My Whole30 Part 2: My #NSV List

After completing my whole30 experience in December, I found a great number of obvious benefits that spanned from better mood to more self-efficacy in the kitchen. These are referred to as non-scale victories, or NSVs!

If you’re considering taking on the whole 30, take the time to sit down and write/type what you hope to gain. Then come back to it at the end and see what happened.

Here’s a list of my #nsv. Let me know how yours went if you’ve done a whole 30, or what you might hope to gain from doing one. If you’re thinking about doing it, then plan plan plan, shop shop, cook, cook and then DO IT!

  • Excitement about trying new vegetables- If it’s roasted, I’m in! Acorn squash, kale, butternut squash cubes, cauliflower, eggplant and on and on.
  • Spending time with my husband, cooking and prepping food.
  • Feeling that my average mood increased.
  • Pride and self-efficacy in cooking new dishes and creating some of my own too.
  • Fitting into older dresses- that I haven’t worn since before having kids!
  • Increased self-worth; us moms really have to take time for self-care and I felt this was an ultimate act of helping myself feel better and eat better.
  • My ring swiveling around my finger- kind of annoying actually- but HEY!
  • Change in my grocery shopping habits- releasing guilt on spending on healthy food; avoiding the many bread, crackers or sauces I used to buy and instead buying lots of produce, nuts, fish and meat.
  • Making it clear to me what’s “worth it” and what isn’t. Actually turning down offers for cakes, ice cream or chocolate when it’s just not my favorite or not expected. This is an unexpected and greatly welcome change in my habits.
  • Planning my lunches, dinners, breakfasts and snacks- in other words being more mindful about planning this part of my life (Hello, food is kind of important!).

There’s more and more and I can definitely see myself doing another round for re-balancing in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Let’s connect!


Meal Prep and Food: My Whole30 Experience Part 1

In December of 2016 I finally committed to doing a whole30, a healthy eating “reset” that focuses on clean, whole eating and the way food fuels and nourishes your body. The idea that it wasn’t about losing weight, but about figuring out your relationship with food and discovering your unique food sensitivities, really resonated with me. I had a feeling that dairy was not friend, and maybe bread too, but more importantly, I loved that I would be forced to bump up my veggie intake and have to cook for myself and my family instead of ‘winging’ it.

I first heard of the whole30 program over a year and a half ago and had it tickling the back of my mind for a while. During my second pregnancy last year, I did eat much more consciously than I did during my first (eat-for-two mentality!), so at around 4 months postpartum, working full-time, I knew something had to change for me to have more energy, better focus and a feeling of being more in control.

A friend of mine and excellent foodie/chef/recipe creator, Shushy- cookinginheelss posted on her instagram that she committed and was doing her whole30, and I decided then and there  to finally do the same. I set my start date for the day after Thanksgiving and began my prep and planning!

Preparing and planning were the most important parts. I borrowed the whole30 book from the library and started following their social media accounts and other related accounts to fill my feed with inspiration, motivation and recipe ideas! I even started posting some of my own as I became more and more comfortable with the program.

Lunches was the most dramatic change that I noticed. I was actually prepared and ready in the morning to grab-and-go with the things I prepared earlier in the week or the night before, and my co-workers definitely took notice of all the delicious and nutritious foods I was bringing to work.

Here are some of the things I prepared at the start of the week:

1. Boiled up whole dozen (or more!) eggs. Extra points if I also peeled them and put two in little baggies- instant snack; or easy addition of protein to add to salad.

2. Roasting veggies. Set the oven at 400 degrees and cut up/chop/spread out all sorts of veggies, drizzle with olive oil (don’t be afraid of fat- it’s good for ya!), and spice it up! img_2697Eggplant slices, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, pasnips, carrots, whatever I had on hand! These made for delicious ready-made side dishes to add to meals. While the oven is on, it heats up the house on the cold winter day, and your meal prep is on its way too! Sometimes I’d also add whole sweet potatoes wrapped in foil, with puncture wounds all around- good for stress relief!

img_2692Here’s a secret- buying cut up veggies is not cheating, it was an investment in my success. So buying a bag of frozen cauliflower, pre-cubed butternut squash or baby carrots is a win in my book!
3. SLOW COOKER TIME! I bought this as a black friday deal and made a deal with myself that I’d make at least one meal a week to justify this large appliance in my small apartment- as it turns out I didn’t need to worry- it paid for itself in just a few meals! I would throw in a beef stew with veggies, or a chili recipe, or make shredded chicken breast- using recipes that I easily amended, skipping unknown spices or ingredients I didn’t have on hand. My sister and I laugh that we look at recipes as suggestions rather than directions! In this case, it worked out since cooking in the slow cooker is so forgiving. I’d serve some for dinner, or breakfast if I set it all night- nothing wrong with warm chili for breakfast. It kept me full for hours! I even used it to steam up a spaghetti squash, which I’d never had before.

