And Just Like That, We’re Ohioans

Last week we moved from Oklahoma City to Columbus. My father and I drove with our goldendoodle, Sophie from OKC to OH, arriving on December 29th, and my husband, son, mother and our amazing nanny arrived on the next day, my birthday. It was a bit of a bumpy arrival due to weather and airport delays and rerouting, but everyone made it safely.

We camped out on air mattresses in our new house for a few days until the moving truck arrived. The moving company was great. We went with Allied and our driver, Perry was seriously amazing. He knew that I was pretty pregnant and had an almost three-year-old and made it up here as soon as humanly possible, getting a crew together on New Year’s Day to get us all settled.

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The Giant Moving Truck with Perry at the Helm

The last week has pretty much flown by as we work to unpack and rearrange our lives. Indy, our nanny who has been with us for the last 3 years flew home to Oklahoma City yesterday, and we’ve been pretty devastated since. John constantly is asking for her, and due to my pregnancy hormones, just randomly burst out in tears when I think that John may not see her again for a while.

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Our first morning in the new house

One day at a time, right…

Indy was fantastic. She got John’s room unpacked right away so he could have some semblance of normalcy and then moved right onto his playroom.

IMG_5076He’s never had a dedicated playroom before, so this was really special. I’ll post a photo of this sometime in the future now. We just got a sofa from Ikea and it’s mid-assembly…not a pretty sight! She got everything arranged just so for him, and even started to go through his old toys to get things set up for baby boy #2.

She even managed to go through all of John’s old clothes and completely get the nursery set up for me. Seriously, it looks amazing and I am beyond grateful for all the help she gave us. We’re all pretty devastated that she had to go back to Oklahoma though, especially John who asks for her multiple times a day…

However, thanks to all the help she and my parents provided, we can now focus on getting the master unpacked and organized, which is a serious feat. Despite the fact that we have his and hers closets, there seems to much less actual closet space. Therefore, as we open the seemingly endless number of boxes, we have been determining which things we really want to keep and which things we will put into a pile for donations. May I just say, it’s really hard to determine which clothes you want to keep and which you want to donate when you are pregnant. It’s not like you can just try it on to see how it fits and make a decision. Literally nothing fits!

Anywho, I decided that we needed to get our house in order and that meant some serious organization. Cue multiple trips to the container store and lots of Amazon Priming happening over here. Oh, and ordering more furniture. This house is about double the size of our previous house thanks to the amazing basement, which means that we simply don’t have enough furniture to fill it.

This allows me to focus a little bit on my Restoration Hardware obsession and actually purchase some items that I’ve had my eyes on for years. Particularly these chairs and this dresser. I have my eye on this dining room table as well…

The biggest organizational need was our pantry. I tossed a lot of items before the movers arrived in OKC because things were open, or the moving company told me they couldn’t be moved, but there were still a tremendous number of products that needed organization. We ordered some spice racks, some pantry organizational bins, some spinning trays, and lots of airtight storage containers. Trust me, getting this pantry organized allowed me to achieve somewhat of a zen-like peace that pre-organization, caused serious anxiety. Indy also helped to organize the pantry (seriously, not sure what I would have done without her!).

We finally got ourselves a Nest thermostat as well. My parents have had these at their house for quite some time and it’s always amazing to be able to control the thermostat from afar, especially when you’re pregnant, upstairs and can’t possibly imagine climbing down the stairs to adjust the thermostat!

There’s still so much more to be done, but we’ve certainly gotten a good handle on the unpacking thus far. And on that note…I’m off to unpack and organize some more!

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Happy National Relaxation Day When Your Stress Levels are High!

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So today (August 15th) is National Relaxation Day! I hope you’re all doing your best to relax today. I had my typical busy work morning seeing patients in clinic, but I’m getting my fair share of relaxation in later this afternoon. I’m going for my second appointment with my acupuncturist today (that’ll be a separate blog post after a couple more sessions) to help me de-stress and pump up my fertility.

I’m on some new herbs as well, prescribed by my acupuncturist, with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety while simultaneously increasing my overall fertility. It’s hard to not be stressed right now though, honestly. We told our friends and family that we’re planning to relocate at the end of the year, gave notice at work and we put our house up for sale yesterday. Between attempting to keep our house spotlessly clean with a 2.5 year old and a dog, and house-hunting virtually because we’re moving to another state, stress levels are high. I’m just hoping we don’t end up temporarily homeless at some point.

To help keep my stress in check, I’m trying to work out more, keep those feel-good endorphins coming in regular doses. A few weeks ago I tried Crossfit for the first time, and I’m really loving it. I feel way stronger than I have in a long time and I have the blisters and calluses to prove it. Perhaps it is because I have missed the strength component that comes with lifting some weights. Additionally, the cardio components of the metcon workouts kick my butt on the regular. The camaraderie is really nice as well. It takes me back to my days as a Division I athlete in college when we would have our group practices and weight room time. I like the “we’re all in this together” attitude.

