My go-to veggie bowls

Warming + Nourishing + Flavourful. It’s no secret that I love a good veggie bowl.

image4

I find they are so easy to throw together, oftentimes with whatever I have in the fridge.  They are a great way to get all your veggies in and can be fun for kids to put together too! If you’re also familiar with some of my cooking you will know I usually use recipes as a guideline and often can’t recite how I put something together but, it usually turns out okay.

The key for me with the veggie bowls is seasoning and a good (healthy) dressing. The other bonus of these bowls is that they can easily be broken out into fun picky-plates for kids — I know veggies can be a challenge for children but I find providing options like a sweet potato “fry” for example with dip is a helpful way to go about it.

image2

Step one in all veggie bowls: choose your base. I often use quinoa but rice and lentils or even rice noodles can work great as well. Next, I usually add a starch like sweet potato or yams – typically I roast them in avocado oil. I also try to ensure I have a protein component which sometimes includes fish but often is in the form of beans, peas, or tempeh. Occasionally I’ll even add a hard boiled egg. Then I usually finish off with some greens like spinach and if I have some spicy micro greens I add those as well. If I want something quick to add I also like the Wholly Veggie Vegan Bites – my 3 year old calls them hashbrowns but they aren’t hashbrowns at all. They contain loads of veggies + beans and are loaded with flavour while being vegan, non GMO, gluten free, soy free, dairy free and nut free.

wholly-veggie-vegan-bite

image4

You can really add whichever vegetables you want or those that suit your dietary needs.

As for dressings, I have a few go-to’s that are really simple to whip-up. As for store bought, I really enjoy the Primal Kitchen Salad Dressings .

image2

Here are some quick links to recipes I use often:

image7

image5

For additional upgrades I add hemp hearts or pumpkin seeds!

image8

Here are some other inspiring recipes for veggie bowls:

image1

What are your favourite veggie bowl ingredients? 

Advertisements

Preparations for birth

I’ve been trying for weeks now to write this post. It is something that I have been asked a lot about over the last number of weeks but, I wanted to ensure that I didn’t forget anything. I am quite passionate about this topic and I am excited to share my experience! I feel very strongly about how we treat ourselves and our bodies during pregnancy and how important it is for a healthy pregnancy and delivery/recovery. While in today’s society it is very hard to be perfect in everything we do, I do think it is essential to be deliberate and intentional with our choices as much as possible. Growing a human is important work and the more we can do for our bodies during this time, the better!

All that said,  I know women view pregnancy in many different ways. For some, it’s a time of magic and wonder and for others it’s a time they want to get through as soon as possible due to health scares, morning sickness, pains, etc. One thing is for certain, that baby is getting out one way or another. My view – why not do everything you can to try to make sure your body is as ready as it can be? From eating well  to the supplements we take to preparations for birth, there is so much that is in our control.

Everything about pregnancy, birth, and babies fascinates me. Although there are many uncomfortable things about pregnancy, it is really a miraculous experience. When I found out I was pregnant with my first son, like many expectant mothers, I researched so many things. I wanted to know everything I could about the whole process. I was also very cautious not to read too much into what I didn’t want to happen as I wanted my mind to be positive and excited. I wanted to mentally prepare myself to have a short and comfortable labour. I read positive birthing stories (check out Ina May Gaskin books) and refused to hear about the scary sides of labour – not that I didn’t know there are risks and complications, but I simply wanted to mentally focus on the positive sides of delivery.

I want to preface this by saying I don’t think one way of birthing a baby is better than the other and I truly believe it is all birth. C-section mamas are heroes in my eyes because to go through surgery and have to take care of newborn right after, wow, that is some crazy strength right there. This post was born out of my love of pregnancy and all things birth and baby. It really does fascinate me, the whole process, and I really tried to learn everything I could about readying my body. What I could do to have the natural delivery I desired and what I could do to help myself heal after any potential complication. This is just my own experience and what I think worked for me. What may have worked for me, may not work for you, and that’s okay too. I am aware there is much that is out of our control in many circumstances. 

Always talk to your doctor or midwife and decide what you are comfortable proceeding with.

