Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.
- Doug Larson
There are 5 flavors in food: sweet, salty, savory, sour and bitter. Unfortunately most people's taste buds are less impressed with foods that are bitter, sorry VEGGIES. Veggies are so vital to our health, yet their bitterness scares everyone away. RUN! It's the dreaded broccoli monster! But we can absolutely put a stop to this unhealthy habit by being smarter than the veggies.
We don't have to be stuck in the "old school" style of serving meals anymore; where all food groups are represented and separated. You don't have to serve a burger with a side of broccoli or a pizza with a side salad. Serving veggies just as a side dish usually isn't favorable for kids and even adults. Let's face it, isn't the side veggie dish the last food group to be eaten by kids? I think it's finally time for us to stop forcing our future generation and significant others to "Eat your veggies!" Not only is this a burden on you and your family, but it could ultimately create a bad relationship with veggies overall. Instead, let's embrace the fact that the main course is what everyone wants to eat!
Veggies are retiring from just being a side dish and have been promoted to the main course!
We can get lots of healthy nutrients in our bodies by cooking smarter, not harder. Below are 5 ways to sneak veggies into your main course dishes at home. I have included some simple recipes too that you can use as practice with your family. Happy sneaking!
5 WAYS TO SNEAK IN THOSE VEGGIES
1. PASTAS: Chop kale or spinach really small and put into either pasta sauces or pasta dishes such as spaghetti or macaroni and cheese. The chopped greens will appear almost as green sprinkles, not a bitter glob of green stuff.
2. PIZZA: Dice up any veggie until bite-sized and use as a pizza topping. Veggies such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, peppers, kale and spinach make for tasty toppings when paired with lots of fresh mozzarella.
3. CONDIMENT: Replace iceberg lettuce (which has no nutritional value) in tacos, nachos, burgers, wraps and sandwiches with nutrient dense greens instead! Some crunchy greens you could use instead are baby spinach, arugula, spring mix blends or bibb lettuce.
4. MIX-INS: Mix in veggies with potato hashes, fritattas, casseroles and even waffles!
5. SMOOTHIES: Smoothies are probably the easiest way to hide veggies. Add in spinach, kale, arugula, cucumber, and much more in with any protein smoothie for a filling meal or snack!
What's your favorite way to sneak in veggies? Please share your ideas below!
Always craving good food,
In pizza we crust.
Many of you may already know that my family has pizza night once a week, and we love to use diverse toppings so there is no food boredom in our kitchen :). This quick and simple recipe uses rotisserie chicken #healthyshortcut so there is no need to spend extra time cooking your own chicken, not unless you want to. Instead of using a typical pizza base of olive oil or tomato sauce we use an avocado oil ranch dressing since it pairs so well with buffalo sauce. This pizza is "healthed-up" with some fresh chopped kale that gets nice and crispy once baked.
Are you ready? Make this simple and healthy pizza this week for the whole family!
BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA
serves many happy people
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make buffalo sauce melt butter on medium heat in a small pot. Once melted add hot sauce and garlic powder and stir together. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl mix your rotisserie chicken pieces with the buffalo sauce to coat all of the chicken. Yum!
3. Using a silicone brush or spoon spread the ranch dressing to cover the entire pizza crust.
4. Next, spread the chopped kale all over the ranch dressing. Then top pizza with mozzarella followed by the buffalo chicken pieces. You probably won't use all of the buffalo chicken so save the leftovers for a fun salad topping or to make a buffalo chicken wrap!
5. Bake pizza for about 10-12 minutes or until crust is slightly brown and crispy.
Enjoy this flavorful and healthy pizza pie!
Always craving good food,
How do I put this?
You will never sleep again!
When I was pregnant, my life hadn't changed too much and my daily routine pretty much stayed the same. But now that Lucille is born- BOOM SHAKALACKA! My life has transformed and turned upside down in the best possible way. My days now literally revolve around Lucille. I am her food, her bed, and her comfort.
My new purpose in life at this moment is to provide Lucille with all of her basic needs, but also to REST in order to allow my body to heal from child birth.
I'm unsure why, but no one really talks about the postpartum recovery process. Maybe because it can be unpleasant and painful emotionally and physically, or maybe because mamas don't want to scare future mamas?
Whatever the reason, I think more of us out there should share our postpartum experience in order to unite and build a strong mama community. We (mamas) are not alone in this process, and can totally support each other during this crazy time in our life. Not to mention our partners can support us too!
Childbirth is tough, and recovery is no walk in the park either.
After having an episiotomy during my labor (read Lucille's birth story here) I've been resting and taking it easy for almost 3 weeks and counting. I had no idea recovery would be this long and uncomfortable. I can see how it can be quite easy to go a little nuts during this postpartum time.
My undercarriage is a ragtime doll, it's difficult to sit, stand and walk, I'm still getting the hang of this whole breastfeeding gig, and I'm adjusting to a new sleep or should I say lack of sleep schedule. This is me dishing out the realness of the situation, not complaining.
I am extremely grateful for everything I have and continue to grow from the ups and the downs in life.
