overcoming HELLP syndrome.

Now that we are nearly 7 months post partum I thought I could manage sitting for a moment to share about the journey to a healthy pregnancy after HELLP syndrome. I am NOT a medical professional, nor do I offer tried and true medical advice. The following is my experience alone.

  1. Pray to Jesus. I know – not your standard American health advice. But He made you. He is for you. He did, after all, give his life for you.
  2. Know where your hope is found. I found it repeatedly necessary to reevaluate my focus, to know that my hope is in God and his goodness for me and not any diet, exercise program, supplement or herb.
  3. Seek knowledge and wisdom. Act accordingly. God designed our bodies to function a certain way, yet not every person’s body responds the same way to the same foods, supplements, or stress levels. I learned the hard way that I (quite unfortunately) just can’t consume row after row of scotcheroos and get off scot-free. You can’t care well for your body if you don’t know how it works, so find out.

Let’s talk practically about diet, exercise, supplements and herbs.

But first, the back story. A few months after Whitterboy was born, my gramps became super ill and passed away within just a few short weeks. Those were extremely high stress weeks, flinging my already weak body into an extreme flareup. I had suffered from ulcerative proctitis for many years on and off prior to becoming pregnant and this flareup came on blazing to the tune of bloody diarrhea and a whole lot of mucus lasting over two months. I was anemic, incredibly thin, and fatigued.   My husband came across a diet catered specifically to combat ulcerative colitis and thus began hours upon hours of research and a complete lifestyle overhaul. I learned the great impact teeny tiny gut flora have on our health and how to go about getting rid of harmful bacteria (SIBO) and fostering the colonization of the helpful. Since putting into practice what we learned, I haven’t had a flareup in over 3 years, which also, in my opinion, led to a happy healthy pregnancy and birth.

*Diet. What goes in your mouth effects your whole body. Diet is so extremely important to overall health. While it would be nice to live off of Cheetos and fudge, we (I) just can’t consume high quantities of those foods (and the like) daily and expect to just be fine. Eventually imbalance creeps in resulting in disorder and disease.  –  I understand that this side of heaven there will always be imbalance and disease. Even the most healthy of bodies will still die. O how I look forward to the day this broken world will pass away and Jesus will make everything brand shiny and new – including this warn out body of mine. But until then, let’s make the most of the one body you have by taking good care of it and feeding it nutrient dense foods.  –  I began the healing process by following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and transitioned to more of a paleo diet after a year or so of healing. The Brewer’s Diet was recommended to me by another HELLP overcoming mama. I followed it to the best of my ability while remaining grain-free to avoid any potential gut issues. Follow the links for more specific details. I also sought the counsel of Melanie at Food4Thought who I found through my midwife. If this is all you’ll read, the primary nutrient stressed is protein. I made a goal of consuming 100 grams of protein every day. From a grain-free protein shake (here and here) and eggs topped with homemade yogurt for breakfast, to cheese, nuts and beef sticks for snacks and a hearty portion of meat for dinner, consuming THAT much protein didn’t seem so tricky.

*Exercise. So I could use some pants kicking in this category. To be honest, I didn’t follow any major exercise program during my pregnancy; however, I DID make a point to walk everyday and I benefited a great deal from doing a select few YOGA poses every morning and evening as well as squatting for a few minutes multiple times a day (both for exercise as well as just hangin out in a deep squat).

*Supplements. (because sometimes you need a boost.) Below are the supplements I used with links included.

