Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Essential Oils for Giving Birth

I had truly hoped for vaginal birth this time around. For my first I had an emergency C section due to a placenta abruption during my first trimester which lead to a retro-placetal bleed along with my little girls inability to get all the nutrients she needed, she wanted to bust out early. I went into labor at 32 weeks and the doctors had to perform surgery and then she was in the hospital for almost 2 months. It was all super traumatic and I was determined to go for the complete opposite experience this time. Right from the start I bought the Natrual Mama baby book and was reading about water births and home births and doulas. I was talking about natural births and vbacs I was so excited to have the opportunity to actually be present for the birth of my child seeing as the last time I had been completely unconscious and woke up and was conscious a few days later not even remembering I had had a baby.

So anyways, it was a nice wish, but not at all what happened. My doctors got a scare that I had what's called a placenta accreta. Which has kind of a high mother mortality rate especially if you dont have a c-section. In the end I got a weeks notice that my baby would be born at 34 weeks via c-section with the possibility of a hysterectomy!

I guess I'm destined for traumatic birthing experience! Haha!

Anyways I tell you all this, but I'm fine.

 

 

If you are looking for essential oils to help with the first trimester, click here.

 

 

 

Here’s the thing. During my first pregnancy I was not into essential oils. I was barely out of high school and had no idea who I was yet as a person. I did know at that point that I wasn’t a fan of doctors, hospital or medication though- which is part of the reason why I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was way into my second trimester and getting really sick. But this time around I am older, and I have grown into who I am. I know that I enjoy a natural approach to medicine and that essential oils are something I have been working with specifically for 5, almost 6 years now for myself, my family, and those around me. What I hadn’t done thus far was learn about essential oils for during pregnancy, and this was a daunting aspect for me since I found out very quickly that my first OBGYN wasn’t going to be any help and that I was now in a situation where I was going to need medication and I had no one to help point me in the right direction. My husband and I had been struggling for the past 4 years with fertility, and conceiving, and unfortunately went through the grief of a few miscarriages, but things finally took a turn for the better.

 

 

 

If you are looking for essential oils that can help increase your fertility, click here.

 

 

 

**Before I get started letting you all know what I took, let me start with a quick disclosure notice, because essential oils in general, and the products I am about to mention are not FDA regulated. So, let me confirm that I am not a doctor, or a chemist, or a prenatal specialist of any kind. No one is paying me to write what I am writing, and none of these facts have been checked by the FDA. What I will do is provide links to articles and additional material so that you can do your own research. The information given in this post is not meant to take the place of doctor treatment or recommendations and I always recommend that you ask your doctor before trying anything new. Essential oils, just like many other things can interfere with medications and treatments and should not be used without your doctors’ consent.**

 

 

 

STEP 1: The first thing I did was make sure that what I was using was legit. – Most therapeutic or essential oils out there are total BS because essential oils do not fall into a category that is FDA regulated. So, I did my research and was pleased to find that not only were the oils I was using as pure as pure could get, but a lot of the accusations online about people saying things about the products not working or being dangerous were also debunked. Whew! … but that was only step 1. I do want to mention for those of you reading this that you will see me mention using some of these essential oils internally and depending on what companies you use this is probably not a possibility. If you are interested in using the same company and products as are listed throughout this blog, I can help you with a free consultation.

 

Another thing I did was to find myself another OBGYN who was at least willing to help guide me in the right direction when it came to holistic health and contact a Douala and a midwife.

 

 

 

Step 2 was to find out what I absolutely could not take, and the list is quite long and is not the same on every site. I played it really safe only using things when absolutely necessary and even then I didn’t use anything without talking to my doctor and midwife first. Most oils are perfectly fine to having while giving birth compared to some of the longer lists of oils to avoid during pregnancy. Here is a list I have compiled of oils that shouldn’t be used while giving birth:

Peppermint- I wanted to breastfeed so peppermint was no go

Yarrow: yarrow is a blood thinner, so it should be avoided especially if you are like me and are having complications or are high risk.

 

 

 

 3. WHAT DID I BRING???

First off at the top we have my overnight stuff. A typical c-section recovery time is 4 days so I packed for 4 days:

4 of the shampoo and detangler samples- I am probably not going to be hopping in the shower right away due to my scar, but I have found that whenever I spend any time in a hospital or in an airplane, my hair always gets instantly greasy so with some help from the hubby I'm planning on washing my hair.

8 of the onguard toothpaste samples- these are actually the perfect size for 2 uses, but I'm bringing extra in case I loose, or misplace them, or if I end up having to stay longer.

1 extra chapstick- hospital air is dry so so dry so I am prepared. There is also a possibility that I end up undergoing general anesthesia in which case a breathing tube is place to help me breath which doesn't allow for any normal saliva to reach the lips for moister, thus creating super nasty dry cracked lips. Also a nervous tendency of mine is to bite and peel my lips especially when they are dry so keeping them moisturized is a big one for me.

A handful of onguard throat drops- a c-section is pretty major surgery, so I am coming fully armed against the possibility of infection. Plus contrary to popular belief hospitals are not always the cleanest places due to the amount of patients and everything they are carrying.

Balance deodorant- must have! So when your pregnant you gain water weight which once you deliver needs to come out. Its typical for women to experience an increase in sweating and BO right after giving birth. So we bring the deodorant to help make sure I dont stink every body out.

Winter itch lotion- as I mentioned,  hospital air is super dry. After any surgery, your body is spending time focusing on repairing the damage from the surgery and doesn't have as many resources available to fight off dry skin, so I'm bringing my winter itch lotion to help fight off dry skin.

OnGuard Hand Sanutizer- the NICU does a really good job of making everyone wash and sanitize before entering, but when baby is my room, I dont always have a nurse outside making everyone wash up before entering. Being that my immune system is going to be working overtime because of my surgery and baby is going to have a still developing immune system, I am bringing the hand sanitizer to offer to EVERYONE to help lower the possibility of germ spreading when they come visit.

Fractionated Coconut Oil FCO: this comes with for a few reasons. I am bringing a bunch of oils and I will probably want to dilute some of them. FCO is also great as a quick lotion for anywhere and everywhere for both me and baby (great for cradle cap too). FCO is also extremely healing for the skin and can be use to help with my scars healing process.

