Eating for TWO

In today’s world, consuming a healthy diet can be challenging enough; eating a healthy diet that will not only provide every thing a woman needs but also all the building blocks needed to make another human is overwhelming. Having a nutritional plan eases a mom’s mind that she is nourishing her growing baby with all the love and food one can get.

Why does what you eat during pregnancy matter?

Research continues to conclude that the first 1000 days of a child life, conception to 2 years, are critical for the health and wellness of the child throughout adulthood. This means that what mom eats effects the health of the baby well into the future. Baby depends on mom for their calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fluid. Including evidence-based strategies can help baby grow healthy organ systems, assist in brain development and mental health, and promote appropriate birth weight.

Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE paints a beautiful metaphor in her book Real Food for Pregnancy: “Anyone who has ever had a garden understands that when you plant a tomato seed, you can expect a tomato plant to grow (not a pea vine or a broccoli plant). The seed has the blueprints, and even if you’re not a very good gardener, that seed will grow given the bare essentials: some soil, water, and light. However, what separates a novice from a master gardener is their attention to optimal conditions. They have learned that amending the soil with nutrient-dense and microbe-rich compost will provide the plant with more of the raw materials for growth. They understand that there’s a sweet spot in the amount of water and light that helps a tomato plant not just survive, but thrive. Ultimately, they know that with a little TLC, they will have a healthier plant with vibrant green leaves and plentiful, delicious tomatoes.” (Nichols, 2018).

To peak interest even further, one recent Oregon State University study found that when pregnant mice were fed the same phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, the offspring had a significant decreased risk for certain cancers (Kaur, Shorey, Ho, Dashwood, & Williams, 2013). As a nutritionist, this study makes me want to jump for joy. It shows how much power food really has! As a mom, it makes me feel confident that I can actually have a little bit of control over the future health of my child.

What can improving nutritional intake do for you?

By implementing simple, evidence-based practices, you and your baby can ease through the first stage of life together. Mom can avoid or, at least, lessen the dredged symptoms of constipation, nausea, swelling, and heartburn. Baby can thrive on essential nutrients that will not only help them in the womb but out in the real word too. Food is a powerful medicine.

Resources:

Kaur, P., Shorey, L., Ho, E., Dashwood, R., & Williams, D. (2013). The Epigenome as a Potential Mediator of Cancer Prevention by Dietary Phytochemicals: the Fetus as a Target. Nutrition Review, 441-457.

Nicholas, Lily. (2018). Real Food for Pregnancy. USA

Prepping for Baby

Fertility is about more than just having a baby. It is a sign of HEALTH and VITALITY. — Ayla Barmmer

The dreaded/happy/excited/nervous/dreaded again “TTC” period of life…. Trying To Conceive. Unfortunately, there is so much emotion behind this phase. The anticipation, the excitement, and of course, the perceived lack of control.

However, there are other avenues you can employ to take control when planning for those precious little fingers and toes. You can take the bull by the horns now and focus on YOUR health and YOUR wellbeing. After all, a healthy and happy baby comes from a healthy and happy momma. Implementing simple eating and clean living strategies into one’s daily routine can be a game changer when trying to conceive. Having go to strategies in place before pregnancy also ensures that mom’s body is primed to grow another little one.

Unfortunately, more and more women are experiencing fertility issues. To be frank, the medical model has only strategy for you: medication. Medication is only part of the puzzle. While is it effective, it cannot fix the root problem of infertility that could ultimately cause issues in the future. The body is such a wonder. When one part of the human body is not functioning correctly, the hormonal system down regulates fertility capabilities. The theory goes if your body does not believe it is thriving then it’s not going to put itself in harms way by becoming pregnant and having to support another being. If you are under oxidative stress or chronic inflammation, your immune system or digestive systems are not functioning appropriately,  your body is storing toxins, or you are just plain stressed out becoming pregnant is simply going to be an uphill battle. The good news is that nutritional strategies can help pave the broken roads and lead you to the ultimate goal of having a little angel of your own.

 

Breastfeeding Nutrition

Breastfeeding is an incredible and selfless gift and can provide benefits that last a lifetime. Though no matter how beneficial, breastfeeding is also one of the most challenging, most labor intensive, and most exhausting periods in a woman’s life.  Having a nutritional game plan that emphasizes milk supply but also focuses on ease and convenience is key to survival for both you and baby.

The first year of my son’s life, I was completely consumed with every nuance of breastfeeding. After all, breastfeeding was something I had really looked forward to. With my background as a nutritionist, I was just plain excited for this intimate journey with my son. Let me tell you personally, I was not prepared for how hard it truly was. I went through times of low milk, times of difficulty latching, and buckets, upon buckets of tears. To put it mildly, breastfeeding was the hardest job I had ever completed.

