Turmeric Almond Pulp Crackers/Flat Bread

Easy Peasy.  You need a food processor and some parent paper to make this operation run smoothly.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup wet almond pulp (after making almond milk…mine is a bit sweet because I use dates in my almond milk)
  • 1/3 coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP ground flaxseed soaked in 1/4 cup water for about 10 minutes (chia will also work)
  • a few dashes of sea salt
  • a few dashes of turmeric powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process in food processor and then smooth onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Depending on your desired thickness, this will be different for everyone.  Places in oven for 15-20 minutes.  Checking every 5 minutes after the 10 minute mark.  You can make these softer like flat bread or crispier if you’d like more of a a cracker!

We use ours for PB sandwiches, hummus, crumbled on salad, topped with krout… the possibilities are endless.

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May, Lovely May.

And now it is May. Rein is 10 months.  How did that happen?  Leif is a little man, and its wonderful and heartbreaking and wonderful again.  He makes me laugh every day… He also makes me crazy at moments.

I have some big dreams for May and for the summer.  I want change the way we do finances.  I want to be smarter about where I invest my resources– time, money, energy.  I want to spend more intentional time with my kids, my family, and my friends.  I want to grow my business in a way that is both serves the women I work with but also honors the place I’m at in this motherhood gig.

So, this month, I’ll be processing some of these things out loud (via the internet).  I hope it encourages, inspires, and maybe’s opens new areas of your heart.

Let’s start here.  These are some things I’m doing to reduce our food bill, but still eat like a freakin’ vegan boss.

I started volunteering in at Wildhare Organic Farm in March.  In exchange, I go home with local organic produce and a bunch of cardboard each week (for my garden, you know). I also get the privilege of spending Tuesday mornings with Katie, one of the owners, who is beyond lovely.  She’s genuine, understanding, and a bad ass farmer and business owner.  I have also met other volunteers and employees that have done nothing but add to my life.  My dad and sister-in-law have mostly been helping with the childcare to allow me to do this but starting this month, I’ve worked out a trade with a woman who will watch the boys for me in exchange for coaching! It feels like a good fit.

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Why Hello Fresh Organic Greens… how wonderful you’ll be in my smoothies and salads.

I’m grocery shopping less and using CASH.  I’ve tried the cash method before and always failed but I’m committing to paying for groceries and little things like coffee or outings with cash.  I’ll reserve my credit card for things like gas and any online purchases.  By online, I’m talking about ordering things like diapers and bulk gluten free oats because it saves me money (and time)…also, I’m able to get a lot of things I would typically get at Target on Amazon Prime…and I save myself like a billion dollars by not going to Target.  You know what I’m talking about, ladies.

I’m not buying extras like $4 bottles of kombucha.  I plan to start making my own or finding a trade with someone who home-brews.  I also haven’t been spending money on wine. Sad, but true.  I am trying to reserve alcohol for when we have special outings or for Sundays at my parents house (Thanks Mom and Dad for hooking that up).

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Sunday Night Dinners are the best.

I’m mixing my protein powders.  I usually use a more expensive VegaSport protein after my hard workouts.  It’s formulated to help with muscle recovery and I really notice a difference but I am choosing to not use a full scoop and I’m supplementing with their less expensive product from Costco.

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I’m also eating my smoothie out of repurposed peanut butter jars these days..

I’m learning to “get buy”.  Its Saturday and I don’t restock the kitchen until Tuesday usually… so I say, “Okay, we’re having dinner at my parents tomorrow night, so we just need food for Monday…What do we have?  We have onions, grains, beans, and purple cabbage… I can make a meal with that.  We are out of bananas but I can survive one day without bananas in my smoothie.  I’m picking up 30 pounds of them from the farm on Tuesday!”   It forces me to get a little more creative with our food and use what we’ve got instead of making a special trip to the store.

 

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I downloaded the ibotta App.  I haven’t used it yet but look forward to trying to get some rebates with it!  Have you used it?

