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Month: June 2016

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee

bpcoffeeWe started making “fatty coffee” with just coconut oil several months ago. However, when we decided when we would start trying to conceive another child, we changed to Bulletproof coffee with grass-fed butter, brain octane oil, and coconut oil blended. Full disclosure though, we sometimes use bulletproof coffee beans and sometimes we do not.

This past weekend, we were invited by a co-worker of Brendon’s to come to Chicago. For fun, I googled “Bulletproof Coffee Chicago”, and I was able to find two places that made it, Ugly Mug and Beatrix. We decided to go to Beatrix because it was by the French Market that we were planning on going to. They do not use the official Bulletproof beans, but the coffee was delicious. The coffee tasted more buttery than we typically make it since we just eyeball the ingredients and typically eat breakfast along with it anyway. So, we make the amounts we put in the coffee smaller than recommended. My breakfast is almost always eggs with avocado, which provides protein as well. Dave Asprey talks about how women need protein in the morning along with the fats for hormonal health or if you have any leptin resistance, and I do notice I need a certain amount of protein first thing to feel energized and full.

If I had a disappointment about our Beatrix experience, it would be the size and cost of the coffee. I honestly didn’t know what to expect as far as cost, but I think the $8.95 price tag was shocking just because that is more expensive than other coffees. I did want it to be bigger because my impression is that Dave Asprey serves bigger coffees. However, overall, it was a fun experience.

Since starting to drink Bulletproof coffee at home, Brendon and I have both noticed that our hunger levels have reset, which is something that Dave talks about. He says that the intermittent fasting helps to reset leptin and ghrelin levels, which get really out of whack with the Standard American Diet of highly processed foods and big portions and when people have excessive weight on them. I used to have issues with my blood sugar, be hangry many times, need to snack every two hours, and be a slave to thinking about food. I can finally go 5 hours without feeling a huge dip in blood sugar or a need to eat. I slowly get hungry now and can choose when to eat as opposed to suddenly feel a need to eat right then and not be able to focus. The consumption of these healthy fats get transferred through my milk to Noah and have helped my hormones get back into balance.

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The Marathon of Pregnancy

The Marathon of Pregnancy

How to stay a strong runner, maintain a healthy pregnancy, and succeed at a natural childbirth…

When I got pregnant with my son, Noah, I grieved the loss of my running abilities for a short while. For the first weeks, I felt sick, tired, and could barely maintain a pace that was two minutes slower than my marathon race pace. I figured it was all downhill from there. However, I quickly shifted my mindset to look at pregnancy as a 9 month training plan. There wasn’t really a race at the end, but there definitely was an event I didn’t have a choice but to finish, birth.I would later come to find out this was an event was more physically and mentally demanding than a marathon anyway.

I started to gain endurance and energy back in the second trimester and focused on learning what I could do to have a healthy pregnancy and easy, quick, natural birth. A lot of what I found helped me have a successful pregnancy and become a stronger runner at the same time. So, I would like to share that for other pregnant runners.

Diet

With my diet, I never looked at pregnancy as an excuse to eat for two. You only need a few extra hundred calories a day, and whether you are pregnant or not, when you eat better, you feel better.

  • Protein: Recommended to eat 80g a day
  • Veggies: Your body will thank you that you are helping digestion with the fiber. I tried to eat double digit servings of veggies a day. You can saute greens with your breakfast, have carrots for a snack, eat a salad for lunch, make a green smoothie, and have some steamed veggies with dinner. These give you great nutrition but also help to fill you up instead of turning to junk food and high calorie snacks.
  • Healthy Fats: Your baby needs these to grow, and your hormones need fats for mood and energy, both during pregnancy and postpartum. Just eating half an avocado a day could help. I also ate two whole eggs for breakfast every morning that are rich in healthy saturated fats, cholesterol, and choline. In our house, we are not afraid to cook with butter, which is rich in Vitamin A and D. Plus, I would make my own salad dressings using 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats. Having an appropriate amount of healthy fats throughout the day will help satiate you.

