I am so excited to officially announce that I have joined the #BetterBeauty movement! I joined the Beautycounter team back in November of 2018, and have been continually blown away with this amazing company. They are truly force to be reckoned with!
So, what is Beautycounter, anyways?
Short answer: Beautycounter is a company focused on creating safe, non-toxic personal care products and helping implement stricter regulations in the industry in order to keep everyone safe!
Longer version: Beautycounter is a west coast start-up company that is redefining the beauty/cosmetics industry. Not only do we provide people access to clean skin care products, but we educate and empower people to make better choices in order to stay healthy.
We are committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law, prohibiting the use of more than 1,500 harmful or questionable chemicals, all while ensuring our high-performing products are the best on the market.
We advocate for change and lobby on these issues every day, taking delegations to D.C. (and soon, Canada) to speak with lawmakers and their staff on the need for cosmetics reform and stricter regulations in the industry. Tell me… what companies can you think of that lobby for STRICTER regulations in the industry that they serve?!
Why I Joined
If you know me personally, you know that I am incredibly passionate about a few things, health and fitness being some of them. Most importantly is the overall holistic balance of things in our lives that help us achieve that health and wellness.
It’s like this—you can’t eat some greasy, dirty burger from some fast food joint, order a diet coke and think you’re “balancing” it out. You can’t eat a pizza, and then go to the gym to “work it all off.” It’s not as simple as calories in vs calories out. We have to look at the nutritional quality and density of the foods we are choosing to fuel our bodies with.
We’ve got to be approaching our health from ALL angles.
You also can’t eat organic foods, and put chemicals on your skin. Why? Because your skin is the largest organ in your body, and most of what you put ON your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream (think birth control or nicotine patch). So, if you put chemicals ON your skin – you are putting chemicals IN your body.
Here’s the Problem (well, one of them…)
Most people are unknowingly poisoning their body. A recent study revealed…
80% of Americans have no idea that there are unsafe or questionable ingredients in the products they use every day.
As a consumer, I (used to) trust that the company that formulated the product used ingredients that were safe for humans/animals/etc and did the proper testing before putting them on the shelves. I also trust that they are disclosing all of their ingredients on the label for consumers to see. The scary truth is that in the United States, it’s currently legal and common for companies to use ingredients in products that have been linked to harmful health impacts like hormone disruption, infertility and cancer.
Not only that, but if a product proves to cause harm, the FDA actually does NOT have the ability to recall that product. It’s up to the company if they want to pull it from the marketplace or not. To give you a real-life example, there is a well-known hair product that has proved to cause permanent baldness that is still on the market.
Read that again. You might be thinking… “companies wouldn’t really do that, would they?” Oh, they would. And they DO.
The other part to this is something called the “fragrance loophole.” It means that companies can actually HIDE harmful chemicals in their products by claiming they are part of the product’s fragrance. When you see “fragrance” on a label, you might think that is one singular thing. The truth is, it could be as many as HUNDREDS of chemicals, many of them harmful to humans.
It’s a sad day when you start to realize that so many big corporations are motivated strictly by money, and do not care about the health and wellbeing of their consumers. We all know people (whether it be ourselves, a family member or a friend) that has struggled with infertility or is battling cancer, or has some weird autoimmune-like symptoms that no doctors can figure out despite having “perfect lab work.” Y’all, it’s ALL CONNECTED.
So where are we at?
Unfortunately the United States is dangerously behind other countries in terms of safety and regulation in the personal care/cosmetics industry. In fact, the U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal-care products since 1938. Math’s not my sharpest skill, but I think it’s fair to say that’s a REALLY long time.
Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned close to 1,400 chemicals in the product formulas of personal-care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. Canada has restricted or banned 600 ingredients. The U.S. has only partially banned 30 to date.Beautycounter is raising the industry standard, and has banned 1,500 harmful or questionable ingredients at the time of this posting. Instead of ingredients being “innocent until proven guilty”, which is how the industry currently works, Beautycounter tests ingredients first and only uses them once they are PROVEN to be safe for use.
What do we do?
This isn’t meant to be fear-inducing, but to be honest, it really is frightening. On the bright side, we can do something about it. For me personally, I want to help EDUCATE. I want to help people understand what is in their products and that it can make (and maybe already has made) them really, really sick if they don’t start paying attention. Will you die from one use of a chemical-laden product? No. Could you die over time due to bioaccumulation of toxins? Yep. You sure could.
YOU are in charge of your health, and unfortunately you have to do your research and understand that not everyone has your best interest in mind. Remember that saying “the more you know”? Well, it’s true.
Armed with information, people make better choices
They’re “safe”, but do they WORK?
Actually, they work REALLY, REALLY WELL. Like… better than anything I’ve ever used. So much so that people (both close to me and acquaintances) have complimented me on my skin for the first time… ever! For a girl who has struggled with skin issues her whole life, you have no idea how awesome this is!
When it comes down to it — you deserve better. You deserve to know that the ingredients in your face wash and moisturizer aren’t going to kill you one day. You deserve better, cleaner, safer beauty, and I’m here to help bring it to you!
Beautycounter is building a business that’s a movement. We’ve provided a solution to an issue through products people love, and are using commerce as an engine for change. You can purchase products at retail stores (currently in New York and LA with pop-ups currently in Denver and Austin), face-to-face by individuals, through partnerships with other corporations and through e-commerce.
If you’re local, hit me up, I’m hosting a pop-up in a couple weeks, you can see/try the goodies for yourself. If you’re not local, I can mail you some samples. And hey, if you’re interested in joining this movement, I’d love some more smart, passionate people to join my team.
In honor of my baby boy’s first birthday, I have finally posted his birth story! And what an amazing story it is! Today, I am able to look back on both of my sons’ births and feel so empowered. I’m so thankful to God and my birth team to have been given the knowledge and power to set in motion something I wanted so badly for myself and for my babies.
After the birth of my first son, Rylan, I was traumatized. Part of me hates saying that because truthfully, it was a great birth. He was happy and healthy and I was able to have the natural delivery I worked hard for. But because it didn’t go “as planned” (what births do?!), I was traumatized by the fact that birth was bigger than me. Although I did end up delivering him naturally, without an epidural, it was more painful than I ever could have imagined and the whole time I felt like my body was “fighting” delivery. You can read more about that birth here, but all that to say, is that I was not ready to have another child any time soon, if ever.k
Fast forward a few years later, and the idea of another child didn’t seem so bad. I had no idea how I’d get through labor and delivery, but I decided I’d cross that bridge when I got to it. However, God had other plans. We ended up having two miscarriages before finally getting pregnant the fourth time, which finally stuck.🙂
It was a long journey. The miscarriages took a toll on me emotionally and then made for a long and stressful 41 weeks. Every day I thanked God for the opportunity to be pregnant and prayed to carry this child for one more day. (I get teary-eyed recalling those feelings!) I had to reframe my thinking and really take it one day at a time in order to stay sane.In the end, God was in control, all I could do was to concentrate on the things I did have control over, which was taking care of myself.
