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Food Prep

It's OVER: Weeks 8-12(ish)

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It's OVER: Weeks 8-12(ish)

I am SO happy to announce that we had homemade pizza tonight!! With cheese! 

It's taken me awhile to get to this blog post, but have no fear, we made it through 12 full weeks on the 4R elimination diet and I am here to tell the story.  

Judah and her fancy curcumin drink.

Judah and her fancy curcumin drink.

Weeks 8-12 were pretty much the same as weeks before. For the most part uneventful, so I will try not to bore you with the same old. In a nutshell:

  • Pinterest is my best friend. Why didn't I think of using this meal planning tool before??
  • We started Judah on a DGL supplement --which is essentially a licorice powder supplement that helps with inflammation. She was supposed to take it 3x a day with meals. I was NOT good at remembering this. Also, the extra step of giving her something to eat 3x a day that it can be mixed into was quite a challenge. The other supplement we added in was Curcumin. Mucho thankful for the fizzy tabs that can be put into water with a citrus taste. Much easier than trying to get her to swallow a capsule. 
  • The forum response to Judah's itchy rash was a bit disappointing and the reason we ultimately decided to add in the rest of the supplements. Basically, her issue was a bit to complex to just give advice over a forum. It would require a consult with Dr. Aviva (or another doc, I suppose), and we just can't swing that right now. Plus, I figured we might as well give the last step to the 4R program a shot, first. 
  • By week 10, I found myself sneaking chocolate when the kids weren't looking. I know! So bad.  I have a problem. ;)
  • Before we started the elimination diet, Simon had this kind of bumpy, pimply skin all over his arms and was spreading to his torso. I had read that it could be a sign of gluten intolerance-- and by week 10 I realized it was completely gone.
  • I took the kids to visit some friends in New Hampshire for the day. ONE DAY and the food prep was overwhelming. I didn't want our friends to have to accommodate us, but I needed to make sure we had enough snacks and lunch and dinner so that the kids wouldn't be cranky pants all day long. It was difficult and I began (well, continued, probably) to become extremely SICK of the time commitment that goes along with super clean eating and food prep. Was definitely, definitely feeling DONE. 
  • There was one day that I was scrambling at home because food was completely gone from the previous week and the car broke so we couldn't food shop until dinnertime.  Exhausted, hungry and walking through Whole Foods, I picked up some turkey dogs for dinner. I mean, they were 1/2 legal... boy, oh, boy did my stomach pay for that choice!

Week TWELVE was an exciting one! Judah could see on the calendar that we were at the end so during the last week, we scrolled Pinterest, giddy, deciding which foods to add back in first. We decided to take it easy adding food back in by doing a sort of food challenge to see if we had any poor reactions to certain foods. Overall, we seemed to handle everything well. We did notice that nightshades made us feel bloated and gassy. 

Eggs are back. YUM.

Eggs are back. YUM.

We added eggs back in first, followed by nightshades, cocoa powder +honey or maple syrup, then beef and vinegar and yeast. We saved gluten and dairy for last. Once I started eating gluten again, I felt lots of brain fog and an overall "yuck" feeling-- it hasn't seemed to last but I do notice that processed food and refined carbs/sugar makes me feel  weird (which makes sense!). Unfortunately Simon's bumpy rash has come back slowly-- which tells me that it probably is gluten. He still eats it and I am trying to weigh just how important it is for him to stop eating it considering that, at this point, it's his only symptom. 

DAIRY was the big one. I waited and waited to add this back in. Not sure the best way to go about it, we eventually decided to start with a locally sourced, grass fed, organic, un-homogenized plain yogurt. Judah was in heaven. I only allowed a small bit a day, anything to her was such a treat. A week and a half in though, I noticed eczema on her hands.  We were all super bummed. It was the coldest week we had all winter and she was washing her hands a TON-- I wanted so badly to think it was from that. We cut out the yogurt and the rash went away :(  Next I decided to give her some cheddar cheese made from raw cow's milk-- NO PROBLEMS! We have continued to try cheese of different kinds either from raw cow's milk or cheese made from goat's milk and she has been doing great. It is SO nice to be able to garnish some meals with cheese!!

