For Now

I’m not sure why, but my readership has drastically dropped. I recently did a massive giveaway that was open for more than a week to only have two people enter. At first, I was close to devastated, but then I realized something… it doesn’t matter.

Now that I have a child, all of my time is accounted for. I have been squeezing in time here and there to attempt to keep things up here and after realizing the above, I have decided it is time to say good-bye. For now that is.

I am giving myself until December 1, 2015 to see how life is away from the blog world. I have deactivated my Facebook account, will stop reading blogs and instagram is no longer on my phone. I have no idea what I will want to do come December 1st, but of snow I am stepping away and doing so with a smile on my face.

I wish for you good health and a great rest of the year!!!

xo, Leah

p.s. those who entered the giveaway have been contacted and are getting any and all of my services for free

Give Away Day

UPDATE

Do to low entrance numbers, this giveaway has been extended until Thursday, October 22, 2015 until midnight.

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For some reason I feel like we all kind of get into a slump this time of year. Maybe it is because of the cooler temps encouraging us to eat all those delicious comfort foods or maybe it’s because we all get so busy come back-to-school season. No matter what the reason, I really think we can do better. Did you notice that? I said WE, meaning me too.

I thought that today we could break up this week a bit by me doing a massive give away… what do you think?

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5 readers, yep FIVE… will be getting nutrition services of mine for free. I’ll break down the Who-What-Where-When-How, below.

  • 2 winners will get meal maker overs. Each winner will get from me 2 of their favorite guilty pleasures made over so that they can enjoy their favorite foods remorse free.
  • 2 winners will get personalized meal plans for a month each!
  • 1 winner will get my “The Works” package which includes 2 meal make overs, a month of meal plans based of a personalized diet analysis, 4 hours of nutrition counseling AND my one month accountability program to help them finish off this year stronger than they started.

Now that we covered the who and the what, we can cover the when, the where and the how.

You can get up to three entries per person for this drawing… I will be using random.org to pull numbers in the order that the give aways are presented above at midnight Thursday night. That means you have just under 48 hours to enter this give away. On Friday I will announce the winners at the beginning of my blog post. All winners then have 72 hours to email me to get in touch. If a winner does not get in touch within 72 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Here is how you can get your 3 entries…

  1. Leave a comment below telling me what you want to see more of here on this blog.
  2. Find me on Facebook (here) and tag at least 2 friends who you think would be interested in being a winner with you.
  3. Find me on instagram (here) and tag at least 2 friends who you think would be interested in being a winner with you.

I’m really excited to work with some individuals on improving their nutrition and health before the beginning of a new year. I am also very inspired by others who are changing their health which means these winners will help me to make the changes in my life that need a bit of tweaking.

Butternut Apple Bake

My husband and I are in a bit of a life season of ‘in betweens’. It has left me in a state of constant “vegetable drawer lurking”. I cannot explain to you the sheer pain it causes me to throw away vegetables. I hate, with a passion, reaching into my vegetable drawer only to find soft and soggy produce that has to be thrown into the trash. Lately, my family has been having to make a lot of decisions that require us to do some staying or leaving, starting or stopping, planning or improvising. And this has more or less messed up my everything come Monday of each new week.

One night in which a day full of all of the above had occurred, I threw the following in a baking dish, crossed my fingers and was more than pleasantly surprised when I ate it along side my husband come dinner. It was such a hit, that it has been consumed 4 more times in the last two weeks.

Butternut Apple Bake

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 370*F.
  2. After washing your apples, cut them up in chunks no bigger than a nickel.
  3. Sauté you apples on medium-high for about 3 or 4 minutes, just long enough to get them to start releasing their juices a bit.
  4. Place your apples in a baking dish and place to the side.
  5. Take your butternut squash and peel it. I found the easiest way to do this was to use a potato peeler.
  6. Cut up your squash into chunks no larger than a quarter.
  7. Add your squash to your apples and mix them well.
  8. Spoon your honey onto your apple-squash mix. I spooned 1.2 tbsp onto them in 6 areas.
  9. Sprinkle your cinnamon all over.
  10. Place your baking dish into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  11. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and stir well.
  12. Bake for another 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven, let cool then enjoy.