“Sweet baby, we are so ready for you. It is safe here and we can’t wait to meet you. We will wait until you are ready but we are all so excited to meet you!”
I listened to my birth affirmations and tried to relax. I told my husband I was going into the office tomorrow. He asked me not to, and I compromised by telling him I’d see how I felt in the morning.
I woke up the next morning probably sometime around 3-4 am. I didn’t look at the clock because it didn’t really matter. I was tired of looking at the clock every. single. time. I woke up to pee just to find out how little sleep I was already getting. I was surprised this morning, however, at how much my lower abdomen hurt. I chocked it up to being almost 41 weeks pregnant (everything hurt anyways) and went back to bed, only to have the strangest dream.
I was on the moon, surrounded by some fellow Trainer friends of mine. I was grimacing, and they asked if I was in labor. “Maybe” I said, through clenched teeth. I was fearful they were going to be upset with me for being in labor, and having to find a way to get me back to Earth. What an inconvenience I was being! They asked if I would like to go back to Earth to be with my birth team and I said “yes!” and they put me in a rocket to head back to Earth… then I woke up.
It was 5:20am. It felt like the baby was pushing (spoiler alert!) his butt against the front of my belly, which was a new sensation considering I had an anterior placenta this time and most movements were muffled.I was wide awake and wondering if this could be the start of something. I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction or not, so I decided to hop in the bath. One of the ways to tell if you’re having “real” contractions or not is to change what you’re doing – take a bath, take a walk, rest, relax, eat, etc. So I hopped in the tub and, googled “what does a contraction feel like” because I felt so different than I did with Rylan’s labor.
I texted my doula, Stacy, at 5:30am to let her know what was going on.
“Pretty sure I’m having real contractions 😉. I’ll keep you posted. I haven’t woken Juan up yet. Going to try to keep resting.”
I turned on my birth affirmations and tried to get my game face on. Holy. Shit. 45 minutes later at 6:15am I texted her back.
“Yep they’re real!!! I’m wide awake haha.”
She advised me to keep resting. At 5:50am I texted my midwife, Amy, and prayed she was available for this birth (the birth center we used had four different midwives available).
“Maybe today’s the day?! Having contractions. I’ll keep you posted!”
I tried hard to relax in the tub, but I couldn’t rest – my baby was on the way!!!I got out of the bath and went upstairs to wake up the boys. Juan was sleeping in Rylan’s bed that night so I woke them both up.
“Rylan, do you want to wake up in the dark today?!” (His current favorite thing). “I think we are going to have a baby today!” He shoots out of bed… “Yes Mommy!!”
I went downstairs and started cleaning the house, making Rylan’s lunch and making breakfast. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have and I just needed to get a few more things done. It could be imminent and in that case I should hurry—or—maybe this would continue all day and I might as well get some stuff done in the meantime? Well, it was a nice plan, but I couldn’t continue for very long. About 45 minutes later and the contractions were really picking up – and I realized I might want to relax. Where did I leave my “labor game face”? Oh yeah, I couldn’t put it back on until I knew Rylan was taken care of. That’s a “multip” for you! Stacy’s recommendation was to “inhale peace and joy, exhale expectations.”
“Really, take a good bit to enjoy the transitions o a family of 4. Spend an extra few min with Rylan. This birth will happen in the proper space and time. Love on your boys. Take a hot bath and talk to your baby. Tell your baby what you want for this experience. Hold the space. Find the calm. Step into labor with joy.”
It was a beautiful message! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to really read and take action on it because the contractions were starting to take my breath away. I had “technically” started labor less than 2 hours ago and I already had to sit down, close my eyes and just breathe during them.
At this point, I hadn’t said a word to the family about what I needed during the contractions because I hadn’t needed to. I just quietly sat down on the couch, closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. Without a word, Rylan came and sat next to me. He took my hand in his and started breathing with me through the contractions. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced and probably my favorite part of the labor/delivery experience. It filled me with a love I can’t explain and a freedom and permission from him to go ahead and birth this baby. Without saying a word, he said so much to me. I felt his support, which was so important to me, and he made me feel loved, strong and empowered for the birth ahead. (Words straight from my birth affirmations – turns out those really do work if practiced!) I hope that Rylan forever knows how much he did for me in that moment.
It was 8:07am. I was supposed to have a chiropractor appointment at 9:15am, but did not want to go. I told Juan and Stacy that I was starting to feel a little nauseous. The contractions were intense, but currently only 30 seconds long.The time in between varied depending on what I was doing. Every time I moved, it would trigger one, but if I stayed still, I could catch a break. Stacy encouraged me to make the chiro appointment happen – not exactly what I wanted to hear. They were painful, and I used that word. She helped me reframe my thoughts —
“They’re a different “P” word – Productive.”
*Ding* Lightbulb moment! She did such a great job during both labors and all my pregnancies with positively reframing my thoughts. I had such a difficult birth with Rylan, and I really feel like my mind and body fought the labor and delivery. With Rylan, it wasn’t until I shifted my thoughts and words from “my back hurts” to “it’s just my baby” that I was able to make progress and be in the game.
At 8:11am I texted Amy again.
“Ok…we are gonna have a baby today!!! Are you available?!”
I was beyond relieved when she told me she was! Meanwhile, Juan was getting Rylan ready for school. At some point, very quickly, I shifted from being in a happy place to needing absolute silence and stillness during contractions (it got real pretty fast). I would give the boys a 3 second countdown and then they literally had to stop talking and stop moving. It was like everyone was frozen in time in 30 second intervals.The stress level in our house was increasing. Juan was yelling at Rylan to find his shoes, get his things, etc. and it was freaking me out. I told everyone I need everyone on their best, happiest behavior. Juan asked if I wanted to come with him to take Rylan to school, and then we could just head to the chiropractor. And to any normal, reasonable person, this is a great idea. However, I was in full-blown labor, and it was the worst idea I had ever heard. I gave him a look like he was out of his ever-loving mind.
“Uhhhh NO. I want to you take Rylan to school right now, and hurry up and come get me.”
I waited on the stairs, tucked into a tiny pregnant ball, right by our garage door for Juan to get home. I was not having fun. We got in the car and headed to the chiropractor. But past that, I wasn’t sure what to do. I asked Stacy if I should labor at home or at ABC (Allen Birthing Center), where we were going to have the baby. The contractions were “super frequently” according to my text message – apparently correct grammar had gone out the window already – and very intense, but not quite a minute long.
I walked into the chiropractor’s office a few minutes late and a little hunched over. The girls were all standing at the front desk.
“We were wondering if you were going to show up today, we thought you might be in labor?!”
