Flaxseeds: A Hormonal Powerhouse

After taking some time to think long and hard about what is best to share via social media and the Savage Standard blog, I am starting a series on small POWERHOUSE additions that will benefit {MOST} women regardless of the life stage they are in. Trying to balance hormones, trying to have a baby, or trying to recover after said baby (maybe even years later), I want to encourage the inclusion of SUPERFOODS, if you will. The focus should be on the power of whole foods and how to get them in on a regular basis. Let’s not dwell on what is off limits or bad or how we are not measuring up. Just small, little grocery store items to add to the list that make you feel like super woman.


First up, FLAXSEEDS. These little guys are packed with vitamin E, a healthy dose of your omega fatty acids (caveat: they are not a source of DHA), and a compound called lignans. Lignans have antioxidant and phytoestrogen compounds which assist in healthy gut flora as well has balancing estrogen levels. While, I could write a term paper on their benefits, here are the top 4 for women:

Benefit 1: Stress hormones, which can completely cause chaos to overall hormonal balance, have been shown to be reduced by flaxseeds. Research has related that the intake of flax can decrease stress hormones, such as cortisol, as well as overall perceived level of stress.

Benefit 2: Studies have shown that flaxseeds aid in a woman ovulating during EACH menstrual cycle. If trying to conceive, ensuring ovulation happens each month is critical. If not trying to make a baby, releasing an egg every cycle is still very important for hormonal production.

Benefit 3: With its high fiber content, these seeds help to reduce excess estrogen in circulation. Reducing unwanted estrogen in conjunction with ensuring ovulation occurs promotes balance with progesterone to estrogen ratios.

Benefit 4: The powerhouse seed has been related to lower hemoglobin A1C levels. If struggling with PCOS, controlling blood sugar levels is very important in reducing symptoms and managing the disease.


Lets Game Plan:

Aim to get 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds per day.

Considering either buying whole flaxseeds and grinding yourself OR storing pre-ground flaxseeds in the refrigerator. The fats in the seeds go rancid very quickly which means money down the drain.

Add ground flax to smoothies, cold cereals, soups, or stews. Sprinkle them on top of salads or baked casseroles for a nutty crunch.

A personal favorite is to add a tablespoon on top of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal, served with a nut milk and sliced bananas.

SIMPLE BANANA FLAX BREAD: Mash 4 very ripe bananas in a bowl. Add ¾ cup coconut flour, 5 beaten eggs, ¼ cup coconut sugar, 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds (or flax meal), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the batter into a lined loaf pan, top with ¼ to ½ cup chopped walnuts (depending on liking) and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and store in fridge.

PROTEIN: A NON-NEGOTIABLE DURING PREGNANCY

Protein, especially meat, has gotten a pretty bad rap in the last decade in the mainstream wellness community. Meatless Monday, anyone? However, no one can deny the necessity of protein, especially in pregnancy. From building co-enzymes, hormones, immune cells, and blood cells to maintaining and growing muscles cells which turn on the metabolic fire, protein is an ABSOLUTE necessity during any time in a woman’s life. Growing a baby on top of the everyday maintenance pushes the protein needs up and up throughout the duration of the 40 (LONG) weeks. After all, those sweet baby fingers and toes are built by the nutrition that momma takes in through her food and via her previous nutritional stores.

When building a baby, protein should symbolize the BRICKS that layer upon layer make up a healthy baby. These protein bricks are made up of amino acids that each play a specific role in a developing fetus. One specific but very important example is Glycine. This acid is an important during pregnancy as it becomes conditionally essential. This means that one must take glycine in through food in order to meet maternal and fetal needs. Glycine is important for mom’s stretching skin and uterus as well as the both mom and baby’s circulatory system and methylation processes. Secondly, protein rich foods generally contain the rich sources of micronutrients. These micronutrients include iron, zinc, vitamin B12, choline, and DHA. All of which are critical for brain, nervous system, and immune systems. Lastly, protein intake ensures hormonal balance through insulin levels and sugar metabolism. Just as the branches of government balance one another (well hopefully), the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) have a yin and yang effect on hormones. And, trust me, balancing hormones throughout pregnancy really helps with mood swings and energy levels.

