Traveling with an 8-Month Old, All the Essentials!

Hi friends!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote a post…What can I say, life has been busy!
Any who, if we’re friends on instagram then you know that Kwin, Fitz and I just went for our FIRST trip on a plane! We flew to the sunny Florida to visit my grandma for a couple days. It was refreshing to get some sunshine and warm weather to say the least!

Leading up to our travels I was feeling pretty anxious about WHAT TO PACK for my little girl! I watched countless YouTube videos, talked to family and friends and ultimately felt pretty confident with how everything went. So here is a compiled list of everything to make traveling with a little one a little easier!

DISCLAIMER REGARDING TRAVELING DURING COVID both Kwin and I are fully vaccinated as well as my grandma! We flew on Delta airlines which I was VERY impressed with; They were very strict on the “mask wearing” and had the middle seat blocked off still. Once in Florida we we made sure to follow all the “safety protocols” that we do when at home.

Packing Essentials

  • Carseat and Car Attachment- These are FREE to fly with! We checked ours at the baggage check since we had a straight flight to Fort Myers. One thing that I will do next time though is get a carseat bag! If we were going to have layovers I probably would have checked it at the gate to make sure that it gets to our final destination!
  • Stroller- We didn’t end up packing our stroller because my grandma had already gotten us one! However, many people suggest bringing it and checking it at the gate to help with moving around through the airport. These are also FREE to fly with.
  • High Chair– Depending on where you are going…most airbnb’s and hotels don’t have highchairs for your baby! We love this one as it is compact and easy to travel with
  • Pack-N-Play- We love THIS one. It is so compact and easy to travel with. My cousin recommended folding it up and packing it right in Fitz’s suitcase…GENIUS!
  • Buy a Seat vs. Infant on Lap- When flying with a baby that is <2 years old you have two options. You can buy them a seat and place their carseat directly on it to fly, or you can have the infant sit on your lap for the duration of the flight. We chose the second option and I was hoping that Fitz would sleep most of the flight anyway (she did’t, but still did AMAZING) Something you have to do if you chose the “infant on lap option” is call the airline and get them added to your boarding pass! It was very easy to get done, but important because they still need to account for her!
  • Bring baby’s birth certificate- At security check in they may or may not ask for this!
  • Diaper Bag- ALWAYS PACK 1 MORE DIAPER THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED! I also had multiple outfit changes (just incase she had a blowout on the plane,) and lots of toys/distractions! To be honest though, Fitz was more interested in the packaged foods and plastic wrapped fork they gave us that she barely played with anything I brought for her.
  • Take Off and Landing- Just like adults, baby’s can struggle with the pressure changes at take off and landing! To help counter this, make sure to your feed baby! The swallowing can help relieve the pressure changes. Whether it be breastfeeding or bottle feeding, this is KEY!
  • Baby Monitor– Love these so that we weren’t stuck sitting inside during nap time.
  • Baby Carrier- Our ERGO baby carrier goes EVERYWHERE with us! It made walking through the airport, walking the beach, and just around town so easy.
  • Reusable swim diapers– I was debating between the reusable vs. disposable swim diapers and ultimately decided with the reusable ones! Not only are they better for the environment, but they also just seem to “work” better! One main difference between regular diapers and swim diapers is the fact that they don’t absorb pee! The main purpose of these diapers is to contain and poop that baby might have while in the water. PLUS I really liked that the reusable ones don’t swell up when in the water, making it really difficult for baby to move around.
  • Sunscreen– We love Baby Bum for Fitz!
  • Diapers and Wipes- These are something that we didn’t pack in our bags. To save space I just went to the store right upon arrival and stocked up for the week!

Thanks for reading! If you don’t already, make sure to follow along on our adventures on Instagram!

Here We Go! 2021 Intentions

2020 was a year of inner growth, mental strengthening and finding the silver linings.
It was a chaotic year in so many ways, and also a year full of grounding experiences.
To be honest, it was one of the most wonderful years of my life. I know that I might get a lot of controversial comments with saying that...Buuuut after sitting back and truly evaluating everything, it’s the honest conclusion that I’ve come to.

  • I got to spend so much quality time with Kwin, and it strengthened our relationship with one another.
  • We were able to accomplish so many chores at home that have been building up over the years.
  • We spent so much time outside, adventuring new and old things!
  • We were blessed with the greatest blessing we could have ever asked for: Fitz Annmarie Morris

Going into 2020 I didn’t know what to expect, and I definitely didn’t expect a freaken pandemic!
I, like many, had so many goals to achieve and had such high expectations of what pregnancy would look like: all of my family&friends going through it with me, having a fun baby shower, the family walking into the hospital room once Fitz was born…NOPE! But I’m not here to dwell on the past. Like I said earlier, I’ve found the silver linings in all that was thrown at us last year and going to put all the negativity in the past!

