I have sworn off synthetic vegetable oils and that was the last straw in finding crackers I could eat. The crackers I was using before sadly contained safflower or sunflower oil. Even though I only ate them occasionally, since I try to stay low carb, I wanted to find a better option. Being gluten free and dairy free along with cutting vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, safflower and palm oil makes it (next level) impossible to find crackers or chips. Even organic or non-GMO vegetable oils are still damaging to your cells and cause inflammation. Inflammation = cancer.
“they contain too much linoleic acid, a fragile fatty acid that becomes inflammatory when exposed to heat and creates oxidative stress when incorporated into our cell membranes and lipoproteins.” -Mark’s Daily Apple.
Check out the rest of this article to understand the difference in oils.
In my quest to be as healthy as I can be it is important to me to cut out these oils. In cooking it’s very easy. I use olive oil for salads/dressings, avocado oil or ghee to cook high heats and even grass-fed butter (yes, I’m dairy free but eat grass-fed butter, it doesn’t affect me and is a great source of healthy fats that are necessary for hormone balance) I will even use (gasp) lard I got form my friend locally who raised her own pigs for lard.
I searched high a low on Pinterest for cracker recipes and found one I tweaked a few times to make just how I liked them. These crackers remind me of Wheat Thins and someday I might try to make them a bit sweater like Wheat Thins. I’m assuming there is a bit of honey in them. For this recipe it only takes a few minutes to prep and only 12 minutes to cook! These bad boys are perfect for dipping in the organic guacamole we bought in bulk at Costco.
1 cup almond flour
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (gives them a cheesy flavor)
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp Trader Joe's Everything But The Beagle seasoning
1. Preheat the oven to 350, cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit a large sheet pan.
2. In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients. Add the egg and stir until it’s fully mixed.
3. Place a piece of parchment paper on the pan, grease the paper. Place dough on parchment paper.
4. Lay the second piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll out until it’s about 1/8 an inch thick.
5. Remove top sheet of parchment paper, using a large knife cut dough into about 40 small squares. Leave the cut dough in place. Pepper then lightly.
6. Bake for around 12-15 minutes let them cook before you break them apart.
7. Store in an airtight container.
Let's talk about FAT!!
You will see this theme a lot in my blog and if you work with me as a nutrition client. Healthy fat is so good for you. It helps balance your hormones, helps you burn fat, keeps you full and cuts your cravings.
Fat bombs have become a staple snack in our house. We eat a higher fat and lower carb diet because of the satiating effect of fat, but mostly due to the fact that fat just plain tastes REALLY GOOD. Plus, saturated fat is now being widely accepted as being part of a healthy diet. So, say a big “helllllooo” and “I love you” to these yummy guys!
I made these specifically for my girls weekend/business trip. I wanted to make sure I had something to travel with that would insure I was able to get a good amount of healthy fat during our long days in the conference. Nothing worse then being HANGRY!
So what is a FAT BOMB?
Fat bombs are high-fat bites of goodness that are perfect for your low-carb/high fat diet. Whether you just need a small snack to keep you satiated between meals or if you have a craving for sweets, fat bombs are gonna be your new best friend! We always have some on hand to enjoy as a post-dinner treat!
There are a million Pinterest recipes for fat bombs if chocolate isn't your jam. I think you're crazy if you aren't into chocolate, almond butter and coconut oil but check out my Pinterest for more fat bomb ideas.
Here is the simple recipe:
Super simple you melt the coconut oil and almond butter over medium heat. Once they are combined mix in the other ingredients. From there you pour the mix into your silicone molds (I have mini fruit molds and large square molds, so I divided them between both styles of molds.)
You then let them solidify in the freezer for 2 hours. You will want to store them in the fridge. They melt pretty easily since there is so much coconut oil in them!
Well that was a little dramatic but I stopped grocery shopping for MOST things. I still pick up a few things, here and there but I don’t set time aside each week to grocery shop like I use to. The biggest complaint I hear from people about maintain a healthy lifestyle is the lack of TIME.
They don’t have time to grocery shop, they don’t have time to meal prep or cook healthy food. I get it. Believe me. I am thankful that I get to create my own schedule and have flexibility since I own my own business but that doesn’t mean I have time to grocery shop or cook anymore then you do.
Luckily, we are in a time where convenience is key and we can order everything online! What I do in order to maximize my time is set up auto deliveries of food to my house. Now this isn’t just for the convenience of time. It also guarantees that I get the highest quality food that I can. I will not eat foods that aren’t Organic/non-GMO. I refuse to eat meat that isn’t pasture raised or grass finished from small batch butchers. We have chickens for this same reason. Believe me it matters. Meat that has fear hormones running through it's body from being treated poorly and killed inhumanly, passes those stress hormones to you when you eat it. On top of that they are pumped with hormones and antibiotics that are not good for you. So my top priorities are high quality, convenient foods delivered to my door.
