Happy New Year!

new year

Happy New Year, friends! I hope 2016 brings you much joy and happiness.

I am looking forward to all this year brings. First up, in February, will be the birth of my baby boy. I love having him in my tummy and I am also really excited about meeting him in approximately 6 weeks. Even with all the happiness and excitement a baby brings, I am also reading or hearing about the baby blues that can often happen in the two weeks following the birth. Hoping I don’t experience this, but it is always good to be aware and arm yourself with tools to combat any stress, anxiety, or depression that may rear its ugly head. I found a podcast for new moms that discusses a lot of these issues- Newbies by New Mommy Media. I love finding new resources like these!

On another baby note, a gentleman came to our house last week to fix our heater. My husband told me that he and this man were having great conversation and asked about children. My husband mentioned we were expecting and the man said something along the lines of, “Being a dad will come naturally to you. You’ll know what to do.” I love that!

I love the thought of trusting in myself that I will know what to do. I will not parent perfectly and I will not expect to have a perfect child, but I sure will love that child unconditionally and show him what it means to love and be loved.

If you have any new mommy resources, please share! I am currently trying to find a list of things to pack for the hospital. I know 6 weeks is early to pack a bag, but I want to start soon so that if I need anything I do not have I can order it.

Cheers to 2016!

Not fearing the birthing process anymore!

birthing process

Update time… I am 31 weeks pregnant! Feels like I am in the home stretch and in 9 weeks or around there, my husband and I will meet our baby boy. For such a joyous time of year, I feel even more joyful housing an itty bitty soul. And I am proud to admit that I no longer fear the birthing process!

I have to admit that before I got pregnant, I had my assumptions…

  • I assumed I would not like being pregnant very much. WRONG! I have loved it. The good way outweighs the bad for me. I do credit much of my energy to working out throughout pregnancy and doing yoga. Keeping those endorphins high! And to the naysayers out there, I modify.
  • I assumed the birthing process was meant to be painful and I feared it VERY MUCH. Well, the jury is still out on the pain, but I have changed my mind. I am no longer afraid of giving birth. I credit my newfound knowledge to my birthing class, Birth Outside The Box. My hospital’s birthing classes were at odd times that did not work for my schedule so luckily found this online class. I did not intend to change my mind about having an epidural and trying the whole natural birth thing, but my plan A is to give birth naturally now. If I end up needing an epidural or having a C-section, well so be it, but those are my plan B’s and C’s. I want to feel myself push and work with the baby instead of being numb. And there are so many cool ways to stay relaxed while giving birth. It is the tension and anxiety that causes pain!
  • I assumed I would not like my body with a belly. I have never loved my belly more. Seriously! It is the coolest thing to watch it grow and now watch it wiggle with baby boy’s movement.
  • I assumed I would love my OB and that my insurance would work smoothly throughout the pregnancy process… you know, since pregnancy is nothing new to insurance companies. This is one I wish I was right on, but unfortunately learned my lesson. First things first, my OB is a great doctor but her practice bites. The wait times have been 45 minutes to an hour and half. Unless you are giving me diamonds, I don’t want to wait that long for a 10 minute check up. At 31 weeks, I am switching OB’s. Not only because of the hassle this place has been, but also because my insurance changes January 1st and she is no longer in network. Blessing in disguise? I think so. Praying that my new doc and practice is much better! And we won’t even get into the insurance process.. it makes me giggle how things work and rarely does it fully make sense.
  • I assumed strangers would treat me like any other stranger. Wow, people love pregnant women! I think I get more attention than a whore right now. Not going to lie, most of the time it is refreshing because of the nice words said but there have been a few times where I think…. did you really just say that?

I have a lot to get ready for in the next 9 weeks. I meet my new doctor on December 24th and I just visited my new hospital. I loved it! I got great vibes from that place. Looking forward to meeting baby soon, but for now will continue to enjoy every minute of holding him in my belly.

Hope everyone is joyful this holiday season!

Gearing up to teach my first yoga class

I have been practicing all week, here and there, for my very first yoga class. I have taught other fitness classes, but never yoga. And no matter how many fitness classes one has taught, the nerves of a new class do not go away.

But with nerves comes excitement too. I do feel honored to be teaching others the gift that is yoga. And I feel lucky that students will actually be in my class. That isn’t a guarantee, you know.

