Light Fettuccine Alfredo

I have tried tons of Fettuccine Alfredo recipes, including ones full of cream and cheese and gooey unhealthiness. And though they were delicious, after even a small portion, I felt totally sick. Bloated and heavy. So I went on the search for a lighter recipe that was still creamy and delicious. And I found one from my favorite food blogger, Gimme Some Oven! (Follow the link to see her original recipe).

This lighter Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is the perfect option when you want to eat a little healthier but aren’t quite ready to give up the carbs. Also, you should always be eating carbs. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are not your friend.

This recipe proves that you can eat lighter without sacrificing flavor. This creamy pasta is perfect for those cold fall nights.

Here’s how it’s done.

Ingredients:

12 oz Fettuccine

1 Tbsp butter or olive oil

4 cloves garlic (minced)

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup milk

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 pepper

(Optional) parsley and/or extra Parmesan for topping

Instructions:

1. Cook the pasta al dente.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil or butter on medium-high heat. When hot or melted, add the garlic and cook (stirring occasionally) until fragrant. Add the flour and mix until all the flour is completely absorbed.

3. Add the chicken stock. Whisk briskly until the mixture is no longer lumpy. Once the sauce is smooth, slowly add in the milk and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer to thicken.

4. Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir until thick and the cheese is melted. Put on medium-low until pasta is cooked.

5. Once pasta is done, drain and return to pan. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir until pasta is well covered.

6. Serve immediately. Top with fresh parsley or extra cheese.

ENJOY!

Well there you go! I promise your taste buds will thank you! What other kind of recipes would you like to see more of on the blog? Comment below!

Also, I won’t be posting until after Thanksgiving, so…. HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Where stretchy pants.

 

My Review of BBG

I have done a review of BBG (Bikini Body Guide) before, except I focused on comparing it to some Beachbody programs. This time around, I wanted to focus on just BBG. I have gotten so many people come to me and ask me to tell them a little bit about BBG–what it is, what it’s like, and if it’s worth doing. I post progress pictures on my instagram and I have been doing BBG for 2 years. So, I’m a pretty good source of knowledge when it comes to Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. So I thought I would give a little overview of the program and tell you about my experience with it.

Before BBG I really struggled finding a workout that I loved. My exercise regime was 30 minutes on an elliptical, barely breaking a sweat, and roaming around the gym trying every machine that didn’t look too complicated. I wasn’t dedicated to anything and felt no fire with anything I had tried before. Then I came across Kayla’s instagram and got sucked in to one of the most inspiring online fitness communities I’d ever seen. Seeing all those transformations brought me the fire I was looking for.

So here’s a little rundown of the program. Now keep in mind that I have actually not tried the app. Since I started BBG before it was cool, I got the ebooks for both BBG 1.0 and 2.0. I got them printed out and bound into booklets. So honestly, I don’t know much about the app, but the workouts are the same.

BBG focuses on strength training circuits and each circuit is focused on a different part of the body. For example, Monday is focused on legs, Wednesday on arms, etc. Each week consists of three, 28 min. circuit workouts and three cardio days. MWF are for circuit training, and for every TTHS, you get to choose your own 35-45 min LISS workout (or 10 min. HIIT).

So, this is an example of a BBG week:

Monday- 28 min leg circuit

Tuesday- 40 min jog

Wednesday- 28 min arm circuit

Thursday- 35 min walk outside

Friday- 28 min ab circuit

Saturday- 10 min sprint intervals

Sunday- Rest day!

 

And here is a rundown of what the circuits are like:

Each circuit consists of two 7 min circuits (repeated twice). Each 7 minute circuit contains 4 exercises. So, you set your timer for 7 minutes and do circuit one. Even if you finish the exercises, you want to keep working out for the full 7 minutes. Just repeat the circuit again if you finish before 7 minutes. After you take a 30 second break, you will start on circuit two. 30 second break, circuit one again. 30 break, circuit two again. Overall, this should take you around 28 minutes. If that made no sense to you, check the example below:

BBG Circuit

Kayla has several different programs. Each is 12 weeks long. BBG 1.0 is weeks 1-12, and BBG 2.0 is weeks 13-24. I believe there is also a 3.0 and a few other programs now available on the app, but I don’t know as much about them.

