Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feeling Worn Out And A Little Lost

Pin It
I have quite a few other posts in the works right now, but this topic is on my heart right now. I'm not sure if it's the stress of a new job or if it's that my baby is at a really fun stage so I'm missing him more than ever or if it's that I feel like our house is ALWAYS a mess, I never get to the gym, having to make dinner makes me want to cry, etc. Is this how us working moms/wives/women/person always feel?

I was at my last job for 9 years. I had a lot of flexibility and freedom. I was able to pump 3 times a day for 30 minutes, still take at least a 30 minute lunch, and was able to leave early or come in late if necessary. Being at a company for that long has it's perks. From there, I went to being home for 2 weeks with my baby boy. He's 6.5 months now and SO much fun. He's crawling, sitting, eating solids, 'talking', laughing and more! Then going from that to a new job where I should really be 'more dedicated'. I hate being the one person there who has to take 2 schedule breaks, come in later than everyone else because of taking the baby to the babysitter, and has to leave exactly at 5 because I have to get home to feed Elijah. Plus, I have to re-schedule or leave meetings and trainings around my breaks-especially because I actually feed Elijah instead of just pumping. I already feel like I'm the biggest slacker in the office! It's adding a lot of stress.

When I accepted this job, I knew it would be long hours and some weekends. I really wanted this job, and I really needed a job-so I was fine with it. Now that I'm there I'm having small panic attacks thinking of 3 weekends in a row or holidays that I won't be home with my baby and hubby. I traded travel from my old job to nights and weekends at my new job. I knew it was coming, but it's here and harder than I thought.

Then of course there's our desire to eat REAL FOOD. Which doesn't usually include quick fixins and take out. This is really important to me, so I'll continue doing it-but it still is 'one more thing'. Add to that my desire to work out more and  my 1st 5K coming up and needing to train. I went to the gym 2 days ago and was only there 5 minutes before I got a call from my hubby on what solids to feed him. I could only run for 15 minutes, then I had to get home for bedtime.

Let's throw in my desire to be a better wife, better my relationship with God by actually DOING my quiet times, have a straightened home (not even spotless, just straightened), making baby food instead of the jarred stuff, and tossing around the idea of cloth diapers-I pretty much want to crawl in a hole and never come out!

I hope you're not thinking I'm a complete wimp at this point! It feels like so much, like I'm going to have to drop something!

On the good side, at church this Sunday, I grabbed a few of our recorded services since I haven't gotten a chance to listen much lately with Elijah. I popped in a CD and our pastor was talking about how God is big enough. I haven't even gotten all the way though, but it gives me hope. He's talking about how we need to find our rest in Jesus. How life get's crazy and hard, and we need rest. I am feeling this need very much right now. I just need to figure out how to hand my burden to Jesus and find my rest in him. I'll hopefully finish the disc tomorrow and learn how to accomplish just that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

6.5 Month BabyWise Update

Pin It
I really want to get better at posting my BabyWise updates. I plan to once a month. Here's where we're at now. Elijah had a growth spurt around 5 months old. It felt like it lasted FOREVER. He started waking up one to two times at night. My middle of the night(MOTN) pump went out the window, but luckily I was able to get enough milk for Elijah's bottles until I was done at my old job.

I took two weeks off and was basically pump free. During this time, Elijah stuck with his normal schedule:
7 a.m. WEP
8:30 a.m. Nap
11 a.m. WEP
12:30 p.m. Nap
2:00 WP (When we pick him up from the babysitters)
2:30 BF
3:30 Nap
5:30 WEP
7:30 BF, Bed

Around 5.5 months we started solids. Slowly, but with Elijah's growth spurt and waking up twice at night-I was hoping solids would help. They did a little. I quickly increased solids from once a day to 3 times a day, about 1-2 ounces per feeding (usually 4-6 oz. per day).

Right now at 6.5 months, we're in a transition phase. I'm researching appropriate 6 month schedules. Elijah was still waking up around 3 a.m. until last Friday. I decided that it became habitual since it was the same time every night and we let him cry it out (CIO). CIO lasted about 30 minutes then he went back to sleep. The next night, he woke up around 3 and only cried 5 minutes before going back to sleep. He's been sleeping through the night (STTN) ever since (about a week now)!

