Monthly Archives: November 2012

Dairy Free Dinners

I’m on week two of a dairy free diet, and so far it’s been slightly challenging to find meals that leave me feeling full and satisfied.

Thanksgiving leftovers, the only dairy I've had in 2.5 weeks

I keep feeling like I’m missing something. Not sure if it’s the richness/ taste of dairy or the fullness from saturated fats. I’m not a huge red meat eater so I think I’m missing that…animal fat, I guess.

Foods I’m using to try and satisfy this feeling:

Avocado, on everything

Almond milk (in cereal and oatmeal)

More nuts

More eggs and meat

Peanut butter

Mayo

Tonight I had regular old pasta with tomato sauce, and I didn’t miss the Parmesan cheese too much. I wanted pizza, so this had to do.

Other weeknight meals this week: chicken sausage and peppers and ground turkey and avocado tortillas.

I’m obsessed with Frontera Foods flavoring packets from Rick Bayless. Did you know he’s a fitness junkie?

And hot?

Anyway, with avocado and warm corn tortillas, I didn’t miss the cheese.

I chopped up half an onion, two potatoes, and cooked them with ground turkey then added the simmer sauce. So easy it works with a twenty-minute napping baby.

I’ve also been trying some really expensive dairy free products like this chocolate chip cookie dough. I was just craving yummy baked goods.

They definitely didn’t have the consistency or look of standard cookies, but they tasted good!

Since I’ve cut dairy, Henry seems much less fussy and gassy, but his diapers are still really full of mucus. I know, it’s gross. I’m not sure if I should cut soy next, or if it will just take more time.

 

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Germaphobe

So there’s nowhere I’d like to be able to go regularly again as much as the gym.

I’m a gym junkie. I went five days per week until I gave birth.

I miss classes. I miss seeing gym friends (I know, I’m lame).

I miss the ritual of it…the dedicated time for working out without other distractions. I miss Spin classes and weight machines.

But I don’t think I will take the baby until he is six months old.

I know some people think that’s crazy. I think it’s a little crazy to take a six week old (the minimum age) but trust me, I understand why one would want to.

I’ve been noticing how I’m so much more cautious about germ exposure with my baby than many friends with similar aged babies. I know why:

When my daughter was three and half months old, she was hospitalized for several days with RSV bronchiolitis.

She wasn’t premature. She didn’t have any added risk factors. I didn’t take her anywhere either, except for the doctor and the drugstore to get meds she needed. She was just a winter baby, like Henry is.

And as much as I hated feeling stuck at home over the winter, I hated seeing my precious baby in the hospital even more.

Helping nurses hold her down as they tried again and again to find a vein in her tiny arms, only to have to do it again after it blew.

Watching her chest rise and fall, counting breaths to make sure she didn’t need more oxygen. Worrying over every ounce she ate, hoping to get her off IV fluids. The Googling…the horrible Googling of worst case scenarios for a panicker like me. She wasn’t even that sick, in the context of babies hospitalized with RSV, but it was sick enough for me.

If there is anything I can do to avoid that again, I will.

I hear the argument that “babies need to get sick to grow their immune system.” I completely agree, once the baby is old enough to withstand common infections without putting their life at risk. No joke: things like the flu, colds (RSV) can be life threatening for small babies. Never mind illnesses they aren’t immunized for yet…whooping cough, meningitis.

Once Anna was six months old and it was spring, we went everywhere. Now she has a very healthy resilient immune system.

I also hear: “Well, if you baby is breasfted they won’t get sick.” I am pro-breasfteeding, but it’s not magic.  Breastefed babies can, and do, get sick.

I’m sure some of my friends think I’m a germaphobe…that I’m overly cautious. I think I’m realistic and informed. I think it’s human nature to thank ourselves for our own good luck: if I text and drive, and don’t get into an accident, I don’t think “Pheww, I was lucky. Better not do that next time.” I think, “Hey, it’s not so bad to text and drive. I can handle it because I’m good at it.”

Same thing applies to “Hey, I took my one week old to the zoo, and a children’s birthday party, and everywhere in between and she was fine.” Being lucky doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing to do.

