Mommy Necessity- High Chair Booster Seat

We hardly used a normal high chair. From the time our kids were big enough to sit in the booster high chairs, we were using those. These booster seats. They have straps, come with trays that can be used if you’re not at a table and the seat can scoot into the table like a normal chair. After being gifted one, a normal high chair seemed like an unnecessary large purchase.

These booster chairs can be used on the floor, in a chair at the table and can easily be tossed in the backseat or trunk and used in restaurants and at friends/family’s house while visiting. They are versatile and the tray works for play as well as eating.

Pros- small, portable, easy to take on trips or when eating out, work like a normal high chair as well as a booster seat, easy to clean, take up less space than a high chair and less expensive

Cons- Can’t think of any in all honesty. This is a product I felt was a necessity and one worked well through two kids. They did prove to be hard to sell in a yard sale, though.
You do need to be careful and make sure they are securely strapped onto the chair if your toddler moves a lot. They are also harder for the child to climb out of and if the straps are too loose, the chair can fall but the straps work similar to a car seat- as long as you tighten them in enough and strap it to the chair right, it’s safe.

New Mommy Necessity: Boppy Pillow

I can’t think of any product I used more than the Boppy. It’s a circular pillow that goes around your stomach while breastfeeding or feeding baby. You can give baby a nice, comfy spot to eat or nap. It also works for tummy time beautifully.

I had the same Boppy pillow and used it multiple times a day for both my children. It got us through breastfeeding, bottle feeding, learning to sit and tummy time and the pillow itself is still in such great condition, it looks new.

When baby is in NICU, the Boppy works well to support baby comfortably for either skin to skin or normal holding and cuddling.

Pros- fits around your waist and sits perfectly on your lap, boosts baby up high enough to comfortably reach your breast if you’re nursing, works well for bottle feeding as well, can be taken most places with you, shaped perfectly to support baby after s/he learns head control and also works to help with tummy time.

Cons- not as portable- it does take up some room, can take adjusting to get fully comfortable.

This is another product I couldn’t see myself going without through the early baby phases. It worked on the floor and on the bed/couch. It helped us with tummy time as well as nursing. I would fully recommend to anyone to get one for the pregnant woman in their life.

What I learned from my first 20 days of Whole30

I’m on day 21, so I only have 9 days left.

I honestly am not feeling extreme changes but as motivation yesterday when I was losing motivation and found I lost around 10lbs so far.

Due to the insane changes in the weather, my Osteo was acting up and I have slacked on cardio but made sure I got a lot of other types of exercise in.

I am feeling a little better, never felt the “tiger blood” energy surge but little by little I am starting to feel a bit better.

I’m hoping my last week will feel better than I have been feeling.

Through week 1

Throughout week 1, when you’re supposed to go through withdrawal, but I never did. I was excited and felt better my first week than any other weeks. I had some cravings but they were manageable and I also went long periods without actually being hungry.

Since I am still able to have my plain, black coffee every morning that has saved me throughout

Week 2

Throughout week 2, I had nights I’d be out as soon as my head hit the pillow and other nights I felt like I’d be awake all night. Some days I had tons of energy and others where I felt I could sleep all day and still be exhausted. I am down 10lbs and down about 2 sizes, though.

Week 3

During week 3, I started feeling annoyed. I am not feeling the extreme benefits so many people said they felt and thanks to that I had a few days that i considered giving up, but since i am so close i started taking it day by day.

I’m now on the first day of week 4 and seeing the light at the edge of the tunnel.

I have found some healthy and filling breakfasts I can make fast and learned what to do to get rid of mindless snacking.

I’m learning how to listen to my body when it’s actually hungry and how to handle when I’m feeling bored instead of snacking.

Mindless snacking has been my downfall through the years. I’ll get bored, stressed or tired and start eating sugar.

I’m trying to relearn eating. Changing from eating out of boredom or stress and find new ways to handle.

Going so long without sugar is also making vegetables and other foods sweeter.

I’m now going into my last week so I’ll see how I feel from here on but the Whole30 has been a major change from how I have been eating.

Why is Sleep Such an Important but Neglected Resource?

This post does contain an affiliate link, so I will be paid a small commission for any purchase of the book but I am NOT affiliated with the book itself, I just found the book extremely useful and want to recommend it.

In our society and age, the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is used quite often. People don’t think twice about sleep when they have work to get done and sleep is often sacrificed. Our society is sicker than ever with heavy caffeine dependencies. I was constantly joking about being sleep deprived, then I found the book, “Sleep Smarter” and it’s changing how I’m looking at the most valuable resource to health, weight loss/healthy weight, younger looking skin and productivity.