In my experience, most women feel just as I did. The struggle is real. That puts me in the unique position of knowing how hard the job is day in day out but also knowing the demands both you and your baby is under nutritionally. Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE, whose work and research I so admire and put into practice, expresses what my goal as nutritionist during breastfeeding should be. She states,

“Rather, I simply want to encourage new mothers to eat as much nutrient dense, real food as possible, so you can both replete your nutrient stores after pregnancy and produce the most nutritious milk for your ridiculously hungry, rapidly growing baby. This is about self care and nourishment for both of you. It’s about ensuring that you have the ability to heal from childbirth and handle the stresses of motherhood without burning out, while your baby gets optimal nutrition to develop and thrive.” (Nichols, 2018).

My goal during this stage of motherhood is to focus on you, the mother. You have just been through a storm and now asked to climb up the side of a mountain in the same wet clothes you had on during the storm. You need support. You need easy, simple, mindless eating tips and tricks.

 

 

Resources:

Nicholas, Lily. (2018). Real Food for Pregnancy. USA

 

Postnatal Return

After a woman grows and births a baby, her body has gone through a terrific amount of changes. While those changes have produced such a joyous outcome, the same changes can wreck hormonal homeostasis and deplete nutrient levels. Hormones are the main operators behind the child bearing process. Returning a woman’s natural hormonal rhythms post baby can be quite tricky and frankly depressing without nutritional support.

Similar to hormonal changes, a woman’s body must give a significant amount of her own vitamin and mineral reserves to her new baby. Getting those reserves back to a healthy baseline is critical not only to having energy today but also prepping for future offspring tomorrow.

New Food Rules: VEG OUT

Many people ask me, what do I need to do to be healthier? “Well… That depends… Healthy is such a relative term.” The answer is SO different for each person. Nonetheless, there is one universal piece of advice I give to absolutely everyone without fail: INCREASE your non-starchy VEGGIES DAILY.

 

Non-starchy veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. They help you feel full and satisfied. They are very low in sugar, fat, and calories. Veggies enhance pretty much every body system from the circulatory to the skin.

Two distinct points to make with this (not so new) food rule. First, I did not say eat more FRUIT and veggies. I left all off the fruit apart of the usual phrase for a reason. Fruit is a very nutritious part of any diet; however, 2 servings per day is ENOUGH. Fruit is composed of vitamins, fiber, and yes sugar. More is not necessarily better with the sugary goodness.

Secondly, add more veggies of the NON-STARCHY type. Corn, peas, and potatoes are all examples of starchy vegetables. Just like with fruit, the main components of starchy vegs are vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates (which triggers an insulin spike.) Not to say that these types of foods are bad, we just do need more than 2 – 3 servings per day of them.

More than likely, you knew the WHYS to consume veggies more often. But actually getting the goodness from the frig to your mouth is much harder. Here are 3 tips to making it work.

 

Prep Your Fridge: When prepping a quick lunch or going for a speedy snack, a head of cauliflower or whole carrots are not going to make the cut. In the moment, bringing out the cutting board and breaking down the item will just not happen. Especially when crackers or chips are much easier to grab. Instead make it your intention to cut each veg right after you purchase your stash. You will be surprised how much more appealing a strip of bell pepper or a wedge of zucchini are when they are bit sized and ready to go!

carrots and broccoli pic 2cut carrots and broccoli pic

 

Make a Tasty Dip: Let’s face it… raw veggies are not that punch of flavor that your favorite chips might be. Why not change this fact? Explore different sauces, dips, or hummus recipes that get you excited about the afternoon snack time.

carrots and broccoli pic

Here is one of my personal and recent favorites:

Ian’s GrIans Green Dressingeen Dressing

One big handful of basil | One handful of           parsley | 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard | 2 – 3 squeezed lemons | 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil |     2 – 3 cloves of garlic | Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Enjoy! (NOTE: For a thicker version, sub half of an avocado for ½ cup of oil. Or try MCT oil instead of olive oil.)

 

 

Blend it Up: Have an “easy-out” on hand on those days that you just cannot seem to fit it all in. There are many brands of “green powders” on the market that you can add to either a full smoothie, a vegan milk, or even just water. I encourage purchasing a few different sample packs to do a bit of taste testing. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and preservatives. Vega One is currently the brand in my diet routine.

Vega One Mix Pic

The Savage Mix: Mega Moves for 3 Workouts #2

Want the most effective workout possible? Cardio + Strength + Flexibility in one 30 minute set. Ask and you shall receive!

Here are 10 Mega Moves that will sculpt, tone, and whittle the WHOLE body. Add in more weights one day for greater muscle strength. Add cardio moves between each set for a heart pounding calorie burn.

 

How To: Watch each of the videos below and practice the moves. (The videos are double the speed for quick viewing.) Decide what your goal for the workout will be. Is it to power and shape your muscles? Equal balance for toning and cardio? Or do you want to get your heart rate up? (Don’t worry too much… you will get each type of burn no matter which route you choice!) Grab a mat, timer, a set of hand weights and go!

For hand weights, a set of medium to heavy weights are 8 – 15 for women and 20 – 30 for men. Light weights would be around 5 pounds for women and 10 – 15 for men.

Check out the weekly calendar at the bottom to get an idea of how to plan your week.