Tonight is it, dear friends! Tonight is my first class. So earlier today, I put on my new maternity workout shorts that were gifted to me from For Two Fitness® to review and got to stretching. It was divine and I feel ready. Granted, I will still have the nerves as I drive up to the studio, but overall I feel ready.

I will provide an update on how my first class goes later this week on the blog. Today I want to talk about the shorts. I know so many other pregnant mama’s out there so let me just tell you, these are awesome! So comfortable and if it weren’t 50 degrees outside right now I would also wear these for my boot camp workouts.

I had never heard of For Two Fitness® before I got pregnant. And if you are into fitness like I am, you want to stay fit during pregnancy so as soon as my belly got bigger and my regular workout shorts got uncomfortable (there is nothing worse than doing squats with shorts that are too tight and don’t move with belly) I started looking for prenatal workout wear.

Here is a little about For Two Fitness®: For Two Fitness® is the premier maternity fitness apparel brand, offering performance apparel that functions and flatters like nothing else. They are committed to celebrate and support moms who are striving for healthy, fit pregnancies. Their fabrics are high performance, soft, moisture wicking, and originate from the same mills as the fancy athletic apparel you already wear. Maternity clothes are expensive as it is, so they work hard to keep these high end, specialty garments affordable. They offer basic neutrals and vivid, on-trend colors that pop. They also design all their own garments in-house and slogans are trademarked so you won’t find these cute tops anywhere else!

Love that! I am in my third trimester so comfort is HUGE for me. Here is a pic of me practicing my yoga in the maternity yoga shorts.

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If you have been pregnant or are currently pregnant, did you purchase any maternity workout wear? If so, what has been a lifesaver for you?

Disclaimer: I was gifted the maternity shorts by For Two Fitness® but all opinions are my own.

Keeping your lungs healthy!

I have been reading about asbestos lately. How often do you hear that? My guess is not very often. But, I have. And guess what? It is linked to the big C. Cancer!  Being exposed to asbestos can put you at risk for developing mesothelioma cancer.  A very rare but aggressive type of cancer that is known to develop in the lining of the lungs.

Asbestos was used in many industries early on. It wasn’t until the 1970s when the US Product Safety Commission banned its use in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces. For houses built before the 80s, it may very well be in your home.

With that, there are other polluntants at home that could be doing more harm to your lungs than good too. Below is a quick list of several air pollutants commonly found in homes and ways to avoid these:

  • Toxic cleaners. I am guilty myself of buying any cleaner without looking at labels, but some chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to health problems like asthma. Nowadays, there are many non-toxic options on the marketplace and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a website to easily help you locate these. Or, you can even opt to make your own cleaner.
  • Smoke. This is a no brainer and luckily, most people do not like their houses to smell of smoke. However, if you have a household guest that wants to light up in the house, tell him or her to take it elsewhere.
  • Radon. This invisible gas can cause cancer and it can be found in any home. So what can you do? Test your home. The National Radon Program Services has helpful tips on testing your home.
  • Leaks and Drips. If you have a leak in your home, the standing water can encourage the growth of mold. Be observant and fix any leaks you find throughout your home.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These can be found in air fresheners and aerosol spray products, among other household items. VOCs can lead to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and headaches. This article I read from The Organic Institute states, “A clean home really shouldn’t smell like anything.” I like a fresh scent in the home, but fragrant air fresheners may be doing more harm than good.

I love the graphic below and hope that it helps build more awareness of healthy lungs. What is one thing you will do at home to keep your lungs healthier?

MAAC-HLM-Full

Pregnancy Update: 25 weeks

September and October are the busiest months for me with work. November might be too, but I am hoping it slows a bit. We’ll see. Since I work for a benefits company, we work hard during these months to prepare for the new calendar year. So with that, I have been distant from my computer (and this blog) lately.

Since it has been awhile, it is only fitting to give a little update. I am at 25 weeks today! Little guy is growing a ton. Want to see Prego the Cat?

catprego

What I love about being pregnant so far:

  • Feeling little guy kick. He has been very active lately and especially likes to move whenever I am hungry or sitting/laying down.
  • 2nd trimester energy. I know I am almost out of the 2nd trimester, but I hope I can hold on to this energy as long as I can. I enjoy working out right now (with modifications, of course)!
  • How nice people are to me. I don’t know if it is solely because I am pregnant, but I love how nice people are right now. I have had doors held for me by strangers and the women that I workout with are so motivating and always tell me how great I am doing.
  • My brother asking me how his nephew is doing. Little guy is already bringing joy to the family.
  • Not really caring too much about nutrition. I know, I know.. I am a pregnant dietitian. Shouldn’t I care? I think as long as baby is getting calories and I am taking my prenatal, all is well in the world. Some foods simply do not appeal to me right now so eating 5 vegetables a day is not going to happen. I don’t overeat simply because it is uncomfortable if/when I do so I eat what I can and what I want at that time. It really is interesting to see how taste buds change with pregnancy.

