Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dairy and Soy Elimination Diet: Part III On Vacation!

I have no been dairy and soy free for about five months. In case you missed it, check out Part I where we figured out Henry had an allergy, Part II where I started to learn more about what I could and could not eat, and my dairy and soy free Thanksgiving! I was so excited to go on our vacation to Rincon. However, the excitement was muddled by the fear of cross contamination. I used to work at a Disney owned restaurant, and Disney does NOT play around with food allergies. They are vigilant, regimented and extremely cautious. If you told a server that you had a food allergy, the head chef would come to the table, discuss the allergy and options, and make the meal themselves. A few restaurants I have been to have been very understanding and accommodating, such as Queens Comfort, Buffalo Wild Wings (Surprising!) and Bareburger, but other places seem to not realize the seriousness. I had a cross contamination, with what I gather to be dairy because of Henry's reaction, and will not be eating at that establishment again. So, as you can imagine vacationing in the Puerto Rico, where vegetable oil (contain soy) is the most commonly used oil, was making me nervous.

I broke open my Kind bars in JFK! I brought two boxes of five bars. A lot of kind bars have dairy or soybean oil in them, so I was thankful that these two kinds were available

Here is how eating out went. Whenever I would go to check out a place BEFORE we decided to eat there (Because getting us to a restaurant, sitting down to eat then realizing I couldn't eat something there would have been so sad), I would go through the same investigation:

 Delicious veggie stir fry! 

Awesome pulled pork!

- Declare the allergy: I have a dairy and soy allergy. People usually say they understand and know most of the contaminants in their food. Thankfully I speak a decent amount of Spanish so if there was a language barrier I could definitely communicate effectively.
-  Then I would mention the uncommon contaminants: What oil do you cook with? Is there butter with your bread? Do you have the label for your ___________? (Tortillas, salad dressing and ketchup commonly have contaminants that restaurants don't think of.)
- Then we would walk through the menu, and they would tell me what and how to order.
- When I returned to the restaurant, I would reiterate that I had a dairy and soy allergy, what I wanted to order, and what my food could NOT touch.
- Surprising development: I brought my own oil! I've brought my own salad dressing to places, but a lot of the restaurants were like "Just bring your own stuff!" They were VERY accomodating. It helped that 90% of the establishments were owned by New Yorkers who often had an organic/vegan emphasis. I did not visit most local spots because the loss in translation was a big risk.

English style brunch! Rosemary turkey sweet potato hash, eggs and mixed greens. I took a bite of the mixed greens just as the chef ran out to say "There's vegetable oil in the mixed greens!" They hadn't communicated to the salad guy that I couldn't have the regular mixed greens. I spit it out (keeping it classy) and received a new order. Thankful for a chef that cared!

The BEST chicken and sweet potato. All smoked. That sweet potato was bigger than my hand. 

Did we avoid exposure? I don't think so. He started spitting up again while we were there. I got so upset. I think the difference between actually having an allergy and having the allergy for your child is feeling guilt. Mom guilt is SO strong. If Henry starts frequently spitting up, I know I ate something wrong and instantly start going through the food I have eaten. Thankfully, it appears that soy is not as big of an irritant to him as dairy. I'm assuming the food was exposed to vegetable oil in a minuscule amount, most likely from shared cooking utensils or pots that have it seeped in. He did not have blood in his stool and only spit up 2-3 times after eating instead of the 4-6 times that dairy usually causes. I did end up finding an organic grocery store that had soy free bread (Any packaged bread has soy, and since it's an island it had to be in the freezer section!) I ate a lot of turkey sandwiches. I'm sandwiched out.

Mimosas: allergy friendly FTW

Henry was never upset despite his allergies. This is one of the reasons why it took over three months for the doctors to believe me that his reactions were more than reflux. This guy is the best. The end.

How about you? Have you had diet restrictions on vacation? How do you feel emotionally if you've "messed up"? Have you tried to eat organic or vegan on trips? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vacation Recap: Rincon, Puerto Rico

Last week we took the most amazing vacation! If you follow me on Instagram, then you know we were spending time beach side in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Traveling with an infant was INTERESTING (More on that later), but we had a really great time. If you're looking for a great vacation spot, with a direct flight from JFK, great food, very economically priced with outstanding beaches, then check out Rincon! Here are a few highlights from our getaway:

 We worked on sitting up on the sand!

