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

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!

AJ – Part 3

We found something on your ultrasound, your Midwife and Doctor will go over it with you in the exam room. Please wait here while I go speak to them… I will be right back.

That’s how the beginning of my 23 week appointment went while pregnant with A.J., and it only got worse for a few weeks. The ultrasound tech found a birth defect on our little guys ultrasound in the form of “2 Vessel Cord”. We were told at that appointment that most babies umbilical cord has 2 veins and 1 artery in it. The artery is what supplies baby with blood (and nutrients) from it’s mom, while the veins act as the garbage men, carrying toxins away from the baby. With only 1 vein in A.J.’s umbilical cord, we were placed on “watch” and needed monthly and eventually bi-monthly ultrasounds to watch A.J. grow. What would happen if he wasn’t properly growing you ask? Preterm induction, because although he had a birth defect, in only existed in my womb which means once he was out of me, he would be able to grow just fine.

We went home from that appointment relieved and believing that everything would be just fine.

However, that evening when I was getting ready to leave for a bible study I was a part of, we got a phone call from the head of midwifery at our hospital who had a few more concerns. After she and our doctor took a second look at the ultrasound, they started to get concerned about the babies kidneys and heart, and brain. We were informed that we needed to make a few appointments at National Children’s Hospital to have some more testing done and potentially some genetic counseling.

Confused and needing to talk to my husband, I told the midwife that I would call them back. Since we had just let the appointment a few hours before and were told that everything would be just fine, I was at a loss as to why we were now being told a different story.

After talking to my husband (and staying home that evening), we called the midwife back and spoke with her together.She told us that the ultrasound was picking up soft markers for Down Syndrome and that it was best to have more testing done. My husband and I decided, with our midwife that rather then rush down to Children’s right away, we would wait for our next appointment AND ultrasound and then make the necessary appointments in these soft markers had not gone away.

Our thought process was this… nothing could change our mind about our baby and the love we had for him. For us, the option of abortion was not actually an option and therefore they couldn’t give us any information that was time sensitive. Considering that anything new information they could give us was not anything that would “fix” any “problems” in the womb, we also didn’t feel as though it would help us make any decisions differently than we already were.

So we waited… we also cried a bit, prayed a lot and did something we shouldn’t have done, we “googled”.

One month later, we were back at the doctors office and I was convinced that nothing was wrong with our baby. I had a whole slue of theories about why this was all happening… every hear about milking someone for their insurance, or a testimony that will bring you to your knees, or that sometimes technology and medical advances are to good to be true and pick up things that aren’t really there? Anyways, the ultrasound came back the same as before, and we were following through on our part (with much hesitation mind you) calling and making appointments for more testing and genetic counseling.

We went to the appointment and everything I said about options and information remained the same. The chances of our baby having Down Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, Kidney or Heart problems all remained the same and the final verdict was that we wouldn’t know anything for sure until this little guy was born.

So the ultrasounds continued. A.J.’s growth was watch until I was 34 weeks when it was confirmed that he was actually surpassing all of the markers they look for in terms of organ development. At this point, 11 weeks later, they told me to go home, relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.

Little side note here… I threw up until I was 22 weeks pregnant and then cried my eyes out between weeks 23 and 34 because of birth defect fears. The idea of going home, relaxing and enjoying this pregnancy was literally something I couldn’t comprehend.

Spoiler alert… A.J. was born without any issues at all. His heart rate didn’t even drop once during labor, but I’ll get to that later.

My son is by far one of the strongest and most self motivated babies I have ever seen. If you don’t believe me you can watch the video on my phone that I have of him rolling over at 2 weeks. If that doesn’t do it for you, then talk to the hospital staff who were amazed at his ability to hold his own head up an hour after he was born. Or maybe you should just watch him nurse, that is an experience that says nothing but self-motivated and strong.

I wanted to share this part of our story with all of you because sometimes science is wrong, most of the time pregnancy is hard n some way or another and all the time God is in control. I wasn’t told these things prior to being pregnant and I think it’s important to hear.

Our boy is perfect and we thank God for that multiple times a day.

Pop back in next week to hear all about A.J.’s birth story and how it only (sarcasm) took him 50 hours to make his way into this world.