*Herbs. Aside from a colorful diet and high protein intake, herbs, in my opinion, contributed most to my overall wellbeing. Most of the herbs I’ll reference I consumed in the form of tea. A LOT of tea. I would steep and drink at least a quart per day of the following.

alfalfa-leaf

Alfalfa leaf. Alfalfa leaf is believed to contain essential vitamins including the entire spectrum of B-vitamins, A, D, E and K. It is also believed to be a source of iron, niacin, biotin, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.

burdock-root

Burdock Root. “Burdock root has been valued across continents for thousands of years for its ability to purify blood and cool internal heat. Internally and externally, it has potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on the human body. Recent studies also show that burdock contains phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin, which are all powerful, health-promoting antioxidants.” draxe.com

dandelion-root

Dandelion Root. “Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to more quickly eliminate toxins. It also helps strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn and soothe digestive issues.” – drake.com

milk-thistle

Milk Thistle. “Milk thistle is an herb that’s been used for thousands of years to support liver, kidney, and gall bladder health. It contains the flavonoid silymarin, which is thought to be responsible for many of its beneficial effects, including liver protection and antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties.” – Mercola

nettle-leaf-tea-organic-1210

Nettle Leaf. Nettle leaf (also known as stinging nettles) is an herb commonly found in pregnancy teas and recommended by many herbalists and midwives. “It’s a fabulous source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium,” says Hirota.” – fitpregnancy.com

oatstraw

Oatstraw leaf. Oatstraw is highly nutritive, containing minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamins, and a variety of other constituents which deeply nourish the entire body and are especially soothing to the nervous system. This gentle restorative herb is for those that are cold, depleted, tired, and have “frayed nerves”3,10,12 or for the type of person who drinks too much coffee and is chronically burnt out. 13 It is also helpful for soothing and nourishing inflammatory skin conditions, building up strength in degenerative wasting conditions, and for enhancing the mood. – mountainroseherbs.com

red-raspberry-leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf. “Red raspberry leaf tea comes from the leaves of the red raspberry plant. This herbal tea has been used for centuries to support respiratory, digestive and uterine health, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing years. While usually known as a female herb, red raspberry leaf tea can also help support the prostrate and various stomach ailments in children.” – mamanatural.com

Not pictured that I also used is fennel seed and red clover leaf. I also added Mother wort to the mix POST delivery to help with uterine contracting according to the sweet gal at our local herb shop.

I’m sure I missed noting a few things. In short, eating well, moving your body, and gaining knowledge about how your body functions best is only going to help overcome HELLP. Do the research for yourself. May this journey to a healthy happy pregnancy and birth be filled with so many good things for you mama!

 

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Avocado

We’ve waited a bit longer to give W any form of solid foods as we did LL (here is her ‘first time’), but a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d just see what he would do with a bit of mashed avocado in front of him. He’s been grabbing our food everything and putting it in his mouth after all. 

This is how it went down. Mildly interested.

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Tried it out.Untitled-2

Mostly just played in it._MG_9826Got a little messy.

_MG_9830And decided eating the bib was better.

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a2Over all:

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homemade Lara (type) bars

I finally got around to making Lara bars (or something like them) thanks to my momma for hanging with the little lady this morning. I had extra apricots and almonds that I wasn’t convinced I’d finish off if left as is, so I decided to pick up a bag of chopped dates along with some other simple ingredients to give it a go.

I gave the apricots (about 1/2 cup) a rough chop and threw them, along with the dates (maybe 1/4 cup)  into the food processor until it turned into a paste, which looked like the image below.apndates_MG_9380Time for almonds! After they were evenly chopped in the food processor I added a bit of flax seed meal and a handful or more of pumpkin seeds. After a few quick pulses, I added the nut mixture to the fruit paste. nutsThen I had some fun. I attempted to use a piece of plastic wrap to keep the puree from sticking to my hands, but then decided it’d be more effective to just get messy. _MG_9385I squished and squeezed and pushed it around until everything was well incorporated together._MG_9392_MG_9397Then, I formed it into a log and cut it into even pieces. I actually ended up cutting it into six bars as apposed to four as shown. (These babies are hearty!)_MG_9399And then shaped and wrapped them into bars with the plastic wrap that I wrapped them in while Grandma Marty and LL were playing salon in the other room. _MG_9407_MG_9430

Isn’t she lovely?

LL piggies

Oh, a bit of this was going on as well…LL & gramI couldn’t wait. They were very yummy! I’m sure LL will enjoy a bit of these later. homemade lara bars

saturday morning waffles.

