Friday, July 21, 2017

"New-Life Diet," by Aimee Nadow.

"New-Life Diet," by Aimee Nadow: 
How educating myself and overhauling a modern diet changed my energy, optimism, and weight loss goals. 

(Disclaimer: The following information is intended as educational and is not meant to be followed without the advice and permission of your doctor and nutritionist. The foods and videos below are chosen by myself and I did not receive compensation for any of them.)

Stage 1: 2005-2012
'Eat Right For Your Blood Type': In 2005 I was hospitalized because of a week of Tropical Smoothies which lead to toxic leaching into my stomach, learned more about my blood type, and then struggled to find all of the right vitamins and nutrients after cutting out lots of processed foods, and you can read my story here

Stage 2: 2012-2014 
The Asian diet: In 2012 I went "gluten free" for two years and ate a mostly Asian diet while hosting Chinese foreign exchange students. I struggled at first with gluten withdrawal, and then the quick weight loss and energy boost eventually went away as I added gluten back into my diet at the end of 2014.

Stage 3: 2015-mid 2017
Pregnancy and Postpartum: I had the delightful experience of Hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness for duration of pregnancy,) gestational diabetes and preeclampsia: yay! I ate what I could. Postpartum I nursed for ten months and ate what helped, and naturally my weight dropped, then went back up again when I stopped nursing. 

Stage 4: July 2017-present
"Go Big or Go Home:" Everyone has different dietary needs and restrictions. I've been dogging my own for years so I decided to cut out everything that I think is causing my dietary challenges or may be unhealthy for me in some way. I decided to stick with the following (Thyroid, Adrenals, and Lymph-node healing) diet: 

-No caffeine*
-No dairy
-No gluten
-No added sugar(s)
-Add apple cider vinegar for acetic acid 1-2x/week
-High protein/fiber oatmeal for breakfast everyday
-Add vitamin (whole food)
-Reishi tea detox (every few days)
-Daily calorie limit 1500-1700 plus any extra from exercise 
-Exercise 30 min+ (3-4x/week)
-Add sleep/more REM
-MINIMAL processed foods (trying to eat foods with less than five natural ingredients) 

WEEK 3: 12.5 pounds lost total

*I know all of you coffee lovers were cringing and considering ex-ing out of your browser as soon as you read 'no caffeine.' If you're committed to consuming coffee/caffeine and you want some great recommendations of my favorite blends from when I was a coffee addict check out my coffee review. If you're a tea drinker and that thought also makes you cringe you can check out my blog post: "The powers of tea! A review of my favorite blends."   or, my blog post: "The secrets of Chinese Green tea." 

But if you're GENUINELY interested in weight loss or nutrition or body health then I think you should forge ahead and learn a little about your adrenals and why you have to heal them (cutting sugar and caffeine) before you're going to get any results even if you're a warrior in the gym. 

Caffeine Detox duration: 6 days (only 3 bad days) of withdrawal symptoms.
No caffeine day 1: random feeling of alertness/wakefulness
No caffeine day 2: extra energy; did two workouts!
No caffeine days 3-5: Tough days. Uncharacteristically weepy emotions and general frustration. Luckily, still married. 
No caffeine: days 6-current: No cravings for coffee, only any 'hot' beverage in the morning; craving lasts for only about fifteen minutes (old habit) and then goes away.
(For "cheat" days during and post caffeine detox: Decaffinated almond milk or soy Starbucks latté with sugar-free vanilla and their Canadian bacon certified gluten free breakfast sandwich.)

Gluten Detox and Sugar Detox duration: 14+ days of symptoms.
My Gluten detox did not coincide with my caffeine detox so that I could better monitor the overall withdrawal symptoms. It was worse than the caffeine detox. Many days of a zombie-like "brain fog." The thought of eating gluten by accident and having to start that detox all over again is frightening. 
So why did I go to these diet changing extremes? I learned that I had completely worn out my adrenal glands from decades of caffeine intake and sugar consumption and that my lymph nodes were chronically swollen and I wanted to heal them. These issues are fairly common amongst Americans. To learn how to test for adrenal fatigue watch the following video and the subsequent educational videos which is how I also educated myself about the topic. 

Or, skip below the videos, to see some of the foods that I've been eating for that past month or so.

Adrenal and Lymph Node educational videos: (Content intended for adults.)

