A new home!

Hello everyone,

I have started a new website where my husband and I will share our family adventures.  I have had a blast with Ashley’s Healthy Palette and I hope you will enjoy this new site as much as you enjoyed this one!  Come visit us at knightsofthegreentable.com

Peace, Love and onto New Adventures!

Ashley

Don’t Fear the Fat!

Hello!

I have been absent for sometime again and I apologize for this but I am back today and am working on new blogs of the near future! Today’s blog post is on a topic that I feel needs to be addressed and have seen other bloggers and nutritionists address it a lot lately, which has inspired me to write to you all today.  The topic is FAT…AHHHHHH DID YOU SAY FAT?! Yes I sure did the ugly word that everyone tries to stay clear of whether you are ingesting it or trying to get rid of it on your bodies.  The fact of the matter is you don’t have to be afraid of fat at all, eating fat will not make you fat! NOW HOLD ON! I am not saying to go to Kentucky Fried Chicken and get yourself a nice helping of fat drenched fried chicken…that will certainly make you fat and probably ill.  I am talking about good fat from pasture raised animals.

To give you some back story, I was once a believer in everything low-fat or no fat is best. You would hear all these reports about people having heart attacks because of fat clogging their arteries and if you want to be skinny then low-fat is best.  So that is what I did, I got nothing that was full fat and all the low-fat food I ate came from the grocery store. I checked labels for things like no saturated fat and the percentage of fat in the food.  This was one of the worst things I could have done for my body.  I believe this to be a contributing factor to my infertility.  What I wasn’t checking for on these labels, was sugar content, artificial sweeteners, and how many ingredients could I actually understand.  Where the low-fat, store-bought dairy items I was consuming coming from factory farms…more than likely.

Through my three and 1/2 years of struggling with infertility I researched so many ways on how to get pregnant naturally and one that I kept coming across was eat more fat.  At first being Vegan I was totally put off by this and thought there is no way I needed animal fat to get pregnant I will just eat more avocados, nuts and beans….but a 1 1/2 later I was still not getting pregnant so I looked a little further.  Countless article after article and book after book told me EAT MORE FAT! So I did and within 7 months I was pregnant!!  Now you can’t tell me that is just dumb luck.

My husband and I went on this new meat-eating, fat indulging adventure full force…difficult at first yes but once we knew what we were doing we were amazed at the results.  We started visiting local farms and talking to farmers; buying meat right from the source.  No pink slime when you go to your local organic farm folks!  We also started drinking raw whole milk.  Yep you read that right.  My husband and I hated milk growing up and now we guzzle glasses of this down.  I even have lactose intolerance and the raw milk has no effect on my digestive system!  Plus we are getting all the amazing nutrients from the grass the cows ingest as well as enzymes and healthy fat.  Here is a great article on raw milk http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/organic-parenting/raw-milk-55061801.

We are also eating a lot of organic butter, and whole milk yogurt.  A lot of people ask me where we buy our food; here are three farms that we often visit or buy from at our local farmers market http://swallowtailfarmandcreamery.com/, http://newrootsfarm.com/ and http://brookfordfarm.com/.

One thing I hear all the time is “well I am trying to lose weight so I cannot eat like that” YES YOU CAN! When we started eating more fat we did not gain a pound, in fact I was loosing weight!  When eating the right fat as well as eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits your body will begin to heal itself and be so thankful for you for not feeding it foreign non-nutrient based foods that it will  thank you by giving you energy and providing you with a healthy glow and smaller waist.  My body was so thankful to me that it finally allowed me to get pregnant!

I have so much more to say on this subject but I fear this post is getting long so for now I will leave you with that :-) Don’t Fear the Fat! Fear the Low Fat, processed with words you cannot even pronounce “food.” Visit a local organic farm near you and try supplementing even one thing in your diet for real whole food.  I will leave you with a picture of my breakfast this morning, two local eggs from pasture raised hens, with raw milk and spinach…so good!

Peace, Love and Eat Real Food/love the Fat!

