1st Trimester Must Haves

img_6215img_6222img_6228img_6237img_6238ACVACV 2B&CSince this is my first pregnancy and it has been over 20 years since my mom was pregnant, there was a lot that I needed to learn about having a baby. I really didn’t know what to expect, but soon realized there was a ton to learn. Can I eat cacao powder? (Yes, it’s ok!) Can I use essential oils? (You can!) What can I expect?

I found out I was pregnant and literally the next day I came down with an awful cold. I usually don’t get colds and when I do, I usually get over them within a couple days. This cold however, lasted about 10 days! I was miserable. I did not want to risk taking anything and I have always wanted my pregnancies to be as natural as possible, taking no medication if I could help it. While sick, I usually bulk up on vitamin C, take oregano pills and drink lots of lemon water with Manuka honey. However, I knew that there are certain vitamins you can take too much of and right on the bottle of my oregano pills it says “DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT.” I wanted to kick this cold but do it without hurting the baby. So I did what I knew was safe, I drank fresh squeezed lemon with hot (not boiling) water every morning (sometimes with a little Manuka honey), I made chicken noodle soup with bone broth and ate lots of other fruits that are full of vitamin C.

Although my pregnancy started out a little rough, I knew I didn’t want to be this unprepared through out the whole nine months. As I approached 8 weeks I noticed that things were really starting to change and I needed help. I have “The Bump” app and I LOVE it but it didn’t give me all the info that I was craving. After my first doctors appointment and ultrasound, I drove straight to Barnes & Noble in search of some pregnancy books. The book I had in mind was “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” but what I found was even better! This brings me to my number one must have for your first trimester (and the rest of your pregnancy).

1.“The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth”

This book has so much amazing info packed into it and is so easy to read. Mama Natural takes the more holistic approach to pregnancy and she also has exerts from midwives and doulas to get you more familiar with them and their point of view. She has home remedies for colds, stretch marks and many other things that change in your body when you get pregnant as well as recipes and a week by week of what is happening to you and the baby. Without this book, it would have been a lot of endless searching on the web for answers to questions I had/have. Mama Natural also has her own website and YouTube channel which are also marvelous.

2. Belly Armor

One of the first things I read when I found out I was pregnant was read Food Babe’s blog post on the top pregnancy questions she got. One thing that she was adamant about was Belly Armor. Your cell phone, laptops and wireless routers emit radiation which has been shown to cause birth defects and even miscarriages. Belly Armor blocks 99% of radiation so when you are constantly on your cell phone, tablet or laptop, you can have peace of mind that you aren’t hurting your baby. They have blankets, shirts, tank tops, etc. I choose a blanket (wearing it now) because I can use it while pregnant but also the baby can use it when born.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

I could not live without this stuff. Towards the end of my first trimester, I started having acid reflex (which I have never had in my life) and I would take a tablespoon and just shoot it. Even though it tasted gross going down, it was totally worth it. It made my acid reflex go away and you take take it up to 3 times a day while pregnant. I have tried other kinds and Bragg is just the best. I will only buy their apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many, many other things too. Lately, I have been taking a warm bath with 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar in it to help with achy joints, softer skin and hair, plus other reasons why (you can read about it in “The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth”.

4. Peppermint, Ylang Ylang and Lavender Essential Oils

I was extremely nauseous pretty much all the time while in my first trimester. There wasn’t much I could do about and the only thing that kept it at bay was peppermint essential oil and vitamin B6. I did drop one drop of peppermint oil in my mouth at times. I know people say not to do this but I use the highest quality essential oils and would make sure I didn’t over do it. I also would drop it in my palms and cover my nose and breath it in, which also helped. Vitamin B6 also helped when I took it before bed and with meals. I don’t know why this works, but it does!

If you have trouble sleeping like I did, vitamin B6 will help you too. Before getting pregnant I would always have to take melatonin and/or GABA to be able to sleep but I wasn’t sure if they were safe or not so after some research, I found out that Ylang Ylang essential oils helps you sleep when you add a drop or two to the bottom of your feet before bed. I could not sleep right after I found out we were pregnant and when I came across this I tried it and BOOM, I was out like a light and had the best nights sleep I had had in awhile! Needless to say that I use this on my husband too. I also almost always diffuse lavender at night too. It is so calming and promotes relaxation and combats restlessness.

5. Bread and Cheese (in almost any form)

That’s right, bread and cheese. I try and eat so healthy and even before I was pregnant I was practicing the ketogenic diet, really limiting my carb intake. But with this pregnancy my body wants bread, crackers, pasta or something of the like at least once a day. During my first trimester, I was so nauseous that saltine crackers and cheese were all about I could get down. There were days that I could not even get any veggies down because they were just too much and they would just come back up. I wanted to give my baby the best and eat as healthy as I could, and because all I wanted was bread and cheese, I was getting a bit discouraged.

