sarah kay hoffman http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com When gravel roads are all you've ever known, you learn to find beauty in the dust. Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:46:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 What is SIBO? http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/17/sibo/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/17/sibo/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 23:46:20 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24904 During the past few years, I did a lot of Google searches around, “What is SIBO?” Off-and-on, I suspected I had it. My suspicions were correct. I have SIBO. What is SIBO SIBO stands for: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. We all have bacteria in our guts. This should be no surprise to you, but with... 

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During the past few years, I did a lot of Google searches around, “What is SIBO?”

Off-and-on, I suspected I had it. My suspicions were correct. I have SIBO.

What is SIBO? Testing, treatment, diet. sarahkayhoffman.com

What is SIBO

SIBO stands for: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

We all have bacteria in our guts. This should be no surprise to you, but with people who have SIBO, an abnormally large amount of bacteria is found in the small intestine.

How do I know if I have SIBO?

My most telling symptom was that it felt like something was “feasting” in my upper gut constantly. When it got really bad, I’d hear rumbling and I’d feel absolutely famished 24/7. No amount of food could satisfy the hunger pangs I’d get. Once the feasting, rumbling feeling settled, it would drop to my lower intestines and I’d feel bloated (and crabby and more crabby and just blah).

You might not feel that, but other symptoms can include things like:

  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • pain
  • B12 deficiency
  • rashes
  • fatigue
  • food sensitivities
  • headaches
  • all of the above (ugh, the dickens!)

Testing

Just because you feel the above, does not mean you have SIBO. As a matter of fact, you should never just assume. Assuming means you make a lifestyle change that might not be necessary.

But if the above things are present, ask your doctor of s/he will do the testing. There are 2 main types of tests. The first is invasive via enteroscopy. I don’t know anyone who has been diagnosed in this way, since it requires a lot more out of patient and doctor. The second way is via breath test.

I was diagnosed via the breath test.

My doctor had me tested through Commonwealth Labs. The testing is not fun, and it requires a 24-hour preparation period before taking the test; the first 12 hours require a specific diet, and the last 12 hours require a complete fasting period. Once the tests begin, you simply blow air into testing tubes, and then mail those testing tubes in. 

The tests themselves are measuring for the amount of hydrogen or methane in your breath. The Paleo Mom states (on page 299), “Neither hydrogen nor methane is produced by our cells, but rather only by intestinal bacteria. In healthy people, hydrogen- and methane-producing bacterial live almost exclusively in the large intestine, so 80 percent of the gas that is produced is expelled by flatus. When these bacteria live higher up in the digestive tract, a larger and larger percentage can be measured in the breath as they metabolize sugars.

Treatment (minus diet)

Treatment, quite honestly, will depend on your doctor and his/her beliefs. There is the antibiotic approach, the alternative approach and a diet approach. Sometimes all 3 are used. It truly just depends on several things.

My treatment is exactly as The Paleo Mom describes in her book via alternative health care practitioners, “a variety of medicinal or botanical antimicrobials, including monolaurin, cat’s claw, wormwood, goldenseal, pau d’arco, olive leaf extract, garlic, barberry, Oregon grape, and oregano oil.” I am lucky, and I was prescribed all of those. I never took a round of antibiotics.

Additionally, my SIBO caused a huge Vitamin B12 deficiency, which The Paleo Mom mentions as a severe SIBO case. With this, I have to inject via my belly Vitamin B12 2-3 times per week. {Side note: I went through an entire cycle of IVF doing shots at home. The day I was diagnosed with all of this, my doctor’s phlebotomist gave me a shot. It was excruciating. I never remembered it to hurt that bad. So here I am now, at home, with my needles and B12 juice, an if I’m to be honest, I’ll tell you that I have yet to do a shot. I’m scared. It hurts. I will resume in January. Scouts honor. I must get better!}

Diet

The SIBO “diet” can be many different things, but the one thing that is typically always regarded as mandatory is following the FODMAPS diet. I briefly touched on FODMAPS in the 2.0 version of The Gutsy Girl’s Bible. Back then, I had no idea just how critical it would become for my life.

FODMAPS has saved me, but the key is in some very specific, deep-down digging I had to do.

For example, most bloggers and most lists will tell you that blueberries are FODMAP approved. This is only kind of true. If you eat 20 blueberries and you have SIBO, you should be okay. But, if you have 40+ blueberries, you will likely not be okay. And let’s all be honest, 40 blueberries is nothing. I used to eat that almost nightly, and then wonder why I felt so horrible.

