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better body foods

  • Flourless Strawberry Oatmeal Banana Bread

    Flourless Strawberry Oatmeal Banana Bread made with 8 ingredientsFlourless Strawberry Oatmeal Banana Bread by rachLmansfield

    Hi ya babes! Flourless Strawberry Oatmeal Banana Bread like hey, what’s up, hello.

    My first not grain-free banana bread that I am sharing with you guys. It is made with oat flour instead of coconut and almond. Because a handful of you asked me if you could sub another flour in my other banana bread recipes, I had to make this for us,.

    Plus the addition of strawberries in it seriously has me feeling all kinds of tingles.

    Ever since April rolled around, the grocery stores have been stocked with so many organic and fresh berries. I am in heaven. I love when strawberries are extra red and juicy, just like the ones in this recipe.

    Continue Reading

  • Paleo Chocolate Chunk Blondies

    Paleo Chocolate Chunk Blondies made with less than 8 ingredients Paleo Chocolate Chunk Blondies by rachLmansfield

     

    This is my very first blondie recipe EVER! The only other blondies I have made were compliments of my mama for the Fall.

    So not only is this my first actual blondie recipe but it’s also my first paleo blondie recipe! The paleo dessert craze is real people. I don’t know if this is going to come to an end anytime soon so I hope you babes are loving it as much as I am. I just cannot get over how much lighter paleo desserts are and how simple the ingredients are too.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I eat my oats and grains daily but with dessert, it is just different. It’s after dinner (most of the time) so I want something that’s lighter usual.  Continue Reading

  • Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups

    Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups made with less than 6 ingredients

    Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups

    Nope you’re not dreaming right now.

    We are actually making & feasting on Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups.

    It is about time we combined two of our favorite food groups and made 1 orgasmic dessert. Dark chocolate + chocolate chip cookies are basically my life line. And peanut butter of course, but cookies and chocolate are the real deal.

    These Vegan & Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Cups are easy to make too. I’m not going to lie to you and say they’re the easiest recipe ever because they’re not. There are a few more steps in this recipe but, it’s beyond worth it. Plus the recipe makes a big batch (about 18-22 cups) and you can freeze some for later. I wish I could say I was able to freeze some but when word got out I made this, I had to give a few away. Jord also was obsessed with them, so we all know how that goes… Continue Reading

  • Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Dairy free & gluten free friendly, Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip PancakesFlourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    I seriously love pancakes. When I lived at home with my parents, my Mom would make me whole wheat banana pancakes with chocolate chips in them.

    Except it wasn’t a stack of a few pancakes. It was one huge one that fit just perfectly on my plate. I only used a little bit of maple syrup so the flavor wouldn’t overpower the pancake itself. I’m not the biggest fan of drowning my pancakes in syrup, especially when they are so fluffy and taste amazing solo.

    Even though I love love those whole wheat banana pancakes from my Mama, they definitely left me in a carb coma after, which is probably the worst feeling in my tummy.

    Now I am making a lighter version with these Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes that only require 7 ingredients and are ready in just a few minutes. Continue Reading

  • Grain-free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

    Grain-free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread made gluten-free, refined sugar-free and paleo-friendlygrainfreechocolatechipbananabread1

    Yes I know what you’re thinking. This Grain-free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is going to taste like straight up cardboard.

    .. But you couldn’t be more wrong.

    Coming from a banana bread connoisseur, who’s Mom always has some in the house, this is the most perfect banana bread if you’re looking for a lighter yet still delicious banana bread. Especially for any of my gluten free/paleo-ish readers. It is so soft, so moist (no, that word isn’t gross to me) and absolutely addicting. In fact, it is delicious for basically anyone who loves a quality piece (or 3) of banana bread.

    I have been siting on this recipe for over a month now and have made it a total of 3 times so far. Continue Reading

  • 3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

    Gluten Free, Grain Free & Dairy Free 3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies Grain & Dairy-free 3-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

    Um yes, this recipe has a total of 3 ingredients in it. It is that easy to make. Almost too easy to the point where it’s dangerous since I have been wanting to make these everyday since I first took my first bite of one.

