WTFDUE August 22nd

On today’s super quick blogging of WTF Do You Eat (quick, because baby is napping and mama needs to sweep and mop)….

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Avacado/Chickpea Salad with Sweet Potatoes

Ok, so this recipe is stupid easy, so fast and simple, but incredibly delish. I took 1 avacado and 1 can of chickpeas (adjust to fit your needs). I put in a mixing bowl and used a potato masher to get them all creamy and mixed up. I added salt, pepper, garlic, and cayanne pepper. Didn’t measure, can’t help you there. Mix it up! I served it with sweet potatoes, and the combo was pretty amazing! Definitely going to make this again. I think the avacado/chickpea mix would be delicious on an ezekiel muffin!

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WTFDUE? Vegan recipes

I get this questions a lot…..WTF do you eat???

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Since writing my blog post about our 6 week adventures in Plant Based food, and posting my progress photos. I’ve had a handful of people asking me “So, you don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, cheese……what do you eat?” I think that’s an awesome question, because we eat some seriously delicious food! I decided to add a couple of the recipes that we have fallen in love with to my blog. I’ll post the 2 that I made last night.

Zoodle Baked Spaghetti

I don’t really follow a recipe on this one, but it’s simple

For goodness sake, preheat the oven!!! I always forget! 400 degrees. You will need a zoodle maker, OR…you can buy pre-zoodled zoodles at Kroger in the product section. I usually use 3-4 zucchini depending on their size, and I drain them after I zoodle them, because they have lots of water. On top of the zoodles I grate 1 package of extra firm tofu. On top of the tofu I shake out one little container of Italian dressing mix. (Tofu has very little flavor, and I have found that putting the seasonings right on top of the tofu gives it a wonderful flavor, and it soaks it in better). On top of the tofu I put one can of Newmans Own Organic Marinara sauce (or whatever sauce you like). On top I sprinkle “Go Veggie” shredded cheese (Kroger) and “Go Veggie” Parmesan cheese (amazon.com)

Bake for about 35 minutes or until zoodles are tender but not squishy.

Another pointer…..use scissors to cut the zoodles into smaller pieces before you add anything on top of them. Makes it so much easier to serve.

Bang Bang Cauliflower

I loosely follow this recipe CLICK HERE

You can get vegan mayo on Amazon, and the sauce is absolutely AMAZING!! The cauliflower is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Absolutely delicious! HIGHLY Recommend this.

 

 

Plant based – week 6 – progress photos

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So….moment of honesty, I’ve never been a fan of the vegans. They always seemed to extreme, too entitled, too stuck up, b*tchy, just too much. I mean, who gives up eggs and cheese for goodness sake….crazy people, that’s who! And then, 6 weeks ago, I became one of these crazy people after doing some pretty extensive research. **Not watching one super extreme show, but actually reading several books and reading studies online, speaking with people who have lived a plant based lifestyle, and seriously digging into my personal morality ** So, I’m not a “What the Health” convert. I feel that show was extremely one sided, but I do agree with the base principles behind many of the points that they make– Rant over.

Now, I do not believe that this lifestyle change is for everyone, and I refuse to tell everyone I know that they “should” do this or they “should” do that. I’m not all that important and why in the world should they listen to me anyway. I believe that everyone is entitled to live their life as they decide….within legal and moral guidelines of course. So, this is pretty much just a posting for me to look at in a few years, and for the handful of people who have inquired into how this change is going for us. So, don’t think I’m pushing veganism on you…I’m not that girl.

Having said all of that….I feel amazing. These are the changes that I have seen.

  • I have more energy
  • I don’t need the “breastfeeding limit” of coffee every afternoon to stay awake
  • I’m much less moody (hubby appreciates that)
  • I don’t nap in the afternoon, even when up 2-5x with an infant
  • My workouts feel better and I’m making great progress in the gym
  • I look forward to working out
  • I feel like I recover faster from hard workouts
  • I’ve lost 12lb in 6 weeks –
  • My cravings are changing, and my palette is changing. I actually crave healthy food!! WTF??

