What's for lunch? 3 ways to mix it up

We’ve all been there - you’re back at the same deli you go to every day, staring at the same options thinking today you will change up your order. Maybe you’ll go wild and get a sandwich instead of a salad. Ugh but what about the carbs? I guess its the same old salad again, uninspiring and unfulfilling. So how do we break out of our lunch time rut? Here are 3 ways to mix it up:

1) Learn how to make a salad YOUR way. Salads don’t have to be lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Think outside the box. Pick a green base (I love arugula because it has taste AND nutrients), pick a protein to fill you up (chicken, meat, eggs, fish, tofu or beans), pick some colorful veggies for fiber, vitamins and antioxidants (red and yellow peppers, broccoli, beets or tomatoes), pick a healthy fat (avocado, olive oil, nuts or seeds), pick an add on with some flavor (olives, red onions, feta cheese, cranberries or jalapenos) and option to add a starch (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa or farro). Keep the dressing light with some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar to avoid extra sugars and additives.

2) Go for the sandwich. Anti-carb vibes are still strong, but have no fear! If you chose whole grain bread and fill your sandwich with protein, veggies and healthy fats, all you’re adding is a few grams of healthy carbohydrates and fiber. Listen to your body - carbs are what fuels our bodies and sometimes we need that extra boost.

3) Leftovers! If you made a big meal the night before, put some extra aside to enjoy for lunch the next day. Eating home-cooked meals is always better than eating out - both on the wallet and in your body. You know where the ingredients came from and you know what the food was cooked in.

The teacher becomes the student

As someone who recently had a baby, I can fully appreciate the desire a lot of my postpartum clients voice to “get their body back”. I totally get it - for 10 months you watched your body morph into a shape that can house another human, and then you had the baby and just want to feel and look like yourself again. But getting there is a delicate balance of patience and progress, and fully appreciating everything your body has been through.

When I’m working with a new postpartum client, I always start with an assessment of their core. Is it strong/weak/overactive/underactive, do they have a diastasis, any pelvic floor dysfunction, any imbalances, or any aches and pains they didn’t have before pregnancy. Then based on what they tell me and what I observe, I determine which exercises are most appropriate. For the first few weeks, the exercises may seem too easy because they aren’t feeling the muscle burn they are used to when working out, and they will tell me they want to kick it up a notch. The truth is, rebuilding and retraining the core muscles is a huge endeavor that actually feels very subtle because we can’t see the progress. We are working the innermost muscles in the body which have a huge impact on everything we do and everything we feel.

I know all this, and yet, at my pelvic floor physical therapy session last week, I told her I was ready to amp up the core work. I wanted to be pushed. So she had me do a few exercises to test my core strength and it turned out I was right where I needed to be - I wasn’t ready yet to move forward. It was an amazing learning opportunity for me and helped me better understand how to meet my clients where they are. It showed me to trust the process - my process - and my body, and take it one step at a time.

5 aches & pains that are "common", not "normal"

My husband and I have a running joke that no matter what symptoms you tell your OB you’re having, they will just smile and respond with “yup, you’re pregnant!” Pain in your big toe? Itchy bellybutton? “Yup! You’re just pregnant!” If you know my husband and his British sense of humor, you can imagine how creative these examples can get :)

But I’ve found that, unfortunately, the same can be true for real aches and pains you’re having. When I was around 7 months pregnant with my first, I complained that it felt like I’d been kicked in the vagina - it hurt to walk, it hurt to roll over in bed, it hurt to put pants on. She just looked at me and reminded me I was 7 months pregnant.

I learned later through my own research that I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD. Super common (1 in 5 pregnancies), but that doesn’t make it less painful and there things you can do to help it. You also come across a plethora of mom jokes about peeing when you laugh or sneeze. It’s assumed that this just happens after you have a baby and you just live with it. But you don’t have to!

The body is an amazing thing, but pregnancy and delivery can definitely take its toll. Here are 5 “common” conditions that are “normal” - that you don’t have to live with:

1) Diastasis Recti: a separation of the Rectus Abdominal muscles, or your “6-pack” abs. If you have DR (see my post on Core Rehab for how to check!) consult a physical therapist if the gap is wider than 2 fingers or if you are able to stick your fingers deep down in between the muscles. Otherwise, a certified pre/postnatal trainer should be able to advise on gentle abdominal work that can help strengthen your core and alleviate any residual discomfort.

2) Incontinence: if you have any issues going to the bathroom, whether it be frequency, leaking, or inability to hold it if you have to go, this is a pelvic floor issue. Those kegels you’re always told to do? Time to really do them. I recommend consulting with a women’s health or pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you work through it with a specific regimen, but in the mean time, try doing a set of 10 kegels 3 times per day, holding for 5 seconds on each one.

3) SPD: aka Pelvic Girdle Pain, is pain on the pubic bone and can sometimes radiate to the inner thighs. It’s caused by a misalignment at the front or the back of the pelvis and can happen during or after pregnancy. The typical course of action is to strengthen the pelvic joints through core and pelvic floor muscle exercises, avoid opening your legs too wide or putting all your weight on one leg. Aim for keeping your pelvic as neutral and balanced as possible. If the pain is persistent check in with a physical therapist.

4) Low back pain: there are many causes of low back pain but it is often caused by a weak core and glutes, and often goes hand in hand with SPD. Strengthening the transverse abdominal muscle (your inner most layer of an muscle) and learning to activate your glutes properly through squats and your daily movements will make a big difference.

