Friday, May 24, 2019

The Protocol

The Protocol

The plan that I have developed is a combination of protocols created by Dr. Stephen Cabral and information I have gathered over the past several months from listening to podcasts and reading books. Most of my information that I am using is coming from two main sources: The Cabral Concept Podcast and Dr. Hyman's Broken Brain book as well as as his docuseries which contained interviews from over 30 experts from all fields within the medical community. 

Now, I'm not one to believe in following only one proven approach. I believe in combining multiple methods to figure out what works best for the individual, in this case, myself. However, considering the fact that my state of health has rapidly declined over the past several months, I have decided to focus mainly on the protocols developed by Dr. Cabral as a way to clean and reset my body. Once my body is back to a healthy, functioning state, I will go back to using the multi-method approach to maintain my health.

Now, in order to pinpoint the underlying cause of symptoms, it's best to do lab tests. These tests will give you the data you need in order to determine exactly what is going on with the body. However, lab tests are expensive, so I have decided to forgo the tests and go straight to the protocols. I have scheduled a physical and regular blood work next month in order to look at some of the main health markers, which I am excited about and will share with you!

So with that said, the plan:


Deep Sleep!

Rest/sleep is so underrated nowadays, yet it's one of THE most important things you can do for your body in order to maintain optimal health. Your body NEEDS rest. It's during rest when your body detoxifies, heals and repairs. Without rest, your body cannot do it's job!

Now, there were multiple factors involved in my lack of sleep:
  • Callie nursing, co-sleeping and waking up multiple times a night
  • Dis-regulated cortisol levels
  • Bad pillows
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • SUGAR and Caffeine
I would struggle to fall asleep, and when I did, I would wake up a few hours later, and once again, struggle to fall back to sleep. It was an ugly cycle that left me tired and moody.

So I made some changes:
  1. Encouraged Callie to sleep in her own bed, all night
  2. Stopped all activity (household chores, electronics, etc)1 hour before bed and just relaxed
  3. Added more head support (better, bigger pillows!)
  4. Added Adrenal Soothe to my nighttime routine
I made the last two changes a little under 3 weeks ago, and all I can say is, "WOW!". So this is how it feels to be fully rested? I get about 7 hours of rest, straight through without waking. And if I do wake up, I can fall right back to sleep. Now, that's not to say I can't disrupt this cycle like I did the other night.

A few days ago, I decided to have a handful (or 5) of chocolate chips (SUGAR!) (for the first time in weeks) right after dinner - a food I used to literally live off of daily - and that night I woke up several times and suffered from stomach pains, bloating, night sweats, and a skin itching. A clear sign that I do have CBO and that I'm on the right track with my healing! It also shows how truly sensitive I am to caffeine. Even caffeine in chocolate will disrupt my sleep. 

Food and Nutrition

I don't think I need to go too in depth with food. It's pretty simple. Eat a balanced diet consisting of fruits, veggies, healthy fats and clean proteins. Limit or avoid caffeine, dairy, gluten and alcohol. Supplement when needed. 

I'm working on my diet, but due to the CBO, I have weak digestion, so eating a lot of food doesn't come easy. Therefore, I have included in my diet the Daily Nutritional Support: a Multi-Vitamin, Mineral and Protein shake in one. It contains all your daily nutritional needs in one shake and it's easy to digest and absorb - something I need right now. On top of that, I take Omega 3s in the form of Fish Oil as well as my Fruits and Greens through a powder as well. 

Remove Environmental and Household Toxins

Image: Back to Health 4 You
I plan to go more into depth regarding environmental and household toxins, but just to note, this includes: food, water, air, beauty products, household cleaning products, heavy metals, halogens, plastics, electromagnetic fields, and the list goes on. 

Physical Activity

Image: BiteScience

Ah, my favorite. We all know how much I love to workout. But, at the end of the day, it is a stressor on the body. And when the body is sick, it can do more harm than good   if the workout is too much for the body to recover from. 

So, while I am still lifting and training 5x a week, I am taking it easier, not going as heavy on the weights and as fast on the cardio, and I am taking sunbathing breaks when the weather is nice. 

Manage Stress

Meditating is one of the best ways you can manage stress!