“I’m in labor” I replied under my breath. I think everyone smiled and did a little “hooray/OMG”, I’m not really sure. Things got fuzzy from here. I walked back to Dr. Dasha’s office, waited for a contraction to pass, then hopped on the table. She barely got a partial adjustment in before I needed a break for another contraction. It was the fastest adjustment of my life, but it took me about 15 minutes to walk from her office back to the car – and it wasn’t far. I had to stop for a contraction while walking, then I needed to pee – so I stopped in the bathroom. Had a couple contractions while in the bathroom – one of which was spent on my knees with my head on the sink, before I made it out.
The ladies at the desk asked my husband…
“You’re taking her straight to the birth center, right?”
“Oh yeah” Juan said, indefinitely. I remember being kinda mad – I didn’t want to spend all day at the birth center! I thought we would go home, watch some re-runs and just chill for a bit before heading there. But I was in no position to argue.
Juan grabbed my phone to respond to Stacy, who had asked if she should meet us at home.
“This is Juan,” he said, “We are headed to ABC. Leaving the chiro now. They are about 1 min duration and frequent like every 3-5 min. No real pattern but duration has increased over the past hour. Getting more painful too.”
While in the car, I jumped back on my phone to attempt to talk to her myself.
“It’s me. Hi.. omg…”
That’s about all I could muster, as if I was actually speaking. Thankfully, Stacy was halfway to the birth center already. We exchanged “love yous” and that was the last text messages we sent. I beared down for the remainder of the 20 minute drive to the birth center. Every. single. bump initiated a contraction. Sometimes they were back to back, with only 10 seconds in-between. Other times I got a 30 second break. It was rough, and with every approaching contracting all I could think was —
Oh please, not another one!
Finally at the birth center, I walked in and saw one of the sweetest ladies on Earth, Josephine, at the front desk. All I could think was “does she know I’m in labor?” In hindsight…duh… of course she knew! It was strange to be there, in labor, during the middle of the day when there were people going about their normal day. I slouched my very pregnant body onto the couch, quite uncomfortably, to wait for the next set of instructions. Juan asked if I wanted to move but I couldn’t. I couldn’t sit, stand, lay, nothing. Everything just really sucked, honestly! There was another girl in the waiting room, very close to her due date. “I have to admit, I kind of envy you right now” she said. I told her…
“I get it, and I was you yesterday—but today, I’m not so sure I want to be me!”
We chuckled before the next contraction hit. I loved how respectful she was that during my contractions, she would stop talking. No one wants to have a conversation during a contraction. Well, maybe some women do, but not me! I’m a redhead – I have a low pain tolerance – so this was TOUGH. There was another midwife there asking me questions during the contraction—I couldn’t help but wonder if she had lost her mind. Clearly, she’s not a redhead. 🙂
Amy was finishing up with a patient and was going to meet me upstairs, in one of the birthing rooms. In the meantime, the other midwife had me come back to be checked.
“PLEASE don’t be a 1!”
As in – do not tell me I am only dilated to a “1” and therefore nowhere near delivery time. Flashback to Rylan’s birth, I had been in labor for about 9 hours when I got to the hospital, they checked me, and I was a 1.5! We expected me to be much further along so the news of a 1.5 cm dilation was devastating to me. She got me up on the table and I tried to lay back. “Ouuuuuchhhhh!” I groaned as they tried to lay me back on the table. It hurt so much, that I tried to stop them and sit back up. “You just need to lay back for a minute then you can come back up” they said. OMG… changing positions in labor is PAINFUL! She checked me quickly… “please don’t be a 1, please don’t be a 1…”
“How about a 5?”
… she said. Yessss!!!!! I was elated. This is happening. TODAY! No more being pregnant. No more stressing every day about whether my baby was healthy. This was all going to end TODAY!
I started my way up the stairs with Juan’s help. We stopped at the bottom of the staircase to have a contraction. I rested my head on the railing and I felt a hand on the small (not so small, haha) of my back. “Guess who’s here” Juan said!
“Stacy!!!! We’re gonna have a baby today!!!”
I was so excited!
We finally got upstairs and I had a seat on the birth ball. I was still smiling and laughing outside of the contractions. But all that was about to change.I stood up to take off my hooded sweatshirt and my whole world shifted. It was like the baby decided he was ready, at that very moment.
My memory gets a little hazy from here. The pain was majorly intensified and I was a very unhappy camper. We went into the bathroom to get me changed into one of those super sexy Depends so that I could move around freely without, well, making a mess. I sat on the toilet for a while but that hurt too much, so instead I sat on the squatty potty in front of the toilet. I was feeling pretty nauseous now, so that was a good place to be. Stacy dropped some peppermint essential oil into the water of the toilet, and the nausea subsided for a bit. We contemplated hopping in the shower, but that seemed like too much work. We chilled in the bathroom for a while before that peppermint oil wore off and there was no more putting off the vomiting. Ugh. I HATE throwing up. However, I knew it was inevitable and I knew once I could get through it, it would be finished. It’s also a great milestone because it typically signifies transition, which is hands-down the HARDEST part of labor, mentally, physically and emotionally. Three upchucks later, I was done and ready to move on.
Being one of the coldest Decembers ever in Texas, the room upstairs was still pretty chilly. Combine that with hormones flying all over the place, and I started to get the shakes. The warm birth tub sounded like a great idea, so I hopped in there. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
The pain and pressure was so much more intense in the tub. This same thing happened with Rylan as well, but I wanted to believe it would be different this time. Something about sitting on my bum and the um… area… where a baby was supposed to come out of, seemed wrong. I wanted to reposition myself but I couldn’t. Every time I moved, the pain was so unbearable, I just couldn’t. I started shaking my head sideways and saying “no, no no”. I did NOT want to do this anymore. What the hell were we thinking? Why did we want another child? Why did we want a natural birth? Who does this? We are crazy! Juan was holding me from behind, Stacy was next to me and Amy was in front of me.
“You need to start shaking your head “yes yes yes””
Stacy said. Ugh. I knew she was right. I have never shook my head “yes” and so vehemently meant “no” before in my life! But I agreed.
“Why are you saying “no”?” Amy asked, “what are you feeling right now?”
I told her it was because I just felt SO MUCH PRESSURE. She asked if I could try applying a little counter-pressure to that pressure and see what it feels like. I told her “no.” Apparently she also told me I was in transition awhile ago, and I also told her I was not. I guess I’m argumentative while in labor, haha. She asked why I didn’t want to apply counter pressure, and I told her it was because it just hurt so much. After continued debate, I finally conceded and applied a little counter-pressure. “How did that feel?” Amy asked.
“Well, it felt better when I applied the counter-pressure, but it hurt SO much worse after I let go!”
She smiled. Why was she smiling?! I didn’t understand what was going on. Amy and Stacy were smiling, maybe even giggling a little and I wanted to die. These people are crazy! They are perfectly calm and acting like this is normal! I made it clear to my birth team that I wasn’t going to do this again. I wasn’t going to have Rylan’s birth, where I tell them for hours and hours how much this hurts and I don’t get any relief.
