had a panic attack.  Here I was, thinking my family was on the right track and I was doing so well and what I found was sugar, sugar, sugar... everywhere.  My personality is to start disposing of it all, almost as if having the item in my house was going to cause my family cancer.. I had to get it out!!!!! But I continued to read and do some research and have learned that if I just eat only foods that have 5 grams of sugar or less then I would be on the right track.

I also learned that "diet" products have high sugars in them as well.  One of my mentors when I first started my getting healthy journey use to tell me I had to buy clean protein, because most proteins contain high sugar. (Max Muscle products do not)  When I started looking around at the store at diet products I was amazed at how many bars, shakes, meals were loaded in sugar.  No wonder people struggle so hard. 

  • Ravioli Florentine by Weight Watchers:  12 grams of sugar.
  • South beach Chocolate breakfast bar:    7 g sugars, 3g sugar alcohol
  • Kellogg's special K protein bars:  17 grams of sugar
  • Lean Cuisine Grilled Chicken & Penne Pasta  24 grams of sugar.
  1. Get rid of sugar free juices, sodas, and treats.  These items cause sugar cravings and sugar cravings trigger your brain to grab for chips and other junk foods!
  2. Don't put sugar in your clean products like water, tea or coffee.
  3. Clean out your fridge and pantry of simple sugar items such as candy, cookies, cakes, pies, soda, and fat free products.
  4. Buy apples, pears, berries and citrus fruits.
  5. Drink lots of water.  A craving is often a sign of dehydration, not a cry for food.  Buy a BPA Free water bottle and carry it everywhere with you!
  6. Cut back on caffeine or get rid of it all together.  Caffeine causes your drop in blood sugar and leads to fat storing.  Try herbal tea or limit your caffeine to only two cups per day.
Please, if you are on a diet or on the road to a lifestyle change or just looking to see how you can be healthier... start with your sugar intake.  Sugar is killing us.. and if you are reading this blog, you are someone I know and care about and want to help.  Read your labels, throw out the sugar infested items in your pantry, and find alternative whole foods to eat and to feed your family and save yourself and the ones you love too.

If you need help with food ideas, ways to get rid of sugar or just want to have someone in your corner.... I am here!

Peace to all of you and "sweet" dreams only. 



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Potty all the time, potty all the time, my kids want to potty all the time!

Why is it when I think about potty training my two younger kids I think of the Eddie Murphy song "Party All The Time?"  Does anyone remember that song besides myself?

I can't understand it why you want to hurt me
After all the things I've done for you.
I buy you champagne and roses and diamonds on your finger -
Diamonds on your finger
Still you hang out all night
what am I to do?
My girl wants to party all the time
Party all the time
party all the time.
My girl wants to party all the time
party all the time.
She parties all the time - party all the time
I'm getting side tracked.

Yep, I said it... potty training. 

Just typing those words make me want to grab the nearest bottle of Vicodin and run for the hills.  This topic has been floating around in my mind for the past month, maybe two or three......

Is it really time? 
Do I train Reuben (3yrs) and Elianna (2yrs) together at the same time?
Do I wait? 
Should I use pull ups or just put them into normal underware and ride the accident ride from hell out untill the deed is done?  

Being a mother of five kids you would think I could write a book on how to potty train.  I was able to train 3 of them already, Thank God since Michael the 16 year old would look kind of funny walking around in Blue's Clues training pants! :)

Michael was easy, I bribed him!  I set up a reward board blocked it out into several differnt sqaures and put a candy treat or toy treat in each square.  Each time he went to the bathroom or tried he got to pick from the board.  Honestly it took about three days... what can I say he was fat and liked candy!

Trevor wasn't that hard either.....because I didn't really do it.  I was a single mom at that time so my sitter Tara did most of the training since she had him so many hours of the day.  I know she did not ALLOW me to use pull ups on him, Tara was all the way or no way.  I think she might have used a little physical "encouragment" to achive our goal but I just played ignorant to that detail... ignorance is always bliss for me!

Gabriella, being my first girl, I did everything by the book.  I bought the potty chair that sang songs, the book to read to her, the video for her to watch, the potty doll, and all the cute little "padded" big girl pants she could wear to be a "big girl."  It had been 10 years since Trevor was being potty trained. Now, I was older.. I was smarter... I was GOING to do this RIGHT.  I heard horrible rumors that if you were not careful you could cause major issues with little girls, their views on their bodies and bathroom habbits.  I was ready!  What I wasn't ready for was being married to a Hispanic man who had never been around children, potty training and was raised with a father who called you a "Tontooo" if you did ANYTHING that wasn't what he thought you should do.  There was nothing in the potty training books about that!

Gabriella seemed to pick up pretty fast.  Of course the start was challenging. We had our accidents, our tears and our talks with her but she seemed to turn the corner pretty fast.  Dry days became an everyday occurance, and I moved into working towards the dry nights.  At first this was a big issue for Gabriella she could not last the night without wetting the bed.  I was careful to remind her accidents happen and to do her best, but she still struggled.  Remember the hispanic husband I spoke of earlier? 
Stage right:   enters Hipanic husband/daddy. 

