Eat for nutrition

10 Easy & Healthy Diet Hacks for Regular Families in 2015

The #realfood movement is hot and my diet resolution hack for 2015 is to eat for nutrition.  But, let’s be honest – sometimes these health sites take things to the extreme (See here and here).  I mean who has time for all that?!? So, in my quest to eat for nutrition in 2015, I’ve compiled a list of diet hacks any family can manage – mine included!

1. Eat more Avocado
Avocado is a known super food and it’s so easy to incorporate! Slice and serve with eggs, add to a sandwich as a condiment, or mash it up with lime and cilantro for a quick guacamole treat.
Nutrition: more potassium than a banana, high-protein fruit, substitute for butter, healthy fats
What to know: how to pit an avocado

2. Substitute with Greek Yogurt 
Greek yogurt is magic! It’s versatile and handy to have on-hand.  I mix Greek yogurt with berries for a snack, or toss it in the blender to give smoothies a thick & creamy texture.  I even make ranch dressing with it!  You can substitute Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, oil, and buttermilk!
Nutrition: one cup can have up to 20 grams of protein, and it’s less likely to be loaded with sugar than regular yogurt.
What to know: Chobani’s substitutions infographic (although we eat Fage)

strawberries and yogurt

3. Do Matcha
We’re currently obsessed with matcha!  It’s a specific type of green tea where the leaves are preserved for color and then stone ground.  Quality matcha is a beautiful vibrant green and smells like a fresh summer day.  I prefer Do Matcha brand.  It’s delicious hot, cold, sweetened or spiced!
Nutrition: what doesn’t matcha do?!  Provides antioxidants, lowers cancer risk, supports weight loss, boosts immunity, protects the liver, and helps prevent Alzheimer’s
What to know: Bamboo whisk for proper preparation

4. Homemade Hummus
I can’t believe I didn’t know how easy it is to make hummus at home!  There’s no excuse for buying a preservative-laden version from the store.  Hummus is a wonderful quick snack, a versatile condiment and coupled with some veggies, could be a meal!


Nutrition: good protein and fiber, chickpeas (a main ingredient) may lower cholesterol, provides folate which may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
What to know: Helpful basic hummus recipe you can build on, but you’ll need tahini! Get creative and throw in whatever’s in the fridge – red pepper, cilantro, extra garlic, jalapeno or double your diet hack and add avocado!

5. Grapefruit a Day
The common adage says “an apple a day” but I abide by the grapefruit.  The bright fresh taste is a perfect wake-up for your morning taste-buds.  The fruit does have a strong after taste, so consider eating grapefruit last at the breakfast table… or as a stand alone snack.
Nutrition: lowers stroke risk, aids in weight loss, and one fruit contains provides 120% vitamin C, 55% vitamin A, 4% calcium, 4% magnesium daily dose
What to know: how to cut a grapefruit

6. Snack on Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds provide a convenient and portable snack on-the-go. I also toss them on salads and in smoothies. They’re small, but mighty and pack a powerful punch of nutrition!
Nutrition: loaded with magnesium (essential to so many physiological functions), zinc for immune support, omega-3 fats, improved insulin regulation, boosts “good” cholesterol
What to know: should be eaten raw for maximum nutrition, but you may want to soak or sprout them first.

7. Go Wild for Blueberries
Blueberries carry an antioxidant charge to fight degenerative diseases as we age.  Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated varieties.  This means, cup-for-cup, wild blueberries offer about double the skin surface area where most of the nutrition lives.
Nutrition: one serving provides as many antioxidants as five servings of carrots, apples, broccoli or squash and 2/3 cup of blueberries gives you the same antioxidant protection as 1,733 IU of vitamin E and more protection that 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C.
What to know: If you’re wondering where the heck to find wild blueberries – look no further than the freezer section of your local grocer.  Wyman’s brand is yum.

8. Coconut Oil & Butter in Everything
If you aren’t living under a rock, you’ve likely heard fat is back in vogue.  Coconut products are an easy way to up your good-fat intake.  I’ve replaced olive oil for coconut oil since it’s healthier when cooked.  Coconut butter is a go-to for silky delicious smoothies – I love Artisana brand!
Nutrition: promotes heart health, promotes weight loss, supports immune system, good energy, and supports proper thyroid function.
What to know: Coconut Manna is essentially the branded version of coconut butter.

