Portrait of the Week

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

I obviously can’t commit to a weekly project at this point. However, I value having these images of Berlin at the end of the year, and it forces me to pull out the camera and keep practicing. So for now I will attempt to take a photo of her each week, but I’m not making any promises (hence the change of the title for this post).

Berlin: She is growing up so quickly. Her language develops daily and each day she surprises me with off the wall statements and new skills. I am trying to remember to cherish each day with her, as she will never be this little again.

 

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Lately

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Life has been incredibly busy, yet wonderful and inspiring lately. In a blink of an eye, weeks have gone by and I haven’t made one single post to this space.

There are moments I intentionally step away from posting, mainly feeling like its such a time suck, taking away time spent with my family. But these past few weeks, all my time has been filled embarking on an exciting, new adventure; launching my own business.

All my time and effort has been put into studying for my Pre & Postnatal Fitness and Nutrition certificate. As most of you who read this blog know, health and fitness are a big part of who I am. It’s something I’m very passionate about, and I’m thrilled that my passion can be used to help other women feel healthier and more confident about themselves.

More information will be up on the blog soon, but for now I just wanted to let you all know what has been keeping me away lately. I’m beyond excited to share this information and get started on a new, healthful adventure!



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6/52 & 7/52

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

I am forever running behind, so here’s to catching up.

Berlin: One of her favorite things to do is dismantling the couch and building a fort. Now if she only knew how to put the couch back together…

She obviously doesn’t understand the concept of Valentines Day, but she sure did enjoy it. She was showered with gifts and we had endless fun making holiday crafts.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

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Sugar and Toddlers

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Admittedly, prior to having Berlin, I paid little, to no attention to the amount of sugar in my food. I would look at the fat or protein content rather than check out the possibly high amount of sugar lurking in my food. Honestly, I figured, since I didn’t eat candy bars or drink soda, my daily sugar intake must be at a healthy level. But once I began the journey of feeding solids to Berlin, I realized I was sorely mistaken and the amount of sugar I was ingesting as a relatively healthy individual was shocking.

It wasn’t until I began reading nutrition labels more closely and understanding the amount of sugar in my food,  that I discovered, by noon on any given day, I was easily downing nearly 35 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar (and that only included eating one Clif Bar and drinking a homemade fruit smoothie). I sadly assumed that companies, like Clif Bar, that touted healthy living, with a belief in organic and sustainable living, were making products that were nutritious and low on simple sugars. But reality is, these bars are no healthier than a chocolate bar. In fact, the Carrot Cake bar I tricked myself into thinking was healthy, was giving me a whopping 25 grams of sugar in one serving. That is more than a Hershey’s chocolate bar by a surprising 6 grams. Shocking, right?!

Once I made this realization, I really started investigating the amount of sugar in the everyday food items I was buying for Berlin. I also began researching the scary truth about sugar’s effect on toddlers, and the actual amount of sugar that is healthy for a toddler to be ingesting per a daily basis. What I discovered was that although I am one of the more strict parents when it comes to Berlin’s diet, she too, was eating far too much sugar.

So what is a healthy amount of sugar for our toddlers to be ingesting? According to the American Heart Association, preschool age children eating a 1000 calorie diet, should be eating no more than 3 teaspoons, or 12 grams of sugar per day. The shocking reality is that toddlers are far surpassing that number, and according to the AHA are eating on average nearly 12 teaspoons (or 48 grams) of sugar daily. If you stop to think about it, that is really rather gross. Imagine taking 12 teaspoons and pouring it into your toddlers food each day, doubt you could do it with a good conscience.

So now that you know what the recommended intake is, lets look at the sugar content per serving in some of the foods toddlers are eating on a daily basis:

Stonyfield’s yoBaby organic yogurt: 13 grams
GoGo Applesauce Squeeze: 12 grams
Trader Joe’s Organic Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie: 23 grams
Happy Tot Organic fruit packets: 15-20 grams
Earth’s Best Instant Oatmeal: 8 grams
Sprout Organic Fruit Snacks: 13 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crip Cereal: 11 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Crisp Bars: 8 grams
Plum Organics Jammy Sammy cereal bar: 11 grams

What is really sad, is that all of the above mentioned foods are organic and supposedly “healthy” brands. If you’re like me, you assume that organic products, made specifically for children, are nutritious options for your toddler. But most of these options supply your toddler with a full day’s amount of recommended sugar in just one serving.

