Getting my sparkle back

sparkling detox sweat pink

I’m five weeks postpartum, and while I’m still in the honeymoon phase of new baby life, I can already tell you that for me, transitioning from one to two kids is way easier than from zero to one.

 

At the beginning of my journey as a new mom, I really struggled to find time to take care of myself. My exercise was sporadic, my nutrition about as ad hoc as it gets.

The adjustment to momlife required lots of trial and error until I finally found my stride—and of course once I felt like I’d ‘made it,’ I got pregnant again. (Note to self: what were you thinking?).

So this time is my do-over. I get to start from scratch, again, and to my own surprise I’m really excited to do that. To see what I can achieve knowing where I might like to end up. To discover what new reserves of strength I have as a mom of two.

 

I’m just starting to exercise again, so while I’m ramping up my physical activity, here’s how I’m taking better care of myself:

I’m giving myself a kick start with the Sparkling Detox

 

I’m participating in the Gerolsteiner Sparkling Detox for the third year in a row (!!) to help me temper some habits I picked up during my bonus 10 days of pregnancy, when I was sure it would never, ever end.

 

Those habits are fine in moderation, but I don’t want too much cold brew, lemonade, and red vines to become my new normal.

The Sparkling Detox is something I do every year, and its genius lies in its simplicity: you replace all beverages for a week with Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. It’s fun—who doesn’t love sparkling water?—and an easy way to hit reset on any habits that are keeping you from your most hydrated self.

This year, Gerolsteiner’s Sparkling Detox happens from August 27-31.

Register here and you’ll be automatically entered to win a case of Gerolsteiner!

I’m making food really, really easy

 

 

During that week where I’ll be replacing all my beverages with Gerolsteiner, I’ll also be making my food very predictable. Boring, if you will. As a person who will happily eat the same thing day after day, this makes sense for me.

I’m planning out my meals to basically have the same thing every day for a week, so there’s no decision fatigue around figuring out breakfast or lunch. Formulaic eating for the win.

 

I’ll choose boring over exciting any day of the week, as long as it means I’m nourishing myself in a healthy way. Breastfeeding can be so depleting, and it’s doubly essential that I take care of my whole self so that I can in turn take care of my kids.

I’m finding new ways to calm my nerves

Lack of sleep and general stress has a way of taking a toll on your nerves—at least, I find that I need extra help calming down anxiety and stress these days.

 

 

And magnesium, it turns out, is key for a healthy nervous system. A liter of Gerolsteiner contains 25% of the daily recommended dose of magnesium, plus 348 mg of calcium and 1800 mg of bicarbonate, so my water intake is truly working overtime to help me be healthy. Since magnesium supports healthy energy metabolism, muscle function, and nervous system function, I’m optimistic that my sparkling detox experience will also help me feel more relaxed and more on top of my game.

 

I love finding ways to multitask on taking care of myself – I’m such a sucker for efficiencies – so getting hydrated and getting chilled out at the same time sounds pretty darn amazing. Yes please and thank you.

You can join me and the whole sweat pink community in the sparkling detox, even if you’re not starting from scratch like I am. Just enter to win a free case of Gerolsteiner here to make it even easier to sparkle. Or find Gerolsteiner near you (Austin friends, Central Market definitely has!)

Let’s sparkle together, shall we? 🙂

Breakfast burrito recipe swap

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m no recipe whiz. I consider myself more of an assembler of food more than a cook. Occasionally I’m a baker, too, but that seems to be a whole different category of making.

Every year, it seems like, my goal is to improve my kitchen skills, introduce a few new recipes into my highly limited repertoire, and also get better at meal planning and prepping. The results have been middling.

So, when we decided to do a community recipe swap presented by Eggland’s Best eggs, I gamely signed up, knowing that participating would be just the accountability I needed to inch myself closer to those goals. I got paired up with Sara from Nymph in the Woods, an amazing blogger, jewelry designer, and human being, who I had the pleasure of meeting at BlogFest last year. <3

Sara sent me exactly what I needed (she’s clearly psychic): a not-too-complicated recipe chock full of protein that also nets you a ton of freezer meals.

Her recipe for breakfast burritos is here. I mostly stuck to it, with a few edits: this being Texas, I made tacos instead of burritos, because I don’t think I’ve even seen burrito-size tortillas here. I also had to halve the recipe, more or less, because I didn’t realize until midway through that there was no way my largest pan could accommodate 24 eggs. I did, however, use 100% of the cheese the original recipe called for. 🙂

It’s an easy recipe that yields a ton of returns: you do a bunch of chopping, cook the egg mixture with all the delicious fillings you desire, including sausage, peppers, onions, cheese, and salsa, and then wrap and freeze burritos / tacos to your heart’s content.

