Archive for pregnancy

prepping for natural childbirth

prepping for natural childbirth - nu roots nutrition

It’s officially crunch time…only a short two months left until my due date and I’ve been doing a ton of reading and research on natural childbirth…are you surprised? It’s about time that I start to develop my birth plan and in doing so I thought I should share some of the things I have been doing throughout my pregnancy to help increase my chances of a natural childbirth. Also I will include what my “ideal” natural birth scenario looks like based on the research I’ve done. But don’t worry, I am not naive enough to think it will go exactly as I see planned in my head…I know things can change in an instant and I intend on being flexible. I just want whatever is best for babe (and me) and if that means being open, so be it!

Prepping for natural childbirth

  • eating healthy – well I wouldn’t be a very good holistic nutritionist if this wasn’t the top of my list. Eating healthy during pregnancy is SO important, you know that saying “you are what you eat” well it is never more true than when you are building a baby….or I guess it would be “they are what you eat” but whatever! I want the very best for the health of my baby, but also my body’s ability to do what it is meant to during labour requires that my nutrition is in tip top shape. Every function our body carries out is dependent on vitamins and minerals, I need to ensure I am fully stocked, with nutrition to spare to get me through this incredibly demanding time for my body.
  • prenatal yoga – I aim for at least a little every day with longer sessions 3 times per week. I believe the ability to open up my hips will be crucial during labour. It can also help the baby find the ideal position, or even flip a breech baby. Not to mention some of the yogi’s I know have the best birth stories EVER! They must be doing something right.
  • squats – this ‘easy to do at home’ exercise can really help get the birthing legs ready! Squatting during the pushing stage can reduce the birth canal by up to 30%, best to be good and strong so your legs can endure it!
  • drinking red raspberry leaf tea everyday – up to 2-3 glasses/day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester is said to prepare and tone the uterus for an “easy” natural birth. In the summer you can also make a red raspberry leaf lemonade. Just steep the tea with a bit of honey, let it cool then add freshly squeezed lemons and refrigerate. Make big batches that you can leave in the fridge and enjoy when you need a good thirst quencher.
  • strengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor – the strengthening is important post birth to help prevent incontinence, and the ability to relax these muscles during labour can help speed up the process immensely.
  • hypnobirthing – a method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques.I haven’t taken a class or read all the books (yet…anyways), but I do have CD’s that I have been listening to (…usually falling asleep to) throughout my pregnancy so that I am used to the techniques that will help me relax during labour. I’ll just pop in my ear buds and drift away (er…hopefully). I saw this work first hand very well at my sister’s baby’s birth, she was extremely focused and “in the zone” during her whole labour. It can’t hurt to give it a try!
  • a drug free labour – this way I can really feel what is going on with my body and switch positions if anything seems awkward. Women lose this natural instinct when birthing with painkilling drugs as they are basically numb. Not to mention these drugs get passed on to baby, I want my babe as alert as possible when he/she comes out and we can get our bonding and breast feeding started asap.
  • evening primrose oil – in the last month or so you can insert 1 capsule/day of evening primrose oil, ah hem…down there, to help soften the cervix.
  • acupuncture & homeopathy – You can start acupuncture around 36-37 weeks. Benefits include: reduced post date pregnancy, helps reduce labour length, reduces epidural rates, reduced c – section rates, reduced need for all medical intervention, and increased normal vaginal delivery. Homeopathy can also be extremely beneficial during labour. Luckily for me, my sister, Dr. Mom, ND is also making the trek across the ocean to be with me (as long as baby cooperates), with her comes access to all these amazing natural medicine modalities. An ND who is also a “doula” is highly recommended in my books!

And then the stork delivers the baby...right?

A Natural Delivery
If all goes as planned, and prior to my birth I am still considered “normal” or “low risk” this will be what my ideal birth scenario looks like…fingers crossed peeps!

  • as little intervention as possible (of course if intervention is absolutely necessary I will not risk my health or the health of my baby and will listen to the advice of my midwife and ND sister)
  • no induction – induction can make contractions stronger and closer together leading to an increased likelihood of additional intervention ie: painkillers
  • no pain killing drugs – to keep me and babe as alert as possible
  • let the water break on it’s own
  • ability to walk around and change positions as necessary and as my instincts guide me
  • intermittent fetal heart rate monitoring vs. constant – as to not disturb babe and just let ‘em do their thing
  • use a birthing ball (exercise ball) to help relax the pelvic floor
  • ability to use the shower during labour
  • ability to squat or try different positions while pushing
  • delayed cord clamping and cutting (at least until 1 minute after it stops pulsing, which is typically 5 or so minutes after birth) – this can be the difference of the baby receiving up to half of it’s blood volume (therefore increased iron stores) that it may not have received with early clamping. To take it one step further (for extra crunchy mamas) you could even consider a lotus birth which leaves the cord intact for hours and some even leave the placenta attached until the cord separates naturally (days after birth).
  • allow the placenta to detach and deliver naturally (up to 30 minutes or an hour, if there is no bleeding)

  • immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby after delivery (ideally up to 2 hours) – as long as babe is healthy, everything else can wait, this is important mommy/baby bonding time (stay tuned for more on this from Dr. Mom, ND)
  • allow baby to latch onto breast instinctively, this can take up to 2 hours – when you allow them to do it themselves, you increase your chances of a better latch, a higher likelihood of successful breastfeeding, and breastfeeding longer (keep in mind allowing them to latch naturally can be more challenging with a medicated baby)

So here we go, hopefully all this hard work will pay off and I will get the natural childbirth I so desire!

If I missed anything please feel free to add in the comments below!! And hey, any positive thoughts coming my way are greatly appreciated!

Much love,

superfood mama to be

Natural Birth Resources:

And remember… “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during birth then someone isn’t treating her right.” Ina May Gaskin

yoga june

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Hello fellow resolutioners! I am so sorry for the delay in this post, I have already got started on my June resolution, but haven’t had the chance to fill you in yet. It seems difficult to pull myself away from the beaches in Spain to get some work done these days….yeah, it’s a spoiled brat kind of problem, but I apologize nonetheless!

Yoga! YAY! I am stoked about this month’s resolution. I’ve been an sporadic wanna be yogi for years now, but it is one of my fave physical activities that has been as good for the mind as it has been for the body. My problem – I am a little inconsistent my muscles are super tight so if I go a week (or even a few days) without it I stiffen right up and feel I have to start from scratch. I have done only one yoga challenge in the past, it was 30 days of 60-90 minute classes…and it was an absolutely amazing month! I’ve been meaning to do another ever since, so here we go!!

This month’s yoga challenge includes:

  • A minimum of 30 minutes of yoga (or whatever stretches I can get this growing belly into) daily. I am aiming for at least 3, one hour (or more) classes per week and a mini home session for the other days.

I plan on combining going to my prenatal yoga classes (in Dutch – I’m lost for most of it), using yogaglo.com (which is fabulous for all types of yoga, all levels and all lengths of time) and my own repertoire and mishmash of poses my body feels like doing. Hip openers seem to be a daily necessity for these ever expanding baby bearing hips.

A great start for new yogi’s would be a simple 7 sets of sun salutations first thing in the am. The beauty of this is that it costs nothing and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Let’s get into why you should be participating in this month’s challenge…

Benefits of Yoga

  • increased flexibility
  • increased strength
  • decreased stress & anxiety
  • more mindfulness, living in the moment
  • connection of mind and body
  • consciousness of breath, decreased respiratory rate, which means lungs function more efficiently
  • there are also a whole slew of potential health benefits for conditions such as cancer (increased red blood cells and less nausea during chemotherapy), depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, fatigue and mood
  • reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure (therefore decreased risk of heart disease)
  • increased circulation therefore increased nutrition and oxygen to organs for healthier skin and brain
  • decreased pain, especially back pain – a complaint of 80% of North America
  • weight loss – yoga can actually help reduce binge eating and control your eating habits
  • decreased menopause symptoms, studies show less hot flashes in menopausal yogi’s
  • decreased asthma symptoms
  • anti-aging
  • and the list goes on….

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga (for all you other soon to be mama’s)

Make sure you are always doing safe prenatal poses (some are not recommended and can be harmful), I highly recommend taking a class or using yogaglo‘s online prenatal classes during this time.

  • learn breathing techniques to help during labor (deep breathing keeps adrenaline down, high adrenaline during labor may mean less oxytocin, which is needed to help labor progress naturally and can prevent the need for pitocin, the synthetic version used to induce labor)
  • learn pelvic floor exercises to prepare you for child birth and boost postpartum recovery (maintaining muscle integrity ‘down there’)
  • decreased back pain
  • classes increase the opportunity to meet a like-minded supportive community
  • squatting can shorten the birth canal by 30% (but dont practice after 34 weeks or it may induce labor)
  • it may help flip a breech baby or get your babe into an ideal birthing position making labor “easier” and reducing the need for medical intervention

I hope you choose to continue to follow along this month to reap these benefits and tell me all about how amazing you feel.

Resources:

to supplement or not to supplement?

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Is it necessary? If so, what do you recommend and why?

