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Traditional Mom


Many of you have noticed a long lapse in time has passed since a new post has been added. That is because life has been speeding along these past months. Between cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, and changing diapers, I have had very little time to keep writing and researching. Rather than keep you all hanging, I've decided it is time for Traditional Mom, Modern World to move on. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. This will be the last post for now... Perhaps one day we'll meet again.
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Traditional Mom

Amazing Health Benefits of Polyphenol Antioxidants

We've all heard how important antioxidants are. How they play an important role in protecting us from free radicals, but up until recently I never took the time to fully understand what all this meant. What are free radicals? Where do they come from? How do they cause problems in the body?

Free Radicals Explained

The textbook definition of free radicals is that they are highly reactive metabolites. Alright then, but what does that mean? 

Instability of Free Radicals

All molecules consist of electrons, neutrons, and protons. In a happy, stable molecule the number of protons is equal to the number of electrons orbiting the nucleus.

Free radical molecules are missing one of their electrons causing them to be unstable. These naughty, unstable molecules roam throughout the body looking for electrons to steal to restore their own balance while depriving others.

Free Radical Damage. What problems do they cause?

I'm glad you asked. When a mischievous free radical goes about to steal an electron from another molecule, it disturbs that molecules function. The electron theft is known as oxidation or biological rusting.

Yes, your body rusts. Just like a metal wheelbarrow that has been left out in the elements, your body begins to break down from the stress caused by free radicals.

For example, free radicals are well-known in the medical world for their role in disturbing the duplication, maintenance, and structure of DNA proteins. Each and every cell in the body uses DNA. It's the instruction manual for everything.

When the instructions go AWOL, havoc breaks loose. Researchers have linked several chronic illnesses to oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Cancer, Alzheimer's, cataracts, and even multiple sclerosis are a few examples.

Where do they come from?

Ever notice how your body aches after a strenuous workout? Or how your head hurts after cleaning with chlorine bleach? 

During our day to day lives we are exposed to a myriad of highly reactive free radicals. They come from the toxins in our surrounding environments and even from within us. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Our bodies produce free radicals. The energy producing mitochondria in our cells have a highly efficient way of using electrons to produce energy. 

Enter the Antioxidants

We know free radicals are mischievous rascals, but how do antioxidants fit into this picture?

Antioxidants are electron donors.

Antioxidant molecules carry a spare electron with them. When a free radical steals their extra electron, the antioxidants remain stable halting the snowball effect that happens in their absence.

Here's how I imagine it. The antioxidant security detail is walking their beat when they come across a potential situation. A hungry free radical is about to steal little Sally's sandwich. Luckily, the antioxidant always carries an extra sandwich with them. They diffuse the situation by giving the extra sandwich to the free radical, and everyone leaves with a sandwich.

Antioxidant Groups

Under the umbrella of antioxidants lie three main pillars. Carrotenoids, allyl sulfides, and polyphenols are the three major groups of antioxidants that are important for keeping our bodies at optimum performance.  

In this article we are going to focus on just one group- polyphenols.

Types of Polyphenols.

Just as there are different groups of antioxidants, polyphenols are also broke down into four major groups.


This is the most commonly referred to type of polyphenols. Flavenoids are largely responsible for the flavor, color, and medicinal properties of foods. An important medicinal property of flavenoids is their ability to fight inflammation.


Stilbenes are a special form of polyphenols. Their claim to fame came from the discovery of resveratrol in the "French Paradox". Researchers were looking for answers as to how the French could consume a diet so high in cholesterol and yet have very little in their blood. The answer came in the form of resveratrol in the wine they drink.


This groups of polyphenols deserves an article all it's own. Lignans are both an estrogen blocker and an estrogen mimicker. How is this possible? The answer boils down to their ability to either reduce the amount of estrogen available or add small amounts when necessary.

Phenolic Acid

Phenolic acids are super antioxidant scavengers. They work hard to donate their extra electron. Hydroxycinnamic acids are a type of phenolic acid found in many plant based foods. (Please don't ask me to pronounce it.)

