A Withered Leaf: anxiety and exhaustion

Ever been worried on no sleep before? The worry becomes compounded. At least it does for me. Today I couldn’t believe the downward spiral my mind went on. I mean, I was not only thinking of “what’s the worst thing that could happen” but also what’s the worst thing that could happen and add to that extraordinarily bad circumstances, multiply that by 100, and we all end up living out of a van. Just saying. It was absolutely ridiculous, you guys. Lots of fear whirling around my head.

I read psalm 1 today, and when it says “…who’s leaf does not wither” all I could think of was, “I feel like a withering leaf.”

I hadn’t planted myself by that stream of water today, or meditated on Gods Word much yet for the day. This was that stream of water. And I needed it. I needed to run to that stream. Literally. Today was one of the days my kids both took a nap at the same time and Dad was home. I know I’m extra fortunate when this happens. Well I don’t think it was a coincidence today. I needed time with myself and God and this was the perfect timing.

I planted myself by the running stream of fresh water that is Gods word, had a grace filled conversation with my dear husband, and laced up for a five mile run by the lake.

“Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭1:2-3‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I don’t want to be that withering leaf anymore. I want to be like the fresh gorgeous fruit I ate for breakfast . I want to be filled with wonder, not worry. I want my family to see me as the strong tree that drinks up from the life giving Word of God! Not a withered worn out leaf totally parched and dry. Although fall is beautiful and I love the withered, falling leaves, who doesn’t. You get what I mean.

Anxiety withers me. I don’t want it. Rest. Rest my dear soul and take a second look. Run to the stream that restores your day and nourishes your life.

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Plant-Based Breastfeeding

With my first, due to an innumerable amount of reasons, I stopped breastfeeding at four months. Do I wish I had continued? Absolutely. But I simply did not have the education and resources I do now and was under extreme circumstantial stress, so I don’t look back. It is what it is, and my son is healthy and happy and gleaning the excellent benefits of our diet and lifestyle now! Yipee!

With my second child, I am still breastfeeding her at 9 months old and have no plans to wean until its right for us both. I’ve been practicing baby led weaning with her, and I know that she’s getting prime nutrition from my breast milk as she explores this amazing world of food. My diet is rich in raw and lightly cooked nutrient dense foods. It’s extremely low in processed foods and sugar. And wow… when I really cinched back into this way of eating around when Z turned 3 months old, my breast milk supply shot up, and my body has kept pace beautifully. I also have improved physical and mental stamina, and I dropped the rest of the baby weight. Sound too good to be true? Stay tuned. There’s more.

Z is so happy and healthy and loves to nurse. Am I saying that this won’t be the case if you eat less than the ideal plant based diet? No absolutely not. The body is amazing and creates breast milk from whatever you have. But herein lies the problem. Your body will put baby first, and if all the good nutrition in your body is going to your baby, where does that leave you? Hungry, tired, exhausted, and pale? No thank you. I’d prefer to be radiant, energetic, and full of vitality thank you very much. So I eat fresh plants. Lots of them. Every day.

My tips for breastfeeding on a plant-based diet?

Tips:

  • Eat when you’re hungry! If you’re eating raw fresh fruit and vegetables, you can eat those whenever you want and you definitely don’t have to worry about gaining weight! And especially if exercising moderately to heavily you’re going to need to eat to support that. I’ll burn between 500 and 1000 calories on a longer run. I’m HUNGRY afterward, and I’ve found it’s important to milk supply for me to snack while I’m running, too! Sounds like the life to me!
  • replenish with plenty of hydrating fruits and vegetables, especially with exercise, and of course drink adequate water
  • take a vegan whole foods based prenatal multivitamin to fill in gaps if you feel you need it. Vegan mothers especially need to make sure they’re getting enough calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and B12. Super important.
  • I love a good bowl of oatmeal right now while I’m breastfeeding. When I wean I’d like to not, but right now it really does the trick and my body craves it
  • pack on the dark leafy greens!!! So much protein, so many rich vitamins and minerals you and baby need.
  • Protein intake: Ah yes, where do I get my protein? Well protein powder is somewhat controversial in the plant-based world. Do we need it? Do we not? For right now, my body does not respond well if I don’t get enough and I immediately see a drop in milk supply. Not to mention the protein is important after a long run. So my current favorite protein supplements to throw in some almond milk or water with greens are from Vega and Sun Warrior. My whole family loves them so its a great buy for us.

