Busy Mama’s breakfast in a cup

dairy free hot coco
A meal of hot coco

If you are a health-consious mama with a young child, you are probably having a hard time keeping up with your pre-baby ways of eating, which can be extremely frustrating. Let’s face it, your baby or toddler is not quite interested in your plant-based, super-food powder concoctions, nor you want her to start choking on your heavy duty granola (because of course she’ll want to eat what’s in YOUR plate, rather than what’s on HERS)!

What’s a busy mama to do? 

Continue reading Busy Mama’s breakfast in a cup

The secret to gaining healthy weight during pregnancy

Pregnancy is the one time in your life when you are allowed to eat as much as your growing baby tells you to, right? Absolutely! And here is the secret: eat clean, wholesome food and be mindful about your eating and you are most likely guaranteed to gain just the right amount of weight you’ll need to have a healthy pregnancy. 

When my midwife first told me that I should be aiming at gaining 25-30 pounds by the end of the term, I went home scratching my head. I always thought my math skills were half decent, so in my mind, the numbers just didn’t make any sense. Hear me out: if the baby is going to weigh between 7 and 8 pounds, why do I need to gain as much as 30?   Continue reading The secret to gaining healthy weight during pregnancy

Folic acid, folate, vitamin B9: a must have for mommies-to-be and the rest of us

You are four weeks along and that tiny little bean inside of you is already starting to develop her organs. Incredible, isn’t it? But what it means for you, an amazing mama-to-be, is that now is the time to make sure you get enough of everything this baby needs, starting with plentiful folic acid. In this day and age you might say, it’s a no brainer since you’ll get exactly the amount you need from your prenatal multi. Which is true and that’s fabulous! However, I won’t be true to myself if I don’t share with you a few nifty facts about folic acid and throw in a few recipes starring tasty edible version of it! 
 
folic acid leafy greens
Leafy greens are rich in folic acid

My mother gave birth to both me and my sister without taking any vitamins before or during pregnancy back in Russia. Thankfully, we were born healthy. Women in most countries don’t have the luxury of taking prenatal vitamins. All they can rely on is food and God’s grace. Here, in North America, we are incredibly blessed to have access to as much supplementation such as folic acid as we need. With all the things that may go wrong during pregnancy, it is a huge relief to know that we can do something about preventing at least one of those things by simply taking a vitamin. 

Continue reading Folic acid, folate, vitamin B9: a must have for mommies-to-be and the rest of us

Recipe: Pineapple mango green smoothie

This smoothie is chalk-full of good stuff including the coveted folic acid! You’ll be getting enough of it from the collards, spinach and avocado. Eat up and let that baby inside grow! And if you are not prego, you’ll do yourself a whole lot of good by keeping a solid store of folic acid to potentially fend of depression, osteoporosis, bad skin, sore mouth and heart disease. Whew! How much more awesome can it be?

 

Pineapple mango green smoothie
Serves 2
Tropical, yet green. A definite double whammy.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
7 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
7 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup packed fresh collard leaves
  2. 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  3. 5 dates
  4. 1 tbsp flax seeds
  5. 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  6. 2 cups frozen or fresh pineapple
  7. 1/2 mango
  8. 1/2 avocado
  9. 1 orange
  10. 2 cups water
  11. ice to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender in the order listed. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until desired smooth texture.
Katya Baxter http://katyabaxter.com/
 

5 drugless ways you can make your first trimester nausea manageable

Any mom (or just about) will tell you that the first trimester is the one when nausea hits you like a pile of bricks. Yes, you want to be excited about your baby bump news, but all you can think about is whether or not you’ll be able to make it to the closest ladies room on time! If you are the type of mom who is doing her best to stay away from medications during pregnancy, then there are things you can do to ease your morning sickness (and afternoon, and night!) nausea and not use any drugs! 

five-things-to-ease-morning-sickness-nausea

Photo courtesy of Istockphoto.com/AlbanyPictures

 I remember the very first time I felt the sensation coming on.
Continue reading 5 drugless ways you can make your first trimester nausea manageable

Recipe: Pineapple ginger smoothie for morning sickness

This smoothie is a natural morning sickness buster! It will give your queasy tummy everything it needs to make it through another rocky day: a light tartness from lemon, zesty kick from ginger, and plenty of Vitamin B. And if you are not prego, this is still a tasty, nutrient-packed treat that you can enjoy just because!
 

Pineapple ginger smoothie
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pineapple
  2. 1/2 avocado
  3. juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1/4 inch peeled ginger
  5. 1 ripe banana
  6. 1 tbsp flax seeds
  7. ice cubes to taste
  8. 2 cups filtered water
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a high powered blender with ice going in last. Blend on high until flax seeds are powdered. Pour yourself a nice glass and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can gage the tartness and sweetness of your shake by reducing the amount of lemon juice and adding a natural sweetener like a couple of dates or a tablespoon of raw honey.
Katya Baxter http://katyabaxter.com/

Who in the world am I?

