My Pregnancy Journey: 34 Weeks and Counting (Part 3)

Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve had a team of people help me in various ways (and it isn’t over yet)! Along with Becca checking my supplements and keeping me in balance, which has been a lifesaver, here are some other people I’m working with for a full body approach:

  • Chiropractic. Dr. Rousseau at Kyd Kyro (http://www.kydkyro.com/) is amazing.  Yes, I am a chiropractor... but if you want someone who specializes in all things pregnancy and babies- she is your person.  Many people don’t realize how many techniques and specialties are out there, and without a doubt she is your go-to gal for pregnancy and postpartum.  Keeping your pelvis and ligaments balanced ensures an easier pregnancy, quicker delivery and helps to prevent breech babies!  While general chiropractic can help, it’s best to be with someone who is trained with specific knowledge on pregnancy and the growth of your child.
     
  • Acupuncture. Gil Ben-Ami in Berry Hill is the best. He is possibly the sweetest person on earth, and has supported me a TON with pregnancy. He’s kept me in balance with stress and life situations that’ve been thrown my way!
     
  • Baby & Co. We have been working with Baby & Co since the beginning and plan to give birth there. The environment is so peaceful and the birthing suites are like large hotel rooms. I know a lot can happen in the final days and even hours leading up to birth, but we are excited to use them!  They teach you so much and have an incredibly warm, welcoming environment. I feel so lucky that we have this option in Nashville!
     
  • Nashville Doula Services. My husband and I just started to meet with them, because I think it will be helpful to have someone who has seen birth many times to help support not only me but by husband. They were highly recommended by Becca, who first used the Vandy volunteer doula program with her first baby, and used Nashville Doula Services with her second one. I am excited to have their support, knowledge and encouragement- because it’s all a little scary... but there is a great amount of comfort in knowing they are there for us. Plus, they have post-partum care, which means they can help with breastfeeding and positioning and things I know very little about. Even if I know the anatomy behind it all, the less I have to struggle learning tricks and fighting my way through the beginning stages, the better!

I am sure I am forgetting people, but this has been our working team so far! I feel so lucky to have them working with me throughout this new journey!

Chocolate Matcha Energy Bites

We're crazy about these energy bites!

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Both matcha and cacao are super high in antioxidants. Antioxidants keep your skin fresh and glowing, help detox your body, and slow down signs of aging. Pair that with cacao's mood-boosting, energy-giving qualities, and we have a winner on our hands! 

We made these and kept half in our freezer (for a dessert kind of feel) and half in our refrigerator (for an on-the-go snack). They were SUPER easy to make and we hope you love them as much as we do!!

Recipe
1/2 cup pitted dates (softened in water for an hour or so)
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup cacao
2 tbsp nut butter
Matcha powder for rolling

Directions
1. Blend dates, almonds, and cacao in food processor until fully mixed. If your texture is not soft, you can add more of your favorite nut butter!

2. Roll into 10-14 balls depending on preferred size.

3. Roll the balls in matcha!

4. Refrigerate (or freeze!) and enjoy! 

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Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Here is a simple recipe for the homemade laundry detergent I use.  It makes a huge batch and lasts for a long time!  (Very cost effective considering how expensive laundry detergent can be with the bonus of being free of chemicals and dyes! A WIN WIN!)

All but the Oxo Brite is available at Kroger which I ordered through Amazon.  

 

 

  • Borax (1) 4 lb 12 oz box

  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (1) 3 lb 7 oz box

  • Castile or Dr. Bronner’s Bar soap (2) bar- (I used the peppermint scented)

  • Arm & Hammer Baking Soda 4 lbs

  • Oxo Brite (1) 3 lb container (I ordered on Amazon) 

 

 

 

Grate the bars of soap (I used a hand grater which was a pain.  Other people use a food processor and say it is much easier- I'll probably do that next time).  Then mix all the ingredients together!! Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. I have a HE washer and just put it in the powder section. 

 

I store mine in a large glass container I got at Target.  

(Also- for extra dirty clothes I add in 1/2 cup to 1 full cup of baking soda.  You can get a huge bag of baking soda at Costco for a great price.)

Hope this is a helpful solution for everyone! 

My Pregnancy Journey: 34 Weeks and Counting (Part 2)

From seeing pregnant patients, or patients who have delivered in the past, I’ve learned one thing- this process may not go as expected, but I am doing the best I can. Yes, I have expectations and hopes for the way things will go, but it may not happen as I expect. I have seen TOO MANY mothers beat themselves up over past pregnancies, deliveries, and things done in their children’s early years, and while I am going to learn as much as I can, I want to be at peace with the reality that I am not perfect. We all make mistakes, and life throws unexpected curveballs, but the more we dwell and beat ourselves up over those things, the less energy we have to invest in our current lives.

