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Birth Story & Benefits of Natural Labor

By | Motherhood, Tips | No Comments

I remember when I was younger telling people, “I hope I can just schedule a C-section, they can cut the baby out of me while I’m knocked out.” I had such an intense fear of childbirth. I’m sure everyone does to a certain extent. But I would think about labor, get pale, sweaty, and nauseous. Just like I do with needles. I had a fear of physical pain and wanted to do whatever I could to escape it.

So, seven months into marriage we get pregnant without trying 😀

and honestly, I cried when I found out. I wasn’t wanting to be a mom yet & I had just lost my mom to cancer the month before!!! It felt overwhelming to have to deal with overcoming my biggest fear of physical pain while recovering overcoming the biggest fear of emotional pain. All within the first year of marriage. If it weren’t for Michael and Jesus, I would have completely fell apart.

So here we are, fresh out of ministry school, pregnant, super broke with no plans of how to be successful in life. It felt like the worst timing ever and I dreaded having to overcome this fear and give birth.

This was right in the beginning of my health journey. I began learning about the health benefits of a natural birth. I watched a documentary, yes it was biased like most documentaries, but very educational and something I think every pregnant should watch called The Business of Being Born. It showed the benefits of a natural birth & inspired me to want one regardless of the intense pain. Something I never, EVER thought I would want.

There’s NO shame in not having a natural birth. Everyone’s story is unique. Sometimes it’s totally necessary to have a medicated birth or c-section & it saves lives! But this is my story & I personally wanted to overcome my fear of pain, and try my best to have a natural birth. (see list of benefits below)

 

First off, I was 12 days late. It was ROUGH. They pressured me to get induced after 7 days but I had just researched that the average first baby is 8 days late!!! I learned your due date is not very accurate and is just an estimate. So I decided to wait as long as I could for her to come when she was ready. And she finally came on her own with no induction.

I went into labor Friday at 9pm. Contractions were already close together. About a minute or two apart by 1am. According to the books I should have been far along! I get to Mission Hospital and come to find I’m only 4 cm. I was definitely discouraged. I labored until morning and only dilated 1.5 more cm. The most difficult thing for me was that I kept thinking I was almost done, and I had awhile more to go.

Labor really is a mental game. Expect a marathon and you will do alright. I am so thankful I had a birth coach. I think most women think the nurses, doctors or husband will help them. But most of the time, no nurses or doctors are very present at all, and husbands do not know what they are doing haha! My mother in law was my birth coach, my husband just copied everything she did, and it made all the difference.

I had a lot of painful back labor. She wasn’t in the best position. They broke my water but I still wasn’t progressing much. Then late morning, my contractions stopped for an hour! I really tried to wait it out because I didn’t want Pitocin. Pitocin causes contractions but makes them longer and way more intense. This can cause stress for the baby and is very painful for the mother when not getting an epidural. I really wanted a fully natural, unmedicated birth, but at this point I really had no choice but to get Pitocin. Looking back, if I had a midwife, she probably would have changed my positions during the labor and I may have not been in this situation of my contractions stopping. But what can you do at that point!

They administered the Pitocin drip, and once the contractions started to kick in they were way more intense and plateaued at the peak of pain. If I didn’t focus mentally I would start to panic when one was coming. It sent me into transition fairly quickly though. I was finally in transition (7cm) and I threw up on my pillow from the pain. Oh glamorous labor 😀 At this point, the pain felt unbearable and I was crying, “I can’t do it anymore.” But everyone always says this when there is light at the end of the tunnel. The thoughts running through my head were: “This is the worst thing ever, I’m never doing this ever again.” (Luckily you really do forget the pain!)

I had urges to push but they wouldn’t let me yet. The most frustrating thing ever! I was crying “can I push yet please” over and over. It was so difficult to try to relax, not tense up, and let my body do the work. Everything in me wanted to tense up. Pushing felt relieving because you actually got to work with your body. I was finally able to push after 18 hours. I pushed as hard as I could. Fifteen minutes in her head was almost out. The cord was wrapped around her neck and her heart rate was decelerating. I was unaware of how scary this was at the time, thank God. They told me a very quick episiotomy was necessary. Before labor, I was very against an episiotomy and very scared to tear, but I didn’t care at this point and wanted her out. They numbed me, did the episiotomy and quickly vacuumed her out and before I knew it I had a baby on my chest! It was the biggest feeling of relief to be done with labor.

To be honest, I didn’t have this magical “oh my gosh my baby is here I am so in love” moment. It honestly felt like this random stranger was on me sucking on my boob! I was really just happy to be done giving birth. It took me awhile to really process what happened. I was also being stitched for an hour and half while having skin to skin and my first hour with her. I had a 4th degree episiotomy/tear. In other words, as bad as it can get! (Giving birth to the placenta was really uneventful because it just fell out of me. That’s one plus to having a 4th degree episiotomy.) I had so much adrenaline from the natural birth that the needles from the long stitching process didn’t bother me (usually needles make me want to pass out). The nurses kept saying how bad they felt for me but I didn’t really know any different.

[FYI this paragraph is TMI!] I went to the bathroom after everything was done and it looked like a bloody war scene. I thought this was from the episiotomy and stitching haha but it was the normal uterus lining shedding. Imagine 9 months of your period all coming out. That’s something I was not aware of. You practically have to wear diapers for a couple of weeks after. This may feel TMI, but after you give birth nothing really phases you. I thought I would care about being naked in front of people during labor but I definitely had more important things to worry about haha.

