April 18th, 2014

Fun for Friday: What I'm...

It’s Friday again! And Good Friday, for many of us.  We decided to take a day trip tomorrow to spend time with my husband’s four brothers and kids to have an early Easter dinner, and then come back and celebrate again on Sunday.

On Easter, I hide plastic eggs all over our house for L to find- last year they each had one raisin or chocolate chip in them… I wonder how long I can keep it that simple? :) Then we usually have a special dinner and dessert. There are some drool-worthy (and often healthier) desserts here I’m been checking out.

Here’s what else is going on:

 

What I’m… Reading

 Reading now

The stack on my nightstand just keeps growing! These are the books I’m working my way through currently:

Happy Hormones and Vitality Fusion (haven’t started yet), The Yoga-Body Cleanse (great read with some helpful tips that I’m incorporating into this next reset challenge), and The Diet Cure (really love the research on amino acid therapy for addiction.)

 

What I’m … Loving

The colors of spring! The dogwoods and forsythias are in bloom right now- gorgeous!

Spring colors

What I’m … Learning

I think I’m learning how to relax more and enjoy the remaining three months with L as an only child.  I am hoping to be a more laid back mom this time around (although a more laid back child would help with that, too!)

 

What I’m… Snacking On

Lots of new things lately…

Snacking lately

 Maia yogurts (extra probiotics added), Good Belly Coconut Water (more probiotics and a great base for smoothies), and Taste of Nature bars (these are delicious and have really simple, whole food ingredients).

What I’m… Dreaming of

Growing some of our own food again! We never did figure out the growing season in Houston and didn’t have the space to do much more than a few pots. I started some herbs in pots this week, and planted lettuce and swiss chard out back. I have carrots and red beet seeds that should go in the ground, too.  We’ll add tomatoes, peppers and more herbs in a few weeks.

Herbs pots

What I’m… Appreciating

My husband. And fresh paint! The previous owners loved orange and yellow and we are slowing adding some fresher, lighter colors to the house.

My husband painted our dining room and the nursery last weekend while I took L to my parents.  I LOVE both! He put the crib together too, so now it’s starting to feel more real.  I’ll try to put together a post in a few weeks as it comes together.

 

Dining room paint

Dining room paint

What I’m… Looking Forward to

Upcoming trips before the baby gets here: a beach trip with girlfriends and their families, a babymoon, a weekend with cousins and their kids, and a beach trip with my family.

 

What I’m… Eating

This power bowl was so delicious this week: quinoa, steamed broccoli, red pepper, avocado, salmon, chickpeas and sprouts.

Power Bowl Lemon Tahini Dressing

I can’t get enough of this Lemon Tahini Dressing… I’ll share the recipe next week!

 

How about you?

What are you up to, learning, thinking, eating, dreaming of, or looking forward to?

April 16th, 2014

The Spring Diet: Perfect for Healing Candida

In my reset challenges (next one starts on Monday!), we’ve talked about sugar overgrowth and for some women, candida as well.  Spring provides the ideal diet to undo these symptoms. My friend and fellow Holistic Health coach, Adrian, has personal candida experience and I asked her to share a little more with you today. Thanks, Adrian!

I don’t know very many women who have never had to deal with Candida-type symptoms: yeast infections, foggy thinking, low energy, difficulty concentrating, bloating and digestive upset.  While these are not always linked to Candida, very often they are.

When I first began learning about Candida and many of the diets that are recommended for bringing the body back into balance, I realized that what authors like Donna Gates and Jeanne Marie Martin were describing was almost identical to the Ayurvedic “Kapha Pacifying” diet, one that is most appropriate during Spring.

The high-chlorophyll foods such as leafy greens and alkalinizing foods like fresh sprouts that are naturally found growing in spring help re-populate beneficial gut bacteria after a long winter of heavy, acidic foods.  Adding beneficial bacteria helps to eliminate and/or control Candida yeast populations.

greens_farmers_market_1

Spring foods are also often bitter and pungent (spicy).  In Ayurvedic medicine, it is observed that bitter foods reduce Ama, or toxins, and pungent foods eliminate Ama.  Spicy argulua and Asian greens and bitter greens like lettuce and kale are some of the first foods you will see popping up in your garden, and these dark greens are on the top of most anti-Candida food lists.

Ayurvedic medicine believes (as do I) that nature has everything planned out just right for us.  If we are eating winter foods during winter, summer foods during summer, and spring foods during spring, then chances are we are dancing harmoniously with mother nature and our bodies are in balance.  Of course, many other factors affect this balance, so its not always so simple.

