Friday, December 30, 2011

Natural pregnancy week 29

8 more weeks left! wohooooo so excited.
Got my doctor's visit on Monday. Everything is going well.
My glucose test done over a month ago was fine.
I apparently gained 5 lbs since my last weight in over a month ago. The thing is, between my last weight in and the previous one I had gained no weight.

I am still doing my best to walk as much as I can.
I still stretch my body daily and
do squats a couple of times a week.

I have had to improve my iron consumption in the past week. No supplement yet just plain old smart food selection. My favorite iron rich food is homemade lentil soup!

That's it for my pregnancy. I am grateful to be doing well and have lot of moral support around me it makes a difference.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Natural pregnancy: Natural aids to cramps

Have you ever experienced any cramps during your pregnancy? If you are not pregnant have you ever experienced any cramps? What's your cure for it? ( I am not talking menstrual cramps but cramps that come unexpected and can happen to both men and women).

Three weeks ago I experienced for the very first time some very unexpected pains in my calves muscles as I was getting out of bed. The first painful experience was in my right calf and lasted for over 2 minutes and was excruciating. Not only I was caught off guard because it was my first time experiencing that, but I could still feel the effects of that pain days after.

Two-three days after, I had the same experience, this time in my left calf. I was in so much pain it had me in tears, thankfully my husband was there that morning and massaged my calf while I was still stuck in bed. Due to his athletic experience he suggested that I eat some bananas but not being a huge fan of bananas except in smoothies I grinned and said ' we will see'.

With my husband massaging my left calf while I was still cramping, it allowed the pain to subside faster than the one days ago in my right calf.  Unlike the pain in my right calf that could be felt days after, the one in the left calf muscle was totally gone the first day.

 In the course of the following days since my second and last cramp, I learned some simple natural solutions and preventive measures.
Below are four natural and simple ways to prevent more occurrence of those excruciating cramps.

I have to admit that " I knew better" regarding the first two suggestions. I can easily see my errors and now understand how" I caused those cramps".  I certainly learned my lesson and I can tell you that I will never again take my healthy habits for granted. Hope you can benefit from my experience and my midwife's suggestions.
  • Drink plenty of water, increase your water intake.
Time for a mea culpa on that one. I had fallen in love lately for Sunny D juices and had replaced a huge of amount of my fluid intakes with some bottled juices, something I don't do normally as I prefer fresh squeezed juice to commercial options.

 My daughter even made the comment during the same week I first experienced those mean cramps and said " why you don't drink a lot of water like you used to ? "  Ouch! "From the mouth of babes" right? I should have noticed that it was an hint but never would I have anticipated my decrease in water intake to cause me some cramps! Amazing how our body know better.

Of course I am back on track, back to drinking plenty of water and limiting my commercial juices' intake to no glass or one or two glasses a day!

I am a strong believer in the benefits of stretching but have to admit that in the week prior to experiencing those cramps I was not spending my usual 15-30 minutes stretching at least once a day.  I guess I did not know just how beneficial it is as I advance in my pregnancy. It took the unpleasant surprise to learn that such cramps can be occur and can be more frequent as a woman progresses in her pregnancy!

Since my cramps did occur right upon arising in the morning, my midwife suggested the following:
  • Drinking a cup of milk before bedtime. I suppose it's the calcium that bring our body some relief here. I did not care to ask my midwife for details on why milk works, I was just interested in doing something that will work and spare me the drama.
  • Eating a banana before bedtime. My husband explained that when he used to play varsity in high school eating a bananas was the natural cure to alleviate the pain of cramps he would experience.
I am so glad to report that since I embraced my good habits of drinking more water and stretching diligently everyday I have been cramp free. I enjoy a small cup of milk as a delicious sleep aid especially if it's warmed and flavored with a spoon of honey but I haven't done well with the bananas. I only eat a small portion and save the rest for the next night. Better than nothing right?

Well that's my natural cures to cramps. I learned the hard way but all this could have been prevented if I had diligently practiced what I know best! One big lesson my pregnancy has been teaching me is that I can't take for granted the simple healthy habits that appear insignificant and yet play a bigger role than I can imagine.

Have you experience any cramps during your pregnancy or on any other occasion? What's your solution to cramps?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Six Helpful Tips for Soft, Supple Winter Hair

Six Helpful Tips for Soft, Supple Winter Hair: By Omonike Anderson

The chilling temperatures of the winter season, mixed with increased exposure to central heating, can create a nightmare for nearly all hair types. For some, winter may not be as daunting. But for many, the colder months often leave the hair dry, dull, and sometimes even brittle. Without practicing proper hair care techniques, surviving the winter is nearly impossible. Here are six great tips that not only ensure your hair makes it through the winter months, but also ensure your hair looks fabulous while doing it!