5) Sciatica pain: usually surfaces as pain in the lower back or butt and can radiate down the back of the leg. It typically stems from a lower back issue where the sciatic nerve is being pinched. It’s described as a sharp pain made worse by prolonged sitting or standing. Stretching is the best place to start to alleviate the pain and core exercises will help stabilize the lower spine and pelvis. Laying on your back with your feet stretched out, pull one knee to your chest and then to the opposite shoulder to stretch the piriformis muscle and the glutes. Repeat on other side. Pigeon pose is another great one.

Postpartum Pep-talk

Today was a big day. I had 2 blissful hours to myself for the first time in almost 8 weeks. My hands were free, no one was napping on me and my boobs were tucked away. It was amazing.

Initially, I was overwhelmed with the possibilities of how to spend my time, but decided to visit the gym and do some gentle exercises outside of my living room. It felt so good to move my body again and break a sweat that wasn’t attributed to postpartum hormones (holy night sweats!)

While I’ve never regretted going to the gym, today was trying, and I needed to give myself a pep talk afterwards - one I give my clients all the time:

1) Be patient. You just spent 10 months growing a human and then birthing that human. Your body needs time to recover and now is not the time to push it.

2) Your body has changed. Not for the better or the worse. Some things are bigger, some things are smaller, some things have disappeared and some things are new. Certain aspects may go back to how they were pre-baby but others won’t.

3) A little extra weight never hurt anyone. If you’re nursing, your body stores extra fat to help with milk production. Stop thinking about the cookie you ate yesterday, it’s not the reason you look a bit softer in the mirror. You are the primary food source for another being.

4) Don’t push through. If something doesn’t feel right or if something hurts, stop. I suffered from pelvic girdle pain during both pregnancies and also have a condition called Osteitis Pubis, which is inflammation in the public bone. Certain everyday activities and exercises can cause it to flare up so while my instinct is to push through, I need to listen to my body.

5) Stick with it. Much like all things parenting related, consistency is key. Don’t give up because it was hard, next time will be a little easier. To quote Elmo from this morning’s episode of Sesame Street - “it’s not that you can’t do it, it’s that you can’t do it yet.”

Rehab your Core

In the first few weeks (and sometimes months) postpartum, sitting up in bed or standing up from the couch is a two person job. It can feel like your abdominal muscles have disappeared and are no longer in your body. The truth is, your abs have been through so much the past 10 months, and like any overworked and overstretched muscle, they require a bit of rehabilitation before they can work properly again.

So what’s the best way to strengthen your core post-baby? Slowly and purposefully.

Here are 4 steps to get going:

  1. Check for Diastasis: Have your doctor or physical therapist check you or you can do it on your own (see instructions at the end of this post!) You are looking for a gap in between the Rectus Abdominal muscles (your “6-pack” abs), and checking to see if there is any tension in that gap (can you stick your fingers deep into your tummy?) A 2-3 finger gap is normal and checking between 8-12 weeks postpartum is a good indicator of whether or not the gap will close on it’s own.

  2. Be conscious of your daily movements: Every day activities can put too much pressure on core muscles without you even thinking about it - movements such sitting up from a lying down position, or leaning over to pick the baby out of the bassinet, are essentially sit-ups. Try rolling on to your side first before sitting up right and be sure to exhale and engage your core before putting pressure on your abdominal muscles (see #3 below!)

  3. Practice core breathing: there is a saying “blow before you go” which sounds weird, I know, but is one way to remember that we should exhale before lifting or exerting any force. The goal with this breathing exercise is to connect with and strengthen our deepest core muscle - the Transverse Abdominis. This core muscle acts as a corset, providing support for your spine and holding your organs (and baby if you’re pregnant) in place. It also takes the pressure off those “6-pack” abs, the Rectus Abdominis muscles, preventing or rehabilitating Diastasis. You can practice this breathing by lying down on your back, being up on all fours, or sitting upright in a chair. Exercise #1 below goes into more detail on this.

  4. Start with these 5 exercises before going any further: Use the Core Breathing Belly Pump as your foundation (as seen in the exercise #1) and progress from there.

Exercise #1: Core Breathing Belly Pump

Start in the all 4's position (or lying on your back if you prefer). Take a deep, diaphragmatic inhale, filling your lower ribcage and belly with breath, rather than filling your upper chest.

On the exhale, contract your pelvic floor in a kegel, and imagine that corset around your midsection is tightening and zipping up from your pubic bone to your ribcage.

Feel the abs below your belly button contract as if your hip bones were moving to meet each other, then feel the abs around your belly button contract toward the midline, and finally your upper abs just under your ribcage. You should feel your whole abdominal wall wrapping inwards and pulling up toward your spine.

Exercise #2: Bird-Dog

In the all 4’s position, start with the core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, extend your right arm forward and left leg behind.

Lower your limbs and inhale. Repeat on opposite side.

Exercise #3: Lateral Bird-Dog

In the all 4’s position, start with the core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, extend your opposite arm/opposite leg laterally out to the side a few inches.

Lower your limbs and inhale. Repeat on opposite side.

Exercise #4: Heel slides

Start on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Begin your core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, slowly slide your left heel forward on the floor until your left leg is straight.

Pull your leg back in as you inhale and repeat on the opposite side.

