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asymmetry in breast tissue, mammogram

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Last Wednesday, I went in for my routine mammogram and annual visit to my gynecologist. These exams have become a box to check off, since my hysterectomy. In fact, I know many women who get a hysterectomy and think they’re done. They think they’re safe. I thought I had passed the days of gynecological surprises. I thought the days of impromptu biopsies, year long periods, in office D & Es and miscarriages were over. However, last Thursday, I was informed that my mammogram warranted a call back and further testing.

“We found asymmetry in the tissue of your right breast.”

That’s all that I heard. I’ve never wanted to rewind time and unhear anything so much in my life since 2012. I’m in shock, I’m sad, I’m mad but mostly, I’m scared. I don’t usually do “scared”. I’ve spent a lifetime fighting through and overcoming hard things. I know it sounds selfish and simple but I don’t want to have to do this. 

I’ve done research and mostly everything I’ve read says it’s probably nothing but until I get my follow up mammogram and ultrasound, I won’t know. I’m doing that this morning. In fact, this post will go live while I’m getting it done. The Big Guy and our girls insisted on going with me. I told them no but then I remembered being alone and getting that news in 2012 and I accepted their support but then part of me feels guilty because what if it is bad news and I can’t shield them from it? I won’t be able to hide my breakdown. I know my bandwidth, I won’t be able to protect them from the hurt and that is devastating to me.

I’m so scared and I don’t know how to process any of this so I’m writing it all here.

I’m more scared than I’ve been in a long time. The last time I was this scared was when I was spotting while pregnant with my third child. Spotting just like I’d done with both pregnancies before. I went in to see my Ob/Gyn as a formality, just to be sure. I was positive that they’d tell me everything was fine and send me on my way. I went to the appointment alone. Instead, I was told that my baby no longer had a heartbeat. Since then, I take nothing for granted and I know that nothing is guaranteed. 

I’m so scared.

I’ve spent the entire weekend experiencing a gamut of emotions.I’ve cried. Sobbed in the shower. I’ve been angry. I’ve been terrified. I’ve slept a lot because being scared is exhausting. I flashed forward and looked backward. I’ve taken an inventory of my life and all the things I’ve done and all the things I still want to do. There is so much more life I want to live.

I’m scared.

I want to comfort my husband and my daughters because they’re scared too ( even though each of them has put on a brave face and told me everything is going to be fine), but I’ve realized something about myself, I can’t give from an emotionally overflowing with fear or sadness cup. When I’m this scared, I shut down out of sheer self-preservation. I can only turn inward to keep my composure. If I think too much or talk about it too much, my thoughts go to dark places and my emotions will run wild. I can’t afford to let that happen right now. I need to stay strong if I need to fight.  

I’m scared because the last time I thought everything was going to be alright, everything went all wrong. 

There is nothing I can do but follow up and face my truth. I’m praying it’s nothing. I’m praying for it to be benign. But I’m more scared than I can put into words and this fear has me bursting at the seams. I keep telling everyone I love that I’ll be okay but the truth is that I don’t know if I will be. If you are the praying kind, or just someone who knows and loves me, I welcome all of your thoughts and good healing and healthy vibes. 

I’m trying my hardest to be strong but I am triggered and terrified in ways that I never imagined.

I’m scared and I don’t know what to do. But I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you all to please take care of yourselves. Go in for your well-visits. Get your mammograms. Do all the things you need to do to be and stay healthy.

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Hey there, fellow sleep-deprived mom friend!

So, it’s that time of year again – World Sleep Day. Did you even know that was a thing? Me, neither. Then again, I’ve been a mom for 19 years, so you know, no rest for the wicked and all that. What is World Sleep Day, you ask? It’s a day dedicated to celebrating the elusive phenomenon known as sleep. But let’s be real, as moms, sleep might feel more like a distant memory than something worth celebrating. Between late-night feedings, toddler tantrums, and endless rounds of “just one more story,” and let’s not forget about waiting for teens to get home and then spending hours chatting about what’s going on with them… getting a decent night’s sleep can seem like a far-fetched dream.

Disclosure: Some of the products included in this post were gifted for review purposes but all opinions are my own. 

But fear not, my exhausted, desperately in need of a nap comadre! I’ve got some tips, tricks, and tired laughs to help you make the most of World Sleep Day. So grab your comfiest pajamas and a giant mug of coffee (wine or nightly edible, no judgment here), and let’s dive in!

1. Embrace the Nap Life

Whoever said naps are just for babies clearly never met a sleep-deprived mom. Let’s be real, naps are our love language. So, on World Sleep Day, give yourself permission to indulge in a midday siesta. Whether it’s a power nap in your fully-flat reclinable XL6 FlexiSpot Powerlift Recliner with massage and heat or a full-blown snooze fest in bed, take advantage of any opportunity to catch some z’s. Trust me, the laundry can wait – your sanity cannot. Because if you’re going to spend half your life in bed, you might as well do it in style.