For our family we have prioritized our food budget to be what we spend the most money on. We luckily don’t need to have antacids, cold or flu medications and pain medications on hand. We don’t need them because we support our health with nutrition first.
All that being said I have tried a lot of different companies for food delivery and am limited where I live (being in the country on a peninsula isn’t easy). You may have other companies that deliver, specially if you are in a city. For me these are the best companies I have found.
Our monthly food shipments include:
We purchase our meat and bone marrow from Crowd Cow. I use the meat to crock pot our weekly lunches or makes dinner one or 2 nights a week. Usually I only make one crockpot meal on Monday, put it in Tupperware in portions for the two of us for the week. We also use this meat for our weekend meals if we cook at home. Here is a discount code for your first order!
Bone broth from Osso Good Bone Broth here is a link for a discount off your first order. I wrote a blog about its health benefits and even the benefits in incorporating it into your nightly routine for better sleep. I drink it daily, usually before bed and add it in place of stock or water in recipes.
Our nightly dinners come from Sun Basket, they provide Organic meals and we choose their gluten free/dairy free options for our dietary needs. You can get a 50% discount for family meals with this coupon or $35 off meals with this coupon. We use this for our weekly dinners.
I get monthly shipments form Perfect Keto also. From their site I get MCT powder and collagen peptides. I use them in my shakes or baking to add healthy fat and protein. I put the MCT powder in my coffee each morning, it is so much less messy then MCT oil and great to travel with. It makes my coffee creamy, gives me energy and mental clarity. It is the perfect pre workout!
We keep non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free meal replacement shakes on hand, along with a greens powder, natural pre- workout, natural post workout recovery BCAAs, non-toxic coffee, snack bars and a few other natural supplements from an online health and wellness company. Comment below if you want more information on that company and what they offer. I can get you set up with a wholesale account so you can purchase from their site also. If you use any of the products above I wouldn’t use other brands, I believe in their ingredients and integrity as a company. I spent a lot of time trying to find quality products I personally trusted.
Our eggs come from our back yard (yes, we are lucky to live in the country for that reason). Otherwise, once a month or so I go to Costco to stock up on pantry items, home essentials and bulk veggies for our weekly lunches.
The key to this is minimizing the time I spend shopping but also the time I spend cooking. Cooking dinner only takes us 20-30 minutes to make and crock pot meals are so quick and simple for lunch. Here is a link to my Pinterest to check out the quick crockpot meals or what else I am cooking!
Congee is a thin porridge of rice (or other grain) and bone broth. It can also be made with water but I don’t suggest that! It is traditionally made 1-part rice to 5-6 parts broth. Although it is said to be better to air on too much broth; than not enough so I go about 7 parts broth!
I had not heard of congee until my naturopath gave me a hand out about it. We were discussing my poor digestion. She has an extensive background in Chinese Medicine and mixes that into her practice. Chinese herbs have been a part of my care while working with her and I love how she explain the philosophy behind it. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the stomach rules holding the food, while the spleen is transportation and transformation of the food. Their ability to work properly is considered so important that the human body rests on the proper function of the spleen and stomach. A bowl of warm rice congee fortifies the spleen, balances the stomach and is a great meal. Congee becomes a great digestive tonic. It is easily digested and absorbed. It is considered a cooling qi and blood tonic, making it great for those who are chronically ill or inflamed. My favorite fact in the hand out was that it can augment lactation as well. Yay for easy food for new moms!
The range of ingredients used in preparing congee are endless and also vary with geographic origin. In China, congees are typically flavored with chicken, pork, fish and seasoned with ginger and green onions and cilantro. In Japan, porridges are flavored with mushroom, scallops and shrimp, while in Korea the rice soup is enhanced with sugar, dates and pin nuts. Even dairy products, coconut milk and various spices are incorporated into the porridge in regions of India.
I went to Pinterest to find all my congee options and many very of course. You can add many things to congee in order to make it savory or sweet. These are add ins for common “issues” from the book Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods.
My favorites are:
Ginger- warming and antiseptic to intestines: used for deficient cold digestive weakness: diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, indigestion
Quinoa-warming, strengthening for the whole body: highest protein and fat content of all grains (technically a legume), high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, B & E vitamins.
Taro Root: Nutritious: aids the stomach and builds blood.
Yogurt & honey- Beneficial to the heart and lungs
Just start! Don’t overthink it. I suggest starting out with a basic 1 cup rice to 7 parts broth ratios. Add a little ginger, salt and pepper and simmer for a minimum hour or 5-6 hours! From there you have a large batch and can add to it what you want for that specific serving. When you do eat it again add a bit more broth to reheat it. I personally can eat a serving cold for lunch with other warm foods. Maybe you put veggies over it for lunch, with some garlic and avocado. Maybe you add coconut milk, cinnamon and berries for breakfast. There are so many possibilities. I made a Pinterest Board you can check out!
