Monday, November 26, 2012

Squatting on the Potty for a Healthy Body

So I'm not talking about literally squatting on the potty, attempting to balance with your feet on the rims...that would be difficult and probably not very safe! I am talking about squatting on the potty with the help of a step-stool type device called a Squatty Potty, which you use when you're having a bowel movement. Bam! There it is. That's what we're talking about today...poop, fecal matter, excrement, you name it...we're talking about it. I'm going to keep it clean and stick with calling it a bowel movement, but if the talk of this makes you squeamish, then this post might not be for you.

Chances are though this post may help you. Since pooping/bowel movements are something that EVERYBODY does, you could probably benefit from hearing about the "squatting revolution  that's going on right now.

What is it?
The idea is simple, anytime you are going to have a bowel movement, you squat...as opposed to sitting in a normal toilet-style sit, and as a result your body gets healthier in a number of ways. The squatting position is created with a step-stool style device, which elevates your feet.

Why would I want to squat?
Traditional toilets have it all wrong when it comes to posture. Did you know the original toilet was designed by a watch maker? Later it was improved upon by a cabinet maker...and although they made the toilets look nice...they did not have our digestive anatomy in mind.

When we sit on a toilet in the traditional way our anal canal is at 90 degrees, which just so turns out to be counterproductive to helping us get bowel movements out. In this position, our anal canal is kinked....almost like a garden hose, not allowing bowel movements to pass through.  This is a good thing since it keeps us from "going" while we sit and work on the computer or eat dinner at the table.

Traditional toilet, all wrong. 

Unfortunately when we take on this position at the toilet  our bowel movements are more difficult to get out. Sometimes we have to strain or push...thus causing uncomfortable things like hemorrhoids or stress on our pelvic floor muscles.

This is where squatting comes in...
Since the beginning of time, humans have been squatting to have a bowel movement. They didn't have fancy, upright toilets and yet they got the "job" done just fine. They also didn't have the issues that burden our health today like hemorrhoids, constipation, and colon cancer. Could toilets be the smoking gun? A possible source to point our finger at when looking to the source of our ailments? While it's certainly not the answer to all the problems, it can certainly help.

Doing a yoga squat.

I do yoga a lot and when I was pregnant with Avery I made sure to practice squatting daily. I found that this not only helped prepare me for birth, but it also helped me see how beneficial the posture can be for going to the bathroom...lovely I know.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not about to abandon my toilet and start "going" in a hole in my backyard for every bowel movement just for the name of "health"! Lucky for us there's an easier solution...a Squatty Potty.  This simple device that looks similar to a step stool, slides conveniently under your toilet seat when not in use and when you're ready to have a bowel movement, you simply pull  it out, elevate your feet, and let it "slide"...literally!

Feet up on the Squatty Potty.

I purchased the ECCO Squatty Potty on Amazon for $40. I got the ECCO version that is 9 inches high. They have a variety of other styles too like bamboo and their "classic style". I'm sure there are other squatty-like products out there but this is the one I have the most experience with so that's what I'm sharing with you today.

Personal benefits that I've noticed since using the Squatty Potty are:
1. More of a bowel movement (larger amount because the bowel can completely empty)
2. Less time on the toilet (anal canal is completely open so the you don't have to strain, push, or wait around)
3. Decrease in bloating (less excrement remaining in the intestines means less bloating for you)
4. Less toilet paper (with the Squatty Potty, bowel movements empty right out, so there is not much to wipe. Even better, you don't have to make multiple trips to the bathroom, since you can empty out the first time thus equaling less toilet flushes.)

Other benefits as cited by the Squatty Potty website include:

  • helps avoid constipation
  • ends hemorrhoids
  • prevents colon disease
  • strengthens the pelvic floor

One more thing I love about the Squatty Potty is that it slides under the toilet nice and easy.

The Squatty Potty slides
under the toilet easily.

See the Squatty Potty in action (well, not literally) in this week's video...




Don't have a Squatty Potty?
Get resourceful. I used to use a laundry basket flipped upside down. You could also use a box, small trash can or whatever you can find that helps get your knees up above your hips.

