Friday, December 23, 2011

Dairy - Say What?!

So, I've never been into vegetarianism or veganism; not even a little bit. On the flip side, I've never judged anyone for being one or the other either; I actually think it's quite admirable. Somewhere deep inside me, I always wished I cared enough that I was eating a cow, pig, or a cat (if you're eating at your favorite neighborhood Chinese joint). The truth of the matter is, I've always been a "meat and potatoes" kind of gal. I love a good steak. Boy oh boy do I REALLY love a good steak (preferably from Ruth's Chris medium style thank you very much!). I also have a sick obsession with milk (yes, I even drink out of the carton), cheese, butter, cream in my coffee; did I mention cheese? Give me a fresh block of any cheese and I can and WILL sit there and just eat it, basically until I get sick, or distracted. 

Okay, so what's' the point of this blog? Well, up until recently like I said, I never cared that I was eating a cow, chicken, milk from a cows "boob," a chicken fetus (egg), etc. Why do I care now? Well, it's not so much the fact that I'm eating animal product, it's been irking me about the treatment of these animals and the steroids/chemicals/magic potions that caught my attention. Ya see, the more I know the more I obsess and for those of you who know me, I want to know everything about everything. Although I do still close my eyes and plug my ears during a killing scene of a horror flick (THAT is not something I want to know about!). Even when the animal cruelty commercials come on, sometimes I just change the channel. Maybe I'm too sensitive. I don't know. However, I decided it's time to put on my big girl panties (if that's what you wanna call them) and get to the root of the evil that has taken over our food industry. 

This also all started because I have a burning desire to eat much more vegetables than I have in the past. My body (especially during this pregnancy) has been feeling awfully sluggish, which in turn has made me take a microscopic view at my own eating habits. I have always known that food has this superpower of contributing to ailments, disease, symptoms,  emotions, etc. But to be honest, I've always been one of those people who thinks (yeah, that can't happen to me). WRONG, SISTA! So, I set out on a curiosity journey and began asking people I know who are vegans, raw foodists, etc. for recommendations on some worthwhile reading materials. In comes Crazy Sexy Diet by the uber fabulous Kris Carr. Okay, so you know I mentioned this book in an earlier posting, so it should come as no surprise that this is what's really revving up my veggie engine. Below I will talk about dairy, how it effects us, gross facts, cellulite, and alternatives that I currently follow. 

It must be noted that while I am in the process of changing my lifestyle, I am not a full blown vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, etc. I am slowly but surely eliminating dairy out of my life, but I still allow some.

So, what about milk and dairy?

More likely than not, milk comes from cows that have been injected with genetically engineered growth hormones. 

"The only time milk is essential for good health is when we are babies, being breast fed by human mothers." Why? Breast milk is rich in DHA which is for brain development; but relatively low in protein. 

Head scratcher: "Cows milk contains more than 3x's more protein as breast milk. Well, that's because cows need a lot more due to the fact that they grow to be 1500-2000 POUNDS!"

While protein in human milk is designed for human bodies, much of the protein from cow milk can't be digested by humans (a-ha!). 

It's been found that the protein that consistently promotes and creates cancer is casein, which just so happens to make up 87% of the protein in cows milk. 

Allergies, eczema, asthma, arthritis, inflammation, and zits can all be linked to dairy. What about skim or non-fat you ask? Yes, they're just as bad. 

Belly pain, gas, bloating? Well, may be good reason! According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, around 75% of the worlds adults can NOT digest milk (meaning they're lactose intolerant). 

Now for the real GROSS!

Just incase you need some added incentive to cut dairy: As a result of the milking process, cows often have mastitis (an infection of the udder), making their milk full of white blood cells, aka PUS. Yes, I said PUS. This means that milk based foods, such as butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, all sorts of hard cheeses, and so on, are often also filled with PUS. 

Okay, okay so what about Calcium, right? 

Well, what's most important is how much calcium we KEEP from what we eat. Two other nutrients that particularly affect how much calcium we hold on to are protein and sodium. The more of those two that we eat (which is a LOT due to the Standard American Diet) then the more calcium we urinate out. Useless!