This is obviously easier said than done, but this past year has taught me a lot about priorities and self-care. I no longer over-fill my plate. I say "no" when I need to and I ask for help when I need it. I take breaks; I work overtime only when absolutely necessary; I'm mindful of my emotions; and I meditate whenever I can. Chronic stress is one of the main causes of dis-ease. Make sure to de-stress every single day!

Heal the Body!

All of the factors above are extremely important to healing the body and later maintaining optimal health. However, "if the damage has already been done", you must address the root causes, provide extra support to the body to heal through supplementation and bring back balance. 

As I stated before, testing is the BEST way to pinpoint the root causes, but I'd much rather spend my money and do a complete reset of the body. So, with that said, here is the complete plan of protocols as recommended by Dr. Cabral: 

  • Parasite Protocol
  • Intestinal Cleanse
  • 7-Day Detox
  • Candida and Bacteria Overgrowth (CBO) Protocol 
  • Intestinal Cleanse 2
  • Gut Rebuilding Protocol
  • Heavy Metal Detox
It will be a lengthy process filled with supplements, multiple detoxes, and special diets, but it will be worth it in the long run!

Parasite Cleanse

Image result for parasite dr cabral
Image: Episode 1124

You may be wondering why I decided to include a parasite cleanse when it's not listed as a potential root cause in my last post. Well, for starters, live pathogens can prevent your body from fully benefiting and healing from the other protocols and cleanses. This is because live pathogens can "steal" your nutrients and also prevent the gut lining from healing due to the protective layer they create along the gut in order to survive. Therefore, it's really important to kill these bugs before starting any other cleanse. Considering the amount of money I intend to invest in order to heal, I want to make sure that I am setting my body up for success!

In addition, here are a few other reasons why I think I need to do a parasite cleanse:

  1. I love seared, raw tuna and raw oysters and I have been consuming quite a lot of both ever since we moved. Who knows what kind of parasites I may have consumed. 
  2. I have also consumed sashimi in the past year from our local sushi restaurant, which included all sorts of raw fish, some local, and some, not so much.
  3. I have traveled out of country multiple times in my lifetime, one time resulting in "food poisoning" and a trip to the hospital. While this may be irrelevant, know that some parasites can live in your body for 10 years! 
  4. In addition, I have also experienced some possible symptoms of parasites to include:
    1. Night Sweats
    2. Unexplainable skin itching, especially at night when the parasites are most active - I would wake up at night unable to calm the itching on my back
    3. Adult acne, especially on the back and forehead
    4. Bloating and digestive issues, especially at night
    5. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as unexplainable anemia
    6. Strong craving for sugary foods

So, as you can see, to rule out parasites would be counterintuitive to my healing process. Plus, parasites may contribute to CBO, so again, best to kill everything!

The Parasite Protocol is one of the easiest cleanses I will be following on this journey. All that is required is:

Weeks 1-3

  • Consume 2 capsules of FloraFilm (an intestinal enzyme) upon waking
  • Consume 2 capsules of FloraFilm along with 4 capsules of ParaPro Support Herbs at night, before bed

Weeks 4-6

  • Consume 2 capsules of FloraFilm upon waking and 2 capsules before bed
  • Consume 2 doses of Biocidin Drops, 1x upon waking and 1x before bed

In addition, I am to consume:

  • 1 raw garlic, crushed and swallowed before bed
  • As much as I can of coconut oil, papaya seeds, oregano, pineapple, onion, and garlic 

I just finished the first half of the cleanse and I am already seeing positive changes. The night sweats and skin itching has disappeared and I have less bloating. My mood has significantly improved thanks to the Adrenal Soothe which is allowing me to sleep through the night, and the nutritional support that is providing my body with everything it needs to function. My hair is slowly looking thicker and fuller again, although quite a bit is still falling out. Overall, I am quite pleased with the changes I have experienced so far! Just the fact that I am finally getting a full-nights rest, and waking with the sun, as opposed to my alarm, has made all of this worth it! I'm slowly starting to feel like me again!

It's important to note that there are multiple factors, besides the cleanse, that have contributed to these positive changes, but I am excited to continue with the protocol plan I have in place as I continue working towards optimal health!

My goal moving forward is to capture my progress at least weekly in hopes that my health journey can help someone else out there who may be dealing with similar issues. My life purpose has always been to help others, and this is just one way I get to do just that! If you have experienced similar symptoms or wish to know more, please don't hesitate to reach out! I am always happy to help!