So in an effort to relax as much as possible, I will be going to acupuncture and Crossfit today while our realtor is showing our house this afternoon. Afterwards, I will come home and take a nice hot shower and snuggle my son. I think it sounds like a pretty good way to achieve some good relaxing…

What are your plans for National Relaxation Day?

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Photo from here

A Little about Supplements

A few people have recently been asking about the supplements I take and why, as well as recommendations for supplements, so I thought I’d throw it together in a blog post so it’s all here in one place.

Let’s start with what I take and why…

As mentioned in this post, I take magnesium twice a day to manage my migraine headaches. It is an over the counter supplement, but was recommended by my neurologist and it has dramatically improved my migraines. I use this in combination with prescription medication, but have noticed a big difference since starting these magic mags…As always, I would encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider for any medical issues/concerns you may have.

I also take a prenatal multi-vitamin daily. I’m not currently pregnant, but I love the extra dose of folate and B12. I think it improves my memory and makes me feel more balanced. I really love the mykind organics prenatal vitamin. These are Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, made from nothing but real, whole foods, which it turns out, can be hard to find. These have folate and iron, but also contain peppermint and ginger which can be soothing for nausea in pregnancy (when that time comes). They honestly don’t smell great, but I’ve gotten used to the smell, and they definitely don’t make me queasy, which other vitamins have done in the past. They also make a gummy version for people who prefer gummies, but the gummies don’t contain iron, which is important for pregnant women, so that’s just something to keep in mind if that applies to you.

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I take a daily calcium + vitamin D supplement as well. This is mostly because I have been on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) since I was 16, and they carry a risk of increased premature fractures as you age, so I’m trying to keep that at bay. Unfortunately, my acid reflux despite trials with dietary modifications is out of control and PPIs are the only way I can survive.

I take a daily probiotic to help improve my gut flora (when I remember) as I can be a victim of irritable bowel at times, although less lately. I say when I remember because I keep them in the refrigerator and usually if it’s not in my handy dandy pill box (see below), I don’t remember to take it. Diane Sanfillipo had this one all over her InstaStories and it looked so convient, so I ordered one for myself and my husband. Yay for no more pill bottles all over the bathroom counter!

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Every morning for breakfast I make myself a smoothie and take it to work with me. These were inspired by Body Love by Kelly LeVeque and her Fab Four Smoothies.  My usual base is almond milk + Garden of Life Vanilla Protein Powder + some other combination of things. Currently I’ve been adding ground flax seeds and some mixed nut butter. I like this powder because it is, like my prenatal vitamins, certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, RAW Vegan Protein powder made with 13 raw sprouted proteins delivering 22 grams of protein that is dairy free with a complete profile of all the essential amino acids along with added whole food fat-soluble vitamins, probiotics and enzymes. It also supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes, which I love. Bonus: it’s not at all gritty which just makes it even better!

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I also add 1/2 tsp. Ashwagandha to my smoothies. This stuff doesn’t take good, so you definitely have to disguise it in something. Ashwagandha is reputed to help support emotional balance and brain function, and acts as a potent antioxidant to boost the immune system.

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In a recent study conducted by the U.S. National Library of medicine, it was reported that this tonic herb may help with asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, depression and blood pressure. It is also thought to support the endocrine and nervous system functions as well.

Since I suffer from asthma, occasional bouts of arthritis, occasional fatigue and am trying to conceive, I fee like it’s a good addition.

The last supplement I use on a daily basis is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. There are several different kinds of products Vital Proteins makes, but I use their beef-based collagen peptides.  It’s unflavored and not at all gritty. I add two scoops to my morning coffee that I take with me to work and I don’t even notice that it’s there. I like the collagen because it has 18g of natural protein, and works to improve hair, skin, nails and joints, ligaments, tendons.

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I feel like I need as much help as I can get in this area, particularly because I started going to Crossfit and am living in a perpetual state of ridiculous soreness all the time. Also, I have terribly thin nails and they need all the help they can get. I don’t know if this is a coincidence to using the collagen peptides or Beautycounter’s new amazing hair line, but my hair has been way more curly than it used to be and I’m totally digging it!

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OK, I’m pretty sure that’s everything I take and why. If you have more questions about any of these products, comment below. And I’m always open to suggestions. If you use something you love that you want to share with me, comment below for that too!

