That Fit Mom Life

Fit Mind. Fit Body. Fit Life.

5 Ways Babywearing Saved My Sanity

Most of you know I am a HUGE babywearing fanatic. It was one of the best things that was introduced to me as a new mom, and I have spent so much time researching different carriers, positions, benefits, etc. that to write a blog post about it makes my heart do a happy dance. ♥

To celebrate babywearing around the world, I’d like to share with you 5 ways that babywearing saved my sanity. Because it did, and I am ever so grateful. So let’s get right to it!

5 Ways Babywearing Saved My Sanity

1. I was able to be hands-free for moments of time.

I had always heard other moms talking about being “hands-free” by babywearing and I always thought to myself it couldn’t make that much of a difference. Oh my gosh, was I wrong! When you’re hands-free, whether you’re a new mom or a toddler mom, but you’re still providing comfort and “ups” to your little one, it’s like unicorns and rainbows. For real. The first time I wore little man and did chores around the house, I think I was frollicking. It made life so much easier. I could have little man on my chest when he was little, and now I can wear him on my back, and I can do the laundry. And vacuum. And do the dishes. And everything else I do as a stay-at-home-mom when I’m doing “nothing.” 😂 There are times when baby just wants to be held and you have no underwear left and you have to get the laundry done NOW! Enter babywearing.

2. I could still “hold” little man during naps while being able to get things done.

Little man went through different napping phases when he was little, as is normal for infants, and there were a few times where he needed to be held to sleep for longer than 15-20 minutes. Often times, we just cuddled on the couch or in the bed because I was a new mom and was cool with the fact that that was my life. Nothing else really mattered. But there were some days when again, I had no underwear and all of the dishes were dirty, so I needed that nap time to get things done. To be able to wear him while he slept and provide him with the warmth, comfort, and sound of my heartbeat while I was able to get the necessary chores done was extremely relieving.

3. Germ protection!

Right after we had little man, there were several family functions that we attended. We also needed to get out and about – 1. for my sanity and 2. because life doesn’t just stop with a baby! When your washer breaks, it doesn’t care that you have a baby to tote around, right? So wearing little man on my chest made it possible to be out and around people without having a million grimy hands touching him. You guys – I’m totally not a germ freak; I think kids need to be exposed to germs. But I also know that babies put their hands in their mouths 1,457,676 times per day and I didn’t want whatever was on some random persons hands in my kid’s mouth! Wearing little man allowed people to coo and say nice, cute things but let me provide a wall of protection as well.

4. Every day tasks became…enjoyable?

Okay maybe this is a stretch, but I kinda mean it too. Grocery shopping without a carrier? Hell!!!! Grocery shopping with a carrier? Peaceful and enjoyable. I actually really look forward to grocery shopping (well I did, until recently when little man decided he doesn’t want to be worn or sit in the cart. That’s for another post.) and it’s peaceful to go through the aisles while babe just rests on you! I did get several strange looks, some encouragement, but regardless, it made life so much easier. I could walk through Target leisurely! Whatttt? It’s real. Try it. And even better, auntie’s can wear too and make grocery shopping even easier!

5.Breastfeeding on the go was possible!

This was not immediately easy for me but once I got it down, man was I unstoppable. Now I could do my every day tasks AND let little man nap AND give him some boobie milk ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It was like the heavens aligned and anything was possible. If you have a difficult time nursing while wearing your baby, check out some YouTube videos about how to do it comfortably and casually! It’s possible, I promise!

 

These are just a few of the ways babywearing changed my life! I can think of so many others, too, but I think I’ll leave it here for now.

 

 

I’d love to hear from you all – how has babywearing changed your life??

 

Health, wealth & happiness-

♥Cait

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Breastfeeding

Little man and I have made it 17 months breastfeeding! I counted and this brings me to a total of 26 months of loaning my body to another human being. LOL! I wouldn’t trade it for the world, though, and it led to some reflecting on our breastfeeding journey. I thought back to the times when I didn’t think we would make it past that day. I thought back to the times when I couldn’t imagine being anywhere in the world but in that rocking chair with little man latched onto me. Seventeen months is a long time, but it’s not, too. It’s really long when your nipples are blistered and you try to hold back tears every time it’s nursing time. But seventeen months is really short when little man starts nursing less frequently during the day and you start to imagine the day that he’ll wean himself. (Cue the waterworks.)

