Saturday, January 24, 2015

Things I have learned being pregnant...

I have actually wanted to write about this for some time.  I think I have just been flooded with thoughts and emotions (nothing new in pregnancy!) and have been caught up with this beautiful process.  Pregnancy has taught me SO many things about myself, about life in general and really truly- God.  It's amazing how something so significant can be taken for granted when it is such a momentous celebration.

As many people know, it was not easy at first for me to find out I was pregnant.  It was not part of "the plan" I had for the near future. But as many people also know, since when do plans work out exactly as you expect?! :o)  Yeah, never.  If life wasn't a roller coaster, than how fun would it be?

Pregnancy has brought much physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to my body.  There are three main things it has taught me:

1) Enjoy things when they are seemingly simple because life can be complicated.  This life is so crazy.  I think us women especially, are always pressing towards career goals, taking care of our families and homes, and being involved in everything we possibly can.  In this time of finishing grad school and pregnancy, I have had to take a step back to see the bigger picture, to enjoy simple things like rest.

Recently, I asked my husband about working an overtime day at the hospital since my clinicals are wrapping up.  He is so wise.  Ray tells me "Lindsay, why do you need to do so much now when you will be so busy later?  Rest now before baby comes.  Enjoy not working all the time."

How true.  I have based so much of my life around working literally all the time that it bothers me to not work if I have time freed up to work.  Somewhat cultural and societal? Yes, I think that our culture praises busy and sees rest as lazy.  But truly, how many more days of rest or not having a day completely booked do I have ahead of me? Not as many after baby as I do now.

So enjoying the simple things is important.  The times I get to take a sip coffee with my husband, taking a nice warm epsom salt bath, running errands by myself on my own schedule because I can.  These are simple things that must be appreciated and enjoyed.

2) Enjoy being bigger. This is a major learning curve for me. I have spent most of my life trying not to be big.  Whether you want to describe this as fat, voluminous, heavy, huge. All someone with a previous eating disorder's worse nightmare.  But what about when getting bigger is better?

This might just be the most healing lesson of them all.  Because I have had to realize that getting bigger is better.  Watching my belly grow means baby is getting healthy and strong.  Every pound I gain means baby Jace's brain is growing and cells are cooperating and functioning as they are suppose to.  And then this becomes so much bigger than myself because I have a responsibility to grow and get bigger.  It's for my child and for their future.  And this is beautiful.

3) Treasure my husband... even more than I have before! This man has given me so much in this life- so much freedom, love, Godly council and wisdom. In this way, he has given my child and me a legacy already.

These are special times and I treasure them.  There are only so many days left (92 to be exact!) when it's just him and me in this physical world.  What an opportunity to show him more love, appreciation, and respect as he too prepares to be a parent.  Because my husband is being prepared for a major life change too and a critical new role: Father.

Being a good father is no easy task. There are many mental, emotional, and spiritual changes my husband is going through too.  All the more reason to treasure my time with him, show him my adoration, appreciation and love.  He does so much for our family, and he loves baby Jace so much already.  He already is a great father!

There really are so many things I have learned and that I am still learning about myself in pregnancy. It is truly a day-by-day process.  I am thankful and grateful I get the continued opportunity to learn and share with you on this blog.

Blessings,

Lindsay


(01/17/2015) Ringling Bridge Run

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gluten Free Carob Almond Fudgy Brownies

Another sweet recipe for you to try healthier options for dessert!  Not only are these brownies easy to make, they are fudgy and chewy just like real brownies! My favorite thing about this recipe is the carob powder.

What is carob powder?  Carob comes from the pod of a trees that grows by the Mediterranean Sea.  The pod contains sweet, edible pulp that can be ground into a powder called carob flour.  It's similar to cocoa powder in color and can be substituted one-for-one in recipes, though it has its own unique flavor and texture. 

It's a great chocolate substitute that is naturally sweet, low in fat, high in fiber, has calcium, and more importantly, has NO caffeine!  This makes it an even better option for those that are sensitive to caffeine and preggos.  In addition, carob is packed with pectin, a soluble fiber.  Traditionally it was used to soothe an upset stomach.  

I decided to add almond butter to my recipe to get some magnesium to help my legs that have been occasionally cramping first thing in the morning this past week.  Remember, almonds are rich in magnesium and great for your muscles and calming.  You can include that in your brownies if you want to.

So dig in and treat yourself to a healthy treat!!  Takes 5 minutes to make and 30 minutes to bake!

Gluten Free Carob Almond Fudgy Brownies

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup carob powder (may use cocoa if you prefer)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs butter, melted
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix together all the ingredients.  Pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before serving. Can store at room temp or in the fridge in an airtight container.









Sunday, January 4, 2015

Raw Chocolate Almond Fudge!

I have a sweet tooth. Not one where I feel like I need to change how I eat, but I certainly appreciate the occasional piece of chocolate- especially if it's dark!

I have been wanting to find something more nutritious that can satisfy my sweet tooth but sneak in some healthy fats for me and baby.


I give you Raw Chocolate Almond Fudge.  