Laundry basket can work to create
the "squat" if needed.
Additional tips:

  • When "squatting" try to get your knees above your hips as much as you can and bring your abdomen forward to your thighs. This really enhances the squat without you having to lift your bottom off the toilet seat.
  • Still having trouble with constipation? Start your day with a glass of warm water with the juice from half of a lemon like I mention in this post, then when you feel things moving along have a seat on the Squatty Potty and see if that helps solve your problem. It usually gets the job done!

Want to learn more? Check out this awesome video by the Squatty Potty company. I found the graphics and information very helpful!



So there you have it, the talk about "bowel movements" is complete...yeah! What do you think about "squatting on the potty"? Would you be willing to try or is it just too strange for you? Or are you an avid "squatting" fan? Share your experiences below!

Happy squatting!
*Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.*
Recently this blog post has been linked up to:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Technical Difficulties...

Hi greenies, as you can see, nearly all the pictures on my blog have been replaced by black boxes with a minus sign.

When I log into my Picasa Web Photo Album where all the pictures are usually stored, my the photos are completely gone. I am attempting to restore them but I'm not sure how to do this or how long this might take (other than just uploading every single picture from my computer). Any advice would be helpful!

*Now you may see some posts with pictures, but those are ones I have re-added recently...most are still missing though. Bear with me. (  :

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Start Your Day with Warm Water & a Lemon (Video)

Every morning, rain or shine, sick or healthy, at home or on vacation...I do the same thing: drink a glass of warm water with a lemon right after I wake up. I read about this tip several months ago and I've been hooked on it ever since.



I've never been a coffee person, usually I just get up, eat something and get ready for my workout. But once I started doing warm water with a lemon first thing, I found myself craving it each morning. Probably because my body was getting the hydration and vitmains/minerals/enzymes it needed. And even better, my digestive system was super excited about it too because it gave me the kick in the pants (literally) to get out the food and waste from the day before and start fresh that day.

What do you do exactly?
All you have to do is take a glass of warm water, squeeze the juice of half of a lemon into it, and drink it right when you wake up. Repeat this daily.



Benefits of warm water with a lemon:
  1. Stimulates digestive system. Once you get in the habit of doing this (or maybe even after the first time you do this) you will find that it will probably get things moving in your digestive tract...and you'll be heading to the bathroom.
  2. Increase hydration. I love how hydrated this makes me feel each morning
  3. Help with cleansing and detoxing. The lemon water stimulates your liver to help with detoxing, and helps the digestive tract expel toxins.
  4. Improve skin. Thanks to the vitamin C in the lemons.
  5. Help with acid reflux and bloating.  
  6. Help make your body more alkaline. Despite the fact that lemons may seem acidic they are actually very alkaline when they are digested in our body. Drinking lemon water will help increase the alkalintiy of our body, a key goal in decreasing inflammation and preventing disease. (read more here)
  7. Support your immune system. Thank you vitamin C! I've also heard it can be helpful if you have a sore throat.
  8. Help with weight loss. One by keeping you hydrated and two, because they have pectin fiber which can help fill you up.
Here's my favorite article about drinking warm lemon water first thing, and from there you can learn  more of the benefits: "Why You Should Drink Warm Water & Lemon"

Guess who else does it? Kris Carr, my all-time favorite health idol and even Lauren Conrad from The Hills (favorite fashion/TV idol) does it too! So you know I had to give it a try!

Here's a breakdown in this week's video (with the help of Avery!) on how to go about making the warm lemon water and why you'll want to give it a try... 




If you are a classic over-thinker/perfectionist like me, you probably have questions like I did,
So here's some FAQs:

Can I just use the little lemon juice bottles from the store? We want fresh lemons that are full of live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Not the pasteurized stuff from the store.

What's the best way to get the juice out? I use a citrus juicer like the one shown below (Chefmate). I got it at Target for $4! It's make my warm water with a lemon much easier and cleaner each morning. Plus it catches the seeds...bonus! There are all kinds of juicers on the market, so find whatever works for you.
Just place the lemon on top and twist away.

I love how it catches the seeds, those are never fun to drink.

Now if you don't have a citrus juicer, no worries. Just cut the lemon in half, and carefully cut off the peel, leaving as much of the lemon as possible. Take the "naked" lemon half and squeeze it into your warm water. Yes, this method is messy, but it will get much more juice out of the lemon than just cutting it in half and leaving the peel on. Give it a try.

