Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood


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Intentional Birth and Pregnancy

husband wife pregnant

To say I am into pregnancy, birth and all that surrounds it would be an understatement. It’s possible to say I’m obsessed but that sounds so negative (and looney) so I prefer to say passionate.
I have 4 children and have enjoyed obsessing, err, exploring all aspects of pregnancy the minute I get a hankering to have a baby.
But it was my 5th pregnancy that had me realizing that “all” I had been exploring had very little to do with truly understanding pregnancy and birth. I discovered I was pregnant in January of this year. I began digging into aspects of natural childbirth, homebirth and things along those lines. But I was still a bit obsessed (there it is again!) with those little things like what vegetable is the baby the size of and what parts is she growing now.
Most likely due to my low progesterone levels, I lost my baby somewhere around 9 weeks.
Since that time I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and desires (or lack of) for more children. We won’t get into where I am or where we have landed in that arena. But I will say that I have become aware of something that I had never truly experienced through 6 pregnancies and 4 children – intentional pregnancy and birth.
I don’t mean intentional, like I planned to get pregnant (though that is what happened most of the time lol) and planned to give birth. I mean intentionally understanding what happens during the intricate and lengthy processes of pregnancy and birth, what to expect, and how to have the best possible outcome.
We have come to accept “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” as the only manual you need for pregnancy and birth (and they pay dearly for us to believe it). Thinking all we need to know is every day by day of what our baby may be doing or what sixe it may be. And sometimes we focus more attention and time on what we plan to paint the nursery or finding the perfect going home outfit. But there is FAR more to pregnancy and childbirth and the lack of this knowledge has led to many generations of women who FEAR birth and don’t trust their bodies.
I’m not saying everyone should have a homebirth or intervention-free birth. I truly feel all women should make the right choice for them. But I think we need to start taking responsibility for our pregnancies and births. We need to genuinely understand the physiology of pregnancy and birth. If we don’t know what typically does or possibly could occur and how to handle it, how can we possibly NOT succumb to fear. Without this knowledge we simply are along for the ride with OBs who don’t always have our best interest at heart. (I know some of you read that as me saying the OBs are out to harm us- not what I mean. But they are quite often focused on managing and controlling every aspect of our births rather than allowing our bodies to do what they are made to, even if at times of day and holidays)
There are some amazing resources to explore in order to have a truly intentional pregnancy and birth.

  • The Business of Being Born (documentary) – As of the date this si written, available on Netflix streaming
  • Birth Without Fear (Blog and Facebook page) – birth stories of every kind (including c-sections, you can have a positive section) and so much more
  • Mama Natural (Blog, Youtube Channel & FB) – Folks, this Mama is awesome. She teaches so much about pregnancy and birth and she feels like a best friend. I just love her!
  • Peaceful Parenting (has great lists of books and other info to explore) – This stuff is deeply researched and thorough. So many resources.

I admit that if we are blessed with another baby, I truly want a natural birth at home (something I never had with my other 4 children). I realize not everyone wants this, and that’s ok. You should still be intentional and well informed. And I plan to be very intentional should that time come, by taking in as much knowledge as possible on what to REALLY expect.
Happy birthing!

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Katy Perry is NOT My Girl Power Icon

Roar!

Roar!

Ever since Katy Perry released her song “Roar” it has been used at any sporting event involving a big cat mascot (including the Bengals, much to the disappointment of fans).
It has also become some sort of “girl power” theme song. Moms happily sing along with their daughters, feeling they are being empowered as females and developing quite a love for Perry herself.
But why wouldn’t you. She’s a successful singer who is belting out a tune that makes girls feel strong and confident, right?
Except it’s one song and positive girl power is NOT Ms. Perry’s M.O.
Before you get all, “Let’s buy you every Katy Perry song on itunes, sweetie because she is all about awesome girl power!” let me take you back to a cringe-worthy little number called “Last Friday Night”

“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

There’s a stranger in my bed,
There’s a pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
DJ’s passed out in the yard
Barbie’s on the barbeque
This a hickie or a bruise

Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
Damn

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Op-oh-oh

This Friday night
Do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again

Trying to connect the dots
Don’t know what to tell my boss
Think the city towed my car
Chandeliers on the floor
Ripped my favorite party dress
Warrant’s out for my arrest
Think I need a ginger ale
That was such an epic fail

Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
Damn

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on table tops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois

Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Oh whoa oh

This Friday night
Do it all again
(Do it all again)
This Friday night
Do it all again
(Do it all again)
This Friday night

T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on table tops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois

Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Oh-whoa-oh
This Friday night
Do it all again

[Clapping] Whohoo!

So let’s sum this up: got completely drunk (to the point of no memory), not sure what I did, trashed a lot of stuff, bad pics ended up online, slept with a stranger.
Girl power.

There is a time in history where we women were told that this sort of thing is being powerful. We were lied to and I am quite sure we know better by now. Don’t we?
I guess if that is how you want to live your life then, whatever (I really won’t know anything about it because we aren’t friends). But I doubt all those moms out there praising Katy Perry and her “girl-power” song want THIS for their daughters. This is the type of somg Ms. Perry consistently puts out.
I have 4 daughters and I believe in instilling confidence and power in them. I do not believe Katy Perry stands for that in the least. If you want to rock this song as such, go for it. But you may want to stop your Katy Perry playlist there. And in the mean time, find some more worthy girl-power role models for your daughters – like you.


