Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Lifestyle’

My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Hopefully this is one of the bumper stickers we can hang on our refrigerator (because even if our kid becomes an astronaut Shelton will not allow for the placement of stickers on our cars!): My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus, and Yours Eats Chicken Nuggets.

Growing up I was a painfully picky eater. And to be fair, “growing up” can best be defined by the last 28 years of my life. My palate has the depth of a teaspoon. I blame this, and mom DO NOT take any offense to this, on my parents. My exposure to food was pretty limited. We had Pizza Hut on speed dial, were on a first name basis with the Burger King manager, and probably consumed every flavor of Hamburger Helper on the grocery store shelf. (Thank someone for our metabolisms because we would have been poster children for childhood obesity!) I inherited my picky ways from both nature and nurture. My dad is also a very picky eater, so if I saw him turn his nose at something (oh, I don’t know, say RICE!) I wasn’t about to eat it. My mom, on the other hand, would have had us eating everything under the sun if she’d had her way. But my dad’s rule over what we ate (ground beef and potatoes) and our limited budget precluded us from broadening our culinary horizons.

As I grew up this became a huge handicap for me. To this day I have an almost fear of eating at other people’s houses. What will they serve us? How will they prepare it? Are there onions in? You put an eggplant in what? I got good at telling people that 1) I’d either had it several times before and just couldn’t stomach it, or 2) I was allergic. Neither of these were or are true. I have zero food allergies and if it looked even remotely suspicious there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to try it.

And on the very rare occasion that I had to try something, it would go terribly wrong. Take for instance the family vacation to Disney World where I was forced to eat a bratwurst with sauerkraut in the middle of Epcot’s Germany and proceeded to puke my guts out. I, to this today, have a tremendous gag reflex and I’m not going to keep anything down that my tongue deems not worthy.

So as I said, my persnickety eating habits have been a hindrance. Business lunches and dinners at ethnic restaurants are a nightmare – and I either beg to go somewhere else, or I’ve even been known to go a day or so ahead of time and “test drive” the menu to ensure I can find at least one thing that won’t lead to a “most embarrassing moment of my life.” Exhibit A, I had dinner with Jillian Michaels last spring at a sushi restaurant in LA. Three days before the dinner, I made Shelton take me to a local spot where I tried sushi for the first time, rather enjoyed it, and made copious notes in my phone so that I could order with out fail in front of Ms. Michaels.

In the past few years, as my love of cooking has developed, so have my tastes. I’ve discovered when in the privacy of my own kitchen with me at the ingredient controls I’m willing to try just about anything. I even attempted to make a Thai dish once that before completion ended up in the trash because the smell was so overwhelming, but the point is I tried. My mother-in-law keeps a list on her refrigerator of the foods I will not eat, alongside a similar list for both of my sisters-in-law, and I’m proud to say mine is the only one that has been mostly crossed off. I eat rice now people – white AND brown!

What could this possibly have to do what having a baby? A lot actually. One of my fears for my ability to raise a child has been my picky eating habits. I don’t mind passing on my curly hair or even my ability to speak my mind and share my opinion no matter what; but I do not want to create another generation of people who curl their lips and noses at the thought of – VEGETABLES. Oh the horror!

As editor for, I’m sent a library worth of books every year, books related to diet, health, wellness and fitness. We review them, but as most editors will tell you, I don’t read them cover to cover. A few months ago a book showed up that really caught my attention, and the title is My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus. (Kudos to the author and editors for coming up with that one!) I read this one cover to cover, in fact, I couldn’t put it down and haven’t shut-up about it since i started reading.

Nancy Tringoli Piho is the author, a former food industry PR guru who handed over her press releases for mommyhood. She and her husband are foodies, so when she had her first child, she set about feeding him the same way they ate. What a novel idea. Or is it? In her book she discusses how eating trends for American children have so drastically changed from those of even our parents or grandparents. There’s an entire industry of kid foods, and for some reason, most parents only feed their kids from this limited, starchy, processed menu of mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches. Meanwhile, the parents enjoy pasta with pesto and shrimp or a curry or fajitas or God knows what else. The point is, this act limits the development of their children’s palates.

My family gives me a hard time because even now when all we have is a bump in my womb, I’m adamant about how our child will and will not eat. I’m not going to raise a kid who is all strung out on sugar and refuses to eat vegetables. How do I make that happen? Well, My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus helped me feel justified in this early parenting decision that I’ve made and even offered a few ideas I hadn’t yet considered.

We’ll make our own baby food. That way, our child immediately learns the flavors, smells, colors and textures of what a green bean or sweet potato really is, rather than the high-sodium, high-sugar, over-processed version that Gerber wants to sell us at the grocery store.

