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BE GENTLE WITH THE PROCESS

When you hear the word, transformation... a few people think about a weight loss journey, while others may think about a mindset shift.  For me... I think of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon - battle scars, memories of the obstacles overcome and a beautiful new beginning.

And when I think of my OWN transformation, my own journey... and it's literally a hot mess.  No jokes and I am in love with it.

See, it's not just about the POUNDS lost, but about the strength GAINED.  It is about the mental toughness and my relationship with God that became stronger.  It is about the PEOPLE who rallied with me and those who picked me up, lent me support, provided me with a roof over my head or a kind word in the darkness.  It is about the knowledge learned...  and most importantly, the truth I have found about myself.

For instance.
I've overcome holding onto strict caloric restrictions.
I've been a size 16 and a size 2.
I've been able to...

OUR FAMILY FAVORITE SOUP FOR COZY FALL NIGHTS

There is absolutely NOTHING better than having a warm bowl of soup on a crisp fall day... well, maybe being debt free and living in the mountains overlooking the river or the beach, whatever your preference.  

 

Anywho.  One of my absolute favorite dish to whip up on the first chilly day is a dish discovered by the hubster.  See, he wanted to use the butternut squash I had purchased before it went "bad"... and if I'm being completely honest, this soup recipe has become a family favorite and one we SLIP into rotation each fall. 

 

Here's some cool factoids about butternut squash though (scroll down if you just want to snag recipe).  Butternut squash is a type of "winter" squash which means it's typically grown in the colder months.  It's loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, beta-carotene and fiber.  

This is NOT one of the produces I usually purchase from the "organic" section yet when I can find them, we snag...

One Hack to Reduce Belly Bloat

One question, I hear often from clients is this... IF I could share ONE health hack to help reduce belly bloat what would it be?  And there are so many things I could say; however, my favorite health hack to reduce belly bloat is quite simple AND inspired by my Pawpaw Broussard who just turned 91yrs old this month.

The health hack:  SLOW DOWN MY CHEW.

Here me out.  When we sit at the family dinner table on Sundays, my Pawpaw is typically the first one served and the LAST one at the table eating.   Seriously, it takes him forever to eat because with each bite he chews for at least 20 counts.

I'm not even joking!  He may have been timed by someone (ahem, me) when I was little. HOWEVER, there's something to this.  

See.  With mastication (or chewing your food), you are breaking down big pieces of food to smaller bits... and the salvia in your mouth aids in making the smaller bits even smaller.  This way these itty-bitty particles can move...

HOW A SPARTAN RACE HELPED THIS MOM FACE HER WALL

We all have a "wall", the metaphorical wall surrounding us in our comfortable cozy little bubble.  A boundary which hinders (some) of us from reaching our goals... setting new limits... pushing us to do better.

Allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane to share with you that time I LITERALLY faced my wall.

See. for our 10th wedding anniversary, the hubster + I participated in a Spartan Race.  The fact we came out of the race alive, still speaking and married makes me quite relieved.  

Anywho.  I remember the morning of the race like it was yesterday.  The hubster and I left before the sun rose to drive 5 hours to the event.  We even stopped at a hole-in-the-wall gas station to get breakfast burritos (hello, HUGE mistake).  During the drive over, we talked about the obstacles and what we expected as well as what we feared.  

The hubster was a tad bit nervous about the running as the race was anywhere between 10-15 miles in...

HOW TO WORK FROM HOME WITH LITTLES

Name is Amber.

And I currently work from home as the "Brain + Gut Health Explorer" as well as homeschool our twin 6-year olds known as the Gillies and provide daily therapy to our little man.  To answer your questions, "NO" I am not insane nor am I superwoman.  Honestly, each day I feel LESS like superwoman and more like Bridget Jones.  If Bridget Jones didn't have a diary and instead had twins as well as a business she needed to run from home.

Yet the other day, I received a voice text from a dear friend who stated... "I think of you often as I bought you a mug that said "every day hero" and I need to ship it to you." 

Every Day Hero.

I'm not even going to lie to you... when I heard those words, tears streamed down my face.  It was pure joy mixed in with horror.  I look like I have it all together.  ME?!?  Shizzzzzzzz... that can not be, right? 

Let's just set the record straight.  I do not have it all together.   ...

SIMPLE AÇAI BOWL RECIPE

All jokes açai'd, this is my favorite açai bowl recipe... so much so, that some nights I stay up contemplating opening up our own FOOD TRUCK where all I do is serve açai bowls with all the toppings.  (hashtag:  trademarking this idea, so no ideas)

Anywho.