My garden!  While I’ve only been able to harvest rhubarb and herbs so far this spring, I have kale, cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and squash in the ground with several trays of starts slowly growing on the deck.  This will provide for a lower food bill this summer!

Waste not want not– I’m making sure to use the almond pulp from our almond milk to make crackers each week.  This makes for awesome PB sandwiches for the boys (and me).

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What do you do to lower your food bill while eating as healthy as possible?


Cucumber-Pear-Avo Delight

So, I’m ready for spring.  Like ready, now.  Today was gorgeously sunny and warm and it made me itchy for flowers and shedding of our winter skins (8 million layers of clothing we wear for the rain and cold).  As I look forward to spring, I’m also planning out my Spring Clean meal plan and other programing.  I will be heading into spring with a focus on whole raw foods.  The plan will include some cooked foods but as the temps warm up, our bodies begin to crave cooler foods.

Here is a little sneak peak of what’s to come:

Cucumber-Pear-Avo Delight (serves 1-2)

img_6817Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ripe avocado
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 pear
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 2 large handfuls mixed baby greens
  • 3 cloves raw garlic
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.  Top with spices and a few sprigs of cilantro.  Serve at room temp.

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PTSD, PPD and Finding the Helpers.

That’s a lot of Ps.  The last 12 months have been trying to say the least.  When I found myself laying in the OR last June, watching as they sliced me open and pulled me apart, digging through my body in a struggle to get Rein out, I was already in crisis.  I was coping with an emotional trauma that had began to unfold a month prior (although it was already present in my body for years).  Those first 60 seconds of Rein’s life when I thought he was dead or dying, became so tightly interwoven with the existing trauma that I couldn’t separate them for months.  I’d close my eyes at night and see myself being stabbed in the gut, blood spilling, me screaming as my children watched.  It. Was. Horrifying.

In the months that followed, I began to heal little pieces of myself but I was trapped in cycles of anger, sadness, terror. As the election of our new president grew closer, it got much worse.  The way he spoke about women and their bodies, the abusive behavior he exemplified put a fire in my gut that begged to breathe flames.  When I’d see people defending or supporting him, the image of the knife tearing into me resurfaced.  His misogyny excused as “locker room talk” left me feeling worthless– their support of him felt like a big ol’ “Fuck you, this is the way it has always been and this is the way it will always be.  Boys will be boys.  Men will be men. Now act like a lady and stop your crying…”

During this time, I went crying to my midwife– “I NEED something.  I need something to help me feel better.”  The running, self-care, and high quality nutrition were not cutting it.  I did not like the person I was becoming in my home.  I did not like the way I was losing my patience so easily with Leif.  After trying a few different medications, I discovered that the side effects were too much and opted for herbal remedies and loads and loads of self care and running.

Running is where the magic happens for me.  It’s the part of my day that feels most in control.  Its the time when my brain and my spirit are able to process pieces of the trauma.  Recently, on an early morning run, I recalled the nurse who was with me during my labor.  Her name was Sara.  She was gentle, compassionate, and encouraging.  When we discovered Rein had turned transverse, she was the one that prepped me for the OR.  Her shift was over but she accompanied me to the OR. As the anesthesiologistinserted the needle into my spine, I wrapped my arms around her and she pressed her forehead into mine as tears streaked my face.  My body was shaking.  I was cold. I was terrified.  She told me I was doing amazing and to keep my mind in the secret place I had entered during my labor.  As she left and my mom and Josh entered, she said, “I’m sure we’ll meet again…”

My brain jumped to when it was over.  Rein had been placed on me and he searched for my breast.  He nursed and I sighed heavy with relief that we were both alive.  As they prepared to move us into the recovery room, the anesthesiologist leaned down and told me everything was okay– Rein’s lack of breath for that first minute was not uncommon in a c-section and that it wouldn’t cause him any problems.  In the flurry of chaos, no one had told me it was okay.

Helpers.  There are so many helpers amongst the chaos.