Ashley

Giving up Control for a little sprout <3

Hello Readers,

I have really been wracking my brain on where to go next with my blog.  I would love opinions from you all! If you would like to me delve into infertility and things I did to get myself pregnant (because trust me I did a lot!) or talk more about gluten or nutrition in general.  I am just having a hard time setting my focus on one area, I just have so much stuck in my brain and want to share it all at once and I think that would be the worlds longest blog; so any comments on the direction you would like me to go would be greatly appreciated! :-)

For now I thought I would blog about my pregnancy as well as some of the big decisions my husband and I have made as it comes to raising our little one.   As you know from my last blog we are expecting our first little one in July and are so amazingly happy that this was finally able to happen.  Pregnancy although completely wonderful has been a bit of a struggle for me at times! I spent 3 and 1/2 years controlling my body, everything that comes in and is put on it.  Tracking how different foods affected me, and so on.  I was so in control and loved that I was figuring out how my body runs.  Then I got pregnant and the dreams I had of eating amazing and glowing from the inside out quickly told me otherwise!  For the first time in 3 and 1/2 years I had no control, things were and still are growing including my behind ;-) The cravings I get sometimes are bizarre and so not like me! I have also had to learn how to stand differently, as well as walk and sleep!  If I can give one piece of advice; if you are going through infertility do your research on the pregnancy part too because I was shocked that my body had a mind of its own.  It might sound like  I am complaining  a bit and I don’t want it to sound like that …..really I think this process is the most amazing thing in the world!  Your body just takes over everything, even your brain!  A woman’s body is built for carrying life and it amazes me that it knows just what to do.  Having to give up the control was a struggle for me especially when it came to the tiredness but once I gave myself into it, I was able to appreciate all that my body is going through.  It is a machine now creating another human life! Really quite amazing.  So for now I have put away all my nutrition books and have dived into pregnancy books so that I understand what is actually happening with my body.

The most important reading for me has been what is normal to expect in pregnancy.  Every little pain I feel I get so nervous that something is wrong.   It has been something that I have struggled with during this pregnancy.  It took us so long to get this far that I feel like it is too good to be true sometimes!  I know I probably sound crazy but it has been hard to just let go.  Every time we go to the doctor and I hear that amazing sound of our babies heartbeat I feel so much better and know that my body is doing just fine and so is the baby.  Now that I am well into my 2nd trimester my eating has almost gotten back to normal as well.  During the 1st trimester it was all pasta all the time, I couldn’t stomach anything else! Then I started craving gluten! of all things! and I might have  (with doctors consent) indulged in a little gluten eating, however, that was a mistake and I paid for it! But now my body is steering me towards healthy choices again.  I am getting my iron (which was low in the beginning) strictly from food  eating lots of grass-fed local beef and spinach as well as eating some salmon and snacking on things like dried apricot. I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband, he has been wonderful dealing with the changes.  I use to love food shopping more than anything and now I come out with whatever I am craving! I am able to cook now without getting sick but still he makes me wonderful meals while I take it easy after working.   Everyday I love the changes my body is going through and adore my ever-growing bump! I am looking forward to gaining control of my body again after the birth but for now I am enjoying the ride, and really my body is just preparing me for motherhood because I am sure all mothers feel like things are little out of control sometimes;-)

I should tell you, WE ARE HAVING A BOY! We couldn’t be more thrilled! Either would have been perfect though ;-) We have made the decision to raise this little boy as natural as possible.  Starting with having most of what he wears or sleeps in being organic. Here are just a couple of articles explaining our decision further. http://www.ecolife.com/parenting/organic-baby-gear/natural-baby-clothing.html

http://mommiemayhem.com/organic-baby-clothes-what-are-the-benefits/

We got pregnant by ridding ourselves of all chemical products as well as eating all organic foods so it only makes sense to keep this going for our little sprout.  We have also decided to do cloth diapers for reasons I have explained in this  past post.  It is our hope that by bringing another life to this earth won’t mean hurting our environment by bringing in more waste.

Image from littlebuns.com

Plus I cannot even control myself when I see a cloth diaper, they are so cute! I already bought one and look at it often…haha now you might think I’m crazy! ;-)

Well that is all I have for now and please let me know which direction you would like to see this blog take next, I would love the input!

Peace, love and input please!

      Ashley

My new growing adventure….Our Little Sprout!!!!

I have been absent for some time; but with good reason.  I mentioned in my last blog on eggs about how my energy was being used elsewhere.  Well that energy was and has been used to create a special  new addition to the Knight family.  I DID IT! I CANNOT BELIEVE I ACTUALLY DID IT! NO DRUGS, NO SHOTS, NO TURKEY BASTER! That’s right folks I’M PREGNANT!!!! Just writing that gives me chills and makes me want to cry.  For 3 and 1/2 years my husband and I tried to create life and for 3 and 1/2 years we changed both our life style and food choices until we found what worked best and wow did we find it! What an amazing adventure and I wouldn’t change all we went through; because if we hadn’t experienced what we did with infertility I wouldn’t know what I do now and our little sprout was worth the wait! ;-) (Here is some back story about my struggles with menstruation.)