I served this along salmon and blackened green beans and my goodness did I fall in love.

If you are like me, when you like a food you don’t stop eating it. So I took the liberty of finding you some recipes that have apples in them so we can bask together in their wonderful fall-ness. Because, you know, that’s a word.

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Simple Baked ApplesApple Walnut Cranberry Salad

Bacon, Apples and Brussels SproutsSauted Cinnamon Apples

Pan Fried Cabbage and ApplesFloral Apples

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What is your favorite way to take the almost bad vegetables in your drawer and use them to incorporate into dinner or any other meal?

Are you currently enjoying all things apples, pumpkin and fall right about now? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

Cauliflower

Today’s recipe was made on accident, but man oh man am I thankful that this ‘oops’ occurred.

Here is the back story… since getting diagnosed with Hashimotos, I have changed up my diet greatly and the result has been me in the kitchen dazed and confused. So I started ordering a few cook books. You see, as much as I love getting in the kitchen and creating deliciousness, I sometimes need a bit of a push in the right direction.

One of the cookbooks I got has a recipe for cauliflower style fried rice. Well, in the midst of holding A.J., chopping veggies and yelling at my dog to get stop barking at the neighbor, this was created.

Cauliflower Epxlosion

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp minched fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup minched fresh onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 12 baby carrots
  • 1/2 yellow squash or zucchini
  • 1 head of Cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

1. In a large pan, heat coconut oil. Once warm, add the garlic and onion.

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2. While your garlic and onion are cooking, chop finely the celery, carrots and yellow squash or zucchini.

3. Add your veggies to the pan and sauté on high, stirring often.

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4. While your veggies are sauteing with the garlic and onions, cut up your head of cauliflower into large pieces and place it in your food processor.

5. Pulse the cauliflower until it looks like grains of rice.

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6. Reduce the heat of the pan to low and add your cauliflower. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.

7. After 5 minutes, stir the veggie mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

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8. Cover again and cook on medium high, stirring occasionally.

9. After cooking for 12 minutes, remove the lid, pat the mix down into the bottom of the pan and then cook on high for 15-20 minutes to brown a bit. You will have to pay close attention in this stage and stir often.

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10. Once the cauliflower is to your desire of “browned” remove from heat and serve.

I love making this recipe to go with dinner as a side dish but I have also found that this can be used as a replacement for bread crumbs in recipes such as meatballs or meatloaf and works great as a rice substitute in stuffed peppers.

I love how versatile cauliflower is, and it is quickly becoming a favorite veggie of mine. I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you decide to give it a try, snap a picture of it and share it on social media using the hashtag #tkr_food.

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Do you cook cauliflower often?

If so, how is your favorite was to prepare it?

Hashis – What Is It?

what is it

Today I thought we could chat about what Hashimotos Disease is, as well as autoimmune disease in general.

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 – Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease that involves the thyroid gland.

– An autoimmune disease is a disease in which the body attacks itself.

– The thyroid gland is located near your neck and is some what of the power house of your entire hormonal system.

– You can have an underachieve thyroid (hypothyroidism) and not have Hashimotos.

– It is estimate that Hashimotos is undiagnosed in about 90% of the individuals who have it.

Hashimotos is diagnosed with a blood test that your primary care doctor can order.

– Just like all autoimmune disease, there is NO cure for Hashimotos disease.

– Treatment includes taking medication to manage your thyroid levels for the rest of your life.

– There is not just one medication but multiple different medications that your physician can give as well as different combinations of these medications to manage your levels.

– Just like all prescription medications, there are side effects when taking thyroid medication(s).

– There is great debate over what your thyroid levels should be at any given time and therefore some physicians may diagnose one individual with a hypothyroidism while another physician may not.

