The Case of a Lost Identity? Or just evolved one?

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Feeling like I'm having a early-thirty life crisis. Sort of.


Being pregnant has had a mixed bag of emotions (or lack thereof, if you read my previous post on disconnection.)

 

But one of the things that is happening to me is this sense of urgency I feel to accomplish as many personal goals as I can before baby boy makes his appearance in January.

 

I told myself before I got pregnant that nothing really has to change when I have a kid. But the reality is, is that everything is going to change.  It's not just about me anymore, and I think the area in my life that will be most affected is TIME, and the fear of not having any for myself.

 

So I started to freak out thinking about all of the personal goals I have yet to accomplish. I'm working on my health/fitness business. I want to learn Italian. I want to go to Burning Man. 

 

So feeling like I'm running out of time ALREADY, I've been hitting the library hard focusing on my health/fitness biz. I signed up for Italian classes that start next week. Burning Man... well...that will have to wait lol.

 

I've heard from multiple people that scare the crap out of me saying, " be ready to lose your identity when you have a kid. Life as you know it is over! "

 

Yes, there will be changes. Yes, I will have to learn to manage time. Yes, it's not ONLY about me any more.  But NO, I refuse to buy into the notion that my identity will disappear. That all of my hard work, energy, invested time and dreams will go out the window. 

 

Sure, I'm freaking out a bit and trying to push hard with rolling out my dream ideas before January. But "the idea" that people's identities disappear when having kids just doesn't sit well with me. I'm a hard working, goal oriented, enthusiastic person and believe that 'ME TIME" is just as important as anything else. 

I will be a mother, which means I am the foundation, and taking care of myself and happiness (AKA PERSONAL GOALS) will flow into taking care of my family. I need to keep my sanity too, right? 

 

Nothing has to be lost. Life just EVOLVES.

 

So hear me now as I write down in words, a promise to myself, to stay true, focused, and be the best SUPER MOM I can.

 

Let's reconvene in 6 months, shall we?

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Feeling Disconnected- My Honest Pregnancy

 

It's hard to explain how I'm feeling with this pregnancy. I'm 18 weeks pregnant, and I feel so disconnected to my pregnancy. I planned this with my husband, I see the ultrasounds and baby boy moving around, but it's as if I'm watching someone else's. I know this sounds crazy, right? I see the baby moving on the screen and its so cool and beautiful, but as soon as I leave the doctors office I can't wrap my head around it being my pregnancy, my baby. 

 

I just feel like I'm relying on someone else telling me "your pregnant," but aside from my shitty days of morning sickness, bigger boobs and rounding belly, theres still no proof. It still doesn't feel real to me.

 

I feel like my excitement for baby boy stems from other peoples excitement. I'm not stressed, I don't feel sad or depressed, but the feeling of disconnection makes me feel extremely guilty.  I read about mothers bonding with their child in the womb, and think, Why not me? I don't want little boy to think that he's not wanted, the thought of that breaks my heart, so the guilt sets in more from my disconnected feelings.

 

Because of my feelings I took to the internet and apparently I'm not the only one that has felt this way before. But I'd like to hear from my network: Did anyone else experience a disconnected pregnancy. Did it get better as time went on or what was your experience like?

 

I know every mother, every pregnancy and every body is different and some moms need more time, or to actually hold their baby to feel the first, deep connection.

 

I would love to hear from you mommas out there on your pregnancy experience.

 

First Trimester SurvivalTips

Pregnancy is a pretty amazing thing. You are literally growing a tiny human inside of you, and your body does some pretty incredible work in changing, adapting and making room for little one.

I'm still pinching myself if this is real yet (and yes I'm 17 weeks pregnant) and despite how sick I have been and how awful I feel at times, it's hard to believe that I am INDEED pregnant because I'm not sporting a big belly yet.

I honestly feel like some days I just have a bad hangover, without the drinking the night before.

Please tell me I'm not the only one in the universe that has felt this way before?

BUT YES, I am growing a little human inside of me, thats what the doctors say anyway, hehe and I see his little feet kicking and dancing on the screen when I see him, so it must be true!

I always thought I would be one of those girls that has a great pregnancy. You know, the ones that say, "I LOVE BEING PREGNANT." But I have had some rough days, constant nausea and a real short fuse.

