I don’t do cleanse programs or diets because they don’t work for me.  I always feel ravenous, miserable, and downright hangry.  Funny thing is, those exact same programs usually promise a hunger free experience.  Riiiiggghhhhtt.  And I’m going to fly my pet unicorn to Tahiti tomorrow.

I make an effort to eat clean about 90% of the time.  By “clean,” I mean gluten free, dairy free, high veggie, high protein, preferably organic food choices.  And plenty of it.  I also carry plenty of healthy snacks in my purse to avoid the whole hangry thing (which is why I have a large purse).  However,  I have a little secret to tell you.  They aren’t all for me, my friend.  Yes, a few are for Savanna, but most are for my husband.  Hangry Continue reading “Hangry.” »

Exercise, Movement, and Learning

Here is one of my most favorite studies of all time.  The Naperville study demonstrates the powerful connection between movement and learning.  I originally wrote this article on the Naperville study on January 2, 2010, and I am republishing this content because it is so important.  Enjoy!

Exercise and the Brain

If you’re involved at your child’s school, you may want to print this one out and take it to your next parent meeting to support the inclusion of effective Physical Education in schools.  School administrators need to read the astounding body of research surrounding the connection between exercise and learning…..and remove the coke machines, but that’s another article. Continue reading “Exercise, Movement, and Learning” »

That One Dreaded Question.

Caveat emptor:  This is going to be a heavy post.  I’ve written it a thousand times in my head, but I went offline for awhile.  This is my story about moving on from heartbreak, so it is not my usual content.  We all experience loss in life, and this is a post about heartbreaking losses I have experienced over the past four years and how I’ve dealt with them.

There are two four-lettered words that I loathe:  “only” and “just.”  Let me explain.

I am often asked, “Is Savanna your only one?”   Oh, how I hate this question.  Sometimes, I get the shortened version with a quizzical look, Just one?”  I have answered this question a thousand times, and I always offer one of several canned responses.

“Yes, I guess we got it right the first time.”  That much is true.  We most certainly got it right the first time, but in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.  “Yes, just one.  She keeps me busy enough!”  Also true.

Mike gets the same question in different form.  “Man, when are you guys going to try to have another one?”  His responses are often more blunt. “Nah dude, we’re done.  Trying isn’t the problem.

If people knew what a loaded question this was, they would never ask me in the first place.  I answer anyway because these are normal questions to ask (in my book).  I also appreciate the genuinely caring people I meet everyday who care enough to ask about my family.

However.  I have gotten tired of answering the same question over and over and over again.  It leaves me feeling slighted.  These canned answers dishonor what Mike and I have been through over the past 4 years.  It feels like I am deleting my past with these words, and that no longer feels right.  It’s time to modify my answer in a way that honors our family expansion efforts.

Here is the truth, and those of you who have followed this blog already know the first half of the story.  When Savanna was 4 years old, we got pregnant and had a very public miscarriage at 13 weeks.  It was horrible, I had surgery, and we worked our way through that loss.  Six months later, we decided to get back on the wagon.  I got pregnant again and the exact same thing happened. The heartbeat was there, and then it wasn’t.  End of story.  It was just as horrible the second time around, especially since it meant the first miscarriage was not the “fluke” my doctor said it was.

But we recovered.  Lots of healing took place over the years, and both of those losses became a part of who we are together.

Last year, we made a huge decision.  Mike and I decided to go to a specialist who could help us correct the problems that most likely caused both miscarriages.  Let’s just say this:  it took real balls on my part to even consider getting pregnant a fourth time.  I had no interest in repeating the nightmares of the past, but I felt that I needed to try again.  Take one for the Gipper. Third time’s the charm!  I had an excellent specialist, and we had no doubt that it was going to work this time.  We forged ahead with positivity and cautious optimism, and we were expecting our 2nd child in December 2015.  Exactly three months from now.

Only that didn’t happen.  Again.  This time, I was closely monitored twice a week and had fair warning about 3 weeks before my 3rd miscarriage happened.  Let’s just say that fair warning during pregnancy is not a good thing.  It is much like being tied to a train track while watching a train approach.

