Food for Thought

I applaud my friends who on a daily basis offer healthy food choices to their children. It is a full time job being a parent, and it’s not easy making the time to read up on the latest info to better our kids’ lifestyle. Yet, I am surrounded by moms who selflessly sacrifice precious sleep to do the research and pass it along via text, Facebook, Pinterest and whatever other social media outlet reaches the masses. I have learned so much from you! And am excited to see that other moms care so much about their children’s’ well-being, even if it means its not popular to all who scrutinize us under their microscopes.

Why is it that most people in the the generations preceding us can’t get the clue? Are they so exhausted from parenting that they’ve “earned the right” to throw junk food down our kids’ throats? Or is it ignorance? Why do I constantly have to justify or explain that I’d rather feed my child blueberries or grapes than crackers and cookies. I don’t care that they’re organic! But thanks for the effort.

If a grown adult ate bread, cookies, and crackers all day, any right-minded person would know this leads to diabetes and a slew of other health issues. Why are these ok to give our kids?

I’m not saying these are never ok, but my goodness, they don’t need to be the go-to foods. You can wash an apple just as fast as you can open a cracker box.

Our precious innocent children, who have yet to create their own bad eating habits, are being subjected to this junk to pacify the whines. No one wants to support the younger, educated, “health obsessed” generation in raising healthy kids simply because of the old-school thought, ” I did it this way, you-turned-out-fine” argument. If we all turned out fine, than why are we all doing so much research to find a better way?

If everyone’s fine than why are so many people suffering from digestive disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the like? Every doctor wants to blame anxiety. Why don’t we face the facts and look at the side effects of some of the preservatives put in our food?

Disodium phosphate or tripotassium phosphate for instance-the binding agent in most foods such as the popular Cheerios. Almost every household in America is taught by doctors that these fabulous O’s help infants strengthen their dexterity. Has anyone bothered to look at the side effects of these ingredients? Or the OSHA warnings for that matter ? Or what these ingredients are also used for?

I’m not here to claim to be an expert and provide all that info to you, but what I’d like is for people to stop pretending they know what’s best for my child, and stop questioning my parenting choices. I doubt and question my choices enough. I don’t need aunts, uncles, grandparents, or random strangers at the grocery store giving me funny looks, ignoring me telling them not to feed my son that cookie because “he says he wants it.” Of course he does!! He’d watch hours of television (don’t get me started on my thoughts on tv and other media) or drink a piƱa colada I’m sure, if I let him. Does it mean its good for him? NO!! of course not!!

My sister shared a link that’s been circulating Facebook about how parenting choices that are failing this generation of kids. One of the author’s points is that “we’ve lost the village”. I totally agree. The village needs to support the parents’ choices. It’s not “your mommy/daddy says no”. It’s “that’s a no” “we all agree its a no and support each other in setting healthy boundaries.” A toddler throws a tantrum because (s)he is learning how to process and express emotion. This does not mean we give her/him anything (s)he wishes.

I feel like I just went on a rant, but this is a desperate cry for people to learn respect! I thought that as I became more confident in my parenting choices that I wouldn’t care so much about all the opinions or that I’d get more respect or a response from people. Wrong! Nothing’s changed, and quite frankly I’m tired of it!

We’re expecting our second child at the end of the year, and I’m sure I’m going to learn more about myself and this process with our new addition. But Lord help me if I have to deal with more comments about “how different two are” or “I’ll lighten up when the second comes” or “I won’t care as much.” I’ve seen plenty of moms with multiple children still making the same healthy choices as they did with their first. I pray I can be that diligent, and I have so much respect for their choices!

We all parent with different perspectives, paradigms, realities, and choices, but it’s up to us and the communities around us to support each other in those differences. But why is it that children with cellulite on their legs get “goos” and “gaahs” and cute nicknames as they shove chicken nuggets and donuts in their mouths and then we wonder in disgust why adults have eating disorders? People celebrate those parents and tell me to lighten up.

I talk to moms that don’t get to be home all the time with their kids that complain that they “can’t tell someone else how to raise their child.”

I’m here to say, “yes you can! (S)He’s your child!! I know that in order for a lot of people to survive these days two incomes are necessary, but guess what, don’t sacrifice your child’s well-being by making excuses for the caregiver. They’re getting paid, and if not, then its someone who loves your child enough to watch him/her for free and therefore should love him/her enough to make healthy choices. If not, do the extra work and pack the food yourself so there’s no excuse.

I know I’m not going to make everyone happy every time I write, but please know my heart is to encourage you. I want to learn from my own mistakes and other’s successes. I welcome feedback and questions with love.

