This sh*t is BANANAS, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

This sh*t is BANANAS, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Hi, @amandaaanicole_ here again!

It is the holidays now and everyone automatically thinks PUMPKIN SPICE. But gingerbread- is on another level when it comes to desserts!

I think peanut butter makes just about everything better, including banana bread, but have you tried GINGERBREAD, peanut butter banana bread? If you are a peanut butter lover, you are going to go bananas for this banana bread recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups paleo flour of your choice (I use sprouted spelt flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 cup mashed brown bananas (you will need 3 large brown bananas)

1/2 cup Wild Friends GINGERBREAD creamy peanut butter blend

1/4 cup organic butter, melted

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the peanut butter and melted butter and stir until combined.

Stir in the maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract, until smooth.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth, but don’t over-mix.

Pour batter into your baking pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Check the bread at 50 minutes, just to be safe. Not everyone’s oven is the same!

Remove the pan from the oven and let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack (your oven top Works too) until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve!

Top with more Wild Friends gingerbread peanut butter and chocolate chips for added UMPH! 🙂 you can use my code amanda20 on wild Friends website! Enjoy!

Health inspired Grocery Shopping

SHOPPING. Especially Grocery shopping. Some people hate it, but as for me, it’s a venture I look forward to and I love doing.

Whole Foods is def one of the best grocery stores because it offers a large amount of healthy options HOWEVER it also discourages a lot of people because it is SO EXPENSIVE. I love going there- it’s like an amusement park, but I do not do my regular shopping there because I’d go broke. Real life. My go to grocery store is Trader Joe’s! I also love going to Sprouts, Ralph’s and Whole Foods for select items!

Compared to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s is so affordable!

Anywho-

There are certain foods that are a MUST when it comes to buying organic vs. non organic, especially in the produce section. Being knowledgeable of this, no doubt, helps reduce mine and my family’s pesticide consumption, which does numbers for your health. I don’t buy everything organic. Why? There are certain foods that are non-organic which are least likely to be contaminated with pesticides. Always choose organic as often as possible, but if you’re on a budget or your selection is limited, these lists help you focus your attention on avoiding the most contaminated fruits and veggies.

For example: STRAWBERRIES. If they don’t offer a certain fruit or vegetable as organic, OR it is just way too pricey that day(it happens), I’ll always opt for something else, or skip it. No biggie. Without a doubt, I will always do my best to consume grass-fed, organic, and humanely raised, whenever possible.

ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC:

1 Strawberries

2 Spinach

3 Nectarines

4 Apples

5 Peaches

6 Pears

7 Cherries

8 Grapes

9 Celery

10 Tomatoes

11 Sweet Bell Peppers

12 Potatoes

13 Animal products

14 Animal protein

These are foods are ones that have the highest levels of pesticides and are almost ALWAYS contaminated with chemicals.

DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ORGANIC:

1 Avocados

2 Sweet Corn

3 Pineapples

4 Cabbage

5 Onions

6 Frozen Sweet Peas

7 Papayas

8 Asparagus

9 Mangos

10 Eggplant

11 Honeydew

12 Kiwi

13 Cantaloupe

14 Cauliflower

15 Broccoli

Another $$ tip! Another way to save money is to shop seasonally and locally at your nearest farmer’s market! Secondly, choose produce in season. It will ALWAYS taste fresher, be less expensive, and contain more nutrients.

So let’s talk shopping!

These items are always on hand in my house. Most of them last for a while so I don’t find myself buying them every time I go to the store. But if I run out, I’m definitely snagging them!

Here is my staples grocery haul:

Produce:

Organic romaine lettuce

Organic sweet potatoes

Organic Brussel sprouts

Organic Cucumber

Avocado

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Mushrooms

Organic carrots

Onion

Asparagus

Organic Apples

Bananas

Organic Strawberries

Organic dates

Snacks:

Sprouted nuts

Organic popcorn

Simple Mills Crackers/Cookies

Organic Juice

Hippeas BBQ chickpea puffs

Square Organics protein bars

Perfect bars

Refrigerated / Frozen:

Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs or Organic pasture raised eggs

Kite Hill cream cheese / Organic cream cheese

Siete tortillas

Organic block of cheddar cheese

Plain Organic Greek Yogurt

Siggis yogurt

Organic Ground Beef

Organic Chicken Breasts

Organic Chicken Sausage

Hummus

Riced Cauliflower

Unsweetened Almond Milk

Organic 2% milk

Organic Half & Half

Cauliflower gnocchi

Organic Applegate hot dogs

Organic cottage cheese

Spices & Oils:

Simply Organic Foods Spices

Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

Organic Olive Oil

Organic Coconut Oil

Organic BBQ sauce

Chosen Foods salad dressings

Primal kitchen foods salad dressings

Organic ketchup

Primal kitchen foods ranch

Bite-Sized Balance

As most of you realize by now, I am incredibly devoted to feeding my body the necessary ingredients that it needs, ensuring that it runs efficiently. This translates to feeding my body REAL food. Now, this is not all about me. I am a mom, and I have babies to care for. So my habits follow with needing to feed my children real food too. I want my children to grow up knowing it is totally normal to eat five different fruits and vegetables per day, and that “green” is an okay color to eat! Although it may be minuscule, I also like to think I am doing my part to help fight the child obesity issue that has risen in our country, by making it very easy for my children, including my infant, to have access to REAL food.

