Wednesday, June 13, 2018

De-Stress, not Distress

Take a hop on over to our sister blog, to check out our latest post. De-Stress, not Distress to get some simple tips to relieve the stress in your life.

Happy Wednesday!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What's in your water bottle?

You may have heard recently that the WHO (World Health Organization) has announced that it is launching a review of the potential risks of plastic particles in drinking water, after a study found tiny pieces of plastic in more than 90% of samples from the world's most popular bottled water brands.

That analysis was conducted by the State University of New York in Fredonia as part of a project from the U.S.-based journalism organization Orb Media, and it involved 259 bottles of water from 11 brands across nine countries.

Of all the bottles tested, only 17 were found to be free of plastic. On average, each liter sold contained 325 pieces of microplastic, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate. In one case, a bottle of Nestlé Pure Life contained more than 10,000 pieces of microplastic. High levels were also found in bottles of Bisleri (5,230), Gerolsteiner (5,160) and Aqua (4,713).

They say there's no cause for alarm. They say that the particles pose no threat to human health. They also said the same things about pesticides. Remember DDT

There is no better time than now to ditch the plastics. Between causing hormone disruption, and now particle pollution, plastics just don't make sense. Here are two simple steps you can take at home and on the go to kick the plastic habit and improve your health.
  • Buy a stainless steel water bottle. Fill and refill it with filtered water, and maybe toss a slice of lemon or cucumber in there for a flavor boost. There are many stainless steel water bottles on the market, but the Yeti Rambler is by far my favorite. If I fill it with ice-water today, tomorrow there will still be ice. It's awesome. It's a hot or cold, so you can use it for your coffee, too. 

  • Filter your water. Brita just doesn't finish the job, so give your water a boost by using activated charcoal sticks. Sounds a little weird, right? But these funny looking sticks absorb impurities in water. If you're using a brita (or other filter device), just toss a stick in the bottom of the container to help purify. They have sticks to fit in your water bottles, too! They're re-usable, just boil them for 10 minutes and allow to dry - boom, reactivated! I have a large one for my 2 gallon glass water dispenser in the fridge, along with smaller ones that just hangs around in our Yeti's. 

Pretty simple, right? And for a modest investment (about $35 for the Yeti, and $13 for the charcoal), you can eliminate the polluted bottled water - and the waste from all the empties. Good deal all around. 

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

News, Garden, and Jackson

The new sister website is up... and we'll begin the next Fertility Coaching session in June. If you, or anyone you know, is interested, please contact me and I'll get you more information.

In other news... Joey and Amber are packing up and ready to hit the road. Bill and I leave for our 2-week camping (glamping) trip this saturday, and Joey and Amber leave a week later. They're well prepared and anxious to get going. Bill and I are wondering if we'll survive two weeks in a tiny RV. LOL.  I'm going to write this on a post it, and Bill and I will just keep swapping it during the trip... "I'm sorry for the things I said when we were parking the trailer."  LOL!

The first week, Joey and Amber will still be at home to watch the pups. The second week, Shi, Jared, and Jackson will be house-sitting. I wish we could take the pups with us, but poor Loki gets so violently carsick that the trip would just be tortuous for him. And Hunter... well, let's just say that the camper is too small for his big self. Haha.

I've got the meals all planned out, along with the breakdown of when we need to restock and where. I've printed all the recipes, and have my list of kitchen necessities ready to pack up. All our food will be either made in the Instant Pot, or the electric skillet. We don't have an oven or stove in the RV, just a microwave/convection thing that I've never used. This is truly going to be an adventure for us... a fun adventure or a not-fun adventure... remains to be seen. :-)

The weather is heating up here in AZ... we've been steadily hitting over 100 degrees. Ugh. I know some of you still have snow, and I'd gladly send you some of this sunshine if I could. It is, however, great for the garden! I'm absolutely loving how lush it is! The kale trees (yes, trees, lol) are in full bloom, my lavender and chives are blooming, tomatoes daily, and the snow peas... I've never had so many! Last night we had a huge bowl of steamed snow peas, and another of tomato & basil salad - all fresh from the garden.


The last few weeks have seen a couple milestones, too.... Jackson turned One! Can you believe it's been a year??? Wow!! He's such a dollbaby and one of the absolute lights of my life.
Then, right after his party, was his first Easter! Shi is so creative with her photo-shoots with him, lol. And tell me that kid isn't hamming it up! LOL!!


So... I will try to blog from the road, but I have no idea when or where we'll have internet service. I'm sure I'll be able to upload pics to facebook though... seems like you can always get enough service bars for facebook, right? Ha!

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is 1 in 3 Good Enough? IVF Awareness

The Society for Reproductive Technology released their 2016 report (link) today, and the numbers are both wonderful, and heartbreaking.