According to Medical News Today’s website

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 2015 recommendations for appropriate sleep durations for specific age groups are:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day

  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours

  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours

  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours

  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours

  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours

  • Adults (18 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours

  • Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours

Here in our current overwork/workaholic state, we deem working more important than sleeping but there have been studies showing that sleep deprivation is as bad for your brain as a night of binge drinking. As you lose sleep, part of your brain starts to shut down- it causes you to lose impulse control, slows your reflexes, slows your mind down and you also lose focus. It causes changes in moods and cuts off sugar to the brain- which powers it and is why you start craving junk food- and lose the will power to resist.

Sleep repairs your mental state as well as helps your body heal and grow. It is impossible to work your best, be your best and look your best if you’re running on little sleep.

If you suffer any of these symptoms, you could be suffering sleep deprivation

  1. Excessive yawning
  2. Mood swings
  3. Trouble grasping even simple new concepts
  4. Feelings of zoning out and even losing touch with reality
  5. Forgetting
  6. Fatigue- constant
  7. Feeling excessively tired, even after sleeping for longer periods
  8. Trouble with concentration
  9. Clumsiness
  10. Craving sweet and junk foods
  11. No motivation for anything

Sleep deprivation has many effects on the body

  1. Lowered immune system
  2. Weight gain
  3. Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
  4. Hormone production (sleep helps growth in children)

If you feel that you’re being affected by sleep deprivation, there are plenty of steps to take to fix it. The book I’m reading, “Sleep Smarter,” by Shawn Stevenson outlines 21 ways and the science to back them up. If you haven’t read it, I suggest reading it.

You can get it here.

 

Some of the ways listed (that have scientific backing)

  1. Set a schedule to always go to bed and wake up around the same time.
  2. Turn off all electronics 2 hours before bedtime
  3. Sleep with a cooler room temperature
  4. Don’t consume caffeine too late in the afternoon
  5. Keep in mind that we sleep in cycles- each full cycle is 90 minutes (1 1/2 hours) so try to set an alarm at the end of a cycle (2 full is 3 hours, 4 is six hours and 5 would be 71/2). If you wake up in the middle of a cycle, that is why you’re tired and groggy. In order to fully function and feel refreshed, you need full cycles.

The book goes in depth about the importance of the steps and has another 16 tips but those are the ones I am personally working on and have found to be of particular use in my home.

As you can see, sleep is a very important resource that we do not get near enough of. There is no use to stay up all night working on a project- you might “finish” the project, but it will not be your best if you’re too tired, the two hours after you wake up are said to be the most productive hours of your day- so that is the best time to work on important projects.

If anyone feels like I did, like no matter how much sleep you get you are never functionally awake, read this book. Just a few days after reading it and working on changing a few things, I feel more energetic and don’t take as long to get out of bed as I used to.

 

Life during the first week of the Whole30

I’ve been studying up on the Whole30 for a few years. I’ve had it recommended and read a lot about it for autoimmunity and inflammation.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos when I had to have half my thyroid taken out. I’ve been medicated but my meds have had to be adjusted every few months. I was also diagnosed with a mix of IBS and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance and have been on a strict gluten free, low dairy diet. I found myself craving and eating chocolate way more than I need so I decided to quit studying the Whole30 and the day after Easter, I made myself start.

Rules of Whole30

  1. No sugar, unless it’s fruit in moderation, no sugar is allowed at all.
  2. No legumes- I tend to gravitate towards soy due to eating gluten and dairy free foods primarily but I have heard a lot of bad about soy and thyroid. This is a change I’ve been wanting to make for a while and I can live without beans or peas.
  3. No Grains- slightly less difficult than giving up soy but not so much. Since ridding my diet of the majority of grains I was eating, I’ve been having trouble finding a good gluten free bread. Baked sweets are the hardest for me personally but bread itself isn’t hard at all.
  4. No dairy- aside from chocolate (which covers 2-3 categories here), it’s not an issue. I ate very low dairy to begin with and chocolate was the reason I couldn’t fully give up dairy.
  5. No alcohol- this is a nonissue. When I do drink, I only have drank 1-2 times in the past couple years and last time closed my throat up, so I’m pretty much over it. The last 7 or 8 years, every time I attempted to drink, it would cramp my whole body up and I would be hurting until I finished drinking enough for a buzz so it’s not worth the calories (or hangovers)
  6. No stepping on a scale- I don’t do this too often but now, I’m wanting to just because I was told not to…
  7. Don’t sub normal deserts or baked goods with compliant remakes- Ok, this one is understandable but… paleo cookies are just as good as regular…