As far as baby food goes, there is a distinct difference between freshly made baby food and jarred baby food. There are a few select brands of “pouched” baby food brands I will feed my kids that are all organic and cold pressed, and normally will just buy them if we are out and about and she needs something quick and healthy!

In order to make jarred or pouched baby food, it needs to be cooked at extremely high temperatures in order to kill the bacteria for a longer “storage life,” which simultaneously removes most of the food’s vitamins and nutrients as well as depletes the taste. Following with the depletion of nutritional benefits, two of the main differences would be the textures as well as the tastes. I don’t want to regularly feed my babies these jarred baby foods, just to have to reintroduce the real deal to them when they’re old enough to start eating whole foods. I want my kids to be very familiar with the flavors and textures, so I started right away!

Real food textures such as banana, sweet potato, cauliflower, are not found in jarred baby foods. Is there even a cauliflower baby food? Some foods do not come available jarred and I don’t want to limit their exposure of food to only what is available to me on aisle 4. Some may argue that it is cheaper, but I am not mainly concerned with saving the money.

However, I won’t deny the benefit of saving on cost. At an average of $1.00 per serving of a decent baby food brand, you could be spending up to $45.00 per week- nearly $200 a month! By making your own purees, you’ll spend a fraction of that. A mere $0.10 or less per serving, which is less than $5.00 a week. Makes “cents,” right? Lol.

What do I use to make my baby food? Thanks to Baby Brezza, I am able to make all of my baby’s meals using the baby food maker. I feel so good about giving my babies homemade food right from the start – free of preservatives, hormones and other unnecessary additives. Organic, pure foods as one would call them!

When I make my own baby food with my Baby Brezza baby food maker, I know exactly what I am feeding my baby. I can choose my own fruits, vegetables, and other foods to puree instead of relying on manufacturers to choose for me. You’re definitely not going to find melons, avocados, or cauliflower in the baby food section of the market. JUST SAYIN’. It also prepares my kids to eat the same foods that the rest of the family eats, just in puree form!

The way I prepare and store the baby food that I make varies. I usually steam quite a bit of their favorite fruits and vegetables, then I prepare a few and store them in the Baby Brezza baby food storage containers in my fridge for uses throughout the next few days. Since fresh foods do not have a lengthy shelf life, I also take what is left over and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays! Doing so ables me to go a while without having to prepare so frequently. Once I freeze the purees into cubes, I usually place them in silicone bags, like my stasher bags, so I am able to easily grab a baggy if we are going to be out for the day. Fresh fruits and veggies are typically very easy to distinguish due to their bright colors, however sometimes I’ll label them!

5 of my favorite purees to make for my babies are:

• Banana, oatmeal, blueberries

• Butternut squash and garbanzo beans

• Broccoli, avocado and pears

• Pears, spinach, and quinoa

• Sweet potatoes and cauliflower

All in all, I highly recommend getting yourself a professional baby food maker, and Baby Brezza makes the best one in my opinion! It is so easy! This one has helped me create a healthy lifestyle for me and my babies, and for that I am so thankful!

Thanks for reading!

-Amanda

xoxo

NON TOXIC & ORGANIC MEAL PREP on a budget!

I’m a huge advocate of weekly food prep. I am a mom, and literally never have time to make myself food when my kids are awake. Which is always😂 In addition, i love to meal Prep for my kids and my husband as well so we are all eating healthy as consistently as possible. I firmly believe that setting myself, and my family, up for successful eating for the week plays a major part in our health and happiness!

Food prep is probably the most under-rated, under-utilized healthy living tool. Making it a habit to spend even just one hour on the weekend to prep food can make a huge difference in your food choices during the upcoming week. BUT one thing people don’t know is, even when you buy and cook organic, if you store your food incorrectly it is being contaminated!

Plastic has its role in modern society. It’s an essential part of our life- for example: cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys – and practically most everything we use on a day-to-day basis. But there’s one place where plastic has worn out its welcome – and that’s as a container for the food we eat and the water we drink.

The bottom line is that plastic is made from toxic materials. It’s a known fact that these toxins can leach into whatever they come into contact with. And it’s a known fact that when the compounds that make up plastic are ingested, they damage your body on a cellular level and cause health problems.

For example, almost all plastics contain toxic chemicals that have a negative effect on immunity and hormone regulation, both of which directly affect fertility. Specifically, BPA has been found to make it more difficult for women to conceive and to cause increased risk of miscarriages. New research is also showing that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.

Like I said earlier, plastics are a nearly unavoidable part of our everyday lives. But there is a big difference between the plastic on your computer and the plastic that may come into contact with your lunch. You don’t eat your computer.

SOLUTION: USE GLASS. Prep Naturals is a meal prep company that uses GLASS containers to help you cook healthy food, and store it in a healthy way! And I have been lucky enough to provide you with a discount code in order to make your transition a bit less stressful! Code AMANDA15 to use on their site, www.prepnaturals.com !

But anywho, Buying organic, good quality food can be expensive but when meal prepping like this, it is a sure fire way to have good quality, real food meals for a bargain! I GOTCHU!!

