Category Archives: pregnancy

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:





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:


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):



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Baby Stuff: What We Used for the first 4 months

ETA: Of course, I began compiling this list when our little one was around 4 months old.  I’ll add a few things at the end which we’ve used from month 5-6.  Also, I enjoyed reading these lists to gather ideas about what our baby may like.  Figure out what works best for you and your baby!

We believe in swaddling, and our baby loves it! (In fact, we are trying to transition away from using it now and it is not fun!) We tried swaddling ourselves, and this Woombie is a great purchase.  Easy to zip up and stretch enough for him to move around.  Well worth trying for those babies who like to swaddle.


Pack n Play

We use ours for going out of town, and we plan  on using as a play pen when E gets older.  I know some people who use their quite a bit more than us, but I think it will get more use down the road.

Noise machine (old alarm clock): Our E man likes white noise (plus it helps to drown out the rest of the noise in the house).  There are many available for sale; but, we just happened to find a setting we liked on our old alarm clock.

Humidifier: When E was about 2 months old, he got a bad cold and this really helped with congestion.  We will use it frequently if he looks like he’s getting sick.  Good, useful purchase.

Nose Squirt

Don’t Leave Home Without It! Our doctor gave us two of these, and I scoffed, thinking “why would I need these things?” Well lesson learned on our first trip out of town and E man needed  his nose cleared at 2 a.m.  Seriously, I keep one in his bag at all times.

Boppy :I would recommend every new mom get a Boppy (whether or not for breastfeeding).  It is such a great little pillow that the baby can use as a head prop or tummy time.  Great buy for most babies.

Doughnut: Not sure what the real name of the “Doughnut,” but made by the same company as Boppy.  We really got our money’s worth out of this.  It is like a little lounger pillow and our 6 mo. old still fits on it.  He actually takes naps in it (with my supervision) and loves lounging on it.  (Our baby actually outgrew Bumbo pretty quickly, so we use the Doughnut and put the Boppy on it as a little baby recliner – he loves it when we are all hanging out at the house).

Jumperoo: Would have paid ten times as much for this.  Our baby LOVES the bouncer and will bounce till his heart’s content.  When he was too short for it, we just put a few books underneath.  We ordered it when he was about 3.5 months old and has been using it ever since.  We can tell he’s ready to be mobile on his own and is close to outgrowing it.

Fisher Price Swing:  No bueno for our baby.  He didn’t like swings OR vibrating chairs at all (hence, why we were thrilled with the bouncer). I see many great reviews and I think it is just one of those things that parents will have to wait and see if their baby likes it.

Burp Cloths: We were given a few monogrammed burp clothes as gifts, and boy – do we ever use them! Keep a pile close by because they are necessary for spit up and drool!

Stroller: My husband did the research for the car seat and found this popular Chicco System.  We got the car seat, base, and stroller.  We really love all the pieces, thus far.  (We know that we will have to change his car seat once he outgrows.)  He loves his “bucket” and we would take it with us to restaurants, etc, and he often falls asleep in it.  He is just now at the point now where we use the stroller by itself (without the bucket).  It IS bulky (for throwing in and out of the car) and doesn’t have a lot of bottom storage space when the bucket is in.  However, we are still really pleased with it all. We may look into a BOB down the road, but for now, this suits all of our needs.

Baby Bjorn: Our favorite carrier, by far.  He would often go to sleep in it while I did household chores and fixed dinner. Easy to snap and go!

We heard this seahorse was helpful for sleep, but not for our little man! It is a cute toy, and that is the only way we’ve used it.

Wish we would have purchased: This is the Fisher Price Lamb swing, I believe.  We were given two swings, neither of which did our baby like to be in.   I read so many reviews of this swing and really wished we had had it the first two months based on the great reviews!

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Unecessary Worry & Unsolicited Advice

Unnecessary Worry & Unsolicited Advice:

Being a mother has introduced to me to all sorts of new social norms and ideas
1. Worry: I have always been a worrier.  As a child, I was cautious.  As an adult, I worry about my grandparents aging, my parents and their happiness, my brother’s direction, our financial state…and it goes on.  I also tend to worry about offending people and making them happy.  All of these things are really a waste of time.  And now, with an infant, that “worry” list has probably increased ten-fold.  I wake up every day thinking of something that could happen to our baby and things that I don’t want him to do.  (Getting lost, forgetting who I am at daycare; feeding him too much or too little; turning the t.v. on; kidnapped by strangers; diseases and sicknesses; riding in cars with stupid teenager friends; drinking too much in college; not wearing his seatbelt – you get the idea).