Body, Soul and Spirit

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 Ashli. Ashli and I have known each other for quite a few years, and it was actually through this blog and a bit of a health issue of hers that we reconnected about 2 years ago. Ashli has been a huge encouragement to me and I am so thankful for her genuine and warm heart. I am blown away by Ashli on a regular basis; her positivity, energy (she had 3 boys in about 18 months) and thoughtfulness are just a few reasons as to why I love our phone calls and conversations via text.

Ashli’s story is a bit unique in that it is so much more about physical health, but that is why I knew you all needed to hear/read it! So thank you again Ashli for stepping in today on my behalf and I hope you all enjoy her story!

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Stresses of Life

First off, I want to thank Leah for asking me to be a guest on her blog. She’s doing some great things on here and I enjoy learning from each of her posts. It’s an honor to be a part of it. I’m so thankful for her genuine friendship. I’m praying this new season of motherhood will be full of joy! It’s an adventure!

I wanted to share a little bit about what health means to me and our family. I know to each family this can look a little different. Our house is a busy one with three little boys, 4 years old and then three year old twins. There’s never a dull moment, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! My husband had done a lot of research about organic food and natural living even before we had kids, but it was after our first son was born that we really started shifting our choices. I still remember being in the kitchen one evening and I felt God speak to my heart. He told me that it was time to start making some changes. That I was the one preparing the meals for my family and they should be real, living and organic foods. From that moment, the journey began. It has certainly been a journey and it was NOT an overnight process! It was gradual. Our grocery trips began to look a little different as I began to learn about the differences between conventional and organic foods.

When our son was about 9 months old we found out we were pregnant again and at our 20 week ultrasound we found out we were having identical twin boys! Oh my! You can imagine the joy… and shock! The twins were born when our oldest son was 16 months, it was a crazy busy season! Shortly after they were born I was not feeling “right” and began the elimination diet, finding out that gluten was not agreeing with me. I’ve since cut gluten out and it’s been almost 3 years. That forced me to eat even cleaner and research even more on our family’s clean eating journey. Has it been perfect, nope, but it’s been great and we are constantly learning. My husband and I love supporting local farmers (yay, for summer farmers markets!) and we’ve also implemented essential oils into our journey. We love to support companies with integrity and so, Young Living Essential Oils have been such a blessing for us! Whether if someone is fighting a sickness or allergies or we just need a good nights sleep (and what mama doesn’t want that!) or I need a healthy cleaner, they’ve been fabulous. I’ve also started an adrenal fatigue program with some natural supplements. All of these changes through the last few years have been a wonderful journey as we try to take care of these temples God has given us.

Which leads me to what’s really been on my heart for this post. One thing that I constantly have to keep in check is that although it’s so important for us to take care of our physical body, how much more important is it that we keep our spirit and soul well fed? We are made up of spirit, soul and body. How often do we drink our green smoothie, prepare our free range eggs and bacon each morning and yet forget the Bread of Life? The God of the Bible that created you, that would move Heaven and Earth to know you, love you, change you, and use you for all He created you to be. I think too often we focus on our spiritual life less than we should (no condemnation for those in Christ! I’m speaking to myself here too!). We wonder why we still don’t “feel” as good as we think we should. I know for myself, if I am carrying the weight of life and letting things stress me out instead of giving them to Jesus, my gut will feel the same as if I ate gluten. It’s amazing that when we carry the stresses of life around (when we are not meant to) it can affect our physical bodies in a negative way. True joy, rest, peace and strength come from Jesus alone. No matter how well we take care of our physical body, I’ve learned that without Him, it will never be all we need. I desire to have more and more of Him shining through me daily, but that can only happen if I am feeding my spirit through God’s Word and being in His presence. Just like we invest in our physical health through organic and living foods, we need to be spending time with Jesus to be equipped, empowered and changed to be all He’s called us to be as His children and to know Him more. This will bring complete health to our bodies and true life. I have to constantly keep my heart in check that although healthy choices are important for me and my family, He is still my Sustainer. So as busy moms, how can we do this? It’s hard to get up at 5am when your little one may have been up a few times that night or if your kids get up really early (like mine!) and you stumble to the kitchen just to get your coffee! How do we sit in God’s presence, read His Word and pray and listen to make sure we are feeding our spirit daily? There are no rules, I believe God will lead you for what will work best for you. I have a close friend that when her kids were little, she used to have her time with God after they went to bed at night. I love mornings so I try to have my quiet time in the morning, but it does not always work out that way and I have to adjust it to later that day! Either way, investing in spending time with your Father, with always be worth it! Keep feeding your spirit, listen to worship music through your day (your kids will love it too!), talk with God and be listening to hear from Him as well. Every day He will lead you and guide you as you put Him first in your journey to complete health!