These are the supplement questions most commonly asked, and often debated by clients, friends, family and the like. Here is my attempt to answer them to the best of my ability, of course in my own opinion. I hope that you can take this information and decide what is best for you and your family, but please do your own research. We must take health into our own hands and learn how to decipher through the copious amounts of conflicting information.

To simplify, yes, I do believe supplementation is necessary and highly recommended. Now I know you are going to want more information than that…so here’s how I came to this conclusion.

Why do we need to supplement? Don’t we get what we need from food?

To begin this convo I need to dig deep, right down into the soil! You see we get nutrients from food, yes, but the food needs to get them from somewhere – the soil. Therefore soil quality is incredibly important, and we are extremely dependent on the soil. Let’s take a look at the “ideal” world vs. reality today as far food and soil quality are concerned.

An Ideal World

  • We have several feet of top soil
  • We rotate our crops as to not deplete the soil of the same nutrients year after year
  • Each year the soil is replenished with compost and manure to ensure nutrients are being returned to the soil
  • The soil retains all 50+ minerals required to maintain healthy plants (food) and therefore a properly functioning human body
  • Plants are healthy, not requiring too much human intervention
  • Crops are grown organically (without chemical fertilizers and pesticides)
  • Food is picked when ripened by the sun
  • Food is eaten just after being picked
  • Food does not undergo heavy processing or too much heat
  • Food scraps go back into the compost pile
  • Our bodies are satisfied having received the nutrients it requires, we are healthy
  • The cycle continues…

Reality Today

  • We have a mere 6” of top soil
  • Most industrial farms use mono-cropping (one crop, year after year), which depletes the same nutrients from the soil, without rotation or replenishment
  • We use chemical fertilizers to “replenish” soil, unfortunately they mostly only contain Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium…only 3 of the 50+ minerals that plants and humans need to be strong and healthy
  • Plants become weak without proper nutrients to allow them to grow
  • Bugs come and attack
  • We use chemical pesticides to attack the bugs
  • Often times we use genetic modification so we can use more chemical pesticides
  • Food is picked before it is ripe
  • Food is often ripened artificially with chemicals during transit
  • Food travels hundreds or thousands of miles to get to the grocery store
  • Food is processed (stripped of what little nutrition remains), packaged, then more chemicals are added to preserve
  • Food sits in grocery store waiting to be purchased
  • Food sits on our counters or in our fridge before consumed
  • We eat nutrient depleted, chemical infused food
  • We are still hungry, our bodies having not been nourished with the vitamins and minerals they require
  • We eat more nutrient depleted, chemical infused food
  • The cycle continues…
  • Eventually we become overweight, under nourished and sick

Wowza, that was quite the depressing road I just took you down! Okay, you may think this is an extreme version of reality today, but really – is it that far off?

Very few of us (if any) can realistically live in the “ideal world” scenario I described, perhaps unless you are living solely off your own land (ahh, the dream…one day). Even if we are eating 100% organic food, how far has it travelled to get to you? Was it from a small scale farm where crops are rotated or is it “big box organic”? Was it ripened in the sun? Do you eat it right away? You see how there are SO many factors to consider the nutrient quality of modern day food…it’s really enough to make your head spin.

Top nutrition scientists and Naturopathic Doctors featured in the movie Food Matters (a highly recommended must watch) say that if you have sub optimal nutrient levels you can eat raw veggies all day, but you still wont replenish nutrient deficiencies from the past. Therefore in the case of sub optimal nutrient levels (reality today), or worse – deficiencies, supplementation is required.

This brings about a whole new point….can we get by on “sub optimal” nutrition?

Many nutritionists and other natural healers believe that the deficiency of nutrients can contribute (or cause) disease, therefore replenishing these nutrients (among other treatments) can bring the body back into balance and sometimes can even reverse disease. The body is quite amazing at continuing to function with sub optimal conditions for an extended period of time, but in reality this is just setting the stage for disease as we grow weaker.

RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowances)

But this glass of orange juice says I am getting 100% of my daily requirements for Vitamin C, why would I need more?

RDA’s were designed to help prevent diseases of nutrient deficiency. For example the RDA of Vitamin C is 60mg/day, therefore if we were to receive at least 60mg of Vitamin C/day we should prevent scurvy (the Vitamin C deficiency disease).

Us nutritionists look at these RDA’s as the MINIMUM WAGE OF NUTRITION. Personally, I don’t want to earn minimum wage, nor do I think my body deserves the bare minimum. Early hunter gatherers are believed to have consumed at least 640mg (10x or current RDA) of Vitamin C/day, and many believe we need much more than that to achieve optimal levels. Some Naturopathic Doctors have used upwards of 100,000mg (1667x the RDA) of intravenous Vitamin C for cancer treatments.