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That’s a lot of change in 6 weeks! I started this nutrition change at 6 weeks postpartum and took my 12 week postpartum photo this week. We committed to do this for 6 months, and then decide if we want to continue. So far, so good.

I don’t know quite how to say it…but there is a consciousness that comes from changing the way you eat. There is an awareness of where my food comes from and a joy in preparing it. It is exciting and I feel like we are on an awesome adventure, finding new recipes and new ways to eat beans…lol. In all seriousness, I feel good about the way I eat today. Maybe it’s that entitled feeling/cockiness that I used to think all vegans had…but it’s very real. I feel good about how I am fueling my body, and it makes a big difference in my day to day life. I like sharing that with friends, but I never want to seem pushy. I know this isn’t for everyone.

I say all that, but let’s be real…..It is not without it’s challenges. There is so much planning that goes into our weekly meals, and it is nearly impossible to just throw something together when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a week. There are much more frequent grocery trips, due to wanting the freshest possible produce. It is also impossible to find anything “fast” or a “fast food” place to just grab food. So, planning is imperative. I have to bring food with me if I know I will be out for a while. I also have to remember to take a B12 vitamin everyday, especially since I am breastfeeding.

So, there you have it…that’s where we are at 6 weeks. Still loving it, still enjoying, not feeling deprived or hungry between meals, getting plenty of awesome snacks too. Oh, and before you ask….I get plenty of protein.  I’ll check back in soon with more updates.3114a9847d8b87e078a644f79721c8fe

 

10 weeks postpartum – Self-care

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Every time she gets the hiccups….I can still feel it in my belly. It’s like we are still connected on a physical level. She will stretch in a certain way, and I will remember exactly how that felt in my guts. She’s my miracle…she’s my purpose….she’s my everything. I say that….but she can’t always be my everything….I can’t give from a depleted source or pour from an empty cup. My self-care has to be rockin’ for me to be the best mother, wife, friend, and person that I can be. This is a hard earned lesson…and I kinda suck at it to be honest. I want to do everything, and be everything to everyone that I love….I don’t want to take the time to take care of myself and do the things that I know benefit me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually…what if I miss something?!?!? What if she makes that little face that I love so much, what if she does something new and I’m not there?! I also struggle so much with asking for help, especially when I need it most. I don’t want to feel weak, or inadequate….I don’t want to feel like I’m failing. But, like a very special person likes to tell me…my feelings aren’t facts, they actually mean very little in the grand scheme of things.  It’s maddening sometimes, but I have to practice self care and I have to ask for help…otherwise I will be worthless to them…to my family, to my perfect little family. Burnout is very real, Baby blues is very real, being overwhelmed is very real exhaustion is very real. It doesn’t make me a bad mother, it doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong…it means I’m human and having a baby is a gigantic adjustment that doesn’t just happen overnight.

New moms….take a bubble bath, go to the gym, go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, read a book, take time for quiet meditation. It truly will make you a better mom! All those close friends and family members who volunteer to help…LET THEM! They want to help you and probably spend time with that sweet baby! STOP comparing your postpartum journey to your friends, or people you see on social media. STOP comparing the way you feel to how others “appear” to feel….this is such a special time for you and your baby! I know my Lilly Kate will never be this little again, I refuse to waste this time with worry, anxiety, and stress and needless expectations of how I “SHOULD” feel, act, look, be…it’s just not worth losing this time with her.

My postpartum journey has taught me more about myself and what I am made of than any other season of my life. Everything has changed in my little world…and change is hard. My priorities are different, my needs are different, my marriage is different, my relationships are different, and my body is crazy different. These differences aren’t necessarily bad, but there is a lot of adjusting going on in my little world. I’ve done my best to handle these adjustments with grace, but have been far from perfect. I’ve learned that you cannot die from lack of sleep, and that I can eat, clean, vacuum, and cook with one hand, I’ve learned that the baby carrier, pacifier, and swing are magical devices that will save my sanity. I’ve learned to practice grace with others and with myself. I’ve learned that there are no absolutes in parenting, that it is all a learning process. I’ve learned to say NO, and that NO is a complete sentence. But above all else, I’ve learned my capacity for love. I’ve never felt this kind of love and connection with another human being in my life….I would die for her, I would do anything for her….I’ve learned about sacrifice and about how every sacrifice I make for her is joyful, because it comes from love. Due to my background and my experiences I questioned whether I would feel this connection, or be a good mother, or if it would come naturally or be forced…There is nothing more natural than my unconditional love for my daughter, and that has to be God doing for me what I could not do for myself.