During that 3 weeks, I put on a good face and carried on with my life because I had no other choice.  I went to spin class.  I went to Mother’s Day parties at school.  I attended my daughter’s dance recital and pretended everything was normal that day, despite the fact that I might miscarry at any moment.  I sat on the end of the back row on the very end

And then, the train hit.

I had a miscarriage in my bathroom on May 10th, 2015 on Mother’s Day.  MOTHER’S DAY.  I literally held a teeny, tiny baby in the palm of my hand around 3pm on Mother’s Day.  In my own bathroom.

I have heard the occasional person say, “but it’s not a baby yet, it’s an embryo.”  Let me dispel that myth for anyone who actually believes this misnomer.  IT IS ALREADY A BABY.  I know this because I held my tiny baby in the palm of my hand.  It had tiny arm and leg buds, and I saw the teeny, tiny heart that we had watched beat on the ultrasound screen several times.

As you might imagine, this was a fairly traumatic loss for both of us.  I would compare it with an emotional earthquake, with the aftershocks hitting at unexpected times.  Recurrent miscarriages seem to accumulate some real emotional wreckage.  I spent the entire summer dealing with the aftershocks, drinking a little more wine than usual (for me, that means a glass almost every night as opposed to 1-2 glasses during the weekends only), and coming to terms with the fact that we are not going to have another child.

Lots of healing has happened, and we are moving forward.

We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can certainly choose our reactions.  I was very, very sad for a few weeks.  Few things are as disempowering as losing an expected child.  Two weeks after this loss, there was a moment when I felt a stillness of my thoughts.  It felt like a pause wherein I could choose to sadness or happiness.  I could take a left turn and continue to feel sad and angry, or I choose a right turn and take the joy that is available in my life.  Either way, the choice was mine.

It dawned on me that the greatest loss would be getting stuck on this loss like a broken record….and missing out on the joy that is in my life right now.

I chose the right turn.  It was a very conscious choice.  Here is what I have decided:  sometimes, you have to decide to choose joy.  It is a very conscious decision to focus on what you DO have, and to choose to be happy about that.  I refuse to be a victim to these circumstances, or to any others for that matter.  I am so grateful for my beautiful, healthy, sweet daughter.  We were lucky to have her.  In fact, I am now convinced that the only fluke in my life was Savanna.

But she is not the only one.  She’s just the only one I have at home.  I have three in my heart, and I have one at home.

And maybe the next time someone asks me the dreaded question, “Is she your only?” I will give a different response.  A response without those four letter words.  One that honors our family expansion efforts and the lives that never made it here.

“I have three in my heart and one at home.”  

I’m grateful for my husband, Savanna, our health, our family, and our friends.  There is so much joy to be found in each moment, but we have to choose mindfulness and presence in order to experience that joy.  I hope that in sharing this, I can do my part to help dispel the myth that we should not talk about miscarriage.  I also hope that if you have been through anything similiar, you feel a little less alone after reading this.  You, my friend, are not alone.

That’s all from South Florida for today, folks.  Three in my heart and one at home……and that is enough._DSC0086-1


The Garage WOD

This summer, it was nearly impossible to work out.  Savanna was out of school, and Mike works out early in the morning before work.  I was consumed with entertaining and carpooling my child on the weeks that she was not enrolled in a camp.

I also came down with a sudden case of plantar fasciitis.  If you’ve never had it, consider yourself lucky.  It’s a miserable problem to have, and it never seems to go away.  Goodbye to the convenience of running!

What’s a girl to do?!  With the time constraints at hand and a chronic foot injury, working out became a real challenge.  Exercise is my behavioral medicine, so I had to figure something out for the summer.  It had to be time efficient, convenient, and most of all…..effective.  Exercise is Medicine

The end result is this hellacious workout.  I did this “Garage WOD” every other day, and it was tougher than anything I normally do at the gym.  Burpees became no big deal after several weeks, and I could hang with the best in a burpee WOD……100 burpees for time?  No problem.  I basically kicked my own ass in my own garage on my own time. Continue reading “The Garage WOD” »

How to Make Quest Protein Bars at Home | The Secret Ingredient!

This is, perhaps, the most exciting recipe I’ve shared with you in a long time.  Why?  Because I’m going to tell you how to make magic happen in your kitchen, my friend.