I used this kitchen adventure as an excuse to test out some of my new food photography skills (here’s the free course I took).

My biggest challenge with food photography is lighting. My kitchen lighting is, well, just plain awful. Look at what should be a bright, fresh pan full of bell peppers and onions, made sickly and fuzzy in the fluorescent light:

egglands best

Don’t let the lighting fool you: these nutrient-rich Eggland’s Best yolks are vibrant and beautiful!

I’ll spare you other pictures of the prep work; the food and recipe are beautiful, and my kitchen lights do not do them justice!

Once my burritos were prepped, I staged a few on our patio where I could at least get some natural light and a non-shiny background:

I’m still no professional but at least the lighting is much improved.

Sara recommends letting the whole mixture cool before you wrap and freeze, so during that downtime, I served my family breakfast. They were a hit! Everyone from my parents (especially my dad) to my 2-year-old loved them.

breakfast taco recipe

And since we were eating them fresh, we added some avocado we had on hand. Big bonus: the avocado added some extra color for photos.

Once the mixture cooled, I started wrapping them… and promptly got fired from the job. My dad said, you know, I could do that better. And I was all too happy to let him finish wrapping up and freezing tacos. 🙂

Even after halving the recipe and feeding 5 people breakfast, I still ended up with about 15 tacos in my freezer—a pretty amazing return for just an hour or so of work. I’ll definitely be making these again, and experimenting with fillings; it seems so easy to customize the recipe based on what you have on hand.  I think I’ll definitely make a batch or four of these before the baby comes—what a perfect breakfast to have on hand.

Thanks, Sara, for this delicious kitchen adventure, and Eggland’s Best, for encouraging the community to connect this way! 🙂

 

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 

This at-home spa treatment will make you feel fancy AF

Self-care is ALL over the internet these days; seems like every outlet and Instagrammer is finding new ways to meditate and essential oil yourself into serenity.

The movement is getting all sorts of backlash—is it selfish? is it a manifestation of privilege? etc etc—and a lot of those criticisms ring true, but one thing I am appreciating about this renewed focus on chilling the F out is that there are all these new creative ideas coming out about how to chill out … in ways that are more accessible than usual. It’s not just, go on this 3 day luxury wellness retreat and feel restored unto the universe, but also practical stuff like, hey, got 2 minutes? FLOSS. Waiting for the bus? Take some deep breaths already.

Those reminders to take space that already exists in your day and make it into something restorative feel really relevant to me right now. One of my most intense secret fantasies is disappearing for an afternoon to go to the spa. I don’t even want a treatment; I just want to surrender to an infinite loop between hot tub, sauna, and steam room. I imagine coming home and pretending like I had been at work the whole time. What, my skin looks extra buttery and silky? Weird, it must just be my natural glow.

Sounds dreamy, right?

Now that you know my (basic, banal) most secret desire, I feel like I can trust you with my backup plan, my spa treatment that I can implement at home, even while a toddler repeatedly crashes her doll stroller into my ankles.

I recently got to test out one of those super fancy Korean face masks—the kind that cost upward of $100—and see if it gave me the same glow as my annual splurge facial (plus of course the infinity loop of spa facilities).

self care sweat pink

Here’s the inside of the pretty box: it feels like a luxury item from start to finish.

The Onyx Youth Magnet Mask is magnetic skincare therapy, using the power of magnets to moisturize your skin and reduce signs of aging. (I had no idea magnets could do that, but hey, for those results, sure thing!)

I put this to the test at the exact moment when I’m least likely to feel fabulous: Friday morning, shortly after waking up, after a couple of days of being sick, and going on three days since I last washed my hair. It would take a miracle to make me feel all self-care-refreshed and glowy.

My takeaways:

My Victory Band headband was a champ at keeping my hair out of the way.

The mask is really easy to use. You spread it over your face with the included spatula and it glides on like butter. I appreciated that I didn’t have to get my hands messy to apply it. Even with a few toddler collisions throwing off my balance, I didn’t make a mess.

Mac was not a fan of my new look.

You should not post any internet selfies without context. While I let the mask work its magic (5-10 minutes), I got Mac to take some selfies with me. She was a little suspicious of my new look, and kept saying, “Mama take face OFF!” I appreciated that it was a quick process—just a few minutes of marination during which my toddler was extremely wary of my face. I also suspect that if I had posted this look on in the internet, sans explanation, it would have been too easy to misinterpret what I was up to. 