My mother in law once told me that you don’t reach your full development as a human until you become a parent or until you care for someone who is completely dependent on you….Here’s to learning and growing, to developing to my full potential, and to loving every minute.

39.5 weeks – Birth Eve

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#realpregnancy #nofluff #noBS #ALLthefeels #atonetime

I don’t know that I had any expectations of how I would feel today, but definitely didn’t expect to be this overwhelmed and anxious. I’ve spent the entire morning analyzing where to start in getting “ready” for tomorrow (I will be admitted tomorrow night for induction). In my mind, there is so much to do and I will never have enough time or energy to do it! There are floors to sweep and mop, rugs to vacuum, last minute nursery details, food to prepare for when we come home…(should I make freezer meals or go ahead and cook things)…. EVERYTHING needs to be sanitized before I bring her home!! (insert crazy eyes here), I have to get Moose ready for his vacation with Aunt Michele, do I have everything I need in my hospital bag, is the car seat installed correctly, am I even qualified to drive her home in a couple days….OMG!!! My brain is on overdrive and I can’t shut it off! I don’t know how much of it is hormones and how much of it is just my OCD.

But today is hard. Today is very hard. And, I’m exhausted.

I wonder what’s going to change after tomorrow….I mean, probably EVERYTHING. How will this affect my relationship with my husband, will I have the “instincts” that everyone keeps telling me will come naturally, will I be a good mom, how is Moose going to react and will he still know how much I love him, how are we going to balance running businesses and a new baby, is my mother going to make me lose my freaking mind, how will we make meetings, how is Joe going to continue with his crazy training schedule, how do you eat when you breastfeed, will I even be able to breastfeed, when can I work out, how long does baby weight stick around….it’s crazy how something so tiny can affect our entire world.

I say all that to say this….I struggle with control. I struggle with powerlessness and the fact that I have zero control over what is about to happen in my life. I try to feel the false illusion of control by controlling the list of things above and making lists and plans and working through all of these questions in my head….but deep down I realize that at the end of the day I am powerless. Birth is not something that can be controlled or cataloged. Bringing home a new baby is not something that has a manual and step-by-step instructions. Fear is a huge part of this journey, and the ability to walk through fear is making me grow exponentially….and I get that.

I’m learning about trust….something I have struggled with for most of my life. I’m learning to trust my gut, my doctor’s expertise, my body’s readiness to do this, my husbands willingness and ability to coach me through and support me, my mother and father in law and their love for us and their new grandbaby, my program and my tribe of women who will help and guide me through becoming a new mom, the growth that has happened in the relationship with my family-of-origin over the course of my pregnancy….I’m surrounded by infinite support and love, but trust has never come easy for me….especially when I am not in control and feel I could fail or not live up to expectations I have set for myself or that (I think) others have set for me.

So….that’s today, almost at the end of this part of our journey. So much fear…yet so much excitement and joy to finally meet this tiny miracle. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in fear and anxiety that I forget what a blessing I will be bringing into this world. I forget that God chose ME to be her mother, and that I never imagined I would be so blessed. I never wanted to be a mom….but now, I can’t imagine anything greater. A tiny piece of perfection, made with love, and forever to change our hearts and lives. T-1 till we #makewayforLillyK.