For example: 

1)    The “perfect” delivery. I haven’t had a baby yet, but what I’ve seen countless times is how women beat themselves up over not having a perfect birth. I am doing everything I can to set myself up for a successful, natural water birth... but if it doesn’t happen, it’s okay. At the end of the day, my husband and I want a healthy baby, healthy mama, anda safe delivery. I am keeping my expectations high but also realistic. I have been getting monthly acupuncture, weekly chiropractic appointments and keeping up with my nutrition and supplements, but I know things always don’t go as planned and I am okay with it.  I don’t want to spend months or even years beating myself up over what I “could have done” to have the perfect birth. Instead, I want to go into the birthing process with realistic expectations!

2)    The “perfect” nutrition. This is a funny one for me. Before pregnancy, I was a pretty big stickler about the foods I ate. I still am, but have relaxed a little bit...and it has been a healthy thing for me. I haven’t started eating junk all the time, but I do have a treat here and there. I also eat more grains than I used to, but try to maintain a healthy balance of whole food nutrition. I thought when I got pregnant I would eat even better than before… LOL! Your taste buds and stomach have a mind of their own. For the first twelve weeks I ate whatever sounded good because NOTHING sounded good at the time. I made smoothies that were packed full of nutrients but also had sweets and treats I rarely touched before being pregnant. So my perfectionist, only eat raw, organic nutrient-dense food self went out the window.

3)    The “perfect” nursery. Can we talk about Pinterest baby rooms!?! They make you feel like a failure if you don’t have every book, picture and blanket in their perfect place. I let the “perfect nursery” expectation go a long time ago! We have a bed, washed sheets and clothes, and THAT is a success. It isn’t the perfect baby room but guess what… our little boy won’t know the difference!  So if you enjoy decorating and find it fun- go for it! If it causes you stress and anxiety (like it did when I was looking things up), let it go. Babies don’t care, I promise!

If you’ve been putting pressure on yourself to be the perfect wife, mom, interior designer, and health expert throughout your pregnancy-- I hope this post encourages you to let go and breathe! You are doing a good job! Prioritize the most important things and let the rest of it fall by the wayside. You can do this-- not perfectly, but with love and grace and strength! And that’s all that matters.

My Pregnancy Journey: 34 Weeks and Counting (Part 1)

I haven’t posted much about my pregnancy, but I wanted to share some things I’ve learned that may help a few people out there. 

Let me start by saying every day hasn’t been easy, especially at the beginning.  I didn’t have horrible nausea, throwing up every two seconds, but I did feel nauseated at the thought of eating certain foods or drinks (even though I knew I needed all the nutrients I could handle, growing this tiny human). 

Collagen was a LIFESAVER, because the thought of protein sounded like the worst thing possible. I put it in water, tea, almond milk, warm berries and anything else I could muster. My fatigue and nausea was super amplified whenever I lacked protein. For those of you who are pregnant, you need protein and a good amount of it.  If you can’t stomach the thought of it, I would highly recommend collagen because it is high in protein and easily mixes in anything warm or cold, from water to oatmeal to berries warmed up on the stove. I ate those berries a lot!

I’d been feeling pretty good (and probably got a little cocky) and ran out of my supplements for the week-  particularly those for liver/gallbladder. They have SO much to do with nausea and morning sickness, but I didn’t feel like going to the office since I’d be there on Monday for work...so I decided to wait it out a few days! Well, that Monday morning was the first time I threw up and had to cancel my patients for the day. I knew I had done it to myself by not taking those supplements.

I work with pregnant patients all the time, and I’ve come to realize that 95% of the time nausea stems from liver and gallbladder issues. Your liver and gallbladder need to be extra supported during pregnancy.  After my vomiting episode on that Monday, I never ran out of my liver/gallbladder supplements again! :)

If you are feeling nausea or morning sickness, let us know- because I feel your pain and can relate. Most of the time it stems from liver and gallbladder issues (where they just need some extra TLC during this big hormonal upswing) which can make a world of a difference.

Once I got over the first trimester hump, I focused on keeping my iron levels up which were causing a lot of fatigue issues, as well as supporting my adrenals/stress glands. The stress glands get ‘stressed’ from pregnancy and your changing body, but also life’s curve balls that don’t stop coming your way just because you are pregnant.  Having someone in the office who could test me (Becca) was a life saver. I could tell my adrenals were crashing when my energy, mood, and sleep schedule were off.