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Homemade Protein Shake

Don't act like you don't drink out of mason jars!

Don’t act like you don’t drink out of mason jars!

Protein shakes are pretty popular these days. Everyone seems to be going low carb and high protein based on various diets out there. I’ve enjoyed them as a quick breakfast with a big dose of protein to start my day and keep me full. I’m not following any particular diet. Mine is to control certain health issues.
But those protein powders are pretty processed, which is something I try to avoid. And when one of your health issues has you cutting back on sugar, those powders just won’t do.
So now I make my own protein shake and I really love it. I drink this almost every morning.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Coconut, and Banana Protein Shake

1/2 cup Milk (whatever you’ve got, I use whole raw)
1 Tbsp Cottage cheese (one with a highrer fat content, mine is 4%)
1 Tbsp Greek Yogurt, plain (again, full fat, please)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Peanut butter
1 Tbsp Coconut oil (I like the unrefined in this recipe, it adds coconut flavor)
1 Tbsp (heaping) Cocoa powder
1/4 Cup Walnuts (shelled, of course)
1/8 cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 Banana (do I need to say peeled?)
A handful of ice (if using a frozen banana, skip ice)

Toss it all in the blender and blend until smooth.
Enjoy!

If you are just getting used to less sugar you may want to add a bit of honey to this as you wean off of sugary foods.


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Discouraged By Perfection?

I wrote a few months ago about how I think Real Food Bloggers need to get real already. It really is something that frustrates me and I feel turns a lot of people off of making better choices. If you’re constantly being told that the little changes you make aren’t good enough, then why bother?
I’m prone to griping about what bothers me and what I see wrong. But I have seen it said, I don’t know exactly…something about promoting what you love instead of bashing what you hate. I probably need to do more of that. Maybe we all do.
A post on Instagram made me feel the need to promote something I truly do love.
Organic Eater.
I don’t know Organic Eater (a.k.a. Dana) personally which makes this more valuable, I think. While so many bloggers out there are saying unless you meet their standard of food perfection you’re not doing enough. When they are saying if you can’t afford Organic you probably can give something up or work more hours. When they are saying if preparing so much food on your own is overwhelming, work more so you can pay someone else to do it.
Organic Eater is saying none of this.

She is saying to do what you can. To be willing to take any steps you can. To learn more. Do more. Do the best you can in your moment, in your situation. To simply work towards living a low crap lifestyle. That little steps matter and count and are worth while. Because they are.
She doesn’t demean, put down, act holier than thou. No insults. Quite the opposite.
She encourages, supports, and genuinely loves people towards a healthier lifestyle.
No matter where you are in this journey of eating well Dana will be there for you. Check out her blog and follow her on Instagram (she’s more active there).
She’s a mom and a wife living in the real world and encouraging people every day. Thank you for all you do, Dana!
#lowcraplifestyle


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One Size Fits All Nutrition

vegetables

I have a passion for nutrition. I love food and I love finding fun ways to eat healthy. I also truly enjoy helping others learn to make their health and nutrition a priority. I have many friends and family members who ask me for advice from simple substitutions to full meal plans. Someday I hope to do more with this aspect of my passion but right now I am focusing on raising my kids.
So knowing that healthy eating is my passion the next question is which idea do I believe in and teach? Paleo? Primal? Low carb? High fat? High protein? Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw?
The answer…. none.
I do not for one minute believe in one size fits all nutrition. I do believe there are certain things that fit across the board, such as avoid high fructose corn syrup and food dyes and artificial ingredients.
But I don’t think there is one way of eating that is 100% right for every single person. We all have such variety to our bodies and how they function best and what deficiencies they may have. It isn’t at all reasonable to say that any one way of eating can meet the needs of every single individual.
I am about 95% wheat free. I don’t go all out gluten free. I am NOT celiac but I have discovered it affects my blood sugar levels immensely (insulin resistance and PCOS). I do not believe everyone should therefore be wheat free (I know MANY people who get this way).
Our family drinks raw milk (and has been happily for over a year now) but I recently read a blog post by a mom whose family didn’t do well on raw milk. By golly, if it ain’t working don’t do it. I don’t care how healthy someone says it is.
It is so easy to find information that tells you whatever you want. I could present you with article after article on why wheat is good and why it is bad. Same with dairy, meat, anything.
I refuse as a mom, a health enthusiasts, as a nutrition passionist (yeah, I made that up) to jump on any eating bandwagon. When people ask me for help I try to meet them where they are and address them individually as much as I can with the knowledge I have and the research I do.
One day I do hope to obtain some sort of certification or degree in nutrition but I refuse to get a traditional degree (think Registered Dietician). They teach a complete one sized fits all approach to nutrition and don’t even get me started on their love of “diet” foods, low-fat and artificial sweeteners. We need far more nutritionists who study integrative nutrition and who understand that people are individual and there is no one way that can work for every single person.

