Thankful for my health!

I am so very thankful for my health and my new found healthy lifestyle. So I thought now would be a good time to share about my health journey. I am so thankful for all the support and changes I have been able to make in these last few months and those who have been there to motivate me. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication and definitely not always perfect days but I’m committed to always doing my best.

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Some results:

Since August I have lost over 10 lbs bringing me below my pre-pregnancy weight. This is a huge accomplishment for me and honestly I can’t remember a time other than high school that I have weighed what I do (disclaimer: I did not weigh myself at all in high school or college). I know weight isn’t everything but this is a big deal for me.

I have also lost inches on my waist, hips, and chest. I am down 1-2 pants sizes which again is a huge accomplishment for me.

I feel amazing and I actually feel healthy. I have never felt this healthy before. I’ve tried all kinds of things for my health but right now I feel amazing, and healthy, and strong, and confident. My energy level is up, my happiness is up, and my mood is up (win-win-win!).

How I got here:

I have so many things that have contributed to my new healthy lifestyle and I am thankful for all of them.

Young living essential oils: I love essential oils and I am so thankful for them because they have helped me get off of my allergy medications. I use them for pretty much everything!

Isagenix: This is a new part of my routine. I started this summer and really got committed more in September/October-ish. I seriously love the products and the shakes. The flavor of the shakes is amazing and I honestly love my morning shake. Also the support group that I am involved in with Isagenix is amazing with recipes and encouragement. I could seriously go on and on about the products but long story short: I LOVE ISAGENIX!

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Exercise/Zumba: I am so thankful to be able to teach Zumba at Snap Fitness. I’m also thankful to be able to use the gym at my work over my lunch break. Both have allowed me to stay physically fit and active. I love being able to get 1-2 workouts in almost 7 days a week. It helps me in so many ways!

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Healthy eating: Joe and I have really changed the way we look at food after watching the documentary Fed Up (highly recommended). We have chosen to eat in more and make healthy meals. We also make sure we have healthy snack options. This has made a huge difference for both of us.

Overall:

I am so thankful for all of the above that have helped me get to where I am. I am also thankful for the people who have been so supportive of me during this time. Especially Joe who has always been encouraging and supportive of the choices I make for my health. I am also thankful to my close group of friends who are so supportive. I am thankful to my coworker/boss/friend Jenna who has been supportive of my health goals, helps me with Isagenix, and exercises with me at work. Even though Liam doesn’t know it I am also so thankful for him for opening my eyes to see that I want to lead by example for him.

I truly am so motivated and inspired to be a better version of myself every day. I hope that people find this helpful or inspiring but mostly I just wanted to share what has been working for me.

Have a wonderful holiday!!

Greek Yogurt Whole Wheat Muffins

I wanted to make some low sugar muffins for Liam. Just something quick and easy for in the mornings or on the go. I found this recipe and Liam approves!

Greek Yogurt Whole Wheat Muffins

Makes about 24 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (the recipe I found calls for full-fat but I only had non-fat and they still turned out great)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with muffin liners
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, slat, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, egg, olive oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Slowly pourt the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and use a spoon to gently fold the ingredients together. Do no over-mix. The batter will be very thick (almost like fluffier cookie dough).
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and make for approximately 15 mintues, until the tops of the muffins are set. Watch the muffins closely, so as not to overbake.
  5. Allow to cool and enjoy. Can be enjoyed topped with creamy peanut butter, coconut butter, or a smear of butter.

STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: Store any leftover muffins in an air-tight container for four to five days. These muffins freeze well but they also seem to go bad rather quickly when stored in the pantry. I recommend freezing some of the muffins right away if you don’t think you’ll go through all of them within four days and storing all of the remaining muffins in the refrigerator.

