November 2015


Hello Moms, moms to be, and Moms patiently waiting to start their Mom Journey. My Name is Samantha and I am a proud mom of a 9yr old!!! That’s right ladies. You think it’s hard to stay on track when their little it doesn’t stop when they get older. I started my mom journey when I was very young at the age of 19. All I was told was how expensive this baby that was coming was going to be. No one warned me that I would have these huge emotional swings and struggle with depression. I was told how glorious and beautiful pregnancy was and seemed like everyone I came across made it sound magical and effortless. My experience couldn’t have been more opposite. I had a love/hate relationship with being pregnant. But was ashamed to admit it. I loved feeling him kick and grow but hated the changes my body went through. No one tells you that you going to be hot all the time, you hips and back will hurt, you have uncontrollable gas, you are tired, you can pee you pants at any time and your boobs become a whole other person. Haha. I was so young I didn’t even know my body let alone get to enjoy my body when it was in its prime. I was a athlete in love with any and all sports. I loved being active and loved competition. Starting off at the amazing weight of 115 I thought I wouldn’t change too much WOW was I wrong. I had no idea that my choices to eat and do whatever would effect me the rest of my life with my body image and insecurities. I gained a whopping 80lbs when I went into deliver. I had access amniotic fluid, kept going into preterm labor and was 2 weeks over my due date! I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb 11oz and 23in long healthy boy named Hayden Everett Ungs. My world has been forever changed. Balancing being a young mother, working to stay afloat, becoming an adult and all the other things we had to deal with, fitness was at the bottom of my list. I found ways to fit it in though. I took my son with me everywhere. Walks, runs, hikes, malls, and even the gym at times. But with determination I was able to lose the weight but could only get down to 145. I was left with stretch marks and some lose skin around my midsection. I still had huge insecurities with how I looked. I felt flawed and compared myself to all the girls my age who still had those great high school bodies. I struggled daily. But slowly my body came back and most of all my mind and how I looked at myself changed. Fast forward to today. I am 28 years old, run my own business doing hair and have my own house and many other accomplishments. My fitness journey seems to be a struggle still just different problems or just life in general. I have found what works best for me and doing what I enjoy is key. I love weights and outdoor activities. I would have to say it wasn’t until these last couple years that I have finally figured out that someone is always going to be prettier, smarter, more fit, have more money, have a smaller waist or have what seems to be a perfect life. But that doesn’t make my accomplishments any less, or my beauty any less, or my body worse. It makes me who God intended me to be! How amazing to accept yourself where you are and to be able to look at yourself and think positive thoughts. I used to think when Hayden gets bigger it will get easier or when I make more money it will be easier. Truth is it never changes! Things come up all the time and you stay just as busy just with other things. So keep making those small changes and include your kids in your fitness. My son loves to be outside with me and he loves to be active. They watch and take on your daily habits. I’m still on my fitness journey and believe I will be until the day I die! But what makes it amazing is sharing it with all you ladies and hearing new ideas and getting support!

Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. Luke 1:45




The Organic Milk Debate

What is organic milk? How is it different from regular cow’s milk and should you spend your extra cash for it? Organic milk has to follow USDA organic milk standards. The standards say that farmers cannot use synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, or use GMO crops or feed for their cows.

Although organic milk has much lower levels of pesticides, both organic and nonorganic milk have high levels of sex hormones in them. Milk from pregnant cows has much higher levels of sex hormones than non-pregnant cows. Those high levels of sex hormones have been associated with earlier menarche in females, gynecomastia in males, increased risk of certain cancers.

So, should you buy organic? I personally only buy organic milk due to it being consumed on a regular basis, but I always alternate cow’s milk with both almond and cashew milk to keep a variety. I think it is a decision to be made per family. Even though I only buy organic milk, I feel that there is more benefit to buying organic produce and organic meats over organic milk if cost is a factor. What do you think? We would love to hear other opinions.


MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY!!! Have any of you struggled with core or lower back issues after pregnancy? Have you looked pregnant for months after having your baby? You may have diastasis recti. This is a very common postpartum condition that us mommas face. Mine was 4 fingerbreaths after my twins were born. This is so important to learn about, because there are exercises that both help and exacerbate this. Check out this video intro by Carriefit, an expert in postpartum fitness.

Check out the video on our Facebook Page


Dorothy and Connor

My alarm buzzed at 5am this morning and before I was fully awake I was snoozing it, hoping desperately that it wouldn’t wake the baby. Waking up was a slow slide into reality. At first I was relieved it was the alarm and not the baby crying and I was snuggling back into my pillow trying to hold on to the delusion that I could go back to sleep. It didn’t take long for reality to set in, if I *wanted* to meet my running group at6am and get my long run in I had to get up now. Now, at 5am? Now, when the baby was still asleep? Oh no….. why would I do that??

