Trust your gut

The last few weeks we have been teaching my son how to sleep on his own, in his own bed. I never thought I’d sleep train after the horrible experience I had with my daughter. Then, a mother of 4, who I am learning from recommended a woman who has a gentle approach to teaching our little ones how to get their much needed rest. She was advertising a discount at the time I was researching her and I figured for $50 I couldn’t resist. I thought at least I’d learn some interesting things. I listened to her videos which were relatively short and talked with my husband and we decided to try it out. I love co-sleeping, however when I have to work early I tended to wake him up waaaay too early!

The whole process can take as little as 3 weeks or more if you wanna go a little slower pace. It’s been a tough transition a few times because we went from co-sleeping to on his own. Since he’s our last baby I miss our night time cuddles but a good sleep routine is so important, especially for a growing child.

Finally, we got to the second to last phase and he slept 3 nights without nursing and the last night he slept a whole 11 hours! I was so excited! Then, last night he woke up every half hour starting at 130 and at 3 I told my husband I was going to bring him into our bed because something wasn’t right. Turns out he has an infection!! Poor baby! So, we will handle this and get back to our routine but until he’s better I’m enjoying the cuddles… even if I have to work a 10 hour shift on three hours of sleep.
My husband tried reassuring me that he was okay but I knew that something was not normal. He felt bad that he was wrong but we are both glad I trusted my intuition and went to him when he woke up the third time.
Have you ever not listened to your instincts? What did that look like? Ok the flip side, did you trust and listen to your intuition and how did that feel?

I’d love to hear from you! You may email me at ally4health@hotmail.com or post under this article on my Facebook page here.

Love the skin you’re in!

If you’ve read my bio, you probably know that I used to have pretty embarrassing acne. When I discovered that the creams and pills were not only no longer working, but also very toxic to my body, I searched high and low for an alternative.
I found a women who was a natural healer and preformed allergy and sensitivity testing for foods and environmental irritants. There were quite a few that came back as aggravative to me. She filled out a paper that showed all of the sensitivities and on our way home my husband and I discussed our results since he also had a paper with some similar results. At the time I couldn’t imagine removing some of these out of my life especially dairy and gluten. Shortly after, when I had some down time at work I researched the correlation of acne and food and right there I saw testimonial after testimonial of how people’s acne and stomach issues resolved after removing dairy and gluten.
I was desperate, so I slowly removed them from my diet after playing around with new substitutions to previous recipes we enjoyed. It took a long time to finally remove all of them but once I did I couldn’t believe how amazing it worked!
So it didn’t surprise me when I bought some raw milk for my kids to try to fatten them up that neither of them could digest it. This led me to find a good alternative I could make from scratch for my kids because I don’t trust the additives in store bought milk alternatives. You can see what I mean by reading this article here. After comparing different types I decided on a combination of oat and coconut milk for the healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals. The best bonuses are that it’s cheaper than store bought, it’s easy to make and you can freeze it for future use since it only lasts 4 days in the fridge.
Have you ever been tested out food sensitivities? If so, what were they and didn’t you experiment with removing them from your diet? If no, what’s holding you back? I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts and experiences! Email ally4health@hotmail.com or post under this article on my Facebook page here.

Got a mama belly?

After having two kids, I’ve noticed that my mama pudge has gotten a little worse. Honestly, most of the time it doesn’t bug me, however, I wanted to see what may be causing this to stick around longer than it did after I had my first kiddo. I knew it probably had to do something with hormones, but what I discovered was really intriguing!

