12 Tips for healthy eating

12 Tips for healthy eating

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EATING CLEAN ON A BUDGET
Written by Ariana Hamidi 4/1/17

If you’re anything like me, feeding your family healthy whole foods free of chemicals is a top priority. A lot of people think that many foods are out of reach, too expensive, and I am here to tell you it’s just not true! You can nourish your family organically and frugally, so I’ve created a list below of ideas on how to do that. The first piece of advice is: be committed! You may have to give up certain conveniences or treats; you may have to offer your time and labor, but your body will be healthier and your bank account will be fuller. Write a monthly amount to what you can spend on groceries and stick to it however you can. For me, it means using cash only. Other families might fare better with apps like Mint. Budgets are very personal and only you will know what works for your family. No matter what that number looks like, these tips can help you keep costs down while improving your health and well-being by feeding your family the very best you are able to give. In the case of our children, you are helping them grow and thrive into strong human beings with healthy immune systems. It’s worth it!
1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
This is the best piece of advice anyone can give. It is critical in today’s society to build community and work together to become as self-sustaining as possible. It’s also the best way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure where to start, ask friends, find a workshop, check out books from the library, read blogs. Lots of cities are establishing community gardens where you can rent space. If you’re in the suburbs or rural communities, chances are you have some lawn you could turn into a garden. If you rent, building a few raised beds with cheap wood can still produce a substantial amount of vegetables and is simple to break down when you move. Apartment living? A long as you have a porch, you can have a garden using only large pots. Start small, and build from there. Plant herbs for flavor and amazing health benefits. (Did you know parsley has more iron than a serving of meat?) Once you gain experience, expand if your housing allows it. Raise chickens or ducks for eggs, goats for dairy, plant an orchard, berry bushes, or whatever excites you. There’s really nothing more satisfying than getting your hands in the earth growing food that you pick from your porch or backyard, tastes delicious and is relatively free! Be sure to buy organic and non-GMO seeds, and use local soil whenever possible. Many landscape businesses will sell an organic mushroom blend by the yard. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested for lead and other contaminants. Many states provide that service for a small fee. We had the soil at our rental home tested for $15 when we moved to RVA last year before we established a large garden.

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2. EAT LOCAL
I am fortunate to live in a city that has a farmers market open almost every day of the week. The key to saving money at a farmers market is to shop around and avoid impulse buys. Compare the prices of each stand before purchasing. Make notes about how these foods compare to grocery store prices and quality. Sometimes I choose lesser quality produce from Kroger if it saves me a few dollars, other times I opt for the fresher ingredients. In the height of the spring/summer season it’s easy to find a good deal at the market, just avoid purchasing extras we often see like baked goods, hot foods, or artisan cheeses, as these items can break the bank.

Another way to eat locally is to do your own fruit picking. Last summer we went to Barry’s Berries, Pleasant Field Farms, and Newcastle Bee and Berry farm to pick blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The cost and quality are fantastic in comparison to any berries offered at the grocery store, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting someone’s labor with the big brands like Driscoll’s. We always pick as much as we can handle (with three kids running around) take them home and freeze them. I was lucky enough to have a family member gift us a vacuum sealer and it has allowed us to enjoy fresh picked berries all winter long for the last several years. (Investing in a deep freeze is an essential element to this money saver).

3. TASTE THE RAINBOW
Diversify your plates. Eat fruits and veggies in season, as you are more likely to find a great deal. Stock up on asparagus and peas in spring, pumpkins, and squash in fall, greens in summer. Like they say, too much of a good thing is…too much? I think life would be pretty boring if we were to eat the same meals on repeat each day, and frankly, I have no interest in living that way. I am a frugal foodie and to do that I constantly push my palate to keep things interesting, whether it’s spending a whole week figuring out how to love kohlrabi or giving offal to my baby. My goal for my kids’ meals every day is that they will get the full rainbow of colors in their meals. A typical example of that for us would include red bell pepper, sweet potato, banana, kale, blueberries, and grapes. (Purple is the hardest one for me to achieve consistently). I like to think of it as my kid’s multivitamin, but that’s another post entirely! When that’s not possible, or when you have a very picky eater, (for some of us that might even be most days), do what you can. Make smoothies. Hide veggies in meatloaf, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Try to acquire variety based on shopping sales or plan your meals around your CSA haul.

