Shed for the Preg: OVERDUE (and some baby shower pics!)

Hello there friends. Reporting to you 3 days past my due date, and no sign of baby Shea yet!

It has been a while since I have posted on the blog, and that’s for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s because of the way I have been feeling. It has been really difficult for me to engage with wedding related content right now, as it just hasn’t pertained to my life in the same way. As I’ve mentioned in previous “shed for the preg” posts- this pregnancy has been most challenging in my head versus in my body. I was talking to my cousin a couple weeks ago about the dissonance I felt from SHED, work, and social media on the whole and she gifted me with some clarity. She simply replied, “I would be surprised if you didn’t feel that way. Everything in your life is about to change, you need to create distance from these things to make room for what’s to come.” It was so simple, and yet so clear. As my priorities shift, so will my head.

So that being said, I do apologize for dropping off so fully and without explanation! I will be gone for a bit again as I sort out my new mommy priorities and we figure out how we function as a new family of three.

I did want to write this post though to share some of the beautiful moments of the past few months. Baby Shea has been showered with soooo much love!! And two of his aunties came for surprise visits! <3 <3 We are so overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the generosity, love, and support. I’ve shared some highlights from his special days below.

Besides that, the nursery did come together quite beautifully, and I will share some photos of it soon! Mostly, the past month or so has just been survival mode. Third trimester in the summer is no laughing matter- especially when the “real feel” temperature is over 108 degrees! I have had very little interest in cooking. Just snacking. At the bottom of the post I’ve shared my recent symptoms and cravings.

Bags are packed, everything is ready to go, we are just waiting on the little man! We’ve tried spicy foods, walking endlessly, pineapple, and more spicy foods. Getting desperate to meet the little guy! In the meantime, send me all the good labor vibes!

Thanks as always for following along the journey! -AHS



Symptoms

These are numerous but for the sake of not being a whiner I will try to be brief. Some notable challenges are:

  • Putting on my underwear and or shoes. Leaning over is painful!!

  • The top of my ribs are perpetually sore from being kicked from the inside out

  • Acid reflux at all hours

  • Contractions that feel like menstrual cramps but never seem to lead to labor

  • Exhaustion

  • Brain fog (understatement of the century)

  • Soooo hot, all of the time. Our condo has become an icebox.

Cravings

  • All of the citrus. I am drinking more lemonade than anyone should. I’ve been diluting it or creating my own Italian lemonade with lots of crushed ice! I’m insatiable.

  • Ice cream. All of it.

  • Watermelon.

  • Toaster waffles.

  • Pickles.

I’m a living pregnancy stereotype, I know.

Shed for the Preg: Third Trimester Update

#33week bumpie. Enjoy my messy bathroom.

#33week bumpie. Enjoy my messy bathroom.

Well the countdown is on… baby Shea will be joining us so soon! Our due date is July 21 so we are in the final stretch. Lil dude is very active. I swear he has the hiccups at least 3x/day. He is tracking exactly to his due date, so we guess he will be average size. My blood pressure is normal, weight gain on track. All in all, fortunately very uneventful so far! Thank God. 🙏

Check out those swollen feet and ankles! :) Pufffffy!

Check out those swollen feet and ankles! :) Pufffffy!

We just came back from an epic family vacation/babymoon, a European river cruise. We hit up 4 countries and did a lot of walking, but everything was great! The biggest issue was some feet and ankle swelling.

Reflecting on this pregnancy, I realized it mostly has brought out the more chill side of my personality. I haven’t stressed overly about what to eat (but don’t worry I did plenty of research about it first! :)), and occasionally will indulge in a glass of wine. But at times, I wonder if I’ve done baby a disservice by not being hyper-vigilant. For instance, should I have changed my water filter on my fridge? Should I have really tried to stay away from dairy and refined sugars? Should I have exercised more vigorously? These questions plague me, often, but mostly I hope that my more laissez-faire approach will affect him positively through his demeanor. This sums up pretty accurately how I feel like this pregnancy has been more mentally challenging than physically. Yes, the physical changes are hard, but nothing compared to knowing that everything I do for the rest of my life will affect this kid. Sheesh. This is why we waited awhile before embarking on the parenthood train!