The other side of the equation is calcium absorption which is better absorbed when eaten with Vitamin C, (Helloooooooooooo Lemons!). 

Good plant sources of calcium: Dark green veggies like broccoli, kale (my fav), collard greens; along with nuts and seed like almonds, flaxseeds, etc. 

HELLO EXERCISE! Your bones don't thrive on calcium alone, YOU my dear need to pick up the weights! Yes, hit the gym and lift HEAVY. You can also enjoy walking, jogging, dancing, and the stairs. Sorry, swimming or biking wont count. 

Some ingredients that are dairy based:
3. Kefir
4. Ghee
5. Lactalbumin
6. Lactose 

Some argue that raw dairy is much healthier than milk that has been pasteurized. Well, lactose is lactose and pus is pus, according to guru Kris Carr! 

There's one saying that I use a lot when it comes to food and that is: Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a pauper. Meaning, your biggest meal should be breakfast :) Well, the same holds true for types of foods. 

For example, meat (I will be covering meat and protein NEXT!) and dairy are the supporting cast, grains are the costars, and veggies are the center stage DIVAS! Yes, animal products should be used as a side dish or a condiment (if eaten at all). This very small and inexpensive change will rock your world, up your lifespan, and vanquish the scariest C of all; CELLULITE!!!!! AH!!!! Cellulite is formed because of fluid retention and the accumulation of waste products and toxins in the body. Yes, from FOOD!

*****Now, my simple swaps that I have been working with*****
1. Almond Milk (Unsweetened)
2. VEGA protein powder
3. Earth Balance (Buttery spread)

*I will post my reviews of these products and why I love them so much!*

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Look what I found!

So, I wrote this in early August when it was still early in my pregnancy. Granted, this is NOT the way I feel now LOL, which is why it's funny to look back at and read about. I hope you enjoy :) 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

So, I would like to entitle this "My First Pregnancy From Hell." Now, hear me out. Yes I am so blessed to be pregnant and I can not wait to hold that little sucker in my arms, but my experience thus far has been far from beautiful. Therefore I decided to document my pregnancy in hopes to support other women who feel like the odd ball out because their pregnancy isn't the most wonderful, beautiful, and amazing thing on earth. To those of you who had an amazing pregnancy experience, I applaud you and wish I knew what that felt like; truthfully, I'm jealous :)

The morning of May 19, 2011 started off just like any other morning for me. I woke up, immediately got dressed and prepared for the gym; which I had been so diligent about (even getting tons of compliments!!). I was also excited because John and I were doing last minute preparations for our long awaited mini vacation to Boston! Well, in the midst of gathering my belongings to embark on my journey to the gym, I attempted to suck down my everyday chocolate protein shake for some extra energy and satiation [yum]. It was then that something weird happened; I gagged uncontrollably while the chocolate protein streamed from my nose and mouth into the kitchen sink. "Okay" I thought, and just held my breath and guzzled down the rest despite my disgust. After this incident took place I went to the bathroom and while sitting there I thought, "Today is the 19th and I still haven't gotten my monthly gift, but my boobs hurt." Okay, no big deal; I have been under some stress lately so maybe this is a symptom of that. I decided to rule out the possibility of being pregnant with no doubt in my mind that I was indeed [NOT] pregnant and took a home pregnancy test. Positive. "POSITIVE?!?!" The plus sign popped up so quickly and I just knew it wasn't a false positive. I immediately called John and proclaimed, "What the he!! is this?! I just took a pregnancy test and it came out POSITIVE!" He came back at me a bit calmer than I was and just said, "Jessica, what are you talking about? That's impossible. It's probably just your body acting weird again." Okay I thought. Now, mind you, I had been dealing with issued with my cervix for a while when this happened so it was [normal] for weird things to happen to me during this time frame. I was already scheduled for a followup appointment at my OB/GYN for when we came back from Boston due to a prior issue, so I figured we would just have the doctor confirm it then. Shortly after my conversation with John I began to feel "more in tune" with my body so to speak and I began feeling that dreaded symptom of nausea. It was as if a dark cloud of sickness engulfed my entire body and soul.