To celebrate breastfeeding, and specifically extended breastfeeding, I talked with several mamas about things they wish they would have known. I took all of their stories and combined them with my story and came up with this list. These are the 10 things mamas wish we would have known about breastfeeding before we had our littles! I hope these can help mamas-to-be and new mamas who don’t know if they’re losing their mind. (You probably are – that’s what motherhood is.)

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known About Breastfeeding

1. There’s no one-sized-fits-all method.

Breast milk is breast milk. No matter what position you feed baby in or if the milk is in a bottle, you’re still feeding baby. There’s not a certain way you have to do everything or else you’re a bad mom (even if trolls on the internet tell you you are). Every mother and child’s breastfeeding journey is unique to them. It is beautiful and messy and exhausting and painful (see below), but it is YOUR journey. Are there things that we need to look out for to make sure baby is getting the right amount of milk? Yes! (If their diaper output is consistent, they are getting enough milk. You don’t have to top off or supplement regardless of who tells you that you do.) But it’s your time to figure your baby out and establish a nursing relationship that works for the both of you. If that means baby needs to be held and nursed for hours, that’s what you do. If that means that you have to feed off of both sides to satisfy your babe, that’s what you do. Follow your instincts and ask questions when you’re not sure.

2. Your breast milk is tailor made for baby.

This is probably one of my favorite things about breastfeeding. Your milk literally changes to fit your baby’s need EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Isn’t that insane? Here’s how it works: every time babe latches on, his or her saliva enters your nipple and triggers the milk production system to alter the milk to help baby thrive. This means that if either of you have a cold, your body will produce the antibodies needed to keep baby healthy for that specific virus. Your body produces your milk in such a way that meets all of your baby’s needs right now. It is such an incredible concept.

3. It hurts but the pain doesn’t last. If it does, something isn’t right.

Breastfeeding hurts in the beginning. It just does. Every mom will describe the pain a little differently (stinging, pinching, burning, etc.). Think about it – one of the more sensitive parts of your body is now being suckled with a force that is not usual for you for long periods of time. It’s naturally going to be, at the least, uncomfortable, if not painful. What’s important to note is that the pain should go away. If baby latches properly and there are no issues with infections or clogged ducts, the rawness should subside within the first week or two. If the pain is not subsiding, you need to seek help to ensure that there is a proper latch and there aren’t any lip or tongue ties, etc. We loved using a nipple shield for the first 3 months. It saved my sanity!

4. It is legal to breastfeed publicly in 49 states.

Know your rights! You are allowed to breastfeed wherever you are legally allowed to be. Except in Idaho. So instead of uncomfortably covering baby or going to the car or bathroom, rest assured that you have the right to breastfeed wherever you are! If you want to cover, that’s okay too. But you don’t HAVE to. Check out the law by state here.

5. Clusterfeeding is real. And exhausting. But it’s okay.

Luckily, little man only clusterfed a few times over the past 17 months but oh my gosh – it was EXHAUSTING! For many people, clusterfeeding happens soon after birth and can last for days, weeks, or months. Clusterfeeding is when baby seems to constantly need to nurse despite just nursing minutes before. This can be very confusing and tiring and overwhelming. What’s important to know is that THIS IS NORMAL. Clusterfeeding helps establish your nursing relationship and supply. Remember, breastfeeding isn’t just about food. It’s comfort, a sleep aid and safety. So even though it seems like your baby JUST ATE, rest assured that it’s okay to continue nursing. Grab some snacks, a big jug of water and sleep in between the nursing sessions.

6. Baby doesn’t have to wean at 3 or 6 or 12 (or whatever number you’ve been told) months.

There’s a common misconception that babies have to be weaned by a certain age. Like all of a sudden at 6 or 12 months, their bodies do this crazy change to not need breastmilk. This is not true. There are lots of studies that demonstrate the benefits of nursing your baby to 12 months and beyond! Check out these fact sheets. Even if you feel pressured from friends or family to wean, don’t feel like you have to. There is so much misunderstanding when it comes to extended breastfeeding, and unfortunately, many people still sexualize the nursing relationship once baby gets a little older. The World Health Organization recommends that all children be breastfed until at least the age of two. The average world weaning age is between 4-7 years old. Do what works best for you and your baby!

7. You don’t have to pump and dump.

Another misconception about breastfeeding is how to nurse and enjoy a drink or two. You don’t have to pump and dump out the milk when you have a drink. Alcohol typically metabolizes within 30-90 minutes and the amount that is in your milk is minuscule. KellyMom has great guidelines that you can follow when you want to have a night out with the girls or (more realistically) drink some wine at the end of the day when you’re pulling your hair out.