The Health Benefits of Polyphenols

As we've already discussed, polyphenols are antioxidants, and as such they provide us with many health benefits. Here are the top three benefits from consuming a diet high in free radical fighting polyphenols:

Good Heart Health

Polyphenols are excellent heart protectors. Within our blood vessels and heart there is a membrane called endothelium that is largely responsible for controlling our blood pressure. Polyphenols strengthen this membrane allowing it to maintain an healthy contraction and relaxation cycle.

Two other cardiovascular improving benefits of polyphenols are their ability to lower bad cholesterol levels and prevent blood vessel overgrowth.

Balanced Blood Sugar Levels

We all know the viscous cycle of blood sugar spikes and plummets. Eat a lot of sugar and carbs and you'll feel energized for a short period of time. After this hyper time has passed you'll be left feeling quite drained and ill.

A special type of flavenoid found in teas helps to keep a steady, balanced blood sugar level. EGCG (epigallocatechin gellate- try saying that 10 times fast) reduces the amount of starch that is broken down into sugar by nearly 87%.

Less Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Inflammation is a key component in many chronic diseases. Polyphenol's ability to reduce the amount of inflamation and oxidative stress in the body plays a key role in treating and sometimes reversing these degenerative illnesses. Alzheimer's, dementia, ischemic stroke, Parkinson's, Huntingtons, multiple schlerosis, and arthritis just to name a few.

Polyphenol Supplements

In a perfect world, we would get all the polyphenols we need from the foods we eat. However, due high levels of free radical exposure supplements are needed. During my search for the best polyphenol supplements, two supplements came to the top.
  1. The Red Superfruit Polyphenol Blend from Gundry MD boasts a 5 star rating and a 90 day guarantee. (CLICK HERE)
  2. Polyphenominal 2.0 sold at Bulletproof.com is another good broad spectrum supplement. (CLICK HERE)
The supplements from Gundry MD nudged its way to my top pick for the best antioxidant supplements due to being made in a GMP certified facility in the USA.

Quick Version: Free radicals are villains, antioxidants are superheros, and we need to hire more heroes with supplements. @traditional_mom
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Traditional Mom

8 LEGO Kindergarten Math Activities

LEGO Educational Math Games

Kindergarten math is the foundation that a lifetime of learning is built upon. Counting, adding, and subtracting are skills we use everyday- often without even realizing it. For our kindergarten homeschool math curriculum we've been using Ray's Arithmetic. It emphasizes using manipulatives and mental math at this stage.

Math manipulatives are super helpful. They help kids to visualize the math concept they are learning. In the case of learning to count, counting physical objects teaches kids that numbers are more than a string of words to be memorized. Each number represents a specific amount of a thing. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight LEGO.

(Yes, LEGO is the plural word for multiple LEGO. Confusing right? Am I the only one who says LEGOs?)

LEGO Math Manipulatives

Ever look at the supply list for kindergarten math curricula? They're usually quite long. You need counting bears, double sided counting disks, linking cubes, base ten plates, peg boards, and a scale. Instead of buying tons of specialized math manipulatives, we opted to use our ever growing LEGO stash. We count individual bricks, sort them by size and color, stack them into towers of 10, and even make shape outlines.

Mixing a little bit of playtime into study time helps make learning fun! You can use either LEGO or DUPLO bricks for most of these games. Here's some of the LEGO math games we've used this year so far.

LEGO are perfect math tools for any age! @traditional_mom

LEGO Kindergarten Math Games

Build and Count

For this activity, we used the number of the day, but you can count up to any number you'd like. For example let's use the number 15. Have your child count out 15 bricks of any size or color. Once they have all 15 bricks, ask them to build something special with those 15 bricks- counting as they place each brick. 

Skip Counting

Counting by 2s, 3s, 4s, etc is an important precursor to addition. To count by 2s, we started by putting our bricks into stacks of 2. I like keeping colors together as much as possible- that's just my ocd way. Now you're ready to skip count. We like stacking as we count, but you can also group them together in a pile instead.