You never know what life is going to throw at you, which is why I’m going to be setting ‘Intentions’ this year and every month setting smaller goals to achieve. I like the idea of both Macro and Micro achievements, and this is a good way to do it!
So here is to 2021!

Intentions for 2021

  1. Journaling– I want to get better at journaling everyday. Whether it be what I’m grateful for, what I’m happy or sad about, something funny that Fitz did, or just a little vent session. I find so much joy in writing and getting what’s on my mind out! I have an app on my phone that I’ve been using the past couple months (Morning!) and I really like it; But want to transition to a more permanent style by using a spiral bound notebook.
  2. Drinking more Water– Something that I think everyone can work on! It’s so easy to forget to drink…which isn’t good! 98% of the human body is water. I’ve got a 40oz Hydro Flask and plan to make sure that it’s accessible and filled up at all times.
  3. Work on my own confidence level– This is something I’ve struggled with almost all my life. It’s easy to hide…and at times really gets to me mentally! So how exactly do I plan to do this?
    – By getting out of my comfort zone and reaching out to friends to do things
    – Not worrying about what other people will think of me/something I do, and just DO IT
    – If something is bothering me, confront it.
  4. Being more aware of what I consume on social media– It’s easy to get caught in up the unrealistic reality that can be portrayed on social media. I want to make sure that what I’m consuming is beneficial for me mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  5. Spend more time outside doing active activities– I know it may seem like Kwin and I are outside ALL the time, but to be honest, since having a baby it’s been easy to sit inside all day and not getting any fresh air! Being outside is so good for ones’ mental health, and I hope that by making an effort to be outside at least once a day, that Fitz will pick up on this habit too and love it!
  6. Grow my blogging platform– I love writing! Gosh darn-it, I’ve said this for literally the past 4 years since creating my blog. But what happens is I get in my own head and think “Megan, nobody cares or even reads the blogs..so don’t waste your time.” And well, maybe it’s true..but maybe it’s NOT! So I’m gonna give this intention another try and just write away!

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope that you all have found peace with whatever happened in 2020 and are ready for a fresh start this year! Here is to 2021 being a year of positivity, hope and new beginnings!

Some Favorite Fall Recipes!

With the weather getting cooler and spending a little more time inside, I’ve made it a goal of mine to get more creative in the kitchen!
Cooking has always been a love of mine; but I’ll be honest… I hate wasting a perfectly good day inside when the weather is beautiful outside!
Cooking healthy, nutrient dense foods is a top priority of mine. Not only does it make me feel good (mentally) knowing that I’m fueling my body with all the “good” foods, but also physically too!
Obviously “everything in moderation” is important when it comes to food…but cooking with whole foods and minimizing process foods is always a good habit to have! So here are some of the most recent recipes that I’ve been dabbling with, and have been a success in the Morris household!

Copycat Peanut Butter Pumpkin Reese’s
Sweet treats have a special way to my heart…I hate to admit it…BUT IT’S TRUE! I made a version of these copycat Reese’s back around easter time and LOVED THEM. So, why not make them festive again and turn them into Pumpkins!
I know I’m not the only person who likes the seasonal Reese’s anything (hello more peanut butter filling(: )

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Candies made with plant-based, grain-free and gluten-free ingredients. Plus they have extra protein in them!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Yup, another pumpkin recipe! Tis the season to make everything pumpkin.
I love making this recipe as both a bread and muffins! They’re so tasty (and guilt free) that Kwin and I usually finish the batch off within days.

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breadwith Collagen Peptides for an easy and healthy pumpkin bread recipe, perfect for breakfast or snacking!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Dairy-Free + Gluten-Free)
Who else has tried countless cauliflower pizza recipes, and had MULTIPLE failures? I know I can’t be the only one…
Pizza is Kwin’s favorite meal, so trying to make a “healthier” version for us both to enjoy has been a goal of mine. Well I’m pleased to announce that Rachel Mansfield has done it AGAIN! This recipe was a huge success, and is now a staple in our household meal plan.

gluten free cauliflower crust

Spaghetti Squash Taco Bake
Such a quick and easy recipe to make! I love spaghetti squash, Kwin on the other hand isn’t the biggest fan. Win for Megan! He absolutely LOVED this recipe!

Bowl of cheesy low carb spaghetti squash taco bake topped with veggies.