Here are two simple recipes I love!
Your sleep habits matter! Nutrition is 80% of your health but the other 20% is sleep and lifestyle. For some people sleep and lifestyle effect more than 20%. Once nutrition is addressed it is important to look at sleep. Having insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night or only getting 4-6 hours of sleep really effects your health. I am sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this but hopefully it’s the first time you take it seriously enough to make changes to your nighttime routine.
Sleep is a hormone dependent process and with all the variables in our lives that can affect proper hormone balance (foods, toxins, artificial light, etc.) it makes sense that many people struggle with sleep. It makes sense that a common pregnancy and menopause symptom is sleep problems. Of course, my main focus in my work is women’s health but hormones do effect men also!
Too often I hear people say they are following mainstream thinking and taking pharmaceutical options to help deal with sleep issues. What I hope you realize is what that’s doing to your body and of course rules this out as an option in pregnancy. Sleep aids artificially augmenting the hormone system to induce sleep isn’t without its problems (just check out the side-effects and warnings list!) and can have an impact on other hormone functions as well. For my ladies TRYING to conceive sleep is a big factor in your hormone function.
Often, lack of quality sleep stems from one or more lifestyle causes. It is important to address these underlying issues as they can impact more than just sleep. When I work with clients for a 3 month nutrition package we address these issues and lifestyle changes in depth. For now, here are a few tips to help you start sleeping better.
Let’s start by setting the mood right:
Cut out the lights, make it as dark as possible in your room, get rid of the blaring alarm clock that tells you the time. You won’t miss it. You can set your alarm from your phone and place your phone out of reach! Cut your screen time out at minimum 30 minutes before bed. Ideally 2 hours before bed cut out any screen time. The blue light from screens wires your brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. Check out this free download from F.Lux to block out the harmful light form your electronics. Sleeping in a cool room is best, so keep the temperature as low as 58 degrees- max 65 degrees. The cooler the better.
Drinks before bed:
Once the mood is set, it’s time to take your 2 oz shot of tart cherry Juice followed by a magnesium supplement and head to your dark room with a cup of bone broth! The idea is to go to bed in enough time to get 8 hours of sleep, I personally need 9 hours of sleep to stay on top of my autoimmune symptoms. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is also best. Really the routine is what helps your body know that “this” is what we do to go to sleep. I’m sure you’re wondering why tart cherry juice, magnesium and bone broth so let me explain.
Tart Cherry Juice:
Ongoing research shows that tart cherries are a natural source of beneficial phytonutrients. They are also a natural source of melatonin and are traditionally used to help relieve arthritis, gout pain and to help maintain heart health and blood circulation. You want to look for brands like this. They should be USDA Organic Certified. All-Natural Ingredients. No Preservatives. No Sugar Added. You take a 2 oz shot 30 minutes before bed to help you sleep more soundly and fall asleep faster.
Many people are magnesium deficient and don’t even know it. When we are under stress; our cells, which in their resting state contain magnesium, go through a change. Calcium, normally outside the cells, enters the cells and the calcium level becomes high and will contract and tense the muscle. The magnesium then pushes the calcium out of the cell and the cell is again in its resting, relaxed state. Think of it as an on-off switch. The “off” is magnesium and the “on” is calcium. But when we are deficient in magnesium, the cell that is not in balance so the “off” switch doesn’t fully turn off. That means calcium can continuously leak into the cells and stimulate cell activity. The result is stress accompanied by one or more of the magnesium deficiency symptoms.
Check out this blog on magnesium deficiency symptoms by Wellness Mama.
In short magnesium helps your muscles and nerves function properly; it keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and also assists in keeping your bones strong. This essential mineral helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy. It’s easy to see why many researchers say that nothing is as critical as magnesium!
TIP: You can mix your tart cherry juice with water and this magnesium mix (this works better for some people who don’t want to take a shot of cherry juice and the pill form of magnesium) I personally use a magnesium and bentonite clay supplement I buy through a Health and Wellness company online.
The final piece to this new nighttime routine is bone broth! I wrote a blog about the benefits of bone broth and you can check that out Here.
I find drinking my broth before bed is the easiest way to incorporate 8 oz of bone broth into my life on a consistent basis. Bone broth contains gelatin and collagen that help with deeper, more restful sleep. You will also find more magnesium in bone broth making it a double whammy! Even more interesting is that it contains Glycine.
This blog from “Kettle and Fire” talks about the importance of glycine in bone broth. Here is a snip of what they say about glycine.
“Glycine, an amino acid which is prevalent in bone broth, is a neurotransmitter possessing unique properties. Glycine operates through two different receptors, engaging in several functions in the central nervous system.”