Beyond FODMAPs I now have to be Paleo, GAPS/SCD-compliant, all of which I am very well versed in. I am saving a lot of the diet information and the nitty-gritty details for those who are joining our 28-day Inner Health, Outer Shine Program. And this is because I am healing, not dwelling.

Yes, I am really, truly, actually, FINALLY healing.

I wore my “hot pants” (I love referring to them as this!) last week, and most days of the week these days because I finally feel comfortable in them. My stomach never bloats. I feel at peace.

Bloat be gone. Healing from SIBO. sarahkayhoffman.com

Little-by-little, day-by-day, I am tackling SIBO.

I am also tackling severe adrenal fatigue and a low thyroid….but all of that for another day.

xox,
SKH

p.s. Seriously…join us now! :)

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My Most Difficult Days on the Mama Hood Train http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/16/difficult-days-mama-hood-train/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/16/difficult-days-mama-hood-train/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:52:46 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24896 My most difficult days on the mama hood train have had nothing to do with child, but rather the thoughts of without child. Yesterday was one of those days, and I am reminded how very precious it is to have a child….no matter how that child comes to you or what the days bring. Last week... 

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My most difficult days on the mama hood train have had nothing to do with child, but rather the thoughts of without child.

Yesterday was one of those days, and I am reminded how very precious it is to have a child….no matter how that child comes to you or what the days bring.

Last week I mentioned we were on the Final Countdown. I believed that on day 61 we would hear the news that no appeals were made.

Sadly, they were.

I got a text with the news, and it was brief. I know nothing beyond the fact that Samarah’s birth mom has appealed the court’s decision to terminate her rights and that this is far from being over.

I cried for a good hour, while I allowed every “what if” to enter my mind.

What if they take her from us?

This has always been my biggest fear, but after we shared photos with her, I thought it was clear to seek the best interest of Samarah.

The exclamation points faded quite quickly yesterday.

You can understand these feelings.

You are reading this, and you (likely) have a child or children. They are the first thing you think about when you wake up, and their little lips are the last thing you give kisses to before going to bed (I mean, well, I guess I give Ryan a kiss, too:) ). You don’t want your life revolved around them, but your heart does linger on their very existence.

And unless the Lord calls them home, you never have to worry about the “other” mother coming to take them from you.

I am Samarah’s mommy. I feel every single thing any birth mama feels for their child.

My heart hangs by a thread for this baby I’ve loved for so long. I don’t know of a life that exists anymore without Samarah in it. Last night Ryan had her giggling for a long time, and I remembered a saying by Brian Andreas,

Brian Andreas sarahkayhoffman.com

I cannot imagine a life without her.

xox,
SKH

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Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallows {Free of all Junk Additives} http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/12/vanilla-mint-mini-marshmallows-free-junk-additives/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/12/vanilla-mint-mini-marshmallows-free-junk-additives/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:33:25 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24886 A Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallow would be acceptable anytime of the year, but during the holiday season and into the deep of winter brings them to the forefront. If you downloaded the free holiday e-book from last year, then you already have this recipe. I thought I’d share it for everyone today, since it’s Friday, rainy and... 

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A Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallow would be acceptable anytime of the year, but during the holiday season and into the deep of winter brings them to the forefront.

Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallows with Hot Peppermint Cacao sarahkayhoffman.com

If you downloaded the free holiday e-book from last year, then you already have this recipe.

I thought I’d share it for everyone today, since it’s Friday, rainy and just seemed cozy-appropriate. {While you’re at it, make sure you grab the Spiced Peppermint Hot Cacao recipe to accompany the marshmallows.}

Vanilla Mint Mini Marshmallows for sarahkayhoffman.com

Making these only requires 5 ingredients.

I am aware that people think I spend hours upon hours prepping my food, and coming up with delicious eats and treats. I don’t (unless I’m in the thick of developing a ton of new recipes, of course).

On a day-to-day basis, I spend hardly any time cooking and baking. This is because I ensure the things I create are fairly simple.

sarahkayhoffman.com Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallows

I’ve learned over time that we stick with things when they are simplified.

Nothing is easier than grabbing a bag of marshmallows. I get that.

But if you are forced to live, choose to live and/or are moving towards a more unprocessed lifestyle, grabbing that bag of marshmallows is likely not an option.

And once you try these you’ll think, “regular marshmallow whaaaaaat?”

Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallows sarahkayhoffman.com

For real.

Awesome.

Enjoy!