Kosher Note:***Going Dairy-free for a month meant I was always ‘basari’ and didn’t have to worry about waiting 6 hours before I could eat dairy again. It gave me the freedom to eat basari food for breakfast or lunch without any hesitation. It was a little weird to only make a ‘borei nefashot’ after each meal for a month and not say ‘bircat hamazon’ even once. And not eating challah on shabbat meals made me a little uneasy but I felt it was the right thing for me to stick to the program and investigate which foods were not working for me. I was making a short term change for long term benefits. Ask your LOR for your personal psak.***

IMG_2694.JPG4. Also, I prepared a list and posted it on the fridge that had a list of easy ideas based on the shopping for that week made it easy to decide what to prepare and eat. For example, it would say -make tahini, -make burgers, -prepare protein salad, -bake the tilapia, – eat the [fresh fruit] whatever I purchased that week, -eat [prepared meals from my crock pot]. In other words, I could glance at the list instead of aimlessly into the fridge to figure out what to eat without having a static meal plan- with defined foods for each little box- I needed the flexibility. How am I supposed to know what I’ll be in the mood for two weeks from Thursday?!? A running list may work for you too-try it!

5. Making sure I had the non-food items I needed, like take away containers, parchment paper,and  aluminum trays.

This lead to success and even enjoyment throughout my whole30. I felt in control of my food choices, of my kitchen, of my shopping. It was a very deliberate way of approaching food, meals, shopping and cooking and I’m taking a lot of those skills with me, carrying over into my #whole30alumni life!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please feel free to ask me anything at all. Stay tuned for Part 2 to hear all about my #nsv that’s non-scale victories and how much I gained from committing and seeing through my whole30!

Eat something delicious today! Go right now and make it! Try a new recipe! Smiles!



Spectra S2 Breastpump Vs. Medela Pump In Style Review ~ Bonus Freezer Storage Tip


Battle of the Pumps!

What good fortune that my insurance will pay for a new pump! I was very happy to know that I could get a new breast pump during my second pregnancy. With my older daughter, I was using the Medela Pump in Style, which was good and got the job done. BUT, for my new baby my new choice, Spectra S2 Pump is the hands-down winner for me!

The user-friendly design and superior pumping efficiency makes this perfect for me when I’m pumping at home or at work.

I’m a fan. Watch my review which I hope will help you decide which pump will be right for you. Plus, enjoy seeing a glimpse into my world sleep-deprived momma, preparing to go back to work.

I’ve been using it for four months now. I bring the parts home to wash and I’m lucky to have a fridge at work that I can use to store the milk. (Although, life of a resident, I have to borrow my supervisor’s office and put a post it note on the door with no lock- but there again, I am happy and blessed to have such supportive coworkers!) I use Bonafide Baby bags excellent bags bought on amazon, recommended by my favorite MamaNatural!

Also, check out this freezer storage tip- line up the bags standing up in the freezer door. I first lay them flat so they freeze without bulging. I also write the date and how much milk is in there so the babysitter and I both know what’s in it, and I know how many bags to send and I can go to work in peace.


milk storage in the freezer!

This organizing drying rack Boon Grass makes it easy because there’s a designated kitchen space for all these parts and it doesn’t mix in with our other dishes!


drying all the parts

Let’s be mommyfriends! Comment below, or connect @laughlikelilach on Twitter, Instagram or Pintrest.

Check this out to help you decide which is right for you!

Note: the links that appear are affiliate links to Amazon to support this blog. I hope you enjoyed this post and I appreciate your support!

Hidden Green Smoothie

Recently, I posted about my green smoothie recipe, which I have really do enjoy, but some days I’d prefer something sweeter. “Hiding the greens” by introducing another sweeter ingredient like blueberries in this case, or strawberries, mangos, melon-whatever catches your fancy, or happens to be on sale that week- makes it a little more palatable and attractive for my toddler too!


Blueberries with hidden spinach smoothie!


1/2 cup of frozen spinach

1/2 cup of frozen blueberries

1 frozen banana

ice cubes


squirt of agave syrup, if desired


In the quest to make healthier food choices and feel better (that is, not focusing on losing weight but on creating healthy lifelong habits and preferences), I am enjoying experimenting with the world of smoothies!

Tell me what you have discovered- what creative combinations do you like?



Healthy Smoothie Recipe!

More spinach in your diet can only be a good thing, and I’m always finding ways to sneak it in, whether into pasta dishes, into a hummus sandwhich, or an old-fashioned veggie salad.

Green smoothies are another great way to get a pack of nutrients and if you add a banana, the sweetness balances out!

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Spinach and banana

For this, I used about 3/4 cup of frozen spinach, one frozen bananas, and ice cubes made of beet juice that I froze after steaming up some beets! My grandmother taught me that the water from steaming vegetables is a terrible thing to waste, and she sometimes drinks it as is! I prefer to freeze it and sweeten up my spinach smoothie even more!

2016-08-07 09.15.52

Secret ice cubes made from beet steam!

At first, I used to add some agave or honey, but over time I’ve acquired the taste and even enjoy that it is not too sweet. I’ve also tried adding in one medjoul date, and I’ve found that makes it really delicious without being overpowering.

The experimentation is the fun part- so I’m figuring out what works for me.

