Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Avonlea 3-Months-Old

Tomorrow is Avonlea's 3 month birthday. Lately people keep telling us how "different" she's looking. I guess it's that transition from newborn to baby. She's definitely aware of it--squirming when anyone tries to cradle her (I want to be up and looking around, dudes!), sleeping 10 hours at night, wanting to play and engage, laughing at mom and dad, and (sadly) no longer napping wherever she happens to be when the mood strikes her. We are loving to see her personality coming through--a very happy baby with lots of smiles for us, and constantly watching everything around her. Maybe she'll live into her namesake and be especially perceptive and precocious like Anne Shirley.

It's looking as though her eyes are lightening to blue. Besides that, we still can't tell who she looks like. Sometimes I see a bit of my sister in her. But more than either of us or any of our relatives, we think she looks an awful lot like Piglet. Yep, the Disney depiction. I think it's that little upturned nose her slanted eyes.

Firsts for our little hedgehog this month: first walk around Green Lake with Auntie Heather, first date with Finn to the movies, first boat ride (on a ferry), first visit to her great grandmother Phillips (my mom's mom), first visit from Auntie Katis from New York. And upcoming adventures? This weekend we'll be at the ocean for Easter with some dear friends, and then off to California for a weekend wedding and Disneyland!

I thought it would be fun to get a shot of her in this chair each month for some perspective on how much she grows. Gotta love her cloth diaper bulge in the shot. :)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Post-Partum Diet Regimen

This post might be a bit boring for some, but I think food and fitness are interesting, and as they are consuming a significant portion of my thoughts these days, I thought I'd share.

First-time pregnancy is a daunting thing for lots of people--it's hard to know what to expect. When your body starts doing things completely out of your control, it can be a wild ride, especially when it comes to weight gain. I'd always hoped I'd be one of those buff pregos who only gained ten pounds during the entire 9 months (Yes, they do exist, but far less than Fit Pregnancy magazine would have you think). The reality was, although I'd only gained about 10 pounds at the mid-point of my pregnancy, I more than made up for in the last half. Total honesty: I gained 35 pounds. This is average, though some of my rather tall, thin friends have put on as much as 60 pounds and other people I know only gained that elusive 10.

I was pretty grateful when 25 pounds just fell off in the first couple of weeks after Avonlea was born, but the plateau afterwards became more and more annoying, until a couple of weeks ago, when the scale went UP.

I started walking pretty soon after Avonlea's birth, up to 2 miles or so and fairly often. But at 6 weeks, with my midwife's sanction and my YMCA membership reinstated, I was jonesin' to get back to the gym. I've been in Step classes for the last three weeks and it feels great, but the scale has never tipped in my favor from just working out; I need to watch what I eat. And what I've been eating... let's just say there was no shortage of chocolate flowing through our house since Avonlea was born. To quote my friend Alisha, I felt like a living, breathing Cathy cartoon.

Last week, I started my Post Partum Fitness Push, and I have to say I'm feeling great and the weight is starting to come off again. Already. I think my body was ready for this.

I'm still hitting the Y about 3 times a week and trying to walk on the days I don't get in. As for diet, it's a tricky thing since I'm breastfeeding and need to keep my calories up. I created my own plan, really just out of my own head, that would focus on eating nutrient-dense foods without restriction and avoiding some less healthy food categories that I can manage to live without for a few weeks. Here's the plan:

~No white flour
~No sugar
~Almost no dairy
~Almost no meat

Foods to focus on:
~Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, spelt, sprouted grain breads, etc.)
~fresh fruits and vegetables
~beans and eggs
~raw nuts and raw nut butter

I'm also trying to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice a few times a day. My favorite juice recipe is romaine, kale, chard, a beet, carrots, apples, and a lemon. It may sound weird, but if you tasted it, you'd know that this is no V-8. It's sweet and tart from the apples and lemons, and tastes fresh and alive with enzymes, vitamins and minerals. I also make fresh, raw orange juice.