Now that that is fixed, I'm working on fixing his bedtime/morning wake time. I need him to wake up around 7:30 so that his 1st wake time isn't over 1.5-2 hours. Sometimes he'll wake around 6:20, and we don't get him down for his nap at his sitters until 9:10 (that's almost 3 hours!). So I'm trying to put him down for bed at 7 p.m. I have to admit for this working mom-that's tough. I'll try this for a week and see what happens. If it doesn't fix it, I'll try 8 p.m. and see if that works.

Once that is fixed-hopefully soon-I'll work on his wake times (WT), so I can drop his late afternoon nap. We have a lot to fix! Here's his messy 'routine' now:
6:20-6:30 WT (this is supposed to be 7-7:30) I BF at this time.
8:45-9:10 Nap (this depends on his sitter)
10:30 WT (This is supposed to be 11). I go to his sitters at 11 to BF.
12:00 Solids
12:30-12:45 Nap (we're going to try to extend this a little later to hopefully get him to sleep longer)
1:30 WT (This is supposed to be 2:00).
2:30 BF (I think I'll extend this to 7)
3:00 Solids
3:45 Nap
5:30 WEP (He'll usually actually sleep until this time!) I BF when we wake him up.
6:30 Solids
7:30 BF and Bed

As you can tell-it's really messy! When we created the first schedule listed, it was completely 100% accurate. It's crazy how a growth spurt and a month can switch everything around. It's true that as soon as you get used to something, it changes!!! I'll post soon once we get a good 6-7 month schedule in order. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Your Breastmilk Effected By Your Period?

Pin It
So you know on the last post about breastfeeding, I mentioned that my little boy was perhaps getting too distracted to nurse efficiently? While I do think that's becoming a problem, I actually think the problem was something else. I've noticed the past few months around my period (sorry guys!) Elijah gets really fussy while nursing. I remember that I heard the hormones can maybe make the milk taste different, so I did a little research. From what I've found, your period actually effects your supply! It's a little lower, or harder to access-so that explains the fussy baby!

He's still only nursing about 10 minutes total, but he's a lot less fussy about it. I think it's back to it's normal milk flow. I also read that taking calcium & magnesium before and during your period can help your supply! I plan on trying this next month. I'll also need to remember to drink extra water!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

About Bread

Pin It
So I've been researching bread a lot lately as I've been creating my Utah County Shopping List. At the grocery store there is usually only one brand of bread that would possibly fit the Real Food rules (if that!). So I went on a hunt to find the best kind for my family. Here are the things to look for:

1. Whole Grains Stamp- The most helpful tool to start with would be the 100% Whole Grains Label managed by the Whole Grains Council.  Here is the information from The Whole Grains Council website.

Basic Stamp or 100% Stamp?

There are two different varieties of Stamp, the Basic Stamp and the 100% Stamp.
  • If a product bears the 100% Stamp, then all its grain ingredients are whole grains. There is a minimum requirement of 16g (16 grams) – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100% Stamp.
  • If a product bears the Basic Stamp, it contains at least 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. Even if a product contains large amounts of whole grain (23g, 37g, 41g, etc.), it will use the Basic Stamp if it also contains extra bran, germ, or refined flour.
I don't use this too much because the bread I buy is usually local, so they're not a member of the WGC. It's a great tool though. Be sure to pay attention the 100% on the stamp!

2. Ingredients- My main tool is the ingredient list. I want less than 5 ingredients. Anymore, I put it right back on the shelf. These ingredients should be flour, water, yeast, possibly salt and a possibly a sweetener. 'Flour' is okay as long as it is 100% whole wheat flour. I believe this would just mean they possibly didn't grind it themselves.

3. Technique- The first ingredient I want to be is 100% WHOLE GRAIN. Stone-ground is even better. Wondering what the difference is? First, let's look at the anatomy of the grain. There are 3 parts. The Bran, the Endosperm, and the Germ. The Germ contains valuable nutrients and fats. Here's how I understand it:

There are a few ways to grind wheat. I'm going to talk about two of the most popular. Stone grinding goes back as early as the third century B.C.  It uses the whole grain, and just simply grinds it up. Because it's slower than the modern milling processes, the wheat germ is not exposed to high heat, which would cause the grain to become rancid and the vitamins to be destroyed. Stone grinding avoids this problem. It also evenly distributes the fats from the germ which causes less spoilage. So, 100% stone-ground whole wheat flour contains all 3 parts. The Bran, the Endosperm, and Germ. You get the WHOLE GRAIN.

