Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Low Carb Coconut Strawberry Jello

1 can coconut cream (free of gums, thickeners or additives)
2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup diced strawberries

In medium saucepan on medium heat, warm water up to just below boiling. Whisk is gelatin powder until dissolved. Add coconut milk and stevia to taste. Whisk and remove from heat. Grease pan or mold with coconut oil and pour mixture in and add strawberries. Refrigerate for two hours or until solid. 

Summer Strawberry Salad

2-3 Cups Mixed Spring Greens
4 Strawberries, quartered
1/4 Cup Almonds
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Brain Octane Oil
1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
1 Avocado

In large bowl, mix together olive oil, Brain Octane and coconut aminos. Add remaining ingredients and toss together. Top with avocado.

I added some chicken here for extra protein.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tips for a Pain Free Labor

It is possible!  I'm here to tell you that natural childbirth does not have to be torturous!  As a matter of fact, it can be euphoric and even fun.  I did not take any courses (except prenatal yoga) but this is my third baby so I used my past (painful) experiences as education.  Here are six simple techniques that I used to minimize pain and eliminate suffering this time around.

1. Surrender
I fully embraced the notion that every contraction was bringing me closer to my baby.  Not to mention I was closer to NOT being pregnant anymore.  Hallelujah!  I actually looked forward to the intensity increasing with every wave  because I knew there was a purpose to them. Bring it on, uterus!  What resists persists so I let go of all resistance and just welcomed the process.

2. Relax
At the beginning of every contraction I would physically relax EVERY MUSCLE in my body, especially the ones in the head, neck, jaw and shoulders. I noticed that the more tension I was holding, the more pain I started to experience. If pain started to creep in, I'd search for the muscle tension and let it go.

Early Labor

3. Visualize
 This was such a powerful tool for me!  As I felt the contractions start to be more rhythmic, I consciously imagined myself in the middle of a stormy ocean at night.  Every contraction would manifest as a huge wave that would overtake me and then subside.  I really love that feeling when I'm swimming in the ocean so this was actually quite pleasurable!  My vision evolved as my labor progressed.  By the end (transition), I was a hunter gatherer woman on the beach, clinging to a tree with the moon on one side of the sky and the sun on the other.  I held tight to the tree as the waves washed over me and pulled the baby, little by little out of my womb.  I loved being that primitive woman because I was able channel all the women before me who birthed their babies in order for me to be here. Connecting with that energy was probably the most spiritual experience of my life.

I did NOT have this visualization practiced before hand.  It organically just happened when I really relaxed into the flow of labor. I basically put myself in a trance with every wave.

4. Fear Release
One of the most important things I've learned from my labors is that fear of pain equals pain!  I started letting go of the fear of childbirth while I was pregnant.  I just kept telling myself that it was going to be an easy labor.  I watched blissful birth videos and looked at natural birth photography on Instagram in my spare time.  This correlation was so obvious to me because the only time I really felt significant pain was when the baby had shoulder dystocia and I was having trouble pushing him out.  That was also the only time I experienced any fear during the birth.

5. Sounding
Keeping the tone of the voice in the low range helped immensely dealing with the contractions. Think of "ohm" in yoga without the m.  Keeping the throat open, jaw relaxed and the tone very rich and not scream-y helps to open the cervix and descend the baby.

6. Movement
Being able to move freely and intuitively was essential.  Sometimes I was on all fours.  Sometimes I was holding onto my husband.  A lot of the time I was in a frog pose. At eight centimeters I took a walk around my neighborhood!  Granted, no one knew how close I was or we would not have left the house, but that is a testament to how great I felt.

In the end, this labor was 8 hours, compared to my previous birth that was 36!  It was amazing how quickly and seamlessly everything progressed once I let go of fear and embraced the process.  This was my dream birth and since it will probably be my last one, an epic finale that I will cherish forever.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Cheap and Easy Homemade Coconut Milk

Gahhh! It's so frustrating trying to find a healthy, low sugar milk substitute. Coconut milk fits the bill because it's loaded with MCT's and healthy saturated fats.  It's also very low carb but just about all of the milks in the cartons at the store have a bunch of added preservatives and thickeners. Carrageenan, guar gum, xantham gum and gellan gum are a few of the weird ingredients that I'd rather avoid.   Also, most of the time the packaging contains BPA which is a (probably) toxic chemical that can alter hormone function.