"Every day in every way, I am getting better and better" - Dr. Stephen Cabral

Stay Positive!

Monday, May 13, 2019

This is My Story: Part II

Photo Credit: A Bowl Full of Lemons

Part II

After the dust settled, I really began digging deep into health and functional medicine. My knowledge base on natural health was outdated and needed to be “brought up to date”. I began reading health related books, listening to podcasts such as Dr. Cabral, and taking advantage of health summits such as the most recent one by Dr. Hyman, The Broken Brain Series. As I listened and read more and more about the different dis-eases of the body and the underlying root causes, all I could do was nod my head as I related to so many of the factors that lead to dis-ease:

  1. Poor Sleep
  2. Nutrient Deficiencies
  3. Chronic Stress (which includes overtraining)
  4. Toxin Overload

Just to name a few… I had been blinded by the idea that my body was healthy and strong enough to take on everything I was doing to it, and for a while, it was. But eventually, it could take on no more, and it began catabolizing or shutting down.

The Why

The factors involved in my health decline go way back past the move I mentioned in Part I. However, I’m going to stick to that starting point and give you a brief look at my life at that time.

I was a full-time work from home mom. I worked 8 hours a day minimum for a corporate company on my computer which I worked on in the kitchen so I could have all eyes on deck. My kids were being home schooled full time, ages 10 and 2 (they turned 11 and 3 a few months later). My 2 year-old was nursing as well as co-sleeping. I had just been through an emotionally traumatic event a little less than a year prior and was still trying to heal from that. I was mending my relationship with my husband; attempting to maintain a meditation practice and workout regimen, all while managing the household: cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. Life was not ideal; not for me, nor for my family. Even though it was what I wanted, and thought I could do, I realized, I just couldn’t do it all. So I set out to make some changes. I just knew that if I didn't attempt to bring balance into our lives, my health and relationship would eventually fall apart.

First change was to get our children out of the house on the weekdays. 

First days of school, September 2018

My work productivity was declining and I needed to focus. The constant back and forth between work and my kids’ needs was driving me mad. So in September of 2018, they were off to school and daycare! It was what they both wanted anyways, so it wasn’t too hard of a transition. As a result, the household felt less chaotic and more balanced. There were less messes to clean, and I was able to have a full day of peace and quiet to focus on my job. My stress levels reduced greatly just by this one change!

Second change, wean my daughter from night nursing and help her transition to sleeping in her own bed. 

This was how I always woke up! It's cute, but it'll do a number to your body overtime.

This was a tough one and took quite a while to accomplish. I knew that the changes had to be gradual, so we took it slow, starting with night weaning and ending with her sleeping in her own bed, full-time. While I enjoyed co-sleeping, the lack of sleep was really starting to take its toll on me both physically and mentally. I just knew I couldn’t be a great mother if I didn’t get a full night’s rest. So we made the changes, and today, I can proudly say, our youngest sleeps through the night, most nights, in her own bed! We both wake up way happier than before!

Third change, take control of my physical health. This one, I’m clearly still working on! I was learning a lot via the podcasts, books and health summits. I was beginning to understand why I was in the state I was in, and what was required of me to get back to optimal health. Even though I “knew” what I needed to do, I was still allowing everything else in life to take priority. It was only until I discovered (a little over a month ago from today) that I was rapidly losing hair  that I realized I needed to take action…and I needed to take it now!


So, What is Wrong?

Now, before I dig into what I learned and the protocol I am following to heal my body from the inside out, I want to just recap on the symptoms I was still experiencing:

  • Insomnia (I’d wake up and be unable to fall back to sleep)
  • Post-nasal drip which led to constant clearing of the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Ear pressure, pain and feeling of fluid in ears
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Poor recovery from my workouts
  • Digestion issues (lots of bloating and poor metabolism)
  • Acne
  • Longer menstruation
  • Metrorrhagia (bleeding between periods)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms are all over the place, and that’s because when one thing is out of  balance, the rest of the body follows. Why? Because the body is interconnected; from the head (and brain!) all the way to the tip of your toes!