 

My Battle with Migraines

I have suffered from migraine headaches for several years now, but they have definitely gotten worse since John was born. I was attending a nurse practitioner continuing education seminar a little over a year ago and one of the presentations was given by the Chief of Neurology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (where I work). The topic was migraine management. This was an excellent lecture for me to attend because several of my patients complained of constant headaches and I did not have too in-depth of knowledge basis to manage it. I usually just sent them to neurology for management (since they had many other co-morbidities). Little did I know that this migraine lecture would change my life.

Not only did it give me the knowledge I needed to comfortably manage my patient’s migraine headaches, but it gave me the overview that I needed to figure out what to do about my constant migraine suffering.

After that lecture, I went up to the physician presenter and asked him if he was taking new patients. I made an appointment with him and had a comprehensive initial (and a few subsequent follow-ups) visit. He diagnosed me with chronic migraines with sensory auras (I get tingling in my 4th and 5th fingers before they start) as well as abdominal migraines (previously diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)). He started me on a non-selective beta blocker and some magnesium. After that, I noticed a pretty significant improvement in my day-to-day symptoms.

However, about a year into treatment, I started developing horrible, daily migraines. I wasn’t sure what had brought them on. We tried to add another medication but I found it overly sedating. I started to wonder if my diet could have a link to my migraine triggers. I already had previously been diagnosed with IBS/abdominal migraines, and a complete GI work-up told me I didn’t have celiac disease, but I wasn’t certain if there was a link between gluten and migraines. I did a search on PubMed to see if there was any science to back up my theory and found a few articles (here, here and here) that showed a link between celiac disease and migraines.

I read enough that I thought an experiment would be helpful. I cut out all gluten for 4 weeks in an effort to determine if a gluten-free lifestyle would improve my migraines. I purchased a bunch of paleo and grain-free cookbooks and found recipes online to supplement so I wasn’t stuck with “boring” meals. And wouldn’t you know it, a week in and there were no migraines! And my gut was way better too. No bouts of IBS/abdominal migraines either. I felt so good I tried to cut my migraine medicine dose in half to see if I really needed it (that was a bad idea and later day I had a real bad migraine). I went back to my prescribed dose and have stayed away from gluten and remain pretty much migraine-free.

So the moral of the story…if you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, you should probably see a specialist. However, if it’s a long wait to get in to said specialist, try an elimination diet to see if you notice a difference.

Have any questions about my experience? Leave a comment below and we can discuss.

Our Family Trip to Clearwater

For the past two years, we’ve gone on a family vacation with my husband’s family. Last year we went to the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms in South Carolina and had a great time with all my in-laws.

This year we decided on Clearwater, Florida. John did really well on the two airplanes (OKC – IAH – TPA) and was obsessed with the safety information card. He showed me how the oxygen masks would be available if necessary, and stressed that I put on mine first, and then helped him with his…this little boy…

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Most of the family had already arrived when we got to Tampa and we shared a cap to the the Hyatt Regency, which was a really great, family-friendly resort. They had a great restaurant in the hotel did a great job at accommodating our party of 16; the food was super yummy at Shor and the service was prompt. If you go there, get the mixed grill for dinner. It was seriously delicious! John even loved the chocolate croissants for breakfast from the coffee shop in the lobby.

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We had seriously some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life! The fireworks on July 4th were also pretty beautiful. They may have woken John up, but they were quite the show.

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Sleep proved challenging. I brought a twin-sized blow up air mattress for John to sleep on, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it; in fact, the first night he was silently crying (I thought he was sleeping) for almost an hour after I put him to sleep. Instead, he insisted on sleeping with me. This would not have been bad, except he insisted on sleeping literally on top of me the entire night. My chest was his pillow. This wouldn’t have been terrible, except my 2.5 year old is the loudest snorer! Even with ear plugs, I had a difficult time sleeping at night.

My sister-in-law Lina was really amazing for coordinating the hotels, getting us cabanas on the beach, making sure everyone was fed and clean and dry and even babysitting John at night so I could go eat with “the adults.” I really wish we lived closer and got to see everyone more often.

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The only thing that would have made this vacation better was if Bashar was able to come. Unfortunately, he had to stay in Oklahoma City and work the July 4th holiday at the hospital. We really missed him, but our days were full of text exchanges and FaceTime calls. John really missed his “baba” as he calls him, and was attached to my brother-in-law Andrew, who I think he viewed as his baba-replacement. John’s not really able to say many multiple syllable words, but he nailed Andrew after about 2 hours. It was impressive. He also played with his cousins non-stop. I swear he had expanded his vocabulary significantly after being around older kids for 5 days.

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John was absolutely obsessed with the beach. It was the first thing he asked for in the morning, “me go beach?” and the last thing he asked for before bed, “mama, me go beach?” It makes me sad that there isn’t a beach in Oklahoma City where I can take him. I suppose the playground with the sandbox will have to suffice until our next trip!