8. But what you eat & drink does matter.

While we’re on the topic of consuming things while breastfeeding, it is important to note that what you do eat and drink does matter. Your baby does get nutrients from things you eat, so the healthier you eat, the better it is for your baby. The more diversity you incorporate into your diet allows your baby to experience more flavors and decreases the chances you’ll have a picky eater. Granted this isn’t a guarantee, but I’ve noticed with little man that he loves to try lots of different flavors and I tend to eat all sorts of colors in my diet!

9. A good pump is key and there are different sizes to the flanges.

Not every pump is created equal. I personally love the Medela Pump in Style. I got mine free through insurance so check which brands are covered through your insurance! I have friends who love the Spectra and others who prefer hand pumps! Part of which pump you use is limited by what your insurance covers, but do your research so you know what works best for you. There are so many helpful breastfeeding support groups on Facebook that you can use for guidance! (Search: Milky Mommas, Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy, Breastfeeding Older Babies & Beyond)

The size of the flange also matters! This was something I didn’t know about until I joined several Facebook groups. Check with your pump brand and see what size is best for you. The suction of the pump should bring your nipple into the flange with just enough space so that your nipple is not being squished and not too much space that there’s not a strong enough suction.

10. It goes way faster than you think!

Soak up every second of it, mama. Even the times where you swear you’re going to lose your shit. It goes so freakin’ fast so cherish the moments while they last. This too shall pass.

 

What other tips or interesting facts would you add to this list?

 

Health, wealth & happiness-

♥Cait

5 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life NOW!

Have you ever stopped to look at your life – I mean reeeally look at it – and thought that this isn’t what you pictured? Have you ever doubted where your life was (or maybe is right now)? Or maybe you’ve doubted your choices or even desires and dreams? You’re not alone. I can’t count on two hands how many times I’ve questioned and doubted what I’ve done or said. Every choice we make, whether seemingly insignificant or not, does affect the outcome of our life or current situation. That can sound daunting and scary. Or it can sound exciting and full of possibility. How you think about your choices, situations, relationships, etc. plays a huge role in what you do with your choices, situations, relationships, etc. Such a simple sentence with such a profound impact. Read it again:

How you think about your choices, situations, relationships, etc. plays a huge role in what you do with your choices, situations, relationships, etc.

So what exactly does that mean? Thoughts become things, my friends. What you put out into the universe through your thoughts and actions is what the universe gives back to you. Think about it. Remember the last time you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? (Maybe it was this morning!) You may have had a difficult conversation the night before, a bad dream or you woke up and stubbed your toe first thing out of bed. And before you know it, things just spiraled out of control. You spilled a drink on your shirt, you were late for work, you left your lunch on the kitchen table, and you totally forgot to send that important email out. All before noon! This isn’t coincidence. The more we focus on how frustrated, annoyed and bothered we are by our situation, the more it manifests in our daily life. The power of intention is a strong force, and if used correctly, can change the course of your day, week, month, year or life!

Now, don’t expect a cheerleading session from me with all of the right motivating words to get super excited about changing your life. Don’t get me wrong – that’s really important, too. You can go listen to some awesome podcasts or audio books instead. 🙂 What you’ll find in this article is 5 simple steps to start getting what you want RIGHT NOW and living the life of your dreams!

(Need a good book to get you fired up? Check out a list of my favorites at the end of this post!)

5 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life

1. Declare what you want.

What is it that you want exactly? You need to be extremely clear about what it is that you desire. It’s hard to create a plan or get anything back from the universe if you don’t really know what you want. If this is hard for you, think about what it is that you don’t want and then flip it. For example, you don’t want to be in debt so what you really want is to live a life of financial freedom and abundance. See what I did there? You don’t want to focus on what you don’t want (the universe will keep manifesting that!) but some of us have an easier time thinking about what we don’t like about our lives as opposed to an idea of what we want. Once you know what the discontent is and you switch it to think about it in a more positive way of what you DO want, you’ve completed step one!

2. Identify what it will take.

Think about what it will take to get what you want. Do you need to wake up earlier? Do you need to network with more people? Do you need to sell more? Do you need to eat healthier? Workout more frequently? What are the things you need to do in order for your dream life to happen? If you want to lose weight, it’s likely that food and exercise will play a role in achieving your dream life. Specify what it is exactly that you need. Don’t just say to yourself, “well, I need to get healthier.” That’s not specific enough and will be more difficult for you to follow. If you know you want to lose 50 pounds, declare that you need to work out 4-5 times per week and stick to a plant-based diet. If you want to double your income, you will need to identify how you will monetize your skill sets (are you a writer? athlete? salesperson?).