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Note: This recipe was adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins

I made the most delicious pumpkin spice muffins over the weekend. I even added my Isagenix protein powder to give them extra protein and vitamins. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

PUMPKIN SPICE PROTEIN MUFFINS

Makes about 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (can use extra virgin olive oil instead)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (I used organic maple syrup)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice or cloves (I used all spice)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup Isagenix pumpkin spice isalean powder**
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • optional: nuts, chocolate or dried fruit (I did add a few white chocolate chips)

**if you do not have the protein powder you can add 3/4 cup whole wheat flour…they lose the protein and vitamins but are still really yummy.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Either line the tins with muffin liners or grease the tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup (or honey) together with a whisk. Add eggs, and beat well.
  3. Mix in the pumpkin puree and milk, followed by baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice (or cloves).
  4. Add flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. if you’d like to add any additional mix-ins like nuts, chocolate, or dried fruit fold them in now.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. For these muffins it’s okay to fill the cups a little higher than you normally would. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  6. Bake the muffins for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack. These muffins are delicate until they cool down so it’s best to wait until they have cooled down to remove them from the tin. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan if you did not use liners.
  8. Enjoy the muffin as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

 

Storage suggestions: These muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).

Notes: Recipe adapted from COOKIE+kate

MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: Simply by using a non-dairy milk of your choice

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose blend works well instead of whole wheat flour.

 

Placenta Encapsulation

I have had a few people ask me about this recently so I thought I would write a post about it. This will include my reasons for choosing to do this as well as how I felt while taking the capsules.

Where/Who:

Ashley was such a wonderful help to me through this process. She answered all my questions and helped me understand more about the process. Better yet, she picked the placenta up right at the hospital and delivered the capsules to my house. She is very reasonably priced and I highly recommend her services. Her website is http://labourlove.webs.com/ for more information.

The Process:

I chose the Raw method which is a “method that does not involve steaming, but moves directly to dehydration and encapsulation. This method preserves any enzymes or hormones that may be destroyed when the placenta is heated during the streaming process.” (http://labourlove.webs.com/).

I chose this method simply because it sounds better to me than the other method.

Why:

“The placenta provides a variety of natural hormones, and is an excellent source of iron, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.” (http://labourlove.webs.com/).

I chose to do placenta encapsulation because I couldn’t find any reason not to. Although the results of taking these pills has no scientific data to prove it helps, there is nothing to say that it doesn’t either. I consulted with a friend who didn’t do it with her first kid and did with her second and felt the capsules really helped. I also read other testimonials. I couldn’t find any reason not to do it other than that it may not actually do anything to help postpartum. This was not a good enough reason not to try it compared to the possible benefits.

The possible benefits include increase in energy, faster return of the uterus to pre-pregnancy size, decreased postpartum bleeding, faster healing from birth-trauma, replenishment of iron, increased production of breast milk, decreased occurrence of baby blues and postpartum depression, and helpful to manage symptoms of PMS.

My Results:

Liam is my first baby so I do not know what it is like to have a baby and not take the placenta capsules however I do really feel like they helped me a ton.

I felt an increase in energy. Although I was losing a lot of sleep and still really tired, I did feel like I was functioning really well and felt that I had the energy to have visitors and get out of the house if I needed to.

I can’t say for sure that my uterus returned to pre-pregnancy size faster however it did feel like the transition went pretty quick.

I was a milk machine so I do believe the placenta capsules helped to increase my supply.

I do feel like overall my mood was very stable after having Liam and I definitely believe the placenta capsules helped with that. There were very few times that I became emotional during those first few days, weeks, and months with a new baby even when things were really tough and I was running on little sleep.

I truly would recommend placenta encapsulation to anyone who is considering it. I will definitely do it again and I really do feel it was helpful. If it did nothing for me at least I still got good nutrients into my body (which can be challenging with a new baby). For me I felt there was nothing to lose and so much to gain.

“Healthier” Fried Chicken

So last night Joe had a hankering for some fried chicken. We are trying to be healthier these days so I found a recipe that I thought seemed pretty healthy for fried food and would satisfy his craving. It ended up being super yummy and easy to make so I wanted to share the recipe.

