Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Q-Man’s Big Playroom Reveal


I have a fun blog post to share with you guys this morning. I recently partnered with Wayfair to revamp Quinn’s playroom and we are absolutely THRILLED with the results. I’m so excited to show you guys the big reveal! A huge THANK YOU to our friends at Wayfair for the opportunity!

fun & easy ideas for a toddler playroom makeover

As you can see from the photos below, Quinn’s playroom has come a lonnggggg way in recent weeks!

playroom before wayfair

wayfair playroom after

Some of my most favorite pieces in the room are the watercolor magnetic boards that are both attractive as wall hangings and functional as a place to display Quinn’s artwork.

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There are a number of different designs and sizes available, but I picked three of Quinn’s favorite animals to display. Each board comes with a set of matching magnets.

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Another piece that we all really enjoy, Murphy included, is a kid-sized owl-themed club chair.

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You guys already know about Quinn’s love for birds, so an owl chair was the perfect addition to his playroom. He really enjoys reading books and wresting Murphy in it.

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When designing Quinn’s playroom, I was all about pieces that had dual purpose, like this modern yet classic wooden cube storage box.

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It acts as an end table while housing Quinn’s stuffed animals at the same time.

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I also love our wall unit for toy and book storage. It came with 8 plastic bins as well as 13 compartments to keep everything organized and clearly visible. The plastic storage bins are especially amazing because they keep toy clutter well-hidden! 🙂

SAMSUNG CSCOn top of the wall storage unit is an adorable car-themed table lamp with shade. It provides just the right amount of lightening when Quinn is playing in the early or late hours of the day.

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And I saved the best for last… my absolute favorite part of the entire room is the oversized wooden letters and atomic world clock that spell “TOYS” on the back wall.

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It instantly ties the room together and adds a fun, kid-friendly feel to the entire space.

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Once again, a HUGE thank you to Wayfair for partnering with me on this project. Quinn loves his new playroom!!

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better sometimes tha

better sometimes than pins or bastingn: my 4 favorite shirtmaking tools via Healthy Juice Recipes http://ift.tt/1WZSF1j

10 day green smoothi

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Finally, A Natural A

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Finally, A Natural A

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Clementine Avocado S

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Beautiful 7 layer rainbow smoothie recipe! Full of tons of fruit and topped with a fruit skewer, it’s the ultimate rainbow smoothie! via Smoothies and Juicing Recipes http://ift.tt/1WZpNpX

#Curiosidades #Sabia

#Curiosidades #SabiasQue Tomando un vaso de Jugo de Apio, licuando 200 grs. de apio + 1/2 vaso de jugo de toronja todos los días antes de dormir te ayudará en poco tiempo a disminuir la grasa de tu cuerpo... vía @Candidman via Healthy Juice Recipes http://ift.tt/27bUM6U

Sneak Peek: The Drin

Sneak Peek: The Drinks That Can Jump-Start Your Weight Loss: Trainer Chris Powell shares which smoothies to drink to kick off your weight loss program and help you start your morning off right. via Healthy Juice Recipes http://ift.tt/27bUM6Q

Why some dogs (and humans) are born hungry

The brain is the central regulator of appetite and body fatness, and genetic variation that affects body fatness tends to act in the brain.  One important site of variation is the POMC gene, which codes for a signaling molecule that suppresses food intake.  A new study shows that Labrador retrievers often carry an inactive version of the POMC gene, causing them to be highly food motivated, obesity-prone-- and perhaps more easily trainable. 

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This post was written by Stephan Guyenet for Whole Health Source.

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Did Grok Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

Did Grok Suffer from Seasonal Allergies FinalSpring has sprung across most of the country. Awesome, right? Not if you’ve got seasonal allergies. Anyone with a severe case of hay fever knows how horrible it is being outside on a windy otherwise beautiful spring day with pollen blowing and rapacious bees buzzing around. Your eyes water and swell up. Your nose congests, you go into mouth breather mode. Pressure headaches start. You can’t taste your food. You can’t really see through the tears and redness. Everything above the neck itches. Sneeze attacks seize you. You’re supposed to be in heaven. It’s all so lovely. Yet all that beauty, greenery, and life are lost on you. Spring is your enemy when you have hay fever.

It’s bad enough as a city dweller who loves the outdoors. At least you’ve got somewhere to go to get away. Imagine you’re a hunter gatherer with hay fever. Your entire life occurs outside. There’s no “indoors.” Even your shelters blend seamlessly with nature. Your “work” is all outside. There’s no escaping the pollen, the environmental allergens, the seasons. And there’s no Benadryl or Claritin to mitigate the symptoms. Yeah, Grok would have really hurt if he had to deal with seasonal allergies.

So, did he?

First, why the hell do we get seasonal allergies, anyway?

Seasonal allergies occur when your innate immune system perceives airborne pollen as a threat and overreacts to its presence in your body with a flood of histamine, producing runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, headaches, and other symptoms. This type of response makes sense with foreign substances that are intrinsically dangerous, like pathogenic microbes, poisons, and toxins, but there’s nothing inherently dangerous about pollen. What gives?