Mohawk hats available at

1.Wear a Hat: This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many men and women forgo winter hats for the sake of style. Wearing a winter hat, not only keeps your body warm, but also protects your hair from the harsh elements of the winter air. Besides, funky and stylish hats, such as the Mohawk hat pictured below, are so “in” this season. Here’s a tip: wear a silk scarf or bonnet underneath your hat. Most winter hats are made of cotton and/or wool material, which tend to suck moisture from the hair. No one will ever know it’s there and your hair will surely thank you for taking precaution.

2.      Switch out Your Products: Your regular hair-thickening products may fail you when your strands are screaming for additional moisture during the wintery season. Instead, it’s a good idea to use shampoos, conditioners and creams that emphasize their “replenishing” capabilities. Replenish, simply means that the moisture lost during extreme temperatures will be restored back into the hair. Here’s a tip: if you typically use humectants like glycerin and honey during the warmer months, forgo these products during the winter. Humectants tend to have the opposite effect on your strands when faced with cold and dry air, sucking the moisture out of your hair and spilling it out into the atmosphere.  Use oils and/or creamy-based leave-ins instead.

3.      Increase Your DC Treatments:  Deep conditioning can be a drag, but its well worth the time invested during the colder months. Since your hair loses more moisture during the winter, it’s a good idea to deep condition your strands more frequently to replenish that lost moisture.  A deep conditioner can be a simple a mixture of your favorite oils, a protein treatment, or any store-bought product that promises to hydrate the hair—place a shower cap on your head and use your body heat to activate the treatment, or simply sit underneath a hooded dryer or hair steamer. Here’s a tip: Not every hair type is the same, so the general rule of thumb is to double whatever DC treatments you already have in place. Therefore, if you regularly DC once a month, try DCing twice a month during the winter. If you currently do not have a DC regimen, the winter is a great time to start!

4.      Rinse Your Hair with Cool Water: This may sound bizarre, but rinsing your hair with cool water after conditioning helps to close your cuticles and lock in moisture. Leaving your cuticles open—that is, rinsing with warm water—can be very drying to the hair once it is exposed to central heating. Here’s a tip: if the sound of rinsing with cool water seems rather daunting, invest in a bottle of aloe vera juice and add two tablespoons to your favorite leave-in conditioner.  Aloe vera juice, which should be kept refrigerated, is great for encouraging hair cuticles to close because of its acidic pH of 4.5—cuticles are considered closed between a pH of 4.5 and 6.5. And of course, never leave the house with wet or damp hair during cold months as this is a recipe for breakage—think icicles in your hair!

5.      Protective Styling: Some of you hate the idea of it, but protective styling is a surefire way to keep your hair safe from any extreme temperatures, be it hot or cold. Protective styling is simply any style that keeps your hair compact, tucked, and out of the way—common examples are buns, chignons, and braided updos. Not only does protective styling prevent your hair from being overly exposed to harsh winter and central heating elements, but it also prevents increased loss in moisture. Here’s a tip: if you choose braided extensions, wigs, or weaves as a protective style, ensure that you are still taking good care of your natural hair underneath them.  To do this, fill your spritzer bottle with water and 3 drops of tea tree oil and be sure to spritz your hair at least once every two days.  Tea tree oil is not only moisturizing, but also keeps your scalp cleaner for longer. Avoid using any additional products lest you accrue product buildup.

6.      Limit the Usage of Heat-styling Tools: Many people tend to straighten their hair more during the colder months since the style seems to last longer. The problem is that sometimes this heated styling process, mixed with winter elements, can be more damaging to the hair than when performed during warmer months. Heat sucks moisture out of the hair, add that to the central heating of your home or office and your hair may experience increased breakage if you aren’t careful. Here’s a tip: if you absolutely must straighten your hair, try not to do any “touch ups” with the flat iron during the week to reduce the amount of heat applied to your strands.  Even better, after blow-drying your hair, use large rollers to create bouncy curls and forgo the flat-ironing session altogether. Lastly, don’t forget to give your hair some extra TLC via deep conditioning treatments before and after wearing straight styles.

Of course everyone’s hair is different and what works for one person may not work for the next. The best thing to do is to be fearless in your experimentation and discover what works best for your hair during the winter. If you’ve already developed a sound winter regimen that works for you, please do share below!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Healthy Natural Pregnancy: Natural cures to Heartburn

Hi there,

Hope all is well with you as I write this quick note.

