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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

5 Healthy Must-Do's for Pregnancy

If there is ever a time to take care of yourself in life, it is most certainly before, during and after pregnancy. Now that I am pregnant with my fourth baby, I am getting a little more experience on what really feels good and nourishing for my body and my baby during these times. I hope that these tips help you along in some of the most important times in your life!

1. My first and probably most important tip is to get your vitamins and minerals. I personally take my Vitalizer strip of vitamins every single day. In fact I don't know that I have missed a day in years. As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I get asked a lot which vitamins or supplements I recommend. I always come back to Shaklee, because I did a LOT of research many years ago, when I started changing my health, and Shaklee was the one company that's purity and quality standards were optimal and met my standards. The reason I love my Vitalizer strip is because it has almost all the supplements I need in one little package. The strip contains probiotics, multivitamins, Vitamin B and C complex, all 7 Omega-3 fatty acids, the most potent form of Vitamin D, 26 antioxidants working together, and the full spectrum of vitamin E from all 8 natural forms. It helps with all these important aspects of health:
  • Bone health
  • Breast health
  • Heart health
  • Immune health
  • Physical energy
  • Reproductive health
  • Digestive health
  • Healthy hair, skin, and nails
2. Secondly, let me tell you something you may or may not want to hear. Exercise!!! I am not saying that you have to go hog wild and run a half marathon or start doing Crossfit. But I am saying that exercising on a regular basis - think 5 days a week or so for about an hour a day - will help you feel more energized, confident, stronger and more healthy. The benefits are nearly endless, but let me share a few.

Think about it this way. Let's say you were training for a marathon. You certainly wouldn't wait until race day to actually run your first steps of training. You would be training and running for months beforehand. The same thing applies to pregnancy. You have a huge athletic event coming up called labor and delivery. You don't want to go into it cold turkey. You want to strengthen and tone your body in preparation for this big event. Not only will it help labor go easier (if that's possible), but you will feel so much better during your pregnancy and you will recover much faster after you give birth. Yes, you will. Trust me. And when you have to resume all your responsibilities and all your parenting yourself just days after you give birth, you will NEED to recover as soon as possible.
This is two of my sisters and I running the Diva Dash 5K when I was about 12 weeks pregnant

I get questions all the time about what exercises you can and can't do during pregnancy. Listen to your body. Most likely, you will be able to do the same types of exercises you did before you were pregnant. I have always worked out through the very last days of my pregnancies, and it has been awesome! Not only has it helped me relieve stress, keep my body strong for birth, and given me energy for all the tired days, but it has also helped me lose baby weight fast and keep my core toned and able to bounce back fast. Just do it. :-) Feel free to check out all my Tabata workouts I have shared - they are only 20 minutes for a full body workout!

3. Drink tea - especially Nettle and Raspberry Leaf tea. Nettle leaf tea is a fabulous source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium. Raspberry leaf is helpful for toning the uterine muscles, which may help make contractions more efficient. It is also high in many nutrients, including vitamins C, E, A and B complex, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium.  I personally drink at least one cup every day. It gives me energy, relieves some of my nausea, and keeps me focused on putting healthy foods and drinks in my body.
I like to make a bit glass jar full of this tea, so I have a few days worth ready whenever I want some. I buy both teas in bulk from my local co-op, and use a couple tablespoon fulls of each in each batch I make. You can also add a little raw honey, if you want it sweetened.

4. "What you put into your body is what you get out." Have you heard that before? I'm sure you have. The thing is - it is true. When you add a baby into your body, this becomes even more of a truth. My next tip is about eating pure, organic, healthy food.
Words to live by!!! 
I cannot even begin to tell you how much of a difference this will have on you, your body and your baby. If you want more heartburn, constipation, weight gain, headaches, stomach upset, and swelling, then ignore me. However, if you want to feel your best, gain an appropriate amount of weight, deliver a happy and healthy baby, then please fuel your body and your baby's growth with good, wholesome food. Remember, packaged processed stuff isn't really food. If you are eating something that you could still eat after letting it sit in your cupboard a year, then that probably isn't a good choice. What I am talking about is the good stuff - fresh veggies, fruit, organic and grass fed meats, fish full of Omega-3's like Alaskan salmon, anchovies, sardines, safe herbs, coconut oil and other healthy fats, and lots of water. For more great information on what to eat, check out "Think You Know About Nutrition, Think Again!"

Don't forget about your baby. You are making a full person in there. Not getting enough calcium? Well, then baby is going to take it out of your bones. Not getting enough Omegas? Well, your baby's brain, eyes, skin and much more might suffer from that deficiency. If for no other reason, eat well for your baby. The choices you make right now are going to affect your child for the rest. of. their. life!

Often times, people don't know how good it feels to truly feel healthy. Try it and let me know what a difference it makes in you!

