One of the worst things about being a mom is seeing your little one in pain. And cutting four teeth at once definitely did a number on my little girl. Like I do with most ailments, I try to go the natural route before reaching for the medicine bottle.
I really love the Environmental Working Group and the reports they produce. Its findings go a long way to help consumers dig through all of the jargon and figure out what chemicals are in everyday products. The EWG’s 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning is my new favorite.
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to decode a label in the middle of a store aisle and having no idea whether or not a product is going to bring unwanted chemicals into your home. But thanks to the EWG, now you don’t have to do that. The group tested more than 2,000 cleaning products for actual ingredients, disclosure of those ingredients and any harmful effects. They graded each of the products and categorized them on their website. It’s completely user-friendly.
A couple of years ago my husband was given a cheese-making kit. This weekend we decided to make an Indian cheese calledpaneer. I was surprised by how easy it was. The kit was pretty basic, containing cheese cloth, citric acid, cheese salt and most importantly, the instructions. We bought a gallon of whole milk and got to it. The most time-consuming part was heating the milk up to 190 degrees without scalding it. After it gets up to temperature, you drizzle in the citric acid and watch the curds separate from the whey. It’s pretty neat to watch the pot go from white milk to yellow-ish whey and chunky curds in a matter of seconds. All that’s left is draining the curds in cheesecloth. We salted the cheese and let it sit with a weight on top for about an hour. The gallon of milk made about a pound or so of cheese. We’ll be freezing some of it and using the rest to make one of my favorite dishes, palak paneer.
I’m not a big fan of coloring my hair, but when gray strands starting making an appearance right above my forehead, it was time to make a move. Thankfully, Richmond is home to Red Salon Organics which carries Organic Color Systems, a completely ammonia-free line of hair color. I was a little nervous to try out this organic line because gray can be tough to cover and organic products are typically not as powerful as their chemical-laden cousins. But my stylist said the gray wouldn’t be a problem so I went for it. The color turned out beautiful. It was like a lush shiny version of my own color. The best part is that you don’t leave the salon smelling like chemicals. The color has a slight licorice smell that I actually kind of like.
One of the things that I most love about no longer living in the middle of New York City is having a back yard. Specifically so I can have a garden. Last year I hastily planted my 4′ x 4′ raised bed about a month after I had my daughter. I felt lucky to get anything in the ground. Needless to say, my yield was low. I got a nice amount of tomatoes, mostly small, 3 or 4 eggplant, a few jalapeños and 1 zucchini.
This year I’ve got a little more time to devote to my garden so I’m hoping that means I get more out of it. I decided to go all in and try my hand at growing plants from seeds. I found a great website called Sprout Robot where you put in your zip code and pick the plants you want to grow and it gives you step-by-step instructions on when and how to plant them. I’ve already got some leeks sprouting and some eggplant and tomatoes planted under my indoor growing lights.
One of the issues I faced last year was overcrowding so I’m doing a little research about how much room each plant needs and hopefully expanding our garden to get the most out of each variety.
This may sound a little counterintuitive, but I’ve been washing my face with oil. Not an oil wash from a cosmetics company, but olive oil from my kitchen cabinet. And I’ve been pretty pleased with the results.
With family in town this week, I let myself slide a little bit. I had a great weigh-in on Thursday and I’m hoping I can keep all of the weight off for next week. I was able to complete all of my goals for last week, though. So here we go for this week:
- Attend 3 fitness classes – at least one should be something other than yoga.
- Food journal all week.
- Maintain or lose weight at this week’s weigh-in.
One of my friends recently asked me what Pilates DVDs or online videos I like. Personally, I do better with group fitness classes, but I like to have a few options at home in case I’m in a pinch. One that my husband and I both like is Mari Winsor’s Winsor Pilates 20 minute workout. It’s a great classical Pilates set that, done right, is a good workout in only 20 minutes.
My other favorite is MyBarre3.com. Sadie Lincoln is one of my favorites and she’s taken at-home workouts to a new level. The site is constantly adding routines that target different areas and run different lengths meaning there is a perfect video for every situation. They only catch is that it requires a monthly description.
I think the instruction on MyBarre3 and in the Winsor Pilates DVDs are pretty clear, even for someone newer to the workouts.
As part of the Get Well Challenge, I get to meet with a dietitian once a month for 15 minutes and today was my first appointment. Truth be told, I was a little skeptical about what she was going to tell me in 15 minutes. I really thought she was going to go through my food log and scold me for making less than desirable choices like the 100 calorie Cheez-it packs I bought from Costco. But it was actually pretty helpful. Jane Wilson is the resident dietician at Ellwood Thompson’s. We talked about my goals and she broke down how much protein and fat I should be shooting for each day along with adjusting the calorie recommendation that myfitnesspal.com gave me. She gave me some recipes that encourage a more plant-based diet. I left feeling like I had more direction and wasn’t just guessing as much about my nutritional choices. Tomorrow is the first weigh-in. It will be interesting to see what the results are. I can see me losing or gaining a few pounds.
On a bit of a side note – I really like MyFitnessPal. I can scan bar codes on my iPhone to get the exact nutritional information or access the extensive library on the site to log exactly what I’m eating. It’s pretty convenient as far as calorie tracking goes. At the end of every day it gives you an estimate of how much you will lose in 5 weeks based on that day. I wish it gave you a running estimate taking every day into account since no two days are the same, but an estimate is just that. The weekly weigh-ins will really show whether or not the tracking is helping. It also has a social feature where you can share your progress with friends if you’re into that.