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Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Are You REALly Ready for a Baby?

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

I knew nothing about real food and natural living when I got pregnant with my first child. And there was nothing natural about the process of fertility treatments with no explanation why my body wasn’t working.

Fast forward a few years (and more treatments and another child) to when I got pregnant naturally with my third. I knew so much more. My lifestyle was so drastically different (like drinking raw milk and eating raw liver instead of being terrified of anything raw during pregnancy).

It was almost like for the first time I was REALly ready for a baby.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

What Was Missing?

As I look back on all three pregnancies there is one thing I wish I had had – a week-by-week guide based on a traditional way of living.

For all you mamas-to-be you are in luck! It does exist now!!

The Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide To Pregnancy and Childbirth has everything you ever wanted to know – from what’s going on during the first two weeks (that you aren’t actually pregnant) to natural birthing options, placenta encapsulation and best stroller options. For real, it has everything!

Genevieve Howland (author and founder of mamanatural.com) has helpful tips on easing morning sickness naturally, what nutrients you and your baby need at different stages and the benefits of breastfeeding.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Great Read

I’m a Type A person that wants to read every little detail about what’s going on during pregnancy. I sometimes wish there was a day-by-day or hour-by-hour handbook (seriously, I’d read it). So it’s been so fascinating (even when not pregnant!) to read this amazing resource.

In fact, it’s so cool I’ve caught my nine-year-old reading it!! I’m just careful about which parts she’s reading.

Pregnancy is exciting and scary at the same time. There is so much to do, and there are so many decisions to make. So, are you REALly ready for a baby?

Get Yourself Ready

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or know someone else who is this book is a MUST! Grab a copy for yourself and one to give away.

Looking back on my baby shower there are really only a handful of things I needed – cloth diapers, a good baby carrier (love my BabyHawk!), a bouncy seat…and a pregnancy guide that showed me how to do things the REAL way.

Are you REALly ready for a baby? That’s kind of a loaded question – nobody is really. But whether you feel ready or not, the Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth is for you!

I have been compensated for my time to write this review but all opinions expressed are my own. I have not been paid to post a positive review.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Simple Steps Towards Mom Self-Care plus a Quick Vegetable Dip Recipe

Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

I’ve been mom-wired for as long as I can remember. I wanted to play with dolls all day every day from the time I was very little. I dreamed about nursing babies instead of being a princess. I loved to make food for my siblings and their friends and would even clean up after them. I was always willing to help around the house. I would just sit in the kitchen and watch my mom bake because it fascinated me.

All Grown Up

I can’t say a whole lot has changed since then. I now have three kids of my own. I still love to cook for them and take care of them. It’s fun to dress them in cute clothes and do fun activities with them.

My writing is much the same. It focuses on feeding kids nourishing food and working through picky eating and allergies. All of my recipes have to be kid-approved. I even wrote two books about feeding kids (check them out here)!

Where’s Mom?

You may have noticed that one thing has been left out of all of this…myself. Yes, I am just like so many other moms. I put myself at the bottom of my to-do list.

As I write this post I’m starting day seven of my husband being out of town. With a house and farm to care for, three kids to feed and tend to, lots of activities and home schooling I bet you can imagine how much time is left to think about myself (next to none).Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Mom Life Rocks!

I don’t say any of this to take pity on myself. It’s actually quite the opposite! I love my life. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But sometimes (ok, almost all the time) I forget that mom needs care too.

Over the last few months I have finally made it my goal to really focus on my health and making nourishing food a priority (i.e. sardines, liver and spinach for breakfast!!). It has been amazing to see my health continue to improve (even after 2 1/2 years of breastfeeding on a very restricted diet that left me worn out and depleted). I actually feel better now than I ever have. It’s a good thing since my life requires a lot of energy!

Body Shape Roller Coaster

Along with the  health changes have come changes in my body shape. For a while now I’ve been in a constant state of exhaustion and adrenal fatigue. This leads to skinny legs and booty with weight in the belly. Plus you lose muscle. For this once fit and active woman it was strange…but eventually became my normal. My husband and I even joked that I seemed to loose more booty and gain more belly with each child (now I know that is from being so run down)!

But as my health has been reversing back to balanced hormones and fully rested my weight is shifting back to the places it should be. I have a figure again! And now my clothes don’t fit (especially pants!).Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

What’s the Problem?

Yet one thing I still never do for myself is buy new clothes. Although it sounds trivial, when you’re wearing old yoga pants and ten year old t-shirts with holes in the armpits every day, it really doesn’t make you feel so great about how you look. It impacts your self esteem. And your kids notice. But it’s about all I have that fits.

You can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to partner with Stonyfield Yogurt and prAna again. I’ve worked with them in the past to help me figure out my style and learn to embrace bold. This time I combined both my love of simplicity and my need for bold colors with this royal blue dress. It fits perfectly with prAna’s celebration of #TheWholeYou. This dress is ALL me.

From the moment I pulled it out of the box I knew it would be one of my favorite pieces of clothing. Sometimes I get caught up in budgets and kids’ needs and forget that I have needs to. I am always willing to go without. I forget that a few simple pieces of clothing that actually fit and make me feel good can make a world of difference in my attitude and my confidence.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

It’s Your Turn!

I want to encourage you to do something today to take care of yourself. Whether it be taking a walk alone, meeting a friend for coffee and having uninterrupted adult conversations, finishing that book that’s been half read for months, taking a yoga class, going on a date with your spouse or buying a new outfit that really makes you feel good.

Moms often forget that they have needs too. I don’t know about you, but I need a reminder once in a while (or maybe all the time) to not always put myself last. A happy, healthy mom is better able to care for her family and help create a happy, healthy home.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Need some inspiration to get you started?

I’ve got TWO ways to take mom off the bottom of the to-do list today.

First, check out prAna and buy yourself something nice. Seriously, their clothes are AMAZING. So comfortable and good quality. If you’re like me that is so important since I don’t buy new clothes often. It has to last. 

PrAna is offering my readers 15% off using coupon code WHOLES17JTB through the end of May. I might just have to order a few more things myself since none of my clothes fit anymore!Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

Second I’ve got a yummy treat for you (though you can share if you want – my kids sure love it…there I go again, handing over my food to my kids). I LOVE vegetables. I always have. But I like raw veggies even more with dip. You can make this super simple dip in about sixty seconds. Jazz up your veggies with something delicious and do your body a favor with nourishing foods. It’s a win-win.

All those great vitamins in vegetables need fat for absorption. So Stonyfield full fat Greek yogurt makes the perfect base. Add some seasoning and you’ve got a great snack or addition to your lunch.Do you make mom self-care a priority or do you put yourself at the bottom of the to-do list? Here are simple steps to make mom matter!

60 Second Veggie Dip
Serves 4
A quick and nutritious veggie dip using Greek yogurt.
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Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Stonyfield whole milk Greek yogurt
  2. 1/8 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  4. 1/4 tsp. onion salt
  5. 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  6. (optional: 1/2 tsp. desiccated liver)
  7. (optional: 1/4 tsp. turmeric)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients. Add more garlic or onion if desired.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt
  2. This is great as a vegetable dip, chip dip or topping for tacos or nachos.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

What are you doing today for some mom self-care? I’d love to hear how you make time for yourself! I have a lot to learn.

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is in a few days…any mom would love some prAna clothing (hint, hint)! Use the coupon code WHOLES17JTB for 15% off!!

I am working with Stonyfield Yogurt and prAna on this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment but all opinions are my own.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

I’m Slowing Down…

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

I’m slowing down.

Whether I want to or not. I am. My mind is. My body is.

Here’s the problem.

Life is not.

In fact life is going in the complete opposite direction.

I have three very active children that seem to keep growing…don’t they know they’re supposed to stay little forever?

With those growing kids come more and more activities like soccer, t-ball, piano, church activities, time with friends, etc. As each child starts the activities multiply.

Full Time Work.

Then there is work. I work from home. I started my blog shortly after my oldest was born as a hobby. But it has grown into more than just a hobby. I have to work on it daily. And it’s a LOT of work. But now instead of just my own blog I help with someone else’s blog and write for several other blogs and magazines. Those hours add up very quickly. And none of them include child care.

I also started home schooling this year. Which I absolutely love and can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. But it does take work. I have to be more organized and I don’t have as much free time during the week.

Did I mention we are moving to a 10 acre farm by the end of the year? That means we’re in the process of packing and cleaning right now. Soon we’ll be selling our house and then doing the big move…during the holidays. Yeah, it’ll be busy.

No Big Deal?

This all sounds like normal stuff. Most people can handle it.

But I’m struggling.

It’s not something I like to admit. But I am.

I am the kind of person that likes to say yes to everything and everyone. I also don’t like to ask for help. Those two traits don’t go so well together.

I also don’t have any help aside from my husband. We don’t have close family in town. If life is feeling crazy and hectic I just have to deal with it. I can’t call Grandma to take the kids for a few hours so I can catch my breath. Instead I get a few minutes of nap time to scroll through Facebook or Pinterest before jumping back in.

What Happened?

The thing is I used to be able to handle more busyness. So what happened?

I didn’t listen to my body.