As far as I am concerned, when it comes to myself and my family, I’m aiming for OPTIMAL NUTRITION (or as close as I can get). Therefore we do what we can to ensure we consume high quality, local, organic food that is minimally processed AND we still supplement what I would call “the essentials”. (Check out an Optimal Daily Allowance guide)

What supplements do you recommend and why?

My basic supplement regime or “the essentials” that I often recommend to clients (and take myself, even during pregnancy) looks a little something like this:

Note: these are all taken DAILY for maximum effect.

A high potency multivitamin & mineral (during pre-conception, pregnancy and lactation this would be a high quality prenatal vitamin) – We just aren’t getting enough from our food, did I make that point clear yet? :P A good quality, hi-potency multi usually consists of any where from 2-8 pills/day, not 1. It is impossible to get even the bare minimum from a one-a-day.

I often recommend professional line (or health food store) products, as drug store and grocery store brands are cheap for a reason. They usually contain forms of vitamins and minerals that are synthetic or poorly absorbed (low bio-availability), for example Calcium Carbonate is a cheap source of Calcium with a low bio-availability, meaning we don’t absorb it well (if at all). Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHC) is a more expensive, but much more easily absorbed form of Calcium. Each vitamin and mineral can come in a variety of forms making it oh so difficult to determine the quality of a good multi, but worth the time and effort, it’s your money, your health.

Probiotics – These are the good bacteria that literally build our immune system. They help us to absorb nutrients and can even help us make vitamins! Many of us have taken antibiotics in the past without having replenished the good stuff, nor do most of us eat enough fermented foods. These are especially important during conception, pregnancy, and lactation because baby’s gut (and even brain) health depends on mommy’s gut health. 10-20 billion cfu/day from a high quality source that is kept in the fridge.

Vitamin D – The “anti-cancer” nutrient almost NONE of us are getting enough of. Years ago even I was shocked to find out my levels were sub optimal and I’m a sun loving, non sunscreen wearing (luckily I don’t burn), whole food eating nutritionist! At least 2000 IU/day is recommended for most, during pregnancy as well.

Omega 3’s (preferably from fish oil) – We aren’t getting enough in the typical western diet (are you noticing a theme here?). If you are eating lots of packaged foods then you are likely consuming a diet high in Omega 6’s. Unless you eat a lot of wild, cold water (ideally low mercury) fish, then you probably get very little omega 3’s to balance out the 6’s. Fats are a really complex topic that deserve a post all on it’s own. Bottom line, many of us are omega 3 depleted and they are SO important for health (blood pressure lowering, anti-inflammatory etc.) that supplementation is highly recommended. The bonus is you will see the effects in your skin and hair almost immediately. 1 tsp – 1 tbsp per day of a high quality fish oil (again you get what you pay for here) ensure it is tested for mercury and processed minimally.

What about ALL the other supplements on the market?

There are SO MANY amazing supplements on the market (and conversely, some crappy ones too), many in which I use or have used in the past, but each and every one of us is different. We require different supplements, for different purposes, in different doses from different companies. This is when you need to seek out your favorite holistic nutritionist, Naturopathic Doctor or other open minded natural health care practitioner to develop a supplement regime that is unique to you. (PS – I’m more than happy to help! And offering 20% off if you book in May or June, 2012)

I hope this helps you get started in your journey towards optimal health! I would love to hear your thoughts, questions and comments below. I will do my best to answer, but I cannot answer individual health questions without having done a proper intake (of course you are always welcome to book a private session).

Links and Resources

Supplement companies I like:

*again I stress the importance of individuality, but I just KNOW you are going to ask which companies I recommend often

Professional (see your ND’s or nutritionists for these ones)

Health Foods Store

Other Great Resources

the first half

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Well, pregnancy has been an amazing journey so far! I have surpassed the half way mark and it feels amazing. Since I promised to keep you all up to date on my pregnancy with tips and tricks I found that worked for me, here is my attempt to (not so) briefly describe my journey up until now.

Weeks 4-6

From shock and disbelief to ecstatic and joyous (remember?). I am in a state of complete bliss and totally naive to what is about to rock my world. MUST…EAT…I am ravenous. There seems to be no satiating my hunger, for the first time in a while I need to be organized with handy, ready to eat, healthy snacks. Whatever I can get my hands on goes in my mouth, lucky I choose to surround myself with healthy foods. This is when I would stuff handfuls of raw kale in my mouth if it was what I so desired. I can’t get enough of organic European oranges, they are the best things I’ve ever tasted.