When you face a major change in life, you have to truly know who you are. Otherwise, your world will turn upside down. As did mine back in the early 90’s.

When I first arrived to the US from Russia as a teenager, I remember desperately wanting to blend in with my new school, new classmates, and an entirely new world. Instead, the best I could do was to stick out like a sore thumb.

I was a teenager back then, and just like in many teenagers, insecurities were coming out of my ears. In fact, I felt so overwhelmingly insecure that I remember my new life in the US turned from being an exciting new adventure into an anxiety driven nightmare. Continue reading Who in the world am I?

All moments are KEY moments

I was cleaning up my desk the other day and came across this quote by Frederick Buechner. I must have saved it because it left an impression on me just as significant back then as it did today.

When I read it I can’t stop thinking of all the moms out there (myself included) who oftentimes find ourselves buried so deep in the everyday chores that we forget to appreciate the very grace of life that is happening in front of us.

I hope this quote will uplift you and remind you that not only what you are doing has the utmost significance, but that there is a hidden wonder in each and every moment of your busy and exhausting life.

“I discovered that if you really keep your eye peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it, even such a limited and limiting life as the one I was living… opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye. Eating lunch with a friend. Trying to do a decent day’s work. Hearing the rain patter against the window. There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly… If I were called upon to state in a few worlds the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”   ~ Frederick Buechner

My personal story: How I got healed from an eating disorder

When I was 18 I was convinced I was fat. I weighed 90 pounds, lost my period, ate pretzels and diet coke for lunch and exercised for two hours every time I thought I ate an extra bite. Three years later, I regained the thirty pounds I lost, plus another ten, and officially became a compulsive binge eater. All in all, it took me eight years after it all to become symptom-free.

I remember praying and asking God to heal me. I was desperate. I prayed hard, and I prayed from the bottom of my heart. I felt out of control, alone, and out of options. When you are faced with a psychological challenge like this, you stop believing that anything or anyone can help you. Praying to God was my last resort, and so I did.

But nothing happened. So I figured God wasn’t interested in my first world problems (we used to fight for food back in Russia), and I gave up asking Him for help.

So off I went trying just about every diet out there but nothing worked long-term.

I figured, I’ll never be normal again. I’ll always have the ‘food issue’, I’ll always be conscious of my body, I’ll always dislike the way I look. I couldn’t do anything about it, and, frankly, I was tired of fighting.

Continue reading My personal story: How I got healed from an eating disorder

The original detox diet Part 1: Foods to Eat

This is the original eating plan that I followed for 2 months that kickstarted my eating disorder-free life. This is exactly what it looked like about 10 years ago. My current diet is very similar with a few tweaks, but whenever I feel I need a quick detox, I follow this guideline to a T and it makes a huge difference very quickly.

GENERAL DETOX DIET 

Recommended for a minimum of 2 months

WHAT TO EAT:
Continue reading The original detox diet Part 1: Foods to Eat

Breaking free from guilt

I spend much of my twenties feeling guilty. I also spent much of that time keeping myself busy working like a maniac and partying as hard as I could. It felt like a lot of fun at the time but underneath it all I knew it wasn’t right.

And it made me feel guilty.

Back then, I dared not to tell anyone that I was a Christian. I was ashamed to admit that I once accepted God into my heart. That would have made me the biggest hypocrite on the planet, and that’s the last place I wanted to be.

Continue reading Breaking free from guilt

Our first Christmas

Healing sometimes takes years. And only when we allow ourselves to fully submit to the power that is far beyond our control (to me, this power comes from God), is when healing starts penetrating the depths of our hearts.

Ever since I moved to Canada back in the 90’s, I dreaded Christmas season. In fact, when the first sound of Christmas music landed on my ears (which annoyed me to no end), I’d start planning the ways of escaping the looming madness.

You see, I didn’t grow up in a culture that celebrated Christmas. Communism and Jesus didn’t go hand in hand, so Christmas didn’t make it on our national holiday calendar.

Which meant my family didn’t celebrate Christmas. Plus, my immigration when I was sixteen broke our family apart and we were no longer close. Put the two together and you end up with no good reason to go home for the holiday. Or so I thought at the time.