Then, I had a friend tell me that during her first two pregnancies she listened to her body, ate what she wanted in moderation and she gained about 50lbs with each. Then for her third pregnancy, she decided she wanted to do it differently. She hired a personal trainer and ate no sugar and limited carbs and she ended up gaining 70lbs and she said she was miserable! Her advice to me was to just listen to you body and the baby will tell you what it needs. This was the single best piece of advice I have received while pregnant!

I am at the end of my second trimester now and I have been living by this advice and I have gained a healthy amount of weight and other than being tired all the time, I am doing and feeling well!

5 Things To Do In Key West, FL


My best friend, Lindsay, moved to Key West, FL about 9 years ago for an internship program. Not long after she was there she met a man, fell in love and married him a few years later. She now calls Key West her home. Because she has lived there for so long she knows all the must see/to do things in Key West and is my tour guide every time I travel to see her! Even though Key West is a 2 by 4 mile island, there is definitely plenty to do and see. Here are my top 5 things to see and/or do while in Key West.

1.Duvall Street

Duvall street is a mile long strut full of bars, shops and of course restaurants. It isn’t just on Duvall Street where all the excitement is, but there are so many hole in the wall spots just off Duvall Street that are sometimes even more fun.

On my most recent trip a couple weeks ago, Lindsay took me to 2 Cents, a restaurant and bar right off of Duvall. During happy hour, when you order your drinks and/or food they give you a dice to roll. If you roll a 1, 2 or 3 then you pay the amount you rolled! If you roll a 4, 5 or 6 then you have to pay full price. I ordered a drink and rolled a 1! I was so excited! BTW they also have amazing Moscow Mules and keep bacon on your table!


2.Southernmost Point 

This is the buoy that signifies the southernmost point of the continental United States. It is cool to see and take your picture by! There is ALWAYS a line to get your picture taken and it gets so hot standing in the sun so that is why mine is at night. No one else was there!


3.Better Than Sex

Ok, sorry for the PG-13 name but I had to put this on my list! Better Than Sex is a dessert only restaurant that is only open from 6pm to midnight and it is ab-so-lute-ly AMAZING!!! It has a very alluring atmosphere, where there is very, little lighting and the walls are painted red. It is a pretty small restaurant and always busy so make sure you make a reservation. I have only been here twice but when I go home, I crave this place. I love “The Fever” it is a hot, chocolate brownie with warm chocolate pudding and two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. It literally melts in your mouth and it is to die for.


4.Mallory Square

Every night, Mallory Square hosts the Sunset Celebration where there are food booths, street performers, exhibitors, etc. It is definitely something to experience. The sunsets are absolutely gorgeous and there is a different sunset every night! One of the street performers I watched had a cat show. Yes cats. It was eccentric, that is for sure! There is always something to see down there.


5.Earnest Hemingway’s House

This was a tour I did when I was there in April of 2015 with my mom. They have guided tours that last about 30 minutes (my mom and I just kind of went through or own and it took us about 30 to 40 minutes). It was interesting to see his estate because there are some unique characteristics about it. For example, it is home to about 40-50 six toes cats, and it has pool that has a 80,784 gallon capacity. This is astonishing especially since Key West has en elevation of only 18 feet. It is definitively worth the tour as you can also see his writing area. You can learn more about him and this estate here.


 Hope you enjoyed and can find this info useful!


Happy 2017!


I started reading “31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer”this past year and it has been an amazing way to start my day and really get my dreams in line with God’s. The writers of this book also write a blog that I stumbled upon this week.

Instead of making goals for the year she created these “Reflection” and “Refocus” sheets to complete. I have been slowly working on them the past two days and I have to say, they are more helpful and insightful than I could have ever imagined.

The “Reflection” worksheet really mapped out my year in a way that I didn’t see before. While the “Refocus” worksheet gave me a place where I could write down what I truly want for the next year.

I encourage you to take the time to fill these out and really, well, reflect and refocus. You can find these worksheets here.

Happy 2017 to all of you!

The End of Whole 30




Wine night at my house for my first day off Whole 30!

Week 4

Considering that it has been six months since I have completed Whole 30, all I remember about week four was that it was the easiest. I remember having little to no cravings and preparing meals was second nature. I do know that I was sleeping much better and I felt good.

After my thirty days were up I would introduce things back into my diet slowly like bread, cheese and maybe a glass of wine one day, then the next day I would revert back to Whole 30. Then I would eat bread, cheese and sugar again and revert back again to Whole 30. I did this for probably about three weeks or so, until I just started eating any foods I wanted. To be honest, I didn’t notice any weight gain, my sleep remained the same and I actually felt even better and I felt a different kind of energized by eating bread. Shocker I know.