Before my son was born I was really active. I would wake up early and go to yoga multiple times a week, I ran and I raced in triathlons. Being active was a huge part of my life but as my pregnancy progressed I found it harder and harder to do the things I loved, especially running. I stopped running after the first trimester because it felt like I had a watermelon bouncing around in my pelvis and my hips felt like they were going to break apart. I walked a lot and I swam 3 or 4 times a week but it just wasn’t quite enough to keep up my fitness. I promised myself that as soon as my son was born I would get right back to running and racing triathlons. I just didn’t really understand how hard it would be. In 2 weeks my son will be one. It feels like a big milestone not just for him but for me as well. I knew that having an infant was hard but now I know what “hard” means on a visceral level.

As soon as my doctor gave me clearance to workout (at 4 weeks postpartum) I put on my running shoes and hit the pavement. I was elated to be on the road again, for about 2 minutes, then I was miserable. I think I made it about a half mile before I knew I was going to die. Everything hurt in my pelvic area. With every breath I felt like I was a fish out of water. I was totally winded. I stopped, turned around and started walking home. Everything was like that, it was so hard to get back on the horse. I kept slogging away and each time it got a little better. I ran my first 5k when my son was about 8 weeks old. I was slow as molasses but I ran the whole grueling thing. I had a few exciting successes like that one and I kept plugging away, trying to get back into shape but it often it felt like it was impossible. The sleep deprivation was a huge factor in slowing me down. Some days I felt like I just couldn’t run, I would get out and try running but I would have no energy, there was nothing in the gas tank. It was depressing as all get out.

When my son was about 7 months old I joined a running group in Austin called Rouge Running. Around that time my son started sleeping a little more at night and I started to have a bit more energy. I was determined to really get serious about running again. I ran with my Rogue group throughout the heat of the Texas summer and it was miserable, the group was great but the heat… oh man the heat! After our Wednesday evening workouts I felt like I needed someone to scrape me up off the pavement where I had melted like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.

Speaking of melted, my belly button still looks like it melted. It’s literally twice the size it used to be and my son delights in sticking his finger in it and laughing. I’m like “Kid you might as well stick you whole hand in there because it will totally fit”. The reality is that my body is not the same as it was before my son inhabited it and despite that I love my body. I am grateful for my body, it allows me to do so much. It carries me through life, it grew and birthed this crazy little munchkin who NEVER STOPS GOING and it allows me to keep up with him. I work really hard to practice gratitude for my body. One of the biggest lessons I have had to learn since my little man joined our family is to celebrate the day to day. So often, my tendency is to put happiness off to the next milestone. I ran 3 miles! Great! Now I want to run 5. I hit a speed target, great! Now I want to go faster. Sure setting goals and reaching them is great but if you don’t stop to celebrate what’s the damn point? I try to marinate in the moment, to enjoy each step, each mile, each success. Every muscle that hurts means I made the time for myself to workout and I am grateful for my #mombod.

So this morning when my alarm went off I realized that I wanted to get up and run. I wanted to luxuriate in the solitude of the early morning, my feet hitting the pavement, the sun coming up over the horizon. Whatever the run held in store for me, milestone or not I wanted it.

~Dorothy Mankey

FRIDAY FAVORITE ~ Shopping Organic Mini Series


Shopping Organic Produce

Have you ever found yourself standing in the produce aisle wondering if you should buy the same berries in organic for two times the cost? Then, you start questioning if I buy this organic, should I buy everything organic? Does it matter that much? Sometimes I even hear, well I did not eat organic as a kid and I am fine.

It is expensive to eat all organic, and the bigger your family is the more expensive it is. My boys will eat a whole container of organic berries as a snack! Some Mommas can easily afford that, but some mommas have a hard time affording healthy food in general. We are all in different situations, but we all want to eat healthy and feed our babies healthy food.

Here is how I do this… As an APRN, I do feel that consuming large amounts of pesticides and herbicides can be neurotoxic and disrupt the endocrine system. They have also been associated with carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Organic fruits and vegetables have also shown to have up to 40% more antioxidants.

I do not buy ALL organic. I always buy organic milk for my kids, and I split their milk between cow’s milk and almond milk. We split meats (sometimes organic and sometimes not). For fruits and produce, I try to follow the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.

Since this mini-series of shopping organic is focusing on produce we will start there. The dirty dozen are the 12 offenders with the highest pesticide load. I use this as a guide, and make them priority to purchase in organic.

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes

According to food news, there is a dirty dozen plus which also includes hot peppers and domestic blueberries, which may contain organophosphate insecticides.

There is a growing amount of research showing that even small amounts of these pesticides can have negative health effects. These effects can be more profound in fetal development and the developing child. For those of you who grew up on non-organic food, just know a lot of these chemicals and production methods were not used in the 1980s.