Motherhood is an exciting battle and I think we (mamas) are fierce beings to behold!
Let's spread awareness of our unique journeys of strength and resilience so we can lift each other up when the going gets tough. We can all join together and inspire sanity in the time of huge life changes, whether you're a mama or not.
Below I have shared a typical day with Lucille (as a newborn) and the activities that had helped me from going completely off the deep end. In order to stay happy and healthy during this wonderful transition in my life I had to squeeze in small activities of self-care.
Three self-care activities that are non-negotiable:
1. Eating real, good food throughout the day.
2. Sleeping as much as I can.
3. Doing one thing that brings me joy (besides watching Lucille).
MY "TYPICAL" DAY WITH LUCILLE
Wake up anytime between 4 a.m. - 7 a.m.
As you can see, my daily routine with her is very flexible and depends on when Lucille is hungry and when she is sleeping. I feed her when she's hungry (every 2-4 hours) and she sleeps when she wants. I integrate tummy time and small walks around my house when she is awake to keep her from boredom. It is vital that I make time to fuel myself with healthy foods and to take at least one nap a day. If I don't squeeze in these self-care activities, my body starts to break down and I feel ill. I also make sure to either blog, watch a Netflix episode or listen to a podcast because it brings me joy. These small self-care activities are a MUST for my health and sanity!
I hope my journey will motivate other mamas (and hey - even the papas) to share their unique stories of the postpartum period as well. Together we are strong, powerful and thriving!
Want to hear more about self-care?
Check out our podcast (Simplified Khaos EPISODE 8) that dives deeper into all about me and my husband's self care activities, why they are important to us and some great resources to get you thriving instead of surviving.
How can you ever say anything negative about your body after you have felt the dancing of life from inside your womb?
Hey mamas or future mamas! Whether you have had a baby or are pregnant with your first baby I felt the need to share what essentials I absolutely could not have lived without during my pregnancy. I have listed my top 5 essentials that helped me to experience the happiest and healthiest pregnancy. My pregnancy essentials are in no particular order.
Take those walks mama! You don't have to do crazy workouts to stay active during your pregnancy. Embrace whatever movements feel comfortable to you and do them mindfully on a daily basis, whether that's dancing, walking, etc. Try to move throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires you to sit on your butt. Drink lots of water to keep you and baby hydrated, which will get you on your feet walking to the bathroom numerous times during the day. Take the stairs when you can and don't be afraid to get a birthing ball to bounce on at home. Grab some free weights, sit on your ball and watch your favorite show while you get a little arm workout. Trust me, you will need all of your strength during labor and afterwards when your new free weight will be the actual baby. :)
The best investment during my pregnancy was hiring a doula. Since this was my first pregnancy I wanted to have all of the support and knowledge about what to expect during pregnancy and after pregnancy. Especially because I wanted to have an unmedicated birth which I knew would be more painful and I would require all of the emotional and physical support I could get. To find out more about how my doula supported me during the birth of Lucille read my birth story. Studies have shown that a doula is associated with shorter labors, less use of pain medications, lower episiotomy rates, and as much as a 50% reduction in the C-section rate. Destination Baby is the company I hired to provide me with doula services and I can't say enough positive words about them. I would hire a doula again for future pregnancies in a heart beat too. Doulas provide services for pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and so much more.
3. Eat like you have gestational diabetes
I was one of those lucky mamas that was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. At first I was frustrated and confused because I took good care of my body in regards to nutrition and movement. But little did I know that my case of gestational diabetes was genetic. My body was reacting differently to sugar while pregnant because of family genes, not because of any other factors. My diabetes were diet controlled and no medication was needed. Gestational diabetes meant that everything I ate during my pregnancy had to be balanced with good sources of protein, fats, and carbs in order for my sugar levels to stay at a healthy number. I had to check my blood sugar four times a day to make sure my body was reacting appropriately to the food I was eating. I thought this would be a nuisance, but it really was a blessing in disguise. This forced me to be more mindful of my splurges on not-so-nutritious foods and make sure to balance every meal with good sources of real food. I never felt restricted and was still able to eat what I craved by cooking more at home or by "healthing" up the meals eaten out by including any missing food groups, such as veggies, fats, and/or protein. Most of my meals eaten during my pregnancy are on my blog if you need some healthy, simple recipes. I gained a total of 15 pounds during my pregnancy and I felt my body quickly retreat to my normal self after giving birth (see photos below). Now please don't compare your progress to mine because every body is unique and beautiful in their own way. These are just the facts about my pregnancy and what I had experienced eating this way. Nutrition is so important, especially when you're growing a tiny human. Overall, just be mindful of what you eat and balance your meals with all the food groups. REAL FOOD all the way!