I run 4-5 times a week (about 3 miles each time) and I am sure I wasn’t getting enough fast acting carbs. My body needed these fast acting carbs because it utilizes them most when running. While on Whole 30, I ate about 2 large sweet potatoes a day and I still felt more fatigued and slower when running. Sweet potatoes are slow acting carbs, thus why I felt better when I started eating fast acting carbs again. It makes sense why in week two I was extremely tired and why people on low carb diets get so sleepy with possible dizziness.

Obviously I am no doctor, but I think that the most important thing for your body is to listen to it. After completing Whole 30 I think even further that eating all things in moderation and that are high in quality (i.e. organic foods) are the key (unless of course you have a food allergy). Your body is smarter than you think and it is always changing, so rules you follow now, might not work for you down the road. More on this to come.

-Ericha 🙂

Whole 30: Week 3 Recap

Ohhhhh week 3. Week 3 for me was the hardest. Dealing with vertigo is absolute zero fun. I’ve had vertigo before but it went away within a week and it was not this bad. This time, it is like a ton of bricks hitting me and for a split second it is like I have to catch my breath. On top of all of that I was really hungry all week! I am not sure why but I could not get full.

Day 15 (Monday)

On day 15, I had to wake up at 5am and head to Bellevue for a doctor’s appointment at 7am. I had my espresso with homemade almond milk and I was good to go. The vertigo was mild and not totally making my life difficult. At my doctor’s appointment, I ended up getting a mole removed on my stomach so they could biopsy it. By 10am, I was back at work eating almost my entire lunch. Then for dinner I ate salmon, roasted sweet potatoes (amazing), and zucchini and red onions tossed in avocado oil and Himalayan pink salt that were BBQ’d on the grill. I was still hungry and really wanted something crunchy and salty so I ate some organic salted cashews. I couldn’t believe I was still hungry after dinner!

Day 16 (Tuesday)

Because I had a mole on my stomach removed, I had to make sure I kept it clean and put Vaseline on it. I woke up, walked in the bathroom and looked down to clean it and I almost passed out. Because I looked down I became incredibly dizzy to the point where I went pale, had cold sweats and thought I was going to throw up. It. Was. Awful. I had to go to work but I was basically out of it for the rest of the day because it took so much out of me. Because of everything that happened that morning, I had zero appetite all day.

Day 17 (Wednesday)

I woke up on day 17 and felt much better than the day before. I still very much had vertigo, but I knew better than to look down so much so I wouldn’t make myself sick. I am not a breakfast eater, but I got hungry about 10am and I ate 2 (Whole 30 approved) chicken sausages, two lemon Lara bars and a banana. At 2pm I ate a snack that consisted of bunch of grapes and some slices of roast beef. Then for dinner we ate salmon, green beans and sweet potatoes. I can not get enough sweet potatoes! I toss them in avocado oil, Himalayan pink salt, pepper and garlic. I put them on a cookie sheet and baked them at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. They are my favorite, I can eat the whole cookie sheet! I still hadn’t felt any “Tiger Blood” and that might have been because of the Vertigo 😦

Day 18 (Thursday)

I woke up day 18 and for the first time since being on Whole 30 I didn’t feel energized even though I slept well. I was pretty tired and hungry all day and much dizzier than the day before. I kept with it though, eating whole organic foods.

Days 19-21 (Friday to Sunday)

By this time on Whole 30 I am used to eating all things Whole 30 approved and don’t really have any cravings. However, because it was the weekend I did have that urge to have a glass of wine but on a scale of  to  it was a 2. So I had some kombucha and it cured the craving..

By the end of week 3 it was really starting to become my norm to eat baked sweet potatoes instead of pasta or rice and to have some figs for dessert. Despite the vertigo I really was feeling much better overall and the cravings have definitely subsided.

Whole 30: Week 2 Recap

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This stuff is a #whole30 lifesaver

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Lunch prep

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Making almond milk for chia seed pudding


The second week went about as expected. To be honest, I didn’t feel much different, maybe even worse at times.


Days 8 & 9

I changed up my breakfast from the egg muffins I made during week one and made fried eggs instead. I added guacamole and left over meat from dinner the night before. It was amazing! I came to realize I like fried eggs more than scrambled 😉 During these two days, I felt bloated and kind of lethargic which they say is normal. I did not enjoy this. At. All. I powered through because they say days 10 & 11 are the worst. I wanted to keep some motivation!

Days 10 & 11

During days 10 & 11 I was still uncomfortably bloated, not really craving anything, nothing was really different except that I started to get discouraged. I started to wonder if I was doing it right. I figured that was the “hard days” talking. I decided on day 11 to see if maybe something I was eating was making me so bloated and lethargic. I usually never eat this many eggs (I was eating at least two a day) so I decided to not eat eggs for 3 or 4 days and see what happens. I did not find days 10 & 11 to be the hardest (maybe because it was in the middle of the week and I was busy with work) but they were not easy. I definitely had a struggle because I wasn’t seeing any results in the mirror and the only thing physically that had improved was that I was sleeping well.

