Friday Foodie Fun Facts: Fennel and Fenugreek

Happy Halloween, we’re celebrating Avery’s first by trick-or-treating and saying we don’t want anything but to say hi! Although today is Halloween and I should be posting something about how to avoid over-consumption of candy by your little ones as well as yourself, I wanted to share a post from my previous blog.
Ready to roll as a pumpkin! Original, I know....
Ready to roll as a pumpkin! Original, I know….
Before I was a dad, I had another blog centered on healthy food called “Just Add Cayenne”. Obviously, you can tell I’m a fan of spicy food, but despite the name, I shared a lot of healthy dessert recipes/ideas too. You can check it out by clicking on the “Just Add Cayenne” page tab above and look around for a while.
I’m always interested in the health benefits of food and prefer to use it in place of traditional medicine whenever possible. For instance, I haven’t taken something like ibuprofen or aspirin for aches and pains in years; I use cayenne (hence the blog’s name) or ginger for their anti-inflammatory properties instead. I feel much better in doing so, and know I’m not sabotaging my gut lining or other insides as a result.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, Going Mom knows the importance of breastfeeding, and I’m extremely happy and proud that she’s giving Avery the best nutrition available. I mean, Nature’s pretty damn good at knowing what we need, and no formula or rice cereal will ever replace it! Unless you’re unable to for some reason, I see no good reason why you wouldn’t breastfeed your children.
Lately, Kelley has been concerned about her production and we’ve been looking for natural alternatives to give it a boost. She’s been drinking Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk herbal tea for a while now, but doesn’t always have time to brew a cup of tea with her busy work schedule on top of needing to pump. So, now I’m trying to boost things by adding fenugreek to her meals and soon we’ll have a fenugreek supplement to use too.
For the record, I think she’s doing fine and Avery doesn’t seem to complain (besides when she’s just a fussy baby), but either way, as you will see, there are plenty of other benefits to using fenugreek as well.  Below is my original post from my old blog which also includes fennel since it’s another healthy addition to you meals. Plus, it made for a lot of “F’s” in my post title!
I have two awesome foods for you to add to your meals to create functional flavors that boost nutrition.  One powder from the licorice flavored vegetable, fennel, and the other from an herb, fenugreek.  Both of these have very distinguishable flavors that stand out in dishes. For that reason, you have to be careful because too much could ruin a dish.


These are both new functional flavors I’ve started to add to my diet and hope to feel a difference after using for a while.  Fennel and fenugreek are known for alleviating annoying digestive issues (what? we all have them!) along with several other ailments.

Here’s a sample of fennel’s multiple health benefits, as listed on

The health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulenceconstipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, eye care, etc. Fennel, bearing the scientific name Foeniculum Vulgare Miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpastes, desserts, antacids and in culinary.
Fennel is a diuretic, i.e. increases amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism, swelling etc. It also increases production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is anti flatulent for the baby too. It strengthens hair, prevents hair fall, relaxes body, sharpens memory and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer if the pale greenish-yellow water, in which it is soaked, is taken with a bit of sugar and black-salt.

And no, I am not using it for production of milk in my breasts. I’m neither lactating nor a woman; the indigestion and stomach relief is what I’m after. (Edit: And to boost Kelley’s milk supply too!) Read the full benefits of fennel here.

Fenugreek’s health benefits, also listed on, are:


The health benefits of fenugreek include relief from anemia, pregnancy pains, increasing lactation, digestion, loss of taste, fever, hair care, dandruff, stomach disorders, biliousness, respiratory disorders, mouth ulcers, sore throat, diabetes, inflammations, wounds and insomnia..
Most of these benefits of fenugreek are due to the presence of saponins and fiber in it. Fenugreek is also used for herbal healing. Its seeds contain a gumming substance called mucilage. Mixed with water, mucilage expands and becomes a gelatinous soother for irritated tissues.
Fenugreek is used to treat wounds, inflammation and gastrointestinal ailments. Fenugreek helps in antioxidation. So, it prevents and repairs damages caused by free radicals. According to ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, fenugreek can be used for inducing labour and aiding digestion. It is also good to improve metabolism and health. Irritated skin condition can be soothed by the external application of fenugreek. Fenugreek is also used for fevers and muscle aches.