Currently, I am doing a lot of thinking about the birth plan. Doula or no doula? Epidural or try to go natural? My doctors have a very low c-section rate, which is important to me. If I have to have one, of course, let’s do it, but I really only want that if it is absolutely medically necessary. There are so many little details that go into it, I want to have a clear head while I can, knowing we are making the right moves for the little guy.

The other big thing is getting the nursery set up. We have to move a lot of furniture and junk currently in the room. So while we have a crib and lots of baby gear in there- we can’t really get set up until we get the other beds and desks out. If anyone has any organizational recommendations, I would seriously appreciate it! Cleaning is not a strong suit of mine.

Current symptoms:

  • Feet swelling. This was particularly bad when we were on our Euro trip last week. The plane made them huge! They almost didn’t fit in my shoes!

  • Running hot. It’s been so weird going from someone who was always cold to always hot. My hands, my feet, ice water is my new BFF. Summer is going to be fun!

  • Waking up. If I don’t wake up several times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, that’s a win. It isn’t so bad except for when I can’t fall back to sleep right away. Pretty standard, but only getting worse I’m afraid.

  • Weight gain, duh. I’m at a little less than 30 lbs from my starting weight as of today (doc says less, I’m not complaining!). For not really trying to manage it–I’m happy with it. It’s weird feeling just letting my stomach takeover, but I’m kinda loving it.

  • Acid Reflux. I used to think this was something that could be avoided, but apparently the relaxin hormone that “relaxes” the muscles to make room for babe also relax the sphincter (the lid between the stomach and esophagus), allowing stomach acid to make it’s way north. So really if it’s going to happen to you, it’s going to happen. This has gotten progressively worse with time. So hello, Tums!

  • Hormonal emotions are back. I cried at the end of Pitch Perfect this week. Yeah, new low. 🤦🏻‍♀️😅

So that’s it for the current update! Apologies if I have been as present with the wedding content, my head is just in baby land right now. :) Thanks for following along on this journey! -AHS

The Glow Up: A Pre-Wedding Cryo Facial

CryoBar Bucktown Chicago shed for the wed

Did you guys know that Austin Powers is on Netflix? Honestly, it still holds up! Such a gem of a mooovie. Lol! So I watched it this week and was inspired to get cryogenically frozen myself! So I booked my first cryo toning facial at the CryoBar in Bucktown. I was not sure what to expect– I had been wanting to head to CryoBar for a while now, but the full body services are not prego-approved. When I found out the facial is A-OK– I was pumped.

It’s different from a typical facial- no extractions, and it’s quick: in and out. You can start 6-8 weeks before wedding, quite different from the 6 months before wedding with a standard facial (extractions, etc need a longer lead time to make sure you aren’t having a break out pre wed!).

Touted Benefits

Skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, and increased collagen production! Hello, sign me up! Who doesn’t want that?! 

The experience

The girls working there were very welcoming and nice, especially with my pregnancy brain (my birthday was in their system wrong twice? How? Why? I couldn’t tell ya).

You head into a room with a standard facial table with a blanket. You can have light make up on, but need to take off jewelry.

They take a machine emitting cold vapor steam and run it over your scalp, face, and neck. At first it feels really cold and weird, but then it starts to feel so good.  It was almost kind of addicting. It felt amazing! I typically hate cold–but I loved the sensation. I can only imagine how great it feels on a hot summer day!

The best part? It only takes 10 minutes. I loved that for fitting it in, but definitely not a full spa-like experience.

Cost

It cost me 20 ClassPass credits (on my plan that equals about $36) + tip. At CryoBar they price by “the chill”. For one “chill” (which could be the cryo toning facial, full body, or localized treatment) it cost $65. They have packages at discounted rates as well. First time client special is $40. I did see some better rates at other cryo spas (but can’t speak to the experience), so doesn’t hurt to shop around! Don’t forget to factor in tip, too (always go off of the full price of the service!).

Results

Afterwards, the rest of the day my skin felt tight, and good! I felt like I was glowing. To see a real difference I think I would need to see a built up response. I will definitely be heading back there soon!

Do it before the wedding?