New evidence over the past few years has brought to light the increasing requirements for protein during pregnancy and the need to update current standards. The current recommendation set by the Institute of Medicine states that 0.88 grams per kilogram during early pregnancy and 1.1 grams per kilogram during later stages of pregnancy as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). In every day terms, this looks like 60 to 75 grams daily for an 150 pound woman. In 2015 and 2016 separate studies, researchers concluded that the protein needs of the average women were actually 1.2 grams per day during early gestation and 1.52 grams per day in later stages. This puts actually protein estimate needs up to approximately 80 to 100 grams per day. That is a substantial difference!

Prioritizing Protein During the Day: Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure mom is getting enough in for both herself and baby.


The PLATE METHOD WORKS! During a meal fill ¼ (25%) of your plate, bowl, or whatever vessel you choose with these guys. This is an easy way to get to your 80 to 100 grams of protein without doing all that MATH. Eating should be fun!


Use the following protein LIST as a resources to gain ideas, meal plan, and shop.

  • Grass-fed beef, cut or ground
  • Grass-fed lamb, cut or ground
  • Grass-fed beef liver or pasture-raised, organic chicken liver (include 1 to 2 times per month)
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Pasture-raised chicken: breast, thighs, wings, or freshly ground
  • Wild-caught fish: flounder, trout
  • Anchovies
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Pastured-raised pork: cut or freshly ground
  • Wild-caught shell fish: shrimp, clams
  • Wild-caught scallops
  • Organic chicken, turkey sausage (Applegate is my favorite brand)
  • Protein Powders: Collagen, Grass-fed whey
  • Greek Yogurt: Grass-fed if possible, watch out for added sugars
  • Nuts and seeds

A few pregnancy all stars that are worth double checking your meal plan to include:

Eggs

Salmon

Liver (only 1 to 2 times per month)

Collagen Powder

 


Here is a sample menu for including 80 – 100 grams of protein.

Breakfast:

2 -3 eggs cooked in ½ to 1 tablespoons of grass-fed butter; 1 slice of sourdough topped with ¼ to ½ mashed avocado and sprinkled with sea salt; ½ cup berries; 1 glass of cow’s milk or higher protein vegan milk.

Lunch:

3 – 4 ounces canned salmon; 2 cups spinach; 1 cup chopped bell pepper; ¼ cup sunflower seeds; 2 tablespoons full fat dressing

Dinner:

3 – 4 ounces pull pork; ¼ cup coleslaw; 1 cup roasted broccoli; ½ cup roasted new potatoes; 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

Snacks: (Optional)

½ cup Greek yogurt topped with berries and nuts

Beef jerky with carrot sticks

 


Animal sources (meat, poultry, and fish) are rock stars for pregnancy: I believe the break down between those who have it out for meat and those who praise meat (and eat WAY too much of it) happens when we forget to think about QUALITY and SOURCE of meat.  Quality protein is one that is wild and NOT injected with human-made chemicals or antibiotics, having non-natural feeding patterns, or other toxic breeding or producing factors. No doubt that the price tag of these boys is a bit higher; but I guarantee that it is worth it. Unfortunately, access to high quality meats is hard to come by in certain parts of the country. However, you now can have grassfed beef and organic chicken delivered to your front door. I recommend a company called Butcher Box. Find them at www.butcherbox.com. I also recommend Thrive Market for their protein boxes. Thrive has a ton of great products in their online store as well! Find them at www.thrivemarket.com.

 


What to do on days when eating feels impossible? I wish I could ask the answer was simple; however, some days it is just not going to be easy. I recommend eating smaller amounts of food spread throughout the day. Try to prioritize higher protein foods when feeling hungry. Utilize collagen powders in teas and other beverages as well as bone broths. Both are great sources of glycine and generally more tolerable on uneasy stomachs.

