Archive for the ‘Jacqueline Banks’ Category

Simple Crockpot Meals

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 7.38.23 AMThere are few kitchen appliances that I love more than my very trusty crockpot. It’s great in the winter for creating slow-cooked, hearty dishes like beef stew. It also happens to be wonderful in the summertime when you’d rather be spending time playing outdoors than at the stove. Here are some of my favorite, and easiest, crockpot meals.

There’s nothing magical about my meatball recipe except maybe the fact that I use shredded (in the food processor) veggies like carrots and kale instead of breadcrumbs. Sometimes I go crazy and make “meatball surprise” which is just a turkey meatball with a little piece of mozzarella string cheese stuffed into the middle and my daughter thinks it’s the best thing ever. All you do to make them in the crockpot is line the bottom of it with your favorite tomato sauce, place the meatballs on top, spoon some sauce over the meatballs and cook on low for about 6 hours. Serve with pasta, rice or even over potatoes.

Salsa Chicken.
It doesn’t get any easier than this. All you need is four chicken breasts (you can double the recipe for lots of leftovers) and a jar (or two) of your favorite Mexican salsa. Put the chicken in the crockpot and dumb the salsa on top. I like to cook low and slow, 8 hours, so it gets really nice and shredded. The shredded chicken makes great tacos and is delicious served over rice or sautéed or veggies. You can make so many variations on this depending on the kind of salsa you get. Try a peach salsa, green sauce, or even enchilada sauce whatever you can find!

Soba noodles with pork.
This happens to be my husband’s favorite. You need one pork tenderloin cut into about 1-inch cubes. Season them with ginger, curry, and some tamari or soy sauce and then toss them into the slow cooker with some chicken broth–enough to cover the bottom with about an inch of broth. Cook on low for 8 hours and it will be so easy to shred. When it’s done cook some soba noodles and toss the shredded pork with the noodles and add some thinly sliced Napa cabbage. Now you’ve got an easy one-bowl dinner. Give it a try while you’re stirring it all up and add any more seasonings or tamari depending on your taste.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby. 

Post-pregnancy Teas

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

post-partum teasThe first three months after giving birth are known as the fourth trimester. It is a time when baby is getting used to being out of the womb and in the world. Just as we do our best to nourish our bodies during the first three trimesters, the fourth trimester is just as important. Nutrition is still going to be important, and adding some herbal teas can be very beneficial as well. These are my top picks for postpartum teas.

Red raspberry leaf. If you started drinking it through pregnancy (or even if you didn’t) it’s a great idea to keep drinking it. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and especially high amounts of vitamins C and E as well as calcium and iron, which is especially important after giving birth. It also helps some women increase their breast milk supply because of its naturally high mineral content.

Nettle tea. This is a wonderful restorative tea that helps get rid of new motherhood fatigue by boosting energy and even helping to calm anxiety. It has a deep, rich flavor that I think resembles the earthiness of coffee. It gets its dark color from green chlorophyll, which helps create rich blood and is said to strengthen vitality.

Lemon balm. One of my very favorite teas it is an antiviral, which can help keep you from getting sick but it is also a wonderful calming herb. It has a mild delicious flavor and you can drink it throughout the day to help calm your nerves or before bed to help you sleep. My favorite way to drink it is to make a large batch, mix it with some honey and store it in the fridge to drink cold.

Chamomile. Known as one of the best relaxation teas to help before bed it also serves many other purposes. In the same way as lemon balm you can drink it throughout the day to help reduce stress, tension and nervousness. It is also great to help reduce gas and bloating making it a great post meal beverage. Try mixing some chamomile leaves with lemon balm for an even more delicious tea.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

Delicious Foods for Reducing Stretch Marks

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

reducing stretch marksStretch marks. Some days we see them as tigers stripes and wear them proudly as a reminder of the amazing thing our body did by growing another human being. Other days we want nothing more than to banish them. I’m not here to tell you to ignore them, because lets face it, no matter how proudly we wear them it would still be nice for them to go away–or maybe just be a little less noticeable.

