Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Healthy Cake Is Not an Oxymoron So Get Excited http://ift.tt/22wJ9DQ

You want that cake cake cake cake cake but you're trying to stick to a particular diet? Let this whet your appetite: vegan, Paleo, and gluten-free cake options - each one decadent, without messing with your dietary game plan (think chocolatey flourless cakes, vegan lemon pound cake). Yes we're serious. All the sweet, home baked deliciousness, but with a healthy component. Dig in to some of our favorite healthy cake recipes.

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The Low-Carb, Paleo-Friendly Rice Alternative That We Can't Stop Making http://ift.tt/1RKZlJQ

Happy 7 months, Penelope http://ift.tt/1TVIRD7

7 amazing months with this little lovebug.

7 months 5

She is still enjoying solid foods, enamored with her big sis, and smiling up a storm.

A major milestone for month 7: she’s no longer on baby Prilosec!!!!! (<—needs like 12 more exclamation marks)

When we first started to experiment with medication for her reflux, I was really hoping it would be something to make her more comfortable until the reflux subsided, instead of being a more permanent thing, especially since she’s so little. Her pediatrician assured me that it would just be for 6 months or so, and that we would know when she didn’t need it anymore. Sure enough, the reflux stopped right around 6 months, and by month 7, she was weaned entirely off of it. Such awesome news. 

7 months 4

Some more updates about 7 months:

Miss P is crawling like a CHAMP but becomes quickly frustrated because she wants to stand. She’ll only crawl until she reaches a piece of steady furniture and starts to whimper until I “stand” her up and let her hold onto the top. We laugh because we think P is going to be our little climber; she already wants to hold and see and stand on everything. She’ll lunge towards whatever object she has her eye on, whether it’s something big, like a toy, or something small, like a hair tie that ended up on the floor. Must babyproof all the things.

7 months 7

She is babbling up a storm! It could be coincidence, but I’m fairly certain she’s saying, “Mama” and “Hiiiii” on purpose. 

Solid foods are still going well, but I’ve cut back on them a little. We had a couple of choking episodes (nothing like the initial few we experienced when she was very little), and both occurred about an hour or so after she ate solid foods. She didn’t have any symptoms of an allergic reaction or anything like that, but it was almost like the food was too thick in her stomach. We’ve only done purees up until now, and are now offering bites here and there. This is much to her dismay since she wants to eat everything. The ped just said to be conservative until we can pinpoint what’s going on, and that she just may be more sensitive to certain solids. (Thankfully, it’s not related to stopping the Prilosec. The Prilo never reduced the quantity of spit-up or the choking episodes. It just relieved the burning sensation and made her more comfortable.)

She loves her weekly music class! We’ve been going on and off for a few months now -I had to take breaks in taking her with my surgeries- but we have so much fun while we’re there. The instructor’s voice is like an angel, and she’ll sing and play the guitar, or the kiddos will listen to international and classic music. For many of the songs, the teacher will give us very simple dance moves to do while holding our babies. P is obsessed with “1-2-3, 1-2-3, tan-go, cha-cha.” 🙂 They’ll also get instruments to play, little cars to push around, along with scarves and the parachute. It’s a lot of fun, and has been another great way to meet more moms in the area. 

I feel like seeing these two sisters together will always be magical. In the morning, Liv will ask if she can go say “Hi” to Penelope when she’s first waking up. I let Liv go in to see her while I heat up P’s bottle and grab a yogurt and fruit for Liv. When I head into P’s room, it’s the sweetest sight to see them hanging out together. It’s usually P, seated or on all fours in her crib, flashing a giant two-teeth smile at Liv. Liv crouches down right in front of the crib and will either be acting out a puppet show with a stuffed animal, or “reading” her a book. It’s pretty amazing.

Happy 7 months, miss P! We love you so much.

7 months

Some of our favorite things at 7 months:

7 month faves

Mesh feeders

This baby food freezer tray

Her high chair!

The Ergo! This is the same one we used for Liv, and we both love it.

In My Flower book

These teether! She isn’t in to pacifiers or teether much at all, but chomps down on these like crazy when her teeth are hurting

Sensory balls. She could roll these around all day

Baby gap onesies. They look adorable and are so easy to put a quick outfit together. 

Honest company diaper bundles. I still can’t believe I didn’t do this with Liv. It’s so nice to not have to make constant diaper runs, and I love that they use natural and biodegradable materials, and offer super cute whimsical prints.

More P updates:

1 month recap 

2 months

3 months

4 months 

Coping with baby’s reflux

5 months 

6 months

The birth story parts 1 and 2

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5 Foods to Fight PMS http://ift.tt/1UbReYK

Did you know that how you fuel your body can affect your PMS symptoms? Fight the bloat and the moodiness by eating these five healthy foods that are likely already in your fridge or pantry.