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39wk bumpdate – Adventures in Pregnancy

We made it to 39 WEEKS! Depending on which app I open, she is either the size of a Watermelon or a Pumpkin….either one is much too big to be hanging out in my belly (rib cage) for too much longer! The aches and pains are getting to the point where I’m just DONE….DONE being pregnant and ready for her to do all of this wiggling, jabbing, kicking and rolling and midnight hiccuping outside of my body. But, we are so close! Everything is much more difficult these days….from tying my shoes to shaving my legs or just trying to get in and out of the truck or roll over at night to find a more comfortable position (which is impossible at this stage, let me tell you)….but in all that bitching and whining, I can’t help but smile. My body is creating a LIFE, a tiny miracle that will become the center of our whole world. Although it is definitely difficult on some days, she is 100% worth every second, every ache and pain, every sleepless night….and I can’t wait to meet her!

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Ever since my stitch removal 2 weeks ago, I am able to do things that I have been restricted from for over 6 months. I’ve been walking a lot more, and usually get in about 4 miles a day for the past week or so. It feels so good to be active again. Even though it’s just walking, it is a big deal for me right now! Just walking a few miles a day absolutely exhausts me, but makes me feel so good.

The closer I get day by day to labor and delivery, the more anxious I get. I think it’s only natural. I mean, I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure exactly what to expect, and I know it will hurt. I’ve read all the books and apps and listened to all the stories from my lady friends….but I can’t help but still feel a little anxious and scared about it. I have a very loose birth plan, and have made it clear to my doctor that my only real “Plan” is to get the baby out safely and as easily as possible. Outside of that, I’m pretty flexible. I have girlfriends who have come into the delivery room with high expectations and firm birth plans only to be disappointed and realize that birth is messy and not something that goes according to our plans all the time.

The other point of extreme anxiety in my life today is my journey through the post-partum period. As someone who is in long-term recovery from a severe eating disorder and exercise addiction, I can’t help but plan ahead to make sure that I have a healthy idea of what to expect from my body, my mind, and from the experience. If I’ve learned anything in recovery it is that any experience is what you make it. It can be good or bad all dependent on my perspective. I do worry about losing the baby weight, I do worry about what “bouncing back” will look like and feel like, and I do worry about having unrealistic expectations of myself and relying on old behavior to solve my fear and anxiety, I do worry that I will push myself to do too much too fast, or that I’ll become depressed over my weight and appearance…BUT, I also realize that by being open and honest about my fears, it gives them less power. I know that I will have to practice grace with myself, and do what is best not only for me….but for this little miracle. I want to breastfeed for as long as possible. In order to do that, I will have to take excellent care of myself to provide her with the best. I also know that as she continues to grow up, I will become an example to her of how she should think about her body….and I can’t hate my body and teach her to love hers. Doesn’t work that way!

It’s still incredible to me that I have created a life inside of my body. That she will become a beautiful, brave, and wild creature of her own…I can’t wait to meet you Lilly Kate.

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37 weeks – Adventures in Pregnancy

I breathed the biggest sigh of relief this morning as soon as my eyes opened and I realized that Lilly and I have made it to 37 weeks. No matter what happens now, she is going to be ok! It’s that magical week when all of the pregnancy apps tell you that your baby is fully developed, just putting on more fat with the remaining weeks. What a journey it has been, and what a miracle she truly is. I think the challenges of this pregnancy have made me more grateful than I could ever have imagined, and have taught me so much about the joy and sacrifice of being a mother. I’ve learned so much about myself, my marriage, and life in general. I’ve learned who my friends are and who they aren’t. I’ve learned that “Family” has nothing to do with blood. I’ve had to dig into my spirituality, learn to trust the process, and that I’m not in control. I’ve truly surrendered to my powerlessness and come to a place of peace and understanding that would have been impossible for me to achieve had I not been brought to my knees. I can’t describe the joy and anticipation I am feeling.

She has defied all odds. Doctor’s always told me that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant and even harder for me to carry a child to term. I decided that I was ok with never having children, that I was going to live an exciting life and didn’t need to be a parent to fully enjoy my life.