Preggie tips (weeks 4-6):

Weeks 7-11

Oh, so THIS is what morning sickness feels like…ugh. I don’t want anything too flavorful or fragrant, in fact if you choose to eat garlic, you are making a conscious decision to sleep on the couch tonight. Actually, if you so much as breathe my way you will get an unpleasant response straight from the pit of my stomach. All I want is bland bland bland…perhaps a little gluten free english muffin (my favorite time of day), blender pancakes, cornbread, or GF pizza. And keep it comin’ it’s been 2 hours since I ate last…

Pregnancy constipation sets in. Although my baby weighs about 2 grams, the poo baby must be weighing in somewhere around 4 lbs 5 oz…lemon water, chia seeds, prune juice…come on guys, you are so good to me pre-pregnancy. Note to self: do not use old tricks from pre-pregnant life like upon rising drinking only water until you have a bowel movement – this will only lead to throwing up a good 2L of water and turn you off of gulping anything for a while. Of all the things to get turned off of, water is most definitely not ideal.

Seven and a half weeks in I see the heartbeat on the ultrasound and nothing else matters, this is all worth it!! Eleven weeks rolls around & my mind gets the best of me, it’s been too long since I’ve heard the heart beat, I’m starting to feel better…but it’s too early to feel better…something is wrong (though of course nothing was). Note: Some spotting is normal, so don’t freak out and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT google signs of miscarriage. It  will not ease your mind, in fact it will likely do the opposite.

PS – don’t piss me off…my (w)hormones are raging (optional spelling addition added by my loving husband). This was always good for a giggle when I needed to be snapped out of (w)hormonal bitch mode.

Unfortunately this is the time period where I traveled from Europe to Canada, to Mexico, and back. I am sorry to all my friends and family who had to put up with my extreme whiny-ness…especially my sister who repeatedly listened to me cry, yet made me laugh at the same time, a great confirmation that the pregnancy was progressing normally.

I get a double whammy of sickness (a cold & the flu) in fact my whole family gets sick in Mexico. I have never been so mucousy in my life. Like 5 or 6 kleenex’s may not even do the trick. Keep the vitamin C coming!

I’m tired, if you have the luxury – sleep now, while you still have the opportunity!!

Although this was the “worst” of it all, I must say I feel truly blessed, as even all this was certainly “not that bad”.

Preggie tips (weeks 7-11):

  • a good B-Vitamin complex (with 50mg of P5P, Vitamin B6) is a nauseous prego’s best friend during this stage
  • meditate
  • listen to your body, if you are tired – sleep, if you are hungry – eat (just try and choose healthy options and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t perfect all the time)

Pregnant travel tips:

  • aisle seats are a good idea
  • make sure to have plenty of B-Vitamins, and Vitamin C (max 2000mg/day) to protect you from getting sick during transit

Weeks 12-20

Wow, I feel AMAZING! The 12 week ultrasound confirms that I have made it past the most crucial hump. We see our baby squirming around, it even turns to look at us, we hear the heart beating, it is the best sound in the world!

My life is starting to return back to normal. My husband is happy to have his wife back. We can eat garlic and onions again. I can cook with ease.

Eggs are a must have around the house, you must not get between this preggie and her daily eggs (of course I mean whole, free-range, local farmers market eggs). But hey they are incredibly nutritious, loaded in protein, fat soluble vitamins and lecithin, which helps ease ligament pain (common for a growing belly) and contributes to building a healthy baby brain.

Chia fresca works it’s magic on this slowed digestive system! YAY!! Finally!!

My energy is back and my mid day naps are a thing of the past. I am keen to exercise, albeit gentle stuff like cycling, yoga and things I can do at home like lunges, squats and push-ups.

Fourteen weeks in, even though it seems early, I feel baby’s first flutters. Incredible!! 18 weeks in and papa gets to share in the excitement. We are super lucky to have felt this so early. Note: baby’s movements are still irregular at this point, just because you don’t feel it ALL the time, does not mean something is wrong. By week 26 they should be in more of a routine, until then a day of few movements is not something to be concerned about.

There is a definite bump starting to poke out…ahh it’s really weird to see myself with a belly, but I love it! My babe is growing fast and furious.

Preggie tips (weeks 12-20):

  • exercise 4 times a week
  • eat your whole, free range eggs
  • now that you can eat anything again, make sure you are conscious to get tons of raw veggies back into your day
  • eat foods high in iron like blackstrap molasses, goji berries, spinach, lentils, sesame seeds, chickpeas and olives

I hope this helps you to learn from my experience and may your pregnancy be equally amazing!!

BTW – is half way too soon to start freaking out about labour? eeeekkk…

Please do share your experience or any tips you might add below!!