I can’t imagine a bigger germ factory than the gym daycare. It’s one small room and the big kids are all over the little ones. It’s going to be a long winter for me, but it’s what I feel like I need to do.

How much do you worry about your baby getting sick? Do you keep newborns out of public places during flu season or do you just take your chances?

 

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Homebound Workouts

Since I’m still not officially cleared for full-on exercising and running and pretty much mostly stuck at home during the week, I’ve been trying to get creative about working out at home.

It's gonna be a long winter...but at least there are sunsets like these

My midfwife appointment is this Friday. I’m hoping they have something encouraging to say about my pelvic floor, but even if they give me the official “go-ahead” to start exercising, I know I really can’t run until I feel that I’m really healed.

In the meantime, I’ve developed a sort of best of the worst case scenario weekly schedule that I’ll keep up until I can run.

Four days a week, if not more, I go for as long of a walk as possible. I don’t exactly work up a sweat or get my heart rate up, although I try, but I figure it’s better than nothing. I get out, I move, the baby gets out…I go Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when my daughter is in preschool plus the weekend. Once I can run I will keep this schedule, either running with the baby in the BOB stroller or bringing him to my dad’s basement, where a temperamental treadmill may or may not work. I’m hoping I can walk over there, put him to sleep in the stroller, then just transfer his car seat next to me and have him sleep through my runs.

Anna's drawing of a princess locked in a tower...kind of howI feel at the moment

Tuesday, Thursday and the other weekend day, I do my pelvic floor rehab DVD and a Cablevision OnDemand workout. They have some really good ones: right now I’m doing one  that’s a quick full-body circuit with long sets, and you only need a set of hand weights.

  • lateral shoulder raises
  • overhead tricep extensions
  • bicep curls and rotations
  • v chest raises
  • squats
  • lunges
  • side leg lifts (standing)
  • calf raises

I go through the routine three times, plus I add in three sets of pushups (I  just don’t feel right unless pushups are involved!) and I’m done in a half hour or so.

The cable workouts rotate out every couple of weeks or so which helps keep my interest. Of course, they aren’t anything I couldn’t do on my own, but I like formalizing it by following someone else’s structure. Makes it more like being at the gym and less a harried living room workout punctuated by checking on the baby.

Soon, I’d like to supplement with maybe a weekend class at the gym, on the weekends when my husband is home. Maybe I’ll splurge for a sitter a couple times during the week, or try to trade off with a mom friend. I won’t put Henry in the gym daycare until he’s much older (I have a whole separate post brewing about this)…maybe six months old or so.

It sucks, I miss the gym, but I feel better knowing I have options and a plan. Planning a routine is the first step toward being consistent with a fitness lifestyle, I think. Even if it’s a much more tame level of fitness than I’d like right now.

How do you work out if you don’t, or can’t, get to the gym every day?

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With Crunch

Lately, I’ve been thinking about parenting choices and styles, especially when it comes to babies (hmm, wonder why?) and I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than just being in the middle of the spectrum, I’m somewhat conflicted.

I mean, Baby Wise and ecological nursing both sort of equally scare me (please don’t take offense if either of these saved your life or you believe wholeheartedly in their correctness, they just aren’t for me) but I’m still not sure where I fall in between these two extremes.

I’m not particularly crunchy yet I’m a passionate subscriber to certain “crunchy” ethics, like environmentalism and natural birth. But I certainly don’t follow attachment parenting priniciples in any religious way. Some things make sense–I cosleep when it seems to work, crib it when it doesn’t–but when I read about what some people do to follow that type of baby care, I know I could never in a million years do that and mentally survive. It’s hard enough having a newborn nurse off and on all day, or wake up all night. I could never do that for years on end. I like to wear my babies when it works, but it doesn’t truly solve all the problems of how to get things done. Showers? Cooking on the stove?

I also don’t think cosleeping and nursing while I (half) sleep is the answer to sleep deprivation. I can’t really sleep through feedings and I feel worse in the morning from being half-awake a dozen times. At a certain point, I can’t function without regular long sleep stretches. Maybe those parents are just tougher than I am and I give them a lot of credit. But I think it’s also that I don’t 100% philosophically buy into the theories behind it.