In the last year, we’ve gotten pregnant twice without missing a single birth control pill. In February of last year I had a miscarriage, and in September, we found out that little Lilly was there. We thought we lost her at 16 weeks when I started bleeding uncontrollably, but with some medication and surgery, the docs were able to save her and stop my pre-term labor. I was put on extreme exercise restriction, modified bed rest, and told not to lift anything over a few pounds. I was terrified that I was going to lose her, that it was just a matter of time…

From that point in my pregnancy, it has been hard to let myself get excited. I’ve been cautiously optimistic, and hopeful. I’ve prayed more in the last 6 months than in the past 6 years…..but for the first time, today, it hit me that I’m going to meet this sweet angel and that she will become everything we never knew that we always wanted. The relief and the gratitude is indescribable. She’s going to be perfect, she’s going to be healthy, and she is going to be strong. It seems that God has a plan for us and for little Lilly, I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. This is truly His plan for us, especially through all the challenges we have faced getting to this point. This journey has been incredibly taxing…emotionally, physically, spiritually….but, not for a minute did I want to quit. I’m so blessed with amazing love and support. I’ve been built up throughout the entire process and never went through a moment not feeling the strength of my tribe behind me. I can’t wait to meet this sweet girl and be her mama.

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Late baby shower post

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Lilly Kate’s baby shower was! I was surrounded by the people that I love the most, amazing food, and so much joy and anticipation for this little girl! She’s not even here yet, and she is incredibly loved by such wonderful people!

It’s crazy to think, but now that we have had our shower, we are 100% ready for her arrival. Her room is all ready for her, we have her carseat, stroller, diapers, the cutest freaking clothes EVER, crib, changing table…..It’s so strange to walk through our house and see her room all set up for her. This definitely wasn’t anything that we planned, but I couldn’t be more excited to meet this little girl.

Although I am IN LOVE with all the cute clothes and supplies we got for sweet Lilly, a few gifts definitely stand out in my mind and in my heart. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most. Especially when they come from the heart.

Last year, Joe lost one of his dearest childhood friends. Andy was an amazing guy with a giving heart and the best belly laugh I have heard in a long time. It was a hard time, and I remember watching Joe go through that grief. I opened one of the gifts at the baby shower, and inside was a gently used, stained pink baby blanket. I was a bit confused to be honest when I opened up the package, but then I read the card that came with it.

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I can’t wait to wrap my sweet baby in this blanket that was passed down to me with the purest love. It means so much to me, and I have no words to express what it means to Joe. I know Lilly will never meet Andy, but a little piece of him with be with us as we raise our sweet baby.

The second thing that REALLY stands out to me was not a gift for me, or for baby Lilly, but a gift for Lilly as she grows up and starts to experience the world around her. One of my favorite little people in the whole world wrote Lilly this little note inside a Dr. Seuss book…”Oh, the places you will go”…I have read it probably a hundred times now, and can’t wait to read it to Lilly, with words straight from the heart of a woman that I love so dearly. Lauren

I can’t even post this photo without tearing up a little…..must be the hormones!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed by the love expressed for my little growing family. We are so blessed and fortunate to be loved by an amazing community of friends, family, and some that qualify as both. I can’t imagine going through the journey without their constant love and support. I know that Lilly will never not feel loved, I know she will always be supported, and I have no words to express the joy that brings me. It takes a village, and I absolutely adore my village.  #MakewayforLillyK

30 week bump-date

LK and I had our 30 week check-up today. She is the size of a Cantaloupe or a Zucchini, depending on what app I look at! We passed the glucose test, and she is measuring right on track. Her little heart rate is at 145 and she looks absolutely perfect. My doctor expects that he can remove my stitches in the office rather than requiring surgery to remove. That eases my mind so much! They will hopefully schedule that around 37 weeks, and we can expect her arrival anytime after that. She’s so big now that sometimes her movements wake me up at night and you can see her moving outside of my belly more and more. She prefers to sit on my right side and often my belly is very lopsided. She is still head down and the doc says she has dropped a little bit. That is probably why I’m experiencing so much lower back and pelvic pain. He thinks that she might be putting pressure on a nerve, which is the source of most of my discomfort. I’m hoping she will wiggle around and get into a different position soon. This part is no fun. She’s grown to the size that I am uncomfortable pretty much constantly and can’t be on my feet for long periods of time without my legs and feet swelling. The doc is greatly in favor of me continuing yoga and stretching as it will help my body prepare for labor and there have been studies linking mindfulness practice with a more pleasant and peaceful delivery. I’ve noticed an increase in my appetite lately, but the inability to eat much at one sitting due to the lack of space in my belly right now. Mood swings have gotten a little bit deeper and more often, I’ve struggled with depression the majority of my life, and I didn’t expect pregnancy to be much different. I’m glad I’m able to manage it without medication now, but the last couple weeks have been tough with a lot of ups and downs. My sugar cravings are out of this world. These cravings have literally brought me to tears on more than one occasion this week, knowing that the sugar is not good for me or the baby, but the craving being incredibly strong and feeling almost overpowering. I’m managing them the best I can, but it is incredibly frustrating.

