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Patrick's Survival Guide

My husband is a riot. Seriously, if you don't know him, you should. He has actually grown to be quite famous on SnapChat and is starting to grow his YouTube as well! He is a natural on camera! Please show him some support and subscribe to his Youtube!

He routinely gets questions on his survival bags, so some of his first videos are on that topic! He also gets questions routinely about brands and products, so this is a complete list of items he mentions throughout his YouTube videos.

  •  Compass:
    • Eyeskey Waterproof Multifunctional Military Metal Sighting Compass with Inclinometer for Camping, Hiking
    • $27
    • http://amzn.to/2EEFIcz 
  • Gun Cleaning Kit:
  • Reflective Signal Panel
  • Stainless Steel Canteen Cup
  • Medical Gauze
    • Bulk Pack...
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Gut Health 101

What IS Gut Health? How Do I Keep My Gut Healthy? 

The gastrointestinal tract (aka the gut) is composed of trillions upon trillions of live microorganisms commonly referred to as the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota has a very important job of keeping us healthy by fighting off bad bacteria and aiding in digestion.  A healthy, diverse gut microbiota is related to good overall mental and physical health. An imbalance or lack of microbiota diversity has been associated with an array of issues and chronic disease states such as…

  • Asthma
  • Obesity (Yep! Gut microbiota has been shown to have an effect on weight)
  • Mood
  • Neurological diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Leaky Gut
  • Inflammation 

What Affects Our Gut Microbiota?

Everyone is different and everyone’s gut microbiota is different, and there are a number of factors...

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Packing Lunch for Your Toddlers. Part 2.

Incase you missed part 1, make sure to refer back to it! In this part 2, I'll share with you some examples of the lunches I've prepared for my girls! I personally use these containers from amazon because they are relatively inexpensive, I can buy them in bulk, dishwasher safe, they fit in their lunch boxes, it's okay if I throw them out, if they crack, etc. We don't heat them in the microwave, though they are BPA free. If something needs to be heated I put it in a separate container to be heated. 

Here are 12 examples of our lunches in pictures! Comment below if you find this helpful!

Leftover chicken & veggie stirfry, berries, nut/seed crackers, wholly guacamole packets.

Egg & spinach muffin, raisins, fruit, and canned green beans.

Frozen peas & carrots, organic cheese, baked chicken with ketchup, grapes & honeydew.

Shredded chicken, frozen peas & carrots, cucumbers, berries & wholly guacamole.

3 days worth for 2 kids.

Grilled chicken,...

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Packing Lunch for Your Toddlers. Part 1.

I love sharing what I'm feeding my kids (hence the passion behind Mommy Feeding Family), and I often share my meal plans, pictures and instructions for what I put in my kids' lunches, and more on social media. If you follow me on SnapChat (@AshleySweeneyRD) you've probably seen those cute lunch boxes I use... sSo what’s inside of those lunch boxes?  Deciding how to pack those lunches can sometimes cause some serious brain fog.  Let me help you navigate the lunch box dilemma! See Part 2 for examples!

Weekly Lunch Packing Steps:

  1. Get your lunch boxes ready.
  2. Plan your family dinners for the week.
  3. Determine which dinners would make for easy leftovers for lunches (for yourself and the kids).
  4. Pack bulk items into individual serving baggies (veggie straws, crackers, seeds, nuts, etc,)
  5. Wash, dry, chop and portion veggies into individual serving baggies or lunch boxes. 
  6. Keep extra veggies washed & chopped in the fridge for easy after school snacks. 
  7. ...
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Happy New Year's!

Well, 2017 certainly was an exciting one for us! With two moves, each taking us further and further west, we've landed ourselves in Sunny Southern California, and we are seriously loving every minute of it!

We began our year in Savannah, Georgia (Hunter Army Airfield), where Teagan was born, where we met amazing friends, explored great foods and enjoyed more of the Southern hospitality we love so much! (Picture below is our last night in Savannah, GA at Tybee Beach).

Then, Pat was promoted to Captain and we moved to Arizona for a 6 month course. In Arizona we lived closer to my sister, my niece and nephews, did a lot of hiking in the desert mountains, and enjoyed plenty of margaritas and guacamole!

