Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Love Coconuts!

Aside from chocolate and chia, there’s another food-love in my life: coconut. From low-glycemic coconut sugar to healthy cold-pressed/extra-virgin coconut oil to soysauce alternative coconut aminos, coconut is truly the [Southeast Asian] tree of life.

Back in the Philippines where I grew up, extra virgin coconut oil, or EVCO for short, was already quite popular for weight loss and glowing skin, and heart health, among other things. Heck, there were even flavored varieties! So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw coconut oil gaining a following here in the United States. Now there are a lot of brands out there, but I must say my top choice is Tropical Traditions.

I first heard of them from a classmate at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, when we were talking about healthy fats. Then my assigned mentor talked about Tropical Traditions having expeller-pressed coconut oil which doesn’t have the “coconutty” taste. So I look online and imagine my surprise and pride at discovering that their coconut products are from the Philippines: represent! I got all nostalgic when I saw that they even have atchara (the Filipino kimchi: so good on roast suckling pig, or lechon in Filipino). I am further impressed with their top-of-the line Gold Label, which undergoes the traditional style of cold-pressing, at the same time, providing a livelihood for Filipinos in that community where Tropical Traditions started.

Another classmate told me they were doing a blog review of the Gold Label line, and I’ve always wanted to try it, but just never got around to it, so I took this chance to try the stuff. Let me say wow: the Gold Label extra virgin coconut oil is super silky and almost sweet, plus it doesn’t have a cloying coconut/”pina-colada” taste. And it has this soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture: even better now that the weather is warm enough for the oil to be liquid! Yum!

I love extra virgin coconut oil: we use it to cook with and bake with, we also put it in our morning oatmeal, and smoothies; I even give some to our poodle for its anti-bacterial and energy-giving properties!

I love coconuts, and even better, I love supporting businesses that have a good ethic, and even better, source from the Philippines, from home. Thank you, Tropical Traditions!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Highs and Lows and In Between

The past three weeks have not been the easiest, for sure.

Week 1-
Argued with the spouse Monday evening (yes, the 1st day of the workweek) and then he put down my healthy bread choice for him, so I felt like a failure as a wife, and helpless too with the baby. Had a good crying jag then, and my poor poodle looked distraught. Then baby wouldn't stop crying. I had to walk away from him for a bit as he was driving me up the wall! I will admit I cleaned the outer part of his ear as there was wax and that got him more upset, but I finally got a break through a nap, and I did my workout and had my Shakeology. That workout was tough, maybe because of all these emotions. I am stopping consumption of nutritional yeast, too, per my friend's advice, to avoid fungal issues (which apparently is more common than we think!)

Week 2-
We live in an old, wooden bungalow. With baby, things have been sliding, but now that I'm more able, I've been doing more stuff. Thing is, there are stuff my husband is in charge of and I ask him to do, but he says there's so much to do with baby so more often than not doesn't get to them, and then we're at another week with more stuff to do partly from what didn't get done, while I've got a needy baby to feed/change and a dog to feed/walk. I need his help and for some odd reason, the night slips past and not everything gets done. Maybe I'm being too anal but I ask him to do things, heck, I even write them down, and it usually sits until I make a fuss, then he gets annoyed. Argh! feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and upset about it all: maybe I'm being unfair to him. On better news, two weeks ago, my husband made a gluten-free quiche with egg, bacon, goat cheese and spinach yesterday, as well as a sweet potato, coconut milk, spinach and bacon soup. We visited friends for a Greek Easter dinner, too: Christos Anesti! Got a haircut last weekend: yay for feeling more like a person again! And for major food event this week, we had Takeout Tuesday from our favorite Vietnamese hangout. Our poodle has a persistent ear infection that apparently is staph-related, so she is on new meds for her for that. Apart from that, insects galore, and I do not like insects. Ah, spring.

As for baby, though, he is getting big! I took him out for a walk last week after the storm had passed, using a sling, then once I lay him down for a feeding, I noticed a bite on his forehead, so I felt pretty bad about it; hopefully it's nothing, though, and just goes away. Back to carrying him again, I guess!
I seem to worry about everything concerning him these days. I cut his fingernails every week too (or try to), and am hoping to cut his toenails as I read that if I don't do this regularly, it can lead to ingrowns, which would hurt. Fingernails are easy, toenails not so much as I can't preoccupy him. He's also getting pretty heavy-- 13 pounds with clothes and diapers on! Speaking of, there's this thing called "Elimination Communication" where the baby doesn't wear diapers and instead the parent looks for cues when the baby needs to go potty. Sounds really radical to me, but hey, one never knows. He is also starting to coo and babble and smile and drool, and hold up his head pretty well :) He had a great big ball of wax again from his right ear (outside of his ear canal: I wouldn't dare touch the canal itself!) this week, so I removed that, something he's not too fond of.