To be honest, my supplement needs changed monthly and made a HUGE difference each time we fine tuned them for that month. Having Becca there to tell me what supplements my body needed versus me guessing was just what I needed.

Side note- keeping the adrenal glands supported throughout pregnancy and after giving birth is SO important to help prevent postpartum depression. If the adrenals are supported, they won’t take as major of a hit after the baby is born. Supporting your adrenals should also keep your mood and energy up. I’m not saying it’s perfect but it helps SO, SO much to prevent the major crash that many women fear.  I firmly believe that many women can be helped and supported during pregnancy and after by helping and giving their adrenal/stress glands some TLC and prevent PPD.

Now 34 weeks along (crazy how time is flying!!) I am still learning.  Learning to enjoy the good days and rest when I need to. It’s all about balance, which I am sometimes not the best at, but learning to be better.  Pregnancy has been a phenomenal and crazy journey and I can’t wait for the next chapter to begin!

Emotional Healing + Flower Essences (Part 3)

This is a follow up to my introductory posts about flower essences, which you can read here!

VENTED FORMULAS

Vented formulas are what I use for my ‘hamster wheel’ patients, who can’t turn their brains off and replay certain situations, anxieties, and thoughts over and over again. These people feel like their minds are running a million miles per minute. Often, they have low energy because most of it is going to their thoughts and not much is left over for the body.

Vented formulas help my patients think clearly, process and not let their thoughts run wild. It helps them respond to situations rationally and appropriately. You can take more than directed if certain situations are stressful-- if school makes your little ones anxious or you are going to drop your kids off with your ex… take more!

If you want to learn more about the vented formulas we have in the office, I wrote descriptions below.

Be Courageous (Vented Fear)

This is for people who have a lot of fears- whether it be a situation like public speaking or dropping your kids off at daycare; or if specific people (your boss, your ex) make you nervous and insecure. This helps people who are afraid to take the next step because they don't know what the future may hold. This is also great for those who have had a major trauma and it keeps playing on repeat in their head or they are constantly afraid its going to happen again (ex: car accident). Lastly, it helps people who rely on the advice and opinions of others and don’t trust their inner instinct. It helps people clear their minds and find courage to take the next step.

I’ve seen this work wonders for adults AND kids. Especially kids who are anxious to go to school, sleep in their own bed, go to swimming lessons, read out loud, etc...

PS- This can be helpful for infertility! It doesn’t aid hormones but instead works with stress and fear, which is a HUGE component of infertility.

Release It (Vented Grief) 

This helps people with the grieving process, whether it be something actively going on or something that happened years ago- such as death of a loved one or pet, breakups, divorces, or any losses in their lives. It helps people find the strength to let go of past situations (NOT forget- but move forward), and have hope and confidence in the future.  

I find this works well with people who aren’t able to ‘release it’ like the formula says.  They hold on to past situations, events, and even people who are not around anymore in an unhealthy way.  And the thing is, sometimes we try and try, but it feels like we CAN’T move forward because something is blocking our healing. This one can help unclog those situations.  It helps slow down the constant thought of situations or people, and allow our bodies to heal and move forward.

Keep Cool (Vented Anger)

This formula is great for those who feel easily frustrated, angered, irritated and have a short fuse. It helps to cool down the ‘short fuse’ and allow people to relax. It can also help people experience empathy and compassion. If you feel like certain situations or people bring out anger, this might be what you need. For example, my husband’s old job was incredibly stressful and time consuming. He would come home exhausted and short fused. He is normally patient and even-keeled, but his situation wore him down and his fuse got shorter.  This really helped him relax and rest at home until he got a new job and wasn’t under so much pressure and daily stress.

It is also phenomenal for kids who get angered easily, have emotional outbursts or temper tantrums, etc... Start them off at once a day, and work your way up if the outbursts continue. It may help reduce the amount of tantrums, and reduce the severity of their outbursts. It won’t make everything perfect, but will help lessen them.  

Emotional Healing + Flower Essences (Part 2)

This is a follow up to my introductory post about flower essences, which you can read here!

SUPPRESSED FORMULAS

I typically recommend suppressed formulas for people that seem okay on the outside but internally push feelings down, whether consciously or unconsciously. Suppression can create all sorts of physical and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, OCD, IBS, hormonal issues, etc...

Suppressed formulas can cause an emotional ‘detox’ in some people. The first few days, you may feel more sad or frustrated, feel like crying, or feel fearful, but after 2 or 3 days you should experience more balance. Working with these formulas can be hard at first because tons of emotions might suddenly arise out of nowhere, but the emotional balance and calm energy after being on them for a few days is amazing. 