Super Girl Lunge

Cobra Curls

Saddle Row

Change Abs

Spider Lunges

Twisting Willow Tree

Princess Squats

 

Power 20

20 minutes, 2 rounds, 1 minute per exercise, heavy set of weights. Focus: Strength. 
Super Girl Lunge Right Step back with one foot into a deep lunge as the arms go out vertically in front. Return to standings, arms by side. Tilt body from hip as same leg extends behind and arms extend vertically front. Return to standing to complete one rep.
Cobra Curls Laying on stomach with arms extended in front and upper body weight on forearms. Perform 3 bicep curls with hand weight. Raise legs from glutes 3 times for complete rep one.
Super Girl Lunge Left Step back with one foot into a deep lunge as the arms go out vertically in front. Return to standings, arms by side. Tilt body from hip as same leg extends behind and arms extend vertically front. Return to standing to complete one rep.
Saddle Row Right Shift weight into the heel of foot while holding medium to heavy dumbbell in both hands. Bending standing leg, sticking buttocks behind, and free leg to the side. Pulse free leg 3 times. Bring free leg in toward body to lift same leg as performing front row. Repeat on same side.
Change Abs Laying on back with legs lifted at a 90 degree angle and hand weight in hands. Start with one leg crossed slightly in front of the other. Change legs 5 times. Pulse upper body towards legs. Lower legs and upper body and the same time. Stop before shoulder touch the ground. Raise to starting position to complete one rep.
Saddle Row Left Shift weight into the heel of foot while holding medium to heavy dumbbell in both hands. Bending standing leg, sticking buttocks behind, and free leg to the side. Pulse free leg 3 times. Bring free leg in toward body to lift same leg as performing front row. Repeat on same side.
Spider Lunges In the plank position, bring one foot to meet hands. Raise outside arm to extend vertically to the sky. Return arm to ground and place leg back to plank position. Repeat with opposite foot and arm to complete rep one.
Twisting Willow Tree Right Stand with weight on one leg and other leg extended to side. With arms extended overhead with or without hand weight. Reach up and over to the side of extended leg with upper body as leg lifts. Return to start. Bring arms down and across body as the knee bends in to hips. Return to start to complete one rep.
Princess Squats Standing with both feet parallel and hand weight in both hands, step foot diagonally behind the other while bringing the arms above the head. Squat down and lower forearms to perform tricep press. Straighten legs and arms. Return working leg to a wide stance and perform deep squat. Next, bring opposite leg diagonally behind with tricep press to complete one rep.
Twisting Willow Tree Left Stand with weight on one leg and other leg extended to side. With arms extended overhead with or without hand weight. Reach up and over to the side of extended leg with upper body as leg lifts. Return to start. Bring arms down and across body as the knee bends in to hips. Return to start to complete one rep.

(Repeat all ten moves)

 

Toning Blend

30 – 40 minutes, 3 – 4 rounds, 1 minute per exercise, light set of weights. Focus: Balance of cardio and toning. 
Super Girl Lunge Right
Cobra Curls
Super Girl Lunge Left
Saddle Row Right
Change Abs
Saddle Row Left
Spider Lunges
Twisting Willow Tree Right
Princess Squats
Twisting Willow Tree Left

(Repeat all moves 2 – 3 more times.)

 

Cardio Burn

20 minutes, 1 round, 1 minute per exercise, cardio move for 1 minute between each set. Focus: Heart and calorie burner.
Super Girl Lunge Right
High Knees
Cobra Curls
Jumping Jacks
Super Girl Lunge Left
Skating  (jump side to side)
Saddle Row Right
Jump Rope
Change Abs
Burpees   (jumping plank position to standing position)
Saddle Row Left
High Knees
Spider Lunges
Jumping Jacks
Twisting Willow Tree Right
Skating  (jump side to side)
Princess Squats
Jump Rope
Twisting Willow Tree Left
Burpees  (jumping plank position to standing position)

 

Weekly Schedule, Option 1:

Monday – Cardio Burn

Tuesday – Power 20

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Cardio Burn

Friday – Toning Blend

 

Weekly Schedule, Option 2:

Monday – Power 20

Tuesday – Cardio Burn

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Power 20

Friday – Toning Blend

 

Weekly Schedule, Option 3:

Monday – Toning Blend

Tuesday – Off

Wednesday – Toning Blend

Thursday – Off

Friday – Toning Blend

New Years, New Rules: Stop Counting Calories #2

For those of you who want another reason to cut calories out of your vocabulary, watch the below video from one of my favorite podcast stars, Dave Asprey at Bulletproof. Dr. David Ludwig is his guest and describes how calories are POINTLESS to measure.

 

To sum it up,

The brain is hardwired to get enough nutritious calories. If you fake your body out with processed, high carb, low nutrient food, your brain uses your hormones to give your body a harsh signal with high cortisol, unruly cravings, and low energy. Your brain is much smarter than you are and knows what it needs.

 

{If you are lacking on time, start at minute 17:00. This is where the doc really hits it home.}

 

Credits:

https://www.bulletproofexec.com/dr-david-ludwig-food-addiction-will-power-not-enough-272/