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Here's What You Need to Know About FODMAPs: The Acronym of Digestive Woes http://ift.tt/1XNh8Y7

If you've got an irritable digestive tract, FODMAPs are definitely something you want to avoid. Put simply, they're the type of carbohydrate that can cause bloating and gas - or even worse symptoms. Let's take a look.

What Are FODMAPs?

FODMAP is an acronym to spell out Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols. The term in itself is almost like a mnemonic device to help you remember what NOT to eat.

Specifically, FODMAPs are fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and polyols. Those broad categories cover a lot of different foods.

FODMAPs can trigger symptoms of IBS. Fermentation can cause gas, and their osmotic properties (water attracting) can alter how quickly the bowels move. What does that mean? Gassiness and bloating, distention, abdominal pain, and/or constipation and diarrhea. In other words, zero fun for your tummy.

Which Foods Have FODMAPs?

Unfortunately, FODMAPs are found in many fruits, vegetables, wheat and rye products, dairy, processed meats, and sweeteners. Some examples of high-FODMAP foods are:

  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Pears
  • Watermelons
  • Avocados
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Prunes
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Ricotta Cheese

Since it can be a challenge (if not impossible) to remember everything you can't eat on a low-FODMAP diet, there are charts online. You can read this comprehensive list of what to avoid on a low-FODMAP diet to better navigate the dos and don'ts.

Is a Low-FODMAP Diet Right For You?

If you've been suffering from digestive issues or have been diagnosed with IBS, it might be time to look into a low-FODMAP diet. Does everything you eat seem to make your stomach inflate? Try eliminating these foods for a few weeks, and see how you feel (but as always, check in with your doctor!). 

That being said, if you haven't dealt with any digestion issues, this is not the diet for you. The low-FODMAP diet is helpful for those who need it, but it eliminates truly nutritious foods that are part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

Related: Try This 1-Day Macro Diet Plan For Weight Loss

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Good Lighting Can Make All the Difference in Eating Healthy While Dining Out http://ift.tt/1O2Ih7F

Lighting plays a key role in setting the atmosphere in a restaurant, but exactly how much does it correlate to how healthy we eat when dining out? A lot more than you think, according a survey published in the Journal of Marketing Research.

Researchers assessed 160 customers at four chain restaurants and determined that patrons seated in well-lit dining areas were more likely to order healthy menu options in comparison to customers seated in a dim space. It was found that patrons in an ambient setting were inclined to order baked and grilled meals, unlike customers seated in more obscure, darker locations, who ordered 39 percent more in calories.

To warrant these results, researchers conducted four additional studies on 700 college-aged students. They found that patrons were more alert with the use of a caffeine placebo or with a specific prompt, despite the lighting of the location. As a result, researchers were able to conclude that we make healthier dining choices in well-lit spaces because of our level of energy.

While lighting is key to setting the ambiance of a dining experience, the bottom line is despite the aura of your next dinner spot, the best way to remain conscious of your indulging is to find ways to make yourself feel as alert as possible. We'll definitely be adding this to our growing list of interesting ways to lose weight.

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Healthy Taco Tuesday Inspiration From a Paleo Expert http://ift.tt/1P1MJOD

New Study Reveals These 4 Healthy Habits Can Significantly Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer http://ift.tt/1UbqQ1d

The benefits of exercise surpass shedding pounds and chiseling your body. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can also improve your general health and decrease your risk of multiple life-threatening diseases - including breast cancer. According to researchers in a recent study published by JAMA Oncology, women who carry genes linked to breast cancer can significantly lower their risk of the disease by simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle including four key components: managing a low BMI, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding smoking and hormone therapy post-menopause.

Researchers collected data from the records of women linked to various breast cancer genes to create a model to predict the absolute risk of breast cancer, mainly in white women in the US. They also considered nonmodifiable factors: family history, reproductive health, and lifestyle factors, along with anthropometric factors and SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the women used to conduct the study.

They found that 11.3 percent of white women in their 30s are at absolute risk of developing breast cancer by age 80. But by maintaining the four modifiable variables mentioned above, an amazing 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided.

The study also observed that women in the highest statistic of breast cancer susceptibility who maintained a low BMI and did not drink, smoke, or use post-menopausal hormone therapy reduced their risk to levels similar to an average woman in the population.

So if you're seeking ways to slim your risk of breast cancer, the bottom line is that there is magic in a healthy lifestyle in addition to your annual breast self-examinations. And whether you are at high risk of breast cancer or not, there is no denying the benefits of embracing healthy habits to live your most prosperous life.