Once everything settled in, she slept on my chest all night, and that’s when I fell in love. That’s when I felt connected and bonded to her. But to be real, the birth and recovery didn’t feel worth it to me right away. Labor was just so intense and recovery wasn’t fun. And being a new mom was difficult. But as time went on, and now that she’s three years old, my love for her is so deep, and labor is so worth it. I would give birth a million times again to have her. Becoming a mom had led me to understanding God’s love for us in a whole new, immense deep way. 

The doctor after the labor said, I think I need to go to your church because of the peace you had during that labor. This was encouraging to me because I felt I didn’t do as well as I hoped. Mostly because it was way harder and more painful than I was expecting! Overcoming my fear and giving birth without pain medication was THE MOST empowering thing in the world. And that feeling came in handy before becoming a mom because if I can do that, I can do anything!

We have been told a lie our whole lives that we should fear labor, that we are not capable without drugs and medical intervention. That’s definitely what I believed. I believed I wasn’t capable without numbing the pain. But women’s bodies are MADE to give birth to children.

You are strong. You are able. You were made for this.

 

Of course, always be open minded and know that some things are out of your control and may not go as planned. Mine definitely didn’t go as planned. I was very grateful I didn’t need a c-section and could have a vaginal birth without an epidural. But I really didn’t want pitocin, an episiotomy or for her to be vacuumed out. But if it means a healthy baby then it’s a must! (see her conehead in picture from being vacuumed out!)

[And again, there is no shame in not having a natural labor. It does NOT make you a bad mom, weak or less than. Sometimes it’s your only choice and sometimes it saves lives. All births are amazing and powerful.]

I am glad I learned about the natural labor benefits beforehand because it encouraged me to fight for it. Do not disqualify yourself from having a natural birth because of fear or lack of confidence in yourself.

Benefits of Natural Labor:
  1. Labor is often shorter. Epidurals can interfere with body’s natural way of laboring and slow down contractions. It’s also difficult to not feel contractions or the body’s queues of when to push, leading to a longer time of pushing. 
  2. Epidurals can often increase use of medical interventions. Epidurals can cause prolong labors which can lead to Pitocin drip to speed up the labor or vacuum or forceps to move fetus through canal.
  3. Breastfeeding can come easier. Babies born through natural childbirth can be more alert and show more interest in breastfeeding once delivered. The babies can be affected by the epidural pain medication and interfere their innate suckling behavior that normally comes after birth.
  4. More endorphins are released. An euphoric feeling comes after a natural, unmedicated birth which relieves pain and calms the mother.
  5. Greater connection to the experience. When drugs are not used during labor, women are very alert and fully conscious. Pain medications can dull the woman’s senses which can lead to a physical detachment from the birthing process.
  6. In vaginal birth, the baby receives beneficial bacteria. As your baby passes through the birth canal, it ingests bacteria that contributes to its gut health and microbiome.
  7. Recovery time for the mother is faster. Less intervention and drugs lead to a quicker recovery.
  8. It’s cheaper! Less intervention = less money spent
Advice for New Mothers:
  1. Be prepared for a marathon. Labor is long, especially your first one. My biggest struggle was thinking I was almost done, and being far from it. It discouraged me mentally. Mentally prepare yourself for a long, difficult process. Then imagine it being harder than that :p
  2. It’s all mental. Labor is 90% mental, 10% physical. It’s important to not have fear, relax your body, prepare for the long haul, and stay on top of the contractions.
  3. Get a doula or birth coach. This is VERY important. Your husband will most likely be overwhelmed and not sure what to do to help. The doctors and nurses will not be there 90% of the time. You will need someone who knows how to coach you mentally and physically. You will need that emotional support. You will also need an advocate if you are at a hospital and wanting a natural birth. The doula can help stand up for what you wanted in your birth plan.
  4. Let your body do the work. One of the hardest things to do in labor is to not tensing your body. Contractions naturally push the baby down, but since they are painful your body naturally wants to tense up. This actually is fighting against the process your body is trying to make and stopping the baby from progressing down the canal. It feels counterintuitive but you have to try with everything in you to relax, not tense up, and let your body do the work. This is why it feels good to push, because you finally feel like you get to work with your body rather than fighting against it.
  5. Educate yourself beforehand. I think it’s important to know what you are getting into and what to expect. This will help you mentally prepare.
  6. Remind yourself the labor may not go as planned and that’s okay. We all have a birth plan or have in mind what labor will be like. But like most things in life, things don’t always go as planned. Have grace on yourself, go with the flow if needed. Remember, the goal is to get that baby out and have everyone healthy regardless of how it happens 🙂
  7. When pushing, don’t push with your face. You could pop an eye vessel! And it won’t get you very far. It’s very important to focus the pushing and strength in your lower body, not your upper body. It’s harder than it sounds but will make your pushing time go way down!

 

IF you want to know my opinion about vaccines & shots during and after pregnancy. These are purely my opinion. Always do your own research!

  1. Flu shot when pregnant: I don’t recommend getting this. I believe it’s unnecessary and could do more harm than good. 
  2. Hep B and TDap when pregnant: I do not recommend getting these as well. There are many harmful things inside vaccines these days. This is my personal opinion based off my own research, always do your own research. I suggest researching from sources that aren’t receiving profit from vaccinations 😀
  3. Hep B once baby is born: I do not recommend this either. My pediatrician, who was more conservative with vaccines, said this one is not necessary and is outdated.
  4. Vitamin K shot. This one is pretty neutral. I do’nt think its necessary really, but I haven’t heard of it doing much harm. I have heard needles can be somewhat traumatic for babies who just got out of the womb so that is why I opted out of it.
  5. Eye goop. This is the only one I got for Evelyn. This one is also pretty neutral. I don’t think it’s super necessary, but also can’t harm. It’s to prevent any infections they could get in their eye from passing through the vaginal cavity. My pediatrician said it’s harmless and can be beneficial so that is why I got it.

