My Month Without Salt: What I've been Snacking on

In January I decided that I really needed to do a bit of a sugar detox. The holidays can be heavy on the candy and cookies and well, I was feeling it. My mid-section was a bit rounder and I was definitely feeling more sluggish than usual. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, to begin with, but the more you eat the more you want so I was craving sugar cookies, pie, and everything sweet following Christmas. I cut out sugar with no real problem in January and tracked it in my planner. I hate to deprive myself and I thin kit leads to failure, so if there was something I really wanted I ate it. I ended up only eating sugar 6 days out of the month and kept the sugar to a limited amount even on those days. WIN.

Month without salt: What I've been snacking on

In February, I decided to take on a much more difficult task. I was still feeling pretty bloated and knew that not only did I need to drink more water, but I desperately needed to eat less salt. Not really having a sweet tooth means I have a serious salt tooth (is that a thing?). I did my best though and so far I've been pretty successful. Here is what I've been snacking on while trying to keep my sodium intake down:

1. Low-sodium Mozzarella String Cheese - specifically Sargento has a reduced sodium line that is still delicious. I love my cheese. Some other low-sodium cheeses include goat cheese, cream cheese (believe it or not!), and swiss. 

2. Apple Slices - Costco sells these bags of bags of apple slices that I really love. For 1. they somehow last a long time and 2. they're a super easy, super healthy snack to grab and go. 

3. Veggies with Peanut Butter - I didn't even realize bread had sodium in it, but it turns out it has a LOT. I love toast with peanut butter but I did my best to add peanut butter to apple slices or to celery or something this month to avoid the high salt content.

4. Air popped popcorn with other spices - popcorn is my crack. I love air popped popcorn, movie style popcorn, skinny pop, white cheddar popcorn, you name it, I love it. But it's obviously pretty high in salt most the time. This month I focused on air-popping my popcorn and then adding other spices instead of salt. I actually love it with just some black pepper but we have a cajun spice we love on it and there are a ton of good recipes out there for spiced popcorn too! 

5. Edamame - I honestly just buy the frozen stuff, stick it in the microwave for a bit and then I used to top it with some salt but I've found other spices to use. This Garlic Edamame recipe is pretty on point if I do say so myself! 

And there you have it, what I've been snacking on to keep my salt intake down in February. Do you have any low-sodium snacks you love? After doing a bit of research to sure up my knowledge, obviously salt can lead to high blood pressure, what I didn't realize is that especially in women, high blood pressure can lead to a deficit in Vitamin D which we are so desperately short on in the Northwest anyway. High blood pressure is, of course, a risk factor for heart disease which is the leading cause of death in women. And if you need additional reasoning to cut back on salt, it's been proven to increase the risk of stroke even if it isn't affecting your blood pressure. 

So with all that reiterated in my mind... I think I'll try to stick to this lower-sodium diet!! 

Samantha's Signature

4 Tips for Unforgettable Maternity Pictures

Welcome back from the long weekend! I hope everyone is well rested and ready for a productive week! As for me, I am happy to announce that I was officially given the green light to start working out again last week and plan to take full advantage of this new and improved status all week. In honor of kicking-off my new dedication to fitness, I want to take a moment to recognize what got me to the shape I am in today - and what better way to do that than review some of the stunning maternity pictures taken by the one and only Jane G. Photography .

The theme of our maternity pictures was definitely PNW chic (because that is totally a style, right?!). Jane and I hiked out to one of the most beautiful backdrops Seattle has to offer and played around for an afternoon. We did not have any specific shots in mind, but I am in love with how everything turned out! Looking at these pictures now I almost instantly break into tears because it seems unreal to me that I grew this tiny little human that I love so much.

A big caveat to this post, I do not claim to be an expert in the field of maternity photography. I am here as a one time participant talking about what worked best for me and what I will keep in mind if there were to ever be a round 2. So without further ado - here are my 4 tips for unforgettable maternity pictures!

# 1 | Understand your audience

This was a big tip for me as I was not getting these pictures for myself - these pictures were a gift for my husband who just wanted a few good pictures of me carrying our first child. Because I had him and his wishes in mind, I knew that I wanted pictures that showed off my bump in a tasteful way because these pictures would likely be framed in our house somewhere. With this said, I have lots of girlfriends who opted for the boudoir maternity pictures because they knew these pictures were only for their eyes only... knowing who these pictures are going to be viewed by really helps shape your attire and your photographers approach in making your maternity dreams come true :)

# 2 | Be natural

This is the one time in your life that you are letting your body do exactly what it is supposed to. You are not sucking it in, wearing pounds of makeup, or styling your hair for a fancy occasion. You are doing the most natural thing a woman can do - literally - embrace it.

# 3 | Be comfortable

Not a lot of explanation needed here - you are already carrying +20 lbs by the time you are taking your pictures - comfort is the name of the game at this point in the pregnancy so why not embrace it?! No need to try and squeeze into an impossibly tight dress or sky high heels. I rocked a pair of stretchy black pants and a sweatshirt and felt like a million bucks!

# 4 | Have fun

Unless you are a Duggar, odds are this is an experience you are likely to have a few times, so why not have a little fun!

Alright, well that is it for now! What do you think of our PNW maternity pictures? Any more tricks of the trade you want to share?