5. Give your mind a rest! Holy cow, do our minds work overtime or what? Does the word stress mean anything to you? The havoc that stress and a lack of rest takes on your body is huge! I never realized this until I started suffering from stress-related issues - neck aches, headaches, stomach pains...It is just no fun.

Here are a few ways you can curb that stress and give your mind a rest:
  • Take a nap! I try to get a nap almost every day. It is so refreshing to give my body time to rejuvenate, heal, and rest. Even a 15-20 minute nap makes a difference!
  • Sit in the peace and quiet for a few minutes and breathe deeply. Don't underestimate the power of a deep breath. It does wonders! Check out Proper Deep Breathing for great tips!
  • Try some yoga. I love prenatal yoga. It is so relaxing, while at the same time energizing your tired body. I enjoy still teaching yoga while I'm pregnant, as well as doing it at home. Check out What Yoga Can Do For You.
  • Read a daily devotion, take time to count your blessings and talk to friends and relatives. One of my favorite devotion books ever is Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst. It really keeps me focused on what's important when it is so easy to lose my cool. 
What do you like to do to pamper and take care of yourself while you are pregnant? Please share your tips and thoughts with us! I would love to learn from you as well.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Natural Breathspray Giveaway

I received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

How many times have you caught yourself wanting a stick of gum, a mint or something to get a bad taste out of your mouth. Since I've been pregnant with my fourth child, not only have I dealt with a lot of nausea, but I constantly feel like there is a bad taste in my mouth. Can anyone else relate?

The problem is, there is no way I want to put regular gum or breath mints in my mouth - not with all their artificial ingredients and chemicals.

Thank goodness for OraMD Breath - the newest product from one of my favorite companies - Trusted Health Products.

The biggest difference between OraMD Breath and other products is not the fact that their ingredients also kill the germs that cause bad breath, but the fact that they do it with 100% pure and natural ingredients – no chemicals of any kind. The 3 ingredients in OraMD Breath are a proprietary blend with special properties of almond oil, spearmint oil and peppermint oil. And this stuff works! In a clinical study OraMD Breath ingredients were found to kill all the types of periodontal bacteria which are the deadliest and worst types of mouth bacteria.

Here are a few more things to love about OraMD Breath:
  • One spray completely eliminates embarrassing bad breath
  • Kills the cause of bad breath
  • Ingredients also clinically proven to kill periodontal bacteria
  • Leaves a really fresh, clean feeling unlike anything you’ve experienced
  • 100% pure – no chemicals, sugar, alcohol or additives
  • Same formulation as OraMD Original
  • Each bottle contains about 60 sprays
  • The perfect companion to OraMD Original or Extra Strength 
I personally love this product! It is a perfect little bottle to have on hand with you at all times. Not only is it effective, but you can rest assured it is very safe. If you know someone suffering from bad breath, the OraMD products would be the perfect choice!

Great news! We are offering a great giveaway!   

We are giving away (3) bottles of Breath – 1 bottle to 3 separate winners – U.S., Canada, England and Australia only. Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 ***Also, for a limited time, the manufacturer is willing to offer my readers one FREE bottle. They said they would love to have our readers try out Breath and agreed to send one bottle FREE if our readers would pay a minimal shipping and handling charge. This is a one-time only offer! Click here to get your FREE bottle now!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Optimum Health the Paleo Way

A book was sent for my review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

You've been hearing from me about Paleo living and receiving some of my favorite Paleo recipes for years, but what does the Paleo lifestyle really mean? What is it all about? Can you do it? 

Let me answer a few of those questions, help you decide if this might be right for you and recommend an excellent book that will be super helpful on your Paleo journey. 

First of all, let's get something straight - eating the Paleo way is not about becoming a caveman! Instead, it is all about listening to your body, getting back to a more natural, seasonal way of eating, nourishing your body with tasty whole foods, and living a more balanced lifestyle.  

I love how author Claire Yates talks about it, "The Paleo lifestyle is about looking at ourselves and figuring out what is the most nutrient-dense food we can eat to nourish our body, prevent disease, and lead to a healthy life. This means making choices to not consume highly processed foods or foods high in anti-nutrients, and where possible, to by local, seasonal, and sustainable foods."

So, can you do it? I almost want to answer this question with, "How can you not do it?" The thing is, these days we are sick people. Our bodies are constantly fighting inflammation, trying their best to fight against all the toxins we are absorbing and taking in. The "foods" we are eating can hardly be recognizable as real food that is nourishing and healthy. Our rates of food allergies are skyrocketing. All the diseases and health problems we are dealing with have developed over time because of our lifestyle choices. That is why I think everyone can and should take preventative measures to reach optimum health!