 Keeping him away from the sand was next to impossible! And all the moms out there said "AMEN."

A lot of the beaches had naturally formed pools so it was a fun way to let Henry experience the ocean. 

 The view from our condo!

 One of the most gorgeous sunsets we got to take in.

 The glasses lasted thirty seconds, but those thirty seconds were priceless! Also: CHUNKY LEGS.

 Delicious brunch with an incredible view.

 Henry's old man shirt. You can't tell but it's very Tommy Bahama.

 Sunset Happy Hour at Villa Cofresi! I couldn't have their famous pirate's punch (It contained milk) so we just threw rum punch into the coconut and called it a (happy) day!

 Mr. Miller with the original pirate's punch. Note the cup next to his drink...because there is never enough room in the coconut for the whole thing!
 Henry is OBSESSED with the pool! He was so into it, despite the water being on the cool side. He wouldn't stop laughing, kicking and waving his arms! He'll be an Olympic swimmer, naturally.

He finally learned to take in the air and snooze. 

Overall it was great to get away. After Henry was sick for over a week, having him feel better and getting some time at the beach was just what the doctor ordered. Rincon, you were fabulous as always!

How about you? Any vacations planned this winter? Where is your favorite spot to visit? Have you ever traveled with children? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fitness Selfish

I have been having a lot of conflicting thoughts lately. Since my lack of progress stalled me a bit (According to me), I have found myself in a bit of an extended fitness a slump. I've tried to motivate myself, I have set up a plan, and I feel like everything and anything can thwart it. I feel a duality of selfishness here: I'm selfish to not provide my body with exercise, or I'm selfish to want to step away from spending valuable time with my boys. 

Back in the days of summer. Love all these guys.

I have been given the "strong" encouragement from Mr. Miller to exercise at night. He knows I want to, that I'm happy when I do it, but getting out there is HARD. I want to watch TV, talk with my husband and RELAX. I've been selfish; I have been giving in to leisure time instead of working out. To me, there are two kinds of selfish: beneficial and not beneficial. Some days, relaxing at the end of a long day is beneficial for me. Other days, a workout would do me good. Knowing the difference is where I'm currently stuck. 

Take time to be selfish--workout!  Get started on a plan and take some time for YOU :)  #workout #skinnyms #transformation

On top of that, we've had a sick baby. Henry has been battling a virus. I've been on autopilot for over a week. Plus we have been packing for vacation. My days looked something like this:

- Wake up 4-7 times a night to console coughing baby.
- Feed him milk.
- Administer his Nebulizer.
- Go to the doctor. (Four appointments within seven days)
- Feed him food. (Which he often rejected because he lost his appetite)
- Get him down for a nap. Pack. Sit down for a second. Hear him crying way sooner than normal.

Repeat four more times.

We let him watch TV while he got his nebulizer and sang the Wheels on the Bus. ESPN was his favorite, followed by the Today Show once they started showing Wrangler. Did you know dogs and cats are allowed on the bus?! Well, in our house they are...I was going crazy with the people going up and down, the windshield wipers swishing, the babies crying and mommies shushing. 

Thankfully, Henry is on the mend. He's still struggling with night sleep, but we've cut down his nebulizer use and his cough is rapidly disappearing. We leave on a red eye tonight for Puerto Rico, and I'm looking forward to filling my empty tank. On the agenda will be plenty of lounging, sunsets, fruity drinks and beach walks. I hope to get in some beach yoga or small workouts, but I'm leaving my running shoes at home. I'm going to be selfish and relax. After a month of nonstop holiday travel and a sick baby, I'm looking forward to a quiet family vacation...and watching the NFC Championship on the beach!!!

When I get back, I want to find a healthy balance of selfishness. Stay tuned for a refreshed outlook and a greater balance of fitness and relaxation. 