We’ll introduce broader flavors and varieties of foods at an earlier age than most people do. Piho explains that in other cultures children are eating spicy foods and even more complex flavors like lamb as first foods, and we’re all human, so why can’t my American baby eat that too?

When we make dinner, that’s what everyone is eating. Shelton and I aren’t going to have sushi while the kids munch on Goldfish crackers and cheese sticks.

My goal here is to help develop a taste and appreciation for good food, health them understand that food is fuel and serves a purpose, and help my kids grow to be healthy and strong.

My picking eating habits are infamous. Friends, family and colleagues will all attest to the to down-right aggravating way I eat, or rather don’t. But hopefully, twenty or so years from now, or even five, no one will be able to say that about our child.

I really do recommend this book and hope you’ll give it a read. You can see more of my My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus review here at, and you’ll see that I think it should be added to the must-read list for all expectant moms.

Finding my Mantra in Pre-Natal Yoga

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I have been waiting so long for last night!! I went to the doctor yesterday for my four-week check-up (and all went well), and since I’m in my 14th week now, asked if I could start yoga. And he gave a resounding yes, and praised the fitness benefits.

I didn’t do yoga before. In fact, I’ve only been to maybe three yoga classes ever, and that was during college. And I was too immature for it because I’d snicker every time bodily noises escaped into the room.

But being that I’m more in tune with my overall health and wellness than I ever have been before, I couldn’t help but pay attention the pregnancy benefits of yoga. It facilitates a deeper connection with yourself and your body, cultivates a sense of calmness, learn how to properly breathe and channel attention away from pain, and it’s a low-impact method of exercise that can tone, relieve aches and pains, and strengthen muscles. Name a pregnant woman who couldn’t benefit from all of that!

I enlisted a well-versed yogi friend to research the yoga studios in Wichita and landed on one that she highly recommended.

So in preparation this week, I bought my yoga mat and read-up on what I needed to know as a yoga beginner. The no eating rule beforehand was proving to be a challenge and I finally had to give in to a cheese stick and apple. I was so hungry and I knew I wouldn’t make it through otherwise.

I loved the class! And I’m looking forward to many more over the next five or six months. The instructor is fun and enjoyable, keeping the class lighthearted. There were four other women and they made this newbie feel very comfortable. There was even a fellow Sooner in the bunch! We had a sort of open forum for pregnancy questions – everything from gas and heartburn to charlie horses and cravings. I was definitely the least far along, but it was kind of fun to see where I was headed. We had to come up with a mantra to repeat to ourselves as we inhaled and exhaled. Mine was “This is all worth it,” I think an appropriate reminder that the shots, puking, headaches, constipation, giant porn-star boobs and the like will all be a faint memory, and worth it, when we finally bring our little baby home.

I left feeling refreshed and excited. I can definitely see how this is going to help me get through the rest of this pregnancy, but also the labor and delivery.

Feeding the Ravenous Pregnancy Hunger

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I can’t even put into words how much I’m eating. Probably because my mouth is full of food. It’s been like this since the week before the pregnancy test. Shelton’s growing more concerned he can’t afford to feed me. I’m just growing more concerned I’ll keep finding food sources. For the most part, as I’ve said on here several times, I eat a very balanced, nutritious diet. Lately, I’ve given in to a few twinges for things that are rarely on my menu. Like beef tacos. And pizza. Twice. This weekend. Oh wait, make that three times.

Saturday was the kick-off of college football season. I am not a fair weather fan, but let me say that my OU Sooners let me down. Let me down hard. I’ve been anticipating football season since, oh, January! Why can’t football season last as long as lame basketball season or baseball season, both of which seem to go on for-ev-er! As the weather took a quick turn in to fall last week (usually Wichita holds out until at least the day before Thanksgiving), I decided that we needed a pot of chili. My mom came over to watch the game with us and have some of my chili (because I’d be embarrassed if the two of us ate an entire Crock pot worth of chili). After dinner she told me we needed to get some junk food in the house. And I’m not lying, the best thing I could come up with was a can of Orange Crush a friend had brought to me a couple of months ago. Shelton and I laughed and told her this is our junk food – chili and cornbread.

So, I eat, around the clock it feels like. I wake up to my stomach growling. And until last week, I went to bed that way, too. I reached out to the dietitian, Rebecca Scritchfield, and explained my ravenous state. I told her that before bed I got another hunger surge, but I was afraid to eat right before bed. However, on the nights that I did I slept better and on the nights I didn’t, well, I didn’t sleep well. This is her advice, copied verbatim from an email, and I was so grateful to read this.