If you have no idea where to start, let me recommend a great book. In Optimum Health the Paleo Way, Paleo nutritionist Claire Yates explains clearly why unhealthiness is on the increase and how the Paleo lifestyle (not diet) can help.  Claire sets out the key aspects of the Paleo lifestyle, including the importance of food as medicine, and the truth about fats, carbs, protein, and fiber.  She then takes you through the 28 day reset meal plan before including more than 100 delicious Paleo recipes that will get you feeling great while eating some of the tastiest food of your life!

Optimum Health the Paleo Way will help you:
•       Boost your energy.
•       Eliminate sugar cravings.
•       Reduce your use of processed foods.
•       Find your ideal weight
•       Develop an eating plan that works for you.
•       Sleep better and feel great!

I love this book! The first 137 pages educate you about what is going on in your body right now, how the choices you make affect your body, and how to start making changes. This is an invaluable part of the book!

Then come the delicious recipes. Full of colored pictures of the recipes, these recipes are really varied. From banana bread to Paleo pizza, your whole family will love them!

If you have already started adopting a Paleo lifestyle, please tell me what changes you have seen. If you haven't yet, feel free to ask any question or share any concerns. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Fun!

Living healthy natural lives is not always the easiest thing, which is why I started my blog - to inspire and help others live their best life healthfully and naturally. Friday Fun is my way of sharing a bit of my life with you, my readers and friends, and I hope you will be willing to share your thoughts and ideas with me too.

So, here we go!

In my life this week...
So much fun!!! One of my younger sisters got engaged, we already started looking at wedding dresses, another sister had a baby boy, and I reached my half way point of this pregnancy. Whoo, whoo!

I also began a new session of specialty weight loss/healthy living classes at work. I love meeting new clients and helping them reach their goals. Plus, some of my other long time clients are really making significant progress and breaking down barriers! I love that! When you can start seeing your own potential and believing in your body's ability to break down barriers you've built up, you are going to climb mountains!

I am inspired by...
the fresh night air. I have always loved getting outside for a few minutes when it is dark and peaceful. At the end of a long day, it is such a soothing and restful time.

My favorite thing this week was...
Oh my! I had so many favorites! I had a blast taking my kids to the beach and trying to teach them how to swim. That was probably my favorite!

What's working/not working for me...
Working - I never get over how wonderful it is to go out in my backyard and pick fresh veggies for every meal. Every year I forget how absolutely awesome it is to get all that fresh garden produce until I bite into my first pea or cucumber. Yum!!

Not working - I am trying to be loving and forgiving to a cranky neighbor who has been acting selfishly, and it isn't working very well. I keep getting all fired up about it when I think about it. Trying to remember that I can display love even when others are unloving.

Questions/thoughts I have...
Is my baby a boy or girl? We usually do an ultrasound to find out our baby's gender and celebrate 20 weeks, but after praying about it and doing lots of research, we decided that we don't want to risk any complication with our baby just to see it on ultrasound. So, we are going to wait...We'll see how that goes. :-)

I'm reading...
Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKerst, and I am still reading through one chapter of the Bible a day, now I am in Mark.

I'm cooking...
This week I have been using my crock pot a lot. We are loving my newest recipe: Paleo Crock Pot Italian Lemon Chicken. I have also been enjoying sunflower seed butter gooey bars with chia seeds and flax seed and a little bit of chocolate. Besides that, I made crock pot whole chicken, crock pot Italian meatballs and healthy meatloaf.

I'm grateful for...
little baby kicks from inside my tummy, kisses and "thank yous" from my kids, moments of peace and quiet, celebrating huge milestones with other people, seeing my little sister in a wedding dress, green trees, cute baby birds, fresh veggies from the garden, flowers picked by my kids, and so much more!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

20 weeks with baby #4!!!

Photo: 20 weeks with Baby #4!!! Always love being 1/2 way through!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Paleo Crock Pot Italian Lemon Chicken Recipe

It is Monday. But that is okay, because tonight, you don't have to worry about supper. By 6 pm, your house will smell delicious, and your healthy dinner will be waiting in your slow cooker for you and your family to dig into!

I have been in a bit of a recipe recycling program for the last few months. Don't get me wrong, they are delicious recipes like my ever famous Crock Pot Italian Chicken Soup recipe and the super easy Crock Pot Chicken Wraps recipe, both of which are also Whole30 and Paleo-ified.

But, it is time for a new recipe.

With a little sweetness and a little tartness, you will love this refreshing take on chicken! Enjoy!

Paleo Crock Pot Italian Lemon Chicken

You will need:
- 2 chicken breasts or roughly 1.5 lbs of chicken
- 2/3 cup of lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tbsp butter or ghee
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 onion, chopped
 - you may also want to add garlic or other veggies 

Throw it all in the crock pot for about 3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on med/low. Your mouth will water as this cooks. Shred it up with a fork when it is done cooking, and that's it. Yum!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Think You Know About Nutrition? Think Again!