How about you? Do you consider yourself fitness selfish? Do you give in to being tired and skipping a workout often? How do you balance responsibilities and workouts? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cold Weather Must Haves: On and Off the Snowy Roads

It's safe to say most of the country is a bit nippy these days. I don't want to say that thing that begins with P and ends with -olar Vortex, but sheesh, last winter was ROUGH. Although I love winter running, last year was all about taking precautions because I was pregnant. This year, it's all about keeping my baby safe and warm! I'm strongly considering joining a gym because if this winter is this chilly, we will be finding ourselves indoors a lot! If you are one of those that is braving the elements, here are a few of my favorite cold weather things!

Henry is under the weather, but it's nothing the snow can't entertain away!

LAYERS. Layers are your friend!!! I wrote about my favorite cold weather apparel here. I prefer to go tank, short sleeve, long sleeve, jacket. For head wear, if it's super cold, I like to don a head band AND a hat; hats often don't fully cover my ears! I also recommend opting for a wool hat which blocks the wind nicely. Compression socks are a great to add another layer under those running tights. I also have found neck warmers to be crucial. I got a couple of them from the NYC Marathon, and I really like how they're not too heavy. I heard a rumor that Lulu Lemon had a great one, but alas, it is sold out.

Run With Me Neck Warmer
And they had super cute colors. Looks like I'll be calling some stores...

MOISTURIZERS. There is nothing worse than being DRY in the winter, whether you are out on a run or drinking some coffee! Vaseline sent me a cold weather survival kit*, and I loved the products! I am a no-scent girl, anything scented gives me headaches. I loved their moisturizer and lip balm since I'm FLYING through mine! My only issue is that the lip balm doesn't have SPF, so I'll be sticking with my favorite Rodan and Fields lip shield and my Reverse sunscreen for outdoor running. Got to protect that skin!

 Staying roasty toasty with this cool stuff!

They wrote me a hand written note. I'm a sucker for hand written notes! It's nice to see a big company taking a personal touch.

WARM DRINKS. I love coffee, but I can't drink it ALL day (WHY NOOOOOOOT?!). So I have been enjoying some Trader Joe's favorites! Since I haven't perfected a homemade hot chocolate recipe, I have been buying chocolate almond milk and heating it up. It's so yummy and satisfying and I'm not boiling a million ingredients!!!

COZY THINGS. I have been guilty of wearing jammies all day this week...hey, Henry is doing it too! I love my Oiselle sweatpants in to keep me warm while it's FRIGID. I also got some cozy slippers for Christmas which I love! The Minnetonka slippers are super comfortable and not overly hot. I'm a warm person by nature, and I can't get enough of them.

How about you? Do you have a favorite moisturizer? Are a you warm drink fan? Slippers or socks, what's your preference? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

*Disclaimer: I was given the Vaseline products as a gift under no obligations to write about or promote them. I was not compensated, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Henry: 7 Months

Hello, 2015! It was Henry's first holiday season and he was a champ. He's just on the cusp of being able to open gifts, so he resigned to eating the paper on his gifts! He is officially halfway to one year, which completely baffles me. Here are some highlights from this guy's latest month of life:

Not sure how his socks were on because he's a master at sock removal...

  • Henry weighs ____ we will find out at his appointment next Monday! I'm guessing 19lbs. His rolls are multiplying!
  • HE ROLLED OVER. Life will never be the same.
  • He is slowly enjoying a variety of food. Any new texture takes some getting used to, but so far he's a fan of butternut squash, bananas, pears, oatmeal quinoa, and avocados. Green beans are still iffy.
  • He traveled a ton over Christmas: Connecticut and Pennsylvania! He was great for the first half, but lost it in the last leg of the trip. I think 2-3 hours is his car limit. Noted, Henjo.
  • Sleep. OH the sleep. Henry is finally back to sleeping through the night, going to sleep around 7:30-8pm and waking around 6-7am. While traveling he would wake up and need his pacifier or come into bed with us. The unfamiliar environments didn't suit him at 4am. We've gone down to two naps which has been interesting. His last nap was rapidly dwindling; it would take me twenty to thirty minutes to get him down and time would only allow for a twenty to thirty minute nap before he would need his last feed before his bedtime feed. Going down to two naps has been interesting, but he seems to be getting the hang of it.
  • He has started lifting his arms to be picked up. If I offer to pick him up, I wait for him to lift his arms. It's the sweetest.
  • His favorite activity is eating his feet. If he has socks on, he pulls and eats those until they're off. I've started taking them off because I run out of dry socks for him!!!
  • He finally loves his exersaucer. He's an animal in it, bouncing and laughing.
  • Henry is sick for the first time. Oh what a difference a day makes. These pictures were taken yesterday, and today he woke up miserable with a low fever and congestion. Poor baby.

