The Blogwritings, musings and lighthearted banter

Dec

08

Diastasis Recti ep. 001

Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area.” –Wikipedia

W H A T     I S    D I A S T A S I S    R E C T I

Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Diastasis Recti is actually an incredibly common condition found most typically in pregnant and postpartum women (roughly 60%), but can also occur within men and children of any age. Actually, no one has truly “connected” abs to begin with, and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense for our bodies to have the ability to adjust size if need-be. Envision a widening and thinning of the midline “fascia” tissue between the abdominal muscles, AKA the “Linea Alba”, in response to intra-abdominal pressure (IE: pregnancy, obesity, intense exercise movements, poor posture/alignment, chronic coughing, chronic constipation – BASICALLY, anything that pushes your belly OUT can have lasting damage).  From now on, lets consider DR an “unnatural distance between the abdominal muscles” which is a more accurate definition.

..Anything more than a 2-finger-width gap is considered problematic. Some symptoms include back pain, headaches, fatigue, severe bloating, hernias, chronic constipation, tight shoulders and neck. What often isn’t mentioned though, is that almost all pain is likely due to a domino effect of bad habits and movements rather than the condition itself being at fault for much of anything really, well, other than not being able to hold organs inside. It’s safe to say that if sorry alignment was existent prior to pregnancy, having that much more weight on an unsteady foundation results in popping seams.

 

H O W    T O    K N O W    I F    I    H A V E    D I A S T A S I S     R E C T I?

Checking yourself for DR is relatively simple, and can be done by yourself at home. When you do the self check, make sure to relax your stomach muscles, keeping your shoulders on the floor, a neutral spine, and knees bent. I find it interesting to check friend and family midlines as well, just for a helpful reference.

You’ll soon learn that checking your DR doesn’t always lend consistent results. Try not to worry if your gap fluctuates and use the self check as more of a general idea of your condition status. Checking it often does more harm than good, so doing it only once a week or so is sufficient enough for tracking progress.

If you are very lean enough, you can even see the separation just by standing and looking in the mirror, but usually DR is completely invisible to the naked eye besides maybe a distended belly.

(Click to watch Lara Catone’s video to try the DR self check )

 

H O W   T O   T R E A T   D I A S T A S I S   R E C T I

Forgetting that there is actually a surgery to repair DR, there are several pieces to what I like to call, a PUZZLE (to healing it on your own). I call it a puzzle, because you truly cannot mend what has been broken with one simple cure-all. No single exercise or some silly diet change like avoiding gluten is going to cut it. I’m sorry, but this is a package deal. The benefit of changing your lifestyle though, is to become a more complete person… take this opportunity to allow a frustrating condition to blossom into a full-out journey of deep self healing. When you un-prioritize the gap, and heal all elements of your body and mind, THAT is when you strangely start noticing REAL results. I know it’s cheesy, but I say it because I’m living it and now know it’s TRUE.

- NUTRITION
Diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to healing the muscles, fibers and tissues of the body that have been damaged. DR is technically an injury. Cutting refined sugars and processed foods is absolutely essential to healing, especially to restore a healthy core. I’ve learned from experience how much a clean diet is key to reaching body/health goals, but I didn’t always know what healthy even MEANS. It really is going back to something simple.

Healthy is…

- NOT eating refined (white) sugar or (white) flour

- NOT eating processed foods (boxed foods, foods with labels, foods with multiple ingredients)

- NOT eating “Low fat” foods which contain more harm than good

- Eating food as close to their original form as possible

- Portion control (not over or under-eating)

- Balanced nutrition

- Making sure to get sufficient amounts of water

Ok, so I guess it’s clear that I’m implying the only way to good health is to eat a nice home-cooked meal. I’m also implying to make the majority of your grocery-store purchases from the fresh produce/meat section of the store. Cooking and preparing meals from scratch is the only way to guarantee real freshness, quality, and nutrients. I know, I know, it’s hard to do with a busy lifestyle. Especially as an overwhelmed parent or socially active family, or anyone really. I’m right there with ya. But it gets a whole lot easier as you make home cooking into a daily ritual. There are tons of ways to make it easier/faster if need be, like making enough for left overs and preparing meals in advance. (No option but to eat out? Click here for some pointers….)

