Category Archives: health

Heck Week

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like everything is being tested and pushed to the limits? Like heck week for athletes, we had one of those weeks.  Our little man has been teething, and we discovered an ear infection last week, along with chest congestion.  I just kept looking at our pediatrician and waiting for him to be amazed by how many sicknesses were hitting our little guy.  First child rookie move – teething, congestion, whining is all normal.  NORMAL.

So, these packaged (yes, probably overpriced) wipes are on every coffee table:
Then, because of the anti-biotics E-man is taking, he got a staph infection from a reaction to them.  As if he didn’t have enough, now he has a rash/infection behind his ear – yes, the infected ear! (Teething = lots of drool = lots of congestion in the lungs = bad cough + ear infection = staph infection = more med = Poor baby!)

Luckily, we got the little guy medicated and thought we were in the clear.  NOTE: To any parents, don’t ever think you’re in the CLEAR about anything.  Once it’s smooth sailing, something will disrupt.

Mama possible ingests old guacamole and/or ground beef and gets food poisoning.  Suffice it to say, that is 24 hours I would never, ever wish on my worst enemy.  Not as bad as child labor, but, um, it is up there on horrible pain list.

Thankfully, we had a lot of this hanging out and I’ve been consuming a lot of it.  Also, thankfully, we have a dad/husband who can swing around CVS, ped office, and shuttle me to the doctor during the day.

House? Dirty.  Laundry? Being cleaned.  Being on the mend? Hoping so! Here’s looking towards a week of not being sick, not canceling classes, and a happier baby.

Life defined by children; it is always changing. Symbolic of this is my “Day in the Life” post I’ve been attempting to write since E was 4 months old.  Life is moving, rushing, changing, and pacing so fast.  I want to write it down and by the time I do, it has changed.  I’m an impatient person, by huge default.  I don’t like to be sick – I want to know when I’ll be better.  Can’t stand for my child to be sick – when will these antibiotics work?? I’ve probably put my face in the sand more than I should’ve the past few months of our baby’s life.  Sleepless nights, crying, an exhausted family of three, work/jobs, and time to workout (hahahah, joke  – never!)? It’s no wonder that my impatience lets me put blinders on to the “next week”, “next phase” that will surely be easier. Surely!

However, sick days at home are good reminder of the body saying, “Slow down.”  Snuggle on the couch.  Life probably won’t get easier, but it does get sweeter.  So, amidst this Heck Week in our house,  I’m looking around and thanking our blessings.

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Health and Lifestyle: Eating a Paleo Diet

Paleo, Primal, Ancestoral, Caveman: A way of eating and thinking about food

Is this a trend? Perhaps. For me, it will and already is a lifestyle change.  It is very hard, but yet, very easy after seeing and feeling how great I feel.

Disclaimer: I am not, and will probably, never be PERFECT.  However, I believe the science and arguments behind what I’ve read.  For the most part, Paleo “experts” will tell you to follow the 80/20 rule (80 percent on track, 20 percent “off”).  While I do believe in this way of eating and living, do understand that I am still a work in progress. This is my journey to feeling healthy and getting into great shape!

My history with eating Paleo (in our house we call it “cavemen”):  Spring of 2010, my husband ran across The Primal Blueprint via Mark’s Daily Apple (the original blog place for swapping ideas and recipes) after getting into Crossfit work out regime (most people who do Crossfit recommend this type of eating style).

He researched and proposed we try it out.  My first reaction, “I am not giving up (FILL IN THE BLANK)!”  What’s a life without pasta, french bread, dessert, milkshakes, you name it – I was not going to give it up.  Until I did.  (Now, did I eat 100% perfect all the time.  No, we still had pizza on the weekends, random sandwiches here and there, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Slowly we migrated to a more Caveman diet, rather than Conventional Wisdom (Conventional Wisdom = Traditional low-fat, high fiber and grain diets. Think food pyramid).

We cut out processed carbohydrates (cereal, bagels, oatmeal) from our breakfast and moved to eggs, bacon, and fruit w/yogurt (rookie mistake, more on this later).  Lunch moved from sandwiches to salads with whatever protein we had (leftovers, tuna salad, etc.)  Dinner was more of the same; although, many times, we made stir fry type dinners with veggies and meat.

I’ll call this our phase one: we really worked hard to cut out that processed carbs from our Everyday diet.  We still relied heavily on organic yogurt, fruit, nuts, and nut butters.  Also, I still drank red wine, had chunks of dark chocolate, and ate “out” on weekends.  This phase was hard though.  Why? Because I love cereal – LOVE IT.  My go to snack and breakfast.  My husband loves sandwiches.  Also, learning how to prep fresh food was challenging. However, we made a huge amount of progress this phase (I’d say it was probably over 6 months).

But it worked! It really worked.  We als0 integrated vitamins and fish oil supplements in our diet, as many primal experts recommend.  Energy went through the roof! (At this time, we were also working out about 5 days a week, Crossfitting).  Granted, at that time, we also lived in an adorable house, loved where we lived, and worked quasi part time (husband was job hunting, I had odd hours and wasn’t full time).  Life was stressful, financially, but we were in a great place physically and mentally.