I have completed BBG 1.0 and 2.0 three times each. So I’ve done about 120 weeks of BBG. Here is what I think of the program….

Well, 120 weeks kind of prove that I LOVE it. It is challenging enough to really test your strength but not too challenging so you burn out quickly. They’re short workouts that you can easily do at home so it’s super convenient, especially for stay at home moms who don’t want to take their kids to the gym.

I also love that the workouts progress in difficulty. Every 4 weeks, the circuits get a little more difficult, so you can really build up your strength in a healthy way. Week 1 is difficult enough to challenge exercise veterans, but not too difficult that it excludes exercise novices.

Here are some questions I’m frequently asked:

Do you do BBG exclusively?

It depends. Sometimes I like to pair it with a Beachbody program.  Sometimes I focus solely on BBG. But doing BBG alone is effective enough to give you results without doing anything else.

What kind of results did you see?

Since I have done 120 weeks of BBG, but I’ve taken breaks (because of pregnancy or other reasons), I don’t have just one transformation. Also, my results have varied depending on how well I eat. I would say the first 12 weeks I did BBG as the most effective for me. I lost several inches overall and lost 15 pounds. I think this is because I was so motivated and dedicated that I never missed a workout and ate extremely well. Here is a picture of that BBG period.

Yes, I know this is only 8 weeks, but it’s a good example.

I lost 15 pounds that first 3 months. I felt SO wonderful by the end of those 12 weeks. I was full of confidence and energy. It was worth every drop of sweat.

But since life is hard and stuff happens, I did end up gaining weight later on and then getting pregnant. So my transformation looks way different after pregnancy. But overall, you can get some seriously good results if you are dedicated!

This is the last 12 weeks. Obviously, I had a very different starting point because I am postpartum.

Have you tried the nutrition guides?

No. Kayla sells a food guide on her website and also provides food and lifestyle tips on her SWEAT app. I have never followed them. Yes I have used some of her recipes, but I have seen success by just using my food plan. Honestly, if you have a good diet and good nutritional know-how, you don’t need her guide.

However, you cannot expect great results unless you eat well. There have been times when I’ve done a round of BBG and barely saw any results in my physique because my diet was garbage. Nutrition is key.

Are there any things you dislike about BBG?

Yes. Burpees and commandos. They are the bane of my existence. But I mean, they’re amazing exercises so this is more of a drag than anything.

Honestly, it’s a great program. I have very few complaints. However there is one worth mentioning. Some of the workouts can be very hard on your body. A lot of the exercises are high impact and can be pretty hard on your joints if you’re not careful. Things like box jumps and jump lunges are hard on your knees. So, if you’re like me and have crappy joints, you have to be extra careful when doing these types of exercises. Make sure your form is spot on (especially with those lunges and squats) so you don’t put too much strain on your knees. You can also modify your exercises if you have bad joints.

 

 

I hope that helps all those who are curious! In a short conclusion, I highly recommend BBG.

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What Not to Say to a New Mom

 

Being a new mom is hard as hell. And those who try and tell you otherwise either never experienced it, or simply forgot. For me, the first three months of Jack’s life were so difficult. Yes, they were also beautiful, but they also turned me into a low-grade psychopath. While I was in the thick of it all, I received so much love and support from people I love. I am so grateful for that. But with all the love I received, there were also those not-so-loving comments that left me either scratching my head, wondering why someone would say something like that, or left me on the verge of tears. So I thought I’d do a little PSA-type blog post about things you maybe shouldn’t say to a new mom. Because I think it’s important. But I should also say that this is totally opinion-based. So something that may upset one mom may not upset another. But I think it’s good to just be safe.

 

“It just gets harder.”

Talk about unhelpful. Some people think they’re being comforting by saying that this stage of parenthood is not as hard as others, but while you might think this is comforting, it’s absolutely not. Even if you’re right, you want to offer hope to the new mom. You never know what exactly she’s going through. Especially if she’s experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, she will need support and hope that things will get better, not worse.

Instead, maybe say something like, “It just gets better.” Because even though things may get harder, it’s bound to get easier for the mother to handle because she will be stronger and healthier.

“Every woman has done it.”