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4. CSA or WORK SHARE
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an opportunity to support local farmers while enjoying the benefits of homegrown organic foods. You pay for a half or full share up front, and each week you pick up whatever crops they have harvested that week (May-November). It typically comes out to $30-50/week for a nice variety of chemical free vegetables. Many CSAs also have fruits, eggs, dairy, and fresh bread. Check the web or social media for the names of various CSAs in your area, then write emails to them asking if they are accepting new members. They should be happy to tell you about their growing practices in detail and if they’re not, move on! When my family moved to RVA last year I tried one of the delivery box services (there are several) but I was disappointed in the quantity, quality, and price so I canceled. It was not worth the convenience for me but you may find that is a good fit for your family. I did find a CSA that was Certified Naturally Grown (Victory Farms), which seems to be the new standard since it’s becoming harder to trust the safety of organic pesticides in USDA Organic food. This year I found Willow Hill Family Farm in their second year of a CSA. They also offer a work share (check them out here), five hours of farm work in exchange for the CSA share. Since we have been missing our Pennsylvania homestead so much, I chose this option. They offer a variety of seasonal no-spray, non-GMO vegetables, pastured eggs, lamb, and pork. My family enjoys connecting to our food through harvesting and building relationships with farmers so I am very excited about this season!
5. BUY IN BULK
Pretty simple. Only buy what you need and skip the extra packaging altogether. Another instance of …good for the planet, good for your wallet. Natural grocers (like Ellwood Thompsons in RVA) will typically allow you to bring your own containers to fill. An example of the savings: I can buy three times the amount of organic rolled oats in bulk as I can packaged for the same price. The same is true for dried beans, rice, and flour.

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6. MEAT AND RAW DAIRY SHARE (Vegan friends look away!)
If you can front the cost, buying a ¼, ½ of a whole cow, lamb, or goat is a great way to eat local and save money. Although this way of purchasing is certainly more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, it is a better value for families who choose to eat grass-fed beef and other pastured livestock exclusively. This season I found someone to split a ¼ share with me from Fresh Branch Farms (they can be found on Facebook). I have bought beef from them several times and it’s simply amazing! I also feel good about supporting a young family like mine. Many farms also offer a raw dairy share, such as Avery’s Branch Farms, who deliver at various drop-off locations in RVA.

7. BARTERING
Just this week I had a friend offer to buy some pastured chickens from her neighbor in exchange for some of my homemade bone broth. I gladly accepted! Whenever I can barter labor or supplies and avoid the exchange of money I do. This is another way of building community. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in this. Perhaps you have a neighbor who always has an abundance of tomatoes but can never find a sitter for her children, make an offer to barter! Be creative and outgoing as there’s so much to gain and really nothing to lose if they say no.

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8. START A CO-OP
Start your own co-op (or find an established one) so that your food is sourced locally and directly without the inconvenience of having to visit all the farms yourself each week. I have a friend who does this in Austin, TX with a group of parents committed to eating clean. The group was formed on Facebook and has almost 400 members. The process looks something like this: a member scopes out a food source and posts to the group to gauge interest. Once a source is voted on and chosen they negotiate with the farm to buy a large order each week. They use Google forms to manage the ordering. The food gets delivered to the main organizer’s house and she keeps it frozen, refrigerated, or in coolers until each member picks up what they bought. Some members pick up for rural members and establish secondary pickup locations. They buy everything from meat, poultry, pork products, broth, eggs, Elderberry syrup, local honey, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and certain pantry items. This is a unique way of tailoring your eating to both your budget and lifestyle. I hope to have a part in making this happen in Richmond!
9. SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
I know I know busy parents don’t have time to shop different stores each week, so you’ll have to decide how much of a savings is worth the extra time. If you look at it over the course of a month, I’ve been able to save up to $80/month with this method. For much of the year when our CSA or garden is not producing, we do a Kroger trip once a week, and a trip to Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompsons, or Aldi 1-2 times a month. We have certain dietary restrictions and some items much be purchased at those grocers. Kroger has a great natural foods section as well as organic produce, Aldi has affordable pantry items, Whole Foods has a nice seafood counter, and Ellwood Thompsons has a great bulk section. Each place offers something. I know a lot of people enjoy Click List, the online ordering system that Kroger now offers. If you are someone who makes a lot of impulse purchases, this is a good option for you. Stick to your list for meals and avoid the budget bumps!