Here's a sample of a typical day from my food journal:
Upon Rising: Green juice
Breakfast: Sprouted grain bread with almond butter and raw orange juice
Lunch: 2 egg and sauteed veggie omelette with fresh salsa, an apple
Snack: handful of raw almonds and raisins
Dinner: veggies fajitas with spelt tortillas, brown rice, black beans, and fresh salsa
After dinner: herbal tea or black tea with a little milk and honey

The thing I like about eating this way is that it's more than a diet. I'm eating really delicious, whole foods and I'm not limiting the amount of calories I take in from these foods. I can have as much as I want and snack as often as I'm hungry. The things I'm not eating is stuff I don't need right now anyway. I'll incorporate dairy (raw dairy as much as possible) and meat back slowly as I near my goals, and I am still having them in very small amounts occasionally. I'll also let myself have sugar again, but hopefully more healthfully as well: raw honey, agave nectar, and, of course, dark chocolate. :)

By the way, you might be wondering what's up with eating raw foods. The basic concept is this: raw foods are full of the natural enzymes that help your body to digest them. When you pasteurize or cook foods, those enzymes are killed. The cleaner and faster you burn foods, the better they are metabolized by your body. Less waste, less fat, less toxins. More nutritional value.

Matt and I go through so much produce when we are juicing regularly, that I decided to get signed up with an organic produce delivery service again. We chose Full Circle Farms because they drop off just a few blocks from our house, have a very affordable weekly service, operate all year, and offer green grocery items on their website that we can add to our weekly box, like farm fresh eggs, organic chocolate, and artisan bread. It's not a completely local program, but a portion of the produce is grown on their farm in Carnation, Washington, and they partner with farms in other regions to get things like citrus and off-season produce. I'm stoked for our box to come on Wednesday.

So far, I've lost about 5 pounds. I'm thinking it'll come off more slowly from here, but I am happy to be on the path to being able to button my pre-pregnancy jeans. :)

Also, I wanted to share with you Jamie Oliver's recent Ted talk about obesity in America and his dream to teach kids about food. You all know how much Matt and I love Jamie, and while he's not the most seasoned lecturer, his ideas and passion really ring home for me. I remember substitute teaching in Maine and watching the kids go through the lunch line with chocolate milk and sugary cereals for breakfast, and pour gallons of ranch dressing over limp iceberg lettuce as a "healthy option." I was so outraged and so heartbroken that the kids had no access to good healthy food, and clearly no education about what healthy food actually is. I applaud Jamie's efforts and look forward to the discussion his new TV program on ABC will spark.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

29 is just 30 minus 1.

This past weekend, Matt and I celebrated my 29th birthday. He planned the whole day, surprising me with shopping downtown Seattle and lunch at a new, but long-hoped-for lunch spot: Matt's in the Market, overlooking the Pike's Place Farmer's Market.

Avonlea slept sweetly beside us as we feasted on a delicious birthday lunch.

The view from our table

My very favorite cider from Normandy, France

Housemade chips with bacon-carmelized onion dip

Matt's Stumptown bbq pulled pork sandwich

My charmoula steak sandwich and carrot fennel puree soup

Bread pudding with housemade ice cream and caramel

The lunch was lovely, but my sandwich, though delicious, wasn't all I'd hoped for. I think I've been chasing a melt-in-your-mouth short-rib and caramelized onion sandwich ever since I tasted the best ever at Epulo Bistro in Edmonds. The charmoula (pesto-like herb marinade) and tsatziki (yogurt cucumber sauce) were delicious on their own terms, though. I think I would have been happier with the pan-fried cornmeal crusted catfish sandwich or the braised beef cheeks with macaroni and cheese. Next time!

On the other hand, I LOVED the gruyere cheese dip that came with the housemade chips and Matt and I are determined to recreate it. I was able to guess almost all of the ingredients (a fun table game) and our waiter helped us with the rest: gruyere, cream cheese, queso de oaxaca, speck, caramelized onion, and thyme. Yum!

After making off with my Anthropologie loot, Matt took me home to meet up with a few friends for champagne, chocolate cake and games. It was a delight! I haven't laughed that much in a while.

Maria and Peter

Stephanie, Katy and Bryan

All in all, a wonderful day. Thanks Matt, for all that you did to make me feel special.