This is another phrase that may seem comforting, but can actually be pretty discouraging. Someone once told me, in an attempt to make me feel better, that women have been having babies since the beginning of time, so I should be able to handle it, no problem. It comes naturally to women. And if they can do it, I can do it. Instead of making me feel better, this just kind of made me a little discouraged. It made me feel like I was the first woman in history to struggle with something I should naturally be good at. This may also make a mother feel like her struggles are being downplayed. By telling someone that they’re dealing with something so universal might make them think they don’t have the right to struggle, or that the struggle really isn’t that tough.

Instead, maybe say something like, “What you’re doing is hard.” Leave others out of it. Mothers compare ourselves enough, we don’t need you to help us with that.

“I did my time.”

I can’t even begin to count how many times I was told this by someone who had older kids. I have been told that I won’t get any sympathy for being sleep deprived or miserable because they “did their time” and went through it. So, naturally, they don’t need to have sympathy for me. Cause they already went through it. Ironically, most of the people who have said this to me are men.

Instead, say something comforting and positive. Even if you don’t feel bad for them, just be comforting. And if you are so confident you went through something just as difficult, then you should know how hard it is. And you should know how much a comforting word or thoughtful gesture could mean to them.

“You shouldn’t be in this much pain.”

Ok, this one was one my nurse told me. The second night after giving birth, I was in SO much pain. I literally dreaded having to get up and go to the bathroom because it was such a painful ordeal. That night I just broke down in tears. And when my nurse came to check on me, she literally said. “You only had a 2nd degree tear, you shouldn’t be in this much pain.” Uh, not helpful… because, well, I am in this much pain. Then, I felt totally embarrassed by how much I was hurting. I was going off of maybe 3 hours of sleep in 2 days, so my body wasn’t healing the way it should. So, please, for your own sake, don’t underestimate or downplay how much pain a mother is in. I thought this was common sense, but apparently it’s not.

Instead, say something like, “How can I help you feel better?” Let her know you care.

“You’ll never sleep again.”

One of the worst things you could say to someone who is sleep-deprived is that they will never sleep again. Yes, she knows that she won’t be getting sleep any time soon. But reminding her of that is tactless and rather unhelpful. Sleep deprivation is NO JOKE. It’s awful.

So, instead of reminding your friend that she may not sleep again, offer her comfort. Or, even better, offer to watch her baby so she can take a nap.

 

Well, there you have it. When you were a new mom, what kind of comments annoyed you? If you have something to add, please let me know in the comments. Cause at this point, it is a little amusing.

 

 

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Shake

Fall is not the easiest time of the year to eat healthy… actually, it’s almost impossible. I’m constantly stuck somewhere between wanting to look good and “treat yourself” cause it’s the holidays. So, rather than completely deprive myself, I try and find ways to eat those delicious holiday sweets without over-indulging.

Chocolate and pumpkin is one of my favorite flavor combos. Pumpkin bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, etc. So I found a way to satisfy that craving without all the sugar and fat. World please welcome… the Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Shake! So simple, so delicious.

All you need:

Ice cubes

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1/2 frozen banana

1 tsp cocoa powder

3 tbsp pumpkin puree

milk or almond milk(amount depends on how thick you want your shake)

Instructions: put it all in a blender and BLEND baby!

 

Short post today, but I hope you try it cause I had it this morning and YUM.

Sweet Breakfast Toast

Have you noticed that toast is getting a lot of hype right now? Everybody’s about that avo-toast life! Toast is awesome because it’s so easy. And being a mom, you sometimes forget to feed yourself because you’re so focused on the little one(s). So, easy and fast is the way to go! And tbh, I saw some really weird food combos when scrolling through Pinterest. I like to keep my toast a little more basic. And for those fed up with the avocado craze, you’ll enjoy this post because there’s not an avocado in sight! I decided to give you my favorite sweet toast ideas. Cause, let’s be honest, those of us with a massive sweet-tooth, we start feeding our sweet palette early!

So, here are my four favorite sweet toasts!

*Note: all these are made with Oroweat Whole Wheat bread.

  1. Natural peanut butter topped with chopped walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter is a great source of protein, while walnuts are a great source of natural anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and both walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate are rich in antioxidants.

