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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best Summer Salad

Salads make me happy. All that freshness! Yum. 

This is  one of my recent favorites. The dressing recipe is from my friend (and my doula!), Melissa Chappell, Raw Melissa. Her cookbook, Faves: Fruits and Veggies, Nature's Energy's Secret is my favorite recipe book. I have made nearly every recipe in it and they are all exceptional — and simple! That girl and her book changed my life. No joke.

Here's my latest fave, inspired from her book. Try it! I can bet you'll have a smile on your face when you're done devouring it (and licking the bowl when you're finished).

red leaf lettuce
red bell pepper
zucchini (or English cucumber)

1 lemon
olive oil

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Capturing Childhood

What mother doesn't love her own children's faces? We're drawn to them from the moment they come into the world. I've been drawing my children for 16 years. You'd think I'd be an expert by now, but I still have so much to learn. Capturing expression is an illusive feat.

This year I've been drawing nearly everyday. I think I've made more progress drawing faces this year than I have in the last 16. Here are a few recent sketches...
Here's Jane on a turtle sculpture at the park. 
This is from a photo of me looking at Lucy for the first time.
How do you capture your kid's childhood? Photos? Memorabilia? Video?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Kick Adrenal Fatigue to the Curb

I don't get stressed on family vacations anymore!
It's been nearly a year since my diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. I blogged about it here and have been plugging along through the last ten months trying to get over it.

If you get dizzy when you finish a workout, or when you stand up. If you're tired all the time. If you get really cranky in the evenings. If you can't get up in the morning after eight hours of sleep. If you feel like you're going to have a melt down if one more person asks you for something ("Mom! I neeeed...") If you have no motivation to do anything. If you feel old and beat up. Well, sweetheart, you might have adrenal fatigue. My doctor calls it "Mom Syndrome." Hmm...I wonder why?

Here's what worked for me:

  • Patience, and lots of it. Exercising patience with my body and the healing process were difficult when the months dragged on and I could see myself getting more and more out of physical shape... That was hard. I knew, though, that if I pushed myself hard again, I'd relapse and take even longer to get well again.
  • High-quality vitamins. The kinds I took were: pharmaceutical grade fish oil, with a balance of EPA and DHA that is 2-to-1; food-based multivitamin; 1000mg of vitamin C; and an adrenal support supplement. These are all available at your local health/natural food store. I buy mine at Whole Foods on Tuesdays for the 10% off. 
  • Alternating adrenal support vitamins: The adrenal support supplements I found best were Holy Basil and Licorice Root. My doctor originally recommended Ashwaghanda, but I didn't notice a significant improvement until I started taking the Holy Basil. He also told me that these supplements are adaptogens, which means your body gets used to them and they aren't as effective if you don't alternate. What I did was take Holy Basil for 35 days and Licorice Root for five days. That was what worked the best. I also took PharmaGABA, a natural supplement that produce alpha brain waves (the same ones your brain produces when it's relaxes, yet alert). The PharmaGABA was something I'd take when I knew I was going to be under stress, or when I was starting to feel stressed.
  • Rest. Getting to bed as early as possible and sleeping in as late as possible was, and still is, my quest. That has been really difficult, since I live with four lively girls (two of which are teenagers and don't really honor the whole "bedtime" rule very often).
  • Meditation and prayer. This helped me stay calm and patient, but most of all it helped me stay the course. I'm always happier when I talk to God and clear my head on a regular basis.
  • Extra help. Asking people to help out a bit more was also tough, but it took the stress off. That's what I needed — less stress.
  • Saying "no" more. When there are activities, parties, meet-ups, conferences and all sorts of volunteer opportunities, I was always the first to say I'd participate. That had to end. It felt like I was missing out at first, but I soon realized my life was a lot more manageable and simple when I eliminated all the extras. I have been able to focus more on my family, too. 
I can finally say that I've kicked adrenal fatigue and I'm feeling better than ever. I'm even signed up to do a short women's triathlon next month. Getting back in the game is making me crazy excited. This time, I'm listening to my body, though. I'll be focusing more eating right, sleeping more and enjoying my good health. 

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