The other way is Roller milling. This is the technique most large commercial mills use today. The bran and the germ is removed from the endosperm, they ground the bran and the endosperm separately and then are recombined. You usually don't get the germ (and the nutrients along with it).

So in summary, Stone-ground will give you the most nutrition because the Germ is included.

4. Sugar- The fourth thing I look for is the grams of sugar and sweetener that is used. I like to make sure it is as natural a source of sugar as possible. Honey or Raisins are two I've found that I like. The grams of sugar is important as well. Remember 4g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. I want to keep my daily sugar to under 5 teaspoons if possible, which is 20g of sugar. If I eat a sandwich from bread that has 6g of sugar a piece, that's already 3/5 of my daily sugar allowance. So keep this in mind as well!

5. Local- I also like my bread to be local. This is important when you're purchasing 100% stone-ground whole wheat bread. Because the germ is included in addition to there being no preservatives, it will go bad faster. The fresher the bread (meaning made this morning and limited travel) the better!

I hope this helps you pick out a great loaf of bread for your family and takes out the research for yourself. If you live in Utah County, check out my listing of products I've found to fit my Real Food Charter.

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Friend, The Breast Pump...Whaaa???

Pin It
..whaaaat?? I know what you're thinking. "You just posted about how you thought it was your evil nemesis." Well, if you are a pumping or even a breastfeeding mom-you can admit that the pump has it's place. I'm actually EXTREMELY grateful to this little contraption. My baby boy wouldn't be as big, healthy, and thriving without it {in my opinion, nothing against formula}.  He's always had a great spot on the charts (between 50 and 80 percent)-not that the charts mean anything though, lol. He's never gotten sick! Since I'm a working mom, I have had no choice but to bottle feed him for a few feedings. I went back to work at 12 weeks, and stayed at that job until he was 5.5 months old. It was too far to go feed him 3 times a day. So I chose to pump, and pump I did. And more pumping. Did I say I pumped?

I pumped 3 times a day at work. I had to pump for at least 30 minutes each to get enough milk since I had an irregular let down pattern (at least from what I can tell). Oh and this was in my car, since my company didn't have anywhere for me and I didn't want to make a big deal. Even though my car wasn't the most set up, it was actually quite comfortable. I had my heater (it was winter), music, i could take off my shoes. It was actually a nice quiet time to myself. Occasionally I had to pump after I got home from work. Once Peanut started sleeping through the night, I had to start pumping in the middle of the night to keep up my supply. This was a milk-saving pump session. It wasn't fun to get up when I could be sleeping, but not only did it keep up my supply for my 6 oz. bottle eating 4 month old, it gave me at least 6-10 oz of milk. That would usually make up for a what I was short the next day. Adding it all up, I've pumped about 156 hours in the past 6 months.

Pumping is much harder than I expected. Here's a few tips for you (and for me if I have to start again!):