Here are some of the things that helped me during my first trimester ( and still leading into my second) that I hope will help you as well.

Ginger, Turmeric and Lemon Tea

This has become a daily ritual for me. At the beginning of my first trimester I would get nausea at night, but now it's leading into the morning as I move further along. I buy fresh ginger and turmeric and the market. I will slice both into chunks and boil for about 8 minutes, adding in 1/2 squeezed lemon before drinking.

Sour Patch Kids or Sour Jolly Ranchers

I'm not quite sure what it is about sour foods helping nausea, but it works. Luckily for my my husband is a candy lover so had these in the house, but sour patch kids and jolly ranchers helped tremendously with my nausea throughout the day, especially at work. I tried the Preggie Pops that everyone loves, but they literally TORE UP my tongue to where I was bleeding.

Pregnancy Pillow

This is probably the number one thing I would recommend to any pregnant woman. I invested in one early in my pregnancy and I can't sleep without it anymore. The husband feels a little left out now (lol) but it is extremely necessary for getting comfortable and working with the curves in your body. This would probably be more useful later on in the pregnancy, but I've been using it since the day I found out I was pregnant.

Change of Eating Patterns

Anytime I got hungry was a bad thing, because that usually meant nausea came with it. Eating smaller/more frequent meals has been helpful in keeping the nausea away.

Finding the right Prenatal Vitamins

This was a tough one for me because I struggled with nausea intensifying after taking my prenatal, even when taken with meals and at night. I ended up opting for  365 brand Prenatal Gummy Vitamins. They seemed to be easier on my stomach and also more enjoyable to eat for that sugar/candy craving.

 

 

 

There is ALWAYS room to improve

There have been so many books, podcasts and advertisements on self love. Basically a whole new movement on self acceptance and body positivity.

THIS is what the world needs more of. Send all the good vibes my way and on to the rest of the world while your at it. YES!

HOWEVER, I want to talk about something very important.  Yes, I agree it's SO important to love yourself, love your body and BE HAPPY. But what I also believe in is CONSTANT self improvement, weather it be with your mindset, health goals, family goals etc.

It's amazing to love your body and be happy in your own skin, BUT IT'S ALSO OK TO HAVE GOALS AND WANT TO BE BETTER!

Some people miss the point---> loving oneself doesn't mean NOT working toward change. Does that make sense? REREAD AGAIN!

It doesn't mean saying, "yah I'M great. I can ride this movement" and just float on through life.

Let's not get complacent. Yes, its wonderful to be happy in your skin. But you know what's even better? The thirst to constantly better yourself, to self improve. The want for more! To love yourself but allow MORE room for change, growth and some serious goal crushing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Dare You To Dream

By: Danielle Press

Strangers, discomfort, surprise, uncertainty, beauty, magic, discovery.  These have always been the details that make up my dreams.  These are the dreams of a traveler and an adventurer.  When I was younger  I never believed in myself, but I believed in those dreams.  So in 2010 I moved to South Korea.  By chance I met an amazing man  after crossing paths on a side street.  I had the most remarkable experiences, and finally, after spending most of my life in a daze of depression, I started to feel alive.  Surprise, fascination, and cultural misunderstandings became part of my every day life.  I dreamed of becoming a woman far different from the girl I had left behind.  And I did.  After two years in the land of Kimchi and Soju, two years battling habit and nurturing growth, my boyfriend and I went backpacking for 4 1/2 months through seven countries in Southeast Asia.  With the exception of the absence of family and friends, this was the happiest I had ever been.  This was the realization of years of daydreaming and yearning.  After what felt like a lifetime of darkness, I had finally created light.

 

Upon returning state side I spent some much needed quality time with those I loved.  I knew it was to be short lived.  I knew my happiness.  I had found it.  I wasn’t going to let go of it.  It was time for Jeff and I to get on another plane and experience something new.  This time our country of choice was Taiwan.  A lush country with sea turtles the size of VW Bugs just off the shore line.  Where the formidable scent of fermented Stinky Tofu could be smelt a mile away and where people zip around on scooters with one or more children, or dogs, between their legs.  