15-Minute Crispy Chicken (GF, DF)
How could one go wrong with a good crispy chicken tender? Like HELLO CHILDHOOD FAVORITE!
The breading of store-bought chicken tenders are usually disgusting and leaves me feeling so sluggish/gross afterwards. Rachael Devoux is a genius when it comes to making “healthy” swaps on favorite recipes. Thanks to ‘Simple Mills’ crackers for the breading mixture, plus Flax Seeds (added protein &Fiber!) and this is also a new favorite.

Simple Cashew Chicken Stir-fry
I tried this one out on a limb because Kwin was craving a ‘Chinese’ dish. It was super easy to make and very tasty!

VEGAN CURRY RAMEN NOODLES
OH MY GOSHHHHH this recipe is a must! Especially with the cooler weather coming in and soups making more of an appearance on the meal plan. My mom made this for us after Fitz was born; and Kwin&I about died.
Ramen noodles use to be a guilty pleasure of mine growing up.
If you like curry… MAKE THIS…you won’t regret it!

Overhead shot of two bowls of curry ramen noodle soup garnished with fresh cilantro

General Tso’s Tofu
Another ‘Chinese’ dish for Kwin; and we both really liked it! If you aren’t into Tofu, you can easily swap it out for a different plant based protein or even chicken!

An overhead shot of a dish with white rice and general Tso's tofu on top

Ultimate Vegan 7-Layer Dip
HOLY COW, this seven layer dip was AMAZING! Tastes just like a seven layer dip…except with some homemade vegan sour cream!
This would be a huge hit for a football game or any other type of get-together.

the best vegan 7 layer dip | RECIPE by hot for food

Sweet Potato Toast
Such a simple breakfast alternative to toast! The sweet potatoes provide extra micro and macronutrients profile that a piece of toast is lacking.
This has become a new favorite of mine- topped with Almond Butter or Avocado is what I like best(:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Toast 4 Ways on a gray countertop

A little copyright note… I am not a food blogger, nor do I take aesthetically appealing photos of my food (let’s be honest I’m usually too hungry for that and forget!) All the pictures in this blog are from the original recipes! So all rights go to the original authors(:

Fall Favorites!

For those of you who don’t know me…FALL IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! Like if fall could be 9 months out of the year (with summer being the other 3 obviously,) I think I would be the happiest girl in the world!

I’m not sure I can chose my favorite thing about it: the cool temperatures (hello jeans+sweatshirts,) the beautiful colors of the leaves, football games, outdoor activities or pumpkin spice lattes. Either way, the vibes of Fall are just something I look forward to all year long.

This year was especially fun and special; being that it’s Fitz’s first Fall experience! Does anyone else feel like Northern Michigan really lucked out this year with some warm, sunny and colorful days! Kwin and I definitely took advantage of this with lots of hiking, biking and “fall-ish” activities. Let me know if you enjoyed any of these too; or if we need try some new things next year!

Hiking and Biking

  • Vasa Single Track– HIGHLY recommend going here for an epic bike during the fall! NMMBA has done an awesome job recently of creating more trails for you to explore all over the state land in Williamsburg, MI. You can also hike or RZR on designated trails.
  • Electric Bikes on the backroads– We invested in some Electric bikes a couple years ago, specifically for bike rides like these! We are able to cover so much ground, and still enjoy the ride. Plus adventuring on back dirt roads is always so much fun with Kwin. Shoutout to Oma Jo for hanging out with Fitz so we could have a little day date!
  • Home Sweet Home– We’ve spent so much time over the past five years working on trails around our property. I’m not lying when I say they are my favorite trails to hike! The dogs can be off leash, so many different trails to choose from, and the beauty of the landscape makes it great too!
  • Mt. Holiday– A local favorite for skiing in the Traverse City area is also a favorite for hiking year round! Climbing to the top of the main ski hill really gives you an epic view of both East and West Grand Traverse Bay!
  • Marquette Trip– Our annual UP fall trip took place in Marquette this year. It was a beautiful and sunny weekend; filled with lots of hiking! Some of our favorites are Hogsback, Sugarloaf, Deadriver Falls and catching sunrise on Lake Superior. Fun fact… FOUR years ago Kwin and I got engaged on top of Hogsback Mountain; and look at us now with our beautiful baby girl in the same spot! This hike will always have so much special meaning to me.