5 DAYS OF ORGANIC GROUND BEEF & BBQ CHICKEN MEALS! (Trader Joe’s) Makes 10 containers total!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 large sized ORGANIC chicken breasts
  • 3 packages of ORGANIC ground beef
  • 1 bag of Organic Brown Rice OR 1 box microwaveable frozen brown rice
  • 3 bags organic broccoli florets (depending on how much broccoli you like!)
  • 1 bottle organic sriracha BBQ sauce (or any other organic sauce without canola oil that you like!
  • HOW TO!
    1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
      Get 10 GLASS Prep Naturals containers ready on the counter.
      Place your chicken breasts into a oven safe dish, pouring about half the BBQ sauce bottle over the chicken. Brush the sauce so it fully covers the chicken!
      Get a NON TOXIC non stick cookie sheet, and place all of your broccoli florets on the sheet! Lightly spray with avocado oil or olive oil. Season with pink Himalayan sea salt and organic garlic powder.
      Place the chicken (top rack) and the broccoli (middle or bottom rack) in the oven to cook. 20-30 mins.
      Cook your ground beef in a large skillet! Season with garlic powder, pink salt, cumin, southwest seasoning, and any other seasonings you enjoy! (I use Simply organic seasonings for everything!)
      Cook your brown rice accordingly.
      Once your beef is done, drain any excess fat, and scoop it into your Prep Naturals Containers! (I usually do about 3/4 cup of protein per container)
      Add roasted broccoli to all containers (About 1/2 cup)
      Slice chicken and add chicken to the other half of the containers.
      Add brown rice (About 1/2 cup) to each container.
      LET THE FOOD COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE PUTTING LIDS ON AND PLACING IN FRIDGE! Or if you have the Prep Naturals containers, flip the steam hole open to prevent any soggy food!
      ENJOY over the course of the week 🙂

    i

    REAL INGREDIENT PAD THAI

    Another yummy and savory dish comin’ at ya by me, Amanda aka @amandaaanicole_ !!

    I love peanut butter but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth(I know, I’m crazy!) so I find other ways to incorporate it into my dishes! I am a huge fan of pad Thai, however most dishes come with processed noodles or are made with GMO Ingredients that, if consumed in excess over time, will harm your body. So I have created a REAL INGREDIENT alternative recipe, made with simple pantry staples that will blow your mind! Hope you enjoy!!!

    SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

    1/3 cup organic chicken or vegetable stock (water works just fine too!)

    2 tablespoons Organic Tamari (or soy sauce)

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons of Wild Friends classic creamy peanut butter

    1 tablespoon organic lime juice

    1 tablespoon organic coconut vinegar (you can also use white vinegar)

    1 tablespoon Sriracha

    1 tablespoon Garlic chili sauce (depending on your spice tolerance…if you don’t like spicy use half the amount of sriracha and garlic chili sauce)

    1 teaspoon minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

    1 teaspoon minced garlic

    PAD THAI INGREDIENTS:

    4 ounces of organic spinach fettuccini noodles

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 organic eggs, beaten

    1 lb. chicken breast, cubed

    1/2 cup bean sprouts (optional)

    TO GARNISH (optional):

    Chopped cilantro

    Chopped peanuts (this takes it to a new level!)

    Lime wedges

    Sriracha

    Directions:
    1. Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside to “fester”
    2. Cook noodles, then drain water and set aside.
    3. Preheat a skillet over medium heat and add sesame oil. Add chicken breast and cook until browned and cooked through.
    4. Push the chicken over to one side of the skillet and pour the beaten eggs into the skillet and scramble the egg in the skillet.
    5. Add the noodles to the skillet and then pour the sauce over the noodles. Cook on low for 5 mins, stirring frequently!
    6. Serve, and top with desired toppings and adjust spice level with more Sriracha!

    Thai Hummus !!

    Thai Hummus! What’s that you say?

    Well- my nut butter obsessed self wanted to have an EASY and DELISH party dip I can make on my own! So instead of the tahini found in your usual hummus recipe, this recipe calls for peanut butter!

    Plus let’s face it. A nut butter hummus was bound to happen eventually. Sounds super weird, I know! But trust me!

    What you need:

    • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • 2 tablespoons Wild Friends peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
    • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground ginger
    • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
    • 4 tablespoons cold water
    • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
    • A few shakes of pepper
    • 1 handful non salted chopped peanuts
    • 1/4 cup chopped green opinion
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

    HOW:

    1. Add garbanzo beans, Wild Friends peanut butter, Sriracha, ginger, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper into your food processor.
    2. Process until it’s chunky smooth
    3. Add in 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
    4. Drizzle in olive oil and ice water, and blend until smooth!
    5. Add in cilantro and chopped onion and mix with a spoon.
    6. When ready to serve, dress it with more peanuts, cilantro, green onion, and a drizzle of olive oil!
    7. Serve with veggies and/or chips!
    8. USE CODE AMANDA20 for 20% off wild friends products at Wild Friends’ Website

    I love oat milk, a latte!

    Hello!

    I am here to share a little recipe with you all!

    You’ve all heard of, and no doubt have used all sorts of non-dairy milk, but did you know that you can make your own milk from oats?!

    Oat Milk is a great option for people who avoid dairy but are also allergic to nuts. It is also a great gluten-free option as long as you buy certified gluten-free rolled oats. And the best part about this milk, is that it’s quick and so easy to do!!

