The Hell That Is Migraines

My journey with migraines began when I was 19. My headaches were so bad they caused me to frequently miss class and I can vividly remember crying in pain, not knowing what to do. Throughout the years I tried everything under the sun- diet, chiropractors, acupuncture, TMJ therapy, cranial sacral therapy, massage, and various prescriptions. Only within the last few years (a work in progress over 20 years!) have I gotten my migraines under control so I thought I’d share what has been helpful.

First, if you experiencing migraines for the first time, go to see your doctor. You will want to rule out other potentially serious problems. Things like brain tumors, cysts, a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) are very rare but should be ruled out before a migraine diagnosis.

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Next, begin to track your migraines. Do they correlate with your cycle? Are there certain foods that trigger headaches? There is a great tracking app called Migraine Buddy that will allow you to recognize patterns and potential triggers. For both myself and one of my daughters, our migraines fall in a predictable pattern with our cycles. Knowing this helps to prepare.

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Finally, up your supplement game. Currently, I take a chewable magnesium supplement by GNC and my all time favorite, Natural Calm, another magnesium supplement that has so many other benefits (just read the over 7,000 positive reviews on Amazon!). In addition I take a vitamin B complex , along with a multivitamin. I really feel like that is what has been a game changer for me.

Don’t get me wrong; I still get migraines. I take the prescription Relplax as soon as I feel one coming on. However, once I started the supplements, I noticed a big change in the frequency of my migraines which I’ll take. Is there anything specific you’ve tried and had success with? Please share in the comments!

*This post may include affiliate links which means if you chose to buy something I mention, please do so using the links above. There is no additional cost to you and it’s a nice way to say thank you and help offset this Mom’s addiction to Amazon Prime*

 

 

 

 

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Sleep Tips For Months 4-6 (which just may be the hardest months)

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For me at least, months 4 and six were tough- possibly even tougher than months one and two. In the beginning, the lack of sleep doesn’t seem to effect you the way one would think but then, BAM! it catches up and you are really, really, really tired.

This is also around the time that you will stop swaddling and when the pacifier will fall out of the baby’s mouth all night long.

So, given the above mentioned challenges, here are my sleep tips for getting through these potentially rough months.

Swaddling

In my sleep tips for the first month, I explained the importance of the swaddle. I cannot stress this enough! However, all good thing must come to an end and once your baby is able to turn from their back to their stomach, the swaddling must stop. A good transitional swaddle is the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle. You can use it as a traditional swaddle or wrap the baby across the chest. This will continue to provide a sense of security a regular sleepsack won’t give them.

You’ll first stop the swaddle during naps and see how your baby adjusts. Some are fine from the get go and others, not so much. My daughter loved the swaddle so we began our transition by leaving one arm out. We did this for naps for a few days and then at night. Once she is sleeping well with one arm out, you’ll start to leave both arms out and cross the baby at the chest (leaving both arms out). Sleep crutch number 1 is now gone!

Pacifiers- A Love/Hate Relationship

Pacifiers can be you and your baby’s very best friend. Many doctors now recommend them as protection against SIDS. I suggest only using pacifiers during nap and bedtimes, if possible, so you don’t get a baby who is overly reliant on the soothing they provide. We actually keep ours strictly in the crib and one in the diaper bag for on-the-go emergencies. When I get her up, I take it right out of her mouth and leave it in the crib.

Right around this time, the pacifier seems to fall out of their mouth all night long. You have a few choices on how to deal with this annoying dilemma, each with their own pros and cons.

  1. When they lose it, let them cry it out. For me personally, I wasn’t ready to just let her cry it out at this point but some people do and have great success. Do what works for you and you feel comfortable with!
  2. Take away the pacifier completely. The pacifier is a sleep crutch, just like swaddling. You can totally take it away at any point you wish to. Be prepared for a few (3-5 is average) rough nights but they will get the hang of sleeping without it. However, if you choose to take it away, DO NOT PUT ANOTHER SLEEP CRUTCH IN ITS PLACE! Do not start picking them up, rocking them to sleep, or putting them in bed with you.
  3. Go in and replace it. Ughhhhhh. This is what I did and let me tell you, it was a rough few weeks. During this time, I also worked with her during the day on learning how to put the pacifier back in her mouth. I also did what’s known as “the sprinkle”. This is where you sprinkle many, many pacifiers in the crib in hopes of the baby finding one and replacing it themselves. During this time, I was not getting her up for feeding, rocking or anything- I just went in and stuck the pacifier in her mouth.

Other Challenges During This Time Period

Teething, traveling, a growth spurt, a sick baby- all of these things can throw a fairly well scheduled baby off course. My advise- whatever you do, do not start bad habits you’ll have to break later. When your baby is up screaming because they’re in pain, absolutely pick them up, rock them, soothe them but then put them back in their crib. You may have to do this multiple times in a night- tag your partner for a break but stay the course! With parenting, now and even when they’re teenagers, the easy thing to do is usually not the right thing to do. Parenting is hard work but the end result (in this case a baby who has good sleep habits) is worth your effort and energy.

