Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The New [ Improved ] McGuire Diet / Food Challenge

This post is a little different than the others that I typically write... More or less, this is a challenge that I want us to try in our household. I use the word challenge because that is what eating organic can often feel like. It has almost become like a shameful thing to want to eat organic. As if only the rich or "hippies" eat this way... 

Anyways, this is something that I am now trying my best to learn about.  My mother has been interested in all kinds of foods for a long time. As as "foodie" and an amazing cook, she is all about delicious tasting food and trying new things. I'd say for the past 3+ years, she has been learning about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)  in our food supply. I see the foods she buys since learning about GMOs and started paying attention. 
I have always been interested in eating well and getting my fair share of exercise, but never really cared enough to look at at the label on everything I stick into our grocery cart to see what chemicals are in there. I mean, I still get excited when something we like is "Buy One Get One Free" when I walk into Publix and see their displays. I load up! 
But after reading about more and more cases of cancer, obesity, food allergies, young women having infertility issues, etc. increasing in our country - it is pretty much safe to say that I am listening now!

[Attention to my friends planning on trying to get pregnant soon: try altering your diet so you're not working against yourself and your chances of conceiving. 

 Go to this link for awesome information on foods and the healthy diet's effects on your fertility  (and a healthy diet for a man's fertility too!)

Follow this link: 
[take a look at the foods to avoid like the sodas and artificial sugars]

for the men, go to: 

 Maybe it is because I am pregnant and now eating is not just for myself, but for another little person as well? Maybe it is because I don't want Ava having food allergies to common foods that were never an issue before the introduction of GMO's (Genetically Modified Orgnaisms) to our foods? Maybe it is because I see my husband's issue with Eczema that never seems to get better? Maybe it is because I have some friends that seem to be having a harder time getting pregnant at a young age? Maybe it is because I see our declining health rates in our country?

Whatever the reason is - I want to try and start doing the best that I can to feed my family REAL food. The kind that your good 'ole farmer works hard to do. He or she feeds the animals grass ( you know, what they eat naturally in the wild and not modified corn - wow, what a concept!) and then when they slaughter the animal for us to eat, we eat their meat...not meat that is filled with chemicals that tear up our stomach and give us diseases, allergies, and cancers. 

Oh! And just when did it become OK for other countries to NOT allow food companies to sell them "foods" with ingredients that have not previously been through long term studies and have not yet proven to be safe to eat, but our government allows those same companies to sell us those "foods" to us UNTIL THEY ARE PROVEN TO BE UNSAFE?! 

Other countries need proof that GMOs are safe before they even look at them... while we eat up until we get cancer or other illnesses. Backwards, huh? 

 I didn't know this country was okay with having lower standards than others? That is embarrassing, America. Wouldn't it be nice if we demanded the same from these companies? 

"The problem has become so great that the EU has actually banned the use of GMO products throughout Europe, while the United States continues to allow them throughout our nation. While some of the top food manufacturers like Kellogg, Heinz, Pepsi, Coke and Kraft, have changed their recipes in Europe, no longer using GMO ingredients in their products, those same products sold in the States continue to sue these dangerous ingredients, thanks to the inaction being taken by the FDA."  - HETHIR RODRIGUEZ, B.S., M.H., C.M.T.

There is something a bit backwards about that. Don't you think? It infuriates me. Why do those countries' citizens get safer and more studied products and Americans get GMO products put onto our shelves until it is too late resulting to being pulled off  the shelves due to recalls, market withdrawals, & safety alerts? 

What is happening here is that it is all about the profits for these huge food companies that basically own all the smaller food companies as well. Not only are they the one's controlling how the government votes on allowing the American people to eat this crap, while also controlling how organic (and responsible farmers) price their foods. It costs more for an organic farmer to prove that their food is safe because they do not use the pesticides and chemicals in their products.  So basically, they are being punished for just wanting to feed their cows, chicken, pigs or soil their produce with what they naturally want and need to grow. Backwards again... 