Now, here are some of the foods that I've added into my diet to replace old habits or to add newer, healthier choices in:

 1. Bone broth by Bonafide. 
 2. Dairy-free probiotics: Due to the fruit, this has a higher natural sugar content then I would like, so I only consume about 4oz, every other day.
 3. So Delicious Coconut "Cool-whip," as a dairy-free dessert replacement, just add frozen fruit for a delightfully refreshing dessert.
3. Daily oatmeal breakfast: High protein AND fiber. 190 cal/bowl. Two delicious flavors.  No heavy gunky normal "oatmeal" flavor.

 4. Citrus water for vitamin benefits; organic fruits (less) instead of traditional pesticide ones.
 5. Almond milk and coconut/almond milk substitute. Delicious and high in calcium. Super low (40) calories/serving.
6. Ice cream replacement: So delicious Coconut Milk "ice cream" alternative. High in calories and guilt, delicious flavor.
 7. Whole food multivitamin for better absorption. (Allegedly.)
8. Apple cider vinegar: the horror! The Horror! It's godawful. Mix with water. Take a chaser. 1-2x/week. Great before red meat to aid digestion. Great for getting rid of colds.
 9. Husband-approved tea: Reishi detox mushroom blend, one bag for a medium kettle, add a tablespoon of organic local honey (read about the horrors of imported honey here if you care) and shred one of the organic ginger-fingers (skin on) over the kettle and let steep from boiling for ten minutes before drinking. I can feel my lymph nodes clearing after this one.
 10. Dying-for-gluten snacks: these "hit the spot," for moments of preceived weakness: Glutino "pretzels," Vans GF cereals and cereal bars and crackers, and veggie chips.
 11. But what do you eat for lunch? The salsas for my veggie chips.
 12. But I just want a brownie/cupcake/treat! Try these coconut macaroon-style bites. Good god, so scrumptious!

13. I can't live without pizza/bread/fried chicken: No you shouldn't have to. Here are some good options!

Finally: Get a fitness/weight/nutrition/calorie App Tracker. I like: My Net Diary Pro. I've been using it for four years and I love the Lifetime weight and exercise tracking charts. ($3.99) This app also helps me track nutrients so that I can be sure I'm getting the right nutrition.

Final health plug: If you're interested in tracking cholesterol or your iron you can always give blood and find out for free! Plus, saving lives is a bonus!

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Check out my #Ham4All or #HamForAll contest entry and consider supporting: to help immigrants.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lenten Reflections: Increasing General Happiness by 10%

I have often failed at my annual Lenten offering, but most of my fasting choices have still improved my life in some way, and so I push forward every year thinking of ways to excise negative energy and bad influences from my life. So even I rolled my eyes at the thought of giving up Social Media for Lent. I knew that the stereotypically cliché offering would annoy my mother the most, who frequently checks up on both of her children on Facebook, and I didn't want for her to feel 'left out' of my life, but something had to be done: my energy, motivation and lack of general happiness were spiraling out of control in a way that I was pretty sure was somehow related to viewing digital screens. Turns out: I was right.

After taking twenty days off from Facebook and Instagram, and coming out of a nightmarish fifteen-year "fever dream" of overstimulation and information overload, I realized that it's not the Apps that are the problem: really it's the cell phone in general. Getting off of the addicting apps is a start. Putting down the cell phone in general presents a much harder challenge. Becoming sober from social media was as hard as quitting Red Bull for me. It also feels creepy and overpoweringly addictive in retrospective. Yes, I had the "Millennial Enlightenment" epiphany of horror at how many times I mindlessly opened the internet browser to get to Facebook before staring at the Login page and remembering it had been deactivated. Yet, as the days crept by without it, I found 10% more energy, 10% more happiness, and four moments of "pure joy" where I thought "this is the best day/moment of my life." Coincidence? I think not. 

The truth is: social media "feeds" are a never-ending rat wheel  and we are the rats. If you have a cell phone, then you are probably checking it the average 110+ times per day (source). Also: "A recent study by has revealed that the average person spends 90 mins a day on their phone. That figure may not sound like a lot but that amounts up to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of the average person's life is spent staring at their phone screen."

So I realize how preachy this post sounds. I realize that no one will read it because I haven't linked it to my deactivated Facebook pages. The truth is, you don't need me to tell you this, you already know that this is true. You've already heard the data, you know that you have control and power over yourself and your screens. You know that you, too, could quit these apps. You know that you, too, could remember the rules of etiquette in public and put your phone down at any time...but you don't. You're still waiting for that life-changing text or call. You're sure it's coming. You want to hear the latest Facebook gossip, you're certain it's going to be juicy. You want to stay caught up with the news, the world is falling apart. The truth is: you're a slave to the rat wheel and all I can say is this: if you want to be 10%+ happier, stop looking at screens, and get off the wheel. Don't believe me? Try it for fourteen days. It will also help to calm down your stress levels. 