I have been asked a lot of questions around how I was able to have such easy labours. The short answer really is, I have no idea. My 5’10 125lb frame birthed two 9lb babies naturally without a hiccup. Yes, it was somewhat painful but nothing terrible for me. I am slim with small hips and I had little trouble delivering bigger babies. Maybe it’s their head size being not too big, maybe it’s the size of my pelvis, maybe the preparations help, and maybe it’s a combination of things – I may never know! What I do know is I am happy to have had some resources on my side to try to prep my body for what was to come. Yes our bodies are made to do this but any help I could give my body, I was going to try!

Obviously, there are many times where things are out of your control and the health of the baby is first and foremost. Sometimes no matter how much labour prep you do, nature just has other plans. In my case, I have been told by doctors, midwives, and doulas that these things can help and some were even recommended by my midwives.

Labour

I had two different but good experiences with labour. For my first delivery experience three years ago, I delivered in hospital with a doctor and nurses, without any interventions or medication – you can read that birth story, here. For my second labour I was at home with a midwife and that labour was about an hour from start to finish and you can also read that story, here.

Overall, my game-plan going into my first birth was go with the flow. If I wanted to manage pain and there was time do to so, I would, but I would try to do it as naturally as I could for as long as possible. Neither time I needed anything for pain management.

In each pregnancy I used similar preparations for each labour.

This post is for information purposes only. Please talk to your healthcare provider to decide what is right for you and your pregnancy.

Leading up to labour

Teas

I love teas in pregnancy because they can provide added nutrients and mental health benefits as well as labour preparation.

  • Red Raspberry Leaf
    • I drank this tea regularly throughout pregnancy but there are many schools of thought on this one. I was comfortable with 1 cup a day per trimester however some women find it gives them horrible Braxton hicks. Listen to your body and do what you’re comfortable with. This tea is good for strengthening the uterus and is said to help shorten the duration of labour and possibly reduce the need for medical interventions. Most recommendations point to consumption after after the first trimester and to limit consumption until 37 weeks.  I drank it throughout because it not only helps strengthen the uterus but also contains amazing vitamins and minerals including b vitamins, vitamin c, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron.
  • Nettle Tea
    • This tea is great throughout pregnancy but especially helpful towards the end of pregnancy as it is high in vitamin K, which is important in pregnancy for baby, in addition to being high in other vitamins and minerals. I’ve been using nettle tea for years to boost my immune system but it really does have so many benefits!

This is an amazing recipe for pregnancy tea which includes red raspberry leaf and nettle – you can buy high quality nettle and red raspberry leaf in Calgary at Community Natural Foods (in bulk) or at the Light Cellar.

screen shot 2019-01-05 at 9.40.03 pm

Dates

I took dates throughout my pregnancy because I enjoyed the taste of them but also for their supposed benefits for labour. According to one study dates can help to soften the cervix and aid in cervical dilation and possibly reduce the need for medical intervention.

easy-birth-homeopathic-remedy-childbirth-support-supplements_1400x.png

Easy Birth

  • This is a homeopathic remedy to gently encourage the baby into the optimal position for birth and to reduce pain during labour. I took this from 37 weeks under the supervision of my midwives. More information can be found here.

Chiropractic Care

  • I have scoliosis so I see a chiropractor regularly to help me manage my back pain. My chiropractor is very knowledgeable about preparing the body for labour and adjustments for pregnancy and labour. She specializes in the webster technique which is very important when looking for a chiropractor for pregnancy. Being aligned going into labour I think helps the body to do what it knows how to do and to move things along more quickly and easily. There are studies to back this up as well.

image1

Yoga

  • Anything you can do to get that baby down low and in the optimal position is beneficial during pregnancy and for birth. It can also help with mindset! I didn’t get to as many classes as I would have liked in my second pregnancy due to having an older child however, there are many great prenataly yoga videos online that are very helpful.