“I need something to take the edge off. You guys have to do something” I kept saying. “I want Nubane (painkiller) and a nap.”
Amy calmly said that if I wanted Nubane and a nap I would have to get out of the tub, and she would have to check me first to see how far dilated I was.
She said “I think you’re a little past Nubane sweetie.”
I wanted to get out of the tub, but didn’t want to move. I felt so defeated. Why could we not just teleport my body somewhere else! My thoughts started to wander, and I started to lose control a little bit. I contemplated asking them to transfer me to the hospital, but then I knew my pain would not be any different regardless of my location on Earth. I did NOT want an epidural, and if I went to the hospital, I was facing interventions that we were trying to avoid. I was proud of myself for being able to talk myself out of that option and come back to the present moment. I also felt like I HAD to remain in the present moment, and I HAD to remain in control. I wanted to lose it. I wanted to cry and scream and just lose it, but every time I started to let go of my patience and control, the pain escalated. It was so important for me to stay calm.
“What time is it?”
It was 11:30am. I was so upset by this answer, but I can’t really tell you why. We got there about 10am and so it was shocking to me that we had only been there for 90 minutes. In my mind, we were going to have to be here all day in order to have a baby (Rylan’s birth was 22 hours in total), so in my head, this was just the beginning of a marathon day.
Finally, I was able to get out of the tub. It took a few contractions, but I got out. I wanted to get to the bed, but I couldn’t make it that far. (Note, it was about five feet away, haha.) I sat on the birth ball, that’s as far as I could go. I was complaining about a backache and wanted to try the tens machine. (I had back labor with Rylan and it was MURDEROUS, I did not want to go through that again). They hooked me up to the machine and it was on a little too high because it shocked me.
I jumped and yelped. “Sorry!” they said and smiled. I’m sure it was funny, but I wasn’t laughing. We tried different strengths of the tens unit but for some reason, it sent intense shooting pains down the sides of my body, through my hips, after each contraction. Tens units are better used at the beginning of labor it turns out, and I was way too far in for it to be beneficial. Since that whole thing sucked, I decided to get on the bed. I jumped onto all fours. Okay, no, that’s a lie. I did not “jump” in any sense of the word. I carefully put one leg on the bed, had a contraction, then put another leg on, etc. etc. There was no “jumping” of any kind happening. Once on the bed, I buried my face in the pillow. I just wanted this to end. This sucked. I didn’t want to do this anymore. I did not want to be pregnant for one more second. I tried to cry, it didn’t work. I just wanted to cry and cry and cry.
Amy asked me…
“Do you want to try to push a little?”
“No” I said, without any hesitation. “Um, why not?” She asked again… as if I was here to hang out at the birth center, and not to have a baby. “I don’t want to push because I don’t want to push for hours.” Apparently I was much closer to having a baby than I realized. She said,
“I think if you start pushing we can have a baby really soon.”
But “really soon” wasn’t descriptive enough for me. I needed to know exactly how long I would have to push for. Should I start pushing hard? Or just maybe a little? Oh what to do!
Amy checked me…
“You’re a 9!”
Oh. My. God. I’m a 9!!!!! Does this mean I’m not going to have time for my nap?! Ugh! I was actually a little disappointed that I was a 9, because there was no nap happening (and no Nubane either!).The only way I was going to get a nap, or a rest, or a break from these freaking contractions was to push this baby out.
Here… we… go…!
I finally decided to push a little so I could stop being pregnant. I pushed with all my might and then, the STRANGEST thing happened. My body starting pushing too.It was insane! I would push, then my body would overtake me, and push even harder than I ever could. It’s called the Ferguson Reflex and it was super cool! I pushed a couple times, and making sounds I can only describe as “scream-grunting”. I was so embarrassed, I kept thinking about the poor pregnant people downstairs in the waiting rooms and how they were probably terrified of the sounds I was making. Turns out, after talking with Stacy and Amy, those women were elated for me, because what they heard, were beautiful sounds of a baby being born. Now being on the other side of delivery, I totally get that. Man, how crazy is perspective?!
I pushed a couple times and Amy would say “great job” but there were no measurable words coming out. Nothing that said “he’s approximately 65% out, and if you push 2.5 more times, he will be here.” I needed something more descriptive, but couldn’t ask for it in the middle of my scream-grunting, nor would she probably have been able to give me what I was asking for. My waters were still in tact up until this point, and with another push, I felt the bag of waters pop. It was kinda cool, actually. It was especially awesome that the waters hadn’t broke until now because I was GBS positive with this pregnancy, and had declined the antibiotics unless the birth team deemed necessary. Since the waters broke less than 30 seconds before he fully arrived, I was able to avoid the antibiotics, hooray!
I still had my head buried in the pillow and was praying,
“Please God let this be over, please just let this be over.”
At this point, I could feel his head coming out. They instructed me to slow down, and just apply counter pressure to keep from tearing. I did as they instructed, and then pushed again when we were out of the clear. I could feel his shoulders come out (or so I think…). One more time, and I felt the whole rest of his slimy little body pop out. Head still buried in pillow, my words turned to
“Oh my God please cry, please cry, please cry.”
Amy and Stacy were reassuring me that he was fine, he just wasn’t crying yet. In fact, they said “he/she/he/she is fine” as to not let me know the gender. so I could see for myself. I thought that was really special. A few seconds later and I heard it. The most wonderful, beautiful sound in the whole entire world. My sweet, sweet double rainbow baby, was crying! I think it was about 4-5 pushes in total and he was out.
I was still on all fours on the bed, and Amy said,
“Stay there, I’m going to pass the baby to you like a football.”
All I could think was… “like a football? he’s so slimy!!!” She carefully passed him through my legs and I grabbed him from under my body. I picked him up, raised him up towards my face so I could see his face and check out his… manhood!
“Oh my God you’re a BOY!”
I screamed! We were a little shocked, because only one person guessed it would be a boy, everyone else on Earth guessed girl, so we assumed it was a girl as well.
I turned over and laid back on the bed.
Finally!!! It’s over and he’s here! And he’s HEALTHY AND BEAUTIFUL!!!
It was amazing. I was still in shock that he was here and it was only 1:26pm. Wow, that was FAST and intense! I layed there while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, which is best for baby. In the meantime, and during his time laying with me post-birth, he popped on me FOUR times. It was the most poop Amy, Stacy or Krisha (nurse) had ever seen. If that’s TMI – you should have stopped reading a LONG time ago!