As we get closer to May, our home is starting to reflect the upcoming changes. It is so weird to look into the nursery and see the crib, knowing that soon there will be a perfect baby girl sleeping there. We have most of the essentials, and with my shower this weekend, I know we will be all ready by the time she comes. I had a smallish emotional breakdown trying to find something nice to wear to my shower this weekend. It’s so hard sometimes to accept my changing body without judgement. Nothing fits “right” or looks the way I think it “should”, and this belly is seriously getting out of control as she continues to grow! It took me a few hours to snap out of it and realize that my body is creating a miracle and that might not always look the way I expect it to. I did eventually find a cute and comfy dress that I am excited to wear on Sunday. I also have to remind myself that I will be surrounded by so much love and friendship that I really don’t need to get caught up in how I look.

Another week closer to meeting my sweet and perfect little girl, this is an incredible journey and I feel so blessed to share it with all of you. Thank you for your continued love and prayers.

30 weeks 3

 

 

Meal Prep Monday 13March17

This has always been true for me, but even more so now that I’m pregnant. If I fail to plan, I plan to fail! I have to make sure that I have healthy and nutritious food on hand, otherwise when I get hungry I will reach for whatever is fast and easy — which is rarely ever healthy. I also have found that I need to eat something every few hours, otherwise I get a craving for something sweet and will find the most high-calorie sweet thing I can get my hands on to ease the craving…BUT, if I keep a steady meal plan of good and healthy foods, these cravings aren’t nearly as overwhelming! I’ve been able to battle most sugar cravings lately with Greek yogurt and granola, fruit and berries, and cold pressed juices. Much better than grabbing for a donut, cookies, ice cream, or something worse! This baby needs nutrition, not processed sugar! I thought I’d share my weekly meal prep and recipes in case any of you are looking for something new!

13March17 Meal prep monday!

This week looks DELICIOUS! So IN LOVE with my new kitchen that I can’t help but get super excited about cooking in it! This week, I’ve got roasted veggies, Teriyaki Panko Chicken thighs and Buffalo turkey meatball muffins! Yummm!!! Photos and recipes below

Roasted veggies – This week, I made brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini, and squash! I preheated the oven to 350, and rubbed EVOO on the pans I was using. I cut up the veggies and added plant based butter, ranch seasoning, and white cheddar popcorn spray. I then cooked the zucchini, squash, and peppers for 25 minutes and the sprouts for about 35 minutes.

Teriyaki Panko Chicken Thighs- Preheat oven to 400 and rub down pans with EVOO. I got organic chicken thighs, and put them in a gallon ziplock bag with a full container of Teriyaki marinade. (I added 15 thighs) Massage sauce into the thighs and make sure they are all opened up to get the sauce on the whole thigh. Then I took each one out individually and rolled in the Panko crumbs. I just used the regular unseasoned Panko. Put in pan and cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Buffalo Turkey meatball muffins – I used 2-1 pound packages of extra lean ground turkey, 2 eggs, mild wing sauce,  and a handful of panko (enough to get a thick consistency with eggs and wing sauce added. I oiled the muffin tin and filled each spot with the mixture. I cooked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes – until they start to brown on top. I eat mine with the avacodo ranch Hidden Valley dressing, but Joe eats his plain.

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Finished Product!!

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I’m looking forward to a YUMMY week ahead and hope that you guys enjoy these recipes!