IVF

I have PCOS and autoimmune issues...

A few days ago, I did a totally different kind of live video....I turned the lens on MYSELF!  

I get different versions of the same question from you guys A LOT.  It's something like, "Where are you at on YOUR health journey?" or, "How do you have the motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle?", or even sometimes, "You don't know what it's like to be unhealthy like me!"

So, I set up my iphone, took a seat, and spoke from the heart....for almost an HOUR!  It's raw, it's real, and it's me.  I take you through my PCOS journey, autoimmune issues, blood sugar issues, infertility and IVF, and share what I'm doing to combat these issues holistically.

Thank you for watching and if you're going through your own health struggles, please leave me a comment or email me at Tara@TaraAllenHealth.com.  I want you to know I read every one myself and I want you to know you're NOT alone!

In (search of) good health,

Tara

A letter to my kiddos on Mother's Day...

A letter to my kiddos on Mother's Day...

Dear Mags and Jags,

Tomorrow will be my fourth year as a mother on Mother's Day.  I want you to know that I waited (im)patiently for you for a long time!  I dreamed that you'd join us, Earthside, during so many long nights and even more days than I can recall.  

My life no longer resembles the life I had prior to 3.5 years ago.  I signed up for that. My career has drastically shifted, I have bags under my eyes, and my coffee is always cold by the time it reaches my lips.  It's hard to feel like a bada$$ - in business, in life - with various bodily fluids gripping onto my shirt threads.  There's 40,789 daily toddler questions and mysterious scratches on my face (didn't I just cut your nails?!)  Date night now consists of squeezing in 10 minutes of Shark Tank on the DVR before the first nighttime feeding.  That's right - hot dates over here in the Allen household.  ;-)

Then….THEN….the sleepless nights!

Sleepless on Long Island.

Sleepless in Love.

I signed up for this.

Ugh.  You know what?  The sleepless nights are HARD, but they're also WONDERFUL.  There, I said it.  This does not mean I can't use this against you in the future, by the way.  Certainly I should be able to squeeze an extra chore or 2 out of you both in the future, right?  Here's the truth.  I kinda, sorta cherish the sleepless nights.  (Shh - don't tell Daddy!)  There's something about the blanket of darkness and silence that calms my hyperactive monkey brain.  As I nourish your body with mine, my soul is overflowing with joy.  You see, I'm not counting the loads of laundry I didn't get to the day before or worrying about completing a client email in a few hours. I'm present.  I breathe you in.  There's this bond that's so overwhelmingly beautiful, it's bone-shattering (the other mamas will understand what I mean).

I signed up for this.

I literally signed up for all of this.

That first appointment I had with the fertility doc happened to fall on a hot summer day.  This was helpful as my tears were camouflaged by the beads of sweat.

I signed the consent forms - all of them - for every procedure, test, poke & prod.  I'd do it all again. Times a million.

I signed up to be your mama.  I'm a lucky, lucky mama.

Now that we're all here, I promise to keep my feet on the ground and my eyes on the stars - thanking them for the dream-come-true.  I'm not perfect (truly, I'm not!), but I promise to do my best - as humans do.  I promise to love you AND YOUR MOTHER.  You see, this business, the food I cook to nourish our family, the active lifestyle we lead…it's for you.  It's for us.  You deserve a mama that's here for you; a leading lady in your life ready to spring into action when needed or help support you through your childhood and adult challenges - changing careers, parenthood, filing for AARP.  Did I mention that I plan on being here for a while?  ;-)

M & J, tomorrow is Mother's Day.  You are 1 & 3 years old.  There may be a card for me, a brunch to celebrate me and the other special grand-mothers in your life, even a period of time in which you see me sit back for a few to take it all in.  Let me tell you a secret… I won't be celebrating me.  I'll be celebrating you.  I'll be thanking my lucky stars and wondering what I did to deserve the best.

Magnolia and Jagger, though I prefer "mama", it ain't so bad being your "mother" on Mother's Day.  Thanks for the title.  Thanks for the moments.  Thanks for the memories and laughter and hugs.  I definitely signed up for this.

In Joy,

Mama

Cake Smash Success! (Jagger Turns ONE)

Well how did THAT happen?  365 days and boom...Jagger-dude is 1 year old.  

He is the most perfect compliment to our crazy family.  His smiles and laughs make strangers smile and laugh everywhere we go.  He loves to be silly and mobile and hi big sister - well, he's a BIG fan of hers.