I knew that it was a pretty common thing to have a little potbelly after one gives birth to a little one, however, I didn’t realize the spiraling effect of the lingering mama pouch. Basically it comes down to hormones and stress, especially if the mother decides to breastfeed. In order to burn fat, estrogen levels need to be at optimal levels, however, while nursing estrogen decreases. If you’re one of the lucky mom’s that have no menstrual cycle for the duration of the breastfeeding relationship this also decreases progesterone causing weight gain. It also makes us more prone to put on more weight if eating a higher carb diet, which is really common since us mamas be tired! This brings me to my second point, loosing weight is very difficult with lack of sleep due to a rise cortisol, the stress hormone, which is the biggest reason we tend to keep on the mama pouch. Lack of sleep and our constant worrying about our babes tend to increase our desire to grab for sweets and carbs causing a ripple effect by spiking our insulin levels, which packs on more weight. Us poor mamas have it rough! But there is hope! Below I have outlined a few quick tips and of course, if you’d like further help from this mama, let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

Quick tips for decreasing the mama belly
1. Grab some healthy fats
-I know how enticing it is to eat sugary and/or lots of refined carbs, but this will only make matters worse. Instead, steam some veggies and smother with coconut oil or ghee. Feeling like something a little sweeter? Smother some berries (low sugar fruit) with some coconut cream or yogurt, add a dash of cinnamon, which is great for stabilizing blood sugars!

2. Don’t overdo the workouts!
– Working out may be the last thing on your mind if you are exhausted, however, take a nice stroll outside with baby in tow either in a stroller or better yet, in a carrier. Not only does moving make you burn calories, being outside decreases cortisol levels! Win-win! When you have a little down time, you can also do some short, easy circuits (doing an extreme workout can stress your already stressed state so be careful not to overdo it). I like to do some easy diastasis safe exercises when I’m waiting for my dog to finish up his business outside or when I’m cooking I dance around with the kids and intentionally engage my core to strengthen those abs that stretched out with my pregnancy.

3. Don’t try to lose weight
– I know this one doesn’t really make sense, however, if you’re still nursing your milk needs to be toxin free. This means you don’t want to lose more than 2 pounds a week or you may be dumping out waste through your breast milk.

4. What it boils down to…
– Take care of yourself! This time will be over before you know it, so just relax and take in the beautiful moments you have with your little one and be kind to yourself. Eat as many nourishing foods, drink lots of water (commonly we eat when really we just are needing water due to dehydration. if you’re feeling hungry drink some water and if you’re still hungry 15-20 minutes later grab some nourishing food), and rest your body and mind.

 

To check out the original article I got this information from, click here.

 

Why we are fat, sick and nearly dead…

One-third of American adults and one in six children are now obese, although an annual report released Thursday by two nonprofit groups found that rates could be stabilizing.*

With statistics like these, it’s scary what our country’s quality of life will be like if these stats aren’t really stabilizing. It’s no wonder why we are all fat and sick… I work in a hospital and it always baffles me how we treat celebrations. We should know better! Every time we honor a certain person or department we load up on high carbs and loads of sugar. To me, this makes zero sense. Why do we have to constantly serve these sickness causing foods to celebrate?! Why can’t we honor each other by lifting us up with foods that nourish and strengthen us, rather than weaken our immune systems and make us feel like garbage?

It doesn’t start there though, it really starts with when we were kids and how we were placated with sweets and junk foods for every occasion and to squash any feelings our caregivers wanted to soothe. The first way to combat this cycle is to recognize it, and then change it. I’m guilty of this as well. Birthdays for me equate to birthday treats and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have to have pumpkin and pecan pies… There are better options though. I’m not saying we have to completely nix these traditions, but we can find healthier options like raw treats or low sugar options with more whole food/less processed ingredients. All other occasions, like our seemingly monthly celebrations at school or work, grab the veggie and meat tray and a fruit salad and load up on those fueling foods. My daughter told me that at her preschool, other kids are given M&Ms as a reward for their behavior. As soon as I heard about that last spring, I told her teacher I didn’t want that for my daughter, so instead she gets stickers… I’ll choose my battles.

How do you feel about this topic? Do you feel like we treat every party with unhealthy treats? Do you think you could change this in your life? OR… have you already implemented some changes in this area? I’d love to hear from you about this! If you’d like help transitioning to a more nourishing diet so you’re feeling vibrant, I’m your gal!