I had a virus earlier this week and then my husband caught it. It was such a scare. I ended up passing out during one of my vomiting episodes (I had 9 different vomiting episodes by the way… my poor body!) and it scared me so bad we went to the hospital. I didn’t know if passing out could affect the baby so we had to be safe. That hospital bill won’t be fun to look at, but at least it gave me peace of mind. Little guy’s heartbeat was fine the whole time. Thank God! We are feeling back to normal today. I think we may celebrate with a yoga class and a Starbucks tea (holiday cups, anyone?).

Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween! Welcome to November.

19 weeks and counting!

bumpie_week_19_flag

I cannot believe I am almost half way through my pregnancy! I have been absent on the blog A LOT lately and haven’t talked much about my pregnancy, but now is as good of a time as ever. I am officially at 19 weeks.

I have gained about 10 lbs total so far. I was so nervous at first because most of that weight has been gained during the 2nd trimester (the past 7 weeks). In fact, I only gained 2 lbs in the first. I thought I might be gaining weight too fast but then many of my friends calmed my nerves by telling me how much weight they gained during pregnancy. Yeah the recommendation may be 25-35 lbs for those that are normal weight to begin with, but that doesn’t always happen. So I am going to focus less on weight and more on how I feel. And I feel pretty darn good!

I love being pregnant mostly because of this being growing inside of me. It is so cool to think of our baby boy growing each day and on some (hopefully sunny, and not icy) day in February we will get to see his beautiful face and hold him for the first time. It is such a blessing and a miracle at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is peaches and roses for me during pregnancy but the good far outweighs the bad. But just for fun, here are the not so pleasant things (since not everyone talks about them & they are meant to be silly):

  • Treats I used to like no longer appeal to me… (I have no desire for chocolate of any kind).
  • And treats I used to not care for suddenly appeal to me… (I love me some skittles, starbursts, and chewy sweet tarts).
  • I am hungry a lot and sometimes get tired of eating.
  • My pants don’t fit so I have to wear them unzipped with a BeBand over them so they don’t fall down.
  • I have been back on the workout wagon these past few weeks which is AWESOME, but sometimes when I do squats my shorts cut into my tummy and it does not feel good. Plus, running and jumping make me have to pee (as if I don’t already have to pee a million times per day).
  • I can only sometimes make it through TV time at night. Most of the time I pass out and have to re-watch the netflix show the next morning to be up to date before my husband and I try to watch the next episode.
  • I only now started liking vegetables again (in the form of baby carrots). Good thing I have never stopped liking fruits (and I do take a prenatal vitamin).
  • Maternity clothes are way more expensive than normal women clothes it seems.. or maybe I am not looking in the right places. I decided to only buy a few pieces and then see if my regular stuff can last and stretch with me. Might be wishful thinking!
  • My tummy often feels weird…. like reflux or heartburn kinda weird.
  • I get sentimental when I drive in a car and sometimes tear up. It has nothing to do with driving and everything to do with having time to just think about this little nugget (and a few other family-related things). Oh, emotions!

If you have been pregnant before, did you have any of the same experiences above? Happy Monday, friends!

What is your favorite whole grain?

What is YOUR favorite whole grain-

Let’s talk about whole grains for a minute. So many people jump on the next diet bandwagon and totally rid themselves of all things grain. But, I don’t understand it. As a dietitian and nutritionist, I strongly believe that you do NOT need to rid yourself of ANY food group… unless you absolutely, positively just want to for your own reasons. Never do something someone else said just because they said it. That should be one of the definitions of “crazy”.

But people do it all the time. People blindly believe diet books, videos, and guru’s WITHOUT listening to themselves first.

HELLO! YOU are the CEO of your body. You get to make those decisions. Don’t ever let anyone else dictate what YOU do to your body. Yes, you can read what is out there but experiment for yourself and keep an open mind. Seek what works the best for you and don’t be afraid to be flexible.

Okay, off my soap box. Wow, I really did get on one didn’t I?! Can you tell I am passionate about nutrition and paving your own nutrition path??