I wasn’t honest about my struggles. I never accepted help. I never asked for help. Not even from my husband!

I’ve had a lot of really big stressors in my life over the last fifteen years. Bigger than I realized. And they took a toll. Major colon surgery. Years of infertility and treatments. Years of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder and working with a psychologist.

I thought I was over a lot of the major stuff after that. So I didn’t even realize until just now how stressful the last three years have been.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Three Years Of Worry.

In mid 2013 I went through my last (7th!!) round of IVF…which ended in a miscarriage. The miscarriage lasted over a month. And my adrenals and thyroid went haywire. My whole body was swelling. I was gaining weight every week. Things were out of whack. I was trying hard to make huge lifestyle changes.

And just when I was making some progress I got pregnant with my miracle baby…the thing I had been working towards.

I was so happy, and the pregnancy went smoothly.

But it caused me a lot of anxiety. I worried about the health of the baby every day. But I just dealt with it. As I did my adrenals continued to suffer.

Wait, It Gets Worse?

After my daughter was born things were good for a bit. Then she had multiple severe vaccine reactions. And I spent the next year and a half fighting for her life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone than I did during that time. I worried about her and cried about it almost daily.

Her malnutrition and fighting to keep her nourished through nursing impacted me so much that even now, at 2 years old, every time I nurse her I have heart palpitations. Even though she only nurses a couple times a day and is a great eater. It’s my body’s natural response…worrying she won’t get enough.

To add to the stress of the last three years we’ve dealt with health issues for my other two children. It started as allergies and general gut health and has now turned into neurological issues.

As I’m typing this I’m still trying to unwind from a morning of my five year old constantly screaming at me and responding to everything I say with an extreme negative. Sometimes to the point where he shuts himself in the closet and screams over and over that he wants to kill himself.

It’s exhausting, disheartening and just overwhelming at times. All I can do is keep praying.

Allergies.

It is also a lot of work to cook for my family. With so many varying allergies I always have to cook multiple meals and make just about everything from scratch…even if I don’t have time.

There is no such thing as ordering pizza or going out to eat when I just don’t have the energy. Or even pouring a bowl of cereal when I can’t even think about breakfast.

It is a huge responsibility on my shoulders. If I don’t do it my kids can’t eat.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Waiting For Our Dream.

Over the last year we have had some huge ups and downs in our house search too. We have had multiple offers accepted but then things not work out for one reason or another. It’s been very emotional and at times has felt very similar to our infertility journey. We are praying this house is really the one and we can move past this by year’s end.

Deeper Thoughts.

When I was growing up my mom dealt with anxiety and depression. At about the same age as I am right now she had a nervous breakdown and was in in-patient care at a mental health facility and was on lots of medication. We got to visit her once in a while and had to have my grandparents help take care of us. I was in third grade. My little brother was in kindergarten. Right now my daughter is in third grade and my son is in kindergarten. Yeah, it really makes me think about how things could go if something doesn’t change. I don’t want that to happen to my kids.

I’ve also always thought I’d have four kids (just like my family growing up…girl, boy, girl, boy. Right now we’ve got girl, boy, girl). From the time I was five all I wanted to do was be a mom…and have four kids. There were times during my infertility journey I wondered if I’d ever be a mom at all. But I still held on to that dream of having four kids.

Now here I am with three kids…and the desire is still there, stronger than ever. But I also know my body is not healthy enough right now for another baby. And I’m not getting any younger. And life isn’t getting any easier. It weighs heavily on my mind almost daily. Though I try my best to remember that God’s plans and timing are perfect. We’ll see what the future holds.

Taking Its Toll.

Through the last few years of pregnancy and breastfeeding and stress my body has become extremely depleted. Which really doesn’t do good things for you, trust me.

Over the last few months I’ve started having more and more heart palpitations (which freak me out). I have started to gain weight in my abdomen over the last nine months (something I’ve never dealt with).

I thought maybe my thyroid was getting worse. I had my levels checked…perfect. I still tried increasing my medication just to be sure. No luck. If anything it made me feel worse.

So I did a 24 hour saliva cortisol test. It’s really not bad. My levels are in the normal range most of the day. But I think they are working very hard to stay there.

My adrenals are really being taxed on a daily basis.

Adrenal Health.

So I’ve been doing some research on adrenals. A few of the things that always come up:

  1. Get more sleep and go to bed by 10 pm.
  2. Don’t skip breakfast and eat a good balance of protein and carbs.
  3. Reduce stress.

I always thought sleep was my biggest problem.

But I don’t really think it is. I go to bed at 10 every night. I have for many years. I’m not a night owl. And although I am an early riser I get about 7 hours of sleep a night. So I could improve, but it’s not horrible.

I never skip breakfast. I am ready to eat the minute I get out of bed. I’ve been that way for many, many years. And I eat a big breakfast.

I also don’t skimp on calories throughout the day. So I’m not restricting in any way when it comes to quantity…a huge bonus for adrenal health and your metabolism.

Oddly enough the things that are a hindrance to most people are the things I’ve been doing right for years.

Sleep and morning routines are great. It’s the rest of the day I have to figure out.

It comes down to two things – stress and a limited diet (due to a nursing toddler with allergies).

So…

So now what? I can’t just stop life. Can I?

Well, not exactly. But I can make some changes.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

My body is getting older and slowing down. Life is getting busier. I’m ready to switch that around.

So I’m making a few goals for myself. And if I share them with you it will help me stick to them.

Maybe you want to join me?

These are goals for my myself as an individual and for my family.

  1. Lay down during the day for 5 – 15 minutes. Resting isn’t always enough. Physically laying down can really help recharge your body.
  2. Eat a snack in the afternoon to help with blood sugar regulation (I can’t wait to learn more about this in the Fix Your Blood Sugar course!!)
  3. Eat less before bed to give my body time to rest and truly recharge at night instead of working on digestion.
  4. Change my exercise routine. Try more T-Tapp and yoga and do less cardio.
  5. Sleep in on the weekends (this is a HARD one for me…but I am really going to try)
  6. Take time off from work (another really hard one…I love sharing my stories and my food with you…but it’s a lot of work…I may be MIA here and there over the next few months/years…it’s because I’m heeding my own advice). Keep the weekends more open for family time.
  7. Use our move to get the house organized and more functional for us so we spend less time with chaos and cleaning.
  8. Start using some hormone-supporting essential oils (still researching these a bit).
  9. Start the big kids on some herbs that help with calming their nervous system and a cleanse to get rid of parasites.
  10. Continue to have my oldest work with the functional neurologist to also improve the nervous system. And possibly have my son start as well.
  11. Take time for my marriage and connecting with my husband (it’s been over 2 years since we’ve been on a date due to the above situations…I think it’s about time!!)
  12. When my toddler is done nursing I can add a few more to this list – hormone level testing and another hair tissue mineral analysis to see where I’m at. Then go from there with flooding my body with the nutrients it needs.
  13. Read as many of the books and take as many of the courses in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle as I can. After I download them I’ve got them for life. So I can take my time. But for once I am going to make the time. There is just such a wealth of knowledge contained in the bundle. It may take me a few years to get through it all. But I really hope to. I’m starting with the Perfect Periods course and the Heal Your Gut Summit. Then I think I’ll switch over to some of the books on kids’ health. Maybe I’ll even include it in our home school curriculum and read it with my kids!!

Life Is Still Crazy.

I know the next two months are still going to be pretty stressful with moving. But I know that up front and am going to take measures to deal with it as best as I can.

I also know that there is much more to the root issue than adrenals. I’ve got to work on hormone balancing and overall gut health.

Sometimes you tell yourself to just keep going. But sometimes you can't. I can't. I'm slowing down. It's time to listen to my body and take action.

Then once we get settled I’m ready to start a new lifestyle.

One that includes home schooling all of my kids, starting a farm and watching them learn about raising animals, getting away from the busy pace of life and just slowing down. Having that goal in mind keeps me going.

If I can remember I hope to do an update on this in a year. I love to look back and see how much has changed. See where God has led me and how He has directed my path.

God’s Plans.

Even this post was not one I had planned to write at all. I just sat down in front of the computer and started typing. Really. I wanted to share a piece of me with you today. And that is one last goal. To do more of that moving forward.

At the start of this year God really laid it on my heart that this would be a year of huge change. I had no idea what. But I knew stuff was coming. He also told me to be fearless. And I am trying my hardest (though it is REALLY hard for this natural worrier). So far He has been true his intentions. If you had told me at the start of the year I’d be nursing a healthy toddler, home schooling my oldest and getting ready to move to a 10 acre farm I would have said you were crazy. But God is good.

I feel more changes still to come.

Including even more change in focus in my writing. I’m not even sure what that means. But I trust God does. And He’ll guide me.

Do you have any goals you’d like to share? Did any of this resonate with you? I’d love to hear about it!!

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

The Secret Ingredient Hiding In Your Natural Food: What Is Natural Flavor?

It’s not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods…but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your “natural” foods?

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

It’s been over three years now since we cut out food coloring/food dyes from our kids’ diet. As in absolutely none. No exceptions. Artificial flavor is limited to a few times a year in a treat of vanilla ice cream.

