This week my family has been struggling with sore throats, coughs and my toddler has been teething. No fun at all. I’ve been busting out the essential oils and teas trying to knock this thing out as naturally as possible. Here is a link to my facebook page discussion of At-Home Remedies. Earlier this week, when I had a day off I thought that everyone would really enjoy and benefit from my crockpot loaded baked potato soup. This is another really good recipe to add some immune boosting ingredients like garlic and Bone Broth if you have any saved. Unfortunately I didn’t have any bone broth leftover and I didn’t really have any time or energy to make it this time around. Sometimes I get tired of loaded baked potato soup (this is one of my husband’s absolute favorite meals) but I think a lot of that has to do with when I was pregnant with my son I had to limit my sodium intake to help with the swelling and this soup does NOT taste good without salt! I love adding garnishes to the dish, it brings out so much more flavor and interest to the dish. And I was right. It really hit the spot. It was so comforting to all the sickies in my house. And my son was even willing to eat it mixed with his rice. Another mom-win for me!
2 1/2 lbs of Russet potatoes
1 small yellow onion
5 cloves of garlic
4 cups of bone broth (or chicken stock)
8 oz of cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Garnishes: crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives
Chop potatoes, onion, and garlic. Add to crockpot along with seasoning and bone broth.
Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 10 hours.
Stir in Cream cheese and allow to melt.
Scoop some soup into the blender, puree and add back into soup until desired texture. (My husband likes to still have some potato chunks in the soup so I don’t completely puree the soup). This last time around my son was down for a nap when the soup was ready to be pureed so I had it sitting for a couple hours on the “Keep Warm” setting which softened the potatoes even more and made it super easy and super quick to puree.
Here is the loaded baked potato soup finished.
Top with your choice of garnishes and serve. Our personal favorites are bacon bits, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives. Yum!
It tasted so good and was a very comforting meal since we weren’t feeling well. This is one of my husband’s all-time favorite meals and he would literally eat this everyday if I made it everyday. I can never go wrong whenever I decide to make it! There are so many different ways to make potato soup. I hope you like this recipe!
Wow! So much has changed and happened since my last blog post! According to WordPress, it’s been 8 months! I changed jobs and life got busy. It was always my intention to keep up with this blog but it kind of fell to the way side as life happened. My husband has complained about me keeping pictures of meals and recipes on the iPad; I was hoping to write about them later and I never did!!! Every time I make a meal I think of this blog and how it would make a great post. Hahaha! My other issue has been technology. Our laptops are both old and I couldn’t find a simple way to use the iPad or my husband’s new computer to write the blog and upload my pictures. So now with more time (and new technology…or at least new ideas to use the technology) I am starting to write again! Woohoo!
So, to kind of bring everyone up-to-date, in March I changed jobs to become a cake decorator at a local grocery store. I was looking for a job just to help us through while I was in between jobs, and it turned out that I really enjoyed what I was doing. So much so that I wished that I had started cake decorating earlier in life. It was a less stressful job and it was a great outlet for my creative flare. We found out we were pregnant with our second child in September and also moved closer to both of our jobs, cutting my husband’s commute to almost half the time and mine down to just a couple minutes. So many big changes for all of us!
In December, one by one my whole family got sick with the flu bug and a horrible cough that lasted for weeks. Even taking plain cough medicine didn’t seem to make much of a difference. After struggling with this cough for over two weeks, I developed a rash on my neck and decided to visit the urgent care to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. Strep was going around and I knew some people were getting rashes from it. I was tested for strep and was found negative, they told me it was just blood vessels that had burst in my neck (from coughing so hard) and then sent me home without any help for my cough and what I was sure was a sinus infection as well. The following day I went to see the nurse practitioner at my OBGYN’s office, who thought everything was viral but could tell I had some sinus issues so gave me a Z-pack to try to help clear that up. By the end of the week, my cough was still getting worse, my son was throwing up with the flu, and I was running a fever.
