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Walmart.ca Groceries – delivered to your door!

I have been trying to upload pictures all morning, but have managed to mess up the formatting in my SD card (running linux and clueless) and can’t seem to get it figured out today, so pictures will follow. 

Speaking of deliveries, yes, I’m still very pregnant. 40 weeks + 3 days. I have a head cold, and my voice is gone, and for some reason I am feeling inspired to write about my walmart.ca grocery shopping experience, so that’s what I’m doing. We did an ultrasound yesterday and the baby is great, approximately 7lbs 8 oz, and no concerns to make them induce… So I’m just waiting around. My gestational diabetes seems to have disappeared after a few days of Dr. Mark Hyman (Blood sugar solution) style eating. I was doing Dr. Mcdougall (Starch solution) managing my numbers just fine, eating lots of whole food carbs, but having to be careful of any cheating on sugar or fat. I am now basically just eating whatever I feel like (only a tiny big of junk) with no measuring or counting carbs or fats and my blood sugar numbers are completely non-diabetic. Go figure. I’ll have to do more a separate blog post later on this. I just posted an active clean up vlog on youtube with some ramblings about it if you are interested.

So what’s the deal with Walmart? Walmart.ca will now deliver non-perishable groceries to your door for free with a $50 minimum order. I am going to share what kinds of things I normally buy and and some of the things I have learned so far to help you make the most of this system.

Things to keep in mind:

Their packages usually come to me by Canada Post, (predictably by 11 am at my house) within 1-3 business days, but occasionally another courier us used, and sometimes part of the order will be delayed. The order may be split in 2 or 3 parts, and may or may not arrive on the same day by the same courier. Tracking is great, and you can always look back on your previous orders.

Don’t wait until you are out of things before ordering. I have made this mistake a couple of times, and it’s inevitable that the one thing you need most will come the latest all by itself. I did this with Toilet paper in my first order, thinking it would arrive in 2 days, but everything else came first  and the toilet paper came along a few days later, and by then we had already panicked and bought a small pack at the local store. Also note that some items are only available for in-store pickup, even though they are dry goods, and there will be little symbols in your cart to indicate this.

When you shop, avoid going to the Grocery section of the website, so you don’t end up being asked to book a time slot or delete things. You can of course book a time slot and pick up your groceries (for free) if you prefer, so it’s a nice option too, but make a plan to start with and remember that you can go to walmart for produce after online shopping/getting delivered and still save time.

Shopping online for this stuff can free you up to shop for specific things like produce and kosher meat at more specific stores, rather than spending a long time in a bigger store or having to go to several places all the time.

Other things to note:

Most items are pictured accurately with ingredients listed, kosher symbol visible. Zoom in to verify each item the first time. Remember, you can always return items to a local walmart at any time if you make a mistake.

By creating an account, you can load your cart as you think of things. I have my cart going all month long. Once I complete an order, I start a new one with the things that I inevitably forgot and things that I regularly need. Over time, you start realizing how many of which items it takes to get you through a month or so, and there is nothing wrong with having 3 months worth of any item you use on a regular bases. You can also have it save your credit card for super quick checkout.

The following is my basic recommendation list. I will put an asterisk next to items I generally prefer to get somewhere else, but are certainly worth getting delivered if you can’t get to the other stores.

Pantry things to buy:

  • Dry and canned beans,
  • Lentils, chickpeas, split peas, barley etc
  • Canned Tuna and Salmon
  • Pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni, rotini, gluten-free or whole grain options etc),
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Quinoa *
  • Rice
  • Salt crackers, graham crackers etc
  • Cookies
  • Chips
  • Granola bars, snack bars etc
  • Fruit cups, applesauce,
  • Nuts and seeds * (I usually get mine at costco, but Walmart prices and quality are  pretty close 2nd)
  • Pasta sauce, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste etc
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Baking Powder,
  • Baking Soda
  • Oatmeal, steel cut oats, oatmeal packets
  • Cold cereal
  • Almond milk in tetra-paks for pantry (The Great Value brand is organic and actually pretty good) and the price is good.
  • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise

NON-Food items:

  • Dishwasher Soap, dish soap, sponges etc
  • Shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, razors, lotion etc.
  • Toilet paper (Yes, the giant pack is virtually identical in quality and price with Kirkland and Presidents Choice).
  • Paper Towels *(Kirkland includes more per roll, and rolls are individually wrapped, but the price is $2 more so it’s about the same cost. They are the SAME paper towels).
  • Huggies or Pampers Diapers and wipes are worth subscribing to, because you can save 20%. * I am already subscribed for diapers on Amazon prime, but the price is almost exactly the same. I also prefer Kirkland wipes, which I pick up in store because it’s always a few dollars cheaper than having them delivered, but costco does deliver.
  • Ziplocks/Great value zipper seal bags
  • Cleaning supplies, toilet cleaner, lysol or great value spray etc

There are more things I could add, and I may do an edit later or another post, but for now I am going to put this up there.

It’s worth mentioning that you can also get household items, appliances, kitchen items etc.

If you like my post, please comment and let me know if you want to see more like it.

All about homemade Soy Milk

I choose to make my own soymilk for several reasons. #1 being that I can use a traditional system, utilizing soaking and organic non-GMO soybeans #2 being that I don’t want the preservatives, added vitamins and minerals of unknown origin or anything else in my soymilk. Fresh and naked please. #3 would be cost. The cost of 1 batch of soymilk for me is approximately $1. That’s for a full 2 Liters of super creamy, protein rich soy milk. This same 2 Liters could be diluted to 1 gallon for a more comparable product to most commercial soymilks, (which may be the way to go for using on cold cereal etc.). Pretty good compared to $3.50-$4.50 per 1.89 Liter carton from the store.

What can you do with homemade Soymilk?

Make Lattes, hot chocolate or chocolate milk. Sweeten and use as a beverage or coffee creamer. Use in place of milk in baking or pretty much any recipe. Use in place of eggs in some recipes. Make your own tofu. Make non-dairy yogurt or buttermilk by culturing it. If you are not used to the taste of fresh soy milk, you may need to use a lot of sweetener and other flavourings. Vanilla Soymilk is a common favorite, and it can be as easy as adding vanilla syrup to the finished milk. You can also use your choice of natural sweetener such as agave or dates.

You can get used to the natural taste and even love it, but it might be strange at first. I find it familiar and neutral compared to coconut, almond or even cashew milks in many applications. The trick is not to use it plain in something that it will overpower. For instance, don’t try to use it in an unsweetened tea or coffee. Just don’t.

There are a lot of soy milk recipes and recipe videos out there, and I’ve seen a LOT of them. I’ve also done a LOT of experimenting and I’ve come up with a straight-forward system that works for me, and it should work for you as well.

Here is a list of the supplies you will need:

  • Vitamix or other high powered blender.
  • A fine mesh strainer/sieve.
  • Woven cloth or nutmilk bag
  • 1 gallon bucket or at least 3 qt  container, pot or bowl
  • An Instant Pot or a 2 gallon plus cooking pot with a slotted spoon
  • 2 x 1 qt or 1 L jars or other 1/2 gallon container suitable for storing the milk
  • 1 cup or 185 grams by weight Organic Soybeans per batch

Key points:

Always use Organic (Non-GMO) Soybeans. Not only will the taste be better, but you will hopefully avoid any negative affects that may be associated with soy studies. Traditional organic soy products have been consumed for centuries without negative effects, because traditionally people have soaked the beans, cooked and or fermented them. Many producers of (even natural) soy products do not soak their beans, because the taste can be more neutral with unsoaked beans, and it takes time to soak them. The problem is that without soaking the beans, the natural enzyme inhibitors are not fully neutralized. Soaking the beans activates appropriate “good” enzyme compounds that neutralize the inhibitors or “bad” compounds making them mostly digestible. Cooking finishes the process.

I recommend you should soak your soy beans for at least 8-12 hours or overnight up to about 24 hours. After this, they may start to sprout or produce acids that can curdle your milk, so don’t leave them to long.

The enzyme inhibitors in soybeans must be deactivated by cooking, not just soaking. Please do not ingest the soymilk or bean pulp (okara) raw.

In an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) I use 7 minutes (manual) high pressure with natural release.  This is the easiest, but of course you can do it in a pot on the stove. Just bring the soy milk to a low boil and cook for at least 15 minutes. It will foam, so use an extra large pot and you should be prepared to remove foam with a slotted spoon to keep it from going over. Also be sure to keep stirring it to avoid it burning to the bottom.

