Bringing that champagne energy

There was a time when champagne was my drink of choice. I’d order it everywhere, no matter how unlikely a place to drink bubbles. It was my choice at happy hour, at dinner, even late night at clubs in Vegas.

Because why not?

Oh, youth. This is from a Vegas trip when I drank exclusively champagne.

What I remember most about my champagne era was an overwhelming sense of joie de vivre. A constant undercurrent of this is fun. I ordered champagne because it matched the way I felt: I was joyful, carefree, and above all, present.

I had just started a new business and was full of the heady energy of new beginnings and big dreams. Every moment and every small win felt like a celebration, and I was more than happy to jump in with a toast and starry eyed look to the future.

As that new business demanded more and more of me, that energy waned and chronic stress and anxiety stepped in. I wanted so badly to be taken seriously that I became too serious. I was tired of being dismissed as ‘girl’ and my ideas being labeled ‘cute’ or ‘female-targeted’ before I’d even had a chance to open my mouth. I was tired of showing up only to learn that I was yet again, a token, or worse, entertainment.

Those years were some of the unhealthiest of my life, primarily because of the toll the stress took on my body and my mental health. I was never present, never able to truly disconnect. I sacrificed every other aspect of my life—my relationships, my hobbies, any chance to relax and unwind. ‘Balance’ meant going on that girls weekend away, but spending that beautiful Sunday inside a bookstore, poaching their wifi, working, while all my friends relaxed on a lovely patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I remember thinking, this is not worth it, but it took a couple more years before I found a way to change my reality. 

Looking back, I wish that I had found a way to carry some of that champagne energy forward, and found ways to be joyful and present despite the stress. I wish I’d found a way to maintain my own sense of self even when it felt like what I had to offer wasn’t good enough.

These days I’m leaning back toward bubbles, for a lot of reasons. I have way more balance in my life, and beyond that, I’m also not trying to pass as something I’m not.

Instead, I’m embracing that I’m a woman, that I need time for myself, and that I’m a working mom, and I won’t apologize for any of that. I won’t hide or downplay what I’m juggling or how I prioritize.

Memories of how alive I felt during my champagne era, and all the girl power feels, surged anew when Anna, one of our Sweat Pink sisters, reached out to share her new business: Fit & Flirty, a line of champagne & fitness themed apparel

How cute is this tank

I connected immediately to the brand, because bubbles and fitness together are a perfect symbol of that elusive balance—not to mention presentness and joy—I’m seeking right now.

Why yes, it does look cute as casual wear OR athletic apparel. 👌

Whereas I used to be too busy (read: too stressed) to take care of myself, I now know all too well that no one wins when I don’t make time. However I’m moving or sweating, whether the vehicle is burpees or running or yoga, the purpose is the same: it’s about putting in the work, and seizing the now so that I can be joyful, present, and grateful, no matter how tough the workout or how challenging the day.

I think I just expressed gratitude for burpees. #WhatIsWrongWithMe

And I’ll happily order champagne at every opportunity, knowing this moment and these bubbles are worth celebrating precisely because they won’t last forever. These days, my priority is to be present, here in this moment, whether that’s doing burpees, playing dump trucks with my toddler, spending hours nursing, or raising a glass in celebration.

Cheers to RIGHT NOW. 

How sweet it is to enjoy these moments before my knees give out, the snuggles must be coaxed out instead of soaked up, and the champagne falls flat. 

If you need some champagne energy in your life, Anna’s new business, Fit & Flirty, just launched this week, and you can save 15% with the code SWEATPINK21 .  There are a ton of cute options (see Nic’s tank in action here), including a crop top I’m going to treat myself to once I’m ready to show off my belly again.

There’s also a buy one get one 50% off promo going on this week if you need two tops. Maybe one for your bff, if sharing is your thing.

Sizing: I’m usually a medium in all things, but since I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds on my post-baby bod, I sized up to a large, and it’s nice and slouchy / comfy. All this to say, I think they run true to size. 🙂

This post is sponsored by Fit & Flirty. All opinions are my own, of course. Here’s to supporting women-owned businesses, and embracing right now. 


How to get protein when you have meat aversions

How do you get enough protein when you don’t eat meat?

This is a question our vegetarian and vegan friends get asked all the damn time, and I don’t know a single plant-based person who isn’t sick to death of explaining quinoa and lentils to curious carnivores deprived of access to common sense or Google.