Week 3-
Did Cardio Axe from Brazilian Butt Lift the other day and High & Tight today WITH bands and ankle weights: I'm so glad I worked out even as I was initially lazy to, but holy crap the choreography is BEYOND me: I really think I have two left feet! But I am trying! I know kickboxing moves, but dance? I suck at dance. I even did Ballroom dancing for Phys Ed in college to get better, but it was a nominal victory. Fun, though. Lunch was Shakeology, Dandy Blend, Ormus Greens, chia seeds-- HELLO, delicious post-workout reward! But as I play the videos more, I "hear" the instructions more; I modify my form; body is sore in a good way. Noticing my thighs are leaner, butt is a bit smaller and tighter, jeans a bit looser. Best of all, I *feel* better towards my body, towards my self, towards my baby. These workouts, coupled with Shakeology, are my daily routine, almost like an anchor in my day. There's even a vegan one now made with rice protein! Push play; gotta love it!
What's even better is it is safe for pregnant AND nursing mamas! So healthy, so satisfying! Add coconut oil too and you are in business! Heck, add it to everything!

I want to make these chocolate chip cookies, my FAVORITE cookie! I also miss port wine so.freakin'.bad: mayhap to pair with Gnosis Chocolate's SweetChoice contest! Or Dandy Blend...speaking of, need more of THAT! Also excited to try my grounding mat and black currant phytogen liquid, supposedly for adrenal support. I miss speaking in Filipino. And here's something to watch from Know the Cause hosted by Doug Kaufmann!

Mother's Day is coming up: a friend/fellow mama asked if I had already received my "push present?" My husband is pushing ME to get one; how sweet is that? For Mother's Day, I'm even saying just a card will suffice given all the money we're spending, so it's really sweet of HIM to treasure me, which goes to the message that we mommas should really value ourselves, as women AND as mommas!

A friend is opening up a Bikram yoga studio, and she is asking if I want to teach again; I'm not sure and also my son is too young: I would wait until he's over a year at least; she's also offering a management position; we'll see! But hey, in my own time, right? and what feels good to me :)

Another friend, fellow mama and health coach recently suggested to me to hire a health coach who would be willing to maybe do a short program with me, 3 mos. maximum owing to our living on only my husband's income right now. I am currently not coaching YET but am open to setting up virtual coaching from home when my little boy is older (currently 9 weeks), but starting with blogging as I like to write and am a bit of an introvert so if I could get support there? I'm into health, fitness, nutrition, avoiding toxins for me AND my family, baby and doggie included! I am also into raw-vegan and paleo/primal/gluten-free/low-sugar diets as well as curious with GAPS, FYI--given my family health history and concern for my own child and husband. I also do Beachbody/Shakeology/fitness stuff as it helps keep my body issues at bay: another big area I need help in which is self-love, which I think is also one big factor why I don't like to ask for help, and why I feel personally at fault when there's conflict. Now I don't know why I'm not comfortable with people visiting me--maybe coz I'm a pleaser, which goes back to....self-love. And money issues, hoo boy, calling Bari! But yes this is me asking for help and asking for something for MY self-growth, money/self-worth issues aside. Yay!

Remember to take care of YOU!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Working Out Again

Day 1 of Beachbody Challenge done, Shakeology late lunch post-Brazilian Bum Bum done. I find it neat that as I look at my "before" a.k.a current photos of myself, instead of feeling frustration, because of the support from my coach and challenge group, I feel hope: yes I see the stuff that needs work/definition, but now, I think that I can do this. Now too, there's almost a pattern to look forward to in my day: whereas before it was just time revolving around baby, and some time I would randomly carve for myself, now there is a concrete tangible thing I NEED to set time for myself for, and that's pretty awesome. So thank you, Team Beachbody! And instead of spending ALL of my son's nap time running around doing stuff, I still did stuff-- I exercised with Brazilian Butt Lift Bum Bum for the 1st time, checked e-mail, had a late Shakeology lunch, and washed dishes, BUT then I stopped and spent the remainder of his nap in bed with him. It was delicious seeing him wake up to me. Thank God for long naps as they are few and far between, but hey, this is me resting! I'm sure other mamas can relate ;-)

Day 2, I woke up sore and groggy this morning...had to have some extra kombucha to get me through, lol. I was biting at the bit to work out, and I did! It's almost like this craving, but a healthy one, isn't that awesome??

To stay on track with health, why not revamp your kitchen?
And for skin, why not DIY, as our skin is the largest organ of our body,
Because of this scary reality
Speaking of, gluten-free isn't always healthy, but eating whole foods is!
So why not make something healthy AND yummy? I might add some Shakeology to this too!

In other news, I got featured here!

Live your BEST life! Live happy and healthy!