2. Treat Yourself to Some Sleep Accessories

You know what they say: when in doubt, accessorize. And when it comes to sleep, the right accessories can make all the difference. Treat yourself to some cozy new pajamas, invest in a weighted silk sleep stone eye mask (it’s a game changer) or indulge in a luxurious set of PeachSkin Sheets. Because if you’re going to spend half your life in bed, you might as well do it in style. If you want to sleep in comfort ALL.YEAR.LONG. You must get yourself a muslin comfort 365 blanket. It keeps me comfortable no matter what time of the year it is and that is a life changing thing when you are pregnant, perimenopausal, menopausal or a woman in general. It was the one thing I never knew I needed but once I got one, I’m never going back. 

Bonus to sleep like a baby: Add a scrumptious and relaxing pillow mist.

3. Create a Sleep Sanctuary

Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary fit for a queen (or, you know, a tired mom). Dim the lights, set the mood with some soothing essential oils like Alevan Botanica: The Sleep Set , and banish any electronic devices from the premises (yes, even your phone). Creating a calming environment can help signal to your brain that it’s time to unwind and drift off into dreamland. 

Also, a must have for any sleep sanctuary, is Evercool®+ Cooling Sheet Set  and comforter. They’re made with the same game-changing temperature regulating technology and quality, moisture-wicking fabric as the the  Rest Kids Evercool™ Cooling Comforter I’d been using to cool off on hot nights. Only these full-sized sheets and comforter allows hopelessly hormonally challenged hot moms ( and dads) to recharge through a comfortable, cool, dry and restful sleep. Just imagine your body temperature being regulated and you being able to sleep through the night? Now, if the kids would just sleep through the night too.

4. Practice the Art of Saying No

As moms, we have a tendency to take on more than we can handle. But here’s the thing – you can’t pour from an empty cup (or in this case, a tired mom). So, on World Sleep Day (and every day thereafter), practice the fine art of saying no. You don’t have to sacrifice your every waking moment and martyr yourself in the name of motherhood. Whether it’s turning down that last-minute playdate or passing on that committee meeting, prioritize your sleep and sanity above all else.

5. Find the Humor in Sleep Deprivation

Let’s face it, sometimes all you can do is laugh. Whether it’s finding yourself wearing your shirt inside out for the third day in a row or accidentally putting the milk in the pantry instead of the fridge (guilty), finding the humor in sleep deprivation can make the endless nights feel a little less daunting. So go ahead, embrace the chaos, and laugh until you cry (or until you fall asleep standing up, whichever comes first).

6. Seek Support

Remember, you’re not alone in this sleep-deprived journey. Reach out to your fellow mom friends for support, commiseration, and maybe even a much-needed venting session. Sometimes all it takes is knowing that someone else is in the same boat to make the sleepless nights feel a little more bearable.

7. Treat Yourself to Some Self-Care

And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Whether it’s treating yourself to a bubble bath, indulging in your favorite guilty pleasure TV show, or simply taking a few moments to breathe deeply and center yourself, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Because a well-rested mom is a happy mom, and a happy mom is a force to be reckoned with.

Secret bedtime self-care weapon: Therabody SmartGoggles. They not only reduce stress and anxiety, they support restful sleep,  soothe headaches, relieve eye strain, lower your heart rate, increase circulation and ease facial tension.

Share Your Sleep Stories and Tips

Phew, we made it through! Now, here’s where you come in. I want to hear from you! Comment below and share your best sleep deprivation story or your top tip for getting some much-needed and deserved mom sleep this World Sleep Day. Let’s laugh, commiserate, and support each other through the sleepless nights. Together, we’ve got this!

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Battle of the Bugs: Decoding CoVid-19, Influenza, the Common Cold, and RSV

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Lord have mercy, there is so many different illnesses going around and life would be a lot easier if we learned how to decode sickness. It’s just too much. Welcome to the ultimate showdown of the microscopic world – where germs compete for the title of the most unwelcome guest in our bodies. In one corner, we have the heavyweight champion, CoVid-19; in another, the perennial contender, Influenza; lurking in the shadows, the sneaky Common Cold, and last but not least, the underdog with a punch, RSV. Let’s step into the ring and figure out how to tell these contenders apart. 

CoVid-19: The Uninvited Guest with a Sledgehammer Entrance

CoVid-19, the rockstar of viruses, stormed onto the scene in 2019, and it’s been headlining ever since. This bug doesn’t understand personal space, crashing our immune system party with a sledgehammer. It comes with a fever, a cough that sounds like a drum solo, and a loss of taste – the ultimate party pooper move.

Influenza: The Seasonal Showstopper

Influenza, or the flu, is like that annual concert you didn’t really want to attend. It hits you hard, leaves you achy and exhausted, and, worst of all, it keeps coming back every year. With symptoms like a high fever, body aches that feel like you’ve been moshing all night, and a cough that rivals a heavy metal singer’s vocals, the flu is a regular feature on the seasonal illness charts.