If you are looking for wrinkle reduction and skin tightening, and it’s in your budget– 100% go for it! There doesn’t seem to be any reason that this would be problematic to do before the wedding! I would just make sure you start 6 weeks before the wedding, just in case you have an unanticipated adverse reaction! Also, if you are more concerned about skin clarity, I would recommend sticking with a standard facial.


Have you tried cryotherapy? I would love to hear what results you have seen! Leave me a note below or on social media!

Morel of the Story

foraging morel mushrooms eat local

I don’t quite have the words to capture the magic I feel in this place. Particularly in this rainy spring weather. The birds in chorus. The forest full with fresh greens. Moss covered trees. Fungi on everything. Damp bark, the clean, fresh air. Little tree frogs. Red tailed squirrels. A white tail frolicking away from us. The energy of trees that are hundreds of years old. The view of the river bluffs carved from the same glacier that made the ole Mississippi.

I’m at my dad’s (no longer working) farm, that has been in our family for almost 200 years. The farm land (consisting of corn and soybeans as crops) was sold a few years ago. What’s left? 150 acres of woods, creeks, ponds, and furry friends!

Sup lil brah

Sup lil brah

fungi on bark
I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

An atmosphere perfect for foraging morels. Morel mushrooms are incredibly good tasting mushrooms that can’t be cultivated. They (seemingly) just grow at random during the Spring. They are native to the midwest– and they are fabulously yummy. I’ve only come down to the farm maybe twice before during this time of year. I remember coming as a kid, and being very disappointed in the process. My husband has a joke he loves to say, “Alexandra vs nature”– well imagine a young kid version of this. Bugs? Cold? Rain? Looking in dirt? Yeah not so ideal. But adult Alexandra, while still hating insects in my space, handles all of this much better. And in fact, I kinda love it!

fresh morel mushroom spring illinois midwest

Walking in the woods, listening to the birds, the crunch of the branches beneath my feet. It is very much a magical, meditative experience.

Then comes the actual search process. This is the part I am learning I am not so good at. I thought being so distinctive, I would have no trouble with this. Pattern recognition is my jam. Well, finding them is a pretty random game. There needs to be some sunlight, so that the land isn’t too moist. And they tend to be close to elm trees, but not necessarily directly under them. Lots of rain seems to help them to pop up, too.

I’m embarrassed that my initial thoughts made me feel like I was in a real life version of Zelda. Searching for any oddities or things out of place. I felt like I was pretty good at that. I found a tree frog, countless spiders, a deer antler, various other types of fungi, deer fur, and more. But the morels… a bit tougher. I found the first one of the trip, but my beginners luck ended there. The thrill of finding one is addictive. It feels like finding gold–nature’s gold, that is! 

My dad really seems to have a knack for it. Miraculously, on day 2, my dad found the hot spot of all hot spots. We found an area with about 100 morels! It was like hitting the jackpot. So so satisfying, everywhere we turned we could find one! So satisfying. 

This is beyond farm to table. This is natural food, uncultivated, just created because mother nature is incredible, then foraged and immediately put on the table. I’m beginning to understand the appeal of hunting. I’m much happier with being the gatherer in the hunter-gathering scenario though! 😅

I’m so thankful for the experience: for the connection to the land and my food! “Morel” of the story: I came back after 3 days having a much deeper appreciation for all that our mother earth provides for us! -AHS

morel mushrooms pike county illinois
morels on burger with spinach
morels with butter and white wine

How to Prepare morels

In terms of preparation- simpler is better! My step mom lightly breads them and fries them. A delicious option if you are into crunch! After cleaning them thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!!!) I prepared them in a large pan. I heated them and let them release their water for a few minutes. With some of the mushroom juice still available I added several pads of butter, and white wine! They pair beautifully with pasta, steak, or even a burger!

morel mushrooms midwest fresh

The Energetics of Food

I just spent the past two weeks prepping food with my mother and aunt for Easter. It was exhausting, glorious, and 100% #notshedapproved.

Not even half of the tadalles we made!

Not even half of the tadalles we made!

We made these Italian biscuits/cookies/bagels(?) we call “Tadalles” (I think it is derived from the Italian Easter cookies, Taralli). Our family recipe differs from any other recipe I’ve ever seen for them though, which makes them even more special to us! I also helped make a taleggio cheese and mushroom lasagne; lamb stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, and garlic; carrot cake; appetizers; and more.

