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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Are We Taking Gentle Parenting Too Far?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not a fan of spanking. It’s not part of how I choose to or want to parent. I don’t take issue with friends who choose to spank. Everyone has to make the right choice for their own family.

There are many aspects of gentle or peaceful parenting that resonate with me. I like to (try to) slow down and discuss things with my kids, understand their point of view, talk things out, etc.
As I am around more parents and families I see a gentle aspect to parenting gaining ground. I feel, for the most part, this can be very positive. I think we need less yelling, less anger and more understanding and patience. But I have begun to wonder…
are we taking this too far?

I’ve heard of many parents who won’t say the word “no” to their child. They find it to be too negative (um…duh?) and is somehow damaging to the child. But life is full of NOs and how are we preparing our kids for that reality if they never hear that word. And honestly, I have a kid who feels everything is merely in the negotiation stage if you haven’t said “no”. Sometimes we need to hear “no”.

Another recent discovery is not telling a child they are doing something wrong but rather trying to guide them to do it the right way but by their own choice. I’ll wait a minute to let you get your head around that…. Now, I’m all for freedom of expression with coloring and pretending blocks are cars, that sort of thing. But if a child is putting their sunglasses on upside down and keeps fidgeting with them because they feel funny, it is ok to say, “You have them on wrong. They go like this.” But what I was recently told was “I try not to tell him he is doing something wrong but rather explain that perhaps he would be more comfortable if he changed something.”

I really have a hard time believing that telling my kid that she did something wrong, something that has a definitive right and wrong way, is going to permanently scar her and make her never share feelings, trust others or be creative. And when my kid is an adult and her boss tells her she has done something wrong, if we have shielded her from this concept her whole life, will she then be confused, hurt and upset? Will she understand how to handle the situation?

One last aspect of gentle parenting I have read about is this idea that we shouldn’t impose our desire and need for cleanliness and order onto kids. That that is our choice on how we want to live and our kids may not be that type of person and it isn’t fair to impose our feelings and beliefs on them (and make them clean or give them consequences for not keep rooms tidy). This seems insane to me. I wish someone had imposed some cleanliness on me as a child. I have struggled as an adult to get myself in a routine of cleaning and organization. We can’t simply allow our children to live in filth because we don’t want to impose our beliefs and will on them.

We need to remember in all of this parenting business that we are ultimately raising adults who need to be a functioning part of society. I fail to see the logic in the idea that guiding them, teaching them and giving them boundaries and rules (and even “no”) based on our life experience and personal beliefs is ruining them for life and that leaving them to rule the house and their lives based on their whims will lead to far greater success and joy in life.


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Just Because You’re Turning 30….

Today one of my favorite people of all time turns 30. My dear friend is just a wee babe, I know.
But don’t fret. Just because you are turning 30, and you’re a mom, and a teacher, does NOT mean you have to be all …mature and stuff.
It’s not a requirement at all.
See…

For the record, we were talking about daycare jobs!

For the record, we were talking about daycare jobs!

Love you girl! Have an awesome birthday!