The toppings is where the magic happens and we will get to that but first... WHY AÇAI BOWLS, Amber?  Well.  I stumbled upon the magic of these bowls when I attended a veterinary conference about 2-3years ago down in San Diego.  It was delicious but NOT something that was rather common in the boonies of East Texas... so, I forgot about them.  (tragic, I know).

Recently, our family relocated AND we may be in trouble as the place we are currently staying is 2mins from a cafe that whips up delicious açaí bowls.  Yet the price tag DEFINITELY PACKS a GUT PUNCH... so, I decided to learn how to MAKE my own.  

side note:  I still purchase a bowl...

TIPS TO GET MY GUT BACK ON TRACK

There's a saying I use when I'm facing a lot of struggles... it may be a wee bit tacky, but it makes me chuckle + helps me take light of the situation I am finding myself in at that moment. The phrase: LIFE IS KICKING ME IN THE LADY BITS.

And let me be clear. There's a ton of folks who have LIFE kicking them in their lady bits... harder than me. Yep, it's true. And I'm here praying for you, love.


Now. Sometimes, when I am facing struggles... I feel like things are going "okay". I'm taking in information... processing... and rolling with the punches as BEST as I can. BUT my body definitely CLUES me in to the fact that I'm a bubbly hot mess with all my gut issues, lack of sleep and a new friend in the form of a pimple on my face. I call her Roberta.

Why Roberta? Because when I was in summer camp, my roommate Roberta stole my "boyfriend" at the time... and it broke my 8th grader heart. Sorry, to all the Robertas out there in the world. But, I call my pimples Roberta.

 

Anywho....

HOW TO BE A NAP NINJA

One question I get all the time from women in our Brain + Gut Health Explorers community is how do I have so much energy?!?   And it's not because I drink a load of caffeine... I'm an one cup of coffee in the morning only type of person (any more and it makes my gut completely miserable).

Well.  I'll share with you one of my favorite hacks for feeling energized throughout the day and it's dedicated to my beautiful redheaded grandma whom I call, Gromeré.  At 91yrs old, she taught me the power of a good 15-20 minute power nap.

If you want all 5 hacks for staying energized throughout the day, you can score them all here!

Anywho.  Back to my gromeré.  Growing up, it was nothing for my grandparents to have family/friends over... and for my grandma to disappear for 15-20 minutes while everyone was playing cards or taking a break for lunch.

By the time, you were searching for her... she would pop her beautiful redhead into the room with a huge...

HACKS TO HELP YOU STAY HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING

Love- it's that time of year where you are packing up the car every other weekend to go THIS place or THAT... and somehow along the way, your goals of crushing a 10K (or rocking a bikini) slip to the sidelines.  Am I right?

Well. First off... you can ALREADY rock that bikini, love.  The only way to truly have a beach body is to:  A)  put on a bikini  and 2)  go to the beach.  DONE!  

But I get it, love.  I set quarterly health goals for myself and sometimes, it seems like the SUMMER is a test for my own will-power... can Amber hit her goals this summer, we shall see!  It's like American Ninja Warrior... but I'm a contestant, LIFE is the battles and my goal is to CRUSH a marathon come September.  Okay, nothing like American Ninja Warrior... but you feel me, right?

Last summer, I thought I was in a run for my money when our little man had intense lokomat therapy in the big "city" every other day for 12+ weeks... which...

MY 5 HACKS TO A HAPPY GUT

Have you ever woken up to a belly that was COMPLETELY angry with you?  Distended, gargling noises, some discomort... making you rethink what you had at dinner with the girls or maybe you indulged a wee bit too much on vacation.  
 
Dude.  We have all been there, sometimes, I even go there... and I KNOW my belly is going to be upset with my lifestyle choices the next day.   But, after some trial and error, I found some tips to help me get my gut back on track AND it’s one question I get asked probably once a week if not more.  

So.  I figured I’d just jot it down for you here, love... my tips on how to make my belly happy!  And you probably guessed it, the first place we are going to start is with the diet.
 
HAPPY BELLY TIP #1:
 
REFRAIN from processed, refined foods such as donuts, cookies, cakes, chips, etc.   FOCUS INSTEAD ON EATING WHOLE, UNPROCESSED, UNREFINED FOODS.
 
One of the best...
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