In our modern world, there are several major factors that come in to play to cause an overgrowth of Candida albicans in our internal environment.  One of the most common is high stress levels, which create an acidic environment favorable to Candida yeast.  Damp weather conditions also help Candida proliferate, as does toxic mold growing inside a home or office space.  One factor that isn’t talked about much is hormones – any change in hormones, even natural changes such as during pregnancy and menopause, create conditions where Candida can thrive.  We also have to consider the use of anti-biotics: while these wipe out the “bad” guys, they wipe out the beneficial bacteria, too, creating the perfect scenario for Candida to completely take over.  Finally, poor digestive fire is very often at the root of Candida conditions, as undigested food is built up in the intestinal tract and ferments, feeding Candida.

To sum it all up, here are a few tips for maintaining healthy intestinal bacteria:

  1. Take advantage of the high chlorophyll, bitter, and pungent foods available in spring, such as arugula, spinach, kale, lettuce, radishes, and fresh sprouts.
  2. Allow yourself time each day to relax.  Practice the mantra “I am exactly where I need to be.”
  3. Check your home and work spaces for mold and spend time in dry environments.
  4. Improve digestive function by following a simplified or cleansing diet for several weeks during spring, adding digestion-enhancing herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper, and eating at least half of each meal in vegetables.  Allow at least 3 hours between each meal and snack, and never “graze.”
  5. Avoid high sugar fruit, and choose instead green apples, Asian pears, white grapefruit, lemon and lime.
  6. Be extra vigilant during times of hormonal changes, such as pregnancy and menopause.  Even the change around your menstrual cycle can have an effect.  Pay attention to patterns.
  7. Add a probiotic supplement and/or live fermented foods, like kefir (unsweetened), sauerkraut and/or kim chi.  Taking extra probiotics is especially important after a round of anti-biotics.

Adrian Nowland is a board certified Holistic Health Coach specializing in healing Candida joyfully, improving energy naturally and 14 Day Ayurvedic cleanses.  She lives in Chelan, Washington with her husband and their spunky five-year old daughter.  Adrian works locally and remotely.  When she is not coaching, she keeps busy writing grant requests for a local non-profit, experimenting in the kitchen, practicing yoga and meditation, or hiking in the beautiful Cascade mountains.  For more information, check out her website at www.laughingblossom.com.

Have you ever dealt with candida, or it’s symptoms?

How does your diet change in the spring time?

April 14th, 2014

Garden Spot Half Race Recap

It was so fun to participate in a race this weekend! I had no expectations for myself, at 24 weeks pregnant, and was looking forward to a fun run with hundreds of other runners.

The weather was gorgeous, and I loved running back through the country roads near where I grew up. Garden Spot is [...]

April 13th, 2014

24 weeks workouts + meal plan link up

Hello from PA, again! We got here Thursday night and have been making the most of the beautiful days in the country. L has been put to work, helping in the garden. They planted onions this week so we’ll get to check on them when we’re back in a month or two. (Honestly, she only [...]

April 11th, 2014

How I'm using Essential Oils with kids

Hey everyone!

It’s Friday, and I brought L to grandma’s for the weekend while two rooms in our house get painted, including the nursery. We have many more to go, as we didn’t go anything when we moved in this summer and there is a lot more yellow and orange than I would like. But [...]

April 9th, 2014

5 by the 5th Winners + Coconut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

We’re quickly coming to the end of our 5 by the 5th spring series… there’s just one more month to go!

Here are this month’s winners:

Honey Stinger Chews- My favorite organic chews. No crazy ingredients, and lots of great flavor options!

The winner is… Melissa V!

Words to Sweat By Necklace- Dana has [...]

April 7th, 2014

6 months pregnant update (23.5 weeks)

So I’m apparently now in my sixth month of pregnancy… how is that possible? The first few months crawled by, but suddenly we’re just a few weeks shy of the final trimester. I’m trying to wrap my head around what that really means!

Thankfully, I’m feeling good and my energy has been really high this [...]

April 6th, 2014

23 weeks workouts and menu plan link up

Look at that! A weekend that we’re home, after traveling for the last two. I’m making the most of it, because we’re off again next weekend! I love traveling, but it gets exhausting as well.

I cut back workouts this week a bit and my energy was significantly higher. Not sure if those two were [...]

April 4th, 2014

Two strength workouts for runners

Hey, it’s Friday! Enjoy it!

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with more at home strength workouts. It saves a trip to the gym on cross training days, and I really like the higher intensity workouts that are done quickly but leave me feeling wiped out and accomplished!

I loved using Jess’s prenatal workouts as a starting [...]

April 2nd, 2014

2014 Goals Check In

Happy Wednesday! It finally feels like spring here… we are all soaking it up.

I’m glad that so many of you are excited for the Reset Challenge! It’s always a challenging, rewarding time. To answer a few common questions: no, the meals are not complicated. I included as many quick and easy options as possible. [...]

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