This month will be exciting. First of all, the PACKERS are in the playoffs, so Henry will be cheering loud and proud. We're also going to Puerto Rico next week, so his first "international" trip is coming up! We pray that he is fully well by then. We can't wait to introduce him to the ocean, get sand in every chunky monkey crevice of his body, and watch the sunset with him. He is truly a joy to us and everyone he encounters, and we are so thankful to be his parents.

Happy 7 Months Little Lion Man!

Friday, January 2, 2015

I'm scared to set running goals this year

I have been running goalless (is that a word???) for over a year. Yes, there were some workout/health goals within my pregnancy, but the ultimate goal was to birth a healthy baby as safely as possible. Goal achieved.

This seems like a lifetime ago and not seven months ago.

Recently, I have been feeling let down by my postpartum fitness level, drive and lack of achievement. Mr. Miller and I were setting goals on New Years Eve on a rare night out (Thanks mom and dad!). Basically my end of the conversation went like this:

"I know what I want to achieve but I don't think I can do it."

You see, right before I got pregnant, I aimed to achieve two major running goals. I effectively trained for a sub five hour marathon. It seemed like it was all but certain, and then it wasn't. My PR went from 5:10 to 5:08. Although it was a PR, it certainly was not what I felt my training would serve up. Then, I set my sights on a spring sub-2 half. If I was a betting gal, I would have put some serious cash down on this goal being achieved. My runs were incredible, I thrive while running in the cold, and I was slaying everything from hills to tempos to long runs. Unfortunately, my PR went from 2:06 to 2:05, clearly not the sub-2 I was gunning for.

It was a bust :-(

So, back to the NYE conversation. I told my husband about my goals, how I had wanted them so badly before we decided to expand our family. The saying "having it all" ran through my mind: a family, working from home, running and being happy through it all. I'm just not sure I see that happening, and that's okay. Training for a spring marathon is completely out of the question. I will reevaluate in April to see where I am at. I think I want to run a spring half marathon, but only time will tell if it becomes a goal race. I do not feel like I can handle the pressure of setting time parameters, and that's okay.

I have been realizing more and more that there are times and seasons for everything. Finding value in YOUR time and season is what determines its productiveness. I read this amazing post titled "The Best Part of Life is Realizing It's Better that Things Don't Work Out". Take a look if you have a minute. This post really resonated with me in my current time and season. This excerpt was especially beautiful:

"Everything in your life must have happened in order for you to exist – every single, little thing. You would not be the exact same person if any of your past experiences were different. Even the littlest, most unpleasant things have a way of shaping us into the individuals we were always meant to be.

The greatest moments of clarity in your life will come when you look back at your journey and conclude that it was all necessary and that it’s all beautiful."

Everything that I've done with running before, and will do with running will be necessary and beautiful. Will I aim for a goal race? I'll keep you posted. I think when you're scared to make a goal, you're not sure if it's attainable. I'm not sure about what I think about creating specific goals. After being bummed and discouraged by the lack of meeting them, injuries getting in the way and what not, I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to x, y and z. In years past I was healthy and ready to tackle a new year of new goals. Now, I'm hoping I run three miles sometime this week.

So, here are my "general" goals for 2015:
Run happy.
Find humor whether it's a good day or not.
Take in the small moments.
Consistent core work - it's my least favorite but most needed exercise!
Treat myself with enriching activities.
Eat all the cheese once Henry is done breastfeeding.
Remind myself daily that everything that happens is necessary and beautiful.

This small moment was a great one. Cousins that can finally interact!

How about you? Have you set a big goal this year? Do you have general or specific goals? What race are you most looking forward to this year? TELL ME ABOUT IT!