    Oat milk and breastfeeding:

    Many mothers struggle with increasing breast milk supply. Throughout pregnancy, the body is preparing to produce nature’s ultimate baby food. An adequate diet that includes a variety of healthy foods is crucial and directly linked to how much breast milk you can produce. If your diet lacks nutrition, your body will tap on its own reserves, not only leaving you feeling fatigued, weak and drained, but also will not produce at its fullest.

    Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, when made with fresh milk and nutritious oats, oat milk is one of the few natural beverages that fulfills the nutritious food criteria. But if you are- it enhances breast milk production due to the all of the vitamins and minerals that oats contain!

    What you will need:

    • oats

    • water

    • dates, salt, vanilla

    • a sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag

    • a blender

    Instructions

    1. Add 1 cup oats to a large bowl with water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

    2. Strain the oats, discarding the liquid (you can use a sieve or a colander with small holes). Then rinse the oats very well a number of times under running water. (DON’T SKIP THIS)

    3. Put the rinsed oats into a blender with 1 teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt and 2 medjool dates.

    5. Cover with around 3 cups of purified water and blend until it’s as smooth a you can get it (1-3 minutes).  Check the thickness and add more water if you feel like it’s too thick, and amounts to your desired consistency. (Hint: if you want to use it as coffee creamer keep it thicker!)

    6. Strain 2 or 3 times through a sieve, or once through a nut milk bag.

    7. Pour into a lidded container and store in the fridge! Will last 3-4 days.

    OAT MILK LATTE RECIPE:

    I love me a nice cold iced coffee! And being a mother of 2 babies under the age of 2, Y’ALL KNOW I NEED IT! I am not a huge coffee drinker, because I don’t care too much for the bitterness that coffee comes with. However, I came up with a power punch of a cup that I can’t go a day without!!

    I use:

    • 8-12 oz of ORGANIC coffee or cold brew

    • 2 scoops of collagen peptides

    • 4-6 oz of oat milk (+ or – depending on your taste preference)

    • Optional: packet of your preferred sweetener and/or creamer

    Instructions

    All you do is add all ingredients to a blender, blend it up, and serve hot or over ice! Another option, if you don’t feel like whipping out a blender over a cup of coffee, use a protein shaker cup! Add all contents to the shaker and shake it up for about 20 seconds and it’ll create a nice froth! Hint: if you enjoy it hot, add a couple shakes of cinnamon on top!

    Hope you all enjoy!!

    Xoxo,

    Amanda

    How to increase your milk supply!

    Hey mamas! Hey future mamas!

    Curious on how to boost your supply! Then this post is for you 🙂

    I love breastfeeding! It’s not only the most advantageous form of food for your baby but it’s wonderful for mama too! Breast milk is so nourishing for babies. It is loaded with nutrients and protective antibodies that help them grow and boosts their delicate immune systems and overall health from day 1!

    But what happens when you can’t produce enough milk for your baby? When we aren’t producing enough breast milk, at least for me, our first inclination is to panic… but that’s the last thing we want to do. Stress can deplete milk supply more than anything else! So don’t panic. Know you’re not alone! All moms go through a period where their milk supply appears to be depleting, whether that be from the start, when they return to work, or just randomly!

    It can be really discouraging for us as mamas and a lot of the time you just want to give up, because you feel like a failure and there is just no use. But I am going to share with you the best tips to help boost your supply, so you and your baby can continue to reap the benefits of breastfeeding!

    The number one and most natural and effective way to increase your supply is your baby’s suckling- there ain’t nothin like it! FYI- breast milk production is all about supply and demand. Don’t worry if your boobies don’t feel full or think baby isn’t getting much milk at first, the sucking reflex will help stimulate more milk in the long run. So, anytime you can, especially in the early stages of life, bring your baby to you, and let them nurse, nurse, nurse!

    When you do nurse, go skin-to-skin! Wrap a blanket around the two of you and nurse away. It is not only incredibly bonding for mama and baby, it also helps release more of the hormones that produce milk as well as the milk ejector hormones.

    YOU HAVE TO get enough sleep and stay relaxed! Easier said than done with a newborn obvi but try as best you can. Studies have proven that us mommies produce more milk and have a better milk letdown when they are calm and relaxed. I’m a basket case sometimes so this is a personal challenge for me! 😉 Nap when baby naps. If you can – get a babysitter, a neighbor or family member to help out around the house so you don’t need to stress about chores. Cancel or eliminate too many outside activities and keep things simple. Order (healthy) takeout or better yet have friends or hubby cook you homemade meals in bulk for easy access to nutritious food! I always meal prep so I have anything and everything on hand!

    Be sure to drink A LOT of liquids. I’m not talkin’ your typical 64 oz a day. MORE! I know we hear this all the time but it really does makes a difference. You can’t produce a liquid without consuming them! Shoot for AT LEAST 100 oz. a day!

    As far as nutrition goes, many mamas have boosted supply by eating foods and spices that assist in production.

    FOODS: oatmeal, barley, millet, quinoa, almonds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds

    SPICES: fennel, ginger and turmeric

    SUPPLEMENTS: Brewer’s yeast’ moringa powder, Mother’s Milk tea, and fenugreek

    Some great products to try are by Mrs. Patel’s!