Main areas to avoid:

Dairy

Wheat/Grains

Sugar/Fructose

Legumes

Summer of 2010: We uprooted to Florida, both got new jobs, and I got pregnant.  As you can imagine, the healthy regime we had worked so hard to create got pushed aside.  Generally, we kept with our protein, veggie, fruit, and low processed carb diets.  Time for working out got pushed out.  My first tri-mester nausea and exhaustion meant I slept a lot and ate lots of saltines! Then, we had our sweet boy and learned the meaning of parenthood.  Parenthood = Survival on no sleep, no food in fridge, and whatever we could do to get through the week.

Image via Mark's Daily Apple

By the way, I think all primal experts and enthusiasts should remember that Cavemen had lots of time to catch up on sleep when they added new little ones! Ha. Seriously though, it took us about a 5 months to get back to a schedule where we were actually getting sleep and could think coherently.   As we attempt to focus more on our food choices and working out, it has become even more important because we have this little person for whom we want to give the most healthy life.

Our eating style now? We are in a new phase.  Taking what we know, with a much more jam packed schedule (less time to workout and eat healthy).  It is Challenging.   If I were to be totally honest, I would say we are about 60/40.  Many late nights and early mornings inhibit the choices we could and should be making.  However, living in Florida makes produce choices easy and great (straight from farmers).  We aren’t in the budget world to afford grass fed beef every week, but we stick with reasonable, organic meat choice.

As we get better about our eating choices, I will post regularly about what and how we do.  This is our journey and I hope that in documenting it, it will help us become better! My favorite quote I’ve heard lately and is now my mantra:

PAY THE FARMER, NOT THE DOCTOR

Fabulous recipes websites, with articles thrown in:

Robb Wolf

The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate

Nom Nom Paleo

Everyday Paleo

Excellent article links (These links answer a few, but not all, questions about Primal/Paleo):

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/scarlet-letter/comment-page-1#comment-11179

http://www.health-bent.com/blog/treat-yourself-right

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/07/27/why-isnt-this-working/#more-2723

http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/06/22/attention-scale-addicts-part-2/comment-page-2/#comment-12663

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Filed under Crossfit, health, motherhood, pregnancy

Workout Gear

And by workout gear, I do mean gear that is worn at home and immediately put on after work clothes are shed! I love great workout clothes that are quality: no pilling after use, can handle a long, sweaty workout, and can be worn to Target.

What kind of workout gear do you like? I love trying new brands and gear!

Most of my gear comes from Target, but it seems lately that I’ve tried to find more long lasting brands (including outdoor clothing).

So. I have had a taste of the Lululemon koolaid, and I’m am loving it!  Seriously, though.  Shelling out a lot for leggings made me skeptical. The wunder unders are very much worth it – they look great and must be made with magical thread.  I’d rather have a few pairs of these, then 10 pairs of cheap ones.

Lululemon Wunder Under Crop

    Because of the ease of Athleta’s website (I can add it onto an Old Navy order), I’ve tried a few of their things.  On the pricey side, but they work pretty well.  The Teelicious tank is and was great for covering a post partum tummy while working out.

Athleta Legging

Athleta Teelicious Tank

  My husband is into outdoor gear, so he’s convinced me try outdoors brands like Columbia and Patagonia.  Columbia’s fit never seemed to work that great for me, but I do really like Patagonia gear. Arc’teryx is an expensive brand, but their “tees” are fantastic.  The weight and fit of the fabric is so wonderful  – I wish I could wear them all the time!

Arc’teryx Top

My “go to” workout pieces from Target: Sports Bra and Bootcut Yoga pants.  Well priced and I don’t mind replacing them, as needed.  Good quality and fun colors.

Target: C9 Sports Bra

Target: C9 Bootcut pants

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So Much Going On: Daycare, Life, Etc.!

I’ve gotten a few posts prepared, and I had a plan for “What I’m Loving,” but then a job offer got in the way.  Short story: I work from home, which is a blessing.  However, I got an offer for a short term contract that is really an ideal semi part time offer.  I didn’t want to make the “daycare” decision until our E man was 1 yr. old.  But, here is this offer that came not once, but twice to my door.

 

I have no idea how this will pan out, but our E will be in daycare (that we like, visited, and is a part of our church) maximum 4 days a week.   Both of our schedules are flexible, so we are going to work to help him be in daycare less.  Ahh. Regardless, this mama has been a MESS.  It hurts the heart, even though he probably won’t even remember. Plus, it is a short term contract, so my husband and I agreed that this will be a “trial run” and if I don’t want to do it again, we won’t.  All I can say is: Best for our family, right now (My only little bit of “new” parent advice…this is how my husband and I have learned to roll).

 

Theme of Parenting: I thought pregnancy was hard, until I went through two day labor/C-section.  I thought labor and hospital visit were hard, until I had to comfort and feed my newborn.  I thought having a newborn was tough, until I had to figure out going back to work.  Friends, I’m getting that, this – the parenting, does not get any easier.