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10. STOP EATING OUT!
Seems obvious, but for some, this might be a tough sell. Dining out, even at casual restaurants, is expensive. As someone who has worked in the service industry for many years, I always tip at least 20% (as everyone should) and that really adds to the cost. Because my family is living on a strict budget, we almost never eat out. We limit ourselves to special occasions maybe 3-4 times a year. Additionally, restaurant food has a lot of added sugar and salt and even if you choose a spot that sources locally, you really can’t be sure where all the ingredients are coming from. If you have to eat out, limit yourself to one drink and skip the appetizers and desserts. Look for lunch specials or nightly happy hour deals.
11. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
(As much as possible) Let’s get real, everyone loves junk food…. at least in theory. Momentary pleasures of salty or sweet are something most folks can relate to, not to mention the convenience factor packaged foods provide when you have kids! But in reality, these foods are not helping your body or your budget, even if they are “Organic junk food.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices in any way because I definitely indulge plenty, but you may need to make a few rules for yourself in order to keep the spending in check. I give myself a rule that if I decide to buy the kids some kind of convenience food; it has to be on sale. When I see a great deal on a processed food like organic rice cakes, I buy a few extras for my pantry. Today at the grocery store I avoided all of it because I did not see a good deal and these foods are not necessary to any of us.

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12. HOMEMADE IS BETTER
I grew up on junk food, but later taught myself how to cook and now I make everything from scratch. I like to experiment, take risks, and rarely use recipes. If you’re a novice cook, check some books out at the library or look online for ideas. You really don’t need every ingredient listed in a recipe. Cooking and baking at home not only tastes far superior to anything store-bought, but you can control the ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, or other things you can’t pronounce. Worried about time? Use the crockpot; get an InstaPot, freeze dishes, or do a little meal prep on the weekend. Find a few go-to dishes that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Cooking homemade is a major money saver. My favorite way to make meat stretch is with soup. I can feed my family of five plus several lunch leftovers with one pound of meat. I use bones and wilted veggies (I collect both in my freezer over time) to make my own broth, fill it with cheap nutritious vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrot, and potato, and I have 3 meals for under $15.
I hope some of these ideas help your family on the path to both wellness and financial freedom!

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Ariana Hamidi for writing this incredible post today 🙂 I’ve had family visiting so I wasn’t able to write a full post this week ( Prioritize what’s important to you my friends) If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to this weekend follow me on Instagram I make new post there daily. If you haven’t subscribed yet make sure you enter you email so you never miss a post.

xoxo

Destiny

Essential Oils 101

Essential Oils 101

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Essential oils are a big deal in the natural community right now. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talking about them recently. I know most of us crunchy mamas have a set at home. And for good reason. They are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

I couldn’t go a day without my oils! I never leave the house without them in my bag. I use them for supporting my immune system, calming my anxiety and much more! They’re an amazing, natural way to manage your family’s health. If you’re interested in taking charge of your health as well as your family’s this post is for you!

I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST OF DOCTOR. I’M JUST A MOM WHO HAS DONE HER OWN RESEARCH. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH OR CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING OILS ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN!

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are often called the “life blood” of a plant. They are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found in most shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, seeds, and bushes. They have been used for thousands of years, some say they date back to 3,500 B.C.

Today people use essential oils in three main ways

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Ingestion

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: AROMATICALLY 

Recently there have been a number of studies published linking the benefits of essential oils both physically, and emotionally. You’ve probably noticed the link between scent and emotions. When we smell something When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is basically inhaling essential oils. The easiest way to do this is with a diffuser. You can find links to the ones I use here and here. The diffuser works by breaking the oil into tiny molecules dispersing them throughout the air. An essential oil diffuser is a much healthier option compared to toxic air fresheners and candles.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: TOPICALLY 

Applying essential oils topically is another way to get all the amazing benefits essential oils have to offer. Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.

The safest place to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet because they contain thicker less sensitive skin. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied to the skin neat. Make sure you are always dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. Dilution doesn’t make them less effective it just helps them spread over a larger surface area. I can not stress this enough! Always make sure you are following essential oil safety guidelines, especially when it comes to children.