Fenugreek is considered to be a safe herbal food. It is also used as a spice and tastes oddly of bitter celery and maple syrup.

Read more of fennel’s health benefits here.

Hopefully I will share a successful outcome with Going Mom’s production, but as you see, there are many other benefits to these foods and I recommend adding them whenever possible.

Have you ever used fennel or fenugreek?

Any moms out there that have tried boosting lactation naturally?

Do you have any new herbs or spices in your diet?

Help Show the World Why “Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish”

Going Mom and I have been reading more to Avery lately, and although she loses interest rather quickly, it’s apparent that her interest level is increasing. When reading to a baby or any young child, there are a few “must haves” I look for when choosing a book.

The book must have great artwork. Not like “Mona Lisa” art, but big, bold animations with bright colors that seem to jump right out at you. The words need to flow along smoothly and not have you backtracking because a sentence didn’t seem to fit right. This equals instant attention lost from Avery, and I’m sure most other little kids too.

Also, I need something engaging, something I can get into and emphasize words that need to be emphasized by changing the tone and volume of my voice. These key criteria, when combined, make for a wonderful parent-child bonding experience we should enjoy on a daily basis with our children.

Such a book meets and exceeds these “must haves”, and needs your support to help get it published. The book is called Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish, and is written and illustrated by Christopher Routly. Chris is a fellow stay-at-home dad to two boys, ages 6 and 3, and finds inspiration through is daily adventures with them.

Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish begins with two brothers packing to visit their grandparents when the younger brother reveals that he packed a jellyfish.

The story then flows along as the little brother proceeds to give reasons for why you really do need a jellyfish sometimes.

Just reading the story by myself, I found that I was instantly engaged from the beginning and each rhyme-filled sentence flowed wonderfully into the next. I imagined Avery’s eyes filling with excitement as I read through the book, changing the tone of my voice and took pleasure in the thought of her having fun and reading along with me.

With fun characters, excellent illustrations, and a catchy story that rhymes and flows with ease, this is a perfect book your kids (and you) will want to read over and over again. In this book’s case, there are not many more jellyfish in the sea. Pun intended. 😉

Christopher Routly is a fun, loving father and husband who has published several other fun children’s books centered around the alphabet. You can find out more about these books on his blog, The Daddy Doctrines.

To find out what inspired Chris to write a book about a jellyfish and to help support his efforts in getting his book, a guaranteed instant family favorite, head on over to his Kickstarter page now. While there, you’ll learn why sometimes you need to help make Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish a reality!

Make sure to stop by the Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish Facebook page to like and share with friends too!

Last Week’s Workouts + What Counts as Exercise?

Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while is share my previous week’s workouts as a way to give to keep myself in check and possibly help others get or stay motivated. Many parents, at-home and working alike, succumb to the “I don’t have time” mantra when it comes to exercise, but it’s  an important part of life and is worth making time to do.

You might think exercise is something that requires special equipment or is only done at a gym, but you might already be “exercising” without even knowing it. Exercise falls under several definitions, and one way it is defined is that it’s a regular or repeated use of a faculty or bodily organ. Knowing this, I’m positive we all have a long list of things we do every day that count as “exercise” and we never thought of it as such.

Carrying your kid around the house or grabbing them before they grab the cat’s tail several times a day would definitely count.


Chores and daily tasks like going for a walk, mowing the lawn, vacuuming, mopping, doing laundry, and engaging in playtime with your kids are all great ways to fit in exercise and accomplish your laundry list (pun intended) of things you need to get done.

In a nutshell, movement of any form is, in and of itself, exercise. An important thing to remember is to be consistent with your movement and make sure it’s something you enjoy. If your stomach churns just thinking of going for a run, don’t do it, you’ll never stick with it. Ride a bike, walk, swim, row, hike, or……clean house. The point I’m trying to make is, keeping active, however you so choose, helps to make a better you.

As parents, we need to be excellent role models and should let our children see us being active and living a healthy lifestyle so they will hopefully follow suit and WANT to be like mommy and daddy. Note I said “healthy lifestyle”; this means exercise and good nutrition! If you are trying to lose weight, you can workout all you want, but without good nutrition, your results will be minimal at best.