BK: My question is – is there something I can/should eat as a little snack to quench that hunger, should I just let it go? What’s a smart move here?

RS: Definitely eat a bedtime snack. My recommendation is to eat something that is high calories to satisfy you without a large volume of food. Second suggestion is bland BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce and toast) because they are easy on the GI. Start with banana and peanut butter (300 calories) or peanut butter and toast (also about 300 calories). It should not have you feeling too full.

This does not mean to have half a tub of peanut butter. It means a regular serving (a tablespooon I think) on a piece of whole grain toast. This is what I’ve been doing, with a small cup of skim milk. It fills me, satisfies me, and I sleep well. I still wake up hungry, but not ready to eat the down comforter.

Another conundrum I keep finding myself in is that I’m out and about and hunger strikes. Right now. This second. Feed me now or I will DIE! If you’ve ever had your blood sugar crash, it’s that exact feeling. Shaky, empty, feed me now anything! This weekend I made my own trail mix and got an air-tight reusable container to store it in. It fits in my purse, along with some Kashi granola bars. This way I’ve got a healthy, filling snack that I can take anywhere with me and I can munch on that to satiate for a little while. I made my own because 1) I don’t need the M&Ms, 2) I don’t need all that sodium, and 3) I don’t need the extra sugar. So here’s what I used in my homemade trail mix:

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup Craisins
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Feel free to use this and modify as you like. For the next batch I’ll probably add pistachios.

Basically, I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t gorge myself. I eat a normal meal at meal times and have smaller snacks throughout the day:
– Breakfast is a bowl of Raisin Bran or Cheerios or an egg white veggie omelet with a whole grain tortilla
– Lunch is a turkey sandwich with veggies on whole grain bread, leftovers from the night before, or a veggie quesadilla with salsa
– Dinner is ground turkey for pasta or tacos, grilled chicken with veggies, grilled fish with veggies and whole grain rice, veggie paninis

For snacks, I keep it pretty simple, and keep the house well stocked.
– A few pieces of light havarti cheese with multi-grain crackers
– Fresh fruit: apple/orange/banana/grapes
– a 0% fat Chobani Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and/or almonds
– a handful of whole grain Goldfish
– blue corn chips and salsa

I really don’t want to gain more than the 35 pounds or so of recommended weight. So I’m trying to keep everything balanced and eat in moderation. Right now I feel like that’s an impossible task because I simply just keep eating. I even give myself some time – ask if I’m really hungry right now. I’ll sip on a glass of water for a few minutes and see if that won’t kill the urge. Sometimes it does, and sometimes I can literally hear my stomach bellow FEED ME NOW!

I’m also taking evening walks with Shelton – which is a great time for us to catch-up. It’s a moderate exercise that for my first trimester I’m comfortable with. I’m considering prenatal yoga once my second trimester starts.

Some of you might be giggling going – ahh, welcome to pregnancy. Hopefully some of you also find yourselves pregnant and hungry and this will help you navigate the pantry a little easier.

Pregnancy Week Six

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I told Shelton today that I’m bored with being pregnant. How do you tell someone they’re pregnant and expect them to just sit by and wait nine months? How about you just go ahead and give me my baby already! Shelton laughed and agreed that I’m too impatient in general and that I don’t do delayed gratification well. There’s a reason I don’t shop online very often, I want to pay and get my stuff! So I guess I have to sit here for 34 more weeks!

Waiting for 7.5 more months or not, I’m loving this. As my sister advised, I’m embracing all of it. It still doesn’t feel real to either of us, I keep thinking I’ll wake up and find out I’ve waken from the best dream. The heartburn continues – so I have Tums. I am so fatigued and exhausted – so I sleep and take naps when I can. I’m ravenous – so I eat. All the things that any other day of the week would feel like a burden and a pain to deal with, I’m embracing whole heartedly. I want the heartburn, I want to feel tired, and I want to eat everything in sight!

You think I’m kidding?! I had two lunches today!! I’m eating a balance of everything I’m supposed to and limiting what I’m not supposed to. No real cravings yet, I’m not even sure when that’s supposed to start if it does. However, I did eat six meals of Mexican food last week. (YUM!)

Tomorrow is a big, big day! We’ll have our first ultrasound. We are big balls of nerves – and possibly more anxious than we were for the pregnancy test. One… Two…. THREE?! No idea what we’ll hear. We will hear a heartbeat and it’s nearly unfathomable that 26 days ago they were microscopic eight cell organisms – and tomorrow it will have a heartbeat. UNREAL!!!