When I started using the suppressed fear formula (Be Response-Able), all these deep inner fears popped up at the weirdest times of day, even though they were completely unrelated to my life at the time. My husband didn’t know what was going on, and neither did I, until I connected the dots: it was Be Response-Able!

Moral of the story—the first few days might be super emotional. I wouldn’t recommend starting flower essences on an important day at work or school. These are great to start on the weekend or when you have some down time.

It is important to stay on these consistently. If you use them for three days, then forget to take them for a few days, then start again, it can cause a ‘emotional detox’ each time. So make sure to be consistent!

Anyways....I wanted to give a brief introduction to our formulas designed for people who tend to suppress emotions!

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Find Strength- Suppressed Anger
Find Strength is designed to help people find their inner voice and strength. It can help those who feel unworthy of a situation, job, relationship, etc... or those who have trouble standing up for themselves. It is great for chronic people pleasers, and helpful for those who have trouble allowing themselves to feel anger.

From my experience with patients, people who need Find Strength tend to have mild anxiety that greatly heightens in the evening or before going to bed, when life quiets down and there isn’t as much to distract them.

Open Heart- Suppressed Grief
This formula is great for those who are emotionally shut down (aka people who have trouble with compassion, empathy, or even the ability to love). This can be directed at a certain person, situation or even themselves. They can have closed off hearts from past situations and have difficulty trusting others and being vulnerable.

In my experience, patients who need Open Heart tend to be closed off during appointments. In rarer instances, people who are externally happy test very well for Open Heart because they love other people, but cannot seem to love themselves. Recently, many patients who tested well for Open Heart have had trouble loving and trusting themselves because of a childhood trauma or past experience they believe they could’ve prevented (which is not the case at all).

This one can have an intense ‘detox’ phase. The first few days may feel more depressive and dark (not in everyone), but it truly helps people open their hearts and find love and compassion towards themselves and others.

Be Response-Able- Suppressed Fear
This formula is great for overly responsible patients-- list makers, those with OCD tendencies, and people who beat themselves up over things that are out of their control. It helps people realize their fears. It helps them understand what emotional issues are driving their compulsions, perfectionist tendencies and/or self-defeating behaviors.

This is the formula for which my body has a strong, positive reaction. I tend to be very tidy, like things in their place, even OCD you may say (shocked?!). I beat myself up when I don’t get everything done...even though I could never finish everything on my to-do list, anyways.

When starting, be prepared for fears to pop up that you didn’t know were hidden… I know this from personal experience!  Listen to your thoughts, try to process what you are feeling, and by that 3rd or 4th day, you should feel much better and more balanced.

Why would we want to use these if we feel like we are doing okay pushing it all down? Our body, both physical and mentally, has to find detours around everything we supress and push down. After weeks, months, and years we become run down, exhausted and emotionally drained and don't even know why. So these formulas help us process, heal and move forward and eliminating all those exhausting detours it had to make to get by!

If you want to try out flower essences, come by the office! I will be sharing about our vented formulas soon!

Our Favorite Banana Bread Recipe

We found the BEST BANANA BREAD EVER. No sugar, dairy, or processed junk. It’s unbelievably simple to make, and tastes like heaven. We grabbed the recipe from Civilized Caveman's website. We'll post a summary below, but for the full recipe click here.

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DIRECTIONS

Mix 4 bananas, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup almond butter, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Bake in a greased pan on 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes and enjoy!

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You will not regret trying this recipe. We’ve eaten two loaves in my house this week.

Let us know if you try it!

 

Emotional Healing + Flower Essences, Part 1

We all know emotions factor into our daily lives and moods, but what many people don't realize is how much emotions can alter our energy and physical healing.  I've seen so many people walk into my office, seemingly put together and composed, but for some reason we don't see the progress I would expect to see. When this kind of roadblock occurs, there is almost ALWAYS an emotional factor or healing that has to take place before physical changes can happen. 

I am not a therapist, but I have found Bach flowers and flower essences to be beneficial aids in helping people move forward in the healing process. They are not meant to replace therapy or counseling by any means. They are meant to support and work in conjunction with counseling. Especially if a person isn't ready or doesn’t want to go to therapy, flower essences can really help initiate the emotional healing process. In fact, I use them on a ton of my patients who are therapists or doctors by profession--- we need help too!  They are fantastic on all ages and we have seen amazing changes in kids with their confidence, anger, frustration-- even sleep and belly pain too! 