Once it is cooked, I like to pour it into glass 1 liter jars and seal the jars with canning lids while it’s still hot. Let it cool considerably on the counter before refrigerating. I find the unopened/sealed jars keep fresh for over a week, while the opened ones can start to sour or culture within 3-4 days if not used up. Your fridge temperature will affect the time it remains fresh. If you anticipate using it more slowly, consider using half liter (1 pint) jars and sealing them while hot to keep the unopened portions fresh longer.

I find the soured soy milk to be incredibly useful as a baking ingredient, and I sometimes leave it out to intentionally cause some culturing. It usually becomes too sour and off smelling after about 2-3 weeks in the fridge, so always smell it before using in a recipe. If it smells sweet-sour-pleasant, it’s usable, even if it has seperated. If it smells rotten or if you see any mold, toss it.

Don’t bother trying to save the bean pulp, it’s not worth it. Cooking it is a pain, and it has all the bean skins in it making it taste bitter. I used to try to put it in lasagna or baking, but it really just made things hard to eat. Compost it, feed it to your chickens, find a friend with chickens or put it down your garborator.  If you insist on trying some, make sure you cook it thoroughly to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors.

This recipes is for high protein (8 grams per cup) creamy soy milk, which is very close to the unsweetened Trader Joes Soy Milk, WestSoy or EdenSoy that so many people use to successfully make yogurt.

I am including the recipe here, with the intention that I will be making a video demonstration of the process.

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Soymilk

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (185 g weight) dry organic soybeans soaked in 1 L water
  • 2 Liters Additional water

Instructions

  1. Soak soybeans overnight in water. They will grow to about triple in size, so be sure to use a 1 Liter or larger container.

  2. Rinse and drain soybeans

  3. Place soybeans in Vitamix with 1 Liter of water and blend on high for about 30 seconds.

  4. Strain through a mesh strainer into a 3 qt or larger container. Use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the sieve to help speed things up.

  5. Put the bean pulp back into the vitamix and add the other 1 Liter of water. Pulse a couple of times to combine.

  6. Strain again through the mesh strainer, using the spoon to press out most of the liquid.

  7. Discard the bean pulp.

  8. Pour the liquid into your vitamix and see if you have 2 Liters. If not, add water to the 2 Liter mark. 

  9. Now, rinse your mesh strainer and 3 plus liter container and strain the liquid through using a fine cloth or nutmilk bag. This will make sure it is completely smooth.

  10. Pour the soymilk into your instant pot and set it for Manual 7 minutes, Natural release. When the pressure comes down, it's ready to use hot or put into glass jars and seal for refrigeration.

Organic Matters OMfoods.com has yellow soybeans, which are supposedly the best type for soymilk. They also have raw cashews if you were looking.

Creamy Coconut Almond Milk

I just made this milk for a latte, and it was great! I’ll try to do an instructional video later.

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Creamy Coconut Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Dry Unsweetened Coconut
  • 4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1/2 Cup Almond milk (From previous recipe)

Instructions

  1. Blend the coconut flakes and warm water for 1 minute in the Vitamix. If you use cold water, you can warm the mixture on the stove before straining, to melt the coconut fat. Strain through a cloth or nutmilk bag, squeezing out the coconut pulp. Add the 1/2 cup of almond milk, stir and transfer to a clean jar. Store in the fridge. Makes a great latte! 

A great (not to cold for winter) smoothie in minutes

I don’t know about everyone else, but my family always seems to feel better when we have fruits every day. Vitamin C, fiber, all that good stuff. We get sick less often and eat better all around. A good smoothie can reduce the tendency to snack on unhealthy or less healthy options, plus snacks can get expensive very quickly.  I estimated the cost of this smoothie to be about $1.25, with a .50 cent orange, a .25 cent banana and .50 cents worth of organic frozen strawberries. That’s for a full 5 servings of fruit!

I shared mine with my 3 year old Ashi, so I got in about 3 1/2 and he got in about 1 1/2 servings. Considering adults should be getting 7-10 servings and children should be getting 4-6 as our daily minimums, I am happy to make smoothies a part of our day whenever possible.