 

All was going accordingly.  We had a job.  We had a flight.  We had contacts and friends ready to welcome us with open arms and side street dumplings.  We had plans.  However, after years of traveling, and my ultimate decision to continue traveling, I found there were consequences.  A biproduct of my lifestyle was, and still is, the worry my parents have to live with, being on the other side of the world.  They regularly fear the unknown and the danger that could find me abroad.  But nothing ever happened.  It wasn't until I was in my own city, close to my family, that the uncertainty of life caught up to me.  A boat propeller nearly took my life, and with it, my dreams; my dreams which had finally moved from whispers to screams.

 

Two days later I finally woke up in an ICU, intubated, terrified, and paralyzed from the knee down on my left leg. I had survived, but would my dreams? My dreams had always been to travel and live abroad.  I had manifested and lived this dream. But now it had to evolve.  It evolved in conjunction with my new reality. I needed to dream big in order to battle my way out of this nightmare.  Cautious optimism.  Careful, quiet dreams.  Starting as a whisper within my private heart, afraid of realities response if I spoke it out loud.  So I again started to dream of Taiwan.  This time I wasn't alone, I had Jeff to dream with me. This blossomed into dreams of once again traveling.  To define it as merely traveling does not yield justice to what I really craved.  I wanted to live with purpose, love, awe, and gratitude everyday.  To a certain extent the dreams sounded the same as the ones prior to the accident, but the person speaking them had changed. My world was different and so was I.  Now my dreams had a companion, a compromise- paralysis. I wanted to live life the same as before, but  now I had to work for  independence and mobility, things often taken for granted. I wanted to experience everything, quiet literally, on my own two feet.

 

No one thought I would ever make it to Taiwan.  At times I wasn't sure if I I would ever make it anywhere, let alone as far as the other side of the world.  No more backpacking, no more dirty hostels, strangers who become family, a constantly shifting landscape, or locals whose kindness and smiles transcend the lingual gap.  No more adventure.  

 

26 years old.  Was this going to be my story?  “She survived the boat accident, but she stopped living.”  Would I allow paralysis and fear to keep me stagnant and stationary? While I was fortunate to escape total paralysis, and while I will forever be grateful that the paralysis is confined to only my left leg, it did and still  does posses many challenges.

 

Fast forward, rewind, pause, and play.  Now I am 28 years old and I just completed one year living in Taiwan with my boyfriend. My life is a constant whirlwind of new places, new people, new challenges, and new wonder. I am continuously realizing my dream. Yet, nearly three years after the accident, my dreams have once again evolved.  This time it has evolved in consort with my recovery rather than my prognosis.  I want to run.  I want to run more than a quick walk.  I want to run without pain.  I want to run for more than a couple hundred meters at a time.  I have had many reoccurring dreams of a post accident life, where I am running.  I mean full out, long strides, propelling my self forward.  I am still injured and still paralyzed but I am a new version of myself. A version of myself whose body responds to the demands asked of it. The dreams that have played over and over in my mind during sleep have inspired me to dream awake. They weren’t sure if I would walk.  Now I do. I am not sure if I can run.  But I will try, I will dream.

 

As children we believed in life’s possibilities.  We’d be told of our dreams improbabilities but always insisted on their certainties. As adults we only allow ourselves to dream big when our eyes are closed, our reason is turned off, and our hearts are free. We don't dream with intention anymore. We don't believe our dreams can fall in context with realities demands or life’s prognoses.  So, we must fight. We must fight against a dreamless existence. We must fight for our ultimate happiness. We must let our dreams change, evolve, reshape, fall apart, and regroup.