When you’re pregnant and not eating meat—whether by choice or because of extreme aversions to flesh in all forms— it’s the same story, only with a few fun twists.

First, everyone and their unqualified coworker cares about what you put in your mouth, like all of a sudden when you became a vessel for new life you became public property to be fondled and judged indiscriminately for all of your choices.

Second, there are professionals asking you how you’re doing, diet-wise, on a near weekly basis, and in my experience most of them have extremely high standards for the amount of protein they want you consuming. I’ve heard quotas between 80-100 grams of protein per day while pregnant. As a point of reference, that’s:

  • 13-16 eggs (6g per egg)
  • 6-8 cups of black beans (12g per cup)
  • 10-12 cups of quinoa (8g per cup)
  • 4-5 scoops of protein powder (20g per scoop)

In other words, A LOT OF FOOD.

Third, if you have meat aversions or are experiencing pregnancy nausea, you probably also hate quinoa and eggs and black beans and other typical, healthy, non-meat sources of protein.

What’s a well-meaning, potato-chip craving pregnant woman to do? (Besides, of course, posting pictures of beautiful salads you’ll never eat to Instagram to prove what a #fitpregnancy you’re having. All’s fair when you’re cooking a human, folks).

I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to crack this code, mostly so I could get back to my potato chips without further interruptions. Here are my four ninja ways to get protein into the kinds of foods you’re likely willing to eat, especially during nausea-time.

Sorry, plant-based friends, these involve sneaky animal products; you’re on your own for getting up to that 80-100g threshold.

This seems like a good time to insert my eternal disclaimer: I am not qualified to tell you how to be healthy, during pregnancy or not during pregnancy. Ask someone who is. 

Add collagen to your beverages

Whatever it is you’re drinking, add collagen. I find it works really well in lemonade and limeade (two drinks I could reliably stomach during first trimester). There’s no flavor change, and you turn your empty-calorie drink into 11 grams of protein.

how to get more protein when you have pregnancy meat aversions

Now that I’m able to drink coffee again, I have been adding collagen into my coffee, and that is similarly tasteless and effortless and also makes my hair ah-mazing.

how to get protein when you have pregnancy meat aversions

If you’re getting most of your hydration from non-water sources (I certainly was during first trimester, when water was right up there with raw chicken) you could easily hit your 80-100g goal on just boosted beverages alone.

Progress toward your goal: 10% for each drink.

Cook your rice in bone broth

There was a period of time when steamed white rice and soy sauce was all I could muster, and it drove my husband crazy that our baby’s earliest development was fueled by nutritionally vacant calories and sodium.

I called it survival.

We compromised: he made me rice in bone broth, and as long as I didn’t witness it, I could douse that rice in enough soy sauce that I never knew the difference. Based on my casual googling, I *think* a cup of rice cooked in bone broth has ~9g of protein. That’s about twice what you’ll get from rice cooked in water.

Progress toward your goal: 9%

Whip some collagen into your cream cheese or potato soup or other white semi-solid food

My first pregnancy, bagels and cream cheese were my jam. During the first few weeks of my second pregnancy, I only ate potato soup. Specifically, this potato soup:

how to get protein during pregnancy meat aversions

Needless to say both foods are on my no-fly list now, but they are both excellent vehicles for a dose of collagen. Just stir or mix a scoop, or a handy travel pack, into whatever soup or spread you’re able to stomach, and boost the protein by 11g.

It also works great in yogurt, if you’re into that.

Progress toward your goal: 10% for each boosted white food

Make homemade gummies, or get someone to make you some

Photo: Fitful Focus

Sour or gummy candy was surprisingly helpful for me with managing nausea, especially on the go; even just a quick sugar boost or something to suck on would get me through some rough moments. There are tons of easy, DIY home-made gummy candy recipes out there on the internet; this one from Nicole looks especially delicious. And because they include gelatin, they have protein in them!

Progress toward your goal: 5% for ~15 gummies (not much, but hey, candy)

 

And there you have it. If you strategically combine these tactics over the course of the day, you can get away with eating whatever you can keep down, and also supplying your baby with the amount of protein your caregivers recommend. Plus, of course, all of the other health benefits of collagen, gelatin, and bone broth: healthier and stronger skin and nails, healthier and more flexible joints, and improved athletic performance. Those are all major side benefits to the very basic goal of getting enough protein, especially during a time in your life when your rapidly changing body seems to serve up fresh surprises and betrayals with every new day.