It has made a big difference in how my children feel and behave. It is literally like a drug for my oldest. Sometimes it makes her insane. Sometimes it makes her super mellow. Either way, it’s impacting her brain and is not good.

Of course cutting out artificial ingredients naturally lends itself to a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Who doesn’t love that?!

Instead of artificially flavored fruit snacks you buy organic gummies. Instead of Trix yogurt with food dyes you get organic yogurt. Instead of traditional candy you buy organic suckers made with fruit. Sounds great!

Not Enough

That was us…for a while. Until I noticed my daughter was exhibiting the same behavior as when she ate the foods with artificial colors and flavors.

Being the investigator that I am I read labels, I observed her, I kept a food journal. She had already been gluten free for a long time.

The one thing that I came up with was the ingredient common to all of these “natural” foods…

Natural Flavor

Since then I’ve been doing more research. Both experimenting with diet and reading any information I can find. I really want to know…what is natural flavor??

Not surprisingly I came across article after article that said natural flavor is basically the same thing as artificial flavor. The only real difference is the ingredient(s) it starts with. Natural flavor starts with real food. But it still undergoes various chemical processes which result in a product not much different than its artificial counterpart.

The Technical Term

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants.”

Per dictionary.com enzymolysis is: “Chemical change or cleavage of a substance by enzymatic action.

So, natural flavor can come from a chemical change of bark and it’s still within the guidelines. Interesting.

It's not always easy or cheap to lead a natural lifestyle. Sometimes we still reach for convenience foods...but of higher quality. But just what is the natural flavor in your "natural" foods?

What Others Are Saying

According to dailyburn.com:

“Natural flavors are coming from natural sources — the original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food.

But, that doesn’t necessarily mean the “natural flavors” in your blueberry granola bar are simply…crushed-up blueberries. Rather, they probably consist of a chemical originally found in blueberries, enhanced and added into your food in a lab.”

“Added flavoring, both natural and artificial, could contain anywhere from 50 to 100 ingredients. And all of the extra ingredients in flavors often aren’t as innocent as you’d hope they would be. The mixture will often have some solvent and preservatives — and that makes up 80 to 90 percent of the volume [of the flavoring]. In the end product, it’s a small amount, but it still has artificial ingredients.”

NaturalNews.com states:

“Regulations for the word “natural” only apply to flavors; anywhere else you find it on food packaging means absolutely nothing regarding quality. Secondly, the FDA definition of “natural flavors” and “natural flavoring” allows for the substance to be extracted from plant or animal “matter.” So when you buy something that’s organic, vegetarian, or vegan, and it has “natural flavoring,” you could be eating a pig, cow, turkey, chicken, or lamb which was shot up with growth hormones, fed GMO pesticide-laden corn and grain – probably mixed with other animals of it’s same breed, then shot up with antibiotics due to infections and diseases from living in confined quarters on slats covered in feces.

Monosodium Glutamate is a neurotoxin that can be legally hidden from you and/or be labeled “natural flavors” in the ingredients list. MSG is not a natural flavor – in fact, it can cause brain lesions, neuro-endocrine disorders, and neurodegenerative disease in humans, but you won’t hear any doctors of Western Medicine mentioning that at your next extreme migraine emergency visit. There are more than 25 names for MSG, so sometimes you find it spread out a little, just in case the manufacturer gets “checked out” by anyone other than the FDA.”

Foodbabe.com says:

“With the words “natural flavor” food chemists and companies can put whatever they want in your food that is “generally regarded as safe” including excitotoxins. Natural flavor can legally contain natural occurring “glutamate” bi-products like MSG – which are known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins are some of the chemicals that cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food. Excitotoxins overexcite your cells literally until they die or are damaged causing “injury” and “incapacitating” you with disease. When consumed over time, excitotoxins can cause nerve disorders resulting a myriad of diseases from stroke to Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s. And lots of other side effects too – like obesity, migraines, fatigue and depression.”

Remember what I said about “natural flavor” acting like a brain-altering drug for my kids? It’s not so far fetched when you really do some searching. My observations were spot on.

Straight From The Source

None of it sounds very appealing and certainly doesn’t put my mind at ease.

But I know you can’t trust everything you read. So I set out to do my own investigation.

I called some popular organic food companies and some conventional food companies to ask them about the ingredients in their food (I’ll be kind and won’t name names). Sadly most of them had no answer for me.

I told them I was a mom of kids with tons of allergies. I need to know a full ingredient list or I can’t give it to my kids. Simply avoiding the top eight allergens does not cut it.

These are the responses I got:

“Natural flavor is listed so we can keep the full ingredient list from our competitors. The natural flavor in X product contains apple, corn, black raspberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, lime and strawberry. I don’t know how it’s processed, but it does contain those ingredients.”

“The natural flavor is outsourced. The ingredients for each flavor can change by the season so we can’t tell you what’s in it. It is made from fruits, vegetables and/or spices. And they can’t be modified. There are no major allergens.”

“The natural flavor comes from a natural source. I don’t have a specific list of ingredients.”

“It is a proprietary formula that I can’t tell you. It is an all natural food or something.”

“The Natural Flavors in our products will follow our same Brand Promise to be Gluten-Free and Free-From the top defined food allergens. We have only aligned ourselves with business partners and ingredient suppliers that can adhere to our strict allergen requirements.”

One website directly stated:

“All our Natural Flavors in our certified organic product are Organic Compliant Natural Flavors and conform to the regulations of both the FDA and the very strict National Organic Plan (NOP) by the USDA.These natural flavors do not contain anything we would not be proud to put in our family’s mouths.  

Please note that we consider our Natural Flavors to be secret recipes so we do not reveal the contents of our Natural Flavors.  We are aware that some people may not be able to eat some of our flavors because we are unable to reveal the secret recipe and we are truly sorry for this inconvenience.”

Digging Even Deeper

Since I was getting nowhere with the food manufacturers I tried contacting some natural flavor manufacturers directly.

No surprise…I couldn’t get any response from them!

I Need To Know

As a mom of kids with allergies it concerns me greatly that I am not allowed to know what is in just about every packaged food. Even simple foods like canned tomatoes and salsa. It also concerns me that these “natural flavors” are so common that nobody questions them.

The word natural has no real standard. It can mean just about anything. Don’t let it fool you too. If you are conscious of avoiding artificial flavors and colors, you might want to add natural flavor your list.

If it is so “natural” why don’t you just tell us what it is??

Now what?

Don’t feel discouraged! You can still live a natural lifestyle. And it does NOT have to be complicated or involve convenience foods with suspicious ingredients.

You can learn to replace store-bought products with DIY options that actually work (like homemade fruit snacks and granola bars) and are easy to make. You feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

Our family has felt so much better by making changes to the way we eat, the products we use, and how we take care of ourselves. It’s made all the difference in the world and I want the same for you.

The use of natural flavor has been my biggest “natural food” complaint for many years. It really has no place in our food. And food companies that make quality, whole foods should be more than happy to tell consumers exactly what ingredients they use.

 

Skip the “natural flavor” that is a mystery ingredient. Keep your family well nourished and feeling their best.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Bedtime Beverage

Bedtime Beverage | Homemade Dutch Apple PieDo you have trouble falling asleep at night?  Or maybe your kids have a hard time winding down at the end of the day?  Mine sure do!

Except for one…the baby.  How does she go to sleep?  She nurses and falls fast asleep.  Mother’s milk is warm and has the perfect balance of nutrients to help a little one nod off to sleep.  It is comforting and nourishing.

So how does that translate to everyone else?  Surprisingly ice cream (the kind made with real, whole ingredients) is about the closest thing we have to breast milk in terms of its nutrient profile.  It has a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

You could definitely indulge in a dish of ice cream to see if it helps you get sleepy.  But I have a drink that might work better.  It’s like warm ice cream!

Raw cream or whole milk is the ideal base for this drink.  If you can’t have dairy you can use full fat coconut milk and add a little extra gelatin for the protein balance.Bedtime Beverage | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Egg yolks are added because they are packed with vitamins (especially B) and a little bit of protein.  The cream or milk has lots of healthy fat.  Gelatin gives more amino acids and protein.  Plus the gelatin makes it all easier to digest.  The sea salt helps you absorb everything and adds trace minerals.  The syrup also helps digestion (sugar is easily absorbed) and gives balance to the drink by adding carbohydrates.

At bedtime you need your adrenals to settle down for the night.  Having a balance of sugar, salt and fat will help your body accomplish that.   You can also add a small starchy snack along side the bedtime beverage to really balance out the components.  A couple soaked graham crackers or even a slice of sourdough bread are perfect.

This bedtime beverage is like a nutritionally boosted version of the warm milk you grew up drinking at bedtime (yes, there was some truth behind that).  It’s almost as comforting and calming as mother’s milk.  It tastes great too!

This drink can also be very helpful during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Even if you can’t get much else down this will give you a nutrient boost and may be soothing to an unsettled stomach.

There is no fancy equipment required for this drink.  Just a small pan and a whisk.  It only takes a few minutes to make.  Don’t forget to save your egg whites for baking.  They store well in the refrigerator or freezer for a long time.  I like to use them for making gluten free bread!

