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Category Archives: health

Is it just me, or is everyone having babies all of a sudden? I think there are at least five ladies I know that are expecting, and a handful recently welcomed little bundles. Where are all of these babies coming from?

Wait…never mind. I know where they come from.

Of course, whenever I talk to my expecting friends, the conversation ends up focusing on being healthy. I can remember being extremely conscious of my health during my pregnancy, and I know a lot of women feel the same way. Check out the nine tips I discovered that got me through that wild nine months** (including a couple to combat the dreaded morning sickness), and let me know what your tips are in the comments!

  1. Eat! Look, right now is not the time to count calories and go crazy avoiding carbs. Now is the time to eat! Your baby needs a lot of nutrients, so make sure your diet is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Your doctor will discuss any foods you need to avoid (like raw fish).  As much as possible, stay away from a lot of junk food and sugary snacks. Otherwise? Go ahead and fill that plate…
  2. But don’t go hog wild. …But, you just said to eat! I know, but here’s the thing…You still have to be sensible about what, and how much of it, you’re putting in your body. Your doctor will talk to you about a reasonable amount of weight gain, and trying to stay close to that limit will help you continue to feel great through your pregnancy. Gaining too much weight can cause a number of issues that range from mild discomfort to dangerous for you and baby.
  3. Take that vitamin without feeling queasy. Prenatal vitamins are a must, but sometimes they can be a little hard to swallow (literally… have you seen those horse pills?!). Taking them on an empty stomach is a sure way to make you feel a little barfy, and I found that if I took mine mid-meal I could avoid that. Even if you can just eat a couple of crackers before and after taking your vitamin, it will help***.
  4. Combat that morning sickness with food! Try this tried-and-true from a friend of mine: Before going to bed, put an (unopened) bottle of water and a granola bar on your night stand. Before you even get out of bed in the morning, eat the granola bar and wash it down with some of the water. My friend did this every morning and swore it kept her morning sickness at bay. Keep snacks in your purse, and if you get that hungry/sickie feeling during the day you can get a little something in your stomach to settle it.
  5. Cherry Coke to the rescue? Ok, I know I just said to avoid sugary stuff but… This is a trick a nurse told me about. Whenever they have someone that’s got some pretty nasty nausea, they have the patient sip Cherry Coke. Something about the cherry syrup seems to calm the stomach. I’m not saying you should be chugging it by the gallon, but if a snack isn’t helping to calm the beast you might give it a shot.
  6. Breathe deep to avoid barfing. There are a lot of natural ways to calm the morning sickness monster, and a friend of mine sword by this one: Take a long, even, slow breath in through the nose. Release it slowly through pursed lips. Continue until you feel better. Sure, you might look silly stopping a conversation to do this, but I think you’d be more embarrassed if you barfed on your boss’s shoes!
  7. Exercise You don’t have to be as hardcore as the CrossFit mom, but a little physical activity every day will go a long way toward keeping you feeling great. Talk to your doctor first, but consider water aerobics. The water in the pool will support your belly, and your back might get a little relief!
  8. Don’t read all of those pregnancy books A friend of mine let me borrow a couple of hers when I first found out I was pregnant, and I think I got to chapter two before I had to put it down. It was terrifying! It was like going to a family reunion and listening to all of your female relatives drone on and on about their horror stories. Look, it may not be a bad idea to have one around for reference, but don’t sit down and read it cover to cover. You’ll only stress yourself out with all of the what-ifs you’re reading about.
  9. Find a doctor you trust I adored my OBGYN so much that now I actually look forward to my yearly poke-n-prods. She and I developed a wonderful relationship, and I trusted her completely. She was able to quiet my fears and I always felt like she was really listening to me. If you have a doctor you don’t feel comfortable with, go somewhere else. The rapport between you and your doc can set the tone for your entire pregnancy, and it’s a stressful enough time as it is. Do you really need to add not liking your doctor?

So there you have it, my favorite tips for a happy, healthy pregnancy. Do you have any tips to share? How did you fight the morning sickness monster?

** I may have been on The Doctors, but i am not one. Please get your doctor’s ok before doing anything!

** Please be cautious when taking any type of pill when you’re pregnant. There are some potential dangers out there that could put your baby at risk. Zofran, for example, is an anti-nausea medication that has been reported to cause birth defects. Please consult your doctor and do your research first!
Click here for more information.


You know what’s great about long hair?

No, really, I’m asking…What’s so great about long hair? Because now that I have it again I am perpetually annoyed by it.

When it’s not in a ponytail, I find myself shutting it in car doors, getting it caught in the car window, tangling it around purse straps, and getting it stuck in my armpit. In my armpit, people.