I just want to share something quickly with you because I want to help some of you reading this that might be pregger.

If you are pregnant you are probably experiencing or will soon experience some heartburn.

It's common to reach for some Tums but did you know that a cup of milk is what you need?
Toms have antacid, that's the property that helps relieve your heartburns. It turns out that a cup of milk will provide you the same benefit, naturally.

So instead of  you can simply reach for a cup of milk!

You can also eat a yogurt, or a bananas or increase your dietary fiber intake.

Have a blessed and healthy pregnancy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The gifts and benefits of rest and some personal thoughts

Hello everyone!
How are you all doiiiiing?

It's 11:23 am here, it's been raining since yesterday non stop the sky is grey and many of the trees around me are now missing their foliage, yet....


I feel like "love is in the air"...the kind of feeling one would normally have during springtime but I guess it's okay to feel that good at any season....

You probably wonder what's getting me so pumped up...."nothing" ( said in a shy Minnie Mouse voice ( lol)

I simply got some rest this week-end.

Oh it might not be a big deal to you but IT IS when you have three active kids and you are 8 months preggo!

My husband kindly poured me a bath Saturday night and I soothed my aching back in it for about an hour. I felt so much better afterward!
 I wondered why it took me so long to make time for a bath!
 Ahaa ( sighs) divas got to remember to pamper themselves and rest their bodies even when preggo, especially when preggo!!!!

Sunday I stayed home and the hubby had the children all day till about 9 pm. They came home so happy to have had the whole day with their dad and I was so happy to have had the whole day to myself. It's been a long time since I spent so much time in bed. Ha ha ha!

I stayed home alone part of the day last Saturday and last Sunday so happy a full day of rest was even better than the week before!

I enjoyed the silence in the house so much that I played no music and watched no TV nor did I get on the internet.
The last two hours alone were spend praying and reading the Word. I love having this intimate time with absolutely no interruption.

Once the children and my husband got home we all sat at the table and enjoyed some pancakes for dinner. The rest of the night was very peaceful.
Children are so cooperative when they had a fantastic day.

I pondered about the simplicity of children.
They had a busy day with their dad yesterday with church, eating out, time at Barnes & Nobles, grocery shopping etc...Their day was so simple and did not involve any extra expenses or fancy activities, yet they would tell you they "had the best day".

It's true when they say the best gift to offer our children (or anyone as a matter of facts) is not things money can buy, it's the GIFT OF TIME. So before you stress out about the christmas lists, take a moment to think about that pleeeeeaaase!!!!

Why do we think that it takes expensive things to make children happy? We can subtitute the meaning of love with material things but that only last so long. When the toys get broken, when the gifts get lost and forgotten the only thing that we value even as we age, is the gift of time with someone we love!

I too had a simple day, just RESTING! I feel so rejuvenated today that two straight days of rain can't take my joy away and that's phenomenal because I am the kind of person that truly needs the sun to feel good.

So the best gift to offer ourselves as adults and busy parents is probably the GIFT OF REST
! We say often that we don't have time to rest or time to take care of ourselves but you know what? Taking time to rest and care for ourselves is a great investment that pays huge dividends! After we feel rested we are so calm, productive, creative, loving.... the list go on and on...

Okay... I will have to practice more of that once the baby arrive!

Well, that was it for today! Just a personal note.
I wish you all a very good end of November, a fabulous December and a great week.

Be blessed!
Yours truly!


Monday, November 21, 2011

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WEIGHT LOSS: Ways to successful weight loss

I was on my floor stretching this morning and something just hit me.
Something I have thought about before but never thought of sharing with others on the blog until this moment.
I think the best way to refer to it is to call it "the psychology of weight loss". I know it might sound a little weird but I am confident that things would be clearer as I expand.
So some quick questions here:
Today is November 21, 2011, the holidays are around the corner literally and for many people it’s synonym for food & more calories. So here are my questions:
How many of you are concerned about gaining weight during the holidays?
How many of you back in December 2010 or January 2011 or some times after decided that you were going to lose weight this year?
How many of you reached their goals? How many of you exceeded their goals? How many of you failed short or even got worst (gained more weight)?

How do you feel about your success, setback or "failure"?
Please take a minute to answer this question as it might benefit you and others reading this.
Last December I had a simple goal to fit back in my jeans. I hurt my ankle many months ago and had started gaining weight because I could no longer run. Once I got fed up with the weight gain and remembering that I was capable to losing weight and overcoming my setbacks, I went back to exercising and running. I was making progress and on December 31st I finally tried my pair of jeans and could not believe that I was finally back in them.

