November 24, 2014

Trimaversary!

I'm celebrating my 2 year Trimaversary this week.  A Trimaversary is the term used by those of us who have discovered Trim, Healthy Mama and are celebrating our time on plan.  This week marks 2 years on plan for me.
I am excited to say that living on THM has helped me to have the life I want. I've learned not to be a slave to food, had energy for whatever life throws at me, and can run and keep up with my family.
I started at 186 pounds, reached my goal over a year, and have maintained over the last year with my current weight of 142. 
For me, it was just about reading the book, eating from the food lists, and listening to my body. 

Trim, Healthy Mama isn't a diet.  It is a life plan.  It is a way of eating healthy, with foods of your choice, in a way that you customize just for you.  It is a plan to obtain healthy with trimness being a natural side effect.  The key with this program is learning the combinations that will meet your needs.
I've successfully lost weight while following the recommendations while helping my 12 year old son gain using the same principles.
THM isn't about deprivation.  It isn't about no carbs or no fat extremes.  It isn't about a one-size-fits-all mentality.  

At one point in my early 40s, I had come to accept that I was always going to be chubby despite running and yo-yo'ing between being veganism and other whole food extremes.  I had no hope in ever feeling truly fit because of my size. 
Thankfully, I don't even know that person anymore.

I know that many people are busy, but I am 45, married with 3 homeschooled kids from 16-2, and I also work regularly as a nurse. I'm busy, but I know that my future and my health are things to value. I'm still learning to deal with stress, but thankfully, eating is no longer my go to response.

And treats? I've learned it isn't a treat if it makes you feel bad. There are too many other, positive things that can make you feel good, why ruin things with junk? 

THM has made being fit not just a possibility, but my reality.
There are several aspects of my life that are still in process, and I'm constantly learning.
I'm just very thankful for Pearl and Serene for sharing their research.

November 21, 2014

Good Girl Fire Cider?

I have to admit that I have become a total addict to Trim, Healthy Mama's Good Girl Moonshine (GGMS).
But like many things in life, I have issues with contentment and things staying the same.
I also love when one part of my life smacks into another one.  I love what THM has done for me, and I love studying and learning more about herbs as well.

One night as I was making yet another cup of GGMS to sip, I caught sight of my fire cider that has been overdue for straining and use.

I had a great idea.

Why not use the fire cider, that is in an apple cider vinegar base, instead of just plain ACV?
Fire cider is amazing stuff.  The recipe has been around for years, and it is one of the most simple and  effective herbal preparations you can make.
Here's a basic recipe.

No special ingredients needed.  Most everything can be found at your local grocery store.  And if you don't have everything on the list?  Doesn't matter.  Put what you find in the jar, let it sit, strain, and enjoy!

Mine is overly red because I had many hot, red peppers in my garden this summer, but hat is part of the greatness of this immune building tonic.

Directions:  So to make my GGMS into GGFC (Good Girl Fire Cider), I use fire cider without honey, ginger (I like the added amount) and stevia to taste.

So now I have not just a tasty drink with some good properties, but a spicy, warming drink with even more health benefits!


November 11, 2014

Are You Really a Purist?

I hate to admit this, but I actually tend to like rules.  Yes, I also like to question them, but for the most part I find lines of right and wrong somehow satisfying.  I find that knowing there are absolutes in life to be a good thing.
One thing that I have learned with Trim, Healthy Mama is that there are some rules, but how you integrate those rules is up to each person.
The thing is, following the rules doesn't make you a Purist.  Following the rules heals your body and can help you become healthy inside and out.  Following the rules just means you are eating and living by the principles discussed in the book.

Being a Purist is a choice in what ingredients you choose.  You can eat whole, natural foods as they are grown or harvested and be true to THM, or you can choose to eat conveniently processed or fast foods.
THM is about giving you choices to create a healthy life.  It is about finding freedom in food, not being a slave to ingredients.

A food purist on THM is someone who might spend their time grinding their own wheat to make their own sourdough bread or can the tomatoes that they grew in their own garden for use throughout the year.  A purist is the homecook who doesn't take shortcuts and feels that food quality is worth the extra effort.
Purist, home canned tomatoes
Purist, fresh veggies and nuts
Purist homemade sourdough starter
The non-Purist might be a working mom who is used to a certain level of convenience in her food.  She doesn't care to learn to make her own cheese and doesn't have time to babysit a sourdough starter.  A non-purist will buy a jar of sauce and use Reddi-whip while enjoying the low-carb tortillas and Joseph's pitas that are on plan.  She likes Laughing Cow cheese wedges and might stop by Subway for lunch out.

Cute, but NOT purist!
Non purist!  Dreamfields pasta is yummy and on plan, but is a convenience food!
Purist soup made with fresh, homegrown veggie, but
the low carb, store bought tortilla is an on-plan convenience food.

I personally find comfort in knowing I can be as hard-core a Purist as I would like or live at my convenience and stay on plan.  Success on THM isn't about eating someone else's way.  What you eat and how you combine it are important, but I can choose what is best for me.  It is the power of having that choice that I personally find liberating.  I don't care to ever be a slave to food again.

Staying true to the principles of Trim, Healthy Mama and how the plan looks for you is your choice.  THM allows you to take shortcuts or to be as pure with ingredients as you wish to be.  It also allows you to be somewhere in between as well as there are no set rules when it comes to food purity.  

THM has "vastly different approaches that will show you that you don’t
have to be a “certain type” to attain health and a sleek waistline." The book provides the reader
"opinions and choices on menu ideas so you can implement them to fit your own lifestyle."
There is room for everyone.  Staying on plan doesn't make you a Purist, but simply makes you on plan.
(quotes from Trim, Healthy Mama page xix)

November 4, 2014

A Week at Goal-Menu Plan

I've been at goal for over a year now.  I did gain a few pounds and going strictly on plan slammed them off very quickly, and then I found myself dropping more weight.

I think that when I got to goal I felt like pushing the boundaries a bit.  I think I wanted to see how far I could go over the line and gain or not gain.  I was thinking that I am pretty healthy with a good metabolism.  I exercise.  Shouldn't I get to cheat here and there with a treat?
Or maybe daily if every now and then is okay?
Maybe I don't have to play by the rules and eat every 3-5 hours.  Maybe I can skip here and there and then go 2 hours between others.

The thing is, when you start cheating, you really start cheating yourself.  
The 5 oz of dry red wine turned into half a bottle.  Sweet potatoes became kettle chips.  Nachoes included fried corn chips not a low carb wrap option.
I think my lab results were what helped me to realize I needed to grow up and get it together.  I know what I'm supposed to do and I just needed to do it.

But the question is, how do you continue doing Trim, Healthy Mama at goal weight?