We spent as long as we could at the birth center (about 5 hours) before we headed home. It was so nice after the birth. Everyone just hung out, talked, and laughed. Stacy ran and got us Chipotle, we called the dentist to figure out what to do about his tongue and lip ties, and got breastfeeding established. I was at home, on our couch, by 7:30pm that night, just 6 hours after Soren’s birth.Juan asked me on the way home which birth I would rather have, Rylan’s or Soren’s and I told him I couldn’t pick, because they were both sooo hard! in hindsight, Soren’s was probably “better” because it was faster, and less back labor, but it was so much more intense than I anticipated. Regardless, I’m done having babies. 🙂
It actually didn’t take too long after the birth (maybe a couple weeks) before I looked back at Soren’s birth with such pride. I am SO grateful to God that He gave us a healthy baby and a labor and delivery I can feel empowered by. God guides moving ships – and that I was! Birth is definitely still bigger than me, but I learned so much in my time before this birth. I did as much as I could to prepare myself mentally and physically and to let go and accept the way the events were going to unfold. It is so difficult to really and truly do that, and I feel so awesome about what I was able to accomplish with the help of SO many people. It was truly a team of people that helped empower me of the years that made this birth possible, and I am so thankful to them!
Soren Arturo Villamizar was born Wednesday, December 27th at 1:26pm at Allen Birthing Center. He weighed 7lbs, 7oz, had a head full of beautiful dark brown hair and pooped on me four times. 🙂
I feel like one of the reasons I was put on this Earth was to help people to find happiness and success in their lives. I enjoy sharing my life experiences when I know that others will gain strength through them. I’ve probably started a dozen blog posts in the past 2 years that I was just waiting on the happy ending before posting. Posts about how I had a baby and got my body back, how I’m training my ass off, and about how I was sick but I overcame it. Unfortunately, these things haven’t happened yet, and it makes me feel like a failure and a bad role model.
I have something that’s been weighing on me, quite literally, for quite some time now. I’ve been struggling pretty intensely for the past year and a half with Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). And since I’m well past the “dormant” phases, I’m also suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), (also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) but most appropriately as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID)) and Fibromyalgia. It turns out I’ve probably had EBV for 15+ years (since I had mono as a child) but never knew it until recently, when things got bad.
But You Look Healthy
A few months after the birth of my son, I started to notice constant nausea and pain in my body that was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I’ll spare you all the details. I figured it could be a number of things…exhaustion from working two, er, make that three jobs not including being a Mommy, having a newborn, breastfeeding 24/7, not sleeping for more than 90 minutes at a time, but with every solution I came up with for those things, the pain just got worse and worse. Despite my lab work being “perfect”, I knew something was not right.
I haven’t really talked about it much for several reasons. Part of me is in denial that this is really happening, and the other part of me knows it’s real and is hopeful that it will be over soon, and I won’t have to worry about it. This is a strange space for me, I have never before put a blog post together about something that’s beating me before I’ve overcome it. Probably because I really don’t want to put myself out there, in this vulnerable position. I fear that if I tell this story, people will see me as weak, or unhealthy, two things that I spend every waking moment of my life trying NOT to be. That and—let’s be honest—I’m not all that great at accepting help from other people. I also do not want to admit that I am not well. If I put this blog post out there, I’m admitting to myself and the world that this is true, which I’m not sure I’m ready for. I don’t want to have to answer a ton of questions because truthfully, I don’t have the answers. On the other hand, if I’m not open and honest, I’m doing a huge disservice to the people I care most about and want to be a role model to. Not only that but at this point, I feel like I’ve been keeping a secret that’s actually hindering my healing process. It’s time to move forward, as difficult as the process ahead might be.
I Can’t Seem To Fix It
I have a positive attitude most of the time, but sometimes I feel like it’s getting harder and harder to hold on to. I don’t understand how this could possibly be happening. I’d rather it not be true, and I’ve tried so many things to “get better”, from weekly nutritive IVs, rest, diet changes, and more, and I’m just not there. Lately there have been so many reminders that God is in control and I’m working hard to process that concept. That’s a different blog post altogether. I will say, though, that although I am sometimes confused by my relationship with God, I believe in Him and in the power of prayer.
When I was in labor with my son, I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t want to feel “pressured”. I would have flipped if my husband had received a text message like “is he here yet?” kind of thing. But in hindsight, I realize that people wanted to know when I was in labor so that they could offer prayer and support, not pressure. What can I say, hindsight is 20/20. 🙂 That said, there was a point in my delivery where I felt a shift in my mindset and I felt prayers from people. I felt His presence with me. I don’t feel like it was me that got through the experience of a natural, drug-free childbirth. It was my team, prayer, and Him that brought my son into this world. A power much greater than me, that’s for sure.
It’s very difficult for me to reach out for help. The normal “me” is positive, happy and has it all together. But the birth of my son reminds me that I cannot do everything on my own. It is with this knowledge that I open myself up, in the midst of my struggle, when I really, REALLY don’t want to. I’ve talked about this in pieces to some close friends and family members, but I have a hard time explaining what’s going on. For some reason I feel embarrassed by it, and can’t even look people in the eye when discussing it. I get the feeling from my friends and family that they aren’t sure how to help. Nor do I. But now I’m starting to feel like the answer might be in prayer. I hope that I will find renewed strength in being honest and vulnerable.
What It’s Like — In My Body and In My Head
I started this particular post the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I was in bed all day with a pain I can only describe as unbearable. In silent tears most of the day, with my phone in one had, researching remedies and reading things from support groups. I decided to write about my journey, as it helps me to process things. But I haven’t wanted to post it. And even today, as I read through it, I find myself editing it, taking out the “hard” parts, once again. Because maybe, just maybe, I’ll wake up tomorrow and this will all be over.
I try to ignore the pain and most of the time, and with the knowledge I’ve gained in the last 7 months, I can. I guess that’s part of what makes it so difficult. One day I’m okay and another, I physically cannot get out of bed because of the unbearable pain that I can’t really explain, GI distress and nausea. The pain is so real and so intense, and it’s extremely depressing. I lay there and I wonder what the rest of my life will be like. Who am I if I am not the bubbly, energetic, fit athlete I’ve come to identity with? Who is this person lying in bed? I have not wanted to talk about this with my family and friends because if I don’t know how to explain what’s happening, and they haven’t experienced it themselves, how could they possibly understand?
Most people don’t know what Epstein Barr is, and when they hear “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”, they tell me to rest. They tell me it’s probably because I “do so much.” But here’s the thing… I don’t need a nap, and resting doesn’t prevent these flare-ups. And don’t get me started with “Oh I’m tired too, I must have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” I will literally drop kick you. Thank goodness it’s been renamed, but people still unfortunately are more familiar with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome than Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease. Anyone who has this knows that the name “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” is a bunch of bullshit. Pardon my French.
I’m told there’s no cure for EBV and the other super-fun related diseases/disorders I’ve seemed to collect, but on the other hand, I know people who have in fact “recovered” from it. I can see myself in the future, and I know I’m well, but I just don’t know how to get there. My Type A personality wants to know three things.
1: What caused this?
2. What I need to do to recover?
3. How long this is going to last?
Wouldn’t that be nice.