In spring of 2017 I began working virtually with Chalene Johnson and creating what we called then, the Diet Beta Test. We tested our unique dietary approach with over 25,000 people, fine tuned it, tested again, perfected it and mastered it in preparation for the 131 Diet. 

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Vitamix Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Who knew that you could do so much with the handy, dandy Vitamix? I certainly didn't think it would become a daily appliance in my household. I use my Vitamix for making 131 Blender Bread (a favorite of mine from the 131 Diet recipe collection), cashew butter, almond milk, smoothies, juices, and so much more!

On my old blog, this recipe was one of the BIGGEST hits! Since I've moved almost everything here, I wanted to post the recipe here as well!

Here are the basic ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups steamed frozen broccoli
  • 2 Tbs diced onion
  • 1.5 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Add milk and vegetable broth to Vitamix, followed by cheese, broccoli, onion, salt and pepper.
Start on variable, turning to 10. Turn the Vitamix on HIGH.
Keep on high for 5-8 minutes or until you see steam.
Let cool slightly, enjoy!

 

I am obsessed with my vitamix!



Adapted from Vitamix

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What the Health: Fact vs. Fiction

I am not writing this to bash anyone’s opinion or tell you that one diet is better than another. I am writing this to provide you with accurate, evidence-based information so you can make the best diet decisions that actually works for you. It frustrates me to see people use the popular documentary "What the Health" as their basis for going vegetarian or vegan. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going vegetarian or vegan, in fact, I was a vegetarian for almost 12 years!

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or a lover of meat and potatoes, I am going to provide you with the truth!  I'm going to explain some aspects of the video that I did agree with, and then my problems with it below.

What I DID Agree With: 

  • Eat more plants.  A plant-based diet has phenomenal impacts on overall health.  Plants are an incredible source of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
  • We eat too much protein.  The average Western diet’s...
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Non Food Rewards

In a recent blog post, I shared my advice about not using food as a reward with your child, and how to enjoy treats around the experience, not the food itself. Today I'm sharing a list of some of my favorite non-food rewards that you can try to use with your kids! Use in place of candy or treats for positive behavior!

Activities!

  • Playtime in the park
  • Children’s museum’s
  • Trips to the zoo
  • Movie of choice
  • Trip to the local farm to see the animals and plants
  • Water table play
  • Set up a small swimming pool in the backyard

 Trinkets & Toys

  • Crayons + coloring books
  • Paint and canvas
  • Sticker books & special stickers 
  • Cumulative stickers (once they get __ number of stickers they get to buy something or pick out a new toy)
  • Play dough
  • Stamps* (let them pick out their favorite stamp & ink color at the craft store)
  • Water bottles or fun cups
  • Balloons- All kids love balloons
  • Bubbles*
  • Books

You can buy a lot of these things in bulk, or even from the dollar...

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What is Inflammation?

Is inflammation good? Or is it bad? Do we want inflammation? Would you believe me if I told you inflammation is supposed to be a good thing? Inflammation is actually the body’s response to stress, injury, or illness.

It helps the body heal and defend itself against harm.  Think about a cut/scrape, sprained ankle, or bee sting.  Often there may be redness and swelling associated with the injury. This extra blood the body sends there contains many helpful cells that work to fight infections and heal. After injury is healed, the body goes back to normal.  This would be an example of acute or short-term inflammation.

Inflammation becomes dangerous when it is chronic, or long-term inflammation, which can often be somewhat silent. Chronic inflammation is associated with or can lead to heart disease, leaky gut, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and a number of other diseases and conditions.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise play a HUGE role in inflammation.

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Food is Fuel, Not a Reward

Too often food is used as a reward.  “If you go put your shoes on right now, I’ll give you a cookie.”  Since we know our kiddos love a sweet treat (and who can blame them?!), we as parents often use it to our advantage, because let’s face it, it works.

So, what’s the problem?

What ends up happening is the treat becomes a reward and gets put on a pedestal.  When in reality it should be treated as food, not a trophy.  The goal here is not to avoid treats, but give our children the foundation for a healthy relationship with food, all food, even brownies.

Below is a chart of common ways food is used as a reward and maybe what to do instead. 

  

Instead make it about the experience not about the food.  Creating traditions around food is great because it naturally becomes more about the experience than the food itself.  Birthdays are a great example.  Just think about your child’s last birthday party...

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