Chances are that your week looks like will look very different from mine.  THM has helped me to realize that we all are different and what my body needs is different from yours.
What my week looks like now is also very different from when I started THM or even a year ago when I reached my goal.
I'm 45 years old now.  I exercise and I work a few days a week as well.
I'm no longer nursing a baby, but I try to stay active each day in some way.  I don't have any health issues or metabolic problems either.  All of these factors play into what THM will look like for you.

This is what my typical week might look like. I do all fuel types, of Satsifying (S), Energizing (E), Fuel Pulls (FP) along with S-helpers and crossovers.
My work days are 2-3 days a week for 12 hr shifts and that alters my eating schedule, but I've found I feel so much better on plan, that I'd rather just not cheat myself.  I do sometimes order out, but it is always a salad that will be on plan.  I skip the pasta, Chinese food and donuts that always seem to appear in the break room.

I currently do not drink alcohol, but drink the Good Girl Moonshine daily and will have the Shrinker made with green tea once a week.  I find that the Shrinker causes me to lose and while I enjoy sipping tea, it is too much for my system.


Day 1: 
breakfast: muffin in a mug (MIM) and coffee/half and half (S)
lunch: chicken breast meat with salsa, rice (full E serving), low-fat sour cream, cheddar (I call it a crossover)
snack: cheesecake blintz with berries(S)
dinner: salad with taco meat, cheddar, veggies, salsa, ranch dressing (S) I break up 2-3 chips over the top for crunch (and I do use the fried ones)
snack: if still hungry, 2 wasa with laughing cow and 1 piece of lean cold cut (FP)
Fall flavors Muffin in a mug

Day 2
breakfast:  Coco-Banana MIM, coffee/half and half (S)
lunch: egg salad (1 egg with mayo) on joseph's pita with half a banana (crossover)
snack: pineapple MIM cake (E)
dinner: chili with beans topped with some cheese- (crossover)
snack: probably not hungry, but a small cube of cheese if I am (FP)

Day 3:
breakfast: MIM, coffee/half and half (S)
lunch: spaghetti squash with parm and butter (S)
snack: yogurt berries (fp)
dinner: salmon patties (S), sweet potatoes roasted in red palm oil (Crossover) and some green peas (Crossover meal)
snack: wasa, laughing cow, cold cut (if hungry)

Day 4. (work day)
breakfast: sandwich and half a banana/coffee with half and half (crossover)
lunch: turkey with quinoa and bbq sauce (E)
snack: protein bar (crossover)
dinner: Cobb salad (S)
snack: yogurt with berries (FP)

Day 5
breakfast: MIM, coffee/half and half (S)
lunch: taco salad (S) I usually crunch up 2-4 chips on top (day 1 dinner)
snack: pineapple MIM cake (E)
dinner: omelet with veggies and smoked sausage in a tortilla (S)
snack: none
Spaghetti squash with mozzarella and pepperoni (S)

Day 6. Work day
breakfast: sandwich and half a banana/coffee with half and half (crossover)
lunch: cobb salad (S)
snack: yogurt with berries (FP)
dinner: spaghetti squash with mozz and pepperoni (S)
dessert (late dinner) pineapple cake (E) So whole meal is crossover
Turkey Confetti Quinoa

Day 7. Work day
breakfast: sandwich and half a banana/coffee with half and half (crossover)
lunch: Turkey Confetti Quinoa (E)
snack: yogurt with berries (FP)
dinner: salad with meat and cheese and veggies (S)
snack: skinny chocolate dipped in peanut butter (S)

October 14, 2014

Fall Chocolate Pumpkin Cake-S

You know how you'll be all geared up to try a new recipe you find online, and you totally get set on making a treat right now only discover you are missing at least one, if not more, major ingredient?

Well, that is kind of the story of my life.  But if I let it affect me then I'd never try anything new.  I've learned that adapting and just giving things a go tend to be how I learn best.
Yes, I hate to waste ingredients, but usually the results are at least edible, and if I learn something about the whole process then I am usually good.

I was all geared up to make an amazing coffee cake.  I don't often make treats or sweets as they just aren't my thing, but was in the mood for a little, sweet snack.
I get out the flax seed to grind.  I have just enough coconut flour.  But there are no almonds to grind for flour and I don't buy almond meal as a rule due to price.

So I actively pull out my seed and nut stash and it is kind of bare.  Like really bare.

The one thing that I do find is pumpkin seeds.  Pepitas.
I quickly google them and find very little information on their use, but what I do find mentions them as a good substitution for almond meal.

Pumpkin meal is gluten free and is a true seed so those with nut allergies may use it.
It is low in carbs with a very low glycemic index and high in fiber  It is higher in protein than many flours, and the fat content makes it a definite S ingredient.
It is heavier when mealed and the texture is very similar to almond flour with the main outstanding feature being its green color.
It should not be used as a thickener as it doesn't have the same absorption that many grain and bean flours have.
I also buy the seeds in bulk locally and the price is about 1/3 of what bulk almonds cost.  With the trend in gluten/allergy-free baking increasing, I'm sure the prices will go up.
I buy the whole seeds in bulk, and as I do with most seeds due to their oil content, and grind them as needed.


After the success of the coffee cake, I was inspired to make a sweeter cake.
With the green color of the pumpkin meal I thought chocolate would be a good choice.  And pumpkin seed meal just naturally seemed to call out for pumpkin.

It is also a big day at my house when everyone likes the same one food.  It doesn't happen as there is always a dissenter it seems.  The Fall Chocolate Pumpkin Cake was enjoyed by all, adults, teen, tween and toddler too.

In the directions I'm showing the amount ground, but since I start and measure whole/pre-ground, I'm giving those amounts as well.

Fall Chocolate Pumpkin Cake-S

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients:
1-1/4 cup ground pumpkin seed meal (3/4 cup whole.  I did 1/4 cup each grind)
1/3 cup ground flax seed meal (3 TBSP whole)
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup stevia baking blend (I use one that measures twice the sweetness of sugar.  As stevias can vary in formulation, check to make sure yours is in the right ball park.  My recipe would be equivalent to 1-1/3 cup of sugar)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix dry well to integrate.
Make a well in the center and add wet ingredients.
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil
15 oz can of pumpkin

Stir all ingredients together.  It will take a bit to really make sure it is mixed well.
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the moisture soak into the flour.
Grease the pan you choose.  This makes a 9x13 pan, or you can split it and make muffins or a smaller loaf.
This will not rise much when cooking so you won't have the smooth muffin tops if you go that route.

Bake mini muffins for 15-18 minutes.
A small loaf bakes for 30 minutes.
A 9x13 pan will take 35-38 minutes to bake.
It should feel firm to the touch and not too springy.