Knowledge is power! Find trustworthy sources to teach you everything you want to learn about pregnancy, child birth and postpartum. Postpartum is equally as important to learn about as your pregnancy journey. Self-care is vital for you while being pregnant and after pregnancy as well. That baby depends on you, so remember to take good care of yourself physically and emotionally. Sources that I used to educate myself on all things pregnancy are as follows. The Mama Natural by Genevieve Howland was my go-to text to learn week by week what changes my baby and body were going through. The author also includes recipes, tips and other mama experiences for staying healthy and happy as well. This book was basically my pregnancy bible. Podcasts were another great source of education. I was able to learn about the physiology of my body during child birth on The Birthful Podcast with Whapio Diana Bartlett: Rethinking the Pushing Stage, Episode #114. Another podcast that gave me insight into pregnancy, mom life, and postpartum experiences is Mom's Who Rule the World. When it comes to nutrition education and more pregnancy insight The Well-Fed Women is another informative podcast to really empower you through your pregnancy and birthing journey. Knowing more about my body and the child birth process gave me strength and confidence when it was game time in the hospital.
5. A support group for mamas
My support group was a pregnant workout class. This class motivated me to workout once a week, which I especially needed in the first trimester. This class is made specifically for pregnant mamas so the workouts are designed to meet my growing body's needs in a safe and fun way. Fit4Baby is the name of the class which I highly recommend if you can find one near you. It allowed me to meet other mamas in the area and share stories of what we had been experiencing during our pregnancy journey.
A woman's body undergoes more changes in nine months than a man's body does in his entire lifetime. With all of these transformations it was important for me to feel empowered and strong. My top 5 pregnancy essentials gave me the knowledge and support to trust my body, which was what helped me to have a wonderful pregnancy and childbirth experience.
I would love if other mamas could share their top pregnancy essentials below! Let's empower other future mamas out there to have a positive pregnancy and childbirth experience.
Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers- strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.
-Barbara Katz Rothman
I knew as soon as I was pregnant with Lucille that I wanted to document and share my birth story, no matter how it would turn out to be. I wanted to remember the day that my body brought another living being into this world. As a woman, I feel incredibly powerful and grateful to be able to create, grow and birth a tiny living human. As someone who went through infertility treatments for about a year and a half, there is not one part of pregnancy or of the birthing process that I regret. All of the tears, stress, aches and pains were welcomed because I knew the outcome would be something unbelievably beautiful.
As soon as I returned home from the hospital after giving birth I immediately started recording down everything that I had remembered from Lucille's birthday. My husband, sister, and doula were able to fill in the gaps and approximate times that events took place as well. I was able to gather very specific details (some very comical, some not so comical) to really tell Lucille's entry into this world as it should be told, uncensored. My mission of sharing my story is not to scare or frighten anyone about the unmedicated birthing process, but rather to bring awareness that women are POWERFUL! Our bodies are capable and strong and we should always trust our instincts.
My birth story is organized by The Holistic Stages of Birth. I believe these stages describe precisely the entire labor process from beginning to end better than any birthing book or article I have read. Some details are listed briefly and some will go into more detail. I found it easier to bullet most of the beginning labor events and included more details as it got closer to the finale, aka birthing. I will use the words "poop", "pee" and "bowel movement" just so you are warned. I'm not embarrassed to share about what my body naturally decided to go through. Our bodies are amazing and sh*t happens (pun intended). There will be no sugarcoating of this story, just real, raw events.
Before reading my birth story there are a few key details to know.
1. This is my first pregnancy.
2. I hired a doula. Best investment ever!
3. I created a birth plan that involved no medication, and my husband, sister, mother and doula were the only ones allowed in my birthing room.
4. I wanted to quit and take drugs a couple times during labor.
5. In the end, I stuck to my birth plan and had a natural, unmedicated birth.
Lucille's Birth Story
June 7, 2018
Entering the Veil- Active Labor
On the Mountain- Active Labor
The Summoning- Transition
Quietude- Resting phase
The Return- Immediate Postpartum
I am a true believer that giving birth should be your greatest accomplishment, not your greatest fear.
I would love if you could share your birth stories below. Women should empower each other instead of competing with one another. Your body is strong and capable of miraculous things, trust it always.
Eat pasta. Run fasta.
Savory, flavorful, healthy and simple. I don't know about you, but those are four attributes that I look for in a good meal. No need to feel guilty eating this balanced meal of whole grain noodles, seasoned protein and some added vedge too! The kale is chopped so tiny that it wilts uniformly into this creamy sauce. No one will believe this is actually a healthy meal. Let's fool them all into thinking this is an indulgent dish that you spent hours cooking, because it sure does taste like one :). Ready to impress your friends and family? Then let's get cooking!
CREAMY TOMATO + KALE SAUSAGE PASTA
1. Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
2. In a large skillet on medium heat cook Italian sausage breaking it into smaller chunks as it cooks. Add in minced garlic as sausage is cooking.
3. Once sausage is cooked or no longer pink, add in tomato sauce, half-n-half, Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Stir well and bring sauce to a boil. Once boiling, let sauce simmer on low heat.
4. Add chopped kale in the sauce and stir. Allow the kale to wilt as the sauce thickens. Let sauce simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
5. Last, place your cooked pasta into the sauce and stir to coat every noodle. Serve this delicious pasta with more fresh Parmesan cheese and enjoy this savory healthy meal!
Always craving good food,