1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

About Ashli

 

  • I was a gymnast & cheerleader growing up. The last time I did a somersault I got so dizzy and almost fell over! Funny how things change after babies!
  • I actually really like green smoothies
  • My husband and I love watching worship sets together

Bee Pollen

Mommy Brain – it has hit me hard! Like tried to charge my phone with my breast pump cord hard. And then there was the forget how to walk and strain my foot in two places “mommy moment”. That one I do NOT recommend… it left me on crutches for a few days and let me tell you, taking care of a newborn while on crutches is not an easy task.

Thankfully, some of my mommy brain moments are paying off in a few strange ways. Take that time I ordered local unfiltered honey from our local farm only to receive this at my front door…

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My husband and I got a good laugh out of this one. After a little ‘googling’ however, I found out that this mistake is actually a bit of a ‘win’ for me. Let me share with you all…

Bee Pollen

bee-pollen

What is Bee Pollen?

– Bee Pollen is what is left over from the bee’s after they pollinate the plant and take what is necessary back to the hive to make honey. Bee Pollen is found in every hive by the Bee Keeper. Some choose to collect and keep it while others choose to discard it.
What are the benefits of taking Bee Pollen?

– Bee Pollen is unique in that it is one of the ONLY natural substances that has every vitamin, mineral and amino acids in it. In other words, it’s the perfect and natural daily vitamin. Because it is natural, it is allergen free from things such as dairy, soy and wheat as well as sets off the perfect chain of reactions/event within your body for all of the nutritional properties to be absorbed and properly processed by your body. In short, Bee Pollen is very easy on your body to use for good.
How do I take Bee Pollen?

– Just like you may have a reaction to a bee stinging you or to eating honey, there is a slight chance that you could also have a reaction from Bee Pollen. For this reason, it is advised to start off by only taking 1 granule with food at first. Everyday, you can increase this amount by 1 or 2 granules per day with a meal, for a week. If you do not have a reaction, it is then safe to take 1/2 teaspoon of Bee Pollen granules 2x a day for one week. At this point you can switch over to taking 1 teaspoon 1x a day. Since I am breastfeeding, I did exactly this. Myself and my son are fine to be using Bee Pollen which I am very thankful for.
Is Bee Pollen safe for children, pregnant or nursing women to take?

– Depending on the source you are getting your information from, this answer will change. As I said, I followed exactly the above advise and had not adverse reactions. I did check with my son’s Pediatrician, whom is a bit more holistic minded and he was fine with use trying this out. Check with your doctor as well as your child’s before starting anything that changes you over all health.
Where can I read more about Bee Pollen?

Dr. Mercola write quite a bit about this topic here and here. Ten quick reasons to take Bee Pollen can be found here. And for anyone looking  to see research based information on the subject, you can do so here.
Where can I buy Bee Pollen at?

It is best to buy Bee Pollen from your local farmer, as this ensures safer consumption. However a few other places to check out are Thrive Market and Amazon. Another option would be to go to a local health foods store and ask if they carry this product.

 

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Would you even consider using Bee Pollen as a health supplement?

Maybe you already have used it, if so how did you like it?

Ice Cream, Yoga and Moderation

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.

Blog world… meet Alyssa! This sweet young woman is a relative of one of my relatives and she is taking the fitness world by storm in some very cool and different ways! Aside from being young, beautiful and full of energy, she is also a genuine and funny lady who has quite a bit to teach us all.

The reason Alyssa popped into my head when considering who to ask to “guest blog” is the simply fact that this girl goes after healthy living in ways that most of us don’t. She isn’t a marathon runner (that I know of) or a paleo diet follower… instead Alyssa’s social media feeds are full of pictures of her enjoying her life in ways that speak so much to health, fitness and happiness.

I don’t know about you but I want my life to speak of those things. So please pretend you are sitting across from Alyssa as you read this post because I promise you we can all learn from her journey to health and happiness.

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Moderation

What does HEALTH mean to me?