Although diluting ratios vary depending on age and medical conditions the general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adult
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age.( Never apply a “hot” oil such are oregano, cinnamon bark, or wintergreen to children. I also recommend to keep peppermint oil away from anyone under the age of 10)

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: INGESTING

 This should only be done with a health care professional with experience and essential oil education! Please remember essential oils are VERY potent. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to twenty-six cups of tea! You should educate yourself, and do what you’re comfortable with. Always make sure you are working with someone who is knowledgeable in using essential oils internally before you ingest them. DO NOT GIVE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY TO CHILDREN!

With all that being said I have used essential oils in my water from time to time, just to give it a little bit of flavor.

WHAT BRAND TO USE

There are hundreds of brands out there, I won’t go into too much detail but I will tell you to stay way from the oils sold in places like Wal-mart or even some health food stores. Do your research and compare different brands until you find the one you like. I personally use Doterra oils and LOVE them! You can purchase them here.

If you’d like more information on essential oils, check out the book modern essentials. It’s a fantastic source of information and can answer any question you have regarding essential oils. You can find it here.

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

Self care Sunday

Self care Sunday

 

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Hello my sweet sweet friends! I hope all is well in your world.

If you couldn’t tell from last weeks post I’m pretty big on self-love. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’ll go ahead and let you know this is a relatively new idea for me. I’ve spent most of my life putting myself on the back burner, but not anymore my friends!

Basically, I started with the idea of taking a little time for myself. I usually do this on Sunday when I make a new post, but you can choose any day that works for you. In the future, I’d like to take a little time every day, but for now, Sundays are working just fine 😉

I can’t stress how important it is to create a routine of self-care for yourself, especially for us mothers. We spend so much time taking care of other people we forget about ourselves. Take some tips from my self-care routine below, and make sure you’re giving yourself some love on a daily basis!

Sleep in

You’ll be surprised when you see what sleeping in just one day a week can do for your health. Both physically as well as mentally. Sleep is when our body heals and recuperates from our stressful lives. If you have small children pass them off on Dad for a little bit, so you can sleep in.

Meditate 

Meditation is something I feel very strongly about, and it’s a huge part of my life. Take a least 10 minutes to just sit, and be present. Make sure you ditch your phone, and any negative thoughts.

You’ll walk away much more relaxed, and ready to take on your day.

Pamper yourself 

I want to start by saying that I’m not talking about “retail therapy” here. I personally believe that kind of “papering” is just a distraction, and incredibly self-destructive.

What I mean is run yourself a hot bath, diffuse some essential oils and drift away.

Get outside 

This is so important to me! If I spend to much time indoors, I feel stressed and overwhelmed with life.

Take a walk, ride a bike, just get outside and breathe the fresh air. I find this incredibly grounding, it connects back to life and just makes my day that much better.

Spend time doing something you love 

For me, this means watching my son. Literally, I just sit there and watch him sleep sometimes. I know this probably sounds really weird, but it’s the truth. I find myself becoming preoccupied with so many things that I often forget just how fast my son is growing. Whenever I find that happening, I stop what I’m doing and focus on being present in his life. Whether that means watching him sleep, or sitting on the floor and playing with him. It’s important to me to take that time for him, no matter what because I know in twenty years I’m never going to look back and wish I would have spent more time putting the dishes away.

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Life is busy, and I’m sure a lot of you are thinking there is no way you have time to find one of these activities into your day. If you don’t have time for self-care what does that say about the relationship you have with yourself?

Life is about love and joy, not negativity and judgment. Just breathe and embrace life!

xoxo

Destiny

Starting Baby on Solids

Starting Baby on Solids

I often get asked why my son hasn’t started solids yet, or what foods I want to start him on. So in this post, I’ll be going over why we haven’t started solids, when we plan to, and what foods we’ll start with. Enjoy!

WHY WE WAITED

My partner and I decided before Walter was even born that we were going to wait until he showed true signs of food readiness before we gave him anything other than breast milk. There are a thousand and one reasons why parents delay introducing solid into their babies diet. The most simple being babies only need breast milk ( or formula) to thrive. I know, it’s shocking! I’m sure someone’s mother in law just fell out of her seat. Unfortunately today it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged by their doctor, or family to start solid food long before baby’s digestive system is ready. Introducing solids before baby is ready (especially grains) has been linked to food allergies later on in life. If you have a history of allergies in your family, the longer you wait the better.