Now if you are experiences infertility yourself and are reading this you might be saying, WELL HOW DID YOU DO IT?! I would read blog after blog, book after book and just couldn’t get the answer. I wanted someone to tell me how to get pregnant. You do this and eat this and then boom your pregnant! Nope, it doesn’t work that way. What I can tell you is what worked for me and share my process of becoming pregnant. Get comfortable, this is going to be a long one ;-) We are talking about 3 and 1/2 years here!

Over 4 years ago and 6 months before my husband and I got married we decided that I should stop taking birth control.  We made this decision because at the time I worked in a childcare center and heard a lot about the struggles woman had trying to conceive after getting off the pill.  My husband and I had been dating for almost 8 years and engaged for 3 so we felt ready to start a family.  We had a whole plan of having one child for 4 years and then having more later on.  So I got off the pill and that is when my life started going a little haywire.  At the end of November of 2007 I took my last birth control pill of my life! (will explain this more later) 7 months later I got my period for the first time.  That was a very painful 7 months.  Not only was I constantly waiting for my period but I was also planning a wedding and a honeymoon.  I was happy we stopped taking the pill when we did but my body was going through so many hormone changes at this time.  I had been on the pill for 6 years, so for the first time in 6 years my body had to figure out hormones for itself and it was not cooperating with me.

We had an amazing wedding and honeymoon and we were ready to start a family, but obviously my body was not.  I started my first cycle in July of 2008 and then didn’t get another for 3 months after that.  This continued for 2 years, never knowing, always waiting.  I started doing my research and changing some things about how we were living.  At the time I was a vegetarian and thought my diet was perfect so I didn’t think to consider that first.  I went to the products my husband and I were using on our bodies first.  I learned that certain things you put on your skin can create hormone altering properties.  So we used up what we had and then went strictly to Organic soaps, shampoo’s and lotions etc… and used no more perfumes. I then switched our food to only Organic because the pesticides on food are hormone altering as well as just plain bad for you!  “This is it” I thought, “we will get pregnant now!” At this point it was 2009 and obviously I still did not get pregnant.

My next step was to do the ultimate healthy challenge, or so I thought.  We were going to be Vegan! I had been vegan for a time as a child and loved it, so I thought this is exactly what is going to work! After over a year of being Vegan in late 2010 we called it quits and went back to being vegetarian.  We were eating amazing local fresh vegetables and fruit and in what appeared to be great health but I was still not menstruating and we both were suffering from serious digestive issues.  These issues didn’t start until about 6 months into our new diet.  My husband lost 15 pounds (down to 140) and was looking a bit anorexic.  He spent all his time in the bathroom and I started bloating up to look like I was pregnant which just really frustrated me beyond believe.  So again I hit the web and the books.  I played around with going gluten-free off and on but never fully committed because it scared me. NO BREAD ARE YOU CRAZY!!! Then one day when I had been sick for over 2 weeks I gave in.  In January 2011 I went completely gluten-free.  If you read my past blogs you know this was a huge life changing  move for me.  We also made another huge move in February of 2011 when we started eating meat.  We started eating local, grass-fed organic meat.  This was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but I wouldn’t change it.  We became the healthiest people we have ever been.  Eating local meat, vegetables, raw local dairy, and of course for me gluten-free. My husband also went completely soy free due to research findings that it can drop sperm count dramatically. Knocking on some serious wood right now but I also haven’t been sick since making these changes.  I use to be sick all the time!  I also started getting my period more regular and with a lot more predictability.  I had a crazy amount of energy.  I was eating lots of fat (good fat, meat from a factory farm is not the same kind of fat you are getting from your  local grass-fed meat or diary) for the first time in my life my waistline was actually shrinking and I was not trying.

Around August 2011 something also changed in me.  I started  focusing less on becoming pregnant but furthering the healing in my body.  I was very focused on getting my cycle under control once and for all and I was so close to getting it!  My normal for the past year had been 3 cycles on and one off. I was hoping to get even better.  With a diet that finally fit my body as well as my husbands, a switch from a traditional OBGYN to a midwife and a clear mind I was ready.  The blog supergojigirl.com aided me a lot in this process.  I cannot thank you enough Camille for your wisdom with food as well as the women’s body.  I got some amazing books she recommended. My favorite and most enlightening is “Her blood is Gold” and “Honoring Our Cycles”  I knew the minute I opened these books from the box they were shipped in that I was going to find what I was looking for.

