Going Vegan: Taking the ‘Game Changers’ challenge

I am what society would consider an “older” mom.

My husband and I both had children in our 20s, and when we got married a few years ago, we decided to have babies together even though we are around 40 now (I am 7 months pregnant with our second daughter together, making 4 total children).

That being said, we take our health very seriously.

beige wooden rectangular chopping board
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Recently, we watched the digital documentary “The Game Changers,” by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul.
The film caught our attention due to the backing of Schwarzenegger and Chan, two people who we consider to be exceptionally athletic.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the film explores the popularity of a plant-based diet amongst professional athletes and provides some very interesting and compelling facts about the benefits.

After having watched it, twice, my husband and I have decided to give the plant-based, or more commonly referred to as, vegan, diet a try.

So far, as I write this, we are 6 days into our journey, and this is what I have learned so far…

A vegan diet is expensive.

We went grocery shopping they day before we were to start our diet and spent more than $100 over our normal budget. In addition, we have had to make 2 additional trips to the grocery store for dinner supplies and spent an extra $150.

That gave us a grand total of $250 extra in just 6 days time.

Now, to be fair, we did have to purchase all new snacks and a few incidentals that we would normally have on hand if making a non-vegan meal. However, there is a definite and very noticeable increase in our grocery budget so far.

It takes some effort to plan your meals.

Quick, go-to lunches and snacks have been replaced with more thought out, and sometimes prepared from scratch, meals.

This issue is one of habit, knowledge, and routine. I have to assume that, as we become more familiar with the diet and discover more vegan alternatives to our favorite snacks, our snacks and lunches will become easier to prepare quickly and / or pick up on the run.

Take-out and fast food are dead to me.

While our grocery bill has gone up, our take-out budget has been reduced to $0. There are not a lot of options out there for vegan fast food. Even the Impossible Whopper comes with cheese and white bread.

We can do fries and maybe a plain bean burrito, but really, at that point, you might as well make your own lunch and have something worth eating.

The bottom line, so far…

While your weight loss results may vary, there is no denying that after only 6 days I can feel a difference and so can my husband. I have more energy throughout the day, and he has seen a noticeable increase in his stamina during workouts.

Meals have not been difficult to make or plan. Quick internet searches have provided us with easy to make and delicious recipes for each meal. We have even adapted some of our favorite recipes to turn them into vegan friendly favorites.

So far, we are believers. The extra effort and money have been worth it to us. We are investing in our health and our futures. We owe it to our children to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Reducing Waste with a Family

My husband and I have always been a bit hippie-ish. We like to live sustainably where we can, eat healthy, and be active.

Lately, I have been introduced to the idea of zero waste living. Now, I have no illusions about myself or my family, so I know that we cannot, or will not, succeed in zero waste. However, we can make a drastic reduction in our waste by making just a few small changes.

I have decided to share with you, our journey to reduce our waste, and do our part to keep this planet beautiful

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 11.47.22 AMThe first and easiest change that we made, was to switch to reusable grocery bags. There are so many more options today. You don’t have to carry ugly brown canvas bags; you can even use your bags to separate your items while you shop.

A new change we are planning to make is to ditch bottled shampoo and conditioner for bar shampoo and conditioner. Most of what we are buying in those big bottles is water. The bar eliminates the water and the extra plastic packaging, while taking up a lot less room in the shower.

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 11.49.06 AMComposting is something that we have been inconsistent with. My hope is that, by adding an indoor bucket for collecting organic waste, we can get better at composting our food waste.

Going hand and hand with composting, are reusable K-Cup with paper filters. You can use your favorite ground coffee in a single cup maker and dump the tiny filter full of ground directly into your compost bucket.

My children and I both love those little fruit cups, but they are trash makers. Like the K-cup, every single use cup puts another plastic container in the trash. I was pretty excited to discover these little glass jars. I can either cut my own fruit or buy bulk fruit salad and use the refillable glass jars instead of the disposable plastic containers.

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 11.48.17 AMHomemade toothpaste is something that I have been passionate about for years, not because of the plastic tubes, but because I didn’t like the idea of brushing my teeth with something that is harmful if swallowed. Getting my family on board has been a bit harder, but then I found these adorable refillable tubes. Now, the toothpaste looks more like what they are used to, while eliminating the plastic trash of the store-bought toothpaste.

The last change on my list for this segment, is to replace my plastic left-over containers with plastic free glass containers. The lifespan of glass containers is so much longer than the flimsy plastic ones. They clean up nicer, and they can be recycled if you do need to replace them.

A Mom’s Guide to Looking Good Quick

Before After.jpg

When you have a baby, you rarely have time to pamper yourself. So, what can you do to erase months, or years, of neglect when you have a big day coming up.

I was faced with this issue when, 4 months after giving birth, I was getting married.

I am by no means a beauty consultant, or even an avid makeup user, but here are the tricks I used to lose weight and trick my skin into looking like I take care of it.

2 months prior to the date:

I went on a strict Paleo diet. This allowed me to still eat enough to keep up my milk supply while also losing weight rapidly.

Basically, the Paleo diet is meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. To lost weight, you should focus on lean meat and vegetables. Fruit is high in natural sugar and nuts are high in fat. Strict Paleo diet rules required grass fed beef, but that is just too expensive for a family of six, so I ate a lot of chicken and fish.