SUPPRESSORS + VENTORS

There are suppressors (like me) who push everything down. We keep going, going, and going without taking a minute to stop and process our emotions. But just because we're getting through our day doesn’t mean the things we're suppressing are disappearing into thin air. Our bodies learn to navigate around those suppressed emotions and experiences, but we can’t truly heal or make great progress without processing, acknowledging and moving forward.  Some signs of suppression are fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, having OCD/perfectionist tendencies, having trouble loving ourselves or certain people in our lives. People who suppress look like we have our lives together and can handle anything, but often it stems from stuffing emotions down and not taking time for ourselves.  

On the flip side, there are those who are ventors (this can also be me in certain situations, for sure!). These people dwell on specific experiences and can’t move forward from a situation, person, or life event. They play things on repeat in their minds, from a scary situation in the past to a conversation that happened in the office. They can feel angry or sad, and can’t seem to move forward even after time and processing has happened.  We are so interconnected physically and mentally that if the mental side isn't healing we can’t expect to make major changes physically.  Some examples are dwelling on past jobs, failed relationships and marriages, not being able to process and heal from a death of a loved one, always looking back at the good old days, AND emotional outbursts of frustration or anger (especially see this in kids). 

We will dive into specific formulas soon (3 suppressed and 3 vented) but I wanted to give some background information on what flower essences are and what they can help with.  I am 99% certain that if physical healing isn’t taking place there could be an emotional link (without you realizing it) that is holding you back.

Blueberry + Beet Smoothie Bowl Recipe

We love smoothie bowls, but sometimes they have wayyyyyy too much sugar. Between sweetened granola, honey and yogurt, many “healthy” smoothie bowls can have upwards of 70 grams of sugar! 

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So here’s an alternative recipe for a delicious bowl, still bursting with flavor and color but low in sugar! Blueberries are low in sugar and rich in antioxidants, so they’re the main fruit in our recipe. Beets taste earthy and they're pink and WE LOVE THEM IN EVERYTHING. Is that weird? Maybe. But they’re a great source of vitamin C and fiber, so.... try this one out!

DIRECTIONS

Blend 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup of kale, 1/2 a raw beet (chopped up), juice from 1/2 lemon, 1 date for sweetness, a bit of raw ginger, 1 tbsp of flaxseed, 1/2 cup of your favorite milk, and 2 tbsp of nut butter until smooth. Top with coconut, chia seeds, strawberry slices, and enjoy!

As a side note, this bowl has a more grainy texture because of the beets. If you want, try putting a bit of greek yogurt in there to smooth things out!

Do you have any favorite smoothie bowl recipes? We’d love to try them!

DIY - Honey Face Mask

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Let's face it, ladies. We all love a good face mask. What's even better is if it's cheap, natural and chemical free!

Honey is one of my favorite ingredients in homemade face masks because:

1. It's naturally antibacterial, so it's great for acne prone skin

2. Full of antioxidants for slowing down aging

3. Extremely moisturizing and soothing to boost that healthy glow

4. Clarifying to help open up pores to make them easy to unclog

There are so many diy honey face masks recipes out there and you can make one based on your specific skin needs. 

One of my favorites is honey, coconut oil and lavender oil! Mix equal parts honey and coconut oil and 3 drops of lavender oil. Massage onto a clean face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.

After the mask I like to spritz my face with a toner of water and apple cider vinegar and then finish up with a light moisturizer. 

I promise your skin will thank you!  

Athletes Foot

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It's that time of year where we all want our feet to look our best. If you a truggle to wear sandals in the summer time because of athlete’s feet, try this!  My dad had it severely and this has been a miracle!

Soak your feet in a 1:1 ratio of warm water and apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes a day.  You should notice a change within a couple days- but it may take some people up to 10 to see a difference.  After you have soaked them lather coconut oil all over your feet and let it soak in!

This soak is also great for those who have smelly feet and you can even add ½ to 1 cup baking soda. 

Apple cider vinegar is amazing because it has antifungal, bacterial and viral properties.  It is great for your immune system and digestion if you drink a TBS or 2 daily and you can use it topically for soaks to help heal up infections and get rid of nasty fungal infections- like athlete’s foot or toenail infections too!  Try it for daily for a couple weeks and see the change for yourself!

The Coconut Oil Debate

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Fats are your friend.  Sugar is not.  I probably say this on a daily basis.  If you've been on social media, you've probably seen or read the articles about coconut oil and how it's actually not healthy for you.  It's caused quite a stir!  Here is my take on the coconut oil debate.

My first issue is cholesterol and LDL have this bad rapport.  Cholesterol is not the enemy.  Cholesterol is needed for every single cell membrane, needed to make hormones (like estrogen, testosterone, progesterone), needed for energy and vitamin D levels.  Plus, it also helps to carry away inflammation in the body.  If it was so harmful, why would the body make over 85% of cholesterol in the liver?  (Read more about the cholesterol myth here.)