Fall Treats

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes– I’m usually not for frilly drinks, I’m pretty lame and just prefer a good black coffee. BUT this time of year calls for all the frilly pumpkin drinks I can get my hands on. If you’re in the Traverse City area…. go to Espresso Bay and get their pumpkin spice latte (it’s made with REAL pumpkin, no fake sugary syrups) YOU WONT REGRET IT.
  • Third Coast Bakery– Donuts aren’t really my jam, and I usually only have one pumpkin donut a year. However, after trying one of there HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GF donuts… I was converted to a donut person. Lets just say we made it a Sunday tradition to get a few of these bad boys! If you’re in the Traverse City area and looking for a bakery that is Gluten Free and very allergen friendly (soy, dairy and some items even egg free) give this place a try! I haven’t had a bad bakery item yet!
  • Pumpkin Patch– Is it really fall if you don’t go to a pumpkin patch? Unfortunately with COVID, this wasn’t the “usual” pumpkin patch experience…but we still made the best of it!

Sports

  • Lions Games– Even though the lions let us down 75% of the time, we still spend our Sundays cheering them on!
  • Elk Rapids Sporting Events– I love fall because of all the sports! And with Kwin taking a break from coaching this year, we had more time to go support the other teams; like football, soccer and volleyball! Fitz is enjoying going to all these games too. I’ve got a feeling she’s going to be a little sports star!

Family Fun

  • Sauna Season – I missed out on sauna season last year, due to being pregnant. But let me tell ya, I’m so excited the weather is cooling off and the sauna is being lit again!
  • Hot Tubs– Kwin and Fitz have some fun bonding time in the hot tub before “tubby time” almost daily! My heart melts watching her splashing around in there and interacting with daddy. She really is a water lover already.
  • HalloweenEEEEKKK, I was looking forward to Halloween so much! In fact, Fitz rocked three outfits and looked absolutely adorable in all of them. Dottie from a ‘League Of Their Own,’ A Polar Bear, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!

Writing this on our first wintery day -hello white stuff&40mph winds– and getting a little sad that fall has come to an end. We are lucky in Michigan to experience all four seasons, as it really makes you appreciate whatever season you are currently in.
So I’ll sign off hear and say: Until next year Fall!

Wow that flew by…Third Trimester!

As I’m sitting here with my little baby girl laying on my chest, I can’t help but reflect on how fast pregnancy truly went! I was incredibly fortunate to have had a pretty great pregnancy, feeling good throughout the entire process.

Third trimester came and went in the blink of an eye; and I’m excited for all the fun adventures ahead for us as a family of three!

My Symptoms

  • Ligament Discomfort: The ligament discomfort continued from second trimester, but because of my awesome chiropractor, Dr. Darnell, the discomfort actually improved. That is until about week 37 when baby girl had started to drop; increasing the amount of pain/discomfort in my lower pelvis!
  • Gastric Reflux- As pregnancy progressed I was experiencing more and more reflux after eating. It wasn’t terrible, but enough to steer me away from certain foods due to the reflux feeling after eating them! Pasta sauce was the major culprit….
  • Braxton Hix Contractions- Yup, these guys were definitely more noticeable during the third trimester. They acted as a reminder to me to SLOW DOWN!
  • Edema in my ankles- After a day of work, or just being on my feet all day, my feet would be pretty swollen!

My Cravings 

The cravings continue! I’m lucky that for the most part that I was able to eat mostly the same foods that I did “pre-pregnancy.”

  • Pasta or Pizza- Usually with pesto sauce though, thanks to my reflux with tomato sauce!
  • FRUIT– Similar to all the previous trimesters, I could eat fruit all day! But once third trimester hit I noticed that I really wanted watermelon, cherries and pineapple!
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Big Salads
  • Fruit smoothies

Adventures

  • CABIN TRIP! This was a little bittersweet as it was our last cabin trip just the two of us. We enjoyed lots of hiking, reading and kubota rides around the property(:
  • Local Favorites: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, walking around our property, sunset paddle boards, bike rides and just being spontaneous!
  • Boating! This summer has been one of the hottest that I can remember in a very long time… and because of this, Kwin and I spent almost every day on our boat!

Quick and Dirty On My Labor Experience

Friday July 10, 2020
All day I was experiencing intermittent “period cramps” but no regularity to anything. I had this gut feeling that our little girl was going to be making her appearance soon though!
8pm I started experiencing contractions that were about 8 minutes apart and lasted about 1 minute in duration. Kwin and I decided to pack up the car with our luggage and chill the rest of the night!