WHY WE’LL NEVER GIVE OUR SON BABY CEREAL 

We chose not to give our son baby cereals for two main reasons. Number one being that babies can’t digest grains before the age of one, and two because rice cereal has been known to contain arsenic! Parents are often encouraged to give their baby cereal to held them sleep better. There is no scientific evidence that supports that theory, in fact, many recent studies have disproved it altogether. The reason people think it helps babies sleep is because it binds their tummies. The main reason babies wake up at night is to poop. If you give them a bottle filled with cereal, they’ll theoretically sleep longer. Not because their tummy is full, and they’re satisfied but because they’re constipated. As for the arsenic, I won’t go into too much detail about why I don’t want my son eating that. I’m sure most people will agree we shouldn’t be feeding our children a deadly poison. If you’d like to read more about it on your own here is a link to the FDA website.baby semolina isolated on white background

 

WHEN WILL WE FEED OUR SON SOLIDS 

The short answer is when he’s ready. I know that’s not the answer you guys are looking for so I’ll elaborate. I believe no baby should receive solid food before the age of six months. the AAP even states for optimal health and wellness babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life. With that being said we obviously weren’t going to feed our son anything other than breast milk before he was six months old. Along with that, we chose to wait until he showed other signs of food readiness. For example:

  • A desire for something other than milk. Babies often show a desire to play with food before they are actually ready to eat it. I’ll just take a second to mention my usual disclaimer, of course, every baby is different, use your intuition when it comes to feeding your baby. Your little on may show signs of food readiness long another. Always do what YOU think is best.
  • An ability to pick up small objects. I believe it’s important to allow our little ones to feed themselves, in order for them to do so they’ll need to have developed their pincher grasp. This is when baby uses his thumb and forefinger to pick things up.
  • The ability to sit on their own. This is extremely important because this skill is needed to allow baby to swallow properly. Wait until your little one can sit on his own for several minutes before introducing solids.
  • Last but not least baby should have lost his tongue thrust reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to immediately push anything thicker than milk out of their mouth. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mom feeding their baby a jar of baby food and the little one immediately pushes it out of their mouth and mom scoops it up with a spoon and shoves it back in. All for the baby to spit it right back out again. If your little one does this, it may be a sign he isn’t ready for solids yet.

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WHAT FOODS WILL WE START WITH

Mostly likely we will start with avocado. Mainly because when it’s ripe is soft enough for Walter to chew without it having to be cooked first. Plus it’s high in fat which is fantastic for brain development. We plan on offering him other soft ripe fruits such as bananas, mango, and peaches. I often hear parents talk about how they are afraid of offering their baby too many sweet fruits, fearing they will only eat sugary foods and no crave the savory taste of vegetables. I’m not worried about this but to debunk this theory let discuss the natural craving for sugar. We are by nature fruit eaters. I know this comes as a surprise to most but just stick with me. Breast milk is naturally sweet, whereas cow’s milk isn’t. This is because humans are designed to have a diet high in sugars (natural sugars of course). Humans thrive in the tropics, where natural tree ripened fruit is the most abundant source of calories. In our natural environment, we would be drawn to fruits because it’s much easier to sit under a mango tree and eat until your heart’s delight than it is the hunt, kill, skin, and eat an animal.

whatever food your choose to start with is up to you. However, I do want to stress the importance of seeking out the highest quality, organic food possible. It is incredibly important to feed our little one’s food free of pesticides and chemicals, not only is it better for their bodies it’s also better for our environment. Shop at farmers markets whenever you can. This is the best way to get organic, nutrient dense foods. Plus you’ll be supporting a local small business 😉

I do want to stress that before the age of one breast milk should be your child’s primary source of calories. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.”

However, you choose to feed your child always remember they are a reflection of ourselves. If you want your child to love fruits and vegetables YOU have to love them! One of my favorite bloggers once said “If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” -Ellen Fisher.

 

If you haven’t subscribed make sure you do. When you enter your email you’ll be notified whenever I make a new post! Plus I’m working on some exclusive content you’ll only have access to if you’re subscribed!

xoxo

Destiny.

