Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fitness Roadblock

SO excited to start P90X in two weeks! BUT, I'd just like to post some difficulty/frustration I'm having...In any case, this week has been a bit challenging in the food department for me, maybe since Wednesday: I try to eat "just enough," but for some reason, I've been wanting more, so I do eat more, even as it's pretty good food: jerky, Shakeology, coconut stuff, kombucha...though some cheats like dark chocolate (maybe 3-5 squares a day) and superfood-blend "Bliss Bars". And I wonder if I eat to escape my fussy baby, or I go so long from eating that I get *ridiculously* hungry. Went out today to the salon and to see a friend, and the whole time, I was worried about the baby crying, but didn't hear a word from hubby. I was a wreck when I got home: baby was awake and fussy, though, and I had to feed ASAP. Kinda frustrated, kinda resentful, then I eat almost to distract myself and enjoy...and feel almost this helplessness and loathing towards myself. I tell my hubby about this guilt but he says I'm nursing and working out, but I still feel maybe I'm eating too much....feeling definition but not weight loss, so extra guilt with the food. Ugh. There were times when the food made me feel better, in particular after a migraine Thursday night, and feeling crappy post-migraine Friday. But still. Now I'm assessing my pantry: I fear maybe I shouldn't be allowed around food I like, but truthfully, I live for food. I truly savor it, hence my desire for healthy food, the only way to reconcile my love for it. But...yeah. Maybe I should give myself some slack being an exhausted nursing mom and all? Or not...all conflicted here. Argh.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why I Breastfeed

As I write this, I do so while nursing my soon-to-be 3 month old boy (turning 3 months on mother's day, actually!):

I am happy and grateful to be exclusively breastfeeding and also to be a stay-at-home-mom. Prior to even being preggo, I already had my heart and will set on breastfeeding. This is mostly because I wasn't really breastfed past the colostrum stage: my mom said that back then in the 1980's, she was stressed and didn't get much support, so I inevitably was formula-fed. She even struggled to hand-pump, and when my dad was wondering "how hard could it be?" then tried it himself...! Well, that ended then and there. Now my parents did their best, but I feel that had I been breastfed, I would:
-not have been as sickly
-bounced back from illness faster
-not have really had allergy issues
-would not have had weight issues as much

This is versus my husband who was breastfed and when there are seasonal allergies, his go away when he removes himself from the environment within minutes, whereas mine becomes a full-blown cold.

So basically I told myself that if I were to have a child, I would do things differently. So when I got pregnant, aside from wanting a home birth, I also wanted to exclusively breastfeed (don't even mention formula-supplementing to me!). I was nervous/scared because of my mom's struggles, so beforehand, I bought mother's milk tea, fenugreek, shatavari and blessed milk thistle capsules, as well as lactation cookies. I was told most women can breastfeed, especially with support, which i thankfully had in spades, but i was nervous anyway. Well when my son was born, he had a hard time latching, so we hired a lactation specialist to come over the next day which was also Valentine's Day. We also hired a postpartum doula to help us as a family.

We've had some other struggles, too: at around 3 weeks, we got thrush on one side, but it wasn't noticeably so, just the pain indicated it. Along with that came engorgement so I used a breast-pump for the first time to get the milk out and ensure that side wouldn't lose its supply. My son wasn't happy just nursing on one side instead of the previous two, and I was exasperated/frustrated too! Then 2 weeks later I got a bleb or milk blister on the other side. But we successfully got through these, phew! I took lots of probiotics, grapefruit seed oil, and eliminated dairy, then used gentian violet on us both. As for the bleb, I took sunflower lecithin and evening primrose oil, and continue to do so, as it they help a lot to get the milk "unstuck" and flowing, which is what we want.

We are still nursing, and I am glad. I haven't introduced the bottle to him yet to prevent nipple confusion, but we'll get there, especially for travel purposes! I also take all sorts of healthy food to fuel us both, and hope that he will favor these tastes and foods over unhealthy ones in the future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Gnosis Sweet Choice Write-up

I am a chocoholic, oh yes I am, but how to keep this habit a healthy one? Enter Gnosis Chocolate—vegan, gluten-free, raw, AND low-glycemic! Even with all this, they taste delectable! Now these chocolates are sweetened with agave, so I was delighted to learn they are offering a “sweet choice” of coconut sugar in lieu of agave: basically the same flavor with two options for sweetener: agave or coconut sugar. In the name of science—and my excited tastebuds—I decided to take the challenge of trying BOTH sweet choices! Oh be still, my heart! The flavors I tried were Gratitude (vanilla hazelnut), Mayan Heat (chili) and Rejuvenate (pomegranate-acai). I liked the original agave for these, so I wanted to see how the new kid, coconut, would compare.

The first I tried was the Mayan Heat. I excitedly tear open the wrapper to get to the chocolate. Xocolat: food for the gods; with the chili, berries and nuts, it is indeed ambrosia. I break off a square, touch it, sniff it, eye it, and only then do I pop it into my mouth to let its flavors roll into my tongue. Chocolate is indeed a multi-sensory celebration of the senses.

I start with the new coconut sugar option, as indicated not only by the ingredient list but by the little green coconut trees on the package. The chocolate snaps crisp, it smells like chili and burnt sugar and dark velvet night. I pop one in, and the flavors come in real subtly, all robed in the dark crystal sweetness of the coconut sugar. The chili comes as a slow burn throughout, punctuated first by the black currants, then the soft pecans. I would pair this with a dark roast coffee, or a full-bodied red wine.

I then try the agave. Like an old flame, it still invites me. The chocolate breaks with a sigh, a bit more of a give. It smells of ritual and dark treacle and tart berries. I taste it, and the flavors come languidly in but all at once, like a fiery fudge. I taste the pecans, then the black currants, with the chili enrobing it all. For the agave, I would go for a medium roast coffee, and a sweet port.

The Mayan Heat is my favorite; however chocolate is still queen of my heart, and she has other flavors besides. I next try the Pomegranate-Acai in coconut sugar. Sure enough, it snaps clean. I taste more tartness, with the sweet burnt sugar somehow reminiscent of the sugarcane fields I visited in my youth in the Philippines, the tassels waving the summer breeze. I would love this with maybe a Muscat.

I then try the agave version of the Pomegranate-Acai. The agave gives its softer texture, more treacly sweetness. I taste the acai here, but sweeter. I would maybe try a nice prosecco or champagne with this: bubbles with berries!

Then for a more classic flavor, I try the Vanilla Hazelnut. As always, I try the new kid on the block first, coconut sugar. I’m loving that crisp break now as I snap off a square from its partner inside. The coconut sugar Vanilla Hazelnut is darker, more subtle, and I taste the hazelnuts prominently. This would be pretty good with a cup of chicory coffee.

However, to compare, I try the agave version, and this…this reminds me of Ferrero Rocher, a childhood favorite, but now SO much better, and without dairy, or transfats, or rancid oils, and so much FRESHER! The agave just brings it all together somehow: the hazelnut, vanilla, raw chocolate all melt in my mouth with the agave tasting like delicious almost-can’t-believe-it’s-good-for-me syrup. SO, so good. This would be great with a port....while soaking in a bubble bath. Ah, bliss.

Yes, I love chocolate, and I will be the first to spout off the improbability of me allergic to it, and instead point to how healthy it can be! And I am glad I am not the only chocoholic health nut out there: thank you, Gnosis for fresh, healthy chocolate manna.