If you have DR and are struggling with abdominal distention (bloating), diet is what you need to focus on improving. Let me tell you, someone can have a gap between their abdominals and still retain a flat stomach… but ANYONE and EVERYONE struggles with bloating if they eat the bad foods.

DR+Nasty food= CRAZY ABSURD AMOUNTS OF BLOATING AND FEELING LIKE A STUFFED SAUSAGE.

M A C R O N U T R I E N T S…

I am a huge fan of watching and counting my macronutrients, they are the way to go if a person has particular body goals (like making my butt bigger, heehee). There are three macronutrients; carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins.

// Carbohydrates have a bad rep. I really don’t know why, carbs are in pretty much everything and are basically unavoidable. Currently, the USDA recommends that adults get 45-65% of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates. Yes, there are good carbs and bad carbs, but after you learn the difference you will never need to sweat carbs again. Obviously, things like doughnuts or bagels have tons of carbs… which turn into sugars during digestion, resulting in bloating and belly fat from cortisol and spikes in insulin levels, blah blah blah. BUT veggies also have carbs, fruit tends to be high in carbs, and other healthy foods like oatmeal have lots of carbs.

// Lipids, or fats, are also very important. I know it’s strange but, we actually need HEALTHY fats; from sources like grape seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, REAL butter, nuts and nut butters, avocado, and fish. Healthy fats give you that gorgeous glow to your skin and nice hair.

// As for protein, fascia tissue is primarily made of collegian and getting proper amounts of protein will encourage muscle development and stimulate collagen improvement. At least 46 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary woman, and more if you’re a man or active. Items such as meat, tofu, eggs, legumes, nuts, nut butters, yogurt and milk are wonderful ways to get protein in.

DON’T FORGET ALSO…

- Water cleanses our bodes and works as a natural and gentle way to flush our systems of toxins and other nasty little things. Also, constipation is one of the worst enemies of DR and should be avoided at all costs… getting in sufficient levels of liquid, especially water, is the most important tool in keeping a flat belly.

- Fruits & Veggies are an obvious one. Right? But are you really getting enough? We should be getting about 5 portions a day. I recommend eating your fruit in the morning, because eating fruit following a meal is a recipe for disaster (fruit digests the quickest, so it sits waiting and ferments… resulting in bloating).

- Grains are delicious, but we eat waaay to many of them. I tend to have one or maybe two forms of grains per day, such as oats for breakfast or a piece of whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter.  I’m not against grains persay, but try to limit them and get them as close to their original form as possible. Check out Wendy’s Mums’ Guide to Paleo articles translating a few ‘no grains’/ Paleo-esque principles easily onto the family dinner table.

 

- A L I G N M E N T
Alignment is a VITAL piece of this puzzle, and a puzzle-piece for anyone whether they know it or not. It’s also something I’m still presently researching, practicing, learning, and failing at on a daily basis… so can’t claim to be an expert. What I can say is, alignment is a completely separate thing all together than posture, but they are sorta linked. Well, posture is just the way you look and alignment is the way your body holds up. With that said, most of us are destroying our skeletons (and muscles) with terrible daily movements and “posture” without any awareness of it in the slightest. The way we stack our sections; our head, ribs, hips, legs, feet… makes a difference in more than just our appearance, but over-all health and well being! It’s so important, and I’m finding that out in the most amazing ways.

…Nothing was improving with my diastasis recti for quite a while… maybe 5 months or something. I had decided that the gap must be closed after all the exercises and hard work, and that the fascia must be stretched to the point of no return. I was stuck with a two-finger gap (which is still in the safe zone, right?), and that’s just the hand I’ve been dealt. But THEN I somehow came across katysays.com and learned about alignment vs posture, and my eyes were opened to a whole new level of fitness and health. Suddenly, it became less about strict exercise and more about being strict with HOW I use my body upon daily movements. I learned that I am a terrible rib thruster, meaning that I stand (or sit) with an exaggerated arch to my back. So then… my abdominal muscles are being constantly stretched(!!!). Tight glutes, tight shoulders, and a tight back are also symptoms of poor alignment,  which are also symptoms of DIASTASIS RECTI. I probably had DR before children and got it worse with children. See where I’m going here? Check yourself before you wreck yourself, yo. As soon as I learned how to lower my ribs and stand without a tucked pelvis and tilted ribcage, I saw dramatic improvement. So now I HAVE to recommend Katy’s site and her blog and Alignment Snacks.