I like to frost these rich treats with a cream cheese frosting:
8 oz lower fat cream cheese
dash of pure stevia concentrate
a dash of nutmeg

Beat with mixer till fluffy.  Serve on the side or frost.





















October 13, 2014

Keeping It Real-Running

Sometimes the truth hurts, but sometimes it can be a way to see how far we've really come.

I started running about 5 years ago.  I loved all kind of exercise and activity and had tried many things, but there was just something about the feeling I had with running.   I knew I wasn't going to win any races, but I was comfortable where I was.

Comfort can be both good and bad however.  
It can make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but then you realize that complacency is smacking you in the face.
It was one thing to allow my weight to hold me back from running.  I didn't by the way, but I had become comfortable with being heavier.  After all, I had tried diet after diet and increased my running and activity with no change in how I looked.

I was looking back on some old photos earlier today and found one after I had completed Couch to 5K back in October of 2010.  I remember being so proud of myself.  I'm still proud that I did it actually.  But I look at the photo.
I was a good 25 pounds overweight and had become comfortable with the thought that it wasn't going to change.  I had made peace with the fact that I was going to weigh 172 pounds and that it was where my body wanted to be.
I would diet.  I would starve and could last about 3 days before I gave in and binged and regained the few pounds I had lost.

The THM boards on facebook are filled with NSV, or non-scale victories.  This morning I remember thinking, My arms sure look defined lately.  When I saw this photo I realized how I was so happy at being able to run, but had decided that being chubby was a part of who I was.  
I remember the morning of my race how I refused to drink anything and then went to the port-a-potty about 5 times and wore a jacket tied around my waist so that any incontinence accidents wouldn't be noticed.
Today I get up and just run.  The stress incontinence is gone with the belly fat.  It is a non-issue for me today.

So that, along with being able to see definition in my arms, is my NSV for the day.  

And just to keep it real, this is me this morning alongside 4 years ago, almost to the day.  No makeup, hair isn't done, and I probably smell worse than I look, but I'm wanting to show the real me.

I'm still not incredibly fast, and I'm not in a competition with anyone.  I'm just wanting to be open to change and that there are boundaries that sometimes need to be pushed.

October 8, 2014

Hot Stuff- Pepper Powder

That's a lot of peppers!
This was a huge year for me as far as peppers.  This is quite the big deal as I didn't actually plant any peppers.
It seems that just leaving plants to compost in a raised bed for the winter and then adding new soil over top can lead to this.  I was so surprised, pleasantly, when not just one or 2 plants popped up, but several of them appeared.

And not only did they make a few, but it was more of a pepper explosion.

The irony is that if I were a better gardener I'd be saving seeds and documenting what species I had planted, but it was more of a surprise.  And who doesn't like a surprise?

I will say that they were hot.  I recognized the jalapenos pretty easily, but still haven't decided if the others are serranos or cayenne.  They might even be some of both.  The point is that they all tend toward the hot side.

So we've made salsa, frozen some, added them to smoothies even (not me, but my husband is kind of crazy like that?).  I've got enough fire cider set up for a few seasons as well (but I used about 20 peppers, not 2?).
So what to do with all these peppers.......

Then I had a great idea (Funny that is sounded a lot like the voice of my husband in my head).

Dry the peppers and powder them.
Make your own red pepper or chili powder.

It seemed so simple.
And it actually even turned out that way as well.





To make Pepper Powder:
It took about 5 days for the peppers to dry in my dehydrator.  Yes, I could string them up in the attic and go old school, but I'd probably forget about them until 2020.
I picked the peppers when they were red and ripe.  There are only green ones in the photo from the plant because I had already picked the red ones.
After drying them I got my handy grinder that I use for grinding small amounts of grains or herbs, and after wiping it out well, I crumbled the dried peppers into the grinder and processed them into a powder.
I used protection.  These peppers are hot and you know how you only cut up a jalapeno bare-handed once?  Well, I wasn't going to fall for that twice.  These things are potent, so I donned eye protection and wore a mask as well.  (no photo as it was really just me in my bifocals with a kitchen towel pinned over my face).

After processing the ground pepper was strained thru a sieve and put into a clean jar.
I started with about a gallon of peppers and ended up with 1 pint of powder.
Any large pieces got put back into the grinder for a second run.
MAKE SURE TO THOROUGHLY CLEAN YOUR GRINDER AFTERWARDS!  You will regret it when your muffin in a mug has a kick, unless you tend to just like red pepper muffins.  Hmmmmm. Now I might have to try that.

How will I use this now?  My plan is to use it as I would any cayenne or hot pepper.  This means additions to chili, soups and stews, some smoothies, nacho or fajita meat.  I figure that anywhere I want a little kick of heat, this needs to be there.

And it was cheap (free, even) and beyond easy.







October 6, 2014

By the Numbers, and Why I'm Not Worried

I'd like to think that I'm a pretty honest person, but I am also very private.  I like to share things that work for me, but tend to leave out the messy, personal parts.
This is my attempt to be open about myself in a more transparent way.
I am pretty lucky in the genetic department.  My family has no real issue with heart disease or diabetes.
Yes, I see a lot of it as a nurse, and I realize that genetics only gets you so far in life.

There comes a point when you have to accept that your choices and lifestyle make a huge impact on what your life will look like.

Before discovering Trim, Healthy Mama in November of 2012, before pregnancy and my baby, I had been on a low-fat, vegan diet.  And I loved it.
I loved how I felt, I loved how I had energy and was eating healthy, living foods.
One of my main reasons for eating this restrictive way was because I wanted to be the healthiest I possibly could be.  Like the authors of THM, this led me for a time to a raw, vegan diet.  I'm not here to debate the good and bad of veganism.  Like most things in life, I believe that there is a valid time and place for vegan.  I also think that a focus on vegetables in your diet, and adding more, is never a bad thing.
But I wanted to ward off disease and lose weight and have a better cholesterol, but even as a vegan, I had always struggled in the weight department and often the lab one as well.  So adding the low-fat aspect to it really changed how I ate and lived.
I did, however, see an amazing change in my lipid profile.  The numbers looked amazing.

My cholesterol had always been a bit high.  Not horrible, but usually from 200-220.  I'd had doctors mention statins in passing but only if things changed for the worse.  I figured it was just the "in" drug and just didn't think any more about it.

I was kind of wondering what my results would look like now.  Would they be higher, better?  After all, I'm down about 25 pounds from my vegan, pre-pregnancy weight.  I'm exercising more.  Eating more good fats and good carbs.  How would THM really look as far as the numbers?

It took a while for me to process my results actually.  Some time to wrap my head around what it all meant.