    The other amazing part of these cookies is that they are gluten free, grain free & dairy free. You can also make them paleo by subbing creamy almond butter for peanut butter if you’d like. Continue Reading

  • Combining Traditional + Holistic Practices in Infertility

    Combining Traditional + Holistic Practices in Infertility and sharing more of what I was doing during this process!

    Combining Traditional + Holistic Practices in Infertility

    First of all, thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for all of the love on the last couple of blog posts. It wasn’t easy keeping this journey hush hush from you guys for so long and to finally be able to talk about it feels amazing! Plus being able to relate to so many of you during our first trimesters and fertility struggles, makes me feel even more connected to you guys!

    Going through our fertility journey was truly one of the hardest things I have ever been through. It is also something that you usually cannot plan for. Sure I knew that not having a regular menstrual cycle was going to impact getting pregnant, but I didn’t realize how complex it could be to get to the underlying issue and solve this.

    As someone who leans more towards the eastern medicine approach, it was a bit of an adjustment for me to go into a fertility center filled with hormones, injections and drugs. I’m the type of person who doesn’t even take Advil unless I’m in rare form. You guys know I thrive off of eating organic food, lighting my palo santo each night and practicing wellness in any form that feels right for me.

    You read that I did try to get pregnant using holistic practices for about a year but nothing was working on its own. I don’t regret focusing on that first as it is what I felt comfortable with. But I do strongly feel that combining the best of both worlds (eastern and western medicine) was just what my body needed. Not only one or the other, a little blend of sorts if you will.

    For anyone going through infertility treatment, you know that it can be really rough on us both mentally and physically. Taking injections, going to the doctor a dozen times a month and just the mental stress it adds to our daily life is really overwhelming at times.

    When I started to see Dr. Forman, I also kept up with all the other wellness practices I had been doing. I cannot say which one of these is more important than the other and I strongly feel that by practicing a bit of this and that it help me so much. I also cannot say that everyone must do each of these things in order to get pregnant. I am no doctor or professional here, but I know when I was trying to get pregnant, I was always looking for new things to try without putting my body in overboard. Something that many of us can do. It isn’t always the best idea to try everything you hear. In fact it usually isn’t a good idea at all. Adapt a few things here and there and try them out one at a time to see what works best for YOU!

    Below I am going to walk you guys through what I did during my infertility journey that helped me both mentally and physically. Again, I cannot say that these practices work for everyone but I hope you can use this as a guide or to help inspire you on what feels right for you and your journey.

    For any of you who have gone through infertility, please share your story over on FertilityIQ! Say “rachlmansfield” referred you and let’s help make this community even more special.

    All the greenery and life around me, puhlease

    Continue Reading

  • Our Journey Trying to Start a Family: Infertility Part Two

    Our Journey Trying to Start a Family: Infertility Part Two
    In the doctor’s office with the hope stone my Mom gave me, waiting for results.

    As you read about in the last post, Jord and I have had our fair share of struggles when it came to starting a family.

    After we found out our second IUI cycle failed, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. I knew things would work out in the end but I didn’t expect the crazy long rollercoaster we were on. I completely recognize that some couples do go through even more distress with fertility and I am grateful for our situation, but it doesn’t make this any easier.

    I don’t wish fertility struggles on my biggest enemy. I don’t want anyone to go through what Jord and I went through over the past 18 months. It is a challenge on you both mentally and physically. I found myself beating myself up over my body not doing what it was supposed to do. I felt like the furthest thing from a woman and a sense of embarrassment that I was getting pregnant. Living in Hoboken aka baby central, didn’t help either!

    Then there is also the guilt I had over putting Jord through this. Thankfully he is “healthy” and he didn’t have any struggles doing his part. It was all on me and that really weighed a lot on me both physically and mentally.

    I spoke to Dr. Forman the night we found out that cycle two failed and he listened to me cry for over an hour. I cannot even express how grateful I am to have found him and be a patient of his. He answers his email in less than 10 minutes, always wants to help and no matter what crazy question I asked him, he was answering it with the most knowledge he could. Even the crazy ones I’d ask about seed cycling and eating specific foods for parts of my cycle, sending him podcasts saying to only eat cooked foods, he went with it and was so supportive.