Most importantly, I love drinking this up first thing in the morning in my fancy mug, a refreshing way to wake up on a hot summer day and start the day off with a boost.

Stay cool!


What do you put in your smoothie? Do you sweeten your green smoothies?

LUNCH IDEAS from a Full-Time Working Pregnant Mom

Earlier this summer, I began working as a full-time audiology resident. Plus, I have a 2 year old and I was 8 months pregnant! All of which means that planning and organizing my week, my life, and my food is crucial for my success, productivity and energy levels.

I’m constantly looking for great lunch ideas that are easy to prepare,pack, store and aren’t too messy to eat- or likely to leave anything in your teeth either! Here are some great lunch ideas and more tips that have come in handy for me.

At the start of the week, I’ll prepare some staples that I can build on throughout the week. 2016-06-18 22.12.57.jpg1. Boil a dozen eggs– peel and snack bag one or two eggs each- placed in my refrigerator door making them easy to reach.  I’ll have these on hand throughout the week when packing my own and my toddler’s lunch too.

2. Boil up a box of pasta– I prefer whole wheat rotini. Then after it’s ready, I immediately portion it out into containers for lunches and even make one tray ready for an easy supper.

3. Instant Couscous! Also whole wheat. I love preparing a box of couscous and dumping a can of chick peas in it too. Then I have this as an easy side dish. One day, I’ll add tuna to it, and another day I made these delicious sauted mushrooms that I had half of in a breakfast omelette and the rest for lunch.2016-06-08 07.21.13

4. Shop for easy-to-eat fruits and veggies, such as cherry tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries. I find these are more conducive for short “eat-between-patients” lunch than too-crunchy apples or juicy/mess-nectarines.2016-06-17 07.49.10.jpg

Luckily, I have access to a refrigerator at work so I can prepare a salad dressing and leave it at work to have it to add to my different lunches.

5. Sandwiches are, of course, a classic lunch idea- I love hummus, cream cheese, nut butter, or avocado.

It always helps me when I hear or read about how others are organizing their lunches, and I hope this helped you!

Have a great week!


What do you love to pack for lunch?

What other easy-to-eat fruit do you recommend?

Planning a Successful Bridal Shower!

My bestest friend in the whole world is getting married at the end of this month, and as per tradition and obviously my great love for her, we set out to plan the bestest bridal shower for her. Another wonderful friend and I were the planners and host and it ended up being a smashing success.

Given as I’m due around 10 days before her wedding date, I was really invested in making this party a success- as a gift to her  and a way to participate in her happiness!

Check out the photos from the event to see the gorgeous decorating, wonderful spread of food, and piles of gifts, all coming together to make a smashing success!



Overcoming Hearing Aid Stigma in Adults

What do a 35-year-old mother, a 58-year-old salesman and a 46-year-old special education teacher have in common? All these were patients that have a significant hearing loss that they admit negatively affects their day to day living, yet refuse to entertain the notion that they would become hearing aid users. Also, all three of these middle-aged, working, socializing, family people, identify as members of a cultural and religious community that stigmatizes difference and disability- and it is not necessary to identify that community, since that description can and does apply to more than one group of people, from different parts of the country and of all different faiths.

This steadfast defiance to getting help is hard to witness. With all my idealism and altruism as an audiologist, this feels like a personal affront. And to add insult to injury, in all three of these cases, the cost was not even a factor; they were all insured under a plan that would cover high-end hearing aids at no out of pocket expense to the consumer. This is not about sales or revenue streams, but about real people and their everyday lives with a possible solution right in front of them that they are choosing to turn away from.

Thoughts to Ponder:
Often these patients need to be reminded that the struggles they have every day are more consequential to their quality of life and social well-being than wearing a hardly-noticeable ear-worn device would be. The young mother mentioned that there are many times she misses out on the punchline of a joke when she is among friends, or that she does not immediately attend to the needs of her young children! The salesman revealed his view of a hearing aid as a sign of weakness that might negatively influence potential buyers without considering the subtle remarks made by his potential customers that he may be missing. And when the special education teacher said his students might notice the aids and lose respect for him or even mock him, he fails to recognize the classroom murmurs he is probably missing every day.

The hearing loss is often more noticeable than a hearing aid would be.

A hearing aid is not a toy or a gadget, nor simply a consumer device. Had this patient broken a leg, they would wear a cast without hesitation and were a loved one to require medical attention they would jump to do anything they can to help and alleviate some of the symptoms. The use of a hearing aid, when fit appropriately, can greatly increase the patient’s quality of life, decrease fatigue and listening stress, and improve overall communication and socialization! Too often, the fear of detection outweighs the unknown benefits. Whether this stems from ignorance or immaturity, peer pressure or low self-esteem, it is important to know that every patient who claims they are not moving forward due to stigma, are in fact the ones perpetuating that stigma. They are selling not only themselves short, but also all their fellow community members who will come after them.

It is out of compassion, not judgment, that I hope to educate my patients and readers on the benefits of taking action, learning your options, and embracing uncertainty.

Join the conversation:

What are your thoughts on hearing aid stigma?

Does this exist in your community?

What can we do to mitigate stigma around hearing aids and other devices?