2. Natural peanut butter topped with sliced banana and chia seeds.

Bananas are full of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium and iron. And chia seeds are extremely good for you and contain omega-3’s. They are nutrient dense and are a naturally energy-boosting superfood.

3. Reduced fat cream cheese topped with blueberries and drizzled with honey.

Cream cheese is delicious and good for you in moderation. Blueberries are amazing and have many benefits. They’re full of age-fighting antioxidants, they support digestion, and they fuel your brain. Honey not only adds sweetness, but is a natural energy-booster and promotes healthy weight management.

4. Almond butter topped with apple slices and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Almond butter is a heart healthy food because of its fiber and healthy fat content. Apples are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Apples also are extremely filling and are a natural source of energy. Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory and promotes a healthy heart and brain.

 

There you go! Try these toasts and get a good boost of nutrition in the morning!

 

What Happens When You Quit Sugar for 30 Days

About a month ago I made the decision to quit sugar for 30 days. I was just so sick of losing control over my sugar cravings. I was working out every day, but still I felt like I wasn’t really feeling any better about myself or improving my health. I was tired of giving in and binging on treats and then finding reasons to justify it. After I would eat a bowl of ice cream and found myself wanting more, I would have this mentality of, “Oh, well, I already screwed up today so I might as well embrace it.” And then I would dish myself up my second (huge) bowl of ice cream.

I was feeling pretty crappy about myself, to be honest. I just felt like I could be doing so much better. And how can I possibly preach about living a healthy lifestyle on my blog and yet let myself fall into this extremely unhealthy cycle? So I made myself a plan. I got a little piece of paper, made a little grid with 30 numbered squares, and put it on my fridge. And each morning, if I was able to go without sweets the day before, I would cross off a box. 30 days later, every box was checked off. And I should probably tell you that I didn’t limit myself completely. I allowed myself two “sweets,” halo-top ice cream and dark chocolate chips. Honestly, I just needed something sweet after dinner.

So, after 30 days without sweets, this is what happened to my body.

I had more energy.

Once I became a mother, energy has become this allusive thing that I can’t seem to grasp. I feel like that totally random kid from the third Harry Potter movie: “It’s like trying to catch smoke. It’s like trying to catch smoke with my bare hands…” Cue the dramatic music and dark clouds. Turns out that it’s almost impossible to have energy when you barely sleep. And I have struggled for the past 7 months with getting enough sleep, so all day I would be dragging my feet. But for the past 30 days, I found myself with so much more energy. I would be able to get up in the morning with Jack and immediately start my day. I found myself wanting to do more every day. I would take my dog on long walks and I was able to get so much more done around the house. I actually found myself wanting to play and entertain my son. Honestly, with so much less sugar in my diet, I felt better than I have in over a year.

My workouts got easier.

Ok, this is a lie. My workouts didn’t get easier. They actually stayed the same. But I got stronger. My workouts just seemed easier. With the increased energy, I was able to really get so much more out of my workouts. I was no longer just trying to get through a workout. I started challenging myself and my strength. Exercise started to be much more effective when I had a better diet.

I felt good about myself.

Whew, this one is hefty. Like most women, I struggle with despicably low self-esteem. And when you add a postpartum body to the equation, and you get 7 months of agonizingly little self-confidence. And though I still had moments of doubt, I finally felt a little bit better about myself. I started to notice positive changes to my body. I started to appreciate not only what I looked like, but what I could do. I finally felt like my goals were possible and that was extremely freeing.

I stopped craving sweets.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to kick a bad habit or to create a good one. And I don’t know how true that is, but I can definitely say that after you quit sugar for even a few days, you start to crave it less. I’m not saying that I didn’t ever want sweets. There were moments. Like, when my sweet mother-in-law sent us a Halloween care package with a huge bag of Kit-Kats in it. Oh, I wanted to eat that whole bag. But I found my resolve was stronger than my desire. I let my husband eat them all, promising myself I would get myself some Kit-Kats once the 30 days were up. So, even when I found myself wanting sugar, it was over within moments. Whereas before, when I wanted sugar, I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I satisfied that craving. Cravings can be really powerful so it was nice to learn that I can be even more so.

 

Now what?

