Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Ten Tips for Postpartum Fitness: Part 2

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Ten tips for postpartum fitnessAfter the birth of a baby many women are eager to feel strong, healthy, and fit. Although it is often overwhelming to know where to even start; especially when you look into the mirror and see a body you don’t recognize as your own. Additionally you are busy adjusting to having a new family member to care for and it can be hard to find the time and/or motivation even when the desire to exercise is very strong. Remind yourself that you ARE worth it AND that being healthy is a highly valuable aspiration. Investing time and energy into your health has a positive impact on both you as an individual and your entire family.

A while back I shared some Simple Postpartum Fitness tips. Here are a few more important tips to get you started.

Nutrition Counts
Honor your body by feeding it nutritionally dense (and of course delicious!) foods. I cannot emphasize this enough. Exercise is only a percentage of the equation to being healthy and fit. Your food choices will greatly impact your energy levels and your results. Keep in mind though that a healthy diet is not at all about deprivation. It is about nourishing your body with the optimal fuel it needs to function at its very best! Focus on a clean diet consisting of whole foods rather than worrying about calories, fat content, etc.

Sleep is Essential
Another HUGE piece of the puzzle is sleep. Study after study show that exercising when you are sleep deprived holds very little benefit. Your body needs adequate sleep in order to restore, regulate, and balance itself. Hormone levels are especially effected by sleep and when our hormone levels are off, a myriad of issues can ensue. In other words proper sleep trumps exercise! BUT one thing to keep in mind is that exercising actually HELPS you sleep better. So there is definitely a reciprocal relationship to the two elements of a healthy lifestyle and finding your balance is key. I know for about the first six month postpartum if I had the option between taking a 30 minute nap or exercising, I often chose the nap. At first there was a little bit of guilt associated with that, but I kept reminding myself that sleep was just as important to my health as exercise.

Practice Functional Fitness
What does this mean? You don’t have to spend countless hours at the gym or on a treadmill to be active. Instead embed activity into your everyday rhythms and routines. Simple changes can make a big difference! One easy place to start is simply walking more. Are there places you go on a regular basis that you could walk to instead of drive? Do you have a friend you can meet up with to take walks together? As a family can you take an evening or weekend? We got into the habit of taking a family walk together shortly before bedtime. My older boys ride their bikes or scooters, while the little one is in the carrier or stroller.  This has seriously increased our family wellness tenfold! Hubby and I get time to chat about our day and the boys get some fresh air and exercise right before bed (and I feel they are sleeping really well because of it!). With the winter approaching we might need to find a new rhythm, but remember that’s all part of life; being able to roll with it and adapt to the seasons of life. Which brings me to the next tip…

Focus on What You are Already Doing Right
It is easy to focus on where we feel we are falling short. Maybe you missed a workout or indulged too much over the weekend? Don’t sweat it! Seriously, just move forward. The negative energy and/or stress you place on yourself is not worth it and is counterproductive to your health. Focus on all the wonderful and great things you ARE doing! Maybe you took a walk with your baby. Or played tag with your older kids at the park while your baby napped. Or nappe with your baby. Or enjoyed a healthy meal with your family. Honor and celebrate whatever positive things you are doing for yourself. A positive mindset feeds your spirit and leads to abundant wellness. Each season in life brings you new opportunities, so embrace them fully!

Love Yourself
Don’t worry about what your neighbor who had a baby 8 days after you is doing. Don’t worry about what that celebrity on the cover of People magazine who just had a baby is doing. Focus on you. Look at your own body with loving eyes. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Appreciate all the amazing things your body has done and will continue to do. You grew a baby. You birthed a baby. You have nurtured LIFE! I made a commitment to myself that any time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I would smile and appreciate my reflection exactly as it was. It may sound kind of hokey, but that made all the difference for me. Stop any self-loathing about your postpartum body. Immediately! Your journey is unique to you. Be patient and curious about what your path to wellness will hold.

Sarah is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer.  She blogs about health, nutrition, and exercise at fitafter.com

Best Foods for Nursing

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Best Foods for NursingNursing is such a special time in your motherhood journey. Along with working on latch, positioning and learning to relax to release milk, learning what foods are best for milk production can help improve health and quality of your milk supply.

First let’s clear up a few terms: lactogenic foods are foods which help in the secretion of the lactation hormones estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin. They are also called galactagogues. The main function of a galactagogue is to help promote milk production, but in order for milk to be at its peak performance the body has to be properly hydrated and have fiber. One of the main characteristics of galactagogues is high fiber content to help the body move nutrients through your system and produce adequate and quality milk.

Oatmeal is one of the most common foods, since its high fiber, calming and comforting. Oatmeal helps with regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and provides moms with a relaxing comfort food that can help produce oxytocin and promote letdown.

Spinach and leafy greens also help with production, offering a tasty way to fill your need for calcium, iron, folate and Vitamins K and A. They also contain phytoestrogens: plant-based chemicals that behave similar to estrogens help promote healthy breast tissue and lactation.

Carrots are a lesser-known galactagogue, offering nursing mothers a boost of energy as an afternoon snack. My favorite way of getting my carrots is as an afternoon juice to help boost milk production for the evening. They are high in betcarotene and Vitamin A. Papaya is another lesser-known galactagogue here in the states but is commonly used in Latin America and Asia. Papaya helps promote relaxation and has a natural sedative in it.