1. Drink PLENTY of water. Meaning more than your usual 8 glasses gals.
2. Eat OLD FASHIONED oatmeal in the mornings. This will up your supply naturally.
3. Pump longer than you would nurse your baby(even if milk isn't coming out!). Wait for the second letdown. Mine usually happens around 20-25 minutes. Most women has this happen around 15 minutes from what I hear. Remember the pump (no matter how expensive) will never be as effective as your little professional nurser, so be patient and work hard to get that milk!
4. Massage, massage, massage. Keep compressing and massaging to pull that milk out. Sometimes I would have to do it the full 30 minutes.
5. If you have problems letting down, keep a photo of you baby with you, a blanket that smells like them or brings sweet memories, or I even have a 'let-down' song that I play each time I pump. It's like ringing the bell for dinner. Your body knows what it means.
6. If you need to increase your supply, pump 5-10 minutes on each side after nursing or add on this time to your pumping session, again even if milk isn't coming out.
7. Remember, your milk is a supply and demand deal. If you demand it, your body will supply it. It works the other way too. If you stop demanding or reduce your demand, you body will reduce or stop your supply. This is why I believe most mothers dry out earlier than they wanted to.
8. If you're bottle feeding during the day, which most pumping mothers are, make sure to stick with the smallest nipple-size 0 ladies. Even if your baby gets frustrated with the flow, don't increase it. The faster the milk comes out of the bottle, the less they have to work. Our nipples require work, so we don't want our little ones to get lazy with the breast and prefer the bottle. Also, try to keep to the wide nipples. I made the mistake of getting the narrow Dr. Browns (even though they have the wide) and my little guy now nurses with a very narrow latch.
9. Try out some pumping accessories. I like the Pumpin' Pals Super Shields. I feel they really do bring more of the breast in the shield to get a wide 'latch'. If anything, at least you don't have to lean forward. I wasn't too fond of the strap though-I'll explain why. Since I have larger breasts (D's), I need inward pressure. The strap gave good lift, but not inward pressure, so I stuck to my nursing bra. I like the Simple Wishes one.
10. Have an extra set of accessories. If you can afford it and know you'll be pumping a while, get a few extras. An extra bra, so you can use one while the other one is getting washed. Extra collector bottles, regular bottles, and shields. I hated how every night I had to wash everything for the next morning. Once I had a lot of bottles, I did bottles every other night-which was great!
11. Now, I'm not guaranteeing this tip is the most sanitary, but I felt comfortable with it. Instead of washing your pump parts after each and every pump, throw all the parts in the fridge then you can use them again the next time without washing. If the milk is good, the milk on the parts should be fine too right? My little guy never got sick and this saved me time and sanity. I had a friend who liked the idea, but still wanted to rinse the parts-that works too! Whatever you're comfortable with. I only did this during my work pumps though. I washed it after that.
12. Invest in a good pump. If you're going to be using it every day, multiple times a day-you need a good quality pump that will help you pump fast and efficient. I decided on the Hygeia Enjoye LBI. It has an external filter that you can change in between babies or mothers! Did you know the average pump isn't approved for multiple users?? It's because you can't change the filter! Also the LBI has an internal battery that you can charge so you don't have to have it plugged in. I only have to charge mine about every other night.  This was how I pumped in my car! I would HIGHLY recommend the internal battery if possible. You can pump anywhere!
13. Here's a tip from a reader that I forgot-eat A LOT of protein!!!  String cheese, yogurt, even plant based protein is great.
14. If you're nursing as well as pumping, and one breast produces less-make sure your baby nurses on the lower-producing breast first. Usually a baby is a little more 'ferocious' when they first latch and they'll drink more-thus creating the demand.

Well I think that's probably enough for now! Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to help.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Nemesis-The Pump (and a distracted baby)

Pin It
 It's been about 4 weeks since I've had to use my pump on a regular basis. It's been a glorious 4 weeks. Now, after I've gotten my hopes up thinking I'd never have to touch the evil thing again, I'm staring it in the face due to my distracted, possibly teething baby boy. Shall I back up?

I started a new job 2 weeks ago. Before that I had 2 lovely weeks home between jobs. During my time off, I never had to pump. Amazingly, and by the grace of God, we found a babysitter who is 1.5 miles from our house, and only 4.5 miles from my work. This means it's actually more time effective for me to go to her house and feed Peanut than to pump. Praise God! It's been amazing. Not only do I get to skip pumping sessions, I get to spend 15 minutes cuddling my baby boy during the morning and afternoon. To top it off, no washing pump parts or bottles every night. That assembly line has been shut down!

I actually had to pump for my morning feeding this past Monday. Peanut was at his Grandma's which is too far for me to drive. At first, I was almost eager to pump, it was like greeting an old friend. I was excited to see how my supply was looking (something you have no idea of when you're not pumping). After only a few minutes, I remember that I despised the thing.

On to my current problem, the past few days, breastfeeding has been a struggle, a wrestling match shall I say. I barely am getting 4 minutes from him on each side (if that!). It is SOOO frustrating. I just want to lie and the floor and throw my own fit, however my little man has claimed it already. He's way too distracted or could be teething (I hear they don't like latching on when teething). He's pulling off, looking around, or the worst- pinching my nipple and pushing it away! I can't feed him if my husband is anywhere near because all he wants to do is smile at Daddy (cute, but annoying). After getting some advice and talking to my lactation consultant, I realize that I may need to start pumping again during the day-since he eats decently at home. I gave him my chap-stick this afternoon while he was nursing which seemed to help, he also will play with my necklace, so maybe I'll throw on a colorful necklace and see if it helps. I'm going to keep trying the next few days-especially with the weekend ahead, I may be able to make more progress with him. I'll keep you posted, wish me luck.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Put Me In Overalls

Pin It
I'm officially a gardener. I just planted my first vegetable garden (of my own)! We grew up with a large one but I only cared about the beautiful pumpkins. My poor mother did the rest of the work. Mine is a small garden, but it's a start. I used a City Pickers Patio Garden Kit to get started.