 I could zip them once again! Small victory that felt so so good!  Yeah!!!  Can any of you relate?

 I wanted to lose more weight till I found out in May of this year that I was pregnant. At first I got scared that I would be “fat “once again but to my surprise I have maintained a healthy shape, many people say that I am "just belly” and it just hit me that something is very different now. The difference is not in my weight as much as it is in my mind.

This pregnancy is very different from any of my prior pregnancies, especially my first one where I gained so much weight that I looked like a mutant! Ouch!!! It's mean to say that, even to myself,but here’s what’s going on…
When we are mean to ourselves, calling ourselves and our body names, legitimately or not, because of our weight, we are actually bullying ourselves. Have you considered yourself a bully before? This attitude believe it or not makes it impossible to successfully lose weight.
Oh you might be so mean to yourself that you will work hard and manage to lose a few pounds but guess what? The pounds will come right back and furiously.  

With every pregnancy after my first one,  I have gained less and less extra weight and that's because of a few things I learned not so much about weight but about our mind (and believes) and it's effect on weight!
I know for a fact that looking at our own bodies with disgust, shame, anger and resentment does nothing to promote successful and lasting weight loss.
I know that because when I went from a size 0-2 as a newly wed to a size 12-14 as a new mother. I HATED the body I was in. I was in so much shock.  It changed me so much. People can say that it’s just weight and that weight doesn’t affect our happiness, well I don’t believe that, at least not in my case.
It affected the way I dressed, the way I acted and the way  I interacted with people. I cut myself off from social activities I once enjoyed just because I didn't feel confident to be around people and this lack of confidence even showed on every photograph I took around that time. I did not even like taking pictures anymore.  I went from being a social butterfly to a shy introvert person, just because of my weight, “the psychology of it”.
I was on a yoyo of weight loss and weight gain, does this sound familiar to any of you?

So when did I successfully lose the weight and kept it off?
When I stopped demeaning myself and my body, I started seeing some changes.

We can see some changes...
When we FORGIVE ourselves for the wrong choices we made, for the laziness, the excuses we created, the bitterness we held toward ourselves and others who made us feel uncomfortable. When we let go of the anger toward our bodies, others and ourselves and get to the point and say:
“Okay, I screwed up, I am not what I look like right now, I am BETTER and here are some facts about me that prove that I am a great person”. Then we do a mental check of all the things about us that others admire and of our strengths). When we tell ourselves: “You know you CAN do it” ‘You deserve that”.
Then you make a promise to yourself to never again call your body or yourself names.
You make a pledge to yourself to dress nicely NOW for your size until you can wear what you dream to wear. Sisters, you got to look good regardless of your size. Some skinny chicks look sickly because they can’t dress their weight right and have no style. Some Plus size sisters look amazing because they know how to dress their body with taste. So it’s not a just weight thing, it’s also a mental (psychological/ confidence) thing.

Shop for a cute outfit that will look right on you (on sale preferably) in a size smaller than what you currently wear! Hang it on your closet door and use it as a motivation.

My motivation at one time was this dress that my mother found on clearance while shopping at JCPenney!

Dress nice when you work out, don’t look sloppy because you might hate the reflection in the mirror. That's to me is psychological trick I use every day, not just for working out.   
I remember how I went shopping at Wal-mart 9 years ago for nice sportswears that I would wear AT HOME while working on the treadmill and doing Taebo.  It was mental (psychological)! But I felt motivated when I had (affordable) nice workout clothes on! My husband too would be on the look out to for nice affordable clothes that I could wear while working out at home! He would motivate me and support me, but he could not make me do the workout.  I had to be the one doing it. 

You know people can support us and it's good for our minds ( psychological boost) but we still have to be the ones getting dressed and putting forth the efforts. No one can sweat for us!!!
After each workout I will keep a journal of my time, describe how I feel and leave myself an encouraging note like:   "You go girl”, “You can do it”, “yeah 3 miles today!”
You got to encourage yourself and LEARN to be your biggest cheerleader.

Declutter your environment, bedroom, office space, desk, closet, kitchen etc. Remove the things that are no longer useful, the things you don't like anymore and that carry " negative energy".  You will be surprised how getting rid of " extra weight" in your living space can affect your body as well.

Make your bedroom (and your bathroom) a true haven and refuge. Good sleep is  important to achieve weight loss or to maintain a healthy weight. Many studies  link the quality of sleep and amount of sleep to weight gain/weight management. I think that we sleep better when our bedroom is more inviting so I will not just tell you sleep more, I will tell you sleep "in beauty".  It might sounds too diva like but I do believe in " beauty sleep"!!! Won't you sleep better if your room is clean, organized and fresh?

