Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Friday 5

Hi and happy Friday!

It’s kind of hard to believe we’re halfway through May already and summer is one month away (the countdown to Punta Cana is on!). It’s been a good, full week. I had a colonoscopy on Tuesday (fun fun), a home water filtration system installed on Thursday, and we’re planning to celebrate Friday with happy hour. This weekend will be low-key, but that’s a good thing since almost every weekend from now through the summer is booked!

This week’s edition of The Friday 5 is focused on my favorite morning beverage (hmm, wonder that could be!) with a couple other favorites mixed in (including a new functional piece of furniture).

What’s something you’ve been loving lately?

Have a great weekend!

1. Nutpods – So I’m pretty particular about how I drink my iced coffee in the morning, but I’m always up for trying something new once in a while. I’ve heard great reviews for Nutpods (Melissa Hartwig Urban doesn’t go anywhere without them), so I decided to give them a shot. Made from almonds and coconuts, they are dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Plus, there’s no sugar added, no carrageenan, and they come in a variety of flavors: original, hazelnut, French vanilla, and caramel. Verdict: delicious! It’s similar to half & half, very creamy, and blends well into iced coffee (it doesn’t break up like some almond milks do).

2. Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System (aka our coffee maker) – I always get questions about our coffee maker since you all know we drink a lot of coffee in the CNC household. We typically use it to make iced coffee, but it also has the option to brew hot coffee, iced tea, and steam milk. I’ve found that it requires fewer coffee grinds per pot compared to our old coffeemaker. I assume it’s just more efficient with brewing, but it means we go through less coffee and save money! If you like to enjoy your coffee both hot and iced, I highly recommend investing in this coffee maker – we lovvvvve it!

3. Reusable Straws – I am totally onboard the reusable straw train. If you haven’t caught on, plastic straws are really bad for our ocean. If I can help reduce our plastic pollution by making a simple swap, I’m all in. I use both glass straws (mainly at home) and silicone straws (on the road). I travel with the silicone straws in my purse, so when I’m out and about and order an iced coffee, I can skip the plastic (or paper) straw. They are both super easy to clean, and it’s a simple way to “go green.”

4. Double Boot and Shoe Tray Organizer – We bought this shoe organizer (from Amazon, of course) a couple of months ago, and we love it for keeping our shoes and boots organized. It’s a multi-purpose rack that has enough width between shelves to store boots, and it also serves as an umbrella stand on one side and has hooks on the other for hats, reusable grocery bags, etc. Between the three of us, we have a lot of shoes so this helps keep our entry way neat and tidy.

5. $1 cards at Trader Joe’s – Have you checked out Trader Joe’s greeting cards? I’m obsessed! They always have so many cute cards for all occasions, and the best part is that they are all only $1 each. Every time I pop into TJ’s I check out their selection and usually end up buying a few cards to have on hand. They’re artistic, clever, and high quality… plus, you can’t beat the price!

P.S. Here’s a bonus favorite, so I often get questions about the pug pillow on our bed. The case reversible and washable!

Sales of the Week

Questions of the Day

What type of coffee maker do you use? 

What’s your favorite non-dairy creamer?

 

P.S. Just wanted to share – since I’m so honored to be part of such an awesome group of runners: Get to Know and Get Inspired by the 2019 Brooks Run Happy Ambassadors!

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

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Postpartum Body Image: Primal Perspective

Today’s post was inspired by a question that came in from a reader who is struggling with depression and body image issues after having children. I asked my colleague Dr. Lindsay Taylor, being a psychologist and a mother herself, to step in.

Having witnessed all the wondrous changes that women’s bodies go through during and after pregnancy with my wife Carrie, I’d like to add my support and encouragement to my readers who struggle with these issues.

This post is for all the mamas and mamas-to-be who are struggling with the ways in which their bodies have changed, grown, stretched, and been marked by pregnancy. For you mothers who have suffered a loss, I see you, and you are included here.