3. Create a plan of action.

Now that you know what it will take to live your dream life, it’s time to put it into a specific plan of action. This is where you may want to quantify things (how many pounds to lose, how many dollars in sales, etc.). This step is where you get to be creative and strategize how you’re going to get where you want to be. It’s important to note that how you get to where you’re going may not happen exactly how you plan (or at all), but it’s impossible to live your dream life without a plan. Create a list of things you’re going to do today, tomorrow and the next day to put yourself in alignment with your dream life. Break your goals down into segments so it’s less overwhelming. Know the timeline in which you plan to reach your dream life. And then cut it in half. Anything you desire can be manifested quickly if you keep your thoughts focused and actions aligned with your thoughts and desires.

4. Just do it.

This is one of the hardest steps (I think it’s a tie between this one and step 5). JUST GO DO IT!! Yes you’re short on time; yes you’re tight on money; yes there’s a million things you could think of as reasons to NOT live your dream life. But why settle for that? GO DO IT. If you want to lose weight, get yourself in the gym. TODAY. Want to double your income? Set up those appointments with investors/stock holders/customers TODAY. There is no attraction without ACTION. You can think about and visualize your dream life all day but if you don’t take the steps necessary to make it happen, those thoughts will just stay thoughts. Show up and get it done.

5. Ignore self-defeating beliefs and people.

Let the fears and doubts go. Channel them into something more productive. Focus on what you want and desire, not what may go wrong. Imagine what life will be like when you are living abundantly! Ignore those family and friends that tell you you’re crazy and that your dreams are a bit too big. Unsuccessful or stagnant people feel uncomfortable when someone does things differently. Be committed despite your negative thoughts and the negative people in your life. YOU are the one who has to go to bed at night with yourself. Are you going to sleep knowing that you did what you needed to to reach your goals?


If you need some more motivation or specifics on attracting the life of your dreams, check out some of my favorite books:

Law of Attraction Secrets

Flip Flop CEO

You are a Badass

Go Pro

How Successful People Think

On Fire


Here’s to living the life of your dreams!

Health, wealth & happiness-

♥Cait

 

*Note: There may be affiliate links in this post. This means I make a small commission on purchases made through those links at no extra cost to you.

Nordstrom Sale Must Haves: Looks Under $100

Have you guys seen that the Nordstrom sale has been opened up to everyone? It’s been so exciting seeing all of the deals they have for everyone in the family! I thought I’d give you guys a few more looks to check out, and this time they’re all under $100! That’s my kind of outfit!! I’m a huge bargain diva! 🙂
If you want to see all of the sale, you can click here. Otherwise, click on any of the items or hover over to see the sale price!








With a sale like this and outfits that look this good for that cheap, I can’t contain myself! Mama needs a new wardrobe! 🙂

If you had to pick one outfit, which would you choose?
Happy shopping my friends!
Health, wealth & happiness-
♥Cait

Nordstrom Sale Must Haves: Fitness

And the sale keeps on going!! Have you gotten anything you absolutely love yet? Please share it with me!

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite activewear that I’ve found through the sale. I loooooove some good activewear! And on sale? Yes, please!

Just hover over to see prices or click on the items you love to take you straight to the sale!

Nordstrom Activewear


(nursing mamas – check this one out!!)




Which style is your favorite? Comment below to enter the giveaway! (Check out my Instagram for details: instagram.com/that_fit_mom_life )

Happy shopping!

 

Health, wealth & happiness-

♥Cait

A Letter to My Husband

To My Dearest Husband:

THANK YOU. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. You are the rock that keeps me grounded and I am forever grateful that you chose me to be your forever and always. You are strong and faithful and loving. You are my logic when I’m emotional and my emotions when I’m too logical. You balance my innermost flaws and strengths in such a way that literally astounds me on almost a daily basis. There are days when I think to myself that it’s incredible I found someone who so perfectly meshes with all of my idiosyncrasies without even having to try.

Thank you for your love and patience. I know I’m not the easiest person to deal with at times but you do it so effortlessly. Thank you for loving me at my darkest times and my best times. Thank you for empowering me and loving me for who I truly am without ever asking for anything in return. Thank you for lifting me up and holding me accountable all in one fell swoop. You push me and encourage me and drive me crazy in all the best ways. You are the only one who knows every depth of my heart, soul and mind. Thank you for allowing me to safely be who I truly am without ever fearing judgment.