9. Time-saving Protein Powder
A protein shake is the lazy way to a healthier diet – in moderation.  Watch out for additives and unnecessary sweeteners in your protein powder.  Also, the ever-popular whey-base protein could cause inflammation; so opt for a plant-base variety.  I love my Nutiva organic hemp protein powder!
Nutrition: simply protein – the original appetite suppressant and cell builder & repairer
What to know: this isn’t your candy-flavored shake & drink protein.  I find I need to temper the taste and smell with fruit and nuts to make it more palatable.  I like to add protein powder to Dr.Hyman’s recipe.

water and lemon

10. Drop the Diet Soda
We simply don’t buy soda or have any in the house (much to my mother’s chagrin!).  If you’re truly eating for nutrition, it’s clear that soda (diet or regular) doesn’t support that goal.  There are easy and delicious alternatives that DO provide nutritional value. Consider squeezing lemon and crushing basil in a pitcher of water for a zesty treat.  For a quick caffeine fix and double diet hack, substitute Matcha!
Nutrition: Studies show diet beverage consumption can cause weight gain, increased cravings, loss of calcium, and decreased water intake.  And we haven’t even mentioned the artificial colors, flavors, fake sweeteners….. in other words it’s not real food.
What to know: Caramel coloring containing 4-methylimidazole (present in Coke & Pepsi) is nasty stuff studies have shown causes cancer.

Simply stated: Before you eat, ask yourself “what nutrients is this providing to my body and for my family?”  If you’re eating for nutrition the answer will be obvious!  Cheers to a healthy & happy 2015 from our home to yours!

A day and a half old.

Best Laid (Birth) Plans: Labor & Delivery

Our sweet bundle of joy arrived almost 7 weeks ago already… where has the time gone?!? I think it’s taken me this long to write this post because the realness of the day had to fade a little bit. Before I could relive the details and share here. Undoubtedly, giving birth was simultaneously the hardest and most amazing thing I’ve ever done. So… here’s how it went.

I was past my due date, nearing the week mark. My OB offered scheduled induction every time I saw her – which happened to be every other day. But, as crazy as some of you think it sounds, I wanted a natural labor. Not because I’m up on a pedestal about it… and not because I think I’m so strong. Quite the opposite – I was terrified an epidural would further damage or exacerbate the pelvic trouble I’d had since I wouldn’t be able to feel and manage my mobility. I digress. On August 23rd I had a non-stress test (baby heart rate monitoring in the doc’s office) and an exam. While performing the exam the OB took it upon herself to strip the membranes “a little” without warning. I was upset at the time and I’m still upset. My water broke immediately following that appointment (about 12PM) and I attribute it to the doc’s aggressive tactic. This is not a good thing when you’re hoping to have a natural delivery as you’re “on the clock” and there’s a limit to how long you can labor before you’ll have to have a medically necessary C section due to risk of infection.

Contractions didn’t begin for two more hours after the water broke. And even so, they felt the same as braxton hicks. I was comfortable enough to play cards and enjoy time with my family most of the evening. Eight hours after my water broke, we went to the hospital. The first couple of hours consisted of laps around L&D. I brought my birth plan with and opted for a saline port instead of an IV to start. Per great advice of my doula, I highly recommend NOT getting the port in your hand. Not surprisingly, you’ll be needing your hands during labor!

Okay… so by 10:45PM I was measuring 4cm. There was still a looooong way to go! That was the last I actually noted the time. Long story short, I could not dilate fast enough. Roughly 12 hours after my water broke I had to consider alternatives or else risk a forced C section. By this point, I was exhausted and had been enduring strong contractions for most of the day. So, I got the epidural first to see if it would help relax me and therefore further dilation. It did, but not enough and soon after we added pitocin. The epidural was amazing and appreciated! Little did I know, the real work was yet to come.