Check out this great chart for vegetable and fruit serving sizes. https://www.naturalgrocers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/serving-size-chart-print.pdf

I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious, not to cold for winter smoothie.

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Whole Fruit Smoothie #1 (Orange, Banana, Strawberry)

This is a delicious way to get some fruit into your diet. 

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 190 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana ripe
  • 1 Orange peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries frozen, sliced
  • 6 cubes Ice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water or plant milk or as needed

Instructions

  1. Place the ingredients in the Vitamix blender and secure the lid. Pulse 5-10 times on the 3 setting to chop the ingredients, then slowly turn up the dial to 10/high. Blend for about 30 seconds or until smooth. Turn the machine back to 3 and chop a few times. If you hear anything chunky hitting the walls of your container, do another rotation to high and back to 3 again. Finish with a few quick pulses on 3 to remove excess air bubbles. Pour and enjoy.


  2. Note: If you do not have a vitamix or other high speed blender, I recommend you section the orange and blend it smooth with a little water before adding the other ingredients.

Almond Milk Latte plus Almond Ricotta Cheese – Pareve Vegan

So, I am inspired again. I got on a big kick trying to find out everything about espresso machines, drooling over the Breville Infuser (on sale at bestbuy) and after a facebook post asking for feedback on home espresso machines, a friend contacted me saying she had an espresso machine in her basement that I was welcome to. It turned out to be a Starbucks Barista, which is probably 10-20 years old, but in great working condition and actually a pretty capable machine. My main reason for wanting to try an espresso machine is because I love Almond milk lattes from Second Cup (or anywhere really) but I can’t seem to give up half and half in my coffee at home. I like my coffee rich and creamy. Adding a little almond milk in regular coffee works sometimes, but it’s just not the same. It can get me through a few days, but I always crave that rich thickness that cream gives it, along with the mellowing of the acids. You know what I’m talking about right? Silk coffee creamers work sort of, but they are so sweet. I am used to drinking my coffee with no sugar or with the occasional teaspoon of honey or sugar when I feel like it. Anyway, hope you enjoy this.

ALMOND MILK

To blanch the Almonds, first, boil 1 cup measure or 150 g weight of almonds in water for a minute or so, turn it off and then let it sit for a few minutes. Drain off the liquid and refill with cool water and peel the almonds. It might take some practice, but it should take under 5 minutes once you get the hang of it. You could also just buy blanched almonds. I weighed the almonds after peeling and there was about 180 grams. Rivy (19 months) helped me on her little red chair by peeling a few and picking up any that fell on the ground. Cheli (also 19 months) was still napping, so she missed out on the action.

Put the almonds in the Vitamix and fill to 1000 ml mark. Blend for 1 minute on High. I like to pulse it a few times on 1 at the end to break down some of the foam. If you don’t have a Vitamix, blend for an additional minute or so. Your ricotta won’t be as smooth, but it should still be usable.

You will need a strainer or a nut milk bag. I use a square of nylon woven fabric draped over my stainless steel  mesh strainer. I have it over a 2 quart bowl here. I use the same setup on a 1 gallon bucket when I make soy milk.

To strain quickly, stir around the bottom with a spoon, scraping the pulp away from the bottom.

When it looks like ricotta, you are done. If you use a nutmilk bag, or if you pull together the corners you could squeeze out more liquid, but this time I wanted a wet cheese so I didn’t. Nutritionally speaking, this stuff should be low in fat and high in fiber. I am pretty certain that most of the fat ends up in the milk.

RICOTTA

To make it into ricotta, just add a little salt and lemon juice. Use it in lasagna as a low fat vegan pareve ricotta cheese or spread it on crackers or toast. It’s nice as a spread with herbs. I like basil and garlic, but I recommend using whatever seasonings your family usually likes. See, I got 304 grams.

Now I rinse the Vitamix, strainer and cloth and set them to dry, pour the milk into a jar and rinse the bowl. Basically, never leave any of the cleanup until later, because it is soooo easy when everything is still wet.

Over 600 grams weight of milk, which was about 3/4 of a liter (I know, the picture angle makes it look like less). I did not weigh the original 1000 ml,  but I think loses were minimal.