Until my munchkin’s next nap (or my next sleepless night), I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I hope my life lessons can promote community and respect for others. Now, I need to figure out how to smile and shut off my brain so I can sleep. Now is a good time to let go and let God.


Two Words Doctors Hate: Juicing & Miracles Part 2

If you read Part 1, you know that I just recently had some tests done to find out why I’ve been experiencing some unpleasant symptoms after having my son 8 months ago. Before going into further details, you must know that these symptoms are completely different and unrelated to what I’m about to share with you. I’m a little hesitant to take you down this next path with me, but I feel like it’ll encourage you, so I can’t be selfish and withhold my story.

I started blogging hoping my life’s lessons and experiences would give you some tools, if not to help you through some of your biggest challenges, at least maybe to put a smile on your face for the moment. My intent was to explore with you this chapter of my life, on my road to healthy living, with lessons from friends and family, with hope that you’d see my lessons as beneficial in your circumstances.

Its hard to be vulnerable to the world, or at least the small, hopefully growing population of readers, so bare with me through this process. I made some poor choices in relationships as an adolescent, escaping and recovering from the devastation of divorce. I ruined some friendships as a result of the hurt I was experiencing (not to make excuses, but unfortunately hurt people hurt people). As a young adult trying to find my own identity, my communication and ability to articulate my emotions has cost me some friendships as well. I’ve gone through the wringer of doctors because of mysterious health issues. Now, venturing into the world of wifedom and mommyhood, I want to pass on wisdom as I nurture my son; I want to show him what a healthy, loving, committed marriage looks like. I don’t want to parent him out of resentment of my past, fear of making mistakes, or desperation to avoid him feeling the hurt I did.

My intent was avoid mentioning my relationship with God as my foundation and strength in overcoming these obstacles because I know the mention of Jesus sends a lot of people running for the hills. The reality, however, as much as I don’t want to scare people off, I can’t deny that the only true reason I am who I am today is because of His overwhelming grace.

This is my story of how my healing began, where I am now, and how we need to protect ourselves from the negativity people speak into our lives, including doctors. If you’re a skeptic of faith or maybe discount it completely, I’m not here to try to change your thinking, in fact, until this happened to me I probably wouldn’t have believed this story either. With all of the bad that happens in the world, I just encourage you to stay with me for the next few minutes and read something good, something positive; it’s pretty cool what happened actually.

My first miracle:

My whole life I suffered from a chronic digestive disorder that was finally diagnosed in 2004 as microscopic colitis. Most of my life was experimenting with possible solutions: trying different ways of eating: increased fiber, eliminating dairy, gluten-free, superfoods, organic; Yoga for stress relief (because in the medical realm, everything has to do with stress and anxiety apparently); undesirable herbal remedies, suggested by my semi-granola, holistic mother with whom, by-the-way, I now agree with most of what I thought were ridiculous solutions; colonics: this is weird, just weird; three different prescription medications, to humor my dad, who is the polar opposite if my mom–Vicks, Ny-Quil, a glass of wine, and sleep are his solutions to everything (and maybe a Diet Pepsi); two colonoscopies; one endoscopy; and a partridge in a pear tree.

After being “diagnosed” there was a brief sense of relief because there was an answer, but upon diagnosis was the information that “nothing can help”, “there’s no known cause”, “no treatment”, I was. “just going to have to live with it for the rest of my life or hope it goes away.” You would think that being raised in a Christian home the first response would have been to actively pray about it. Somewhere, however, was a huge disconnect between believing in God and the miracles of the Bible, and the reality that He’s the same God today that made the deaf hear, the lame walk, and blind see two thousand years ago.

Fast forward to 2009. After hiding this cramping and discomfort that overwhelmed my body for so long, embarrassed to talk about it even with my family, I decided to share with some new friends at church what I had been suffering from and asked them to pray for me. Just weeks before this happened I had moved 400 miles, found out I had a small brain tumor that was going to prevent me from having children, and got married. Nonetheless, I was starting a new chapter in my life and was sick of being debilitated; it was time for change, time for a fresh start, time to do something I had never done before; actually have faith not only that God exists, but that he could also help me–and heal me.

We started going through a book called Life’s Healing Choices by: John Baker. This was a rough few months of digging up my past hang-ups and habits and chiseling away the bricks I had built around my heart to protect myself. After much anger, many tears, lots of conversations, I started to feel a sense of identity again, but the weird reality was I had to meet myself. Who was I? Who did God create Danielle Marie Kazarian to be? What was my purpose?

Although my heart was healing, I still had this aching through my body everyday. Our church held a conference for young adults. Before attending we were each asked what we were believing God to do in our lives. Mine was obvious.