Here is a super simple, cheap recipe to make your own!

4 Cups of hot but not boiling water
1.5 cups Shredded Coconut
Dash of Himalayan Sea Salt

Note: I made one batch and then heated 4 more cups and re-used the same coconut to double the recipe.

Combine in a high-speed blender
Strain through a sieve or nut bag
Store in a glass container
Consume within 4 days in coffee, chia pudding, smoothies or on it's own

You could also add some stevia and or vanilla if you'd like!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Organ Meats: Better than multivitamins!

My nutrition journey has run the gamut over the years!  Growing up on the SAD diet of lots of processed and fast foods caught up with me in college when I gained about 25 pounds and got lots of hormonal issues.  In my 20's, I eventually found my way to veganism, raw veganism and then I was vegetarian for several years. After that I considered myself a "clean" eater.  Mostly organic, gluten free and minimally processed.  Although my health was better than my college years, I still struggled a lot with anxiety, lack of energy and had an extra 5-10 pounds on my frame.  My thirties have brought me back around to eating high quality meats, wild fish, raw dairy, grass-fed butter and organ meats!  I actually will consume some form of organ like liver, heart or kidney every day as a supplement. Incorporating this nutrient dense food group into my diet, along with following a high fat, low carb lifestyle, helped me to increase my energy tenfold!  During my last pregnancy I was never anemic like I was with the other two.  As long as the animal was healthy and had a good diet, the organs are nutritional powerhouses and even superfoods.

The most significant nutrients are below.

  • High concentrations of Vitamins A 
  • B complex including B12
  • Bioavailable Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamin K2
  • Cholesterol
  • CoQ10
  • Trace Minerals
Some examples of the organ meats I eat
  • Homemade Chopped Liver (Chicken)
  • Head Cheese (US Wellness Meats)
  • Liverwurst (US Wellness Meats)
  • Turkey Hearts (Sauteed with Himalayan Salt)
  • Grass Fed Liver Capusules (Terry Natural Brand)
Since they are so nutrient dense, you don't need to eat a ton.  I just eat about 1/2-1 ounce a day or alternately take 4 of the capsules.

Your aspiring cavewoman,

Monday, April 24, 2017

Minimizing Vaginal Trauma from Childbirth

Unfortunately, I've found that most people think that it's a given that the vagina will be thrashed from childbirth.  Like a woman will be ruined after she has a kid.  Hollywood perpetuates this nonsenses and it annoys me to to no end.   The truth is, if you prepare your mind and body properly, your vagina will stretch like a yogi and go back to normal in no time!  It is possible to not need stitches and have an easy recovery.

During my pregnancy I prepped my body and mind to have the best birth experience possible.  It really paid off because I had a beautiful home, water birth to a big baby with absolutely no perineal tearing.  My son, River, had a 14.5 inch head, shoulder dystocia and was 9 pounds 5 ounces.  He was, by far, my biggest baby but my vagina was in the best shape (even two days postpartum) after his birth because of what I'm about to share with you!

Doing functional movements like squats with full range of motion and lots of yoga type stretching can be great to teach the pelvic floor to lengthen and contract without rigidness. It also encourages circulation to those tissues which keeps them oxygenated, supple and healthy. Imagine the pelvic floor like a hammock of muscles attached at both sit bones, tailbone and pubic bone.  During a cat cow, for example:  Inhale into cow as you spread the sit bones, making the hammock as big and thin as possible.  Exhale, curling the spine up as you squeeze the hammock as small as possible. (like a Kegel)  This principle should be integral during your pregnancy workouts!  I do this with all my prenatal clients.

Posture and Daily Habits
If you are constantly sitting with the pelvis tucked (posteriorly tilted), you are training the pelvic floor to be short and rigid.  Untuck the booty! Especially if you work at a desk or spend a lot of time in a car. Sit on a stability ball often and just have awareness of the pelvic floor being oxygenated with your breath.  Be aware of how often you sit with legs crossed or squeezed together.  This is another habit that will create rigidness in the perineum. Sit with  a 2-3 inch gap between the knees.  I will also add here that frequent lovemaking is very important to health in general but especially to prepare for labor!

Nourishing our bodies with quality food is essential for all tissues to be healthy. The vagina and perineum are definitely no exception! Be sure to take in lots of collagen building foods like bone broth, leafy greens, low-mercury fish and berries.  Also, a collagen supplement is a great way to add protein, heal the gut and support your tissues and joints.