My opinion on vaccines from after delivery is another topic of conversation and something you can always message or email me about!

Could Technology Be Harming Your Health?

By | Nontoxic Living | No Comments

EMF stands for electromagnetic field. Our bodies create EMF’s but are very weak compared to the man-made EMFs. Man-made EMF’s include radio waves, WiFi signals, and microwave radiation, visible lights, UV lights, and infrared radiation.

Exposure to man-made EMF’s can negatively interfere with the electromagnetic systems inside of our bodies. Children are particularly susceptible to harm from EMF radiation because they have smaller and growing bodies.

Most companies claim EMF’s are safe because they only test short-term exposure. But the main issue of EMF’s are LONG-TERM 24/7 exposure that most of are experiencing because of the nature of our society now. Symptoms from EMF exposure aren’t noticeable at first, but over time can cause major health issues.

Chronic high levels of low frequency EMF exposure can result in:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Infertility
  • Cancer or increased risk of cancer

I remember first learning about this and being so confused. What do you mean my phone and wifi is bad for me? I was on a Facebook mom’s group reading about moms talking about protecting themselves from their wifi and honestly thinking it was a weird, crunchy-hippie mom thing. But once I learned more about this topic, I realized really how important this is to our health.

People don’t think something so common and necessary in our society can be bad for you. When I first told my husband about it he got defensive. He is a techy guy attached to his technology. But once I told him more, he slowly came on board. He now researches it more than I do!

The electronic and telecommunication industries have strong financial interests in consumers not being aware of potential harm from using their products. It can be very expensive for them to make things safer. This industry unfortunately is not regulated well in terms of safety. Most safety studies haven’t been redone in over 20 years!!!! Think about how much our technology usage has increased since then.

EMF’s can be compared to cigarettes. We were told they were safe at first, but then realized later long term usage of smoking caused health issues and lung cancer. These technologies are so new, no one is fully aware of the long-term affects it will have on our bodies. Especially children developing and growing in an EMF filled environment.

“There is no question EMFs have a major effect on neurological functioning. They slow our brain waves and affect our long-term mental clarity. We should minimize exposures as much as possible to optimize neurotransmitter levels and prevent deterioration of health”. – Eric Braverman, MD

Recently, more and more studies and instances are popping up of negative health issues from EMF exposure. And it will only get worse. 5G is already rolling out and will be in full effect by 2020. Our current issues are about to get much, much worse. Watch the video below to learn about 5G & is also a great summary of EMF dangers.

All of this is very overwhelming when first learned about. There are simple, easy things you can do now. And other things you can do later if you’d like more protection. I have them in order from easiest to most difficult/expensive.

Solutions:
  1. Sleep with phone on airplane mode
  2. Talk on speaker as much as possible
  3. Keep your phone away from your body as much as possible
  4. Turn wifi off at night or buy timer
  5. Buy EMF blocker phone chip or case
  6. Put EMF blockers in outlets of kids rooms
  7. Buy laptop and ipad EMF blocker cases
  8. Sleep away from circuit breakers or large appliances that run overnight, including if the appliance is on the other side of the wall
  9. Check if you have smart meters and ask for them to be uninstalled or block the EMF’s (this is very important to fix!!!! EMF radiation from smart meters are extremely high)
  10. Buy low EMF baby monitor
  11. Filter out dirty electricity using whole house filters (also saves you money on your electric bill)
  12. Buy EMF meter & fix things in your house with high EMF readings
  13. Protect whole rooms from EMF’s with paint or wallpaper (you have to ground the wall though, research first)
  14. Minimize use of digital devices when possible
  15. Hard wire internet connections rather than using WiFi

Things that are MOST important to fix.

  1. Smart Meter – The electric companies put these on your homes without asking or you knowing. It’s so they can remotely read your electrical readings. These give off extremely high EMF radiation.
  2. Wifi – This is constantly emitting EMFs into your house 24/7. You can cut your exposure almost in half by turning it off at night
  3. Your phone – This gives off a lower radiation but is constantly close to your or on your body. The key is to have your phone far away from your body. Try to not keep it in your pocket, or turn it on airplane mode when doing so. Try to talk on speaker. (80-90% of brain cancer is by the ear on the side of your head)

It’s impossible to completely avoid EMF exposure in this day and age. Here are a few things you can do to combat dirty electricity.

  • Grounding – it allows our bodies to neutralize positive ions from electronic devices and re-synchronize. Grounding includes walking barefoot outside on the earth as well as standing on aluminum foil a few minutes a day.
  • Exposures to negative ions such as being near moving water, Himalayan salt lamp, or a negative ion generator can mitigate negative effects of exposure to EMF radiation.
  • Eating a nutritious diet high in antioxidants can help mitigate some oxidative stress from EMF exposure
  • Certain crystals are also known to reduce EMF effects: shungite, tourmaline, hematite, and more

A good place to start is to lower the EMF exposure in the bedrooms since you spend 8-10 hours there. When your body is sleeping, it is more susceptible to damage from EMF’s.

“A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks. The Kaiser Permanente study was published today in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group).”

There is a lot to cover in regards to EMF’s. Think of this post as EMF 101. Below are many more resources for you to check out to learn more! I think its extremely important we all educate ourselves in this topic.