I’ve been getting nutritive IVs for the past 7 months and they have definitely helped. I’ve tweaked my diet even more, rest when I need to, etc. But anytime I catch a cold, try to exercise, miss any sleep etc., it takes me about 6 weeks to recover. I’ve tried to be careful after my recent surgery but I dropped the ball for a few days nutritionally and I can guarantee you it played a part in my recent flare-up. Lesson learned.
Going Out On a Scary, Scary Limb
If you’d like more information on EBV, SEID and Fibro, here is a great article. It broke me down, but gave me hope. I’m telling my story in hopes that I will help others with this as well and that my honesty will help me in the next phase of this journey. Please don’t feel bad for me, that’s not what I need. Just know that I’m not an unfit, lazy Trainer. 🙂 Not that anyone’s said that, it’s just how I fear others may see me. Please provide me grace during this time in my life.
“Lord Father, I’m going out on a limb and exposing myself in ways that make me extremely uncomfortable. I also have an immense amount of guilt for praying to be healed when there are people that need it more than I. Please put them first. Please help me find strength and freedom in truth, power in knowledge and the drive to not give up, with your help. I know deep down that you’re in control, as difficult as that is to grasp sometimes. Your plan is bigger than mine. I don’t understand your plan, but I understand it’s happening for a greater purpose. I pray for a sign that everything’s going to be okay. I can’t seem to do this on my own. Please help me heal. Thank you for hearing my prayers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I hope that this reaches others suffering with EBV, CFS, Fibro, etc. I hope that this connects us, we can one day share success stories and put all this behind us!
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted new content on the blog. Something about having three jobs, a husband and a toddler makes that difficult to do. As I was making pancakes Sunday morning, I decided this would be a good recipe to share with y’all. Please read instructions all the way through before starting.
How To Make Blueberry Banana Nut Pancakes With a Toddler
Set out ingredients: Coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, banana, 2 eggs, vanilla, cashew (or other) milk, spelt (or GF) flour, almond meal, chopped pecans, himalayan pink sea salt (or other sea salt), cinnamon, ground flaxseed, frozen blueberries.
Tend to toddler who is politely demanding a pear. Peel the pear, because otherwise toddler chews and spits out all the skin and you find it all over the house. Ask him to please sit on the rug and eat it.
Take ~ 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil and melt it in a pan. You don’t have time to measure, so just “ballpark” all of your ingredients.
Toddler is requesting the pear be washed because it fell on the ground. Wash toddler’s pear, and ensure him all is right with the world.
Add to melted coconut oil: a bunch of applesauce (~1 cup), 2 eggs, a little vanilla (~1 tsp), and some milk (~½ cup).
Tend to whining toddler because the dog did something toddler did not approve of.
Where were we? Oh, right, we added wet stuff to a big bowl. Go ahead and add the dry stuff to a bowl. Mix it all together. Then add the blueberries, and mix just until combined.
Make sure pan is hot, and dump heaping spoonfuls of batter onto pan.
Realize you forgot to add the banana to the “Blueberry Banana Nut Pancakes.” Add banana to remaining batter, mashing it with a fork.
Keep an eye on the pancakes and your toddler, flipping over when lightly browned. The pancakes, not your toddler. Meanwhile, stop your toddler from dumping a box of plastic straws into the trash. Pull out a tupperware container so that he can practice putting the straws into container. Give him a blanket to sit on because that rug really needs to be washed.
Remove pancakes when done and put on a plate.
Tend to toddler who is banging on the door to the garage crying “daddy daddy daddy daddy daddy!” Take toddler outside to see that Daddy is busy building a nice wooden garden box. Then calm crying toddler because the sound of the screwdriver is terrifying. Explain how the screw goes into the wood to hold it together and then politely ask toddler to come back inside to eat pancakes.
React quickly to catch toddler who has catapulted himself backwards to initiate full-blown tantrum because he wants to do the opposite of what you’re asking. Calmly explain to toddler that he is hungry and that eating breakfast will solve his problem. Carry toddler who is now screaming, crying and kicking you into the house under one arm, keeping your composure.
Explain the ingredients in the pancakes and how healthy and delicious they will be. Give toddler applesauce to dip pancakes in because ain’t nobody got time for a toddler with a headache from the sugar in syrup (yes, even if it’s the good organic, Grade B kind, I ain’t ready for that).
Sit with your toddler while he eats pancakes because he asked you to “sit sit” and it’s absolutely adorable. Hopefully somewhere in the process you’ve put new batter on the stove and are flipping the new pancakes, because you have to remember to eat too.
After toddler is finished eating, clean him up and send him on his merry way. Finish cooking the rest of your batter, while noticing items being thrown downstairs from the top of the stair, over the banister. Ask yourself if he’s really tall enough to be able to do this already? Notice that the items he’s bending and throwing downstairs are the nice family photos you had printed to frame and hang.
Have a couple pancakes, pat yourself on the back, and consider pancake breakfast a success. Now it’s time to get dressed and get ready to leave.
But first, feed toddler, who is now demanding a pear…no, make that an orange… yes, an orange… right. this. second.
This recipe comes from the Clean Team, whom I love so dearly! This recipe is time-consuming, but well worth it! Keep in mind that you’ll need to pre-soak the cashews for 4-6 hours before making this meal. If you’re a working mom/dad, this is a great Saturday or Sunday recipe. 🙂
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 to 4 shallots, minced
1 cup sliced carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided into two equal portions
2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds), diced
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups chicken broth (may need more but start with this amount)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ red onion, minced
1½ cups raw cashews, soaked for 4 to 6 hours, then drained
½ teaspoon cayenne
Optional: 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1½ cups blanched almond flour
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon dried herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or chives (fresh herbs will work too; just use a bit more)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Directions for the filling
Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté them for 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Then add the carrots, celery, and half the minced garlic, and continue to sauté until the carrots begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.Add the chicken and cook until most of the pink hue is gone from the flesh. Add the peas and ½ cup of the chicken broth. Continue simmering until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is fully cooked. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and sauté 5 to 8 minutes. Add the other half of the garlic and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a blender, purée the onion mixture, cashews, 1½ cups of the chicken broth, cayenne, and the optional paprika until smooth. Transfer the mixture back to the large skillet with the chicken and vegetables, and cook everything over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add more broth if needed and stir frequently. Further salt and pepper to taste, then transfer everything to a lightly oiled deep baking dish.
Directions for the crust
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor combine the flour, sunflower seeds, herbs, garlic powder, salt, olive oil, and water, and pulse everything until well combined. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured (non-gluten flour) cutting board or on a sheet of parchment paper, which might be helpful in transferring the dough to the baking dish. Lay the dough over the top of the chicken mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
I’ve had so much to say on this topic for the past year, but as soon as I sit down to write this post, I find myself staring at a blank screen. I’ve experienced such a huge range of emotions throughout this journey, I truly don’t know where to begin.