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I have to be completely honest…I didn’t measure anything so if you choose to make this recipe just use your best judgement. Also, you could do without any of the ingredients below other than olive oil and bread crumbs. Feel free to change it up to add different flavors.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • bread crumbs
  • garlic salt (or powder we just didn’t have any)
  • pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • parsley

Directions:

  1. Make sure your chicken breasts are either thinly sliced or pounded thin before doing anything. If chicken breasts are too thick the breading will burn before the chick is cooked all the way through. We thinly sliced our chicken and even had some pieces small enough to look like chicken nuggets once cooked.
  2. Fill one bowl with a little olive oil and one bowl with all other ingredients.
  3. Drizzle olive oil into frying pan. You will want enough to cover the bottom. Heat the pan on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. While this heats you can do step 4.
  4. Dip chicken into olive oil. Then immediately dip into bread crumb mixture. Make sure all areas of the chicken are coated. (I place dipped chicken on a plate until all were dipped and ready to be cooked).
  5. Place in heated pan.
  6. Cooking time depends on thickness of chicken and temperature of the oil. Since our chicken was very thinkly sliced I did about 2 minutes on each side. For the smaller chicken nugget pieces I did about 1 minute each side.
  7. Place on plate with paper towels to soak up any extra oil.

 

It really is a simple recipe. We enjoyed our chicken dipped in BBQ sauce. It was also good with honey mustard and ketchup. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes total. We will definitely be making this again.

ENJOY!

Pregnancy

Finally I am doing another throwback Thursday! This one is mostly for me to remember how my pregnancy was but also to share with others what I did during my pregnancy.

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Overall I had a really easy pregnancy with Liam. There was one point around 12 weeks I believe that I got really sick (respiratory) and I just couldn’t get healthy. It was a tough time for me emotionally and it was extremely exhausting. That lasted about 2-3 weeks I believe.

After that it was really smooth sailing (as far as what I can remember -it’s been 8 months…).

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Some of the things I did for myself throughout my pregnancy was regular chiropractor visits and massages. I would get a prenatal massage once a month and go to the chiropractor once a month and as needed.

I maintained a regular exercise routine. I would exercise twice a week at work doing the elliptical machine and while I could I would do abs and push ups. Towards the end of my pregnancy I switched to elliptical machine and stretching. I also continued to teach Zumba twice a week up until Liam was born. I definitely believe keeping myself physically active during my pregnancy helped so much.

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I tried to eat pretty healthy. I never really had any food aversions other than coffee. It was only in the first few weeks but I stopped drinking coffee once I found out I was pregnant. Throughout the first trimester and probably part of the second I just didn’t really have an interest in food. I tried my best to get several servings of fruits and vegetables in during the day. I did develop a sweet tooth but always ate my veggies and fruits too. I didn’t have any morning sickness which I’m so thankful for.

My sleep wasn’t impacted much other than having to pee once or twice in the night in the third trimester. I did get a pregnancy pillow and loved it.

I did use a blend of some essential oils on my tummy as it grew. I can’t remember exactly what I put in it (dang it!) but I know there was gentle baby and lavendar. Whether it did anything or not I am not sure but I don’t have stretch marks on my tummy.

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I didn’t really have much energy the whole pregnancy but especially during the first trimester. I would take naps whenever I could and just learned to rest when I needed to.

I kept my stress levels down by really not reading too much into pregnancy. I listened to what my doctor said and that was it. I didn’t want to worry about something that was nothing. I think this really helped me stay calm and just roll with it during my pregnancy.

I can’t think of anything else right now. I think I covered the basics. Just remember different things work for different people and this is what happened to work well for me. Just hang in there and remember how amazing pregnancy really is and that you are growing s real live human being!

Sweet tooth update

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I’ve been sick and was unable to get anything written.

I wanted to update you all on my no sweets adventure. It has been one week today and let me tell you it was a tough one. The first 3 days were actually the hardest but since then it hasn’t been so bad.

