The Juice of the Week | 01

Hello there! Life has been so full lately. Isaac turned one (whaat?! I know!), and we threw a party for him and Seth, whose birthday was a few weeks ago. I’m preparing to shoot my first wedding of the year- actually my first since Isaac was born, this coming Saturday. I’m so excited to get back to weddings, and this one is going to be amazing!

Something interesting happened concerning my headaches. A friend of mine told me about her acupunnturist, and strongly encouraged me to give him a try. I’ve had acupuncture before, with mixed results, and I ended up deciding that it wasn’t working for me. She explained that different acupuncturists can work differently though (makes sense), and this guy had worked wonders for her and her husband. So I made an appointment, and went last week. Dr. M seemed to know exactly what my problem is, and was totally confident that I would feel completely better with as little as one treatment and an herbal supplement he prescribed. He also told me to avoid caffeine, but was confident that gluten sensitivty isn’t an issue for me. I left feeling so hopeful and encouraged by his confidence. It’s been one week, and I’ve still had headaches every day, but he did say it could take a little while and that I may need more treatments. So I’m still hopeful (though I’ll admit I was hoping for an immediate change), and I’ll be booking another appointment soon. I’ll keep you updated as I continue with it.

Even though I’d only been off gluten for a bit over a month, I decided to try eating it again after what Dr. M said. The verdict is still out. I’m not sure if it is a cooincidence or not, but a day after I intruduced it back into my diet, I had the most awful, painful bloating (tmi? I’m sorry). My digestive system is so sensitive, and it’s always been pretty hard me to figure out what ticks it off. So I may remove gluten again after all.

Anyway, since juicing is a huge part of my life now- I juice at least once, and sometimes twice, a day- I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite concoctions here. We just upgraded our juicer, and I couldn’t be more excited about my Omega 8006. Seriously, I’m in love! It is a masticating juicer, where the one I had before was a centrifugal. (You can read about the different types here if you’re interested.)

So without further ado, here’s the juice of the week!

greensprouty

This is what I’m drinking at this very moment as I type, and it’s delicious! I keep the stems from all our broccoli for juice, because there are nutrients there too, and I try to use every part of the produce we purchase.

I bought my sunflower sprouts at Whole Foods yesterday, but I would really love to try growing them myself. I may need to wait until we move due to space constraints. Have any of you grown your own sprouts? Any tips? I think sunflower sprouts need a bed of dirt, but maybe I’ll try a different kind that I can do in a jar for now…

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A fresh start in a familiar place

Well hello there!

I haven’t written here on this blog in quite some time now. I used to post about motherhood and share some of my personal, everyday photography here, but as you can read in my last post, I made the decision that those things belong on my professional blog- that there wasn’t so much of separation between my daily life and my business, so it should just all be in one place.  So ever since May of last year I’ve been writing and posting over there, and also sharing lots of daily life tidbits on Instagram.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve begun a journey towards healing from years of almost daily migraines. I’ve shared a bit about the changes I’m making in my Instagram feed, but I was thinking maybe I should start a new blog to chronicle all of this. While I am definitely not an expert by any stretch, I’ve been passionate about health and nutrition topics for yeas, and have read a ton on the subject. I love creating new recipes and trying new things, and of course taking pictures of all of it, so why not share some of that? As I pondered a name for this hypothetical health/food/life-to-the-fullest blog, and began thinking of what the design would be like (because of course that is of utmost importance to design nerds like myself), it dawned on me to just start up again here.

Seeking Equipoise- seeking balance- is exactly what I am doing. When I named this blog, I was thinking balance in terms of life in general. Now I’m focusing on balance in my body through whole foods and healthy living. And it’s my hope and prayer that as I find that balance and bring my hormones and chemistry into harmony within my body, that the pain that plagues my days will be just a memory.

So welcome to Seeking Equipose, version 2.0!

A few months ago, my headaches had once again increased in frequency, so that I was in pain for at least part of nearly every day. Sometimes I’d go to bed with a migraine and wake up after a rest;ess night to find it still pounding away. I was tired, impatient, mentally foggy, and some days even depressed because of the constant pain.

My chronic headaches began when I was a teenager, and back then I had every test done, saw many different doctors and tried many different medications with various yucky side effects. Nothing was found to be specifically wrong with me, no apparent cause could be found, and nothing that was tried ever helped.