I stretch ponytail holders out after just a few uses, and I have a million headbands that just won’t stay put. It seems that nothing will tame this wild mane of mine.

BUT WAIT.

I found Bolder Bands on Facebook. It may be the first time in the history of the world that a legit company actually advertised that way. Ok, maybe not, but the only ads I typically see involve generically named “colleges”.

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Not legit.

But Bolder Bands happened to pop up at the perfect time. That morning at the gym, my headband kept creeping back on my head, forcing me to fix it every five seconds. Every time I’d reach up to adjust I had visions of falling off of my machine. After coming home and showering, I was scrolling through Facebook while my coffee brewed when their ad caught my eye.

I was able to get my first band free, only paying for shipping. That offer may still be available,  so head over to their website to check it out.

My band arrived quickly, and I tried it out the very next morning.

It worked! I actually forgot I had it on until I got home… It kept my bangs back and stayed in place no matter how much bouncing around and sweating I did.

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Excuse the sweat and lack of makeup.

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The bands come in three sizes, so make sure to measure your noggin before you order. They are also machine washable (!). Just make sure to hang them up to dry.

I want to order a thousand more of these things… There are tons of awesome patterns and colors available. There are even Bro Bands for dudes!

Do me a favor, ok? If you order one, please come back here and tell me what  color or pattern you got so I can live vicariously through you. It just might keep me from going broke.

***This is NOT a sponsored post. I used my own money and a coupon code to order my band.***


I’m always on the hunt for healthy and tasty snacks, and I keep seeing roasted chickpeas pop up on my Pinterest feed. After reading a handful of recipes, I grabbed a couple of cans at the store to try my hand at making them.

It turns out, these are super easy, customizable, and tasty as can be. You could even toss these with pretzels and other goodies for an awesome snack mix.

Because I love Parmesan cheese, I decided to include it in my first attempt. Here’s what you need:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and dried thoroughly (I spread mine out between two towels for a few minutes)

About a teaspoon of garlic powder

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (you can add more if that’s not enough)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the dried chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, and cheese in a bowl with a tightly fitting lid. Spread them in a single layer on the parchment and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until crunchy.

Alternatively, you could dry roast them, then toss them with the oil, garlic, and cheese while they’re still hot.

There are plenty of other flavors you could make… I think you could dry roast them, then toss them in butter, then cinnamon and sugar for a sweet snack… Or maybe in chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice. The possibilities are almost endless.

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I pretty much spent a dollar to make these, since the only thing I had to buy was the can of beans. O really enjoyed them…I took some out a little early so he could snack on them. I was afraid the crunchy ones would be too hard for him…Then again, my kid is a human garbage disposal. I’m sure he would’ve been fine.

I will definitely start making these more frequently. I see a big batch of them going with us as a pool day snack in the near future.


Today marks the one – year anniversary of my three pound tumor removal. If you’re new around here, or if you just want to take a stroll down memory lane, click here, and here, and here, and of course here to read about Fred’s Twitter fame.

Anyway,  I won’t include actual pics of ‘ol Fred here, but they’re in the posts I’ve linked to above. Yes, including the infamous “tumor in a bucket” pic.

Getting that nasty thing removed was the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. I’ve felt better over this last year than I can ever remember feeling.

Going through a pregnancy with a giant tumor was pretty anxiety inducing. In the very beginning,  my family doctor told me I would be very high risk and would likely miscarry. Way to be positive, doc (for the record, I no longer go to that office). I spent a lot of sleepless nights worrying over my sweet little peanut. I couldn’t bring myself to share anything baby related on social media for fear that I’d lose him.

I found a wonderful (and infinitely more positive) doctor. She made us aware of risks, but in a way that was far less terrifying. I got to have an awful lot of ultrasounds, mostly because my little stinker would hid behind the tumor and the doc would have trouble finding his heartbeat. I always felt better after those appointments.

People tell me all the time that I “got the easy way out” because I had a C-section. Nothing about it was easy. A nurse at the hospital was kind enough to inform me that they were reserving a few bags of blood for me because, “you’re probably gonna need it.” Having a giant, blood sucking tumor just hanging out in your uterus makes your chances of hemorrhage go way up. I was almost convinced I would bleed to death before ever getting to see my baby.

The day my sweet boy was born, I cried a little from relief. He was here, he was safe and healthy. He was beautiful, with a head full of hair and eyes that seemed to see more than a brand new baby should. It was over.

And six months later, it was really over. Fred was removed, sent to be examined and then disposed of (so far as I know). I’m still a little bitter that I didn’t get to keep him. Women are having teddy bears made out of their placentas and I don’t get to keep my three pound tumor?! Bullshit.