Deep Blue and Arnica creams: these two are for the aches and pains. Between the pain of surgery, the pain of having a baby, the pain of having to lay in a hospital bed for days on end, I could end up in loads of pain. A lot of women talk about developing restless leg syndrome towards the end of their pregnancy with sometimes effects them for a week or 2 after delivery as well. With all of these factors, I am being cautious and bringing my go-tos for aches and pains.

 

Next are the oils:

Breath Touch- the touch rollers are prediluted with FCO and perfect for on the go. Breathe has been packed to help me fight the dry hospital air.

Digest Zen Touch- I know how cliché of me since I hate this smell, but I cant eat anything for 8 hrs before my surgery and that includes vitamins so the oil will have to do. A lot of women who undergo a c-section get nauseous from the over stimulation of their digestive organs so I'll be using this as a preventative method before surgery on the bottoms of my feet- to help avoid the smell.

Clary Calm-after giving birth many women experience post partum depression due to the rush of hormones being released during and after surgery. Clary calm is specifically formulated to help balance out hormonal shifts during your cycle, menopause and post delivery.  Seeing as I am having an early c-section, I may need a little extra help navigating  and triggering these shifts and hormones. This is also for helping to bring in your milk supply.

Rose Touch- with baby coming early she may need to be in the NICU for some time and not be near me as much as I would like. Rose is great for helping to mend a broken heart and for stimulating the heart chakra, so I am bringing with to help me in navigating those emotions.

Immortelle- major scar alert! Immortelle is the anti aging oil blend, but it works wonders on scaring as well.

Milk Mama roller- this a roller bottle is one that is to help my milk come in if I run into any post-OP milk issues. In a 10 ml roller bottle add 2 drops of basil and 2 drops of fennel, then top off with FCO.

Frankincense Touch- I mean really if your having surgery of any kind, your should have your Frankincense.  It has healing powers from the Gods!!! No, but really, it's an amazing healing oil that is great for not only scars on the skin, but internal healing within the body for your organs, and even deeper on a cellular level. I have the touch roller bottle to help my scar and its healing process.

Frankincense- and I have the oil to take internally to help with all of the internal healing I will be undergoing.

OnGuard- I am bringing my diffuser to my post-OP room and will diffusing onguard to help disinfect the room when we have guests and bring ten the air with its warm and uplifting scent.

Balance- balance has been scientifically shown to change the bodies frequencies and with the massive hormone releases and emtional shifts that are going to be happening after the birth and post-OP I am bringing balance to diffuse in my room on tough days as well as to apply on the bottoms of my feet. Balance is also found in the deodorant I am bringing (and use daily)

Roman Chamomile- with the chance of baby needing to be in the NICU without me and the rest I am going to need post-OP Roman Chamomile is a great option for a little relaxation and help sleeping. (I also will have lavander but that's in my purse)

Peace- this is the reassuring blend. Along with the relaxation provided from the Roman chamomile and lavender peace will help to steady my nerves at night and promote full relaxation for a good nights sleep.

Serenity- this is the calming blend. Not everything always works the way we want it to, so I am bringing the calming blend as a third option for relaxation. Sleep is so important after surgery and giving birth so I plan on getting as much as I can while baby sleeps her first few days.

 

Non-essential oil products

 I love my oils but there were a few things I needed that were oil related.

Magnesium supplements- the PP dump is a killer. Magnesium is shown to help you go easier. You can ask your dr for some while your at the hospital but the price youl pay for 1 tablet there is about the same as buying a whole bottle of it at home and bringing it with you.

Iron- with all the blood loss and fact that I'm already anemic I wanted to bring this as well.

*I will list the rest of my supplements in my fourth trimester blog.

A front zipper robe- you dont really think about this often, but after you deliver via c-section pants are a no go for a few days,really anything on your waist is a no go. I brought this robe because it would keep me covered and warm in the hospital while not irritating anything.

Tablet- I really wanted to be productive and read some of my year 1 book but I was exhausted. The maternity ward was on one floor and the NICU on another. My oldest daughter had strep so my husband had to leave right after I gave birth. Every 3 hours I would shuffle run down to the NICU to nurse and then shuffle run back up to maternity so I could pump, eat and wash my pump parts out enough for next time. At night I would try to sleep instead of eat but that was just as difficult. Then I would run back down stairs again to nurse. It was the toughest week and I'm so glad it's over. I really learned a lot that I will share with you all soon. Anyways I had my tablet because when I wasnt sleeping or running I entertained myself that way.

Books: for those of you who may enjoy a book more so than a tv show or movie, a book is a great way to help you stay occupied during your down time.

Slippers- get yourself a pair of slippers for when you go. It's cold in hospitals and your going to want to be comfortable.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Essential Oils for the Third Trimester

 Omg! My third trimester kicked my ass! I was not ready for it at all. Honestly it's taken me this long to get back to any sense of normalcy and my baby is 15 ( She was 7 months when I started writing this) months already. Mamas going through your last trimester in the end of summer heat you are true warriors and you have my undying respect, love, and admiration. That is seriously hard! 

I seriously spent the entire time trying to be indoors with AC, I was panicking about the tiniest details, and over preparing, while simultaneously being exhausted and sleeping so much.


If you are looking for essential oils to help with the first trimester, click here.


Here’s the thing. During my first pregnancy I was not into essential oils. I was barely out of high school and had no idea who I was yet as a person. I did know at that point that I wasn’t a fan of doctors, hospital or medication though- which is part of the reason why I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was way into my second trimester and getting really sick. But this time around I am older, and I have grown into who I am. I know that I enjoy a natural approach to medicine and that essential oils are something I have been working with specifically for 5, almost 6 years now for myself, my family, and those around me. What I hadn’t done thus far was learn about essential oils for during pregnancy, and this was a daunting aspect for me since I found out very quickly that my first OBGYN wasn’t going to be any help and that I was now in a situation where I was going to need medication and I had no one to help point me in the right direction. My husband and I had been struggling for the past 4 years with fertility, and conceiving, and unfortunately went through the grief of a few miscarriages, but things finally took a turn for the better, and I am currently 32 weeks today!