How I’m doing so far

My end goal is to try to stick to a Paleo majority diet when I finish. I also am hoping to lose some weight. I lost 50lbs within a few months of having my third baby- before and immediately after my thyroid surgery. Part was normal postpartum weight loss but part was due to my thyroid being hyperactive (the reason I had to have part removed)

My meds are stable and working, I start to lose- they quit working and I stop losing or even gain so that was part of why I decided to try Whole30. I also have 2 forms of Arthritis and thanks to having scans in multiple areas on my body, I have inflammation issues and this is supposed to help with inflammation.

 

The first day was pretty stressful, I was back and forth. It was easier than I thought it would be but I really missed desert.

The second day was actually easier and by the fourth or fifth, I was starting to wake up better and felt better in general. I never “detoxed” and I didn’t budge on sticking to the diet.

Sixth through now was easier but harder. I have random cravings hit but hardly ever last. I keep getting mad at myself for even attempting this and sometimes feel like I put myself on a strict diet without my consent but give me unsweet iced tea and coffee and I’m fine drink wise. I thought quitting pop would be hard but it’s only when I see people drinking Mello Yello (my only pop of choice) that I even notice.

I’m doing my best to keep from thinking about food when I’m having a craving and I checked out Whole30 Day by Day, It Starts With Food and a WHole30 cookbook (since starting to make my own mayonnaise and finding some mustard, I’m doing better- I have condiments 🙂

I’m also starting to crave the taste of different meat dishes and I’m looking forward to eating meat more than thinking about sweets

What I’m noticing already

I’m no where near as gassy as I used to be- I have cut back on broccoli and cauliflower but I had gas all the time on a regular diet (thanks to IBS)

I also have IBS-D and haven’t since starting (I did throw up once, but I used jarred garlic I had accidentally left out for a day or two. I threw it out and have been fine since)

I’m getting better at quickly throwing together recipes, I have tried meal prep and planning things out really isn’t my strong point.

I am having more energy, and at times waking up nonexhausted- I used to have to sit in bed for close to an hour trying to orientate myself and no matter how much sleep I got, I was always exhausted. I’m starting to feel better when I wake up and not as groggy.

I’m not past the hard part yet. I’m hoping to feel a drastic change as the month goes on, but right now, I’m counting down until I can start adding things back- I’m still hoping to go Paleo after this experiment ends.

 

I’d love to hear Whole30 success (or failure) stories. Feel free to comment if you have ever done the Whole30. How did you manage to avoid going crazy? How did you feel at the end?

Homemade Nut Milk

It’s hard to find Whole30 compliant nut milk. Most in stores have additives and added sugar. I’ve been playing with testing out different nut milks.

Here is what you need to make your own. The ingredients for vanilla or chocolate nut milk are not compliant with the Whole30, 100% cocoa is but no sugars are allowed. You can leave the sweetener out and make flavored, compliant milks

For the milk you need:

Nuts, filtered or bottled water, cheese cloth, bottles or cups

To flavor:

Vanilla bean paste, cocoa, sugar/agave or any other sweetener (not compliant with Whole30) or any natural flavoring you want to experiment with

To make the milk:

Take a cup of nuts (I tried pistachios and cashews) and soak them over night in water.

When they’re soft, drain and put them in a blender with fresh water.

After they are a fine paste, take a cheese cloth and strain the residual nuts out.

Sweeten or flavor the nut milk if you like and store in the fridge.

If you want chocolate flavored

Put 3-4 Tblspns baking cocoa or melted baking cocoa and mix with the sweetener

Stir or shake

Drain again with another piece of cheese cloth to get all extra chocolate or sweetener out.

If you’re using hard baking chocolate, melt it on the stove and sweeten, then mix in the milk.

Whole30 Compliant Sweet Potato Hash (whole30 day 2)

I glanced at some sweet potato hash recipes and looked in my own fridge. Since I needed something to tide me over until lunch, I mixed

1 avocado

2 eggs

1 small sweet potato, chunked

5 cherry tomatoes, sliced

3 slices of bacon, chopped

1 squirt of olive oil (extra virgin)

I cooked it all for about 20 minutes on low heat and spent the last 15 covered

It was delicious and made the house smell good as well. It only took a few minutes to prep.