FINDING JOY

FINDING JOY

I want to start off by saying I am not an expert. Anyone who has known me for years can tell you I can be one of the most pessimistic people on earth. I’m not denying that, and I’m not saying that my life is always perfect. Trust me it’s far from it, however, since becoming a parent my outlook on life has changed dramatically. Don’t get me wrong I still have my bad days just like anyone else. What’s different is I no longer allow myself to wallow in misery. Basically what I’m trying to say is yes I lose my shit every now and then, but when that happens I pick myself up and move on. Because of that, I can honestly say for the first time in my life I’m finally at peace with myself.

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So what is joy?

Before we dive too deep I want to tell you the definition of joy, “a feeling of great pleasure or happiness”. This can mean something different to different people. I find my joy in motherhood, others may not. In order for you to be truly happy, you have to find what joy is to you.

Before I had my son I was fighting a never ending battle. I felt dissatisfied with my life, and I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy. I knew things had to change before I brought my son into the mix. I took a step back and really tried to reevaluate my life. What I discovered was astounding. I realized that my outlook on life, my own personal negativity, and the way I dealt with situations was the cause for 99.9% of my problems. I was choosing to be miserable. Once I realized that my life started to change.

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So…what exactly did I change?

I started with the way I viewed life. By “life” I mean the day to day situations we all deal with. I realized I complained A LOT. When I say a lot I mean all the time. I found myself complaining from the time I woke up until I went to sleep. I spent my entire day focusing on every negative thing that happened to me. Once I realized this I decided to make a conscious effort to stop being a negative Nancy. Don’t get me wrong I still find myself complaining about things here and there but it’s nothing compared to the way I was.

The next thing I gave up was negative self-talk. This had a huge impact on my life. I never knew how draining negative self-talk could be until I gave it up (for the most part). I’m a firm believer that we speak things into existence, so if you’re constantly telling yourself you’ll never accomplish XYZ then you never will. Always be kind to yourself.

I would have to say the most important thing I did was stop blaming people for my shortcomings. Often it’s a lot easier to point the finger at someone else when things don’t go as planned. I’ll be honest I did this a lot. Now I’m learning to take responsibility for my decisions. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.

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So….What’s next?

My next steps is a journey of self-refection, and truly becoming the type of person I want to be. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I’m excited about the future. If nothing else I plan on teaching my son that it’s possible to live a life that it inline with you value, and a life that brings you true happiness.

Live for you and only you. If you’re unhappy with the way your life is going do whatever you can to change it. Don’t settle for a life you don’t want.

xoxo

Destiny

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Hello my sweet sweet friends! I’m glad you’re back. I decided to post a list of my top crunchy must haves. When I was pregnant I read tons of these to get an idea of what I might need for baby. If you’re expecting, or if or looking for more natural products this is the post for you. Enjoy! Oh and to make things a little easier for you I’ve included links to where you can buy all the products listed.

1. The Windi 

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These little beauties are a life saver. I seriously don’t know what I would have done without them. When my son was dealing with terrible gas pain I would use a windi and it seconds my little guy would be gas free. They are safe, effective, and a better option than giving your little one medicine (in my opinion).

2.Gripe Water

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If you’re looking for something to help with more that just gas I would try gripe water. This is great for colic and hiccups! It’s made from all natural ingredients which gives me peace of mind. Whenever my little guy was having a hard time with hiccups, I would gibe him a little bit of this and poof they were gone!

3. Baby Carrier

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A baby carrier is a must-have for any new mom in my opinion! This helps a ton with getting things done around the house, or just getting in some extra snuggles. If you have a baby that doesn’t like to be put down popping them in a carrier meets their needs as well as helping mama keep her sanity! They one I’m wearing here is a chimparoo woven wrap. I rented this from my local baby wearing group and I love it! I’ve tried a few different carriers and woven wraps are my favorite so far. A few other great ones are ring slings and soft structured carriers.

4. Coconut Oil

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The last thing on the list coconut oil. This is my go to for EVERYTHING! I used this when I first started nursing, and it helped a ton with sore nipples. I also mix it with a little bit of breast milk and use it as diaper rash cream. Coconut oil is the only thing I use for my little guy as far as a moisturizer.