This was my typical day of eating while pregnant:

  • Breakfast: two eggs with cheese, sauteed spinach, and a half an avocado on the side
  • Snack: 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt and frozen raspberries (I would add in 6 dates to my yogurt. Learn why here.)
  • Lunch: Sprouted turkey wrap with cheese and veggies (I love carrots!) with a side salad
  • Snack: Fruit and sunflower seeds
  • Dinner: Salmon, sweet potato, and asparagus
  • Treat: Greek yogurt with flaxseed sprinkled on top
  • WATER, WATER, WATER! I typically drank 12 glasses of water a day. This is important for the extra fluids your body is creating as well as

Here are some of my running and pregnancy essentials:

  • Gabrialla belt: This was great to take pressure off my belly and bladder as I ran. I even wore it all day at the end of pregnancy to help with my hip discomfort because my son was riding so low.
  • Compression socks: These helped blood flow to my legs. My legs started to get less comfortable running as I carried more weight around (Go figure!).
  • Water bottle: Carry one around with you all the time because you will be very thirsty and need to drink.
  • Magnesium oil: This helps digestion and relax any leg cramps you may get. Rub it on your belly and legs.
  • Chiropractor: I started getting adjusted in the second trimester because my round ligaments were getting strained from him growing. Plus, I knew that in the third trimester, I wanted to start having the Webster Technique done to make sure that he was in the optimal position for birth. I think this really helped my labor go smoothly and quickly (3.5 hours)!
  • Red Raspberry Leaf tea and dates for labor preparation: Both of these have been shown to help the uterus contract.
  • Hire a doula: I loved having another support person with me that was a little more familiar with natural pain relieving methods and was very calm during the process. I think it allowed my husband to focus on me more because she was familiar with my birth preferences. Just Google doulas in your area.
  • Natural Childbirth Class: Hypnobabies or Bradley Method will help get you in the mindset for a natural birth and give you techniques of how to mentally cope with natural birth.
  • I also liked to keep a weekly log of doctor appointment notes, weight gain, and how I was feeling. This is a good reference to see how things are going and maybe what you need to change. I think this helped me be more accountable with my nutrition and intentional about making a healthy baby. Also, if you plan to get pregnant again it will be very helpful to compare.

Here is my birth story:

I spent most of my due date wondering when this baby would come out of me. Then, I sat down to a dinner of chicken alfredo, where Brynn said, “Maybe Noah will be born tonight?”. I said something like “Maybe, but probably not.” We started planning to head out to the Y center to swim for a few minutes. As we headed out the door around 7 pm, I said I had to pee, and as I sat down, I heard and felt a huge pop.

My water broke! I shouted to Brendon what happened and told them to go ahead and swim for 20 minutes, while I figured out how to contain the water and get the last few things for the hospital (not my smartest thought). As, my parents and Brendon/Brynn pulled back into the driveway at 7:45 pm, my contractions had progressed to 2 minutes apart, and I was leaning over the kitchen counter, trying to relax and put Brynn’s lunch together for the next day.

Brendon and I got to the hospital desk at 8:33 pm, where the nurses quickly saw I would not be able to fill out paperwork. I changed and was checked at 20160706_125214triage at over 9 cm. I went through about 45 minutes of transition in triage, and my doula showed up somewhere in the midst of this. Around 9:30 pm, I walked very quickly to the delivery room, while feeling another contraction coming on. Brendon caught me as I got in the room once it hit. I knew I had to push.

The resident made some comment, “It’s good you wanted a natural birth because you don’t have a choice anyway.” I started pushing, and my OB showed up probably 15 minutes later. He told me Noah had black hair, and I was able to say “Awww, just like his dad” with some renewed energy after having felt like I had been hit by a train over the last few hours. I was finally told the next push would be my last, and at 10:24 pm, Noah made his way into the world at 8 lb 2 oz and 20 inches long.

Recovery and Running Postpartum:

I started back to running somewhere between 4-6 weeks postpartum. Before that, I was walking at least 4 times a week. I didn’t try to push myself too hard and made

sure I was eating and drinking enough. I continued to get chiropractic adjustments because of the high level of relaxin in my body and going through the birth process.