The food tasted amazing, but I think it has an extra special je ne sais quois that comes from the joy of cooking and preparations for our loved ones.

This is one of my more “woowoo” inclinations, but I believe the energy that you have when you prepare food gets served to whoever is the lucky eater. So when you’re cooking, I think it’s important to mind your attitude and try to make it a joyful, loving experience.

Along the same lines, if you choose to eat animals, I think the energy of the animal gets transferred to you! If those cows had room to graze, and were treated well, their happiness lives on and that’s what you absorb. If, on the other hand, they had a miserable existence and were crammed into small stalls with never any exercise or sunshine– I believe we absorb that energy too. When you view the world from this perspective, it encourages all of your eating decisions to be “soulful” and healthy! It broadens your viewpoint beyond just ourselves, but also to the experience of other life forms.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes it to another level (see chart below!). Certain foods have certain energetic properties. Feeling anxious? Skip the alcohol and sugar! Have you been a running all over the place lately, super busy? Have some fish with root veggies for a grounding meal!

Why do we tend to crave root vegetables when its colder? Besides being more readily available, they are warming to the body! Why do we like salads and smoothies in the summer? They are cooling, and its what our bodies need!

Eating seasonally and locally helps us become in tune with the natural rhythms of the earth. Not to mention, some local foods can have awesome benefits only available to you– like local bee pollen! If you add it to your diet you have protection against some seasonal allergies! Growing your own food or purchasing from the local farmers markets helps to create connection to our food and locale.

Reprinted with permission from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Reprinted with permission from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Have you ever thought about the different ways foods can affect you? What ways will you take the different energetics of food into account as you prepare your meals next week?

  • Will you cook with love and mindfulness?

  • Source your animal protein from happy animals?

  • Go to your local farmers market?

  • Choose to eat or cook foods to help you round out your own energy?

I want to know! Leave me a note below or on social media! xx, AHS

Q & A: How do I lose belly fat?

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

A very common question I get as a health coach is “how do I lose belly fat?”.

[Note: I’m not going to evaluate the validity of the question- if it matters to you, it matters to me! I’m here to support you the best I can!]

Well unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of it is nonsense. Please skip the “teatoxes” or anything that guarantees fast results. Furthermore, no amount of crunches will eliminate that extra cushion in the front! You may have heard that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym– and that is absolutely true!

I believe the best approach is one with slow, sustainable progress. That’s not what most people want to hear, but that will leave you with lasting results. It’s important to remember that it is very common that belly fat is the last to go! You need to be consistent, and put in the time to even approach losing excess from your midsection!

The Shed program is designed to help you tackle this issue! You eliminate and scale back on some of the most problematic foods for your middle!

Foods that can hinder belly fat loss:

  • white or refined carbohydrates (see above bagel)

  • sugar

  • dairy

  • alcohol (beer especially can be problematic!)

You don’t need to eliminate these from your diet forever. But skipping them for a concentrated period of time will help push your body out of it’s current de facto state and will allow you to start losing.

But if you are skipping the foods above- what do you eat? Prioritize eating lots of vegetables, protein at each meal, and healthy fats! (If you are looking for guidance on this- the Shed program has meal plans included!)

You may eventually hit a plateau. There are a variety of ways to tackle a plateau– it really depends on your body and circumstances. Oftentimes you just need to change up your exercise routine. Doing more or LESS may be the solution. If you are putting too much stress on your body, it releases cortisol- which is the enemy to weight loss! If you have been doing light exercise like walking, it may be time to add an extra boost. Plateaus are really where coaching is the most helpful– everyone’s life is unique and what may be causing your plateau may be completely unique to you. (Shoot me an email if you are interested in one-on-one coaching!)

Back to cortisol– if you perpetually feel stressed– this could be your biggest issue with losing weight around your tummy. Try to find ways to manage your stress. I highly recommend meditation and yoga to bring some calm to the chaos! Other people manage their stress with running or other cardio. Just try to find something that can consistently bring you some zen!