Now, I will say that I no longer have the ear pressure and pain which I contribute to the practice of swallowing raw garlic every night before bed. I started the practice out of curiosity, knowing that garlic oil helps to clear ear infections, and it worked like a charm after about a week! I also stopped singing for 8 hours a day and moved to listening to podcasts. That may have helped some the TMJ symptoms as well, ha!

As for the remaining symptoms, I’m not 100% sure what is wrong since I decided to skip the labs and go straight for the protocols. However, I have a few guesses:

Candida or Bacteria Overgrowth in the Gut

There is no doubt in my mind I have some sort of yeast or bacteria overgrowth in my small intestines/gut. My clues? One, my initial infection was an overgrowth of yeast or bad bacteria. Two, the multiple uses of antibiotics/steroids destroys the bacteria in the gut and leaves you completely susceptible to yeast overgrowth and eventually, gut permeability. Third, thyroid and hormone based issues tend to stem from CBO due to lack of nutrient absorption and inflammation from leaky gut. Finally, I have some food sensitivities to eggs, gluten, and coffee/caffeine and immediate reactions to fiber/carbohydrates. My gut definitely needs cleaned and sealed!

Low Progesterone (which equals to Estrogen Dominance) OR Low Thyroid

One impacts the other, but which I am dealing with I am unsure. The two have very similar symptoms such as hair loss, low mood, issues with menstruation, acne, etc, so it’s difficult to pinpoint which one is the underlying issue. I'm leaning strongly towards low progesterone/estrogen dominance based on the symptoms I am experiencing, but I am genetically predisposed to low thyroid/hypothyroidism. Therefore, I intend to address both. 

Heavy Metal Toxicity and Toxin Overload

Tuna is high in mercury, but man is it delicious!

If you move as often as we do, you probably know that each environment requires a period of adjustment for the body. The water, the plants you are surrounded by, the air, and the toxins that are filling your new home all require your body a period of adjustment and detoxification. And if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, detoxification does not come easy for the body. It needs assistance! I don’t know what gene mutations I may have, however, between the new home toxins, the high levels of chlorine in our water (which can affect the thyroid and lead to hair loss!), and our addiction to raw seafood, particular tuna and oysters, there’s a high possibility I have an overload of toxins, specifically mercury and chlorine, that I need to get rid of ASAP. 

Now, these are just the main underlying issues that I need to address. Other factors that need to be addressed include sleep, physical activity, nutrient deficiencies, managing environmental toxins, and having a daily destress protocol. 

With all these factors involved, I decided to develop a plan to take back my health; a protocol consisting of physical cleanses as well as life changes in order to bring my body back to it's natural, healthy state. 

Stay tuned! Next post I will dive more into the plan and protocols I am following!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

This is My Story: Part I

Photo Credit: A bowl full of lemons


If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I am currently going through my own little health journey. As I stated in my post, I have always had a love for health, nutrition and fitness. It started back when I was recovering from anorexia at the age of 13; I had used it to recover in the healthiest way possible. Ever since, my passion has always been the one thing I could count on to keep me afloat during the toughest of times. For example, it helped me through years of depression. It also taught me self-love when I was healing through emotional trauma. Fitness and health have also always been my go to for learning and education. I could listen about it, study it and practice it day in and day out without ever getting tired or annoyed of it. I guess that’s why they call it a “passion”.

I live to workout!

But being a health and fitness guru doesn’t leave me completely immune to downfalls such as nutrient deficiencies, overtraining or the like. Sometimes, we health and fitness enthusiasts don’t always practice what we preach and as a result, we’re given something new to fix or resolve: ourselves.

Now, I’m not going to go too far back into my past to explain my current condition, although, it is important to understand the whole picture to include past relationship with food (I had an eating disorder at 13), emotional traumatic experiences (school bullying and relationship struggles), genetic predispositions (for me that would be hypothyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure, just to name a few), etc. Instead, I’m going to start from where I believe things started going “down hill” and how they contributed to where I’m at now.

At the end of 2017, we had just moved to a new state during one of the most hectic times of the year: Thanksgiving/Christmas. Not the best time, but at the beach, it’s sort of the only time, so, we rolled with it. It was definitely a stressful time between moving and having to make sure all the gifts were purchased, but isn’t that why Christmas time always involves alcohol and cookies? It’s guaranteed to be stressful! And so is moving! But we made it through. The holidays passed, we were settled in, life was good. That was until my husband lost his job just a couple of months later.
This is home

At first I didn’t stress because he was given a pretty nice payout that could hold us for at least a good 4-5 months. But as months passed and no job found, I began to worry. On top of that, my children were still home full time (as I worked from home full-time) and I was still in the process of healing from past emotional trauma. I was going through quite a lot, but I was maintaining a morning beach meditation practice, working out daily and eating really well, so my body was able to handle the stress. At least, so I thought...