My speed came back fairly quickly. I think my body felt relieved to have the 2o extra pounds removed. Two months after birth, I ran a few 5ks and finished with times that were 30 -60 seconds within my PR. I felt great about that, but once I started back to work, it was harder to find time to run, especially enough to train. Brendon and I signed up for a marathon the following April and found time to only partially train. We ended up having a great time at the race but realized it was not our season in life for marathons when we wanted to spend more time with kids.

Looking back, I would change some of my focus onto strengthening my abs post-partum. I had a diastasis recti from pregnancy. There is so much misinformation out there about the appropriate exercises. Jumping back into pilates or planks could cause further damage if you have diastasis recti. Even if you don’t, it is important to look at exercises that specially target the transverse abdominus muscle first. It took me months to figure out what would actually strengthen my core.

I finally found helpful information from Moms Into Fitness:

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Best Cheap, Romantic Date Idea: Date Night In with Some Bulletproof “Get Some” Custard

Best Cheap, Romantic Date Idea: Date Night In with Some Bulletproof “Get Some” Custard

This past weekend, Brendon and I used our Saturday date night to go to Whole Foods, purchase some amazing ingredients, and make a delicious meal of some recipes we have been wanting to try. We like this because we still spend less than going out to dinner and have fun in the kitchen together. It is a cheap date idea and actually allows us more time to be romantic. We made beef tartare, baked asparagus with shallots, and Bulletproof “get some” ice cream for dessert (but as a custard since we don’t have an ice cream maker yet). Dave’s claim in the video I linked below is that within an hour of eating this dessert, the high quality fats send a signal to your body that says something like, “Your body now has everything required to go try and make a baby so why don’t you go do that”. And what’s more romantic on a date that making and eating ice cream together!

Here is the recipe we used for the beef tartare. It was so delicious, fun, and cheap to make a meal ourselves.

beeftartar

For dessert, we followed the Bulletproof Diet recipe and made some modifications that have been provided in the forums and by Dave. You can find the original recipe here.

This is what we did:

  • 4 whole eggs (pastured of course)
  • 4 yolks (in addition to the whole eggs above)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 drops of lime juice
  • 7 TBSP grass-fed butter (melted)
  • 7 TBSP coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 TBSP + 2 tsp Brain Octane Oilbulletproofcustard
  • 5.5 TBSP honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 TBSP grass-fed gelatin
  • 1/3 cup organic chocolate powder
  1. Put everything in the blender except the water and gelatin.
  2. To room temperature water, add the gelatin, whisk it in, and let it bloom for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water/gelatin to the blender and mixed everything together.
  4. Pour it in dishes.
  5. Place in the fridge to harden.
  6. EAT!!

We loved it, and I will say I got a ‘food high’ from it. I usually get some tingles from foods like raw grass-fed cheese or other foods high in fat soluble vitamins or healthy fats. It is like my body is getting excited about receiving something it was craving. Between pregnancy and breastfeeding, I am sure I have developed a slight essential fatty acid deficiency. Maybe this is what Dave was talking about. Either way we had lots of fun on our date night.

20160706_224531Update – We have made this dessert in ice cream form many times since the initial trial. It is now one of our favorites and so easy to make by throwing everything in the blender and then in the ice cream maker. However, for a food photography shoot I did on July 6th, I made it without the chocolate and as a custard again. I think I finally felt what Dave was talking about. I literally felt high, tingly, and an overwhelming level of energy late at night. It was incredible. I am not sure what was different about this time (maybe leaving out the chocolate for me?), but I am going to look more into this.

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Easy, Quick, Healthy Dinner Recipe: Loaded Lamb Burgers and Asparagus

Easy, Quick, Healthy Dinner Recipe: Loaded Lamb Burgers and Asparagus

loadedlamb

I love going into the summer season for the warm weather, getting to grill some delicious food, and the fresh, eye-popping produce in the grocery store. I mean, look at that asparagus! Brendon and I love burgers, but in shifting more to a real food diet, we are skipping the buns lately. This offers a great opportunity to top your burger with even more delicious toppings and a flavorful sauce. Think about it – these flavors will pop even more without the bun and is a bun really that flavorful?