I hope this little list helps you find some natural baby products. Each and every one of these products are staples in our household, I seriously couldn’t live without them. Make sure you check back on Sunday for a new post. If you haven’t already make sure you subscribe. When you enter your email you’ll automatically get notifications when I have a new post.  Make sure you post some of your baby must-haves in the comments!

xoxo

Destiny

 

WHY WE LEFT OUR SON INTACT

WHY WE LEFT OUR SON INTACT

Originally this post was supposed to go up on Wednesday, I’m sorry for the delay.  I spent a lot of time debating if I was going to make this post at all. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the potential backlash. After careful consideration, I decided I would go ahead with the post.

Someone very close to me told me “If you believe in something this much you shouldn’t be afraid to share it.” So I’m making this post for all the new moms who are debating circumcision. I hope my story helps you find the answers you’re looking for.

DISCLAIMER: This is just my families story. I am by no means saying you should make the same choice we do. Please DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY! Also, I am in no way trying to make those who did circumcise their sons feel guilty, or saying they are bad parents.  I will be including pictures or procedures, links to videos of the procedure being performed on newborns. This content may be disturbing to some viewers. Please proceed with caution 

So I guess I’ll start by telling you all the definition of circumcise. It’s defined on Merriam-Webster as “to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce or clitoris and labia minora of (a female)”.  Yes, you read that right females have foreskin as well, but more on that later. Next, We’ll discuss why people circumcise. The three main reasons are a religion (however for your sake and mine I won’t be discussing religious reasons in depth), medical necessity, and culture.

Religion: Like I said I won’t be going into to much detail here. Just know people circumcise their children for religious reasons. To my knowledge, this is found in most religions, but Judaism is the most common. If you’re a person of faith and anything I’ve stated here is incorrect please feel free to correct me.

Medical necessity: This is where things can get a little confusing. In the past, it was believed circumcision prevented STD transmission, penile cancer, UTI’s. More recent studies have found this to be false.

Culture: In most countries, newborn baby boys are NOT  circumcised. This is really only an American custom. In our society intact men are seen as dirty, or ugly. We’ve become so accustomed to seeing circumcised penises that men left in their natural state are ostracized. If you’d like more info about the rates of newborn circumcision click this link.

Now that we’ve learned a little bit about circumcision lets get into why my partner and I chose not to circumcise.

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Honestly, it started with this picture. I stumbled across this while researching circumcision and I couldn’t stomach the thought of my little baby being strapped into this thing. The thought of him being in pain because of something I wanted shook me to my core. His body = His choice.

After I found this picture I looked into a video called elephant in the hospital I’ve included a link if you’d like to watch it for yourself. This documentary opened my eyes even more. I started to think about my son’s basic human rights. How could I cut something off of him without his permission? I’ll put it like this, If a doctor came to you and said your baby would look a lot better without his toes would you cut them off? Of course not! That sound insane, so why are we so willing to cut off a part of our child’s penis? Why do we believe boys are born needing to be fixed? I soon learned it wasn’t just boys we had done this to. Young girls were also subjected to genital mutilation (FGM). The practice of FGM was used from the 1800s until the late 1970s to cure everything from female masturbation to lesbianism; It was finally outlawed in the US in 1996. All of that sounds insane, doesn’t it?  We can’t imagine strapping a little girl down to a table and letting a doctor cut off parts of her genitalia, so why are we doing it to our sons!  More information about FGM can be found here.

The more I researched the angrier I became. Then I learned that some babies actually die from complications of this barbaric procedure. A recent study conducted found that 117 boys die annually from circumcision-related complications. You can read more about the study here.  The fact that male genital mutilation hasn’t been outlawed based on those numbers is astounding. Here an example to help you put things into perspective. Remember drop-side cribs? In the late 2000s, it was reported that children were dropping the side of their cribs and either suffocating or strangling themselves. The CPSC banned drop-side cribs after 38 reported deaths. You can find more on that right here.  Once I discovered this information I knew circumcision was not the right choice for my family.

Like I said in the beginning, this is just my family’s story. I’m not trying to make anyone feeling guilty about their decision to circumcise or not to. My only hope is that this will open people’s eyes a little. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion. Circumcision wasn’t the right choice for my family. DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOURS.

I’ve included a few extra links to videos of the procedure being done on a newborn baby. I’ll go ahead and warn you it’s graphic. View discretion is advised.