I will say, too, that my sudden reliance on collagen for protein has my skin and hair looking radiant. Especially for winter.

If you’re ready to hop on the collagen wagon, you can save 20% at Great Lakes Gelatin with the code GLGLife20, valid until 3/15/18.

This post is sponsored by Great Lakes Gelatin in partnership with Fit Approach and the #SweatPink community. All opinions are my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with my first baby, Fit Approach. Thank you. <3 

Skip the hassle, eat more sushi

I try to lead a pretty healthy lifestyle: to eat well, exercise, all the good stuff. But one area where I typically fall short is in seeing the doctor. I try to avoid it as much as possible, entirely because of all the hoops you have to jump through in order to spend 5 minutes with her: parking, waiting rooms, sitting on hold to make the appointment in the first place … I mean, what a drag.

So you can bet my on-demand, delivery-loving self was 100% on board with trying out Everlywell, which basically eliminates all the rigamarole associated with getting labs done. No scheduling a doctor’s appointment to get a lab order. No finding a lab close to you. No traveling however far and finding and paying for parking and waiting in some drab waiting room for 30 seconds of action. No waiting to hear from your doctor about your results. No traffic or parking or waiting rooms or online scheduling or clipboards full of cramped forms to fill out. YESSS.

I tried out the DHA test for breastfeeding mothers, because Mac’s brain development is (shocker) really important to me. So is eating sushi, so I could only see getting good news from this test: I was either giving Mac enough DHA for optimal brain development, or I needed to eat more sushi. (Or both, I mean, why not?)

The test shows up so perfectly packaged, with super simple, clear instructions. I took this test in my pajamas, without having to load the whole kit & caboodle & toddler into the car.

The breastmilk test requires just a few drops of milk. I had packed away my pump over two months ago, and I wasn’t about to bring it back out—I’m retired—but luckily a simple manual expression did the trick. I waited till Mac got the pipes flowing, then expressed a few drops into the smallest glass I had, which happened to be a wineglass. #partytime

What I didn’t anticipate was just how upset Mac would get by those few drops getting rerouted from her belly. She let me know just how unhappy about it she was. But after I’d used the pipette to drop my milk onto the little sample card, I gave it to her to play with and there was once again peace in the kingdom.

She also got to play with the cute little bandaid container included. Since my test required no blood, those went straight into the diaper bag for future emergencies. (Thanks, Everlywell!).

From there, you just pack up in the included envelope, slap on the included shipping label, and drop it in the mailbox. It literally couldn’t be easier.

Five days later, my results were in my inbox. I loved getting to see easy-to-understand charts instead of a cursory phone call from the doctor’s office with a bare bones “everything was normal” summary of results.

Unfortunately, everything was not normal… my DHA levels are below recommended.  🙁

I guess that means more sushi… or, since I’m currently in Hawaii, more poke.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Besides guzzling more fish, I’m taking my results to my next doctor’s appointment so I can make an action plan and make sure I am fueling Mac’s brain every way I can.

Want to be the boss of your health, from home, in pajamas? Cool. You can try this DHA test for 15% off with the code ALYSE15.

Or, if you’re not breastfeeding, Everlywell has a whole other suite of at-home tests, including food sensitivity, metabolism, sleep, fertility, and so much more. You can save 10%  on any (or all!) of those with the code FitApp10.

At-home testing is the way to go, for real. Who doesn’t love delivery??

This post was sponsored by Everlywell via the Sweat Pink community. All opinions are my own, and I so appreciate your support of the brands who support me and Sweat Pink?

Is your refrigerator running?

You know what’s super fun to come home to after a week away? A dead refrigerator.

You know what ups the fun factor even more? You have to wait 5 days for the repair person to even show up.

And then … everyone’s just a little sniffly and hoarse. My baby sounds like she’s spent her entire life on two packs a day. We could all use a little TLC and a lot of Vitamin C.

We stocked our cooler with a few essentials (milk, beer) and are otherwise making it work with takeout, non-perishables, and the (occasionally mysterious) contents of our freezer, which, praise be, is still functioning.