I don’t have an intolerance to gluten, but I don’t think gluten is very nutrient dense. Therefore, it should not be the main source of carbohydrates in someone’s diet. We mainly follow a Paleo or Weston A Price type of diet. I think with the recent buzz around a paleo or traditional diet, people can get overwhelmed by the thought that that may mean a lot of cooking. But, that doesn’t have to be true. Cooking with real food can be simple, easy, and healthy. So, put this recipe on your dinner menu!

Recipe makes 2-4 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of organic asparagus
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 lb organic ground lamb meat
  • 1 pasture raised egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried garlic
  • 1-2 TBSP of coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2-4 pieces of sugar-free, preservative free bacon (depends how much you love bacon)
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • Primal Kitchen mayo
  • sriracha

Directions:

  1. Roast the asparagus in the oven at 350◦F for 20-25 minutes with some coconut oil infused with garlic drizzled all over. It is very important that during cooking you use saturated fats as they are more stable. If monounsaturated fats like olive oil is used this could convert to trans fats when heat is applied.
  2. For the lamb burgers, we added 1 lb of meat, 1 egg, 1/4 cup quinoa flakes, salt and pepper, dried garlic, and 1-2 Tbsp of coconut aminos. Mix all these in a bowl and make your patties. Then, grill on medium for about 5 minutes on each side.
  3. The bacon was cooked in the oven for 22 minutes at 350◦F.
  4. Saute an onion in a pan on medium heat in 2Tbsp of butter. You will know they are done when the onion is golden brown.
  5. While everything cooked, I put some Primal Kitchen mayo and sriracha into a plastic sandwich bag, sealed it, and knead the sauce together. Then, I snip the corner of the bag and drizzle the sauce on the plate. It is so easy to make food decadent. I think making this small effort could change someone’s perspective from deprivation to indulgence.

You are getting great organic, natural ingredients from this healthy, Paleo dinner recipe. This is a low carbohydrate meal. So, if you are not eating low carbohydrate, feel free to not use the sriracha mayo and have a side of sweet potato instead (I love sweet potato fries). Sweet potatoes are something that can easily be boiled the night before and reheated.

Now let’s talk about the nutrition of the meal. First, Lamb is such a great source of protein, selenium, B vitamins, and omega 3s. If you are trying to conceive, selenium is important for men because when a sperm and egg come together it is the reaction of the selenium from the sperm and the glutathione from the egg that create life. The real mayo offers healthy saturated fats and cholesterol. These, alone with the omega 3s, are so important for brain development and the hormone production of the couple. The asparagus and onions will support your mitochondria because they are high in sulfur and glutathione, which will aid in cell generation, brain health, toxin removal, and sperm motility.

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How to Improve Your Fertility: My Preconception Diet for Baby #1 in 2014

How to Improve Your Fertility: My Preconception Diet for Baby #1 in 2014

noahnameIn September 2014, we decided that we wanted to start trying to get pregnant that December. Through God’s grace, we were able to conceive our son, Noah, on the first try, and now, we have a thriving, strong dude. In the three months between September and December, I used that preconception time to “clean up my diet” and get my body ready for pregnancy. Looking back almost two years ago, I see what I would do again, what I wouldn’t do again, and how I have cleaned up my nutrition even further since then. I will also talk about any modifications I made to my fitness regime and our strategies as a couple to conceive.

First, I will talk about the things that I would definitely do again. I started incorporating brazil nuts and royal jelly. I also reduced my intake of sugar and increased my intake of whole foods like vegetables, yogurt, fruit, and protein. I started to eat half an avocado with my eggs at breakfast because a study showed that eating 3 avocados a week increased IVF success rates by 3.5 times. I ate eggs for breakfast most days. I also read Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode. I occasionally threw in pumpkin seeds for Brendon and added lemon to my water to cleanse my system, but many of my efforts assumed that doing something once or twice would create systemic change. I don’t agree with this now having done more health research, but sometimes, people get irrational when trying to conceive.