So there are my tips on breastfeeding for now! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for our friends and neighbors reading this, or anything you’d like to add!

 

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How to stay happy when you’re vegan and your partner is not

Hello Friends!

This post will have to be written time and time again as my husband and I gain more experience, face more challenges, and live with this lifestyle a little bit longer. I’m excited about the growth that will happen! But for now, let me share what I have learned.

Before you read on, I have to insert a disclaimer here. I am passionate about the ethical reasons I am a vegan. However, my dearest and closest loved ones do not share many of my convictions at this point, and they are the dearest and most important in the world to me. So that being said, I still keep some animal products on hand in my home, ones that have been sustainably produced, and the animals treated humanely during their lifetime.

Now I shall continue. Just had to get that off my chest, and put that out there for my fellow vegans. My husband is such a good sport… He not only puts up with every new trend I try but he strives to show genuine interest. I love him. And not just for that. 🙂 He’s on board when I try new recipes, and has an open palette and will try just about anything. I am so grateful. This awesome quality of his has made the transition experience more enjoyable. And he will also admit he feels better on his “mostly plant-based” lifestyle.

We have been married five years and have known each other nine. That’s a lot of drive through and late night snacks on the couch. How would that look different now, we wondered? While it does change things, those changes don’t have to be complicated. And the key for us has been making sure that when snack attacks come, there are enough options in the kitchen that each of us can feel good about. We can both enjoy cheesy nachos together! Mine just look a little different than his do. 🙂

Here are some thoughts we have to share with those of you who might be wondering how to make it work.

  • We both like adventure. It’s been fun trying new things together. Maybe hit up some new restaurants and try some new foods! Expand your horizons! The world of real whole foods is incredibly diverse and beautiful!
  • Be the ones to bring the food to the party. When we get together with friends, we are finding that we have to be the ones to bring a big dish to pass. We love it! It ensures I will be able to enjoy myself there as much as he will and no one has to spend time worrying about whether they’ll go home hungry.
  • Learn to enjoy time together that doesn’t involve food. Go to events and do things that don’t fall over meal times.
  • Occasionally he puts some organic free range chicken in the crock pot at the beginning of the week and he has that available for the week to pack in his lunches or snack on if he feels he needs to. I also have been keeping eggs and tuna on hand, and a bit of cheese and yogurt. But we don’t go through it very fast, I’ll tell you that! It’s kind of nice.
  • He has his eating out budget and he can make his own decisions about how he spends that and I don’t judge. It just doesn’t come into the house.
  • Beloved Pizza night? Still have it. It’s easy to make pizza vegan, and it’s so fun to top it with garden fresh vegetables. Our son absolutely loves to help us top the pizzas with sauce and veggies. It becomes more of a salad on a crust, but it’s a delightful treat for the family or when guests come over.

Have this scenario in your life? Do you have any practical tips for how to share mealtimes with your partner or close friends if your diets are vastly different? Leave a comment!

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My first 10 Days Vegan

It was not all roses and cupcakes the first 10 days folks. I was a little nauseous, and extremely fatigued. One day I even slept from 6pm to 6am (with the exception of baby waking to nurse of course) . That’s right you heard me right. In the midst of that I didn’t regret my decision at all, but I will admit I was a little surprised I needed a whole 10 days of detoxing! I mean, I thought I had been behaving myself in my diet at least “ok”. But I guess I needed more cleaning up than I thought. Tons of greens suddenly invaded my body and started to do the repair my body had been begging for. Dairy left and my body cleaned out, good riddens. Preservatives and processed foods? Get em out! Meat left and my body said “ok lets do this!”

The final push to making this decision that I had already  been thinking about for over a year came when finally watching the documentary Food Inc. on Netflix. I know, I know, hardly glamorous, and you might even be rolling your eyes right now. Maybe you’re even going to proceed to tell me how half of that documentary is exaggerated. My response to that, is even if half of that documentary is based upon truth, I’m taking a hard long look at why I eat meat, ok? A year ago I started thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle after reading “The China Study”. That book impacted me greatly. There again, even if parts of it are overblown, even if only parts of it are true, it would still make me question my impact on the world, and how animal products affect my body and my lifestyle.