Other Resources:

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/index.cfm

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet#q4

https://wellnessmama.com/129645/emf-exposure/

https://wellnessmama.com/podcast/brian-hoyer/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171213095534.htm

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/09/24/electronic-devices-emf-dangers.aspx

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/protect-your-house-emf-pollution/

https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html

Dairy: Go Raw

By | Eating Well | No Comments




Wonder why so many people are sensitive to dairy or are sensitive to lactose? The main reason being the pasteurization process destroys the enzyme your needs to even digest lactose!!! (Lactaid just puts that enzyme, lactase, back in!) How have we never known this?! Especially with all the lactose intolerance issues out there. It’s not our bodies’ fault that we aren’t receiving what it needs to even digest dairy. Some people’s bodies are able to re-create the enzyme needed. Some have a more difficult time creating the enzyme or over time aren’t able to as easy.

The pasteurization process also unfortunately kills most of the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria in the diary. This is why most milk is fortified with vitamins. Milk in its natural state has many health benefits but unfortunately those get lost in the pasteurization process that all milk goes through theses days.

“In theory, pasteurization may seem beneficial, but it actually reduces the quality of milk. The heat transforms the structure of the milk proteins to a shape your body is not able to process. It also destroys the naturally occurring probiotics that can benefit your digestive system. As a result, this creates a blank slate where harmful bacteria can proliferate, turning the milk sour and causing digestive problems when consumed.” (Dr. Mercola)

raw diary benefits:

  • reduces allergies (wow!)
  • boosts the immune system (probiotics)
  • aids digestion
  • improves skin health
  • contains healthy fats
  • helps prevent nutrient deficiencies
  • increases bone density
  • helps build lean muscle mass

They started pasteurizing milk in the 1920’s to combat diseases caused by dirty production methods and poor animal nutrition. But if the cows are grass-fed and the facilities and processes of retrieving the milk are clean, the risk of disease is very, very low.

Unfortunately, raw diary today is very expensive because the FDA puts extremely strict cleanliness guidelines on the diary farms. (Pasteurized, conventional milk is so cheap because it is subsidized by the government). Organic Pastures Dairy is the most accessible raw diary company in Orange County. They’re based out of Fresno, CA and have amazingly high standards!! I’ve talked to them in person about their filtering process. 

“As a world-leading innovator and pioneer in raw milk production food safety systems, we are deeply committed to the safe production of high-quality raw milk. Our company was the first to develop and implement a comprehensive Risk Analysis Management Program (RAMP) ten years ago and we continue to improve our food safety program as better technology becomes available. Our company utilizes industry standard testing-technologies to provide extremely low risk, safe, and healthy raw milk. We achieve our high standards using a team approach, ensuring all risk elements are addressed from our grass to your glass. Every batch of milk is Triple-Tested by three different entities: the Fresno County Health Department, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), as well as a third party laboratory.”

Not all states are legally able to sell raw milk. Luckily, in California we are allowed too. Since this is a controversial topic, please do your own research! If you choose to raw dairy, make sure it is from grass-fed cows, processed in a very clean facility and tested well. I’ve seen raw dairy sold in Sprouts, WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s and Mothers Market. You can buy Organic Pastures Dairy online here.

I don’t eat diary all the time because I believe we aren’t meant to consume too much of it. But when I do, I make sure its raw so that my body can digest it & receive all the good nutrients.




Raw diary nutrients & their benefits:

amino acids – body’s’ building blocks for proteins. There are nine essential amino acids that our body cannot naturally produce; therefore, we must consume these through a healthy diet. Raw milk contains all nine of these essential amino acids.

probiotics – raw milk is rich in healthy bacteria that can benefit your stomach flora (gut) which plays a huge role in your immune system

calcium – prevents osteoporosis, strengthens bones, and helps with weight loss. About 99% of calcium in a healthy body is used for the formation of bones and teeth and the other 1% is used for basic functions within the body.

vitamins a, b-12, & d – helps immune system function, improves vision, reproduction, cell-to-cell communication, central nervous system, blood formation, dna production, healthy eyes, skin, strong bones.

conjugated linoleic acid – a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. It raises your metabolic rate, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, and strengthens your immune system.

omega 3 fatty acids – are considered the “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell of the body. They are important for brain function and general health.

lactoferrin – helps regulate absorption of iron in the intestines and protects against bacterial infections, but also promotes healthy gut bacteria.

lacto peroxidase & lysozyme – enzymes naturally found in raw milk that function as natural protection to “bad” bacteria.

immunoglobulins & antibodies – are a natural tracking system for the body to recognize foreign substances, like “bad” bacteria. These are essential for a healthy immune system.

minerals & enzymes – are essential for a properly functioning body. Minerals (like calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.) are critical for proper cell and body function. Enzymes are active proteins that perform specific functions in the body.

cholesterol – an important fat found in all cells in the body. Cholesterol is needed to make hormones, vitamin D, and aids in digestion.

phosphatase – is needed for the absorption of calcium.

phosphorus – combines with calcium to form our bones.

lipase – an enzyme that aids in fat digestion.

 

Resources:

https://www.organicpastures.com/aboutraw/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/05/10-things-you-should-know_n_211715.html

https://draxe.com/raw-milk-benefits/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/raw-milk.html

Diets Explained

By | Eating Well, Tips | No Comments

 

There are so many diet fads and trends these days. And it’s hard to keep up! How do you know what what’s best for you, or even how to do them?! Here are simple definitions of the most popular ones today. I am no expert! This is info I’ve personally collected and summarized in my own research. It’s important to do your own research when committing to one of these. Every body is different. Listen to your body and go with what your body responds well to! If you’re already overwhelmed by diet fads, then just eat REAL, UNPROCESSED food and you’ll be on the right track. It can be simple. But if you want to know the diet lingo, then I hope you enjoy and learn from this!

