Monthly Archives: February 2014

Baby Brain Booster

graduateA friend of mine sent me an article today titled “Exercise During Pregnancy Can Boost Your Baby’s Brain” posted by ABC News.

These scientists gave 30 expectant mom’s an exercise regime and had them keep a daily log of their exercise (which I encourage you to do in DietTools:) and 30 others who were not given an exercise regime.

When their babies were born, they monitored their brain activity at 8-12 days and found that the “exercise” babies had more fully developed brains!

Talk about an exercise motivator!

30 minutes daily of moderate exercise is recommended for pregnant women. That’s not too bad, right?

Did I Mention I Donated My Kidney?

We’ve always known that one day our friend Dave would need a kidney. He has Polycystic Kidney Disease. One evening while we were at a party at Dave’s house, I had a very strong impression that I would be donating my kidney to Dave.

 So long story short after several months of testing, I was approved to be Dave’s donor!!

Have you ever done something you really want to do, but you’re scared out of your mind to do? Like when you have to speak in front of a large group of people and although you really want to do it, you’re completely dreading it at the same time…

That’s what this was for me. I was making a commitment to Dave and to myself  that I was going to do something that would be difficult, but I knew it would be 100% worth it. And it was even more incredible than I could have imagined.

 A few days before our surgery Dave posted a picture of he and I on Facebook, introducing me as his donor. We received thousands of comments from people all over the world wishing us luck and praying for us before our surgery. This is the picture Dave posted.

 erin and dave


I’ve never felt so much love and gratitude from so many people in my life. I thought I would be extremely nervous before the surgery, but having so many people thinking and praying for us brought me so much comfort.

 I was almost excited for the surgery.

This is Chad and I just before they rolled me away.

 erin and chad


 The surgery went extremely well. The doctors said I had super human kidney function. My kidneys were functioning at double the levels of most people. They said my organs sort of just fell out of the way so they were able to easily remove my kidney. I went into the hospital on Friday and got to go home Sunday morning. I fully believe my healthy lifestyle,(and a wonderful surgeon) is what made things go so smoothly.

 after surgery


While I was in the hospital, my neighbors and friends “snuck” in my house, and completely redid my entire bedroom. .It was so wonderful to have a beautiful bedroom to recover in, not to mention a brand new super comfy bed…

My mom had a company come in and clean all of our carpets.

My neighbor Jessica mowed our lawn for us for an entire month, so that Chad could help me and take care of our kids

So many people watched my kids, and made this feel like a vacation to them.

My boot camp ladies made a meal calendar and brought my family dinner 4 nights a week. Ladies from church, boot camp and friends came and visited me. I was worried I’d get lonely but I never felt that way at all. I loved being home and getting to spend extra special time with Chad and our kids.

with the fam


 This week it has been 6 weeks since the surgery, and I’ve got the go ahead to start EXERCISING!! Chad has had the entire neighborhood watching me for the last 6 weeks, to make sure I didn’t sneak out and go running. My spin bike that is normally in my bedroom was moved upstairs (I couldn’t walk upstairs for 3 weeks) so I wouldn’t jump on it while everyone else was sleeping!! I didn’t break any rules for the entire 6 weeks, but now—

 I. Am. Ready. To. Run!!

Join with me as I get back in shape –  with one kidney less, let’s see how this goes!! :)

About Me: Not a Model but a Real Life Dad

Football Dack with daughtersWhen I was approached about doing Diet Tools I was a little shocked.  I am a father of 4 beautiful girls, happily married to a very supportive wife, and I have a full time job that I go to every day.  I enjoy working out tremendously and find it to be a great stress relief in my life.  Perhaps this is why I agreed to work with Diet Tools.  Throughout my life I have read many fitness magazines, blogs and articles about staying in shape.  Most of these articles also contained photos of individuals that I had nothing in common with.  Most of the men were young 20-25 year old models that stayed in shape as their full time profession.  I really couldn’t relate to those photos.  Where was the guy that had a 45 minute commute, put in a full day’s work, and then had to come home and help put the kids to bed.  I wanted to create that person in Diet Tools.