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Left: The day before surgery Middle: The morning after. Right: Today

I had my annual poke n’ prod a couple of weeks ago, and my doctor has declared me to be tumor free, which was awesome news since the little mnfers tend to grow back. The longer I can keep from sprouting siblings for Fred, the longer I can put off a more drastic treatment…Namely, a hysterectomy.  I don’t know that I want more kids, but I know I don’t want to so firmly shut that door just yet.

So happy birthday Fred, wherever you are. I can’t say that I miss you but I do think of you often.


Yesterday was my last post-op appointment (catch up here, here, here, and here if you missed all of the surgery excitement)… After checking my incision my doctor announced that I was released and that I could (slowly) return to normal activities.

HOORAY!

Little does she know, I already started doing that. Actually, she probably does at least suspect… See, the morning after my surgery, she was checking on her patient across the hall from me…My door was open and she stuck her head into my room, probably expecting me to be sleeping (it was 6:30 am, after all). Instead, she discovered me shuffling around the room wearing pants. The look of bewilderment on her face was priceless, and when she asked what I was doing I could only be honest with her…

“Cleaning? Just straightening up, really… There were some things on my tray table I wanted to throw away…”

She just shook her head.

<End tangent>

So I asked if I could start working out. She gave me the ok as long as I didn’t overdo it…And this morning I knocked out my very first post-surgery workout.

Guys, I might have…maybe…possibly…Um, there’s a chance that I over did it a bit. Really just a teeny bit, though, because now I feel pretty awesome and, more importantly, I did not die.

did you die

I did not, sir!

So yesterday was a super great day because I got released AND I got to drive for the first time since my surgery. Today was also an awesome day, since I got to work out and I lifted O in his carseat for the first time. I thought it would rough since I went a month without doing it… I mean, it’s not like he got lighter… But no big deal!

Thank you to everyone that sent me well wishes, happy thoughts, prayers…and to everyone that has emailed or texted me to see how I was doing. It meant a lot to me that so many people cared about little ol’ me!

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My heart healthy lasagna post is still viewed a handful of times a day… In fact, it’s one of the most common searches that brings new readers to my blog. I like that people are interested in making healthier versions of their favorite foods… So when my mom told me about this better version of pie crust I knew I had to share it with my readers.

I like this pie crust because it’s super easy, quick, and cleanup is a breeze. It’s just as flaky as your typical pie crust and it tastes so good you won’t miss all of that hydrogenated oil.

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1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons ice cold water

Seriously, couldn’t be easier. Preheat your oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in a bowl… I use a fork and save the water for last. You may have to use more water, so if your dough doesn’t come together add any additional water a tablespoon (or less) at a time.

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Roll your crust out between two sheets of parchment paper. This really cuts down on the mess and makes it easier to move into your pan. I wouldn’t recommend rolling it on a floured surface because you’ll end up with a tough pie crust.

I made this crust specifically to eat with macerated fresh strawberries, so I simply transferred it (still on the parchment) to a baking sheet, poked some holes in it, and stuck it in the oven. If you’re doing the same, or if you’re blind baking the crust for a pie, bake it for 13 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Otherwise, follow the directions of your pie recipe.

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I got one edge a little thinner than the rest and it got a bit dark. It was still good, though!

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I had strawberries and pie crust for breakfast this morning and it was delicious. I can’t wait to try this crust in a pie!


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Am I in an animal hospital?

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My sweet surgery getup

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I don't remember taking this post-op picture.


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Ellllliiiiiioooooottttt

Let me tell you, this has actually been a pretty great day. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve been waiting to have this thing removed for a long, long time. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a bit more painful, but I know I can handle it.

Thank you to everyone that sent prayers and happy vibes my way! I’m going to kick back, enjoy the peace and quiet, and read my book while my calves get a nice massage.

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Love these things!


So I’m having surgery on Tuesday morning and since I’ve left most everything to the last minute, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to posting. If I were a responsible blogger I would have some drafts ready to auto-post… but that’s an awful lot of preparedness.

I really hope to at least post a picture or a mini-update on Tuesday afternoon…but I’ll be fairly heavily medicated so who knows what will happen. I apologize in advance for any off the wall, pain med-induced updates that might happen.

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Got my blood work over with today. Woo!

As I was getting my blood drawn today, the nice woman and I chatted about my upcoming surgery. Turns out, she’d had the same procedure a few years ago.

“I had a ten pound baby with no meds,” she exclaimed,”but this surgery was a HELL of a lot worse!”