Joe's approach to Gabriella waking up in the middle of the night started out as him expressing his concern of why she could not stay dry.  That turned into irritation because she would wake us up in the middle of the night to change her clothes.  Those nights wore on her daddy and he began to "take control of the situation."  He would put Gabriella to bed and they would have a "talk" prior to her going to bed.  If she had an accident he would get up with her and I would hear them talking about it, sometimes there were tears, but often it was just forcefull talks. She turned the corner pretty quickly.  Dry nights became more frequent and she would wake up and proclaim she stayed dry all night.  We rewarded her, we praised her and we praised ourselves.  What started out rough quickly turned into a major accomplishment for all of us. That is until her "padded" panty supply started to dwindle. 

Turns out Gabriella was stashing the evidence of her accidents under her bed behind her stuffed animals and was smart enough to get a towel or a blanket in the middle of the night and lay it down to dry up the bed before morning.  All those praises to her and to ourselves and what she really had learned was to cover up the crime.  We started back at sqaure one and the rest of course is history.

Now, three years later I am starting all over again and wondering... what approach is going to work for these two?  Will they pick it up becuase they are doing it together?  Will daddy have to brush up on his "talks" or should I get out the bribe board and tell Michael it is not for him?  Should I send them both to Tara's house and see if she can do what she did for Trevor? 

Regardless of what road it takes this family down, it will be an experience for all of us and I am sure will provide many stories with many laughs that I can share with all of you!

Better get to it.. what is that saying... "Poop or get off the pot!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Funny things Gabriella does and says....

One day when Elianna was little and crying Gabriella walked into the living room, picked up the binki and put it in Elianna's mouth. Gabriella then turned to me and said...
"Mommy, I saved the day!"
Gabriella and Michael were walking up the stairs together when she announced to Michael...
"I am the GIRL in this big house!"
We were all at the dinner table eating when Gabriella said...
"I like all my family!"
One day when Pappa Ron was picking up Gabriella he was talking to her babysitter Cindy apparently too long for Gabriella's liking. So she interrupted the two of them and said to Ron...
"Ron, I am going to put you in the microwave!"
One day Gabriella and I were baking cookies together when she asked if she could eat some of the cookie dough. I gave her a spoon full and she looked at me and said...
"Your the best Mommy in the world."
Gabriella will ask me, usually daily, if we are going bye bye or what the plan for the day is. Whenever I tell her the plan she says to me....
"Okay Mom, that sounds like a GREAT plan!"
Cindy was telling Gabriella one afternoon that she needed to pick up all her toys and get ready for her afternoon rest.
Gabriella: "If I don't pick up my toys, then I go straight to bed?"
Cindy: "Yes."
Gabriella: "I will just go straight to bed then."
One night Daddy was using the BBQ in the backyard when Gabriella heard him go out the door. She instantly started yelling and running towards the door saying, "wait for me, wait for me!"
When she reached to door her daddy had shut the door and was already outside. In a very quiet voice she said... "Oh, dear."
We were all at the dinner table one night eating and Michael was talking about his day when Gabriella interrupted him and said.. "you are the silliest boy ever!"
Gabriella was talking on the phone one night to her Grandma Joyce when she said to her...
"I'm sorry, I have to go now. I need time to take a bath."
Gabriella had a cut on her finger one day and asked for a band aid so I put it on her finger. She looked at and smiled and said.. "Look mommy, it looks like peanut butter!"
Gabriella was learning to potty train and was working really hard on staying dry during the night, one night she had an accident. I went into her room and had this conversation with her:
G: Mommy, please don't tell Daddy that I wet my pull up okay?"
M: I can not lie to Daddy Gabriella, if he asks me I have to tell him you were wet because Mommy doesn't lie to Daddy."
G: "I'll just put on a new pull up and he won't know."
M: "That isn't honest either Gabriella."
G: "But he won't know I am not honest if we don't tell him."
One day Gabriella and mommy were teasing daddy about stinking after he goes to the gym when Gabriella said... "I don't like it when he lays in my bad and makes stinkies either!"
Gabriella was showing her dolly to her new babysitter. She held the doll up to the new sitter and said... "This is my crack head dolly!"
I took Gabriella to get her hair cut and curled for the first time in a salon for her 4th birthday. When she was all done and her hair was all in curls a lady looked at her and said...
"You look just like a Princess, Gabriella."
Gabriella responded to the lady by saying..... "I know."
We were coming home from the gym one night when Gabriella said to me...
"Mommy, I have something very important to tell you. The big boy at the gym daycare taught me to do down the BIG slide backwards with my eyes CLOSED and it was SCARY!"
For Gabriella's 4th birthday she spent the night at her Grandma Joyce and Pappa Ron's house so mommy and daddy could decorate for her party. When Gabriella walked into the house and saw all the decorations she said...
"It looks so happy in here, I LOVE it!"
One day after dance class I asked Gabriella how class was. She said to me....
"Mommy, let me tell you something. I did VERY well today, Teacher Lori said so!"
Almost every night when I am tucking in Gabriella into bed she will ask me the same question...
"Mommy, will you make me blueberry pancakes in the morning? You make the BEST pancakes EVER!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daddy's little girls

I was laying down the other night while Joe got our three kids ready for bed. My door to my room was open so I could hear the commotion going on in the other room. Kids were laughing, loud pounding sounds were coming out of the room and then howls like little wolves. They were all having a good time in there. The loudest one was, of course, Gabriella.