Days 12-14

Day 12 was my first day on Whole 30 that I didn’t have eggs. Instead of eggs for breakfast, I had two organic chicken sausages that were left over from the night before. I wanted to make sure I would have plenty of protein since I wasn’t going to eat eggs. I also brought lots of guacamole, veggies and fruit to work. I noticed after I ate breakfast I felt kind of itchy all over and my nose was a little runny. Either I was detoxing from the eggs or I was allergic to the organic apple chips that I had just ate. By the time I got home from work I was more irritable that normal and I am wondering if I was detoxing or the fact that it was Friday and I knew I couldn’t have a glass of wine.

I woke up the next day from a dream about being on a road trip in Hawaii and someone wanted Taco Time. They say in the book it is normal to dream of junk food but I didn’t believe them. I do not crave Taco Time and I never eat there so I thought it was hilarious that I dreamt this! Day 13 I ended up having a lot of energy and got a ton of stuff done. I power cleaned my house, accomplished a ton of errands and even made our friends homemade biscotti. I was pretty hungry by lunch so I cooked organic grass fed ground beef and ate that over salad with a lot of salsa and guacamole. It was amazing.

On the 14th day, I woke up with vertigo. It was awful. I didn’t have much energy and I wasn’t too hungry because the vertigo was making me nauseous. I ended up taking some drops of peppermint essential oil and that help the nausea subside. Even though I was dizzy if I moved my head up or down, I was determined not to let this interfere with my Whole 30. I got down some steak salad with lots of guacamole with oven roasted sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes made my day! They were absolutely delicious. #newfav

I am looking forward to week 3. I am almost halfway there!

Whole 30: Week 1 Recap

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Making Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Soaking Almonds for Homemade Almond Milk


For the most part, I eat well. Most things we cook are organic and my husband hunts so we eat a lot of wild game. I do have Italian blood running through my veins, therefore I love a bold Malbec and almost any kind of pizza.

Deciding to try Whole 30 wasn’t too hard of a decision but I knew it was going to be a challenge. If you don’t know what Whole 30 is, it is very similar to the Paleo Diet. Absolutely no dairy, sugar (in any shape or form, including non-sugar sweeteners), legumes, and grains. You can read more about Whole 30 here.

 Days 1 & 2

The first day I felt great! Before work, I finished making almond milk from scratch (for the very first time) and I was so proud of myself! It tasted amazing with my espresso shots #coffeelover

I am not really a huge breakfast eater, but I knew I needed to plan my meals for the week  so that I could be prepared and not get myself into a pinch and want to cheat. The night before I started Whole 30 I made egg muffins with kale, red onions and mushrooms. I ate them at work with guacamole and they curbed my hunger until mid afternoon. I also munched on organic apple chips, carrots, kombucha and oranges. The first two days of The Whole 30 weren’t bad especially since I didn’t really experience any cravings for things not Whole 30 approved. I also didn’t really struggle with the food hangover they talk about having on days 2 & 3.

Days 3 & 4

Days 3 and 4 I was more tired than normal and a little cranky! They say you get very irritable days 4 & 5 and really tired days 6 & 7. I think that because I really didn’t eat that poorly beforehand I skipped the hangover phase and my body jumped right to the “I just want to nap phase.” On days 3 & 4 I had to pry myself from the covers. One of the days I actually got up and made my coffee, only to crawl back into bed for 20 more minutes. Which never happens. When I am up, I am up. As for the crankiness, I think for me it was more stress at work than anything 😉

Days 5, 6 & 7

Ok, here is where my cravings for wine and bread showed up. I spoke in a high school’s health classes on day 5 (6 different classes) from 7:30am to 12:10pm. I didn’t have any time to eat during that time because I had one class right after the other. After I was done speaking I had to go back to work and then my adrenaline starting wearing off and I was starving! When I got to work, I ate a bunch of grapes, organic turkey meat, hard boiled eggs, and two lemon Lara bars (my absolute favorite things EVER). On my way home from work, all I could think about was how nice a glass of red wine would be with dinner. Ugh. I powered through and instead opted for some mango kombucha in a fancy glass. The next day was Saturday and I took the day off of exercise and just really let my body rest. I didn’t have much of an appetite this day (which they said can be normal) but I did crave coffee and bread. I went to Starbucks and got a decaf iced espresso and brought some of my homemade almond milk to add into it. #imnotevensorry  I went to Costco and found some dried organic figs and munched on those on the way home. They cured my craving for bread for the most part. I was shocked at how sweet they were! Sunday the cravings had subsided and I felt I had a little more energy than normal.

I am excited to see what the next week will bring. They say days 10 and 11 are the hardest so I am going to continue to just take it one day at a time, five minutes at a time!