LATTE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the latte, I used 1/2 cup of milk, which expanded to about 3/4 cup once steamed. I heated it to almost 160, and it made nice micro foam with no curdling. The milk sat warm for a few minutes due to some little people in the background needing help, which may have allowed the foam to deflate a little bit by the time I made my latte.

I pulled a nice double shot, using about 18 grams weight of ground espresso.

I usually pour the shots in the bottom of the cup, followed quickly by some of the milk, syrup, and then the rest of the milk. In this case, I made the latte plain so I could try it. It was good. The almond was a very strong flavour and not in a bad way, but because I really wanted some sweetness I added about 1/4 of a shot of maple syrup, drizzled over the foam like the caramel on a caramel Macchiatto (Starbucks) or caramel Caretto (Second Cup). I was going to snap a picture, but my 3 year old Ashi bumped it just as I went to snap the picture and it all sunk. Oh well, it was delicious and completely satisfied the craving.

Enchilada sauce – Tired of recipes not turning out…

I have been using cheese again and it has to stop. We haven’t been feeling as good, and it’s really starting to show. It’s a lazy thing. I love to cook, but I’ve been in a rut of “as long as it’s quick and kosher, who cares if it’s healthy”. Yes, I make lentil lasagna and tacos, and I don’t use a ton of cheese, but even 1-2 lbs a week is not good for us or our budget. I’ve decided I need to learn to cook without cheese. I enjoy pizza with or without cheese, and I’m willing to make it with cheese when requested, but the rest of our dishes really don’t need it.

I have this meal structure idea going on, which is based on the McDougall diet. Dr. John McDougall promotes a high starch (unrefined), low fat (no free oils) diet for pretty much all humans, as a way to stay healthy, prevent disease and have a higher quality of life. It’s cheap and should be easy to adapt to, and we really have come a long way in the slow and steady approach. Our breakfast menu has become pretty much routine over the past year and a half. We eat Oatmeal 3-5 days a week, (the kids love it!), pancakes 1-2 times a week and toast when we feel like it. I keep a little bit of cold cereal around, but it’s a once in a while/in a hurry breakfast or just a snack if a meal wasn’t someones favourite.

I want to plan starch based meals, with legumes, a vegetable and a fresh sauce or base. Sauces should be made with real ingredients, and everything should be as simple and straight forward as possible. No special ingredients, packaged foods or hard to find stuff. My one exception may be taco seasoning… I have started buying taco seasoning packets for my lentil tacos. They are about $2 each and I don’t want to get in the habit of making all of my meals with prepackaged seasonings, but this is just so easy. I’ve tried to make my own mix, and it just hasn’t turned out right. I love the how consistent the flavour is with the packets. This is the seasoning we really like Simply Organic Spicy Taco Seasoning Mix Seasoning Mixes, 32 gm  (affiliate links).  I cook 1 cup of dry lentils in the Instant Pot for 8 minutes, natural pressure release. When I’m ready to make dinner, I drain most of the liquid off the lentils and put them in a pan on the stove with the package of seasoning, and salt to taste. I cook it for about 8-10 minutes, stirring and mushing a little bit. It becomes thick and easy to stuff in taco shells. I bake the taco shells while I cook the lentils. It’s just so fast…

The main calorie component should be Potatoes, Rice, Wheat or Corn, with a secondary flavourful component being Beans, Lentils, Tofu or Tempeh. Each component should be seasoned well. Beans should be made with salt and other spices.

Sauces or bases should be fresh and appropriate to the meal.

Tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chipotle – Mexican

Garlic , onion, tomato, basil, oregano, – Italian

Garlic, Onion, Coconut, curry – Indian

Mushrooms, onions, wine – Gravy

Side vegetables should be steamed lightly, (Peas, Green beans or Broccoli) or vegetables can be part of the main meal as in fajitas (Peppers and Onions) or stir-fry.

 

Today I made an enchilada sauce with the following:

1 frozen whole roma tomato, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1/4 onion, 2 cloves garlic, a handful of cilantro stems (from 1 bunch), 1/8 cup brown rice and 1 whole chipotle pepper from a can. I added 1 cup of hot water and blended in the Vitamix until smooth. Then I put it in a pot on the stove, brought it to a boil so it thickened (stirring frequently) and then thinned to the desired consistency with more water. I added a pinch of cumin, salt to taste. It was simple, and it was WAY better than any of the enchilada sauce recipes I have tried. It tasted good in the pot, and I went on the make a filling with some fridge leftovers.