Our nation is in chaos right now.  Every day, we are barraged with a new national crisis.  Our humanity is under attack.  The darkness wants to wear us down.  It wants us to become so overwhelmed that we sink into a hole and allow it to consume us.  But we won’t. I won’t.  This world is filled with helpers, with people who will stand by you.  They’ll hold you, a stranger, in your frightened vulnerability and they’ll tell you you’re worthy, you’re strong.  They’ll whisper in your ear, “Everything is okay.”  They’ll advocate for you.   They’ll fight for you and with you.  They’ll even put their body on the line to protect you.

This battle is not yet over– for my own trauma or the trauma our nation is enduring. As we process and battle together, lets keep looking for the helpers.

XO,

Melissa


Self Doubt Gremlins and Living your Truth

Remember that summer I had an emergency cesarean and our car needed a crap ton of work done on it?  Yeah, that was expensive.  With some rather hefty bills to be paid, I did some serious reflecting on the budget.  I looked over credit card bills and our checking account to look for expenses that could be cut.  One expense that continued to nag at me was my Beachbody OnDemand account along with my coaching fee.  Neither are hefty but both add up. I had the OnDemand because we don’t have a TV or DVD player and the CD drive on my computer does not work.  I checked Amazon and discovered that an external CD drive is like $20 so I called and canceled OnDemand.  I then reflected on my coaching fee and if it was really something I wanted to continue doing. It did not take too much soul searching to realize that, indeed, it was time to part ways with Beachboy– at least as a distributor.  I met some really wonderful women as a coach and I learned a lot.  I helped a handful of women get back on track with exercise and nutrition and I used the workouts as a tool for my 6-month program clients.  Ultimately though, I felt like I had to justify (to myself and to others) why I was selling these products and that doesn’t feel good.

Here are the reasons I decided it was time to part ways:

  1. Branding:  I’ve never liked the flashiness of the brand.  While all the workout programs I have tried are great, it feels…um…beachbody-y.  The focus feels really cosmetic.  I know this is not the mindset of many of the women I’ve met through the company but that just how the company comes off to me.  Sweet Beets mission is WHOLEHEARTED wellness.
  2. Shakeology:  I tried to love Shakeology and the Vegan Chocolate was pretty tasty but there are only two vegan flavors and I’m not into strawberry protein powder…nor am I going to attempt to sell the non-vegan options to friends because…well… I think whey is harmful for our bodies, the environment, and not kind to animals (not your mom, not your milk).  I think there are superior products out there for less money–my favorite being Vega.  Vega is certified non-gmo, 100 percent plant based, contains less sugar and has pretty much the same nutrition profile as the vegan Shakeology (which is not certified non-gmo).  I feel good about supporting a company that is committed to environmental (even their packaging!), animal, and personal health.  AND…Brendan Brazier, the founder, is a vegan endurance athlete.  Being that Vega is all vegan and non-gmo, there are so many different options at different price points. I like that I can mix it up (ha–pun intended) with my morning smoothie routine.
  3. I’m not a sales person and  I’m shitty at selling things I don’t believe in 100%:  The fact is, while I know that Beachbody has helped a ton of people get fit, it’s not the right fit for me so I suck at selling it.  I think I spent more on samples to give to people than I ever made from actual sales. I have spent a lot of time, money, and passionate energy studying wellness and plant based nutrition.  I’ve coached my own body through some pretty major athlete endeavors, injuries, illness, and even healed myself from depression, anxiety, IBS, and disordered eating.  I have the education and experience to design my own programs and, dammit, that’s what I’m doing. I want to invest my time in programs believe in 100%.

The moment I said this out loud (well, actually in a message to a friend), the universe cracked open and women began signing up for my programs (several women who I had approached about Beachbody but weren’t interested) and seeing incredible results within the first few days! One even signed up for two months of my meal planning after just a few days on my Fall Detox plan because she was so stoked.

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Detoxing’ Right: Day 1 Left: Day 5

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My Liquid Feast Day

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Like ice cream but you feel Amazing After

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Buddha Bowls Be Like…

So here I am, believing in myself.  As more women approach me about my programs and the little self-doubt-gremlin says, “what are you doing? Who do you think you are?” I take a deep breath and tell that Gremlin “I’m that lady who knows how to use plants to heal the body, lose excess fat, increase energy, prevent disease, and slow the mother effing aging process while  That’s who I am, little Self-Doubt-Gremlin…who do you think YOU are?”