The Common Cold: Your Run-of-the-Mill Troublemaker

Ah, the Common Cold – the trickster of the bunch. Sneezing, sniffling, and generally making you feel like you got hit by a feather, the common cold is the jester of viruses. Its symptoms are more annoying than alarming: a runny nose, mild cough, and the occasional throat irritation. It’s like a background noise virus, always there but never stealing the spotlight. Unless its a man cold, that’s an entirely different beast…or so I heard. I don’t really know because I’m not a man. 

RSV: The Silent Striker

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is the dark horse in this competition. It usually goes for the youngest members of the audience, hitting infants and toddlers with a silent but potent punch. RSV comes with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing, making it a serious contender for pediatric attention.

Spotting the Differences:

Now that we’ve introduced our contenders, let’s talk about how to tell them apart. Imagine you’re the referee in this viral boxing match.

  • Fever Flare:

    • CoVid-19 and Influenza often come with a high fever, while the Common Cold and RSV usually keep it mild.
  • Coughing Cadence:

    • CoVid-19 boasts a persistent cough that’s hard to ignore.
    • Influenza brings a robust cough, often accompanied by body aches.
    • The Common Cold’s cough is more of an irritating side note.
    • RSV’s cough can be severe, especially in the little ones.
  • Body Aches Amplified:

    • Influenza is the champion of body aches.
    • CoVid-19 follows closely, leaving you feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck.
    • The Common Cold and RSV usually keep body aches on the down-low.
  • Age Preference:

    • CoVid-19 doesn’t discriminate by age.
    • Influenza hits all age groups but tends to favor the young and the old.
    • The Common Cold loves all ages equally.
    • RSV has a soft spot for infants and toddlers.

In the grand arena of viral combat, each contender has its unique moves and preferred audience. While CoVid-19, Influenza, the Common Cold, and RSV might share some symptoms, their differences help us understand which opponent we’re up against. So, next time you feel under the weather, remember this guide – because nothing beats a well-informed immune system! Stay healthy, stay happy, and keep those germs at bay!

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5 tips for starting to eat healthier

It’s the beginning of a new year and we’re all optimistic about embarking on a new healthier lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to live their best life? However, who really knows where to start. Skinny isn’t necessarily healthy, I should know. Eating healthy is a great way to ensure that your body gets the nutrition it needs to stay strong and healthy. It’s also great fuel for staying active. Many people struggle with eating healthier, I know I do. I’m great until it gets “too hard” and then I give up. I’m not alone, many people feel like the transition is too difficult or require them to make too many changes in their routine. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are five simple tips for starting to eat healthier.

1) Start Your Day Right

A good breakfast is essential for setting you up for success throughout the day. Instead of reaching for something processed and sugary, try having some eggs, a piece of fruit, or some Greek yogurt with berries. And if you’re short on time in the morning, try prepping breakfast ahead of time so that all you have to do is grab and go! I’m putting Overnight Oats, Daily Harvest smoothies and bowls and, my default favorite, avocado toast with a drizzle of honey and sirracha in rotation. All these options can help you start your day on the right foot.

2) Bring Your Lunch

Eating out can be expensive and unhealthy—it’s much better to bring your own lunch from home when possible. Preparing lunches ahead of time makes this easier; you have to grab them from the fridge instead of stopping somewhere on your way back from work or school. Start meal prepping for lunch by packing up leftovers from dinner or bringing tabouli salads and sandwiches made with nutritious ingredients.

3) Drink More Water

Water is life. Literally. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps keep your body functioning well and can even help reduce feelings of hunger that can lead people to overeat. Drinking plenty of water also helps flush out toxins in your system while keeping you energized and focused throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle around with you so that you always have access to water when needed—this will come in handy during long days at work or school! I know not everyone is as water obsessed as I am but I’m telling you it is for your best. If you need to change up the taste try adding fruit to your water, a little pineapple, strawberry, orange or lemon can go a long way in the flavor department.

4) Eat More Veggies

Vegetables are incredibly nutritious—they provide essential vitamins and minerals as well as fiber which helps keep you full between meals. Try adding more veggies to every meal by having roasted brussels sprouts or broccoli as a side dish at dinner or adding some spinach into an omelet in the morning. You could even try smoothies by blending some leafy greens like kale with frozen fruit! This is also a great place to add in some collagen peptides and protein via powders. You can tell I’m getting older because I’m trying to make even my healthy foods more healthy with supplements and vitamins.      

5) Plan Meals Ahead of Time

It’s much easier to stick to healthy habits if meals are prepared ahead of time, so cooking isn’t an option when hunger strikes late at night after a long day at work or school. Meal planning takes away some of the stress associated with preparing healthy meals each day; simply take an hour on Sunday afternoon (or whenever works best for your schedule) and plan out what meals you want during the week ahead! This will save time during busy weeks when eating healthily might otherwise feel impossible due to lack of time.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated – start small with simple steps like drinking more water throughout the day, bringing lunches from home, eating more vegetables each meal, planning meals ahead of time, and starting off each morning right with breakfast! With these easy tips, you can easily start eating healthier without any stress or hassle! 