Thank you for being the father that I could only have dreamed of once upon a time. Thank you for being a role model even in times when it would be easier not to. Thank you for showing up every single time, even when it’s hard and frustrating and downright exhausting. Thank you for prioritizing our family, especially when it means going against what others say or think and when it makes your job that much harder. Thank you for providing us with an incredible, safe and fulfilling life. Your work never goes unnoticed, even when I don’t tell you as much as I should.

Thank you for being level headed when I lose my cool and for always having the right words to say to keep us on track. Thank you for always striving to be the best version of yourself personally, professionally and as a dad. Thank you for the comfort and peace you give us when times are tough and the laughter and contagious energy you give when times are great.

You are the light that guides our family.

You are my forever and always.

Love,

Your Grateful Wife

Nordstrom Sale Must Haves: Kids

I hope you’ve been enjoying your shopping with Nordstrom’s amazing annual sale! I have to admit – creating this post made my ovaries hurt and my bank account.  Have fun browsing the cutest deals for your little ones! Check out some great styles for the ladies for under $200 here.

For the Boys

(Oh my gosh – I can’t get over this dog sweater! It’s a must for little man this fall!)



For the Girls

 








My heart is literally exploding looking at all of these kids’ outfits! Oh my gosh – they are precious!! Which is your favorite?

Shop before anyone else as a Nordstrom Card Holder!
Stay tuned for more awesome deals on awesome clothing and housewares!
Happy shopping!
♥Cait

End of Summer/Beginning of Fall MUST HAVES (Special Discounts Inside!)

Happy weekend my dear friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! And I think I’m about to make your weekend even better. 🙂

Image result for happy weekend

I recently got word that there is a huge sale going on and I wanted to give you insider access to it! Now before I get to the details, I want you to know that I’m not a huge fashionista or a big shopper for that matter. But you better believe I LIVE for sales and amazing deals. So when I find one, I HAVE to share it with the whole world!!

Here’s the big (not so secret) secret!

Nordstrom is having their HUGE annual sale starting TODAY. Here’s the deets:

-if you’re a Nordstrom Card Holder, enjoy EARLY ACCESS to hundreds of items that are gorgeous and perfect for the end of summer and beginning of fall (July 13-20)

-if you’re not a Card Holder, get one here

-everyone else can enjoy these great deals starting July 21 through August 6

To help you with your shopping, I’ve put together some of my favorite looks that I’ve found with my early access as a blogger (just one of the perks I’ve recently discovered – I’m a slow learner, I know)! Over the next two weeks, I’ll have a few posts dedicated to specific looks and budgets for everyone in the family! Want to see something specific before you have access to the sale? Let me know!

Just click on the pictures if you love them or go ahead and browse all of the items here!

Looks for Women for Under $200

(Hover over the items to see brand & pricing.)




Check back daily for more shopping inspo for the family! I know you’ll find something for everyone to love!
Happy shopping!
♥Cait

How to Eat Vegan & Keep it Cheap: Free 7-Day Budget-Friendly Vegan Meal Plan

Hey friends! Thanks for joining me today as I share some insight into tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past 9 months to live on a nutritious and amazing vegan diet while not breaking the bank!

There’s a common misconception that eating plant-based foods is really expensive; I thought that when I first transitioned to being vegan, too! But once I started really getting the hang of understanding which foods provided which nutritional values and how I could create meal plans that had meals that played off of each others’ ingredients, I found it extremely easy to eat plant-based and save tons of money. You guys – I spend less now each week than I’ve everrrrr spent in my life. That includes my meat eating days and my buy whatever is cheapest and throw it together days.

I’ve found various resources that I’ve used to gather the information I have and adapt it to fit my family’s lifestyle. I hadn’t found one resource that really gave me that “vegan 101” that I was looking for – I was lazy and didn’t want to have to put information from 10 different blogs, 5 YouTube videos and 3 documentaries. But I did. So now I’ve compiled what I know in an easy format for you!

*Note: I try to buy all organic foods, so all foods listed are organic unless otherwise stated. If I rely on a specific brand of something, I will note that. Otherwise, feel free to use whatever brands are convenient for you and your family. There may be affiliate links in this post. This means I make a small commission on purchases made through those links at no extra cost to you.