When I finished the 30 days, I was so proud of myself. So, this last weekend I let myself as many sweets as I wanted… and guess what happened? I was tired, sluggish, and disappointed in myself. So what now? How do I find that middle ground? I don’t believe in completely depriving ourselves of things, because that eventually leads to us binging. But if I don’t restrict myself at all, I can’t seem to control myself. So, while I wish I could say I have a solution to this problem, I don’t. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all just really good at moderation? Though I still haven’t nailed it, these last 30 days has proved pretty game-changing. Now that I’ve experienced the benefits of life without excessive sugar consumption, I’m going to do whatever I can to feel that way all the time without depriving myself completely of what I love.

I hope this inspires you to give this a try. I promise it will benefit you greatly. And if you try it and you find that your quality of life hasn’t improved at all, you can hold me responsible and I’ll make you brownies.

 

My Favorite Baby Products (And My Least Favorite)

When you first get pregnant, or start the adoption process, or even when you start consider parenthood, it can be so overwhelming thinking about all that you will need. I remember scrolling through Pinterest at all the “what you need for baby” infographics and lists and just being so amazed by how much you need. So. Much. Stuff. And to be honest, half of it is probably unnecessary. I remember also being so overwhelmed by the different brands and products of each thing I needed. Like, I had no idea how many different types of bottles there were. Or baby baths. Or swaddles. And when you think you got the best of the best, or what you think will be perfect for your situation, your baby decides to throw your expectations for a loop and you have to adapt.

I’ve had a few friends ask me for some recommendations on baby products that I used/loved, and also on what I didn’t use/love. So I thought I’d make a blog post out of it in case some of you readers are on the road to parenthood, or know someone who is and need a few ideas for baby shower gifts. But also, keep in mind that some of these things won’t work for every baby. As I said before, you don’t always get the baby you planned for. For me, I had to adjust and buy some things I didn’t think I needed because my baby dealt with reflux and was constantly moving.

But without further ado, here are some of my favorite products:

Mamaroo

Why it’s great: The Mamaroo is amazing. It’s a little spendy, but we were lucky enough to get one second hand and Jack loved it. It’s a baby swing that has 5 different motions and sounds, and kind of looks like a little baby spaceship. This was great for Jack because for a long time, he couldn’t sleep on his back because his reflux was so bad, so he actually slept in his Mamaroo because of the incline.

Find it here.

Swaddleme swaddles

These were so helpful for us because Jack was such a wiggly baby and he just undid every other swaddle we used on him. The Swaddleme has velcro that helps secure your baby and helps the swaddle stay on. I would highly recommend these if you have a busy baby.

Find them here.

LOTS of binkies

So this is just a reminder to get plenty of binkies. Because they are allusive AF. Those little things get lost so easily, and you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have one. I try and keep one in almost every room of the house (and in the diaper bag).

Jack’s favorites are soothies.

Puj Tub

This was the best baby bath ever. It fits right in your sink, and isn’t bulky so it’s easy to store. I just hang it on the wall in the bathroom.

Find it here.

Halo Bassinest

This is a great bassinet. It has an adjustable height, and it swivels so you don’t have to move to get your baby out in the middle of the night. It’s also great for C-Section mamas who have a longer recovery.

Find it here.

Onsies with mitten cuffs

I wish I knew this before Jack. He was always scratching his cute little face and it made me super sad. Some onsies come with little mitten cuffs you can fold over your babies hands to keep them from scratching. I found this easier than cutting their nails… that scared me too much.

Find some here.

Baby lotion

I wish I bought more of this for his newborn stage. After birth, baby’s skin get so dry!

Find some here.

Jogger

I chose jogger over stroller for the versatility. I love how smooth a ride my jogger is. And with a simple adapter, I was able to attach the carseat as well. It’s great for long walks and running (if that’s your thing).

This is the jogger I got. It’s awesome.

Johnson’s sleepy time baby bath kit

This stuff rocks. It’s proven to help calm your baby and get him/her ready for bed. Also, and most importantly, it smells incredible.

Find it here.

Portable bouncer

Although I had the Mamaroo, I needed a more portable bouncer that I could take on trips or even just take up to the bathroom to put him in so I could shower. You can get a good one for cheap that still gets the job done.