In health & happiness,

Sam

chia fresca may

chia fresca

It’s that time of the month again…no, not that one…resolution time! May’s resolution is extra special because it involves our very first product giveaway. You can enter to win one of my favorite wholesome breakfasts Chia Goodness Cereal by:

  1. Liking nu roots nutrition on Facebook (and hey why not twitter while you’re at it)
  2. Liking Ruth’s Hemp Foods on Facebook (maker of Chia Goodness Cereal)
  3. Telling me why you love chia seed or what type of recipe you love to use it in. Post it in the comments section below (on this blog post &/or on the Ruth’s Hemp Foods Facebook Page)

Please note that you must be in North America to enter (sorry to any of my new Euro followers).

May’s resolution is designed for your digestive system. It will keep you regular, (combating both constipation or diarrhea) boost your digestive system and provide a mild form of detoxification through the bowels. Hey, you might even shed some weight too! Just drink 1 glass (or jar) of chia fresca everyday!

Chia Fresca

Chia fresca is a Mexican beverage traditionally made with water, citrus, chia seed and a little sweetener (if needed).
As mentioned many times previously on my blog, chia seeds are my #1 fave source of fiber! A must for all, especially those of us who are pregnant and suffering the woes of a slowed digestive system…

Why it’s so amazing

First off, the sourness of the lemon will jump start the whole digestive process, just think about tasting it and you will start to salivate. This sets off a chain reaction of increased stomach acid, higher enzymatic output, and more bile purged from the liver – just trust me when I say this all translates to “better digestion and elimination”.

Secondly the chia seeds, an incredible source of water soluble fiber, cruise through the digestive tract sweeping up all the bile and giving it a first class ticket to the toilet where it belongs. Bile is our liver’s way of getting rid of toxins, old hormones and cholesterol – without enough water soluble fiber we just reabsorb all that gunk and it continues to circulate, yuck! This is why fiber is always recommended for those with high cholesterol. Also, it is great for weight loss because of many are carrying around a bunch of old poop in the bowels (as lovely as that sounds). I believe this chronic constipation may be due to the high gluten and dairy diet of North Americans, both of which can be extremely congesting on the gut.

And finally, superfood chia seed themselves get digested for all their amazing nutritional properties like anti-inflammatory, blood pressure reducing omega 3 fats. They also have more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and a whole array of other essential nutrients like potassium, copper and zinc.

How to make chia fresca

  • 1 L pure water (ideally spring or filtered)
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 to whole lemon, freshly juiced
  • few drops of liquid steva to sweeten (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a 1 L jar or other container with a lid (so you can shake it). Let sit for 15 minutes, shaking occasionally and the chia will develop a gelatinous layer around it, so it slides down your throat nice and smooth. Drink throughout the day, though this is best enjoyed in the morning for maximum benefit.

I look forward to hearing all about your favorite uses for this amazing superfood in the comments below. Feel free to post a link to your favorite recipe if you have one! Don’t forget to follow all the contest rules and enter to win Chia Goodness Cereal!

Happy chia fresca May!!!

Here are the rules again. You can enter to win one of my favorite wholesome breakfasts Chia Goodness Cereal by:

  1. Liking nu roots nutrition on Facebook (and hey why not twitter while you’re at it)
  2. Liking Ruth’s Hemp Foods on Facebook (maker of Chia Goodness Cereal)
  3. Telling me why you love chia seed or what type of recipe you love to use it in. Post it in the comments section below (on this blog post &/or on the Ruth’s Hemp Foods Facebook Page)

Please note that you must be in North America to enter (sorry to any of my new Euro followers).

 

i’m pregnant…now what?

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Okay, so the fourth pregnancy test has officially confirmed it. You are pregnant! Congratulations!!! But what do you do now? What can or can’t you do? What can you eat? What should you avoid? Where do you begin? Ugh, so much to think about!

I understand how you feel because I was overwhelmed with all the do’s and don’ts, should’s and should not’s as well. To make things simpler for you, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations from various sources which highlight what are in my opinion the most important factors for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

What to do – first steps

  • book an appointment with your doctor or midwife
  • get some baseline blood work done, blood sugar, iron levels etc.
  • start your pregnancy supplement routine (post coming on this subject) – if you haven’t started already. I advise you to start before trying to get pregnant though
  • sign up for updates on babycenter.ca – I love getting my weekly update on how big my baby is and what is happening developmentally week by week
  • look into other birthing prep classes for you and your partner
  • practice prenatal yoga and other exercise such as swimming, biking, hiking, walking, squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. (jogging is okay in the first trimester but can weaken your pelvic floor during the 2nd and 3rd trimester)
  • meditate – I especially like the prenatal meditations on yogaglo.com
  • strengthen your pelvic floor – do your kegels and learn about the EPI-NO, Pelvic Floor Wellness
  • grease up your belly 2x/day with your favorite all natural belly butter, I like Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s Belly Butter and my homemade concoction of shea butter, raw cacao butter and virgin coconut oil.
  • sleep on your left side, starting in the 2nd trimester for best blood flow to baby