I don’t schedule my babies until they are older, but I can understand why people do it. I’m breastfeeding but if it was making my life miserable, which I can see how that happens sometimes with different problems, I would stop. So I guess all this makes me pretty uncrunchy, but then again I’m not completely sure HOW I feel about strict baby schedules and I don’t expect my tiny baby to be able to put themselves to sleep necessarily, or sleep alone in their own room, or be as independent as I’ve read in some sleep books. Although at times, like now, when I’m tired, and I’m holding my son all.day.long. it sounds pretty attractive.

I’m just not sure. And I think that’s okay. I’m just going to go forward doing what works at any given moment and hope it all sorts itself out.

Eventually.

Do you pick and choose from different parenting philosophies? Do you fall squarely into one, or another camp?

 

 

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Making It Work Wednesday

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the food, the coziness, and being forced to be thankful. It’s like a homework assignment you pretend to gripe about with your friends (a personal essay, maybe?) that you secretly enjoy and look forward to.

Or maybe that’s just a nerd thing only nerds like me did.

My three-year-old's self-portrait, with glasses and curly hair.

I wrote this last year when I was writing for my town’s Patch.com site. Being grateful has to be a deliberate practice. Most of us are slackers at it. But when you remember to appreciate what you have, or live in the moment, it is truly amazing how happy you can be. It’s like Oprah’s Soul Sunday-level stuff here, folks.

I’m happy my husband is off until next Monday. I’m about to get dressed and walk over to see my daughter sing Mr. Turkey at preschool. Then make apple pie. My mom is doing the rest of the cooking for tomorrow (yay!)

I’m also going to eat everything and forget about dairy free for the day. Then I can see if I notice any change in Henry’s gas/reflux/fussiness…because I can’t tell yet if the MSPI diet is having any effect. He does seem better but I don’t know if he was already getting better before I cut out the dairy a few days ago.

He had his six week growth spurt  peak day the other day…non-stop angry bird feeding and fussing. He’s still the baby king of the half hour to forty minute nap. But he’s regularly sleeping five or six hour stretches in the first part of the night which makes everything else doable and survivable. Thanks, babe.

In other news, I still  miss running terribly. I’ve been going on long walks four days a week, and doing video strength/core/pelvic floor workouts on the other three. I’m noticing a slight improvement in my prolapse symptoms (double yay!!) I’ve found some pretty impressive workouts on Cablevision’s OnDemand…free…quickie full-body strength workouts…over and done in half hour. I need to get some more free weights for my home, though. All I have are 8-pound dumbbells.

I just squeezed into my size 26 Seven jeans…the size 25s are the final frontier. That’s not bad considering I haven’t even really started working out yet. I’ve heard there are two kinds of women: those who lose weight breastfeeding and those who gain it. I’m thinking I’m the former, especially because I spend most days too busy/hands-full to fully feed and hydrate myself. I’m always hungry and thirsty. And dairy free dieting doesn’t help. I keep feeling not satisfied…like I want something ELSE but I can’t figure out what it is. Saturated fat, maybe?

I’m so in love with my kids, though. I can’t believe I’ve lived through and even enjoyed the last First Six Weeks of Newborn Life for the last time.

I’m excited about the rest of the gazillion weeks of life with these two.

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Heal the Heel

So in addition to dealing with normal post-pregnancy, post-birth recovery, trying to strengthen and rehabilitate my pelvic floor, I’m also still battling a nagging plantar fasciitis pain in my right foot.

I have never had foot, arch, or heel issues in ten years of running until this last pregnancy, when something about trying to continue running on the combination of added pregnancy weight and relaxed ligaments led me to develop a decent plantar fasciitis injury in my foot. It’s what stopped me from running midway through my second trimester.

The podiatrist said if I kept running I could make it worse and I could be dealing with a heel spur that lingers after I have the baby. I don’t think it’s that bad yet but I’ve been disappointed to find that it hasn’t magically gone away after delivery.

I got lax about following the doc’s recommendations: never go barefoot in the house, ALWAYS wear shoes with arch support, including casual shoes and sandals, and stretch before I get out of bed in the morning.

I’ve been trying to get back into good habits and I think the heel pain is getting better. I need to replace my worn-out old casual walking sneakers. I’m trying to research the best shoes for arch support and I might get a cute Merrell walking sneaker.