Number Recognition- Make a Number

LEGO Educational Math Games

We use this game a lot to help cement in number recognition skills. We don't formally introduce handwriting right off the bat, so building our numbers made a lot more sense. I ask the kids to build a number out of bricks. They can build it vertically (or as Little Man likes to call it- like a statue), or they can make it flat on a baseplate.


Learning to recognize and repeat patterns is great for their critical thinking skills. When we used Saxon Math K, we made a lot of two color patterns like AB, AAB, ABB, and AABB. It was a lot more fun to make LEGO math patterns. We simply alternated colors as we stacked bricks.

Number Comparisons

Which number is greater: 3 or 7? Using LEGO (or DUPLO) bricks, helps teach kids how to compare numbers. Show them a group of 3 bricks and a group of 7 bricks, and they will quickly tell you which group has more bricks. For closer comparisons, such as 8 and 9, it helps to have them stack the bricks and compare towers. The taller tower has more, while the shorter tower has less.

Making Ten

Knowing what numbers add up to 10 is important. Being able to identify sums of 10 quickly will make harder math not so intimidating. For this lego math game, start by building a staircase with 10 steps. (If you have these awesome mini number and letter tiles from strictly bricks, you can label your steps just like we did.) To make this more fun we added a little bit of story play. Since Little Man is into Ninjago, we used a ninja minifigure and a bad guy. The goal was to get the ninja up the stairs to defeat the bad guy. (You don't have to use a ninja or fight story- any story where one figure needs to get to the top will work.)

LEGO Educational Math Games

For each round, I place the ninja on a different step and ask how many more steps the minifigure needs to go up to reach the top. For pre-addition skills, you can have them count the steps to the top, but for those learning to add up to 10, ask them what plus "the step number the figure is on" adds up to 10.

Bar Graphing

This is a great LEGO math activity to introduce simple graphing skills. Plus, it's super easy! Simply grab a handful of different color bricks. (Two handfuls if you're using DUPLO because those are bulky.) Ask your child to sort the bricks by color. Build towers from each color and lay them next to each other and ask them a few questions like:
  • Which color has the most bricks?
  • Which tower has the least bricks?
  • Are there any colors with the same amount of bricks?

Finding Balance

Last but certainly not least is building a LEGO balance scale. A balance is the perfect tool for play discovery. Kids love making balances tip over and spill out. Balance scales are good for explaining weight. Which is heavier: goldfish crackers or fruit snacks?

Building a balance out of LEGO bricks isn't as hard as it sounds. We used the tutorial at Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls to make ours.
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Traditional Mom

Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum

HG pregnancy Hyperemesis

For most women, seeing the two little blue lines show up on a pregnancy test is the most wonderful feeling. Their heart fills with excitement. All the future joys of pregnancy and parenthood lay before them. Many describe it as the best time of their lives. However, not all pregnancies are happy times. For women diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, pregnancy is hard. It's a long, rough road filled with emergency room visits, medications, and tons of IV fluids.

What is Hyperemesis Gravidarum?

The term Hyperemesis Gravidarum (also called HG) literally means lots of vomiting during pregnancy. Here's how this Latin phrase breaks down:
  • Hyper - an excessive amount
  • Emesis- vomitting
  • Gravidarum- related to pregnant women
Here's an in-depth explanation of HG from the Help HER foundation: 
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. It is generally described as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. If severe and/or inadequately treated, it is typically associated with:
  • loss of greater than 5% of pre-pregnancy body weight (usually over 10%)
  • dehydration and production of ketones
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • metabolic imbalances
  • difficulty with daily activities
Very little is known about this condition. The medical world has just begun researching possible causes and treatments. Hopefully,

What Hyperemesis Gravidarum is not...

Morning sickness can feel awful but it is not the same HG. Trying to compare severe morning sickness to Hyperemesis is like comparing a corvette to a speed boat. They are in two completely different categories. 

Morning sickness usually only lingers for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy (unlike HG which can last for the duration of the pregnancy). It’s not unusual to lose a few pounds due to morning sickness. However, losing more than 3 pounds every week is much more concerning.

If you're going through a touHG pregnancy right now, I want you to know you are not alone. There is a wonderful community of women who are willing to fight for you both medically and in their prayers. You can find them at HG Before, During And The Aftermath.