Several months after the job loss, I discovered I had an infection - the first one in over a decade. I figured it was just an anomaly, so I thought nothing of it. I made a few attempts to heal it naturally, but I was being really impatient, so I went straight for the antibiotics. My thought process was, my body is healthy and strong, so I could just use the antibiotics, kill the infection and reinnoculate my gut with good bacteria/probiotics right afterwards and everything would be fine. But I was wrong! All I did was start a chain reaction of issues that would eventually lead to what I have today.

While on antibiotics, I had contracted what I believe was bronchitis. I had it all: congestion, cough, mucus build up, etc - it sucked, but I pushed through it, doing what I knew was best for my body. At the same time, we were preparing for our family trip to Disney that we were leaving for in a couple of weeks…

Yeah, I know! Talk about timing! No job, expensive trip, sick body, airflight – Great combo of stress overload! Add to it more news that my company had just been purchased by another company – which means I just lost a sense of job security – and yeah, you could say I was slightly stressed and chronically worried about EVERYTHING.

At the tail end of my sickness, we took off on our flight to Disney – and my ears would not pop. Instead, it felt like fluid was pushed into my ear canals the moment the pressure changed. I spent the entire flight trying to get them to pop, with no success. Talk about painful! I spent the entire week with muted hearing and this constant feeling of things moving in my ear every time I swallowed or yawned. Just when I thought I was getting better from weeks of bronchitis, this occurred. Now I was really getting annoyed. I was supposed to be this model of health and fitness, so why the hell was my body falling apart on me!?

After our trip, my sinus cavities were still congested and my ears, still clogged and painful. So I decided to seek answers. My first stop, the ENT. I was so positive that I was going to get some answers during my appointment that day. But after an exam and a hearing test, all that was concluded was that my hearing was near perfect, even though I struggled to hear, and that the “trapped” fluid could just be from tight jaw muscles pushing against the ear canal and causing blockage. The cure? Don’t yawn, no excessive chewing (bye, bye gum) and eat soft foods…what!? That’s it? All I could think was, something is just not right. And so I continued to dig…

At that same appointment, I was beginning to show signs of something even worse occurring in my body…but what, I would not find out until a few days later.

It was November of 2018 when my body said enough was enough. What started as a cold turned into a multitude of unexplainable symptoms: Facial edema (my face was swollen), fever, shakes, fully body pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, loss of appetite, asphyxia or tightening of the throat, ear pain, pain in my abdomen where my liver was located, among several other symptoms. It. Was. Awful. I didn’t know what was going on, although based on my research and symptoms, I had it narrowed it down to a possible EBV viral infection. Of course, being the person that I am, I tried to recover from it naturally through rest and hydration. But after over a week of seeing no changes, my husband finally forced me to go to emergency care.
Not even a filter could hide the swelling
The doctor could not figure out what was wrong. She said she believed it was just a combination of multiple infections taking over my body. I had told her I thought it was the EBV virus and asked her to test for it, which later on, came back negative. Since she was unsure of what was going on, I was given fluids and prescribed antibiotics and steroids as well as given nausea reducing medications so that I could attempt to eat. She also withdrew blood to check on my liver enzyme count and gallbladder since both were swollen and/or tender.

Being as sick as I was, I wasn’t going to turn down the antibiotics and steroids - even though I debated several times. After all, it was the use of antibiotics that had gotten me to this point! After a few days of being on the prescriptions, most of my symptoms had disappeared and I felt almost normal again... except for the consistent sinus irritations and the tight feeling in my throat.

I returned for a follow up and to review my blood work, which at the time I had very little knowledge about. I was told simply that my liver enzyme count was up and that I was borderline anemic. This was shocking news to me considering I just had my iron counts tested only a few months back and was told that they looked great. She prescribed me proton pump inhibitors with the assumption that my tight throat was related to acid reflux, more steroids just in the case the swelling returned and asked that I get an ultrasound done on my liver to make sure nothing was wrong.