“Glycine has long been known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brainstem and spinal cord (1). It’s the primary neurotransmitter that inhibits sleep cycle motor neurons during active sleep (2). Taken before bedtime, it improves sleep quality, efficacy, latency, and reduces daytime sleepiness and fatigue in people who struggle with insomnia (3). Glycine elevates cutaneous blood flow, resulting in heat loss and deeper sleep (4).”
The goal of good sleep is to support our immune system, let our body and brain rest in order to start fresh the next day. Remember it effects your hormones, fertility, weight gain and memory.
No one is getting a gold star for functioning on 4-6 hours of sleep. Well maybe if you’re one of those biohackers who has figured out how to manipulate your genetics and take a million supplements to get your body to work off less. BUT you’re not!
I encourage you to try this for 21 days, see how you feel and I bet after a week you will see the difference from these healthy habits!
I had been hearing about the benefits of bone broth for a while and had tried store bought varieties to cook with (sub out chicken/beef broth) and sip on a few times. I had not made my own but stumbled upon a simple recipe and thought I would try it. Luckily, we have a butcher in town who sells bones from game animals. It is important to get clean bones from an animal that is grass fed/grass finished or the best bones would be game animals who have obviously not been treated with hormones, antibiotics or fed unnaturally. This recipe is simple and so cheap. I will share it at the end of this blog.
Now I didn’t start making it a priority to drink a cup of bone broth daily until my naturopath suggested it. For me she recommended it to help with my autoimmune. balance my gut health and get my body ready for pregnancy. With that I started to research. There are so many articles about bone broth and I was blown away! the benefits seem endless. I want to shout from the roof tops and have everyone I know drinking bone broth, so I thought I would write a blog in hopes of persuading as many as I can!
I want to talk to my ladies. Although men will reap the benefits of bone broth too my blog is focused on women’s health and to be honest, I think women need this more! Specially those pregnant or breastfeeding.
As you know (or can imagine) making a baby for 9 months, giving birth and then being the main source of nourishment for this new miracle can be hard on a women’s body. Not to mention if the pregnancy or delivery was harder than “normal”. So, starting in preconception with making your nutrition a priority is key.
The most beautiful thing about broth is the fact that it is so easily assimilated in the body. The body naturally absorbs all the nutrients found in broth without working to absorb it. This is fantastic news for a pregnant and postpartum mama. You literally give most of yourself to form the baby. Then in postpartum must nourish her baby through bouts of exhaustion, stress and healing.
Basically, bone broth contains loads of blood-building properties to restore the blood and fluid lost in giving birth and breastfeeding. The broth contains minerals and nutrients to strengthen the body and it is deeply hydrating for breastfeeding moms who require extra fluid intake for breast milk production. The cartilage found in broth helps with strengthening the bones and supporting tendons and joints postpartum.
What amazed me more is to think of how easy this “supplement’ is. BUT I still resisted making my own because I was worried it be a pain to make. Once I realized homemade bone broth is nutrient dense and inexpensive to make I was on board. Of course, this isn’t a new trend, traditional cultures placed a special emphasis on using the whole animal and therefore consumed this flavorful and health-giving substance often. Unfortunately, the practice of using bones to make broth in this traditional way is no longer as popular.
Unlike store bought broth or stock, which is cooked for only 45 minutes to 4 hours, bone broth is simmered for quite a long time. As the broth simmers, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water, leaving you with an incredibly nourishing liquid. The point is the juice is worth the squeeze people! Make it yourself!
How Bone Broth Nourishes Pregnancy and Postpartum
Assists with nausea:
When nausea hits it can be hard to get and keep food down. Bone broth is soothing and nutrient dense. It is very easy to digest and can calm the stomach very quickly.
Rich in minerals- especially calcium, magnesium & phosphorus:
These minerals are essential for your baby to build strong, healthy bones. The minerals must be obtained from your diet, otherwise they will be “borrowed” right out of your own bones and given to your baby.
Consuming mineral rich foods like bone broth aren’t just important for building your baby's bones, but also keeps your own stores from becoming depleted. Leading to health complications for your pregnancy and making postpartum healing so much harder for your body.
The body absorbs the minerals found in bone broth very easily (even more so then from supplements) and it’s a great source of dairy free calcium. Continue drinking bone broth while breastfeeding to produce calcium rich milk and help replete loss of bone density.
Very rich in gelatin & collagen:
Gelatin contains collagen, which is often thought of as a “beauty nutrient” because it helps fingernails and hair to grow long and strong. It also helps tighten loose skin (like the kind that lovely little babies leave you with). Gelatin improves gut health and digestion as well which is another reason it helps nausea. It helps you stay full, lifts your mood, improves cognitive abilities, helps maintain heart health and improves sleep quality.
Additionally, these nutrients are key in supporting joints and connective tissue, and they help to make up cartilage and bone.