A long time ago, everyone had parasites—roundworms, hookworms, pigworms, and others. Heavy loads can cause serious nutrient deficiencies, anemia, stunted growth, impaired neurological development, but from studying modern populations who still carry parasites, we know that these bugs can also confer protection against autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and other immune-related conditions. In moderate doses, they tame overactive immune systems by giving them something to do. The constant presence of parasites keeps the immune system busy, and a busy immune system doesn’t have the time or energy to overreact to harmless intruders like egg whites. This is the basis for helminthic therapy, which I wrote about last year.

Pollen allergies are mediated by IgE, the very same antibody system that responds to parasites. Modern populations with high parasite loads tend to have lower rates of seasonal allergies. Modern populations without high parasite loads—like the people lucky enough to be reading this blog—tend to have higher rates of those conditions.

Some folks have more “active” immune systems based on genetics. Like the Neanderthals. Neanderthal coprolites show evidence of heavy parasite loads. Neanderthal DNA sequencing shows evidence of innate immunity genes meant to counter parasites. When ancient humans encountered Neanderthals and inter-bred, these immunity genes—which enhanced fitness in the new environment—introgressed into the offspring. Sure enough, populations with the most Neanderthal introgression, like folks of European and Asian descent, have the most hay fever. Their “enhanced” immunity doesn’t have enough to do in the modern sterile environment.

Though genes are a major determinant, they’re not the only one. Environment matters. Otherwise, people with the genetic propensity toward overactive immune responses to innocuous allergens like pollen would be sneezing from the womb. But they don’t. Sometimes those genes get expressed. Sometimes they don’t. They aren’t your destiny.

The sterility of your childhood environment plays a big role, with kids who grow up on farms tending to get lifelong protection from hay fever. Part of this is stems from exposure to pollen and other irritants (not to mention the microbes), but it could also be the “farm milk”; raw milk consumption is associated with protection against hay fever.

Vitamin D, one of the primary immune modulators, plays a role in allergy. Hay fever sufferers have lower vitamin D levels. One small study even showed improvement of hay fever symptoms with vitamin D supplementation.

Omega-3 status seems to matter. Higher EPA in RBCs and more ALA in the diet both reduce incidence among German adults, and in Japanese females, increased intake of fish fat reduces the incidence of hay fever.

Your gut health is likely important, as the gut influences everything. Food allergies and intolerances are well-known consequences of poor gut health and increased gut permeability, but those leaky guts may also allow non-food allergens into circulation to stimulate immune responses. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest this is the case:

  • Certain probiotics have been shown to improve hay fever symptoms. Probiotics used in the studies include B. longum, B. lactis, L. paracasei, and L. acidophilus.
  • About a quarter of hay fever sufferers also have food allergies.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome frequently accompanies or even predicts hay fever, though it most likely doesn’t cause it.
  • Anecdotally, folks who give up grains and other gut irritants often report their hay fever stops.
  • Quercetin, a natural antihistamine that can reduce histamine release and improve hay fever symptoms, also improves intestinal permeability.

We’d need further research, but it looks promising to me.

Introducing small amounts of pollen through the consumption of raw local honey can improve allergic sensitization and reduce hay fever symptoms. But it has to be the pollen you’re actually allergic to. Researchers found that eating birch pollen honey before the season commenced reduced birch pollen allergy symptoms and resulted in less usage of antihistamines when compared to eating preseasonal non-birch pollen honey.

Stress could worsen hay fever. According to research, hay fever sufferers with the worst symptoms are most likely to report being “stressed.” Those who are “relaxed” tend to have milder symptoms. The causation could be reversed, of course, with severe hay fever causing increased stress. Or it could be circular, with stress levels and hay fever severity both feeding each other. After all, we know that stress makes gut health worse.

In fact, one of the most frequently-reported benefits of going Primal is the cessation of seasonal allergies. They drop grains, improve their gut health, eat more fish and less omega-6, take probiotics or eat fermented food, start getting some sun, realize the value of nature and spend more time outdoors being exposed to pollen and other seasonal allergens, and things change. Their noses clear up. Their eyes stop itching. Eventually, the pollen doesn’t bother them so much. Spring becomes a friend, not a foe. Most people discount the impact of hay fever, but it can really detract from your quality of life. It’s a biggie.

To answer the question, Grok certainly had the genetic potential for hay fever. But several factors, including parasite load, gut health, sun exposure, dirt exposure, diet (including omega-3 and honey intake), and a relatively low-stress lifestyle probably meant he wasn’t sneezing, coughing, and mouth-breathing up a storm. His immune system had better things to do than freak out about a little birch pollen.

Thanks for reading, everyone. How has going Primal affected your seasonal allergies?

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Limited Time Only: Win the Ultimate PRIMAL KITCHEN™ Prize Package!