Melting Vanilla-Mint Mini Marshmallows www.sarahkayhoffman.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Great Lakes Gelatin
  • 1.5 c. coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp. organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. organic peppermint extract
  • 1 c. water, divided

Instructions

  1. Line a small pan (even a bread pan would work) with aluminum foil, making sure the foil extends over the edges of the pan. Lightly brush the foil with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ½ c. water with the Gelatin; set aside.
  3. In a medium-large pan, combine the other ½ c. water and sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally, and bring the mixture to a boil for about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour sugar mixture into gelatin, and whisk together by hand. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  5. Take mixture out, and beat it at highest speed with a hand electric mixer (or whisk in a KitchenAid mixer) for 5 minutes. Add in extracts, and beat for another minute. (At this point, the mixture is very thick. You want this.)
  6. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Cover and chill for about 4 hours.

Notes

Once chilled, the top of your mixture could look lumpy and bumpy. That is okay. The rest of the marshmallow will look smooth. I just used a small knife and cut the very top layer off.

By the way, I also did a free e-book in 2012 for the Holiday season. I was much less unprocessed then, but the recipes are 100% gluten free, so grab that one if you’d like as well.

And finally, I am most proud of the 4 dessert recipes found in this year’s free Holiday e-book….you should absolutely grab that one:)

xox,
SKH

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Final Days http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/11/final-days/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/11/final-days/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:18:49 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24879 We are in the final days on our 60-day countdown. On Sunday, we did Samarah’s pictures for our Christmas card. We walked into church that day, and the entryway was so simple and beautiful that we decided to ask our Pastor if we could grab a few quick pictures of her after all services. He... 

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We are in the final days on our 60-day countdown.

On Sunday, we did Samarah’s pictures for our Christmas card. We walked into church that day, and the entryway was so simple and beautiful that we decided to ask our Pastor if we could grab a few quick pictures of her after all services.

sarahkayhoffman.com Samarah Christmas Card 2014

He graciously agreed.

And so we got several.

sarahkayhoffman.com Samarah Final Days Christmas Card

None were phenomenal because she was antsy and not overly happy, but we captured the moment and our beautiful little Samarah (Side note: how cute is that little, white chair? I picked it up at the second hand store for like $10. She loves it. We are going to paint it a pure white eventually.)

Between getting ready for the Christmas season, shipping boxes, developing recipes and beginning an intense period of healing, the truth is that I have almost forgotten that we are in the final days.

Until I remembered yesterday, while texting back-and-forth with Samarah’s social worker. She will come next week, and by then we will either be doing final placement paperwork or something will not go as planned.

I have to believe in the former.

My mind has been filled with a million thoughts and stories to tell during these past few weeks, mostly stories about Mommy-hood and healing, but I have been caught up in the moment and not around.

Work, work, work and more work all day long. And at 5pm, when we get Samarah from daycare it’s mommy + Samarah time. Nothing else seems to matter.

Somehow, in some way, I think this is the point of these final days…..I have not even noticed them because I’ve been too busy living life, loving my little sweet Samarah.

sarahkayhoffman.com Christmas Card 2014 Samarah Josephina Blog Best Image Adoption

p.s. I have BIG PLANS for introducing her to the world (via this small space I call my blog), and I cannot hardly wait to share with you.

p.s.s. I have thought of (probably) 50 new posts to write here in the past couple of weeks. They all have titles with 1-2 words. I like this simplicity. You?

xox,
SKH

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Tests Results In, and I Have…. http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/04/tests-results/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/04/tests-results/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:14:31 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24866 My test results are in, and I have…. But they do not have me. At least not anymore. Lingering issues had me wondering if I’d ever get better, and if I could progress past this (which was happening far too frequently, picture taken just a few days before my “results” appointment)…. It’s been 16 days... 

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My test results are in, and I have….

test results are in www.sarahkayhoffman.com

But they do not have me.

At least not anymore.

Lingering issues had me wondering if I’d ever get better, and if I could progress past this (which was happening far too frequently, picture taken just a few days before my “results” appointment)….

Bloated Gut Healing www.sarahkayhoffman.com

It’s been 16 days since I began my MD‘s protocol. Like some sort of miracle, that image above is gone.

But I am not healed. The outward appearance doesn’t always tell the full story. I found out that inside I am wearing and tearing down, quickly. Healing this is going to take time.

I always knew I had Colitis. I even suspected SIBO.

The rest I was 100% unaware of.

I am on an extensive (and most would say intensive) supplement and diet protocol now with – yes – one medication in the mix. It’s a medication you’ve never heard of because Western doctors don’t typically prescribe it (and no it’s not Prednisone). This regimen makes me feel like I have a part-time job, but yet I feel grateful for answers.

In small circles and private groups (probably even the January Group Program I’m running with Marissa Vicario), I will likely share some about the supplements, medication and diet protocol I now have to follow (a combination of Paleo/GAPS-SCD/FODMAPS, and why Paleo/GAPS-SCD alone was not enough for me).