Contains glucosamine & chondroitin:
These are among two of the most important nutrients for joint care. Not only will they assist your baby’s joint in forming, they also support your joints during pregnancy as well. With stiffness, soreness or pain in the places your body bends (hips, knees, elbows, fingers and more) joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy.
Weight gain can put strain on your joints and the hormone Relaxin, that your body produces during pregnancy, really loosens things up. Relaxin doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given birth. Nursing mothers create more of the hormone, so drinking bone broth post pregnancy will help you avoid joint injury and strengthen your joints until things return to normal.
Good source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein:
Protein requirements in pregnancy increase by about 25 grams and even more so for breastfeeding moms. The amino acids in bone broth perform a wide variety of functions including: boosting the immune system, improving digestion, fighting inflammation, promoting sleep and calming the mind.
Hopefully all that has convinced you and you’re dying to know the recipe to make your own! Recipe from http://ohbabynutrition.com/in-the-glow
· 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
· 2 carrots
· 2 stalks of celery
· 1 onion
· ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
· 1-2 tablespoon or more of sea salt
· 1 teaspoon peppercorns
· Optional: any other vegetables and/or herbs/seasonings you like
* If using raw bones: roast bones for 30 minutes at 350°F to improve final taste.
Place bones in slow cooker or a large stock pot. Cover the bones with cool water and add apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. (The acid helps leach the minerals from the bones.) Rough chop vegetables and add to the pot with any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs you are using. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Watch the broth for the first 2 hours for a film that floats to the surface. Remove this with a large spoon.
Recommended simmering times (don’t be afraid to cook for longer):
· Beef/Bison/Lamb/Pork broth: 48 hours
· Poultry broth: 24 hours
Remove from heat and use a fine metal strainer to remove all remaining pieces of bone and vegetable. Broth can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for later use. Once chilled a layer of fat may form on the top which can be skimmed off with a spoon or spatula, or reheated and consumed.
Drink a cup of broth a day for nourishment preferably at night before bed! You can also use it in place of stock or when sautéing vegetables, making soups, stews, gravies, and sauces.
I spent so many years dieting that I, like many women, caused metabolic damage. This is when you restrict your body in calories and nutrients to the point you body believes it’s starving. Most women I talk to about health are restricting calories and are over working their bodies, causing an even bigger calorie deficit then they think. The old idea for weight loss that only calories in/calories out works is not helpful and in turn causes a lot of damage. I remember thinking and being told that 1200- 1500 calories was MAX I could have to lose weight. This caused me to under eat, over workout and then binge eat because we all break down at some point on this restrictive type of dieting. THEN to top it off I would feel guilty for over eating/emotionally eating and believe that it was my lack of self-control that got me there. The truth is that when we are restricting what we eat, not living a life of balance and eating dense nutrition our bodies and minds are being punished. We are creating a viscous cycle that must be broken.
When I am working with someone who wants to make health changes we start with their relationship with food, their ideas around dieting and what they believe is true of “healthy choices”. We all start at different health levels, some clients come to me at the basics and some have been dieting or following different eating styles for years. They have tried everything; every fad diet, juice cleanse, colon cleanse, Atkins, vegan, low carb, low fat… and had some success but nothing that was sustainable. The point is, that we need to learn to trust our bodies, we need to break the cycle of “hangry”, get our bodies detoxed off the process foods that have us chemically addicted and dependent.
Wouldn’t it be amazing for our day to not revolve around food? That we could stock our pantry and fridge with foods we know are good for us, keep us full and without crazy cravings? That we didn’t have to worry about a lack of self-control or falling victim to binge eating?
There is work to be done to heal our relationship with food and heal our bodies from the damage we have done dieting. I love working with clients on this and guiding them to the point where food doesn’t have a hold on them and they are able to lose weight easily. I would love to do a free consolation with you to lay down a game plan for your health!
The point of this blog is to help you realize first that restriction doesn’t equal healthy weight loss and that weight loss plateaus are signs you body is giving you to re adjust what you’re doing.
FIRST- Don’t compare your body and your worth to others! We all have different body types and different genetics. Genetics aren’t all fixed, we work on lifestyle changes, sleep, exercise and nutrition to beat genetics. Just because your family is overweight and has diabetes doesn’t mean you will. You might not be a small framed person with lots of lean muscle, at YOUR healthy weight. So, work on that idea. If healthy means your body is 5 lbs over your minds “ideal weight” then that’s okay! If your body doesn’t look like the girls you admire for having a strong healthy body, that’s okay too!
SECOND- Health is a continual process. WE must adapt and make healthier choices as our body expects more. Health is not a destination per say. We start slow, make changes, feel better and then we make more changes and feel even better! Once you’re at the weight you wanted to be or are feeling really great you can’t stop there. We are aging, growing and changing so our health habits do to! I promise this gets easier and the changes aren’t drastic!