Exercise #5: Heel Marches

Start on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Begin your core breathing belly pump, and on the exhale as you engage your TA muscle, lift your right knee up as if you were marching.

Lower your knee back down and inhale. Repeat on the opposite side.

To check yourself for DR:

Lay on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor. Place 2 fingers just below your sternum, in the soft space between your ribs (fingertips should be pointing down towards your belly button). Do a core breathing belly pump and contract the TA on the exhale - press down with your finger tips and feel for a gap and for tension in the gap. While your core is still engaged and pressure is applied with your finger tips, move your fingers slowly your down your mid-line towards your belly button feeling for the gap and the tension. Stop when you’ve reached your pubic bone. A gap that is 2-3 fingers width is normal and recent research shows that the tension is actually what is most indicative of DR - meaning, if your fingers can press deep into your belly on the mid-line of your body.

Healthy lasagna? Tell me more...

Despite the fact that it's March, it's clear that Winter is not going anywhere fast. As I type this, the snow is coming down and I'm dreaming of sunshine, warmer temps, and being able to get out of the house in less than 30 minutes without all the layers. Dressing a toddler in winter is seriously a combat sport. At least one of you ends up in a full sweat (me) and in tears (also me).

But anyways, days like this make me avoid eye contact with the kale in my fridge and seek out something warm and comforting to eat. Case in point - for lunch today, Charlie and I had leftover lasagna that I made last night for dinner with my girlfriends. Now, normally, I wouldn't eat lasagna twice in two days, but this version is so good for you, I'd eat it again for dinner tonight if there was any left over. The best part (aside from the fact that it's healthy AND delicious) is that the base ingredients allow for it to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian, but you can easily add in ground beef, chicken or turkey, and a bit of Greek yogurt for extra protein and make it your own.

This lasagna is high in protein, fiber, folate, healthy fats and vitamin C, a great option if you're pregnant, or are just looking for something hearty and healthy.


Here is the recipes that makes approx. 4-6 servings depending on how hungry you are :)


  • 1 box of lentil lasagna noodles (I buy the kind that you don't need to boil before hand)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of plain, full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 package of ground beef, chicken or turkey (optional)
  • 1 large zucchini or 2 small
  • 1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)


  1. Spray a deep baking pan with non-stick spray (I use coconut oil) and preheat the oven according to the directions on the box of lentil lasagna
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, kale, basil, garlic, dash of olive oil and Greek yogurt (optional). If not using yogurt, add an extra 1/2 of avocado. Blend until smooth and kale & basil are finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Slice zucchini length-wise from end to end so they are in wide, thin, long strips
  4. Spread 1/4 of the jar of sauce in the bottom of the baking pan
  5. Lay 3-4 lasagna noodles across the sauce depending on the size of your pan
  6. Lay 1/4 of the thin strips of zucchini on top of the noodles
  7. Spread 1/4 of the avocado/kale/basil pesto mixture on top of the zucchini
  8. Add your layer of meat here if you're using it
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 until all ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of sauce on top
  10. Baked in oven according to time and temperature of the lentil lasagna noodles (the noodles I used called for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. 
  11. Optional step - top lasagna with cheese when there is 5 minutes left on the timer and stick it back in the oven to melt. 
  12. Sprinkle with fresh basil when complete

Must-have fridge and pantry staples

One question I get all the time from both pregnant clients and new moms is what they should keep in their pantry and fridge so they can make sure to always have healthy food at the ready. Whether or not meal planning and prepping is your thing, there are a few easy things you can make ahead and make in larger quantities that you can eat all week long. Here are a few of my staples, almost all of which were used to make this quick and easy lunch this weekend:

salad + HBE.jpg

1) Quinoa - If you make a larger batch at the beginning of the week you can use it in salads, soups or as a side for any meal. It makes for a great protein source if you are a vegetarian.

2) Oats - Oatmeal is my favorite breakfast staple and is the only thing I've found that can hold me over until lunch. Make overnight oats in the fridge or crockpot to have breakfast all ready for to go in the morning.

3) Eggs - Great for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. Hard-boil a few at a time so you have a them on hand to eat as a snack or to use as a protein on salads or sandwiches.

4) Lentils and/or Chickpeas - These legumes can be added to salads, roasted for a crunchy snack or blended with #5 to make hummus.

5) Tahini - Made from ground sesame seeds, Tahini is packed full of nutrients and makes for a great salad dressing or sauce for a stir-fry. Try blending it with chickpeas, olive oil and lemon juice for a quick hummus.

6) Pre-washed package of leafy greens - Let's face it. Sometimes we just can't be bothered to wash, dry and chop our vegetables. Keeping a bag or 2 of pre-washed and chopped leafy greens in your fridge makes it significantly more likely for you to throw a quick salad together.

7) Cherry tomatoes - Full of antioxidants, cherry tomatoes are also very versatile. Scramble them in your eggs, add them to your salad, stir fry them with your frozen veggies or just eat them raw.

8) Avocados - packed with healthy fats and fiber, avocados are another versatile item that goes with pretty much anything from salads and sandwiches, to dips and sauces. 

Work/Life/Mom Balance

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is feeling good about 2018. I know I am! When I look back at 2017, I just see utter chaos. So much transpired personally, professionally, physically, emotionally, culturally and government-ally, I can't quite believe it. It was a year of so many wonderful first's and so many "did that really just happen" moments. So here we are again! Another chance at a fresh start, another chance to make changes and big moves in the new year. 