Each day I wake up before my girls get up and head to the gym.  I get my workout in, and then head back home to help get them up and ready for school.  I watch my diet as carefully as I can, but allow myself a cheat day every so often.  After work I head back home and help get the girls fed, bathed and off to bed.

I wanted to show the “average” guy that they can find balance, and in fact need to find balance in life.  I hope that I can provide a realistic approach to life, diet, and exercise.  I believe that in doing this, my stress levels are down, I am overall a happier person, and I am staying active.  In the long run, my health will be better, and I can run and play with my girls.  I have more energy throughout the day to complete the tasks that are put in front of me.


While I will be the first one to admit that I don’t look like the guy on the cover of this month’s fitness magazine, I do believe I bring a realistic approach to one’s health.  A person can have a full time job, a busy schedule, and still have time to go to the gym and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  With some planning and preparation you can have a healthy, balanced diet that will help you to avoid health problems. I know that if you learn to balance life and fitness, it will be the best decision you ever make!

Ballpark Meal the Healthy Way

Ball Park Meal The Healthy Way smallThere’s just something familiar and comforting about food you buy at a ballpark or football stadium. When it comes to big loaded hot dogs and greasy fries, the ones you get while watching a game always seem to hit the spot. Unfortunately, they don’t always agree with your digestive system or waistline. As a mom who fully enjoys food, and wants to remain healthy, I’ve come up with a vegan alternative to this meal that my family loves!

In most grocery stores you can find a decent variety of vegan, chicken or turkey hot dogs. If you’ve never tried any of these before, you may be quite surprised by how good they taste. Many of them even come in really great flavors like Chorizo, Kielbasa sausage, and Sundried  Tomato Basil. You just pick the kind that sounds best.

Next select a package of 100% whole wheat hot dog buns. Grab some brown potatoes and veggie toppings that you might like on the hot dogs. My family prefers tomatoes, lettuce or cabbage, sauerkraut, avocados, and sweet pickles. Try to select fresh produce and avoid things like cream sauces and cheese.

About an hour before you want to eat, start making some homemade fries. Once they’re cooking, cut up all the vegetables and start cooking the hot dogs. I prefer to saute them so they’re nice and browned on the outside. When the fries are done, dress up the hog dog buns with all the veggies you want and add the hot dogs. Serve on a plate with piping hot fries and you’ll have a meal that tastes amazing and is good for your body.

The Pregnancy Sickness Diet

Young caucasian woman is vomiting in the bathroom.So I’m expecting my second baby and it has been a long first trimester with pregnancy sickness! Whoever named it “Morning Sickness” must have been misinformed. It should be called “All Day Sickness”.

Before I got pregnant, I was really good at going running and lifting weights 3 times a week (I’m not a die hard exercizer but I try to be good). Once that nausea hit, though, that was the end of my exercise streak.

I’m pretty sure I sat on the couch and watched Netflix and read stories for 2 ½ months before I was well enough to even go for a walk without an incident (vomiting my guts out).

Needless to say, I lost all the muscle tone, strength, and endurance that I had developed! On a more positive note, I also lost that last 10 pounds. There’s nothing like the pregnancy sickness diet to lose weight (just to clarify, I don’t recommend this method of weight loss!)

I just hit about 14 weeks and have gone a full week without an incident! Last week I decided to start exercising again.

Starting with 2 short walks on sunny days, I take Knight (my 18 month old) out to the park or around our neighborhood and we get in a 20-30 minute, medium paced walk.

I have already felt a difference in my mood, my health, and my ability to function around the house and at work. Believe me, sitting on the couch and being ill is not good for the mood. I’ll admit I had a few cry days in there where I felt I would never be well again. Thank goodness that isn’t true! It will end ladies!

I probably won’t return to my pre-pregnancy strenuous workout for a long time, but I look forward to exercising more, eating healthy (and keeping it down), and being happier!