THIRD- Screw the scale. Yes you heard me. Scales play with our heads. They chain us to the idea that our worth is a number. I personally don’t own a scale. In the last year I went from a size 10/8 to a size 4/2 and only lost around 8 pounds. What matters is I was consistent, I lost inflammation/toxicity and visceral fat! If I would have been on the scale daily or weekly I would never have watched my body change in other ways. My energy, mood, brain clarity and inches lost all shifted while the scale stayed the same.
Simple Changes- common reasons you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau
1. Water intake does matter- Yes, I know it’s simple and you drink a lot of water! Are you though? Are you consistent in drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day? You need water to detox your body, for energy and cell function. It is a basic, but an over looked basic. It doesn’t have to be plane water. I recommend 24-32 ounces of tea a day. Herbal tea (Traditional Medicinal, is my favorite brand) I love the benefits of dandelion tea, nettle, turmeric, green tea and their blend called Gypsy Cold Care. You can have a cup of warm tea in the morning and then use the same tea bag, put it in 8 oz. of warm water (I use a large mason jar) once it’s steeped pour in 24 or more ounces of cold water. I drink I throughout the day.
2. Cut out process oils, limit your processed/packaged foods- Cutting out canola oil and any synthetic oils is a MUST. It damages your cells and causes a lot of inflammation in your body, which is turn leads to cancer and other diseases. Check labels of processed foods, most contain these oils. When you’re cooking at home use avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil. Through it out. Seriously. Margarine, butter spray, or butters that you put in the fridge that spread easily aren’t good for you. They contain these oils even if they say they don’t. BELIVE ME. So instead use real butter. Non-GMO/organic brands are best, you can also use coconut oil as a butter substitute or Ghee! Packaged foods are convenient but usually contain preservatives, oils and chemicals you don’t want to ingest. They are fortified with synthetics that cause inflammation and in general contain lots of sugar and sodium. Also, the packaging contains chemicals, specially plastics and aluminum cans. If you buy these products look for BPA free cans, non-plastic wrapped and buy in bulk when you can.
3. Gut health and hormone balance are necessary- You can absorb the foods you’re eating properly if you don’t have good gut health. You need to be eating foods that support healthy gut bacteria. This in turn will help balance your hormones which are necessary for weight loss. Choosing fermented foods, Kombucha (low sugar kinds), pickled foods, sauerkraut, kimchi, plane Greek yogurt, non-dairy cashew keifer and coconut yogurt! Talk with your naturopath or integrative health Dr. about supplements to help balance your gut health also. I have to say it, pooping daily is important. Being constipated or having loose stool is not “normal”.
4. More healthy fat- I could go on and on about this. You need healthy fat in your life. Daily, abundantly! You need it to be able to burn stored fat, you need it for cell repair and brain function. You need it for hormone balance! Healthy fats for the base of all your meals, moderate protein, fiber and carbs only from veggies and natural sources. That is a great place to start. You won’t get fat from fat. You get fat from too much carbohydrate turning into stored insulin in your body!
5. Work out less- Like I said before most of us are in too big of a calorie deficit, we have busy lives and then workout too long, doing the wrong type of workouts. This is causing us to burn our bodies out. Now this is not an excuse to not workout. My point is that cardio needs to be limited. You need to get your heart rate up by doing sprints not cardio for 45 minutes or longer. This puts your body into a stressed state and you hold on to fat instead! So short HIIT cardio is best, only 2-3 times a week. Then lift heavy things 2-3 times a week for a max of 45 min in the gym. The most important thing here is that your resting. Letting your body recover and build muscle! You want to be at the gym intentionally, work out with intensity and be done. I recommend 3-4 days a week. The other days go for a simple walk outside, do some yard work, play with your kids or do yoga. Stay active but don’t kill yourself in the gym!
6. Sneaky sugars- Pay attention to the amount of sugar you consume a day. Staying away from drinks that contain sugar, coffee that has sugar. Look at your sauces, dressings and packaged food in general. I shouldn’t have added sugars. Natural sugars are one thing, but sugar added to apple sauce, yogurt, pasta sauce, condiments etc. aren’t unnecessary. There are lots of great brands out there that don’t contain them! The more you cut out the sugar the less your body craves it. I tell my clients to start by cutting out the extra sugar then cutting down on the natural sugars. Lowering your carbohydrates and cutting back to one serving or fruit a day is a great start! Don’t fall victim to the sugar free sweeteners. The chemical alternative to sugar is even worse for you. If its made in a lab your body doesn’t know what to do with it.
7. Intermittent fasting- Yes FAST! Meaning, go a period of time without eating. Let your body burn stored insulin, repair your immune system and give your organs a break from digestions. There is a ton of science to support intermittent fasting. There isn’t a once size fits all approach to this so do your research, but I know what works for me and so many others, reach out and we can chat more specifics.