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Here’s a cake that we got to honor a handful of people at my work for their milestone celebrations. This huge cake was paired with soda and that’s it… didn’t take long to devour the majority of it. This was taken 3 or 4 hours after it was cut into. (sorry it’s a bit blurry)

*Resource:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obesity-rates-now-top-35-percent-in-7-states/

“How Toddlers Thrive”

Raising Toddlers is a tough gig. With their growing desire for independence we forget that this age still is very dependent on us as caregivers. With me, my first kiddo was determined and sensitive from the getgo. I honestly didn’t realize it until I had our second child and saw how different the two are. My youngest has just been more at ease and laid back from day one compared to my first. Through the tough days, I still acknowledge how amazing she is and I thank her for teaching me how to grow into a stronger and whole person because really, it’s my past that I haven’t healed when I’m triggered from one of her meltdowns or the like. I’m apologizing a lot and letting her know I’m trying to be a better mama and sometimes I ask her how I can be better for her. Usually her response is more hugs and kisses.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this transformation didn’t happen over night. Every day is a challenge and every day I learn more and more about myself and about how to be supportive to my family.

Recently, I finally started listening to an amazing book that I hope every parent either listens to or reads the book “How Toddlers Thrive” by Tovah P Klein

This book reminds us that these kiddos with such big emotions are kids. The ability for children to plan and deal with transitions and process through feelings takes place in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which isn’t fully developed until around age 25! The author of “How Toddlers Thrive,” has an amazing, yet simple mantra she used to use when her kids were “being difficult.” She would breath and repeat in her head “she’s just a little kid.” This has really helped!! Recently we went on a shopping trip for some clothes for my youngest and she wanted to go with. She had a big meltdown, one of the firsts about not being able to get a toy she wanted and I breezed through it while supporting and acknowledging her feelings! It was tough getting past the thoughts, “what do these other customers think of my parenting,” but then I just reminded myself that I didn’t care. I WAS SUPPORTING MY CHILD. I think too many times we parents forget this and become too worried about what other people think. We need to get past our feelings by taking care of our needs and healing our past so we may honor our children and support them as best as possible.

The beauty of being sick…

Yes, the title to my post this week may sound a little crazy, but stay with me…

We started the kiddos in daycare 7 weeks ago… since then, it’s been a germ factory in our home and at least one of us has been sick since then. I’m starting on my second round of being sick in the last 6 weeks and so are my kids!  Summer colds are the worst, but I have never been in a cold continuum for this long! I don’t mind being sick if it’s me vs the kids, however, I’m starting to get really pissy from all this sickness. We’ve missed work and there were days that I left my youngest crying and miserable at daycare.

No, I can’t really blame it all on daycare, although I’m sure that’s where it stems from. The real problem is that our immune systems have been weakened to the point where we haven’t been able to fight off all these germs. How, you may ask? Well it seems once I deviated from the keto diet, my food choices haven’t been as healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not eating out at fast food joints, however, I have eaten some foods that I know weaken my immune system (fish and chips and ice cream… and then the occasions where my husband and I ate the majority of the brownies he made… twice). I am done! I woke up yesterday feeling like garbage again and I won’t do it anymore! The worst is seeing my children in pain from coughing or seeing their constant running noses.

So what I’m doing is cutting out all added sugars until I’m feeling well and then allowing myself something sweet on occasion, because I feel deprived when I won’t allow myself to have something indulgent every once in a while. I will eat fruits when I feel a craving come on or  better yet, drink my tea.

Second, we are cutting back on meat. When I went on the keto diet, we reintroduced meat into the family and it seems like this was right when we all started getting sick. Not saying that this is a definite contributor, yet, I believe that eating a lot of meat isn’t great for the body (or the planet, especially if not sourced from a pastured farm). A little bit every once in a while is okay, but I feel like we started to go a bit overboard.

I know being “stuck” indoors doesn’t help either, and I know that allergies have been bad this year, which I’m usually not a victim to until this year. All I know, is that I’ve been slacking on the diet and that stops here. And really, so does the pissy-ness… Rather, I’m thankful to my body for telling me that I can’t continue to feed it unhealthy foods and expect to thrive. I’m thankful that my family and I only have a cold and not something worse. The body is so intelligent and it’s constantly telling us if we need to change something up- be it pimples, fatigue, colds, cold sores, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. So rather than getting grumpy, which only makes things worse, thank your body for the signs/signals and change it up! And take this time to slow down and soak up stillness.