One big change I find I'm still getting used to is my role of full-time mom and full-time business owner. Long gone are the days of 9-6, Monday through Friday, lunch breaks and coffee breaks, and instead my schedule is 24/7 with a mix of business and baby activities, a minor semblance of a routine dictated primarily by nap schedules and client sessions, and the constant feeling that I could/should be doing more. But one thing I'm sure of? I made the right decision for me and for my family, for right now. 

I was recently explaining what I do to a friend of a friend and he picked up on the fact that I kept saying how great my job was "for now" or how I loved what I do "right now." While it could be perceived as a subconscious negative slip, it actually highlighted maybe the best aspect of what I do - I have the ability to scale-up, scale-down, shift my focus, my hours and my routine based on what works best for me and my family.  I love that I'm able to spend as much time as I do with Charlie and I'm still able to do something I'm passionate about.

I found so much fulfillment in becoming a mom, but it's an unspoken secret just how hard it can be (check out my last post reflecting on my first year of motherhood), especially if you decided not to go back to a conventional job. But if I'm able to help a fellow mom or mom-to-be have an easier time and be there for Charlie's "firsts", that to me is all that matters and I feel incredibly lucky I'm able to do so. And come on, you can't beat the view from my office :)


5 lessons learned in my first year of motherhood

365 days ago, I woke up feeling great. Enormous, but great. I was 4 days past my due date and didn’t feel any closer to meeting Charlie than I had the day before, so I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t happening today and started planning out how I would keep myself busy. Maybe a walk in Prospect Park. Little did I know that was the last time I would ever think to myself “what fun things could I do with my entire day of free time and no responsibilities.” Little did I know that my whole life would change in less than 12 hours.  


There is no shortage of advice when you’re pregnant - from your mom to the girl that works behind the counter at the coffee shop. Everyone has a personal or second-hand experience they want to pass on to be helpful, but if you take one thing away from this post, it’s that no one can truly prepare you for once the baby arrives.

Charlie turns one-year old tomorrow at 4:33am and I am feeling such a tremendous, bittersweet, mix of emotions. I feel an enormous sense of relief that we made it through a whole year and are all healthy and thriving. I feel giddily happy at the kind of toddler he has become – funny, adventurous and sweet. I feel so grateful that what I consider to be the most difficult days of my entire life are behind me, while also feeling a little sad (okay very sad) that he’s not a baby anymore. This is motherhood I guess.


I’ve been thinking a lot about the last year and what a roller coaster it’s been. So many highs and lows, sleepless nights, sleepy days, tears, smiles and amazing new experiences. These are things people can tell you about, but until you experience them first hand, it’s hard to truly grasp. Some babies sleep through the night from the start (not mine) and some babies cry all the time (mine), so not all advice is applicable, but I wanted to share the most important lessons I learned in the first year of motherhood:

  1. It’s okay to admit you are having a hard time. You probably aren’t the only one, it’s just that no one really talks about how intense the first few weeks are. Sure, I knew it would be difficult (you’re learning to take care of another human without a guide book!) but I had plenty of family and friends who’d had babies and they seemed fine. But after a week into new motherhood, I felt like they had all lied to me. No one had told me the truth: this **** is hard. Like nearly impossible hard. I hadn’t slept more than an hour at a time, I felt like crying constantly, breastfeeding was painful and Charlie would not let me put him down for even a minute – and yet everyone saying things like “aren’t you just so in love?” and “isn’t this the happiest you’ve ever been?” No, it definitely wasn’t, but I kept it to myself. I wish I could go back and tell my new mom self that the days are long but the weeks and months are short, and that things get easier every single day. Newborns don’t give you a lot back at the beginning, but as soon as you get that first smile, it gets better and better.

  2. Throw out any preconceived notions you have about motherhood and raising babies . It will make things SO much easier. I never imagined that I would be a part-time stay at home mom, spending Monday afternoon at the playground instead of sitting at my desk. I never thought I would breastfeed past 6 months and tomorrow it will have been a full year. I assumed he’d be a great sleeper like me and not need to be sleep trained. I thought I would be so ready to take a vacation without him after a few months but we just left him with my parents for the first time a few weeks ago and it was SO HARD! I never thought I’d be the mom who wore leggings 80% of the time and was always covered in some kind of food or bodily fluid. I just found oatmeal in my hair from this morning and it’s 3pm as I write this. I continuously surprise myself with the kind of mom I am and it makes life so much easier.
  3. Make mom friends asap. I’ll never forget the moment I found the mom’s Facebook group for my neighborhood. I was sitting on the couch breastfeeding for the millionth time that day and had just finished crying about how much I loved our dog. Someone posted an announcement of the birth of her son and suggested a new moms meet up at a coffee shop the following week. Within seconds, 10 moms had confirmed. I got ready for the meetup the next week with the same jitters I used to have before a first date. Would they like me? Would I like them? What do I wear? I carefully selected my high-waisted leggings and nursing-friendly shirt and as we were about to walk out the door, Charlie spit up all over me. I stood in the doorway wondering what to do and finally thought to myself – eff it – I’m going anyway and hopefully someone else is also cover in spit-up. Thank goodness I did. I still hang out with the moms I met that day and I can honestly say I wouldn’t have gotten through those early days without them.  
  4. Carve at least an hour a week out for yourself. I say an hour per week because that was literally about as much as Charlie, my husband, and I could manage in the early days. If you can swing more, get it girl. Charlie nursed around the clock and I would have to sneak out of the house while he was sleeping on my husband and pray that he didn’t wake up before I got home or all hell would have broken loose. BUT I cherished that hour, whether it was getting my hair cut, running an errand or just walking around the block. It didn’t matter, my hands were free and my boobs were tucked away.
  5. Trust that everything is a phase. This is something my mom has always said, and it couldn’t be more accurate. It is so easy to get caught up in the current phase you’re in whether its newborn, baby or toddler, or somewhere in between. Everything seems so critical and permanent and small changes feel like a huge deal, but then just like that, they’ve moved on and are in a new phase. I wish I could go back and tell myself not to worry so much, that he will eat when he’s hungry and sleep when he’s tired (after he’s been sleep trained of course…) and that this too shall pass. 