 

- FITNESS (And Rest)
There are several bullet points I like to keep in mind when training to heal my DR. Strengthen my Back/ strengthen my core/ strengthen my glutes and thighs.

 

D I A S T A S I S    R E C T I    M Y T H S

NUTRITION
FITNESS (rest)
ALIGNMENT

 

 

 

1 Comments

Aug

24

Lavender Blue

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{ I’m wearing a vintage 1950s dress from Lantana Vintage // Ayla… her sassy self }

Saturdays are almost always my favorite day of the week! I guess that’s pretty common, but so long as we aren’t photographing a wedding or portrait session, it’s the one day of the week that we are free to do whatever we want as a family. Of course farmers market is one of our absolute favorite things to go and do, even if it’s just to walk around and absorb some vitamin D… lavender_2 lavender_3

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46 Comments

Aug

14

Wendy and Taylor

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We love our jobs… truly. When a wedding like Wendy and Taylor’s steals our breath away and we bond with the bride and groom in a new-found friendship, we are left with enchanted hearts and fond memories. Capturing the love, the moments, the joy and excitement… it’s just… indescribable. I will definitely be sharing more from this breathtaking session soon, but for now… more editing photos while sitting on the couch with Ayla… watching oh-so-fun episodes of Dora and Curious George ;)

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…Want to inquire about our photography? See our online portfolio here or contact us here!

8 Comments

Aug

07

Phases…

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Life seems to be “dishing” out so many new beginning and ending of phases in what seemed like our very-settled lives together. We’ve simply never encountered so many curve-balls, dealt with such insecurities, or witnessed drastic changes as a family since, probably, the birth of our SON... I guess it was just time for things to change. Time to mature a bit more. Depression has been a struggle, I must admit…

…But.. I know it’s all for the best too, because we’ve also been blessed in ways that reminded us how beautiful life truly is, the potential it has to offer, and gifts of new-found JOY in place of melancholy hearts. Temporal things seem more trivial than they did before, and I feel constantly wooed by my family on a daily basis. These hard times have humbled me, and us, in ways I didn’t know were necessary… but they are. To grow.

After our move, one of the things that has hurt me the most is putting Lucien in public school. It was difficult not to fixate on the negatives… have a bad habit of doing, but I get this feeling there are going to be bountiful blessings in store, and I shouldn’t feel so much woe. So… I can’t wait to sit back and let them unfold.

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Psalm 74:21
Do not let the oppressed retreat in
disgrace; may the poor and needy
praise your name.
11 Comments

Mar

13

Wild Thing

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{ Click to learn more about Strawberry Koi Photography }

There are times I want SO badly want to share with all of you the true, natural, and genuine SPUNK this little wild thing has. Because it’s unreal, seriously. But.. honestly, she moves so much that it’s simply too difficult to capture. With that said, we had to try after she was quiet for too long and we found her like THIS. As much as I was a bit horrified, I was also pretty impressed…

…I knew it the day I found out I was pregnant with Ayla, that she was a girl.. That she was a girl, and that she’d be extra feminine (it’s all about her nails, dresses and hair… and guys, up until I was 22 I NEVER wore dresses or makeup!). I knew she’d also have extra spunk, extra ornery-ness, and extra rottenness. My son has always been pretty reserved and laid-back, so their differences can be a little surprising at times. But I’m telling you… she can kick and punch, debate, and roll her eyes like nobody’s business. This girl… is truly a wild thing (OH, but ask HER, and she’ll politely command that you call her “Princess Ayla”!)

 
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42 Comments

Feb

26

Sweet Sundays // Waffle French Toast

wafflefrenchtoast_1 Ok, it’s a little early for a Sweet Sundays, but everyday should be a sweet day, I say. And lets face it, I’m a rule-breaker. This is probably my new favorite thing to make… maybe because it’s just SO easy, or because it’s a blast to make. But mostly because it’s absolutely, amazingly, and utterly DELICIOUS. Seriously… try it. It will blow yoh mind.