I know that I’m not the only one who has been struggling with their diet this summer. Have you had a hard time eating healthy this summer? If so, what are your challenges? What do you feel would help? I’d love to hear from you and help!

 

 

 

My little achiever

In our home, we had a “word of the day” which stayed the same for about a year with my eldest kiddo. The word was paleontologist and she picked it up at her sitters house when she was just 2. Since then, she has said she wants to be a chiropractor, a midwife, a barista, and still a paleontologist after 2 years later. She even says that she wants to work with me some day. Her father and I have always told her that she is totally capable of doing all of that, however, it’s going to be a lot of hard work. I also remind her that she should find something that she’s passionate about when she’s ready to really think about her career. She never seems to mind those reminders.

Then, we went to a spring fair for kids a few months ago and there was a woman who was representing the Mammoth Site where they do digs every day throughout the summer for kids. We decided that this was going to be on our list of to-dos for the summer!

I signed her up for Friday last week and we all hopped in the van with our lunches and headed toward the dig site. We got there with some time to spare so we played around in the gift shop and the “Kids Cave” and then there was an announcement that the little diggers were about to head out to look for mammoth bones! After the kids (probably about 15 kids) got their name tags on, we walked to the dig site and got to learn a little bit about fossils and the proper way to dig them up. For example, do you know the difference between an archeologist and a paleontologist? Archeologists may dig up anything that is connected in some way with humans and a paleontologist may only dig up things not connected to humans such as animals or plants.

My daughter was the last kiddo to get to her dig spot and she was really into it for about 10 minutes and then she decided she’d rather just play in the soft dirt they were all digging through. She got to a bone and started to expose some of it and then got bored with it so I took over. As I was digging up more of the bone, I heard the instructor say that some paleontologists don’t find anything for years… I was excited about digging up our replica bone and thought that maybe I should have a career change, until I heard that. Seems like it would be a tedious, boring, and frustrating job most of the time. My husband took over after a while and finally, we exposed a rib from a mammoth. Then we took a self-guided tour around the actual dig site before heading back home.

On the ride home, my daughter still says she would like to be a paleontologist, along with the few other careers I mentioned above. We had such a fun time together (okay… there was a little bit of whining from my daughter…) and are looking forward to our next adventure together…

 

Why can’t it be easier!?

Last week I wrote about the importance of choosing the way to utilize resources in terms of either money or time. You may read more about that here. Then, I got an email from another blogger I follow and I was reminded of an ingredient that is found almost every packaged food or condiment. It’s basically a chemical concoction made in a lab that hijacks our taste buds tricking our brains to come back for more and more even when we aren’t hungry. Scientists make said ingredient and aren’t required to put any of the items they use to make the few words to describe it. Can you guess the ingredient?

Flavor or natural or artificial flavor, even if it says it’s organic when it says flavor stay away because we don’t really know what exactly is in this ingredient.
The fact that our government doesn’t protect us from this type of food additive and then jacks up our health care costs because our food is making us sick is absolutely infuriating and frustrating.

Needless to say, I went through our refrigerator and pantry to see what products contained these “natural flavors” (I got rid of the artificial flavors and colors a long time ago only to realize that they were pretty much the same thing as natural flavors). Luckily, I only found a few things: organic Worcestershire sauce, liquid stevia, some salad dressing my mom bought a while ago for herself, and the one that was the biggest bummer for us… Daiya cheese.

Not only does my body negatively react to dairy, it actually grosses me out too but that’s another topic all on its own. So in my frustration, I found a recipe to make dairy free cheese and went to work. I wrote last week about going for conveniences to save time and now I have to spend time making cheese if we decide we don’t want to put god knows what in our bodies.

Why can’t we just have clean foods!? Why does it have to be so much work to eat healthy!? Is anyone else frustrated, mad, sad, etc.?!