My tropical gateway, full of things and colors I love yet a peaceful sanctuary...

I would add that your bathroom too should be a refuge. Seriously, to me the bathroom is a very important space in a house, you are in there first thing in the morning, last thing at the end of the day and sometimes during the night.

I love to keep my bathroom always clean, neat and clutter free and my bath and shower time has to feel rejuvinating to me. SPA like! I Got to feel good and pamper my body, show it some love. Again it's psychological but I think it all play a huge role on our weight management!

What do you think? Don't you think that a clean and serene bathroom would affect how you feel and be a treat to your mind, soul and body?

Stop doing things you hate that you truly can do without. We get so busy doing things we don't like ( a lot of time for others) when some of those things don't have to be done. Learning to say "no" is a gift. Less is more. If you don't like taking your children to a bunch of birthday parties, or attend all the functions your church have etc...just cut back and prioritize. Doing a lot of things we don't even love create stress on our bodies and affect our weight.

Find ways to enjoy doing the things that truly should be done. I have to tell you that something as simple as ironing clothes which I used to hate has become a pleasant activity for me. I listen to audio books of my favorite authors while I iron some piles of clothes when I feel ready and willing to do so. Play your favorite music when you do housekeeping, listen to an audio book, call a a good friend while you are folding clothes etc.  Find creative ways to make boring, mundane activities more pleasant.

Do more of the things that you love and bring you pleasure (reading, walking, swimming, drawing, talking to a special friend, gardening...) as you make more efforts to feel good and be happy,your mind and body feel better and it's really easy to lose weight when you feel better about yourself.

Try some new things. A new dish, a new recipe, a new sport, a new activity, learning a new language etc. Finding some new interests, developping some new skills, finding out that you are good at something you might not have considered before are all powerful ways to boost your confidence, improve the quality of your life and eventually transform your body.

Change your routine a little(it goes with trying some new things) because boredom or feeling stuck might actually affect your mind and your body.

Make eating time a pleasant moment. This one is very important to meI get teased a lot for eating only in nice plates, drinking only in nice glasses or having a nice setting when I eat.I think my relationship with food is important for my mood and for my body.

When I enjoy what I eat, what I eat in and how I eat it's so easy to feel FULL and there's no need to overeat.
No TV, good music if I don't wante it too quiet, fresh flowers if possible, food that's well flavored, or with good presentation, even if it came from a can of soup ( I am huge on presentation)

 are all small yet important details that have granted me a successful relationship with food and some successful weight loss results.

This is (picture below) how I love and prefer to start my day . Can't do it everyday but got to find creative ways to start the day on a happy note!

Small things ( the picture below) like this small umbrella and lime on my drink make it more pleasant to drink this blend made of watermelon, coconut juice and flaxseed!
As you start treating yourself with Love and respect and make some subtle changes, you will reap the rewards and the excitement will help you go further. 

Make life feels good and your body will look for more ways to feel good and lead you to make the changes that will improve your health and your weight.

Keep a journal. Writing is so therapeutic. I could not live without a journal. Vent in it if you must but make sure to spend more time writing in it the things you are grateful for, the things your love and the things you love about yourself! Cheer yourself up a lot in your journal and write down your goals and how you will achieve them.  
Something to think about: Have you noticed that a good personal trainer would not call you fat and lazy when they train you? They will tell you, actually they will yell: “ Come ON”, “ You can do it” “ Give me ten more” "Push yourself”, "It’s in you”, " don't you dare stopping now".  They will yell and you might fuss, curse them under your breath or break out in tears, but they push you hard while building you up  not by tearing you down with mean words.
With all that, you also have to ask yourself why and how you did gain the weight and kept it for so long. You got to go to the root of the problem. Do you know that some people who might have been abused verbally or physically or who might have been raped when they were “ skinny”, gain weight and keep it on as a way to protect themselves from harm? No matter how much they try to lose that weight they never reach their ultimate goal because their mind (psychological reason) is “protecting them”.  They have the subconscious belief that they are safe as long as they are unattractive.
There are different reasons why we gain weight and keep it. Stress, gluttony and lack of self-control(that's the truth for many), traumatic event,  pregnancies, laziness, etc…
Sometimes the answer is obvious and sometimes it’s more subtle (like a childhood trauma).  Find the true answer that’s hiding within. Deal with it and