*ALWAYS PUT A BABY TO SLEEP ON THEIR BACK*

All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns. 

 

 

How “clean” are your beauty products?

A few months ago, my daughter began collecting “pocket bacs,” the small, hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works. Personally, I’m not a fan of the store- I feel like I get a headache from the scents just by walking in- but since she wasn’t actually using them (don’t even ask), I didn’t give it much thought.

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But then the obsession quickly grew to include their body washes and lotions, as well as body washes, lotions and bath bombs from other stores. I decided it was time to do a little research to see just what was in all of these products.

My first stop was Skin Deep, a great site where you can type in a product and get a rating on how good/bad it is based on the ingredients.  The only problem was most of the products I was looking up weren’t on there. Hmmm. I needed to do a bit of digging.

Have you heard of the “dirty dozen” for fruits and vegetables? Well, apparently there’s a list for chemicals too!

1. BHA and BHT– Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA).
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number
In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively). Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
3. DEA-related ingredients– Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer.
4. Dibutyl phthalate– Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives– Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
6. Parabens– Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)– Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
8. PEG compounds– Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
9. Petrolatum– Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10. Siloxanes– Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane).
11. Sodium laureate sulfate– Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
12. Triclosan– Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

Pretty scary stuff, not to mention overwhelming. I decided we’d start by going paraben and BHA/BHT free.

Needless to say, my daughter was not thrilled when I began confiscating her products to analyze the ingredients. To include her in the process, I used this very cool, FREE app called Think Dirty. With this app, you can scan products with your phone and it will give you a score (much like the other website I mentioned but the scanner makes it fun!). Within moments, she was scanning away and screaming when she came across a 10 (“OMG! Get this out of here!“). I love that she could see that the items weren’t good  for her so she didn’t resist. She even joked she could become a “paraben hunter” 🙂

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Her products that she will no longer be using.

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My products that didn’t make the cut.

Do you have any favorite “clean” products? I’d love to hear about them!

 

Pregnant after 11 years!

Hi everyone!

So it’s been quite awhile and in case you’ve missed it, I’m pregnant! This will be baby #3 but since my youngest is 11, it quite honestly feels like baby #1.

(This is a second marriage for both myself and my husband. He has two sons from his first marriage; I have two daughters from my first marriage)

We found out in early November and shared the happy news over the holidays. We opted not to do a gender reveal party but still wanted to share the news with our family in a fun and exciting way. We did a reveal cake and it was great!

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It’s a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The first trimester was tough and I didn’t really start to feel better until about 15 weeks. Ginger ale (Whole Foods makes a good “natural” one), saltines, popsicles, and Preggie Pop Drops helped but honestly I was nauseous from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep at night 😦

Currently I’m 21 weeks and feeling great. I’m trying to work out 3x a week and am still doing The Bar Method. I gained a lot of weight with my last two pregnancies so I’m trying to be really conscious as to not gain as much but I’m also not stressing myself out over it. In the first trimester, all I wanted was carbs and I certainly wasn’t going to fight it.

I just bought some maternity clothes and I must say the fashion has improved greatly since I was pregnant last. I remember searching high and low for a good pair of maternity jeans and now all the great designers make a version- yay!

Here are some pics from 14 weeks and 17 weeks.

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xo,

Tanya

 

 

 

Juicing For Health

It’s been 19 days since the “big day” and I feel like I’m finally breathing again. So many good things in such a short period of time! My thank-you’s were completed today and I unpacked all the boxes that have been sitting near my front door.

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One of the amazing wedding gifts we received was a juicer (thank you, Larry and Michele!). Now, I love fruits and B loves vegetables but neither of us have ever juiced before. When strolling through the isles in Bloomingdales, filling out our registry, we said, why not?. Now I have the task to figure out the why, in addition to the how and when!

So why are people crazy about juicing? What’s the difference between the apple juice and orange juice that I buy at the store? I began there…

  • Juicing has a very high nutritional and vitamin content. The juicer breaks up the cells of the produce and, because it’s liquid, it goes into our bloodstream instantaneously. Juice is also easy to digest so our body isn’t working as hard.
  • Fresh juice is not pasteurized. Juice that is sold in a store is heated and, during this process, most of the nutritional value is destroyed.

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Ok, so fresh juice is better than store-bought, pasteurized juice (makes sense!) so onto the how and when…

When– First thing in the AM or anytime you need an energy boost (for me, that’s around 2pm). Make sure to drink the juice as soon as possible after juiced as it starts to lose its nutritional value as soon as it’s made. Also, because there are no preservatives, you’ve only got about 24 hours, max (make sure to store in a glass, airtight container if you can’t drink right away). Make sure to drink fresh juice on an empty stomach and don’t eat food for about one hour after consuming juice so the juice can do it’s magic.

How– Get yourself a juicer. Go shopping for organic, seasonal fruits and veggies. Use a vegetable wash to clean and then prepare your produce for juicing the night before. Pull up some juicing recipes if you’re like me and need a recipe for everything in the kitchen or play around like my hubby did (oh my, he’s my hubby!)