    In one of his blog posts about getting emails on his day off and patients and nurses apologizing for “bothering” him, Dr. Forman said, “None of these questions were life-and-death and could have waited until the next day. However, for each individual patient these were important in their already difficult journey through infertility treatment. What would bother me is if, in trying to not bother me on my day off, my patient wound up missing an opportunity to start a cycle and had to delay for a month longer. It would bother me to find out that my patient wanted y opinion on her individual situation and she had to wait days so that I wouldn’t be bother. So when it comes to patient care issues, if there’s any doubt, please, bother me.”

    I certainly didn’t feel shy emailing Dr. Forman. I had questions almost daily and no, they usually weren’t life or death but in the moment when your mind is going in circles, your boobs are so sore from the hormones and you are feeling so out of your body, you need the reassurance and comfort that a doctor and healthcare provider gives. I cannot be more grateful for Dr. Forman’s responses to me. He has been a huge support system for Jord and I.

    When we were on the phone chatting about next steps for cycle three, Dr. Forman thoroughly walked me through what our options were. From the way we looked at it we could move right to IVF or try one more cycle beforehand with a few tweaks. He suggested trying one more cycle before moving to IVF. My age and egg quality were on my side but we agreed on a few tweaks to cycle three that could increase our chances a bit.

    Instead of doing clomid we moved forward with injectables. Daily injections (I used Menopur) that you take in your low abdomen to stimulate follicle growth. It is an inject of LH and FSH and they’re a bit more intense than taking clomid. The were a bit time consuming, somewhat painful and you didn’t know how many nights it would be for. We also said we would take a different strand of HCG to trigger ovulation and hopefully this would help followed by a double IUI (IUI back-to-back days). Continue Reading

  • Things I Look for When Reading a Nutrition Label

    I am sharing what I look for when reading a nutrition label, and using one of my favorite products, Perfect Bars, as an example.

    I am sharing what I look for when reading a nutrition label, and using one of my favorite products, Perfect Bar, as an example.I am sharing what I look for when reading a nutrition label, and using one of my favorite products, Perfect Bars, as an example.

    It took me years to actually learn how to read a nutrition label in a way that didn’t overwhelm or confuse me. As a child, I never paid attention to nutrition labels and really just focused on what food my parents gave me to eat and what my friends were eating at the lunch table. If it sounded or looked good, I ate it. I didn’t have much regard for the quality, nutritional value or anything else about the food.

    Then in high school and college I began paying attention to the calories on the label and I decided on what to eat based on what had the lowest number of calories. I had no regard for the ingredients or anything else besides that number on the top left hand corner of a label. This was also the most brainwashing way to look at food for me. I was stuck on calories, stuck on counting numbers in everything and I was pretty much miserable while doing so. What fun is having dessert if you are worried about how many calories are in it?! Not to mention a 100 calorie pack did not fill me up. It left me hungry and cranky. I remember eating the cheese doodle ones with my lunch everyday in high school (HA!).

    Now things are a bit different. Today, I pick up a product and the first thing I look at is the ingredient list. I am no longer just looking at the number of calories or the percentages on the back of the product. After peeking at the ingredients, I glance over the nutritional facts and info to get details about the nutritional breakdown.

    I know it can be so confusing to actually know what to look for and what to stay away from in both food and beverages. There is a lot of conflicting advice given in the nutrition world on what is good or bad for you. And while I am by no means an RD or Nutritionist, I do have a solid idea of what I want my food to have in it and what I try to limit.

    In this blog post I am walking you guys through how I read a nutrition label. This isn’t professional advice or the only way to approach things, it is just how I go about reading a nutritional label. Based on many messages, emails and questions about how I choose what to eat and if it is good for me, I am excited to be putting this all together for you. Use this as a guide, not me telling you what is good or bad or the only way to eat…that isn’t my style over here.

    You will learn what I look for in products, what I try to avoid in products and what some of the numbers even mean. I’m not saying how I read a label is the best way or the only way, but it has worked for me over the past few years. I don’t find it overwhelming anymore trying to figure out if something is actually considered “healthy”.