I had fears about how I was going to work this new lifestyle into my family smoothly and still leave lots of room for my husband and kids to make their own decisions. And of course, I didn’t know and don’t know if I’ll live like this forever and ever, but lets just say I do… what does that look like? I started having fears about how I would interact, hostess, hangout at cookouts. I told the couple of people close to me very tentatively, “I…uh… I’m going to lay off meat for a while and test it out.” When really in my mind I was thinking “I’m afraid of how they may judge me when I tell them what I’ve decided.” And even thinking “They’ll challenge my ideas and ask me all these questions I don’t know how to answer yet!” So yes, I was nervous. Actually, that still makes me nervous. As weeks come and go however I am becoming more comfortable with the decision I have made, convinced of it, and more education on the issues will come with more experience. And to top things off…. I’m feeling fabulous. Hoorah.

Are you plant-based or vegan? Do you recall having a detox time when you first started?

 

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Plant Based Diet: five unexpected benefits

When you begin a new lifestyle, try to form a new habit, or start a weight loss plan you envision the future and a how happy and healthy you’ll be! You visualize! When I decided to make the switch to a plant-based diet, I must be honest, I was just as attracted to the hippie lifestyle that might accompany it as well as the perceived health benefits. I don’t think I ever thought that even within 30 days of making the switch I’d feel as good as I do right now. My decision began with a conviction, not a lose weight fast strategy or pure curiosity. Like most vegans, my decision came from a research on modern agriculture and its impact on the world, as well as research on possible health concerns accompanied with consuming animal products. I wanted something better for myself and my family, a lifestyle as close to the earth as possible. Typically, by the one month marker on any diet plan I’d be eager and ready for a breather. But going plant-based has actually been totally freeing for me. That’s what I would name my number one unexpected benefit.

  1. Food Freedom. I know it sounds ridiculous, I mean look at all the foods I’ve “restricted” from my diet! I believe it all comes down to attitude. Veganism is an attitude, not a diet plan. That’s what makes this life change stand out for me. I’ve made many decisions to become healthier, and even tried many trending diet plans, but going plant-based has been long in coming for me personally, and I finally made the leap. I thought what better time to try it out than summer time when farmer’s markets are bursting with affordable produce!
  2. Faster Kitchen Clean-up! Who doesn’t want the dish washing to go faster?! Sign me up! This was a total surprise when I switched to a vegan lifestyle. All of a sudden my cleanup time was cut in half. I attribute this to not having to scrub my pans from cooking meats, eggs, and sticky cheeses. Working with mostly fresh raw food and lightly cooked plants and very little oil, cleanup is suddenly a breeze! No complaining here!
  3. It’s like a beauty treatment! You heard it here, folks. Being a vegan makes me feel like I’ve just left the spa. Lovely skin (even with a baby who won’t let me get a full night’s sleep!), stronger nails that grow faster than ever before, and my husband was the first to point out that even with my total lack of sleep as a mother of babes, the deep dark circles under my eyes are GONE. Last year I would have told you that was the number one thing I would change about my appearance if I could. Well…. done!!
  4. Better Little Eaters! My little preschooler has a much improved palette and his digestive system has vastly improved. My little J had a perpetual belly bloat and sometimes wouldn’t have a bowel movement for three to four days! At that point, when it came time to defecate the screaming was intense. Poor dear. I literally would have to make him angry and then he’d get it out. My brave little one. Now in hindsight I feel so sad I didn’t pull dairy from his diet earlier!! What a difference.
  5. I can still RUN! And I can even run faster! I am still training for my second half marathon distance, lifting, and feeling a good momentum. Seven months after the birth of my second child and switching to a plant based vegan diet I have run my second fastest 5k ever. But Don’t underestimate the detox period, however, and plan for it. I forgot to assume it would happen and spent the first ten days of my plant based diet completely exhausted and weak from detoxing. One night I even slept 12 hours! See my post about my first ten days vegan! After this it was an immediate upswing and I’ve felt better than “normal” since!

Do you follow a plant based diet? What are your favorite benefits?

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