Also, increase your water intake if you can. Water helps the skin as well as the waist line.

2 weeks prior to the date:

Pick up some new make-up and practice applying it at least two or three times. Also, pick out your outfit ahead of time and whatever jewelry you are going to wear.

There is nothing worse than running around the day of because you can only find one earing, or your shoes no longer fit, or you need to get control top pantyhose. Give yourself time to order new items online or to get out to the store if you need to.

GlamGlow1 week prior to the date:

Time to trick your skin into looking flawless. I used Glam Glow Supermud and a one of those charcoal black peel-off masks every day on alternating days until the morning before the big day.

My skin was so smooth, and my pores were so tight, that my makeup applied flawlessly.

Brutally Honest Review: Menstruation Cup

Warning, this is a brutally honest review of a menstruation cup. Content may not be suitable for those uncomfortable with their body and its functions.

I am a woman who has a heavy period. For at least the first two days of my cycle, I go through a super tampon every 45 minutes. I have never cared for pads, for I just deal with the frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 4.27.51 PM
At night, I use three super tampons at once, then get up in the middle of the night to change them. Sometimes I have to do this twice a night…that is nine super tampons just to get through the night.

Needless to say, this is uncomfortable. I experience crapping due to the tampons and I frequently bleed through my pants. Not to mention, I have a bathroom trash can full of bloody tampons, which comes with its own issues.

Every cycle I go through 40 plus super tampons.

After 25 years of menstruating, I started looking for a new solution. I Googled “tampon alternative,” and that is how I learned about menstrual cups. I asked around and found that only one of the women I know uses a menstrual cup.

Based on her recommendation, I decided to bite the bullet and try it out for myself. I went to Amazon and bought the Dutchess Cup. I got the size A, which is the bigger cup, suitable for women who have had children or are over 25. I am both.

Day one, I opened the box and read the very simple instructions. Mostly, I looked at the picture of how to fold the cup to make it small enough for insertion.

The material is silicone based, so it is very flexible, but still strong. The cup itself fits in the palm of my hand. You insert it just enough to hide the whole thing, pull nubby and all, maybe 2.5 inches.

I was able to insert it on the first try. I was worried that it didn’t unfold all the way, so I wiggled it a little from the pull nubby. Then, off to my son’s soccer game…of which I am a coach, so no bathroom breaks for me.

Ladies! Let me tell you, I forgot that I had my period. I was so comfortable and had zero feelings of impending leakage. I came home from soccer and was still fine. That first cup lasted almost five hours. I could feel a slight difference and so I decided that I might be full, sure enough I was.

Now, taking the cup out for the first time was a bit harder than putting it in. The cup had a pretty tight suction going on, so I had to pull harder than I had anticipated, which made me a little nervous, but once it started to move a little, I yanked it right out.

Unfortunately, that first yank was not the best idea. When the cup popped out, it sprayed blood everywhere. If I am ever murdered, my husband is definitely going to jail, because that bathroom had tiny blood splatters everywhere.

My second attempt at taking the cup out went much better. My suggestion for a clean removal is to pull the nubby until the cup is about half way out, then grab the cup and pull it the rest of the way out slowly.

I dumped the cup out into the toilet and rinsed it in the sink with hot water. Put it back in place and washed my hands. The more I did it over the course of my cycle, the better I got at it.

On my heaviest flow day, overnight I had to empty in the middle of the night once. That next morning, I did experience a very small leak, but it was because my baby daughter prevented me from getting to the bathroom. I could feel the sensation of being too full and needing to empty, but I couldn’t get away in time. That being said, the leak was a teaspoon or so, not the half cup I am used to.

After using the Dutchess Cup, I will never go back to tampons again.

A CBD Themed Baby Shower for Kim K

I don’t usually follow pop culture icons, like Kim K…BUT, this caught my attention because it is something I am actively researching.

 

I believe in the CBD movement. In my heart, I am hoping that CBD is the holistic answer to anxiety and depression issues in both children and adults.

 

The pop culture princess herself has jumped onto the CBD bandwagon, and is planning a CBD inspired baby shower for her 4th child, according to an USA Today article. She claims that the couple just want a Zen party to help her relax before the baby’s arrival.

 

Now, it should be noted that Kim and Kanye’s baby is being carried by a surrogate, so Kim is not actually pregnant.

 

CBD oil has been highly touted by its supporters as a basic cure-all. While I do not believe that CBD is the cure for cancer, I do believe that CBD can help reduce anxiety and pain in patients, which leads to a better quality of life and more effective treatments.

 

There is strong scientific evidence that CBD can reduce seizures in children with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Both of which, according to an article on the Harvard Health Blog, typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications.

 

The concerning part about CBD is the lack of production and quality regulation. WebMD cautions potential CBD users that in “a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label.”

 

If you are planning to try CBD oil as a treatment for pain, anxiety, or sleeplessness, it is important to research the brand that you plan to use. Look for real reviews. Reach out to the company’s customer service and ask them questions about their quality control process. Look for an ingredients list to be sure there aren’t hidden hazards in the product.

 

Treat CBD oil like you would any other medication or health product. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for and not getting anything you don’t expect.