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Are Almonds Healthier If You Soak Them? http://ift.tt/25yVzk1

People soak almonds to DIY almond milk or vegan recipes like cheese or desserts, but is that just to yield a softer consistency, or are there health benefits to soaking nuts? Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh of C&J Nutrition, registered dietitians and authors of Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook, say that soaking almonds for 12 to 24 hours before eating them helps your body absorb more of the minerals that naturally occur in the almonds.

They explain that almonds as well as other nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes contain phytic acid (also called phytate), which is found in the bran and germ. Because our bodies lack the enzyme to break down phytic acid, it binds to minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, and magnesium, so our bodies don't absorb them. They go on to say that "phytate can also inhibit digestive enzymes such as trypsin, pepsin, α-amylase and ß-glucosidase, which could lead to decreased protein and starch digestibility." If you remove the skin of nuts, seeds, and grains, that helps remove a lot of the phytic acid, but that also removes a lot of the nutrition such as the fiber. While soaking breaks down the phytic acid, sprouting nuts, beans, and seeds also reduces phytic acid content.

That's not to say you should never eat a regular nut again! If you're eating a balanced diet, you'll have no problem getting those minerals from other sources. If you're vegan or vegetarian, then getting into the habit of soaking whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds before using them isn't a bad idea.

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How Claire Overcame Her Emotional Relationship With Food and Lost 40 Pounds http://ift.tt/1Wv49Lt

Claire always struggled with her weight growing up, but she wasn't your typical unhealthy kid. In fact, she spent a lot time living a very active lifestyle. But for Claire, she started to realize that losing weight and transforming her life was going to require a different kind of work on her end.

Claire Before

She said, "I really thought I had tried everything. I exercised a lot - I was very physically active. I thought I ate healthy. I even went to programs with medical professionals for overweight children. The issue was I was unable to recognize that it was my eating and my relationship to eating that was leading me down a path of distress."

Claire linked up with motivational health coach and founder of Break the Weight Ricki Friedman to transform her daily habits once and for all and better understand her relationship with food. They worked together as a team for five months.

"Throughout the program I really learned that my emotional relationship with food had a long history," Claire admitted. "It has been a challenge for me my whole life and honestly still is. With the program's help, I was able to recognize that challenge, face it, and decide it was time to overcome it."

Break the Weight taught Claire the power of mindfulness, support, and accountability by providing her with a very simple daily system, which included a combination of food tracking, walking, and goal setting. The daily check-ins and constant support allowed Claire to reach out for help when she needed it and look within herself. For the first time in her life, this wasn't just about losing weight. This was about changing her lifestyle.

Claire shared, "This was really the first in any of the programs that I tried that recognized the reason why I was overweight. Through a combination of great advice, hard work, and dedication, I have built up the courage to wake up each morning and tell that emotional relationship I'm ready to fight. It's now a habit of mine to look at that struggle and say, not today. Today I'm in charge."

Claire After

Sticking to the Break the Weight concept of "mindful living" and using helpful tools like MyFitnessPal and Fitbit to keep track of her daily steps, Claire was able to lose the weight and transform her life in a lot of different ways.

"Ricki really helped me to learn how to eat certain things in moderation. I try to stay away from added sugars as best as I can and eat as much fresh food as possible." Claire added, "If I slip up or indulge, I feel no need to forgive myself. . . . I'm allowed! I just know my relationship with food is one for nutrients and energy, not necessarily for pleasure, and that's OK."

Claire's Typical Day of Eating

Breakfast: I start with protein. I like eating eggs and avocados or smoothies. I really try to stay away from unnatural ingredients.

Snack: For a snack between breakfast and lunch I'll have some vegetables and hummus or some fruit.

Lunch: I generally have Greek yogurt, natural peanut butter on toast, and tuna fish - food full of nutrients but also light and easy to pack for a busy schedule.

Dinner: My favorite meal is salmon, quinoa, and vegetables. And I normally have fruit for dessert. I try to stop eating at least two hours before I go to bed each night. . . . It ensures I am ready to start my next morning off on the right foot.

How has Claire maintained her 40-pound weight loss? "Honestly, I just stuck to my system until my system became my habit and my habit became my life. When I feel myself straying away, I tell myself to get back on track. And I do. I have the power to change my life. And that's the biggest lesson Ricki really drove home with me and one I will carry with me for a very long time."

Related: Why It Took Me 5 Years to Lose 40 Pounds - Don't Make These Mistakes

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Your New Recovery Drink: Iced Golden Milk http://ift.tt/1qUTADw

There are so many ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet, like delicious yellow curry. But you can also reap the benefits of this spice, like easing muscles soreness after a hard workout, with this tasty iced version of golden milk. And it's so easy to make! Watch this video to learn how to whip up our new favorite recovery drink.