In summary, the steps to losing that pesky tummy:

  1. Eliminate problematic foods (white/refined carbs, sugar, dairy, alcohol) from your diet for a period of time

  2. Eat a healthy diet filled with lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats!

  3. Push past plateaus

  4. Manage your stress

  5. Have patience and enjoy the journey of changing your lifestyle for the better!

5 Ways to Practise Self-Love from Bridal Coach, Georgina Lucy

Georgina Lucy. Photo by  Ashley Kingsbury  .

Georgina Lucy. Photo by Ashley Kingsbury.

Today’s post is a special guest share from Mindful Bride Coach, Georgina Lucy! I love her thoughts on this topic. Please note I left the post written in her delightful British English. Enjoy! -AHS


I get it, as a bride you want to look and feel your very best for your wedding day.  You’d be hard pushed to find a bride who doesn’t want this. With this being an important goal for so many brides it can also bring up challenges. By focusing on what you want to change about yourself it can lead to unhelpful and often quite punishing self-talk and that’s no fun!

I want to help you turn this on its head and practise some self-love during your engagement, whilst staying committed to your goal of looking and feeling your best come the wedding day. I promise you, these two things are perfectly compatible.

1. See yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you

So often we are our own worst critics. We look in the mirror and see all our perceived flaws and fixate on them. We give ourselves a hard time when we make mistakes and put insane amounts of pressure on ourselves when we’re not ticking things off the ‘wedmin’ to-do list fast enough. It’s exhausting isn’t it?

Have a think about all the people in your life who love you. Hopefully you have a few special people to pick from. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. See yourself through their eyes.

What do they love about you? What little quirks make them smile? What parts of you do they adore the most? Really feel that love they feel for you. When we see ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us it can feel a little more comfortable than looking in the mirror and chanting, ‘I love you’ (don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that too).  Hopefully this will allow you to see yourself in a loving way. Tap into this feeling next time you’re giving yourself a hard time.

2. Be careful what you consume

Do a social media audit. What’s dominating your newsfeed? Does it make you feel good? Often, we follow ‘aspirational’ accounts and people to give us something to aspire to but is this making you feel good? If it is, then great but really question the impact certain accounts are having on you. Do you notice a shift in energy when a particular person pops up on your feed? Really notice these shifts and don’t be afraid to hit ‘unfollow’ or ‘mute.’  Believe me, it can feel very empowering!

By consuming content that lifts you up and nurtures you you’re being kind to yourself and this is a huge act of self-love. What podcasts make you smile and make you feel good about yourself? Listen to more of them. We have a lot of ‘dead time’ in life – travelling, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sorting laundry. Use this time to absorb anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Some of my go-to feel-good podcasts are, Oprah’s Super-Soul Conversations, Project Love and Wobble.

3. Be Obsessively Grateful

As I said before, we tend to fixate on what we don’t like about ourselves don’t we? What about fixating on what we love about ourselves instead?

Think of just one thing that you’re grateful for about your body. For me, it’s my long legs. I used to hate being tall and felt like a freak when I was head and shoulders above my school friends but now, I’m so grateful for my long legs. They carry me through my day, get me from A to B, and often rather speedily! Not everyone can say that. Maybe you have incredible skin, beautiful long eyelashes, strong arms. Believe me, you have multiple parts of yourself you can feel gratitude towards, if you let yourself.

Really focus on that feeling of gratitude. Notice how it feels and sit with it a while. Simply the act of noticing things to be grateful for shifts your mindset and sooner or later, when you look in that mirror, your mind will go to the good bits first.


4. Let yourself off the hook

When you’re planning a wedding, it can become ALL about the wedding, ALL of the time. If this creates feelings of pressure and overwhelm rather than feelings of excitement give yourself permission to take a break.

One of the brides inside my Facebook community, The Mindful Bride Tribe was feeling totally behind and overwhelmed. The solution wasn’t to work out how to fit yet more tasks into every ounce of spare time she had, it was the opposite. She let herself off the hook and had a weekend off.

When we’re not doing what we think we should be doing, we can beat ourselves up can’t we? Just like your mobile phone, you need a recharge once in a while. How about a wedding free weekend? A date night free from wedding chat?  Time spent doing things that light you up? I bet when you come back to it you’ll have a new lease of life to tackle that to-do list like a boss!