You won’t have to convince your kids to drink this before bed.  Offer a soothing bedtime beverage that tastes like ice cream and I’m sure they will gladly oblige.  Then watch them settle down and drift off to sleep.  Mother’s milk is wonderful for helping little ones get to sleep.  Now everyone else can do the same.Bedtime Beverage | Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

Bedtime Beverage
Serves 1
A warm drink to help you sleep at night.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup heavy cream, coconut milk or whole milk
  2. 2 Tbsp. maple syrup (or honey)
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  4. 1 - 2 tsp. collagen or gelatin
  5. 1 - 2 egg yolks
  6. optional: 1 - 2 tsp. cocoa or carob powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Whisk to combine.
  3. If using gelatin let the mixture set for 1 minute.
  4. Gently warm the mixture over low heat. Do not let it boil or you could curdle the milk or cook the egg yolks.
  5. Pour into a mug and enjoy before bed.
Notes
  1. This can be made with just the cream, syrup and salt.
Just Take A Bite http://justtakeabite.com/

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

My Goals of the Year – 2014

Now that March is underway it is time to think about my 2014 goals!  It only took 2 1/2 months.  This year I’m focusing on simplifying life and getting back to the basics.  I want to make room and time for people and relationships.

One thing that stood out as I was making my goals was that I didn’t even really think about food or diet in terms of my own health.  That is a big sign of healing.  I don’t have a special diet.  I eat nutrient-rich food.  I eat what my body likes/what makes me feel good.  I eat enough to support my body and my baby.  It’s nice to not have a laundry list of diet do’s and don’ts as part of my goals this year.

~~~~~~~~~~~2014 GOALS~~~~~~~~~~~

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1. Get back to the basics with nutrition.

I first learned about real food about four years ago.  I took the time to really understand what nutrition meant and how to feed my family.  Over the years with my own health struggles, dietary restrictions for my kids (for allergies) and times of doing what you can just to get by (during things like miscarriage and early pregnancy) I have lost sight of that a little bit.

Sometimes I’m even amazed when I look back through my old posts.  I posted a lot of good information!  So it’s time to get back to the basics of nutrition.  I never strayed too far.  But I know I can do better with getting some of the junk out of our house.  As I get my energy back I also hope to get my passion and drive back for making real, homemade food that is nourishing for my family.

This will include simple steps like adding egg yolks, coconut oil, gelatin and bone broth to foods whenever I can.  I may also re-post some old articles to help myself get back on track.

I’m not going to be extreme.  I know there has to be balance.  I also know I’m human and can only do so much.  But I’m also ready to put in the effort to make sure my family is nourished.

As part of this I may start re-reading Nourishing Traditions.  It has such a wealth of knowledge.

Once I am feeling better I will also do a one week challenge with my kids to see how they do with absolutely no packaged food.  They don’t eat much as it is.  But over the last few months we’ve had to go with convenience sometimes because it was all I could manage.  We need to break the habit and get back to real food.

This is not about restriction.  This is not about a special diet.  This does not mean we can’t enjoy other food when we are out or with friends.  This is about sticking to real, nourishing foods the majority of the time and especially at home.  It’s easy to lose sight of that in our culture.  I want to be sure my kids know what true health means.

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2. Simplify and de-clutter my house and my life.

One of the biggest sources of stress for our whole family is the clutter and mess in the house.  With me being only able to do the minimum around the house for the last three months it has gotten even worse.  It’s time to finally do something about it.

When I used to think about cleaning what came to mind was organizing and making things look neat.   I didn’t care about dust bunnies in the corner or mold spots on the ceiling as long as things were in order.

But now that my daughter has been diagnosed with severe dust and mold allergies, cleaning has a whole new meaning.  I’m starting to notice every little spec of dirt in our house.  I’m realizing just how dirty it is!

So my cleaning goal is two-fold.  I want to get things organized and get rid of things we don’t use/don’t need.  I also want to do a thorough cleaning of the whole house.  I want my daughter and my husband to be able to breathe better and feel better at home.

The cleaning will be better for our health.  The neatness will make everyone happier.  It will create more peace.  There will also be a place for everything…which means clean up will be much easier.

This will also free up a lot of time (especially mine!).  Instead of spending half of my day just trying to stay on top of the mess, I’ll have more time for my family and for doing other things.  By bed time everyone will be much happier and calmer.

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3. Make relationships a priority.

I probably want this or even write it as a goal every year.  It is one of my biggest struggles.  I am an introvert by nature (extreme introvert and painfully shy).  So making friends is very difficult.  Add to that severe OCD, feelings of isolation from infertility,  anxiety…you get the picture.  For most of my life I’ve just gone the easy route.  I avoid deep friendships.  I keep everything surface level.  I don’t let anyone in.  I try to hide all the things I don’t like about myself.  But it’t not a good way to live.  It’s also not a good example for my children.

I did have some very close friends when I was younger.  But life changes as you get older.  I’ve also had deep friendships that have caused a lot of hurt.  After that it was hard to open up to anyone again.

Over the years I have realized that having close friends is one of the biggest things missing in my life.  I have a wonderful husband and a great family (both my family and my in-laws).  I am thankful for a couple friends that I keep in touch with regularly via email.

But this year I want to build lasting friendships.  I want to put in the effort, let others into my life and drop my guard.  It will not be easy.  But I think it’s worth the effort.

In addition to making friends, I wan to make sure that my relationship with my husband is a priority.  This is especially critical before baby #3 arrives.  Since our children are almost six and three, now is a good time to go on dates and spend time together.

I also want to make sure my kids get plenty of attention before the baby comes.  I will try to continue our monthly mommy/daughter dates.  I will also try to do special things for my son.  Finally we will make the most of our summer and do lots of fun things, like going to the beach, playgrounds, etc.

Life will be very different in September with a new baby and my big girl in school all day.  So we are going to enjoy our family of four for the summer.

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4. Work on myself.

This year I want to really think about how my actions impact my children (and others around me).  I want to be a good example to my kids.  This includes things like facing my fears, making friends and trusting God.

My daughter already struggles with anxiety, just like I did when I was little.  I need to teach her how to handle anxiety and how to let it go.  I have to do this through the way I handle my own anxiety.

I will have two big adjustments later this year.  I will be adjusting to life with three children.  I will also be adjusting to my daughter being in school all day.  I plan to prepare myself mentally for these changes.

My yearly goals would not be complete without talking about my health.  Thankfully this year there isn’t too much to think about.  My main focus is to keep my thyroid levels and medication well-monitored, both during and after pregnancy.

I need to focus on eating enough quality food, getting moderate exercise and getting plenty of sleep.  Yes, good health really is that simple.

Finally, I want to take more time to read.  I don’t do it very often these days.  But I have a lot of books that have been sitting on my desk for a long time.  I also have a lot of Kindle books.  So I am going to read more and watch TV less.  I just got a few new books last week as an early birthday present.  I’ve already finished one of them!

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5. Focus on my writing.

My writing has taken a back seat for the last few months.  After my miscarriage I lost my focus and energy. I had to really concentrate on my health.  Then when I had bad morning sickness I simply could not sit at the computer to write.

Now that I’m starting to feel better I’m finally getting my desire to write back!  It feels great.  Although my kids don’t like to give me time to do it.

I switched my site from Blogger to WordPress earlier this year.  But being so sick I didn’t have time to do anything else with it.  I want to learn more about WP and update the look of my site.

I want to write about a variety of topics.  I will still post recipes.  I will also be writing about health issues.

I will continue to learn about photography and work on my skills.

I am also hoping to start doing some giveaways this year!

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6. Word for the year – LOVE.

Last year I started focusing on a word for the year.  It was acceptance.  Last year was definitely a year of acceptance.  It took a while to figure out a word for this year.  But it turns out I didn’t really have to figure it out.  During the first two months of this year God has bombarded me with the word LOVE.

My daily email devotions started in January with “40 Days of Love.”  At church we did a series called “How’s It Growing” where we talked about spiritual disciplines…the final and most important being love.

For Valentine’s Day this year my daughter made all of her cards.  We found a pack of cheap bracelets for her to use for the girls in her class.  They each got two.  At the end there were two bracelets left that I told her she could keep for herself.  Instead she kept one and gave one to me in my card.  Like a good mother I put it on…and it’s been on ever since!  It’s just a little, plastic red bracelet.  But it reminds me daily to love.

There have been plenty of other signs of love as well.

So this year I am focusing on love.  I want to give love.  I want to be loved.

I have been reminded constantly this year already about how much God loves me.  It’s incomprehensible.  But it is so comforting.  Even when I’m worried or anxious or not so happy with myself…God still loves me unconditionally.

I want to show this same love to others.  I want to show my husband and my kids unconditional love.

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This year I hope to work hard to make life simpler and make room for building relationships and setting a good example to my children.  It all comes down to simplify and love.  I’m excited to see what God has in store for us this year.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Health Update 2013 Part 2 – What I Learned