If you are looking for essential oils that can help increase your fertility, click here.


**Before I get started letting you all know what I took, let me start with a quick disclosure notice, because essential oils in general, and the products I am about to mention are not FDA regulated. So, let me confirm that I am not a doctor, or a chemist, or a prenatal specialist of any kind. No one is paying me to write what I am writing, and none of these facts have been checked by the FDA. What I will do is provide links to articles and additional material so that you can do your own research. The information given in this post is not meant to take the place of doctor treatment or recommendations and I always recommend that you ask your doctor before trying anything new. Essential oils, just like many other things can interfere with medications and treatments and should not be used without your doctors’ consent.**


STEP 1: The first thing I did was make sure that what I was using was legit. – Most therapeutic or essential oils out there are total BS because essential oils do not fall into a category that is FDA regulated. So, I did my research and was pleased to find that not only were the oils I was using as pure as pure could get... but that was only step 1. I do want to mention for those of you reading this that you will see me mention using some of these essential oils internally and depending on what companies you use this is probably not a possibility. If you are interested in using the same company and products as are listed throughout this blog, I can help you with a free consultation; I’ll leave my contact at the bottom of this post.

Another thing I did was to find myself a midwife who work in a practice in a hospital who was familiar with doterra essential oils and was comfortable assisting me from a medical standpoint.


Step 2 was to find out what I absolutely could not take, and the list is quite long and is not the same on every site. I played it really safe only using things when absolutely necessary and even then I didn’t use anything without talking to my doctor and midwife first. Here is a list I have compiled of oils that shouldn’t be used during the third trimester:


Peppermint- this is only for those of you who plan to breast feed. Peppermint has the ability to deplete or inhibit milk supply so best to avoid it if possible. 


Clary Sage (and blends containing it- clary calm) or sage- up until you are in labor you dont want to use clary sage since it can induce labor. If you are thinking of using clary sage to induce labor, please check with your midwife or dr first.


Also when your close to your due date you may want to avoid large amounts blood thinning oils such as:

Yarrow

Birch Cinnamon 

Wintergreen

Birch

Sage

Clary Sage

Peppermint(if your planning on breastfeeding)


Now let's get to the good stuff! What did I use during my third trimester, and why!?

First off, if you've read any of my other pregnancy blogs you know I took my LLV. So if you've already heard me talk about it a million times please feel free to skip ahead, but for those who haven't the LLV is about to ROCK YOUR WORLD!!! 

Seriously. I swear by this stuff. Basically it's a 3 part multi-vitamin that targets 3 areas of your body: your brain, your gut, your cells. Let me explain:

LLV: LLV stands for Life Long Vitality which is a 3-part multi-vitamin. Personally, I am not a fan of prenatal vitamins because of the size of them and the fact that you have to take them with food (sometimes I don’t have an appetite first thing in the morning, but I still need to take my vitamins before I leave the house). The LLV has a “tummy tamer” blend in all three parts which allows you to be able to take them without food. I also liked this because it came as a vegan option, and although I am not a vegan most baby books will tell you to try to get as much of your nutrition from raw plants, so this seemed like the perfect fit for me. Now I was taking these before I was pregnant so by the time I was pregnant I was taking the full dose which is 2 of each vitamin 2 times a day. If you are looking to try a new multivitamin, I suggest starting at a ½ dose and working you way up because it can be a lot al at once.

Part1- Vegan Microplex MVZ: This formula includes a balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and an energy complex of B vitamins presented in a patented glycoprotein matrix. It also contains chelated minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc for optimal bone and metabolic health, and is encapsulated using sodium lauryl sulfate-free vegetable capsules

Part 2- Alpha CRS+: This is a proprietary formula combining potent levels of natural botanical extracts that support healthy cell function with important metabolic factors of cellular energy. It is to be used as a comprehensive dietary supplement foundation for a lifetime of vitality and wellness.

Part 3- vEO Mega: This is a revolutionary, 100 percent vegetarian-friendly formula blending CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils with natural, plant-sourced essential fatty acids. -SIDE NOTE- during this trimester I actually took 3 of these in the morning and 3 at night because of the extra Omegas needed during that part of babys brain development. 

* Vegan Microplex MVZ does include Folate, but I did take an additional Folic Acid supplement


I also used a few other supplements during this trimester. 

Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex- I had some of the worst hip pain during pregnancy like to the point of not being able to walk at all at times. This little vitamin which I took 2 of every morning helped keep me on my feet throughout my pregnancy. Now I took the full dose in the morning because these have green tea in them because I am super sensitive to caffeine and pregnant mamas know how difficult it is to get sleep during those last few months so I was not about to add to that struggle.

Mito2Max- being pregnant is exhausting and sometimes you cant be that exhausted especially if you have other kids so for me I took Mito2Max. Being that I was getting caffeine in my DeepBlue I didnt want to drink any caffeine so I needed to find alternative forms of energy: enter B vitamins. Mito2Max is full of B vitamins to help you wake up and stay active throughout the day without any crashing or jitters.

Copaiba - I love love love copaiba essential oil, but with everything I was taking and using during pregnancy it was easiest for me to include the copaiba softgels with my night time vitamins. This bad boy does so much from boosting your immunity to relieving stress, to reducing inflammation and so much more. I used it nightly to reduce my stress to help me sleep as well as to help give the DeepBlue I took in the morning a little boost through the night.

Womens Bone Complex - I was highly anemic during pregnancy to the point of popping iron pills like candy all throughout the day and never increasing my iron levels. One of the interesting things I found out was that the calcium supplements I was taking were actually hindering my bodies ability to process the iron I was taking so I switched from a straight calcium vitamin to the women bone complex which adds some many other vital nutrients help help keep your bones strong and healthy in addition to calcium which aloud for strong bones, less calcium in my body and more iron to be processed in my body.