Filling the enchiladas

Pinto beans (blended in the vitamix until smashed, but not super smooth) diced potatoes, a couple of handfuls of frozen corn and about 2 TBSP of frozen diced green peppers. I added salt to taste, and that was it. I dipped the tortillas in sauce and spooned in a small amount of filling, rolled them up and placed them in a sauced casserole dish and baked covered with parchment and foil for 30 minutes at 350. So delicious! No crazy ingredients, super cheap and filling. Best of all, no cheese.

I made some black beans based on this recipe https://www.frieddandelions.com/how-to-make-black-beans-instant-pot/ and blended some for the girls. They loved it all soupy without rice, because I made some brown rice and they didn’t like it. When I served the enchiladas, I also served peas, white rice and a little scoop of the flavourful black beans.

My husband was not impressed with the green peppers in the enchiladas, and wasn’t sure the corn was a good texture for him, but overall he liked the meal. Edit* He really liked it second day in his lunch.

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Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 whole roma tomato
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 handful cilantro stems from 1 bunch
  • 1/8 cup dry brown rice use rice flour if you don't have a high powered blender
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 whole Chipotle pepper canned in sauce
  • Pinch of cumin 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Instructions

  1. Put everything but the salt in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. 

  2. Heat on medium high stirring constantly until it has thickened. Turn off the heat and add water to thin to desired consistency (maybe 1/2 cup)

  3. Salt to taste

 

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Vegan Enchiladas

So delicious! No crazy ingredients, super cheap and filling. Best of all, no cheese.

Ingredients

  • Pinto beans blended in the vitamix until smashed, but not super smooth
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)
  • 2 TBSP frozen diced green peppers. (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 batch Enchilada sauce
  • 6-8 10" Tortillas

Instructions

  1. Coat the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish with sauce

  2. Dip each tortilla in sauce and spoon in some filling, maybe 1/3-12 cup each. Roll them up tight and place them in the dish squished close to each other. I placed them length wise, since the tortillas were to wide for the dish.

  3. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top making sure there are no dry spots. 

  4. Bake covered with foil (I used parchment paper under the foil) for 30 minutes at 350. 

Respect – I think I know what my husband means now.

We all know men want respect, but we don’t necessarily know what that should look like. I respect my husband deeply, but for all of our 9 years of marriage, I have been confused by the term. I think we had a break through yesterday. The language used to describe the problem finally evolved to make sense to me. The respect my husband is looking for is not a feeling or a behavior in front of others, though those things are nice. It’s a form of discretion. It’s most similar counter part would be modesty or in Hebrew, tznius. In general terms, we dress modestly and behave modestly in public, and even in our own homes we maintain a level of modesty outside of the bedroom. There is a safe space for complete nakedness, but it’s a place we only go under certain terms of discretion. Respect is a level of modesty that goes beyond clothing and into all aspects of our behavior. It’s everything from the way we keep our house (do we clean up for friends, but not for our husbands?), to the way we speak to people. I’m not sure if it’s a level of maturity or if some people  are intuitively good in this area. It may be something that could be taught to young women, but I don’t know why I didn’t get this before. Ladies, don’t let it all hang out! I’m not talking about your body, I’m talking about the inside of your emotional personal existence. You don’t need to share everything with your husband. I know, isn’t this crazy? I thought I was just being real. I thought being myself was what it was all about, but the truth is, he wants a facade most of the time just like I put on for everyone else in my life. He doesn’t want to shut me out, but the truth is, he can’t handle being inside my head all the time, and I don’t actually need him to be there.  I don’t know why I never got this before. I want him to put on a facade too. I don’t want to get the unfiltered version of his existence, so why should I expect him to want that from me? For me, the application to this is huge. It starts in the way I dress and present my self in his presence, and goes far beyond that into the language I use to communicate with him and the way I keep the house. Can you see it?