 


The SIMPLIFIED Savage Solution:

Aim to include approximately 80 grams per day during the first half of pregnancy and 100 grams in the second half as needs increase as the baby grows. Source of protein matters. Look for meat that is labeled “grass-fed” if possible as it ups the omega-3 ratio. Organic poultry and pork are preferable. Watch out for sources and types of fish as mercury levels can buildup and become toxic to baby. 

 


Resources:

Elango, & Rajavel & Ball, R. (2016, July 11). Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy. Retrieved from Advanced Nutrition.

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

Stephens, T., Payne, M., Ball, R., Pencharz, P., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein Requirements of Healthy Pregnant Women during Early and Late Gestation Are Higher than Current Recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition, 73-78.

 

Deep Core Breathing

What is the one thing I would want any woman to know about how to better prepare her body for pregnancy as well as postpartum recovery? One answer: DEEP CORE BREATHING.

Deep Core Breathing is a technique that involves the entire core muscles from the rectus abdominals to the ever so important transverse abdominals as well as the pelvic floor. (Yes, in a way you are performing a kegel with deep core breathing). The beauty of this method is its numerous benefits: general strengthening of the core muscles, specific engagement of the transverse abdominal muscle, prevention of lower back pain during pregnancy and postpartum, appropriate engagement of core muscles during exercise, prepping for the birthing process, and post baby belly recovery. I like to think of deep core breathing as the basis for all of a women’s movement regardless of her stage; thus, it’s an awesome thing to master.

The 2-count breakdown:

  1. In a seated, standing, or side lying position, take a slow and controlled inhale through the nose. Visualize the nose as being one side of a slinky and the pelvic floor as the other side. As you inhale, imagine the slinky being pulled from opposite ends. This will result in the pelvic floor to feel extended or pushed out. During the inhale, your stomach will naturally expand and rib cage will pull apart; however, the emphasis should be on the vertical up and down sensation of the breath rather than the push out of the belly.
  2. In the exhale, push out the air through either the nose or the mouth. Exhaling through the mouth, is sometimes more effective in exercise or deep practice situations. Again, imagine the slinky. The slinky should recoil during the exhale. Thus, the air will be pushed out of the nose, the pelvic floor will engage and feel a tightening and lifting, and the transverse abdominals (the deepest muscles that wrap around the core) will pull up and it. The result will look like a sucking in of the belly. If pregnant, the cue during exhaling can sometimes be referred to as hugging the baby. Repeat a few rounds.

Practice deep core breathing daily. When the alarm clock goes off and you need a bit to wake up… go into deep core breathing. During stressful moments in the day, pull out this trick. When in the car, do it for one song. In the shower and washing your hair?… Focus on a few rounds of this method. EXERCISING…. Deep core breathing should be practiced throughout the entire workout regardless of the stage of motherhood. (I have even coached my husband on this method during his workout!)

For pregnancy, deep core breathing should be utilized throughout an entire workout. For example, squats and lunges are that more effective (not to mention safer) with engaging the entire core block. During a squat or lunge, inhale while going down into the squat/lunge. Before beginning to go back up, begin the exhale and feel the transverse abdominal engage. At the top of the squat/lunge, the pelvic floor lift should be the last piece to the movement to lift and tighten. Lastly but certainly not least, all abdominal work during pregnancy should be centered around breath work and core engagement.

Postpartum, deep core breathing is the first exercise I recommend to all clients alike regardless of vaginal birth or c-section. In fact, this method can and should be performed in the hospital as it assists the uterus on contracting back into the abdominal area. In the first few weeks with a new little angel, every feeding session, perform a few rounds of deep core breathing. This will have the same effect as wearing a belly band; however, the results will last much longer.

The Fertility & Digestion Connection

The importance of digestive health has been a hot topic in the wellness community for a number of years. Probiotics are one of the most widely sold supplements on the market today. There are countless books describing the gut-brain connection as well as what in the heck those billions of bacteria are doing in our stomachs anyway. All of this information is fascinating (at least to me) but its also backed by scores of medical studies. The question is, what does your digestion have to do with getting pregnant? One would think they are completely different systems in the body doing completely different tasks. However, once we take an integrative view, we can see that the health of your digestive system is integral to allowing the natural reproductive processes run at optimal levels.

THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM 101

The health of your digestive system is essential to ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as to support the function of other body systems, such as the immune system. The health of the gastrointestinal system, particularly the gut microbiota, even impacts mental health through its connection with the central nervous system, often referred to as the gut-brain axis. 

The digestive system is made up of digestive organs, such as the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon), as well as accessory organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, and various chemical compounds, such as hormones, stomach acid, bile, and digestive enzymes. The gut microbiota, a community of live microorganisms found in high concentrations in the colon, are also essential to digestion and gut health. Several lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, managing stress, and supporting your health with dietary supplements, can help you maintain digestive wellness.

*www.fullscript.com


THE FERTILITY CONNECTION

Many integrative health physicians and wellness advocates summarize fertility in both men and women as SECONDARY.  What they mean by that is that the number one function of the body, including the digestive system, is to keep YOU alive and thriving. The theory goes that if the body becomes stressed at one point, then pregnancy is only going to add more stress to the body. You can see examples of this in times of famine. The lack of food puts enough stress on a population that fertility rates plummet (Hasell, 2018). In physiological term, once there is a breakdown in one of the systems, the endocrine system will down-regulate hormones that facilitate and promote the chance of pregnancy.

While the SECONDARY theory makes a ton of sense, the oversimplification might have us missing out on a few important details. The gut is operating the main nutrient distribution system, if you will. It is absorbing nutrients via the stomach and intestinal linings as well as assimilating them for active use. Egg and sperm health are vastly dependent on a number of key micronutrients that we get from our foods. Hormone production and balance are also greatly affected by nutritional stores. In addition, the microbiome plays a major role in reproductive hormonal balance.  Lastly, the implantation process and embryo development will not be optimized if lacking its nutrient factors and cofactors. Thus, when you influence digestive health, you  impact egg & sperm quality, implantation and embryo development, and hormone balance as well as pregnancy and birth outcomes.

The GI system is not only integral in optimizing fertility, but it is also very important for keeping a baby healthy in the womb and outside of the womb. Research has shown that an unhealthy microbiome population has been correlated to higher risk factors for preterm birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and excess weight gain (Dunlop, 2015). Thus, a maternal stomach full of good bacteria can promote a smoother and safer pregnancy for mom and baby. Secondly, researchers have recently discovered that the placenta (the organ which provides all nourishment to baby) transfers its own microbiome (aka bacteria) to the baby (Aagaard, 2014). This means that a healthy bacteria population from mom is actually given to the baby during the baby’s 9 month stay. A baby with a well balanced microbiome inside of the womb will be well on his way to his own gut health outside of the womb. What more reason to keep eating those fermented pickles and whole milk yogurts.

The ideal scenario is to ensure the cellular function of the GI track and microbiome is working at tip top shape during the preconception stage. Once the baby moves in, he will thank you for all the prep work! Check out the bottom of the article for the Savage Solution for digestive health.

The Savage Solution for OPTIMIZING Fertility through Digestive Health:

Eat fermented, probiotic foods such as grass-fed cow-milk yogurt, goat’s milk yogurt, kefir, komucha tea, saucerkraut, pickles (check label for additives), or aged cheeses. Include a serving or two of these foods every day.

Eat prebiotic, fiber rich foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut, beans, and berries. These superfoods should fuel you throughout the day and make up the majority of the diet. 

Supplement with a quality probiotic. Look for a high number of probiotic stands (15 billion to 100 billion) and over 10 different strands. Also be sure to check the expiration date on the bottle. Be sure to research what strains are in each supplement: Lactobacillus and Bifidus are top picks. 

Avoid the overuse of antibiotics in both medicine and food supply (ie antibiotics in meats).

Avoid the overuse of such medications as antacids, steroids, acid blockers, and birth control.

Avoid excess processed sugar in your diet.