This is all ridiculous thinking, of course.  I know this; yet, I can’t turn off the “worry” thoughts I have.  My husband, thankfully, is more of an analytical thinker and researcher.  He balances me out; but, we both know this “worrywart” gene is directly from my mother and grandmother, who obsessively worry to the point of unhealthiness.  How can I bypass this, especially as a mother? I wish I had the answers.

I workout, pray, and take time out for myself.  I remind myself that essentially worrying is a sin of vanity because it means you have lost your faith in God and his plans.  How do you deal with the worry that accompanies becoming a mother?

2. Unsolicited Advice: (from family and strangers alike).  Thankfully, I escaped the “Hi, I’m a stranger and you’re pregnant, so I’m going to give you stupid advice” for the most part.  However, I am now amazed as to what people will say about an infant to his mother! Our sweet boy is a happy, chunky, healthy baby.  For this, I am thankful everyday. Now, why is it that people love a chunky baby, but feel the need to say “Oh, when he starts walking all that baby fat will fall off.”  Why? He’s 5 months old, a ways away from walking.  He’s charming you with his smile and yet, you’re telling me this? Because I’m secretly feeding him pureed Oreos and Mt. Dew.  People have a hard time not projecting their own insecurities onto others, especially by way of judging someone’s child through a back handed comment.

Oh, and another? “He’s probably going to be teased a lot because of his name.”  Oh yeah, the name that I just explained to you was important to our family because it was his “great-great grandfather’s name.  The name that is old fashioned and not quite “in vogue” but is beautiful to us.  Gee, thanks lady.  However, I plan on raising my child to have self-confidence and tact, unlike you.

Ok, rant for the day is over! (And look for more “fun” posts this week – but, I can’t be the only “I worry about everything – don’t you dare look at my child cross eye mama, right?)

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What I Learned: Second & Third Trimesters

Read What I Learned: First Trimester here

Second Trimester

Personal: By the time my second trimester had rolled around, we were settled in our new home.  However! I switched jobs.  Went back to adjunct teaching – two different schools, two different cities, four days a week.  I *probably* over extended myself that fall semester.  But, we had some insurance costs and I wasn’t sure about my working future after the baby was born.   I’m no stranger to hard work, and if I hadn’t been pregnant would have loved the challenge of the work…but, man, was I tired.

There is a definite Energy Boost 2nd Trimester (and TAKE ADVANTAGE of it, friends, because you will need the rest later), but I used mine all up working.  Although, it was also a good time because we felt more financially stable and I felt a lot better physically, so we were able to get out and about.

 Morning Sickness:By 2nd trimester, this was all but gone.  I was still  a little leery about chicken and fish, but otherwise found my food stride.  Began to really crave fruit and yogurt.  As in, every day a huge bowl of it, plus two boiled eggs for breakfast (I must’ve thought myself a world class weight lifting athlete at that time )

Exhaustion: Like  I said, there is a noticeable change in energy during the second trimester.  Use it! Everyone told me too, and I’m glad I did.  We visited family, worked on our house, and I worked a lot (even though I still went to bed fairly early).

Maternity Clothes: Definitely needed them.  Tried to buy a mix of clothes that were useful for work and running around.  Demi-panel pants, some Target maternity tops, and a couple of wrap dresses just about did me through.  My basic oufit was pants (jeans), a long sleeved tee with extra long tank underneath, a open/swing cardigan (a pregant and post partum genius design – invest in those!), and a scarf or necklace to punch it up.

Where I Shopped:

Target: Really, for convenience sake, this was where many of my clothes came from.  I wasn’t a huge fan of our maternity section (too small) and wasn’t impressed with many things.  I mostly bought regular items in a size up (except for pants).

Old Navy: Great for maternity wear for selection and reviews.  If I couldn’t see it in person, at least I could read reviews.  Old Navy got me through with cheap staples.

Gap: More pricey than Old Navy, but I would recommend as worth it.  These black pants I wore at least twice a week (felt feminine and classy and so comfortable)  Gap tees (long sleeve) maternity – best maternity shirt I bought – so worth the extra dollars.