So back to whole grains. I was recently gifted a bag of Freekeh. This was a new brand to me. I had never heard of artisanal hand roasted green wheat before. I LOVE the ingredients list. In fact, its one of the things I love most about whole grains… the ingredients list is never very long if you really are truthfully getting whole grains.

Take a look at this… (food labels from Freekeh’s website).

Original Rosemary Sage Tamari
Original Rosemary Tamari

Do you see those ingredient lists??? The original only has organic cracked roasted green wheat. Heck yes!! And the Rosemary Sage only has a few additional ingredients (and ones we can pronounce). A dietitian’s dream when it comes to a packaged food item. Most of us look for food items with the least amount of ingredients.

What I like about the Freekeh website is that they also have recipes listed. I am not a spontaneous cook where I can come up with things on the fly so I often need help. I will be turning to this website regularly as I dish up some Freekeh.

Have you tried freekeh yet? If not and you want to, send me an email at britexas(at)gmail(dot)com. I have some 50 cent off coupons I can send your way!

And to wrap it all up… what is YOUR favorite whole grain?

I was gifted an Original and Rosemary Sage freekeh but all opinions above are my own.

Have you heard of Bulu Box?

bulu box

All these monthly subscription boxes are getting popular! I recently heard of Bulu box, which is a vitamin, supplement, and healthy snack box. I got the opportunity to check it out through Sweatpink so will share with you the goods I received this month. Plus, I received a discount code for all you peeps that are interested.

bulu items

The first thing in my box is Quest Protein powder (2 packets of peanut butter flavor). These are good for shakes, baking, or cooking with and have 23g of Protein. Since I am pregnant currently, I am really weird about trying protein powders or taking supplements so while I am not going to try it right now, I will save it for later or give it to a friend!

The second thing I got in the box is Mediterra sundried tomato and basil bar. This is non-GMO, gluten-free, and has 6g protein and 6g of fiber. This I did get to try. I did not care for it, but I usually choose sweeter bars over the savory bars.

The third thing I got is what I was most excited about- Earth’s Care Anti-Itch Cream. What I like about it is that it does not have any artificial colors or fragrances and is petroleum free. It smells good too! Mosquitos are bad this time of year in Texas so this will come in handy.

The fourth thing is Yerba Prima daily fiber formula. It is a fiber supplement to support digestive health in orange flavor. I rarely need fiber supplements so will likely pass on this and take it up to work to see if anyone else wants/needs it.

Lastly, I received Movit Energy Gummies. These are for endurance type of workouts, especially if you are training for a marathon, triathlon, or long bike ride. I used similar gummies whenever I did the MS 150 several years back. They really do come in handy and give lots of energy when you need it most. I tried one to see if this brand tastes good and it sure does.

So that was my first box… not the most exciting for me since I am not too into supplements or protein powder right now, but I may give it another chance. What do you think of the products above? Any that spark your interest?

Interested in your own Bulu Box? Use the code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription!

This is a sponsored post and I was given a free Bulu Box to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Day in the Life

My life has changed dramatically the past few months… in more ways than one. The best change that my husband and I are thrilled about is that we are expecting in February! All of the immediate family knows now so I can share the news on the blog too (officially). 🙂

So with that news, a day in the life has changed for me. A lot! But, not in a bad way. I am enjoying every moment that I can (even when nausea strikes) because I feel blessed to be the vessel for baby Kennedy.

Before I get to mine, “A Day in the Life” is the Fit Dish topic for this week. Jill Conyers and the Fit Switch host this link up each Tuesday.

Back to it… a day in the life for Bri Kennedy. Most of my days are somewhat different, but a typical work day where I get to work from home looks like this…