I’m using the pregnancy week-by-week calendar on For six weeks it says the face is beginning to form: “Your baby’s jaw, cheeks, chin, eyes, ears, and nose are beginning to form.” From crown to rump the baby is 1/4” long, about the length of a nail head. It also explains why I pee ALL THE TIME… morning, noon, night and midnight! My kidneys are working more efficiently to rid my body of waste, and that means I’m spend half my day looking for a toilet.

BUT I’m only looking for the toilet to pee. I am over the moon that I have yet to get sick. I’ve read that 25 percent of women never do, and I have no qualms with that!

The progesterone shots continue. And believe me, I’m over it. O-VER-IT! On each cheek I have huge knots under the skin. Last night Shelton confused an old incision spot with the new incision spot and misplaced the bandage. An hour later he noticed blood on the back of my PJ shorts and I noticed a big oil stain on the sheets… where it had all leaked out. (The progesterone is in oil.) I really do look like a human pin cushion.

Pregnancy Week 5

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

First, thanks to so many of you who’ve reached out with notes of congratulations! I still can’t believe after all this time we were finally able to make this announcement and so glad that so many of you are still following our journey!

Sundays are my week-marker for pregnancy. As this past Sunday was the big pregnancy announcement, I didn’t make a “week” update post. Rather than wait until next week, I wanted to go ahead and fill everyone in where I am for now.

Yesterday I went in for my third blood test to monitor hCG levels (the hormone produced by pregnant women). I was at 9211!! According to the “What to Expect” book, upward of 7000 is normal. So I am raging over here!!!

Thus far I feel fantastic. That’s not to say I’m not feeling a few things I’d rather not, but in the grand scheme, five weeks pregnant isn’t treating me too badly. I tend to “crash” every day around 3pm and don’t really make a recovery. If it weren’t for my sister and new baby niece visiting this week, I think I’d head to bed before 10pm every night. I’ve had heartburn since before the pregnancy test. I’m have two or three Tums at a time once or twice a day. My breasts are enormous and as I explained in this post – reacquainting with my breasts – I’m completely fascinated by this growth spurt, and also completely over the itchiness, soreness and not fitting into any bras.

I also pee ALL THE TIME! You can count on me to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night between 2 and 4 every night. Now I’m going three times each night, which is quite disruptive to the REM patterns. And I pee all day everyday. I thought this part was supposed to wait until you had a seven pound mass sleeping on your bladder!

Finally, I’m ravenous. I could eat three families out of house and home and then ask for dessert. I’m maintaining my usual healthy, balanced diet. I’ve also given in a few times to a few things that I probably shouldn’t have. I had an orange soda the other day, have been to Chipotle twice, chips and queso, and some cheesecake/fudge brownie concoction (because it was my mom’s birthday!!). But seriously, I’m maintaining my typical ration of egg white veggie omelets, whole grain sandwiches with turkey and veggies, fresh fruits for snacks, Greek yogurt, lean proteins, skim milk every morning and buckets of water. Jillian Michaels’ pregnancy advice is that you only need to increase calories by about 200-300 per day and if you do this, and stay safely and moderately active, you shouldn’t have much of a baby belly to work off later. This is my goal. I don’t need Cheetos. The baby(s) doesn’t need Cheetos. My ass doesn’t need Cheetos.

I don’t want to jinx this – but I haven’t puked once. Not a single sign of morning sickness. Maybe this is what I get for having already gone through more than six weeks of shots, fatigue, nausea, pain, etc., maybe I’m just one of the 25 percent who won’t get it, and maybe it’s just waiting patiently for me.

The next big step from here is finding out if both embryos stuck around or if we’ve got a single. The ultrasound is next week and I’m growing more and more anxious every single day.

Obesity and Infertility

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

One of the co-authors of Budgeting for Infertility, Evelina Sterling, has contributed a post at discussing the influence of obesity in infertility. Maybe it’s not an obvious answer, but for some who are struggling to conceive, definitely consider not only your weight but that of your partner. Being overweight or obese has so many negative impacts on your body, that it should come as no surprise that your fertility could be impacted as well.

Here’s an exerpt, and then continue reading Obesity Increases Chances of Infertility and maybe take a second look at your diet.

Unfortunately, it is not completely clear exactly how obesity affects fertility. It is a complex relationship that we are just beginning to understand. Still, the bottom line is the more you weigh, the less fertile you are. Most likely, the added pounds disrupt normal hormone production and prevent successful ovulation among women. For men, it can result in fewer and less quality sperm. In any case, the chances for fertilization are significantly lowered. And if both partners in a couple are overweight, they are even more likely to have to wait longer before conceiving a child.