 

One month after the accident I became the first person in the world to receive an experimental nerve surgery.   Since that fateful day in September when the accident happened, that day in the hospital when I was first asked if I would consider this opportunity, that day in the ER when they weren’t sure if the Schwann cells had been contaminated with bacteria, my prognosis has changed.  I can now achieve the motion of planter flexion.  It is not with the same strength, and it is only slight, but it is a movement that can help me fulfill my dream to run.  I am working tirelessly to see this through, so now I dare you to dream.  I dare you to transform yourself into your own dreamcatcher, your own dream chaser.  Realize your dreams and cultivate them. Dreams are not constructed to fit one size. They are not confined to one type or one style.  Dreams are fluid, they are ever changing.  They can start small and grow big.  They can start tall and then consolidate through focus.  They start as a bud, and only with the elements, the internal elements of love, strength, dedication, and patience, can they bloom.  We must not write off dreams as unattainable moments which reside only  in our quiet minds.  We must dream awake.  So again, I DARE you to dream.  I dare you to say these dreams out loud, to tell people about them, to express them and nurture them.  The second they leave your heart and come out your mouth they are possible.  I dare you to turn your whispered dreams into demanding screams.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Plant Based Cures

Plant Based Cures

Article Published in The Daily Herald. by: Danielle Peterson

D. Anthony Evans watched children pulling their IVs up and down hospital hallways with smiles on their faces. He shared hospital rooms, stories and advice with those who were less than half his age. He saw children, just starting their lives, fighting for them.

Right then he decided to pursue a mission. As long as he could, he would be living proof to pediatric cancer patients that there is a chance of life after sickness if they just hold on and stay positive.

Evans, of Schaumburg, understands what they are doing through, because he was one of them. Now 38, and living with terminal cancer, he is a spokesman for the nonprofit Fresh Start For Our Youth, and will host a fundraiser May 25 at Wrigley Field, during the 1:20 p.m. Cubs vs. Nationals game.

Each tax-deductible ticket sells for $300. It includes all-you-can-eat food, unlimited beer, private indoor and outdoor seating in the Private Corporate Banquet Suite, and a VIP parking pass. To buy tickets, contact Evans at evansdejuan@gmail.com or visit www.fs4oy.org.

The event will raise funds to help feed pediatric cancer patients organic, plant-based meals and to sponsor at-risk youth in need of rehabilitation at out-of-state residential facilities.

Evans stresses the importance of a plant-based diet for pediatric cancer patients, especially children who live in Chicago's most impoverished areas.

"When a child is released from the hospital, they suffer from a condition called neutropenia, where your body doesn't produce enough white blood cells anymore," Evans said. "Unlike other regular cancer patients, (impoverished kids') foods come from a gas station, McDonald's or KFC, and when you are fighting cancer the only way to repair white blood cells is through earth-grounded food.

"You can't rebuild an immune system with synthetic or processed foods."

The plant-based meals are provided by the Meals that Heal program, part of the Fresh Start for Our Youth Foundation. The program's goal is to sponsor plant-based, immune system-building meals for as many pediatric cancer patients as possible.

Evans also stresses the importance of removing young patients from their environment and helping them secure treatment in out-of-state residential treatment centers for a new surrounding and fresh start.

"If there was an organization like Fresh Start For Our Youth (when he was young), I feel like I would have had a better start instead of getting into trouble with gangs like I did," he says.

In 1985, the 8-year-old Evans was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. When he was 16, he lost his mother to AIDS, and since his father had never been in his life, he was essentially orphaned.

Then, in January 2012, the neurofibromatosis morphed into Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors, which causes tumors to form on peripheral nerves anywhere in the body. From January to November 2012 he had more than 200 tumors removed, including seven 9-hour back-to-back operations. More operations followed in 2013 and 2014 and to date he's had 320 tumors removed.

At the time of his diagnosis with MPNST he was given 6 months to live. That he is still alive he credits to his decision to try a plant-based diet.

"It was a lot to wrap my mind around, but with six months to leave the Earth I started entertaining everything," he said. This included a plant-based diet, which his aunt told him about.

Meat, yeast, sugar and dairy all create an acidic environment, Evans believes. By limiting the amount of acid you ingest, cancer will have nothing to thrive on.

"The only way to limit amount of acid is through green leafy veggies, fruits and legumes," he said.

Evans, whose diet had consisted of 40 pounds of chicken a month and more than 10,000 calories a day, is now 80 weeks meat-free. He attributes his mentality, strength and physique to a plant-based diet.

Still, Evans knows he is terminal. Postoperative survival rates for MPNST are 0-5 years on record.

"The cancer is still there," he says. "I'm alive because my body's not acidic. I just don't put anything in my body that irritates it."