  • I wake up STARVING. Before I got pregnant, I was able to do a workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and then eat breakfast. Not anymore! I have to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up or I grumble loud enough for the neighbors to think the tornado sirens went off.
  • My taste buds have changed dramatically so where I used to choose a healthy, hearty bowl of oatmeal, sunbutter toast, or some type of egg dish I now choose cereal. Currently, “I gotta have my pops.”
  • I have not wanted any sort of hot beverage lately, tea or coffee included. But, today I made a cup of Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea. Delicious!tea
  • I sit down to start work after breakfast, usually around 7:45 or 8:00. I almost always have a cat to pet before I get to work though. Cali wouldn’t have it any other way! So she jumps in my lap, I give her some attention, and THEN I start my work.cali
  • Around 10, I get hungry again so make a snack. I joke that it’s my 2nd breakfast, but it is usually not breakfast food at all. Today it is 3 chicken taquitos, but most of the time it is yogurt and a piece of fruit. I was EXTRA hungry today though.
  • Around 12 or 1, I take a break from work and try to do a workout. I am 2 weeks into my 2nd trimester so luckily the energy levels are back up. In my first trimester, it was hard to get a workout in for at least a month. Now I find it enjoyable to do a Cize workout or to go for a walk and follow it up with strength training and stretching. I need want more yoga in my life again so should be incorporating more of that, but will get to that soon. I am just happy I am active again! Here is me after a Cize workout…cize
  • I shower, get ready a bit, and eat lunch before heading back to my office upstairs. I work until about 5pm, but since I work from home I am sometimes guilty of working later. I make sure to have a fun or relaxing evening though when I do that!
  • My husband gets home around 5 or 5:30pm so we like to chit chat for a bit and then I make us dinner (on days I actually cook) or we heat up something already made.
  • Evenings vary from listening to the husband play piano/guitar to watching some TV shows to cleaning to getting outdoors. We are soaking up the time we have to do whatever we want in the evenings since pretty soon we will have a little one dictating our time.

All in all, a day in my life is not over the top adventurous, but I dig it. I try to take time to enjoy the little things, whether on my walk or sitting down at home. There is always something to be grateful for!

What is one thing you fit into your life each day?

Gratitude for Change

cats

Having gratitude for change can often be tough. Life is full of changes all the time, some we are ready for and some we just aren’t. But gratitude often comes from the change at some point. Hell, it may be ten years down the road and not right away at times, while other times the gratitude comes right away.

I want to tell a little story about my gratitude for change in one area of my life…. MY LOVE FOR CATS.

Would you believe it if I told you I went through a period of neutrality towards cats? My current self is shaking its head hell no. I love cats. I take pictures of my cats all the times and probably post way too many pictures on Instagram of them. But, I really did. I went through a period where I didn’t want to be a cat person.

It has its deep roots so hear me out.

When I was a young girl, I loved cats. I started collecting cat statues whenever my Uncle Jim would buy them for me at random places. I had quite the collection and a cat statue was always on my Christmas list. I am sure that made my parents happy since they really aren’t that expensive! I could have had the next biggest toy on my list, but no I wanted a new cat statue. I even got a real cat for Christmas one year and I named her Crystal. She loved me and hated my brothers so we were quite the pair.

My Uncle Jim passed away in 1995. My family was devastated. It was a major life adjustment. Death is a hard thing to overcome and I am not fully convinced we ever overcome death. I think we just decide to focus more on memories and the love we had for the one who passed.

But I was young when he passed. I was 11. One way I grieved was to forget about my love for cats. I got rid of my cat collection.

The interesting thing is that I didn’t realize it at the time why I got rid of my cat collection. Only now do I realize that the cat collection was something beautiful between my uncle and me and that getting rid of it was my subconscious protecting my sweet, little heart.

We got a dog later in 1995 and named her Daisee May. She was a blessing to our family after such a hard tragedy. I’ve always loved dogs too (I think of myself as an animal person in general.. love them all!), but I focused more on dogs after we got Daisee.

In 2008 I met a man who has an intense and admirable love for cats. He is not ashamed to admit it! Society makes it seem like guys are typically dog people, but I find it so sexy when a man can admit he likes other animals too. And perhaps that is why God gave me this man.

Anyway, my renewed interest for cats started to grow as our relationship grew. In February 2009, this man’s parents had a cat that started coming around their house. It had kittens, but was a young one herself. She couldn’t produce enough milk for the kittens so a local vet out of Terrell bottle fed the kittens. There were 4. And they were so adorable!

When they were old enough to eat cat food, we would go visit the kittens and one day, I took one home. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways!

I don’t have gratitude for death per se. I still wish I had my Uncle here on Earth as selfish as that may be, but I can find gratitude in the way that cats remind me of him at times. I find gratitude in the connection we had when I was a kid and one of those ways being with the cat statues. I also have an intense gratitude for the change in my love for cats. This change has opened my heart in more ways than I ever thought possible. I consider my pets family and the love I have for these four-legged creatures has shown me that I will also have love for a two-legged lil’ squirt someday and be a damn good mom.

I am linking up for The Fit Dish with Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch. This week is all about gratitude!