Saturday July 11, 2020
1245am my water broke while sleeping in bed. Kwin and I made our way to the hospital at this point (as instructed by our midwife) and were both super excited!
130am the admitting midwife confirmed that my water indeed was broken and the admission process was started. She checked me and said I was about 3cm dilated. She reiterated that labor could be a long process still since I was a ‘First Time Mom.’ Kwin and I got settled into our room and tried to get as much sleep as we could.
730am my doula, Harmony, arrived to the hospital. She was an absolute SAINT! I don’t know what I would have done without her during the labor process.
9am Kwin, Harmony and I went for a walk around the L&D unit and that’s when my contractions really started getting intense!
10am I started experiencing the intense feeling like I needed to poop, and that I couldn’t go through labor anymore. My amazing nurse, Heather, said those are the two magic words and checked me again (I hadn’t been checked since first being admitted due to increased risk of infection after your water breaks!) I was so nervous that I was not going to be very far still and would have to make the decision whether or not I wanted an epidural or not. BUT, then she told me I was 8cm, almost 9, and I got the biggest feeling of motivation to finish it out unmedicated! I asked to get in the tub at this point to help my body relax for the rest of labor until I was allowed to push.
11am I was really having the urge to push, so again, my nurse checked me and now I was finally fully dilated and ready to push! The team finished setting up the room, got the doctor and the pushing period began! I pushed for about 45 minutes, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. After much profanity and other kind words….
1147am Fitz Annmarie Morris made her entrance into the world! She was absolutely perfect in every way.

Stay tuned for an update on Fitz’s first month of life and all the crazy adventures she has already done! We are completely in love with this little girl and cannot wait to show her the world(:

PS. For everyone curious where we got the name Fitz from…. I read her name in a book (My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult) awhile ago, It was a characters nickname, and absolutely loved it. I told Kwin the name, and well he loved it too for a completely different reason (the Edmund Fitzgerald!)
FUN FACT- two years prior to Fitz’s birth, Kwin crossed Lake Superior on his paddle board (this paddle took place July 10-11, 2018) which is exactly when I went into labor and delivered her! It’s like this name was almost meant to be(:

Annual Trip To The UP…AND WE SAW TWO BEARS!

Yup you read that right, TWO BEARS! Don’t worry, both were within reasonable distance away…but still pretty cool! Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is pretty chuck full of wildlife and it’s especially noticeable this time of year. With animals coming out of hibernation, and the lack of leaves on trees to hide things in the woods; You’re chances of seeing something on a hike are very high!

We weren’t uncertain to whether or not we would even be able to make this annual trip of ours to the cabin (due to COVID and the stay-at-home order here in Michigan.) However, when Governor Whitmer loosed the restrictions allowing people to go to their second residences, we ran for it! Obviously following all necessary precautions- wearing masks at gas stations, bringing in all our own food from a grocery store around home, and only going to the cabin!

The trip was nothing short of amazing, per usual! In fact, because Kwin doesn’t have to be at work currently we were able to stay longer than ever… 6 days! Whew, that’s a long time staying at a primitive cabin with no running water, electricity, or cell phone service. But man, it was much needed during this time of craziness!

We spent lots of time hiking (averaging 8-10miles per day,) reading, doing chores around the cabin, fishing, searching for the biggest White Pines we could find (we found one with 14ft circumference) and spending quality time with each other!
Would you believe me if I told you there were still HUGE snowbanks? Welp, there was! The currently melting snow resulted in REALLY high water levels in the rivers and HUGE waterfalls, I had never seen them pumping so much!

Kwin and I enjoy and look forward to this trip so much!
With the sprouting tree buds, the chirping birds, muddy terrain, and sunny days…It’s a true sign that we’ve made it through another Michigan winter!
I hope you enjoy the blog and are getting outside during this beautiful spring weather yourself!

PS. For anyone who cares, baby girl did great with all the hiking and activity this past week! I cannot wait to bring her up to the cabin with us and make a whole bunch of new memories with her(:

Sauna’s and Ice Baths-The Best Immune Boosting, and Injury Preventing alternative to Western Medicine!

I’ve got a question for you all. What would be your FIRST reaction if someone told you that they do Sauna and Ice Baths?

-Is this person crazy?

-What kind of sick joke is this….

-Sauna, yes. But What was that second part?

Three years ago, Kwin and I made a pretty big investment and got a barrel sauna for our backyard! We had heard so many great things about saunas from podcasts (Joe Rogan, Laird & Gabby Hamilton, Aubrey Marcus, etc.) and figured why not, we love a challenge! Having struggled with Raynauds- which is a circulation problem that causes my hands and feet to turn white/be very painful whenever I’m cold– I love the heat and was obviously all in for the sauna part. But NEVER did I ever think that I would jump in an ice bath willingly.