This is the one I bought and we love it.

Activity Jumper

You definitely don’t need this right away. This is for when your baby is at least 4 months old. Jack loves this jumper. It’s so useful when you need a break. Just plop your baby in there and let him play while you rest on the couch or do the dishes. And it’s also great for your baby’s motor skill development and their leg strength.

This is the one I bought.

Video monitor

I love our monitor. I knew I wanted one with video because as a first time mom, I want to be able to see and hear my baby at all times. This one is pretty decently priced and gives you a pretty clear image. It also allows you to move the camera remotely and talk to your baby from your screen. I also love that it tells you the temperature of the room as well, which is important when your baby can’t use blankets in their bed.

This is the one we have.

Fawn Design diaper bag

These may be spendy, but they are super trendy so it doesn’t even feel like a diaper bag. There are lots of pockets and the material is easy to clean.

Find it here.

 

Ok, now that I’ve given you a long list of things I love, here is a shorter list of things I did not like or did not use.  No, these may work for you… they just didn’t for me.

  1. Baby wipe warmer. I barely used this. It’s just really unnecessary. And because I barely used it, the wipes all dried up so they were useless. A cold wipe is not gonna make your baby mad. They’ll be fine.
  2. Bulky portable changing pad. Honestly, you don’t want to have to carry around more than you have to. And this thing can really eat up space in your diaper bag. I found that a thin blanket even does the trick if you have to change a diaper away from home.
  3. Blooming Baby Bath. This was  not my best purchase. I bought it cause it was just so darn cute, but it really doesn’t function well for a newborn. The structure is not sturdy so I had to keep holding Jack up while bathing him. Your baby will just kind of sink into it. It may work for an older baby with better lumbar strength, but at that point, they can probably just go in the tub anyways.
  4. Huggies Diapers. This one might be strange but for some reason, these diapers leaked all the time. Maybe they didn’t fit right, I’m not sure. But Pampers are so much better and rarely ever leak.

 

Well that’s all folks! I hope you find this helpful! And if you have some good recommendations, add them in the comments!

Healthy Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I remember those blissfully ignorant days when I thought all salads were healthy because they were, well, salads. But then that illusion was shattered when I found out salads can be just as unhealthy as a hamburger because of what’s actually in them. The truth is in the dressing. There’s almost no point in eating a salad if it’s drenched in a fatty dressing. So I’ve been on the lookout for a healthy salad dressing that didn’t  taste like straight up vinegar. And I think I’ve found a good one.

So here is my recipe for strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/4 cup strawberries

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp poppy seeds

Put these all together in a blender (I use my nutribullet), and blend away! That’s it! Then use the dressing to top a delicious, fruity salad. This is one of my favorites:

Simple Strawberry Pecan & Pear salad!

I like to use a mixture of baby spinach and arugula as a base and top it with fresh strawberries, sliced pears, and roasted pecans.

Yum!

 

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Postpartum Depression: What I Wish I Knew

postpartum depression

I am about to get real on what has been one of the most, no, THE most difficult time in my life. And no matter how many times I was warned, nothing could have prepared me for my postpartum journey. To be honest, I can’t even fathom how some women can “bounce back” from birth easily, both physically and mentally. I know not every woman struggles from postpartum depression, but it’s hard even without that terrible speed-bump (or, a more accurate metaphor would probably be a 10 foot brick wall). But I share this in case there is someone out there who needs to hear it. Whether you’re preparing for motherhood, or you have already experienced it and just need to know you’re not the only one. Here are some of the things I wish I knew about postpartum depression before I had it:

It’s Not the Same as Generalized Depression

I was diagnosed with depression in high school. It’s something I take medication for every day. So when I got pregnant, my doctor made sure I was aware that my risk for Postpartum Depression was higher because I am chemically more prone to depression in general. So, I knew this was probably going to happen. However, I thought that since I was already on medication, it would be like any other bout of depression. I also thought it would feel the same as my “regular” depression. I was so wrong. Postpartum depression brought feelings I’ve never felt. A different feeling of hopelessness, a huge emptiness that cannot be filled, and even resentment towards that beautiful, perfect little human you just brought into the world. So, if you are going to have a baby, and you have depression, just know that it is a whole different monster.