Ice cream…

That is the first thought that came to my mind when Leah asked me to write a guest blog on “What Health Means to Me”. ​Ice cream… Y​ou might be thinking that ice cream and health don’t quite go hand in hand. Or maybe you’ve already shut your computer as you make a b­line towards the nearest Baskin Robbins. Stick with me, allow me to explain myself…

I love ice cream. You could call me an ice cream connoisseur. I love it. I love it after a long bike ride, with friends, on Sunday afternoons, close to midnight, smack dab in the middle of the week… You get the picture. I can specifically remember a time that I was teaching a yoga class and from the very beginning of the class to the end, all I could think about was Erma’s flavor of the week (it’s an amazing frozen custard place in the city that I live). It’s very much a love/hate relationship though. I often fight the urge to feel guilty for enjoying my delicious cup of frozen custard directly afterwards… If not during. This is a push and pull that I have felt for a very long time. Let me tell you a bit about my background, and then we will get to the reason I am talking about ice cream in a health blog.

I spent most of my childhood in gyms. I competed as an artistic gymnast for 12 years. It was a very strenuous sport to say the least. The workouts were very demanding and with the amount of time I was required to dedicate to the sport, I learned from a very young age that you should only ever do anything a​ll out.​I would practice on the bars until my hands would bleed, and then I would just keep going. I threw up after e​very single​cardio conditioning drill we did. It was expected of me. As I grew up, and injury eventually caused me to step away from the sport forever, this mentality bled through into most other aspects of my life…

As a 14 year old, I decided I was done eating meat. I wanted to be as healthy as possible, so this was my first step. I thought this would help me to make healthier decisions, or to learn better eating habits. For me, it wasn’t an option to just cut down on my meat intake, or to choose a lean, grilled chicken breast over a hamburger… I had to go a​ll out.​I kept this up for 7 years. In 2013, I felt the need to step it up even further. I went vegan for 6 months. Many people choose to eat vegan and they love it, that’s great! I didn’t. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was searching for something, and I thought the change of diet would help me find it. It didn’t. I was eating only organic, whole, vegan foods and didn’t feel whole.

This is where “What Health Means to Me” comes in. You can eat all of the whole foods you want, and still not be whole. You can drink all of the kombucha (I LOVE a good batch of kombucha), do all of the workouts, eat at that o​ne vegan restaurant e​very time you go out to dinner… And still not be content. Still not be healthy. Still not be whole. Health is more than hitting your ideal weight. Health is more than eating the right food or doing the right workouts. What does being “healthy” mean if you’re not holistically healthy? Physically healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy, spiritually healthy. I realized that I was leading a very“healthy” lifestyle, but I wasn’t truly whole. I have had to come to a realization (and it’s definitely a process that I have to continually work through), that to maintain a holistically healthy lifestyle, the key is:

Moderation in Everything

This is something that I have written all over my apartment. I have reminders all over. I need to be constantly reminded. We all do. Nobody is perfect. We all enjoy a scoop of ice cream here and there, and if you don’t, I’m very sorry. You’re missing out. Here’s the thing, we need to live life in a healthy way, but life is meant to be l​ived​and e​njoyed.​What good is a any of our eating, working out, or anything for that matter if we don’t e​njoy it?​If we don’t feel whole?

Is this permission to go and buy a half gallon of Cookies and Cream and kill it by yourself? No. I mean, if you really want to, I guess go ahead, but I wouldn’t suggest it… But there’s no harm in a scoop once a week. See where I’m going with this? Moderation. A game changer for me was doing a 21 day food challenge, and as part of it, I had to eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) every single day. This taught me that I can have these things that I enjoy, even every day, in moderation, and the world doesn’t end. That was huge for me.

Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually this motto applies also. Yoga has been a big help for me personally, but it is extremely important to remember that you don’t have to run a half marathon to get a good workout in, no matter what you choose to do.

If there is one thing that I can encourage you to do, it is to find a balance to your life. Whether it be food, working out, busy schedules, spirituality, emotional health, or whatever it might be. Find balance. Practice moderation, and grab a little bit of ice cream. I promise you’ll feel more healthy for doing it.

About Alyssa:

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  • I am a registered yoga teacher through Yahweh Yoga and Yoga Alliance.
  • I love organizing everything!
  • Cooking in the kitchen with my Husband is a joy in my life.