But for here….for this space I have chosen to devote in a newer way, I have decided not to share those details. Not now. Maybe not ever.

Healing, Not Dwelling

I am healing now, not dwelling. It feels SO GOOD to finally be here after 10+ years.

The Internet is filled with “wheat bellies” and food-phobics quite honestly, and I am doing no justice to other people or to myself by dwelling along with it all.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that this comes at the wrong time (Holiday food anyone?!). But the timing is never right for almost everything in life.

I am not on my time. I wasn’t with her, or with him or with Colitis or with anything else. I am on God’s time.

There is a reason I was referred to Dr. Schweig when I was (thank you, thank you, thank you, Marci). I fully believe it’s because my gut was telling me “diet” would only take me so far. Turns out that was right. No “diet-only” protocol was ever going to help the severe adrenal fatigue and/or other things I have going on – this I know for sure.

Healing, not dwelling. This means I have to make some major changes in my life. For me. In order to get better.

The Type A SKH says,

But how will this fit into my schedule?

But the desperate-for-final-healing SKH says,

It’s going to fit. There will be no schedule. Instead, whatever it takes.

Like everything else, there is beauty in the dust.

A calm belly today and hope sure is beautiful.

Xox,
SKH

p.s. If you’ve tried everything diet-wise and your gut is still off, I would strongly recommend finding a doctor like Dr. Schweig (though it will be hard!). Getting the appropriate tests is critical (I did tests that no Western doctor ever thought to do for me). Once you know what’s wrong, you can move forward. In January, I’ve got the “diet” part covered for you.

 

 

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Keeping Healthy This Holiday: Each Step Makes a Difference http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/03/keeping-healthy-holiday-step-makes-difference/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/03/keeping-healthy-holiday-step-makes-difference/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:04:13 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24855 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Fitbit through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Fitbit, all opinions are my own.” This will, without a doubt, be my busiest holiday season yet. Between A Loving Spoon nut butter, Samarah’s first Christmas as a screamer, giggler and crawler and... 

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Fitbit through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Fitbit, all opinions are my own.”

This will, without a doubt, be my busiest holiday season yet.

Between A Loving Spoon nut butter, Samarah’s first Christmas as a screamer, giggler and crawler and getting ready to spend several days in Minnesota, keeping healthy must remain top priority.

My New Fitbit flex is Helping the Mission

While in Minnesota a couple weeks back, I sat at morning coffee and learned all about the Fitbit flex.

FitBit pieces www.sarahkayhoffman.com

I am no stranger to running watches, workout gadgets and fitness trackers. I’ve used (and still use) a couple I love.

But I have to say, within just a few minutes of learning about and wearing the Fitbit flex, I was hooked.

FitBit www.sarahkayhoffman.com

Keeping Healthy

It’s been just over a year since my sleeping habits were misplaced. Getting Samarah threw us for the loop of our lives, and it did the same for my sleep. I learned during the past few months that without sleep, I don’t function, I flare and I’m more prone to illness in general. I began to prioritize sleep once again. And so it should come as no surprise that the ability to track sleep is a perfect feature to my new Fitbit flex.

Fitbit flex sleep www.sarahkayhoffman.com

Even though sleeping might be at the top of my “keeping healthy” tip list, here are 4 more ways that will make a difference in how you feel:

  1. Move more. I’d be willing to bet that you are sitting here reading this right now from your office desk or comfy coffee shop chair, yes? Keeping healthy means just doing something, anything, more than staying sedentary all day. And guess what? I’m guilty of too much sedentary time as well. We get wrapped up with work and the computer – I get it. So when I found out there was a vibrating alarm feature, I tried it immediately. I set the alarm for 10 minutes out. Once the 10 minutes was up, my Fitbit flex vibrated. I got up, grabbed some water and walked around for a few minutes. This will be the perfect way to silently remind me to move!
  2. And then move a little more. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it ten million times, but truthfully, small actions truly add up: Park just a little further away, take the stairs vs. escalator/elevator, run errands vs. shopping online. Challenge yourself to taking the stairs the whole holiday season. If that’s the only thing you did, you’d be one step ahead of last year.
  3. Challenge yourself. If simply moving more isn’t enough, then challenge yourself with a small fitness goal through the holiday season. I recently participated in running 30 runs in 30 days (okay, let’s be honest, I didn’t do it in 30 days, but close). This kept me consistent and accountable each day, without making me feel like I had to spend hours in the gym (20-35 minutes was all I’d run each day, and only a couple days a week would I go to the gym).
  4. Stop stressing. Seriously. Everyone gets way too caught up in the “holiday weight gain.” Just stop, enjoy and be. Stress will do nothing for your immune system, and the holiday season comes but just once a year. Look, here I am…..Fitbit flex and all, out and about, eating, enjoying life, family and friends!