Now lets discuss one of the biggest culprits of “through the roof” sugar levels, that are touted as a healthy option for our children, 100% juice boxes. I would say its safe to say that nearly half of children drink these on a daily basis, and I would assume that most parents think that its providing their children with the healthy nutrients that are needed each day. But in actuality, its like handing them a glass full of sugar with a bunch of unnecessary calories. To better understand this, let’s look at how juice is made. On average, it takes 3-4 medium apples to make one 8 ounce box of apple juice. Each apple has approximately 25 grams of sugar and 5 grams of healthy, much-needed fiber. The issue is, in the process of juicing, the cell walls are broken down and the fiber is eliminated, and fiber is what is needed to slow the metabolization of sugar and make you feel full. Therefore the body metabolizes the juice just the same as a sugar laden soda, wrecking havoc on your liver, and leaving you feeling hungry.

So now that you are throughly frightened, you should understand what to look for when purchasing foods for your little one. Here are the few names that sugar is hidden in:

  • High Fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Anything with an “so” ending; dextrose, fructose, glucose

So how do we keep the sugar content down when its lurking everywhere? My best suggestion is to be mindful of food labels, anything with less than 5 grams of sugar is a safe bet. Serve plain, whole fat yogurt instead of fruit flavored (you can always jazz it up with some granola or whole fruit), serve whole foods; fruits, veggies and whole grains. Eliminate all empty calorie food options; juice boxes, high sugar cereals, fruit bars…and offer only water, milk or a homemade smoothie as a beverage option. Lastly, never buy anything with sugar being the number one ingredient listed on the package.

Of course, we can’t be perfect all the time. So just remember moderation is key. If your chid enjoys a high sugar fruit bar that day, watch what they eat the rest of the day. Be completley mindful of your child’s diet, you are in control of their health and are setting up their eating habits for life.



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5/52

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Berlin: Some mornings she wakes up bright and cheerful, and other mornings…well, not so much. This particular morning she was on top of the world running up and down the hall; loving life.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

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Relationship Resolution

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Over a cocktail this past New Year’s Eve, Ryan and I discussed one of our goals of the year; spending more one on one time together as a couple. I feel like this topic comes up often, and seldomly do we do anything about it. In typical fashion, we brought up how we make little time for one another, instead, putting all our focus into either Berlin or work. We exchanged a few thoughts and ideas on how we might resolve it, but per usual, after the discussion was over, we forgot all about it and carried on with our relationship.

Then last week I saw the brilliant post by my friend Ashley that really got my wheels spinning. Rather than making some grandiose resolution, Ashley and her husband decided to do a small resolution per week, making each resolution much more manageable. They wrote each resolution down on a piece of paper, put them in a jar, and will choose a new one each week to tackle. Sound like a fantastic idea?! Well, I believe so, and and Ryan and I are putting the idea to test.

To begin, we separately came up with twenty-five resolutions each (fifty, because we started late in the game). Each resolution is one that we feel would be a fun and unique way to shake up our routine and help us spend more time together. We then combined our ideas (deleting the repetitive ones) and put them in a spreadsheet. We then came up with the super techy way of using a random picker via our spreadsheet to chose a new resolution weekly.

Here’s just a few examples of some of our weekly resolutions:

  • Taking a cooking class together
  • Going on a dinner cruise in the bay
  • Building a puzzle together
  • Having a picnic at the top of Twin Peaks
  • No work allowed at home
  • Turn off all screens in bed
  • Write a letter to one another

Thus far we have conquered week one of our resolutions; “enjoy dinner at a new, ‘hot’ restaurant.” We planned for a sitter on a Wednesday night (yes, we went out on a Wednesday!) and enjoyed a lovely, four course meal at one of the newest restaurants in the city (let me tell you, there are many!). It was wonderful to break up our usual routine and get out in the middle of the week. Plus we got to enjoy a full two hours of talking to one another-without the interruption of a spastic two year old.

We are now onto week two and tackling our second resolution; “put down all devices and listen to one another.” I’m looking forward to being more conscious about our screen time. It directly affects how we communicate with one another, so this week will be an interesting test of our ability to break our strong technological habits.

There are so many more on our list that I’m super psyched about, this resolution per week idea has really gotten me excited and creates something fun for us to look forward to.

What are some of your resolutions? Is spending more time with your loved one a priority for you as well?



