This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Natalie Hodson, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #abscorepelvicfloor http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
I've never been one to shy away from hard topics when it comes to women's health and I'm excited that, today, I finally get to dig deeper into one of my very favorite topics that most women don't talk about.
The health of our core and pelvic floor post-baby.
I've personally suffered from Pelvic Floor Disorder and pelvic inflammation for years, even before Grey was born, and after a 29 hour natural labor, four hours of pushing and a traumatic birth, my pelvic issues have continued since his arrival and I stay diligent to do all I can to support the health of my abs, core and pelvis. Not only for my health throughout life, but for when and if I'm blessed to carry and birth another little baby.
In addition to pelvic floor therapy and massage, I have been following Natalie Hodson's Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor program to work on my pelvic floor and core health daily. Therapy and massage can be pricey, and with a one year old, hard to get in for appointments as often as I'd like. Natalie's program allows me to stay on top of my body's performance and health every day, even with a baby in the room.
Along with Dr. Monique Middlekauf, a specialist in pelvic floor dysfunction, this program is well-rounded, touching not only on exercises that can help your overall pelvic floor and core health, but it also includes nutrition help, supplement advice and encouraging self-talk affirmations.
To be honest, I actually cried a few tears of joy when I found out about this book and program. I've been searching for ways to minimize pain and improve function in between doctor visits and this has been such a blessing to me, and by extension to my family, because when I feel better and have an outlet to exercise in a safe, effective way that supports the post-partum issues we as mamas can deal with, I am a happier person overall.
The program is an easy 30-day program that can be done right in your own living room. It addresses issues such as pelvic floor dysfunction (raises hand), Diastasis Recti (a problem that plagues many of my mama friends and clients) as well as helping with overall fitness and turning our mom-bods into leaner, healthier bods we can feel good in. Natalie and Dr. Middlekauf are extremely knowledgeable and the program is written well and is easy to understand and follow along.
Women are able to start the program as early as 6 weeks post-partum (or as advised by your doctor) and on. It's never to late to start taking care of your core and pelvic floor, and even women who haven't gone through childbirth but who suffer from pelvic or abdominal muscle conditions, can benefit from this program. Issues ranging from incontinence to chronic tightness (my personal ailment) to painful intercourse and urinary problems (also mine), can be improved by putting effort into supporting such an important part of our bodies.
As mamas who are looking to get back in shape, I know a lot of us jump right back into our old routine - crunches, planks, vigorous workouts - when in reality, as a personal sufferer of pelvic floor disorder, and with fellow moms struggling with Diastastis Recti, these are big no-no's in getting yourself back on track and they can actually increase your pain and underlying issues.
Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor addresses all of these key points and gives us women alternative, beneficial exercises that can not only help us get back into shape, but that support our issues, helping to heal, restore and strengthen.
The entire program is available in a printable PDF, as well as a series of videos, to further assist in understanding how to do each exercise, how to engage your muscles and how to use the right form to prevent injury. There's also bonus information on nutrition, which, as a nutritionist, I found exciting to see included because it is such an important piece of the health puzzle.
Taking steps to improve my pelvic health, is HONESTLY, one of the BEST decisions I ever made for myself. It personally changed MY life, which is why I am SO passionate about it, and why I don't shy away from the topic when other women want me to share my story or ask for advice.
Personally, from one mama friend to another, I would suggest you speak to your doctor or a pelvic floor therapist in your area to assess and diagnose your specific issues.
To learn more about this amazing 30-day program, read more on Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor on Natalie's website!
And when you do start the program, reach out! I'd love to cheer you on and do it along with you! Find more on the program and follow along my journey on Instagram as well with the #AbsCorePelvicFloor hashtag.
Although it's a 30-day program, I plan to integrate their exercises, stretches and tips in to my day to day workouts. Take the step, you won't regret. I feel so much stronger, healthier and so many issues have improved since I've implemented my game plan to better pelvic health. There is so much valuable information to gain from this program, in addition to what I was already doing, that I can use for life and am so thankful for it, and for them.