In October of 2011 I had 3 months of having a normal to the day cycle. I was in my fourth month and due for my cycle in the middle of the month.  The day came …nothing….the next came….nothing.  I was trying to stay calm, spent more time in my garden and on my yoga mat but still nothing.  Could I be pregnant? NO WAY I wouldn’t even let myself think it.  I was not going to take another test and get my heart ripped out again.  A whole month went by.  Then the symptoms came.  Complete tiredness, unbelievably sore breasts, and I spent even more time making trips to the bathroom than I usually do.  One day at work I was standing with a few co-workers and all of sudden had the sharpest pain in my breasts that I actually had to grab them in front of my co-workers! One of women looked at me and said “hmmm Pregnant?”  I laughed at her and said No way, I am just well due for my period.  That night I was so tired I thought I must be coming down with something but still my co-workers words stuck in my head.  I shut myself off and told myself, “If I have no cycle by the end of the week then I will take a test.”  Well of course all that night I started thinking about the last month and how things didn’t add up.  When my alarm clock woke me up I ran in the bathroom and took the last test I had saved … and look what I saw!

I have never cried so hard in my life. My poor husband thought I was dying.  I couldn’t even tell him I was crying so hard, I just held out the stick and loved the look of pure shock that came over his face.  We both remained in shock until we saw our little sprout on the monitor for the first time.  Today I am 14 and 1/2 weeks.  The day we meet our amazing gift is July 11.  I can barely hold back the tears as I write to you now.  What an amazing journey this has been.  I started this blog not only because of my digestion issues but as a way to release the pain of infertility.  Some days I felt like what I was saying was a bunch of bull! I always told myself, “if I get pregnant then I know that what I’ve been talking about proves that nutrition is the best medicine.”  This was a triumph in so many ways for me. A triumph that I have been afraid to talk about until now.  I have written this blog in my head for about a month; but it wasn’t until my last doctors appointment on Friday that I knew it was time to share.  Hearing Little Sprouts heart beat is the most amazing thing I have ever heard.  We heard it beat a month ago but this time it was 10 times louder and moving! This little sprout has the energy of his/her mommy and daddy:-)  I look forward to sharing more of this adventure with you all, because holy moly is pregnancy an adventure!! The most amazing adventure I will ever be on, one that my body is finally able to make.

I hope to share and build on my experiences and  help others going through infertility.  It is not something you should go through alone and if you feel like fertility drugs are not the answer for you then there are other options.  It is not a quick fix but one that is worth the exploration.  Was there one thing that enabled my body to create life? I have no idea! However; since making bigger changes to my diet starting in January 2011 I would say I got pregnant rather quickly :-)

Peace, Love, and I’M PREGNANT! ;-)

Ashley

 

Happy Chickens = Healthier You!

Hello,

I am sorry my posts are few and far between lately.  Sometimes our energies are required elsewhere and you have to go with what is right for you during those times.  Today my energy is focused on chickens and eggs!  I will talk more about energy in a later post ;-)

I wanted to take a second and share something with you today.  Since my husband and I decided to leave our vegan life behind we also decided to make the least cruel choices we could when it came to nourishing our bodies.  The least cruel for the animals and our environment.  Our first step was to start buying local eggs.  We either get them from our local farm, farmers market or a friend who owns a few chickens.  These chickens live the lives they are meant to.  They get to roam around, forage and adored by their owners.  I found a video for you all that you may find interesting and if you have not already made the choice to eat better eggs maybe this will help guide you in making better choices when it comes to your egg purchases.

Now if that video wasn’t convincing then look at these facts.  According to a study done by Mother Earth News where they compared free-range eggs to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs; this is what they found;

Not only are eating free range eggs better for the chicken but clearly better for you.  In the picture above you can easily see which one is from a free range chicken.  The color is bright orange and exceeds the taste of the eggs from the mistreated chickens.    Free range organic eggs have also been said to boost fertility because of the healthy fats the eggs contain.

By making better choices we are not only creating healthier bodies but also showing the  industrial egg farmers that we have the power, and will not be fooled by their labels promising organic free range chickens.  Researching where our food comes from is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, the environment and the poor animals that get the brunt or our consumer needs and wants.

Peace, Love and Research!

Ashley