    I love this company because their goal is to support women. They believe food is medicine, and they strive to heal and nourish with their natural products. Their mission is to help you feed your child, and want your body to feel better and we want you to know that you are supported every step of the way! They’re not just a business, they’re a community!

    Love chocolate and coconut? Me too! My favorite are the gluten-free and vegan chocolate lactation bars. They’re handcrafted and made fresh with over a dozen premium ingredients including fenugreek, which is an herb traditionally used for lactation!

    The best lactation tea is the chai- which is rich and sweet! Warming cinnamon, clove, aromatic cardamom and rooibos, which is a sweet red tea from South Africa that provides vital antioxidants! CAFFEINE & FENUGREEK FREE! Each batch is mixed by hand and contains the highest quality ingredients.

    The MUNCH CRUNCH is a versatile lactation sprinkle which helps with lactation and digestion. Tossed with turmeric and lemon, this savory crunch is an easy way to make any meal or snack lactation-friendly! Sprinkle them on yogurt, toss them into salads, blend them into smoothies, or just have them on their own! YUM!

    As far as food goes, be sure you are eating enough to keep up with the demands of nursing. For exclusive breastfeeding, you should be consuming at least 500 calories extra calories per day.

    Pumping can also be a great way to keep your milkies stimulated and produce more milk. I know from experience that consistent pumping really works! So immediately after a feeding, pump until all of your milk drains from both sides and then continue for an additional 5 minutes, even if there is no milk coming out- because the stimulation will still help. Aim for 15-30 minutes for each side. Milk production is often higher in the middle of the night (because you’re resting) so you may want to set an alarm and pump during this time as well. It’s hard, but it’s worth it!

    Obviously a decrease in supply can happen if your baby isn’t latched correctly because your breasts may not be stimulated enough. Be sure to correct any bad latch habits but also be sure there are no anatomical issues that are preventing a good latch, like baby being lip tied, tongue tied or mama having any breast issues there as well. These issues can be fixed so baby and mom can be breastfeed successfully. If this sounds like you be sure to see a lactation consultant! There is no shame in that! I’ve seen quite a few in my day and you can learn so much!

    If you have a sleepy baby that falls asleep before they finish nursing both sides, a technique I ALWAYS practice is as follows: a few minutes into nursing, switch baby to the other side. By doing this you you’ll most likely keep them awake to feed more. Keep switching back and forth when you notice baby starting to doze off or until both sides are drained. You can double feed, which means to nurse, take a break by burping baby, and then place them back on for another feeding session. By taking the burping break, you are releasing gas bubbles in their tummy that allow more room for milk!

    I hope these tips can help you! And hopefully this info will help you increase your breast milk supply naturally, so you can be back in the swing of things in no time! 🙂

    Happy Milking 🙂

    -Amanda

    xoxo

    My Second Trimester 

    A couple of weeks ago, I posted about what my first trimester of pregnancy was like. Those times back when I was trying my hardest to keep it a secret, but spending the majority of my days hugging the toilet… So today, I thought I’d continue along and share the details of my second trimester! 

    The second trimester was a freakin DREAM compared to my first trimester. First of all, my fears of miscarriage started to fade. It was extremely comforting to know that the risk of miscarriage drops to 10 percent (or less) in the second trimester. I became far more upbeat and positive as a result of this knowledge!  

     

     

    Sometime around week 14 or 15, the morning sickness started to let up. This had a HUGE impact on my happiness. Don’t get me wrong- I was really grateful to experience the nausea, as it reassured me that things were most likely going well. However, being sick most hours out of the day for months on end while pretending I wasn’t pregnant was tough, and I became a little down and out because of it. Second trimester was so much easier, though, and as a result, so was functioning as a human being!

     

    I definitely wouldn’t say I became the stereotypical pregnant lady in terms of eating, but my appetite returned. And while I didn’t have too many cravings, fruits and vegetables were definitely my thing! 

     

     

    Shortly after the beginning of my second trimester, I started to feel the baby move! At first, it just kind of felt like a little fluttering movement, but around week 17/18 I started to feel more significant kicks. Guys, it’s such a surreal experience, and it makes everything so much more… real!

     

    I had a bit thicker and faster growing hair! It was a very welcomed change. I’d struggled with fine, thin hair for years, but my hair started growing during the second trimester, and it became noticeably thicker! Of course, it all falls out after the baby comes, but I’ve definitely been enjoying it. 😉

    I’ve always been a belly-sleeper, but by the second trimester, you’re really supposed to transition to your side. Sleeping on your stomach becomes nearly impossible, as the bump doesn’t allow for it. This transition was SO hard for me! I ended up propping myself against a ton of pillows to help, so sleeping got a little easier… until week 26… where my 3rd trimester insomnia kicked in early!

     

    I was taken out of work at week 22 of my pregnancy. My UC flare up was getting worse and my doctors wanted me resting to give my body every advantage to healing, especially while I’m trying to grow a human! I spent most of my time at home, snuggling my toddler, getting some things done I had been putting off, and just mentally preparing for this new babe to come!

     

    During the back half of the second trimester, specifically after I was placed on house arrest by my doctors, I really started to “nest.” So basically, I started to freak out over the fact that construction on the nursery hadn’t started and I basically spent Arlyn’s nap times cleaning every nook and cranny of my house every day. As for the nursery, I continued to freak out until… last week, when construction started! Woohoo!