It’s really a shame, but not a surprise, that so many women are plagued by negative body image around pregnancy. A strong predictor of negative body image during and after pregnancy is negative body image before pregnancy. Body image is, of course, something so many people struggle with every day, women in particular. Volumes have been written about the ways in which our cultural standards of attractiveness, media and social media, and social factors conspire to make us feel unattractive, unworthy, and dissatisfied with our bodies. That doesn’t need to be rehashed here.

Then when you’re pregnant, you and everyone around you is hyper-focused on your body. Are you gaining the “right” amount of weight? Eating the right things? Moving in the right way? Strangers are commenting on your size and shape, and probably touching you too. (PSA: Don’t do this.)

Some women love this time and revel in the changes their bodies undergo. Other women feel completely alienated from and even disgusted by their bodies. Probably many women feel different and conflicting emotions at different times. No matter what your experience has been, let me assure you that it’s normal. The whole gamut of experiences is normal and valid.

If you feel confused, conflicted, sad, disappointed, or discouraged about the ways your body has changed because of pregnancy, it’s OK. Your body is different, your relationship to it is different. There is no right or wrong here. My goal for today is to help if you do feel distressed by persistent feelings of negative body image and self-worth after pregnancy. It needs to be addressed. Poor body image correlates with symptoms of postpartum depression (it’s not clear that one necessarily causes the other, but some data suggest that poor body image predicts later depression). This can interfere with your relationships with others, including your partner and, very importantly, your baby.

Sometimes when we talk about this, the first reaction is, “Great, I already feel like &%$! about myself, and now I feel worse because my feelings are going to mess up everything.” That’s not it. Most of all, you simply deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to have peace with your body. You don’t need to waste your precious mental energy on tearing yourself down. For many women, their postpartum body image issues are extensions of lifelong feelings of insecurity. Let’s interrupt the cycle now.

Accepting Your Postpartum Body

Most people who want to change how they feel about their bodies take the approach of trying to change their bodies. This rarely works. Postpartum bodies (and bodies in general) often don’t respond how we want, and anyway many of us have constructed ideal body images in our minds that aren’t realistic.

If you want to change how you feel about your body, you should be working on how you feel about your body. There is a lot of well-meaning messaging in the meme-o-sphere about how you should love your body, but I prefer to start with appreciating your body and practicing self-compassion and self-care. If you’re ready to jump right to self-love, by all means go for it! However, this can feel daunting for some women who are stuck in a cycle of self-deprecation and even self-loathing.

The first step in all this is acceptance: accepting the fact that you probably can’t control the size and shape of your body right now, not like diet culture tells you that you can. Yes, there are some women who “bounce back” and flash their postpartum abs in magazines and on Instagram, but they aren’t the norm. Your body is in recovery. If you’re nursing, it’s focused on continuing to keep another human alive. You probably aren’t sleeping, and you might be finding the transition more stressful than you anticipated. Even months or longer down the road, these can still apply. This is hardly the ideal scenario for controlled weight loss.

Moreover, the truth is that your body probably won’t look the same ever again. Even if you go back to wearing your pre-pregnancy clothes, your shape will likely be different. You’ll probably be sporting some new stretch marks. The idea that you can and should “get your body back” is unrealistic and unfair for most women. (Health is something different here.) Your body has done something new and fabulous. It’s not the same body it was.

It’s O.K. to feel sad about that at first. It’s O.K. to mourn the loss of your pre-baby body even while you also appreciate and respect the hell out of your body for growing another human. Denying those feelings or, worse, feeling guilty for them and spiraling into self-criticism and shame doesn’t help. Be open and honest with yourself, and talk to other people who will listen non-judgmentally.

I can’t stress enough that you should ask for help if you need it. If your partner or your friends can’t give you the support you need, or you just feel like you need an impartial ear, find a therapist who specializes in body acceptance and postpartum issues (including depression, even if you don’t think you are depressed, since they are so often linked).

I hear some of you saying, “There is just no way I could ever get to a place where I accept, let alone like, this body.” If you’re feeling too mired down in self-negativity to believe that this is for you, consider this: Self-acceptance allows you to care for yourself and the other people in your life. Imagine if you could model a healthy, happy self-image for your baby as he or she grows. Which of your friends would benefit from someone who speaks in body-positive language and who models self-compassion? How would your partner respond if you could believe that you are sexy and deserving of physical affection?