I turned 17 during my first year away at college (yes I was a just a baby), and a new doctor tried me on a strong, nasty medicine that made me feel drugged all the time but still didn’t help. After months of feeling that way, losing 12 pounds, and still having headaches, I decided that traditional western doctors and methods were not going to help me. I began seeing a chiropractor regularly, and ended up learning so much about health from her. Getting adjusted did decrease the frequency of my headaches, which I’ve been so grateful for, but it did not make them stop.

Over the eight years since then, I’ve lived with migraines. They’re an unwelcome part of my life. Sometimes they only come once or twice a week, but other times its every day. Late last year the frequency increased again, and I was busy being mom to my two boys and running a full time photography business. I pushed through the pain as best I could, as I couldn’t afford to succumb to it. But one day I just knew something had to give. There must be an answer; I simply can’t accept that all this pain has no cause. Both my chiropractor and my nutrition expert friend Liz advised that I keep a food journal and look for possible triggers. Then through Liz’s advice, I began an elimination diet. For at least the next three months I’m cutting dairy, gluten, and sugar out of my diet, to see if there is any difference once they’re fully out of my system. I’m also minimizing processed food, eating raw and juicing frequently, and following a routine of supplements that Liz recommended.

These are huge changes, made rather suddenly- especially after the crazy processed sugar fest of the holiday season! But it will we worth it, and I reached a point of desperation. One night after eating a piece of cake and just feeling terrible immediately, I realized how ridiculous it was for me to consume things that ruin my health and overall happiness, just because they taste good while I’m eating them. It’s simply not worth it. I decided then and there that I’ll give up whatever I need to in order to be free from this pain, because once I am I know that I’ll be a better mom, wife, and friend, a more focused business owner and artist, and just a much happier person.

So here I am, writing this to document my journey to a better, healthier life. I’m only weeks into this, and making new little changes all the time still. I’m still getting headaches of varying intensity daily, but I can already tell that my body feels healthier. On those rare headache-free days, I have so much more life and energy than I used to, and I’m tons more productive. Last week, as I was dancing with Seth in the living room, my husband commented that I’m a different person when I’m not hurting. It’s so true. I hope that those days are a preview of what every day will be like in the future!
I have no idea who out there will be interested in all of this, but I’m writing it for myself and for anyone who might be helped or inspired by it. If you decide to follow along or even join in a bit- welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!

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Pregnancy Must-Haves

{from a maternity session I shot early this year}

I am now six months into my second pregnancy. My first was pretty easy- I had very little nausea, minimal aches or pains until the very end, and in general felt pretty good most of the time. This pregnancy has been pretty much the opposite of that. I was sick every day for the first 15 weeks, and have had headaches at least a few days each week. Midway through I began to experience a lot of back pain, and in general my body has gone through much of the typical list of pregnancy discomforts.

I write all that not to whine and complain- it could totally be so much worse, and will be worth it a million times over. I’m sharing because in the midst of all that, I’ve found some things that have helped make me so much more comfortable and able to enjoy being pregnant, and I want to share those with other mamas.

Here are some of my pregnancy essentials:

~Mommy’s Bliss Morning Sickness Comfort - my midwife gave me several sample pack of these capsules, and they seemed to really help the nausea.

~Preggie Pop Drops - helped calm my stomach a bit too. i really liked the lavender ones.

~Miso soup - also for morning sickness. this helped so much! i made it with swiss chard or kale in place of or in addition to the kombu.

~Teechino - to help cut down my caffeine intake without withdrawl symptoms, I mixed this with my coffee grounds starting with a 1:3 ratio and working the actual coffee down to about 1/2 a small mug’s worth each day.

~Hair ties - to loop through button hole and around button of non-maternity jeans. this allowed me to wear them about twice as long as i would have.

~Bella Band - Another great item for wearing regular jeans longer. now i use it to hold up some of my maternity jeans that don’t like to stay up well.

~Belly butter - I like something with shea or cocoa butter. The key is keeping your belly super moisturized. I did this every day in my first pregnancy, and since I didn’t get any stretch marks then, I’m doing it again. Some people say if you’re going to get them, no amount of lotion will change that, but even so, keeping your skin moisturized will help prevent itching as your skin stretches.

~A journal - for me, navigating the emotional roller coaster of these nine months (and way beyond) requires frequent writing. I also keep a journal for each of my boys, where I write letters to them- I started both early in pregnancy.

~Water bottle - I love my stainless steel Kleen Kanteen to avoid the chemicals in plastics. I try to remember to have it with me whenever I’m not at home. Drinking more water than feels completely normal is really really important to feeling well and being well during pregnancy.