What NOT to do

  • hot tubbing or saunas – warm baths are okay
  • smoke (cigarettes or other things) – avoid second hand smoke if possible as well
  • any sort of detox or cleanse – this is a time to build, not break down. Plus you don’t want babe to get all those toxins that are being released.
  • massage in the first trimester – there are a lot of mixed reviews on this point, a qualified RMT (with prenatal training) should know what is contraindicated in pregnancy and will not cause harm, just choose your RMT wisely
  • google every little symptom – just try to relax and enjoy it all (though I know this is easier said than done…)


What to eat & drink

  • lots of fresh veggies and fruits
  • up your protein intake with organic, free range meat, eggs, legumes, quinoa, nuts and seeds
  • drink at least 2L pure water daily
  • herbal teas which are safe for pregnancy include: red raspberry leaf tea (uterine tonic – for an “easy” labour), peppermint, rooibos
  • try to eat as organic as possible - remember which foods are most important!
  • a little of your favorite superfoods, not so much that you will be detoxing, but some for extra nutrition is great!

What NOT to eat & drink

  • caffeine, especially in the first trimester, afterwards a little is okay
  • alcohol
  • junk food (as much as you might want it), your babe needs vitamins and minerals, not sugar, hydrogenated fats or additives
  • fish that are high/moderate in mercury (personally I chose to nix fish altogether during pregnancy – but I always take my heavy metal free fish oil!)
  • sushi (raw fish – vegetarian sushi is okay)
  • undercooked meats
  • deli meat
  • unpasteurized cheeses
  • soft cheese
  • tap water – trihalomethanes (Chlorine byproducts) can increase risk for miscarriage and still births – use filtered water like Santevia or spring water
  • chemical food additives
  • sugar substitutes (chemical such as aspartame, sucralose etc.)
  • artificial flavors
  • food dyes
  • nitrates (often found in deli meats, hot dogs)
  • sulphites (often found in dried fruits, red wine)
  • herbs – there are several herbs to avoid during pregnancy, but some are safe; consult an herbalist who specializes in pregnancy

Hopefully this list isn’t overwhelming and helps you sort it all out! Best of luck with your pregnancy, and remember to enjoy every second of it!

i am beautiful april

feel good concept

My April resolution is all about positivity! I am going to start by surrounding myself with positive affirmations and repeating them out loud twice a day, probably before brushing my teeth so I don’t forget. The inspiration for this resolution was yet again my amazing Naturopathic Doctor sister (Dr. Mom, ND). In fact, I believe a lot of the credit must go to her fantastic man, for really bringing it into practice in her life. I was also reminded by the movie “Hungry for Change” about the amazing Louise Hay and the affirmation “I accept myself unconditionally right now”. If you haven’t heard of Louise Hay, I highly recommend you check out louisehay.com or read “You Can Heal Your Life”.

The idea behind affirmations is using the power of positive thinking as a tool to bring about positive life changes. I believe that by saying my affirmations twice a day for 30 days, I will start to notice positive shifts in my thought patterns. Out with the old self sabotage and worry, in with the new, nothing but positive thoughts.

Now back to my sis and her man…when I stay at their house I am surrounded by positivity everywhere I look. I wake up to phrases like “good morning you fabulous creation” written right smack dab in the middle of the bathroom mirror, where you’d have to be blind not to see it. I have to admit, I was a little freaked out by it in the beginning. It was weird to me to be inundated with affirmations like that, but by the end of my 3 week stint at their place last year (when my handsome nephew was born) I was feeling great. I’d wake up believing I sure am one damn fabulous creation!

If confidence is something you struggle with, this month’s resolution is a MUST! My sis and her man will be the first to admit, confidence is not something that is lacking in their household, and I mean that in the most loving, and admirable of ways (notice I said confident and most certainly not conceited…there is a big difference). We must be confident in order to achieve, to love ourselves fully, love those around us, and accept that we deserve nothing but the best.

I must confess, I myself have been struggling with a few negative emotions during pregnancy. I’m a small girl, used to being a small girl, who is growing by the second and it’s freaking me out! I (embarrassingly admit) that I have been comparing myself to other pregnant girls I know thinking “I’m bigger than she was at 15 weeks”. Seriously though, I haven’t had a belly this big since I ate gluten 3 times a day before realizing I had a sensitivity to it. But now I must remind myself I am pregnant, not fat.