The wound is the place where the light enters you. –Rumi

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It’s difficult to believe Rein is already 10.5 weeks old!  He’s grown so much in the last 2.5 months.  He is so incredibly lovely.  For the most part, he is an easy going type of guy.  He loves to be worn in the ERGO, snuggle, and nurse.  He doesn’t love his carseat and screams something awful and makes my heart ache every time we go anywhere in the car but otherwise, he’s easy on his mama.

Speaking of being easy on his mama– I’m learning to “go easy” on myself as well.  Recovery from the cesarean has been anything but easy.  Just when I work one pain or issue out, another one surfaces.  I’ve had to learn to be patient with myself as my body heals from the ordeal.  I look at my tummy and don’t recognize it.  The notorious c-section shelf makes my cloths fit a little differently.  I have extra maternal fat stores (how long do I get to call them that?) on my hips. And then there is this giant scar just above my pubic line.  When I run, I still feel like my core might fall apart or my intestines might burst through the void where my abs used to be.

No, this is not the body I knew before.  This is body is forever changed.  While I know I’ll lose the last couple of pounds and that I’ll work my way back up to long distances, I know this body will never be the same. How could it?  I watched, with my own eyes, the physical trauma that occurred.  I watched the blade slice through me and my abs pulled apart.I watched the blood and I felt the hands that pushed and tugged and pulled.  I don’t think it is fair that I expect my body to look or feel exactly how it did before Rein’s birth.  I think the “getting my body back” after baby is kind of a bullshit thing.  I never “lost” my body.  My body just changed in pretty amazing ways to grown and birth human life.

This last week, I decided to stop saying mean things to myself about my body.  I decided that the instead of hating the way my body looks right now, I will celebrate all that it has done and all that it is doing.  It’s grown two healthy, beautiful lives.  I’ve pushed–marathon style– a baby from my vagina and just as courageously birthed one from my belly.  My body has been pregnant or breastfeeding for 4.5 years–sometimes both at the same time.  I’ve nourished two humans with my own body.  I can lift my boys, carry my boys, push my boys in the stroller.  I can run pushing 60 plus pounds of little boys and their gear.  My current body can do some kick ass things.

 


Cesarean Recovery Part 1

 

Recovery from Rein’s cesarean birth has been most humbling. While I know my body is healing beautifully, it has not been an easy journey. There has been much pain—physically and emotionally—but day by day, I’m getting there. It’s not linear—there are days I feel I have taken two steps backward but at 2.5 weeks post partum, I’m able to walk several miles, lift my 3 year old, and do light weight work.

In this post, I’ll outline the first two weeks of my recovery.

The first 12 Hours:

Holy helplessness. For the first few hours after the c-section, feeling slowly returned to my lower body as the spinal wore off. It was the weirdest feeling—wiggling my toes, sliding my feet up and down to ensure my brain and body were able to speak to each other. Adjusting in bed was nearly impossible, especially while holding a baby. My core had just been sliced open, after all. I still had a catheter in (which was nice not having to pee).

My night nurse that first evening was actually my neighbors sister. Even in my shocked, drugged, low blood state, I recognized her even though I had only briefly met her a couple of times. She was wonderful.

Reinger was officially born at 1:56 PM on June 30th. They wanted me to get up out of bed around 12 hours post surgery. So, sometime in the wee hours of morning, my nurse came to help me out of bed. Oiy. It was painful and awkward. I moved my legs, rolled my ankles and flexed my feet. I felt a little light headed—from blood loss and laying down for so long. After I delivered Leif, I was up and walking right away—nursing and bouncing him around my hospital room. This, however, was a completely different ordeal. I literally thought I would never be able to walk on my own again. She assured me I was moving really well. Ha.