Spring Cleaning

Spring has finally sprung and I hope you've all been enjoying the nice weather! Warmer temps naturally bring about excitement for summer, and also remind us we will soon be wearing significantly less clothing and exposing parts of our body to sunlight that are essentially translucent at the moment. For those of you who had fall or winter babies like me, you may be feeling this even more acutely!

So with Memorial Day only five weeks away, it's time to do a Spring cleaning of your diet. But where to start?  No matter what your approach to getting healthy, I wanted to share three core principles to help clear up some common misconceptions and get you started on your summer goals.

1) Not all calories are created equal

This is one of my favorite principles when it comes to nutrition. What this means is, if I tell you to stick to 2000 calories per day, you will see different results if you eat 2000 calories worth of fruits and vegetables than you will if you eat 2000 calories worth of cheeseburgers. You are probably thinking, “duh”, but it’s a simple principle that can be lost when you’re busy trying to stick to a specific number. Where the calories come from is more important than the number, so while you should make sure you’re not totally overdoing it, try not to obsess over how many you are consuming in a day. The number of calories your body needs completely depends on your weight and your activity level so it’s going to be different for every person.

2) Eating fat will not make you fat

This is one of those trends from the 80’s that sparked a revolution of “fat-free” and “low-fat” food options. Unfortunately those items are often packed with added sugar and sodium to boost the flavor, so they end up doing more harm than good. Now, there are good fats and bad fats so it is important to make the distinction, but what we’ve learned in the last decade is that not only do good fats not make you fat, our bodies actually need them to function properly and they can help with weight loss. Good fats can be found in things such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and nut butters, coconut and coconut oil, grass-fed meats, wild salmon, whole eggs (the yolk), and full-fat dairy. Bad fats are the ones that can lead to health problems. These are called trans fats and include anything with hydrogenated oil, often found in restaurant food or processed, packaged, and fried foods.

3) Unless you have an intolerance, don’t cut out a food group

If you don’t notice any issues with your body digesting a particular food group, it’s best to keep it in rotation. Carbohydrates in particular have been given a bad reputation and are usually the first to go if you’re trying to lose weight. However, carbs are the body’s main source of energy so shouldn’t be cut out entirely from your diet, but much like fats, there are “good” carbs, known as complex carbs, and “bad” carbs, called simple carbs. Complex carbs are fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while simple carbs can be considered anything white - white sugar, white bread, white rice, white pasta. These items have been stripped of all their nutrients, so your body digests them quickly, causing your blood sugar spike, and when it crashes, you are hungry again. This is why it feels like you could eat 3 take-out cartons of white rice and not feel full. So stick to whole grain carbs such as whole grain pasta and bread, and brown rice, which will maximize your protein and fiber intake and keep you feeling satisfied longer.

Keep it clean

Happy February everyone! We made it through January, which always feels long and cold coming off the holiday high. Hopefully you’re still feeling good about your New Year’s resolutions and weren't panic eating queso during the Super Bowl Sunday night! But if you were, don't sweat it. Just pick those healthy habits right back up again.

As I mentioned in my last post, people try and make drastic changes to get healthy when the new year hits, but often times it’s the small things that can have profound effects on your long term health. For example, paying attention to what’s in your food can be life changing, and it's as simple as reading the ingredients list on packaged food or asking how a dish is made at a restaurant. This is especially important if you are trying to conceive, you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, because in addition to the extra sugar and salt, some additives can have scary effects on your health. They often hide in plain site so you just need to know which ones to look out for.

There are 12 additives in particular - known as “The Dirty Dozen” of non-food items - that are best to avoid. They are typically used to increase the shelf life of foods or make them taste better, but they can be dangerous to your health over time. There have been links to cancer, respiratory, muscular and cardiovascular issues, migraines, weight gain and can even slow down DNA synthesis. If you see any of these, it’s best to put it back on the shelf and step away slowly...