I chose Harvest Plenty soil made from fruit and vegetable compost and it was completely organic. No poop-like the bag said! It's even made right here in Salt Lake City.

I added in Azomite, a natural mineral product that is mined here in central Utah. I love local products! It's 100% natural with no additives, synthetics, or filters. It claims that "Gardeners can see increased germination rates, improved yield, more flowers, disease and pest resistance and better tasting vegetables."

Today we went and picked out the starters and seeds. I didn't really have a plan (remember, I'm a beginner!). I found a few herbs that I really wanted and a few vegetables. I planted basil, parsley, cilantro, Rebor kale, spinach, red peppers, green peppers, and zucchini. I also added a few marigolds to keep away pests. It's said that planting marigolds with your produce is the safest, natural way to garden organically.

I'm so excited to begin harvesting my own herbs and veges! Especially since we've been eating more. It gets expensive buying organic produce. Ya, I'm ridiculously excited.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Visiting the Farm

Pin It
I've been on a search for local, organic produce and dairy. I want our family to eat cleaner and more nutritious. Local produce is much more nutritious due to traveling shorter distance. Organic produce usually reduces the pesticides on produce, is usually non GMO, and usually chemical free. See my doubtfulness? Well the best way to really know what's in your food, is to go to the source. I was very happy when I heard of a new farm in north Provo, La Nay Ferme, where I could do just that.

Click play to find out more:

See what I mean?

Peanut and I went for a tour of the farm during my time off. He of course had to be in proper attire. His onesie says "home grown'. We had a great time. It was a fun outside, spring activity to close our 2 weeks together.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breastfeeding-Oh The Pain...and Happiness

Pin It
One of the biggest challenges I've faced these first 6 months of being a mom was breastfeeding. I thought I was well prepared, that I was made for this! Well, what we got was far from easy. First, my milk took 4-5 days to come in. We were set on not supplementing and believe that God had it under control, this process was designed by him. By day 4 we thought that Peanut was hungry and wanting more. I fed him often and pumped as much as possible to get my milk in. The first day home is stressful enough, this was horrible as new parents to know our baby may have been hungry and we couldn't give him more. We just had to keep reminding ourselves how small his stomach actually was. When my milk came in I was so relieved!

Then came the soreness, scabbing, & peeling. Nipples should not ever have to go through that. I knew his latch wasn't the best, but I just wanted to get it over with so I didn't really do my best in correcting it. Because I didn't take the time and effort (I was TIRED!), it took until about 5-6 months for nursing to not hurt as much. Luckily my midwife was amazing and prescribed me Jack Newman's Ointment. I credit it for never getting thrush or mastitis to this cream! I also did saline soaks to help prevent infection.

I also got PLENTY of plugged milk ducts during my first 4 months of nursing. Those were painful as well. It just took time to get rid of those-and lots of massage, heat, and nursing.

'20070812-IMG_3480' photo (c) 2007, Raphael Goetter - license: the physical pains of nursing, I wasn't expecting the time commitment. Silly, I know. When the nurses told me I had to nurse every 3 hours, even in the middle of the night I remember being surprised. I just never thought about it. That first night when the nurse woke me up, I was SOOO tired. After the first night, I remember I would wake right about the time ready to give my feed my hungry little man.

Luckily he was a ready nurser, lazy, but ready. It was frustrating to get used to (and still can be at times) how often I have to nurse. It's surprising how little you can get done in between feeding times. Especially when you add to it changing him, bathing him, showering yourself, trying to eat-anything, and then putting him down for a nap. It feels like you just don't do anything besides feeding. If you want to add pumping in between feedings to the mix, well you can imagine.

Even with all the pains and frustrations. It's worth it. Every minute I hold Peanut while nursing is treasured. Even when I'm in a hurry, or clenching my teeth if it hurts, or falling asleep. I love my special time with him. I love that when he sees me, he knows food is near. I love that I can provide his food, his sustenance, the best nutrition possible for him. Breastfeeding is a brilliant creation by God.

So if you're having problems nursing-I can sympathize. Even if it's gone amazingly smooth for you, but you treasure it-I'm with you there too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back To Work

Pin It
Today is my first day at my new job. I'm actually really excited to begin something new. It's been 9 years since I started a new job, so I'm at a complete loss of how it will go. I know that God brought this job to me, so everything will be great. There will be a learning curve, but hopefully I catch on quick.