I have dealt with many clients and friends during their first pregnancy and many of us go through the same thing. Why do we do this self sabotage thing? It is absurd! I have now decided the faster and bigger I grow (within reason of course) the healthier and happier my baby is! And thankfully my husband constantly reassures me that it must be because my body is  so good at being pregnant :) Also, I’ve been feeling so good these days that I get concerned that something must be wrong with the pregnancy (yeah, ridiculous!). I should feel crappy during pregnancy, shouldn’t I? So what’s wrong? Is everything okay with my baby? Needless to say, some of my affirmations will include “our baby is thriving” and “I am pregnant, and beautiful”.

So what do you do? Well again following my sister’s lead, they have 2 pens that can write on mirrors or windows, one pink, one blue (his and hers, oh so cute) or just use post-it’s, whatever! Now, write anything positive, anything you have been struggling with on your bathroom mirror, or make it the first thing you see when you wake up and the last thing you see before you go to bed. My sis and bro in law not only write their own affirmations, but notes to each other reassuring one another that they are loved, and are an amazing parent, etc., it really is beautiful to read.

Well I’m off to plaster positivity all over my house, I hope that you do the same!! You are beautiful and you should tell yourself every day!

PS – I am feeling amazing and I believe I have Superfood Smoothie March to thank! For those of you who participated I’d love to hear about your experience!!

Much love,

Samantha Peris

“omg i’m pregnant!”

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Yup, that sure looks like two lines…it can’t be. It shouldn’t be…or can it? My boobs are sore, my BBT was high, that matcha latte I had yesterday sent my heart racing…I need to lay down…I think I’m seeing stripes.

omg, omg, omg…I’m pregnant….holy *&#$ I’m pregnant. I feel crazy spewing these words out. Not to mention, I am talking to a dog.

But I wasn’t supposed to be ovulating. I mean I know we were “trying”, but THE FIRST TIME??!! Not bad for a once hormonally challenged gal, I guess we’re fertile…hmm…good to know!

Oh no, what have I done wrong over the past 2 weeks? There were those glasses of wine, oh, and the hot tub…er…and the glasses of wine IN the hot tub. That latte last week…the sauna at the gym…when the guy poured the water on the rocks it got really hot. Oh geez, what have I done to my babe?

I gotta check it again, yup…still two lines. I should do another. Yup…two lines, I guess it’s for real. Wow, I’m going to be a mom. Kaya, you’re going to be a big sister (I tell my dog). I’m going to be a MOM!!!!

The minor panic attack suddenly turns to the most incredible joy I’ve ever known. I am so thankful to be saying the words “I’m pregnant”. All the negative thoughts are to be brushed aside, they aren’t going to do my baby any good anyway.

It feels surreal, I continually run up the stairs every so often to check the tests…both tests positive, still 2 lines, boobs still sore…wow.

So how do I tell him? Hmm..I’ll buy baby’s first clothes…and perhaps a cute sweater for me, I can fit a decent baby bump in it.

The wait for him to get home takes FOREVER, but when the moment arrives it is fabulous. We are ecstatic! We’re having a baby! Finally we can share the excitement of it all. We have a fabulous evening, I pour him the last glass of our open bottle of wine. Sigh at the new gluten free beer in the fridge that I was excited to try this weekend. Mourn the loss of a body that was all my own, and yet love that I am now sharing it with the newest love of my life.

He begs me to find out the sex, when waiting for a surprise is something I have been adamant about for years. He’s fighting a losing battle.

I’m lying awake, cant sleep. Too excited. One church bell goes off, damn is that 1am, or is it something thirty?…4 church bells go off…wow 4am. It’s my last 9 months of sleep and I can’t. Might as well get up and write a blog called “omg I’m pregnant”. 5am…I should really try and get some sleep…but first, a snack…I’m building a baby you know!

Our lil one is meant to arrive around September 22nd…if you feel so inclined, please feel free to send my uterus all kinds of positivity!

Make sure to check back for more posts all about pregnancy and fertility…I have experience now ;)

the ‘ideal’ pre-pregnancy diet

we focus primarily on women's health, pre-pregnancy through early motherhood

Pre-pregnancy diet is incredibly important for maintaining optimal health. If you are scraping by on the Standard American Diet (SAD – in more ways than one) then unfortunately you and babe are not going to be in an “ideal” scenario to say the least. Lack of nutrient dense whole food and a reliance on nutrient poor, convenience food could lead to future serious health problems. To give you a general idea, this is the type of diet I would consider to be “ideal”.

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