 

So! Any Daycare tips and/or advice? I know he will have to have everything labeled…any good places to go for stickers/clothing labels, etc?  Things that we will need or want to have him take? Also, I’m worried about his nap schedule – and good tips for helping him with that? Thanks in advance!

Now, for more fun tidbits!

Random Wednesday:

San Pellegrino Aranciata.  This is a delightful drink for beating those ridiculous temperatures we’ve all been having lately.  Serve it in a cocktail class to make it even more swanky.  (Or fill up a beer glass half with pilsner and half with San Pellegrino lemon for a refreshing toddy).

Jack Rogers in platinum.  Classic, comfortable, go with literally all of my summer outfits.

This picture explains why I wish I could just G-Chat Reese and have her be my very best friend.  Outfit: Classic. Comfortable. Stylish.  And do I spy one of those J.Crew snap totes from a few years ago (of which I have about 3)?

Bought this dress from Land’s End Canvas two weeks ago.  I followed the reviews and this does have a generous/comfortable fit.  The material is a like a stretchy pique knit.  On sale now for $34.99.   So glad I bought it.  Cute enough to feel pulled together and comfy enough to run around with my infant and bear the heat (i.e. not show the glow of sweat).

Finally:

Love Sheridan French’s blog.  Fabulous style: I want this vest she blogs about in her latest post.

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Health & Lifestyle: Crossfit

Crossfit

This may seem like an overstatement, but I believe Crossfit is revolutionizing how we think about working out (Check out my post on Paleo Diet).

My experience with Crossfit: Began back in December of 2009.  My husband initially found it and essentially he was my personal trainer for a few months (which was great!).  We lived in a town with  Marine base, and many of the Marines used Crossfit style workouts which my husband became interested in.

Long story short, we started following the website’s Workout of the Day.  I can confidently say that we were both in the BEST shape of our lives (although, our goals were to keep going as we each wanted to get closer to our weight loss goals).  We never joined a Crossfit gym; we just joined our local YMCA.  We bought a few pieces of workout equipment and use a lot of Youtube guidance for different workouts.

Background: I’ve always been an athlete (never the star one, but active nonetheless).  I am one of those people who does enjoy working out and sweating.  For me, it is a huge mental release.   However, I’ve always been frustrated with my body.  While I was strong, I was never in the shape I wanted to be.  After studying Crossfit, and by using it for 6 months, I know why.  Crossfit really does work the “muscle memory” and each workout is never the same.  Also, some days are more cardio based and some are more form based.

Here is what you need to know, in a nutshell:

Crossfit workouts are usually about 30 minutes long.

They are HARD! Like harder than you’ve ever worked before. (I did, officially, puke after a workout one day.  Weird thing was, I felt pretty proud of it).

You have to give it time, follow the WOD (Workout of the Day), and not add or alter it. Working on form (especially when doing Olympic lifting) is very important.

They consist of things like (on any weekly basis, usually): sprints, squats, pull ups, push ups, dead lifts, hang snatchs, chest presses, sit ups.

I’ve never been to a Crossfit gym, and I would probably join if we lived close to one.  They are new trend, and I hear that they are expensive.  I can bet they are really worth it, having a coach and working with a group everyday.  However, it is so possible to do it without joining the CF franchise gym.

It WORKS!  I can’t explain how I went from a gym/jogger/lift a  15 pound dumbell workout to a dead lifting “diva” (ha, cheesy, right ?! I had never felt so STRONG in my life.  It was awesome.

*           *           *         *            *

Then, we moved and I got pregnant. So, I will say for the past year (Up until the last few weeks  of this June), we did Crossfit sporadically.  New jobs, pregnancy, and new baby all came first.  I did follow Crossfit Mom during my pregnancy, although not as intensely as pre-pregnancy.

Falling off the Crossfit wagon was frustrating, especially since I had come so far.  (My husband, as male bodies often do, showed more dramatic difference than I with CF.  He was also able to run and workout for the past nine months, but he is still re-committed to 3 days ON, 1 day OFF with me.  I gained a whole new appreciation for my body after having our sweet baby boy.  But, momma is ready to get back on the wagon and get back in shape.  I’m sure my body will be different, since having a child, but I look forward to getting strong again).

*I will say this: CF is a lot easier with a workout buddy.  My husband pushed me to do workouts that I thought I could never do and would never have attempted on my own.  Using the big weights and bars can be intimidating and a little embarrassing when you aren’t used to it.  But, in the end, so worth it!*

2010, for me, was a year of discovering and understanding my health (not in the 7th grade health book way, like that sentence sounds!).  Finding Crossfit was a great workout discovery, then beginning a new eating style (Paleo) made me feel even better. Crossfit is a great thing and I suggest anyone who is looking for a different (better) way to workout and lose weight, to just try it out.   (Here’s to hoping this will help move the pregnancy weight that is still hanging out!)

Image via: http://www.crossfit.comb(CherylBoatmanValleyCFRegionals)

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