  1. Hydrogenated Oil (trans-fat): A synthetic fat that provides a longer shelf life. It is typically found in boxed and packaged foods.
  2. MSG (monosodium glutamate): A flavor enhancer typically found in soups, salad dressings, processed meats and frozen entrees.
  3. Aspartame: Zero calorie sweetener typically found in carbonated soft drinks, gum, dessert mixes and most items labeled “sugar free”, “lite” or “diet”. This one is particularly problematic for those with weight issues.
  4. HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein): Flavor enhancer with similar effects to MSG typically found in processed poultry, pork, sauces, gravies and hot dogs.
  5. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole): A fat preserver that protects food odor, color and flavor and is typically found in butter, meat, cereal and gum products, as well as snack foods, dehydrated potatoes and beer.
  6. BHT(butylated hydroxytoluene): has similar effects and sources to BHA
  7. Acesulfame Potatssium (acesulfame K): a zero calorie sweetener typically found in gum, dry mixes for beverages, non-dairy creamers & gelatin desserts.
  8. Potassium bromate: a food additive used to increase volume in white flour, breads and their by-products.
  9. Sodium nitrate/nitrite: a preservative of color that also inhibits botulism. It is typically found in processed meats such as salami, hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon and ham.
  10. Propyl Gallate: a food additive that ensures oils don’t become rancid or change texture and is typically found in vegetable oil, mayonnaise, soups, snack foods, make-up & skin products.
  11. Sodium Benzoate: a preservative preventing spoilage, color flavor and nutrient changes that is typically found in salad dressings, carbonated drinks, jams, fruit juices and sauces.
  12. Artificial colors:  a petroleum by-product that alters the color of food to make it more appealing. These can be found in countless food products from candy to soda to cereal to sausage. They usually include a color with a number.

The best way to avoid them? Keep it clean. Cooking real, whole foods at home and making sure to read the ingredient labels on anything packaged that you do buy, is a great way to avoid extra sugars, salts, chemicals, hormones and the dirty dozen - which can affect more than just your waistline. So no matter what your New Year's health resolution, paying attention to what's in your food will have long term health benefits that keep you and your family looking and feeling great. If you're interested in learning about how to keep it clean, please get in touch!


Source: Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

4 ways to achieve your New Year's resolution

Like a majority of people this time of year, I feel like I need a detox. We spent the little bambino's first holiday season surrounded by our awesome family and friends up and down the east coast, and now we are back to reality. A reality where it's no longer appropriate to have wine and dessert with every meal just because.

If I had to guess, one of your New Year’s resolutions is some variation of: get healthy, eat better, cook more, use gym membership, stop eating desserts, cut carbs, drink less, etc. And if you're like me, it was also on your list last year...and the year before. We feel compelled to make a drastic change in our diet or lifestyle to start the year off right, but by the Super Bowl, we are elbow deep in nachos and wings and feel like we failed ourselves.

My advice is this:

  1. Start small - no drastic changes
  2. Make your goal actionable - what does "eat healthier" actually mean for you
  3. Be realistic - it's hard to hit the gym EVERY day
  4. Commit to a small period of time - a week or a month, not the whole year

Here are a few common resolutions turned into actionable goals:

  • Get more sleep = I will be in bed by 10pm on school nights
  • Drink more water = I will make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, swap that lunch time diet coke with soda water
  • Be more active = I will commit to making that 7am spin class every Wednesday, no excuses
  • Eat healthier = I will make sure to have a good breakfast every morning, no more skipping breakfast or hitting up the street cart outside the office for a cold bagel

My resolution this year is to be more present. It's a phrase that gets tossed around a lot these days, but for me, it means prioritizing 1 or 2 things per day that I want to achieve, instead of trying to do it all. With a new baby, I find myself starting 12 different things at a time and finishing none of them, or multi-tasking while I'm holding or feeding the baby instead of just appreciating the moment. No one wins in this situation and I know I will miss these newborn days once he's older. So every morning I write 1 or 2 things down that I can commit to finishing before I go to sleep and it helps me stay present when I'm doing other things throughout the day. I can check writing this blog post off the list for today :)

So turn your resolutions into actionable goals, and pick 1 or 2 that you can commit to for one month at a time so it feels manageable. Once you hit your goal, extend it if it worked for you. If you miss a day or a week, don't feel like you failed, just get right back on track the next day.

Feeding the beast

Happy holidays everyone! This little elf turned one month old last week and I can’t quite believe it. The first two weeks were a total blur, dotted with wonderful visits from family and friends - and Amazon purchases made at 3am to try and appease a slightly colicky baby. But I feel like we turned the first corner and things get easier every day. It also helps that he’s super cute, even while screaming.

In this week’s post “Feeding the Beast”, the beast I’m referring to is me (pregnancy hunger has nothing on breastfeeding hunger) and also my 13lb infant (!) who eats pretty much every hour or two. If you’re breastfeeding, the two main things are to stay hydrated and to allow yourself an extra 300-500 calories in order to make an adequate amount of milk. Breastfeeding uses approximately 500 calories per day so it’s important to give into your increased appetite (while making good choices of course!). I know it can be tempting to try and get back to your pre-baby weight quickly, but just remember this is a critical time of nourishment for your body and your baby.

Once your baby has arrived, you likely won’t have the time, energy or the free hands to do much in the kitchen, but with a little prep beforehand and following a few simple guidelines once he has arrived, you can sustain your energy and sanity. I can attest that a well-fed mom is a happier mom!

Before baby arrives:

  1. Cook ahead. Fill your freezer with a few meals that you can easily defrost and enjoy such as turkey meatballs, chili and hearty soups. You don’t have to dedicate days to cooking if you don’t want to, just starting doubling portions in the weeks leading up to D-Day and freeze half of what you make.

  2. Fill your fridge. Stocking up on groceries before you head to the hospital will ensure you have some snacks on hand for when you get home and also, if you are lucky enough to have friends or family around to help, they can whip up some meals for you.