Primal Kitchen Facebook Contest FinalWe have a hot contest running right now and it only takes a second to enter. All you have to do is follow the instructions here, “like” the Primal Kitchen Facebook Page and leave a comment. This is a great opportunity to tell us what you think about the whole Primal Kitchen endeavor. You could mention your favorite Primal Kitchen product, what you like about our healthy ingredient profiles, your favorite Primal Kitchen recipe, what you’d love to see from Primal Kitchen in the future…just go crazy!

Now’s not only a great opportunity to let Primal Kitchen feel the love—it’s your chance to win a killer prize package for doing so. Once you take a moment to “like” the Primal Kitchen Facebook page and leave a comment, you’ll be in the running to win the whole kitten kaboodle of Primal Kitchen products (over $150 value!), comprising:

Click here for your chance to win the ultimate PRIMAL KITCHEN™ prize package.

Don’t wait if you want to win…the contest ends May 18th at midnight!

Good luck!

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Good or Bad: Smoothie Bowls

Are you on trend with the smoothie-bowl phenomenon? Instead of sipping that smoothie, pour it into a bowl and add toppers like nuts, seeds and chunks of fresh fruit. Find out if these new vessels are healthy choices for your breakfast.


Blending up fruit, yogurt, nut butter, 100 percent juice, milk, brewed tea and other smoothie staples can create a nutrient-filled concoction. Typical toppers like nuts and seeds only up the healthy ante by adding more nutrients. Plus, smoothie-bowl enthusiasts prefer these spoonable versions because they’ve got more texture and possibly even more flavor than the traditional drinkable variety of smoothie. Overall, they are easy to prepare if you’ve got the ingredients on hand and ready to go — they can be made in just about any blender in seconds.


Bigger portions and more ingredient options can add up to a bowl full of calorie overload. Since many smoothie-bowl recipes call for three or four pieces of fruit plus generous amounts of liquid and toppings, you’re dealing with a high volume of sugar and calories — sometimes 1,000 calories or more! Large amounts of nuts, seeds, peanut butter and avocado can also jack up the fat content — healthy fat, but excessive nonetheless.

Bottom Line: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While smoothie bowls can be inherently healthy, be careful not to overdo it with large portions and high-calorie ingredients.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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Cinnamon Squirrel Bread, Or Books For Divorce

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Like most cute 3-year-olds, Mazen has his share of funny phrases. Cinnamon Swirl Bread is known as “cinnamon squirrel bread” around here, and we dare not correct him it is just so cute!

He has also just learned how to say “L’s.” “Pwayground” and “swide” are now playground and slide, with a really heavy and pronounced “L” sound. It’s very cute!

The other morning at breakfast Mazen pointed to the side of his mango yogurt and said, “Mommy, this says ‘fresh mango yogurt'”. Of course he can’t read yet, but he sure seemed like he could!

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I stumbled upon an article in Real Simple titled “45 Books to Get Kids Through Life’s Trickiest Transitions.” The article covers everything from divorce to new siblings. I jumped to the divorce section and ordered one of their recommendations, and two more that I found on Amazon in the related category.

These were the three I ordered:

Two Homes

Two Homes

Two Homes is a FANTASTIC book!! The little girl, Alex, tells the reader about her two houses and all the cool things she gets to do with each parent. Mazen really connected with the book, especially when I pretended that Alex had similar things, like a Star Wars toothbrush at Mommy’s and a Super Mario toothbrush at Daddy’s.

It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear


In contrast, I HATED Koko Bear!! This book was depressing, even to me. It makes it sounds like grown-ups are supposed to fight and Koko bear is just so sad throughout. While I think the authors wanted kids to connect with Koko’s sadness, to me it makes it seem like kids are supposed to be sad. Koko also draws a photo of his family and isn’t sure what to do because he has two houses. He looks over at his friend who is painting a perfect traditional family pictures and he feels bad. In my opinion it would have been smarter for the authors to show a few different kinds of families to show that everyone has a unique situation – perhaps a family with only one parent or a family with two moms or two dads. I now make up my own words to this book because I found the messages to be so negative.

Invisible String


LOVE this one! It’s not about divorce in particular – it’s a story about twins who are scared during a thunderstorm and who seek out their mother, who then explains to them that their hearts are connected by invisible strings at all times. She gives all kinds of examples of times when we might tug at our strings to feel connected to those we love. Mazen seemed to understand the concept, and we’ve continued to talk about invisible strings during the daytime. He hilariously thinks the strings join our bodies at the nipple, and we have two because we have two parents! Insightful, Mazen : )

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Clean Eating Fast And Easy Breakfasts Meal Plan

Is breakfast your problem meal? Is it tough to get out the door on time in the morning knowing you’ve had a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast? Tired of eggs, smoothies or the same ol’, same ol’? This… Read more →

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Episode 20 – Dr. Jason Fung – Obesity, Insulin, Diabetes, and Weight Management