     

    As far as workouts go, I’ll just say I haven’t done diddly SQUAT. No pun intended. Partially because I am supposed to be resting, and partially because the second half of my second trimester has been SO TIRING. I am not sure if it’s because I haven’t been sleeping, if it’s because I have a toddler to keep after, or if it is due to the blood loss/iron deficiency from my flare up. I am thinking it’s a combination of everything. My energy is just NOT THERE. And that’s okay. It gives me something to look forward to after baby comes!

     

    Despite my knowledge of every pregnancy is different… I spent way too much time comparing my experiences to those of my first pregnancy, my family, friends and internet acquaintances, until I finally realized about halfway through that one size doesn’t fit all. Everyone is different, and therefore experience different “symptoms.”



    Least favorite things about the second trimester? 

    Contractions (started at week 27 this time around), seemingly sciatica pains, pregnancy-induced insomnia, and the huge Ulcerative Colitis flare up.

    Favorite things about the second trimester?

    I loved the small spurt of energy I gained for a hole there (or felt like I gained compared to the first trimester) and not falling asleep on the couch at 9pm every night.

    Also, starting to feel my baby kick, which was amazing! Whenever I felt something I would get so excited and call my husband over to put his hand on my belly… and then nothing would happen. It took a couple weeks for my baby’s kicks to be consistent enough for my husband to feel them. Although it can get uncomfortable toward the end, it is such a cool sensation to feel him moving around in there. Even though I could feel the movements internally, I would pretty much always have one hand on my belly. Feeling him kick is really the best thing ever and probably my favorite thing about being pregnant! 🙂

     

     

    Tips for the second trimester?
    This is the time of the pregnancy that you are going to feel the most normal. Plan the baby’s room, put together the bed, decide when you will take off work and for how long – all those things that require a sane brain. The Second Trimester is the sanest you’ll be for a while. After that- it’s insane in the membrane for a long, long time. People call it pregnancy brain, but that’s just a nice way of saying “You are a complete and total basket case”. 🙂

    The First Trimester

    The first trimester of pregnancy is such an interesting time – there’s so much going on all at once. The excitement of creating a new life. The secret that you can’t wait to tell your friends and family. The anticipation of how much your life will change in 9 months time. There’s so much fun – the positive pregnancy test, the first ultrasound and seeing your baby’s heartbeat, sharing the news with loved ones. It’s undeniably an exciting time!  

     

    However this time around, the first trimester was not fun and was really hard for me. I was not expecting it because my pregnancy with Arlyn felt like it was a BREEZE during the first two trimesters, but this one was rough because I was sick all the time! The nausea…the exhaustion…the indigestion…the lack of motivation to do ANYTHING. I lost weight in my first trimester because I couldn’t really eat anything. I couldn’t work out at all so I am sure some of that weight was muscle loss. I basically just wanted bread or tortillas for about a month between weeks 7-13. Then, the physical discomforts quickly turned into emotional ones… 

    I hadn’t even considered the fact I would feel so badly this time around. I didn’t know it would take me away from my daughter and husband at all. It wasn’t Arlyn’s fault that her mommy was sick, had zero energy, and not always fun to be around. I felt like I was failing her. I had trouble playing with her for long periods of time and had even started crying a time or two while she was playing babies and wanting to crawl all over me. I don’t think she quite understood but I saw confusion in her eyes. Here she is, my sweet baby girl, trying to cuddle me and play but all I could think about was how uncomfortable it was for me to be sitting on the floor with her. It often felt that being at work was easier than keeping after a toddler – and work isn’t easy. In due time- I found myself able to power through it. I knew it wasn’t forever and that it would pass, and only helped to stay positive. 

     

    Blame exhaustion, hormones, mom guilt, whatever, but it gets really hard to balance your own comfort and your family’s needs. It also can be very confusing to be both excited to be pregnant and feel miserable being pregnant at the same time. I obviously wouldn’t trade being pregnant for anything and yet, there are times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands and surrender…or run away from my own body.

    I remember also breaking down in tears because all I wanted was to want chicken, turkey burgers, steaks, hummus and veggies. Hell, EVEN A CHEESEBURGER! It’s like I knew I liked all those foods, I knew how delicious it all tasted, but the thought of it made me sick to my stomach. Like, throw up sick. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’ve been pregnant before you likely know exactly what I’m talking about! 

    Remedies? Well in my opinion, the foods you crave, or the foods your body feels it can “tolerate” just may be what our bodies need at that particular time. I believe in mindful eating. So if my body thinks the only thing that sounds good is a bean and cheese burrito, then I’ll take that as maybe my body needs extra fiber, fats, energy to continue growing a baby, and maybe even to gain some weight! Maybe it’s to soak up the hormones that make us want to vomit every other minute. Feed your body what it can tolerate during this time in your pregnancy, and don’t think too much of it. Trust me- it typically goes away after the first trimester! But remember, that bean and cheese burrito doesn’t necessarily have to be from Del Taco- you can get the same types of foods made with REAL ingredients that are healthier alternatives! 