It all starts with giving yourself permission to do what feels good for you. Listen to your body and if there’s signs of stress, that’s a clue you need a break and letting yourself off the hook is such a wonderful way to show yourself some love.

5. Write a love letter to yourself

Get quiet, put on some lovely music, get a pen and a notebook and write a love letter to yourself. If you find yourself staring blankly at a page then think about how you’d support a friend who needs some words of wisdom? Treat yourself as you treat those you love.

If you’re stressed, anxious or under confident give yourself advice about what steps you could take to ease that pressure. Don’t give too much thought to what you’re writing. Just let it flow out of you. It may feel hard at first but persevere. This is just for you. There is no judgment and you may just find you have some real breakthroughs.


Find out more about Georgina and how she is supporting brides with their wedding wellbeing by visiting her website georginalucy.com, or joining The Mindful Bride Tribe Community on Instagram or Facebook.

Banana "Nice" Cream

Banana “Nice” Cream

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas, chopped

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk

  • 1 tbsp almond butter

  • ⅓ cup chocolate plant-based protein powder

  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp cacao nibs

Instructions

Place bananas, almond milk, almond butter, and protein powder into a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy. You may need to turn off the motor and stir the mixture a couple times while processing. Add in cacao nibs (if using) and pulse once more. Scoop/spoon ice cream in to a bowl and enjoy!

Note: Freeze for an hour to make easier to scoop. If making in advance, just thaw for 10 minutes or so to make it easy to serve.

Wellness is not exclusive

This week Kourtney Kardashian unveiled her new lifestyle and wellness site, Poosh. Well this brought up all kinds of feels for me and so I thought it was time I finally tackled the topic of wellness elitism.

My first impressions of the Poosh website was that it did a good job tackling a variety of topics, but was disappointed in the depth of the articles. I was impressed to see ”Tapping into your spiritual side” but was unsatisfied with the 3 uninspired paragraphs on the topics that really made one valid suggestion. It seems like they are attempting to grow their content and adding other authors which will be sure to increase the quality of the content, but in the meantime, it seems like Poosh is not really filling any void in the market. There is no shortage for lifestyle content, and I expected more than fluff. Beyond that, in true Kardashian fashion, they are perpetuating an unattainable body image. “An instant butt lift with Coach Joe” and “How to look good naked”–their headlines alone imply you need to change how you look. Beyond that, there are almost-naked photos of Kourtney of everywhere.

But this post was not meant as a critic of Poosh, or the Kardashians (not that they don’t deserve some critiquing!). When I read the name “Poosh” (apparently it’s so named for the nickname of one of Kourtney’s children) it immediately made me think of “Bloosh” the lifestyle trend app featured in a few episodes of the show Parks and Recreation. The CEO of Bloosh, Annabel Porter is maybe my favorite depiction of the absurdity that the wellness community espouses at times. A great example of this is from the episode “Recall Vote” she mentions that “in her home, they do not eat meals. They have ‘food teases,’ such as oat wedges and seaweed lozenges.” Enough said, right? I have no evidence of this, but I always felt that the writer’s were using Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness site/brand, Goop as their inspiration for unattainable wellness.

Now, Goop has expanded over the years, and has become more inclusive of a diversity of price points, but it’s elitism is really what makes it stand out as a brand. By touting high end skin care regimes, designer fashion, and unique (read expensive) travel destinations–it’s a lifestyle brand that’s foundation is built on aspirational living. And wellness is no exception– with Goop branded vitamin packs retailing at $90/month– Goop defines wellness as exclusive. I appreciate Goop’s unique content, but it is definitely not created to be accessible for all. As it’s founder, through out the years, Gwyneth Paltrow has been criticized for being out of touch with the masses and being unaware of her privilege.

While dear Gwynnie has been out in the stratosphere in terms of her connection to the “every woman”, there is another public figure that is even more disconnected than our dear Gwen.

… and that’s Amanda Chantal Bacon (the irony of her name is not lost on me), the founder of Moon Juice. Elle magazine published her food diary in 2015, and I reference it whenever I need a good laugh. She is the real life Annabel Porter. Her daily diet–from ho shou wu to Shilajit resin–consists of foods that most of the population have never even heard of. It’s next level elite, and that’s how it’s intended. Rare, globally sourced ingredients are a huge money maker.