You don’t owe it to other people to work on yourself if you’re not ready, but sometimes a little outside motivation is what gets the gears turning when the inner motivation is hidden under layers of fear, shame, or self-doubt.

Steps You Can Take

Have I mentioned that I strongly advise anyone who is struggling with mental health and well-being to seek professional help? Good, and I’m saying it again for the record. Therapy rocks.

Self-appreciation, self-compassion, and self-care are things we all deserve and we can actively cultivate. I recommend checking out the book Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff, Ph.D., as a starting point.

Quit Negative Self-talk: As I’m sure you know, we are usually our own worst critics. We say hateful, belittling things to ourselves that we would never say to someone else. If you want to deal with negative body image, this has to stop.

When you find your inner voice saying something self-critical, interrupt it and replace the disparaging comment with one that expresses kindness and compassion. Mantras and affirmations can be helpful here. (If you think they’re cheesy, humor me and give it a try.) The trick is to find one that feels authentic to you. One that I like, which I found here, is: I will accept that my body may never be exactly the same as it was before I had the baby, just as my heart will never be the same. Some others you might try are: I deserve to treat myself with kindness and respect, I am learning to be gentle with myself, or My body is beautiful and deserves all the love I can give it. It’s O.K. if you don’t quite believe it yet; still say it whenever a negative thought intrudes.

You can also actively redirect your attention from how your body looks to how it feels. Maybe you actually enjoy the feeling of softness is new places. Maybe pregnancy and childbirth made you feel powerful. When a negative thought appears, crowd it out with Hell yes, this body is strong and capable and awesome.

Again, if this feels forced at the beginning, that’s all right! Body positivity and self-acceptance take work. Many things feel awkward when they’re new, but over time they become second nature.

Negative Body Talk with Others: As a veteran member of multiple moms’ groups, I know that when a group of moms gets together, more often than not we end up kvetching about our bodies. I think social support from other moms is hugely important, but if I could go back in time to when my kids were babies, I’d really try to shut down the self-deprecating body talk.

If you have friends who do this, speak up! Honestly, this is a gift to the other women as well. Complaining about our mom bods is such a common form of bonding, sometimes we need permission to break the cycle. Try, “I’ve noticed we spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves, but I think we are all strong and beautiful rockstar moms. I’ve started a personal project to try to stop negative self-talk and replace it with compliments. What if we tried that here?”

And by all means, if there are other people in your life—family, your partner, co-workers—who try to engage you in body or diet/exercise talk that perpetuates your bad feelings, shut it down. Boundaries are fantastic; draw them often.  

Of course, I’m not suggesting you suppress your emotions. Find a friend or counselor you can talk to about your feelings, one who won’t respond with, “Ugh, I know! My belly button looks like a Shar Pei too, I hate it. That’s why I started this new diet, have you heard of it?” Processing and dealing with your feelings is one thing. Using language that keeps you stuck in a cycle of body hatred is something else altogether. You can tell the difference.

Curate Your Social Media: Think about the images you see on your social media. Are they mostly #fitspo accounts that depict a narrow range of what it means to be “healthy” and “fit?” If so, consider seeking out the many people who are spreading the word that bodies of different sizes and shapes can be strong, healthy, and attractive. Find other women who are at your stage of motherhood and who are also promoting positive self-image.

Move Your Body: Your body is so much more than what it looks like! Move for the joy of movement and to connect with your body on a physical level. Exercise to feel strong and powerful, not to try to force your body to “lose the baby weight.” Movement should be self-care, not punishment.

Wear Clothes That Fit: Dress up your body in clothes that fit rather than hiding in too-big clothes or squeezing into uncomfortably small clothes.

Step Off the Scale: I know this is a hard one for a lot of people, but if your daily mood depends on the number on the scale each morning, this is bad for your well-being. You don’t need to be aware of the daily fluctuations in order to take care of yourself.