Some of the sickest and most fatigued people I see are those who have been put on cholesterol lowering drugs - they walk around with joint aches and pains (some move around like they are twice their age), they have severely low energy, poor memory and feel awful.  But good news, their cholesterol is low (some even below 100—which is NOT good at all.) AHHH!  It is all a misconception in my opinion.  Aside from trans fat (which is vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated), fats are your friend!

The links the article sites aren’t even linked to increased heart disease.   They are linked to increased cholesterol levels which aren’t really a predictor for heart disease/strokes- you need to look at triglyceride levels and sugar handling (insulin), as well as CRP on blood work- those are MUCH better predictors.  Additionally, there was a large study in 2010 that stated that increased saturated fat intake didn’t increase cardiovascular disease.

IF (which I don’t believe is the case) saturated fats were really the issue, this article assumes that all saturated fats are the same.  Not true at all!  Coconut oil is 2/3 MCT (medium chain triglycerides).  MCT’s are used for energy and not stored as fat.  If you want more detailed description on the breakdown of that you should read this article.

In my opinion the issues lie with sugar, grain and flour consumption.  I don’t panic if cholesterol or LDL is elevated (unless it is SEVERELY high), I but look especially closely at triglyceride levels, insulin and CRP.  If any of these are slightly high that is when there is a red flag for me. It actually reflects sugar/flour/grain intake and how much inflammation is in the body.  I just think as a society we are focusing on the wrong blood markers for heart disease and there are many people that agree with me.  Give it 10 more years and maybe the American Heart Association will come around ☺.  

Also, lowering fat consumption causes most people’s hunger levels to greatly increase—which leads them to sugars, carbs and processed food—which leads to inflammation (not just in the body but the arteries as well).  

Another major bonus on coconut oil they fail to address is its fantastic microbial properties.  Caprylic acid and lauric acid found in large percentages in coconut oil which are antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral.  I have seen amazing changes in people’s immune system by just adding coconut oil into their daily routine.  You can’t say the same for vegetable oils at all.  The immune boosting properties of coconut oil are phenomenal!

That is just my 2 cents on the article.  I think the misconception of increased saturated fats to heart disease is #1 issue and #2 is blaming the wrong guy (aka sugars, grains, processed foods).   PLUS who funds the AHA?  Big pharma.  I believe money has a lot to do with the root of this topic too… but that is for another day ☺  

PS- this is the same organization that said margarine is good for you (and they may still do).  Margarine is a nasty chemical product that does more damage than any sort of good.  They also say Cocoa Puffs are heart healthy… so take that for what it is worth.

Don't worry, coconut oil, we're on your side.

 

Gelatin vs Collagen

As you have probably heard us say countless times in the office, “Everything begins in the gut!”  Digestion is such a huge factor in your health that we end the testing portion of every appointment by testing your digestive points to ensure that you are properly absorbing and utilizing the nutrients from your food AND the supplements you are taking to heal.  Many patients also ask what they can be doing outside of the supplements and dietary changes to further their health.  Two very simple products to incorporate into your daily routine are Gelatin and Collagen Hydrolysate.  You may have seen them in our office and wondered what they are and how they differ.

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In order to understand the differences, we have to start with Gelatin.  The goal of any nutritious meal is to be properly balanced.  When eating a meal that contains animal meat, it’s a great idea to also consume gelatin!  Most of us throw away the parts of meat that naturally contain collagen (skin, bones, etc) and gelatin is simply cooked collagen.  Gelatin also helps to supply us with added glycine that helps balance out some of the nutrients in meat AND aids in better sleep.  Eating animal meat and gelatin together ensures a balance of important amino acids.  The benefits of gelatin are countless!  Gelatin soothes and coats the interior of the small intestine and helps to heal the GI tract by hydrating and rebuilding the mucosal lining. It is great for those with ‘Leaky Gut’-known for causing food intolerances, allergies, and autoimmune disorders. Lastly, gelatin is also especially great for hair, skin, nails, and joint due to the proteins and anti-inflammatory effects!  Given the state of many people’s GI tracts, however, sometimes it is beneficial to start with what is called “collagen hydrolysate.”

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Collagen Hydrolysate is gelatin that has been further processed to breakup those proteins and amino acids.  This makes is much easier to digest and is more quickly absorbed for that reason.  Collagen Hydrolysate has all the same benefits of Gelatin and can even be a bit easier to use because you can put it directly in hot OR cold liquids without having to let it ‘bloom’.