We haven’t started any regular traditions just yet with Saturday mornings (which I’d like to change!), and actually just ordered Noel Piper’s ‘Treasuring God in Our Traditions’ (I’ll let ya know what I glean from it). But every once in a while, we’ll bust out our mixing bowls and make a little bit more special Saturday morning breakfast.

This morning Daddy decided to make wheat waffles for us all (THANK YOU Daddy!) And it went a little something like this:

waffles feb2013-1Momma’s wafflesmomwaffles

Daddy’s wafflesdaddywaffles

LL’s wafflesLLwaffles

and W’s waffles waffle experiencewhittwaffles

 

Saturday Morning Waffles: 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour | 2 tsp baking powder | 1/2 tsp salt | 1 Tbls sugar | 1 1/2 cups  vanilla almond milk | 1 egg | 1 tsp vanilla extract | 1/4 cup apple sauce | swig o’ oil. (or something like that) 

I think some whole wheat germ and flax seed meal was attempted to be put in, but mom forgot to put the wheat germ in the fridge, and we weren’t sure how it’d be after being out for say… months, and the flax seed meal (in the freezer) could not be found.  If you’d like to add those things in or substitute a different sweetener, I’m certain you could!

If you all have any Saturday morning traditions, we would LOVE to hear them… the Asayplacey is currently taking fresh ideas!

 

some much delayed posts : Grandpa’s Garden

Once again, the Asayplacey has been one busy placey! Here’s a brief update:

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve been to my Dad’s garden, but it was sweet none-the-less (and not just the produce). Grandpa Rob has many talents and hobbies, but the most recent (and I’ll say fruitful for the pun of it) has been gardening. He built the greenhouse you see below, makes his own bug repellent, and well, just does a good job!

See the swirly plant top on the right? Those are garlic scapes. Dad gave them to us to try out, so I put them in a fresh salad to add some kick, and boy did they! At least the ones that we had were about as potent as the bulb itself. It was fun to try something new – thanks Dad.

More scape picking and hanging with Grandma Lindsay.And we can’t leave out the PEAS! These were the. best. and sweetest fresh peas I’ve had and little lady could not have agreed more… fresh out of the pod. 

Hopefully more garden fun to come!

 

What can I say, we like pisa.

Tad and I hosted some friends for dinner tonight, one of which isn’t a HUGE fan of green veggies. I had some asparagus to use up before the weekend and I didn’t want to make a casserole or pasta dish, so what do you go for that serves a few that is not too complicated? Pizza! (we’ve been making it a lot it seems! Or maybe I just like writing about it).

I love being creative with my toppings and because I really wanted to use up the asparagus, I looked up a few different recipes and blended them together with the ingredients we had for one pizza, and used turkey pepperonis to top the other.

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We found a recipe that called for a basil pesto for the base sauce, and chicken, asparagus, and roasted red peppers, to top.

I appreciate that my husband is such a help in the kitchen (and nearly everywhere else for that matter!)

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This is per-peppers and cheese, but it was super tasty! I used the same crust as in other pizzas we’ve made, but spread the roni crust more thin…it was crunchy.

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I didn’t photograph the dessert portion, but I made a chocolate moose, which I had been wanting to make again for a while now. I’ve been using a recipe from epicurious, which I really like. I can link it later.

All in all, enjoyable precursor to a thanksgiving feast:) and we sure are thankful for some GOOD food! (Just wetting our appetites for THE feast, and who can describe how awesome THAT will be?! Some day. Some day.)

Okay, here is the remnant:

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Working with what you have

This is called, “we don’t have anything but some random ingredients in the fridge so let’s make the best of it” dinner, but actually it’s called “roasted red pepper and bacon pizza” :)

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I made a wheat crust and a creamy tomato sauce and added the bacon, roasted red peppers, garlic, some spinach and cheese and baked it for a good while before topping it off with fresh Parmesan! Not too shabby for a make it up meal :) like I said, I’m not too keen on following a recipe if I don’t HAVE to!

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The only problem is, my counter ends up looking like this if I’m not careful!

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Hey wait a second!!! THERE is that skosh!