As I imagined the games that were being played in their room and the memories my husband was building with his children I had a question come to me...

Do fathers understand how they mold their daughters at a very young age?

My experience with several people I know is that they feel their time to mold their kids come at a later age in life. My daughter Gabriella is almost 5 years old, her dad RIGHT NOW is determining what kind of man she will marry by the way he raises and interacts with her. That is pretty powerful to me.

At this young age we give Gabriella a picture in her head of what kind of man she is going to want, we determine how she is going to feel about food, view her body, how giving of a person she will be. Will she be an honest person, will she continue to be outgoing, confident, will she be too trusting. All of these aspects of who she will be is being groomed right now and we have to be so careful with everything we do with her. Kids are sponges and they take a mental picture and file it in their little brains and then refer to it later in life.

How many times have I recalled an experience from my childhood that determined why I handled something as an adult the way I did... many times!

The other day Gabriella was in the car in her car seat behind me while I was driving when she blurted out "I am doing everything you are doing mommy!" I looked in the mirror and she had her hand rested on the window the exact way I had mine and I thought to myself, she watches everything.... am I doing everything I would want her to do?

Our kids grow so fast and there is so little time to make up for loss memories, lessons or take back mistakes.

Today I have a better appreciation for being a mother. With the Grace of God I am going to learn to be a better mother and remember that even when I do not think they are, my kids are always watching and learning from me and I need to be the best example I can be to them in all areas of my life.

Today I also have a better appreciation for my husband. Not only because he is my husband but because he is a wonderful father and is doing a great job at raising our five kids. He is truly a blessing to us all and I hope he knows how much we all love him and how much we all look up to him, especially his two daughters.

Proud mother

As a child there was one thing I knew....

I was put on this earth to be.... a mother.

Like most young girls I dreamed of one day being a mommy to my own baby. To fulfill that need as a child I use to dress my black cat, Salt, up in baby clothes. Now before anyone starts screaming animal abuse, please note I would cut a hole into the rear of the Pj's to make room for his tale. I would then cradle Salt until he was asleep, most days he was very accommodating to this scenario but there were other days as soon I called his name and walk towards him he would run from me.

My mother moved us once to a home that actually had a chicken coop on the property. She bought us kids’ baby chickens to raise and take care of, strange thing in the middle of Beaverton but what did I know I was just a kid! Many days after school you would find me out running around the backyard trying to catch as many baby chickens as I could. I would put them into a wheel barrel and roll them around the yard until they fell asleep, my brother's thought I was nuts but those chickens were my babies.

When I was 20, after being married for two years, I found out I was going to have a baby. I will never forget the day I learned my baby was a boy. I was so happy I called everyone I knew to tell them the news and to tell them what the ultrasound picture looked like. I knew from the moment they said he was a boy I was going to call him Michael.

I am not a patient person by nature. So when I was close enough to "be okay to deliver" I started taking God's plan into my own hands. My Grandmother suggested I drink Castor Oil. She swore Castor Oil was the way to induce labor. "Drink a shot of Castor Oil and chase it with a Coke, you will be giving birth by the next morning" she said. The only thing I was doing the next morning, and the morning after that, was going to the bathroom! Soon after that failed attempt I started to bribe my doctor to induce me. At one point I offered to donate $100.00 to the charity of his choice if he would just induce me. My doctor did not take the bribe, but a week later and countless trips with false labor he finally agreed to induce me.

On October 11th my son came screaming into this world. My favorite memory of that day was when they laid him on my chest, his eyes were wide open and he looked right at me and we made eye contact. He was the most precious creature I had ever seen and I knew he would bring me a lifetime of joy.

My baby is now 16 years old. He is almost a man. He stands 5’6 and weighs 164 lbs and he is the pride of my life. I am so proud of the person he is becoming and so anxious to see the man he will soon be. He is a hard worker, a great son, a wonderful brother to his siblings and he has his dreams set on being a detective. I am so proud of him, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him and there is nothing I would not give him.

Sometimes I will hear him talking in another part of the house and it will stop me in my tracks. His voice is so much deeper and sounds like there is a stranger in my house, but it comes to me that this is my baby talking. I get flashbacks to him crying in my arms or giggling as I chase him and it makes me smile.

I am so lucky to have the love of a son and so lucky to be on Earth to see him develop into a man who his family is proud of right in front of my eyes.