In 2016, there were 71,296 babies born as a result of IVF. That's 71,296 miracles right there! 71K+ dreams realized! Oh, and my grandson Jackson is one of those ;-)    

Now, let's look closer at the numbers... this is where the heart twists.

"In 2016, there were 71,296 babies born as a result of 242,618 IVF cycles."  That's 1 baby born for every 3.4 cycles. This means that every successful cycle represents two failed cycles. When a cycle fails, you are impacted in several ways...

Physically - The drugs and procedures utilized during an IVF cycle are invasive and extremely damaging. Women gain weight, experience vast mood swings and depression. It's exhausting - from the emotional roller coaster, to the constant injections, oral medications, topical medications, office visits, and procedures (take hysterosonography for example), endless internal ultrasounds, egg retrieval, and implantation. Physically, it really takes a toll. Especially, if you have to do it all over again. And again.

Emotionally - An IVF cycle is demanding, with no room for mistakes. The protocol schedule is rigid and if not followed, the cycle is cancelled. Your whole world revolves around the drugs, appointments, and procedures. This complete absorption in the process can cause problems between you and your partner, between you and your family, your friends - whether they know what you're going through or not. The stress created can decrease chances of success by further impacting hormones. Additionally, as mentioned above, the drugs and resulting hormonal changes wreak havoc on your emotions, causing wild mood swings during a time that is already fraught with fear and uncertainty.

Financially - An average IVF cycle in the U.S. costs $20,000.  (And for too many, insurance doesn't cover any of the costs - that $20k is completely cash up front, out of pocket.)  Many couples require multiple cycles to achieve their dream of a baby. The costs stack up as you add in PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening) testing, embryo / egg storage, and transfer costs. The price for making a baby can be crippling.

1 in 3...

The success rate of IVF is roughly 35%, or 1 in 3. Most times, one cycle isn't enough. Sometimes, multiple cycles isn't enough. There are no guarantees, but there are factors that can increase - or subsequently decrease - that 35% chance. (By success rate, I'm referring to the successful fertilization of an egg, the implantation of the embryo, and the subsequent carrying and delivery of a baby).

Many things impact that 35% chance of success...

  • Weight - Being as little as 10 lbs overweight can reduce your fertility. Adipose tissue (body fat) produce hormones, including estrogen. The more estrogen, the less fertile you or  your partner are (yes, this affects men, too, reducing their testosterone production). Being overweight also increases Insulin Resistance, which can inhibit fertility and even halt ovulation.
  • Age - Women over 40 face decreasing odds, as egg quality and other factors apply.
  • Sex - It's not just women who are affected by infertility. It's estimated that 1/3 of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues. 
  • Disease - Diseases like Diabetes, PCOS, Endometriosis, and other genetic issues like the mutated MTHFR gene contribute to infertility and can prevent implantation, and increase the chances of miscarriage.
  • Stress - High stress increases levels of Cortisol - the fight or flight hormone. When cortisol levels increase, production of fertility-friendly hormones decrease, reducing your chances of conceiving or having a successful IVF transfer.

Did you know that it's in your power to change every one of those fertility-reducing factors?  

If you're facing IVF, are the chances of being 1 in 3 good enough? 
Would you like to better those odds? 

In the coming days, I'll be sharing more about my new work in Fit To Conceive by Recipe For Fitness, LLC, and begin taking applications for my Six-Week Fertility Remodel coaching. This six-week process will help you reclaim control, achieve an ideal fertility weight, and actively contribute to increasing your chances of conception / successful IVF cycle, naturally.

Sign up below to join my mailing list, and be the first to know when Fit To Conceive launches.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Taking a New Direction

As many of you know, I began Recipe For Fitness in an effort to fill a gap. At a time when reputable resources simply weren't available to help people lose weight and retake control over their lives, I sought to be the source I had looked for in my own journey. I am honored by those who trusted me to walk beside them in their own journey and grateful for the successes they've achieved in reaching their goals and transforming their lives.

Today, I address a whole new journey. Infertility.  My family has been affected deeply by infertility. In my own case, I suffered 6 miscarriages, had 3 beautiful rainbow babies, before requiring a hysterectomy at the age of 26.  No explanations were available. "It happens", is what I was told.  Decades later, my own daughter found herself facing unexplained infertility, and in October of 2016, she went public with her story (read here).

As her journey continued, I began one of my own... Education.  What I found was, like my weight loss journey, solid information and good resources were few and far between. This left expensive testing, more expensive procedures, and really expensive drugs that wrought havoc on the body. I knew there had to be a better way, I just didn't know how to find it.

The last four years have been a quest for me. A quest to become educated and empowered, and to in turn, pass that on to women and men struggling with Infertility. My quest will never end, as new information, studies, and procedures are becoming available; but I have reached the mile-markers I was working towards.  Today, I am a fully certified Integrative Fertility Coach, certified Fertility Counselor, member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and member of the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals.