As an easy rule of thumb, if your purpose of consuming either of these is more GI-related-reach for the pure Gelatin.  If you are looking for help with skin, nails, joints, or sleep, reach for the Collagen Hydrolysate.  Start incorporating Gelatin into some of your favorite soup recipes or even jello/fruit snack recipes and start adding Collagen Hydrolysate into all of your drinks or smoothies!

DIY - Brown Sugar Foot Scrub

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Warm weather is here, so it's time to break out the sandals and flip flops and treat those tired feet!  I bet you have everything you need at home for this brown sugar foot scrub.

The brown sugar is a wonderful exfoliator, while the coconut oil moisturizes.

Ingredients

In a 4 oz jar mix 2 parts brown sugar with 1 part coconut oil.  I also like to add in some essential oils!  My favorite is lavender, lemon and peppermint!  This blend helps ease tired feet and can help naturally reduce swelling.

Smooth over your skin in a circular motion to exfoliate your skin.  I like to let it sit a minute so my feet can absorb the oils.  Once you're finished, just rinse with warm water!

If I do this treatment at night, I like to moisturize my feet with coconut oil and put on socks so my feet can absorb it.

Here's to summer ready feet!

Dairy Free Coconut Fudge

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 Who doesn’t want a little guilt free treat every now and again? I was super impressed at how simple this was to make and how delicious it was.  I didn’t get bloated after eating it or feel sick from all the sugar.  Plus, you get a good amount of coconut oil and all its wonderful health benefits in every bite!

  The downside- you can’t leave this out on a warm day for too long.  The coconut oil melts around 75 degrees so it is best that you store this in the fridge or freezer and not take it to your summer picnic without keeping it in a cooler.

The best part about it? Only 5 ingredients! And I bet you have most of them at home. 

 Ingredients

¾ cup coconut oil, melted

¾ cup cocoa powder

½ cup coconut milk or almond milk

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

 Instructions

Add all ingredients to a blender or an immersion blender to mix up.

Then line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper before pouring in the mixture.

Place in the fridge or freezer to set.  (It will be done much faster if you place in the freezer.) 

When it is hard, cut into bite sized pieces and enjoy!  Store in the freezer so it doesn’t melt.

It was my favorite when it softened up after being out of the freezer for a little while.  It just melted in your mouth and wasn’t frozen solid.  SO delicious!!

Adapted from http://wholenaturallife.com/coconut-oil-fudge/

Healthy Jell-o

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I can’t even remember the last time I had Jell-O, so when I found this super simple recipe I had to give it a try. Let me tell you -it's quick to make (2 minutes tops!) and tasted so good that I had to resist eating the whole pan! The best part is that it isn’t full of processed sugars, flavors or food dyes. It is great for a little treat or snack and kids lunches too!

Ingredients

4 cups Organic Juice (I used grape)

2 TBS Gelatin (We love Vital Proteins and carry it at the office!)

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Mix 2 cups juice with 2 TBS gelatin. It won’t dissolve completely, but let it set while you do the rest.

Next warm up 2 cups juice on the stove till it steams. DON’T boil it- just warm it up until you see steam.

Then add that to your original juice and gelatin. Mix together until all the gelatin is dissolved.

Place in a glass pan or container and put it in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours to set.

That is it! Try different juices to see what you like best!

 

 

Jell-O Blueberry Ingredients from their website

INGREDIENTS: WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, GELATIN, CONTAINS LESS THAN 0.5% OF ADIPIC ACID AND CITRIC ACID (FOR TARTNESS), SODIUM CITRATE (CONTROLS ACIDITY), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BLUE 1.

• High fructose corn syrup= processed, terrible for you, junk sugar

• Blue 1= Food coloring, dye = toxic to nervous system and food dyes can cause ADD symptoms in children… it’s bad stuff!!

Paleo Granola

For those of you who like a crunchy treat without all the additives this is for you! It takes 5 minutes to make (if that) and I feel like it is SO much cheaper that the paleo and healthy alternatives to granola that you can get at the store. This version has no oats, completely grain and gluten free and loaded with good protein from the nuts and seeds! I have already gone through 2 batches at home because it not only tastes good but takes no time or effort to make. A win, win for me!

Ingredients
Pick 4 of any of the nuts below:
- Chopped pecans
- Chopped walnuts
- Coconut flakes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chopped or slivered almonds

6 TBS Maple syrup
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Instructions
Use 4 of the nuts/seeds you have at home and add 1 cup of each to a bowl. Add in maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla and then mix by hand to get all the nuts/seeds coated.