My girls are 15 nearly months old – born at 35 weeks + 5 days

 

I spent most of the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy in hospital, but the incredible journey over the past year has made me forget most of that long ordeal. My little boy missed me so much. He came to see me every day, but he was so happy when I finally came home with his baby girls. The girls weighed 4 lbs 10 oz and 5 lbs 12 oz. We spent 4 days in the NICU, watching and doing some photo therapy. Baby B was born breech, and because the OB pulled her out by her legs, she had bruising which elevated her bilirubin levels. Baby A, well, she came out first and fast. She didn’t wait for the doctor or my husband (who was just running in the hall to get back with some Shabbos supplies). They were 13 minutes apart, and baby B needed assistance to start breathing after her more traumatic entry. I recovered quickly, and rented a breast pump to encourage extra milk production. In the beginning they were given some donor milk, as their tummies were not ready for formula and my milk didn’t come in fully for about 4 days.

Designing your exercise program into your daily routine & eating better

I am one of those women that has tried many times to get into a daily exercise routine, but every time I get going, something disrupts my schedule or I get bored or the friend I was doing it with can’t make the same time work any more. You know the story, it’s like an on and off again thing. Gym memberships or couch to 5 k programs are great things, but when your time is limited or your energy is drained, it is to easy to put it on the back burner.

I remember hearing a story about an older couple who did everything the old school way, including washing laundry by hand, gardening and cooking. They were always fit and healthy, until they bought an electric washing machine. It saved them so much time and energy, but they started getting fat and feeling old. When they figured out the problem, they got rid of the machine and went back to the old way of doing things and lived long and healthy lives.

Now, I’m not going to suggest that you get rid of your washing machine, but think about it. How many gadgets and systems do you have in your home that make you lazy? Do you multi-task constantly to save steps? There two things I need to talk about here; one is your overall health and energy level, which really starts with what you are eating or not eating. The other is, how you can integrate more activity into your daily routine through task switching rather than multi tasking.

Let’s talk about diet first. I used to think I ate pretty good. I made sure to include protein with every meal, I ate salad and fruits and vegetables, I cooked most things from scratch. I didn’t eat a lot of bread or drink sugary drinks. I just didn’t understand why I never felt good. I felt tired a lot. The first several years of my marriage, I never felt rested, and I struggled to keep the house clean and prepare meals for just me and my husband. I was constantly looking for short cuts in my daily routine because being active was uncomfortable.

Fast forward a few years, I found Freelea the Banana girl (on youtube), eating 30 bananas a day (sometimes) and doing an intense exercise routine, claiming she did all of this because she felt great. It sounds crazy, but I was convinced to try it. I didn’t know much about the diet, just that you had to stop eating cooked foods and eat tons of fruit. I started drinking giant smoothies for breakfast, and eating tons of watermelon and bananas. I wouldn’t usually last all day completely raw, but I felt so energized. I started doing a couch to 5 k program with a friend, and the mornings where I started with raw food I did better. If I ate eggs or something “normal”, I didn’t last as long. I was experimenting for about 3 months, with maybe successfully eating 50-60% raw foods. I lost about 10 lbs, and was feeling better than I had felt in years and…. I got pregnant. It was a big surprise to me, because I had been trying to conceive for 5 years. I had miscarried at least 4 times. It was scary, and I didn’t know enough about the diet at the time to keep doing it, so I just tried to eat healthy in general and went on to have a somewhat complicated pregnancy (gestational diabetes), but a healthy baby. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was following Dr. Mark Hyman’s blood sugar solution diet, and it was helping me control my sugars while encouraging me to eat more vegtables. After I gave birth, I lost an additional 10 lbs and weighed the lowest I had weighed in 7 years, and I just felt better over all.

Now, about the exercise, I couldn’t seem to get back into it after the baby was born, because things were just to busy and complicated. I realized that there was plenty to do around my house, and keeping my house clean should be a priority. I started trying to undo the energy saving systems I had set up over the years, realizing they were in place because I didn’t have enough energy to go around before. I started doing laundry 1 load at a time and not saving a trip up and down the stairs by bringing the next load at the same time. A friend gave me inspiration for a cleaning up system where you choose a type of object such as books, pick all of them up, put them all away before moving on to the next type of item. It gets me moving, and it get’s my house clean without so much thinking about debating on where to start. I had been spending so much time thinking about what to do and how to do it most efficiently, that I was not getting anything done. Feeling better was key to this way of task-switching activity boost, with the added benefit of a cleaner house.