Other Forms of Self-care: The sky’s the limit here! Let someone watch the baby while you take a nap or go for a coffee date with your partner. Get a pedicure. Ignore the laundry and watch a TV show. Taking care of your emotional well-being and feeling more positive overall can help you avoid the negative self-talk trap.

How You Can Help Support a Mom

If there’s a mom in your life whom you want to support, a good way to start is by not commenting on her body, period. (This is a good policy in general.) “You’ve lost weight!” is generally considered a compliment, but sometimes people lose weight because they’re ill or depressed. Plus, it draws attention to her body and reinforces the notion that she must be hoping and trying to lose weight. Better ways to engage her in conversation: Ask how she is feeling, and express excitement about the baby. Ask her if there is anything she needs. Offer to bring her coffee or a meal, go for a walk together, or watch the baby so she can shower or run to the store.

Resources for Finding Help and Support

If you feel like you could use help or support in this area, please don’t be afraid to ask. Below are some resources that cater to postpartum women specifically. There are also some great individuals and organizations that promote body positivity and self-care more generally.

Postpartum Health Alliance

Postpartum Support International

Pacific Postpartum Society

After the Baby is Born: A Postpartum Series — A collection of photos and commentary from new moms as part of The Honest Body Project.

“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” – Pema Chödrön

“Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it’s true.” – Geneen Roth

Thanks for stopping in today, everybody. Comments, questions, experiences to share? Include them on the comment board below, and have a great end to the week. Take care.

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Clean Eating Balsamic Strawberries Recipe

These balsamic strawberries are delicious by themselves, over ice cream or even over chicken!

When I first started eating clean, I mourned the loss of dessert. I was certain I’d never see another… Read more →



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Confetti Chopped Salad

When we first met, Thomas used to make fun of me for always using the phrase “little tiny.”

A “little tiny” nap.

A “little tiny” sip.

A “little tiny” pinch of salt.

I think I get it from my mom :mrgreen:

So when I was making this salad, which features a bunch of finely diced vegetables, I almost named it a “little tiny” salad. Not for its size but for its contents.

I had a lightbulb moment about vegetables recently. I often chop them big because it’s easier and requires less precision on the cutting board. But I actually prefer my vegetables to be finely diced! Sometimes biting into a giant piece of raw broccoli or a huge piece of cucumber can make me cringe a little, I think mostly related to the texture. But when finely diced, I love almost anything (ALMOST anything – finely diced onions are the worst!)

So the idea for this salad was to combine a bunch of little tiny vegetables into a superfood medley. Aka: vegetable confetti!

Yes, turning these whole veggies into tiny cubes did take me a lot longer, BUT how many times have you heard someone say that they find chopping vegetables sort of soothing? Turn on some music or a podcast, and it will be soothing. And the best news: the corn and navy beans are little tiny already 🙂

I steamed the sweet potatoes and broccoli in the microwave until both were tender, about 3-4 minutes for the taters and half that for the broccoli. Splash a little water on the bottom to help them steam. You could keep the broccoli raw too if you want!

Two finishing touches amp up the flavor: a few handfuls of freshly chopped herbs (I used parsley and mint from my garden) and a basic white wine vinegar dressing.

Enjoy this salad on its own or as a side dish. It will keep in your fridge for a few days, so it’s great for prep day! I had it with eggs on top and as a side to quiche for lunch.

Confetti Chopped Salad

This colorful mix of veggies, corn, beans, and herbs in a white wine vinegar dressing is great as a side dish or base for protein, like eggs or grilled shrimp. 

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 broccoli crown
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 can navy beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 handful parsley + mint (chopped)
  • Salt + pepper to taste

For Dressing

  • 2 tbsp  white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove (pressed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cane sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Dice sweet potato and steam for 4-5 minutes until tender. 

  2. Cut broccoli into little tiny florets and steam if desired for 1-2 minutes. 

  3. Finely dice both peppers. 

  4. Toss all veggies with beans and corn (both drained) in a bowl.

  5. Toss in herbs.

  6. Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour about half over salad. You will have extra!

  7. Finish with additional salt and pepper to taste. 

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