  3. Scout healthy take-out options. When all else fails, make sure you have a few go-to spots for things other than pizza and chinese food.

After baby arrives:

  1. Stay hydrated! The general rule is to drink an 8oz glass of water every time the baby feeds to stay properly hydrated but listen to your body.

  2. Choose nutritious snacks. They should contain a mix of protein, fat and fiber to keep you satiated and a few good examples are hummus, nut butters, avocado, veggies and smoothies. Calcium, iron and vitamin C are a few other key nutrients to dial up in your diet that will benefit both you and baby.

  3. Don’t cut back on carbs - just make sure you’re choosing the rights ones such as whole grain bread, quinoa or brown rice

  4. Increase your consumption of healthy fats - such as salmon, flax and nuts for those Omega-3’s which help with brain and nerve development in your baby

  5. Read nutrition and ingredient labels. Ideally you want to choose foods that:

    - Do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and anything with a number + a color which is a food dye. These can alter hormones in your body.

- Have less than 6 grams of sugar

- Have at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein

- Tip: these rules hold true regardless if you are pregnant, postpartum or just trying to be healthy!


Get into the groove

Every day I read about a new kind of workout that promises to revolutionize our lives and burn trillions of calories, but unless you are a dedicated gym-goer (if you are, we applaud you!), most of us are just trying to find a routine that we enjoy, have time for and will stick to. And it’s hard, especially if you’re just starting out as I mentioned in my last post. But it doesn’t have to be and the health benefits from even light to moderate exercise are astronomical. This is especially important if you’re trying to conceive as weight is the number one factor contributing to fertility issues.

I wanted to answer a handful of baseline FAQ’s about exercise routines that you might find helpful. I know there are plenty more so if feel free to email me at Carolyn@CLTWellness.com or leave it in the comments if there is anything more specific you’ve been wondering about.

1) I don’t have time to exercise. How can I fit it into my already packed day?

Finding the time to work out can seem impossible given all of our commitments but I promise you, you can find 30 minutes in your day - even if it’s 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there. Start by writing down what your typical day looks like from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, and see where you can re-prioritize and add in more movement. Including family and friends in your exercise routine can kill two birds with one stone. Take family walks or a workout class with a girlfriend instead of grabbing dinner.

2) I have trouble staying motivated to workout. What can I do try and stick to a routine?

We’ve definitely all been there - we are SO good for like a week or two and then all of a sudden, we drop off and start avoiding the gym. The two biggest factors to adhering to an exercise routine are:

  • Working out at a time and place that is convenient for you. If it’s adding more stress to your day, it’s not sustainable. Waking up at the crack of dawn day after day or going too far out of your way to get to the gym is probably not going to become routine. Find a time and place that works for you.
  • You dread your workout or you find yourself getting bored. This is crucial - if you hate running, don’t run! There are so many other workouts out there. And be sure to mix it up - keeping it fresh will keep you coming back. Group fitness classes can also be a great way to stay motivated, try new workouts and get into a routine.

3) What time of day is best to work out?

The short answer is whatever time you can commit to working out. The is no time that is significantly better for you than another, so it really is whatever you can manage. Generally speaking, working out the morning before the day gets too hectic is the best way to make sure you get some exercise in, but everyone is different. Just find what works for you.

4) How many days a week and for how long should I be working out?

This totally depends on your current fitness level, any health issues you may have and what your goals are, but general exercise guidelines state that 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio, 5 days a week is optimal for health - ideally with 2-3 days of strength training layered on top. If you’re just starting out, don’t psych yourself out, you don’t need to be able to run 30 minutes right out of the gate. Start small and work your way up.

5) Can I target a specific area to lose weight in?

Unfortunately, doing a million crunches everyday won’t help you lose weight around your midsection. Weight loss requires cardio exercise to get your heart rate above a certain level to burn calories from carbs and fat.

5 ways to get baby-bod ready

One of the things that continues to blow my mind is how food affects the body. I’m not talking about gaining or losing weight, I’m talking about issues that you don’t necessarily associate with food and often turn immediately to medication for: trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, bowel issues, high blood pressure, skin irritations, chronic pain, and for women, having an irregular cycle. These are all external manifestations of something that is off balance in the body and can oftentimes be solved through diet alone.

Fertility is a huge topic and weight is one of the biggest factors affecting it. I’ll touch on these issues quite a bit, but I wanted to share 5 quick ways that you can start getting your body baby ready. It’s never too early to start to rid your body of toxins that have accumulated over time, and even if you aren’t thinking about kids at all - your body will immediately thank you for making these changes.

1) Remove processed foods from your diet

If you only do one thing, this should be it. Frozen dinners, meal replacement bars, cereal, and pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged, can have a scary amount of ingredients including brain altering chemicals, added sugar, salt and other things you can’t pronounce. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either and will treat it as a toxin, which puts stress on your digestive system and can cause inflammation. Aim for foods that don’t come in any kind of packaging (i.e fruits and vegetables) and pair with organic or hormone free meats and whole grains which will help balance your hormones, keep your internal systems working properly and manage your weight.

2. Pick your protein wisely

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get on the “organic” train and I’m still not 100% there, but one area in which I have committed to buying organic is meat, eggs and dairy. Make sure what you’re buying is labeled “organic” or at least “hormone free” to avoid ingesting a significant amount of synthetic hormones, which if you’re a woman, can seriously mess up your monthly cycle (think heavier periods, mood swings and even ovarian cysts).