– A sure sign of Hashimotos disease is your antibody count. This number however changes with factors such as age, gender, etc., if your primary care physician cannot help you understand your levels, an endocrinologist can.

– More and more research is coming out about autoimmune diseases as well as Hashimotos which is very encouraging for the medical community as well as those diagnosed with these diseases.

– The more common definition of Hashimotos disease is “an autoimmune disease causing chronic inflammation and consequential failure of the thyroid gland.”

– Sadly, many individuals who just simply manage the symptoms of Hashimotos disease rather than address the root issue (more on this later) eventually have their thyroid removed which as you can imagine can be scary, dangerous and life alerting.

– Due to this unfortunate reality, some individuals are choosing to address their thyroid health in a somewhat unconventional way and are seeing great results. More on this later too!

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I am very excited to start talking more about Hashimotos here… but since it can be a lot of information, I thought it would be best to take this topic piece by piece so that we all don’t get overwhelmed and overloaded.

Ultimately I am hoping to take you on my Hashimotos journey so that I can either motivate you to help someone going through this or that I can directly help someone.

If you have any questions regarding Hashimotos disease or autoimmune disease in general, leave it in the comments and hopefully together we can work on getting it answered.

Peanut Butter and Nut Thins

Since being diagnosed with Hashimotos, I have gone on a relatively strict diet known as the Autoimmune Protocol. It is a Paleo like diet that also cuts out nightshade vegetables, seeds and nuts. It seems tough, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t.

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For the last 2 weeks, my little one has been sleeping terribly. There have been multiple nights in which he wakes up 11 times. We won’t even chat about naps because those are just a joke. Come morning, I am a walking zombie. So the fact that while on AIP (that is what it is commonly referred to as) requires me to make a breakfast of meat, cooked veggies and little fruit. The act in itself doesn’t tire me out but I think more so it’s the beginning of a day in which I am balancing a 3 month old on my hip while trying to cook myself food. In other words, there are very few quick meals.

Last night, come 8p.m. I was beyond thrilled that everyone in my house was alive. It was just that kind of a day. I went to plate dinner to realize that I messed up dinner bad… as in not edible bad. Anyways, my options were beyond limited. I pretty much currently cannot eat anything that I do not prepare. It sucks.

Anyways, last night tested me of all my strength and in the eyes of many, I failed. I am trying so SO so hard to keep food out of my diet that will cause inflammation and harm to my thyroid (more on that later), that last night my big “mess up” was eating tomatoes, corn and some rice.

When I sit back today and think about that, I realize how far I have come and how well I really am doing. I’m not confessing here on this blog that I ate a pizza all by myself, or that I downed a pint of ice cream in one sitting. I’m telling you all that I ate whole grains and vegetables.

Eating well is hard. Whether you are doing it to lose weight, because it makes you feel more energized or because you are managing illness, choosing to eat good food day in and day out can be challenging.

If you are struggling today to stay on the wagon or just get on it, be encouraged… the truth is that you are doing it. Maybe not perfect but you are trying and at the end of the day, that counts much more than we realize it. Just take it one day at a time and keep trying!

let thy food

So, please excuse the fact that I promised you a recipe today and instead you got an insert from my personal journal/diary. The recipe is coming Monday, and in the mean time I am off to eat a scoop of peanut butter and some nut thins because today is another one for the books!

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What are some of you struggles when it comes to staying healthy?

Do you find that convenience has to be a top priority in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

3 Months

Be Still My Heart

Attachment 2

This little dude is 3 months old as of yesterday!

He has become quite the little person and I just can’t get enough of him.

Sweet isn’t the word I would use to describe him, more like fun or wild.

His nickname has become ‘buddy bear’ because he is still covered in a light coat all over his body.

Up until 2 weeks ago he was sleeping 6-8 hours straight through the night. However things have been different recently and we are trying to work through them.

Little man is 11lbs. 3oz. and just over 23in. long. In other words he is just a little pip.

He has become quite the avid thumb sucker and is so close to sitting up on his own.