I suggest you focus on incorporating more real food and less processed foods. Get in tune with your body and how it feels. You would be amazed at how much you can discover about what you need by listening to your body.

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Summer with the kids has kept me busy and I am now doing weekly freelance writing over at Buy Me A Pie. But I’ve missed being here and need to make more time for it. Always searching for balance!


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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

ScaleDo you ever read some of the articles and blog posts on how to get in shape and think, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”? (thank you Sweet Brown!)
I know I do.
This morning I was reading a blog post from one of those real food bloggers I mentioned before. She was talking about how she lost weight with the help of her Fitbit. Now I read her posts so I know a bit about her life situation. I suggested that I would love to see a post about how to realistically get fit when you have 3+ kids, no nanny, no housekeeper and can’t afford a treadmill desk or fitbit and also don’t live somewhere with perpetually perfect weather.
Well her only reply was to say that the treadmill desk was a necessary investment for her personally because of her long hours at her computer for work (I get that). But she did feel the Fitbit was fully worth the $100 investment and costs less than a personal trainer and most gym memberships (who said I can afford those either! lol).
She never addressed the nanny, housekeeper, number of kids or where you live. Her emphasis on the device made me return to the post. I then noticed two things: her asking who wants to do a Fitbit challenge along with her AND links to purchase a Fitbit. Well clearly everyone is going to see that she lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks and that she is emphasizing this specific device in being key. And THEN they get a chance to do a challenge with a well-known blogger. Well, I imagine these Fitbits are flying off the shelves. And this blogger is making a pretty penny on it. See, those links all go to a specified Amazon page where she will earn money when people buy through that link.
No wonder that was the only part of my query she addressed (and emphasized how she couldn’t have lost the weight without it).
Now it may be a great device. Maybe you own one and love it. Good. Go get ’em, tiger.
I could probably muster up the money for it (though I can think of so much more to spend it on. I have FOUR kids!). But then you have to log all of your food and weigh yourself and enter your weight into it (or by a special scale that does it for you, and the blogger makes money off of that too).
I just feel like…ain’t nobody got time for that! (seriously, have you seen the autotune? Awesome.)
I told my husband about my dilemma. There aren’t realistic weight loss or getting fit posts. Nobody seems to take into account having 4 kids, rushing them to sports, running your own daycare (more kids!), being a freelance writer, cooking and cleaning (no nanny or housekeeper here!) and the unpredictable weather of the midwest. I don’t have time to hit the gym nor do I have the money for the membership.
My husband says, “It sounds like YOU need to write this post.”
Hmmmm….
I think he is right. So now I plan to think of ways to fit in fitness when it seems impossible. And how to do it with little to no money spent.
I’ll let you know what I come up with in a future post (where I promise to not try to sell you things).
In the meantime, how have you managed to fit in fitness?


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Real Food Bloggers Need To Get Real

I have plenty of family and friends who think I’m a bit over the top with my healthy living. They think I take things a bit far or question my sanity as well as the time I spend on certain things. But they have no idea the multitude of things I don’t do or choose

The biggest garden we can plant where we live.

The biggest garden we can plant where we live.

not to stress over. There is plenty out there that is bad, dangerous, toxic, healthier, better…that I am just not worrying over.
I can’t.
It’s not realistic for me to function like that. Or try to function, since I know I would never actually be able to function while doing the “best” of everything. We all have to determine what is best for our family’s personally and for us that is a mix of things.
But I do love to share knowledge of things I find helpful, healthful and interesting. I’m kind of a health and wellness nerd so what is interesting to me may make you fall asleep. Still, I try to share things that I think may improve someone’s health or give them great options. Or simply make them think.
But we have a serious problem with Real Food Bloggers. They seem to live in some counter-reality. I mean, I get that their lives are real and that there are others out there who live a similar life, but not the majority.
They write about the simplicity and ease of living a real food lifestyle and making everything you eat from scratch and anything you can’t make you buy local every other day….or whatever.
They have 1, maybe 2, kids and a nanny, housekeeper and enough money to blow on fancy gadgets to make themselves and their family even more healthy.
They live in California and have access to 40 different varieties of local produce year round.
Essentially they live a life that no one I know actually lives. And them singing the praises and simplicity of real food from where they are just makes it all seem unrealistic and unattainable. It is not actually encouraging people to improve their eating and make better choices. It is overwhelming them with the idea that somehow they are supposed to dive right in and find it so easy. It’s not easy and sometimes there are limits. Location, lifestyle, work, children, money…all potentially limiting factors. (Yes, money. Please, for the love of all things healthy, real foodies STOP saying things like, “If you think organic is expensive, you should try pricing cancer.” I LOVE Joel Salatin but that quote did not magically make money appear in my bank account. If you use this quote then you have no clue what it is like to struggle with money. You aren’t helping your cause. Just STOP.)
I am hoping to see more realistic Real Food Bloggers start popping up and sharing what they do and how they do it. People from all over with all different budgets and numbers of family members, talking about how they manage to make life just a little bit healthier for their family while not going mad. That’s a lot more real.