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Every time I think about writing what I learned in 2013 my mind goes in a million directions.  I learned so much.  I learned it all the hard way – through first hand experience.

I know I’m not alone.  I know I’m not the only one struggling with these problems.  So I want to share my journey with others in the hopes that someone else doesn’t have to go through the struggles like I did.

So here is my attempt at sharing some of these lessons.  I hope to go into more detail on some of the topics in separate posts later.  For now, here is some of what I learned in 2013 (and over the last ten years).

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1. Eat enough food.

I fell into this trap for many years.  And I see it in so many well-meaning sites and books.  Time and time again it is suggested that women should eat 1200 – 1500 calories a day to loose weight and be healthy.  This is far too little to sustain your health.

Unless you are on complete bedrest and can barely move your body most women should eat a minimum of 2,000 calories a day.  You should consume even more than that if you are active and exercise.  If you starve your body it will not function well.  If you feed your body you’ll feel great.  Combining enough quality food with moderate exercise is a great way to maintain your health in the long term.

2. Eat what works for your body.

Don’t follow a prescribed diet (GAPS, Paleo, low carb, etc.) just because someone else says it’s great.

This is another lesson I had to learn the (very) hard way.  I’ve been on every diet you can think of to try to feel good.  For me it was never about losing weight.  I just wanted to feel good and heal my body.  So I tried the IBS diet, low fat, high fiber, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, red meat free, grain free, GAPS, low carb,…I’ve tried them all.

Where did that get me?  Feeling worse than when I started.  Over the last 10 years I have learned to eat what works for my body.  And that is what makes me feel good.

Just because your friend tried eating paleo and feels great doesn’t mean it’s the perfect diet for you.  Just because someone says grains are evil doesn’t mean they don’t work for you.

I have read over and over about how things like potatoes, bananas and root vegetables are “safe” starches and much better for you than grains.  I am living proof that this is not true for everyone.  If I eat potatoes and bananas I will be in so much pain.  But I MUST eat gluten free grains daily to feel good.

All this boils down to – don’t restrict your diet just because someone else says it’s good.  Eat a variety of real food that makes you feel good and gives you the energy you need.  Don’t cut foods (real food) out of your diet if they aren’t causing you problems.  You won’t find your “perfect” diet in any book.  You have to figure out what works for you.

3. Real food is great!  But sometimes it can be beneficial to stray away from it.

I know this sounds contradictory to what my site is all about.  But it’s true.  I still firmly believe in fueling your body with healthy, homemade real food…most of the time.

But depending on the state of your health, there are times when you can benefit from some less than ideal foods.  For someone that has been on a strict diet (like paleo or GAPS) and is underfed and unhealthy, processed foods can be a great jumpstart to getting back to full health.  Processed foods are easy to digest (yes, frozen pizza is often easier to digest than a big plate of vegetables).  It is also easy to quickly increase your calorie intake with processed foods.

I am not recommending this as a permanent solution to health by any means.  But it can be beneficial if you are recovering from undereating or a condition called orthorexia.  Once your body is not starving anymore you can go back to eating real, quality food.  You just have to be sure to eat plenty of it.

Having bad morning sickness was a good way to break me of my orthorexia.  I do love to fuel my body properly with quality food.  But sometimes I can be too strict about it…and it fuels my OCD and anxiety.  I had to just learn to eat whatever I could manage for the last couple months.  I am really looking forward to getting back to eating mostly healthy food.  My body is ready for it.  But it was nice to have a break and just eat whatever I wanted.  It was a great way to change my mindset and figure out how to find balance.

4. Don’t drink too much water.

One of the best things I did for my health in 2013 was to stop drinking so much water.  There really is no science behind the 8 glasses a day rule.  And if you really think about it, it doesn’t make sense to force yourself to drink water.  If your body needs fluids it will let you know.

Drinking too much water is a great way to slow down your metabolism, lower your body temperature and feel cold all the time.  It will also flush the vitamins and minerals out of your body.

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5. Get plenty of sleep.

This sounds like common sense.  But there are probably very few people that actually get enough sleep.  For a healthy individual seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is the minimum needed.  Most people need at last eight.  And for someone that has been sleep-deprived for a while nine or ten hours is ideal.

Quality sleep with no problems falling or staying asleep is a sign of good health.  While you sleep is also the time when your body repairs itself.  So if you’re trying to heal and you’re not getting enough sleep you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I went for years and years getting very poor sleep.  I had too much to get done in a day to spend my time sleeping.  But at some point I just had no energy and could barely function.  It has been great over the last couple months to get nine or ten hours of sleep a day (night time + a nap).  My body really needed it.  Hopefully soon I can stop taking a nap every day and just stick with my eight hours a night and have it be sufficient.

Even if every other part of your lifestyle is ideal, if you’re not getting enough sleep you won’t feel your best.

6. Exercise is great…if you are eating and sleeping enough.  

If you are not eating or sleeping enough, it can be beneficial to take a break from exercise.  When you do exercise it’s good to do a variety of things like weight lifting, yoga and walking.  You don’t have to push yourself to extremes to be healthy and fit.  Too much aerobic exercise may be harmful.

I used to run every single day.  And do nothing else.  Now I still enjoy running.  But I don’t do it every day.  Actually I haven’t done any running in a long time because my body was not healthy enough.  When I was healing I stuck to short walks and bikes.  I also did gentle yoga.  I got new weights for Christmas…but haven’t been able to use them.  Maybe by next Christmas I’ll be able to start lifting weights 🙂

Move your body doing what you enjoy.  Make sure to do a variety of things to work all parts of your body.  And combine it with enough food and enough sleep.  That is the way to stay healthy.

7. Basal body temperature can tell you a lot about your health.

Basal body temperature is your temperature when you first wake up in the morning.  Another great thing I did for my health in 2013 was to check my temperature every single morning and keep a spreadsheet of it.

Your bbt can tell you if your metabolism is working well or not.  For women it can also tell you when you ovulate/how your hormones are functioning.  So it is a good indicator of health (since metabolism is a key factor in health).  It is also great for understanding fertility and either getting pregnant or preventing pregnancy.

A healthy individual with a well-functioning metabolism should have a bbt of at least 97.8 F in the morning.  Higher is even better.  You can also check your temperature throughout the day to get an idea of how your food and activity level impacts your body temperature.  It will help you see what keeps you warm (boosting metabolism) or makes you cold (suppressing metabolism).  Then you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

For women, bbt is lower (but still usually around the 97.8 range for a healthy individual) in the first half of your cycle when estrogen is dominant and progesterone is low.  When you ovulate there is often a temperature drop for one day.  Then after ovulation progesterone increases, raising your temperature.

It will take a few months of charting your temperature to get an idea of how your body works and to see if there are any patterns.  For example, as I was healing and charting my bbt there wasn’t really a pattern that I noticed at first.  My cycles were not regular.  But after a while I noticed that if my bbt dropped into the 96’s (or below) even for one day my body was way off and was struggling to get my hormone levels up.   And it would be at least two weeks before ovulation.  A bbt below 97 meant a restart for me.  If my bbt stayed in the 97’s for two weeks I knew ovulation was coming.  And after ovulation my bbt was always at least in the 98’s and sometimes 99’s.  Once my bbt started dropping that meant the start of a new cycle.

Charting my bbt was the easiest change I made the whole year.  But it told me more about my health than just about anything else I did.

8. Focus on health, not looks.  

I think I’ve been saying this for years.  So it’s not completely new.  But deep down I don’t think I fully believed it.  I did shift my mindset to focus on health a long time ago.  But I didn’t ever drop the focus on looks and size.  I still wanted to be thin.

In 2013 my control over my size was taken away.  With my thyroid totally out of whack my weight kept going up and up.  There was nothing I could do about it.  For the first time I truly had to focus 100% on my health.

Did I always like how I looked?  No.  Did I want to loose some weight?  Yes.  But that was completely secondary.  My health was front and center.  And it always will be now, no matter what size I am.

When I look to the future I think about how I want to impact my children.  I would much rather teach them to take care of themselves and be healthy.  I don’t want to teach them to be obsessed with looks and size.  So I am done with that.

Don’t try to be a certain size or weight.  Treat your body well.  And give your body what it needs to be healthy.  You’ll be so much happier.  Love yourself and take care of yourself.

9. Change is a very gradual process.

Change does not happen over night.  No matter what the next fad diet or workout video tells you.  If you want to make changes that are sustainable long term it will be a very gradual process.

Do you want to loose weight?  That’s fine.  But know that it will take a while.  Do you want to eat healthier?  That’s a wonderful thing to do.  But don’t go crazy trying to do everything at once.

Small, consistent steps each day will get you where you want to be.  Don’t get upset because two weeks into making changes you haven’t noticed any big improvements.  Give it time.

Healing takes time.  Weight gain or loss takes time.  A healthy diet takes time.  Don’t rush it and set yourself up for failure.  I’ve been working on getting healthy for about 15 years now.  And I’m finally getting there.  One step at a time.

10. Your thyroid can have a big impact on your health.

I was diagnosed as hypothyroid in 2006.  I was put on a synthetic thyroid hormone and had my TSH checked about once a year.  I really knew nothing about thyroid.  I figured the doctor knew what he was doing.  I didn’t have any hypothyroid symptoms that I knew of.  So I didn’t bother to learn about it.  I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.