While none of these remedies are miracle cures to banish your stretch marks forever they will help with skin elasticity. The more elastic and “bouncy” our skin, the less visible stretch marks become. If nothing more they will help improve overall skin health and elasticity, which includes the thin skin around the eyes, where crows feet love to appear. SO you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Bone broth.  This delicious broth made by cooking the bones so much they break down is full of so many good things, collagen and gelatin among them. These are known to help improve skin elasticity to help make your skin smooth and supple which can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins play a very important role in skin health. Vitamin A (found in bright orange fruits and veggies) protects skin health while encouraging the formation of new skin cells. Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits and bell peppers) helps maintain the appearance of skin. Vitamin E (found in nuts, seeds and avocados) is essential for helping to repair damaged skin. You can even use vitamin E oil directly on the stretch marks for some extra help.

Healthy fats. Adding more healthy fats to your diet (think wild salmon, herring, olive oil, coconut oil and butter from grass fed cows) provides added elasticity and promotes healthy, glowing skin. Coconut oil can be ingested and also works as an external moisturizer directly on stretch marks.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

Baby and Me Yoga

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

IMG_5324When my daughter was first born and I was working full time I was constantly looking for things we could do together that would help us bond. We experimented with lots of classes and yoga was one of them. There are a few different types of yoga, starting with Baby and me for non-crawling babies and then as they get older there are plenty of yoga classes you can do together and then for older kids there are also great ones, like imagination yoga, which my now 5-year-old daughter loves!

I’ll admit that my favorite things about doing yoga with your child is that it’s all about multitasking. You get a workout and relaxation in, you get some amazing bonding time and you learn great tools to help calm yourself and your baby down. Perfect!

Yoga is a great way to ease back into exercising after having a baby and it may even help you deal with the stress of becoming a parent. Few things are more stressful and confusing than having a baby so think of it as a time to help calm your jitters and relieve some stress.  Traditional yoga poses are modified so that you can hold your baby throughout the poses so you can maximize bonding time.

Those benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Yoga offers almost as many benefits for babies as it does for adults. Every part of the baby’s system is stimulated including their digestive system, which translates into helping with colic or other digestive issues. It also helps them feel more calm and restful and can be a great tool to help babies sleep better – especially if that’s an area they are struggling with.

There are so many different places to find a good class. I recommend starting with your local yoga studio. If they don’t offer one they might be able to point you in the right direction or even be willing to put a class together for you. As your child gets older you can incorporate more yoga poses through DVDs or even yoga books – some focus on relaxing poses to help relax before bedtime.

Take the time to experiment and see what works best for you and your child and enjoy your bonding time!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby. 

Is it Baby Blues or PPD?

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 7.25.28 PMWelcome to motherhood! Now get ready to experience a whole new body–mentally, physically and emotionally. While your new little bundle of joy is bringing so much joy and happiness to your life your body is busy trying to figure out what to do with a shift in hormones. Things are moving around, readjusting, and for lots of moms that includes some of those dreaded “baby blues” or maybe even postpartum depression.

What is the difference you ask? In a nutshell, baby blues is pretty mild and doesn’t last too long. Postpartum depression is much harder to deal with and in some instances anti-depressants are prescribed to help new moms deal. They both start in the same way with the same sort of symptoms including mood swings, crying, sadness, and irritability. The thing is that these also happen to sound like symptoms of sleep deprived new moms or really anyone that’s sleep deprived.

According to Psychology Today 50-80 percent of women experience baby blues and it typically only lasts about 2 weeks after delivery. If you are one of the 15 percent of women who continue to have these symptoms or they get worse past the two weeks then it’s most likely post partum depression and it might be time to ask for help.  Some telltale symptoms include: fear of harming your baby, panic attacks, feelings of worthlessness and despair, a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy and nightmares among others.

Just like with baby blues it is thought that the main cause for PPD is the shift in hormones experienced after giving birth. Unfortunately some women happen to have a higher risk of developing ppd. Psych Central states a past history of depression, lack of an adequate support system, a pregnancy or birth with complications and multiple births are a few of the possible issues that can contribute to the depression.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to know that you’re not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. So many other moms go through this, which means that finding help can be easier than you think. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. The symptoms can be serious and seeking out a professional with experience in the area will do you a world of wonders. If you’re not sure where to go for help I suggest starting with your OBGYN. Talk to them about your symptoms and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

It also never hurts to nourish yourself with anything you can that can have an impact on depression. While it’s not a substitute for professional help a healthy diet can definitely work in conjunction with talk therapy or an antidepressant. Try keeping sugar and highly processed foods to a minimum. Instead focus on getting plenty of healthy protein, whole grains and healthy fats such as wild salmon, avocado and nuts. If you can try to get some time for yourself each day, practice self-love and above all be patient and forgiving to yourself.

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.