Functional health and wellness is a huge part of Kwin and I’s lives, and finding ways to improve our overall health is fun to us! So I’m sure you’re all wondering, what exactly are the benefits of a sauna? How about the benefits of adding in an Ice Bath rotation?

Sauna Benefits

  1. Helps Improve Circulation– The heat from the hot sauna has a vasodilation effect (basically means that your blood vessels dilate, which can cause your blood pressure to come down!) In fact, HERE is a pretty interesting article I read a while back about how saunas can help with lowering an individuals blood pressure in the long run! The dilation of your blood vessels helps to make sure that different parts of your body are getting the proper amount of oxygen that it needs.
  2. Increases your resting metabolic rate– If you think about how many calories you burn when playing a sport, or riding a bike…this is partially in part to your heart pumping at a faster rate (otherwise known as sinus tachycardia.) Well in a sauna, your heart is also beating at a pretty fast pace! With your heart pumping and your brown fat cells working hard your overall core body temperature rises, resulting in more calories burned while at a resting state.
  3. Detoxifies your body– This is a pretty simple concept. 180+degree temps is going to make you sweat….A LOT! When sweating, you loose a lot of water and toxins. These are typically from what you ingest on a daily basis, as well as anything that you may be exposed to without even knowing it. Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of endocrine disrupting chemicals and toxins. So riding them from our body is a pretty good idea! You may notice the next morning a few more zits than normal, but it’s just your body getting rid of junk! ALSO I would advise drinking lots of water after a sauna session to rehydrate all the water lost.
  4. Increases recovery time after a workout– As mentioned above vasodilation allows for more oxygen to be delivered to muscle cells. With more oxygen being delivered to your muscle cells they are able to rest and recover at a faster pace!

Ice Bath Benefits

  1. Helps Increase Immunity– The initial shock of getting out of the HOT sauna and into a FREEZING tub is exactly the shock the body needs to fight any intruders that may be in your body. Think of it this way, your body is going from somewhere that is close to 200 degrees, to being submerged in something close to 32 or less degrees! Jumping into an ice bath activates the body’s natural healing powers that can promote a sense of health and well-being. If you’re able to do it on a regular basis, they can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems! If you don’t have a large tub laying around, jumping into a lake or pool is always a good option. A lot of Naturopathic Physicians have started offering a treatment very similar to this (Hydrotherapy.) Check out THIS article for more information!
  2. Allows you to stay in the sauna longer– How many times have you been in a sauna, but only been able to stay 10-15 minutes MAX because it’s just so hot? Been there, done that! Well the ice bath provides you with a sense of relief, so that you can stay in there for closer to 30-45 minutes! The longer you are able to tolerate the saunas heat, the more health benefits you’ll get out of it.
  3. Increases recovery time after a workout-Going along with what I mentioned above, the ice bath helps to decrease your inflammation that individuals usually accumulate after workouts! After all, working out causes micro tears in your muscle fibers, which causes generalized inflammation! Recovery is so important for athletes!
  4. The Mental Challenge– I’ll be honest, my first couple times of doing the ice bath I defiantly did the “Bird Bath” technique. Meaning I didn’t actually submerge in the tub, but rather splashed myself. I slowly worked myself up to getting into the bath, and now I can’t imagine doing a sauna without it! The exhilarating feeling of being in an ice bath is so empowering!

The sauna/ice baths SAVE US during the winter! It helps to get rid of the chill after being outside in the frigid cold. Plus as you can see in the picture above, the ice bath actually has large chunks of ice in it, which Kwin usually has to chop through with an axe. We average about 2-3 sauna sessions a week during the spring, fall and winter months. When the summer comes around though, it definitely drops down to about once a week!

I hope you all find this information helpful and even try out a sauna/ice bath session in the future!

Things Are Getting Serious…Recovery is Real!

Alright, never did I EVER think I would be writing this blog. But truth be told, I’m feeling really confident today and have had this overwhelming feeling like telling my story will not only help me continue in my recovery, but may help others too! So here goes nothing…

Growing up I was an active young girl. I played competitive soccer and volleyball, I ran for fun, swam in my backyard, biked with all my friends and well pretty much did anything outside! I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. One could say, I lived a pretty “normal” childhood. I had great friends and family; whom always supported me and provided nothing but encouragement and a positive environment to grow up in.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school that things began to change.