Budget-Friendly Vegan Meal Plan


Below you will find a FREE 7-day vegan meal plan that won’t break the bank! The cost of this meal plan, plus any household accessories or additional snacks/beverages that you need, can easily be kept between $50-$75. The meal plan lists the breakfast and lunches that we do every day and then the dinners are listed with their ingredients and recipes. This plan is designed to use the same ingredients for different meals, as well as repeat meals, so keeping the meals in order would be easiest. If you want to switch it up, though, it really won’t be too hard to make it work for your needs!

Breakfast – Arbonne Protein Shake w/ 1 banana & 8 oz of almond milk

Image may contain: drink and indoor

Lunch – Leftovers or Protein Shake

Day 1 – Tofu Stir Fry

Time to Make: 20 minutes; Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 package super firm sprouted tofu
  • 1 bag of frozen veggies of your choice
  • preferred stir fry sauce (we use Annie’s Asian Sesame or Aldi’s Thai Peanut Sauce)
  • soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
  • quinoa or rice (I prefer to buy quinoa in bulk from Amazon – you save so much money!)

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa or rice according to package. (It is easier if you cook 3-4 cups of uncooked quinoa to have for the rest of the week.)
  2. Place tofu on paper towels on a cutting board and press the liquid out (either with your hands or placing a pan/book on it for 10 minutes).
  3. Warm large pan on stovetop while the tofu is being pressed. (I like this one – and it’s half off!)
  4. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into hot pan. Cover with about 1/4 cup of your desired sauce and a few dashes of soy sauce or tamari. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Cook frozen veggies according to package.
  6. Add cooked veggies to tofu and add a little more sauce and soy sauce/tamari.
  7. Serve tofu & veggies over quinoa.

Day 2 – Buddha Bowl #1

Time to Make: 10 minutes; Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2-3 cups of greens (we use a large container of a mixture of kale, baby spinach & arugula from Aldi – it lasts the entire week)
  • 1/2 avocado per person, sliced
  • cooked quinoa
  • red pepper dressing  (we like Annie’s or Aldi’s brand)
  • 1/2 tsp each – chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin
  • dash of turmeric

Directions:

  1. Drain & rinse chickpeas and dry off with a paper towel. Place in bowl and mix with the seasonings.
  2. Warm a non-stick pan on Medium heat and roast chickpeas for 7 minutes.
  3. While chickpeas are roasting, put a handful of greens into each bowl, a scoop of cooked quinoa, and top with the sliced avocado (half of an avocado per person).
  4. Top the bowl with the roasted chickpeas and the red pepper dressing and enjoy!

*adapted from Well and Full

Day 3 – Buddha Bowl #2

Time to Make: 15 minutes; Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp each – chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin
  • dash of turmeric
  • 2-3 cups of greens
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 of a sweet potato per person (You can cook all of the sweet potatoes you need for the week in the oven @400°F for 45-60 minutes if you’d like to meal prep.)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp warm water

Directions:

  1. Drain & rinse chickpeas and dry off with a paper towel. Place in bowl and mix with the seasonings.
  2. Warm a non-stick pan on Medium heat and roast chickpeas for 7 minutes.
  3. While chickpeas are roasting, microwave each sweet potato for 6-8 minutes (start with 6 minutes, add more time if the sweet potato is not soft).
  4. Cook broccoli according to package.
  5. Assemble the bowl by putting a handful of greens, a scoop of quinoa, roasted chickpeas, broccoli and sweet potato in each bowl. (You can cube the sweet potato or put the entire half into the bowl.)
  6. To make the sauce, mix the tahini, maple syrup, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of warm water. Add more warm water if the sauce is too thick.
  7. Top the bowls with sauce & enjoy.

*adapted from Minimalist Baker

Day 4 – Stuffed Sweet Potato

Time to Make: 20 minutes; Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato per person
  • 5 cups of mixed greens
  • 1 can beans of choice, drained & rinsed (we’ve used kidney, chickpeas and great northern; all work great!)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Microwave 1 sweet potato per person for 6-8 minutes each.
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat 2 tbsp oil in large frying pan over Medium heat.
  3. Add beans, garlic & red pepper flakes to frying pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the mixed greens and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Slice the sweet potatoes longways and pinch the ends in to create an opening.
  6. Fill each sweet potato with a large spoonful of the beans/greens mixture. Enjoy!
  7. Feel free to serve this with some quinoa or rice!