Now that we've established what Hyperemesis Gravidarum is, we can move on my top survival tips.

HG Survival Tips

When you're in the midst of hyperemsis, it literally feels like a fight for survival. Not only are you fighting for you but for your unborn child. Here are a few things I've learned through my 3 HG pregnancies.

Be Your Own Advocate

The person that knows your body best is you. Others can only see your outward appearance and watch the numbers on the scale. When you're suffering it's easy to take a back seat and let others care for you, but with HG, that's not an option. A resource I found super helpful is the HG severity index test put together by the Help HER Foundation. 

This test asks you questions about how your feeling and your treatments. At the end of the assessment you are given a score and suggestions on whether your care is adequate or you need more help. The test is available as a pdf download or online interactive survey on the Survival Guides and Downloads page.

So little is known about this condition that many doctors don't treat it whatsoever. They simply wait till after 14 weeks and hope it goes away. There are treatments that will help, but it will often be up to you to push for them. The Help HER Foundation has a very helpful section on treatments.

Speaking of Doctors...

Don't Be Afraid to Request a New Physician.

If your doctor, midwife, nurse, etc. isn't fulfilling their part of the bargain, fire them. Medical staff are there to assist you, the patient. For example, my OBGYN office is a group of physicians. One particular doctor was very rude and condescending, so we politely asked another staff member to make a note that we do not wish to see said doctor again.

Get help hg pregnancy hyperemesis

Ask For Help

It's okay to need help. If you have family or close friends nearby, let them help you in your time of need. Ask them to pick up a few groceries, drive you to an appointment, or entertain your other children. Many times those that are close to us want to help but don't know how. 

If you don't have anyone nearby, reach out in the HG community or find a support volunteer through the Help HER Foundation. Hyperemesis is tough, but going through it alone is worse. 

Focus on Surviving This Minute

I can't tell you how many times I was reminded to focus on how joyous it is to have a newborn. Don't get me wrong. Keeping your eyes on the prize is essential. HG is not a sprint. It's a marathon. You'll need endurance.

The best advice I have is to take it one moment at a time. Don't fret over the weeks or months ahead. That will only make things worse. When your present moment is awful, assure yourself that a new moment is just around the corner. 

Filtering Comments

Communication is a complicated beast. At times, even the most loving and articulate person can end up saying a hurtful remark without even realizing. A well-meaning friend may ask if you've tried ginger or saltines. In the HG community, we call this being "crackered". If you're suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, the conventional remedies for morning sickness don't make HG magically disappear. That doesn't stop people from recommending them to you. 

Most of the time, people are genuinely trying to help. They may be trying to instill a little more hope in you or offer you some friendly advice. In these instances, it's best to take remarks with a grain of salt. If you're feeling hurt, take a moment to analyze whether it's their words or the HG hurting you. 

Often I would feel sad or angry after comments like these. Time and time again, I was left feeling hurt. What hurt was that my hyperemesis wasn't yielding to anything I tried. I felt the pain of disappointment each time a suggested remedy failed. So, when comments leave you feeling hurt ask yourself whether it was the remark or HG that hurt.

Don't Fret Over an Unbalanced Diet

Under normal circumstances, eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is paramount as well as taking a good prenatal vitamin, but HG isn't normal. It's impossible to eat a well balanced diet with hyperemesis gravidarum. 

My mother also suffered from HG, and she tells me stories about living on tostadas from taco bell and coka cola with ice. I myself survived on ramen noodles and coffee this last pregnancy. In the throws of hyperemesis, you eat what stays down- your safe foods. 

Safe foods can change from day to day. My advice is to follow your cravings. Sometimes it will stay down- sometimes not, but it's important to keep trying. (Thanks Mom 💖)

HG meme hyperemesis meme

This Too Shall Pass

I hope these tips help you through your or a loved one's HG journey. It's a long bumpy road, but it really is worth it in the end. That beautiful baby is the best trophy of all! Please leave a comment of encouragement or your own HG tip for other mommas in the comments below. ⇩

P.S. Stay tuned for a post on my HG recovery process.
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