If you really want to feel your best, move. It doesn’t matter what you do, just move your body for at least 20 minutes a day. My favorites are walking indoors or outdoors, yoga, rowing and working out with Obe fitness. I’ll share more about that in an upcoming post, as well as, daily on my instagram stories. Good luck. We’ve got this.

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Going to the gym and working out is always a good idea for your health but you need to know how to stay safe and avoid getting injured. Nothing slows down progress faster than an injury, especially when it comes to your body. Between faulty equipment, people who aren’t paying attention around you, and even over-exercising, there are plenty of ways to get hurt at the gym. This guide will help you understand the most common gym injuries, as well as how you can avoid them so that your workout doesn’t become an injury instead of progressing toward your fitness goals!

Lack of training

There are many different machines, tools, and equipment in a gym. If you don’t know how to use them properly, the risk of injury increases exponentially. If you’re new to the gym scene, take it slow and check with the staff about which machines and workouts would be good for beginners.

Once you know what equipment is available, ask your gym’s staff to show you how to correctly and effectively use the machines so that you can minimize the potential for getting injured.

Faulty equipment

When using any type of equipment in a gym or fitness class, it’s important to use it correctly. But, what’s even more important is to use equipment that is reliable. When the machine suddenly breaks unexpectedly, it could lead to severe injuries. This can be frequent for weight trainer gyms that fail to maintain their equipment. An injury sustained as a result of faulty gear can affect your fitness goals and health for a long time. Ideally, you should always check that the equipment is in good condition. You can also refer your case to a personal injury lawyer, who can help recover your medical bills and lost income in the event you’ve been hurt by damaged gym property. 

Lack of attention

The gym is a place for physical activity, not a mental one. If you’re too busy thinking about work or school, that only distracts from your workout. The answer? Bring your phone in your pocket or handbag when you go to exercise but leave it there. Don’t take it out unless you need it for an emergency call or text. Once you start working out, concentrate on keeping your mind on what’s important—your workout goals! Also, I’ve found that when I’m working out, it’s a great way to destress and focus inward; be present for myself, which is something as a busy mom, I seldom get to do.

At the same time, good gym etiquette requires that you pay attention to the people around you. Many gym members use headphones to stay in the zone. They may not hear you approaching them or may not know you are next to them so keep that in mind when coming up behind someone. 

Overtraining

Never let a day go by without exercising. This might seem like good advice, but it’s actually very bad. While working out several times a week is certainly better than not working out at all, an excess of exercise can lead to overtraining—a condition that occurs when you work out so much you break down your muscles and burn away your gains faster than you can replace them with new ones. The solution? Work out two or four times a week, allowing at least one full day of rest between each session.

Exercising is healthy. But it can include risks if you are not careful. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the gym environment and your own body to always stay on the safe side of fitness. 

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Funny story, a few weeks ago, I started getting dizzy while driving. Scared the sh*t out of me…Okay, not so funny. Anyways, went to the doctor and surprise (no surprise I’ve battled eustachian ear issues my entire life) and I had not only an acute sinus infection (no surprise there either…chronic sinusitis is my life) but also had an inordinate amount of fluid in my ears (Duh, I could feel it sloshing around in there teetering between itching and hurting for almost 2 months…again nothing new). But the getting dizzy while driving my kids, was new and I did not like it. Is this perimenopause, menopause, cancer, dementia or low blood sugar?

Needless to say, that sparked a series of way overdue anxiety attacks.  I mean come on, I’ve kept my shit together pretty well these past couple of pandemic years but some things got to give. If we’re being really honest, and if you know me you know that I am, my first thought at the dizziness which I’ve never experienced in this way (in waves) was a brain tumor ( long story short, I’m chronically afraid that God is going to use my big brain and big boobs against me and in the end they will take me out #pandemictriggeredhypochondriac). My doctor assured me, “Nope, Debi your heart, lungs and everything else is fine but your ears are a mess.”

So I went on a high dose of antibiotics with a side of Diflucan (because what would an ear infection be without a side of a yeast infection to add insult to injury? I mean if you don’t get an itchy vagina to go along with your sinus pressure and vertigo, did it even happen?) and something for the anxiety that the dizziness triggered (what if I blackout while driving my kids and we all die?) but since I have high blood pressure (controlled but still diagnosed) that’s all I got…not a damn thing to dry up all that fluid stuck in my head.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Fast forward to the week I was finishing up my antibiotics and I woke up in the middle of the night, not once, not twice but three times soaked from my shoulders up in the middle of a full-on panic attack. Sorry to say, I’ve battled my fair share of demons in my life ( #fullymanicteensandtwenties) and I am not about that in my head life. It’s a dark and scary place and I’d prefer not to live there for very long. So, I did what any sane person would do, I called my doctor and my gynecologist because eureka…this bitch is almost 50 and maybe it’s time to admit reproductive defeat. Maybe I’m (gulp) perimenopausal or even menopausal. I mean, it could happen.