Emotions: My patience level during second trimester did wear down a bit with teaching a lot, especially towards the end.  Also, I began craving baked goods and was constantly fighting the battle of don’t gain weight, but taking way too long to get through the Publix bakery.  I think I threw myself into work because I was worried about everything to come (baby, getting ready for baby, money – all normal).  Of course, I wish now that I would’ve relaxed a bit more…but that is my nature!

Third Trimester

The theme of this trimester: uncomfortable! I carried my baby low, so I dealt with pelvic and back pressure.  I think it was hard to physically not be as active as I wanted to be.  I still worked out (a bit) and walked, but, by the end, it was slow going.

Morning Sickness: Quite common, I had a bit of nausea return the last few weeks – it is essentially because your stomach is smushed (medical term!) and I did sense a loss of appetite.

Exhaustion: A lot of rest required! More physical than anything.  Although sleeping did become more uncomfortable as the pregnancy neared its end.

Maternity Clothes: Yikes.  So not fun the last 6 weeks.  I didn’t want to buy anything because it felt pointless – I ended up wearing a pair of fold-over yoga pants most days – especially after I finished working.

Emotions: Wow- a roller coaster, definitely.  Thinking through everything about having a baby was scary and exciting.  I remember the night after our Lamaze instructor came to our house to finish our classes since I was being induced early.  While it was great to have all of the information and how everything would proceed at the hospital and during labor, my husband and I just laid in bed, wide-eyed, all night thinking of everything we knew we didn’t know.

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Pregnancy Tidbits: What I Learned & Lived (1st Trimester)

Now that I have a 3 month old, I want to document my pregnancy tips and tidbits that I learned and may be helpful to others.

First Trimester

Personal –  Our lives had been uprooted from our beloved Lowcountry (where we lived on the South Carolina coast) from a fabulous re-done 50’s cottage on the marsh to Florida for job reasons.  The economy forced us to move to a community closer to a large city where both my husband and I’s degrees would go further.  It was a difficult decision, but we know our hearts belong in South Carolina and we hope to be back there soon.  We were happily surprised with great news amongst moving boxes, new jobs, and a new home.  It was bittersweet, emotionally, because we are far away from our families, but sweet because we knew our little one would be loved by many family members.  Thus, enter the pregnancy hormones!

Morning Sickness – Many women have horrible morning sickness that requires drugs (Zofran – I’ve heard – works wonders), and others don’t encounter it at all.   My experience was enough to make me miserable, but not enough to require medication.  From about week 6-13, I was nauseous around the clock and only ate certain things.

What worked for me:

  • Bread/Carbohydrates/Baked Potatoes: Plain, toasted bagels, toast and crackers helped keep the stomach settled.  I lived off of bagels for awhile, along with plain mashed or baked potatoes.
  • Vitamin B: I read online that this helped and bought the over the counter vitamin – I think it helped but definitely didn’t prevent.
  • Ginger Ale/Sprite: At first, these helped my nausea, but then became too syrupy and sugary for my taste. So, I chugged cold water constantly and that was a great quencher.
  • Scrambled Eggs:  I couldn’t even look at protein (meat or fish) without gagging, but I knew I needed some sort of protein.  The texture of scrambled eggs was comforting and good enough for me to eat.
  • FRUIT:  Maybe because it was summer in Florida, but fruit was my savior. I craved it and ate a ridiculous amount of fruit (often with cottage cheese to make it more substantial)

Exhaustion – As many people will tell you, the first trimester is exhausting.   I would say especially with the first pregnancy because you and your body don’t know what to expect. All the advice I received was “take it easy” – and I did.  I believe it is a great time to sleep and let your body do what it needs to do.

Maternity Clothes – During the first trimester, I only bought a few maternity items.  Most of my clothes fit and because it was summer, I was able to use all of my comfortable summer dresses.  Plus, I think if I hadn’t been working every day, I probably wouldn’t have needed to buy anything.  Many people recommend the baby band, which holds up pants that don’t quite button.  It didn’t work for me and I’m glad I just tried the Target version for under $20.

Emotions – The first trimester is exciting AND scary. You’re unsure of what to expect and nervous about your body baking a sweet babe.  I suggest taking it easy and staying AWAY from Google.  I only “Googled” a few things during pregnancy and regret that I did because it only exacerbates pregnancy paranoia.  Also, take the time to enjoy the quiet before the baby arrives.  I wish that I had really taken more time to relax, since we have not much of it now!

Oh, and Goldfish! Goldfish were a lifesaver – I kept a baggie of them in my purse in case nausea hit!

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