This is where I was and where I currently am.
*All values in mg/dL
My initial reaction was a bit of a freak out. 
Having an amazing doctor helped.  His recommendation was to do nothing.  He feels that this is a great result when you look at the big picture.  This also goes along with the current physician guidelines from the American Heart Association as well.

Now I'm not out to diagnose anyone, including myself.  It's a matter of understanding what each of these numbers represent and see how they all have a meaning
There is so much information available with each specialty group having its own spin on the results.  WAPF will tell you a high cholesterol is fine and that low is a danger.  The authors of the China Study will tell you the exact opposite.
I figure the truth is probably somewhere in the middle?

My total cholesterol is high.  But I want to look not just at a total, but at what makes up the panel.  Generally we are told eat less meat, less processed foods, exercise and quit smoking.  But what if we already do most of that?  What if we do all of these things?

My diet is great.  I also exercise.  This is shown in my HDL, or high density lipoprotein.  Thinks "H" for healthy.   This is the number you want to be high as levels above 60 are associated with lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

LDL, or low density lipoproteins, are the bad cholesterol, and yes,  mine look kind of scary to me as well.  This is the one I'm currently working on by adding more E meals and fewer really, heavy S meals.  I've also consciously added in more fats for S meals from vegetable sources.  Think coconut oil, red palm oil, avocado and nuts.  More olive oil, less butter.  Also consider cutting some of the convenience foods with hidden white carbs?

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood.  Mine are in a great place.  Triglycerides can be affected by fats in food, refined/white carbs in food and alcohol.  Fish can help to lower this level and maybe this is the result of my almost daily habit?

The thing is, most of these numbers are mainly altered by what you eat and how you live.  Things like smoking and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute.  Sometimes they are related to genetics and how your body processes things.  
It is also important to take into consideration that there are ranges (I did not post).  Sometimes levels can reach dangerous places and intervention might be required.


Yes, my LDL is very high as is my total cholesterol, but the good HDL and triglycerides are in such great places it makes me not worry that heart issues or stroke are in my immediate future.
Doctors also look at the ratios between the values.  Mine are in a good place.

I work at getting exercise and maintain a healthy goal weight, I eat a  a pretty healthy diet based on whole-foods.  I also will add that I have a great resting heart rate and my blood pressure and blood glucose are ideal.  I have no chronic disease or issues that I am dealing with.
I think having knowledge guiding your choices is a good thing.  I think that early intervention is a very important thing, and I will be making sure that I focus on getting exercise regularly 3-5 days a week and adding more low-fat E meals.
Knowing that my levels can be better are making me aware that there is room for change through diet and puts that burden of responsibility on me.

If my overall picture of health starts to change, then it would be wise to re-evaluate, as it isn't just a set of labs, but the big picture, that can affect your health for the short- as well as long-term.
There is always room for improvement and I hope to see a drop in the total and LDL at my next check, but as long as the over-all picture remains the same, I still think I'm on the right track.

September 14, 2014

Satisfying Salmon Supper-S

I have to admit that I have some weird habits.  If I am making a short trip to the grocery store I'll try to figure out a way to make all the items I need start with the same letter so that I don't have to write a list, but can just remember the number of things I needed to get.
Like the letter C.
That would be Cabbage, ice Cream (for the kids), Cheddar, and a Can of tuna.  Stuff like that.
My kids think it is just another layer to my oddness, but it works for me, and that is really all that matters.
My fondness for alliteration is what leads me here.  Satisfying Sockeye Salmon Supper.

Recently I found some great, local deals on fish.  Now I am the kind of person who could eat fish 3 times a day, every day.  Since my husband grew up in Alaska and did actually have fish more than he cares to remember as a kid, I reign myself in a bit as he gets tired of it.
That just means that I make fish often for our evening meal when it is just me and the kids (Mr B works 2nd shift so he isn't home).

In the South, this we call this meal supper.

Sockeye salmon is also known as red salmon.  It has a red flesh that is unique in salmon due to its diet and happens to be my favorite salmon.  When buying your fish, make sure your salmon is always wild caught (should be on the package) as farmed salmon loses out on health benefits, and also make sure that the fish wasn't treated with chemicals.  "Fish" should be the only ingredient.


Poaching is one of my new favorite ways to have salmon.  It wasn't something I had often done with fish, but had with chicken.  The THM book mentions poaching in several recipes and will also walk you thru it step by step.
I am poaching in a shallow pan, and will add that I did stay closer by to spoon the cooking liquid over the pieces that weren't fully submerged.  I think watching Food Network lately has made me more secure in my cooking(?) but the real thing is that it is just food.  As long as the fish isn't raw, and it won't be, it is all good.
The seasonings here sound more spicy than they really are.  They are not overwhelming or strong so feel free to add more if you like a bit of a kick.  I would call this flavorful, but not 'hot'.   My kids enjoyed this as well as I did.
And the left-overs warmed up quite well the next day for Mr B at work, and he enjoyed this meal.


Satifying Sockeye Salmon Supper-S

(serves about 4)

1-1/4 # wild-caught salmon, I used sockeye/red
1 can lowfat coconut milk (the kind in a can from the Asian food aisle of the grocery store)
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 cups water
salt/pepper
1 bag mixed, frozen vegetables (mine was broccoli, cauliflower and some carrots.  I didn't put any carrots in my serving, but the kids ate them).
Dreamfield's angelhair pasta (traditional pasta for the kids)

Cook the pasta according to directions on box.  Make sure you only give yourself the specified serving.

Cook the frozen veggies according to the directions on the bag for stovetop, but sub coconut milk in place of water. Be careful not to overcook as they can get mushy.



In a large skillet that is also deep, combine the remainder of the coconut milk, the red curry paste and some water (about 1 cup, more if needed ) to cover/poach the fish.

Bring this liquid to a simmer and put your salmon, thawed, into the liquid.  Cover and keep it at a simmer to allow fish to poach for about 6 minutes.  Turn the fish over if it isn't completely covered and allow to further simmer for another 6 minutes.   If your fish is submerged then just let it go for about 12-15 minutes.

Serve fish with pasta and veggies with sauce from fish spooned over top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

September 9, 2014

What's For Dinner? (or lunch or breakfast even)

I like to help people.  This is probably why I became a nurse, but it is a part of who I am.
I post things that I've found useful and might help others, but realize that everyone is different and what has worked for me might not be what is best for others.
I don't know that I necessarily wanted to be a blog that is mainly about Trim, Healthy Mama, but then I think about all the people, not just mama's, who are out there changing their lives and health.  I just love that years are being added to lives and quality of those years is improving all due to the choices that are made each day, and it just makes me so very happy.