Go to any website with health-related content and one of the first things you’ll see is generic, recycled tips for healthy eating, losing weight and feeling better. Apparently we all feel bad these days and frankly there’s a good reason why: Achieving optimal health can’t be done by following just a few tips or tricks. Nutrition can be super confusing, and that is why I am excited to share some great truths about real food from Shane Griffin.

Shane Griffin, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and the CEO of Whole Life Balance, an international nutritional consulting firm, began to notice that everyone coming to him for advice had the same issue: They’ve been following someone’s ideas to get healthy, but they simply still don’t feel their best.

By learning about Shane’s 9 Core Food Concepts, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, almost anyone can achieve their optimal state of health:

9 Core Food Concepts to Achieve Optimal Health

1.       Keep your diet pure and natural: Your body’s vitality is at its highest in a pure and natural state. By consuming highly processed, GMO-heavy and impure foods, you create a buildup of toxins in your body that can alter your mood, digestion, energy levels and sleep patterns. Eating pure and natural foods eliminates much of this toxin intake, keeping you healthier and happier for longer periods of time.

2.       Eat proportionally: The food pyramid was right about one thing, you need different food groups in correct proportions to create a balanced diet – and a balanced diet is the key to reaching optimal health. To reach this state, consume six vegetables, two fruits, one protein and one starch daily. Remember to alternate these items and add as many colorful foods as possible!

3.       Maintain correct alkaline/acid balances: Many people are unaware that our bodies have an ideal pH balance, which is 6.0 to 7.5. Too much of one or the other can create an internal environment conducive to disease, create a buildup of waste, and leave your body in a weakened state or worse.

4.       Keep a constant variety in your diet: If you eat carrots every day, eventually your body will not develop a natural “tolerance” to them and won’t process the nutrients optimally anymore. Variety is essential because it keeps your digestive tract functioning at peak levels and allows for maximum nutrient absorption.  So when you eat those six vegetables per day, keep alternating them weekly for the best effects.

5.       Consume Raw Foods: Raw diets tend to frighten folks, but in reality, 60% of your daily food intake should be raw, uncooked items. You already consume many raw fruits and vegetables without thinking of them in those terms, so go into it with that mentality. When you cook foods, the heat actually reduces the nutrient value and you lose out on some the nutritional benefits of eating healthy. Obviously, you don’t want to eat chicken raw, but this plan is easy to accomplish with many of your vegetables and even some fish.

6.       Use food as a natural cure: By eating a variable diet in the correct proportions, your body has an amazing ability to heal itself. Food “treatment” can be highly effective for relieving headaches, promoting healing post-surgery, or even reducing flare ups with chronic diseases such as Chon’s. This can reduce your reliance on over the counter medications like Tylenol, which can be very hard on your liver. For example, Vitamin C is one of the best naturally occurring reparative substances in the world.

7.       Always consume in moderation: Never consume one or more foods to excess. This goes back to the law of variety, and eating too much of one thing can lead to bodily damage over time. For example, kale is extremely healthy. But if you have kale with every meal, you  are at risk for thyroid disease, you can end up with an underactive thyroid or even a goiter, as Kale contains Goitrogens – a natural thyroid medication.

8.       Address deficiencies: If your diet is imbalanced, you can end up deficient in vital nutrients. Almost every disease starts with a deficiency of some sort. Supplementing with natural vitamins and minerals is a fantastic way to “right the ship” and correct the chemical imbalances in your body, but it must be done carefully as everyone’s biochemistry is starkly unique.   

9.       Learn the principles of food combining: It may be surprising to some that certain foods just digest well together. Some react perfectly and others fight each other in the digestive tract. For example, meat and potatoes – an American diet staple – is a terrible combination. When combined, this heavy protein and polysaccharide become difficult to break down into the proper size and the nutritious center of the cells just ends up passing through the digestive tract, rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream. By learning which foods go best together, you’ll ensure your body is absorbing as many nutrients as possible.

Great tips, right? Would you add anything to this list? If so, what? Thanks for sharing!

Monday, July 28, 2014

#Sponsored - Learn From Moms Around the World

I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Being pregnant with my fourth baby right now, I am just as excited as I was with my first. I have been reading up on my baby and pregnancy all. the. time. One thing I have learned over the years is that we can learn a lot from other moms. I love that the Mom Voy√°ge website, created by Urbini, is unique in sharing information from mom bloggers from all around the world - France, Britain, Holland, Japan, and more! It is so interesting to hear from their perspectives on topics like baby names, cravings, maternity leave and so much more. 

Mom Voyage

To find out more about these interesting topics, check out their social media:

Urbini Facebook Page
Urbini Twitter Page
Urbini on Instagram 
Urbini on Pinterest