  • I was being recruited to play collegiate soccer (stressor #1)
  • Changing soccer teams [this meant leaving the team I had played with since I was 8 years old] and going to a team that would help prepare my for the collegiate level (stressor #2)
  • Dealing with some friendship issues (stressor #3)
  • Rebelling out against my mom [She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, but we clashed heads a lot. Especially in my high school years] (stressor #4)
  • I was letting my perfectionism get to the best of me-especially regarding school grades (stressor #5)

So all of this added up and I felt like I had completely lost control of my life. UNTIL….I found that I could control what I ate! This meant how much, what kinds of foods, etc. I took this and ran with it! So from June 2011 to about January 2012, I had lost a significant amount of weight. Because I was only 17, I was still considered a minor. So my parents decided to do what was best for me at the time, and get me some help! This meant going away to an inpatient hospital program for about 1.5 months to fully recover. While there I was able to gain all the weight back that I had lost, but never truly learned how to control WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! I graduated the hospital program and a couple months later graduated from high school too!

Fast forward a couple years, I was now in college and living the best life! The summer of 2014 I got accepted to work [as a Nurse Tech] at the hospital I ALWAYS wanted to work in when I graduated Nursing school. So I packed my bags and moved in with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle for the summer! Not only was I finally living in my dream town (Elk Rapids, Michigan) but that summer I also met my now husband<3. Life was going great and I was truly living the dream!

Until that following spring….my papa, whom I was very close to, lost his battle with Dementia and passed away. I was lost, HOW could he be gone? This is when things went downhill again…

 

  • My papa passing away (stressor #1)
  • Nursing school, which is incredibly tough! (stressor #2)
  • The societal ‘norms’ of having a perfect body (stressor #3)

I went back to my controlling habits. This time it wasn’t only food, it was also over exercising! From June 2015-February 2016 I was eating MAYBE 1000 calories a day [being VERY strict about counting calories, and habitual about what I ate.] I had to get in ATLEAST one seriously demanding workout a day, usually about 60 minutes in duration + running all the time! Phew, just writing that is giving me anxiety again!

By the time February came around, my husband [boyfriend at the time] was threatening to leave me, I had become incredibly antisocial, had lost a ton of weight again, and was depressed. With the encouragement of my husband and family I seeked out help. This time I went through an outpatient program [that way I could finish out Nursing school…especially because I was graduating that April.] Man, I’m so glad I did! The difference between this program and the previous one was night and day. The counselors actually dug deep into WHAT the problem was and WHY I was acting the way I was. They helped me to learn to balance my eating habits, and good coping mechanisms for stressful times. I “graduated” from the outpatient program at the same time as Nursing school and truly felt like a new women!

Fast forward again to now! I’ve been “recovered” since May 2016, but I say recovered gently. I still have days where I feel crummy about my body, where I want to restrict food, and compare myself to others. But I use the tools I learned on a daily basis to keep me from going into that dark place again. What I put my body through was absolute hell, and the fact that I’m still here and able to do all the wonderful things I do [like bike, run, workout, yoga, cook, etc] is a true testament to how strong the human body can be. I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! CHEERS TO THAT!

Today’s society has some pretty harsh ‘norms’ which can be misleading and devastating to the younger generations. Praising the skinny, lean models and bashing the fuller, curvy women. Its so wrong! Not only that, but all the “quick-fix” diets that are around too…ugh it just disgusts me! One thing I’ve learned from my past experiences is that being present and appreciating the things in life that you DO have are what makes life so amazing.

To this day, I’m still struggling with some of the long term effects of having an eating disorder….but that’s for another post. I hope this helps anyone who is currently struggling! Just know, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT THE WORK IN TO SEE THE BENEFITS!

 

Miracle Morning

Three years ago, I was lost. A ‘soon to be’ graduated college student; searching for jobs, and anxious to be out on my own for the first time in my life!

Here is a little history that has lead me to take my health more seriously, and why I got more interested in a healthy Morning Routine! This part is going to be vey personal, and really hard to write. But I hope that it will help anyone who is going through the same things that I struggled with, and still am struggling with to this day!

I was fighting a demon [a lovely eating disorder] that had taken over my life for the past year, and was trying to get back to living a “normal life.” My husband [boyfriend at the time] suggested that I read the book ‘Miracle Morning,‘ written by Hal Elrod, with hopes that I could find my path, and a way to decrease my self induced stress and anxiety. I remember not being very interested at the time; Thinking that meditation was a waste of time and energy, and if I didn’t get in a “hard workout” before work or class, then my day would start off on a bad foot. Little did I know, but this mindset was setting me up for failure and a total burnout!

Fast forward a year in a half, after Kwin and I got married, I decided to get off birth control with the intentions to “cleanse my body from the toxic-artificial hormones” and thought that soon after we would be able to start a family. BOY WAS I OBLIVIOUS! The years of mental stress, physical stress and not taking care of myself nutritionally had really taken a toll on my body. My hormones were completely wonked out, and unfortunately resulted in me not having a period! How sad is it, that something so serious had to happen for me to open my eyes to the real world? To realize that what I was doing to “live a healthy lifestyle” was actually harming me!