Seven years later I finally had to learn more about it.  I wish I would have researched it sooner.  I didn’t realize just how much your thyroid could impact your health.  I think there are about 200 symptoms that can be attributed to thyroid dysfunction.

Last year I learned so much about the thyroid.  I learned what blood work you need to get done and how to interpret the results.  Just because your levels are in the “normal” range does not mean you are on the right dose of medication.  You have to look at the symptoms more than the numbers.

I learned about the different kinds of medications, how to take them and how to get correct dosage.

I learned how other hormones can impact your thyroid and vice versa.

I learned that iron levels and adrenal problems can mimic thyroid problems.  And they need to be addressed first.

I can’t say that I have my thyroid problem 100% figured out yet.  It is the last piece of the puzzle that I’m still working on.  And I will be writing more on this topic in the future.  I will be getting my thyroid hormones levels rechecked in a week and go from there to see if adjustments need to be made.

11. Manage stress.

Stress can be as bad for your health as lack of sleep, a poor diet and lack of exercise.  Stress can suppress your metabolism.  It can alter your hormones.  It can come in many forms too.

Find a way to manage your stress to stay healthy.  Take time to do things you enjoy – reading, writing, visiting with friends.  It’s also important to find techniques to relax such as walking, yoga or reading the Bible.  Figure out what works for you and make it a priority.

12. Adrenal health is very important.

Your adrenal glands play a huge role in your health.  If you are not getting enough sleep, aren’t eating enough, are exercising too much or are too stressed, your adrenal glands have to work overtime to compensate.

This works for a while.  That is what they are for.  They raise your cortisol levels to compensate.  But if you do it for too long you stress the adrenals and eventually it leads to adrenal fatigue.  Then your cortisol bottoms out and it takes a lot of work to get it back up.

If you think you are suffering from adrenal problems it’s great to do a 24-hour saliva test to check your cortisol levels.  I had it done early last year.  I’m thankful that my levels were just slightly raised.  Which means I was doing ok, but starting to make them work a little too hard.  By altering my sleep, diet and exercise I was able to get my cortisol levels back to normal.

13. Birth control is not for everyone…and probably not good for most women.

This is another less I had to learn the very hard way.  But it wasn’t until years after I stopped birth control that I realized how much it had harmed me.

A few months before I got married I started birth control.  That’s what you do, right?  I knew nothing about what it was or what it actually does to your body.  But had I not made that one decision I probably never would have struggled with infertility for so many years.

When I was in college I got my health under control.  Things weren’t perfect, but I was eating enough, sleeping enough and exercising regularly.  I had found a good balance.  And for the first time in my life I had regular cycles every single month.  This lasted a few years…until I started birth control.

Once on birth control things started to change.  The changes were gradual.  And I never attributed them to the birth control.  But now that I have done a lot of research I can see the big picture.  I started to gain weight.  Five pounds or so.  Nothing major.  My anxiety started to get worse.  My OCD started to get worse.  Eventually I started having panic attacks.  My gut got so messed up that I started restrictive diets to try to help.  My weight went way down from restriction.  I was a big mess.  I even had to switch to a new form of birth control because I was starting to puke every month from the hormones.  In case you haven’t noticed by now my body is extremely sensitive to any hormone fluctuations.

After stopping birth control three years later it was too late.  My hormones were non-existent.  I was underweight.  I was hypothyroid.  My OCD was so out of control that I could barely function.  My anxiety was so bad.  I had to start seeing a psychologist.  My digestive system was so messed up that I had to have major colon surgery.  Eventually we started fertility treatments.

I think almost all of this could have been avoided had I not taken birth control.  It messed up both my mind and my body.

I know not everyone reacts the same way to hormones.  And I’m sure there are cases where it can be helpful.  But please do your research before considering any type of birth control.  I know that it is something I will never take again.  It has taken me many years to get my life back.  I’m not going down that road ever again.

14. Be your own advocate.

One big lesson I have learned over the last ten years is that you have to stand up for yourself.  Don’t let doctors brush you off or tell you you’re fine when you know you’re not.  If something doesn’t feel right, find a doctor that will help.

I had GI problems for years.  I finally was brave enough to talk to my doctor about it.  He referred me to a gastroenterologist.  Great.  I thought I’d finally get the help I needed.  He asked a few questions, felt my stomach and told me I was healthy and fine.  Eventually I got him to run a few tests.  But he still said I was fine.  I knew I was not.  I had to research and research and finally diagnose myself.  Even then when I told the nurse at my doctor’s office what I thought was the problem she said “you don’t have that.  You’re too young” without missing a beat…over the phone…without asking me a single question.  I’m so thankful I was persistent and didn’t just say ok.  I finally got referred to a colon surgeon who confirmed my diagnosis and immediately scheduled surgery.

This has happened time and time again to me.  I go to a doctor, even specialists, trying to get help.  And they tell me I’m fine.  Even though I know I’m not.  I have had to figure out all of my problems on my own…and just use doctors to get medications and treatments.

15. PCOS is a confusing topic.

When I had my first appointment with an endocrinologist he asked some questions and made an assumption about my health.  He assumed I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).  He ran some tests and did an ultrasound.  His conclusion?  I had what he called polyfollicular ovaries.

Great.  What does that mean?  I never really did find out from him or anyone.  I tried to research it for years.  Nobody else used that term.  I have come to some of my own conclusions (as usual).  But it’s still confusing.

Many women with PCOS are overweight or have trouble maintaining their weight.  Many women with PCOS have irregular cycles and heavy, painful periods.  Many women with PCOS struggle with facial hair.  Did that sound like me?  Not really.  I just had no periods.

The common solutions for PCOS are losing weight, eating low carb and taking Metformin to help with insulin resistance.  Did I need any of that.  No.  In fact, eating low carb made my situation worse.

Where did that leave me?  Basically my body would try to grow some follicles/eggs each month.  But my hormone levels weren’t high enough to mature the eggs.  So instead of having one dominant follicle that released an egg (ovulation) I’d have lots of small follicles that did nothing but sit there.  Which on ultrasound looks like little cysts.  They are really just lots of follicles…polyfollicular.

Even when doing IVF I would have tons of follicles start growing.  But very few actually matured enough for the egg to be good (hence our seven rounds of IVF and two good eggs out of almost forty that were retrieved and fertilized).  That is also why I would have a condition called hyperstimulation every time.  There were too many follicles.

I still don’t have a full answer about what this means.  One endo said it’s from bad communication between the brain and the ovaries.  Could I technically be classified as having PCOS?  I don’t know.  I don’t really have the symptoms.  My condition is helped by being a healthy weight and taking care of myself.  Finding balance with sleep, exercise and food.  I also think it is related to my thyroid problem.

All this to say that if you have been diagnosed with PCOS please do your research to figure out where you fit into the criteria and what treatment is best for you.

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15 weeks

16. Let God have control.

I’ve known my whole life that ultimately God is in control.  But I also know I can make choices.  For most of my life I’ve tried to be in control.  I ask God for things I want.  I ask for things to go my way.  If things are good I say it’s God’s plan.  But when things aren’t going so well it’s hard to believe it’s still true.

I have such a strong desire to be in control that I could not let go on my own.  In 2013 God took the control out of my hands.  And it was wonderful.  It doesn’t mean that my life was great.  Actually it was very hard.  But it gave me such freedom to not have to hold every little detail of my life in perfect balance.  It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time.

It is so good to know and have proof that God really does have things in his control.  He knows what I need.  His plans may be different than mine.  His timing may be different than mine.  But I don’t have to worry about it.

On my own, trying to keep control, I probably would not have had any more children.  I would not have made the necessary changes on my own.  But with God in control we are expecting baby #3.  And the door is open for more.  That is something we can decide as a couple down the road.  But just to know the door is open, even if we decide not to have more kids, is amazing.

17. OCD does not have to control my life.

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with pretty severe obsessive compulsive disorder for many years now.  I was finally diagnosed/finally realized that I had it about five years ago.  And I’ve been working on treating it ever since.

It has been a long and difficult journey.  No matter how much I told myself my compulsions were silly and illogical I couldn’t stop.  I went through a lot of exposure therapy and have made progress over the years.

Over the last seven months once again God has allowed me to change.  When He takes the control, my OCD does not have to control me.

Especially during the first trimester of this pregnancy I had to just let everything go.  I just had to do what I could to get through each day.  If that meant laying on the couch most of the day, then that’s what I did.  If that meant eating less than ideal food, then that’s what I did.  If that meant my digestion was so messed up that I was in pain, I didn’t let it bother me or make me anxious.  I just kept on going.

I’m so happy to be able to continue this process of eliminating my OCD.  My fear does not have to take control.  I can give it to God.  And I’m never going back to where I was.

It’s hard to think back to when I was first married.  It’s hard to think about all the time I wasted being consumed by my thoughts and compulsions.  I am very blessed to have such a loving husband that never judged or got upset with me.  He helped me through it.  And with each child I’ve let more of it go.  I’m a type A person.  So I will never be 100% cured from OCD.  It’s part of my nature.  But it will no longer control my life.  It will only be an asset and be used for good things.  It is what fuels the drive and determination I’ve always had.  But if it hinders my relationships or my life it has to go.