 

Healing Foods Diet (anti-inflammatory, alkaline)

Definition: Ultimately, this diet consists of eating only foods that do not cause inflammation. Inflammation inside the body is the root of majority of health issues. This diet is great if you have health problems like digestive disorders, depression, fatigue, hormone imbalance, diabetes, heart disease, autism, etc. It can actually reverse health issues! This one appeals to me the most because it’s not about weight loss but about health. This diet also alkalizes the body, eliminates toxins and optimizes nutrients. More info here
What to eat: good quality fats, organic/grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, nuts & seeds, fruits, raw diary or sheep/goat, vegetables, sugar free sweeteners (stevia, monk fruit) cookbook of recipes
Foods to avoid: sugar, bad oils (canola, vegetable) conventional meat & diary, grains, pork, peanut butter

Keto

Definition: The idea behind keto is putting your body into a state of constant ketosis = burning fat for energy versus carbs. Ketosis mimics the benefits of fasting. Keto has a high emphasis on healthy fats and very, very little carbs (almost none). Keto is the quickest way to lose weight since it focuses on burning fat. Keto can also be a lifestyle. To not lose weight, you simply up your healthy fat intake. I highly recommend getting apps that measure how much fat, protein, and carbs you should be eating because it’s all about your fat, protein, carb ratio. Keto is also great for reversing many health issues! You shouldn’t cheat on keto because it will disrupt the ketosis and take a bit to get your body back into ketosis. Please research more yourself!
What to eat: healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds, etc) non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, asparagus etc) sugar alternatives such as xylitol, monkfruit, stevia, protein (grass-fed meat, organic, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, bone broth, wild-caught fish, raw diary) Ideally you want only good quality meat and raw diary. My mother-in-law’s favorite keto cookbook
Foods to avoid: sugar (even honey & maple syrup), all grains including oats, rice, quinoa and pasta, most carbs, high sugar fruits, root vegetables

Paleo

Definition: The cave man diet. The concept is to think of what hunter and gatherers would have had access to eat. Paleo diet consists of eating high in healthy fats, moderate in animal protein, and low to moderate in carbs. It’s very important though to eat good quality meat! More info here
What to eat: This diet consisting of good quality meats, vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts & seeds, healthy fats
Foods to avoid: diary, sugar, grains, processed food, alcohol, starches and legumes



Whole 30

Definition: The goal is to eat real, whole UNPROCESSED food; to eat foods that are in the form they were originally in. Whole30 is a month program that is great when trying to wean yourself off processed foods. More info here
What to eat: moderate portions of meat, seafood and eggs, lots of veggies, plenty of natural fats, some fruit. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients or better yet no ingredients because it’s a real food.
Foods to avoid: sugar (even honey or maple syrup or stevia) alcohol, grains (even sprouted, oats, buckwheat, rice, etc) legumes (beans, peas etc) diary

Gluten Free

Definition: Avoiding gluten because of a sensitivity or celiac disease (only 1% have this). Gluten is the name of the protein found in wheat which includes: wheat berries, durum, spelt, einkorn, etc) barely and rye. Most people have a sensitivity to gluten because they genetically modified wheat to produce higher yields but in doing so increased the gluten content in the wheat. We are not eating the same bread we were 50 years ago. That is why more recently people are having such a difficult time digesting gluten, because of our modifications not because what itself. On top of that, we have different processing techniques. All grains used to be soaked and sprouted which got rid of the anti-nutrients and aids digestion (why I’m a big fan of sprouted foods). More info here
Note: Eating gluten-free isn’t always the best health option. It’s recommended for those with celiacs. Gluten-free foods can be very processed, full of sugar or other fillers. If you do not have celiac but feel sensitive to gluten, try sprouted, ancient grains such as spelt.

Dairy Free

Definition: Cutting out all dairy foods in one’s diet. Many people are sensitive to diary as a result of our processing methods. They started pasteurizing dairy in the 1920’s because of poor sanitation in factories to avoid bad bacteria. The pasteurization process kills potential bad bacteria but also all the nutrients and most importantly the enzyme your body needs to even digest it!!! Some people body’s can recreate the enzyme some people cannot or the ability fades later in life. This is why I’m advocate for raw (unpasteurized) diary because this enzyme (and all the other nutrients diary are suppose to have) are still intact. This is just my opinion based on my on research but please research this on your own. I will do a more detailed blog post on this soon as well! Most dairy out there is pasteurized and causes inflammation so it is beneficial to cut it out or use diary free options. Dairy-free milk alternatives can be processed, hiding sugars and fillers. More info here
What to eat: raw (unpasteurized) cow diary, sheep/goat diary
What to foods to avoid: conventional diary (grass-fed is better but still not digestable)



Vegan

Definition: Anything related to animals are off limits! This is either because of a love for animals or for health reasons. Unfortunately, these days our animal products are overly processed, have poor living conditions, filled with antibiotics and fed foods that aren’t meant to eat. (hence why I try to buy humane, good quality animals products: pasture-raised organic eggs, organic chicken and free-range, grass-fed meat) Americans eat 50% more meat than they should, it is beneficial to cut out some meat from your diet and replace with vegetables! *Raw vegan means they eat everything uncooked because cooking techniques can destroy many nutrients. More info here
Foods to avoid: meat, eggs, diary