Cover a baking dish with parchment paper. Pour the granola into the dish and press down so it is flat. Bake for 40 minutes on 325 degrees. Let cool and enjoy! (Optional: when it is cooled you can add dried fruit or some chocolate chips to make trail mix!) And try to resist from eating too much like I did!

Adapted from https://www.mommypotamus.com/paleo-maple- granola-recipe/

Switching Out the Plastic

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Did you know that plastic is a major hormone disrupter and actually mimics estrogen and interferes with our body’s own hormone signaling?  This causes all sorts of hormonal issues for both men and women and can be linked back to PCOS, hormone related breast cancer, endometriosis, prostate cancer, thyroid disorders, obesity, and much more!!

Just think how almost everything in your house is stored in plastic.  Plastic water bottles, plastic wrap around our deli meet, cheeses, Tupperware containers for all our left overs, mixing bowls, cups, plates, toothpaste containers, juice bottles, etc.  I mean the list goes on and on.  You can't get away from it however you can simply change a few things that will make a big difference.

1) Stop storing left overs in plastic containers like Tupperware.  Make the switch to Pyrex or glass storage containers.  

2) If you have to store food in plastic containers DO NOT heat your leftovers up in it.  (The microwave is problem number one but I understand that's all people have at work.  Just make sure you don't heat your leftovers up in plastic or cover with plastic wrap.  Heat leftovers in glass containers and cover with a paper towel.)  Plastic particles (especially when heated) leak into the food.  When you pour your hot leftovers into a plastic storage container or heat them up in plastic those particles seep into the food.  You won’t taste it but that doesn't mean it doesn't do any harm. 

At our office I bought a hot plate where we can heat up food or keep things warm (great for keeping your tea/coffee warm too).  It takes time to heat the food up and doesn't zap anything to make it hot in 30 seconds (which is a good thing)!  (Add coconut oil if appropriate to keep things from sticking.  Plus you get your coconut oil in for the day!).  I know most of you won't be able to bring this to work with you but it’s an idea!  Ours cost maybe $20 from Target. 

3) Get glass reusable water bottles. Ditch the plastic bottles.  No one is perfect and I am not claiming to be.  I still drink out of them if I forget my water bottle but I make a conscious effort to keep it minimal.  

4) Save left over glass containers/bottles.  I have ones from tomato sauce, apple sauce, salsa, jam, almond butter- all of which are glass.  Peel off the label, throw it in the dishwasher and bam! you have a perfectly good glass storage container. (Just don't use these to heat up anything real quickly... use Pyrex containers.)

4) Buy yourself some mason jars to store leftovers in, drink from, etc.  They are perfect for storing soups, quinoa, cooked veggies, etc.  This is how I track my water intake for the day too!  I drink 3 of them everyday and if I don’t I know I didn’t get in enough water throughout the day.  (Just don't use these to heat up anything real quickly... use Pyrex containers.)

5) Get glass mixing bowls.  This is especially important for when you make or pour hot ingredients into them.  Remember when food is hot the plastic leaches into the food easily.  

There are so many other things you can switch in your household but just start slowly by getting rid of what you store and heat food up in.  Then move on to getting reusable water bottles and to-go coffee or insulated mugs (Get ceramic or double insulated glass ones... Teavanna makes some good ones). Then move on to switch your plastic cups, plates, bowls, etc.  Then go to your mixing bowls and cutting boards (get wooden ones).  Then get rid of those plastic spatulas (and get wooden ones). We can ALL be better but it is about---- Baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps.  :)

Prevent Blood Sugar Crashes

Did you know coconut oil prevents blood sugar crashes! For those of you who get blood sugar crashes (aka really tired, ‘hangry’, lightheaded, etc.) or feel like you have to eat every 2 hours or you will crash and burn and feel terrible - this is for you!   

By getting in 1 TBS of coconut oil in the morning and lunch it will stabilize you blood sugar levels and help with all the symptoms listed above as well as minimizing sugar cravings! Since it is a fat it does not spike up your blood sugar but instead gives you slow, steady burning energy throughout the day.  This helps tremendously with energy, focus, attention and emotions when blood sugar levels are stable! 

A simple way to get your coconut oil in is put it in your coffee or tea.  Stir it up and drink away!  You can add it to smoothies or dip almonds in it.  Plus, if you add it to anything that is warm it will melt and you shouldn’t even notice it is there.  Or you can try this homemade chocolate too!  You could have one for breakfast and lunch as a little treat!

Also, if you are prone to blood sugar issues- cut the quick carbohydrates and processed sugars.  Have a protein and fat at each meal and make your snacks protein and fat dense too.  It will help tremendously and prevent needing a quick sugar pick me up where we tend to grab all the wrong things.