I always get a real perspective on life when I go to work.  The patients and their families have taught me that you have to keep going on even when life is chronically hard.  I also find that the other staff give me real insight as to what really challenging schedules and sacrifice can look like when it comes to life.
I'm constantly reminded that things can most definitely always be worse, or more challenging, or even just busier.

So going back to work more hours was not an excuse in any way to not stay on THM.  It really goes to having a plan for me, and to me that means having a couple of items for leftovers in the fridge at any given time for Mr B to pack for work, and a definite schedule of meals for me that are on plan.

I'm at goal (ok... reality is that I've put on 3-4 pounds over the last 6 months.  I had been having a few cheats here and there and along with crossovers, stress, and decreased exercise it is just slower going.  The key for me is that I am looking at what my body physically needs now with what our lives currently look like.  I also don't ever care to be on a "diet" ever again and have never resorted to a fuel cycle or deprivation of any kind since going on THM.  The weight is slowing moving away and I am still trim and healthy, just not quite as trim, at this point.  I just see this as a life plan, not a plan for just right now. It isn't about slamming off the pounds, but creating a life of health and good habits.)

There are lots of crossovers and S-helpers in my life currently, but as in the past, I am adding more E meals as I do find more success in the scale area with them.
I also recently re-read several chapters of the book recently including the recipes, and was surprised at how many of them I had not actually ever tried.
I'm not giving a specific menu but thinking more of how I think about meals overall.
I will also add that some products that I use for convenience are not on plan.  They might not work for you, but they do seem to work with my metabolism and I'm having no issues with their use.  You have to make the choice that is right for you and will be best for you.

One of the things I've found helpful is to keep breakfast simple.
At our house, on days I work, I like to have a sandwich on an E bread (I actually use a double fiber wheat bread and stay within the limits of the E guidelines.  This isn't strictly on plan, but it works for me) with lean cold cuts and low-fat cheese.  I also have coffee with half and half so technically this is a Crossover, but for a long, busy morning at work, I need something I can eat easily in the car that will hold me over for a full 5 hours.
When I'm at home, I reign it in a bit and have my S muffin in a mug.  I just never get tired of the all flax version and rotate flavors to fit my mood and season.

Lunches are what I find to be the most tricky.  You see, my husband is on 2nd shift and is home for lunch.  We both run or exercise in some way most mornings, I have school with the big kids and it is just a busy time.  Getting time for just all that and a shower is a struggle.  Add in prep and cooking time, and I'm pretty much done.  Many people have the option for crockpot meals, but I can't put something on (not that my mind would even process that at 9am) and have it ready by 12.

Lunch is where I made the decision to cut back a bit.  I realized that I really can't do it all and I didn't need to keep pushing and trying to force it.  I needed lunch to be easier.  Yes, I could have my kids helping out, but I also need them to stay on task and focus on school in the mornings.  It is just how our lives look.

But that doesn't mean just having burritos or sandwiches every day.

I do like to make sure we have rice, beans or quinoa in the fridge ready to go for E meals.  I keep a stash of lettuce at all times as well so salads are always an option.
There is Dreamfields as well and I can make a quick meal with that as well.  My husband and kids get traditional pasta and making 2 batches isn't much of an issue when everything else is the same for the meal.

Boiled eggs are also another thing that I find handy to keep around.
With all of these things at hand, I can quickly poach some salmon and use it to top some rice and have a  big E salad.  Or shred some lean turkey and mix it with some veggies and the quinoa.  Or use the beans and make a quick E chili.
An S egg salad or chicken salad on a joseph's pita with a side salad or veggies is also a filling lunch, or just a big S, hearty salad.
Add some broccoli salad and it is a perfect meal.

My little guy isn't quite ready for salads as a meal, but the rest of us love them and can make a meal of them.  I round out the kids' meals with more rice or bread with butter or peanut butter.
Nacho meat is also handy and not always for burritos.  I love a scoop on salads and will crumble 1 or 2 thin nacho chips over the top to add flavor and crunch, but minimal carbs.

Keeping staples like rice, quinoa, lean chicken or turkey, and seasoned meats in the fridge ready to go make lunch quick and easy.  I've also stocked up on frozen salmon and grass-fed meat that can be quickly integrated with a little more prep time into a meal.

I also find that our meals are very seasonal.  In a few more weeks, I'll probably be having more soups, and I will admit to going through a curry phase a while back as well.

We don't eat out often, but will splurge every now and then.  This is usually a big salad for me.  Most fast food places (we usually go to Chickfila) have salads and low-fat dressing options.  I usually like to keep salads an S meal, but their E market salad has fruits and grilled chicken and is perfect with a low fat (watch the carbs) dressing.
Other places will offer delicious cobb salad variations with bacon and avocado.  This is also another favorite of mine in an S setting.
The main issue that I've found with eating out is the hidden sodium that leads to bloat and a bump up in the scale the following day.  It is usually transient, but good know about.

Dinner at our house is a bit more filling, but still simple.  Since it is usually just me and the kids we stick to comfortable standbys like burgers and cabbage (S), salmon patties and roasted sweet potatoes (crossover), even meatballs and cauliflower mash (S).  These can be cooked in larger quantities and then we have leftovers that may be used for work meals the next day.
If the kids are having pizza, I'll make a THM version with half a lavash or even just a big, luscious salad as an alternative.
I would like to say that I make all my own salad dressings, but I don't.  Homemade versions are healthy and quick and tasty, but I need quicker and convenient right now.

I've found snacks to be important as well and when at work always take an E protein bar that I can enjoy with a cup of coffee (black and often decaf) or some fat free greek yogurt.  I will admit that I often will have a yogurt with a 'flavor' and possibly artificially sweetened which is technically not on plan and not at all healthy for you, but cheap, easy, affordable and what works for me.
I also enjoy a Chai tea chiller at times or a cup of fresh herb tea from the garden.
I've also not given the brand of protein bar I like as it is most likely not on plan per the rules, but then neither are pork or shellfish, and I have them quite often as well.  I make sure to check the fiber, carbs, ingredients and fats and make sure that they are within limits and then see how my body reacts.  Luckily, I do pretty well with some fruit/date-based bars that are real food as long as they are balanced with protein and low in fat.

I also still enjoy puddings and smoothies for snacks.  I still struggle, as always, with getting in all the fruits and veggies (non-starchy ones) that my body craves.

Half and apple with some peanut butter, or even a big spoon of peanut butter alone might be a snack on the run, but I try to keep a bar with me.

My goal is to get at least one, if not more, serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal in some way.  If I miss some at breakfast, I try to sneak in some extra at lunch.