Mike's bday treat-- vegan, gluten-free, paleo raspberry chocolate tart from  Bakerita

Mike's bday treat-- vegan, gluten-free, paleo raspberry chocolate tart from Bakerita

At this point, we are still unsure what her tolerance for dairy actually is, so we have decided to limit dairy to home only so that we can be sure of the source-- and even at home we eat it in small amounts. It has been working well so far. I am so pleased with our results: Judah's eczema is gone, we know where Simon's rash was coming from and I feel like life is SO much easier now that I can eat brie and get Chipotle take out! YUM!

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What Does A Postpartum Doula Do? 3 Ways You Can Benefit From Hiring One

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What Does A Postpartum Doula Do? 3 Ways You Can Benefit From Hiring One

If you are reading this I assume, like many, you want to know what a postpartum doula does and better yet, why can't you just have your mom or family member help you out once the baby arrives?

These are valid questions and hopefully I can shed some light.

Let's start with what postpartum doulas actually do. Postpartum doulas support families anytime within the first year of having a baby. Starting, most often, during the first few weeks -4 months after the baby is born. This support is tailored to each individual family's needs, and the support changes as the needs change-- sometimes with each visit! Some examples of what a day with a doula looks like can be found here here and here.

A postpartum doula is hired and contracted for a certain amount of hours. These hours can be spent during the day or some doulas even come to your house overnight to give you and your partner a peaceful and deep night's sleep.  Depending on how the baby is fed, in the early days an overnight doula would feed the baby or bring the baby to you and then take the baby back to his room to sleep. The doula would make sure the baby stays safe and content, all while you sleep! In the early weeks, when feedings happen often, a couple of hours of restorative sleep can do wonders for the next day. 

Daytime hours are spent doing things like:

  • cooking,
  • cleaning,
  • helping with older children,
  • holding the baby while you nap or take some time for yourself
  • providing non-judgmental, emotional support and a listening ear
  • providing lactation support and resources as needed
  • helping to navigate the inevitable advice given by friends and family
  • supporting the choices you make for your family

A postpartum doula could essentially be hired to manage the house while you rest and bond with your baby, all while keeping you fed and hydrated.

But wait, why can't your mom do all of this? Or an experienced friend or family member?

Maybe they can! And that is absolutely wonderful if you have that type of support. But just for kicks, let's consider a few reasons why one might hire a doula:

1. It Takes a Village and Most of Us Don't Live in One.

Sometimes I wonder about how mothers back in the day lived without letting their kids watch a TV show once and while. Now, I definitely ere on the more conservative side when it comes to screen time, but sometimes, I feel like I NEED to stick a 2 hour movie on so that I can do some work or clean the house in peace! I also used to wonder how many women can have 4, 5, 6, 12 (!!) kids, until one day I looked around at my filthy walls (I know, I know, do people really take note of their walls and feel like they need to be cleaned? I do, apparently) and I just had to clean them. I got out a sponge and a bucket of soapy water. Suddenly I had attracted my troops! The kids were here to play and that's when it hit me. THIS is why people have a lot of children.

A lot of children = a lot of helpers. ;)

I realized two things. First, things have changed. Our society has changed. Most women have to work and when they are home, they are living in houses where they are isolated to just their immediate family. This can either make one mind numbingly bored or extremely stressed to work, care for the children and the house on their own. Second, I began to think about my own travels to countries like Haiti and Greece, where village life is still very much alive and the village kids and families are at each other's disposal. There's no need for TV: when kids can roam freely, parents don't have to entertain them.

Better yet, there's always someone around to lend a hand.

So what does this have to do with postpartum care?  It has everything to go with postpartum care!

You are coming home from the hospital and you need to rest. You need to be able to nurse, sleep, snuggle and enjoy these moments. Maybe you have older children who can't wait to see you and spend time with you, your partner and the new baby. You don't need to be doing dishes, you don't need to be making food (but you do need to be eating food!) and you don't need to be worrying about laundry. You could benefit from some sleep, a nutritious meal, maybe a shower or a bath and your body needs to recover.

Maybe your partner can help with this for a little while and maybe your friends and family can come over and help too. But we don't live in a village. Much of our support doesn't live close by. If they do, they have to work and care for families of their own. This type of help makes a lovely and refreshing visit, of course, but is it sustainable? Does it feel helpful and secure?