Um…That’s not really what I wanted to hear.

“And don’t get me wrong, he split me wide open! It HURT!”

Ok, really?!

“Oh, I see that they’ve ordered two bags of your blood to have ready… So you’re going to be a problem patient, huh?”

SERIOUSLY.

She did give me a hug before I left and said she’d be praying for me… So that was nice. She obviously didn’t understand what a roller coaster I’ve been on trying to get this surgery done and I think she was genuinely trying to comfort me… But…yeah.

If you’re so inclined, I would appreciate any prayers you’d like to send my way. If you aren’t a praying person, good vibes are welcome, too!

I hope to be back soon. Love to you all!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ashlee_mae) or instagram (@theoriginalashleemae) and like Willfully Disobedient on Facebook for possible up-to-the-minute updates!

**EDIT**

What should I bring to the hospital?


I really wanted to title this post Magically Healing and Awesomely Wonderful Chicken and Wild Rice Soup… but that seemed a little long-winded. It’s true, though… this soup is practically guaranteed to cure what ails you.

Well, it’ll make you feel an awful lot better. Just for fun, I’ve included links to the health benefits of the ingredients so you know I’m not full of it. Well, at least not in this case.

Want to make it? Of course you do! You need:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 32 oz boxes plus one 10 oz can chicken stock (I use low sodium)

2 boxes long grain and wild rice mix (I used Uncle Ben’s)

1 red onion, chopped

3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped

2 or 3 regular carrots or a big handful of baby carrots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bouquet garni (fresh rosemary, sage, thyme bundled in a coffee filter and tied with string)

Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s) or crushed red pepper

Ground ginger

Celery salt

Chicken bouillon

Ground black pepper

Salt

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper your chicken, then bake at 350 for 20ish minutes or until its internal temperature measures 170 degrees. Let cool.

Throw everything else in a stockpot over medium heat. Use as many carrots and celery stalks as you like. Go wild with the Creole seasoning and ginger or use small amounts if you’re not a fan of heat. If you really want lemon flavor use the juice of a whole lemon… I had half of a lemon leftover from making lemon cookies so I used that. In small amounts, you don’t really taste GINGER! or LEMON!, you just get a hint of each.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it up and toss it in the soup.
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Put a lid on it and do some kitchen cleanup.

I like to remove the bouquet garni when things really get to bubbling. If you want a stronger herb flavor feel free to leave it in as long as you like. Give the soup a stir, put the lid back on, and leave it alone for 20 minutes or so.

You’ll know the soup is done when the carrots and celery have softened, and when the rice has poofed up. You can add more liquid at this point if you like…the rice will soak up a lot of the liquid and thicken the remaining broth. If you like a soupier soup go ahead and dump another can of chicken stock in.

If you find yourself with no chicken stock, use one bouillon cube dissolved in a cup of boiling water.

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Great googly moogly, this is good soup. Magic soup.

Serve it with lemon wedges, crackers, or crusty French bread and butter (my favorite).

 


It’s Sunday, so y’all know what that means!

…I wish it meant football…

Nope, it means I’ve tested another pin and I’m about to tell you all about it.

I’m sure you’ve seen these two ingredient cookies floating around Pinterest. What isn’t to love here? Bananas + oatmeal = cookie

Healthy, easy, pretty quick to make and you can customize them. They also seemed like a good way to make oatmeal easier to eat. I’m not a fan of the stuff but I’ve been eating it every morning because oatmeal is thought to help with breastmilk production. I had high hopes for this pin.

Sigh

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I mashed up two nanners and mixed in a cup of oats. I decided to leave them plain for the first batch… if they were good I planned to throw some chocolate chips into the next batch.

I plopped about a tablespoon full onto an ungreased cookie sheet and smashed them down a bit so they looked even. Into the oven they went (preheated to 350) while I did some cleaning up. After 15 minutes I took them out to investigate…

Well, they were definitely warmer

I bit into a cookie and was rather unpleasantly surprised at the texture… really lumpy and gummy and… yuck. I figured they just weren’t done and put them back in the oven for ten minutes.

The next time I took them out they still felt spongy and had stuck to the cookie sheet. I decided they were done and scraped them off.

I ended up choking them down since I hate wasting food… but I don’t think I’ll make them again. The only similarity they had to a cookie was shape… the texture was pretty gross and the flavor was just eh. I’m betting the tree-hugging, hemp-wearing, shower-once-a-week-to-save-Mother-Earth types would love these, though… they don’t seem to like anything that tastes good.

It figures, the one time I follow directions exactly and I end up with a total flop. Super lame, Pinterest.



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