All of this is concerning for anyone, but since I was pregnant, I was really getting worried and was determined to get some more help. Going on over three weeks now with this cough and being sick, I went to see my PCP. She was also really concerned about my cough but could hardly give me anything for relief between my allergies and my being pregnant. So I was given more antibiotics to help clear up my sinus infection and was taken off of work for about a week so I could recover.
Since I have been pregnant I have been unable to use a lot of over-the-counter medications and prescriptions to help me get better. It has been very difficult trying to recover without any typical medications. So today I would like to share with you all the alternative methods that I used for getting better:
I know not everyone likes to use antibiotics. They not only kill the bad bacteria but also all the good bacteria in your gut flora. And it’s pretty much clockwork for me now, when I take antibiotics, I get a yeast infection. However, I had such a nasty sinus infection that it was draining down causing an upper respiratory infection and irritating my sensitive airways. My PCP wanted to also give me an inhaler but couldn’t because I was pregnant. So at this point I felt like I needed all the help I could get.
The main thing that I needed that was really going to help me overcome this was rest. Which is extremely hard to get when you’re a working mom. My PCP even took me off of work for a week so I could try to get the rest I needed to get over this. I had so many absences at work that I was about to lose my job. Sometimes you also have to make some major decisions as well. I chose to go down to part-time hours at work because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to recover while pregnant and working full-time. I was exhausted, had uncontrollable coughing fits and had just about lost my voice.
Tea is really great for soothing your throat and depending on the ones you drink, they have great healing properties. I would always add honey to my tea to help soothe and coat my throat and honey has great immune boosting properties as well. Cinnamon is good for your throat as well. I personally drank a lot of chamomile, echinacea and tumeric tea.
4) Vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C helps boosts the body’s immune system. I try to take extra vitamin C while I’m sick. While I was trying to read up on the whooping cough (I was convinced that I had it this time around) I read a blog writer that said that even though she could not get a diagnosis for whooping cough her research led her to believe that vitamin C taken in very large doses helped her and her family recover much faster. (“9 Things You’ll Wish You Knew About Whooping Cough” by Sidetracked Sarah).
5) Nasal Rinse
A lot of people that I have talked to don’t realize that as a pregnant person, you can’t take decongestants. If I absolutely had to use decongestants, I have to closely watch my blood pressure. So, as an alternative, I use the neti pot as a saline rinse. It did not clear up my sinus infection, but I am convinced that if I had not kept my sinuses as clear as I had I would have been much worse much faster. It is difficult to get used to running water through your nose (and sometimes down the back of your throat). Some people really don’t like it, but at least I could get some relief that way.
6) Bone Broth & Chicken Noodle Soup
Both of these dishes are soothing for the throat and are filled with nutrients for your body. Anytime that I or my family is really sick I like to make bone broth and chicken noodle soup to help put vital nutrients back into our bodies, especially after using antibiotics. Bone broth is known to help improve your gut health after your gut flora has been depleted.
Steam was one of the few ways that helped my cough, but didn’t help control it completely. Since the house we are in currently has a bad moisture problem, I didn’t want to use our steam vaporizer like I usually do. So I stuck to just localized steam by covering up my mouth and nose with either a scarf or a blanket. Steamy showers are also a great expectorant.
8) Essential Oils
Since we could use all the help we could get I also tried to use essential oils to help overcome our illnesses. Being pregnant, I have to be very careful with topical uses. Most of the immune boosting blends warn against topical use when pregnant or if you have sensitive skin (like children). So I like to dilute it and use the diffuser. The group that I order from has an immune boosting blend called Armor that I like to use when we have an illness going around.
So those are the 8 alternative methods that I used since I can’t take most medications. After several weeks we are finally starting to feel better and get back to normal. So now I need to start wiping down the house, lysol spraying everything and washing sheets and blankets. Oi. I hope you won’t need to use these 8 methods for your family, but if you do, I hope they help you get some relief and get better as quickly as possible.
I apologize in advance, this post is going to be long. Because this is the first documentary post of changing my lifestyle and diet I need to give some background as to why I’m doing it, where I’m at in the beginning of this journey, and the steps that I am taking to change it. The following posts will be updates based on what I lay out here.