I think next year we’ll pick a different location, although this one was really nice; I certainly wouldn’t mind returning. Next year though, we’ll definitely plan it better to ensure that Bashar can come. It was a real bummer that I was with all of his family and he had to miss it! Any other suggestions for fun family-friendly beach vacation in the US? Leave them below!

Avocado Egg-y Toast

Avocado toast…it’s everywhere. I remember about 7 years ago, I had avocado toast for the very first time. It was amazing, and I think relatively new at that point in time. Now regular old avocado toast seems boring. We need to find exciting ways to “jazz” it up. Cue my avocado egg toast.

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I made this on Sunday, Father’s Day and it was a HUGE hit, and took relatively no time to whip up. I toasted some gluten free Whole Foods brand sandwich bread and boiled some cage free pasture-raised eggs. While those were going, I cut and mashed up an avocado. I smeared the avocado on the toast and when the eggs were ready, smashed those down with a fork. The thing that seriously made this delicious was the Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning. Seriously…game changer.

My husband loved this and I’d call it a win in my book.

Avocado Egg-y Toast

Ingredients:
1 avocado
4 slices gluten free bread
2 eggs, hard boiled
Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Add eggs to pan and bring the water to a boil. Once water is boiling, gently add the eggs. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let the eggs stand in hot water for about 12 minutes.
  2. Toast bread to desired level of brownness.
  3. Remove avocado from its skin and mash.
  4. Place avocado on toast
  5. Peel eggs and place on egg on top of avocado. Mask the egg with your fork
  6. Sprinkle with Everything Bagel seasoning to taste
  7. Eat this deliciousness…

 

 

Why I Switched to Safer

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About two years ago, one of my very close friends, Laura, told me about a company called Beautycounter. She told me that many of the personal care products that I was using had never been tested for safety on human health. She shared an info graphic with me that was really alarming, as I was pregnant at the time. It said that newborn cord blood was tested and showed over 200 toxins present in cord blood at the time of birth. This was especially disturbing to me as I was pregnant with my son, John at the time. I was appalled and started doing research.

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I soon discovered that the last law that was passed to regulate the beauty industry was passed in 1938. The bill that governs the entire $62 billion beauty industry is 1.5 pages long. Think about that in context to say, the Affordable Care Act (2,300 pages!!). Things that regulate our health should be long and comprehensive; they should protect us!

Cue Beautycounter. Their mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. They are a B Corp, one of 2,100 B Corps in the world…the entire world! That’s a really prestigious label. Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. This is what makes them so different: they put the environment and people ahead of profits.

There are 1400 chemicals banned or restricted from personal care products in the European Union. The U.S. bans only 30. In the absence of meaningful cosmetics regulation in our country, Beautycounter has taken it upon themselves to create a unique and stringent set of standards that consider consumers’ long-term health. They source their ingredients based on performance, safety, and cost and favor organic and natural ingredients, and non-GMO raw materials whenever possible. Beautycounter formulates and manufactures their products in the U.S. Their Never List is a group of toxic chemicals whose harmful effects are beyond debate. The Beautycounter ingredient selection process is unlike any other in the industry: each ingredient is evaluated for health, safety, and performance before it is considered for formulation. They don’t keep secrets.

The Choices We Make Today Matter Tomorrow: Beautycounter chooses product packaging based on performance, safety, recyclability, and cost, and sources materials made in the U.S. whenever possible; in fact, over 90% of their products are manufactured in the US with over 50% manufactured in California. They are exploring the use of glass and bio-based plastics, but in the meantime favor plastics that are not known to leach toxic chemicals, and those with high post-consumer recycled content and which are recyclable in most communities. Secondary packaging is kept to a minimum and they use recycled and FSC-certified paper for packaging and shipping materials.

Stronger Together: Beautycounter is proud to call Environmental Working Group (EWG), The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and Healthy Child Healthy World their trusted nonprofits. When someone joins Beautycounter’s mission, every Beautycounter Member and Consultant has the option to donate $10 to one of these organizations. In addition to being part of the B Corp community, Beautycounter is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, the Biz-NGO Working Group, the Direct Selling Association, and the Safe Cosmetics Business Network.

Offsetting Carbon Emissions: Beautycounter is a CarbonFree partner of Carbonfund.org. They offset their carbon footprint from the office energy and paper use, travel, manufacturing, and shipping. Beautycounter is an environmentally conscious office and as the company grows, they pledge to always look for ways to keep our environmental footprint small.

These are just some of the amazing reasons why I chose to join Beautycounter. If you’re interested in getting more information about Beautycounter comment below. If you want to join me on this mission, click here!

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