Vegetarian

Definition: eating no meat (and sometimes fish) but can eat other animal products such as diary or eggs. This is usually they simply don’t enjoy meat or their love for animals and animal treatment. More info here

Gaps Diet

Definition: GAPS diet is similar to the healing diet in that it’s a therapeutic diet to heal leaky gut syndrome, IBD, autoimmune disease, autism, anxiety, depression etc. The diet consists of 6 stages beginning with most restrictive and progressing into adding certain foods back in. More info here
What to eat: nutrient dense food that’s easy to digest, wild-caught fish, nuts (ideally sprouted) good quality fats, raw cow diary, sheep or goat diary, fruits in moderation, good quality meat, honey and dates in moderations
Foods to avoid: grains, starchy vegetales, refined carbs, sugar

 

Do you eat by any of these diets? Which one and why do you like it? Would love to hear from you!

Why you should toss your sunscreen!

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Sunscreen. It’s a summer must, what could be so bad about it? Unfortunately, most sunscreens found in stores contain toxic chemicals.

“It’s estimated that we come into contact with anywhere between 700,000 and 2.1 million different toxic chemicals a day – many of which are in our personal care and skin care products.”

Rubbing chemicals on your skin can be worse than ingesting them because they enter the bloodstream without any filtering. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and your skin absorbs 60% of what you put on it.

At least nine of the sunscreen ingredients the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved are known endocrine disruptors. Of the 1,400+ sunscreens tested by the EWG, over 40% were listed as potentially contributing to skin cancer.

what are the solutions?

DO IT YOURSELF!!! I finally made my own and I am so happy with how it came out. I didn’t know these natural ingredients protected your skin from the sun on their own! (plus many other benefits!)


Carrot seed oil– natural SPF of 35-40! anti-inflammatory
Red raspberry oil – natural SPF of 25-50
Shea butter – natural SPF of 4-6, moisturizer, good source of vitamins for your skin, anti-inflammatory
Almond oil – natural SPF of 5, sooths irritation, deep moisturizer
Coconut oil – natural SPF of 2-8, antibacterial, moisturizer, high in antioxidants
Beeswax – makes sunscreen waterproof, protects skin from damaging elements, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
Vitamin E oil – helps preserve shelf life, antioxidant, moisturizer, anti-inflammatory
Zinc oxide (non-nano, not coated) – SPF 2-20

recipes

Click for the sunscreen recipe I used

Wellness Mama homeade sunscreen

Dr Axe homeade sunscreen

Facial sunscreen

Important* buy non-nano, not coated zinc oxide, BE CAREFUL TO NOT INHALE THE ZINC OXIDE! Wear a mask of some sort while making it (zinc oxide is fine on skin but not okay when inhaled) its not fully waterproof so reapply after the water, don’t use citrus essential oils because it can increase sun, this is an estimated SPF of 30-40 but not tested for exact.

It does feel slightly different to normal store bought sunscreen but I was pleasantly surprised with how it applied. It’s feels a little greasy at first because of the shea butter and does take a little more rubbing in to not look white. But its wayyy more moisturizing and smells better! Buying all the ingredients feels expensive at first, but I’ll probably have enough to make my own sunscreen for the next 5 summers! Making things yourself generally saves you money in the long run.






buy non-toxic sunscreen

If this seems like too much of a hassle, these are the top 5 natural mineral sunscreens by EWG:

Badger All Natural Sunscreen Unscented

Kiss My Face Kids Mineral Natural Organic Sunscreen

Beauty By Earth Facial Cream

Tropical Sands All Natural Biodegradable Mineral Sunscreen





Protect your skin from the inside out by eating lots of antioxidants! The American Cancer Society says that, consuming a variety of antioxidants through food sources can help reduce cancer risk.

Why I Quit Coffee

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I actually didn’t even like coffee until I met my now husband, Michael. He was drinking like 4-6 shots of espresso a day!!! He got me hooked and I drank it almost everyday for about 5 years. More recently, it started to upset my stomach. I was looking for some alternatives and came across the many benefits of matcha:

matcha delivers caffeine slowly over 6-8 hours!

Coffee gives you a caffeine burst, which is why you feel tired in the afternoon & want another coffee! Yet matcha slowly disperses the caffeine throughout the day

matcha gives energy & helps you focus

Matcha is the highest natural concentration of amino acid L-theanine which is in most energy drinks. L-theanine mixed with caffeine enhances concentration & improves memory. Coffee can give you the jitters while matcha gives you a ‘clean alertness.’

countless health benefits:

reduces stress & anxiety
improves mood
helps weightloss
cancer fighting
full of antioxidants
supports immune system
detoxifies the body
clears skin

I started slowly replacing my coffee with matcha everyday. Matcha has 1/5th the amount of caffeine coffee does (which makes it a great option if you are pregnant!) BUT actually can make you feel more awake because it contains L-thanine.

My husband would always need a afternoon coffee pick me up so I convinced him to start switching over to matcha too. With coffee (cold brew more specifically) he always felt tired still and had a hard time concentrating. But now, he says he feels more awake, can focus more during work and doesn’t need another drink in the afternoon.

Now, I know people are protective over their coffee. We used to be. Coffee totally does have many health benefits: antioxidants, protects the liver, increases alertness, and supports cognitive function. BUT I learned drinking too much coffee every day can lead to adrenal fatigue. (Also, if you do drink coffee, make sure you get organic coffee beans because they are usually sprayed heavily with pesticides).