As far as lifestyle, I cut back on my running slightly. I still ran a few times a week, but I was not doing the marathon training that I had been in the months prior. I also cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Prior to September, we both were probably having one drink an evening, and I was consuming several cups of coffee a day. So, I slowly started having at least a several nights a week without alcohol, and I limited myself to two cups of coffee a day. I started incorporating relaxation techniques like fertility hypnosis and relaxation music while at work.

There are also things I would do differently, and many relate to focusing on unnecessary supplements or foods. I over-complicated it in many ways that were not productive. I think at the time taking supplements like maca and vitex were not needed since I am a young, healthy individual, and I had not shown infertility symptoms previously. I also drank grapefruit juice. I had read that dai37weeksry was good for fertility so I increased my consumption of yogurt, milk, and cheese. I don’t necessarily think this is wrong, but many of the articles did not distinguish conventional dairy from high quality, full fat dairy. S, I started with low fat, conventional yogurt and high sodium conventional cheese. There were many times I would purchase a “fertility food” for us to eat once or twice. I think doing all these random efforts, thinking these would make the difference, instead of just focusing on a real food diet caused more stress than necessary.

Finally, I will discussing our tracking and timing method (sorry if this is TMI). After I removed my Mirena, I had one period, and we made the assumption that I would have a 28 day cycle though I don’t know if this was actually the case. Once we got into the suspected fertile period, we TTC’d several days in a row and used Pre-seed. I stayed lying down with my hips propped up. As far as tracking, I was only looking at cervical mucus, and honestly, I was kind of guessing about whether it was fertile or not. newborn

Overall, I think we were a couple in good health, and I made some small changes that probably increased our chances of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Some changes are better than none, and I found that once I was pregnant making more changes was easier as I had a forming baby that I was thinking about. In my next post, I will talk about our current preconception plan for baby #2. Our current plan is much more intentional with strong nutrition for both of us this time and has a big focus on all the nutrients I need for hormonal health and baby, while at the same time not stressing about incorporating extraneous elements. To put it simply, we plan to eat healthy and have fun!

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Our Experiment with “Get Some Ice Cream” and How Eating Healthy Fats Can Improve Your Hormones

Our Experiment with “Get Some Ice Cream” and How Eating Healthy Fats Can Improve Your Hormones

getsomecustardOnce Noah turns 9 months old, we plan on trying to conceive our second child together. Fertility and conception are things to be taken seriously in my opinion, and since I had a child less than a year ago and am breastfeeding, I want to do everything I can to balance my hormones and have micro-nutrient reserves to make having a healthy child possible.

I am a huge fan of Dave Asprey, Founder and CEO of Bulletproof. I also loved his book The Better Baby Book that he co-authored with his wife Lana, a holistically minded physician. I think in their book they do an amazing job of laying out how to combine the best nutrients and lifestyle factors to help you get pregnant, stay pregnant, and give your baby the best start possible. I love that the book doesn’t stop at “how to get pregnant” because in a perfect world don’t we want healthy, smart children too?

One experiment that my nerdy, foodie, and romantic sides all are excited about is to make “Get Some Ice Cream”. This is Dave Asprey’s low carbohydrate, high fat ice cream that he used to balance Lana’s hormones and allowed her to conceive at advanced maternal age, twice. He also claims that within an hour of eating the ice cream, the couple will suddenly be drawn to the bedroom :).

Last time that we tried to conceive, it was of course fun, but I think I let it stress me out more than I would have liked because I focused too much on incorporating random foods and supplements and tracking into the plan instead of keeping it simple. This time, we are trying to still be intentional with diet and lifestyle choices, while enjoying the process at the same time. It should be a fun experiment, and in the end, we will at least get to eat ice cream.

To learn how to make the ice cream and more about how it came to be, watch this video.

We will make the ice cream soon, and so, I hope to have some feedback ASAP.

See my post Date Night In for how it went.

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