 A postpartum doula is trained in this type of support and is with you ONLY for that very reason: to support you and your family well and they stay with you for as long as you need to feel safe and confident.

2. When We Know Better, We Do Better

We have an overwhelming amount of information coming at us. We want what's best for our families and we are part of a generation of people who will not just do what the generations before us did if it doesn't seem best. We research, we observe, we learn and we try to do better. A postpartum doula can help you navigate information found on google by providing current and evidence based research specific to each of your concerns. A doula can also remind you to tap into your own intuition regardless of outside information; encouraging you, that YOU and YOUR PARTNER know what is best for you baby. A doula doesn't judge. A doula supports, listens and provides the space for you to make the decisions you know are best. This can be especially valuable when it feels as if you are swimming upstream. 

3. A Doula Knows the Reality of Postpartum Depression (PPD)

I almost didn't list this as a reason why a postpartum doula is beneficial, but then I thought to myself. NO. With one in seven women dealing with some kind of mood or anxiety disorder, it needs to be said. PPD is a very real issue that mothers face every day. It can be scary. It can be overwhelming. It can feel like it will never end. But it can and it will. There is so much support and help available. It does not have to be something to fear. 

A postpartum doula is trained in helping mothers to decompress and process their pregnancy and birth. Postpartum doulas welcome all emotions and provide a safe place to be real and raw. A doula can tell the difference between (and help the partner tell) what are normal hormonal changes and what seems as if mom could use a bit more support. She can give referrals to specialists who can help navigate the sometimes, very dark, places of postpartum depression and help find a way out. 

So, there you have it!

Hopefully I have provided a bit more information as to what a postpartum doula does and how you can benefit from hiring one. If you are here in Rhode Island, I would love to chat with you more about this wonderful service. Feel free to reach out with any questions or just to say hi! 

 

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Week One: Learning a new normal + some of our favorite recipes

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Week One: Learning a new normal + some of our favorite recipes

I would say on a scale of one to ten, this week ranked as a five. It wasn't awesome, it definitely could have been better, but it wasn't terrible either. Maybe very typical of learning a new normal. As my body craved brie and crackers and dark chocolate, my mind kept thinking "Only X more days, no, shoot. 3 more months!" With that kind of thinking it was easy to feel discouraged. Early on I realized what a job food does on the mind. I couldn't think in terms of time, I had to think in terms of what was normal for our family right. now.

The first challenge was breakfast. We can't have eggs. We can't have toast. We can only have limited fruit: a choice of 1 cup of berries and 1 apple, 1 banana or 2 kiwis. So what do we do for breakfast?? This was the first question I asked on Dr. Aviva's Healthiest Kids forum. The answers I got were exactly what I was dreading. 

Dinner for breakfast. Leftovers for breakfast. Pumpkin pudding...sweet potatoes...

INSERT SOBS.

The first morning Simon woke up and immediately went to the fridge. He does this every morning, looking for an apple. He may do this because it's really the only snack he can get for himself while everyone else is still in bed-- but I like to think he eats an apple every morning because when I was pregnant with him, Mike would toss me an apple before he went to work. If I didn't eat before I got out of bed in the morning, I would pass out and an apple was the easiest fix.

Moving on... I had decided when I was prepping for the journey that we would have to eat smaller portions of fruit so that we didn't run out of snack choices before the days end. Limiting fruit is very challenging for us. I offered Simon a half of an apple (which miraculously, he seemed to be ok with) and then I proceeded to make the grossest smoothie ever. I don't even remember what I tried to put in it. I've blocked it out. Sorry. 

In hindsight, we should have stayed home this first day to get a handle on things. But alas, we went out for the morning. I packed what I thought would be enough snacks-- but I was dead wrong. Limited kiwi sent the kids into a maniac whirlwind. 

Lunch was next. I had planned Meghan Telpner's Heck No Mayo Salmon Salad with quinoa, over a bed of spinach. Hummus and a choice of carrots or cucumber. For me, I skipped the salmon but I had everything else. I am not a seafood person. At. All. 