Eating and enjoying. www.sarahkayhoffman.com

#FindYourFit this holiday season by keeping healthy with small actions vs. big goals.

FitbitLogo_400px

Xo,
SKH

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4 Tips for Staying Active as the Season Changes http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/01/4-tips-staying-active-season-changes/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/12/01/4-tips-staying-active-season-changes/#respond Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:45:18 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24845 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own. Summer fading to fall is my favorite. I embrace that change. Fall fading to winter, though, is the hardest change for me. I don’t like... 

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

Summer fading to fall is my favorite. I embrace that change. Fall fading to winter, though, is the hardest change for me.

Sam and I, Winter Walking www.sarahkayhoffman.com

I don’t like the cold – and yes, I am a Minnesota girl – born and raised. But I’ve never liked winter. I’ve learned in life, though, that just because circumstances might not be ideal, doesn’t mean we can give up, give in and sit on the sidelines.

Instead of resisting the seasonal change, I have learned to change right along with it. This has worked for all pieces to my life, so it makes sense that it works for my “active” life as well.

4 Tips for Staying Active As the Season Changes

Active in Winter www.sarahkayhoffman.com

  1. Know Yourself and Respect Yourself. Love to run outside at 7am during the summer, but despise it during the colder winter months? Simple solution: Don’t run outside at 7am during the colder winter months. Run inside at 7am or find another (warmer) time of day to take it outside. Know how you thrive best. Don’t punish yourself, respect.
  2. Make New Goals. I do not believe in setting lofty goals from Thanksgiving through the New Year because I believe there are so many other important pieces to life during this time. That said, I always spend some time during this time to set a new goal and/or goals for myself for the upcoming year. This year, I’ve already set it: train for my first (sprint) triathlon (more on this later, probably not until January).
  3. Dress Appropriately. My mother always says the reason I hate Minnesota winters so much is because I don’t dress appropriately. Boots, mittens, hats, big coats, scarves = 5 things I’d rarely ever wear at any given moment. But sometimes, simply dressing for the weather, helps us stay active when the seasons change. I love walking outside with Ryan, Samarah and the dogs. Even though the California winter is nowhere near that of Minnesota, bundling up (myself and the baby) is still a must. We will still walk at least a few nights a week no matter what.
  4. Seasonal Activity. In some ways this goes along with new goals, but even if your seasonal activity is not a part of that goal, try something new! Make the seasonal change an excuse for a new adventure. Here are a few things I do:
    1. Bikram Yoga. Love Bikram Yoga no matter what time of year it is, but Bikram is so hot that winter makes it ideal. Step into the sauna, warm up and find your zen.
    2. Indoor Lap Swimming. Since we don’t hit the pool outdoors during the winter, find an indoor pool and swim laps. I’m searching for one currently because I will need to start doing this come January.
    3. Spinning. I love a great spin class. Come January, I’m on the hunt for a new one, since biking is, obviously, a part of the triathlon.
    4. Snowshoeing. Even though we don’t get snow were I live, we are just a hop, jump and skip away from Lake Tahoe (one of my favorite places ever). In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there is some awesome snowshoeing to be done!

Tahoe fun www.sarahkayhoffman.com

By the way, staying active isn’t about (or doesn’t have to be about) hitting a “goal weight,” achieving a lifelong fitness dream or making rules about workout schedules with end goals we’re truly not that passionate about.

Staying active is about just that – staying active, moving daily.

xo,
SKH

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17+ Ideas for Small Business Saturday Shopping http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/29/17-ideas-small-business-saturday-shopping/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/29/17-ideas-small-business-saturday-shopping/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 16:17:43 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24806 Today is Small Business Saturday. Yesterday my alarm went off at 3:30am. I hobbled out of bed, got ready and made the 70+-minute drive to my Commercial Kitchen. 170+ jars were produced, and then I made the trek home. I was recently diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue (more on this later this week likely) and so,... 

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Today is Small Business Saturday.

Yesterday my alarm went off at 3:30am. I hobbled out of bed, got ready and made the 70+-minute drive to my Commercial Kitchen. 170+ jars were produced, and then I made the trek home. I was recently diagnosed with severe adrenal fatigue (more on this later this week likely) and so, quite honestly, I was exhausted the rest of the day.

Owning my own business has been hard. Lest what people think, I am not rolling in cash. I have taken no money home yet. But something has me persist on. Maybe it’s that I run a business with purpose or that I enjoy the creative outlet. Perhaps it’s that I want to show Samarah she can do anything she wants in life, or maybe just maybe it’s because I truly want to create the best nut butter option out there.