    Back to being sick: the way I would explain it to my husband, Chris,  or anyone else is that I felt like I constantly had a hangover but I never got to enjoy the fun part the night before…. ya know what I mean!? That would be the best way I can describe my first trimester: one long hangover. I kept questioning myself, “what did I get myself into?”  At times my “hangover” felt like the worst thing ever and all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and night until it passed, but every now and then I would forget all about the pain, the nausea, the constipation, and the exhaustion. 

     Those times were during our visits to our Doctor when we would get to see our little baby!! That baby, our baby, makes everything worth it. I remember our first ultrasound appointment around 7 weeks. I was so nervous because I know that sometimes doctors don’t see the baby and see just an empty sac. I remember holding my breath, terrified that i wouldn’t see a baby or hear a heartbeat. But then I saw this little nugget appear on the screen with a fluttering heartbeat. I immediately teared up in relief and disbelief! It was incredible! This is what makes feeling miserable SO WORTH IT!

     


     

    That being said, I will be honest- I always feel such a sense of relief when we see the baby at those appointments, and as soon as I leave the doctors office, a little panic sets back in. All i wanted to do is see the baby again and if you’re wondering, that is exactly what being a parent is like. Constantly worrying about your child/children. Or at least that’s what it feels like it’s been for me. 

     


     

    Why the worry? Well, I am human… but I am also a high risk pregnancy, due to the fact I have Ulcerative Colitis. Women with a disease like mine have higher rates of complications during pregnancy, so I go see a perinatal specialist who keeps a special eye on the development of baby and I, as well as an OBGYN who also keeps a solid eye. Most women with UC go on to have successful deliveries, and healthy babies- which I have had before! So I wasn’t AS worried this time around, but the paranoia is still there. I am currently on bed rest/house arrest to ease my body into remission and stop the flares. I have been having a flare up for over half of my pregnancy, bleeding and all. I am hoping this extra rest and not working will keep my body strong to fight it down!  

    Benefit to high risk? I get to see the baby 2 times a month! Average is about 3-4 ultrasounds per pregnancy. I’ve seen baby 10 times and we aren’t even in the third trimester yet! Since we see such experienced doctors so often, we found out in the first trimester that baby was a BOY, at 12w5d!

     


     
    So I guess my point in this blog entry is to share more of my journey, and share that pregnancy has been a lot harder so far this time around than I thought it would be. There have been many tears. MANY. Tears of joy and tears from pain and tears from I have no idea what! But when something extraordinary happens in your life, it seems fitting that the road to get there wouldn’t be an easy one, right? 

    So I hope you all continue to share this journey with me. Share in the good( our tiny miracle), the bad (sickness) and the ugly (the constipation). Yep – I went there! 

     
    XOXO,

    Amanda 

     

    How We Found Out!

    This is definitely long overdue! As I am currently approaching my 3rd trimester… but I wanted to share a little bit about my pregnancy thus far! My husband and I decided earlier this year, that we would stop “not trying” to get pregnant. We thought we would wait to add to the clan, but we thought “why the hell not!?” We wanted our babies close in age, we just bought a house, and my husband had begun his new career earlier in the year, making it financially viable to begin this next chapter.  So we stopped preventing!

    Two weeks later I was so nervous to take a pregnancy test. My sister in law had texted me 3 days before, a picture of her positive pregnancy test and I felt discouraged because I didn’t think it would happen for us so quickly. But BOY was I wrong! My period app told me to take a test- but it was 3 days earlier than my “missed period” date. I thought “well that’s dumb” but of course I was curious so I did it. I peed on a stick! 

     I looked at the test- one of the ones where the line appears- and saw no second line. I threw it in the trash and thought “maybe next month!” About an hour later I went back in the trash and grabbed it and looked and I saw the FAINTEST SECOND LINE. I thought I was seeing things. I sent a picture to my best friend asking her if I was paranoid or if she saw it. I think she thought I was NUTS! I decided to take another brand of another “appearing line” test. I peed on it and that cross came up!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was doing all this with a 10 month old crawling at my feet and watching. So I packed her up in the car, ran to CVS, and we got that DIGITAL test. Took them both, and we got 2 more positives!

     

     

    I had yet to share the news with my husband because he was at work and had a meeting with a client after. But I was way too excited. He knew I took a test but I had only said it was “inconclusive” so he wasn’t thinking I was pregnant.

     

     

    I sent him a text that asked if he would come home before his client to say hi to us! I told him the baby threw something in the toilet and she clogged it… but I had actually placed all the pregnancy tests on the toilet seat. He walked in and saw the tests, and for a moment I was nervous because he didn’t say anything. He jumped out from behind the door and said “you took them!? Oh my god!!!!!!!” And tackled me in kisses. He was so excited, tears and all! 

      
     
    We went to the doctor to confirm the tests- I was paranoid- as always. And we got a “definitely positive” with a cute little portrait of our soon to be babe, with a due date of November 11, 2017! 

     

     
    Due to my Ulcerative Colitis, I am considered a high risk pregnancy. The inflammation can often cause pre-term labor, low birth weight, and some other complications, so the doctors keep a keen eye on baby an I. But there is a positive to that! We get to see the baby grow on ultrasound 2 times a month- as opposed to the typical 3 ultrasounds per pregnancy! We found out at 12 1/2 weeks we were going to be expecting a BOY! Let’s just say- my husband is more than ecstatic to be leveling the playing field! 💙

    First Trimester Update will be up soon!