Iron - as I mentioned... super anemic!!! I was taking so much iron. Now everyone is different so I'm not going to talk about how much I took (honestly I thought I was too much) what I will do is tell you some of the things I learned. 1. Iron is super harsh on your tummy, so if you are taking it regularly or in high doses consider using something like orange essential oil applied to your belly to help sooth your stomach after taking a beating from iron (this is actually where the spinach and mandarin orange salad idea came from). 2. Iron isn't always absorbed orally.  For some people taking iron through foods or vitamins isn't going to do the trick, in which case asking your Dr. about an IV dose is an option that may work better for you.

Folic acid - who doesn't know about folic acid? If you are pregnant you should be taking folic acid. It helps your babys' brain grow and develop especially during the first few weeks of pregnancy, but it should be used throughout all of pregnancy. Because I was not using a "prenatal" vitamin I took a little extra on the side, but keep in mind that if you are taking LLV there is a form of folic acid in the vitamin already- also fun fact side note is that in men folic acid can help increase fertility


It's not a supplement, but I also made myself some vegan collagen gummies to help with skin elasticity here's the gelatin powder I used.



Essential oils

Immortelle blend: for skin elasticity 

Lavender: sleep aid

Chamomile: sleep aid

Cedarwood: sleep aid

Serenity blend: sleep aid

Neroli: this floral oil helps reduce stretch marks, dark spots and scared tissue. 



Baby body butter:

1/2 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup Shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
Melt, mix (whip if possible), and let cool some.
1 T vitamin E oil or rosebud oil
20 drops melaleuca 
20 drops lavender 
20 drops frankincense 
Mix and store a room temp

This stuff makes your skin feel A-MAZING! unless it's the middle of summer - like it was for me- in which case you end up sweating a lot and just rolling around in a mixture of sweat and oils that feels super slimy. So this is great for every season except summer.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Peppers

These were an absolute hit!!! Those of you who follow my recipes and food posts know that I absolutely LOVE to stuff peppers with just about everything! Most of the time it works, sometimes its redundant, and sometimes its a huge success. This time was a huge success, and so after quite a few requests for the recipe I  had some time to type it all up and share it with you all!


Here are a few notes tips and side notes for this recipe to help make it fit for your kitchen and your family.

Personally I like to use chicken tenders because I feel it's easier to get them cut into small pieces before cooking them vs using a chicken breast, but if you only have chicken breasts your more than welcome to use them instead.

I baked my chicken this time, but typically I would have used the air fryer to help give it an extra crunch. The other option is to pan fry your chicken in which case make sure you are adding oil to your ingredients. My personal favorite for pan fried chicken would be peanut oil, or avocado oil, but your welcome to use whatever you like best. 

You can also skip the flour if you want a healthier version of this recipe.  For this simply cut the chicken and go right to the baking step.

Currently my garden has an abundance of cherry/grape tomatoes so that is what I used for this recipe, however it's pretty well known that Roma tomatoes are best for sauces so if you would like to substitute please feel free to use your Romas and dice them instead. If you are pressed for time you can also use canned diced tomatoes in which case you do not need to cook them as long and you can add them at the same time as your other sauce ingredients. 

I use block cheese and shred it myself. I'm not sure but I have a theory that pre-shredded cheese has been tampered with because when I shred my cheese at home and put it in a container it clumps and sticks, however pre-shredded cheese does not. Plus I like the feeling of making things from scratch as much as possible and most of the time it's cheaper. When using shaker cheese (Parmesan) however you can be almost certain that the powdery stuff is mixed with cellulose and wood pulp.* So if you want the real stuff, splurge a little (real Parmesan is expensive) and shred it yourself.

Ok, so these should be all the variations and tips for this meal, let's go ahead and get started. 

Ingredients:
1 lb chicken tenders 
2 eggs
Flour
About 20 cherry/grape tomatoes 
3 handfuls of fresh spinach
5-6 med peppers of assorted colors (if you are using large ones you may only need 4. We had these 5 and still had some stuffing leftover- not that that's a bad thing)
1 Tbsp garlic
1 stalk of fresh basil (you can use dry)
1 stalk of fresh oregano (you can use dry)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dry chopped onion (or 1/4 small yellow onion)
1 cup mozzarella 
Parmesan 
Salt and pepper to taste



Directions:
1. Start by cutting your chicken up into 1/2 cubes- you don't have to be exact with the measurement just know that when you to batter your chicken you want to have a decent amount of chicken. No one like a mouth full of batter and no chicken. You also don't want your pieces to be too big seeing as your going to try to fit multiple pieces in each pepper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°

3. Crack our eggs break the yolks and mix them lightly in one bowl. Then in a bowl next to that use your flour and favorite chicken spices mixed together to make your batter.

4. Take your chicken, dip it into the eggs, and then coat it with your flour. (You can repeat this a second time if you want but I just do one layer) then spread your chicken out on a cookie sheet pan.

5. Bake your chicken for 30 minutes.

6. While your chicken is baking cut your peppers in half from top to bottom and put aside.  

7. Shred your cheeses! The Parmesan is optional and you only need what you would like to sprinkle on your pepper as garnish.





8.Then cut your tomatoes into halves, and let's prepare our sauce.

9. Start with olive oil garlic and onion in your pan on medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the flavors fill your nose. 

10. Add your tomatoes, reduce your heat slightly and cover the pan. Let cook for about 10 minutes, remove lid and cook uncovered for 2 minutes while stirring. Then add your herbs, salt and pepper, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Then turn the flame off, but leave the lid on.















11. (By now your chicken should be out of the oven or almost there. When you take your chicken out of the oven leave the oven on at 350°) Take your chicken bits and your spinach, and add them to your sauce pan stir and let finish cooking for 5 more minutes or until your spinach has completely wilted.
















12. Transfer your peppers on a cookie sheet and use your tomato and chicken mixture to stuff them, then top with the mozzarella. Bake these for 20 minutes.












13. Garnish with Parmesan and serve! 





















* https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/17/parmesan-cheese-store-bought-wood-pulp

Monday, July 8, 2019

Essential Oils for the Second Trimester


So, I know I'm a few weeks late in updating you all on my second trimester must haves, but this third trimester has barely started and it already kicking my ass!

If you are looking for essential oils to help with the first trimester, click here.