At almost 10cm the OB decided I could begin pushing. And I did, and did some more, and keep doing….. and baby was not coming out. They decided to dial back on the epidural thinking my pushing would be more effective. However, as soon as it wore off I couldn’t push the pain was so intense. I was a wild woman screaming and crying at this point. I vaguely remember they pulled the anesthesiologist back in to up my dose. That took the edge off and allowed me to refocus my efforts. Despite all of this, the baby wasn’t crowning. The OB went so far as to have me sign the forms for a C section. I give full credit to my doula and husband for yelling at me in that moment. They coached me to finish line. With the help of a vacuum and my final ditch efforts the baby finally entered this world. Through it all her heartbeat was strong and steady and she came out crying. The pain wasn’t quite over. The OB had to stitch me up. And even with a local anesthetic it hurt like crazy. I had 2nd degree tearing with stitches front and back.

It was a joyous, surreal and quite delirious event for me (and for hubs!)! Maren Romba Wilwerding was born weighing 7lbs 2oz just after 8PM August 24th.  I’m a great example of a birth plan gone wrong… but in the end when the baby is in your arms…. it all just feels right.

. hospital

The final stretch

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but everyday post due date feels like a week! I’m waddling around attempting to let gravity help things along, longing to have my own body back. Meanwhile the mean-wellers are assuring us this is SO much easier than when baby arrives. Maybe that’s true, but I’m going crazy waiting!!! There’s literally no more cleaning, organizing, shopping or projects left. One week off of work prior to my due date was perfect, two is making me feel very OCD.

Thursday baby W passed the non stress test with flying colors and the doctor confirmed I’m having early labor contractions (even though they feel like Braxton Hicks)!! We left the doctors appointment and went straight to IKEA. I can’t even be talked I to IKEA non-preggo mid week with no lines!! I’m here to assure you nesting is real and it’s intense. A quick $200 later and I was done – horizontal on the couch with my feet elevated the rest of the night.

And now a full 24 hours later (feels like far more), and nothing more labor progress…. Where’s a full moon when you need one?! We cannot wait to meet this little one!!

The Third Trimester: Superman & the Incompetent Preggo

Superman being silly

This is the tale of Superman and the Incompetent Pregnant Lady… otherwise known as my marriage in the third trimester!  I can’t complain about my pregnancy. Given the little girl I’m baking and her continued health and milestone achievement, I am very grateful.  But…. (there’s always a but!) it does sometimes feel like I’m the world’s most incompetent pregnant lady.

Preggo problems I’ve had:

  • symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD, from week 18 on)
  • nausea (first tri)
  • headaches (second tri)
  • extreme congestion (second & third tri)
  • frequent braxton hicks contractions
  • painful / numb skin patch top right side of bump (likely nerve related)
  • varicose veins
  • foot pain (second & third tri)
  • skin rashes (intermittent)
  • blurred vision (most noticeably third tri)
  • above average weight gain (now over 40lbs)

Preggo problems I haven’t had:

  • heartburn
  • stretch marks (yet)
  • painful swelling (yet)

Of all of the symptoms of pregnancy listed, the SPD is by far the most difficult to cope with.  It impacts normal activities like walking, rolling over, getting up from a chair, getting out of bed, getting dressed, getting in and out of a car, climbing stairs, moving the legs apart, and prolonged standing AKA living your life!   I couldn’t help but feel like I was back in recovery for my broken foot years prior… Not a life event I ever wanted to relive…  And to add insult to injury my doctor didn’t really have any meaningful advice – they chalk it up to “being pregnant.”  For someone dealing with chronic pain any plan of action is better than “well it should go away when you have the baby.”

Luckily for me, I’ve got a healthy baby in my belly and a superman hubby who’s carried me (sometimes, literally) through it all!  There will be other posts coming to chronicle some of the specific hubby accomplishments in detail, but until then here’s a list of some of the rockstar “weekend warrior” nesting projects he’s tackled for me!