So it all boils down to trying (the best that I can) to buy organic (non- GMO) food. If it has been injected or altered from the way that it was meant to grow- I will try not to eat it.   I understand that we do go out to eat (all the time), and that sometimes it is a lot harder to eat an organic diet. 

I will not sacrifice going out to have dinner with friends for fear that it is not an all organic meal. What I will do, is control what I can when I am eating at home or making Ava's food one day. I also know that Mark may take a while to warm up to newer food brands, but have faith that he will get on board. When I first got pregnant, I remember mentioning this information to him and he simply said, "Buy whatever is best for the baby." 

( I am actually super excited to make Ava's natural, pureed food when she can have more than breast milk. No store bought baby food for that little one! :) 

Anyways, here are two videos that I really enjoyed and helped me to understand the whole food thing a bit better. I watched the 1st one that I posted on here at the beginning of the year. It is a mom who now educates others after her findings. She wasn't a "hippy- tree hugging- rich woman" who was always into this sort of thing...she was a mom from Texas who was shocked when her kid was having food allergies to every day foods. 

Click on the video below and watch:

The 2nd movie I posted on here is one that my mother came across about a week ago. We started to watch it together yesterday and I finished it this morning. 

Ladies, at the 00:45:52 part of the video below they talk about eating non- GMO foods especially before trying to conceive.

This post is not meant to try and "sell you" on eating tofu and seaweed the rest of your life.... it is just to fill you in on how we will be trying (the best that we can) to eat our REAL fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish...and so on! If we are paying for a steak, I think we are entitled to eat meat that has not been chemically altered which in turn can make us sick. That is all. :-)  The issue for me will be making the effort to drive to Whole Foods and Fresh Market which is 20 min away, rather than Publix which is 2 min away from me. Publix does sell some organic food (and I will still shop there because I do love my pub subs once in a while!) but other healthy grocery stores can offer more of a variety in the long run.

This link below (a PDF) of a list of non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)  food brands. I will be taking this to the grocery store to swap out some common things that we eat for the all natural brand.

or click below on:

Responsible Technology PDF

Also, take a look at the prices out there...Whole Foods, for example, is not a big price difference than shopping at Publix. In fact, my mother finds that she spends less at Whole Foods on produce than she does at Publix. So if this interests you at is not some expensive, life altering expense. It is just common sense for your health and rewarding responsible, American farmers and food companies. 


*The Ava Countdown*
 33 weeks pregnant today! 7 weeks until her Due Date! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Baby Shower+ Dudes&Diapers+ FSU+ Birthing Class

This past weekend was my baby shower! My mother and mother in law organized the best day ever. I was so excited for this day because it was basically all of my favorite women in one place! We had about 50 women attending. I was missing a few key people but I knew they were thinking of me :) Here are some of the photos that I had... I'll probably be posting more once I get all of the pictures in. One of my mother in law's friends - Vikki- was taking a BUNCH of amazing pictures with her very large camera :) 
So, when I get my hands on those, I will post those.

Before the shower started....My mother in law- Debbie- & my mom -Maria. 

Mark was there until it was time to begin. He later went to his own celebration with his friends. 

Can you tell that we are very proud parents already?!   ;-)

My grandmother, Velma, & mom - technically there are 4 generations in this photo  (counting Ava :)
me & the Jacksonville girls! (Left) Heather, Erika, Myself, Emily, MaryAnn, Jacki

My grad school friends. (Left) Danielle, myself, Jessica, & Lindsay

Opening the gifts....there were so many beautiful gifts that we actually had to take a break! I have very generous friends and family!

Mark's "Dudes & Diapers Party"

While I was at the baby shower, Mark's friends Michael Boden and Jared Roche helped host a little Dudes & Diapers Party for Mark. Basically, about 10 of his friends came together to celebrate Ava and spent time with Mark for his own little shower. They planned on a beach day but ended up eating lunch at Brickhouse Tavern & Tap 

followed by watching football over some cigars and drinks at the Florida Cigar Company. Thanks, guys - Mark said he had a great time!