    To help make things easier for us, I am using Perfect Bar’s nutrition label as an example in this post, particularly the peanut butter flavor. It is one of my favorite products to snack on as you see on my Instagram. I have been eating them since before I even started blogging (they helped get me off so many heavily processed junk bars). Perfect Bar is also one of the most common products you guys inquire about and you genuinely want to know why I love eating them so much.

    So let’s hop to it. Let me know if you guys have any questions as well, happy to address them as best as I can.

    Please also note that I am not saying that how I read a label is right way and the only way. I want you to do what works for YOU. I’m not an expert, this is just how I, as a consumer, tackle the nutritional labels. Continue Reading

  • High Cortisol Levels: My Story (hormone update!)

    high cortisol levels! managing high stress

    High Cortisol Levels: My Story (hormone update!). How I have balanced out my cortisol levels over the past few months!high cortisol levels! managing high stress

    A few months ago, I opened up about my high cortisol levels, hormonal imbalance and how I eventually got my thyroid back on track. I have been receiving daily messages asking for an update on all of the above, but to be honest I don’t like sharing updates until I actually have something that I think will be helpful for you guys! I am so grateful that you guys genuinely are curious about my struggles that I share with you here on the blog and Instagram. It isn’t easy when you are going through any type of challenge health wise, but opening up to others and connecting with many of you has truly had such a positive impact on my life and heeling in so many ways.

    For a little background..

    I always knew that my cortisol levels were on the higher side. I had been saying it for a few years before I even got blood work done and did the saliva test earlier this winter. I could just feel it in my bones. My heart would be racing all the time, I was constantly rushing from one thing to the next, I never felt calm or relaxed, my hunger levels were so off (aka hungry 24/7). I was constantly feeling overwhelmed whether that was around food or feeling like I “have to workout”, I was financially trying stay afloat in NYC, etc.! I asked a couple doctors to test my cortisol and each replied saying that I’m too young to have high cortisol and it is common to feel stressed out. I was told, “calm down and you’ll be okay.”

    “Calm down” is likely the worst thing you can say to anyone at anytime, but especially when someone is trying to speak to you about something their concerned about. And when they’re feeling the opposite of calm.

    But I knew there was something there. Something wasn’t right. I trusted my gut and finally was able to test my cortisol both with a blood test as well as the saliva test. Both confirmed that I do indeed have high cortisol levels. There were no dips throughout the day. My levels were high from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep at night. Which to be honest, somewhat surprised me because (knock on wood) I am a pretty good sleeper. I average 8-9 hours a night and wake up 1x to pee (I was told this is from high cortisol but I think I just drink too much ha!).

    So we have confirmation on high stress levels but now what? What even is cortisol?

    Cortisol is the main stress hormone in our brain. I never realized how much cortisol can impact all parts of our life. My thyroid was off, I am still dealing with hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA), which is when menstruation stops for several months due to issues with your hypothalamus, found in the center of our brains. And you are probably asking “what the beep is that?”. Our hypothalamus controls reproduction and pretty much sends the right signals to our uterus to do its thing. But when your body feels like it is being ‘chased by a tiger’, it isn’t going to feel safe. You are in a constant fight mode. And when your body doesn’t feel safe, your reproductive health is at risk and pretty much shuts down. This is what I am still trying to manage right now, and I believe this is the biggest factor in my HA.

    Our cortisol levels should be highest in the morning and lowest at night (something that has been off for me). Some experience dips midday and they’re cortisol may even be too low, causing fatigue and a constant tired feeling. Managing our cortisol is impactful in many ways but it helps to prevent fatigue, brain fog and keeps our thyroid on track. And for us ladies, if we don’t have managed stress then our reproductive systems will turn off.

    I truly believe that the main issue for my personal hormonal imbalance is purely from high stress + cortisol levels. And while I haven’t retested my cortisol levels since November, I do think that my levels have begun to go down slowly but surely. My heart isn’t racing constantly, and I have learned to manage stress better than I ever have in my life. I have always been a go, go, go kind of person since high school and it has really caught up to me. Continue Reading