Here are some recipes I found to get started. If you are a juicer and have recipes to share, PLEASE comment and share the love!

http://www.healthy-juicing.com/juicing-recipes/

http://www.all-about-juicing.com/Fruit_Juice_Recipes.html

xo,

Tanya

Stand Up Straight

Certain women seem to embody the term of a “lady” perfectly…

Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy come to mind but there are many out there.

So I began thinking,

what makes these woman seem

more elegant and more lady-like?

One of the first things that popped into my mind was their statue, their posture. Yikes! This is an area I struggle with (I like to blame a slight case of scoliosis) and I began to wonder how others perceive me. Could my posture be sending un-ladylike vibes?

I decided this week, I’m going to work on my posture and I encourage you to notice yours as well.

Posture refers to the body’s natural alignment. Good posture means we are distributing our weight evenly and properly so that no one area is overwhelmed. Bad posture can lead to the obvious neck and back aches and headaches. I’ve also learned that poor posture can lead to problems with digestion, breathing, and issues with your muscles, joints and ligaments. And I was just worried that it looked bad…how vain am I?!

Ok, so my posture sucks and now I know it can lead to major trouble down the road. Here are a few strategies I’ve rounded up that I plan on implementing now.

Sitting~

  1. Align your back with the back of the chair.
  2. Avoid slouching or leaning forward.
  3. Make sure your neck, back, and heels are all aligned.
  4. Keep both feet flat on the floor (this is going to be very difficult for me!)

Standing~

  1. Stand with weight mostly on the balls of the feet, not with weight on the heels. Avoid locking your knees.
  2. Keep feet slightly apart, about shoulder-width.
  3. Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body. (My arms are constantly crossed so we’ll see how this goes)
  4. Tuck the chin in a little to keep the head level. Stand straight and tall, with shoulders upright.

While sleeping~ (B says I have the absolute worst sleeping habits; I often find myself in the fetal position)

  1. Sleep on your back to help straighten your shoulders
  2. Put a rolled-up towel under the neck and a pillow under the knees to better support the spine.
  3. If  you must sleep on your the side, place a pillow between the legs to help keep the spine aligned and straight.

Strengthen Your Core

1. Stretch your back muscles.  (I found some great stretches here that I’m going to add to my morning routine)

2. Exercise. (I’m pretty good about remembering my back when working out but I think I need to revisit yoga, which I LOVE, not sure why I haven’t been going, and maybe try a Pilates class, which everyone raves about.

So that’s what I’m going to be working on this week. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a few changes now that will keep me healthy and feeling good way into the future.

And for my fellow moms out there, add one more thing to your list of things to nag your kids about. They’ll thank you one day!

Have a fabulous weekend and make every moment count,

Tanya

Eat Seasonally

Just looking at the picture above makes my mouth water. The heat is on and we’re all looking for ways to cool down and stay fit during the summer season. During my trip to Italy last summer, I learned the secret to everything tasting unbelievably fresh and delicious= seasonal ingredients. I added that to my travel journal but, alas, failed to follow through in my every day life.

While in the Hamptons this past weekend, the girls and I decided to go strawberry picking. Standing in the fields eating red, ripe strawberries, feeling the juice drip down our chins, I was yet again inspired. I made my way over to the stand to check out the other fruits and veggies that were for sale. I picked up some asparagus and red potatoes and voila! I added some carrot quinoa and we had a dinner that was fresh, healthy, and yummy.

Those that know me, know I love to cook. I’m certainly no chef and I base all my meals on recipes. So here comes the change~ I’m going to take a trip to the local Farmers’ Market each week, stock up on whatever looks good and then plan my meals. I came home and looked into Farmers’ Markets and found a local, weekly market ten minutes from our house. Perfect!

Realistically, I may not make it to the Farmers’ Market each week or my family may be craving something that isn’t there. Plan B is stocking up at the local market. Listed below are the seasonal fruits and vegetables that should be easy to find.

Summer Fruits:

Apples

Apricots

Avocados

Berries- All

Cactus Pears

Cherries

Figs

Melons

Nectarines

Summer Vegetables:

Asparagus

Basil (I’d like to try growing some)

Beets

Broccoli

Corn

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Green beans

Okra

Peas

Radishes

Rhubarb

What I love about this list is that there are quite a few fruits and vegetables that are not a part of our diets. My favorite source for recipes is allrecipes.com because recipes found on here are rated. Choose a four or five-star recipe rated by 100+ people and you can’t go wrong. I typed in Rhubarb and found a recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Crunch rated 4 1/2 stars by 467 people. I can’t wait to try this out! (Don’t forget to read the reviews as there’s usually great suggestions for making the recipe even better)

Eating seasonally provides you with many benefits. Your food will be more nutritious and taste fresher. You will be lending the planet a hand by saving on the cost of transporting out of season fruits and veggies from various parts of the world. By shopping locally, you are stimulating your community and/or state’s economy. And last but not least, you’ll save some $, perhaps to purchase a few summer outfits! 🙂

xo,

Tanya