All in all, AJ keeps me on my toes and is definitely a first born.

I am so thankful that I get to be his mom and love watching him grow a bit more very day.

PicMonkey Collage

Hashimotos Disease

When I went for my 6 week check up after having AJ, I had a few questions for my midwife. One of my questions was… How can I sucessfully lose some of this weight without hurting my milk supply. My midwife looked at me a bit confused and asked why I was trying to lose weight since I barely gained any during pregnancy. I then informed her that since giving birth I had gained just over 20lbs.

This puzzled my midwife a bit since I was (and still am) exclusively breastfeeding. She suggested that I have some blood drawn to check my thyroid. Sure enough, what she expected was true… my thyroid was running pretty low. She told me that she would prefer that I be seen by an endocrinologist to have more tests ran and to manage my thyroid. So off to the internet I went.

After much searching, I found an Endocrinologist who not only deals with medication for management but also advises the help of proper diet and exercise. I went to her and 23 blood tests later, she diagnosed me with Hashimotos Disease.

Hashimotos Disease

So here I am… One month and 11 days since my last post. I have been reading and researching, eliminating foods from my diet and talking to others who have Hashimotos. I am choosing not to take the standard approach to dealing with Hashi’s and will explain in the posts to come. But I wanted to let you all know that things will be changing a bit here… rather than be a blog committed to nutrition, food and wellness, I am going to be narrowing in a bit here and focusing on getting the word out about Hashimotos and how to approach not just managing but curing this disease.

Before I go, I just wanted to take a minute and explain what Hashimotos is…

Hashimotos Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the thyroid. This results in the long run by the thyroid actually shutting down and the thyroid needing to be removed. Since your thyroid controls and influences so many of the hormones in your body, this can be a very dangerous thing.

People with Hashimotos generally suffer with infertility, obesity, hands and feet as well as arms and legs that ache on a regular basis, severe hair loss temperature sensitivity, brain function, irregular heart beat, depression and unfortunately the diagnosis of many other autoimmune diseases.

The medication that is available for Hashimotos Disease does not cure the individual but rather just attempts to manage the symptoms. However, more and more individuals are curing their thyroid disease with diet and exercise. I have set out to be one of those people.

It is estimated that 8% of the American population suffers from Hashimotos, however 90% do not even know it. And getting a doctor to test for it can be very, very difficult. In other words, I am hoping that at least for a season, this blog of mine can be devoted (2 out of every 3 posts) to Hashimotos.

If you don’t have Hashimotos Disease, you can still read all about life here… most of the recipes that I will be posting will be something called “AIP Approved”, but can most definitely be consumed by people without Hashis. Considering that you most likely know someone with Hashimotos Disease, it might be a good idea for you to stick around so you can help out a friend when the opportunity arises.

Wednesday I will be back with an update on A.J. as he is turning 3months old tomorrow!!! I know, C-R-A-Z-Y… anyways, have a wonderful evening and get ready for some delicious recipes coming your way right after I dump quite a few adorable pictures of my kiddo on this blog.

Where it all began again

I am going to attempt to accurately tell the story of my son A.J.’s birth in this post and I am honestly a bit nervous. It was such a long process, I don’t know that I will actually be able to remember all the details.

My labor started at 7p.m. on Saturday June 27th. Previously I had experienced false labor twice, once lasting 8 hours while the other lasting 10. For this reason, I was hesitant to say anything to anyone… including my husband. But by about 6a.m. on Sunday, my secret was out… at least with my husband. Neither of us wanted to get our hopes up because although I was 41 weeks pregnant, I was scheduled to be induces at 42 weeks and 1 day since first time moms tend to go late, that late.

I was scared and nervous, my big “fear” was that I would have to be induced and that I couldn’t go pain meds free once I was hooked up to Pitocin. If I got my hopes up that this was the real deal and I stalled again, I new I would be devestated.