In my last post about being a working mom, I was really anxious to go back. I was looking at 'going back to work' as some monumental doomsday headed my way. I tend to do that with a lot of things. I checked out a favorite blog of mine The Graceful Mom for some encouragement. One of the posts I read there really hit home the next few days. She spoke about how working moms are wired different than stay at home moms. After reading this post, I realized how true it was. I stayed home for two weeks and the second week I was excited to go back. I loved spending time with Peanut, and cooking, and even enjoyed {attempt}keeping the house clean. I had so many projects I wanted to get done. Somehow the time flew by so quickly and the only project I finished was hubby assigned-to clean out some of my clothes.

I realized I have a hard time organizing my day as much when I'm home. Part of the day I don't know what to do with my time, the other part I'm frantically cleaning, budgeting, cooking, grocery shopping, and more. I also realized it's nice being at work and having some 'me' time. I feel much more responsible to have a perfect home when I'm home all day than when I'm working 40 hours a week.

I want to be a stay at home mom, but now I realize that when the time comes it will take getting used to. It will take time to re-wire. I praise God for this difference in me and other working moms. I agree with Bethany from The Graceful Mom that it's a tool he uses to remind us that he has us where he wants us for now.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Pin It
Since learning about processed foods, I've basically given up on protein bars, candy bars, and energy bars. Basically any quick convenience food. For some reason it hasn't stopped me from looking. Maybe I want to see all the junk that is included in most bars or possibly I was really hoping to find something REAL. Anyway, I was at the checkout in our local Sunflower Market. I recently found something exciting-the LÄRABAR! They were on sale 10 for $10 which caught my eye. I immediately turned them around expecting added sugar, a list of ingredients, additives, colorings, preservatives. What I saw shocked me.

I am naturally drawn to ANYTHING peanut butter, so I flipped over the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and saw only 4 ingredients (7 if you count the additional ingredients IN the chocolate chips). They were Dates, Peanuts, Chocolate Chips(unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla), and Sea Salt. Now I wanted to avoid the sugar, and since it had peanuts it had 11g of fat. So I turned a few more over, and it just got better. The non chocolate chip bars had no added sugar, less fat, natural REAL food. Fruits, Nuts, & Spices were the main ingredients. I could pronounce every ingredient. The bars have from 2 to 9 ingredients. I threw a few on the counter-super excited.

I could tell the sweetener in these bars are the dates. My friend Kristal over at Fit Finney uses dates as well for a sweetener. I'm new to that, but it wasn't so bad. The first one I cracked open was the Peanut Butter Cookie (no chocolate). It was yummy. I finished it quickly. I brought a coconut one home to my hubby-he wasn't so fond of it-the dates especially, but hopefully after we've been on real food for a while we get more used to them. I think I'll keep a few on hand for a sweet tooth or an emergency bite of REAL food.

I checked out the website wanting to know more and what I found impressed me. Each bar has between 1/4-1/2 cup of fruit. They're not baked or cooked. Just mixed together, so they're as close to the natural state as possible. I'm keeping in mind that these won't be a daily treat. I want to eat WHOLE REAL foods, but this is a great 2nd option!

Photo Credit:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goodbye Death

Pin It

Sunday is coming!

Chia Seeds

Pin It
I've recently learned of a superfood that is gaining in popularity-Chia Seeds! One of the best things I can say about Chia Seeds is that they're a great source of Omega-3's.

---A quick note on Omega-3's-they're an essential fatty acid found in fish, avocado, and more. They regulate blood sugar level, suppress the appetite, and burn fat.

Chia seeds also have high amounts complete proteins, antioxidants, vitamin B(s), fiber and minerals. They're low in calories and easy to digest. Chia seeds are awesome and contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk and keeps things moving along, speeding along the digestive process. Soluble fiber aids in food movement and keeps the colon hydrated. It moves through slowly making you feel more full, forming a gel during the digestive process that carries cholesterol out of your body. Also since it moves more slowly it assists in regulating blood sugar levels.

Here are a few of the consumer reported health benefits: increased energy, improved mood, better concentration and clearer thinking, decrease in food cravings, decrease in aches and pains, better regularity, improved hair, skin & nails and more!