The incidents that happened this day led me to think more about my symptoms leading up to this discovery. My very first symptom was breast tenderness (almost immediately). I just assumed it was because I was due to get my period. Extreme fatigue was also my best friend for a while that I initially attributed to the possibility of over training. I would sleep 10-12 hours easily and would wake up feeling as though I hadn't slept a minute! At this point I was about 4 weeks along, so thank you morning sickness and fatigue for coming so soon, you are far too kind. We went on our mini vacation and let me tell you, flying with nausea is the worst thing I could have done. We did have such a wonderful time together and decided to take precautions, so I didn't partake in the excessive drinking festivities I had initially planned on. BOO!!! And it was there that food began tasting weird to me. Yep, you guessed it; Mr. Food Aversions himself.

The day we returned from Boston, I almost immediately had to go to work. Now, here is where my life as a pregnant gets "really fun!" While taking a shower, the smell of my once delicious Pantene shampoo and conditioner are making me gag and quite frankly plain disgusted. I rushed to wash my hair so I could get away from that smell and noticed that clumps of my hair were falling out of my head. Next, the act of brushing my teeth? Forget about it! Good Lord Jesus. Talk about a horrendous experience there, I gagged and dry heaved from the time I put the tooth brush in my mouth until I dried my mouth off. Needless to say, those 2 minutes felt like 20 minutes in a torture chamber. My perfume, hair spray, mousse, lotion; {EVERYTHING} made me sick. It's almost as if the pregnancy Gods were flying over me looking down and laughing about how miserable they were going to make my pregnancy.

In the middle of week 5 is when the super nausea began. This goes along with my now {COMPLETE} food aversions, excessive vomiting, inability to eat any meat, drink water, heightened sense of smell, emotions, and a lot of crying. Crying over just about everything! Crying because I was angry at how terrible I was feeling, watching commercials, movies, if I was happy, sad, mad, listening to music; {Wah, wah wahhhhhh, CRY, CRY, CRY}. On the very first day of week 6 is when we went to the OB/GYN, which like I said was initially for a checkup. I asked my nurse to test my urine to see if I was indeed pregnant and she said I was very much so! At this point in time, due to how I was feeling and the positive home test, I knew that I was for sure pregnant. It was John that was still a bit reluctant, especially because I had a checkup appointment on May 3rd and my doctor told me I wasn't pregnant when indeed I already was at that time. That day I weighed in and had lost 6lbs due to vomiting, lack of eating, and dehydration. So, after 3 hours of waiting in the waiting room, we get called into the examination room for an ultrasound. There it was. Clear as day. Our beautiful 5mm tadpole baby on the screen. We could see it's heart beating and instantly fell in love. We could just not believe it was real! It was OUR baby. WE created a life together as our own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Transformation Challenge!

Currently I am 35 weeks pregnant and couldn't be more anxious to return to the gym and get crazy! That being said, if all goes well after my delivery and I am required to wait 6 weeks to return to the gym, then so be it. And so will begin my very own transformation challenge and I invite YOU to follow me through it, maybe even partake if you so desire. Wouldn't THAT be fun!!!! 

I was in the very best shape of my life and consistent with my fitness program right before getting pregnant. This pregnancy hasn't been easy what-so-ever and I've had to deal with the physical and emotional stressors involved in losing my mojo. Why did I lose my mojo after I always promised myself I would be the most fit and awesome pregnant lady in all the land? Well, because I am human. And until you experience pregnancy for yourself, you will never know the challenges that comes along with it, much like myself. I will post another blog in detail about what physical and emotional challenges I experienced along this journey in the hopes of other mommies finding comfort that their not alone. 

So! While I haven't devised my plan exactly, I just wanted this to be out there so I can hold myself accountable. Once I devise my plan I will have it posted (nutrition, exercise, wellness, you name it)!

Until next time. 

XOXO, Jessica