So I'm still living THM, but after almost 2 years of being on plan, it has become a part of my life, and not a novelty or struggle.  What looks right for my family and life might not be right for you, but I'm still feeling great and have energy.  I'm not taking any expensive supplements to boost my energy, and my history of adrenal issues has been kept at bay with nutrition and exercise.
THM is a flexible life plan.  You customize it to work for you.  You must pay attention to and learn how your body reacts to foods and meals to see what is best for you if you are wanting to lose weight or heal.
Good luck!


September 8, 2014

Even When You Don't Want To....

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” George Carlin

I have to admit that I tend towards cynicism.  And complaining.  And seeing the problems.

It is easy to dwell in the negative in today's world.  It is easy to trash others, complain about technology and just whine about things in general.
It is almost like it is expected and encouraged.  

Cynicism is acceptable.  We know that things in some magical way "could" be wonderful, but in actuality are not.  We are supposed to say what is on our hearts and minds, right?  What we think and feel is important, you know?  It's healthy to not bottle up our frustrations?

This is where I feel that I live.  I am negative.  I dwell there.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've started back working more hours.  I still homeschool my 2 older kids (11th and 7th grades) while taking care of a toddler and my husband (irony is that he ended up grouped with the toddler?).  I still cook most of our meals and clean the house and do all the other stuff that I was too busy for.
And the strange thing is.... there is always time.  Or to put it into perspective, there is always time for what is important.


This means that I have to have priorities and think about the possibilities and not let myself go to the mindset that I'm already defeated and need to settle for second best.
It is also about perspective and understanding that I might have to change how I do things.  It is about delegating things and not being such a control freak.

What if we have a plan?  What if we refused to stay in the cycle of negativity?

What if we refused to be disappointed by circumstances (because isn't that what life really is?)

This morning I was tired. 
I can dwell on all the things that led to this point as negatives and use them as excuses for bad behavior, or I can choose to see the positives.

I think my point is supposed to be that life is just life.  Our reactions make us who we are.
There is so much sadness and evil around, but I'm not going to let that ruin who I really am or who I might potentially be.

This started off being a post about running or adding exercise to your day so I'm not sure where my head went or how George Carlin came into play.

I just think that it is easy for me to let my attitude get the best of me.  It is easy to become a circumstancial grump.


Right now I'm working on making life smooth with a family, a job, homeschool and all that we do.
Some days are more challenging than others.  You see, it is life.  I don't think life is really hard unless you make it that way.  

It really is all about attitude and perception.  It is about setting limits and knowing what my priorities are in advance.
It is about not settling for seconds, but realizing that I need to make wise choices and understand that perfection doesn't really exist anyhow?




July 6, 2014

Blackberry Basil Summer Smoothie-FP

If you have read any of my other smoothie recipes, then you know I like certain tastes (usually tart?), and tend to do more variations around the same theme.
Since I was pregnant, green doesn't always appeal to me in my smoothies, but I know that I still need the fruits and vegetables that are in them.  

Right now in Georgia it is blackberry season.  I also have basil of all varieties on my porch garden right now that needed pinching off and figured blackberry and basil somehow seemed to go together?  Especially the lovely, light lemon basil that is one of my favorites.
It seemed so logical to combine these flavors of the season into one smoothie?

As always feel free to alter the herbs.  Turmeric and ginger are here because they help with inflammation.  I personally try have some in foods or smoothies most every day but let your personal likes and pantry stash help to guide you.

You can choose to add protein powder for a meal replacement, but I prefer to use none or just a small amount and have as a snack or prior to a meal.  Having it before my meal helps me to not go overboard because my stomach is more full and helps with digestion.  It also mentally makes me feel like I am making good choices with my diet, and this seems to positively reinforce making continues good choices.  For me, this is staying on plan with THM, and this Fuel Pull drink
Blackberry Basil Summer Smoothie

1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen (if they aren't frozen, add some ice)
1 lemon, quartered, seeds, flesh and all (it's good for you!)
1-2 tablespoons of FRESH lemon basil
stevia
Redmond Sea Salt
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
2 cups of water
1/2 scoop of protein powder, if desired

Add all except protein powder into your blender.  I use a Blendtec, and it can handle a whole lemon.  
Blend until smooth.
Add the protein powder and pulse a few times to incorporate.
Enjoy!

June 7, 2014

Stress, The Hospital and the Power of Scent

This year has not been normal, if there is such a thing.
We are a pretty healthy family, and for the most part, that hasn't changed, but it just seems that parts are getting old and worn in some (mine, unfortunately) and then my older son went and had his appendix rupture.
He is 11, and while I knew he would ultimately be fine, it was stressful there for a bit.

You see, I'm a nurse.  I've logged almost 27 years in hospitals and feel very comfortable in that setting.
Taking the situation and boiling it down to the clinical is the way I've found of coping, but when it is your own child, it is hard to put that face on sometimes.  I don't want to just think of him clinically as he doesn't need skilled, objective care from me at that time, but the loving, subjectiveness of his mom.
It was hard to see him awkward and hurting and disoriented.

Now despite using herbal tinctures and potions at home, I'm not one to rock the boat unnecessarily in the medical arena.  I have a respect for what the hospital staff is doing and don't want to do anything that might be construed as harmful in that setting for many reasons.
But I did transport some green smoothie for me to drink along with some essential oils.  I have seen some lovely things with essential oils and can generally excuse them as a fragrance in that setting without the staff and doctors thinking I'm too far over the natural line.

After reading The Wild Medicine Solution, by Guido Mase', I felt even more compelled to try aromatics at this point in recovery.
In the book, he discusses the power that aromatics have over our moods and how they can change our perceptions and attitudes.  He also covers tonics and bitter in the book that should really be on your herbal shelf.  His blog post gives a brief sample of the book here.
After several miserable days in the hospital, both my son and I both needed that boost.

I had a small bottle of Enlighten blend from Birch Hill Happenings that contains a great blend of orange, pine needle, eucalyptus, frankincense, patchouli and cistus that I've had for many years as I was drawn to the scent.
It turns out that these are some that Guido (I feel on a first name basis with him now) lists as aromatics and recommends.

I used this first on my son and myself and it helped both of us realize that it was hard and painful, but that he was healing and would be home eventually.  That his discomfort and limits were not permanent.
And it worked.  We both felt a release from tension and stress that we had felt for days.

I also used the doTerra Balance formula that is supposed to "create a sense of calm and well-being."  After getting our minds reset and at peace with the issues at hand, I used Balance every few hours as a massage to our neck/scalp to maintain calm and focus.

And as always, I was quite surprised at how well it worked.  I don't know why I seem to so often forget or doubt the power of scent and the usefulness of essential oils, but I frequently overlook them and want to use something more tangible when it might not be necessary.

