Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sabbatical from Agave

How long have I loved thee - agaveee?

I suppose it was too good to be true - a sweetener that has no strong taste or aftertaste - that dissolves immediately in liquid. I've heard rumors, caught a little article here and there saying that agave is more processed than we first expected. But I chose to ignore. This stuff is great - there are always nay-sayers.

Alas - two sources whom I trust - Dr. Mercola and the Weston Price Foundation (article by Dr. Ben Kim) both came out recently about the delicious liquid. Unfortunately not only regarding it's degree of "natural" but unfortunately its danger as well.
I need to read more carefully and get all the facts straight. (I have been distracted by the other things happening in my life right now).

After I do some more research, I'll share a more put together blog about it. But to be cautious - we are taking a sabbatical from agave. We're now all about maple syrup and honey. I made honey chocolate cake and some honey brownies that were quite good. The cake is from another site, but the brownies are my own adaptation. Here's the recipe:

Brownies Sweetened with Honey

* Between 1.5 & 2 cups honey (depending how sweet you like it)

* 1 cup oil (usually I use 1/2 sunflower, 1/2 olive - all olive is a bit too much of the taste)
4 eggs
* 1.5 tsp vanilla

Mix all this together and then grab another bowl for the dry ingredients.

* 1.5 cups flour (it can handle all whole wheat, but for lighter brownies, try half naturally white flour)

* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 cup of cocoa

Mix this well especially the cocoa chucks. If you are inclined you can sift it and it turns out better. I should, but I usually don't. Kitchen confessions ;-)
Mix everything together and bake in a greased 13 x 9 pan in a 350 degree oven (if your oven runs hot - turn down to 325 or they won't taste as moist or sweet). Bake for about 20 minutes. Take out when the middle is firm, but not 100% completely done on top. This takes a little experimenting to see how to get them cooked just right. Happy Honey Cooking!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Birth Stories, Part Three - A loss

I hoped to fill this blog with lots of natural baby and pregnancy posts over the next few months. I was waiting for that 12 week milestone to share our news that we were expecting a baby in January. Now I have a different story...

I've had two natural (unmedicated) childbirths and now I've have a natural miscarriage. Last week Thursday I began spotting. I contacted Debbie, my midwife and I texted my friends from accountability group, called family and asked for prayer. Debbie advised bedrest, calcium/magnesium and some herbs for calming the uterus.

After a fitful sleep, praying through the night, I awoke to see that miscarriage was truly setting in. The entire experience lasted almost a full day (to the hour). The worst was about a five hour span of intense "discomfort" and intense bleeding. I was grateful for my natural childbirth experiences since those gave me tools to handle the "discomfort." Pete reminded me to get on top of the pain and breath deeply through some of the harder contractions. Around 8:00 p.m., my body released the fist-sized placenta. I was grateful that I could not see the baby.

Even though we were 1600 miles from home, Debbie monitored my progress, answered questions and gave us the advice we needed to make wise decisions. It was a physically exhausting. and Debbie had me doubling up on my green juice (Ben Kim's Greens) and Floradix Herbs + Iron to help strengthen me and rebuild my iron from the blood loss.

It has been a process for me to come to the realization of the loss. We did name the baby. We're not sure the sex, but I felt it was a girl so we named her Mercy. I want to share a couple of paragraphs from my journal the day after the miscarriage:

I don't want to think about this baby in a medical way - blighted ovum, threatened miscarriage, chromosomal abnormalities. I was pregnant, now I'm not. It comforts me to know that there is almost nothing I could have done to stop it - it could be the baby died 4 weeks before my body began this process...

All I knew and needed to know was this - God is good. He knew all the days of this child's life before it was even conceived. He could peer into the "deep" where my child was forming. He and He alone chose that this child would not be born. I love Him, I trust Him. I know He is sovereign. The death of this baby did not shock Him - He allowed it to happen by His mercy. I am at peace. Gently He placed this baby into my womb, mercifully He took it out.