I could go on and on, but there is a starting place! Remember these are starting points. Set up a consultation with me, find a local nutritionist or naturopath. Most importantly please understand that Dr.’s do not study nutrition, they don’t and can’t know everything. They are specialists in their field and nutrition is not apart of that. Work with someone who is a specialist in nutrition!
As we start to clean up our diets, cleanse, get rid of our toxic cleaners and beauty products we need to look at our tampons/pads too. Monthly menstrual products are necessary for women, unless your already using menstrual cups. We spend a lot of money on them and I bet you we all have our favorite brand/style. What you don’t realize is that the technology for these products is very advanced, that might sound silly but it’s true. They are more absorbent, moisture wicking and leak proof than EVER before. Chemicals and plastics are what make these products work well. With that technology and the fact that cotton is one of the largest GMO crops, it makes sense to go organic. If that doesn’t persuade you enough, just know that most people are allergic to GMO’s and it causes all types allergic reactions that we might not associate with menstrual product use. You might not even see the effects now but after decades of use these chemicals can cause infertility and recurrent miscarriage. Studies have shown Dioxin- like agent orange (we used in war to kill trees) is found in tampons. I don’t believe this is an added chemical in production but somehow in growing/managing the crop of cotton it is present after production. Having that in these products is dangerous. They cause birth defects in babies and change the chemical balance of our very important vaginal PH. A study from 2012 was done to show the chemicals and toxins in tampons/pads cause infertility and CANCER! Why this isn’t mainstream knowledge is saddening but also just a part of our culture. Don’t take my word on it please click the link above and check out the data!
Just think about it. These products come in contact with our most private parts. If you wouldn’t eat those chemicals/toxins you really shouldn’t put it in your vagina. Your body absorbs those the same way as if it were in your mouth!!! From the packaging they are wrapped in, to the wings on pads and the tape that makes them stick, there are a lot of different toxins at play. They are all endocrine disruptors.
The good news is there are great brands of organic tampons and pads that work well. Even better, the brand CORA helps women in our country and abroad to have access to sanitary products. Every order you place, they send products to those in need. On top of that they hire at risk women in the U.S. to give them opportunities for better lives! You can even have them shipped to your house monthly to make it impossible to ever have to run to the store for the toxic brands. My favorite pads/panty liners are from L. Organic (I found them at Target) they also give to women in need with every purchase you make! Hooray for women helping women!!!! I mentioned above that there are menstrual cups that can take place of tampons and pads. I personally didn’t have luck with them because of my body shape. Please don’t let that detour you. I know many women who use them and LOVE them. The most popular is Diva Cup. They have different sizes and other companies have different shapes that might work better. There might be a day that I switch to this but for now I am happy with my chemical free tampons.
If you enjoyed this information you might like my blog on Natural Hormone Balancing through Seed Cycling or my blog about Your Menstrual Cycle. I will be putting out a blog soon about why it can be very helpful to get OFF birth control!
I talk to women often who are experiencing Amenorrhea (absence of a period) from being on birth control or from PCOS. I became aware of seed cycling when I was searching for natural hormone balance. I came back to it after my miscarriage. We are exposed to many toxins and environmental factors that cause hormonal imbalance. Too often we think that that a lack of a period (when avoiding pregnancy) is not harmful. I'm here to start the conversation that it is harmful to not have a normal cycle. That's for anther blog but lets start with seed cycling and HOW to do it!
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling in the simplest terms is incorporating seeds into you diet and different parts of your cycle to help balance your hormones. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. You use ground up (for easier digestion) flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.
The Herbal Academy breaks it down with a bit more science; "Proponents of seed cycling say that lignans in sesame seeds and flax can help the body bind excess estrogen, supporting its release, and that omega-3s help cellular receptor sites to remain in good condition, which in turn keeps hormones in balance. Certain seeds are high in vitamins or minerals like zinc and selenium that help support hormone release."
Essentially these seeds contain what your body needs to balance your hormones naturally. This isn't a quick process but in time it has proven effective for me and many of my friends. Usually 3-5 months!
How to Seed Cycle:
The seeds are rotated based on the follicular and luteal phases. The follicular phase of your cycle starts with “Day 1,” which is the first day of your menstrual cycle and the day that you begin to bleed. The luteal phase is from ovulation (or about day 14 or 15) to day 28. My "normal cycle is 32 days and most women experience shorter or longer cycles than the “ideal” 28-day cycle. A big misconception is that everyone ovulates exactly on Day 14. It is important to know other signs and symptoms of your body like basil cell temp or cervical fluid/position to get a better idea of your phase. For those who don't have a cycle it is fine to start with the last NEW MOON as your Day 1. You are giving your body a starting point!
Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.
Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until you bleed:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
Keep it simple!