Newborn circumcision

Newborn Circumcision 2

Make sure you subscribe so you never miss another post! Just enter your email and you’ll be notified each time I post. A new post will be up on Wednesday ( I promise).

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

THINGS YOUNG PARENTS HEAR TOO OFTEN.

THINGS YOUNG PARENTS HEAR TOO OFTEN.

Hello, my sweet sweet friends! If you’re a young parent like myself I hope you find this post funny! If you’re someone who has ever said any of these things to a parent you should be ashamed of yourself. Enjoy!!

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1.GOD, THAT SUCKS!

This is probably the first thing I heard when I announced I was pregnant. I get it, getting pregnant at twenty isn’t ideal, but pointing out a shitty situation doesn’t make it any less shitty. If you’ve even had a friend tell you they’re expecting a child think twice before you say this to them. Seriously, it hurts.

2. DON’T YOU WISH YOU WOULD HAVE WAITED?

I’m sure there are some people in their early twenties who couldn’t wait to have kids. So I’m sure when they found out they were expecting they couldn’t have been happier. For myself (and I’m sure for most people) this couldn’t be further from the truth. In the beginning, I was not excited, or happy at all. I was terrified and confused. I literally cried for about a week straight. That being said, when someone tells you they’re expecting a little one (most likely a little earlier than they thought they would) don’t insult them by pointing out the obvious. YES, they probably wish they would have waited. They’ve decided to roll with it, so they don’t need you pointing that out captain obvious.

3. HOPEFULLY, THEY DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE YOU DID. 

If you’ve ever said this to someone go tell that person you’re sorry! I can’t count the time I’ve had someone tell me this, but each time it happens my heart breaks. This is possibly the worst thing you could say to someone expecting a baby. If you don’t have children of your own then you don’t understand how scary it can be. Seriously, everything gets scary after you have a child. Trust me, parents have enough on their minds already. They don’t need you making them feel like they’re going to mess up their kid. Believe me, they already worry about that all the time.

4. YOU’RE DOING ____ WRONG!

Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you’d like. If you’re a parent I’m sure you’ve heard this a few times. When you become a parent it’s like people automatically assume you want their opinion. You can expect to hear from anyone and everyone how you’re doing something the wrong way. For my readers who don’t have children I’ll go ahead and let you know, there is NO right way to raise a child.

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Well, there you have it, folks, a list of things you should NEVER say to a parent! I hope you enjoyed. A new mid-week post will be up on Wednesday. I’ll be sharing a little bit about why my son isn’t circumcised. If you haven’t subscribed make sure you do, so you’ll never miss a post. When you enter your email you’ll be signed up to receive reminders whenever I post!

xoxo

Destiny

5 REASON YOU SHOULD DRINK LEMON WATER

5 REASON YOU SHOULD DRINK LEMON WATER

Hello my sweet sweet friends! I’m glad you’re back. Today I’m continuing the theme of healthy habits. I hope these tips will help you all lead a healthy lifestyle. Well, on to the good stuff.

  1. It helps boost your immune system.

Hello, Vitamin C! Keeping your natural levels of vitamin C can be difficult due to stress, and other environmental factors. This drop in vitamin C can leave you more susceptible to illness. Having a glass of warm lemon water every morning will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape!

2. It can help lower blood pressure

The high levels of potassium found if lemons can not only lower your blood pressure, but it can also improve brain function.  If you want to improve your focus, have an afternoon cup of lemon water or tea. Whatever floats your boat.

3. It balances your ph

Lemons are one of the most alkaline foods out there, because of this lemons can help create an alkaline state in your body. This helps your body restore itself to homeostasis. This is extremely important because and acid environment within our bodies creates a breeding ground for cancer.

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4. It could help you with weight loss.

Lemons are high in pectin fiber. This type of fiber helps fight hunger pangs and can make you feel fuller for longer. Sip on lemon water between meals, and might find yourself reaching for snacks less often.

5. It aids in digestion

Lemon water helps your body flush out unwanted material, helps your liver produce bile, a substance essential for proper digestion. Better digestion equals less heartburn and constipation!

well, there you have it, folks! I hope these tips help you throughout your health journey. Don’t forget to sip on some lemon water, my friends!

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xoxo

Destiny