Before my son was born, I assumed I would breastfeed him for one year. Well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of one year, I thought nothing of it—until he nursed for the very first time, and I immediately wanted to retract my statement. Holy…painful…experience! All I could think of was, “I just gave birth and now I have to endure MORE pain?! This is SO not fair!” After a few days of raw, bleeding nipples and toe-curling pain, I wasn’t sure I would make it another feeding let alone 12 months!
To make matters worse, I was dealing with D-MER, short for Dysmorphic Milk Ejection Reflex. It sounds weird, but what it actually means is that I experienced extreme depression before my milk let down, which then lasted most of the feeding session. As soon as he was finished it would disappear, but it made nursing him very difficult and made pumping almost impossible. I’m extremely thankful that milk supply was never an issue for me, but then of course there are side effects of having plenty of milk. Goodbye morning workouts, or ANY workout for that matter, until baby was fed!
Even with a broken tailbone, I took only 5 weeks off from training, and 6 weeks off from my full time gig at the office. I had this twisted idea in my head that I would have a baby and then go right back to my “normal” life. Unfortunately it took about 8 months, 3 doctors, 1 husband (haha) and an extreme amount of stress before I really understood that I couldn’t continue on the way I was. I would nurse him most of the night (he wasn’t a fan of sleeping through the night at ALL), then teach camp, work my full time job, then train again in the evening. It was easily a 20 hour day, and with an infant and breastfeeding on demand exclusively, it was too much.
Incredibly stressed, suffering both mentally and physically, I needed to reassess my goal. I was at 3 months of breastfeeding, and knew if I had any chance of making it one more day (let alone 12 months), I would have to create a more attainable goal. With the support of my husband and friends and decided I wanted to get to the 6 month mark and then I could quit breastfeeding.
Luckily, reestablishing a smaller goal did the trick! I was able to reach the 6 month mark and after that, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, it was never “easy” by any means. It just got “manageable”. In fact I heard a quote recently that describes breastfeeding quite perfectly,
“Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult, except for when it’s easy.”
Last week officially marked 12 months of breastfeeding and I feel like the most accomplished woman on the planet. I am still working 2 jobs (more than that, actually), and am still breastfeeding without ever having to supplement with formula. I actually worked my tail off to build up a nice supply in the first 4-5 months to ensure my LO would be able to be breastfed as long as possible regardless of how long I made it. With that supply, I was able to help a friend out by donating some breastmilk for her sweet baby. This donation actually helped me in meeting my goal. Knowing that I was blessed with a very generous milk supply and that there are other women who aren’t as fortunate, I felt it was my responsibility to keep going.
This entire journey has been incredibly difficult, yet enjoyable and memorable at the same time. As I look back, I remember crying when nursing, having to do anything to distract myself (lots of squats, usually, because the wave of depression was so intense I did anything to keep my mind off of it), and wanting to quit on a daily basis. I am finally “here” and want to jump up and down and throw my pump off of a tall building, but I can’t. I can’t because I am doing the most beautiful thing for my child. (Also that pump is freakin’ expensive and that would be a totally idiotic move.) I know I have the support of my friends and family if I do decide to stop, and a few doctors have gently suggested I consider it (for my own health reasons), but they are also incredibly supportive of my decision to continue.
I can’t describe the emotions that come over me when I contemplate ending this, and I know that most Mommas understand what I mean by this. I should be ecstatic that I have hit my goal and I should now be able to give myself permission to stop breastfeeding. But I can’t. But I want to. But I don’t want to. I feel selfish. I need to stop. Or do I? I do realize that my full physical and mental wellbeing will not be restored until I stop—but I can’t yet. The mix of emotions and hormones is overwhelming. One second I feel like I could breastfeed forever, and the next I feel like I cannot go on one more day. The amount of hours I have spent sitting still in a chair while my LO eats is insane. Those are hours I will never get back and for a Type A workaholic like myself, that was very difficult for a very long time. However, I thankfully grew to love that time together and as the end draws nearer, I cherish our moments together more and more. Thankfully, Honey Brown Photography was able to capture some of these beautiful moments on film. I will treasure them forever.
For now, I will continue breastfeeding. I no longer have a goal, now the plan is to continue on as long as I feel I can. I think part of my reward for hitting my 12-month goal is to no longer have a goal. There’s something really “freeing” about having hit the mark. I feel like every day I continue on is an extra special bonus for my little angel.
A very special thank you goes out to my husband, friends, doula and family for being so supportive. I’ve called you in tears plenty of times this past year asking for reassurance that if I quit before my goal I was still a good Mother. Thank you for all you have done to help me hit this milestone, I couldn’t have done this without you.
It’s hard to believe, but my little angel turned one this past week! What an incredible, challenging and exhausting year it has been! We had his party this weekend and I was faced with the decision of what to do in terms of a birthday cake. I don’t want to be that parent who doesn’t let their kid eat anything “bad”, but I also am not ready to fill his body with sugar, dairy, gluten, etc., especially considering he has not yet been introduced to any of these potential allergens.
I elected to make him his very own CLEAN smash cake—free of all food allergens—using only foods he has been introduced to and we know don’t cause any adverse reactions. It was a huge success! In fact, almost everyone wanted to try the “clean cupcakes” just to see what they were like! I’ll consider that a win.
The recipe is below. Feel free to experiment with different proportions and different gluten-free (or other) flours. I personally started out just using quinoa flour but found I don’t really love the flavor, so I mixed it with a few others. Coconut flour on it’s own can be pretty dry and brown rice flour is okay, but mixing these together was perfect. We also have not yet introduced nuts, so almond meal was not an option.
I made these as cupcakes, but you could easily use a larger pan and make this a larger cake. Be mindful to adjust cooking times, and prepare the cake pan by lining with parchment paper or using coconut oil. On the other hand, if you use these as cupcakes, they make great breakfast muffins with or without the avocado on top!
Happy birthday baking!
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan.
Recipe Yields: One small cake or about 6 cupcakes/muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes (if you cook the sweet potato ahead of time, 50 minutes if you don’t)
Cook time: ~15-20 minutes
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
½ baked sweet potato (no skin)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ripe banana, mashed
⅓ cup quinoa flour (gluten-free)
⅓ cup brown rice flour (gluten-free)
⅓ cup coconut flour (gluten-free)
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
A pinch of baking powder (optional)
A handful of pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 ripe avocado
COOK THE SWEET POTATO: You can do this ahead of time if you would like. Use a fork to poke some holes in the potato, wrap in aluminum foil and bake for ~40 minutes at 400°.
FOR THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 375°
In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients
In a separate large bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well. If mixture seems too dry, add additional applesauce. If mixture seems too wet, add additional flour.
Coat the cake pan with coconut oil (and GF flour if you’d like). You can also use muffin tins to make muffins/cupcakes.
Spread batter into pan
Bake for ~15-20 minutes at 375° (baking times vary per oven). Remove from oven when the cake starts to brown on top.