Why does the water have to be warm? Cold water first thing will be a shock to the body. Warm water will not only be more gentle, it will also help stimulate your digestive tract even more.

Can I microwave the lemon water to make it warm? No, the microwave will kill the enzymes in the lemon. Instead just warm it up on the stove very briefly...not boiling. You could also use tap water and just warm it from the sink, but if you are trying to use only filtered water (after reading about the benefits I posted here) I suggest the stove-warming method so you can have your filtered water warmed gently. You could probably also use a tea pot to briefly warm it.
I gently warm the water on the stove, until it looks about like this
with a few little bubbles.
You definently don't want it boiling!
Then I just pour the warm water into my
glass. If it ever gets too hot, I'll let it cool
down a bit before I add the lemon juice.
Time for the lemon juice!

Will the acid from the lemons harm my teeth? Some people are worried about the lemon juice and the enamel on their teeth, so if this is a concern for you then you can use a straw. I like to use a straw anyways because I feel like I drink more when I use a straw. My favorite green straw is a Glass Dharma Glass Straw (I use the "Beautiful Bends Smoothie Straw" $10).
Read more about my glass straw swap here.

Do I have to drink it first thing in the morning? Yes, this is key. You have been sleeping all night and are probably dehydrated. The glass of water first thing will not only wake you up, it will give your body the hydration it needs to start the day. I find it is also key to maintaining "regular" elimination habits. Doing this tip first thing helps get out the yesterday's food and waste. 

Could you add anything else to the water? Yes! Kris Carr mentions adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to her warm water with a lemon each morning. So I've recently started adding, literally a pinch (or one shake) of cayenne pepper to my water each morning and I really like it. I resisted trying it for awhile because I figured it would taste like chili powder-water, but the tart lemon pairs well with the cayenne and they blend just fine together. Cayenne will help raise the temperature of your body to help with detoxing and to speed up your metabolism.

A pinch of cayenne is a great add-in with the lemon water.

This is about how much I put in (max).

You could also add some grated ginger to your lemon water for a little something extra. Pregnant mamas might really enjoy the anti-nausea benefits of the ginger, and for the rest of us, ginger is great for increasing circulation throughout the body.



Does the lemon water take the place of a meal? Definently not! Despite being more hydrated, your body will still be hungry! So feed it the fuel it needs. Go ahead and eat your normal breakfast/snack after your done with your lemon water. Usually I'll wait about 5 minutes or so and eat up before my morning workout.

Well, that wraps up the question section...I know, I know, leave it to me to make something as simple as putting lemon juice in warm water complicated and with a million questions, but I know there are others out there like me, so I hope this helps answer your questions too. But if you still have more, post them below. I'd be happy to share what I know. 

One of my favorite things about this tip is that it is so cheap...no fancy shower filters to buy, no fancy technique or way of doing it, just drink a glass of warm water with the juice of half of a lemon every morning when you wake up. Will you give it a try?

Maybe you already do this tip...if so, share below if you have a favorite technique or any other benefits you've noticed since you started drinking your lemon water in the morning.

No matter what, just remember:

Cheers!

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

18 Months Old

Well, since it's about time for Avery to turn 19 months, I figured I should probably get on here and get her 18 month old post done, right?! Gotta love life back at school. Things sure get a little crazy around here, but I still manage to snap hundreds of pictures of Avery, so to free up some space on my memory card, it's time to finally share them with you. 



It's been a fun and busy month, with Halloween, Brandon's birthday, and just watching Avery grow, talk, and turn into the "not-so-little girl" that she is.

This month's photo shoot, was not exactly the highlight of the month. She has quite a hatred for the chalkboard sign, why did I think that was a good idea when she turned 13 months old?  ( : By some miracle, I did get her happy and smiling for this pic. Probably because I was singing, "Old MacDondald Had a Farm" for the hundredth time, and it was at her favorite part..."Ei Ei O!"



Here's the look I got when I handed her the sign...if looks could kill.



Here's some of her favorite things this month...

1. Favorite food: avocados. She will literally eat one whole avocado in a sitting. Runner up favorite food is still frozen strawberries.



2. Favorite thing to do: Relax in her chair and put her feet up, she calls it "feet up."
Just chillin...

""What can I say, I like to relax."

Feet up on a toy box.