Don't over think it. I add my seeds to my salad or into my morning smoothie. It's pretty simple! Most of my friends have a hard time just STARTING. It may feel overwhelming but its all about taking the first step. I get my seeds online, often on amazon. I don't buy in huge bulk because seeds can go bad. A seed grinder is necessary for the sesame seeds but my bullet blender will blend the other seeds just fine (and much faster). I spend a few minutes grinding the seeds I need just for that week, to make sure I don't waste any. That also makes it easy, day to day to throw the seeds in whatever meal. Some days I just throw a table spoon into my mouth as I run out the door.
*I pulled these tips from the Herbal Academy website, they are a great reminder that our health and hormones are related to our environment.
Tips for Happy Hormones and Seed Cycling Secrets
One last thing I want to add is that I track my cycle. I talk about it in my blog Understanding Your Cycle. The reason I share this is if you are searching for hormone balance or want to have a better understanding of your cycle it is very important to start using an app or journal to track your symptoms. This gives you a great view into your overall health and when you seek others medical advice this can be very helpful to show your provider. There are many other reasons I think women should track their cycles and know what is "normal" cycle symptoms. Too often I hear women say they have terrible bleeding or cramps and in general think PMS symptoms are normal. I want to tell you that it's NOT and that you should seek more information. My favorite book is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, check out their website for great information on where to start. I also love the podcast Fertility Friday, she has a tone of podcasts on all things related to fertility and women's health. Her website is also a great resource and you can work with her to learn how to chart!
Please reach out with questions, it helps me learn and helps me create better content!
I want to focus on helping you build a great birth plan. I am going to walk you through what I talk to all my clients about. There is so much information out there about birth plans and I am sick of referring my clients to templets that just aren’t extensive enough.
It’s time to plan, we all know a stork doesn’t just drop off your baby, so you need to figure out what you want for your birth.
A birth plan is necessary in hospital births so that you have a written plan for what your wishes are for you and baby. This gives you a voice and the ability to feel empowered. Most expecting moms have an idea of what a birth plan is and what it consists of in general terms. It is a buzz word these days. I ask my clients to start with just a bullet point list. Things they know they want and do NOT want for their birth. This is just a starting place. Even if you aren’t sure of all your options or what you want. Don’t get over whelmed!
Do not want/NO:
This information helps you start to think of your day of birth. I then have my clients spend some time thinking about what that day looks like. Do they envision birthing at home? When would they want to go to the hospital or birthing center. How do they envision the atmosphere being when they give birth? Do you want dim lights, your favorite slippers, your own pillow? Who do you want in the room? What about a pushing positon or baby care postpartum?
I then I go over their bullet point birth plan. It gives me a good idea of what sort of research they have done. I may point out options or areas to do more research in. I then ask them to write more details/specifics in these main stages of labor.
The main points to focus on when writing a more complete draft of a birth plan are; admitting, labor, pain management, pushing, third stage(placenta), after birth for mom, and after birth for baby.
A good sample birth plan to look at is Healthwise. This gives you a format to follow if your feeling stuck. I don't recommend this format as a final draft.
There are some things I would like to point out, that you might want to do your own research on. It will help you decide if you want to include them in your plan. During labor not having vaginal exams done, eating/drinking during labor, your preferences for music/ lighting in the room, how much staff you want allowed in the room, clothes you want to wear, having your water broken and continuous fetal monitoring. After birth Pitocin after birth to deliver placenta, how you want to deliver the placenta (unassisted or Pitocin/care provider assisted), placenta (are you keeping it to encapsulate), delayed cord cutting (for how long), chest to chest bonding (for how long), baby led breastfeeding, medications for baby (Vitamin K shot, eye ointment, hepatitis shot, circumcision), and delaying babies first bath.
I also like to remind my clients that just because you have a birth plan; detailed or not, it might go out the window because of a medical reason that warrant intervention or your choice to medicate/use interventions. In that case you still are informed and know how to handle those decisions if they were to arise.
Creating a birth plan insures that you don't give someone else the ability to form decisions for you and baby, you allowed them to make necessary lifesaving interventions for the best outcome or interventions you felt comfortable with.
Once I email them back with those suggestions I tell them to print what they have and bring it to their next appointment with their care provider. It is so important to talk to them about all the details. This way they know where you stand and they can tell you beforehand what they will or won’t do. You then have the choice to change providers if necessary. Most of my clients want to have a natural birth but will be in a hospital with either a Dr. or Midwife. If you are having a home birth, then it would change your birth plan and you might not feel you need one. Kristen Burgess at Naturalbirthandbaby.com has a great birth plan templet for a home birth.
Again let the focus when creating this birth plan be about learning your options and preferences for Your birth. This gives you a voice when you talk to your care provider. Feel empowered! As always comment below if you have specific questions or email me. I would love to help you.
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and certifying Nutritionist. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
I love that you want to share the inspiration you have found here. Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of EllenBBirth. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!