  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Stop bullying yourself it only makes things worst
  •  Embrace your strengths
  •  Set your goals, start small
  • Stay consistent and persistent
  • Plan the work and work the plan
  • Reward yourself often (not with big food indulgences, but with a new outfit or pair of running shoes or a relaxing bath products etc…)
  • Say nice things to yourself and about yourself because it’s what you believe about yourself that has a more profound impact on you!
  • Get some cheerleaders (spouse, friends) and people to hold you accountable but
  • Learn to cheer yourself and motivate yourself.
I never would have learned those lessons wearing a size XS, 0 or 2. I learned them when my body and my identity changed and I had to find myself over again. It’s been over 10 years since I have worn size 0-2 clothes and I might never wear them again but I can confidently tell you that never again will I wear a size 14 because I have finally understood "the psychology of weight loss". 

( Just finding out that I am over 2 months preggo)
I have embraced and respected my size 4-6-8 (depending on the clothes) prior to my pregnancy and after the pregnancy I am up for the challenges ahead as there are some fitness goals that I want to reach with my running and swimming in particular.
Soooo….Happy holidays, enjoy your food, no gluttony and no deprivation either (balance). Don’t wait till December 31st to make some New Year resolutions. 

 Make some New You resolutions! Make them now, starts now and please be good and kind to yourself!!!
Go for it! I know YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Please remember me in the course of next year as I would love to hear of your progresses and share with me your results here on the blog or in my inbox If you are new on the site you are also welcome to Follow and subscibe to this blog, it's always a pleasure to have some beautiful souls around here!

Thank you for reading, thank you for not giving up on "you".
Please tell me what you are thinking right now. What’s on your mind?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Healthy & Natural Pregnancy: What not to eat during a pregnancy & Pregnancy cravings

A few weeks ago I was frustrate at the realization that my wardrobe was drastically shrinking as my belly was expanding and the weather was changing. Then last Saturday it hit me that my culinary selections have shrunk as well during my pregnancy.

My husband was fixing some smoked turkey, eggs and cheese biscuits for breakfast when it hit me that I could not eat the deli meat! Humm good delicious homemade breakfast right under my nose that I could not even enjoy! That was more for the kids and him as they teased but that was not funny too me, it looked and smelled so good!

The past few months I have tolerated the sacrifice of Sushi which I looove.

I have endured watching my husband enjoy some when I could only salivate at the view of rolls that I would have devoured under normal circumstances.

Since July I have suffered the temptation of some French pate that my sister in law brought me from France. My only comfort is to keep telling myself that I will have a stack of treat ready to indulge on once I have the baby.

I have considerably decreased my herbal tea and cappuccino intake. Some days I have opened my kitchen cabinet just to sniff the ground coffee in hope that it would fool my mind that my body have had the pleasure to sip some.
With the change in weather, I have allowed myself to a cup of Starbucks Cafe Macchiato once a week as an excuse that my body would appreciate its warmth now that the weather is cooler.  When I resumed my weekly trip to Starbucks, I soon realized that it was not just the cup of Cafe Macchiato that was delicious. It was great to see again our old barrista and some of the regular patrons that I have not seen in months.

So some very rare cups of herbal tea and cappuccino are the only indulgences I have had this pregnancy. I have been consistent in staying away from certain things that should be avoided or limited during pregnancy.

Things such as:
  • Sushi,
  • Camembert (soft cheese),
  • deli meat,
  • Pate from France,
  • caffeinated drinks and sodas)
  • spicy food ( watch out heartburns),
  • certain kind of fish and seafood etc...
  • Of course Alcohol is on the list of such things but since I don't drink it has not been a challenge for me.

Isn't it funny that the one time when we have some good excuses to be indulging we are warned to watch carefully what we consume?

Talking of indulgence the holidays are fast approaching and one of my favorite holiday drink is Eggnogg...can I consume egg nogg while pregnant?

 I know I should watch for raw eggs so I was just wondering..

Oh well..(shrugging my shoulders) at least I can still enjoy this

and many of my other favorite things like Pineapples.
Pineapples in every drink.... I love Pineapples. The Hawaiin punch is just something I have suddently been attracted to recently, while before I could not even stand it. I prefer fresh juices but hey maybe I am just having one of those weird cravings. What I know for sure is that Pinapples are on top of my list of cravings right now, and it's alright by me because they are healthy!

I am also eating this often,
warm croissant with herbs omelet

 Are you or someone you know having a hard time sacrificing certain food? What? Do you have a particular pregnancy craving? What healthy food are you craving more for during your pregnancy?


Monday, November 14, 2011

Natural hair: To Big Chop or not to big chop? My hair journey: Transitioning made easy!