At the conference one night, I finally just surrendered my pride, walked to the front of the room to be prayed for, lifted my hands and out loud said, “God, I’m yours. I want you to use me. I give up trying to do this on my own. I stand in faith that You will heal me in your timing.” God’s response very clearly (if you don’t know if you’ve hear God’s voice, just ask Him to show up, he will!), “You already are healed.”

I began to weep uncontrollably at the comfort of His gentle words to His daughter.

The following two weeks were the worst two weeks of health I had experienced, but they were the last two weeks. Almost five years later I have not had a single symptom. I can eat whatever I want with no issues. If that’s not a miracle then I don’t know what is.

After experiencing this miracle my eyes began to open to the reality of God’s Grace, Freedom, and Forgiveness.

Now, remember that tumor I mentioned? My baby boy is another miracle story! I invite you to follow my journey as I share his story next time.

Until my munchkin’s next nap time, breathe, smile, trust, have faith. There’s no freedom living life as a skeptic, worried and criticizing everyone else’s opinions. Sharing this story with you, is one small step toward my freedom. I hope it encourages you today!

Two Words Doctors Hate: Juicing and Miracles Part 1

I have quite a crazy health history! More of my story is coming soon. In the meantime let me update you on my current situation.

I had to take a break from juicing for a couple weeks, not by choice. I find it strange how when doctors are trying to figure out a health issue, they ask: 1. Are you stressed? and 2. What’s your family health history? They don’t ask about your eating or exercise habits. They ask your symptoms and then run a gamut of tests. The funny thing is that when they proceed with the tests, you’re instructed tofast.

Warning! Here’s a quick TMI, sparing you a lot of details, about my situation. So basically, my assumption is that after having my munchkin eight months ago, since my uterus and colon share the same area, my body didn’t heal properly.

Normally when fasting for faith purposes, I don’t give up everything because I have a blood sugar imbalance. Having to starve myself, only drinking Gatorade and chicken broth, for three days would not be my first choice of how to spend my days off from work. I get the clear diet thing, but depriving your body of any nutrients seems antithetical as the first option. No fruits. No vegetables. Nothing with seeds or pulp. Nothing red or purple the whole week!

All this leads me to how excited I was to start juicing again this week! Here’s my delicious recipes:


Antioxidant Booster:
1 lbs strawberries
1.5 lbs blueberries
1 pineapple
2 white peaches
6 kiwi (w/skin)

Berries are great for lowering blood pressure, cancer fighters, help with headaches, and fight colds. This recipe is also packed with vitamins A & C? Iron, potassium, and calcium.


Green Green Green
5 Granny Smith Apples
1 Celery Stalk
1 pear
1 bunch organic Kale
1 lemon

This juice is packed with fiber, folic acid, iron, phosphorous, vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. Helps with healthy hair, skin, and nails, fights colds, blood disorders, digestive discomforts, and the list goes on. Lemon helps curb your appetite so it’s a great way to kick start your day to help you cut out calories (don’t cut calories if you’re breast feeding like I am though!) without feeling so hungry.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

What are some of your favorite recipes?

Until my munchkin’s next nap time, try some juice, or just try a small shift toward a healthy life; start by smiling. I invite you to follow me on my journey to read more of my story next time.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

I consider vanity and pride as unattractive as obesity; why are they the primary motivation of diet and weight loss? Shouldn’t the focus be a healthy, long life? The irony is that in California we live amidst these polar opposites everywhere we go. In one aisle of the grocery store is the lululemon wearing gym rat buying protein powder, quinoa and waterproof mascara for her cardio days, and in the next is the 300 pound woman with a cart full of Cheetos, potato chips, and the rest of the processed food aisle. Our health should be the priority, not the way we look, yet the easiest way to conclude if someone’s “healthy” is by looking at them, right?

Not necessarily. I know so many people who are bikini ready, yet you should see the junk they put in their body. That being said, quinoa is delicious and I love me some Cheetos puffs! It’s about balance and lifestyle, not a quick fix. After gaining close to 50 pounds during my pregnancy, there is not a day that goes by that I’m not asked with shock and dismay how I look the way I do already. This is a little awkward. After getting over the awkward I figured maybe I should pass on some helpful information on what I do. I probably won’t be posting any bikini pictures for you so let me just paint a mental picture for you: I’ve been back to pre-pregnancy weight since 10 weeks postpartum; and now after only six months, with toned abs, arms, and thighs, my husband told me that this is the best shape he’s ever seen me.

I want share with you my journey of getting healthy again after having my baby boy. I am writing to help you on your journey and share some tips to encourage you that it is important to be healthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a six pack. In a book I’m reading it talks about how women were designed with a “padded physique” for cradling babies. What a refreshing perspective! You can eat what you want, but sometimes that means you need to change what you want. Its kind of strange too that as you make small additions of cleaner foods to your meals, the bad foods don’t sound as good. You can’t expect to be healthy eating burgers, carne asada burritos, fries, pizza, and potato chips every day, but in my opinion they each have their time and place! My husband and I are foodies, he’s a chef, ’nuff said!