After a couple months, I never touched either meds, but I did finally decide to get the ultrasound done. Based on my research, I was sure the elevated enzymes were related to me being sick, but in my mind I was thinking, better safe than sorry. So I went. Finds out, nothing was wrong with my liver and my gallbladder was just a bit sludgy. Hmm ok. So still, no answers, but at least I was somewhat better.

Even though I had mostly recovered from a majority of the symptoms I was experiencing, I was still dealing with minor chronic symptoms such as sinus congestion, post-nasal drip, muffled hearing, ear pain, tightness in the throat, digestion issues and insomnia. But between the holidays, birthdays, new careers (yes, we both started new jobs/positions at the exact same time in January of 2019!), and other things going on, I just didn’t have the time to address them, so I just “dealt” with them, hoping, that through proper supplementation, healthy eating and good habits, they would eventually resolve themselves.

During this time, I also started listening to health podcasts and reading health related books. I figured I could at least educate myself on the underlying root causes of many dis-eases of the body and, in the process, learn about what I could do to heal my body. And THAT, I did!

To be continued in PART II...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Oola for Women: The Secret to Finding Balance

Balance. It’s what so many of us strive for yet few us truly find. As women, it’s in our nature to sacrifice our own time to nurture and care for those around of us. As a result our lives tend to be a bit unbalanced in some key area or areas of our life. I know for me, finding time to focus on my physical and mental health was seriously lacking for years. This resulted in little eating and one unhappy momma who suffered from anxiety, hormonal depression and daily exhaustion. For you it may be something different like your career or even your faith that is lacking focus and attention. Whatever it may be, we want and we deserve balance in all areas of our life. But how do we achieve that? Well, through the Oola method of course.

If you’ve never heard of Oola, then you are missing out on something amazing and life changing! Oola, as defined by creators Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl, is “that state of awesomeness. It is when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life – the 7F’s of Oola (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun)”.  Doesn’t that just sound amazing? Who wouldn’t want to live a balanced life full of awesomeness? I know I would! And I am trying...with motivation from their new book, “Oola for Women”.

Yes, the authors of the original Oola book, “Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World” have written a new book just for women, and it is a must read for all women looking to find or maintain an Oola life! I have read the original book, and while this book is similar in that it touches on the key areas of Oola to include the 7F’s, Oola Blockers and Oola Accelerators, what makes “Oola for Women” different from the original is the multiple stories from women all around the world who are either “Seeking Oola” or who are “Living Oola” based on the section being discussed. For example, in Chapter 6, Oola Field, you will first read about what defines “Field” or career. It discusses the difference between “Dream Job and Day Job” leaving you to ponder about what you truly want to do with your career. Next, are two inspirational stories, one from a woman who was Seeking Oola and another by a woman who was Living it! These stories you may be able to relate to. Others you may not. Every one of them is touching as you realize that success and balance is possible. Last, the chapter ends with steps on how to balance and grow this key area in your life. This cycle is repeated for every Oola F, every Oola Blocker and every Oola Accelerator! Forty-two stories in all! Amazing!

I’m not fully done with the book, but ever since I picked it up, I’ve had trouble putting it down. This book touches on so many key areas of my life that I need to work on. The stories that correlate with each section really bring home the discussed topic. It has helped me understand how I can change each area of my life for the better; to bring it to balance and continuous growth. It has encouraged me to redo my Oola Wheel (which it teaches you how at the end!) and has motivated me to save up for the next OolaPalooza that comes to a nearby town! Most importantly this book has made me realize my worth.


As a mom of two, a wife, a career woman, a housekeeper…the list goes on…I focus on so much that is around me. I crave balance and this book has taught me that I deserve balance. I deserve to live a life of Oola. But to do so, I’m going to have to work hard for it. I’m willing to do that. Are you?

If you’re like me, struggling to find balance in this fast paced, always working, ever changing place we call home, then I strongly encourage you to pick up “Oola for Women” and make reading it your first step to achieving the life you deserve; a life full of happiness, freedom, growth, purpose and most importantly, balance!

This book comes out on May 2nd (yes, that’s tomorrow!). You can pre-order it right now here! Don’t wait!