  • nursery feature wall (inhabit wall flats installation & painting) ~ two weekends
  • nursery lighting install ~ one hour
  • nursery fan & chair painting projects ~ one weekend
  • baby furniture construction (crib & dresser) ~ couple hours
  • baby gear construction (Peg Perego Vela Easy Drive Stroller, car seat, Fisher Price Lumnosity Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Arm’s Reach Ideal Arc Original Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet) ~ couple hours
  • second laundry room design & construction (including drywall, electric & gas line runs) ~ three weekends
  • guest bedroom “garden suite” window well makeover ~ 3 hours, separate post coming soon
  • researched and bought Summer Infant – Baby Touch WiFi Video Monitor
    ~ who knows, but I love that it’s done!!
  • heated floors in basement family room (not install, but thermostat install and delivery) ~ couple hours
  • storage shelves and all kinds of closet organization ~ one weekend
  • prepped basement stair transition for carpet with stain and poly coat ~ one hour
  • power back up and generator port (research options, run electric, test set up) ~ two weekends
  • planted outdoor flowers (typically my gig, but see above “incompetent preggo”) ~ couple hours
  • broke down and disposed of 500 “amazon vomit” cardboard boxes from baby gear purchases ~ on-going🙂
  • helped father-in-law gut a rental property to ready for sale (straight out of Hoarders!) ~ two + weekends and on-going
  • And last, but definitely not least, cooked a healthy breakfast for preggo nearly everyday! Typically it’s a variation of a recipe from our favorite cookbook Muscle Chow.  Here’s the recipe for Spicy Eggs ‘n’ Oats Scramble.

Clark Kent… or Superman?  I’ll take them both!

20 weeks: Visit with Grandma

Grandma, Mom and baby – 20 weeks!

The last month has flown by! We just had our 20 week appointment over the weekend and my mom joined in to meet baby W!  Like her mother, she was a bit camera shy and uncooperative for the perfect ultrasound shot, but it was still incredible!  My mom made it through 80% of the appointment without shedding a tear, but then the baby waved her little hand on screen and that did it!  Baby waving at grandma🙂

Vision Board to Reality: Project Nursery

I love this crib for the money! Assembly is easy and under an hour. Nice modern look for a lot less than designer brands! Babyletto Hudson Convertible Crib $379

Great soft functional accents for holding toys and supplies! Fire-sale pricing on at $27. Colonial Mills solid fabric basket coral

We invested in a real dresser our baby girl can grow into. In the meantime, this will double as a changing table! Bassett Presidio dresser

Base inspiration for the color theme of the nursery! Crate & Barrel mallorca light aqua rug

Custom canvases from our own photos! – look for coupon code for buy one get one free through July 2014!

Love these modern storage cubes for nursery supplies! The backing is removable and I plan to paint to match our feature wall. Great customizable slant here.

Drumroll please: and we’re having a ______ !

We were so excited to get to the doctor’s office for the gender reveal at 16 weeks!  Imagine the disappointment we felt when the receptionist at check-in informed us this was only to be a blood draw appointment.  Communication break down! I’d been told in my prior appointment we’d have another ultrasound.  I talked Luke off the ledge (he looked like Christmas morning had just been canceled) and we made our case to the doctor of the day.  I go to a practice where the 5 ob-gyns act interchangeably so you’re comfortable with each for delivery.  When this doc reviewed the last doc’s notes she confirmed what I’d heard – there was to be an extra ultrasound.  We were shown to the exam room and given the ultrasound, but since we’d already extended the appointment it felt rushed.  The doc seemed reluctant to make a final call on gender and we didn’t push her.

Instead, we called a nearby StorkVision location and made an appointment for the same day!  They require you show ‘proof of care.’  If you go this route, take an ultrasound pic or any article showing your doctor’s involvement.  It’s sad to think anyone would substitute an early gender-reveal ultrasound for professional care.  The ladies at Stork Vision were amazing!  It happened to be a slow day and our tech took a 3D video at no additional cost.  She took her time and once she showed us what we were looking for (or absence of!) in the ultrasound, the gender of our little muffin was obvious!

And, if you’re still wondering what we’re having…. I’m excited to share we’re having a baby GIRL!

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Nursery Vision Board 2

Nursery Vision Board 2

Shimmer light

Wall light
$52 –

Silk rug

Coral throw pillow

European furniture

Ornate furniture