Finishing a great workout session is NOT a pass to go pig out on packaged, processed junk or order takeout without thinking of what you’re actually putting in your mouth. Do you even read the ingredients label on some of these things? Actually, real food won’t have a label at all since it’s just the one ingredient in its whole form. Crazy, right?

I plan on going into more detail with my thoughts on fitness and nutrition in future posts, but just keep these general things in mind for now. No matter your fitness goal, lose weight, gain strength, maintain current level, etc., we will all benefit from moving more and practicing good nutrition for the quality of life it provides. If you are already a conscious eater and get a good dose of daily movement, good for you, keep it up and hopefully you are inspiring others!

I’m on my feet most of the day and rarely sit down until night (I stand at the counter to use my computer) and move around a lot with Avery. I bring her with me to workout in our garage which holds a power squat rack I am quite proud of. In addition to my below strength training, I walk and/or run multiple times a day. Most days out of the week, my walk/run schedule looks like this:

  • Walk/run 1.5 to 2 miles with Avery in stroller and our dog, Abby; this is immediately after my strength session if there was one that day. I’m still letting my fractured foot heal all the way, but once I’m good to run again, I’ll probably increase this up to 4 miles if able.
  • Walk 2.5 to 3 miles with Avery in the Onya Outback after nap time while listening to a podcast
  • Walk 1.5 miles with Going Mom and Avery in stroller in the evening

My main goal is gaining strength (you’ll see my weights used below), but I contradict myself with so much walking/running coupled with not eating a caloric surplus in order to facilitate muscle growth. Yep, I’m aware of the issue and still can’t get it right. It’s a mental thing as a former fat boy, but I’m getting better.

I typically prefer an upper/lower body split routine, but am currently in a transition and not following anything in particular. This is bad since I am on the opposite end of the spectrum from most in that I do more work than necessary and it most likely hampers my recovery. However, working out is a great mental relief for me and I feel I must do it every day or else I’m edge. Yep, I wake up pissed off and only feel better after a great sweat session…..and coffee.

Here’s what last week’s workouts looked like

Monday: Crossfit-type “WODs”

5 Rounds:

Dumbbell Thrusters x 10 —> Pull-ups x 10

Count Down/Up:

30, 25, 20…10, 5 – KB Swings (50lb)

5, 10, 15….25, 30 – Push-ups


Barbell Back Squat – 5 x 8 x 210lbs   —> Superset with Dumbbell Bench Press – 5 x 8 x 57.5 lb/arm

DB Straight leg deadlift – 5 x 12 x 57.5lb/arm  —> Superset with wide-grip pull-ups – 5 x 5

Lunges with 45lb plate overhead – 31/leg

Tabata Bike (20s on; 10s off x 8)


Deadlift – 5 x 185, 205, 235, 255, 275, 280

Power Clean  – 130lbs x 5, 5, 5, 5, 10

OH Press – 4 x 8 x 100lbs

31 Burpees, Push-ups, and Squats


Supreme 90 Day Cardio Challenge video + 31 Burpees, Push-ups, and Squats


Front Squat – 180lbs x 5, 5, 5, 5, 10  —-> superset with 5 pull-ups and 10 incline push-ups

Bench Press – 5 x 6 x 175lbs  —-> superset with DB Bent Row – 5 x 12 x 45lb/arm

Turkish Getup w/ 25lb Kettlebell – 3 x 5/side

31 1-leg squats and Push-ups


6 rounds of Tabata:

1. Bike, 2. 15lb Ball Slams + Push-ups, 3. Bike, 4. Side-to-side Ball Slams + Incline Push-ups, 5. Bike, 6. Ball Slams + Push-ups

31 1-leg squats and Push-ups


Mow lawn with Fiskars Reel Mower while wearing Elevation Training Mask

31 Burpees, Push-ups, and Squats

So yeah, I could tone it down and probably see a lot better results in strength gain. If I could stick to a simple 5×5 routine, I’d be good to go, but I always feel the need to do more. Anyway, I’ve carried on far too long, check back for more thoughts on fitness and nutrition in the future.

Do you struggle with motivation or find yourself doing too much when it comes to working out?

Are you health food lover who cooks their own meals or could you use some work help in the nutrition department?

What would you like to read more about first; nutrition or working out for specific goals? Let me know and I’ll be happy to share!