Not only will this knock your socks off, but it will knock of your friends' socks too!  My husband and the company we have shared it with love it, and there is no reason to beat yourself up about having it.  Plus, it's easy to make and has a yummy, sweet crunch!  Not to mention, it is both paleo and vegan friendly.


You can't go wrong with a combo like almond butter and coconut oil.  Try to use a cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil, as the most health benefits can be found in unrefined (also labeled extra virgin).  Refined coconut oils can be treated with various chemicals and are processed in very high heat, compromising the health benefits.  In addition, cold-pressed is preferred (or expeller-pressed) because it is a chemical free method that extracts the oil from seeds and nuts.  It is important to remember that the more heat used in a method of extraction, the more nutritional benefits and quality are degraded.


Almond butter in itself is always a great snack option for anyone- especially preggos!  It is superior to peanut butter in nutritional benefits, such as Vitamin E, magnesium, and iron.  To get the maximum health benefits, opt for raw almonds over roasted.  It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids (great for those developing baby brains!), and one tablespoon contains as much protein as you get from the same quantity of most meats.  In addition, almond butter is an excellent source of fiber, which helps digestion and nourishes tissues.


So let's get to the good stuff- the recipe!  Here are the super easy steps:


Raw Chocolate Almond Fudge (makes as many and as little pieces of fudge as you like!)

1 cup fresh ground almonds/ almond butter 
1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey (I probably used a little bit less, titrate to taste)
1/2 teaspoon himilayan sea salt
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, mix together the almond butter and coconut oil until smooth (this works better if both are slightly warmed).  Add in the cocoa, honey, sea salt, and vanilla, and stir until smooth and creamy.
Transfer the mixture to a dish with a plastic liner for easy removal.  This dish can be a 4 x 8 or 8 x 8, depending on how thick you like your fudge.  Place the dish in the freezer, and allow the fudge to set for at least an hour before slicing and serving.  Keep in mind that because of the coconut oil, this raw fudge will warm and eventually melt if left to sit out too long.  Enjoy!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Biscuits Recipe

First of all, Happy New Year!! I know I've been excited about this new year and watching it unfold.  And of course I look forward to sharing the journey that goes with it!

I love cauliflower.  What's funny now is I'll forget how much I like it, and then I see some recipes and I'm out buying it again!!  Maybe it's pregnancy brain? ;o)

I think my favorite thing about cauliflower is how often and easily you can use it as a healthy grain substitute.  I'm all about getting in as many veggies into my diet as possible, so cauliflower is an easy go-to choice.

What's so great about cauliflower?  Let's examine a few benefits:

1) It helps fight cancer. According to a BioMed Research International article entitled, "Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Fresh and Processed White Cauliflower," cauliflower is rich in bioactive phytochemicals, which may provide desirable health benefits beyond basic nutrition to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.  These secondary metabolites (phytochemicals) contain natural antioxidants due to high levels of carotenoids, tocopherols and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and strong epidemiological evidence shows that these compounds may help to protect the human body against dangerous, cancer-causing reactive oxygen species.  The article can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793502/

2) It boosts your brain health.  Early Alzhemier's disease is on the rise, and I don't believe this is coincidental.  I think diet and environmental factors and toxins contribute greatly.  Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.

Now get this preggos. According to the Journal of Neurophysiology, choline intake during pregnancy "super-charged" the brain activity of animals in utero, indicating that it may improve cognitive function, and improve learning and memory.  Even more incredible, is it may even diminish age-related memory decline and your brain's vulnerability to toxins in childhood! Isn't that amazing!! (btw read more of the article at http://jn.physiology.org/content/91/4/1545)

3) It helps protect your digestive system.  Cauliflower is a great source of dietary fiber, and researchers have determined that sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in cauliflower can help protect the lining of your stomach.  Several recent human studies have also reported the potential effect of sulforaphane eradicating H. pylori infection, an unfriendly menace to the gut.  According to the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, studies have also shown that sulforaphane has the potential to reduce the risk of various types of cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis, respiratory diseases, neurogenerative disorders, ocular disorders and cardiovascular diseases.  This can be further read about at http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380729515_Elbarbry%20and%20Elrody.pdf

So who wouldn't want to eat more cauliflower after knowing just a few benefits?! Here's a great recipe to get you started that you can have at any meal of the day or as a snack (I ate it for breakfast, and it was such a great start to my day!).

Lindsay's Cauliflower Biscuits

1 head of organic cauliflower
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup almond meal flour (from trader joes)
2 organic eggs
1/2  to 3/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic kelp granules (I put this is EVERYTHING!)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
other chopped veggies of your choice! (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use food processor or blender to puree the cauliflower (or you can shred).  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the cauliflower with veggies and spices for about 6 to 8 minutes.




Remove from heat and stir in the eggs and almond meal.



With an ice scream scoop or 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I like to line my parchment paper with coconut oil spray sometimes too to help prevent food from sticking on the parchment.  Bake the biscuits at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until they look browned and crispy.  Allow the biscuits to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Can be eaten fresh or after refrigeration.  Enjoy!

Below here are some with my favorite dip from trader joes! :o)








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