Affirmations

  • While there are many things that we know can go wrong in labour I did my best to not focus on the horror stories. While it is important to have information and knowledge about what can happen, I think it is also important to keep a positive mindset as much as possible

During Labour

Essential Oils

Depending on where you are birthing, essential oils can have their place. I do know some hospitals have a scent-free policy so they may not allow essential oils. I found peppermint oil to be extremely helpful in both my labours to decrease nausea and I believe that it definitely helped me avoid throwing up. I simply inhaled it straight from the bottle. I am no essential oil expert and there are many that can be useful during labour.

Shower/Warm Water

I wanted a water birth the second time around but, baby just came way too quick for that to happen! The warm water from the shower was really helpful during the early contractions in both labours for me.

I could go on and on about this topic. I think it is amazing what our bodies can do!

What helped you in labour? Comment below! 

|| What Beautycounter is and why I still love it! ||

 

BEAUTYCOUNTER

For starters, let me just say I realize I am far from a model or makeup artist. But, I do know what I like in products and my priorities are as follows:

  • Clean ingredients that have a minimal impact on my health
  • They work well/last a while
  • Selection
  • Price

Beautycounter fits into my priorities perfectly. I absolutely love all of the products but even more so, I love the mission.

IMG_0729

What is Beautycounter? 

Beautycounter is a direct retail company which supplies much needed safe and effective skincare, makeup and personal care items. Their mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone and they are working towards this goal through sharing amazing and safe products, employing an amazing force of people to share the valuable information as well as start a conversation that matters.

Why should I care what is in my everyday products? 

Well, unfortunately, due to cost & a lack of regulation in the industry, many companies use products that are cheaper but still effective but have never been proven to be safe for humans. If you think about it, our skin is our largest organ and what we put on it ultimately is absorbed in – it only takes a matter of seconds. So, while using something with a small amount of a few questionable ingredients once in a while may not be a huge deal, many women (people) don’t just use one product a day – we are using 12-15 or more! Many of the products offered on the market today have thousands of chemicals in them and while I agree not all chemicals are bad necessarily… there are many that are allowed in personal care items because of the lack of regulation that have been proven to be toxic to humans. Our bodies have a limit so if we can make smarter choices even if it is just a few simple swaps, why wouldn’t we!? Whether you use Beautycounter or another brand it is important to be aware of what you are using on a day to day basis.

5MF-Social_GIF_V4

Is Beautycounter an MLM? 

NO! Beautycounter is Direct Retail! What does that mean? Well, it means that there are a variety of channels in which you can purchase your products through! You can even order directly from http://www.beautycounter.com and not have to shop with anyone! It’s just like online shopping anywhere else. Some of the other places you can purchase Beautycounter:

Why is it beneficial to shop with a Consultant? 

Like I mentioned above you absolutely do not have to shop with a consultant! There are perks to doing so though because many consultants run giveaways or exclusives for their valued clients. They also provide an opportunity for you to try out the products and will bring them right to you!! How awesome is that!? It is a personalized shopping experience. They can also help you on a more personal level when it comes to deciding on which products are right for you!

Do you have to purchase a ton of product when you enroll as a consultant? 

Nope! You can and at an amazing discounted rate but you have lots of options! I never have an oversupply of stock that I am trying to offload and I purchase what I personally use and then anything I want for giveaways, gifts or samples. It’s all up to me. There is no required spend as a consultant.

Do I make any money? 

Yes! network marketing and direct sales are becoming BIG BIG business. People like to knock it but I firmly believe it is the way the world is going! I don’t harass anyone to purchase products but I do inform clients and others through various channels about any sales or exclusives or new product launches. I follow up to find out if people need anything or if they are enjoying their newly purchased products.

Did you know that 82% of women who make over 100k do so through direct sales? Also, the network marketing industry is only growing. I’ve seen stats that pin it at a 36 billion dollar industry! People are buying these products…

I do make money each month but I am not making 100k… but you really get out what you put in and I can see how you would be able to generate a sustainable and residual income in this business. I especially love the Beautycounter Direct Retail model where consumers have options. People are loving these products and I really feel like Beautycounter helps to fill a gap in the industry! It also gives people a voice to make change which is something that is really important.

