Hello Again (Part 1)

Things have obviously been really quiet over here for a while, and I've been trying to decide what and how to share about these past few months. I've been dealing with some weird health stuff, and we made a pretty life-altering decision, one that I am extremely happy with, but more on that in part two of this post. 

Let's start with health... For over a year I'd been dealing with bouts of dizziness and lightheadedness that were becoming increasingly frequent. I became concerned about passing out while holding my kid or driving the car. I tried a few different things to combat it, and they helped marginally, but I felt like I was shooting arrows into a hay bale (or whatever the saying is!) So after dealing with the symptoms for close to a year, I finally made an appointment with a holistic and functional medicine practice in the Atlanta area. Best decision I've made! I had a three hour initial appointment where they really listened to what was going on. Preliminary results came back as adrenal fatigue and low progesterone induced by too much stress, not enough sleep and less than ideal nutrition. I already knew a lot of what they told me about food, but having someone start testing for the causes and really listen to my concern was such an encouraging experience. Here are some of the changes I've made since that appointment:

+ ZERO dairy: I would occasionally have some grass-fed dairy, but with my congestion adding to the dizziness, it just isn't worth it. I've recently discovered the Califia almond milk, which is really the best stuff around second to making your own! I've been snacking on it with Einkorn granola - all the heart eyes! 

+ Eating more protein + healthy fats: a minimum of 60g of protein and 2T coconut oil a day. I gotta say, the protein recommendation is tough. I eat a TON of vegetables, but when we wrote out a days worth of food that I was currently eating, even I could see that it just wasn't enough. That's actually a HUGE problem for most women. We don't eat enough. I'm not going to get on that soapbox, but trust. Eating more calories has definitely made me feel better - my mood, energy levels, patience, sleep. 

+ Supplements: methylated B vitamin, probiotic, Vitamin D three times a week, mega antioxidants, and a supplement containing ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. I also made some magnesium oil to use before bed and will have a simple DIY coming soon! 

They also tested hormone levels and had me do a take-home cortisol saliva test, so I should get the results from that at my next visit next week. So far I am feeling a little better, but still dizzy at times. I need to focus on nutrition a lot more and make sure I eat enough (read: don't skip lunch) every day, so we are doing a whole30 this month! You can follow along for some meal ideas over on Instagram plus chime in on 'Toddler Eats Tuesdays' for tips and recipes to help get your little ones to eat whole foods! 

And thanks for hanging with me. It's good to start talking again. xo

September Wellness 01: Move It

With winter and cold season just around the corner, my family and I are focusing on improving our health and boosting our immunity in September, so I wanted to share some tangible ways in which we are doing that! We are focusing on movement + exercise, eating as many vegetables as possible, being consistent with our supplements and ridding our home of any lingering chemicals or chemical-laden products. I'll be sharing little tidbits over on Instagram if you want to play along!

First up: MOVEMENT
+ Goal: do something, everyday.
It doesn't have to be an hour long workout, but move your body and challenge yourself every. single. day. I get that it is difficult to carve out 60 or even 30 minutes with commuting, kids, a job, whatever, but make it a priority and make it work for you! Maybe that means a long walk around the neighborhood, or a ten minute HIIT workout. Whatever time you have during the day, make it count. I guarantee you can find 5, 10, even 20 minutes to devote to your physical health if you are truly honest with how you spend you time (hello Pinterest! Guilty as charged.)

If you have:
+ 5 minutes: hollow rocks, renegade rows, pull-ups, pushups, good old crunches. You can even do some tabata work: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds. I like to do pull-ups, push ups, squats, sit ups for whole-body training in under 5 minutes! 
10 minutes: complete one of these great HIIT workouts
+ 16 minutes: do some sprints. 30 seconds full on sprint, 90 seconds recovery x 8 rounds
+ 20 minutes: complete a metcon (metabolic conditioning workout) and get that heart rate up OR for a low key recovery workout, do some yoga (I personally like the YogaX from P90x)
+ 20-30 minutes: complete one of the videos from this great series
+ 30 minutes or more: mix it up! Go for a trail run, a light jog or a swim, then do some hollow rocks, then stretch it out.

Oily tips:
+ We use peppermint oil + Ningxia Nitro before a workout for a little boost! 
+ We support our post-workout bodies with supplements like BLM (more on that later) and a peppermint protein smoothie.
+ Adding grapefruit oil to your water is another great way to maximize the post-working burning window. Just make sure to use a glass drinking vessel. 
+ Other postworkout favorites: Deep Relief, PanAway, OrthoEase massage oil, copaiba + peppermint oils, lavender for calming.

Other tips:
+ Spend some time foam rolling and stretching while you watch TV.
+ Concentrate on mobilizing any problem areas where you experience any discomfort or have knots. Remember that the root of any discomfort may be upstream (i.e., if your ankle hurts, think about mobilizing from the hip). Here are some good explanations. 
+ Get your spouse, significant other, roommate, best friend to be your workout partner. Having someone else with you will inspire you to stay committed! 

Let's set tangible, measurable goals for movement and make September our best month yet! Want to join me?!

Mobility + Foam Rolling

One of the most important things when it comes to athletic performance is making sure that you take time for recovery and mobility. This is something that the dancer in me has to be intentional about, since it is something that I often take for granted. I am so used to stretching and flexibility being a part of my workout routine, that I often forget that it's needed now that I'm not at the ballet barre everyday. Since adding one more thing to your daily to-do list is basically impossible here are a few ways that we incorporate mobility into our workout routine:

+ Choose one area to focus on every night.
Start with rolling along your hamstrings and quads of each leg. The next evening move down to the calves and shins. Maybe you want to start with the thoracic spine. Just get started!

+ Foam roll every night while you are watching television, reading, or just having family time.
We get down on the floor and roll around with Elliot in the evenings. He loves it, and so do we!

+ If there is a specific issue you want to tackle or an area of serious immobility, check of some of these videos to find exercise specific to your needs. We especially like the scapular mobility and first rib exercises.   

+ Keep a lacrosse ball in your bathroom and roll out your feet, especially those arches, while you wash your face, brush your teeth, put on makeup, etc. 

+ Keep a lacrosse ball in your car or at your desk at work to focus on trigger points in your back while sitting in traffic or sitting at your desk. 

+ Stretch every night. We alternate doing this couch stretch and a few others, all of which you can find here. Kelly Starrett is my go-to when it comes to mobility. There are a lot of reasons, but I won't list them all here. Just check out some of his videos and you will understand why. 

We use both a standard foam roller and a trigger point roller. Other great tools to have include massage stick and a few lacrosse balls. These are especially great for targeting smaller trigger points and for working the muscles in the feet. If you are ready to move onto more in-depth exercises, we really love this book. Happy foam rolling friends!