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4/52

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Berlin: She is full of life, super silly, and a bit spastic. If only I could bottle up this moment; pure joy.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

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Road to Hana

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Part two of our Hawaiian vacation, sans Berlin. We enjoyed an amazing day cruising around the island; hiking through river beds, and basking in beautiful waterfalls while Berlin spent the day at the beach with her Nana.

It was without a doubt the best day of our vacation (however I did miss our little one quite a bit, not going to lie…).



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3/52

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“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Berlin: This past week was tough. Berlin got hit with back to back viruses the day we got back from vacation. After spending the entire week in bed, we are back to normalcy and she is enjoying our new bathroom at last.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity.

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Weekend Cleanse

I generally do a couple intense cleanses each year; one in the summer and one in the new year. They are usually month long cleanses that are meant to reboot my eating habits and get me on a healthy track again. For the most part I maintain a healthy diet, but at times I allow eating meals out to get out of control or I binge a bit too often on my favorite junk food; chips and salsa.

With the start of the new year this year, I thankfully haven’t feel too far off track from my healthy habits, and have only felt the need for a light cleanse to detox my body. I feel, even if one maintains a healthy lifestyle, its still important to do a cleanse every so often to flush the body of toxins created by food and environmental dangers.  A cleanse is not only a great way to flush toxins and boost liver’s effectiveness, but its a great way to refresh yourself and build a path for a healthier lifestyle.

The actual cleanse I created is only two days long, and since its a short cleanse I suggest focusing on yourself for the entire weekend. Doing yoga or stretching to get your body moving and stimulating digestion, enjoying a sauna, and getting lots of rest. This is not a time for intense exercise, its a time to restore the body. I also suggest drinking a glass of warm water with squeezed lemon in it every morning and dry brushing your body to stimulate the lymphatic system and help remove toxins.

There are only two recipes involved with this cleanse, the first being a smoothie that you can enjoy throughout the day; breakfast, snacks and dinner. The second is a soup that can be eaten for lunch and dinner, or as you like. They are both simple to make and can be made in large batches so you only have to prep your food once each day.

DetoxSmoothie

Winter Green Detox Smoothie
1 apple
1 pear
Handful of frozen cranberries
1 knob of ginger
1/2 cup of kale
1/2 cup of spinach or collard greens
1/2 cup of cabbage
Handful of parsley
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Approx 1 cup of filtered water

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix (or high powered blender) and mix on high until smooth. Add more water as necessary.

This recipe is from my all time favorite cleanse, created by Ali and Tom of Whole Life Nutrition. This is my go to smoothie whenever I feel under the weather, need a pick me up, or when I’m embarking on their amazing Elimination Diet.

Again, if you would like to double or triple the recipe, you can store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the day. However I always feel its best to make a new batch each time and enjoy immediately.

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Green Detox Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 knob of ginger
2 cups of chopped broccoli
2 cups of spinach
1 chopped turnip
Handful of parsley
Approx 2 cups of water
Dash of Turmeric
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add garlic, onion and ginger and cook for approx 5 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, then all other ingredients. Add water to cover vegetables and bring to a high simmer. Lower heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Place in Vitamix and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary and add more seasonings to taste.

Soup can be made in large batches and stored in the fridge for 2 days, can be enjoyed hot or cold.

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Remember to only use organic ingredients for both recipes, you don’t want to be ingesting pesticides while your cleansing your body. Once the cleanse is complete do not return to eating processed foods, sugar, alcohol or drinking coffee (if you can abstain) for at least a month-or longer if you can do so. The whole idea is to detox the body and get your liver in tip top shape. So throughout the month, be kind to your liver and enjoy foods that enable it to perform at a high function. These foods include:

Lemons
Turmeric
Garlic
Ginger
Cabbage
Grapefruit
Beets
Avocados
Walnuts
Almonds
Apples
Brussel Sprouts
Spinach
Kale
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Asparagus
Flax & Hemp Seeds
Green Tea

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These foods will not only help detox your liver, but will have you feeling energetic and and healthy. As an added bonus, these super foods boost your immune system as well, so they are great for fighting off the common winter flu and cold that usually occur this time of year.

Hope you all find the time to rejuvenate yourselves and make healthy foods and exercise a part of your year. Cheers to a new year!

If you would like a more in-depth cleanse, I posted one last year here and here.


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