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!

    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”. 🙂

    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.

     

     

    ‘what’s in your stasher?’ Interview with Stasher Bags

    Hello Everyone! 

    Below is my interview with the one and only Stadher Bag company! I share how I balance fitness and motherhood, and how stasher has helped me live a healthier lifestyle.

    Find the full interview here.

    introduce yourself! 

    my name is amanda and i am a wife and mother of two tinies! i am a health and fitness enthusiast who loves to educate others on how to eat well, while simultaneously enjoying what they’re eating, by creating and providing recipes that are to die for! i began eating whole foods only, when i was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis back in 2010. ever since then i have been on a mission to rejuvenate my body, and heal through natural remedies —which means healing through what i feed, and don’t feed, my body! i am a 25 year old foodie fit mama, with zero lack of delicious (and nutritious) foods in my life!

    how has stasher helped you live a healthier lifestyle?

    stasher has helped me live a healthier lifestyle because i am able to easily store my favorite fresh foods in my stasher bag, in order to have healthy snacks on hand at any moment. they also help me help keep my kids loaded with their favorite snacks so we can avoid eating “fast” food!


    as a mom of two, how do you balance your fitness routine with the responsibilities of motherhood?

    i will be completely honest, it’s not easy. it’s extremely difficult at times, and there are times i don’t even get to go to the gym or participate in any type of workout at all! my family always comes first. however, i do keep myself organized and do my best to arrange our schedules in order for me to fit “me” time (workout time) into my routine! by staying healthy and fit, i feel i am able to stay strong enough to tackle anything that comes my way, including fighting off my autoimmune disease! when it gets busy, i will incorporate at-home workouts with my children, or we go outside and walk,play,jump, you name it!

    what’s your favorite thing to stash in your stasher bag? your daughters’?

    my favorite thing to stash in my stasher is my homemade sweet potato discs or fries, and my daughters’ favorites are endless! top three are avocado, apples, and emmy’s organics cookies!

    best health/fitness tip for moms?

    the best tip i can offer any other mom out there struggling with finding the best way to stay fit, is finding balance, as well as being at peace with the fact that sometimes you just cannot do it all! balance your work/home life, balance your diet with whole and nutrient dense foods, and most importantly balance the time you spend catering to your kids and catering to yourself. every mom out there deserves a trophy (or maybe a massage?)!


    favorite stasher?

    my favorite stasher bag is the pretty aqua color, because i am a sucker for a girly accessory.

    what items do you always have in your fridge?

    i always have kombucha, unsweetened almond milk, kite hill almond cheese, homemade baby food purée, fermented food (kraut in particular), and fresh organic veggies!

    where can we find you online?

    Instagram: @amandaaanicole_

    http://www.raisingtinyminds.com