Here’s the thing. During my first pregnancy I was not into essential oils. I was barely out of high school and had no idea who I was yet as a person. I did know at that point that I wasn’t a fan of doctors, hospital or medication though- which is part of the reason why I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was way into my second trimester and getting really sick. But this time around I am older, and I have grown into who I am. I know that I enjoy a natural approach to medicine and that essential oils are something I have been working with specifically for 5, almost 6 years now for myself, my family, and those around me. What I hadn’t done thus far was learn about essential oils for during pregnancy, and this was a daunting aspect for me since I found out very quickly that my first OBGYN wasn’t going to be any help and that I was now in a situation where I was going to need medication and I had no one to help point me in the right direction. My husband and I had been struggling for the past 4 years with fertility, and conceiving, and unfortunately went through the grief of a few miscarriages, but things finally took a turn for the better, and I am currently 32 weeks today!

If you are looking for essential oils that can help increase your fertility, click here.

**Before I get started letting you all know what I took, let me start with a quick disclosure notice, because essential oils in general, and the products I am about to mention are not FDA regulated. So, let me confirm that I am not a doctor, or a chemist, or a prenatal specialist of any kind. No one is paying me to write what I am writing, and none of these facts have been checked by the FDA. What I will do is provide links to articles and additional material so that you can do your own research. The information given in this post is not meant to take the place of doctor treatment or recommendations and I always recommend that you ask your doctor before trying anything new. Essential oils, just like many other things can interfere with medications and treatments and should not be used without your doctors’ consent.**

STEP 1: The first thing I did was make sure that what I was using was legit. – Most therapeutic or essential oils out there are total BS because essential oils do not fall into a category that is FDA regulated. So, I did my research and was pleased to find that not only were the oils I was using as pure as pure could get, but a lot of the accusations online about people saying things about the products not working or being dangerous were also debunked. Whew! … but that was only step 1. I do want to mention for those of you reading this that you will see me mention using some of these essential oils internally and depending on what companies you use this is probably not a possibility. If you are interested in using the same company and products as are listed throughout this blog, I can help you with a free consultation; I’ll leave my contact at the bottom of this post.
Another thing I did was to find myself another OBGYN who was at least willing to help guide me in the right direction when it came to holistic health and contact a Douala and a midwife.

Step 2 was to find out what I absolutely could not take, and the list is quite long and is not the same on every site. I played it really safe only using things when absolutely necessary and even then I didn’t use anything without talking to my doctor and midwife first. Here however is a list I have compiled of oils that shouldn’t be used during pregnancy:
Basil
Birch (sweet)
Cassia
Cedarwood
*Cinnamon
*Clary sage (OK during labor)
Clove
Coriander
Cypress (OK after 5 months)
Fennel
Jasmine (OK during labor)
Juniper
Lavender
Lemongrass
Nutmeg
Parsley (in large doses)
Peppermint
*Rosemary
Sweet marjoram
Tansy (blue)
Thyme
Wintergreen
Wormwood
Yarrow
There were a few exceptions to the oils I avoided from this list, but before even thinking of using I researched a ton online, and checked with my doctor, doula, and midwife. This is me not trusting anyone and needing to hear it from 6-7 different sources before I accept it as a truth.
* These oils are not to be messed around with under any circumstances. They cause contractions and will make you go into labor early and or possibly lose your child.

 Step 3 Used the Oils, and without further ado, here are the things I absolutely could not live without during my second trimester.

During my second trimester, the first thing That was really different for me was that I used less oils, but way more supplements. So I am going to start with a full list of the supplements I used that are made with essential oils: 

1. LLV
LLV stands for Lifelong Vitality which is a 3-part multi-vitamin. A full dose is 2 of each vitamins 2 xs daily totaling 12 a day, so there is definitely a lot involved, but when pregnant there are so many things you are suggested to take that can be eliminated by the use of this combo that I honestly found it worth it.
Personally, I am not a fan of prenatal vitamins because of the size of them and the fact that you have to take them with food (sometimes I don’t have an appetite first thing in the morning, but I still need to take my vitamins before I leave the house). The LLV has a “tummy tamer” blend in all three parts which allows you to be able to take them without food. I also liked this because it came as a vegan option, and although I am not a vegan most baby books will tell you to try to get as much of your nutrition from raw plants as possible, so this seemed like the perfect fit for me. Now I was taking these before I was pregnant so by the time, I was pregnant I was taking the full dose which is 2 of each vitamin 2 times a day. If you are looking to try a new multivitamin, I suggest starting at a ½ dose and working you way up because it can be a lot all at once. During my second trimester though I did have a few adjustments to make to my doses.
Vegan Microplex MVZ- I have been steadily taking the full dose so 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening. This formula includes a balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and an energy complex of B vitamins presented in a patented glycoprotein matrix. It also contains chelated minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc for optimal bone and metabolic health, and is encapsulated using sodium lauryl sulfate-free vegetable capsules
Alpha CRS+ -I have been taking the full dose so 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening of this as well. I found this most helpful during my first trimester to beat some of the fatigue. My second trimester I didn’t find myself as exhausted, so this wasn’t as huge of a need for me, but I mean when coffee isn’t an option, nothing gets taken off the table to help me get an energy boost. This is a proprietary formula combining potent levels of natural botanical extracts that support healthy cell function with important metabolic factors of cellular energy. It is to be used as a comprehensive dietary supplement foundation for a lifetime of vitality and wellness.
vEO Mega- being that brain development spikes during the second trimester my maternity book suggested increasing omega, so I increased the dose to 3 in the morning and 3 in the evening. -this wasn’t recommended by my midwife, so if your considering this, I would absolutely run it past your doctor or midwife first. This is a revolutionary, 100 percent vegetarian-friendly formula blending CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils with natural, plant-sourced essential fatty acids.
* Vegan Microplex MVZ does include Folate, but I did take an additional Folic Acid supplement

2. PB Assist+ - I didn’t experience much digestive issues during the first 2 months of my second trimester, but by the last month, I started experiencing constipation, so I started taking this every other day, along with Terrazyme. This is a proprietary formula of pre-biotic fiber and six strains of probiotic microorganisms in a unique double layer vegetable capsule. It delivers 6 billion CFUs of active probiotic cultures and soluble pre-biotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides) that encourage friendly bacterial growth. The time-release, double-capsule delivery system is designed to help protect the sensitive probiotic cultures from stomach acid. PB Assist+ offers a unique, safe, and effective way to deliver the well-recognized digestive and immune system support benefits of probiotics.