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Hyperbiotics, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #HealthiestDaysAhead http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
As a nutritionist, and as your friend, I seriously love your guts.
I want them to be healthy and thriving, full of beneficial bacteria and healthy, good food that is kind to your body.
More than that, I want you to love them as well.
So many clients, friends and family members come to me asking how to do that. They know I've personally made changes and improvements, and they've heard me toss around the phrases "gut health", "inflammation", "probiotic", and "prebiotic", and most people need direction or are stuck in the pattern of "what they know".
So, I decided to put together a list of what I do, to ensure my gut is in tip top shape. Doing so, allows me room to enjoy decadent treats now and again, because I know my foundation, from which my immune health and mental clarity, is solid.
You'll find my full list below, but I really want to focus on the star player on my Get Gut Healthy team, and that's the Probiotic. I've been taking a daily probiotic since 2011 and it's helped my health immensely. And now, with Grey here, I make sure my husbands gut gets love too, as well as the baby's.
So many things in our world today break down the delicate intestinal environment. From antibiotics, pesticides in our food and the tap water we consume, to chemicals we breathe in the air, the overuse of sugar, stress and not enough sleep - it takes quite a beating and its our job to build it back up and strengthen what is weakened over time.
Think of your gut as the command center from which major acts derive from. From regularity (goodbye constipation!) to mental clarity (goodbye brain fog and fatigue!), immunity boosting (are you a chronic cold/flu sufferer?) and yeast balancing (infections? candida?) - getting your gut back in action is critical.
One of my FAVORITE formulas, for both me and the fam, is the new Hyperbiotics line, found at Target. (As if we needed another reason to shop and love this store, am I right mamas?)
As someone who struggled with getting her folate and B Vitamin levels up when I was trying to conceive Grey, their Pro-Moms blend packs natural folate and helps produce essential B vitamins.
And if you know me and my need for all things Non-GMO, their formulas are vegetarian, non-GMO, and free from gluten, lactose and sugar! You also won't find any additional nasties such as soy, iron, nuts, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives.
As a nursing mom, the Pro-Moms blend is what I am on right now, though the Pro-Women, Pro Kids (for my nieces and nephews) and Pro-15 blend are in the family cabinet as well. It's great for those of us who are nursing or pregnant, due to the fact that it encourages full nutrient absorption which is key when we are growing and sustaining lives.
The Pro-Women blend also contains cranberry extract to give our urinary system a little love as well.
Now, let's talk about my top Gut Friendly must-haves in your kitchen.
Now, just like anything, each persons body and makeup are different, so you may react to this food source, just as one can react to any other natural food. I have clients that don't tolerate it, not because it is a bad or harmful product in general, but because they have a specific sensitivity. Just like I do not handle oranges well. Because of this, do I keep my clients and readers from consuming oranges? No. I just know it's something that causes inflammation in my own make-up.
Let's look at some facts backed by scientific research to give us a clearer picture on why and how carrageenan is used, and why it's a better choice over other food additives.
Questions I most often get asked are:
We have a lot of choices to make when it comes to food. When I started researching additives and ingredients in 2011, I made a choice to cut out many, many ingredients. You may contact me to speak on any questions you may have on label reading and ingredients, however, my extensive research on carrageenan and how I feel when I consume it, is what made me make the ultimate choice to keep it in my diet. I believe whole-heartedly in using plant resources over synthetic chemicals and I have maintained a healthy diet with great improvement in all my symptoms with this as a regularly consumed ingredient in my food.
We know its seaweed, but how is it sourced?
It is a soluble fiber derived from red seaweed, a natural food ingredient that has been used for hundreds of years (it is not "new" like read in some claims) in food preparation worldwide, replacing our need for synthetic and animal-based products. This fact makes it a great option for the vegan lifestyle, as well.
What foods do you find this ingredient in and what are the benefits?