It was a hard week going from surgery to ICU to a hospital room for a week, but my son is great right now, and I am very thankful that we had essential oils to help with our stress at that time, and that Guido wrote some great things that gave me a direction in a book I hope you'll consider reading.


***  As a rule, I do not sell things.  I have a job and make money that way.  I write things here/on the blog mainly so I can remember them and have a search button or have been things that I have found helpful and wish to share.
I do have links but the ones here are just generic ones and a friend's doTerra business (she gifted me the Balance and is generally a good person).  I don't know the Birch Hill people, but they make a nice oil that I have no complaints with.
My personal view is to go with what works and is affordable.  If your local herb shop can mix you some NOW oils, cool!  Or do it yourself even.  Have fun, experiment but be safe if something is unfamiliar to you.  Do you homework and research.   If you want to try doTerra, please consider using the links, but if you love another brand, that is great too!

May 22, 2014

Fish with Quinoa.... an Energizing meal that somehow feels Satisfying

I think one of the things about E meals that gets to me is that they can feel 'diet-y'.  The thing most people love about Trim, Healthy Mama is that they can have satisfying meals and still lose weight, but to really get your metabolism going you have to add in those E meals as well.
And I also have the issue of getting stuck in ruts.  I have my go-to meals, but chicken stir fry with rice or confetti quinoa gets old after a bit.  I will often find I start to avoid E meals or will start to add crossovers which seem to soon become cheats.  Then I'm off plan and starting to gain, and that's not going to happen!

I've recently discovered red palm oil.  There's a ton of info out there on the benefits, including being nutrient dense with antioxidants.  Pages 201-202 in the THM book discuss the benefits of this oil.  I'm just not one to spend on ingredients that are foreign to me, but I came upon a great deal at Nutiva that made it worth it.

And it adds a different taste to food so it isn't the same old, same old....
And just a bit of it can make such a difference in the taste.  It doesn't take much and the 1 tablespoon for this recipe is plenty.

This is my new favorite... a wild-caught white fish with veggies and some quinoa.  There's just enough red palm oil to make it seem like a special, satisfying treat, but still maintaining E/energetic meal guidelines.  You can go even crazier with the veggies or the spices, but for my family, this was a good place.

Fish with Quinoa (E)

makes 4 servings

1 pound white fish (I actually used whiting)
1 tablespoon red palm oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups of kale, remove center rib and cut into strips or pieces
cooked quinoa (3 cups total with 3/4 cup per serving)

Cook your quinoa in salted water.  I generally use 1-1/2 cups of rinsed quinoa in 4 cups of water.

Put the red palm oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I used a stainless steel and had no issues with sticking).  Add the fish right away and sprinkle top with juice from the lemon and the salt.
Allow to cook for 4 minutes on each side uncovered.

Remove the fish from the pan onto a plate and add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes.  You should not need to add any additional oil.
Add the kale and wilt it with the other vegetables for 2-3 minutes, and then add the fish on top.  Allow to cook another 5 minutes over med-low heat.

Serve over quinoa and enjoy!  I find that the flavors here are somewhat sweet and mildly tangy.


May 9, 2014

Like Exercise, But for Your Brain?

I'd like to think I'm about health.  Now I don't believe that health is just being free of disease.  Or that it means you will never be in pain.
To me, health is putting yourself into a place to where function is the focus and the ability to thrive is key.

I have focused on food here in the past and some on exercise as well, but I also know that my mind needs stimulation and periods of rest.
I started back to work a few months ago and forgot how much I miss it.  I think that my stint at staying at home full time was worthwhile, but is ultimately not who I am.  I enjoy work and I think that getting out and seeing what real life looks like for others helps to give me some perspective about my life.
I will also add that  I have things pretty good with a wonderful, former-homeschooling boss who allows flexibility within the system.  I'm working weekends while the pack of wild children gets some dad time.
Not everyone has this option, but I am very thankful that I do.

My real thoughts here are that between taking care of my family, including a beyond-spoiled toddler, homeschooling 2 teens, working, cooking and cleaning, exercising.......  I might just need some time to work on me.

I'm not talking about massages, or getting my nails done.  I'm talking about the part of you that makes you unique.... your brain.
Are you taking time to nourish and build it like the rest of your body?

I'm a big believer in mental stimulation.  I'm a big believer in READING.  
I mean, I have a list of required reading for my kids, and why do I do this?  If it is important for them, what about for me?

Since I had been neglectful of this side of me, I decided to make a list.  I'm purposefully not sharing it as you need to make your own list.  I would encourage you, if you are out of the habit, to add a variety of books... not just all self-help or books for women or christian life.   Add some of the classics.  If you don't know what the classics are then look to a list (google "classic books to read")
 
I was actually inspired by a list off of a facebook quiz.  My total was pretty low so I picked books that I hadn't read yet.

In the past I also read The Well-Educated Mind, a book to train yourself in the way of logical thinking.  I will admit that their consecutive approach was daunting for me, and that I sat and stared at a copy of Don Quixote for a few months straight before just giving up.
I have some books that are lighter and some that are deeper and require more thought.  Some subjects are interesting and some will stretch me.  I have some books that will teach me new skills and help me to become better at the things I enjoy doing in life.

It is also about the habit of reading.  Be strict with your time until it is a part of your day.  The old rule is 21 days to make a habit and that is a good rule to stick with.
I've found that now that the reading habit is established that I am able to add to my list.  That I'm turning off the tv at night and using that time to read.  It's far more interesting than anything that is on, you know.

So while you finish school and look to the next year for the kids, don't forget that you might need to put in some work there possibly yourself.  And don't be all about 'summer' reading.  Give yourself a goal of maybe 2 or 3 books, depending upon their length to get through in the next few months.  Don't set yourself up to fail, but schedule time to read each day for 20-30 minutes.
Don't feel selfish for taking time for yourself.  But don't let the book dominate and take control by keeping you from getting things done.  Personally, I use nap/down time in the afternoon or late at night.

Just like exercise or meal planning, I have found it helpful to add in some time to focus and build my brain through a deliberate time of reading.  I feel like it has helped to remind me that I am more than just all the different roles I have to fill in the day, and that, underneath it all, I'm still me and I'm still here.
It's all kind of like exercise, but for your brain, right?








March 9, 2014

On Being an Older Mom

I will admit that I had my annual freakout this year.  It usually goes from the holidays and ends triumphantly with me not being dead, also known as a birthday.
A few years back it didn't really bother me quite so much.  I mean, I had it good.  My kids were great.  I had a job I loved while being able to swing homeschooling.  A nice house.
All the stuff that made life good, right?

Then life changed, and at 43 I had a baby.