That evening, we all met up at Mug's Sports Bar and Grill to watch the FSU v Savannah State game. Being closer to where our 'out of town friends' were staying, it made more sense for us to watch the game there with them. The game ended because of weather delays....and FSU was winning 55-0 by the beginning of the 3rd quarter. So basically, had this game continued, it would have just gotten more embarrassing for  Savannah State. Quite frankly, I enjoy a more competitive game and can't wait for this season's upcoming games. Here are some pictures from Mugs...

Mark and Michael Boden - Mark's "little brother" in Kappa Sigma. Thanks for all of your help, Mike :)

I love that Mark's buddies are just as excited about our daughter's arrival.... We are thankful to have such supportive friends :)

Left- Josh, Ryan, Mark, Phil, Jared 

Left - Erika (Jared's sister), Emily (Mike Hall's fiance), Kristin, me, Heather (Josh's fiance) , MaryAnn (Ryan's Wife), & Jacki (Jared's wife)

Since we didn't want to leave our friends just yet, we all decided to go to Bahia Cabana on Ft. Lauderdale beach. We stayed there for the remainder of the night watching football and talked about the next 2 weekends in Tallahassee for the Wake Forrest and Clemson games. 

I didn't take any photos but some of the girls did. I'll upload those later too. 
I probably should have waited until I got all the photos to do this post but o well. We will have a part II. 

Then on Sunday Mark and I slept in (we were EXHAUSTED from an eventful Saturday... 

Once we got moving, we headed back to his mother's house and loaded up our SUV along with his mother's SUV with all of Ava's gifts! I spent the rest of the day getting her gifts put away and setting up her crib with my father and brother who came over to deliver it. Well, I should actually note that my 19 year old brother put the crib together by himself in about 15 min. Love that boy. 

I will wait to post photos of the nursery once it is completed. That was you don't see it looking like the state that it is currently in...a beautiful...MESS. I am hoping to be finished with it by the end of the month. 

Then yesterday, Mark and I attended our first birthing class at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale. We have 3 more to attend on Monday evenings this month. We met some couples all due within a couple days of us and learned about: signs of labor, calming techniques for Mark to help me with, Epidural info, etc. 

 [A funny part of the night was when the RN who was running the class told a story that she had experienced with another couple during the labor and delivery of their baby. She had mentioned beforehand that it is helpful to bring in some calming music that you like and maybe even a picture or something to focus on during labor. She then told us about this couple that brought in some calming music for the majority of the woman's labor. As it later became the exciting "time to push" portion, her husband quickly changed the calming music to their favorite university's marching band music. When the woman's husband did this, the women only pushed 3 times and delivered their baby!!!]

 Mark immediately looked over at me and started laughing because that is something that Mark would totally do if I let him. Sure enough, Mark mentions on the way home..."I think I am going to bring some of the Marching Chiefs music for you...Maybe some Seminole Uprising would be good."

HAHAHA wow....God help me. 
So here is a little clip for those of you not familiar with what Mark talking about.  Click on the video below to listen. 

This is FSU's marching band - The Marching Chiefs playing "Seminole Uprising" and what I may even be delivering Ava to...Mark is crazy, I know, but you have to love his enthusiasm. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mark's Plan for Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday started out like any other day. Mark and I really had not talked about how we were going to celebrate our anniversary so I did not really expect anything out of the ordinary like last year's... 
[The year before, we were in Tallahassee for a football game and I knew something was up because he mentioned that we HAD to be back in Fort Lauderdale by a certain time on Sunday but would not tell me why. We ended up having our first anniversary at a hotel on the beach layer of our wedding cake in tow to keep that tradition of eating it 1 year later! ]
Morning of our 1st anniversary! Toasting to it with mimosas. 
A great day lounging by the pool and beach for our 1st Anniversary!

Back to yesterday...Around noon Mark called to say hi and mentioned that he was getting off of work earlier that day and that I needed to be ready by the time he got home to go out. Okay, nice! We are going out to have dinner, I thought. 