To big shop or not to big chop? That is the question.

That is the question most women contemplate when deciding to go natural.

I have been transitioning since last year and I am finally just inches away to the end of my journey! The beginning was both exciting and frustrating, like any new endeavor we undertake.

 Once I got into the routine of things I became more and more comfortable with the transition and enjoyed the process.

Going natural is and should be a personal decision. Once we decide to do it we are faced with another big decision. We have to decide either we would transition or big chop. We all make our choices for different reasons but what's important is to own and be comfortable with the choice we make.

I knew that transitioning was the best option for me because I sure can't tolerate having ' bad hair days'. I can't tolerate the thoughts of my hair being in a condition I have NO idea how to manage.

I did notice in the course of my journey that most people put pressure on the BC but it's my hair not theirs. I am the one who has to be happy and feel confident about my " crown" so I was in no way going to give into any kind of pressure about the BC.

Transitioning granted me more control. I can handle my hair with length. I would have been a frustrate sister if I had cut my hair and learned to care for  it short and impatiently waiting for growth. I knew that even with a relaxer, short styles can be demanding so there was no way I would have complicated my life by having a BC.

Plus I am married and greatly respect the idea to always being/feeling  attractive. Personally I think that when we are into a relationship we should maintain our best look even with natural hair and I did not think that I could pull it off with a BC! 

I feel more confident when I look my best and I had doubt that a big chop would help me maintain that confidence consistently.

I wanted the natural hair without dealing with unwelcome frustrations.

Here an old article on the start of my natural journey:

My Tips for easy transitioning:
Transitioning was easy for me because of the following:

1) I asked a LOT of questions before deciding to go natural.

2) I deep conditioned my hair every two weeks.

3) I maintained regular visit to the salon by having my hair professionally maintained and had my ends trimmed as needed.

4) I stuck with hair stylists that had natural hair and were very experienced in maintaining my hair healthy.

5) I stuck to products and procedures that work best for me from professional brands my hairdresser recommended to homemade products/treatment I loved.

I rarely used any protective styles throughout my transition. I got my hair braided just once in the course of my transition, and I used a pretty wig a couple of days when I was too lazy to attend to my hair.

Well, that's what worked for me and made my transition enjoyable!

Remember that it's your hair and either you BC or transition you are the one that has to love your hair (and make your man fall in love with your "crown").

What about you? What did you do once you decide to go natural? Are you a new natural? Are you transitioning or going with a Big Chop? Why?


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Breast awareness and the importance of a mammogram

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last entry, time is flying by. The last time I wrote I was talking about wardrobe dilemmas I want to follow up on the last post but I have a more pressing issue at heart that I want to share with you all.

How are you all doing? Hope you are all doing well.

I attended a Breast Awareness event this morning called "Hats Off Breast Awareness.... " ( can't even remember the full name right now...oh well!!!). However, I learned so much that I can't help but make time to share some tidbits with you all tonight. I will share what I do remember.

Our educators were two passionates women who work for a local hospital. Miss Joyce that I will mention many times below did most of the training.

Here are some of the facts that stuck with me:

  • You are never too young to start checking your breasts.

  • Even though Mammograms are not required annually till you are 40 years old every women should be mindful of her breast health.

  • Miss Joyce shared a very sad story of a 32 years old mother of three who at first loss most of her mobility and could not walk without the aid of a walker. Then it got to the point where she could not walk at all and only once she got to that point was one physician able to determine that she had breast cancer but it was too late as her bones had been affected, then her brain.  =The lesson from her true and tragic story was that 1) we are never too young to get checked 2) Our youthful hormones can actually cause more growth to cancerous cells.

  • No matters a person's age the risk of breast cancer is always present so make sure to continually do it.

  • 80% of people diagnosed with breast cancer are the first in their family. So even if you do not have a family history of Breast Cancer you can still be at risk. The young lady mentioned above was the first in her family.
  • Miss Joyce mentioned that there are THREE important things that we should do:
1) Self examination
(3)....humm sorry can't remember number 3, I promise to update as soon as I remember, sorry)

  • The size of your breast doesn't matter, anyone can get breast cancer. Apparently some women with small breasts can be lead to think that having a small breast keep them safe from the risk of breast cancer.

  • Men too can get breast cancer.

  • Once you are over 40 years old it's important to get a Mammogram once a year.

  • Breast Cancer is NOT a death sentence. Many women survive it for many years and live a good life.

  • A friend, Tammy, who is a cancer survivor in her forties was diagnosed at 29 years old.  She shared her story today with much encouragement for us all, young or old to take our breast health seriously and keep a positive outlook on life in an event of a negative diagnosis.  Her daughter who is in her early twenties has learned from the experience and monitor her breast health diligently.