Borage Oil
Borage Oil is an omega three fatty acid supplements and can be used vaginally to prepare the tissues to stretch.  I started inserting one capsule nightly at 37 weeks.

Forgoing Epidural
When you are numb, you have no idea whats going on down there so moms will sometimes just push with all their might and the baby comes out very fast, creating severe tears.  Forgoing an epidural allows the mom to stay very aware and back off from pushing if need be.  The pushing becomes slower and more controlled by the mothers instinct.

Avoiding Lithotomy Position
Laying on your back while pushing is the least conducive position for birth.  Just by flipping onto all fours, you gain two whole centimeters in the pelvis.  Other great birth positions are a deep squat and kneeling lunge.  Also, moving instinctively throughout labor and delivery will allow baby to wiggle down the birth canal more easily.

Water Birth
Some people say that the water helps the tissues to stretch.  I agree!

Holding the breath while pushing is, sadly, still coached by well-meaning nurses and doctors. Most physical therapists, doulas and midwives will tell you that low, moaning exhales are what opens the pelvic floor during pushing allowing baby to exit more easily.

Resistance of the birth process causes so many birth traumas, injuries and complications! Start releasing that fear during your pregnancy so that when your labor finally starts you will surrender into the process instead of resisting it.  This practice made the biggest difference for me!  When we surrender and embrace the intensity, the body will adapt, stretch and accommodate your baby.

Happy Birthing!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Soundbath Experience

I walked into my local yoga studio, not really sure of what to expect but somehow knowing this fringe practice was something that would totally speak to me.  At the front of the studio sat a young man surrounded by several crystal bowls, chimes and smoking sage.  Beside him, a beautiful blonde was set up with her metal singing bowls and prayer beads around her neck.  Exactly what you would think.   I, along with thirty other participants, arranged my mat, bolsters and blankets for maximum comfyness.

The "sound healers" were Shane and Sarah.  They encouraged us to  let our bodies lead us into whichever position we are called to.  The also told us that we are free to move, stand or even dance during the session if we feel inspired to.  The vibration of the sound apparently is very healing and therapeutic to your nervous system.  People use it to treat migraines, chronic pain and PTSD, to name a few.  It's also used to achieve a DEEP state of meditation.  Actually, Shane warned us not to be alarmed if we left our bodies.  Freaky! 

The past month or so, I've been dealing with some intense anxiety, brain fog and depression.  I know that it is the culmination of sleep deprivation, not taking care of myself and adrenal fatigue.  So lately, I have been religiously supplementing, meditating, efficiently exercising and trying to get adequate sleep.  I had been starting to feel better but still just kind of getting by.  The day of the sound bath I was exhausted, foggy and kinda bummed out.  Worst case scenario,  I'd sleep through the session.

As Shane and Sarah started to play the bowls, I completely settled in and let the intense sounds wash over me. I decided right then and there to surrender into whatever feeling may come up.  The sound produced on the bowls grows, morphs and takes on a life of it's own.  I could actually feel the vibrations in my blood!  It was so, so intense and a little scary. At times, I would start to feel a tightness in my chest.  This is a very familiar sensation to me and I realized that I 've had it off and on since early childhood.  Instead of fighting it or freaking out, I just observed it.  It went away.  This happened a few more times during the bath.  Fear would come up, I'd allow myself to really feel it and then it would pass.  I eventually went into the most relaxed state that I've been in a very long time.  Maybe ever.  I was not asleep but just present.  In a different state of mind.  Literally.

When the sounds eventually stopped, I found myself disappointed because I wanted more.  I wanted to keep feeling...good.  But I brought myself up to seated, chanted "Om", thanked the healers and went home.  That night I slept like a rock. The next morning something amazing happened.  I woke up happy.  Like, really happy.  It's been three days and I'm still happy.  Is this what Prozac feels like? No anxiety, no depression and no brain fog.  Obviously, I'm thrilled!  I cannot explain why it was so beneficial for me and have no idea the science behind it.  All I know is that I loved it and it loved me.  I'm definitely including this practice into my self care repertoire.

Keep in mind that everyone's experience is different.  There we 30 people in the room and I'm sure there are 30 different stories.

For more information here is Sarah's Website and Shane's Facebook.

Search This Blog