I quickly realized what time it was and headed over to the Galleria Mall where I was planning on getting him a new Tommy Bahama shirt. I read that "cotton" was the traditional gift for a 2nd Anniversary gift, so I thought I'd be cute and keep with traditions for my conservative boy. 

Side note: I finally found my first "expecting" parking spot! I was looking for parking at the mall and thought I'd take my chances with the front spots hoping that someone would magically walk out as I was driving up - and BOOM! I found a whole row for expectant mothers. Figures, I would be 31 weeks pregnant until I finally found one of these spots anywhere... ha 

Later on around 5:00 Mark got home. He said, "You should eat something now for Ava because we were having dinner after where we were headed first..." 
Hmm...He made other plans!!! I was excited :) We left shortly after and noticed Mark was barely talking in the car ride over and kept looking at the time. 
 When I saw that we were pulling into the Bahia Mar Hotel, I jokingly asked, "Are we getting married again?" 

I said this because we boarded the Floridian Princess yacht that we got married on at Bahia Mar's docks and this is where we all stayed that night. 

Mark replied with, "Sort of..." 

After we parked by the docks, I realized he was leading me toward the boats! Yay.  And that is what he had planned... A sunset sail to have us back on the water again on 
September 4th!

9.4.10                        9.4.12
Same spot 2 years later

After this we headed to dinner and then home...but not before Mark made a pit stop for my "Half Baked" Ben & Jerry's ice cream. The man knows how to read my mind (or his daughter's already).  

Thank you, Mark. You always remember the small things that mean the most!
Love you. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Letter to Mark on Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary

[This is the letter that I wrote to Mark today in his 2nd wedding anniversary card... It includes memories from even when we were much younger - not just in the 2 years of  our marriage. I thought I'd share this since my feelings for him have never been a secret... ]

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Mark! I cannot believe 2 years has already flown by...

It seems like yesterday that we were speaking with Pastor Dan about our relationship as we were getting ready to get married. One memory in particular that I have is when he asked me to describe in three words how I felt you about you. The third one caught his attention. I said that I "admired" you. The pastor said he could not remember a bride speaking about how she admired her fiance or using that word. I remember then having to explain that I have always looked up to you, admired you, and considered you a role-model. From the day I met you, you have always been a gentlemen. I knew for a very long time that you were very different than most guys - or people for that matter... 
You wrote my mother a letter when you wanted to take me out on our first date because you knew she was uneasy about our age difference, you have never ever raised your voice at me or called me a mean word in times of disagreement or hurt, you have  always treated me like your number one priority, you have taught me what it means to look at the "bigger picture" when making decisions or getting upset at a situation, and last but certainly not the end of things you have done that I recognize- you make me proud to be Mrs. Christina McGuire each and every day. 

We always joke and talk about how growing up, I was such a "flake" and put you through God knows what. I was much more impulsive than you ever were, and was sometimes not there for you like you were always there for me. You have always been unwavering in your feelings, loyalty, and faithfulness. 

Thank you for teaching me how to be a better friend, girlfriend, and now - wife. 

Thank you for always staying by side my side even when I told you not to. 

Thank you for those times like when you took me to the park before you left for college and told me that no matter what happened, we would be together in the end. 

Thank you for always being a leader and never a follower with your friends - you could have listened to them but you decided that you & I were worth the wait. 

Thank you for never giving up on us and knowing we were going to grow old together one day.

Today is the celebration of 2 years of marriage- but to us it is so much more than that. Marriage is sacred to us, but at the end of the day, we have had this bond for much longer than 2 years. 

I am so grateful to call myself your wife. I can't wait until you get home from work so that we can celebrate!

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary & so much more, Mark. I love you. 

Our first dance

After my 8th grade graduation
 Mark came to watch my speech as Class President :)

Mark's first days working on the yachts

Saying goodbye to Mark as his mom and I helped move him into his FSU dorm. 

Having fun aboard the SummerWind
A night out in Chicago

My favorite dance partner

 Cbeyond's company trip to Jamaica - Congratulating him on another successful year at Cbeyond 

Our 1st wedding Anniversary