I believe the catheter was left at this point—a relief since the idea of getting up to pee sounded awful. They would take it out in the morning and I would attempt to pee on my own for the first time.

Someone came to check my vitals every 4 hours and I had things on my legs making sure I didn’t get a clot (this was one of my main paranoia’s with a c-section).

First 24 Hours:

My catheter was removed, I peed on my own and took a shower! I got to take the bandage off my incision and I was surprised at how anti-climatic it was. It didn’t look nearly as crazy as I expected it to.   The shower felt amazing.

I was encouraged to move often but getting out of bed was a huge ordeal. Sitting up or adjusting in bed remained difficult and required I pull myself up using the side railings.

Like a vaginal birth, I had bleeding and was wearing the super sexy mesh panties and GIANT pad/diaper. I had a few clots that came out of me that made my eyes open wide, like “OH my stars, I just birthed another baby…” I remember bleeding a lot with Leif, a vaginal birth, but these clots seemed odd. I saved them in the bathroom for the nurse to check. She did and assured me they were normal. Wowza.

A pediatrician came and checked Rein and an OB came to check me. All was well with both of us but the OB was very apologetic for such a difficult ordeal. She said she’d heard what a shock it was to everyone and how difficult the “extraction” (getting baby out) had been. She said I was very lucky I didn’t have a vertical incision.

The gas in my shoulder remained a problem and if I didn’t stay super on top of the meds, the pain was a serious issue. Thankfully, I had a nursing staff serving me. I was on oxycodone and 800 mg of ibrophen to manage the pain.

Day 2

I started “exercising”—walking around the hospital wing very slowly and stretching my shoulders and chest to try to help move the gas out of me. It was the most painful aspect so far.

Not pooping is so horrible for me. I’m a very regular person so even a day (really a morning) without pooping is uncomfortable for me. With my hip surgery for a torn labrum in 2014, this was one of my least favorite side effects of the drugs. Bring on the stool softeners!

I hired a doula to encapsulate my placenta. She was amazing. She came to the hospital andIMG_7721 picked it up after Rein was born and then brought it back the next day in perfect little capsules, along with an amazing smoothie with all sorts of berries, fats, and of course some raw placenta. Placenta has so many amazing benefits! Most mammals consume theirs after they give birth—including many humans. I’m not messing around with my physical and emotional recovery—placenta is a part of my healing regimen.

 

Eating: VegaOne Bar, Kombucha, Tofu and bean wraps, fruit, dates, probiotics, coconut water, Vega protein powder with almond milk.

Day 3:

We came home. I asked if I could walk home—they advised against it. “But I walked here in labor, surely I can walk the 4 blocks home!” Mmmm… walking to the car actually took a good deal of energy. The blood loss and the fact that my tummy had been sliced open may have played into this.   Leif came home with us—which I desperately needed but it was A LOT to manage and I was in a good deal of pain. There were many tears that first night. I ended up in the guest bed with Rein because getting off our floor bed was NOT an option. I called for Josh when I needed meds. Getting off the bed was excruciating.

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Proud Big Brother

 

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Real Deal.

Day 4:

 

Leif went to the beach house with my family so I could rest and he could party. The next IMG_7909few days, although painful, were pretty calm. Rein pretty much slept, ate and pooped. There was very little crying. People brought us food and I pretty much stayed in pajamas.

I began my belly breathing exercises- literally, just breathing into my belly. Believe it or not, this was difficult. I couldn’t find my belly! This was such a strange feeling as I’ve always been pretty connected with my core—as a gymnast, a yogi, a runner, my relationship with my core has allowed me to stay strong and healthy. Now, its been sliced and pulled apart. When I touch my belly, it looks like a water bed—not the strong belly I’m used to.

Day 5

I attempted a “walk” with my grandma. I suggested we go around the block. She suggested we walk to the end of our block and back. Boy, am I glad she was there to tame my overly ambitious athlete. We walked to the end of the block and back and I felt like I’d ran a marathon. I was exhausted. I’m sure this mostly had to do with all the blood I lost. It was an eye opener and a reminder I need to continue my nutrient dense diet to rebuild my blood.