Brown Rice, much like oatmeal, is a great grain for nursing. It is a complex carbohydrate which helps fill the body while providing extra fiber. Research has found that eating brown rice causes an increase in serotonin levels, which in turn helps promote prolactin secretion.  Prolactin is the key hormone in milk production.

And let’s not forget protein! Salmon is a key and wonderful source of Omega 3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids–both are essential for healthy milk production and brain development.

Let’s not forget to drink lots of water, snack on wonderful almonds and keep nursing those hungry babies to help them grow grow grow!

Happy Nursing Mamas!

Pia Watzig is a stay at home mom to three (!) crazy little boys aged five, three and 10 months. A trained chef, she loves to cook for all her hungry boys in Portland, Oregon

 

 

 

Nutrition while Nursing

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Nutrition while NursingWe hear talk of nutrition while pregnant, and again when baby begins to move towards solids, but we often overlook talking about nutrition while nursing.

We all know that eating healthy is important and know that there are areas in our diets that are less than ideal. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Overall, the best diet is a well-rounded one.

A few key things to remember:

  • Eat natural. Fresh, whole foods, with little or no additives or contaminants
  • Eat variety. Consuming a variety of each of the food groups from day to day and meal to meal can help ensure you are getting a good balance of nutrients and minerals, and keep mealtime exciting.
  • Eat and drink water to satiation. If you are feeling hungry or thirsty, your body may need more than it has been getting. We are all different, so what is enough for you may be too much or not enough for someone else. Listen to your body.
  • Eat good fats. Don’t forget to get some healthy fats in your diet. These are the brain’s building blocks and pave the way for your baby’s brain development.

Resources like Kellymom.com and books like Natural Health After Birth can further enhance your knowledge and expand your variety of recipes and other healthful additions to your diet.

Even with allergies, eating a good variety of food and changing it up each meal can help ensure you are as balanced as you can be. Eating a good variety may help to prevent over-sensitization to one particular food, and sets your baby’s palate for the future. Share the wonder and variety in the world with your baby right at home, through your food, and you are both sure to benefit!

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 

 

 

 

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should Eat

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

While some mothers choose to avoid solids for the entire first year, others prefer to start sooner. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that most babies can start solids by 6 months, around the time babies begin to be much more active.

When you decide your baby is ready to begin solids, consider introducing some nutritionally dense superfoods instead of the traditional grain-based baby cereal. Babies produce plenty of functional enzymes and digestive juices that help them digest proteins and fats, making these fatty, protein-rich foods perfect first foods.

Introduce only one food at a time, and wait at least four days before introducing another food to rule out the possibility of a negative reaction. Always check with your pediatrician before beginning new foods.

Three Superfoods Every Baby Should EatEgg Yolks. Pediatricians warn us to stay away from egg whites, which may cause an allergic reaction, but the yolk is a nutritional powerhouse. Yolks from pasture-raised hens provide much-needed fat and cholesterol for proper brain and nervous system development, as well as choline, amino acids and vitamin A. Simply boil an egg for about 4 minutes so the yolk is soft but not runny, discard the white and serve with a small amount of unrefined sea salt.

Liver. Pastured, organic, poultry liver is extremely high in vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for developing babies. It also happens to be one of the best sources of usable iron along with vitamin B12 and other nutrients such as choline and cholesterol, which are important for healthy brain development. Start by shredding about a teaspoon of frozen liver (freezing for at least 14 days helps destroy any harmful microbes) onto an egg yolk. Beginning at six months you can serve baby cooked, pureed liver.

Salmon Roe. These nutrient-dense little eggs have some of the highest levels of omega 3s, almost 3.5 times the amount typically found in salmon. In addition to the brain-boosting fats, salmon roe is rich in antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins along with zinc and iodine. Try serving by themselves or incorporated into a soft-boiled egg yolk.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Fruit Kabobs

Friday, October 7th, 2011

 

Most everyone would agree that we want our families to eat healthy foods, but sometimes this can be a real struggle. Making fruit kabobs is a super fun and easy nutrition activity you can do even with very young children, with supervision.

Items needed:

    • Variety of fruit
    • Kabob skewers

Moms can wash the fruit and cut it into medium-sized chunks and arrange it on a plate or tray. Then encourage your child to create their fruit kabob using any of the fruit they want in any order. Younger children might need additional support to use skewers safely.

 

While the main goal of this activity is to making eating healthy foods fun, there are some simple ways to expand the activity. For example you could use this as an opportunity to introduce your child to new, more exotic types of fruits such as pineapple, mango, or kiwi. You can discuss the colors and textures of the fruits they select. If your child is a little older you could suggest they make a pattern with their fruit. You can examine the skins and seeds of the fruits. You could even involve your child in the shopping trip to pick out what fruits they want to buy for their fruit kabobs. This is an activity you could easily do at a play-date or even a birthday party because it’s not very messy, it’s rather inexpensive if you buy fruit in season, and the preparation time is minimal. Often time peer gatherings involve highly processed and sugary foods; this could be a fun, healthy alternative!

My kids really enjoy making and eating fruit kabobs. Sometimes to “help” prepare dinner, they will sit at the kitchen table working on putting together the kabobs while I cook dinner. We then serve the fruit kabobs with our meal. They feel important when they contribute to preparing healthy foods for the family to enjoy. Additionally they are more apt to eat what is served if they have participated in the process of making it.

Do you have any special tips or fun ideas to encourage healthy eating habits for children? Would love for you to share your ideas!

-Sarah