Matcha can feel expensive at first, but a little really goes a long way. Matcha is high-grade, finely ground, concentrated green tea. You only need ½ to 1 tsp per drink. And sometimes can save you money since you don’t need an afternoon pick me up! Below are what I use to make my matcha. The matcha below is some of the best quality you can get and more affordable than what I find at grocery stores. But any ceremonial grade matcha should taste great (yes I do taste a difference between ceremonial grade & not). Also, try to get pure matcha powder, sometimes they have matcha powder latte mixes with dried milk or sugar mixed in).

How I make my matcha:

Put 1 tsp of matcha powder in a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp honey & few tablespoons of hot water (to dissolve honey & matcha powder). Whisk, blend or shake matcha, water and honey until mixed through and frothy. We also add 1 tbs of MCT oil. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Milkadamia macadamia nut milk or any milk with ice & enjoy! I like less milk so I can really taste the matcha. ITS SO GOOD! you guys gotta try this!!! Click below to purchase!!

Eat healthier for less!

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We all know healthy foods can be more expensive to buy. It’s sometimes tempting to buy unhealthy food just because it’s cheaper! But I think you shouldn’t feel guilty for having a higher grocery bill because of healthier options. It’s investing into your future health and well being! 

why is healthy food more expensive?

 

There are a few reasons why healthy food tends to dig a deeper hole in your wallet. Some labeling, such as organic & non-gmo, can drive costs up. There is also an issue of supply & demand, government subsidies, and even though healthy food is becoming more popular, there is a higher demand for the foods people are used to (which for most of America, are unhealthy foods.) Mass production and selling to large stores nation wide allows large companies to sell products for a lower price. Most healthy brands have to start off small and are still trying to make a name for themselves within the food industry.

Sometimes we actually should be asking the question, why is unhealthy food so dang cheap?!? Why can I get a full meal at a drive-in for the price of a single kombucha?! This is generally the result of cutting many corners and lowering food quality at the cost of quantity.

investing into your health

 

Personally, my main motivation for eating healthy is to avoid health problems now and later, especially later. I think an unhealthy lifestyle and diet puts you at risk for many, many health issues. This is how I justify it: pay a little more now, to avoid spending money later fixing my health problems. No brainer in my book. Even in seasons my husband and I aren’t doing well financially, I still try to buy as healthy as possible and will cut money other places. Or really pursue the solutions below.

solutions!

 

  1. Do it yourself!!!

Making food from scratch will save you money!!!!! Like so much, its crazy. Yes, it takes way more time, but time is money! Here are some examples of what to make yourself instead of buying a pre-made healthy product.

Here’s why its cheaper: when you buy a pre-made product, your paying them to make it for you, so essentially its cutting out the middle man, which always saves you money. Here’s one way to kill two birds with one stone & save money. Buy bulk raw almonds (not organic bc its way cheaper) and make some almond milk. Then take the leftover almond pulp, bake it at 170 for a couple of hours and boom! you got almond flour! You could also do this with oats! Yes, its less convenient, but easy & saves you money.

Here are some foods that I will pay more for & won’t make myself:

  • grass-fed beef
  • organic chicken
  • pasture-raised eggs
  • raw milk & cheddar
  • chips
  1. Buy from bulk section

There are bulk sections at most health food grocery stores likes Sprouts or Mother’s. They are sold at a cheaper price because no one is paying for packaging and the store is selling their own product instead of trying to make money off selling other people’s products. Plus if you bring your own containers or bags, its zero waste! You could also venture out into co-op food programs, which I haven’t yet! Would love if anyone had recommendations!

  1. Eat less meat, eat more veggies

I believe we eat too much meat in our diets. Meat is also pretty pricey in comparison to vegetables! Eating more plant based is a great way to cut down your grocery bill.

  1. Shop seasonal

Shopping seasonal is generally cheaper because there is way more supply of the food. The food didn’t have to be shipped from other countries, which drives prices up. Check what’s in season here.

  1. Thrive Market (Costco & Whole Foods had a baby)

Thrive Market Online helps me get the healthy foods I love for cheaper than I can find in stores. There is a $60 yearly fee, just like Costco, but you honestly save hundreds of dollars so it’s so worth it. If you’re buying non perishable items at places like Mothers, Whole Foods or Sprouts, I would see if Thrive sells it first because you will be getting it at whole sale price. This is where I buy most baked goods, chocolate, chips and supplements. What make this even better than Costco, is your not stuck with a bulk amount of the product just sitting around your house and possible going bad! If you want to try out Thrive, click here to get 20% off first three orders! You get to test it out before committing to the yearly fee!

I hope this gets rid of your guilt of spending a lot on healthy foods. You and your families body is so worth the investment.

ppp6. Meal planning

Meal planning helps save money because it means you’re only buying what you’ve planned to cook. This usually means you’re making the most of what you’re buying as well as not letting food go to waste! Check out my free meal planning print out.

ppp7. Skip the organic section sometimes

Some foods are more laden with pesticides, and some are not. The Clean 15 are the foods that tested least amount of pesticides. The Dirty Dozen are foods that tested highest for pesticides. To save money, only buy organic produce for the Dirty Dozen and opt for non-organic for the Clean 15. Avocados rarely have pesticides, so it’s honestly a waste of money to buy organic!