*adapted from thekitchn

Day 5 – Tofu Stir Fry

Day 6 – Buddha Bowl #1

Day 7 – Stuffed Sweet Potato


Tips & Tricks


Now that you have your meal plan, ingredient lists and recipes, I just wanted to share a few tips & tricks I’ve discovered in keeping my budget down and making meal time quick & painless.

Budget-Friendly Tips

  • If you are able to shop your local farmers markets for any of the items or any additional fruits & veggies that you want for snacks throughout the week, do it! You can keep costs down dramatically by not buying these items at your big box stores. Plus you’re supporting local business, which is always important!
  • Always keep an eye out for the sales ads each week. Some of the local grocery stores near me have even be putting organic produce on sale! Score! Plan your shopping trips around which stores have the best deals.
  • Use the big box store apps, if available. Near me, I shop primarily at Aldi & Meijer. Meijer has an app that lists all of its products, sales and prices. I always start at Aldi, as they typically have the cheaper items, but I check the Meijer app while I’m shopping at Aldi, compare the items on my list, and only buy the things that are cheapest at Aldi and then I head to Meijer to pick up the rest.
  • Bring reusable bags. Many stores now offer anywhere from $.01 to $.10 off your bill per reusable bag. Every penny counts!
  • Stick to water with lemon if you can. It’s not cheap to keep stocked on sparkling waters, juices, pops, etc., and it’s healthier if you can just drink water throughout the day.

Meal Prep

  • To keep cook times down, you can meal prep on Sunday (or whatever day you shop).
  • Cook all of the sweet potatoes at once as mentioned above.
  • Cook all of the quinoa (3-4 cups uncooked) and store in the fridge until needed.
  • Drain & rinse all beans for the week and store in containers in the fridge until needed.
  • Mix the seasonings need for each Buddha bowl and store in containers on the counter until needed.

 

Until next time, friends!

Health, wealth & happiness,

♥Cait

Confessions of a Crunchy Mom – Part 3

Misconceptions About Crunchy Parents and Where to Find More Information


Welcome back and thanks for checking out Part 3 of this Confessions of a Crunchy Mom series! If you’re just joining us, check out Part 1 and Part 2!

Being crunchy has been an extremely beneficial lifestyle transition for our family, and I live in gratitude every day that we have gained so much knowledge that not only betters my husband’s and my life but that we are truly setting up our little man for a healthy life straight from the get-go. I get teary-eyed thinking about it. With this newfound knowledge and alternative lifestyle has also come discomfort from others, questions, and many misconceptions about what our lifestyle means. I’d like to dedicate this final post of the series to address some of the main misconceptions we’ve experienced (and then I’ll provide resources for you guys to start checking things out for yourselves!).

Misconception #1 – Where do you get your protein/iron/nutrients from?

This is probably the question we run into most frequently. As soon as someone hears that we are vegan, immediately the shift of the conversation goes to, “but where do you get your protein? How is S getting all of his important nutrition?”

I have to be honest – initially, I was a little offended by this question. My thought was always – “don’t you think I would do what’s best for my family?” But then I realized that just as I had been raised, most people are raised to think the one and only way to get nutrition is from meat. So when people ask us about this, it’s not that they think I’m stupid or trying to harm my family; they genuinely don’t know any other way to get nutrition other than meat.

Plant-based diets are being recommended more and more by doctors and other medical professionals because the research is starting to accumulate showing that meat is not needed to sustain a thriving life, and in many cases (almost all), it actually is detrimental to our health. Yes – even those free-range, no antibiotic chicken breasts you’re eating. I am not a doctor; I do not have my degree in food science, nutrition, etc., but I am extremely passionate about it and have learned to research scholarly articles from medical professionals and organizations so that we can make these decisions for our family.

Plants provide all of the essential amino acids, vitamins, mineral, nutrients, proteins, etc. that we need to be healthy and happy. In fact, most people who consume meat actually are eating TOO MUCH protein! Here are some examples of where we get our protein:

 

Misconception #2: Crunchy parents are all hippies that base their information off of Facebook memes.