Favourite products

My favourite Beautyounter products are ALL OF THEM. But seriously, daily, I use:

I am also a huge fan of the Countermarch Adaptive Moisture Lotion as well as the Purifying Charcoal Mask. 

ALL MADE WITH SAFE INGREDIENTS!! THE UTMOST PRIORITY! 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby RJ’s Birth Story

The instant of birth is exquisite. Pain and joy are one at this moment. Ever after, the dim recollection is so sweet that we speak to our children with a gratitude they never understand.      
Madline Tiger

Well, it has been an eventful week! I am currently typing this while holding my sleeping newborn and I really should be sleeping as well because I know he will be up shortly for his nightly cluster-feeding sesh.

I had long been anticipating sharing this story. I was looking forward to knowing what my experience would be like this time around, admittedly a little nervous as well.

I love birth – the whole process and preparation fascinates me. It is nothing short of miraculous.  As I have mentioned in previous posts and also in the birth story of my first son, I did what I could to prepare my body ahead of time.

Many people were surprised when I said I was planning a home birth. I however, know many women who have had beautiful and successful home births and the research shows it is safe! Midwives catch babies – that’s what they do and they do it well and I had full faith in my wonderful team of midwives.

If you’re curious, these are two great articles outlining home birth and home birth safety:

I’ve been lucky, my two labours have been very straightforward. My first one was full of prolonged pushing but, still a pretty good labour and I remember feeling so empowered after. It was about 6 hours from water breaking to delivery. This time around, I was prepared to be at home to deliver and wanted to use the birth pool. My midwives were warning me at each appointment that second babies generally come faster than first babies and my first labour was fairly fast so, this one would likely be faster.

Well, it was faster.

There really isn’t a whole lot to share about this birth story as it happened so quickly. It was a precipitous labour and quite intense. The day before, I felt a really weird shift in my pelvis –  I think it was the baby engaging, but I can’t say for sure, other than the fact that it was just a really odd feeling. I had been losing the plug for weeks so I knew it was going to happen soon but, it’s so weird waiting on pins and needles thinking every little ache or pain could be it.

It all started at about 6:20 in the morning, just like last time. I felt like my water had broken and I jolted out of bed and rushed into the washroom to confirm this was the case. It was. I knew that since my water had broken, contractions were likely going to start fairly quickly. I woke my husband up and said “this is going to happen fast, I know it.”  I told him to call my mom to come get our son and then to call the midwife. I hopped in the shower quickly as the contractions were now starting and the warm water really helps me through them.

The whole thing was a blur.

While I was in the shower, the contractions picked up in intensity. I recall repeatedly telling my hubby that we were going to have a baby really soon. I didn’t really time the contractions but I knew they were much closer than 6-7 min and felt more like one after the other with not much of a break.

I never felt worried.

I knew the midwives were on their way and I was excited to meet our son. With all of my preparations for labour and the home birth, I felt ready.

My husband got to work trying to get the birth pool set up. I was really hoping for a water birth because it just seems like such a gentle transition for baby but, for some reason I always had a nagging thought about it – it gave me some anxiety. How do you manage set-up and keeping the water warm? What if your birth is really fast? Anyway, long story short, it just wasn’t meant to be. The midwives arrived while he was trying to set it up. They checked me and I was at 7cm. My mom also arrived to pick up our son who was a little confused as to what was happening but he just assumed I was going to work which was kind of comical.

Everything started to happen even more quickly and more intensely at this point. My husband was still trying to get the pool blown up when it was nearly time to push as I started feeling immense pressure down there. I got on our bed and just basically listened to my body and  the midwife.

My midwife thinks not being in the water and listening to her directions helped the labour along and also helped me to only come away with a very minor tear that didn’t require any stitches. I started feeling the urge to push and the midwife was starting to see the baby’s head. My husband had gone downstairs to help my mom with my son into the car and I called for him to come back quickly. Keep in mind this all probably happened within half an hour.

It was go-time.