Clean 15: What you don’t need to buy organic

  • avocados
  • sweet broccoli
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • onions
  • eggplant
  • pineapples
  • mangos
  • sweet corn
  • kiwi
  • cantaloupe
  • papayas
  • frozen sweet peas
  • honeydew
  • cabbage

Dirty Dozen: What you should buy organic

  • strawberries (most important one!)
  • spinach
  • apples
  • grapes
  • potatoes
  • celery
  • tomatoes
  • sweet bell peppers
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • cherries
  • pears

Orange County Farmers Markets

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The best way to eat local are farmers markets! Eating local means more nutrients & fresher food. Shopping from local farmer markets benefits your health & small businesses. Plus its a fun family outing! 🙂

saturdays

Buena Park: 9-2pm (Corner of La Palma & Stanton)

Corona Del Mar: 9-1pm (3201 Pacific Coast Hwy)

Costa Mesa: 9-2pm (3315 Hyland Ave)

Cypress: 9-2pm (4505 Katella Ave)

Dana Point: 9-1pm (La Plaza Park)

Irvine: 8-noon (Bonita Cyn & Turtle Ridge)

Laguna Beach: 8-11/12pm (Laguna Cyn Rd & Forest Ave)

Orange: 9-1pm (303 W. Palm Ave)

Yorba Linda: 9-1pm (Main St & Imperial Hwy)

sundays

Garden Grove: 9-2pm (Historic Main Street)

Irvine: 10-2pm (The Great Park, Marine Way & Sand Cyn)

Laguna Niguel: 8-noon (La Paz & Pacific Park)

Newport Beach: 9-1am (Newport Beach Pier)

San Clemente: 9-1pm (200 Avenida Del Mar)

Santa Ana: 10-2pm (Bush & 3rd Street in Downtown)

tuesdays

Huntington Beach: 5-9pm (by HB pier)

Irvine: 10-2pm (18400 Von Karmon)

Orange: 9-1pm (1 Irvine Park Road)

Seal Beach: 9-1pm (13904 Seal Beach Blvd)

wednesdays

Fullerton: 8-1pm (801 W. Valencia Dr)

Irvine: 9-1pm (6640 Alton Pkwy)

San Juan Capistrano: 3-6pm (El Camino Real & Yorba St)

Tustin: 9-1am (El Camino Real & 3rd St)

thursdays

Anaheim: 11-4pm (Promenade & Lemon St)

Brea: 4-8pm (145 S State College Blvd)

Costa Mesa: 9-1pm (88 Fair Dr)

Fullerton: 4-8:30pm (Wilshire & Pomona)

fridays

Anaheim: 9-2pm (3440 E. La Palma Ave)

Huntington Beach: 1-5pm (Main St & PCH)

More info here! 

what’s your favorite farmers market?

How To Meal Plan

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I’m definitely no professional meal planner, or even that experienced in it. I struggle getting myself to do it because it’s not the first thing I want to do on a Sunday night! But when I do, my week is way easier! I’m not constantly thinking “what should I make?!” or “shoot, now I don’t have time to make that recipe.”

When I first started to cook, it was honestly overwhelming seeing all the ingredients I would need for recipe! So each week, I try to pick recipes that have common ingredients. Such as, if a recipe asks for sweet potatoes, I look for other recipes that contain sweet potatoes. This saves money (woo!) and can help not waste food.

If you’re new to cooking, I recommend starting with a lot of crockpot meals because they are hard to mess up! That’s what I did until I gained more confidence. Over time, I’ve build a good list of go-to meals you can find in my recipe section.

1. choose recipes

So I’ll start by writing some of my go-to meals in the “recipe ideas” section. Then I’ll look on Pinterest for some new ideas. Recipes with short ingredient lists appeal to me the most! Now I can look at healthy recipes or even unhealthy ones & just swap out the ingredients for healthier versions. (diary for raw diary or alternative diary options, chicken for organic chicken, beef for grass-fed beef, sugar for honey etc) Americans eat 50% more meat than the should, so I make sure I have many meatless meals to integrate in. (I used to eat meat every meal, so I have gradually come along way!)

2. write ingredients you don’t have

While I’m choosing these recipes, I’m writing ingredients I need to buy. I’ve gotten to a point where I have most ingredients in my pantry and only have to buy a few more ingredients to complete the list. It took me awhile to get there though (building up my pantry & always having ingredients I know I’ll always use every week).

3. place meals in the schedule

Next, I start placing the recipes over to the weekly schedule. I try to do this strategically. On days that I am busier, I pick quick meals or crockpot meals. I also try to make sure I’m not eating two similar meals in a row. Spacing it out gives some variety.

I’ve attached a simple template you can print out to help you start meal planning! Click “download” below! Enjoy & I hope it helps make your life easier 🙂

Welcome!

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Hi! Welcome! So glad you’re here and actually want to hear what I have to say! The past 4 years I’ve been on a slow journey towards healthy eating and wanted an outlet to share what I’ve learned! I’ve made a lot of small changes in the way I eat but they have really have changed my life. My heart for this website and blog is to help educate people in the basics of eating healthy and live well.

I believe change begins with thinking differently.

As a society, most of us are very uneducated in nutrition. I am no expert by any means, but have learned enough to change my own life and hope I can help you do the same. My website has the few steps & tools to help you move towards a healthy diet. This blog will be filled with more specific topics and telling you the new things I learn!

This blog will take you along in my journey of healthy living.

I’ve seen too many health issues, cancer, and diseases negatively affect people I know and love from an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. It makes me passionate to want to educate others, make a difference and help prevent these problems. I share more about this on the “Why Be Wellthy” section of my website.

I’m still fairly new to this, which can be beneficial to those of you who aren’t too far into the health world as well. I believe in slow, gradual changes that become lifestyle habits. I’ll be covering topics of recipes, beauty & household products, mom life, feeding a toddler, what I order when I eat out & tons of fun other things! Can’t wait to share it all!