  • Contrary to what we tend to think it's not just a lump that tells you that something is wrong with you. It can be anything from a mole, some discharges or whatever is different with your breasts. In Tammy's case it was a discharge over her breast that she described as something powdery.

    • In the picture above, Tammy explains the importance of checking also the area that she's pointing out. Our lymph nodes. Miss Joyce standing by ( on the picture) later explained that it's not just our breasts that need to be regularly checked during our self exams but we also have to check the area above the breasts, check our sides etc...

  • You got to KNOW your breasts so that you can easily spot any abnormality. Miss Joyce  urged us to "KNOW OUR TATAS"! So ladies either you call it your" girls", your "tatas" or whatever. KNOW your breasts so that you would be able to easily spot something that doesn't look or feel right!

    • Don't be intimidated by a Mammogram just because someone you know may have made a negative comment about it being painful to them.

    Something else to think about:
    Miss Joyce our educator also taught us that in scheduling a mammogram we should be aware of our time of the month as a certain time of the month might make us more sensitive to pain resulting in a bad experience.

    • Now, the most amazing story ( to me) that Miss Joyce shared was how a patient over 60 years old finally got her first mammogram done after losing her mom, sister and daughter to breast cancer. She apparently had a fear of the mammogram just to realize that it was not the painful experience she had expected listening to others' intimidating comments. After doing her mammogram this old woman thanked Miss Joyce and told her that she saved her life.

    It's your breasts, it's your health, it's your life so be aware, get a mammogram done (or better a thermogram, I will explain later)

    • Never make money an excuse not to get a a mammogram.
    For people with Medicare be informed that Medicare does cover it, as according to Miss Joyce many women don't even know that!
    If you do not have health insurance you should ask for assistance as there are grants available to allow women to get a mammogram.

    • A good tip Miss Joyce shared with us is to pick a date that's easy to remember to get a mammogram done each year. In her case her birthday is the date she get hers done each year.

    • Set a good example for those around you. As you monitor your breast's health and get your mammogram done regularly your children and significant others would learn to value and appreciate the importance of it. You can save your life and others!

    • There might be unfortunate cases where some people close to you might not care to do what's right but you can still be an inspiration to others. Like a woman in her 60s who attended today.
    She has two daughters who neglect the importance of it but as for her she plans on doing it the rest of the life "till she can't do it no more" (in her own words).  She certainly was an inspiration to me as she diligently get her mammogram done each year, and exercise daily to maximize her chance of a good life.

    •  Continue to eat healthy, exercise daily and keep a positive attitude because even if something unpleasant happens you, like Miss Joyce said today you would be doing the "hard part and half the battle".
    Well, that's the best I can do for now as far as offering a summary of what I learned today.

    I have known Tammy the cancer survivor I mentioned above for over 3 years and she can certainly credit her positive attitude to her survival story. She is also a big believer in consuming organic products which she has often credited some of her success to.

    At the end of the day, our lives might be in God's hands but He says in His Word "my people perish by lack of knowledge".  I wish more people had attended this event today! I learned a lot of new things.

    You know, many people justify their negligence or bad habits to the fact that we will all die someday. The issue is not that we will all die someday. The issue is the quality of our lives while we are living! Being aware and educated about things can and do improve the quality of our lives. The choices we make daily can and do improve the quality of our life.

    The event I attended today was called "Hats Off" because our educators Miss Joyce and Miss Aline illustrated by having us wear some funny hats, the many excuses that women come up with to avoid getting a mammogram.

    I promise to share more later, for tonight I just wanted to share what left and impression on me while the details are still fresh in my mind!

    Below is a picture of me in a hat that illustrates some of the excuses we make not to get a mammogram! I tell you what, that did not represent my personality at all...more about it later!


     I do totally agree with the importance of self examination and even the annual check. I am only questioning if mammograms are safe and if there's a better Natural alternative to mammograms. But before you use this question as an excuse to add to the list of reasons not to get one, let me add this, there's something called thermography that's a natural alternative to mammograms. Research it but whatever you do, mind your BREASTS ' health please!
     Do you get a mammogram done every year? Why is it important to you? Are you or anyone you know a a breast cancer survivor with a word of wisdom for us all? Have you ever heard about thermography?

    Time to get off here, talk to you all very soon and have a blessed week!
    Here's a small gift....
    flowers from a rose bush from my mom's garden, if I could add a small note to it I would say this " May the Lord bless you and keep you"