Resources:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bonappetit.com/story/truth-about-natural-artificial-flavors/amp

https://foodbabe.com/the-differences-between-artificial-flavors-natural-flavors-organic-flavors-and-other-added-flavors/

Time is money…

I’d say that I’m a pretty frugal and thrifty type of person. I prefer to buy things second hand at yard sales and second hand stores or better yet, clothing exchanges so I can get rid of my clothes I don’t wear anymore too. I wouldn’t say I’m stingy with my money, however, I make a point to know where it’s going every month and I don’t buy something on a whim.
I take out my iPhone when I spend money and click on my notes app and plug in our monthly expenses by date and when they’re paid I cut and paste them under the word “Paid.” This is one way I keep on track with our financial goals.
That being said, it’s been a struggle letting go of saving money on foods that I could make at home until more recently. As much as I like to bake and cook, it’s something that tends to stress me out as it adds more to my “list” of things to do and then I get cranky and my family gets the brunt of it. So yes, gluten free bread and dairy free cheese may be cost more when purchasing it but when it comes down to it, it’s worth the money to save the time and stress that it causes me and my family. I’d rather spend my time doing something that will energize me than spend time away from my needy kiddos and self-care activities.
That’s why it’s so important for me to pick four or five meals for the week so we know exactly what we need for our dinners to have enough food to last us for leftover lunches and dinners. Sometimes I will splurge and buy a ready made gluten free, dairy free pizza and other times I will make the crust homemade. I do bake and cook a little but mainly my husband is whipping up our dinners or treats to take some of the load off of my plate which I’m so grateful for! Some of us don’t have this kind of help in the home though so it really comes down to whether you’re happier making from scratch foods or if it is better doing something easier or pre-made. My almost 5 year old daughter loves to help make food but only sometimes. I think this will be a great activity when she gets older and I will gladly make more foods and save some money knowing that this activity is teaching her and allowing us to bond, if that’s the case. If she isn’t into it that’s okay too. I just know right now in this season in my life, it’s worth paying a little more for things like bread or the like.

Do you find yourself spending more time and stress into something that you could pay to ease some stress in your life? If so, what does that look like for your family? I’d love to hear from you!

Get it together for your family…

Today I am going to talk about the importance of getting your ducks in a row for an, god-forbid, unseen circumstance so your family is taken care of. Yes, this may not have anything to do with health, or does it… Knowing that your family is going to be okay financially is huge peace of mind, so I feel like that IS part of a healthy beings lifestyle.
This all started a few years ago. We nailed down who would take our only child at the time if something were to happen to my husband and I. However, things have changed and we need to make sure this arrangement is still okay with the other couple. We have a will made out but we need to have it notorized to make it legally binding. First, we need to speak with our friends who will take on this responsibility if need be (man it’s one of the hardest things trying to pick a couple for this worst case scenario) and then we just need to get the paperwork signed.
A few months ago, I was invited to a class put on by my chiropractor refarding financial planning, specifically for women. I’ve always been a budgeter, especially since having kids and not working full-time anymore, it’s even more important to know exactly where my money is going and if we are over spending. My husband and I went in and talked with the lady who did the talk a few days after I heard her speak and I knew that I needed to get this lined up as well. I’m so glad that I did, because I felt very overwhelmed prior to, thinking that getting out of my debt I’ve racked up with my business and then not having consistent clients and then cutting my hours even more after our second child. After we talked with her though, I know that our financial goals are attainable as long as we keep on track. We have big goals in life and I want to see them through with no regrets. Life is here to be fun, not to worry or work all the time (unless work is your thing… then have at it!). With that being said, here are my goals for our future to remind me why I need to stay on track.

Goals for my families future:
-Buy land and own a small farm with livestock and a garden
-Travel to Europe with my husband someday, and maybe the kids
-Live in an RV for 6-12 months traveling the USA with my family in about 5 years
-Go on a tropical vacation with my husband for our 10 year anniversary (this is just a little over a year away!)
-Be able to retire in my mid 50s

These are some of my big goals. What are yours? Do you think they are doable? Do you feel like anything is stopping you?