Disclaimer: Although I received this book for free in exchange for my review, this has in no way influenced my opinion about this book. Everything I have written above is written with full honesty and truth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

To blog or not to blog? + High Protein Post Workout Snacks!

I’m starting to see a pattern here. Blog for a few months, leave for a year, return and blog again…it’s funny how life works; how we switch through interests based on time and top priorities. As life has slowly begun to balance out, my interest in blogging has been slowly creeping back into existence. Time, however, seems to be an ongoing issue, along with many others. However, I know I can’t allow time or fear get in my way so I have decided to test the waters to see, is blogging still for me?

Recently I was approached and asked to write a post on post-workout high protein snacks. As a work-from-home mom, you’d be quite surprised at how hard it is to get a workout in. Between caring for a toddler, working a full-time job, cooking, cleaning, etc, there’s very little time to take care of me! But recently I have started working on finding balance and taking care of me has finally become a priority. On top of my “Me List”? Working out!
I love to run, bike, do full body workouts, and HIIT routines (great for busy mommas!), but my absolute favorite activity is yoga. It gives me the opportunity to relax my mind, focus on my breathing and move my body! Whether it’s a quick 15 minute fat burning session or an hour outdoors, my body always feels great afterwards and depending on the time of day, it’s also ready to be refueled.
I love to make my own protein snacks, but sometimes you just need to grab and go! So I will share with you some snacks you can make on your own to refuel after a workout as well as some products that are great for eating on the go.

Date Balls or Protein Balls

PB Chocolate yumm!
If you have never ever made date or protein balls, then I strongly encourage you to go make some ASAP! These little bit sized gems can be chock full of nutrients; protein, healthy fats, carbs and superfoods if you choose to add them. These are perfect for refueling the body post workout. They are easy to store, easy to bring with you, mess free, and super filling. I make some sort of protein balls every week for easy snacking!
My favorite ones to make are the Date Energy Balls or the Raw Brownie Bites from Detoxinista, depending on my mood. The Date Energy Balls are super easy to make, sweet and deliciously coconutty. The Raw Brownie bites are rich, sweet and the perfect solution to your chocolate cravings. There are many more out there made with different nuts and dried fruits. The possibilities are really endless!

If you’re not into dates, then try a recipe like this one for Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites! This recipe uses nut butter instead of whole nuts and honey as the sweetener. It’s full of fiber, long lasting carbs as well as superfoods thanks to the oats, flax and chia. For this recipe, I modify it a bit; I add some coconut oil to help smooth out the peanut butter and honey, and reduce the flax and add hemp seeds in its place.
In a rush? Grab an original Larabar! They are made with the same simple ingredients of dates, nuts and spices. Try my favorite, the Cashew Cookie Bar!

Trail Mix
Trail mix is one of the easiest high protein snacks to make and there are literally hundreds of different combinations! My daughter made her own this week for her snack for school. She added cashews, almonds, dried cranberries and raisins, sunflower seeds, allergy-free chocolate chips, and some store bought organic granola.

Trail mix is great as a post-workout or midday snack. The healthy fats and protein will keep you feeling full and sustained while the natural carbs from the dried fruit will keep your energy flowing.

If you’re in need of nuts to stock up, check out for a list of raw or roasted nuts. They even have yummy flavored ones! All of these would be great to add in to your trail mix! Just be easy on the sugar ;)

In a rush? There are several wonderful companies out there who make healthy trail mix. sells a Wild Berry Sprouted Trail Mix
that sounds amazing! Living Intentions also sells several different varieties, Mango Goji Fire, being my absolute fave!
Protein Shakes
When I was pregnant, I found this awesome recipe for a hemp protein chocolate milk shake. Hemp seeds are a wonderful source of plant-based protein and essential fatty acids that are easy to digest. I love sprinkling them on top of my salads, adding a few tablespoon into my smoothies or just eating them out of the jar. This recipe is sweet, rich, filling and super great for you! Think post-workout milkshake!

In a rush? I highly recommend Vega’s Post Workout Performance Protein Powder. Throw it into your shaker bottle with some homemade almond milk and you have a yummy protein shake right there! I personally like to blend mine with ice and maybe some nut butter or even greens to mellow out the sweetness.
Other snacks.