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The Health Paradox Paradox http://ift.tt/1Ufdkcl

The Health Paradox Paradox FinalA paradox is an observation that contradicts a previously-held assumption about reality. But assuming the observation is true, a paradox isn’t really a paradox. It’s not the new observation that’s wrong or faulty or misinterpreted; it’s the assumption that contradicts reality and needs reworking. The history of science is littered with paradoxes that dissolved when previously held assumptions were modified under the weight of new observations. The health, fitness, and nutrition spheres are rife with presumptions, conventional wisdom that pretty much everyone—from authorities and experts on down to laypeople—holds to be true. But we’re finding that these presumptions are increasingly challenged by the steady onslaught of new observations. Some of the most notable presumptions include but aren’t limited to:

The sun will kill you.

Saturated fat clogs arteries.

Animal protein gives you cancer.

Cardio makes you immortal.

Full-fat dairy will make you fat.

Vegetable oils are healthiest.

For what seems like a small eternity in today’s terms (the last 8-10 years), we were the only ones who saw through them. If you’ve been reading this blog and others in the ancestral health sphere for a long time, you know what it’s like to be part of a small tribe snickering at the foolish outsiders and their silly beliefs. These conventional canards of wisdom are familiar to you.

But that’s changing. Bread and margarine sales are down. Butter sales are up. Low-carb and gluten-free options exist on nearly every menu. The farmer’s market is more crowded every weekend and half the time the meat guy’s all sold out of liver and marrow bones before I get there. McDonald’s serves kale salad. Chipotle went GMO-free. The general population is figuring things out, and industry is responding.

The media is responding to these changes, too, but on a delayed schedule. The findings that reject these tenets of conventional wisdom are usually presented in the media, and sometimes even in medical journals, as “paradoxes.”

Let’s look at a few of them.

The French paradox

The most famous of health “paradoxes,” the French paradox describes the fact that despite logging the highest intake of saturated fat the French have some of the lowest rates of heart disease. And boy do people try to explain it away.

Maybe it’s the resveratrol in all the red wine they drink! Oh, there’s actually very little resveratrol in wine (and the highest concentrations occur in Argentine malbec, not French burgundy)? Well, maybe it’s the alcohol itself improving blood flow and endothelial function. Or what about the grape polyphenols found in wine…those are good for you, right?

Or maybe, just maybe, saturated fat isn’t the bogeyman you think it is? Maybe, just maybe, foods that are high in saturated fat, like eggs, goose liver pate and foie gras, butter, and dairy, contain important nutrients that protect our hearts and improve our health. Maybe they just eat a healthier diet, lead healthier lifestyles, and saturated fat is a component of that.

The Israeli paradox

Israel has one of the most lopsided polyunsaturated/saturated fat intake ratios of any country. They love their cholesterol-lowering PUFA-rich seed oils, so much that they carry more of it in their body fat than any other population. Conventional wisdom says they should therefore be almost immune to heart disease. Are they?

No. Israel has elevated rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other modern maladies despite their diet being low in total fat, low in saturated fat, and high in omega-6 PUFA. They call this the “Israeli paradox.”

The sunlight paradox

The sun kills. It gives you cancer, except for the inconvenient fact that people who get the most sun are the healthiest and live the longest.

I’m not saying you can’t get skin cancer from sun exposure. You can. But what the bulk of the research says is that this risk might be a worthwhile tradeoff for all the other health benefits you get from exposing your skin to the sun on a regular basis. Heck, “having skin cancer” reduces your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis and may even improve your longevity. It’s a marker for improved heart health, bone density, and protection from all cause mortality. Decent trade off, I’d say!

That’s why we have the “Scot’s Paradox,” where Scottish people with low sun exposure have a higher risk of dying early. Or why most recently researchers grappled with the “paradoxical” effects of sun avoidance on heart disease, death from all-causes, and death from cancer among Swedish women. They actually concluded that the reason sun worshippers had more cancer deaths than sun avoiders was that the sun was protecting against heart disease and letting them live long enough to get cancer!

The PUFA/cholesterol paradox

This goes alongside the Israeli paradox. Namely, omega-6 PUFAs (from nuts, seeds, and seed oils) are well-known to lower cholesterol. This, coupled with the fact that epidemiological studies sometimes show positive associations between their consumption and cardiovascular health markers, means they’re promoted as healthier fats. Guys like Walter Willet who will admit the supremacy of fats over refined carbs are quick to insist that one chooses PUFAs over saturated fats.