If you're interested in my Lenten journey, where I've given up Social Media and started finding other ways to increase general happiness without buying things (such as by embracing Minimalism and increasing my happiness by 10%,) please comment below.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"48 States in 48 Days: One Man's Journey of Activism."

When I think back on my childhood role models of activism and environmentalism, the foremost couple in my mind are the wonderful Barbara Clark and Charlie Adler of Attleboro, Massachusetts, the parents of my lifelong best friend Carlen. From the time we were little, Barbara and Charlie graciously and selflessly opened their home to international exchange students, and offered them a quintessentially American learning and life experience, paving the way for my future goal and experience hosting my very own students in my house.

Photo: From Charlie's @48states48days Facebook page
Charlie has always been very active in local land conservation and city politics, often running for positions to help steward the green spaces and interests of Massachusetts. I remember the fabric wall hanging in their house of political buttons reaching back decades and the stories of Barbara and Charlie's involvements in supporting candidates in every election. I have always admired their work and efforts.

This past election cycle has created a cloud of apathy against the major party candidates, pitted patriotic Americans against each other as we argue about the way to move forward, and broadcasted an ugly and contentious political race both internationally and to our children at home, as a race unlike that of which I have ever seen in my three decades of life.  Yesterday, I learned that Charlie is undertaking a quest of personal activism to travel to the State Houses or Capitol Buildings of all 48 of the contiguous States of America to share the following important message:

Photo: From Charlie's @48states48days Facebook page

As a fellow environmentalist and traveller, I will be tracking Charlie's journey and countdown to election day. If you would like to learn more or follow his journey, please like and follow @48states48days on Facebook. Wishing you a safe and positive journey, Charlie. Godspeed!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Hosting International Students: The Toughest and Most Rewarding Years of my life."

At the airport! 
In 2012-2013 my husband and I decided to become host parents to two Chinese foreign exchange students in order to help raise funds for a non-Profit near and dear to our hearts. ( I'd like to share some of the highlights of our experience in case you'd like to know what it's like to host international students.

Cue Stage One: a.k.a. "Naive Euphoria."

In August of 2012, I tried to prepare the house as best that I could in advance, not realizing that everything would need to be changed almost immediately, because I had pretty much guessed incorrectly. Before the first week was out we had taken the bunked beds down and immediately went out to buy different food and school supplies and clothes.

Cue September. After a few weeks of unsuccessful and stressful roommate living, we moved one student out into the other guest room. Luckily, we had an extra room to be able to do this, because these two individuals could not have been more different. It had never occurred to me that these students might not get along! I should have remembered back to my own dorm experiences at Simmons College (my all women's undergraduate college.) However, pretty soon we settled into a routine that I could live with. Let's call this "The Honeymoon Stage." Stage two consisted of me giving up all of my free time and exercise time to shuttle the youngest home from cheerleading practice everyday (three hours after school had ended) and then to cook dinner at 7pm every night while I tried to be the perfect host parent. (I now empathize with parents of Varsity sports all over the country.) I gave up my weekends to cart the kids around to go shopping at all different places in Tampa Bay and to try to give them an incredible American stay experience. I even spent a record 15-hours searching for "the perfect" Homecoming dress for our younger student. (No joke.) I watched my colleagues leave school at 3:30 or 4pm with envy every day. I became frustrated with hearing "well, you're a parent now," in response to needed advice or understanding. I heard more and more stories of Richy's friends, also students at other schools in America, who were having horrible home-stay experiences because their host parents never took them anywhere, or allowed them to buy groceries that they liked, who never took them shopping, or let them hang out with friends, or go out to sight see in Florida. Apparently I had been a Super Host Mom. Cue the "Great Breakdown of October."

At some point in October, after running three loads of dishes in the kitchen in a single night with still more dishes to wash, despairing of seeing the guest bathroom two inches deep in water on the counter everyday, and having a general wariness or fatigue of cleaning up after teenagers everyday, I instituted daily chores. This alleviated some of the burden on me at 8pm every night, cleaning up after an already long day. Several people again advised me with a "you care too much" mantra which only made me want to react badly. (If my child were studying abroad, I would damn sure want to make sure someone was taking as good care of him or her.)