There are several other fabulous high protein snacks you can make or grab for post workout munchies. To add to the above:
  • Plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey (or make protein pops with Greek yogurt and your favorite fruit! My kiddos love Greek yogurt, bananas, strawberries and a splash of OJ)
  • For my meat eaters, homemade jerky is super easy to make and a wonderful chewy snack that is really high in protein
  • Quinoa. For those who intend to eat a meal after lunch, incorporate some quinoa into your meal. Quinoa is not only another wonderful source of plant-based protein, but it’s a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.  I love using quinoa on top of my salad or in a veggie bowl. It satisfies my “grain” cravings and rounds out my meal, keeping me full longer. Here’s a wonderful recipe for a quinoa wrap!!

Looking for more information? Check out registered dietitian Megan Roosevelt as she talks about healthy snacking tips! You’ll also find some pretty awesome high protein
recipes and snacks on's site as well.
Well that wasn’t too bad. Maybe I do have time again to blog!
What do you think? Interested in hearing more about healthy eating, aromatherapy and living the working mom life? Let me know!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tower Garden Set-Up

Four days after I placed my order at DC's Green Festival, the Tower Garden arrived.  I was impressed with the timeliness of delivery!  It came in 3 boxes:  1 containing the tower, 1 containing the cage, and 1 containing the grow lights.  When opening up the boxes, be sure to locate all the papers and put them in a safe place.  In addition, open the plastic label container outside the tomato cage or grow light kit box- it contains extra seeds!

I spread a trash bag on the floor where I planned to set up the tower garden, to protect the floor.

Assembly of the tower was straightforward.  Directions were easy to follow.  Denise had sent me helpful online instructions as well, and I had watched the online tutorials.  
One important thing to note:  when filling the base with water/plant food use half strength Tower Tonic A and B.  This is noted in both online and paper instructions, but would be easy to miss.  I used 1/2 gallon mason jars and used filtered water.  I added the first 10 gallons, then added Tower Tonic A, then added 5 more gallons, then Tower Tonic B, then added the last 5 gallons of water.  The intial pH was 5.5.

I had ordered the seedlings from Living Towers and True Garden the same day I purchased the Tower Garden, and they arrived at the same time as the Tower Garden: four days later!  Both companies sent seedlings with strong shoots.
Living Towers Seedlings: Swiss Chard, Peppermint, Tarragon, Basil, Chives, Dill, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Squash, Sugar Snap Peas.
Overall, the seedlings from Living Towers were in excellent condition.  Most were young, fresh shoots.  The mint did have one leaf that with brown discoloration.  The cilantro looked fragile, but we'll see how it transplants.  The worst thing about the Living Towers shipment was the difficulty of removing the seedlings.  You have to remove wooden chopsticks from the sides before the seedlings can be removed, and it is very difficult to get the seedlings out without lifting the shoots themselves.  I ended up using the chopsticks to lift them out, but the process was not simple.
True Garden: Spinach, Green Onion, Rosemary, Eggplant, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, and Tomatoes
It was much easier to remove the plants from True Garden's packaging.  In addition, the company specifically states that many of the seedlings are grown organically.  Unfortunately, the plants were packaged in non-biodegradable plastic packing peanuts.  In addition, if you look carefully at the image above, you will see the sage, thyme and rosemary have leaves that are browning.  The leaves on the spinach are yellowing.  Still, most of these plants should flourish.  Some just required heavy pruning.
Eggplant + Tarragon
I placed 2 plants in some net pots.  I haven't found any other blogs where people have tried this, so it will be an experiment!  The tarragon came with 4 shoots, so I split it 2 and 2, and put one half with the eggplant and the other with sugar peas.  I chose pairings based on an online search of companion planting.  I ended up changing some of the parings from my initial plan due to the strength of certain seedlings.
Eggplant + Tarragon
Somehow I lost the instructions for assembling the cage.  Thankfully, Peggy Sheridan has posted them on a youtube video: Installing the Tomato Cage on the Tower Garden.

Setting up the timers was not intuitive.  Jill Jacoby has a helpful youtube video:  Tower Garden Timer.  The light timer is set up in the same way as the watering timer.  One thing to note:  you want the watering timer on "timer mode" so it will be on 15 min and off 45 min when inside.  The total process took 3 hours to complete.  I am still awaiting the organic seeds and the strawberry plants, so more posts to come when those arrive!  Below is a short video of the final set-up.