3. TerraZyme- I had been taking this every other day as a protective measure, and during the first 2 months of my second trimester these alone on an every other day basis did the trick, but during the last month, I bumped up these doses to everyday.  This is another proprietary blend, but of active whole-food enzymes and supporting cofactors that are often deficient in cooked, processed, and preservative-laden foods. The powerful combination of digestive enzymes found in DigestZen TerraZyme supports the body’s constant production of enzymes critical for healthy biochemical functions, including healthy digestion of food nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy. DigestZen TerraZyme includes a variety of whole-food enzymes that help with the digestion of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, sugars, and fiber.

4. Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex- My first trimester I had a lot of inflammation and pain in my hips to where I was taking 2 of these a day. During my second trimester I wasn’t experiencing as much pain from walking and moving as so I was able to take only one of every morning. The brand name Deep Blue® is synonymous with soothing support. It only makes sense that an ingestible supplement would complement the topical benefits of the Deep Blue product line. Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex delivers polyphenol extracts of frankincense, turmeric, green tea, ginger, pomegranate, and grape seed, and is designed to provide soothing support to aching muscles and to other occasional discomfort.

5. Copaiba soft gel- Sleeping became difficult by the end of this trimester. Especially getting comfortable with sleeping on my left side. I don’t know if other women experience pain in their left hip from sleeping on their left side, but this has been the biggest pain for me in trying to sleep. Copaiba is an anti-inflammatory as well as an oil I used nightly even before I was pregnant to help reduce nightly stress and sleep better. Taking it now as a soft gel helped reduce the pain in my hip and fall asleep faster. I started taking this every night during month 5. Copaiba essential oil is derived from the resin of the copaiba tree which can grow upwards of more than 100 feet and can be found in tropical South America. Copaiba oil is widely used in cosmetic products including soaps, creams, lotions, and perfumes. Since the 16th century, copaiba essential oil has been utilized in traditional health practices by the natives of north and northeastern Brazil.

6. Bone Nutrient Lifetime Complex- I mentioned that one of the things that baby is developing these months is its brain, but another is bones, so my baby book mentioned increasing calcium intake. However straight Calcium was not an option for me seeing as I am highly anemic, and calcium inhibits the body's ability to absorb iron. I started taking the bone nutrient Complex because it contains more than just calcium and allows for one nutrition without compromising my iron intake. If you are not anemic taking just calcium is fine, but if you are anemic you and your doctor or midwife may want to look into other options like the bone nutrient complex. At an early age, women begin to build bone mass, reaching a maximum bone density in their late twenties. A diet rich in essential bone nutrients is critical during these early years of bone development, but food intake surveys suggest that women consume half the recommended amounts of calcium and other bone nutrients for optimal bone health. This deficiency is pronounced in teens who are less likely to eat right but who would benefit from increased bone nutrient consumption as their young bones are absorbing nutrients at a rate nearly double that of adult women. The Bone Nutrient Essential Complex is formulated with bioavailable forms of natural nutrients that include vitamins C and D, plus calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals that support healthy bone density as a woman ages.

7. TriEase - months 4-6 of my pregnancy happened during the spring for me, and so allergies were a struggle. Mainly I just wanted to stop sneezing because I peed myself almost every time, and bringing extra underwear with me everywhere I went was not as convenient as just taking this. I was nervous about the peppermint in TriEase would effect my milk coming in but during a second trimester milk supply is not a huge necessity for me, so I wasn’t too worried. My milk did come in though and read that when taken daily peppermint won’t have as much of an effect of milk supply as when taken sporadically. While I do not know this to be a fact, it was true for me. TriEase Soft gels were developed to protect against seasonal and environmental elements and to promote a healthy respiratory system when needed most. Each soft gel contains equal parts of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils, known for their ability to maintain clear breathing and a healthy immune response when combined together.

8. (NOT A SUPPLEMENT, but I wanted to include with the supplements) TrimShake- anyone else have trouble eating enough? I constantly forget to eat- like even when I'm not pregnant, eating is not on my to do list, and so I normally forget to stop moving, and find time to eat, so I am constantly looking for ways to make sure that when I do eat, I am getting enough nutrition for me and the baby. TrimShake is a great way to make sure of just that. I add it to cereal, to desserts, and have it as a shake to help make sure I am getting enough nutrition even when I forget to stop and eat. Now I know that taking a weight management or weight loss shake seems ridiculous but when you’re not replacing a meal, but instead enhancing or adding extra meals then it becomes less of a weight loss technique and more of a healthier weight gain technique. Slim & Sassy TrimShake is a convenient and delicious weight management shake mix that provides essential nutrients and 70 calories per serving. Blended with water or nonfat dairy, almond, rice, or soymilk, TrimShake can be used as part of a weight-loss strategy of reducing daily caloric intake and burning fat stores through exercise. Slim & Sassy TrimShake includes the patented weight-loss ingredient EssentraTrim®, which research has shown to help manage cortisol—a stress hormone associated with fat storage in the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Slim & Sassy TrimShake also includes Solathin®, a special protein extract from natural food sources that supports an increased feeling of satiety. Available in natural chocolate and vanilla flavors, TrimShake blends well with water or milk and provides 8 grams of protein per serving.