I went with the flow. Sipped water, screamed, sniffed peppermint oil when I felt nauseated, pushed harder when I needed to and went with the contractions. When the baby’s head was close to coming out my midwife told me to lie on my left side and to gently cough and listen to her directions on how to gently push the head out. It helped with the intensity too and I was so amazed with how little pushing I had to do. So with a few pushes and a couple coughs and grunts, and my husband catching him, which was so special, he was in my arms, all 8lbs 15oz of him, at 7:39 am… 1hr and 19 minutes after my water had broken.

There were so many emotions running through my mind. So grateful he looked so healthy, amazed at what had just transpired so quickly and so grateful to have done it all at home. It all felt very surreal. He was so chill when he came out and barely cried which startled me at first but then he did and it was all wonderful! He was just super relaxed.

The midwife allowed the cord to stop pulsating to ensure baby got all of that beautifully nutritious cord blood. Once the cord had stopped pulsating it had to be cut as bits of my placenta had broken away a bit and she needed to ensure those were out of me. I delivered the placenta no problem but was given some oxytocin to help with the bleeding.

I held the baby for a while while they got everything cleaned up and then I hopped in the shower and peed and got more skin to skin. He started breastfeeding almost immediately just like his older brother.

image2 (1)

What was quite funny was that my mom had come back to drop off some bread and eggs that I had requested – when she reached there my husband told her the baby was here! She barely made it around the block. This was quite special because my son was able to meet his younger brother almost immediately and be involved in the process right after baby was born.

image3

image1 (1)

It was such a special day and I am so grateful for the whole experience.

My postpartum food picks from Natura Market

 

*This page contains affiliate links. Visit my disclosure section for more information. 

Having healthy and nourishing snacks/food on-hand after giving birth helps post-partum recovery in so many ways. I found it hard to eat big meals after giving birth as my new schedule was set all over the place. Obviously it’s important to eat regular meals but, having some nourishing snacks on-hand makes it easier to sustain yourself through out the day (and night) and can be helpful for breastfeeding and mood.

I like to prepare snacks and meals ahead of time but have found this time around to be a little more challenging with two older children eating everything before I can save it.

If you haven’t heard of Natura Market, they are an awesome Canadian company devoted to making healthy foods and natural products affordable to everyone in Canada. They focus on food items in categories that include: whole30, vegan, gluten free, ketogenic, and paleo. They have all things cauliflower and carry the primal palate brand too amongst many other great brands!

With hormones being a huge factor during pregnancy and after delivery + my issues with my thyroid, I want to be as prepared as possible to help balance those out with food. Here are a few snacks/food items that I am going to have on-hand! I want to be sure to include things that have clean ingredients but also make it easy for me post-partum. I am not supposed to eat gluten (that’s been a challenge for me to which I have failed many times) and I am also supposed to include foods with more zinc into my diet. I also am including foods with collagen to help my gut postpartum and help to deal with any hair/skin issues due to hormones. 

Preparations for home birth

At 37 weeks pregnant I have been in full-blown nesting mode for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I started making mega preparations for the home birth I hope to successfully have.

My reason for choosing a home birth is because I am confident in my ability to birth a baby. I thoroughly loved my birthing experience last time and want to recreate that same empowering experience in my home. I personally believe in birth as an experience as opposed to a medical process (unless of course there is an emergency) and one that can safely be carried out at home under the care of experienced midwives.

Now, I need to start this blog off by saying I am in the care of some fantastic midwives who attend home births regularly. Their care includes protocol for hospital transfer if medically necessary for the health of mother and baby. They attend home births often and I know many women who have had beautiful and successful home births with this collection of midwives and I am truly grateful. If the baby or mother is in distress they won’t hesitate to make the call for hospital transfer. That being said, if a home birth isn’t for you, that’s okay too! Everyone has their own opinions, comfort level, preferences and experiences and all perspectives are important.

I have heard everything from intrigue about home birth, to horror at the fact I’d give birth at home, to full on support saying babies should be born at home. It is really interesting to field people’s reactions to this decision but, the safety is all backed up by midwives and by science!

Canadian Association of Midwives Position Statement on Home Birth 

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way… there are many studies that conclude  home births are no less dangerous than hospital births. This study by McMaster University compared almost 11,500 planned home births to the same number of planned hospital births in Ontario over three years to determine serious events among low-risk women. It found that the risk of  stillbirth, neonatal death or serious neonatal morbidity were low and was no different from those who gave birth in the hospital.