Do you like Quest protein bars?  I do.  A lot.  That’s why I buy 450 5 boxes at a time.  I’ve been free basing Quest protein bars for about 3 years now, and why not?  They ingredient list is solid, the nutritional profile is impeccable, and they taste amazing.  However, there can be too much of a good thing.  It’s probably better to eat real food (as in the kind that I cook in my kitchen) instead of processed protein bars.  Also, you’ll wind up dropping a ton of cash that would be better spent on, say, a second home.
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Continue reading “How to Make Quest Protein Bars at Home | The Secret Ingredient!” »

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake | Low Sugar, High Protein Decadence

Hola, friends!  I have a real treat for you….a chocolate chip cheesecake without the guilt!  This one is sure to be a crowd pleaser at home-it disappeared within 12 hours the first time I made it.


The first recipe I tried called for some vegan ingredients to keep it Paleo.  However, I tweaked the recipe for taste and it now contains dairy (note that the filling is no longer Paleo for those of you who follow a strict Paleo regimen).  However, this puppy is high protein, low to zero sugar, and almost entirely organic.  Seriously.  It has the most divine chocolate cookie crust you can possibly imagine, which you can use when you can use to make other types of pies as well.  Bye bye, nasty pastry pie crusts from the freezer section! Continue reading “Healthy Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake | Low Sugar, High Protein Decadence” »

Paleo Chocolate Chip Brownies | Gluten Free and Packed With Protein

These Paleo chocolate chip brownies are delish, gluten free, low sugar, high protein, and easy to make!  They became a fast favorite at the Benton household this summer.  These are the perfect answer to any chocolate cravings, and they can substitute for protein bars, too.

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Continue reading “Paleo Chocolate Chip Brownies | Gluten Free and Packed With Protein” »

Sausage and Eggs All Week Long | Paleo Mornings Bites

One of the toughest meals of the day for us is breakfast.  Every weekday morning is like rush hour, as I’m sure it is for you.  Mike generally runs in the door from CrossFit, showers, and runs back out to work within a 15 minute time frame.  If there’s nothing ready to grab for breakfast, he grabs….well, nothing really.  This isn’t a great way to recover after training, nor is it the optimal way to start your day.

Here is a fast, easy way to have a Paleo style breakfast……sausage and eggs!  These were a fast favorite at our house, and I try to make at least a dozen of these puppies once a week.  Pop them in the toaster oven before your shower and they’ll be ready by the time either of us runs out of the door!  These will also help you get into a state of ketosis, which I happen to think is an optimal state of functioning.


Continue reading “Sausage and Eggs All Week Long | Paleo Mornings Bites” »

Buffalo Hot Wings Cauliflower | How I Got My Husband to Love Cauliflower

Do you like hot wings?  My husband loves them!  I don’t eat hot wings and yet, we both love this recipe.  It’s packed with all of the flavor of hot wings minus the low quality meat that usually gets served in hot wing dishes.  Here is an extremely  healthy, fiber packed, low carb, tasty, fun way to snack or add a side dish to dinner.

This is pretty easy to make, though it takes a little longer than my usual recipes……but totally worth the effort!  I use gluten free flour because gluten sucks, but you could also use almond flour.   Continue reading “Buffalo Hot Wings Cauliflower | How I Got My Husband to Love Cauliflower” »

The Health Benefits of Stevia and Xylitol

Do you use stevia or xylitol?  I hope so because both of these sweeteners have some pretty neat health benefits.  Besides, they make life a little sweeter.


Stevia is all over the place these days, so you won’t have any trouble finding it.  It tastes great and even has some major health benefits.  Stevia can help control blood sugar AND insulin levels.  This is exciting news since both are closely connected to health and longevity.  In fact, controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels after meals is a powerful way to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a few other age related disease processes.  In a recent study on subjects diagnosed with diabetes Type II, stevioside reduced after-meal blood glucose levels by 18%.  That’s powerful stuff.  To think that you can decrease your chances for any of these disease processes while possibly improving your health and longevity by using stevia is pretty sweet.
photo-62 Continue reading “The Health Benefits of Stevia and Xylitol” »