Here are some of the essential oil combos and DIYs I used during me second trimester:

1. Lavender, Melaleuca, Frankincense- these 3 oils I used in my baby belly butter for preventing stretch marks. I mentioned the recipe in my first trimester post, but I'm going to give it again because of how awesome it has been working (I do not have a single new stretch mark on my belly, things, butt, or boobs):
The recipe for my “Baby Belly Butter” is:
1 cup raw shea butter
1 cup cocoa butter
1 cup coconut oil
1 TBS argon oil
1 TBS rose hip oil
1TBS vitamin E oil
20 drops melaleuca
20 drops Frankincense
20 drops Lavender
Heat shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil in a double boiler until liquid then remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients, mix and store in a glass jar.
If you want to use a store-bought body butter that’s fine too, but here’s why you want to add these three essential oils:
Melaleuca aka Tea Tree: This oil is great for skin.  This baby belly butter is thick and can make you break out even more so than just pregnancy breakouts. That’s one of the reasons I added the melaleuca. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, helps reduce skin redness, irritation, and swelling. The oil is a powerful solvent, which means it breaks the oil, dirt, and debris that builds up under our skin and clogs up our pores. It also helps to strengthen skin and heal cuts which helps to add to the prevention of stretch marks.
Frankincense: Frankincense is known as the King of oils. It has so many amazing benefits, not only for the skin, but for the entire body. Specifically, for the skin, its ability to revive and rejuvenate the skin makes it wonderful for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars, preventing acne, and healing minor wounds. Aside from just skin health it can help de-stress and relax the body. Frankincense is also an anti-inflammatory oil which I mentioned need a lot of. I experienced so many aches and pains in my hips, and knees, that I was taking anti-inflammatories daily. Lastly Frankincense rejuvenates and supports and encourages cellular function. Meaning that new little one you’ve got growing inside you that is trying to piece together all its cells and their functions is going to get a little extra help from this oil as well as Mama, who is getting the benefits of healthy functioning organs.
Lavender: I normally used this baby belly butter at night, and this was for a few reasons. 1. It's thick and takes a little time to dry so you don’t want to be wearing your nice going out in public clothes, PJs are best. 2. Two of the essential oils that I picked that are really great for skin health are also great for relaxation. Lavender is known for helping to relieve stress and anxiety as well as promoting restfulness and relaxation which I really needed at night since that seemed to be the only time, I couldn’t fall asleep. The anti-inflammatory properties also helped me with my joint pain in my hips and knees as well. Lavender is known for healing injured skin from burns, cuts, and scrapes, because of its abilities to quickly heal skin. This come sin great for helping to prevent those stretch marks.

1a. Replenishing Body Butter- For those of you who aren’t big into DIYing like me, or just don’t have the time, this is a great baby belly butter base, or even one to be used on its own. The base of this natural butter combines shea and cocoa seed butters, known for their deep moisturization and ability to promote skin suppleness. Jojoba seed oil absorbs quickly into the skin and helps keep skin looking hydrated while avocado oil provides essential fatty acids to nourish and soften skin. Essential oils of Wild Orange, Douglas Fir, and Frankincense turn this into an intensely aromatic spa experience while providing purifying, rejuvenating, and stretch mark reducing benefits.

2. Toothpaste- So we know that once pregnant everyone is constantly reminding us that oral health is so important, and while it can seem like a weird thing to prioritize, your oral health is super important and you should make sure to have at least one dentist visit during your pregnancy. Unfortunately, the natural toothpaste I normally use has rosemary, cinnamon, clove and myrrh so it was a bit out of the question for me to use:

4TBS coconut oil
3TBS baking soda
20 drops peppermint
20 drops frankincense
Heat your coconut oil in a double boiler to liquify, then add your other ingredients mix and store in glass jar or approved plastic squeeze tube. (another option is to include orange essential oil.) https://draxe.com/homemade-baking-soda-toothpaste/
Frankincense: Thanks to its antiseptic properties, frankincense essential oil is a natural solution to fighting the bacteria in the mouth that can cause plaque and bad breath. This can help prevent tooth decay and oral infections. Frankincense essential oil can be added to mouthwash and toothpaste to keep gums healthy.
Peppermint: Along with the fact that it freshens your breath and gives you a minty fresh feeling in your mouth after using it, peppermint oil displayed antimicrobial activities against oral pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus fecalis, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.
Orange: Because orange oil has the ability to fight bacterial growth, it can help to protect teeth and gums from infections. It’s also been used to help ease a sore throat for fast relief when gargled with water and salt.


3. Mouthwash- In addition to brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be important as well. The formula is safe and gentle for everyone. Not all mouthwashes are made the same- did you know that Listerine was originally created as a floor cleaner and when they rebranded as a mouth wash, the formula was not even updated?!?!?!?! Some mouthwashes that contain alcohol can dry out your mouth and combat your natural mouthwash—your saliva—from doing its job. Any mouthwash that says it kills 99% of germs is doing your mouth a disservice! If you struggle with dry mouth at all, it is important to use an alcohol-free option. Fortunately, I made my own for years with just water and peppermint. 
1 cup water
10 drops peppermint
Store in a glass jar or vial with lid
The 1 cup to 10 drops is the ratio I used, but you are welcome to increase or decrease that depending on how minty you’d like, and you can also add frankincense if you would like.

For a video on how to make this toothpaste and mouthwash, click this link:


4. Lemon Lavender and Peppermint: earlier I mentioned using something called TriEase, which is a supplement containing these three oils. for those of you who aren't keen on taking essential oils internally, you can certainly use this combination topically or aromatically to help combat seasonal threats. Keep in mind that as you get closer to your due date peppermint may begin to affect your milk supply, so if you are planning on breastfeeding, this combination may need to be altered when you are ready to start that.


Single Oils used during my second trimester:

1. Neroli- This super sweet oil is actually great for your skin and is known for reducing stretch marks. I absolutely love the smell and started using it during the day on my belly. Most moms know that having nice clothes is a luxury and most clothes we own turn into a tattered stained mess quite quickly. As I had mentioned before, the baby belly butter is rather thick and can stain shirts with oily residue. Using Neroli, I was able to continue allowing my skin to be nourished without staining all my clothes, and thus keeping my nice shirts and dresses looking nice. Neroli essential oil is said to reduce inflammation, alleviate stress, stimulate circulation, and enhance mood. When used in skincare and hair products, neroli essential oil is thought to treat oily skin, reduce signs of aging, and diminish the appearance of scars and stretch marks.

2. Lavender- This is still my all time favorite go to for sleep help. In addition to applying it at night in my baby belly butter, I also diffused it every night to help me get a good nights sleep, which in all seriousness is a super hard thing to accomplish during pregnancy. I also used it in my morning facial routine along with grapefruit.