And here I was, someone who claimed to be a Christian yet couldn’t stand Christmas and had a lousy relationship with her family!  Hypocrisy at its best. Needless to say, during that time I was overtaken by the feelings of guilt and failure all those years: precisely why for the longest time I wouldn’t dare to call myself a Christian.
Continue reading Our first Christmas

How my broken heart got healed

This is officially the third time I am trying to write this post. Just when I finally get myself comfy, make a cup of tea, gather my thoughts, and finish one sentence…that’s EXACTLY when my baby wakes up. So here I am, two sentences in and making an attempt numero tres. Wish me luck!

There is a story in the Bible told by the prophet Paul about how his life and belief system radically changed one day. This man, within a matter of seconds, went from being a vicious prosecutor of Christian believers to a fully committed follower of Jesus! What happened was that resurrected Jesus appeared to Paul in the daylight and pretty much erased all his doubts about who Jesus was and what He did. (If you are interested in reading the entire story, check out Acts 9:1-19).

But instead of punishing Paul for basically killing anyone who was His follower, Jesus extended His grace and forgave Paul.

Can you imagine forgiving someone who five minutes ago was trying to kill your friends? That takes a LOT of grace and a very big heart. Frankly, by human standards, it’s nearly impossible.

Continue reading How my broken heart got healed

“Healing does not require our intent;

 

often we heal others simply because of

 

who we are. Then, by some Grace, our

 

very wounds can serve to strengthen the

 

life in others.”

 

~ Rachel Naomi Remen, MD 

  

The most important type of healing a person can experience

Remember that movie, On the Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock playing a good Christian woman who takes in a homeless kid who will later become a football star?  I remember seeing it for the first time and my eyes were swelled with tears.

Much like the main character, Michael, I too, was ‘adopted’ by a Christian family who took me in and loved me as one of their own. Although I didn’t come from the streets, I also started out with very little to my name but a single suitcase worth of stuff.

But as little as it sounds, I also had so much: I had two families, one at home in Russia, and one in the US, who loved and appreciated me. Continue reading The most important type of healing a person can experience

What kind of parent do you want to be to your child?

Have you ever thought about what kind of parent you want to be for your kid?

I am sure you have, although it may not have been the first thing on your list when you became a new parent.

I caught myself contemplating over this subject just the other day. Yes, I want to give my daughter everything I possibly can as a parent – happy childhood, education, travel. I want to teach her to play tennis and to speak Russian.

But most importantly, I want to be the kind of parent who she can have a great relationship with. I want to be her friend, her confidante, and someone she can trust and respect. Ultimately, when she is old enough to grasp it, I’d love for her to say: “My mom is the greatest. I have a tremendous respect for her as a mother, as a person, as a friend.” Continue reading What kind of parent do you want to be to your child?

How my life changed forever

Can you think of one event in your life that changed your life forever? I can. It happened when I was just fifteen years old.

Back then a group of high school kids from the US came to St. Petersburg, Russia where I grew up. My mom volunteered to host a couple of them, so here we were, my mom, my sister and I, and two teenage boys, one from Boise, and one from Baltimore.  In those days, it was pretty cool to host foreigners in your home. The three of us were thrilled – it was a great break from the mundane life and a great chance to practice English. Continue reading How my life changed forever

How to hide kale in your smoothie

A friend of mine told me the other day that she finally got the courage to put kale into her morning smoothie. And then she followed with a million dollar question: ‘How do I kill the taste of kale?’

Kale received a lot of hype over the past few years. Yes, it’s a wonder green full of awesome nutrients, but unless you have a forgiving pallet, truth be told, raw kale can be a tough one to swallow.

So what can you do to make that lovely taste a little less pungent?

Here are a few tried and true suggestions: Continue reading How to hide kale in your smoothie

Learning to better seize the day

I was at a grocery store the other day with my three month old daughter when a lady in line next to me said: “Hang in there, honey – days are long but years are short.”

When you have kids, time flies. I think it starts to fly noticeably once you hit 30, but now that I have a baby, it hit me harder than ever before. I was putting away clothes my daughter grew out of the other day when it happened. I realized that she will never be that tiny little newborn again.

Did I cherish those days enough? Or could I have done a better job? Continue reading Learning to better seize the day

What you can do to avoid the flu this season

Do you get nervous and concerned when you hear about yet another flu epidemic in the country? I do. This year, I even got extra nervous. And I got extra nervous because I am going to become a mom in the late spring, and, as you probably heard, pregnant women and flu don’t quite go very well together.

And as I was letting fear make its way into my brain, I remembered a brilliant quote by Dr. Bernard Jensen, DC, PhD:

“We don’t catch diseases, we build them by breaking down the natural defenses of the body according to the way we eat, drink, think and live.”

In other words, it’s not the microbe that is evil. It’s the weak immune system that lets it come in and do its evil business.

Continue reading What you can do to avoid the flu this season