To use chia seeds, try  putting it in your oatmeal, smoothies, & yogurt. Since it forms a gel around the seed when mixed with liquid, you can use it as a thickener in your soup. You can add it to bread and salads. You can add it to juice or water to make a fun jello-type drink. Toss it in stir fry, eggs, cake and more. You can use it for dressings, sauces, marinades, even on ice cream! For somethings you'll want to soak it in milk or eggs, but I'm not even convinced it's necessary unless you want to use it as a binder (like eggs for turkey burgers).

I hope you give chia seeds a try today!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pin It
"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."
-La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Utah County Shopping List

Pin It
Since I started my hunt for real food, the most stressful thing has been actually FINDING the real food at the best prices in the places I shop. I like how Christine Avanti puts it in her book Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food; "In a way, we've come full circle. Our earliest ancestors had to gather, forage and even experiment to find nutrients in their uncertain environment, and that's similar to the adventure you're embarking on."

So for your reference (if your in the Utah County area) as well as my own, here's my list of foods, where to get them, links, and possibly costs.

Bread: 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Prairie Grains Bread Co. 5 ingredient bread with 10% Stoneground Whole Wheat including Raisin Juice Concentrate as the sweeter-which leads to only 2g of sugar per piece! Made in SLC, UT. Macey's for about $3.69, possibly WalMart. Click here for nutritional information.

My second choice would be Aspen Mills Honey Whole Wheat Bread, which is made in Ogden, UT. You can find this at Costco or Sunflower Market. This has 100% Stoneground Whole Wheat Flour with a total of 5 ingredients. The only thing I didn't like about this bread is there was 6g of sugar per piece because of the honey. While I was okay with some sugar of course, 12 g of sugar for a sandwich felt like too much for me-especially for something that I really don't care if it's sweet or not. I'd rather have a cupcake.

A third option, in case you need another, is the Honey Whole Wheat from Great Harvest. This bread also has only 5 ingredients with 100% whole wheat. The awesome thing about this bread is they grind the wheat every morning in the bakery so it's completely fresh the day you pick it up. The others may as well, but it also takes time to get to the store and then time for you to buy it. The downside is it has 7g of sugar per piece.

Eggs: Oakdell Organic Eggs (farmed in Lewiston, UT). These are "cage free" and organic. I called the farm and they explained that there is an outdoor patio with wood chips over cement that they can go out to all day. They are fed organic soy and corn feed (non-GMO) and are not given antibiotics. Click here for more information. I get these at Macey's for $3.99/dz or Costco for $6.99/2dz.

I would like free range, organic eggs, but I haven't found any in a supermarket yet-so I'll keep searching. There is Roberts Ranch & Gardens in Spanish Fork that sells a dozen for $3.00. It's a little out of the way, but could be worth it.

Chicken: I'm not entirely happy with my chicken findings yet. I'll keep searching. For now, I found the frozen chicken from Perdue sold at Costco. It is USDA Process certified-??. They only feed the chickens a vegetarian diet and they're cage free, but in a chicken house-so not outdoors. They of course eat soy and corn (I don't believe it's organic or GMO free). They say that they DO use antibiotics, but only under the instruction of a veterinarian and it's not every day use. I guess it's better than others. I'm not sure about steroids or other additives. I'll keep looking for sure.

I also like the chicken at Sunflower Market. The butcher said it's 'all natural' and 'antibiotic free'. The antibiotic free claim isn't on the label, so I'm not too sure. I want to do some more research on it.

Tortillas: This has been a hard category for me. Almost every "whole wheat" tortilla I've looked at has at least 40 ingredients. So I've had to use the 80/20 rule on this a little. The best tortilla I've found so far is at Macey's. Maya's Tortillas from Papa Pita has about 12-19 ingredients (I never know if I should include the ingredients in the parenthesis.) They claim 100% whole wheat, and the first ingredient is Whole Wheat Flour, however the fiber includes Oat. This also has canola oil which is a GMO. There's zero grams of sugar, however added sugar IS in the ingredient list, but pretty far down. I've chosen this purely because it has mainly whole wheat and the ingredient list is much much shorter than the rest. It is also made in West Jordan, UT-so it's local. Click here for nutritional information.

I'll continue to update this post as I have more information-which will be a lifelong process!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Real Deal On Sugar

Pin It
I promised a post about sugar in one of my last confession posts. I've been procrastinating because it feels so big. I feel that once I post the information, and it goes from my books and my research to my blog-it's for real. Hopefully this will help the information to go from my head to my heart (i.e. stomach and taste buds) and really sink in.