Yet when you actually give humans PUFA-based diets and pit them against SFA-based diets, cholesterol lowers but heart attacks do not. That’s what a re-evaluation of old, previously-missing data from a study revealed. Everything goes right on paper when you switch out SFA for PUFA, except for endpoints—heart attacks, deaths, and overall outcomes. You know, the stuff that matters.

The high-fat dairy paradox

All the experts say to choose low or non-fat dairy. Every official health recommendation, whether it’s from the AHA, the ADA, or the American Academy of Pediatrics, implores us to choose low-fat or non-fat dairy. Doing this will supposedly confer protection against heart disease, diabetes, and childhood obesity.

High-fat dairy has two big theoretical marks against it.

Too many calories (from all that fat). Since calories—and calories alone!—determine body weight, eating the high-calorie version of a food is always worse and will always cause more weight gain than the lower-calorie version.

Too much saturated fat. This’ll raise our cholesterol, clog our arteries, and predispose us to early, certain death.

Yet reality shows the opposite. People who eat high-fat dairy are thinner, less diabetic, and generally live longer than people who eat low-fat or non-fat dairy. It’s almost entirely correlative, but the consistency of the relationship indicates something causal may be occurring. This is the “high-fat dairy paradox.”

That’s just a few of the biggest. There are others, too.

Millions of people see through these, from the researchers performing the work that uncovers the “paradox” to people like you and me who read, accept, and integrate the new evidence. Why is it so hard for authorities, experts, and the media to accept evidence that counters previously-held assumptions?

These claims have the illusion of enjoying reams of supporting research. Why else would “everyone know” saturated fat clogs arteries? Why else would the ADA recommend avoiding high-fat dairy? These are the good guys, the experts, the authorities. They wouldn’t lead us astray. The “new” finding is singular and isn’t enough to disprove the years of evidence in support of the conventional wisdom we imagine exists.

You can find support for anything.” Yeah, this is sorta true. You can usually dig up a reference that seems to support your pet belief about the world, whether it’s veganism being the healthiest way to eat or the earth being flat. And no matter how crazy the claim is, you can make it sound pretty reasonable. If that’s true—and it is—it’s understandable that a person would be leery about accepting evidence that contradicts the presiding orthodoxy.

Basic ignorance. Journalists are paid for their production. Unless you’re doing long-form, most writing these days moves very quickly. They get something out to try to stay ahead of the news cycle, to stay relevant, get their page views, and before long they’re on to the next piece. There simply isn’t enough time or brain space for most journalists to stay abreast of every bit of research pertaining to the subjects they’re covering.

Caution. My hopeful guess is that many journalists are using the word “paradox” lightly. Rather than indicate a refutation of the known laws of space-time and Newtonian physics, they’re using the word to describe those observations that contradict previously-held beliefs and force us to consider new ones. They’re still grappling with this stuff, just like everyone else, only on a more public stage. They don’t quite know what to think.

In reality, there are no paradoxes. Instead, there are observations that don’t fit our beliefs and force us to re-evaluate previously-held positions and consider new evidence. And doing that is hard. Doubly so if your entire livelihood and sense of self-worth and identity are riding on those beliefs holding fast.

The world is much stranger and more complex than we can imagine, or predict, or model. We’re still unraveling biology. I certainly don’t have any answers. All we can do is continue looking, probing, observing, and integrating. We can’t ignore contrary evidence or throw up our hands and say “agree to disagree.” That’s not how this works. We must confront it head on.

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around the weekend http://ift.tt/1O1B6wd

Hi friends! How was the long weekend? Hope you had a great one. <3 We enjoyed a Memorial Day dinner with friends, I got in a couple of great workouts, and also spent some time hanging out with the fam, reading and catching up on work stuff.

Here’s the cheese plate I made to go over to Betsy’s:

Cheese plate

(enormous medjool dates, cashews, honey roasted chickpeas, almonds, organic cheddar with caramelized onions, pear, herbed goat cheese + crackers and garlic dip on the side)

and we had an awesome dinner of make your own grilled cheese:

Make your own grilled cheese

(I rolled with goat cheese and sundried tomato on gf bread) 

Tomato soup

+ homemade roasted tomato soup. It was perfect, especially since it’s been so cloudy and dreary around here lately. May Gray is in full effect! (Don’t tell the real San Diego people that I really like May Gray.)

We have two lucky giveaway winners to announce! Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Chosen Foods and Tart Cherry giveaways. Stay tuned for more giveaways coming up, and Summer Shape Up, which I have planned for July 11. 

Winner of Chosen Foods giveaway: Andrea

Winner of Tart Cherry giveaway: Annette

Both winners have been emailed. 

Also, I can’t believe I forgot the P smile of the day in Friday’s post. This is a good one. 🙂 We all get very excited about meal time around here.