So January of 2018, when I still hadn’t gotten my period back, I decided to stop with the bullshit and take matters into my own hands. I did hours of research on what could be wrong. I saw my gynecologist and and starting seeing a naturopath-both with hopes that they would give me the magic pill to heal my problems. May I note that during this whole experience I was still very stressed, working out 5x a week, and never letting myself rest. It wasn’t until August 2018 [one year after stopping birth control] that I realized the magic pill was to just CHILL OUT! With the help of my Natropathic Dr, we were able to finally give my health problem a diagnosis: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea  [the absence of menses for greater than 3 months, and all other medical conditions have been ruled out.] OK, so now I’ve got a diagnosis but how do I heal myself? The research I had done put a lot of emphasis on the the best ways to recovering was to decrease my stress, cut back on my working out and eat more!

January 2019, still no period and I’m frustrated beyond belief. What else can I do? I’ve cut back on my working out to 3 days a week, and nothing extremely intense! I’ve gained many pounds since our wedding, and definitely enjoyed eating more! So what else?

  • Decreased working out- CHECK.
  • Weight gain-CHECK.
  • Eating More-CHECK.
  • Self Care and Decreasing Stress- NOPE, GOTTA WORK ON THIS.

So January 2019 I finally decided to give that book, Miracle Morning, that my husband had suggested I read THREE YEARS AGO a try…and man am I happy I did!

So what exactly is the ‘Miracle Morning’ all about? Basically it’s one of those LIFE CHANGING books that really kicks your butt into gear, and opens your eyes on how to improve your life in SIMPLE WAYS! Hal Elrod uses the platform of ” Life S.A.V.E.R.S” as a way to help organize your miracle morning.

  • S- is for Silence.
  • A- is for Affirmations
  • V- is for visualization
  • E- is for exercise
  • R- is for reading
  • S- is for scribbling

So with this in mind, I’m going to walk you through what ‘Megan’s Miracle Morning’ looks like; and keep in mind it’s not perfect, but it’s what works for me.

A typical morning for me on days that I work [being a Nurse I am gone for 14+ hours a day, so being productive and calm is very necessary in the morning.]

  • I wake up around 5am and brush me teeth immediately.
  • I then drink about 8oz of warm water, usually with a lemon in it too.
  • From there I proceed to a quit room and do about 15-20 minutes of yoga to get my blood pumping and some stretching in.
  • Once of yoga is complete I will then meditate for about 10-15 minutes! I’ve found that I need some guided assistance for meditating, so I use the ‘Calm’ app! It’s wonderful and has a ton of options for mediation…keep in mind that after your 7 day free trial, you do have to purchase a subscription.
  • After that is complete I finish getting ready for work which usually consists of making my Matcha Tea [I love to buy local if I can and Light of Day Organics has some of the best tea around!] and my protein smoothie for later in the morning.
  • Finally I clean my face and listen to meditation radio on pandora.

Nothing crazy, but I’ve definitely noticed a change in my overall mood throughout the day! Now, Hal encourages affirmations and journaling in the morning too. But given my time constraints, I don’t want to be stressed and try forcing too many things in! Gratitude journaling is really important though, so I try and do that at some point during the day. A good time I’ve found to do gratitude journaling is if I’m feeling stressed or just BLAH.

To end the night, I try and do a bedtime routine as well! Going along the same principles as my miracle morning, I’ve found some habits that work for me.

  • Starting with making some Nighty Night tea-I use Traditional Madicinals with a dollop of Elderberry Syrup-from Herb Pharm (because who has time to be sick.)
  • I then do a skin care routine to help make sure that I’m going to bed with nice clean skin!
  • Limiting my phone time before bed is something I’m still working on…but I know that it’s been proven to help with improving sleep habits.
  • I journal right when I get in bed as a “Review of the day” or to just get anything off my chest that may impede on getting a good night sleep.
  • Lastly, I ALWAYS make sure to have my essential oils diffusing-THANK YOU LAVENDAR!

So, my Miracle Morning is not perfect. It changes based on if I’m working or not. But in general is remains the same…and I love it! I’m so happy that my husband encouraged me to read Hal Elrod’s book, and has also set a great role model for me [He has been doing his own Miracle Morning for about 3 years now!] If you haven’t yet read the book I would highly encourage you too, and start implementing your own form of Miracle Morning too!