Some of you already know that our babies came with a little (lot of) help from science.  They were IVF miracles.  They also each survived a terrible pregnancy disease I had both times called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  All this just to say, we are so. incredibly. BLESSED!

I believe we can find reason in everything we experience.  "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." (One of my favorite quotes since I was a kid - from Nietzsche).  Our experiences have brought me to where I am today…I value my family and our health above all else.  I know what it's like to long for each of these.

Well, hello there!  (Jagger-dude - a few months old)

Well, hello there!  (Jagger-dude - a few months old)

To my sweet Jagger Jack, Happy 1st birthday!  We knew we loved you long before you joined us Earth-side.  You've been such a bright star in our lives over the past year.  I have loved every minute of our 365 days together - watching you grow, play, and learn.  I can't wait for more todays and tomorrows with you!

Babywearing has saved me this year!  Having free hands to chase after big sis is always a good idea.

Babywearing has saved me this year!  Having free hands to chase after big sis is always a good idea.

Now on to parties and cake smashes.  Here's what I learned:

  1. January birthday parties in NY need snow dates as a back-up plan.
  2. Using blueberries to color the icing actually makes purple icing, not blue.  Jagger is a very secure little dude, he doesn't mind purple….but, it didn't quite fit into the "Winter One-derland" theme that we were going for.  ;-)
  3. Sometimes the "cake smash" turns out to be more of a cake fondle.  And that's cool!  He enjoyed it, and that's all I was hoping for.
We may have had to reschedule Jagger's party, but at least we got an unexpected day to play in the fluffy white stuff!

We may have had to reschedule Jagger's party, but at least we got an unexpected day to play in the fluffy white stuff!

I started feeling pretty nostalgic as I made this recipe - the same one I created originally for Magnolia's first birthday.  I was a newbie to healthy baking, at that time, and ended up making about 7-10 versions of this one before it was "right".  That was wayyy back in 2014.  ;-)  I've come a long way!  Now I have TWO adorable reasons to keep me on top of my healthy baking (and cooking) game.

Magnolia enjoying her smash cupcake 2+ years ago at her 1st birthday party.  It's incredibly bittersweet to see how much she's grown in body and mind and how fast our memories are piling up as the months fly by.

Magnolia enjoying her smash cupcake 2+ years ago at her 1st birthday party.  It's incredibly bittersweet to see how much she's grown in body and mind and how fast our memories are piling up as the months fly by.

This was also the start of the muffin magic.  What the heck is that muffin magic, you ask?  Well, it's figuring out that muffins can be made of all the healthy stuff you want your kiddos and your whole family to eat!  We're talking veggies, fruit, protein, healthy fats, and fiber.  I don't hide anything in there as I believe it's in the kiddos' best interest to know they are eating veggies and all the good stuff to give them the best foundation of health that you can.  So grab the little ones and let them help measure and mix and get very familiar with these healthy ingredients!

*Note: This recipe is for muffins.  Add the icing and voila - you have cupcakes!

Pumpkin Batter all mixed and ready for the muffin pan.

Pumpkin Batter all mixed and ready for the muffin pan.

"Happy birthday to you…"   

"Happy birthday to you…"

 

 

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots (optional)
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend together all wet ingredients in a blender.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly pour wet ingredients from blender into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Fill greased muffin pan (or muffins liners) 2/3 full.
  6. Bake 30 minutes.

*Makes 12 muffins.

"Is the goal to shove as much of this in my mouth as possible, mama?  'Cause that I can do!"   

"Is the goal to shove as much of this in my mouth as possible, mama?  'Cause that I can do!"

 

I switched up the kind of icing I made this time, as I wanted a nice shade of blue to go with our "Winter One-derland" theme.  Hmm.  That didn't work out, but it was a very pretty purple color. Haha.  And it was tasty!

Blueberry Coconut Cream Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 T coconut oil (not melted)
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Place can of coconut milk upside down in fridge overnight.
  2. Carefully open can and scoop out the hardened coconut cream.  This is what you will be using for the icing.  Save the watery part to use in other recipes.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a blender (you will need to keep scraping down the sides and blending several times).
  4. If you make in advance, it's ok to refrigerate icing, just be sure to give it a good blend/whipping before you use as it will harden a bit.

 

Jagger seems as surprised as we are that he's ONE already!

Jagger seems as surprised as we are that he's ONE already!