Lets eat

This past weekend it was just the girls because the Pilot was finishing up his ATP training in LA. He’s been gone for most of the past 3 weeks completing training and traveling for work, and is now an Airline Transport Pilot. This is awesome because it means he has all of his certifications to fly corporate or for the airlines. He’s been a licensed commercial pilot for many years which gives him the ability to rent planes and fly us around, but this is the next level.

To celebrate, the girls and I made him a card and picked up a bottle of whiskey, which is the standard “you passed!” pilot gift. 🙂 

IMG 0404

I must have been quite a sight walking into Bev Mo, holding Liv’s hand, and with P strapped in the Ergo. I thought I might be judged a little (and was like whatevs) but instead, a lot of people smiled or chuckled and seemed to high-five me with their eyes. Like “Who needs a bottle of whiskey? This girl, right here.” haha

Some adventures from the weekend:

Livi is getting used to having at least one birthday party each weekend haha. There was a fun party at Kid Ventures and she chose a shark face painting.

Face painting

At Starbucks with the crew:

Me and p 10

A rice bowl that I was very excited about from the Liberty Station Public Market.

Rice bowl

It looks so pretty, but was on the womp side. I could have gone for way less rice and more toppings/chicken. The ratio of that bowl was like an entire bag of cooked rice with maybe 10% toppings. It was the type of meal you eat for 30 minutes and it doesn’t even look like you made a dent in it. 

Sunday manicure party with Liv while P was napping:


These two. My heart can’t even handle it. 

The girls 10

Hope you have a lovely morning! I’ll see ya later today on the family page with P’s 7-month update. I can’t believe she’s 7 months old already!



New post up on the PBB site: when to start core training after childbirth. 

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Wild Weekend? Reset With 5 Detoxing, Debloating Smoothies http://ift.tt/1PfhzJg

Recovering from some overeating or having some digestive issues? With enzymes that fight bloat, fiber that aids in digestion, belly-fat-burning blueberries, gut-friendly probiotics, and detoxifying lemon, you'll sip your way svelte with these sweet, satisfying smoothie recipes. These nutritious blends pack in powerful properties from papaya, pineapple, Greek yogurt, and more.

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Best Of – Episode 213 – Coach Christopher Sommer – Gymnastic Bodies http://ift.tt/1U9JiHu

Monday, May 30, 2016

Funny Weight-Loss Quotes to Help You Feel Less Hangry on Your Diet http://ift.tt/1TTfrHh

If having to lose weight makes you feel anything but happy, grab a carrot, pretend it's a cookie, and read these funny quotes about weight loss - they might make you feel better.

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5 Moves to Trim Your Thighs http://ift.tt/1RGoq8J

The leg-baring fashions of Summer inspired us to round up our favorite thigh-trimming exercises. These moves will strengthen and tone your legs!

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Remedy Digestion Woes With This Papaya Ginger Mint Smoothie http://ift.tt/1XJwU63

Dear Mark: Are Probiotics Useless, Gluten-Free Diets Dangerous, and GMOs Completely and Utterly Safe? http://ift.tt/25tOaPl

Probiotics Useless FinalFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three questions from a single reader who just read an article from Vice. The article makes pretty bold assertions about topics that have already received a good deal of attention here on the blog. First, are probiotics actually useless? A new study cited in the article seems to suggest so. Next, is your gluten-free diet killing you? That’s what the author of the Vice article says. And finally, have GMO foods been conclusively proven to be safe and indistinguishable from non-GMO foods? Is the debate, more or less, conclusively over?

Let’s discuss:


What are we to make of this article on Vice? It’s claiming that probiotics don’t do anything, gluten-free diets are potentially dangerous for people without celiac, and GMO foods have no downsides. Is it true?




The studies the article bases its arguments on are real, but the results aren’t as definitive or far-reaching as the Vice writer implies. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

“Probiotics are useless.”

That’s what the Vice writer said.

The paper was rather narrow, actually. Its goal was to assess the effect of probiotic supplementation on fecal microbiota composition in healthy subjects. That’s it. In the authors’ own words, “RCTs of solely probiotic supplementation and placebo in healthy adults that examined alteration in composition of overall fecal microbiota structure assessed by shotgun metagenomic sequencing, 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, or phylogenetic microarray methods were included.” They ended up with 7 eligible trials.

It wasn’t assessing the health effects of probiotics. It assessed whether or not healthy people taking probiotics can expect alterations to the bacteria living in their guts.

Probiotics do lots of other things, not always by altering the composition of the resident gut bacteria.

They can improve IBS symptoms and other GI issues. They can help the lactose intolerant tolerate it. They can improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections. They can increase gut barrier stability.