Now for the Clean 15: I never (or hardly ever) purchase these items in organic. They have shown to have little amounts of pesticides under the peel.

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn (watch for GMO)
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
Honeydew Melon

Now… we all want to provide our families with healthy and nutritious meals (even though I am so guilty of throwing my hands up and letting my twin toddlers skip meals, because I am SIMPLY tired of fighting with them to eat), but here is the kicker.

As a nurse that worked in endocrinology, I believe that eating nonorganic can affect weight loss. Experts do not all agree on this matter, and I am sure it will be a heavily debated nutrition topic in the coming years. Nonorganic foods are packed with synthetic ingredients and pesticides. Our bodies do not recognize these synthetic ingredients and receive no benefit from them and may store them as empty calories “or fat”. In the end, you are consuming lots of extra calories of synthetic ingredients.

Pesticides have also shown to disrupt the endocrine system, which can affect your ability to lose weight, an example being low thyroid function. Foods can absolutely affect thyroid function and with lower thyroid function, women typically struggle to drop weight.

Stay tuned for The Organic Milk Debate and Organic Meats

Tasty Tuesday- My favorite breakfast. 

My favorite breakfast. Balanced, healthy, dairy free, gluten free (optional). I don’t know if there is a name for this breakfast but I like to refer to it as “the most delicious thing to eat when you wake up.” 

Start with toast. Since I’m gluten intolerant I am using some amazing gluten free bread I got from a local bakery.  

 While toasting the bread throw 2 pieces of turkey bacon in the microwave, and start frying your egg with a little coconut oil. And grab an avocado.  
 I am an avocado lover. I’m pretty much addicted. The healthy fats are so important to your diet. Anyways I slather the toast with half an avocado.  

Next layer that turkey bacon on top of the avocado. This was the girls favorite part.  

 I use some pink salt and pepper on my fried egg.  


And then top off the toast with your fried egg. Super delicious and totally nutritious and quick and easy. 

 What’s your favorite healthy breakfast??



Sweating for Sanity by Kara Kopecky

I suppose it all started when I was a teenager… coming home from a dramatic day at school, complete with boy drama, girl drama, class drama, you name it, and my only source of relief was to lace up my sneakers and go on a long, therapeutic run until I could think again.

Fast forward to college… heartbreaks, career questions, the stress of finals, and my only source of relief was to lace up my sneakers and hit the weights at the local gym until I could breathe again.

Fast forward again to my long journey to motherhood… through infertility… the road to adoption… the wait to be matched with a birth mother… 48 hours spent in a hospital desperately hoping and praying that this baby we were falling in love with would indeed become ours forever. And my only source of relief through all of the ups and downs, the questions and uncertainties, the fear and anxiety, was to lace up my sneakers and run… lift… jump…sprint… letting the sweat roll down my face… oftentimes mixing with tears… until I could believe again.

For as long as I can remember, working out has been my sanctuary. Not just an accessory to my life or something I do when I simply have the time, but an absolute essential part of my day, something as important to my sanity and well being as sleep… sometimes even more so than sleep. When I run, I feel free and wild. When I lift, I feel strong and capable. When I jump, I feel weightless and carefree. When I sprint, I feel powerful and invincible

The very things a mother needs to feel the most. Because motherhood is HARD.

We need an outlet. We need to feel strong. We need to feel capable, and powerful and invincible…

So what’s stopping us?

A lack of time… sleep… energy… resources… GUILT…

I have struggled with all of these excuses, and the struggle is REAL. But what’s even MORE real, is that me without exercise is a recipe for disaster. As in, I turn into a crazy person. Lock me up and medicate me because all systems will eventually shut down.

So I make the time… the energy… I find the resources… I quiet the GUILT…

And I continue to run, even if only for half the time, while pushing a stroller with a whiney child in tow.

I continue to lift, even if this happens in my living room with a set of dumbbells in front of a workout video while my child takes a sub-par nap.

I continue to jump, even if only for a quick 20 minute plyometric interval session at the YMCA while my kiddo is in childcare.

And I continue to sprint, even if this only happens at the end of a run, while pushing a stroller with a child in tow… because I have to pee SO BAD (thanks to the coffee that gave me the energy…)

The struggle is REAL. But it’s worth it. Find your source of STRENGTH… tap into it… and make it happen.

Realizing the importance of this has allowed me to navigate motherhood without losing myself completely. Comforting a sick baby at 3am, I know I can make it through because earlier in the day I made it through the end of a tough run. Dealing with a toddler tantrum will not derail my sanity because earlier in the day I busted out 6 unassisted pullups. Trying to wean a stubborn toddler from her pacifier will not send me over the edge because earlier that day, I pushed through a tough leg workout.

The strength I gain from my workouts gives me the strength I need to be the kind of mother that I desire to be.

The sanity it also provides is an added bonus.


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