So we waited… I sat on my exercise ball and did puzzles in between each contraction which were anywhere from 5-7 minutes apart at this point. By about noon, we called my mom and told her what was happening and gave her the ability to decide if she wanted to risk things and come out to D.C. from Michigan or not. She decided to hop in her car and start the trip.

By about 9p.m. I started experiencing this pain that was some what common for me in the end of my pregnancy. It was as if my I was getting electrocuted in the inside of my right thigh. This would happen between each contraction I had and let me tell you, this pain made my contractions seem fun and enjoyable. So we decided it was time to go to the hospital.

Once there, I got checked and it was decided that I really needed to try to rest. I was given the option of resting at home or I could rest at the hospital. I decided I wanted to go home since I was SO fearful of having interventions take place at the hospital in an unnecessary way.

By 3 a.m. I was back at the hospital. The pain I was having in my leg was getting worse and would now happen at the end of each contraction as well as in between each one. It was brutal and I was in tears over it. And to be honest, I wasn’t able to rest at all so it really seemed pointless to be at home crying over something other than contractions.

Back at the hospital I was checked again and I hadn’t made any progress, I was still at 5cm dialated and 90% effaced. We were at this point participating in “Plan B’ which was getting a shot to more or less make me high so that I could rest in between contractions. This stuff was STRONG! I could feel it before the needle had even been taken out of my leg. I wish I could remember what it was called but like I said, t made me high.

THe funny thing about this medicine was that it didn’t take the pain of my contractions away. I felt each and every one of them (the meds lasted about an hour) but I was so doped up that I could sleep between each one. At this point my mom was with us and she got the brunt of my jacked up state of mind. For some reason, I became pretty paranoid during labor that the nurses were going to make me eat a banana. Well friends, I HATE bananas… and more than hating bananas, I hate how my husband seems to offer them to me as a source of medicine/comfort/energy.

Anyways, at one point I turned to my mom and made her promise me that she wouldn’t let anyone make me eat a banana. She told me she wouldn’t let it happen but I didn’t believe her so I kept saying it over and over again. While this was taking place I remember thinking to myself “I will not let this baby come out if they make me eat a banana”. Logic at it’s finest I tell you😉

When I was checked again at 4a.m. I was dialted to 6cm. I labored from then until 5p.m. like a cave woman I tell you. I dragged myself into the shower, labored on a ball, did lunges, walked around… you name it I did it. And the results were not a bit of progress.

Yep! When I was checked again to find out that I was still at a 6 I just about walked out of that hospital. It was suggested that I be put on Pitocin and I turned to my husband convinced that this would be the road to a c-section. I thought for sure that with Pitocin would come unberable pain, leading me to an epidural which would slow down my labor and land me in the operating room somewhere between 3 and 5a.m. the next day.

My husband talked me down off of the ledge I was on with the help of my nurse and I took the pitocin.

Well blog world… that shit works!!!!! I was given the Pitocin at 6p.m. and at 7p.m. was fully dilated and completely effaced. So I started pushing. Except that pushing wasn’t working… as in it didn’t feel right.

So I tried all sorts of pushing, the conventional on my back while holding my legs, using a squatting bar, sitting up backwards in bed, nothin! So my midwife suggested I go try to empty my bladder as that may be preventing things from feeling “right”. Well, on my way to the restroom and I had the most incredible urge to push. So I grabbed my husbands hand and pushed. Then I looked at my midwife, asked if it was ok to push while standing up and she said yes. So I did it again, and again until I was in the bathroom on the toilet not emptying my bladder.

Slowly but surely my midwife, nurse and mom came into the bathroom where I proceeded to push. What seemed like a few minutes later, my midwife told me to reach down and touch my babies head. Now I had heard about this before and thought it was the most disgusting thing ever. But my word did it give me every bit of strength to finish having my baby. After words my husband said that he could see me get an adrenalin rush from feeling the baby.

About 3 pushes later, my midwife told me that with my next contraction I needed to stand up and reach down WITH HER to catch my baby. And that is exactly what happened. I reached down and grabbed my baby as he slid out. We had to stop about half way to me bringing him up to my chest because his cord was very loosely wrapped around his neck. But once it was unwrapped I continued bringing him up to my chest. I also shouted out… “It’s a boy, I can feel it!!”.