So at this point I should apologize. I should apologize because I did care about these girls so much. I wanted for them to be happy, safe and well adjusted as they studied here in America. I wanted their experience of the USA, Florida, Tampa, and for their experience at our school to be a genuine one, one that they reflected back upon  happily for the rest of their lives as being a worthwhile sacrifice towards advanced learning and opportunities. I wanted to share moments with them and delight in their expressions as they saw Disney World for the first time, as they tried new foods, as they scored a '100' on a test that they studied for four hours for, translating all of the information, and learning it in a foreign language. I want to share my own service to a community, gratitude and patience with them. I want to be fair, helpful and kind to them when they had a problem.

Cue "Survival Mode." By then it was almost Christmas Vacation, which means for teachers all across the nation, the next 21 days were the most painful of the entire school year. Sprinting through curriculum and exam review, grading an obscene amount of work in time for report cards, all with little to no energy due to a lack of time and exercise and an overabundance of work and caffeine. The girls holed up in their rooms. I holed up grading/eating/napping/walking/mindlessly watching television. A colleague, also with exchange students, bemoaned the relentless energy of teenage boys and I started to appreciate the quiet in my household. I saw the "light at the end of the tunnel" where the next weekend's cheerleading competition meant the end of the varsity season for my younger student. I knew that Tom and I would have two weeks to ourselves over Christmas Break when the girls returned to China for two weeks, for us to unwind, clean and house hunt... and also to spend some time alone together, something that literally had not happened for more than 24-hours since August.

However, I ended up spending a lot of Christmas Vacation worried about how things would get back to normal in January. Cue "The Break up." To be honest, things had been going pretty badly. I won't go into details. When they came back in January, the girls avoided each other, and Tom took over delegating the teenage chore regimen because it had become too stressful for me. Problems escalated to epic proportions, and finally, after eight challenging months, one of the students was moved out of my house. I've thought a lot about this "failure," and taken a lot of the blame upon myself. I've wondered how I could have been more patient; my nearest friends assuring me that I had shown the patience of Job throughout the year. Mainly, I was upset because I had truly thought that I might have made a difference for that student if I had just tried a little harder, which in retrospect was vanity, I suppose. In my dealings with over 600 students over the course of my professional teaching career, I've never seen a student quite like this one. I learned some very powerful lessons from this year of successes and failures. (1) For someone to change, they must decide to do so for themselves. It is vanity to assume that we can change others. (2) There is great happiness in sharing a home life with a teenager once a routine is established. I've never laughed so hard, been so proud of my husband's support and caring for our students, or had so much fun experiencing things and going on trips. (3) I can be a good parent in the future, but only with the help of a spouse as supportive as mine has been.

Cue "A New Beginning." Life became enjoyable again. There was no fighting, or stress in the house, and the three of us enjoyed a little more breathing space for the rest of the year. My mom and I excitedly prepared our passports and visas to make a trip to China with Richy to meet her extended family and to see her country. By the end of the year I knew a dozen Chinese songs by heart. I could cook fried rice. I could use a rice cooker. I had moved into expert status with chopsticks. I no longer needed to worry about ordering food at an Asian or Chinese restaurant: I let Richy order for us and I've never been disappointed. I looked forward to welcoming her back to our house for her Senior year, knowing how happy that time will be for Tom, and I and for her as she applies to an American college or University.

Fall 2013: Richy returns for her senior year! 

Cue "The Best Year of My Life!" Everything was whole again: Richy came back, thank God. (My husband and I had endured ten days together this summer when we were both home and the house was kid-free. It was weird. It was too quiet. We were both bored. We ate Chinese food anyways. We were ancy. We talked about having our own kids in the near future realizing that we had had a lot of fun with the kids last year, and that our dual independent natures are more conducive to being synchronized and balanced when there are kids around.)

I picked her up at the airport, no traffic fuss, easy baggage claiming, and then she slept for a week at our house and I barely saw her. She's pretty independent and self motivated, and studied all night long while she adjusted to the complete reversal of time zones and slept all day. She emerged from the cave of her suite to chat, eat food, or check on us, but mostly it was a quiet first week back. She went to school with me after four days to be an International Student Ambassador for the New Families Night at school, and she was extroverted, social, caring and a great hostess for another new Chinese student. I was so proud of her.

Her senior year went by in a whirlwind of "lasts," from dances to trips, and it was one of the happiest years of my life. I cried when she dedicated her "Senior Speech" to talking about her experience with Tom and I and how we had grown to be family.