This parody of the article also continues to make me chuckle (but read the article first!):

So we now have:

  • Poosh

  • the fake, “Bloosh”

  • Goop

  • and Moon Juice

…coincidence? I think not. I’m not exactly sure why double Os mean elite wellness, but there is definitely a trend here (not to mention Well + Good. You could take it a step further and include dominant tech giants, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook!).

But I digress. These three (real :)) women and their empires are built on sharing their elite standard of living with the masses. To quote my current muse, Jameela Jamil,

“Let’s get real about money for a second. Because money is the reason most people don’t look as thin and young as celebrities. These people have trainers, chefs, access to the best organic food, they have the best beauticians, staff to help them do everything, a MUCH less stressful life, the best doctors, many have talented surgeons, they have make up artists and hair stylists. And then ON TOP of that, they are airbrushed without telling you they are. You are being set up for a fall with this comparison porn culture. Swerve the lies and just do you.”

Calling attention to these extreme examples in the wellness community is important because they set an unrealistic expectation of what the average person can do to make their lives healthier. Beyond the sheer expense of living the way they do, they overcomplicate what it means to be healthy. You don’t have to live like the 1% to have a healthy existence. Icons like Kourtney and Gwyneth set an unrealistic example of what wellness is for the every woman. While drinking adaptogens and cordyceps every morning can make you feel awesome, not everyone has the means to add this into their diets daily. Superfoods are great, but by no means are they a requirement to live a healthy life!

As a person who owns a wellness based business, I like to show you new trends, but I never want anyone to feel like they can live a healthy lifestyle if they can’t use a certain product. Because it’s NOT TRUE!! Wellness is truly accessible to all.

“Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants” - Michael Pollan

Don’t let the wellness elite make you think it’s more complicated than that.

Your body is beautiful

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I was having coffee with a friend last week and I had a realization that I have a low tolerance for talking about weight loss. Upon reflection, I think that’s because no matter what your shape or size is, I truly think you are beautiful no matter what your size is. And obsessing and following extreme diets and exercise regimes to change you… well it upsets me, to be honest. While that may sound contrarian to what my name implies; “Shed” for the Wed, is really about making Soulful Healthy Eating Decisions. It’s so much more than seeing a certain number on the scale.

I’ve made it very clear that I am not about counting calories, weighing food portions, or restricting whole food categories for an extended period of time. I want to teach you how to eat healthfully to make you feel your best on the big day–but more importantly for the rest of your life! And that requires making healthy living sustainable for the long term.

But while you are learning about healthy eats (which will in 99% of the time help you lose weight if that is your objective), I want you to know you are already “wedding ready”. You are a radiant human just as you are right this very moment. If you have a hard time believing that–as so many of us do–I want you to be actively working on loving your body. By showing love for your body, you are showing love for yourself, and when you love yourself, you can truly love others fully and without judgement. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Another incredibly important point–when you love your body you have a healthy relationship with food. You don’t look at cake with disgust or with lust (okay maybe sometimes with lust 😂), but it is neutral. There will always be options that are healthier and options that are less healthy. Foods do not have the labels of “good” or “bad”.

All of this is easier said than done. This work does not happen overnight. Sometimes it can take years of our lives to decondition ourselves from the years of torment we (and society) have placed on ourselves. I’m for sure still working on it, and probably will be for a long time! I’ve compiled some easy actionable tips to start you on the right path:

  1. Look in the mirror and say something nice about what you see once a day (at least!)

  2. Eat vegetables and fruits. By feeding yourself nourishing foods, you are honoring yourself and showing your body love.

  3. Whenever you think a menu item is “bad,” active try to change your mindset in that moment to that it is neutral. Bonus points if someone orders it and you eat some!

  4. Meditate. Take 5 minutes out of your day to just be.

  5. Move your body joyfully. Turn on the happiest song in your Spotify library and have a dance party for one. Or ride your bike outside. Whatever it is, make sure it puts a smile on your face.

What are you doing to show your body some love this week? Leave me a note below or on Instagram/Facebook! With love, AHS