\\ What you’ll need //

  • About 6 oz of your favorite milk.
    (I use whole or heavy whipping cream, or a combo of the two. It makes the batter sweeter and creamier)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • A splash of vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 6-8 slices of your fav bread (I like to use whole grain/whole wheat)

* Makes about 7 pieces

{ Photos by me, iphone and VSCOcam }

Yes, these are “eyeball-it” ingredients. Adjust accordingly to your needs. Just aim to make the batter creamy, but still runny. All the other things are to your taste! It doesn’t need to be perfect though, so don’t sweat the consistency too much because you can always add more of ingredients as you go.  Have left-over batter? Have no fear, simply fry it up at the end and serve the best scrambled eggs of your life as a breakfast side!

  1. Preheat your oven at the lowest temp. Use the oven to keep your finished pieces of toast warm while you prepare the rest of the batch.
  2. Preheat your waffle iron as well. (If you haven’t a waffle iron, prepare like traditional French Toast. Use a skillet over medium heat on the stove-top, useing unsalted butter to grease the skillet as you go. Flip the toast over after a minute or two)
  3. Mix the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a small baking dish or pan. Whisk together.
  4. Lay one-two pieces of bread in the baking dish for a few seconds to absorb the batter, turn it over and match the other side.
  5. Place the bread into the waffle iron (multiple slices is OK if you have a very large iron)
  6. Lower the top and allow the iron to do its thang!

When the waffle iron’s finished cooking, that’s it! Top with powered sugar, fruit, honey, maple syrup or even eat as a sandwich with those delectable left-over batter scrambled eggs in between.

5 Comments

Feb

14

Be Mine

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a pretty low key one here… which was actually very lovely and caused me to forget updating the blog when I meant to. Sigh. I don’t know if I remember celebrating this day with just staying home before… we usually go out or have the kids babysat. But we stayed home, made fajitas for dinner, and watched TV. The kids and I made Valentine’s cards for daddy, and he brought home balloons and flowers for us. It was utterly romantic, and reminded me that we are so blessed to enjoy each other’s company so much…

4 Comments

Jan

08

Turkish Delight

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We haven’t been eating out too much lately, it’s just something we’ve been doing less of to conserve and to monitor our diets… But it’s just such a lovely treat to go out and enjoy a nice dinner out together. We love the restaurants on 4th street, a long row of colorful and multi-ethnic options along both sides of the street as far as you can see. One of our favorites is a Turkish restaurant called Anatolia, such a delight! A Turkish Delight!

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16 Comments

Jan

06

Princess Bride

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There are some things that get me really riled-up to photograph (nothing too naughty mind you, well, not most of the time anyway..). As soon as I came across this dress, I knew I had to have it for the shop. Just to make everything that much more stunning. So here she is, in her full glory and ready to be passed on to the next Princess Bride (I’m not referencing the move ‘The Princess Bride’ though. Ok, so I am. Love that movie!).

Oh, and it fits me to boot! I’ll have take photos modeling it, if I can find the time. Hm.. Hey, honey… divorce me, so we can get married all over again? Wearing this dress, pretty please??

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{ TAKE ME TO THE DRESS }

5 Comments

Dec

31

DAILY GRIND // Espresso Eggnog

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Would you guys have it any other way, than for me to be behind schedule and post everything a day late and a dollar short? I thought not. Ok, so.. Thomas originally came across this delightful recipe, and whipped me up a batch of the best eggnog I’ve ever had! We did a few minor adjustments though, which I just had to share…

BTW, this recipe definitely calls for espresso, but if you have no way of obtaining such, just brew some strong coffee. I highly recommend the Aeropress as a great way to make espresso-like coffee perfect for recipes like this – but waaaay cheaper than buying an espresso machine!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3oz sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1oz brandy
  • 1oz spiced rum
  • 8oz whole milk
  • 2oz of heavy whipping cream
  • 2oz of espresso (or strong coffee)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • Whipped cream (also optional)
  • A bit of ice (even more optional)

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Add the eggs into your blender, blend for two full minutes to really aerate and emulsify the eggs.
  2. After about two minutes, add the sugar and continue blending for a minute longer. During this time, pull your shots of espresso to have ready. (or brew your coffee)
  3. In a separate container from the blender, add the cream and milk, then the espresso, and the nugmeg last – which will help reduce “shock” to the espresso.  Stir well.
  4. Next, pour the mixture into the blender. Also add the spiced rum and brandy, and blend well for about 2 minutes.
  5. For best results, allow the eggnog to set in the fridge for about 3 hours… otherwise, place over ice if you’re in a hurry!
  6. Top it off with a bit of whipped cream, nutmeg and a cinnamon stick!
7 Comments