Beyond the indoor world, we have yard work and gardening. If you have any sort of yard, even if your landlord is supposed to take care of it, you can probably get involved in the upkeep. I found working in the dirt to be so rewarding, mentally and physically. My son loves to play outside, so I just have to let him get a little bit dirty while I dig or weed or prune my plants. If you are new to gardening, don’t bite off more than you can chew! Start with a small garden, things like; tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and a few herbs. You can grow food in pots too, just remember to water them more often then your plants in the ground.

Walk everywhere you can! If you live close to a grocery store, plan to walk their at least twice a week. Find places you enjoy walking to, such as the library, a park or a tree up the road and make them a part of your normal week.

To sum it up, start eating better, do your research and eat a nutrient dense diet that is very high in fruits, vegetables and other plants and you will start to feel that youthful energy that makes activity a pleasure. Than start looking for ways to improve your activity level around the house and yard and beyond.

Counting the weeks and days – not of the omer

I’m 33 weeks and 1 day into my twin pregnancy.  After the second Seder, I started having contractions. I thought I just overdid the days leading up to it, and took it easy the next few days. I missed going to shul, but was feeling better in a couple of days, so leading up to the second days, I did a little prep, but on Monday, and again on Wednesday I found myself in Triage. After my Tuesday visit, I went in for steroid shots, but I was back for consistent contractions at 5 am Wednesday morning. I was only 30 weeks and 3 days, so I was transferred by ambulance to the other hospital, because they had a level 3 NICU and I was 3 cm. When I got there, I was 4 cm, and progressing. It looked like we were having very premie babies, but after some medication and a few hours the contractions stopped. I was moved to the ante partum ward and stayed calm for 24 hours. Next thing I knew, I was having contractions again and had progressed to 6 cm. I was moved to triage, things were picking up. It was Shabbos, but it was happening. I had the nurse call my husband. He came, and we waited as the contractions continued, 2 minutes apart. My midwife came (she is doing a shared care with the OB). It was a strange day. My mother in law took care of my 2 year old.  We waited, I was checked every so often… I wasn’t progressing, but it was a good thing. Things started to slow down toward the end of the day, and by the time Shabbos was over I was no longer contracting.  It was a miracle. I stayed overnight in the delivery room, but was moved back to ante partum in the morning. I stayed there for over a week. When I was 32 weeks they started making plans to move me to the hospital closest to my home, but when it came down to the transfer, I was told the NICU was full and I couldn’t go. I was so upset, I told my husband to come get me… And planned to check in at the hospital my OB worked at. It was 20 minutes from home in the other direction, but a much nicer hospital and my own doctor, rather than just the random on call doctors. I went home for the day, it was Mother’s Day. I just wanted to stay, but it wasnt realistic. I had an appointment already scheduled for Monday, so I spent the night at home. At my appointment, my doctor advised that I should be admitted. To many things are possible with a twin delivery, and being 6 cm I could go into labour very quickly and have my babies in minutes. I agreed reluctantly, and she sent me home for dinner with plans to come back in the evening. I got a call an hour later that they could not admit me because the NICU was already full. My only options were to go back to old hospital, (if they weren’t full) or go home and wait. I chose to go home, because I couldn’t bring myself to go back to the other one. I was ready to leave any second and go to the nearest hospital if my water broke, but otherwise I was going to try to be at home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay as inactive as I needed to, and started cramping in the evening. By 1 in the morning it was obvious that it wasn’t letting up, so we drove to the hospital. It wasn’t going quickly, so we went to the better hospital. Once I was in triage, I sent my husband and baby home to sleep and just waited on the monitors. The contractions got worse, intense and painful. I was moved to a delivery room, but I remained at 6 cm. I called my husband, fell asleep, and when I woke up, the contractions had stopped. Miracle again! Now, I’m in the hospital I need to be in, the babies are still inside and growing. Fast forward a week. I’m still here, still pregnant. 33 weeks and 1 day. I’m not exactly sure which day of the omer it is, but I’m counting, and I’m reflecting. I’m so thankful for every day here. I’m finally hopeful, hopeful that my babies will grow another day or another week, or even a few more weeks. I’m also hopeful that I will be counting the omer next time, with as much enthusiasm as I am counting these days in the womb.