Ever since I had my hysterectomy in 2018 and have been living that 1 ovary life, I’m basically waiting to become reproductively challenged. I know this. Every day of estrogen is a gift. Shit, my baby sister went through menopause a few months after having her baby a couple of years ago and didn’t even know it ( God really said…you are done) so, me, being 5 years older, it’s just a matter of time.

Let me share some knowledge with you, I’ve always been an alpha ( if you know you know) if you got anywhere in my orbit, I would pull you onto my cycle ( ask my sisters and my daughters). I knew exactly when I ovulated ( day 14) and menstruated ( day 28), I could literally feel it. I haven’t had a period in almost 4 years because I don’t have a uterus but every month, I still get PMS and every other month, I can feel my ovulation. I know when my girls get their periods because I get their bloating and munchies.

However, my husband did good choosing in that crucial left ovary, right ovary moment ( it was decided after I was under because someone forgot to ask me before) because this girl, she’s a boss. She will not go quietly into that good reproductive night. Girlfriend is keeping us in the game but alas, those hot flash/cold sweats and anxiety, what else could it be. It must be the reproductive grim reaper coming for me.

I made an appointment with my gynecologist and left it to God. I resigned myself to the fact that I’m at the very least perimenopausal if not menopausal and it was time to get myself some estrogen, progesterone, supplement, patch or black cohosh (only not black cohosh because it would surely make this bipolar 1 manic woman full-on manic.periodt. and nobody wants that.)

Yesterday, I went to see Nina ( that’s my gynecologist, we’re on a first-name basis because we’ve been together over a decade and been through cancer scares, a miscarriage, a D& E, another surprise in office ( no anesthesia) D&C when she removed multiple cups of blood from my uterus after my fibroids literally tried to kill me and ultimately a hysterectomy and, I thought to myself, now….the death of my femininity aka the pause. But after an offer of Paxil ( no thank you…manic people shouldn’t take anti-depressants if they can avoid it) then estrogen, we resigned ourselves to the fact that our perimenopause or menopause journey together had begun but first, let’s make sure ( because I need proof for everything…how can I fix it if I don’t know what’s broken?) and we did a blood draw to get my hormone levels.

Guess what? Congratulations, I’m not perimenopausal or menopausal or any other pausal. I’m 100% normal hormone levels. To say I was surprised is an understatement. To say I was relieved is more like it because even though I know I am knocking on reproductive invisibility’s door, I’m not ready. Not really. The same way I wasn’t ready for my first period, my last period or any of my pregnancies because even though you read all about it and plan for it, you can never be ready but it still happens.

I feel like maybe this is the universe’s way of giving me a 5-minute warning, Debi, get your health in order because soon, it won’t be a false alarm and you need to be prepared so drink your milk, workout, eat more healthily, get that weight in check, moisturize, drink your water, play soduku and, for the love of all that is holy, make peace with your anxiety because one day those hot flashes and triggered panic attacks are going to be triggered by hormones (just like your migraines and hypomania used to be). I’ve never been so excited to just be “normal” whatever that means.

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve been doing to prioritize me.

I’ve recently tried some new Reset 360 products to help increase my protein and reduce my carbohydrate intake. I’m a diabetic but I think it’s a pretty good idea for everyone to keep an eye on what’s going in their body.

Plant-based cookies

The Decadent Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft-baked plant protein cookie that tastes delicious and delivers healthy plant protein.

Bite fuel Power Bites

Double the chocolate, double the gains! These little guys are packed with so much chocolate that if you leave them in your milk, you will have chocolate milk after 5 minutes. They are soft, chewy, and really pack a chocolatey punch and each bag contains 18 gm of protein,

Super greens dietary drink

They’re called Super Greens because they are mega packed with superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina, kale, spinach, plus 6 more! It makes getting the right amount of veggies easy. With Super Greens you can make healthy eating easy without struggling to eat pounds of vegetables each day.

All-in-one-chocolate shake

A plant-based protein shake that may help support overall health, ideal weight, & digestive strength. Creamy, delicious flavor that blends smoothly, and provides exceptional nutrition.

Superpower bars

Protein-packed, dark chocolate goodness with only 2 grams of sugar- sounds like a dream come true. With all organic ingredients and 10 grams of plant protein, this bar is the perfect anytime snack. 6g of dietary fiber in every bar keeps you satisfied for hours without weighing you down. keep these bars nearby during break times for a pick me up when there’s no time for a full meal.

I’ve also been cutting out animal byproducts as much as possible. I am not currently a full-time vegetarian but I do prefer vegetarian meals over meat options and it’s better for my health to choose leaner and cleaner foods. I love to bake so I’ve been swapping out regular flour, dairy

Organic Cacao Powder

LESS FAT and FEWER CALORIES: Chocolate is a staple in most households, but it can make people feel guilty because it is often associated with candy and sugary treats. Our Organic Cacao Powder provides you with a more nutritious alternative to regular chocolate. Our chocolate has the same great flavor as ordinary cocoa with the added benefits of organic cacao and less guilt.