It’s Not the Same as the “Baby Blues”

I think this is a really important thing to remember. I hear people refer to the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression synonymously. It should be made clear that these are very different. Most women experience baby blues. Not as many experience postpartum depression. Baby blues happen within the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Baby blues feel a lot like intense mood swings. I remember one moment just sitting by my baby’s bouncer, just totally filled with intense infatuation, radiant with joy. The next moment I would just be weepy for absolutely no reason. I remember breaking down in tears when my husband and mom wanted different things for dinner. My mom wanted Wendy’s and Grant wanted Taco Bell. And when we couldn’t decide what to get, I just started to weep. It was absolutely ridiculous. Postpartum depression is different. It is a consistent feeling of emptiness and hopelessness. That joy I felt before, now seems a distant memory. The worst part is that even my baby wouldn’t bring me joy. I didn’t want to take care of him. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. This is postpartum depression. The baby blues will pass. Baby blues are just your hormones stabilizing after a traumatic experience. Postpartum depression requires help: therapy and possibly medication.

You Need Help

This leads me to my next point. You cannot do this alone. You need help. Depression doesn’t just get better one day. And it’s not a matter of will either. It’s not like going on a diet where all you need is good self-control and dedication and you can kick the late-night binging. Depression is chemical. Depression is a disease. I’m always amazed when people won’t see help for their mental or emotional health. If you have appendicitis, you go to the doctor. Because if you don’t, your appendix will likely explode and kill you. So why wouldn’t you go to a doctor if you’re mentally sick? For some reason, mental disorders aren’t treated the same as physical ones and are often ignored. But, like appendicitis, depression can be life-threatening and should be treated with just as much care. So, get a therapist. Go to a mental health specialist. Make a game plan with your OBGYN. Whatever you feel is right for you, do it. And don’t be ashamed.

You Are Still a Good Mother

When I was in the middle of all this mess, the most agonizing thing was how I felt about my baby. And do not get me wrong, I still felt SO much love for Jack. But there was also this lingering feeling of resentment and regret. After all my sleepless nights, I couldn’t help but think “why did I do this?” and “I wasn’t ready for this.” And I projected these feelings onto my sweet, innocent little babe. Like, he is the reason for all this pain and for my loss of freedom. This is painful to write, because if you know me at all, I cannot shut up about my son. I am so ridiculously and annoyingly in love with that boy. So, to admit any feeling other than complete infatuation, physically hurts me. But the point of it all, why I felt it was important to tell you all this, is because you need to know that you are still a good mother. If you get those ugly feelings, you are still a good mother. If you need a break and have to go for a walk, you are still a good mother. If you forget to change your baby’s diaper in the middle of the night, you are still a good mother. Just remember, if you are doing your best, and you love that sweet child of yours, you are a good mother.

This Too Shall Pass

This is something my dad would always say while I was in the thick of it all. Every time I would call my parents in tears, unable to see past the darkness before me, he would say, “remember, this too shall pass.” So this is what I want to tell you. If you find yourself suffering from what seems to be an unending, unbending force of darkness, just remember… this too shall pass.

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Homemade French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Is there anything better than a good soup in the Fall? I don’t think so. I first fell in love with french onion soup when I had it at Panera for the first time. So good. So I came across this recipe and it totally won. I made a few adjustments but not much!

Ingredients:

5-6 Large onions, peeled and thinly sliced

3 Tbsp butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional–I don’t use this)

6 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs of thyme

salt & pepper to taste (a few generous pinches of salt should do the trick)

1 baguette

grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until well browned and caramelized, about 30-50 minutes (it took me longer for some reason), stirring every few minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Add the stock, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, partially-covered. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While the soup is simmering, slice the baguette into 1-inch thick pieces and arrange them in single layer on baking sheet. I then cut them into little cubes. I find it easier to eat when the bread is broken up a bit. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the bread is toasted and golden around the edges. Remove and set aside.

Switch the oven to the broiler (high). When ready to serve the soup, place your oven-safe bowls or crocks on a thick baking sheet. Ladle the soup into each of them, then top with the baguette cubes and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each). Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and serve immediately.

Get the original recipe here!

 

Super delicious and easy. Perfect for those chilly fall nights!