"Oh, are there toys in there? I better find something to play
with."

Second favorite thing to do: Take things out and then put them back in, or as she says, "Put it in, take it out." She'll do this with water, dirt, rocks, sand, and cereal as you can see below.

She took all her cereal out of her bowl,
and then put it back again.

"What can I say, it's fun!"

One more favorite thing to do...pretending to talk on any item that even resembles a cell phone. She'll say, "Hello," or "Hi Mommy," "Bye Daddy". Gotta love the way she can multitask already.
Like the fancy necklaces, she got those on Halloween and
still enjoys wearing them.
3. Favorite thing: water towers.  Yes, I am talking about the water towers you see while you are out driving. She loves these things. It started because we talk a lot about what we see when we are out driving around like stop lights, horses, gas stations, grocery stores, and most recently, water towers.  So after driving by them and talking about them time and time again, we decided to go on a "Water Tower Tour" one day and boy did she have fun! Lucky for her, there are some parks below a few water towers in our city. So aside from seeing the "huge water towers" (as she says) we also got to swing, slide, and run around.
A water tower in our city.
She was all smiles when we arrived.

"Ummm... did you guys know there's a
playground over there?"
She sprinted across the bridge...
Giggling all the way!
She loved the slide and went up and
down it more times than I can count.

Everytime she would get to the bottom
of the slide, she'd throw her arms up
and say, "Okay!" as she sprinted
to climb the stair and do it again.

Water towers + Daddy= One happy girl!




Now it wouldn't be a "Water Tower Tour" with just one water tower...so we headed to another water tower in the area (that had a park).
Water tower #2.


Peek-a-boo!

Then she saw the coolest thing (to her)...
A water fountain in the shape of a lion!

"Teeth teeth" she would say.

Favorite song: "Give Me Love" by Ed Sheeran.  When we get in my car she usually will tell me who she wants to listen to, Ed or Mat. (Referring to Ed Sheeran or Mat Kearny, my two favorite artists). While she is a fan of both, she especially loves this Ed Sheeran song because he repeats a verse over and over, "My my my, give me love...my my my, give me love!" So Avery usually sings along in the back seat, "My my my give love".  She'll even sing this song in her crib when she's falling asleep. Pretty funny. You've got a fan, Ed Sheeran. ( :
Any other Ed Sheeran fans?



Other fun events from the month:

1. Running/walking in a local race that's a tradition for my mom and I...and now Avery.
She spent most of the time in the stroller, but she finished
by walking at the very end.
Each year we try to take a pic to remember the day and
each year it gets a little harder. This year's picture...on the
ground (Avery's choice!). 

Fun event #2: Dad's Birthday, so to follow suit to the picture we made last year in this post, we took another D-A-D picture. As you can imagine, it was a bit more difficult than last year, but it was worth it. Brandon loved it.


Fun event #3: A trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Now I've already mentioned some of the Halloween fun we had in this post about how we carved pumpkins and she was a little "ghost". But we also went to a local pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin. Here's some of the fun we had...

"Pumpkin Time!"

Her favorite mode of transport:
Daddy's shoulders.

Fun in the field with Mommy.

Being silly with Daddy.

Best part of the trip...riding in the
wheel barrow!
She loved it so much that she wouldn't let us put a pumpkin in! So we walked home empty handed, from the pumpkin patch, can you believe that? But we weren't too sad, we already had a pumpkin at home and the $20 charge to enter was plenty for us. Maybe next year we'll actually buy a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.
"Who needs pumpkins? I've got this wheel barrow."


One last fun pic from the pumpkin patch, the "How Tall This Fall" wall where you can measure your child's height. Things changed a bit from last year...



I can't believe how much she's changed in just one year. 


So there we have it, a year and a half old...can you believe it? Who would have thought she'd grow up to be one water tower-loving, avocado-eating, hilarious, spunky little girl? We sure love you Avery.

See you all next month!

Recently this post was linked up to a blog party called, "Tuesday Baby Link Up". This is where other bloggers can gather together and share their baby-related posts, such as: pregnancy & birth, adoption, newborn & baby, or toddler & child. You can find more of the "Tuesday Baby Link Up" over at the blog I Thought I Knew Mama, as well as a number of other blogs that are listed in the link above. So hop on over and check out some other fun baby posts!


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