Anyone else develop plantar during pregnancy? Did it go away after birth? Did it linger? What did you find helped it? If I have to wear one of those stabilizing shoes while I sleep once I’m okay to run in order for it to heal I will do it. I will try anything!

What every day shoes do you wear?

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Dairy Free Day

Today is the first day of my dairy free diet experiment.

Experiment because I don’t know if Henry is truly a MSPI babe, but I decided it’s worth a try and the pediatrician agreed. I was so happy she didn’t dismiss my concerns about his gas, fussiness and reflux and in fact, she suggested going dairy free before I even brought it up.

I’m not super excited to have to cut foods out of my diet. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want, is kind of a basic building block of my life’s happiness. Dairy is in a lot of yummy stuff. I also do use a lot of convenience foods, because, well, they’re convenient.

This was the best chocolate cake ever...made it for Walt's birthday. Not Paleo.

I could never go paleolithic. Or anything else.

Luckily, I think if Henry does respond to the diet change, it’s not a crazy intense allergy. I think if I cut major sources of dairy like milk, cheese, and butter I can be relatively lax about small traces in prepared foods and hidden ingredients. I’m starting with soy still in the diet and if I need to, will cut that, too.

I’ve gotten some dairy free margarine for cooking, and Silk soy creamer for coffee. No cheese on food is a bummer. I use it a lot for flavor.

Mexican food without cheese is problematic.

But I’ve spent way too much time Googling the differences between colic, milk protein intolerance, and reflux. I’d rather Google fun stuff like When do babies start laughing again? When do super-advanced, amazing, incredible uber-babies like Henry start laughing?

 

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Illegal Running

I’ve written a lot about how I’ve surprised myself by not having a strong desire to get back to running right away since Henry was born a month ago. Well, I guess I spoke too soon because I’ve since completed two highly illegal runs.

Illegal because I really shouldn’t be running yet. But I wanted to! [Whine, whine, insert two year old voice here.]

About to head out for my first post-baby run!

My first run was on Tuesday when the SNOWpocalypse hit New York. It was too snowy to go for my normal daily walk so I was restless. I figured I would take advantage of the fact that my mom was visiting (she had some time off work) since who knows how long it will be before I can get runs in between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm for a long, long time. I rushed to the gym after nursing and pumping and trying to time Henry’s nap perfectly (this took way more time than the actual run, of course).  I ran one mile on the treadmill.

The Good: My boobs didn’t hurt! This was my first run while breastfeeding so I didn’t know what to expect. I used Soothies gel pads and a regular sports bra.

The Bad: It was a bit harder than I imagined in my return to running dreams. It makes sense, since I haven’t regularly run since July but I was hoping keeping up aerobic fitness through Spin class and the elliptical machine up to my delivery would have helped. It was somewhat hard to run a 9 minute mile. I guess I’ll have a lot of work to do to get back to where I was, but that’s okay.

The Ugly: I ran until I started feeling some weakness in my pelvic floor. I promised myself I wouldn’t run past that point.

My second run was Friday. Again my mom was over so I thought, why not…I had slept somewhat okay the night before and I just wanted to be outside in the November night with headphones. I ran two miles, not sure how slow, but probably pretty slow. Felt good.

Both times Henry was already fussing by the time I got home. Although running in the evenings is better for my boobs it’s worse for Henry…he is very fussy then and liable to be up and wanting to nurse at any given second. I couldn’t even get away for literally twenty minutes without knowing he might be crying for me, even though he was full and sleeping when I left. I think it’s because of whatever is going on with his reflux/gas/milk intolerance problems that I’ve yet to diagnose.

Since the second run, I’ve felt my pelvic floor problems feel a bit worse again. So no more running until I feel symptom free for a couple of weeks at least. And until I check in for my six week postpartum visit.

This is the cutiepie who can't live without my boobs for more than ten seconds.

Too bad. I feel that itch returning…but I know it’s not going to be as simple as waking up early and heading out into the dark, or packing up a toddler for the gym day care and hitting the treadmill for a long time. I have to worry about sleeping at night, nursing, how to leave the baby, and my body’s long-term health for the foreseeable future. I’m trying to be patient.