Joe and I don’t keep sweets in the house so that helps a lot. When I did find myself craving something sweet (usually after dinner) I was advised by Molly to try eating some fruit. We happened to have some kiwi in the fridge and that was the ticket! Kiwi is so sweet and juicy. It quenched my craving.

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I was tempted by cupcakes and cheesecake over the weekend but I was able to say no because I knew I would have to tell Molly and my friend Jenna and they are both holding me accountable to the goal.

I have a cheat day coming up Saturday for Joe’s birthday and then next weekend for our vacation to Seattle. I’m feeling committed to this goal which makes it easier to follow through.

I will update again once April is over to let you know how it went and if I commit to another month.

Sweet tooth

Ever since Liam was born I’ve had a major sweet tooth. Well now that Liam is over 6 months old I’ve decided I need to kick my sweet tooth.

I decided to make a change. I talked to my friend Molly who is also an amazing beachbody coach. I asked her to help hold me accountable and we set a plan. Molly is going to help me kick this sweet tooth in the butt!

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This is the plan: for the month of April I will not eat any sweets with two exceptions. The first exception is Joe’s birthday party and the second is our vacation to Seattle. Other than that, no sweets!

Wish me luck as I make this new goal and hopefully create a healthy habit for my life! I don’t intend to cut sweets out entirely but to stop eating them daily and only eat them occasionally.

Nighttime face lotion

In a previous post I spoke about Rosehip oil and how I love it as a face lotion. In another previous post I spoke about Young Living (YL) essential oils and how I love using them. Well I wanted to make a lotion so that I could get the benefits of Rosehip oil and essential oils on my face daily. Therefore I created my nighttime lotion.

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I use this lotion each night after I wash my face. It has coconut oil in it so it isn’t quickly absorbed which is why I use it at night. A little bit of this goes a long way.

I didn’t do exact measurements but can share generally how much of each item is in my mix. All ingredients are give or take a little depending on your preference.

Nighttime lotion:

  • about 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • about 10 droppers full of Rosehip oil
  • about 15 drops frankincense essential oil (YL)
  • about 10 drops lemon essential oil (YL)
  • about 10 drops lavender essential oil (YL)
  • a few drops of vitamin E

This lotion makes my face feel fresh and smooth which is why I love it so much!!

Rosehip Oil

At the suggestion of a friend and after reading a blog post by Julie Fagan I decided to try Rosehip oil. I’m always looking for natural products to swap out other beauty products and this seemed like it was worth trying.

Rosehip Oil for Face, Nails, Hair and Skin From Majestic Pure - 100% Pure, Organic Cold Pressed Premium Rose Hip Seed Oil, 4 oz

First of all, Rosehip oil is extracted from the hip of the rose. The hip is the fruit left once the rose has bloomed and lost its petals.

I did a little research on the oil and found that it is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids and can be used for:

  • Wrinkles
  • Scars and Burns
  • Stretch Marks
  • Pigmentation
  • Dry and Sensitive Skin
  • Sun Damage
  • Acne and Acne Scarring

I have now been using Rosehip oil for about 6 weeks and I love it! I put it on in the morning before my make up (about 5-6 drops applied with clean fingertips). It absorbs quickly and makes my face feel fresh, moisturized, and smooth after applying. It’s super light and non-greasy which makes it perfect to apply in the morning before going anywhere.

I also apply it in the evening but have it mixed with coconut oil, vitamin E, and some essential oils for a combination that I call my “nightime lotion.” This lotion is a little greasier because of the coconut oil which is why I apply it at night.

Overall what I have noticed so far is that my skin feels great and looks great! I didn’t have terrible skin before using this but I do feel like it is helping my skin and I will continue to use this product as my regular moisturizer.

I have also been applying it to a scar on my back. I haven’t noticed much change there but I have had this scar for many years and I’m hoping that with regular application of this oil it may reduce it’s appearance. I will keep you posted if there is vast improvement.