Taking it off is really easy, too. The included magnetic wand is kind of magic; it grabs onto the mask with no effort on your part, and even as the mask piles up onto the wand, it still continues working. You look at the collected mask and think sure you’re going to start rubbing it back on your face, but thanks to the power of SCIENCE, it just keeps removing more and more mask.

I did have to touch up a few spots with a washcloth: I found that the wand couldn’t quite maneuver into tiny crevices like around my nose, but that was a minor issue and so easy to just spot-finish.

I got the glow! Here I am, all dewy and super-moisturized, immediately after removing the mask. My bathroom light is pretty substandard, but my skin looked as dewy and glowy as if I’d just had a legit spa treatment.

You get more than I realized for the money. For some (unfounded) reason, I assumed this was a single-use product, which made that $110 price tag even more fancy. But, there was a ton of product left after I finished.

Ugly photo, but you get the point.

I can (and will) keep using this for a quick, self-care touch up when I’m feeling most bedraggled or dehydrated.

It’s on sale right now! If you want to try it yourself, or, if there’s someone you want to give a super luxe gift to (this would work great as a gift; it’s such a beautiful experience, the packaging and branding make it feel really luxurious and special), you can use the code BEMAGNETIC for 20% off here.

 

I received the Onyx Youth Magnet Mask for free—thank you Onyx for the opportunity! As always, all opinions are my own. 🙂 

p.s. Speaking of beauty—if you’re the kind of person who, like me, has failed spectacularly at replicating makeup tutorials on Youtube, here’s a channel that upends the whole genre. By far my favorite thing on the internet recently. Enjoy!

It’s better without makeup

Let’s talk beauty. A few months ago I basically stopped wearing makeup, and, with the exception of my unruly bangs, I have forsaken blowdrying my hair, too.

Since then, more than a few friends have asked if I’ve really stopped wearing makeup and also said they were inspired to wear less.

The answer is yes, I really have stopped wearing makeup. I’ll dab a little powder here and there if I’m feeling red or shiny but that’s it. Full stop.

Here’s my routine:

  • Wash with FRÉ (<– Save 15% with code ALYSE)
  • Dab on some FRÉ Revive me – this is like a cup of cofee for your face. I use it when I’m traveling or just plain tuckered out

  • Layer on Protect me – SPF moisturizer. So necessary

  • Sweat Cosmetics sheer mineral powder: for extra SPF, because it is still 90 goddamn degrees here. (<– Save 10% with code SWEATPINK)

Occasionally, if I’m feeling red or shiny, I’ll pull out my compact and do a little spot touchup, but other than that, my makeup bag is collecting dust in my bathroom cupboard.

Also, I never leave home without my Burt’s Bees Pomegranate lip balm. I buy in bulk and keep multiples in every purse, actually, because it is necessary to my life. I’ve also been using Hemp Organics Lip Tint; it’s a nice dash of natural looking color. So I guess that sort of counts as makeup, but there’s no foundation, no mascara, nothin’ else gracing this mug, smearing my pillowcase, or clogging these pores.

Since I stopped wearing makeup, my skin seems much more clear and less prone to redness or breakouts (which was the main reason I wore makeup in the first place, hmm). I don’t think it all has to do with external factors, though: I’ve also been working on beautifying from the inside out.

First: through better hydration. I am terrible about hydration. I get an F in drinking water. Lame, I know. Fixable, 100%.

The sparkling detox challenge was a good kick in the pants to be better about this very simple activity. I am keeping it going strong by adding Gerolsteiner to my cold brew concentrate. Don’t laugh. This COUNTS.

Second: my secret weapon. For the last month, I’ve been trying out Amazing Grass’ Beauty Elixir, which is a pretty little powder you add to water for some inside-out-beautification. I keep this in my purse, and added a daily reminder to take it. Every time I take it, I have to drink more water. WIN.

I have to say, I think my skin is much improved. I have found myself pulling out my powder less frequently as the month goes on—and I haven’t changed anything else about my routine. If anything, I’m getting less sleep, and drinking more coffee. Plus it tastes nice and it forces me to have that extra glass of water everyday.

Save 40% on Amazing Grass with the code SweatPink2017

Apparently, vanity is the motivator I need to hydrate. Go with what works, I guess?

In partnership with Amazing Grass, Gerolsteiner, and FRÉ Skincare.