3. Reconsider dairy

This one is not for everyone, some people can’t live without their milk or yogurt and I get that. However, dairy can be a major contributor to your monthly cyclical imbalance since it’s a mucus causing food (not a pleasant thought) and thereby causes issues with your digestive system. There are plenty of dairy alternatives these days such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. but experiment and see what you like and what works for you.

4. Eat the rainbow

Not Skittles (unfortunately), but foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a huge role in all body systems by neutralizing the effects of what are called “free-radicals.” Free-radicals are naturally created in the body as food is digested, but they’re also created from external factors such as environmental pollutants, smoking and alcohol and their goal is to damage healthy cells - including those essential for reproduction and protecting egg and sperm health. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables and the rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more it contains. Berries, oranges, plums, pomegranates, leafy greens, broccoli, beets and red peppers are a few of the most well-known sources so eat up!

5. Get moving

This may seem like a no-brainer and I know you know that you need to partake in some regular form of physical activity to truly be healthy. But the truth is, a lot of people are intimidated by starting an exercise routine and have trouble sticking to one once they have. It’s easy to associate exercise with joining a gym, having to drag yourself there after work when you are tired and a little hangry, and often times not really knowing what to do when you get there. This is something I will dive deeper on in a later post because it’s hugely important, but the one big take-away if you aren’t already active is to just start moving your body more. Even 10 minute increments throughout the day have shown to have enormous benefits. So make a killer playlist or find an addicting podcast and try taking a walk around the block, having a dance party with your girlfriends, or walking to work instead of taking the subway - all of your senses will thank you for that one! Little adjustments can have big results.

The truth behind "eating for two"

I used to think of pregnancy as a time where calories, sugar and other bad foods just didn’t count. I looked forward to eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s every day just because I could (who’s going to tell a pregnant lady otherwise?) and truly indulging in all my cravings. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts in trying to find evidence to the contrary, pregnancy is not the time to binge on junk. I had to repeat this to myself last night as I stared longingly at the bowl of left over Halloween candy! Instead, it’s a time to take extra care of what you are putting in your body because you’re growing a little human that depends on you for essential nutrients and its overall wellbeing. The same rules apply if you are trying to conceive. A little known fact is that a healthy pregnancy begins while the baby is still a glimmer in mom and dad’s eye. Making sure you’re on a healthy track by the time you conceive gets the baby off to a good start in life.

So what does the expression “eating for two” really mean? Generally speaking it means eating half as much, twice as often and thinking twice as long about what you consume. Everyone is different, especially in the first trimester when it can be hard to think beyond saltines and ginger ale, but eating smaller, more frequent meals can help keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling satisfied longer, which ultimately can alleviate unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, constipation and swelling.

“Eating for two” can also help keep your pregnancy weight gain at bay. The average woman only needs an extra 300 calories per day during pregnancy and should gain roughly 25-35 pounds over the course of 9 months. Trying to stay within this weight gain range has enormous benefits. Not only will you simply feel better (see aforementioned symptoms), but it will lower your risk for issues such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Plus, it makes it much easier to get back to your pre-baby weight.

Every time you go to eat something, ask yourself if it’s something you would feed your baby. I know, what a buzzkill. But you might surprise yourself in what you’re willing to give up. This is not to say you can’t give into your cravings once and awhile - it is all about balance or you will drive yourself crazy. The point is just not to overdo it, and make sure the majority of your diet includes lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Snacks on Snacks

Having grown up in New England, fall is by far my favorite season. Summer is a very close second - especially with winters as cold as they are - but there is just something about sunny, cool, fall day that is hard to beat. I feel super fortunate that my final months of my pregnancy have taken place in September and October because I felt great all summer long, and now I can just do some nesting in my leggings, with my crock pot, and sweat half as much as I did just 3 months ago.

With just a few days to go until Baby Tallents’ arrival, I’ve been trying to make a few things that I can either freeze for the first week we’re home or - let’s be honest - that I can eat now. Baby T has dropped and is sitting low, so I have a little more room in my stomach and I’m back to wanting to eat 17 times a day. I’ve done my best to keep healthy snacks in the house so I can stick to eating unprocessed foods that are high in the nutrients I need. I’ve always been a huge sucker for fall recipes and will try anything pumpkin, so I have a few go-to snack recipes that are filled with protein, healthy fats and fiber, as well as essential nutrients for fertility, pregnancy and beyond, such as folate (for healthy brain and spinal cord development), calcium, manganese and beta-carotene (for healthy bone growth) and iron (for increased blood supply and baby’s blood development). Not to mention, they have under 5 main ingredients, are super easy and adjustable and are made using real, whole foods.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic       What you need:    ¼ cup pumpkin    2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)    ¼ cup Tahini    ⅛ cup Olive Oil    1-2 cloves of garlic    Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)    Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy       Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic


What you need:

¼ cup pumpkin

2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)

¼ cup Tahini

⅛ cup Olive Oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)

Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy


Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking    What you need:    2 bananas (the riper the better)    2 ½  cups of rolled oats     ½ cup pumpkin     2 tablespoons coconut flakes    2 tablespoons ground flax    Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste    Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste    Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive    Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking

What you need:

2 bananas (the riper the better)

2 ½  cups of rolled oats

½ cup pumpkin

2 tablespoons coconut flakes

2 tablespoons ground flax

Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste

Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste

Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive

Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.