3. Grapefruit: I use this as a spot treatment for acne. While lavender is one that I applied all over my face, grapefruit is one I would apply directly to individual breakouts to help fight the bacteria causing the breakout, and help keep the pores clear to help prevent future breakouts.

 Extras: 
1. HD Clear- oh the dreaded baby acne. I have been using this skin clearing system and have been lucky not to have a lot of breakouts. This isn’t to say that I have been 100% breakout free, but I’ve been pretty close to it since I started using this product. HD Clear is a three-step system that works synergistically, with each product building on the next to thoroughly cleanse and purify the skin and deliver optimal hydration for a balanced moisture level. Made with pure plant extracts, the ingredients in HD Clear are gentle and calming to the skin, but powerfully effective. Using HD Clear every day will help reduce the appearance of blemishes; promote a clear, healthy complexion; and soothe the skin.

2. Fortunately, I did not have a lot of nausea during my second trimester, however if you find yourself battling nausea Ginger, Peppermint and Digest Zen are a few options that can really help. Ginger and peppermint are both great as a tea. Simply heat up a cup of water to the temperature you desire and add 1 drop of oil.


Here's a list of useful oils I found on another site:

Bergamot-Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.


Chamomile-Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and indigestion.

Cypress-(OK after 5 months) Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Helpful for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.

Eucalyptus-Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion.

Frankincense-Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming.

Geranium-(OK after 3 months) Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Eases aching legs and is good for poor circulation.

Grapefruit-Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Helps with water retention.

Lavender-Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, relaxing. Helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.

Lemon-Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, tonic. Useful as an inhalant for morning sickness and in massage for varicose veins.

Mandarin-Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant. Can ease fluid retention in leg and ankle massages.

Neroli-Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, relaxing. Useful in pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell regeneration and for easing nervous tension.

Patchouli-Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Eases confusion, indecision and apathy.

Peppermint- helps alleviate nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. Gives a short term energy boost.

Petitgrain-Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Helpful in dealing with pre or postpartum depression.

Rosewood-Antiseptic, sedative.

Sandalwood-Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.

Tangerine-Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Helps to prevent stretch marks.

Tea Tree-Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Can be used to treat thrush during pregnancy.

Ylang Ylang-Antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, lowers blood pressure. Restorative when overworked or tense.




If you want to learn more about any of these products or about an essential oil company that has Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils, that are safe for internal, expecting mothers, and infant and toddler safe you can comment on this blog, visit my website www.beyoutfit.com, or find me on Facebook @Colleen Faye.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Peanut Butter Chocolate Zucchini Cake


Ok who's ready for another recipe? I know it's been forever since the last time I shared one of these with you, and there's been so many things I've tried too so I am really trying to make an effort to start sharing recipes with you all again starting with this gem!
As most of you know - or anyone who follows me on any social media knows- I love having a garden, and I always grow zucchini. Year 1 was the year of the zucchini pasta. The first time I tried zucchini pasta I fell in love and for almost an entire summer, it was all I made. Unfortunately, my family did not have the same fondness for this new dish and after that summer, I have been banned from making zucchini pasta ever again- at least for family meals. After that I tried to stay away from zucchinis because I didn't want my family to hate a vegetable that was so easy to grow in abundance and so versatile, so the following few years I tried to limit the amount of plants I had and whenever I could I would give away extra zucchini. During this time, I tried my hand at some fun variations like the zucchini taco boats, zucchini grilled cheese which were both big hits, and a few others that fell flat for us. This year I am at it again with a large crop and hopefully enough recipes to keep things fun and funky, so no one feels like they are being force fed something only I enjoy. So of course, I wanted to throw in a few extra new recipes, and I was inspired by one I found in the Ambitions Kitchen, by Monique. It was a peanut butter chocolate zucchini bread. Now don't let the name fool you, this is definitely more of a cake than anything else. First, I will share Monique's recipe with the options she offers that I chose to use, and then I'll share with you my second attempt which I turned into a sheet cake.



Monique's Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Zucchini Bread (with my twist)

·           1 medium zucchini, shredded & squeezed of excess moisture (about 1 cup shredded zucchini)
·           3/4 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
·           1/4 cup pure maple syrup
·           2 large eggs, slightly beaten
·           1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·           about 1/2 cup of doTERRA chocolate trim shake powder
·           1 teaspoon baking soda
·           1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
·           1/2 cup peanut butter chips
·           9 Hershey kisses

Instructions
1.               Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. 
2.               In a large bowl, mix shredded zucchini, peanut butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla with whisk until well combined and creamy. Stir in trim shake powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. Next, fold in peanut butter chips.
3.               Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then add the Hershey kisses by flipping upside down and pressing into bread. The bread will develop a nice brown crust, so don't be nervous if you observe this while baking.
4.               Once done baking, remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Once cool enough, remove bread from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 delicious slices.
For her full recipe and notes, you can check it out with this link:






Here is how I turned this into a sheet cake:

·           1 large zucchini, shredded & squeezed of excess moisture (or 4 cups shredded zucchini)
·           3 cups all-natural creamy almond butter
·           1 cup pure maple syrup
·           3 large eggs, slightly beaten (if you want more of a brownie feel you can reduce to just 2 eggs)
·           1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract (if you think you need more of a chocolate flavor though you can replace this with coco powder)
·           2 cups of doTERRA chocolate trim shake powder
·           1 and 1/3 Tablespoons baking soda
·           2 teaspoons cinnamon
·           1 cup peanut butter chips (optional)
·            Hershey kisses however many you want

1.               Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9x13 inch cake pan with coconut cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2.               In a large bowl, mix shredded zucchini, peanut butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla with whisk until well combined and creamy. Stir in trim shake powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. 
3.               Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth. Top with peanut butter chips and lightly push them just under the surface. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then add the Hershey kisses by flipping upside down and pressing into cake- I cut these into 1x1 in size pieces and added 1 kiss per piece. 
4.               Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 30-45 minutes. Once cool enough, remove cake from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. The cake will develop a crust, so if you want to add icing and make it a full-on cake you are welcome to do so-personally I think the Hershey kisses add enough topping.