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Final Thoughts

It feels so good to share all of this information in hopes of helping even one other person.  But even more than that it feels good to write it out and be done with the things that have burdened me for so many years.  I know how to be healthy and happy.  I’m ready to move on to 2014 now.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I’ll be digging deeper into some of these topics later.  For now if you’d like to do some research on your own, here are some great resources I’ve come across.

The Nourished Metabolism (20% off 6/10/16 – 6/30/16 with coupon code SUMMER20)

Eat for Heat

Diet Recovery 2

The Nourished Metabolism (20% off 6/10/16 – 6/30/16 with coupon code SUMMER20)

Go Kaleo

Your Eatopia

Stop The Thyroid Madness

Natural Fertility and Wellness

What have you learned over the years about your health and how to really live?

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

Health Update 2013 Part 1 – What Happened

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The health changes I experienced in 2013 were beyond my wildest dreams.  Looking back I am truly amazed at all that has happened.  That being said it was a very painful and challenging process.  And one of the hardest parts was that it was out of my control.  God knew what I needed.  Even if it took heartache to get there.

There is so much to share.  I’m not even sure how to capture it all.  So I’ll go through the year one month at a time.  This is my story of a year of healing.  There was no magic secret.  No one thing I did to cause change.  But I did learn a lot.  Today I’ll share how the year went.  And soon I’ll be sharing everything I learned in the process.

January 2013

I started 2013 quite unhealthy.  I was nursing a 20-month old (quite draining on an already undernourished body…with no break from fertility treatments to pregnancy to almost 2 years of nursing).  I was sleeping about 5-6 hours a night, always interrupted.  My diet was quite restricted.  Although I was gradually trying to add foods back into my diet after almost a year trying GAPS, I was still scared to eat.  I exercised daily, more than I should for the state of my health.  And it was always cardio.  I was stressed both physically and mentally.  I knew I was not healthy.  I knew I wanted change.  But I didn’t want to give up control.

I decided to see a new doctor.  She ran tons of tests.  The results?  I had lots of food intolerances, candida, high cortisol, low mineral levels and heavy metals.  She had a laundry list of foods to avoid, supplements to take, etc.  If I wasn’t stressed enough before, now I was more anxious than ever.  But I took the supplements and adjusted my diet once again to see if it would help.  I started a rotational diet to try to eliminate some food intolerances.  It was not easy.

But I kept going.  I wanted to be healthy.  In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to prepare my body for another round of IVF and hopefully another pregnancy.  It was the thing that kept me going.

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February 2013

In February I made a big change that would have a huge impact on my health for the rest of the year.  I had been diagnosed as hypothyroid in 2006 and had been on Synthroid ever since.  After research I took it upon myself to get my doctor to prescribe me Armour Thyroid instead, a natural form of thyroid hormones.  I was very hopeful that it would be a good fit.  I started at a very low dose since I was on a low dose of Synthroid.

I also stopped nursing.  I wanted to give my body 3 months of break before starting fertility treatments again.  It had been 6 1/2 years since I had given my body a break from fertility treatments, pregnancy or nursing.  And I wondered why my body was undernourished.  Sheesh.

March 2013

In March I gained a few pounds.  It was my body’s response to not nursing anymore.  I also had bloodwork done to check my thyroid and my reproductive hormones.  I was curious where I was at.  My thyroid levels came back pretty normal.  My free T3 was actually a little high.  I now know that is a sign of adrenal problems.  But my doctor said they looked fine.  So I figured that was taken care of and the switch to Armour was a success.  And I didn’t give it another thought.

Unfortunately my hormone levels were not so normal.  Both my estrogen and progesterone levels were basically the same as that of a 10 year old girl.  Non-existent.  Not good when you’re wanting to get pregnant.  But I knew we were doing another round of IVF regardless (which doesn’t require my body to do anything on its own).  So it was one more thing to think about down the road.

April 2013

In April life was fairly normal.  I was still sticking to my rotational diet.  I was trying to make gradual health changes like getting more sleep.

We also had our consult with the fertility doctor and got our schedule and medications.

May 2013

May is when life started to get crazy.  And the journey that I never dreamed I’d be on began.  I started my progesterone pills to induce a period and start the IVF process.

A few days after starting we received a letter from our fertility specialist.  He was ill and had to retire immediately.  And that was that.  What now??  We were hopeful about things to come.  We were just getting started.  And now what?

Thankfully we have two endocrinologists here.  So we had to immediately get in to see a brand new doctor.  He was able to squeeze us in to his schedule so we didn’t have to stop and wait.  But he knew nothing about our history/our story.  And it added a lot of stress for me.

The following week I started my estrogen pills to prepare my uterus for the IVF transfer.  Little did I know that the simple act of taking a pill would be the start of both my heartache and my healing.  I had done this before many times.  Take estrogen, then progesterone, then do the transfer and wait.  But this time it was different.

Within days of starting the estrogen pills I started to gain weight.  I had done enough research to know a little about estrogen dominance.  So I figured it was just a temporary thing while I was on the high dose of estrogen for a few days.  And my weight did go back down a few pounds after decreasing the estrogen and starting progesterone.  So I figured that was it.

A few months later I went back and read the information that comes with the estrogen pills.  It specifically says your thyroid medication dose may have to be adjusted when taking them.  But my doctor never even asked about my thyroid.  And I was on the new medication…and would later find out I was not on the correct dose.  All of that combined was the perfect combination for what was to come.

June 2013

On June 1 we transferred our 3 remaining embryos that had survived the thaw.  That was it.  Our last chance.  Over the next two weeks I waited and rested.  I felt awful.  But I had been down this road before.  I knew that the hormones I was on made me feel like I was pregnant.  So symptoms didn’t mean much.

On June 11 I had my first pregnancy test.  It was positive.  We were overjoyed and relieved.  Our final chance had worked.  Our family would be complete.  And we would be done with fertility treatments forever.

On June 24 we had our first ultrasound.  It was too early to see a heartbeat, so there wasn’t much to see.

On June 28 I had pain and spotting.  I had another ultrasound that was inconclusive.  Another hcg check showed that my levels were barely rising.

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July 2013

On July 1 I had my final ultrasound where the doctor confirmed that it was a blighted ovum and not a viable pregnancy.  I stopped the hormones and waited for the miscarriage.  I expected it to take a week or two for things to complete.  And then I’d work on healing.

What I didn’t expect was that the bleeding continued into early August.  Over a month.  It was pure torture to be reminded day after day after day of what would not be.

In addition I continued to gain weight.  At a check up to make sure things were ok I asked the doctor about the uncontrollable weight gain.  His response was that I was probably eating more or exercising less than I realized.  Not much of an answer.  More like a brush off.

What the doctor should have told me was that my thyroid was messed up.  But he just dismissed me with no answer.  It took me almost 5 months researching and experimenting on my own to figure it out.

One very positive and critical step I made during July was that I started tracking my daily basal body temperature.  Little did I know that one simple thing like checking my temperature each morning would be key to assessing my health and becoming pregnant.  I knew body temperature related to health.  But I didn’t know about its relation to hormonal cycles.

August 2013

In early August the miscarriage finally ended.  In hind sight I know that the extended bleeding was due to my messed up estrogen, progesterone and thyroid levels.  Again, I had to figure that out on my own.

I had a lot of bloodwork done to check for any autoimmune issues or genetic reasons for miscarriage.  It all came back normal.  I also had my estrogen levels checked.  It was now up to 42.  It was in the normal range.

Part way through the month I had more spotting due to my fluctuating hormones.

My weight was also still going up.  By the end of August I decided to stop weighing myself.  I couldn’t handle watching it go up day after day.  And I was hitting a low emotionally.  I wasn’t pregnant.  And now I had no energy and had gained over twenty pounds.  I also had severe swelling in my legs and constant pain when I stood for more than a few minutes.

At the time I figured the swelling, water retention and weight gain was my body’s response to years of disordered eating.  So I just waited.  I figured it would work itself out in a month or two.

September 2013

By September I had one goal – getting healthy.  I thought it was possible to heal my body and get my reproductive system working again.  I was studying anything I could find about balancing hormones.  I was still checking my basal body temperature every morning to monitor how things were going.  And to my amazement the first week of September I ovulated on my own for the first time in ten years!  I felt a new sense of hope.

Although this was so exciting I was still very swollen and in pain.  My weight continued to increase.  And I was very worn out.

October 2013

In October I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time.  I have had scoliosis since I was a teenager, but never did anything about it.  I thought it might help balance my body to deal with that.  So I started to go to the chiro twice a week.

I was charting my temperatures and trying to predict when I might ovulate again.  This was almost impossible to do since nothing was regular about my body.  But about 4 weeks after I had last ovulated I thought I might have ovulated again.  So I had my hormone levels checked.

I was very disappointed to hear that my estrogen was 47 (about the same as before) and my progesterone was 0.6…still non-existent.  In other words, I didn’t ovulate.  And my hormones were still very low.

So I kept researching and kept checking my temperature.  Two weeks after I had thought I ovulated…I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had ovulated again.  It wasn’t just a one time fluke. My body was really trying to work.  Although not on schedule yet.