Not a huge deal at this time in history, or probably any other actually, but it did alter my life in a pretty big way at a time when I wasn't really expecting it.

One thing that helped me was to realize that the stuff didn't really matter so much?  That maybe I needed to invest more of myself into the lives of those around me.
I will admit that even though we all live in the same space, my introvertedness does require me to make an effort to live outside of my own head at any given time in my own home.

But how was having a baby at 43 different from 29 or 33?

When you add your age to the potential landmarks of your kids, 43 is pretty up there.  After all, when I look at the other local mothers, I could easily be their mothers, and have more in common, it seems, with the grandmothers than with them.
The thing that I realized and that kept hitting me was that I might never see my kids grow to get married or have my grandchildren.  Time is short, and seems to go quicker every year so I need to really invest myself in the here and now and not worry so much with what might be coming and that I might miss it.
I realized that I am not guaranteed tomorrow even.  So I don't need to dwell on being 83 when this baby is 40.
Getting over the mental aspects and just moving on with life is a big part of it for me.

Then there is the social issue.  Aren't I supposed to put him in playgroups?
I had to realize that the idea of putting him in a group based on age went against my belief in the need for socialization.  I don't buy that you have to be immersed in a culture of similarity based upon age.  It is part of why I homeschool.  I'm pretty sure that he will end up a hopefully-normal-ish adult someday despite not going to playgroup.
I will add that I am meeting some wonderful 20-somethings that I probably would have never met if it weren't for us having children in common, and that is a good thing that really enriches my life.
I just don't know that seeking out a group is a worthwhile pursuit.

My pregnancy in my 40s was actually my easiest physically.  I worked regular shifts at the hospital and I worked out.  I knew that exercise would be vital for having a good pregnancy, but didn't try to overdo it like I did when younger.  I ran till I couldn't, and then I walked until I couldn't, and then I waddled, but I did keep moving.  I worked out with weights and kept my muscles toned and stretched.
I knew that labor was coming, but that the stress of carrying a baby was going to be rough on my body.  Making my muscles strong so that they could support the weight and where it was located was key for me.  I am not one to believe in wearing a support.  You train muscles to be strong by letting them work not by giving them a crutch.

One hard part was avoiding all the rhetoric telling me my odds of failing.  It seemed that every source went out of its way to let me know the odds of Down's Syndrome or miscarriage.
I saw this in pregnancy fitness magazines that promised articles talking about pregnancy at different ages.  It was little more than the statistics of my potential to fail.
I searched hard to find a doctor and midwife who were focused on the positives, and fired my first one for their inability to express that I could have a healthy baby.

On another note.... as a RN for almost 24 years... never, never feel that you cannot fire your doctor.  You don't even have to have a concrete reason.  You should feel comfortable with the people who are advising you regarding medical choices.

I'm also a big believer that, in most cases, the baby will take what it needs and it is the mother who will only have the leftovers when it comes to health while pregnant.  This is really an analogy for what life becomes so often with kids.  They take, we give willingly, but during pregnancy you don't really get a choice in the matter.
I also admit that choking down supplements is not my favorite thing at that point, but that NOW's Liquid Cal-Mag was something that I used daily.  This was a good choice because it provided calcium to support my bones and teeth, magnesium to help prevent leg cramps, and the xylitol to keep my GI tract moving.

My skin tends to really show what I'm needing and hydration shows easily along with dryness.  This meant I needed some omega oils dosed until I saw a difference.  Water is a must, and the last half of the pregnancy I also used an essential fatty acid supplement a few times a day and ate fish like a mermaid even.

Herbs used in my last weeks to help tone my internal organs for delivery.  I used the Gentle Birth Formula from Mountain Meadow Herbs.  Used as directed, it is a safe way to tone and prepare you body for labor and delivery.
This labor was pretty wonderful, but then I do get epidurals.
The baby was a fat, healthy boy who was absolutely perfect.

But then, you have a baby.

I had nursed my other 2 babies exclusively for almost 2 years each.  They grew even fatter and happier, but this time it was different.  My little baby who was fat and happy at birth started wasting away.  By 2 months, he had gained less than 2 pounds.  Seeing him daily took away my perspective so I took a photo one day.
You could see every rib in his little body.  His skin was dry and thin.  He looked like a little starving child; probably because that's what he was.  My baby wasn't getting enough food from me.
I could've gone to ask the pediatrician, sought advice from others, but it was evident that the baby needed food.

The thing is that I never felt engorged or like I had enough milk as I did with my other babies.
Turns out, this can be a common issue for older mothers, especially if it has been a while since your last child.
I continued to nurse, but supplemented with formula.
It eventually became that he had formula and supplemented with nursing though.
I refused to feel like I had failed at feeding him, but felt empowered that I recognized and treated the situation.  I could beat myself up over having a baby that was malnourished and hungry, or I could see that I acted and worked to repair it as quickly as possible.
I think if I were younger I'd have thought myself a failure, but at this point, despite the emotional scar from this I'll always have, I'm not out to prove anything.
I used Nurse-Me Rhyme Tea from Mountain Rose herbs daily, drinking at least 2 quarts a day to maintain what little supply I had.
When I started Trim, Healthy Mama I did see some increase as well.

And the not sleeping thing?  It's harder now than before.  I had struggled with adrenal fatigue a few years back and the lack of sleep kept causing my body to drift back to that state of hormonal imbalance.  Again, staying on track as far as diet and exercise were the things that kept me healthy.
To me, a good diet and exercise are the MOST important things you can do.  It isn't about supplements or popping some 'magic' potion to make you feel better.   To repair you have to make real change and address the issues, not just cover them up and allow the symptoms of disease to be stifled.
To repair adrenal issues, the first step is to stop contributing to the behavior that brought it on.  I knew the lack of sleep was temporary. Yes, it was hard and it made me nutty, but I knew it was limited and I would live through it.  I knew that I needed to maintain and do all the other things I could do, like get off all sugars, stay away from carbs and get good quality foods along with exercise to keep my body functioning.

I stay on top of hauling a 30 pound toddler around by keeping my appointments with my chiropractor and massage therapist as well.
Now that I'm back on the job this is doubly important.  The baby is mobile and can walk, but I need to also stay strong so that I can function in a hospital, ICU setting for many more years.  My back and core are vital to this.  I've never had a back injury and never plan on one either.  I have learned how to move safely, but also how to strengthen my body and how to maintain with regular adjustments to keep alignment.

So the fact is, being a mother can be a trial and a blessing no matter what your age is.  As with most things in life, your perspective and attitude are the most important things you can bring to the equation.
And I'll just focus on potty training for the moment and not think about teaching him to drive in my 60s.