Why Am I Doing This?
I have given a brief summary regarding the reasons why I’m taking this journey on my “About” page and in my first post, but I wanted to detail exactly what has been happening so you can know the reasons why I am adjusting my diet and taking certain supplements. A lot has happened in a relatively short time regarding my health. In the Fall of 2013 I had an ovarian cyst that was 9cm and was surgically removed in January 2014. I got pregnant the next month in February. After having my son in November, I got another cyst that following March in 2015. Thankfully it went away on it’s own. But, at this point I knew that my hormones were out of whack. My OBGYN suggested that I take chemical birth control to “help regulate my hormones.” I had been against taking chemical birth control in the past because I knew that it could seriously mess up my body if I took it long term. But I figured, since this was (from what I understood) supposed to be a short term medical treatment to correct my hormonal problem that it would be okay (according to the doctor it would possibly only take three months for my hormones to adjust and hopefully I would be okay after that). What a joke! Other than the ovarian cysts that I had developed in the past, I have never had the hormonal problems that I did while I was on this birth control! Just to name a few symptoms that I experienced while taking it: Mood swings, depression, nausea, frequent urination, distended abdomen, darkening and enlargening of nipples, breasts feeling fuller and heavier (despite the fact that I quit breastfeeding my son in April), fatigue, acne, skin changes, brittle and/or soft nails, dry hair, lower back pain, gassiness, pressure right under my ribs like something was poking me, fullness in the abdomen, acid reflux and my personal favorite was that out of the 10 weeks that I was on the pill, I bled for 8 weeks. Even after I quit taking the pill, I continued to have most of these symptoms to the point that I was convinced that I was either pregnant or had another cyst.
About one month after I quit taking the pill, I went to see my OBGYN who did an ultrasound. She said that everything looked textbook perfect–no sign of a pregnancy, cysts or even cancer. So what is going on?!? I also went to my PCP who took several blood tests and stool samples. She found that I had a bacterial infection in my intestines which was causing the nausea, bloating and distended abdomen. I was prescribed really strong antibiotics. My thyroid was also checked to see if that was causing my hormonal issues but everything came back normal. So now my immune system is shot, my hormones are a wreck and I can guarantee you that I no longer have any good bacteria left in my gut after taking these antibiotics. (I have developed a pretty bad yeast infection since). Long story short, I will NEVER take chemical birth control EVER again! I guarantee you, that if I hadn’t been taking it, we would have caught this infection much sooner.
So Where Am I Today?
This is six weeks after I quit the chemical birth control, one week after taking the antibiotics and Day 1 of my new diet and lifestyle.
As you can see, the antibiotics have already made a difference in my size and reduced the bloating and distension. Today I weigh 151.8 lbs, my waist is 40″ and my bust is 38.5.” Every week I will update my measurements and any reactions or changes I’ve noticed during the week.
What Steps I’m Taking to Change My Lifestyle and Diet
I’ve decided that my health needs a drastic boost. I could try to turn to my doctors and pay for more tests and loads of medicine. Or I could try to naturally heal my body through a change in lifestyle and diet. As you can guess, I chose the latter. So what am I doing? First off, I’m going to completely cut out sugar and processed foods–this means no pasta, no flour and no pizza. However, to help with sticking with this diet, I want to allow a cheat day about once a month cuz let’s face it, I’m really going to miss pizza! Next I’m going to add several natural supplements. I’m already taking vitamins and minerals, but my body needs a little extra help. So I’m going to start taking Apple Cider Vinegar, Bone Broth, Molasses, Kefir, Coconut oil and a probiotic capsule every day. I would like to go into detail for each one why I chose it and what benefits it offers, but that will have to be for later posts. Just know that they help improve the immune system, correct hormones, provide extra vitamins and/or minerals and heal the gut. In addition, I’m going to try my best to get 6-7 hours of sleep a night and exercise 15-30 minutes a day for five days a week.
So that’s pretty much everything in a nutshell, I hope. Now that you understand the reasons why I’m taking this new journey, I hope you will join me and see what happens. I can’t wait to see what next week will bring!