This makes me laugh, but I can totally see what people may think this! In every group, there’s always those people. It can be a sports group, a crunchy moms group, a breastfeeding group, a food group, etc. – there will always be those few bad apples who troll. But when it comes to being a crunchy parent, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being crunchy means you do extensive research, to the point of exhaustion most times, so that you know that the choices you make for your family are the best ones. As I mentioned in my previous post in this series, this is not intended to downplay the importance of doctors and medical staff. However, I highly encourage everyone to do their research in EVERY decision they make for their family, especially for their children. Medical professionals are human beings, too. Sometimes, they’ve only been taught certain aspects of treatment or prevention approaches; sometimes they didn’t sleep for 36 hours and are thinking foggy; sometimes they just make mistakes. So whenever there is a decision to be made (antibiotics, vaccines, surgeries, diet changes, medication, etc.), a crunchy parent will exhaust themselves seeing if there are more natural solutions. Unfortunately, information used to educate medical professionals is not necessarily unbiased, so crunchy parents have come to accept that medical interventions are not always in the patient’s best interest, regardless of what the latest meme says.

Misconception #3: Crunchy parents just want to rebel and do things differently.

Again, I can understand why people might think this. We’ve been asked on several occasions – “why can’t you just follow what we’ve done for years? Why don’t you just do what the doctor says? Why do you have to always be different?”

Let me clear that up easily – we WISH we could just do things the easy way. We WISH we could trust every doctor and what they recommend. We WISH that we didn’t have to read every label of every food item and personal care item we use. But that’s not the world we live in, so we continue to “be different” so that our son grows up with a higher chance to not deal with chronic illness, eczema, stomach problems, migraines, allergies, etc. Believe me – there have been plenty of days and nights where I get so frustrated and I cry and I get mad and I curse at the fact that our country does not always do things for the best interest of the people but instead for the vested interests of lobbyists and big money. I just want to not have to think about things for a day, not have to see if dairy or chemicals were sneakily placed in foods that we want to try. It can be exhausting at times, but once your eyes have been opened to the details that are so carefully hidden, you can’t just ignore the facts. The goal is much bigger than my small frustrations. The goal to live a thriving, happy, prosperous and healthy life is always worth it, even if it is “different.”

Misconception #4: Crunchy parents think they are better than non-crunchy parents.

This one really makes me sad. I’ve seen more and more things on social media lately bashing moms who choose to live aligned with nature. There have been blog posts, memes and ugly conversations in mom groups that have suggested that crunchy moms think that they are better than everyone because of the lifestyle they live. I speak for myself (and I think many others will agree) that living a crunchy lifestyle really has everything to do with our immediate family and nothing to do with anyone else’s lifestyle. My husband and I have done the research we have and have chosen the lifestyle we live based on that research. If someone else does not parent or live their life the same way we do, it doesn’t bother us! As parents, it is our job to do what we think is the best for our family and I hope that each of you do that for your family as well. There are some things about the crunchy lifestyle that are just facts, whether or not people want to believe them (antibiotics disrupting gut flora, GMO foods working as hormone disruptors, disposable diapers having chemical treatments, etc.). These things are true and it is every parent’s choice on how they want to incorporate that information into their lives. That doesn’t mean I judge you or look down on you if you do things differently than me.

On the flip side, there are also some things about the crunchy lifestyle that aren’t for everyone. And that’s okay. Crunchy parents generally don’t get into the crunchy lifestyle thinking, “how can I make ______ feel like they’re inferior to me?” Being crunchy usually involves wanting to connect with other people, share knowledge and spread love through relationships. It’s not about putting others down or making people feel bad.


Resources for a Crunchy Lifestyle


If this series has sparked any interest or you want to just understand why we have made the choices we have made, I want to provide some links, literature, etc. for you to check out on your own time. I share these things because they have made a huge difference in our lives, and I hope that on some level, they will change your life, too.

Books

Vaccines 2.0

Prescription for Nutritional Healing – it’s almost 50% off right now!

How Not to Die

Veganomicon

Blogs

The Minimalist Baker

Oh She Glows

Plant Based Jane

Veggies Don’t Bite

That Mom Life Blog

Vaccine Info

Government/Education Websites

CDC Vaccine Info

CDC Vaccine Additives

Ingredient Lists for All Vaccines

FDA Standards for Personal Care/Cosmetic Products

European Union Personal Care Standards

Favorite Products

Avanchy Bamboo Plate & Spoon

Vegan Skincare, Makeup & Nutrition

Lillebaby Complete All-Seasons

Siliskin Reusable Food Bags

 

I’d love to hear your feedback about these resources and my thoughts on living a crunchy lifestyle. I’d also be more than happy to chat with you about your transition to a crunchy lifestyle! Thanks for joining me in this series, and I hope just one thing touched you or helped you in some way! Until next time, friends.

 

Health, wealth & happiness-

♥Cait

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