With these new qualifications and tools, Recipe For Fitness is about to open a new branch... Fit To Conceive. Under this new umbrella, I will offer programs designed to boost fertility naturally, to help achieve optimum fertility weight, and to walk beside women and couples through a 90 day pre-conception system that will transform lives, and increase chances of natural conception, as well as increase success rates for IVF and IUI.

I am incredibly excited to begin this new direction, and look forward to offering new hope to the many who are walking a path they never imagined, and help them build one of the most beautiful things in our world... family.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more about Fit To Conceive and begin taking applications for my beta-test 6-week Fertility Weight Loss program. If you, or someone you know, has been affected by Infertility, I hope you'll share me with them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bringing it up to date...

 Happy Spring! I know some of you are not enjoying traditional spring weather, but here in AZ we've had it since January. Lol. Sorry, not sorry. ;-)

I cannot believe how quickly the last year went. Last year at this time, we were worrying that our son-in-law wouldn't make it home from deployment in time for miracle-baby's birth. He did (by the skin of his teeth!), and Jackson William was welcomed into the world with an abundance of love and joy. 

Watching him grow is so wonderful! He's full of light and giggles, precious smiles and warm hugs. He's about to turn 1, and his Mommy has gone all out for his party. I'll share photos next week. So fun!

The Recipe For Fitness garden is flourishing, and my Basil plants are now 3 years old. Crazy! I had no idea I could keep plants alive for that long, lol.  The herbs are bountiful, and so is the kale. Seriously, it's a lot of kale. I mean a lot. 

Our oldest, Joey, and his girlfriend Amber are prepping to return to Alaska. They'll be hitting the road in May and taking their time to enjoy the trip. I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous of their adventures at their age, lol.  They'll work up there through the summer, and head back home in the fall. How fun is that?

Bill and I are still on our 50 by 50 journey... we're attempting to visit all 50 states before we turn 50 years old. We crossed off Texas last week, with a visit to Austin. Wow, what an amazing city! We had a great time and really enjoyed exploring. If you didn't know, the city motto is "Keep Austin Weird"... and they do. Lol.  We even drove out to Dripping Springs to visit Family Business Beer Company, and that was a true highlight of our trip. 

Some of you might know that I'm a bit of a Supernatural fan (ahem, a bit).  Ok, fine. I'm a HUGE fan. Well, the actor who plays Dean Winchester is Jensen Ackles, and he and his wife (Danneel - One Tree Hill, plus a whole lot of other roles), went into the brewery business, and it's a hit! The property is beautiful, the beer ice cold and tasty, and the food was terrific! The food, by the way, is from a converted AirStream and provided by Jep & Jessica Robertson (Duck Dynasty). Seriously - that crawfish etouffee. Mmmmm.

The brewery just opened in January, but you'd think they'd been there for years. It felt so warm and welcoming, really, like family. 

We're also planning a fun trip for May... we'll be taking the camper and making our way up the California coastline. It'll take us two weeks - and that's the longest vacation either of us has ever had (I'm guessing Bill will be on the phone a lot, lol). We're looking forward to it, and I'll finally get the chance to see the property and cabin where Bill grew up. :-) 

Later in the year, we'll be crossing off a few more states as I fly out to join Bill for a weekend following his trade shows in Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Fun!

In other news, ya'll know that I've been seeing a (wonderful!) naturopathic doctor to straighten out my hormones. Seriously, round 2 of menopause?? It's just cruel. But, I'm thrilled to say that Dr. McCarthy has righted my wagon, lol.  Hormones in balance, and sanity restored. A funny side effect is my hair. All my life, I've had straight hair. As a teenager, I'd get perms trying to achieve curls, but there were always a couple sections of hair that just wouldn't take and stayed straight. I finally gave up. But look what I have now...

That's all natural! No products (just hairspray) or perms. Lol. Hormones - go figure. 

Well, that's my bringing it up to date... I've got some new things coming, including a new branch of Recipe For Fitness.  I'll be sharing next week some specifics on that, as I countdown to the launch. I'm really excited about it, and can't wait!

Happy Easter!! Oh, and April Fool's Day. Lol. (who thought that was a good idea?)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Survey + FREE GIFT!!!!!

Greetings from sunny Arizona! (Seriously, our winter lasted about 7 days, lol)

I'm putting the finishing touches on my upcoming Infertility program, and would love to hear from those of you who have been touched by an infertility journey (yourself, a family member, a friend).

What have been your greatest struggles? Is it lack of support? Not knowing how to talk about it? Or...?

As a thank you for your response, I'll enter you into my drawing to win a $25 Visa Gift Card!

Please direct email me with your responses.