If you returned to running or exercise soon after a baby, how did you do it? I’m really interested in hearing the logistics of how other women make it work: how do you time nursing, naps, pumping, time of day, child care, bottles, sleeping and being tired from night wakings with your workouts?

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November Thanks

The 30 Days of Being Thankful in November meme is blowing up my Facebook feed these days, so I figured I might as well join in. Especially because I’ve been wallowing in some self-pity lately (Why do I have a hard, high-needs baby AGAIN? Why can’t I put this baby down for more than two seconds? You get the picture.)

But I missed the beginning of the month, so here’s the whole shebang all at once.

I’m thankful for:

1. My beautiful, amazing children. Nothing brings out the humblebrag in me like my offspring. I can’t help it: they are truly amazing. Lovely, loving, adorable, funny, interesting, smart, creative, special.

2. My husband. Supportive, my best friend, my partner in parenting, an amazing father. We laugh together and share our lives and the joy of our children together. A+

3. From the deep to the superficial. I’m grateful I didn’t get stretch marks with my two pregnancies. Even my monster nine-pounder.

One month post baby

4. My two sublime natural births…no complications, no interventions, healthy easy pregnancies and the experience of positive births.

5. The town I live in. I can walk everywhere. I see neighbors I know. There is so much to do. It’s an amazing place to raise a family.

6. My little cozy house.

7. That I get to be a mom to a boy AND a girl.

8. That I can call my family in an emergency and they will be there.

9. That I’ve traveled to a lot of places before I had kids (even though I want to do a lot more traveling in the future).

10. For all the freelance writing gigs I’ve gotten. It’s amazing to be able to make money writing.

11. For being smart, capable and adaptive. It’s helpful in so many parts of life and I don’t take it for granted. Sounds conceited, yet it’s true and I know my many other shortcomings, don’t worry.

12. That my children are healthy.

13. That I’m healthy.

14. That my daughter sleeps all night long. It only took her 15 months of life to get there, so I’ll never, ever take that for granted.

15. That it’s warm enough for a walk today. And most days.

16. That I’ve found hobbies and interests that I love (like fitness).

17. That my daughter likes going to the gym day care and doesn’t cry. Let’s hope Henry will be the same way.

18. I can eat whatever I want and stay relatively slim, as long as I’m active.

19. For nature, and the beauty of each season.

20. For people who make sacrifices for others, like volunteers, military, emergency workers, firefighters…

21. That I live ten minutes from the ocean. Even if I don’t go that often, I know it’s there if I need it.

22. I have no school debt.

23. My husband got a month paid paternity leave (yay, benefits!)

24. I have enough food every day and a warm roof over my head.

25. For friends who make me laugh, commiserate over mom things, and offer support.

26. That when my dog got hit by a car and was lost for six hours, we found him again and he survived.

27. Music.

28. For the Get Off My Internets website and forum. Nothing makes a 1 am feeding fly by like laughing hysterically over your iPhone in the dark.

29. That no matter how stressful daily life gets, my husband and I can laugh until we cry over something completely random, or stupid.

30. That I’m alive.

 

 

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Fitness Guinea Pig

Trying out barre Pilates at 36 weeks pregnant.

I’m a fitness guinea pig for a magazine column I’ve started writing. My first month’s column was on the new indoor cycling trend of Real Ryder bikes. I’ve also tested out Barre Pilates and belly dancing and aerial yoga is next. It’s an amazing assignment for a fitness-obsessed writer like me. And it’s fun to check out the latest and trendiest in the fitness world, classes I’d never have the time or inclination to check out otherwise.

Check out my review of the Real Ryder bikes on the Long Island Pulse website. If you’re local to Long Island, grab your free glossy pretty copy at a restaurant or library. They’re pretty much everywhere.

 

Other topics on my short list:

Punk Rope (punk rock jump roping)

Paddle yoga (yoga on the water!)

Aqua spinning (spin bikes under water…why? I’m not sure.)

Dance trance

Boing Kangaroo (exercise with bouncy things on your feet)

Piloxing (Pilates meets…boxing?)

Any other funny, cutting-edge, bizarre, or intriguing new fitness classes you’ve heard of you’d love to try if you could?

 

 

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