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Thursday, May 29

Healthy Living // Post-Baby Fitness

Weeks after giving birth and experiencing the healing that then ensues, the reality of working out was overwhelming. Nonetheless, post-baby fitness is so important to me. I honestly only have about  five pounds that I want to lose, and I am certain that eating paleo throughout my pregnancy and breastfeeding have allowed me to get really close to my pre-baby weight quickly and with minimal effort.

Just to give myself a set schedule and not have to think up workouts, I joined EPLifeFit for the next couple months. The basics of the program include Olympic lifts and short metabolic conditioning workouts. And after only a few weeks, I can tell a difference. I am also back to eating strict paleo with an allowance for a few extra carbs and calories since E is still exclusively nursing.

This is what my current workout schedule looks like: 

-- I workout on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday and complete a two part workout. 
Part one: Heavy Lift Rotation (back squat or deadlift or bench press)
Part two: Metabolic conditioning workout (metcon), always less than 20 minutes

-- On weekday afternoons we take walks around the neighborhood. As I mentioned last week, Elliot loves to be outside, so late afternoon walks as a family are one of our favorite things.

-- If possible, I try to sneak in 30 minutes of yoga at least once a week. This usually occurs while little E is napping, but I often have to choose between practicing yoga and prepping dinner... and dinner typically wins.

-- Saturdays are for trail runs, swimming laps, long walks in the woods, yoga, riding my road bike or any other sport type activity. If  we have time or feel like doing one of these activities, we do them, but there's no pressure. I no longer use running or swimming as my means of maintaining fitness. Instead it is a hobby, a sport I enjoy. {Read more about why I've made this change here.}

-- After listening to this super interesting podcast, we also recently started making mobility exercises a priority, aiming for at least three days a week of committed stretching, foam rolling, or completing one of these alignment videos.

Also, it is super important to note that exercise isn't enough. Eating whole, paleo foods is absolutely essential for good body composition, fitness and general well-being. And we can't forget sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep cortisol levels low, which allows for good body composition, fitness and well-being.{That being said, I am probably not getting enough sleep these days, but with a 10 week old and going back to work, it just isn't possible some days. I do my best to get at least 6 hours and have at least one night a week where my sweet husband takes over night duty so I can get some uninterrupted sleep. I definitely notice a difference in my workouts on the nights that I get less sleep, though!}

Hope this helps any of you working to get rid of baby weight or anyone trying to improve overall strength and body composition. I truly believe in this plan and this type of exercise!


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Monday, May 26

Paleo Basics // Grilled Salmon + Sauteed Vegetables

I am including this recipe in the Paleo Basics series because this recipe is easily adapted to whatever you have in your refrigerator. The key is simple seasonings that provide lots of flavor. This dish easily becomes grilled chicken with sauteed onions, zucchini and bell pepper. Or how about flank steak with sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts and cabbage? You get the idea! 

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Lately I have been making a concentrated effort to eat more fish. Ever since I was a child I've been less than a fan of seafood. It's that distinct fishy taste that I just can't get down with. That being said, when we vacationed in Panama last year, I ate fresh tuna steaks every night and absolutely loved it. So far we've grilled tuna steaks from the farmer's market, wild caught turbot from Whole Foods, and now wild salmon from Trader Joe's. {You can find some of my favorite paleo TJ items here!}

Grilled Salmon Fillet + Sauteed Vegetables

For the fish:
2 salmon fillets (preferably wild caught)
Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute
Olive oil

For the vegetables:
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced in half
1/2 package organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 package organic spinach
1 tbl spoon ghee or grass-fed butter
olive oil
salt & pepper
coconut aminos

How to:
Drizzle your salmon fillets with a bit of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and season with 21 seasoning salute or other seasoning mix (no sugar or seed oils, please!) and place in the fridge for about four hours or more before cooking. When it's dinnertime, remove the fillets from the fridge and place on a hot, oiled grill. We cooked the skin side first and removed the fillet when it started flaking, about ten minutes. While the salmon is cooking saute the onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of ghee/butter. Once the onions are translucent, add in the mushrooms. Saute for about 2 minutes, then add in the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more. Finally add in the spinach and cook for just a few minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper and a splash of coconut aminos just before serving. Remove the salmon from the grill and serve with a lemon wedge and a side salad of organic greens and balsamic dressing.