This study wasn’t about those other things, though. It was about healthy adults without any health conditions, particularly ones that probiotics have been shown to help. All the other hundreds of probiotics trials are useless or flawed. It just means that they didn’t satisfy their specific and narrow requirements for consideration.

If you’re healthy, with no digestive complaints, no immune problems, then probiotics won’t change your gut composition. That’s all this study says.

This actually makes me feel good about using and selling probiotics. It suggests to me that in healthy folks, probiotics don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. They don’t “assert” themselves on an otherwise intact and healthy gut. But in unhealthy people with conditions probiotics can help, they do alter the gut in a positive way. Probiotics are “smart.” As living things, perhaps they can fix what needs fixing and ignore what doesn’t.

The next claim was “gluten-free diets are dangerous.”

The Vice writer oversteps yet again. The actual paper in the Journal of Pediatrics was fairer and more balanced, suggesting that gluten-free diets as commonly practiced increased the risk of nutrient deficiencies. I agree with this.

For many people, wheat is the “best” source of many nutrients because it’s a huge part of their diet. Then they go gluten-free and remove wheat from their diet only to replace it with more nutrient-poor grains. They’re not eating any healthier; they’re actually just swapping out wheat for other refined grains. Gluten-free foods typically use nutrient-poor starches and flours. Whereas whole wheat is perfect for making baked goods by itself, gluten-free bakers must cobble together tons of isolated, refined flours, gums, and starches to approximate the original product. This removes gluten, sure, but it also removes a lot of nutrients. Whole wheat bread is more nutritious than rice flour bread. Wheat pancakes contain more micronutrients than tapioca starch pancakes. The former examples are whole foods. The latter examples are isolated, nutrient-poor starches.

What if you went “gluten-free” by replacing your grains with meat, vegetables, fruits, and tubers? I swear there’s a name for that

“GMOs are safe.”

I’ve never taken a hard-line stance against GMO foods. I’m not particularly concerned with the act of gene insertion so much as what’s being inserted and what those insertions allow us to do. Many of you have given me a lot of flack for that nuanced position.

The study cited in the article discusses GMO-related reductions in “insecticide poisoning,” an acute condition affecting farm laborers who handle and come into direct contact with pesticides. The increase in GMOs engineered to produce their own endogenous insecticides has reduced the use of exogenous insecticides. Workers are applying and handling fewer insecticides, which presumably drives down cases of insecticide poisoning. This is a logical and positive development.

However, a 2012 study found that GMOs have led to a net increase in pesticide usage (herbicides and insecticides combined), primarily thanks to Roundup-Ready crops. A more recent paper found that insecticide use went down but herbicide use went up, again thanks to Roundup-ready crops incentivizing and encouraging Roundup use. More Roundup (an herbicide) is being applied than ever.

Is Roundup safe? Pro-industry skeptics always point to the relative safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. But surfactants, adjuvants, and other “inactive” ingredients make Roundup 25 times more toxic than plain old glyphosate. I’m not comfortable with it, personally.

So, to sum up, the Vice article doesn’t give the whole story. It’s a quick summary that probably took under an hour to write, but it’s very misleading.

What do you think, folks?

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Say "Accio Abs" at the Gym With These Harry Potter Workout Shirts http://ift.tt/1qUTADw

Is Quidditch your favorite sport? Do you lift Harry Potter books more than weights? Perhaps you've been casting "Accio abs" to no avail? We have some shirts for you that are right up your (Diagon) alley.

Related: Disney Workout Shirts

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This 1-Day Paleo Meal Plan Is Under 1600 Calories (Including Dessert!) http://ift.tt/1TOHINR

If you're a Paleo newbie, a vet looking for recipe ideas, or just trying to cut carbs and up protein, we have a day of deliciousness prepared for you. This Paleo-perfect diet is loaded with protein (nearly 100 grams!), low in carbohydrates (just over 100 grams!), and clocks in at just a bit past 1500 calories. Best part? You've got snacks and dessert included. Enjoy!

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Weekend Link Love – Edition 402 http://ift.tt/1K6zCit

Weekend Link LoveToday’s your last chance to get 10% off all PRIMAL KITCHEN™ products on PrimalBlueprint.com. Just pop coupon code “PALEOFX” in your cart before checkout.

Research of the Week

Infant helplessness predicts species intelligence.

A low-FODMAP diet helps IBS patients.

Many ancient Romans had really bad knees.

Dark roasts have more bioactive coffee compounds than light roasts.

Is this why cats and dogs can “go vegan”?

In most people, lowering salt intake increases the risk of heart disease. It only sorta works in people with hypertension who already eat lots of salt.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts


Episode 121: CJ Hunt: Host Elle Russ hangs out with CJ Hunt, writer, producer, and host of The Perfect Human Diet. Ever wonder what could drive a man to look for the perfect human diet? Are you curious about how the guy who created the first paleo documentary eats and lives? Then listen to today’s episode.