Oatsome milk

NON-DAIRY MILK: Oatsome delivers a mild, creamy flavor—without dairy, nuts, added sugar, or any artificial ingredients. Now you can enjoy milk without discomfort from lactose or other components.

Coconut Palm Sugar

REFINED SUGAR ALTERNATIVE: Organic Coconut Sugar makes an excellent 1 to 1 ratio (spoon-for-spoon) replacement to refined white sugar. That means it’s easy to switch out white sugar or artificial sweeteners for BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Sugar in simple meals and gourmet recipes. The possibilities are endless.

LOW ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: BetterBody Foods’ Organic Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as refined sugars do, so you can have the sweetness of sugar in naturally sweet coconut sugar without the associated insulin spike. 

PB fit peanut butter powder

  • POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER: All-natural PBfit has 87% less fat and almost 1/3 the calories of regular peanut butter. Made from roasted and powdered peanuts, it has real peanut flavor without the high fat.
  • PROTEIN POWER: With 8 g of protein in one serving of natural PBfit, you’ll get a boost of protein right before your workout. Add it to your morning shake or smoothie for a creamy peanut butter taste.

BBF oat Flour blend

This whole-grain, organic oat flour makes a great alternative to traditional flour for anyone with sensitivities to gluten or anyone looking to improve their diet. HEART-HEALTHY OPTION: Low in both saturated fat and cholesterol, oat flour is a healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour and also contains soluble fiber (1.2 g per serving).

Bowmar Butter

High protein cashew spreads. Flavors include peanut butter pretzel, cake pop, sugar cookie and buckeye!

Cashew Spread ( Cookie Butter)

High protein peanut, almond or cashew nut spread is a great way to add more protein into your diet.

These spreads all have 10g of whey protein and are a great alternative to other butters and spreads that are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. available in cashew, almond, and peanut butter.

I’ve also started drinking my water, getting enough sleep, exercising, upping my moisturizer game and taking care of myself, mentally and physically. Maybe I narrowly escaped the pause for now but its coming for me ( and you too) so why not start preparing now?

And if you’re wondering about the mystery root of my hot flashes and panic attacks and what cured it? ½ a dose of Sudaphed 2 times a day, it was all caused by the fluid in my ears. It’s crazy what your body can do to signal that your check engine light is on.

What are you doing to prepare for the next phase of womanhood? Have you already entered perimenopause of menopause? If so, what is one piece of advice you’d give to those following close behind?

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Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions and tips to get past your fear of needles today are my own. 

There’s a lot going on in the world. It’s been a crazy year. None of us ever imagined we’d live through a global pandemic in our lifetime. The biggest concern for most of us before 2020 was a laundry list of first-world problems. Life in 2019 could be hard, but not 2020 pandemic hard. Suddenly, for most of us, nothing made sense, and when that happened, the unknown brought with it new stresses and anxieties. 

Right now, the only answer to stopping the pandemic is herd immunity. That term kind of makes me want to moo, right? All kidding aside, I’m thrilled that science has given us a way to save ourselves and those we love, but getting vaccinated brings with it a new set of anxieties and stresses for some.

The fear of needles is real and nothing to be afraid of.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Don’t like shots? The thought of a needle freaks you out? You’re not alone. 25% of adults have a fear of needles. Don’t be embarrassed. I got so many shots as a kid with chronic health issues that I get sweaty palms just thinking about it even now. I worked through my fear of needles by making a plan and moving through my fears. Please don’t let needle anxiety stop you from being safe from Covid-19.

The Meg Foundation has resources to help you get through needle fears. Everyone can benefit from learning these techniques, but for people with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. The first thing is to make a plan because action is the enemy of anxiety; the more concrete the plan the better you will feel.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

Here are a few simple tips from Hack the Vax to get past your fear and get vaccinated.

Be an advocate for yourself

If you are nervous about getting your vaccine, don’t be afraid to say so. Lots of people have a fear of needles. Those administering the shots are aware of this. Letting people know what you need is the only way they will know (this goes for everything in life, not just vaccinations). You’re not being difficult, you’re advocating for yourself. You are a self-aware bad B. People don’t mind giving you what you need but you’re going to have to tell them.

Block the pain

Getting vaccinated doesn’t have to be painful. Over-the-counter anesthetics like Lidocaine cream are great for a little pre-vaccination numbing at the injection site. To be honest, when I was vaccinated recently ( both times) I didn’t feel a thing. I usually get the flu shot every year and I do feel that but with the Pfizer vaccine, I honestly felt no pain or even the standard pinch when a shot is injected.

Take deep breaths

You probably remember the power of breathing techniques from giving birth. I never put much stock into breathing techniques, until I experienced a unmedicated, Pitocin induced birth. That made me a believer and anyone who has used it, knows it works. Don’t overthink it. Just take a few slow, deep breaths before and during the injection. Using a meditation app for a minute before also helps me in stressful situations to just slow down and get through the moment.