Again I had my hormone levels checked.  To my great joy I got much better results.  My estrogen was 121.  And my progesterone was now 15.4!  In the normal range for after ovulation.  My body was actually making hormones!!

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November 2013

By November I was getting excited that I was on the right track.  I had ovulated twice.  My cycles were a little longer than normal, but not too bad.

On the down side my weight was still quite high.  I still had a bloated abdomen, swollen legs and pain every day.  I was still tired.  I knew that something still was not right.  I had experimented with my diet.  But that didn’t seem to make a difference.  I wasn’t eating any more than I used to.  I was still exercising daily.  But nothing changed.

I read and researched and read and researched.  Finally.  God gave me the answer I had been looking for.  It was my thyroid.  I don’t even remember what I read or what made me think of it.  But I figured out that I was on the wrong dose of Armour Thyroid.

I called my doctor and she said it was ok to increase my dose.  I started increasing it immediately and hoped I’d notice a difference.

With all of my research I also realized that I had been taking the medication incorrectly the whole time.  So I started making sure I was taking it properly – chewing instead of just swallowing the pills, at least 4 hours apart from any vitamins and splitting my dose into two parts so I would have some in my system all day.

I also figured out that millet is one of the strongest goitrogenic foods…which are horrible for people with thyroid problems.  The gluten free bread I had been eating daily had millet as the first ingredient.  So I stopped eating it.  All of these changes combined started my body on the right track to finally feeling better.

On the other hand I was discouraged that I had gone over a month and not ovulated again.  My cycles were getting longer instead of shorter.  I started to worry that things were getting worse instead of better with my reproductive system.  But I kept charting my temperatures and tried to predict when I might ovulate.

The last week of November I thought ovulation was coming.  My body temperature was good.  All the signs were there.  So for the first time in our 10 years of marriage my husband and I decided to actively try to conceive.

We knew it was not likely to happen.  Especially since we have both male and female factor.  But we figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.  So we gave it a go for the week before I thought I would ovulate.

December 2013

On December 1 I did ovulate.  I was just excited to actually ovulate again.  And was happy that we would be able to try to conceive over the next few months with an actual chance of it working, although very slim chance.  We knew that even if my body was working we still had the male factor that was a big unknown.

I also talked to my doctor and increased my Armour dose again since I still wasn’t seeing major signs of improvement.

Life was super busy.  So I was going, going.  By December 12 I was excited that I had not started my period yet.  That meant I did not have a short luteal phase.  One more step in the right direction to getting my body healthy.  My cycles were not regular, but when I did ovulate at least things seemed normal.

Around December 13 I expected a new cycle to start.  But the day came and went with nothing.  December 14 I was sure things would start any time.  But the day came and went with nothing.  I decided to give it one more day.  I had ovulated on December 1.  So surely by the 15th things would start.  But the day came and went with nothing.

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December 16 I woke up with a still very high body temperature (actually my highest ever for post-ovulation – 99.75!).  And I got to do something I never thought I would do.  I took a home pregnancy test.  And it was instantly positive.  I was in complete shock…and so was my husband.  Could this really be happening?!?  I don’t even remember how long it took me to stop shaking.  The rest of that day was kind of a blur.

I called my OB that day to get a blood test to confirm.  To my complete amazement my hcg level came back at 611 (higher than the normal range for 4 weeks pregnant).  I was also shocked to hear that my progesterone level was 25.4…on the high end of the range for the first trimester of pregnancy.

Not only did we conceive on the first try.  But my hormone levels were more than adequate to sustain a pregnancy.  No pills, no shots, no procedures, no nothing.  I didn’t have to supplement progesterone.  My body was doing it all on its own.  This is what “normal” pregnancy is like?  It didn’t feel real since I wasn’t going to doctors and giving myself daily shots.

Two days later I had another hcg check to make sure the levels were rising.  This time it was 1352.  Perfect.  Everything looked good.  But I’ve been down this road before.  I know there is a lot that can happen early on.

I hoped and prayed and did my best to trust that this was God’s plan.  This was God’s little miracle for us.  And I knew that He was taking care of this baby.  And that God would get all the glory.

Yes, I went through a LOT this year.  Yes, I had to go through a lot of struggle.  Yes, I had to keep pushing myself day after day.  Yes, there were a lot of small steps I  made that added up to big change.

But none of it was really my doing.  It was not in my control.  It was only by the grace of God that this little miracle was created.

On December 31 I had my second ultrasound.  And I saw the most amazing sight.  A tiny little baby with a tiny little heartbeat.  What a way to end my 2013.

I have been waiting years to write a post like this.  I had always hoped I could share a story of real food, real healing, real hope and real faith.  And now it has finally come.  2013 was my year of trials, perseverance and miracles.  God is good.

Be sure to come back soon and see what all of this has taught me about health and healing.  I’ll be sharing what I learned in 2013.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

My Little Secret

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If you follow me on facebook I recently mentioned that I’d be sharing my little secret.  Today’s the day I’m ready to share.

I apologize if you came here looking for a weight loss secret.  Because I don’t have one.  Yes, I have lost some weight recently.  But that’s not what this is about.

What I do have to share is my journey with infertility and my story of God’s love.

Over the last seven years my husband and I have gone through the joys and sorrows that come with infertility.  God has blessed us with two amazing children.  But we have also been through seven rounds of in-vitro fertilization and dealt with many disappointments.

In June of last year we went through a miscarriage after what we had hoped was our last round of IVF.

That left us in confusion.  Where do we go from here?

It took a while, but God gave us the answer.  In fact, he was giving us the answer before we even started our last round of IVF.

Throughout 2013 God was allowing changes in my life that I didn’t even realize.  Just little steps that seemed irrelevant at the time.  But they added up to big changes.

Even heartache, frustration and confusion led to big changes that I could not have made on my own.

I will share all of the details of my healing journey over the last year very soon.  There is a lot to share!!

But that’s not really what this post is about either.

This post is about my one little secret that I’ve been waiting to share.  And it hasn’t been an easy wait.

This post is about the Christmas miracle that God gave us.

Here is a picture of my daughter opening her last Christmas present.  I have been waiting to share this photo.  The expression on her face when she learns our secret captures our feelings better than any words ever could.

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God is so good.  God can and does do miracles.  God has given us another chance when we thought our chances were over.

Today I’m beyond excited to share my little secret.  My miracle secret that will be joining our family at the end of August.

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After years of both male and female infertility, round after round of treatments, I am pregnant with baby #3…conceived naturally.

We are so amazed and so thankful.  God is awesome!!  He gives us hope when we think all hope is lost.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

And just in case you were still wondering about the weight loss.  I don’t really recommend spending most of your time laying on the couch, eating small amounts of whatever you can manage…mostly junk food.  It really isn’t the way to go.  But I’m thankful I get to do it.  I just hope I start feeling a little better soon.  And then I’ll be back in the kitchen and sharing recipes again.  Thanks for being patient while I hid my secret.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.

The Nourished Metabolism

I’ve been meaning to get to this post for a while.  Last month I got a copy of The Nourished Metabolism, an e-book by Elizabeth Walling.  And I immediately wanted to tell everyone about it.  But I’ve been busy reading it, re-reading it and doing my own health updates (Part 1, Part 2) that were spurred on by the book.

I’m finally getting around to it…with only a few days to spare to get a copy for 35% off!!  Sorry about the late review.  But even if you miss the May 31 deadline I think it’s worth every penny at full price.

Here are the topics Elizabeth covers:

You’ll learn why sleep is so, so, so important…a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

You’ll learn why you might need to add salt to your diet and drink less water.  More salt and less water alone made a huge difference for me in raising my body temperature and even helping with digestion.

You’ll learn why sugar is not evil…in fact you need some.

You’ll learn about listening to your body instead of a diet or routine that someone else prescribes.  No vegetarian.  No paleo.  No low carb.  No high fat.  Just do what works for your body.

https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?cl=237114&c=ib&aff=245996

The first time I opened the book I went through the whole thing…in one sitting.  I could not put it down.

I could go on and on and on about how great this book is.  But I will let it speak for itself.  Do yourself a favor and order a copy today.

Until May 31 you can get it at 35% off and get a FREE copy of Elizabeth’s e-booklet: Emotional Eating Myths and Solutions.

Do you struggle with:

  • Low body temperature
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to handle stress
  • Dry skin, dandruff, brittle nails, psoriasis, eczema
  • Poor digestion, constipation, diarrhea, allergies
  • Erratic sleep patterns, insomnia, trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Exhausting, alternating between wired and tired
  • Blood sugar crashes, 
  • PMS, irregular menstrual cycles, low sex drive and other signs of hormonal imbalance
You probably have a stressed metabolism.  Start nourishing yours today to start feeling great!!  Order a copy of The Nourished Metabolism today.
I know this review is kind of short, but hopefully it’s to the point.  And I wanted to be sure I got this up before the sale ends.

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. It will not change the cost of any products or services for you.