Happy (paleo) eating!

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Wednesday, May 21

Motherhood // Thoughts of a New Mom 02

8 WEEKS...
Has it really been eight weeks since I brought this sweet little man into the world? In some ways those first few overwhelming, sleep-deprived but oh so wonderful days feel like yesterday. And in other ways it seems like we are figuring this thing out and finding our new normal. I've said it before, but the best advice I received about this whole process... 'Don't. Blink.' So true.

I am back at work but only part time for now. I will eventually go back full time, most likely in June or July, but for now having a few days during the week at home with E is essential. The first day back was difficult but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Still, those evening cuddles with my little one are oh so precious and necessary after 11 hours away from him. Luckily, my amazing/generous/rockstar mom is keeping Elliot while we are at work. Such a blessing, I can't even begin to explain.

A few other miscellaneous thoughts from this new mom trying to figure this whole thing out...

-- Babies should come with a dashboard that has indicator lights for bored, overstimulated, I need to be held, I just need to cry and so so sleepy.

-- One on one time with my husband, although sometimes difficult to obtain, is so crucial. I miss that guy so much some days even though he is in the same room.

-- My babe's coos are my absolute favorite sound.

-- Little E is growing so fast it's insane. Despite the fact that his mama is somewhat of a shrimp, he already fills out his three month clothes. What?!

-- Those deep blue grey eyes are the best sight in the world after a long day at work. I seriously hope they don't change color... but if they do, a deep brown like his daddy's would be so handsome. 

-- Elliot loves being outside, a trait he inherited from both his parents, but especially his papa. Our new trick is that when he is starting to get fussy, we simply walk outside and talk about the trees and flowers and squirrels and he quietens down immediately. I may have been known to put the Roo in front of the window so I can prepare dinner. ;) Peace at any cost, right??

Also, we are planning to switch to cloth diapers here in the next month or so. Any suggestions, techniques, tip and tricks are welcome!


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Monday, May 19

Paleo Basics // Trader Joe's Favorites

Today I'm starting a new series about paleo basics. When I published the Whole30 meal plans in January {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} I received quite a few questions about things that I take for granted. Like how to make chicken salad, where to find certain products, and how to eat paleo and not break the bank. All of theses things are second nature to me now since we have been eating paleo for four plus years, and I sometimes forget what it was like in those first few months. It can get overwhelming quickly, so my hope is that this series will help you seamlessly ease into a paleo lifestyle.

When it comes to saving money and eating paleo, one of my favorite places is Trader Joe's because I can get good quality paleo items for a good price. There are a few produce items that I will only buy organic {spinach and sweet potatoes are on the list}, and TJ has good prices on these items as well as some pantry staples and oils. Because we live an hour  from the closest TJs, we go about once every 2 weeks and stock up. We build this into our grocery budget by making the in between week's budget smaller and buying less that week. So every other week we have more to spend on our grocery budget.

See my list of TJ favorites here.

A few notes...

-- We buy meat from our local grocery store or online because we can get free-range chicken and grass-fed beef from local farmers. However, if I can't make it to another store or we are out of our freezer supply, I like knowing I can get decent meat products at Trader Joe's as well.  

-- We get our eggs from our backyard hens or from a local farm. Before we had the ladies, however, we purchased the organic eggs from Trader Joe’s.


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Sunday, May 18

Elliot West // One Month

{better late than never}

When Elliot was born I think I hear the phrase 'don't blink' about a hundred times, and despite the cliche, I have to say it's so. so. true. I feel like I turned around and he was already a month old. Those first days of sleep deprivation and figuring out how to take care of a newborn went by in such a blur, and now I want them back. It is so hard but so rewarding. And this sweet little life has changed mine forever.


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