Distract yourself

If you want to rely on something more than just deep breaths to get you through, focus on something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. To clear my head, I always listen to music. However, watching kittens on YouTube or just scroll through your social media feeds is enough to take your mind off the task at hand…or arm, I should say. I’ve done this a lot with my girls throughout their childhood. Distraction is a great way to refocus those overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety that needles might bring. For me, when I am stressed, I talk, so I chatted with all the other people getting vaccinated.

Bring a support person

Phone a friend or family member and either bring them with you physically ( schedule your vaccinations together) or Facetime them during your vaccination appointment. Maybe it feels a bit awkward as an adult to be virtually hanging out with a friend in a room full of people but if it relaxes you enough to not feel as overwhelmed, it is totally worth a few minutes of talking to your phone in a room full of strangers. A bestie, spouse or sibling is a great support person for getting out of your head and engrossed in conversation. The Big Guy and I got both vaccinations together, sitting side by side.

Tips to Get Past Your Fear of Needles, #Hackthevax

The Big Guy and I got both of our vaccinations, and even though there was trepidation about getting the shot, I’m so glad that I did it. Getting everyone vaccinated is a step towards keeping the whole country safe and being able to hug our loved ones once again. Making a plan and working through your fears of needles to get vaccinated not only keeps you safe, in my eyes, but it also makes you a superhero because not only are you protecting yourself from getting coronavirus, you are protecting everyone you know and love. You are part of the solution to this devastating problem that is ravaging the world with no discrimination, rhyme, or reason. 

Don’t let your fear stand between you and your safety. Think, plan, and go get your shot and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous, too.

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easiest way to get protein without eating meat

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I was a vegetarian for 10 years. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of meat even now after going back. It just isn’t my vibe. Sure, I love the occasional steak, burger, fish or chicken but mostly, I prefer anything else. I’ve taken a lot ethics and animals classes, joined PETA when I was 18 and it’s hard for me to enjoy eating pretty much anything with a face but I’m not here to pull anyone over to the vegetarian side. I just know that I’m not alone.

A lot of people are starting to think seriously about how much meat they eat on a daily basis. Some people have ethical concerns about how much animal products they eat, others are aware of the environmental impact of farming for meat, and others realize that a lot of meat in the diet simply isn’t healthy. Yes to all of this for me.

However, most people rely on meat for the vast majority of their protein consumption, which is crucial for healthy muscle growth amongst other things. So, what can we do to get the protein we need without as much meat or none at all?

A teaspoon of powder is all it takes

We all know the nutritional benefits of milk in the diet, with the calcium, iron, and other additions it has for your diet. However, making one replacement can help you not only get the same calcium but also add some protein to your morning glass of milk. Soybeans are a tremendous source of complete protein, meaning they have both protein and the amino acids that typically go with it in animal sources of protein. Of course, milk isn’t the only way to have your soy, but it’s an easy replacement to make and it tastes great.

All that power in one little bean

If you’re looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle and you need plenty of protein to make sure that your muscles are regenerating and growing as they should, then powdered protein may be something you’re familiar with. Not only can it help you up your protein throughout the day, but it can also help you replace meals if you’re trying to cut down on your portions.

Get nutty with it

Although not quite the same as soybeans (since they are not complete sources of protein), you should also look at the various ways you can use nuts more in your meals. This can include salads, soups, desserts, and snacks throughout the day. Peanuts have, per gram, the highest amount of protein out of all of the nuts. However, walnuts and hazelnuts also pack plenty of protein in their punch. What’s more, they also have a lot of those heart-healthy unsaturated fats. You shouldn’t eat more than roughly 30g of them a day, however.

Completing your proteins

Soybeans tend to be one of the few most readily available sources of complete proteins, which is why they’re the easiest to recommends. Others, such as rice and nuts, do not contain the amino acids that are also essential and typically come with animal proteins. If you’re ever worried that you’re not getting enough, you might also want to consider using amino acid supplements just to top you up. Getting it through your diet is more widely recommended, but the option is there just to err on the side of caution.

Getting the protein you need is possible without eating as much meat. Hopefully, the tips above help you see the alternatives to getting your protein when milk isn’t the.

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If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label project

Do you love coffee? Is it something that’s part of your daily routine? I’ve been drinking cafecito bombon since I was a tween and sneaking sips from my dad’s mug since before then. Coffee has always been comforting in my life. Even now, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the back deck with the Big Guy and sip coffee over conversation or make TikToks while dancing around the kitchen with my teens sipping our whipped coffees. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is comfort and enthusiastic support on all days and in all the ways.  But what if you found out that your coffee had toxic chemicals in it? Worse, what if you were pregnant and found out that your decaf coffee had paint stripper in it?

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored campaign in partnership with the Clean Label Project. All opinions and pregnancy experience is my own.