    Stay tuned & subscribe!

    XOXO,

    Amanda 
     

    Whole Food’s Anti Inflammatory Cooking Class

    I am so blessed and honored to have been contacted by Whole Foods, in request to host a cooking demo at my local Whole Foods location in Laguna Niguel, CA on Thursday January 26th! The turnout was tremendous! I had so much fun teaching, and demoing recipes which included so many anti inflammatory foods- which I compiled together to create some superfood recipes! Pictures, recipes, and ingredient education is throughout this post, and I hope you enjoy! 

    I will be hosting another, very soon! 
    Inflammation is a naturally occurring process in our body. Basically, inflammation is caused when the body needs to heal itself – whether from injury, germs, or a paper cut. The problem with inflammation arises when it decides to target its own tissues. Whole-body, low level inflammation can be brought on by a number of factors including chronic stress, low activity levels, genetics, processed foods and poor diet, and environmental toxins.

    The good news is that so many whole, tasty foods in our diet do a number on reducing negative inflammation.


    ANTI INFLAMMATORY KALE SLAW SALAD
    SHOPPING LIST

    • 3 CUPS CHOPPED KALE (LEAVES ONLY, RIPPED FROM STEM)
    • 1 TABLESPOON LIME JUICE
    • 1 CUP SHREDDED RED CABBAGE
    • 1/2 CUP GRATED CARROT
    • 2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED CILANTRO
    • 1/4 CUP PUMPKIN SEEDS

    DRESSING – PRE WHISKED: 3 TABLESPOONS ALMOND BUTTER, 2 TEASPOONS MAPLE SYRUP, 1 TABLESPOON LIME JUICE, 1 TEASPOONS FRESH GRATED/FINELYCHOPPED GINGER, 2 TABLESPOONS WATER, 2 TABLESPOONS LOW SODIUM TAMARI


    METHOD:

    1. POUR LIME JUICE OVER KALE AND MASSAGE TO TENDERIZE. 
    2. MIX KALE, CABBAGE, AND CARROT TOGETHER IN A BOWL.
    3. POUR DRESSING MIXTURE OVER KALE MIXTURE, AND THEN ADD THE REMAINING SALAD INGREDIENTS. 
    4. LET SIT TO ABSORB AND DEVELOP FLAVORS. 
    5. ENJOY!


     

    KALE:

    Kale is a cruciferous vegetable, and is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids. Vitamin K is considered an anti-inflammatory powerhouse!

    RED CABBAGE:

    Cruciferous vegetables are the only source of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are responsible for their bitter flavor. Glucosinolates are digested into isothiocyanates that reduce inflammation and fight bacteria. The red pigment comes from a flavonoid, cyaniding, that functions as an antioxidant.

    GINGER:

    Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which stems from the oily resin from the root that acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger also helps promote regular digestion and metabolism of your food and is largely responsible for promoting a strong immune system.

    CARROT:

    Orange hue-d vegetables are rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which are trusted to fight inflammation. Cooking the vegetable increases the availability of these compounds.

    LIME JUICE:

    Citrus foods such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes are rich in vitamin C – which is a necessary dietary component for the synthesis of collagen in your body. Lime is also a good source of inflammation fighting antioxidants, which are helpful for those with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, or ulcerative colitis.

    PUMPKIN SEEDS:

    Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E (4, 5, & 6). Antioxidants reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals

    ANTI INFLAMMATORY PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

    SHOPPING LIST

    • 1 ½ CUPS 365 EVERYDAY VALUE FROZEN PINEAPPLE
    • 1 RIPE BANANA
    • 1 ORANGE, PEELED AND ROUGLY CHOPPED
    • SMALL THUMB OF FRESH GINGER
    • 1 TABLESPOON FRESH CHIA SEEDS
    • 1 TEASPOON 365 EVERYDAY VALUE GROUND TURMERIC
    • 1 CUP UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK



    METHOD:

    1. PLACE ALL INGREDIENTS IN A BLENDER AND BLEND UNTIL SMOOTH AND CREAMY. 
    2. TOP EACH GLASS WITH A SPRINKLE OF BEE POLLEN, TURMERIC, AND CHIA SEEDS, IF DESIRED!


    PINEAPPLE:

    Pineapple contains a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes called bromelain, found in its stem and fruit. Bromelain is noted to reduce inflammation and coagulation of blood, aid in digestive health, and be beneficial towards arthritis and stress fractures.

    CHIA SEEDS:

    These tiny seeds support heart and brain health, while supplying a high dose of omega 3 fatty acids, which are necessary to assist in fighting inflammation. The benefits make chia seeds an anti-inflammatory superfood that’s a great addition to any meal.

    GINGER:

    Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which stems from the oily resin from the root that acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Ginger also helps promote regular digestion and metabolism of your food and is largely responsible for promoting a strong immune system.

    TUMERIC:

    Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It is a strong anti-inflammatory agent which is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation on a molecular level.

    UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK:

    When blood sugar spikes, it increases our risk for diabetes. You can wash down all your anti-inflammatory foods with a little bit of almond milk – as long as it is unsweetened. Added sugars increase inflammation in the body and increase the risk of disease.

    ORANGES:

    Oranges contain beta-cryptoxanthin, a phytochemical that has been known to decrease the development of inflammatory conditions.