Whatever the case might be, I have persisted on, even after weeks like this past week when I’ve questioned giving up it all.

I believe this is the pride of a small business owner.

Not here nor on the A Loving Spoon nut butter blog will you find holiday gift ideas from big-box stores. Ryan and I are committed to 75+% of our holiday gifts to come from small businesses this year. I am not the only one who sheds blood, sweat and tears for my business. There are millions of us, and we only survive through the support of loyal customers.

For Small Business Saturday today, I put together a list of several holiday gift ideas for you to join this mission in supporting the small (maybe local) business.

17+ Small Business Saturday Shopping Ideas www.sarahkayhoffman.com

  1. {for the Celiac/newly diagnosed Celiac/gluten-free’er in your life}: Book: Celiac and the Beast (This is my friend Erica, I have the book and I am currently reading it.)
  2. {for the dessert Coconut Butter lover in your life}: Nikki’s Coconut Butter (This is my friend Nikki. She rocks, and we share a passion for this dessert’ing nut butter life.)
  3. {for the fitness girl in your life}: anything from The Lift Like a Girl Store (Not only does Nia know her stuff, but she is practical in a world filled with insane methods to achieve insane results. I have/have done her (s)hero tank, 15 week muscle sculpting program, and most recently the 12-week dumbbell and bodyweight program. I will do another one, an even more simplified one starting soon! Print one off, wrap in a bow and give as a gift.)
  4. {for the girl who needs life-body-self-love inspiration}: As Is (Erin’s book is phenomenal! I have it. I am working my way through – it’s the same 21-day format as The Gutsy Girl’s Bible – in January.)
  5. {for the small business owner/PR girl in your life}: e-Book: The Buzz (Karen, aka, KJ is one of my most favorite MN-turned-CA girls. And she knows PR like none other. She owns Hearsay, and even if you don’t know a small business owner who could benefit from this, chances are you are a small business owner and you should download this immediately! For the record, it was KJ who got me on the cover of HERLIFE Magazine -> coming out in 2015!)
  6. {for the Granola fan in your life}: Maple Nut Crunch Granola (This granola is amazing, and it’s Paleo. Nicole has been a huge hand-holder for me since I really began getting serious about my business. All of her flavors are made with the same intentions I have, unprocessed guilt. p.s. Stay tuned for a granola + peanut butter ball recipe!)
  7. {for the fashion-forward girl in your life}: White Plum Boutique (Hilary is one of my favorite mompreneurs. We were going about our lives, fermenting veggies, when she told me about White Plum. Her business has grown immensely since. They offer affordable, vintage inspired clothing that rocks!)
  8. {for the treats-lover in your life}: The Caramel Jar (Gifts, caramel corn, hand-wrapped caramels and more…..yum! If you frequent Etsy, chances are you have stumbled upon her store before. Buy! She is so wonderful, and her customers come back time-and-time again. I love this gift pack.)
  9. {for the tea aficionado}: Book: Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea (This is such a cool concept, and my friend Annelies is the author. I cannot wait for it to come out! It’s a cookbook bring tea to the table in 70 freshly-brewed recipes with tea. Making tea more enjoyable, one sip at time! -> Kind of like my tea jello.)
  10. {for the pancake enthusiast}: ProCakes (Your complete pancakes-in-a-package mix. Caren has become a great food-entrepreneur friend of mine. We share a similar style and a love for the gluten-free’ing world. The fitness world loves her and the product, so if you have someone on your list who fits the profile, shop with ProCakes!)
  11. {for the creative planner}: Erin Condren Planners (I have always been a Franklin Covey-er. Until now. This year I’m supporting small business, and getting an Erin Condren Planner. Check her out. Do you have one?!)
  12. {for the smoothie, juice and/or vegan}: The Blender Girl (Tess’ book is stunning. I have it, and I have her brand new app. We have made so many things of hers, and a huge bonus is that Samarah looooves her some smoothies. Babies and adults alike will love all that Tess has to offer.)
  13. {for a better jam}: Just Jan’s Jam (A Loving Spoon nut butter doesn’t really believe in PB+J. We are all about straight PB, but we love jam….just in different ways! I belong to an uber-private Women’s Food Entrepreneur group with Jan. I love her jam selection, and you can never go wrong with jam as pairing for many things –> I love it on wild salmon.)
  14. {for the spiralizer or soon-to-be spiralizer on your list}: Book: Inspiralized (If you are already a fan of spiralizing, then you likely know Ali, the “inspiralized” girl. I love Ali and her sweetness. I took up spiralizing about a year ago, and I’ve never looked back. I can’t wait to get her book for self and for friends.)
  15. {for the special condiment and foodie friends}: Not Ketchup Fruit Ketchups + Bees Knees Spicy Honey (Have you ever seen such an awesome alternative to Ketchup? Another on of my food entrepreneur friends is the creator. She believes in “dipping differently,” and provides a whole gallery of recipes for inspiration. Morgen is also a fellow food entrepreneur that I “met” via a podcast Hilary told me to listen to which featured him. I love following their start-up blog, and I think what they are doing is not only awesome, but super simple and minimalist.)
  16. {for the “life moments,” creative scrapbooking person}: Heidi Swapp (I used to be into Creative Memories. I am transitioning to Heidi Swapp because I love everything she has to offer. She has grown a ton, and I’d think she’s not so much of a super small business anymore, but still small enough. I have so many things of hers, and now I just need to start putting it altogether. I think this person on your list will love her, too.)
  17. {for some healthy bites, perfect for on-the-go}: Healthy Bites (My friend Lindsay owns this. She just created Bourbon Peanut Butter Ginger bites. Stay tuned on Monday to the A Loving Spoon nut butter blog for an exclusive on these!)