Let cool, then spread avocado on top of cake. NOTE: If you attempt to spread avocado on top of cake too soon out of the oven, you will smoosh the cake. I actually baked the cupcakes the night before and stored them in the refrigerator overnight. The morning of the party, I removed them from the fridge and let them sit out at room temperature until the party that afternoon. I frosted them right before we ate to keep the avocado fresh.
Feel free to be creative with the ingredients! Pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds, and nuts (if your child is OK with nuts) are nutritious additions! If you’re making these for yourself or other adults, I might suggest adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, (baking soda/powder if you want the cake to rise more) and possibly some coconut aminos if you want added sweetness. Also, I am very loose when it comes to measurements for this (and most) of my recipes. If you find you prefer more or less of something, please feel free to customize this recipe to fit your taste! Enjoy!
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.
Recipe Yields: ~12 muffins (depending on the size)
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cook time: ~17 minutes
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or honey, or Grade B maple syrup)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 ripe banana, mashed
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 cup almond meal
1 cup gluten-free quick cooking oats
¼ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (sprouted has more nutrients) (optional)
⅛ cup sunflower seeds (optional)
A few dashes of sea salt
2 dashes of cinnamon
2 dashes of nutmeg
¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional)
1 Tbsp psyllium husk (optional)
¼ cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 365°
In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients
In a separate large bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well. If mixture seems too dry, add additional applesauce. If mixture seems too wet, add additional oats/almond meal. This mixture should be “wetter” than a typical dough to ensure the muffins are soft when they are done baking.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a muffin tin with the paper muffin liners. (Or, omit liners all together, it’s up to you).
Drop batter by heaping spoonful onto cookie sheet. Muffins/cookies do not change shape while baking, however they look when you drop them on the cookie sheet is how they will look when they are fully baked.
Bake for ~17 minutes at 365° (baking times vary per oven). Remove from oven when the muffins start to brown on top.
Let cool for a few minutes, then, enjoy!
Feel free to be creative with the ingredients! Nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. are all great additions, and if you don’t like something, feel free to omit it! You’ll notice that most of the dry ingredients are listed as “optional”. Also, I am very loose when it comes to measurements for this (and most) of my recipes. If you find you prefer more or less of something, please feel free to customize this recipe to fit your taste! Enjoy!
When making the switch from commercial antiperspirants to Live Whole Be Free’s all natural, organic deodorant, I highly recommend starting with a 3-day tea tree oil detox to remove the toxins from your body.
For three days, you wear only a drop of tea tree oil under each arm. You can purchase tea tree oil at any specialty grocery store BUT… I recommend buying therapeutic-grade from Young Living. This is the best of the best. You will reduce risk of skin irritations and other side effects this way, since Young Living oils are pure and unadulterated. Tea Tree Oil (called Melaleuca Alternifolia) can be used for a myriad of uses such as the ones below, but again, I would only use YL’s oils for such uses. (Use this link to sign up as a YL distributor and receive wholesale pricing. My ID# is 1563299).
Uses for Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil)
The three day detox period allows your body rid itself toxins like aluminum zirconium, the icky chemical found in commercial antiperspirants which has been linked to all sorts of issues. You’ll also want to exercise and sweat those toxins out! Don’t sit home all day under the air conditioning trying to avoid getting stinky. The more you sweat, the better! Those first few days—you might smell a bit, but it’s worth it. If you’re concerned about it, do it over the weekend, making Saturday and Sunday the first two days. By Monday, you’ll be much better off. After three days wearing just tea tree oil, you will be ready to start wearing the organic deodorant. Again, the detox is NOT required, it is just helpful. Plenty of people use this product with great success without having done the detox.
To purchase Live Whole Be Free’s all-natural, organic deodorants, visit Live Whole Be Free’s Etsy Shop!
Ahhh, just the name itself calms my nerves. So what is Peace & Calming you ask? About six months ago, I was asking that very same question.
In short, Peace & Calming is a Godsend for those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and/or tension that want natural ways to relieve these symptoms. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18.1% of U.S. population). Essential oils help to alleviate any sort of emotional issues one may be going through. They are unlike any anti-depressant today. EOs work by bringing refreshment and balance to the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, reasoning and smell.
I was first introduced to the therapeutic qualities of essential oils through my midwife and doula. They both recommended P&C to me after the birth of my son to help relieve depression and anxiety. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time. In fact I had no idea it was something that needed to be ordered, that I couldn’t just walk into a grocery store and get it. I also had no idea how well it was going to work. I only wish I had ordered it sooner!
Peace & Calming is an oil blend created by Young Living to help individuals deal with various problems related to the nervous system and emotional balance. This blend has historically been used to help reduce depression, anxiety, stress and tension. P&C may be useful at the end of a stressful day to calm nerves and emotions, promote relaxation or to relieve insomnia. By helping the body relax, more blood is able to circulate to the brain, allowing goals and dreams to be visualized more vividly and accurately. It has also been stated that this blend may help hyperactive children get off Ritalin and may also help children with hypertension.
Peace & Calming can be diffused in the air or applied topically. Apply Peace & Calming topically under the nose, to the navel, on the back of the neck, wrists, back (diluted), and on the feet. It can also be worn as a perfume or cologne. When I first started using P&C, I would carry it with me and inhale it from the bottle during times of increased anxiety. I also created a new deodorant from it, making it a part of a new premium line I’m now offering on Etsy. Having it in the deodorant is great because it makes me feel like that stress reduction is “with me” all day long. It feels as though I’ve got a force field around me, helping protect me from anxiety! I also apply this to the bottoms of my feet (I apply it diluted) before bedtime. I get a much more restful night’s sleep after an application, with an occasional side serving of some wacky dreams!
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight for 3 to 6 hours after use, as this blend may cause increased photosensitivity.
Contains esters and aldehydes, which are sedating and calming to the nervous system. It is also a diuretic and a decongestant of the lymphatic system.
Brings peace and happiness to the mind and body and joy to the heart, which feelings provide emotional support to help one overcome depression.
May help balance the male-female energies so one can move closer towards being in spiritual atonement and be able to focus their thoughts, filtering out the ever-present garbage. It brings back feelings of self-love, confidence, joy and peace.
This oil is sedating, calming and relaxing, allowing it to reduce anxiety.
May help cleanse the liver and calm the lymphatic system.
You can order Peace & Calming directly from Young Living. Anyone can order it, but you’ll need my sponsor/enroller ID in order to process your order. My ID is 1563299. If you want to take advantage of wholesale prices, you can become a distributor (no obligations to sell, it’s like a Costco membership) or if you’re local, I’m happy to place the order for you using my account and you can pick up from me.
Peace, love and…more PEACE!
* This the posts in this blog were written to provide information to help educate readers in regards to the subject matter they contain. The author is not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness or injured condition of the body. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in any of the blog posts. The information presented herein is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified health care professional.