When I was pregnant, I kicked my coffee addiction. I gave up caffeine completely. A few times, I did treat myself to a decaf Frappuccino. We lived in Tennessee, 600 miles away from our parents. Some days during pregnancy, I really needed to be comforted and I thought it was safe to treat myself to a small decaf coffee. Was I wrong?

READ ALSO: Unexpected Pregnancy at 40

My mom has a heart condition. She doesn’t drink caffeine because it’s bad for her. She drinks decaf coffee twice daily. A lot of older people drink decaf coffee because caffeine is bad for them. Pregnant women drink decaf because caffeine is not great for development. There are several different kinds of medical and mental disorders that encourage those diagnosed to switch to decaf because it’s “better for you”. But what happens when the very thing that you are told to be healthier is terrible for you?

READ ALSO: Things no one tells you about pregnancy

Clean Label Project recently released findings on methylene chloride (the active ingredient in paint strippers), which is found in popular decaffeinated coffee. Clean Label Project has filed lawsuits against four national brands for false and misleading advertising and labeling. These brands claim that their decaffeinated coffee products are “pure and natural.” In contrast, Clean Label Project’s study showed that methylene chloride was detected in the decaffeinated coffee products of these brands.

I’m not saying that you can’t drink coffee. I love coffee. Just ask my Nespresso account. Seriously, coffee is still warm and comforting to me but, as I’ve gotten more label savvy in the past year thanks to my recent health scares, I am also more discerning about what I put into my body. There are always healthier options, we just need to be aware of all the facts and ingredients.

 

So what’s going on with decaffeinated coffee? Removing caffeine from coffee generally involves one of two processes: water-based vs. solvent (chemical) based. However, the FDA currently allows methylene chloride to be used in the coffee decaffeination process and brands are not required to disclose which decaffeination process they use on their labels.

 

 

Clean Label Project tested 25 popular brands found in major retailers for the presence of methylene chloride. Ten brands tested positive. The onus is on the consumer to demand chemical-free decaffeinated coffee.

 

The thing is we have enough to worry about when we’re pregnant or elderly or just trying to take care of our health without having to go in search of all the hidden dangers of every single thing we ever want to eat or drink. There shouldn’t be secret chemicals in our food that can poison us or cause harm to our unborn babies. You don’t have to just take it. You can take action and Detox Your Coffee.

If you Wouldn't Drink Paint Thinner while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee, clean label projectIf you Wouldn’t Drink Paint stripper while Pregnant then Pass on Decaf coffee. If you don’t think paint stripper is acceptable in decaf coffee, use your voice to contact your favorite brands and demand that they make it safer.

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Strategies to Help you Manage your Stress Better and Worry Less

Life has been stressful lately. More than stressful, life has been downright trying. The pandemic has us all in a holding pattern. I’m constantly afraid that if I move too fast or in the wrong direction, I’ll tip the balance and everything will come crashing down around me. This can’t be how I live my life now. I won’t do it. I’m trying to let myself learn how to work on the things I can fix, let the things I can’t fix go and turn the rest over to a higher power because holding on is not working.  I’m looking into learning strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less.

If,  like me, you want to help yourself manage stress better you’ll need to start by knowing what the signs of stress are for you. We all have triggers. Sometimes when you’re in a high-stress situation, maybe your blood pressure rises or your heart starts racing. This can make you feel dizzy and knock you off balance mentally and emotionally. If you want to help yourself get through these incidents, then you need to pay attention to when these feelings get to be too much, because this is your body’s way of sounding the silent alarm.

Here are strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less:

Identify the Stressful Times of Day

The first thing that you need to do is identify the times you are most stressed during the day. What pushes your buttons? If you are most stressed in the morning because you are trying so hard to get your kids off to school, then it may be worth trying to simplify your routine as much as possible by preparing the night before. When you do this, you will soon find that you can easily reduce the pressure you are under.

Take a Break

It’s very important that you take a break from time to time so you can decompress. Sometimes you need to do this, and that’s okay. You should never feel like a guilty mother just because you need to go somewhere or do something for a little while. As long as your kids are safe, you have nothing to worry about.

Workout

Working out is something that you can do as a family. If you want to help yourself then make the effort to try and get the family involved. It may be that your family like getting out of the house, and if you do this, then you will soon find that everyone can have the best time without you having to get stressed out. Swimming, jogging, biking or even walking are all fantastic exercises and they will also help you to keep in shape too.

Find a Good Support Group

You also need to make sure that you have a very good support group around you. This could be other people who are your age, or mothers that are in the same situation as you. Either way, you need to make sure that you have someone who you are able to chat with so you can make sure that you are getting the help you need.

Take Time to Laugh

Take time to laugh. Think about it, when was the last time you had a good laugh with your kids? Use humor if you can, so you can diffuse stressful situations where possible. Studies have shown that people tend to hold tension in their faces, and a good laugh can help you to release this. It can also help you to forget about all of the things that you were stressed about before. Little things like this can make you feel much better about yourself.

What are your best strategies to help you manage your stress better and worry less?

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