Each week, select Mark’s Daily Apple blog posts are prepared as Primal Blueprint Podcasts. Need to catch up on reading, but don’t have the time? Prefer to listen to articles while on the go? Check out the new blog post podcasts below, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast here so you never miss an episode.

Interesting Blog Posts

How to use your brain’s delete key.

Basketball runs in the family. Football and baseball, not so much.

In urban farming, the food’s not really the point.

The biological importance of saturated fats.

Media, Schmedia

Hawaii may give tax credits to organic farmers.

Hawaii’s local foods are often invasive species.

The Economist calls for action on antibiotic resistance.

Everything Else

Eh, that’s a decent plank.

176,000 years ago (at least), Neanderthals were building rock structures deep inside caves.

What’s it like to be a goat.

Americans: fatter than ever.

If you’re going to highlight the importance of vitamin K2, you might want to use a picture of food that contains it.

Laird Hamilton’s 10-point plan to live forever.

If it’s successful, a vegan billboard aiming to reduce diabetes by getting people to stop eating eggs will actually increase it.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (June 1 – June 7)

Comment of the Week


– This kid has a bright future.

Shop Now

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7 Minutes to Crop-Top Abs

We love Pilates. We love HIIT (that's high-intensity interval training). When Blogilates founder Cassey Ho put the two workouts together, she got an ab-centric PIIT workout. And it's awesome. You do each of the seven moves for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second break. Do the workout once, or repeat for a total of four times to make a killer 28-minute sweat session.

On Anna: Sweaty Betty tights

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

3 Killer Moves Make For 1 Supershred Workout http://ift.tt/1sEzHBZ

Listen up: a short workout is better than no workout at all. And if you add jumping into the mix, along with multitasking moves, you can actually shred serious calories. Here are trainer Christine Bullock's favorite moves for a short supershred workout. And be forewarned: her burpee variation is the hardest we've seen in a good long while.

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Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb http://ift.tt/1RzYr2P

Eggplant and Lamb 1An edible serving dish made of roasted eggplant halves stuffed with cinnamon and paprika scented lamb. How does that sound for dinner tonight? The eggplant is roasted until the texture is creamy enough to eat with a spoon. The ground lamb is cooked with onion, garlic and aromatic spices. Combined, the eggplant and lamb turn into a meal that is the definition of simple, healthy and delicious.

Can you substitute ground beef, pork or even turkey in this recipe? Certainly. But don’t forget about what lamb has to offer: All eight essential amino acids, several B vitamins, niacin, zinc, iron and lots of conjugated linoleic acid. As with all meat, grass-fed is ideal. Although lamb is more likely to be grass-fed than beef, much depends on where the lamb is raised. Before stocking up on ingredients for this recipe, read this guide for figuring out whether or not lamb is grass-fed. (And check out the tips below for buying perfect eggplant.)

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen:
1 hour


  • 2 eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, plus more to brush eggplant (30 ml)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste (10 ml)
  • 1 pound ground lamb (450 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika (10 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (or parsley) (60 ml)

How to Pick Perfect Eggplant:

To avoid bitterness, choosing a good eggplant at the market is more important than pre-salting and rinsing the eggplant. Look for smooth and shiny skin and a firm, but not rock-hard, texture. The stem should have a nice green color, and the area around the stem should also be firm, not mushy. The larger and older an eggplant is, the more likely it will be bitter and seedy. Choose medium-sized eggplants and ideally purchase from a farmer’s market where the eggplants are likely to be young and freshly picked.


Preheat oven to 400 °F/204 °C.

Score the flesh of the eggplant with the tip of a knife in a crosshatch pattern, cutting not quite down to the skin. To make a crosshatch pattern, tilt the top of the eggplant to the right. Cut diagonal lines about an inch apart. Tilt the top of the eggplant to the left. Cut diagonal lines over the first lines so you have a diamond pattern.

Brush the eggplant flesh with a generous amount of coconut oil or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the eggplant halves, flesh side down, in a roasting pan (lined with parchment for easier cleanup).

Roast 35 to 45 minutes until the skin is collapsing. Remove from the oven. The flesh should be very soft.

Eggplant and Lamb 2

While the eggplant is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil/olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cooking until soft, 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, then tomato paste. Stir, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the ground lamb. Season the meat with salt, plus the cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. Break the meat up into small pieces as it cooks. When the meat is cooked, mix in the cilantro.

Spoon the ground lamb on top of the roasted eggplants. Serve.

Eggplant and Lamb 2

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