This seemed to go over well except Judah was not pleased by the lack of mayo in the salmon salad. 

Dinner was, well, dinner was DELICIOUS. Here is what we made:

Roasted chicken and vegetables over brown rice! Sounds so simple doesn't it? It was easy to make, tasty, clean, filling, and made great leftovers. After a full day of hunger pangs we were all incredibly thankful for this meal.

Roasted chicken

Roasted chicken

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
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Serves 4 (roughly)
Ingredients
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1 Whole Chicken
1 Lemon
1 Head of Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Dry Mustard
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
3 Sweet Potatoes, chopped
4 Carrots, chopped
1 Head of Broccoli, chopped
1 Red Onion, cut into wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. While the oven is preheating, prepare the chicken and chop all vegetables. Taking into account how long the individual vegetable takes to cook through, the vegetables should be roughly the same size.
  3. To prepare the chicken start by taking out any giblets and filling the chicken with lemon wedges and garlic cloves. You may want to truss the chicken too, but I didn't. 
  4. In a small bowl mix together a few glugs of olive oil, some mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The amount is different every time I make this. You will have to adjust to your liking-- but my advice is to go a bit heavier on the spices then you think you should.
  5. Once everything is mixed cover the chicken with the mixture. Make sure to cover the whole thing and even a bit inside the opening of the cave. Cave, yes. I don't like to use actual body part terms because well, I get too grossed out. 
  6. Place the chicken in a roasting pan along with all of the vegetables. Sprinkle a bit of seasoning on the vegetables and stick in the preheated oven.
  7. After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 350 degrees F and roast for 20 minutes per pound.
  8. Serve over brown rice. 

Despite the wonderful meal, the evening brought some irritable feelings effecting all of us, but by the next morning we were back at it. Mike was off to work and the kids and I discussed how the day before went for us. We openly expressed how hard it was and how we were sad and frustrated at times. I asked them if they wanted to continue on (mostly Judah) and they said yes. In that moment, I was so proud of their determination and I already felt better about Day #2-- we had learned so much the previous day. I decided on something different for breakfast, set specific snack times to avoid the constant asking for food (and the possibility of running out!) and I spent the morning making large batches of our new staples.

For breakfast we each had banana boats and a half of an apple. The kids LOVED the banana boats! Morning snack consisted of black olives, almonds and a choice of carrots or celery. For lunch we had leftovers of the salmon salad over quinoa with a side of black beans and sweet potato. Afternoon snack was a 1/2 cup of frozen berries and for dinner I served leftovers of the yummy chicken (with absolutely no complaints)!

Banana Boats with almond butter, hemp seed and coconut flakes.

Banana Boats with almond butter, hemp seed and coconut flakes.

Banana Boats
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Ingredients (Serves 1)
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Half of a banana
Almond butter; unsweetened (we used chunky)
Ground flax seed, hemp seed, chia seed --whatever you prefer
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Pecans

  1. Slice the banana lengthwise.
  2. Smooth on some almond butter, sprinkle some flax, coconut flakes and pecans.
  3. Eat!

Here is my FIRST WEEK RECAP!

  • Making a shopping list takes a massive amount of time. I need to plan ahead for this.
  • Pasta is my BEST FRIEND. We found a brown rice and quinoa pasta at Trader Joe's that is not only delicious but meets the criteria for our diet. Although processed foods are frowned upon, the pasta has saved my sanity for when I need to make something fast, or when we have nothing left and shopping is not an option. Hallelujah! 
  • Making large batches of things like quinoa, brown rice and sweet potatoes is a GAME CHANGER.
  • Setting snack times and sticking by them is super important for all of us. The kids are crazy if I don't do this and that makes ME crazy. It was interesting to see how much eating we all do out of boredom, having set snack times has pushed us past that into CREATIVITY.
  • Oh, and Mike and the kids are sick. Interestingly enough this is often a sign that the body is detoxing! Yahoo!
  • AND!! We got our apartment! Looks like PVD doula is moving back to PVD! 
  • Husband says that he's "not hungry, he's just not satisfied." Our addiction to flour and sugar is really coming out, eeek!  But, we survived the first week and we are mostly smiling. This is good.

We can do this! 

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