The poor little guys cord stopped pulsing the second he came out of me. His cord was actually pretty pathetic looking, it was very white and skinny. But it didn’t matter, he was perfect and healthy and hollering at all of us for taking him out of his comfy and warm home.

Speaking of warm… my little guy didn’t have a speck of vernix on him (a true sign of a late baby from what I’m told) and as I wrapped him in my arms I was amazed at that as well as how warm and slimy he was. It was the most amazing feeling in the world to have him in my arms.

Everything after that is a bit of a blur. A happy, adrenaline infused and wonderful blur! My sweet boy immediately pooped not once but twice in his first hour of life and latched on to nurse about 40 min. after being born.

  

Now our sweet A.J. is 6 weeks old (picture below) and growing like crazy. Our lives have been changed in ways I didn’t know were possible and I would happily due 50 hours of labor again for him. My favorite part of being his mom would be the middle of the night feedings because that is when I get to pray over him and his future and he always seems to reward me with a sleepy smile that has milk coming out of it.

  

At six weeks old he is already rolling over which I was to surprised about because he was holding his head up by himself when he was getting checked out by the pediatrician just 2 hours after being born. A.J. loves to follow his daddy around when he can hear him talking and walking around the house and although he is a rock star of a sleeper at night, his day time naps could use some serious work. But that’s OK, because I’m still stupid in love with everything he does.

  

When I was planning to write these blog posts I thought this one would be title like “the end”, but now I realize this is far from the end. In fact everyday with him seems like brand new beginning and I am so thankful for him and the new life he brings us.

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Birth

While I am taking some time to enjoy being a new mom, I asked a few friends to step in and share with you a little bit about their journey when it comes to their health. I am so excited for you to hear about all of the different ways women are taking control of their health and thriving in our not so healthy world.

Today’s guest is a wonderful friend of mine by the name of Vicki. I have known Vicki for years but have more recently spent time conversing with her due to some concerns I had during my pregnancy. She was absolutely wonderful and a great support to me during that time and I cannot thank her enough for her kindness and love.

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Society likes to scare women into thinking that childbirth is the most torturous, terrifying experience a woman can go through in her life. It saddens me to think that so many women approach childbirth with fear and dread. Some women are so afraid of giving birth that they joke that they want pain relief even before the first contraction.

As a mother of 5 children and a birth doula for 6+ years, I want to take a moment to share my opinion about what childbirth is to me: Childbirth is hard work: Giving birth to a human being is not an easy stroll in the park. Childbirth takes patience and perseverance and that’s why it is so often compared to a marathon. You are going to have to work hard, be patient and trust your body.

Childbirth is NOT torture: The most common question I get asked about childbirth is, “How bad does it hurt?” Ladies and gents, I’d be lying if I said that there is no pain involved with contractions. However, I have found that the more fearful you are about giving birth, the more pain you experience. Fear creates tension and tension creates pain. A great resource to help eliminate the fear of childbirth is www.birthwithoutfear.com. This website is filled with wonderful stories that will encourage you and get you excited about giving birth.

Childbirth is the most AMAZING experience: Yes, you read that correctly. It’s time to set aside any preconceived notions that you have about childbirth and focus on the fact that childbirth is absolutely the most incredible thing you will ever do. You get to experience firsthand how miraculously your body knew how to grow, nourish and birth your child. You will watch in amazement as God breathes life into your child as he takes his first breath. Meeting your child will be a moment that you treasure for a lifetime.

Becoming pregnant and giving birth to your child is a life changing gift. You will feel like your life wasn’t complete until this precious child entered your life. Isaiah 41:10 NLT “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

About Vicki:

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Vicki is a blogger as well and her very real life blog can be found here.

Vicki has a small business selling Elderberry Syrup and her info can be found here.

Vicki had her last child on her bathroom floor!