 

I have teamed up with FULLSCRIPT to provide my catalog of supplements relating to gut health. As always, I have to point out, REAL FOODS should be the number one way to keep the system running in top condition, but if needed, supplements can help fill any gaps. Also, supplements should be discussed with medical providers once becoming pregnant.


Probiotics

Probiotics are fermented food products or dietary supplements that contain beneficial microbes, including bacteria, bacterial spores, or fungi (yeasts). When consumed, they offer health benefits to the host, both by colonizing the gastrointestinal tract and by transient activity when passing through the body. Probiotics have been studied for their therapeutic benefits in a number of health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), autoimmune diseases, obesity, and mental-emotional disorders. The health benefits of probiotics can vary significantly depending on the specific strain or strains included. 

Read more about probiotic supplements here.

 Top probiotic supplements on Fullscript:

MegaSporeBiotic by Microbiome Labs

Ther-Biotic Complete Probiotic by Klaire Labs


Digestive enzymes

Enzymes are substances that increase the rate of chemical reactions in the body (catalysts). Specifically, digestive enzymes are secreted by the digestive tract to aid in digesting fats, proteins, and carbohydrates consumed through the diet. Enzyme supplementation may be beneficial for individuals with food sensitivities, such as lactose intolerance, and certain gastrointestinal disorders. Enzyme supplements may include a variety of enzymes from different sources, such as pancreatic enzymes (e.g., porcine or bovine sources), plant-based enzymes (e.g., bromelain from pineapple, papain from papaya), and microbe-derived enzymes. Each enzyme breaks down a specific component of food, for example, lipase aids in the digestion of lipids and protease aids in the digestion of proteins. 

 Top digestive enzyme supplements on Fullscript:

Digestive Enzymes Ultra by Pure Encapsulations

Digestzymes by Designs for Health


Fiber

Fiber is an umbrella term for the carbohydrates found in plant foods that resist digestion and absorption in the human small intestine. High-fiber foods include vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 

The two main forms of fiber are soluble fibers, which dissolve in water and slow transit time in the human digestive tract, and insoluble fibers, which do not dissolve in water, speed up transit time in the human digestive tract, and increase fecal bulk. In addition to supporting digestion, research has shown that a high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. 

Prebiotics, one type of soluble fiber, possess unique characteristics and health effects. Prebiotics act as a source of fuel for beneficial microbes, promoting a healthy microbial profile, and providing a number of associated health benefits. Research is increasingly confirming the numerous health benefits of prebiotics. 

Read more about the difference between probiotics and prebiotics here.

 Top fiber supplements on Fullscript:

FiberPro by Karuna

FiberMax Powder by Advanced Naturals


L-glutamine 

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. The small and large intestines use l-glutamine as a substrate (material) for energy production. L-glutamine also plays a role in liver cell reproduction and energy metabolism in the liver. L-glutamine supplementation may reduce intestinal cell death that normally occurs with exposure to stress, such as intense heat and exercise. It may also benefit individuals with certain digestive conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome. 

Research has shown that the health benefits of L-glutamine may be attributed to its ability to modulate inflammation, protect against cellular stress and death, and regulate the reproduction of intestinal cells.

Top L-glutamine supplements on Fullscript: 

L-Glutamine powder by Pure Encapsulations

L-Glutamine Powder by Klaire Labs  

NOTE: L-glutamine should not be continued during pregnancy as evidence of its safety is lacking. 

NOTE: THE ABOVE SUPPLEMENTS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR PRECONCEPTION PERIODS ONLY. PLEASE DISCUSS ANY SUPPLEMENTS WITH HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE CONTINUING DURING PREGNANCY.

 

 

 


Works Cited:

Aagaard, K. e. (2014). The placenta harbors a unique microbiome. Science Translational Medicine, 237.

Dunlop, A. L. (2015). The maternal microbiome and pregnancy outcomes that impact infant health: A review. Advance in Neonatal Care: Official Journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 377.

Hasell, J. (2018, April 03). Do Famines Check Population Growth. Retrieved from Our World In Data: http://www.ourworldindata.org.https://ourworldindata.org/do-famines-check-population-growth

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

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