I believe this is the first day I pooped. It was scary. Like really scary. I held my incision for IMG_7836dear life. I was pretty sure my guts were going to fall out. Thankfully, they did not! It still took a few days to really get my bowels semi regular again but that initial poop—although horrifying—was such a relief!

 

Week 2

I started walking more… a little bit more each day. First around the block, then twice around the block and slowly built up to a slow 3 miles—carrying Rein in the ergo, pushing Leif in the stroller, and holding Sochi’s leash.

My amazing chiropractor did a home visit to check up on me and Rein. She adjusted both of us. Interestingly, she told me when both had a very chemically tone about us. I have been smelling a very potent chemical scent every time I bend forward. Each time I’ve been adjusted since the birth, the smell becomes almost overwhelming. My body is detoxing to the max. I don’t even want to think about everything that was put into my body during the cesarean but I’m thankful its on its way out.

Each day is different. Some days, I’m exhausted and my incision hurts like hell. I ordered a

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Two Weeks

belly wrap to help me feel “put together” but found that it was a little too intense so I sent it back and just received this one today! Much better.

 

Week 3:

I built up to a 5.5 mile walk with Rein strapped on me and also some light lifting. It feels good to move and to work my muscles but also quite exhausting. On days I over-do it, I feel awful by the evening—my incision hurts and I remind myself of all the trauma inside my body as well.   My core is literally stitched back together and trying to heal.

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3 Weeks

Nutrition:

Protein and fat have been my main focus. I get plenty of healthy carbs with all the fruit and whole grains I eat. I have been using Vega products along with Arebonne and adding extra servings of protein to my smoothies along with heaping spoons of nut and seed butters. Yum.

Smoothies: I’m drinking a daily morning smoothie—loaded with protein, fruit, greens, super greens like chlorella and spirulina, extra iron, placenta, cocoa nibs, and topped with an immune boosting cereal blend.

We have an incredible community that has made sure that we are well nourished. Having IMG_7822delicious nourishing food delivered to our home has allowed me to rest more while ensuring we all get the nutrients we need! Curries, sauces, salads—its all been amazing.

 

Essential Oils:

I’ve always enjoyed the use of essential oils but I finally decided it was time to get a bit more serious about them for my physical and emotional healing and also to bring some extra “calm” to my family. My neighbor sells Young Living oils and has used them herself to help with autoimmune healing. I reached out to her and ended up purchasing a starter kit as well as signing up to be a distributor! I’ve been diffusing calming oils like lavender in our home as well as applying oils to my incision and to both the boys in the evening to help them relax.

Supplements:

Many women are anemic post partum. I lost an above average amount of blood so I’m really focusing on rebuilding my blood. In addition to iron rich plant foods, I’m also supplementing with iron. I continue to take B12 and Vitamin D. I’m taking about 8000 IU of Vitamin D per day. I’m also taking a daily probiotic by Garden of Life. I was clear minded enough to take all my supplements to the hospital so I started all of them, except for the iron, right away.   I’m sure my between the antibiotics I received during labor along with the trauma to my system, my gut flora got a whoopin’. I’ve also been adding L-glutamine to my smoothies for some gut rebuilding.

Pain Management: The first 24 ish hours I think I received meds via an IV. After that, I was on a steady course of oxycodene and Ibprophen for the first 6 ish days. After that, I switched to 800 mg of Ibrophen every 6 hours. I really feel it if I miss a dose. My body is quick to remind me that it is still dealing with the trauma of cesarean. I hardly took anything after my hip surgery but this is sooooo different. The pain feels so much deeper and layered.

We’re three weeks post partum today. I was running by this point after Leif’s birth. There is no way in heck my body is ready for running at this point. I intend to wait until the 6 week mark before making the decision to start running again or to wait even longer to allow for more healing and strength in my core. I also plan to start a Beach Body program at 6 weeks—probably 21 Day Fix to ease back into it. I’ll be hosting a challenge group for those interested in joining the fun!

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Taking it slow these days