As I said before, eating sugars causes our bodies to release the hormones opioids and dopamine. For this reason, sugar is actually addicting. It's either a comforting thought (I'm not a pig!) or a scary thought (I have no hope!). Hopefully it's the first. However my point to telling you this isn't to give you an excuse to move ahead with eating as much sugar as you want. It's to understand. once you understand the root of a problem, it's easier to find a solution. That, the solution, is my goal.

Okay, so sugar is addicting. So what? Well, when you're addicted to something, you have a hard time not consuming it, right? This leads to over-eating of those sugary substances and that can create a lot of issues.

Here are the problems I find with sugar. Most processed sugars (table sugar) have no nutritional value. We need to change our perception on what eating is for. It's for giving our bodies the nutrients it needs to live. We eat to live, not live to eat. Of course, we can enjoy eating. Especially a sugary treat every once in a while-but our main purpose should be to give our bodies the best food we can. That's one of my number one goals-to change my reason for eating. Remembering that what we put in our mouth effects more than just our hips (or muffin top) & taste buds is important. We need nutrients from our food. If we're eating mainly sugary, fatty foods-most likely we're skipping the nutrient, vitamin, mineral rich foods our body needs.

So to get a little scientific, our brain needs sugar(glucose). Our body craves it. So when those cravings begin-we don't usually think of whole fruits and vegetables. We think of sweets. There's natural fructose in vegetables and fruits-that's the sugar our body wants. Those are great to eat because they're paired with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that is used to slow down absorption of the sugars and metabolize it properly. When we take out a macro-nutrient from a real food. It becomes a processed food, and it's not in the natural state God intended.

Another problem is portion size. We eat so much sugar. It's in everything! This is another great reason to stay away from processed foods. It's ridiculous the food they add sugar too. Between the years 1950 and 2000 America's sugar intake increased about 39%! That's 43 pounds of sugar per year per person more what people ate in 1950. I would guess this is attributed to the processed foods we eat. Biologically, we're not made to eat this much sugar-which is why we get so many health problems from it. Our body doesn't know what to do with it all! We're supposed to eat the whole package mentioned above (whole fruits & veges).

The scariest thing about sugar is the health issues that arise from eating too much sugar. As I said above, by eating something sweet with no nutrition your denying your body healthy food. It can cause bone loss, tooth decay, worsen your asthma, cause mood unbalances, depletes antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria, and much more. Because we're addicted to it (most of us) it causes us to overeat which in turn can cause us to be overweight, obese, and have high levels of stomach fat. The biggest health risk I see is spiking our blood sugar which can cause Type 2 Diabetes.

Now what about 'natural' sugars? Sugar in the raw, cane juice, agave nectar or honey? Aren't these healthier for us? Here's my take: It depends on what you mean by healthy. Sugar is sugar. Whether it's glucose or fructose, our body see's it as sugar. It processes it the same. It will spike your blood sugar if it's not taken with other nutrients that will slow down the absorption. Now if your goal is to eat more REAL, unprocessed foods. As close to their natural state as possible, and you need to eat sugar (hopefully as a natural ingredient in a recipe), then by all means use agave nectar or the like. In the non processed sense, yes it is better for you. However if your goal is to lose weight and fat and give your body the nutrients it needs then I would remember that your body sees it the same as any other sugar.

Here's a good thing to remember. 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. That puts it in perspective for me. It's suggested that if you want to lose weight, not to have more than 5t/20g of sugar per day. Also, the USDA suggest that the average person with a 1200-1600 calorie diet (most people trying to lose fat are in this category) should eat only 4-5 t. per day.

So my game plan? Ha, I'm not sure. I think arming myself with this information is a good first step. Two, cut out as many processed foods as possible (even that chocolate chip cookie dough in my fridge). Be aware of added sugar in foods. Be a label detective. Here are a list of added sugars1. One or two isn't too bad (as long as it isn't one of the first 3 ingredients listed). More than that I would avoid it.
  • Agave nectar; brown sugar, can crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener; corn syrup or corn syrup solids; crystallized fructose; dehydrated can juice; dextrin; dextrose; evaporated cane juice; fructose; fruit juice concentrate; glucose; high-fructose corn syrup; honey; invert sugar; lactose; maltodextrin; malt syrup; maltose; maple syrup; molasses; raw sugar; rice syrup; saccharose; sorghum; sucrose; syrup; treacle; turbinado sugar; xylose.

1.U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Chapter 7: Carbohydrates. Accessed on April 5, 2009.