It turned out this was the perfect time to really commit to a new, not mysterious section of my freezer: my Daily Harvest meals. We’d received them shortly before we left town, and I tetris-ed them into the freezer and quickly got distracted by downloading every Daniel Tiger episode I could find, in the misguided hopes it would keep my tiny adventurer occupied on the flight.

The smoothies are the perfect complement (alternative?) to takeout pizza and breakfast tacos, because, hello, nutrition. I gravitated first to the Mango + Camu smoothie (immunity! That’s exactly what we need!), and whipped it up so we could all try and partake.

It’s so easy. SO, so easy. I’m a big fan of the easy part. Also, tons of ingredients that I would either buy a big thing of and then only use once and lose at the back of my pantry and have to toss years later when I rediscovered them, or that I didn’t know existed (I’m looking at you, camu).

Look how pretty – green confetti!

You either dump the smoothie back into the cup, which has an integrated straw hole (genius, I’m telling you, genius) or pour it into a wine glass because everything tastes better in a stemless.

I liked it. Mac liked it.

My husband drank most of it. That’s a big fat endorsement from someone who is still convinced that french fries are vegetables.

Another crowd pleaser was the Pumpkin Overnight Oats, and by crowd, I mean Mac: she destroyed that bowl of oatmeal.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my thing, but I am chronically boring when it comes to oatmeal. I like it with some almond butter and nothing else. Maybe some hemp hearts if I’m feeling wild that morning. But, objectively, the pumpkin overnight oats were really good. If you are a normal human and enjoy healthy, delicious flavors in your oatmeal, you will like these.

My favorite smoothie so far is the Blueberry + Hemp one. What can I say, I’m a berry kind of gal.

 

Also, they manage to incorporate kale + spinach without it tasting yucky. That’s a good recipe right there!

Want to try Daily Harvest for yourself? They were kind enough to give me a code to share with y’all: FitApproach will get you THREE free cups!

It’s good, y’all. A great way to (easily!!) spice up your meals, even if your refrigerator needs chasing. 😉

I got to try Daily Harvest for free! #ILoveMyJob . All opinions are my own. If you try it for yourself, I hope you’ll let me know your opinions, too. 🙂 

 

Show your mama some love

Hey hey, it’s mother’s day!

What are you getting for that special lady in your life? I know, it’s a dumb hallmark holiday, but you bet I’m taking advantage. I’m writing this post to help you find mother’s day gifts that don’t suck. NO BATH BOMBS, husbands. NO BATH BOMBS. And also to assist my own husband in finding me the perfect gift. I don’t want him to stress out too much.

What can I say, I’m a giver.

Time alone

Take the baby and give her some time to herself. To do … whatever.

Yoga. Binge on Netflix. Stare blankly into space.

My dream life.

Sleep. Sit at a coffee shop and slowly sip a latte and leisurely read a book. Pee alone. Cook or do laundry without ‘help’. Literally, whatever.

Note: This is the gift I want most pretty much all the time, but this won’t work for all mamas. We all have different comfort levels around how soon and how long we can be away from the baby. You probably know where the mama in your life falls on the spectrum; if not, ask her partner.

Time with you

If your mother is not a NEW mother, meaning if you’re not a baby, give her the gift of your presence. Take her to lunch, take her for a massage, most importantly, BE NICE TO HER.

Or, if she recently became a grandma, give her the baby and GET OUT OF THE WAY.

 

Instant MILF Milk Bath!

Ahah I know, I just said don’t give her bath stuff. But, there’s an exception to every rule. Becky sent me these (delicious, hilarious) milk baths and the sheer joy I experienced reading the names and descriptions was as good as that soak.

Donate to a political candidate that won’t punish her for being a mother.

I’m a little enraged by all this healthcare business. All I can say is, take care of mothers by literally helping to make sure mothers get taken care of. If you don’t have the cash money to give, then use your voice to speak up for women and mothers.

Shit Tote

Because we’re just up to our elbows all the time. Might as well throw some rainbows behind it.

There you have it, my no bullshit guide to mother’s day gifts. Sorry for all the shouting. I don’t know what came over me.. oh, no wait, I do, I wrote this on the same day this tweet came true:

Once I simmer down, I’ll be back to share the story of my first mother’s day, which involves public nudity and urination committed by an adult.