~Chiropractic care - I can’t say enough good things about my chiropractor. Without her, I might be bedridden right now. Growing a human really moves things around, and getting adjusted regularly helps keep the spine, hips, and pelvis aligned. It’s important after giving birth, too. I switched about a month ago to a chiropractor who has specific expertise in maternity care. I also trust her with my babies, as I really believe it’s never to early to start taking care of your spine.

~Supportive, comfy walking shoes - being active in pregnancy is so important, and comfortable shoes are a must. My old ones were not so great, so early in my pregnancy I bought some Asics. Love them.

~Yoga mat and prenatal DVD/class/book - I like this DVD, as going to class is tough on our budget (not to mention difficult to get into my schedule). EVen doing a few basic poses and some breathing for a few minutes out of the day has such a positive effect on my energy, comfort, and sense of calm. It helps to much to stay limber and flexible, and strengthen muscles that you’ll use in labor.

~Digestive enzymes - for any trouble with digestion. The difference after I started taking this daily was incredible. I get Whole Food’s store brand “Wholezyme”, which is a blend of different types of enzyme.

~Yoga pants, jersey skirts, comfy bras (I went ahead and bought a couple nursing bras since the ones left from the first time are totally shot), maternity jeans… basically, things with lots of stretch. A lot of what I wear on a daily basis isn’t even “maternity”. Comfort is paramount though, and it’s possible to have it and still look cute.

~Pregnancy tea - one that includes red raspberry leaf. Sitting down with a cup of herbal tea is a great way to relax, and getting a blend for pregnancy can have some great health benefits. I like the ones made my Yogi and Traditional Medicinals, and the trimester-specific loose leaf ones from Worts and Cunning Apothecary on Etsy.

~Pillows. Lots of pillows. My current setup is one in front of me, tucked under my belly a little, and one under my top knee. Otherwise I seriously can’t fall asleep.

~Dried fruit - I have craved sweets a lot, and while dried fruit is still sugary and not as good for you as fresh, I figure it is better than candy, and having a little bit of it helps the craving a lot.

~Snacks - having healthy ones around all the time keeps blood sugar steady.

Maybe I’ll have some more to add near the end, as the third trimester always beings new challenges. But for now, that’s what I’ve got.

What are your pregnancy must-haves?

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Drink to your Health

Today on my photography blog, I posted this photo for the 52 weeks project I’m part of. Our theme this week was beginnings, and I wrote a little about the changes I’ve been making to the way I eat, and the beginnings of my journey into running.

I mentioned the Crazy Sexy Diet in my last post. When I first started reading it, I knew that it was going to spur change in my life. I was almost scared to start it, but I am so glad I did.

I was a vegetarian for years before I got married, and afterward kind of off and on. I started eating meat and dairy again because it was easier- easier to get protein that way, easier not to cook separate things for myself and my husband, easier to eat out or at other peoples’ homes. Still, I have known all along that it is not the ideal way of eating, and that my body just doesn’t like those things. Animal products and processed foods clog up the system and cause all kinds of problems, and this was always in the back of my mind while I was consuming them and then suffering from stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, heartburn, and skin problems. Well, Kris Carr’s book has brought it to the forefront of my mind again, and I am choosing to treat my body better. I may like the flavors of the food I’ve been eating, but it just isn’t worth feeling awful now and jeopardizing my long-term health. And I know from experience that after a while, those toxins leave your body and you don’t really crave the same foods you once did.

Raw foods, juices, and smoothies are a big part of the Crazy Sexy Diet.
I love smoothies and juicing- they are one of my favorite ways to “eat” my veggies. Kris Carr’s “Make Juice Not War” Green Juice is awesome. You can use romaine lettuce in place of the sprouts, or play around with different greens like spinach and parsley.

Green smoothies are also amazing. I’m not sure I have ever made two exactly the same, but this is one of my basic recipes:

Creamy Greenie Smoothie

1/2 avocado (or 1/4 of one of those really large, lighter-colored ones)
1 banana
handful of spinach
about a cup of coconut water
a drizzle of agave nectar

Then you can go nuts and be creative. Use only half a banana and then add some berries, kiwi, or pineapple. Use cucumber instead of (or in addition to) the avocado. Throw in some broccoli or alfalfa sprouts if you have them. You get the idea. Enjoy :)

{p.s.- Even my 2 year old will drink this. I’m not kidding.}

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