And last, but not least, the Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter from my baby, A Loving Spoon nut butter. We already have a few special holiday gift packs available on our site:

  1. Holiday Heart Gift Boxes
  2. Stocking Stuffer Mesh Bags
  3. Gift Certificates
  4. Milk Carton Holiday Gift Boxes
  5. Holiday Gift Boxes
  6. 3-month, 6-month and 12-month subscriptions
  7. ….and more!

For the record, I believe in shopping small, not only today, but all year round (and I fully support ideas like “Dream Chasers“).

Feel free to add your own and/or your favorite small business in the comments below. The more the merrier!

xo,
SKH

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8 Holiday Dessert Recipes inspired by the Superfood Coconut http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/24/8-holiday-recipes-inspired-superfood-coconut/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/24/8-holiday-recipes-inspired-superfood-coconut/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 23:44:58 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24767 8 Holiday Dessert Recipes inspired by the Superfood Coconut It’s here! It’s finally here…. {Share this e-book on FACEBOOK with friends and family you want to bake for with you:)}  If you follow me on Facebook, you saw last Tuesday that my tests results came back: Turns out that not all doctors are created equally. After 10+... 

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8 Holiday Dessert Recipes inspired by the Superfood Coconut

It’s here! It’s finally here….

{Share this e-book on FACEBOOK with friends and family you want to bake for with you:)}

Old-Fashioned Donuts with Cranberry-Chia Glaze Donut O sarahkayhoffman.com If you follow me on Facebook, you saw last Tuesday that my tests results came back:

Turns out that not all doctors are created equally. After 10+ years, I *finally* have answers to all lingering gut issues…..a little scared, but mostly beyond grateful!!!!

Back in October, I mentioned procrastinating on getting all these tests done. But then I got worse and super motivated when I found out that my doctor, Dr. Sunjya Schweig, is Chris Kresser‘s doctor, too!

I was not prepared to find out so much. And yet, I can’t help but feel grateful. I am still deciding what pieces of the information to share publicly. And today was not the day to do so, partially because I’m still processing it and figuring out how to do this “newer life” I so desperately need to do.

But mostly, today was not the day to do it because I’m focused on the positive which is the fact that this e-book, and these brand new recipes, are here!

There are 8 in total, and 4 of which are mine.

Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter Fudge

Yes, with the A Loving Spoon Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter! (You’ll need 3 jars. Better grab yours now. And p.s. we just started putting the Holiday Gifts up today. We are already down to just 3 left on this one!)

When I visited Nutiva last week, Chef Shanna tried them and said,

Oh my God. What is in those? Those are amazing! Is that alcohol in there? Wow.

I replied,

No, no there is no alcohol in them. That’s the secret to the Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter…..the vanilla. It’s unlike any you’ve ever had before. You can’t buy it in the store. It’s exclusive to the flavor.

I made these for our Holiday Party last year. They were such a hit that I debated ever giving the recipe out. Alas, I have…..you’re welcome.

Honey Vanilla Bourbon Peanut Butter Fudge www.sarahkayhoffman.om A Loving Spoon nut butterTotal Setup

Old-Fashioned Donuts with a Cranberry-Chia Glaze

Did I ever tell you that we call Samarah, “Josephine” sometimes? Her full name is: Samarah Josephina Hoffman, and Josephina comes from my grandmother, Josephine.