Keep in mind that many studies have shown that high sodium and fatty foods are linked to anxiety, depression, and mental illness, and foods packed with Vitamins B, C, D, and E actually boost the serotonin (the happy hormone as I like to call it) in your brain and decrease stress.

Prior to getting pregnant I prided myself on eating healthy and exercising, but never being obsessive about either. I HATE diets and think extreme workouts are kind of ridiculous. Rarely do they actually produce a healthy lifestyle. Typically they result in over committing and then failing because they just aren’t feasible to maintain on a regular basis. I do admit I was a fan of P90X and got incredible, very quick results; however, the reality is I never could stick to the actual calendar, because I-have-a-life-to-live.

When I got pregnant I was determined to stay healthy and exercise so my baby would get all the nutrients he needed in utero. I had been juicing for a couple months before getting pregnant and was excited to introduce all the amazing nutrients to my baby. Then the toilet seat reality hit me smack in the face with what I call “all-day” sickness; whoever called it morning sickness was a moron, I’m just sayin’. As soon as the juicer turned on the smell of vegetables sent me running to the bathroom. No onions, no fresh vegetables, no coffee! My munchkin wanted beef and cheese. I had to start every morning with eggs and either bacon or sausage. Trust me, I tried everything, but he wanted protein protein protein!!!

I couldn’t keep a prenatal vitamin down if my life depended on it, and all it took was me trying to get off the recliner after five minutes to raise my heart rate. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t sitting around my whole pregnancy eating bon-bons watching soaps on tv. I was working on my feet up to twelve hours in a day sometimes and doing squats and labor stretches any chance I had. Nonetheless, I was sick everyday up until 23 weeks and on and off my whole pregnancy. My body ached, and all my preconceived notions on how I would do things were being thrown out the window one by one.

All these details aside, again, I gained almost 50 lbs during pregnancy. People don’t believe me because apparently being 5’9 you can’t see the extra pounds as much, but 50 lbs is 50 lbs!

So, how did I lose it?
1. Take Baby Steps:
(I am breastfeeding, which I cannot deny has helped, but lets look at some other things you can do too). After being medically cleared to exercise at six weeks I decided to just start walking. After not really exercising much in nine months I needed to start slow. What I found out quickly was by just getting out of the house for a short walk actually helped me feel better too. The postpartum emotions didn’t seem as bad and that heavy depression cloud that lingers for most moms became thinner and thinner as I got some sunlight on my face and got my body moving.
2. Use your lifestyle to your advantage:
For me it’s my baby. I turn on music. I love to dance, he loves to watch, and while he’s cracking up I’m getting cardio in (and legs and core). I have several other exercises I have created that I’ll have to share another time. You just have to find small shifts to make your daily routine more active. Maybe it’s doing sit-ups or leg lifts while you’re watching your favorite show or reading a book, doing squats while drying your hair, something, just find something that works for you.
3. Make a small food adjustment:
Add more veggies, shrink your portions a little, maybe you need to increase them, eat out one or two less meals a week. What works for you? No more excuses! We all have small shifts we can make.
4. Balance-redefined:
Whenever I’m having a really hard day, feeling exhausted or anxious, unable to figure out the source of all the frustration, it usually boils down to something in my life being out of balance. What I’m finding, is that having balance doesn’t mean equal time and energy put into everything, it means figuring out the most important things and the most necessary and putting them in order. In the past, the first thing to go was exercise time. If it wasn’t apart of my daily routine, like a dance class or walking from the parking lot to the store, as soon as life got busy, the gym or workout video seemed impossible to maintain. Living a healthy life really is this simple equation: a healthy mind means healthy body, healthy body means healthy mind. Even if its stretching (and breathing) for ten minutes before starting my day or walking around the block, moving is key. Watch and read things that are positive or inspirational. fore its a daily devotional reading and avoiding violent movies and the news. What we put in is what comes out; that applies to food too. Change to snacking on hummus and pita chips or Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit instead of chips and salsa or Cheetos. Don’t forget to spend time with friends and family in the meantime; they are key to sanity!
Right now! Try it! See you feel better already, don’t you?

Well, until my munchkin’s next nap time, I hope this encourages you to make small changes to discover the healthier you!

What pointers do you have for me?

What’s your success story?

Do you have some healthy recipes to pass on?


My new favorite: Vanilla Greek yogurt, granola, cashews, strawberries and blueberries drizzled lightly with honey- less than 250 calories, could be breakfast, snack, or dessert:)