Source: https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/main/news/news_2015/home_birth_study.html Published December 21, 2015. Eileen K. HuttonAdriana CappellettiAngela H. ReitsmaJulia SimioniJordyn HorneCaroline McGregor and Rashid J. Ahmed 

Okay, so, now to the hopefully interesting part! What the heck do you “need” for a home birth!? I definitely didn’t think about all the stuff I would have to acquire for a home birth but obviously you need to have things on-hand to give birth at home. With my first son, I had a wonderful, natural and unmedicated birth at the hospital; you can read the birth story here. The hospital close to me is wonderful and they had an abundance of helpful supplies so it really didn’t occur to me all that I should have on hand.

Once I got started on the list, it wasn’t so bad to get everything together.

Firstly, I rented a birth pool from a local doula collective who take care of absolutely everything for you! Warm water helped so much with pain management last time, I wanted to incorporate it into my home birth and hope to birth in the pool if my labour allows for it. I think a large part of labour is going with the flow, trusting your body and not having things set in stone in your mind.  If i give birth on the bed, that will be okay too! The birth pool will be delivered early next week and we will set it up when I go into labour. It comes with everything you need! Birthing a baby in water is gentle and a natural transition from the womb and provides many benefits to water birth for mother and baby as outlined by the American Pregnancy Association. 

In addition to the birth pool, I purchased a birth kit from my midwives which included pads, homeopathic remedies including Easy Birth,  a sieve for catching anything that might come out into the water (yes, we all know that can happen during labour), as well as calendula tincture and a peri bottle for after the birth.

One of the main things that I needed to source was towels, receiving blankets, and old sheets. Birth is messy so, having an abundance of these items on top of the dryer for the midwives is essential. I was lucky in that a local mama who had recently had a home birth herself donated all of these to me.

Another item that is essential to have on hand is padiscles. These are wonderfully soothing for after baby is born. The hospital supplied them last time. This time to make them I used the Earth Mama new bottom cooling mist, Thayers soothing witch hazel with aloe, calendula, and a bit of lavender essential oil.

Other home birth prep items include:

It’s no secret that I love essential oils! I used them for my birth last time and I definitely think they made a huge difference!

Some that I have on hand for pre-birth, labour, and delivery are:

  • Clary Sage – to help induce labour if I get to that point
  • Basil – to help with contractions
  • Wild orange – to diffuse because it makes me happy
  • Peppermint – to inhale for nausea and to diffuse
  • Lavender – for relaxation
  • Frankincense for skin after birth and protection for baby immune system (used on the bottoms of the feet)

Do your own research about essential oils and decide what might work best for you. Be aware that some hospitals are scent free environments.

The midwives come well-prepared to a home birth and travel with everything that would be in a level 1 hospital room. They have to re-certify their emergency skills each year. they can start IVs – including administering antibiotics for GSB+ women, insert catheters, suction and ventilate baby’s lungs, monitor heart rate/tones as well as administer medicine to help control bleeding or to expel the placenta.

As i get closer to my due date, I am feeling increasingly excited about a home birth and increasingly anxious to meet baby.

I am excited for my next update to be the birth story! Have you had a home birth? Share your experience below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About Beautycounter


 

Now is a great time to become a consultant! Help others switch to safer and introduce your network to these fabulous products! 

Want to earn free and discount items while sharing the importance of safer? Host an online social over the holiday season! 

More about Beautycounter

Our Mission: To get safer products into the hands of everyone.

Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.

What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) does not have the authority to remove harmful ingredients from the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day.

It’s Time for a Change

The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.

Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned close to 1,400 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.

WE DESERVE BETTER, AND WE’RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

At Beautycounter, we’re committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law: We’ve prohibited the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through “The Never List™” — all while ensuring our products perform and that they’re as indulgent as any other luxe shampoo, lipstick, or oil in the market.

IT’S NOT EASY WORK, BUT IT’S WELL WORTH IT.

This is about progress — not perfection. Because every little bit counts.