When she graduated from Academy at the Lakes I have never been more proud. It was with great heartbreak for me that she moved on to college in California but I looked forward to welcoming her home to our new house for her college breaks and spending time with her, like over Thanksgiving in San Fransisco in '14 and Christmas in Tampa in '15. My life has expanded by tenfold from this experience and I would recommend it as one of the hardest and most rewarding life experiences possible.

Summer 2013: Traveling to China:
You can read about my experiences traveling to China on this blog, here. You can watch our trip video below:

March of Dimes Walks: 2016

Greetings followers! I am writing today to invite you to join me or sponsor me in the 2016 March of Dimes walks happening next month. I will be walking twice, first in downtown Tampa and then the week following in Wesley Chapel. Feel free to visit my walker pages at the links below and please consider sponsoring me with a donation! Together we can really make a difference for the beginnings of so many tiny lives!

(Wesley Chapel walk: April 30th, 2016)

(Downtown Tampa walk: April 23rd, 2016)

Kind regards,

Thank you sponsors!

Liz and Scott Nadow
The Emerick Family
The Burnley Family

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Trying not to let an American Dream dim...

I donated to this deserving young man today so that he can continue his junior year at college in America after working incredibly hard to have a perfect 4.0 GPA for both his high school career at my school (Academy at the Lakes) and also at college. With an almost full scholarship he is only $4,500 away from being able to remain in the USA as a full-time student. Can you help keep the light of the American Dream on for him, too? Any denomination helps.

Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, you can read about Gleb's incredible journey of sponsorship by the RenProject here...

Monday, August 03, 2015

"A Caribbean Daydream," trip video by Aimee.

Escape to the Caribbean for 3-minutes and watch my highlights video of gorgeous waters, tropical fish, rainforest sounds and spectacular oceanic sunsets!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Blog Update via Twitter

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bucket List Update: January 2017.

Aimee's Bucket List:
-Hike all 48 four thousand footers in New Hampshire with Mom. (8 left!)
-Hike the Appalachian Trail.
-See Antartica.
-See the Aurora Borealis.
-Boire un cafe, sans lait, en Paris près du Tour Eiffel.
-Visit Ireland, Scotland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France/French territories, England and UK territories, Germany (Bavarian Christmas Shops), Russia, Czech Rep. (Prague), Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Svalbard's seed vault, India, Japan, China, South Korea, Mexico, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten(Dutch side)/St. Martin(French side), St. Kitts, Grand Turk, Grenada, Puerto Rico, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Iceland, Morocco, Lake Tahoe, and more...
-Pray in a Buddhist temple in the Himalayas.
-Walk on the Great Wall of China.
-See the Terracotta Warriors.
-Build a tiny house!
- Send my dad to space
-Buy Nate a '70 Chevy Nova.
-Buy Tom a race car
-Get Beth to hike Mt. Washington.
-Eat at a Michelin Starred restaurant: Roy's-Tampa, Mourad-San Francisco)
-See Christy get married in Ireland.
-Go on a cruise.
-See one of my students become a teacher.
-To be able to take care of my parents for the rest of their lives.
-Drive with Rachel from Seattle to Alaska 
after our 2011 drive from Tampa to Seattle and back.
-Go back to Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Montreal. 
-Drive Across America. (East-West)
-Ride the mules down to Phantom Ranch and see the Grand Canyon.
-White water raft part of the Colorado River.
-Publish a novel.
-Build a treehouse.
-Host foreign exchange students.
-Build a log cabin in the middle of the NH/ME woods.
-Win a shopping spree at L.L.Bean.
-Get a tattoo
-Own a '65-'66 Mustang
-Have kid(s). <3 DJ
-Adopt/foster a kid.
-See a Red Sox Spring Training Game: 3/20/2011!
-Be a bridesmaid.
-Sing on a television show.
-Go on am Survival Show.
-Plant an organic vegetable garden.
-Install solar panels on my house.
-Stay for a week at the Mt. Washington Hotel to ski :)
-Compete in a Sprint Triathlon.
-Get cats.
-Scuba dive in the Caribbean.
-Go to Harry Potter World.
-See a Red Sox game at Fenway.
-See the Sox win a World Series.
-See the Colts win a Superbowl.
-Get married.
Travel Internationally.
Raise over $4,600.00 for cancer research.
Walk all 60 miles of the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure. 
Walk the 3-Day with my Mom and friends for a second time.