I always get emotional around the holidays. I’m not even sure why, but I think it’s because it’s the one time of year when I remember so much. Wait, or maybe it’s because I found out at far too young of an age that Santa isn’t real?!

Either way, I have so many great memories. My grandmother Josephine’s donuts are one. Her house always smelled like a freshly baked one. I manipulated her recipe to make them gluten free 2 years ago. This time, I also made them grain free (and they are so much better).

Donuts Cranberry and Chia www.sarahkayhofman.com Old-Fashioned Donuts with a Cranberry-Chia Glaze

Baked Apple Stuffed Crumble

I realize there a million baked apple stuffed something-or-anothers out there already.

You’ve probably had several.

But honestly, you’ve never had a stuffed crumble until you’ve had one that includes a crumble filled with chia seed and hempseed.

I didn’t put ice cream on mine, but you should. I mean, you really should right as this warm lovely comes strolling out of the oven.

Give Thanks + O'Coconut Baked Apple Stuffed Crumble sarahkayhoffman.com

No-Bake Candied Sweet Nuts

Fair warning: If you place these in the freezer as a save-for-later snack, be aware that when you take them out of the freezer to consume, there may not be any left to share with anyone else.

I’m serious.

Crunchy. Sweet. No Bake. Chocolate, but no dairy.

Tipped Crate No-Bake Candied Nuts sarahkayhoffman.com

No-Bake Herbed Nuts

Not everyone craves sweets like me, so I wanted to make a no-bake version that was more savory.

I used Red Palm Oil (but please if you make these, be sure you’re using Nutiva’s Red Palm Oil which does not contribute to deforestation), and added some herbs with just a hint of sweet.

No-Bake Herbed Nuts sarahkayhoffman.com

Full Table of Contents:

8 Holiday Dessert Recipes inspired by the superfood coconut Table of Contents www.sarahkayhoffman.com

Seriously, the e-book is free.

I am grateful for Nutiva.

I am grateful for you.

xo,
SKH

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National Adoption Day and News http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/22/national-adoption-day-news/ http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/11/22/national-adoption-day-news/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:44:49 +0000 http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/?p=24781 Today is National Adoption Day. For 30 years, this day meant nothing. And then at the end of my 30th year, it became my everything. I have been thinking all week long about what adoption means to me. It means so, so much but I’ve been fighting through the words and emotions to express it. And then I stumbled upon... 

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Today is National Adoption Day. For 30 years, this day meant nothing. And then at the end of my 30th year, it became my everything.

I gave my heart to a child I didn't birth sarahkayhoffman.com

I have been thinking all week long about what adoption means to me. It means so, so much but I’ve been fighting through the words and emotions to express it.

And then I stumbled upon this on Instagram last night (I still can’t find the exact source for it, but I’m guessing it’s from yougottabelieve.org)

Adopting 1 Child yougottabelieve.org sarahkayhoffman.com

With those simple words and that simple image, my thoughts surfaced.

People constantly tell me one of two things:

  1. Once you get better, I bet you’ll get pregnant.
  2. Now that you’re not stressed about getting pregnant, I bet you’ll get pregnant.

Both statements take me back for a second. Where once they left me with hope, now simply leave me with the thought,

Getting pregnant with our own child seems so unimportant.

While I realize that’s a pretty strong statement, it’s one that I fully believe and one that you cannot understand unless you’ve gone through every phase we have.

A child that did not come from Ryan and I is the best part of us.

Samarah National Adoption Day 2014 sarahkayhoffman.com

She stole our hearts from millisecond one.

National Adoption Day 2014 sarahkayhoffman.com

Adoption is simply this unconditional love. For us, we showed up at the NICU knowing that no matter what we were going to love her with everything we had.

And we did.

There is no way I could love this child anymore. Like magic, every single day I somehow do love her more.

News

God’s plans might not be for me to ever carry a child. We have accepted that a million times over.

My passion is adoption (<- and this is why my business donates 10c of each jar purchased to orphaned children). My heart is with that one child whose life we can change forever.

We will adopt over-and-over.

San Joaquin County already knows that as soon as Samarah’s adoption is finalized (!!!! –> paperwork begins in early December —> !!!!) we are set for our next child.

I’m giving up my office, and we are converting it into the new child’s room. Our home can be approved for our next child soon, and then we wait until Gotcha Day to begin the process again.

It’s insane. We realize this.

It is not easy. This past year has been emotionally and physically draining. But all of that is nothing compared to the lives many children will live without a forever home.

God has a plan.

Adoption is ours (so much more to come in the following months, stay tuned).

xo,
SKH

p.s. I am thinking about building out more boards on Pinterest around Adoption. For now, you can follow, “In Our Hearts on Adoption.”

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