Evans has a goal. "It's my mission to touch 1 million people before I die," he says. "My days are numbered so this is a full-court press."

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

DIY Deodorant that ACTUALLY WORKS

The struggle has been real in finding a natural deodorant that actually works. I’ve tried most of the deodorants stocked at Whole Foods, but still haven’t found one to properly do it’s job. (The fact that the natural/organic deodorants are more expensive and packed with fillers doesn’t help either.)

Why is there a need for a natural deodorant?

Since our skin is our largest organ, we need to take measures to ensure that what we put on it is as natural as possible. Here are five harmful chemicals found in deodorant that can play a part in the diminishment of our health.

1. Aluminum Compounds

Aluminum compounds are added to deodorant to block the pores from sweating. Aluminum, like other heavy metals, may interfere with the ability of estrogen receptors to correctly process the hormone and are linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

2. Parabens

Parabens are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells. This chemical disrupts hormonal balances and can lead to early puberty in children and hormone-related cancers in women and organ toxicity. The belief that parabens build up in breast tissue was supported by a 2004 study, which found parabens in 18 of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors.

3. Propylene glycol

When this chemical is paired with other chemical additives, it can be extremely dangerous. This ingredient causes damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart. Even in small concentrations (2 percent or less), propylene glycol provokes skin irritation in those with sensitive skin. Moreover, some manufacturers have made deodorants with 50 percent propylene glycol content. Believe it or not, you’re likely to find this in many “natural” deodorants.

4. Triclosan

Triclosan is classified as a pesticide according to the FDA. Although the FDA uses are not regulated under pesticide law, EPA considered these exposures in the aggregate risk  assessment. In deodorants, triclosan is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative, and reacts with tap water to create chloroform gas, a potential carcinogen. This chemical can also possess endocrine disrupting properties that has shown up in human breast milk and blood.

5. Steareths

Usually listed with a number (like steareth-15), these additives come from a cheap process that makes harsh ingredients more mild. The process (known as ethoxylation) produces carcinogenic 1,4-dioxanes during manufacturing.

FINALLY- A DEODORANT THAT WORKED FOR ME

I finally have found a simple DIY recipe that calls for basic ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

20 drops of your favorite essential oil  *I like to use lemon as it has a fresh scent and also has antibacterial qualities*

6-8 tbs solid coconut oil

Directions:

Combine baking soda and arrowroot (or cornstarch) Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Combine the coconut oil by the tablespoon and work it in with a fork until the mixture is firm but pliable. It should be about the same consistency as commercial deodorant; solid but easy to apply. If it’s too wet, add more arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Scoop the mixture into a small container with a lid (like a 4-ounce Mason jar, or buy empty deodorant containers off of Amazon, which is what I do.) Apply with your fingertips if in a jar, or use like regular deodorant if you buy the empty containers. I store mine in the fridge, to avoid any melting.

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Loving Yourself is The Beginning of Change

Many women face daily insecurities, thinking that they should look, feel and act different than how they really are.

Faced with constant examples in the magazines, social media and standards for the perfect “model,” women begin to think that they need to be thinner, have bigger lips,  lots of muscle mass, or have the in-season handbag.

Where are the positive influencers to tell us that we are good enough the way we are?

I am here to tell you that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Every morning you need to look in the mirror and say, I AM GOOD ENOUGH.

Caring for your health has to start on the inside, and accepting our bodies, and loving our bodies, is the first step to any real change.

You must first love yourself in this exact moment, exactly the way you are, in the place that you are.

Let your motivation for change come from a place of love.

Don’t get caught up in the race of trying to look like the girls in the magazines or on social media. Let’s face it girls: body angle, salt/water manipulation and Photoshop is what you are seeing on the pages. Very rarely you see a model who isn’t touched up in some way.

Instead, look inward at WHY you want to make the changes you desire. To de-stress.  Lower cholesterol. Improve energy levels. Increase your mobility and strength. Maybe it’s just to have an overall healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately teleportation isn’t a viable option when it comes to meeting our health and fitness goals. It’s a road that takes dedication, consistency and self-education.

So instead of pining for a chiseled six pack right off the bat, let’s start at the foundation for now, and build from a place of love and acceptance.

YOU ARE ENOUGH