Acting as a natural stabilizer, it offers benefits in texture, structure and physical appearance to foods such as dairy-free milks, ice creams, yogurt, dressings, jams and jellies and meat products. It adds creaminess and helps foods retain moisture and freshness.
How is it used elsewhere and what are it's benefits outside of food consumption?
It is also found in make-up, face wash, toothpaste and shampoos, allowing companies to cut the use of harmful and synthetic chemical stabilizers.
How can I learn about it's safety and read more research on this?
All of the research can be found through Food Science Matters. With many scientific studies and reports to back up the safety of this food additive. You may also follow Food Science Matters on Twitter and Facebook to interact and start a conversation.
Chocolate Frosted Cake Donuts (gluten-free/dairy-free/egg-free/soy-free)
Mango + Greens Smoothie (gluten-free/dairy-free/nut-free)
Glazed Spiced Apple Bundt Cake (gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free)
Salted Caramel Vanilla Hot Cocoa (gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free)
My chosen brands of coconut and almond milk, yogurts and meat sources often use the seaweed-derived product that ensures my food stays fresh and allows me the convenience to have these items on hand for my family and events without having to make them at home.
It's important to keep in mind when making food changes to thoroughly research to make the best informed choices for you and your family. And remember, Food Science Matters.
01. Start Your Mornings Slow -
Each morning I take my time to get ready for my day. Prayer, devotionals, cuddles with the puppies and a nice breakfast are key to centering me and setting me up for my best day working from my home office or heading out for events or meetings with clients.
02. Connect With Your Inner Child -
Playtime isn't just for elementary school and recess. Even as adults we need to take the time to connect to our inner child and play. For my full post on ways you can play as an adult, click here.
03. Drinking Water & Meal Planning -
Make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. (credit Aetna Foundation) For assistance in healthy, effortless meal planning, contact me.
04. Make Playtime Count -
When it comes to playing with the kids, opt out of video games and TV time and do something that will stimulate you all mentally or physically. Whether this is a craft project or getting outside for some old fashioned sports and sunshine, it will benefit you all more if activities such as these become part of your regular routine.
05. Physical Care -
Aside from your daily workouts, activities like getting regular massage, joining a sports team, or yes, even regular sex with your spouse can greatly boost your endorphins, pumping the feel good chemical through your body, thereby lowering stress levels naturally.
06. Get Involved -
Volunteering, meeting new people and staying connected to your friends and families is shown to improve health outcomes. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course. Websites like Volunteer Match or Big Brothers, Big Sisters are great places to start to connect to new people and help your community in the process.
07. Micro-Breaks -
Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breaths, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. Remember to take breaks even on busy days, not just the slow ones and if you work from home, having animals is great because it helps force you to take mini-breaks. (credit Aetna Foundation)
08. Daily Workouts -
Of course one of the most important aspects of daily wellness is exercise. Aetna shares some great tips to making working out fun: Break it up throughout the day! Watching TV? Have a competition with your family members during commercials: Who can get the most steps up and down the stairs? Or who can do the most push ups or sit ups? Another way to make it fun is to put on music and dance! Me and Mr. Charming also turn up our iPods when we clean the house so we can clean and dance around, burning extra calories and making chores fun. Taking an after dinner walk as a family is also a great way to get in your fitness while bonding.
09. Power Down -
Hearing this one at the Aetna Foundation event reminded me that this is a weakness for me and something I want to implement in our home.
Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible. This includes unplugging from electronics an hour or more before bed time. Remember that you can turn off notifications when you go to sleep. It keeps you from waking up when your phone receives messages throughout the night. Also remember to shut down the Wi-Fi! It forces everyone to have quiet time and it can have a positive impact on the morning routine. (credit: Aetna Foundation)
10. Help Your City! -
Help your city become the healthiest it can be by joining the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge. For more information read my blog post on ways to increase health and wellness citywide in your area.
So when you have to make a major diet change, of any kind for any reason, whether it be medical or for diet, it's going to take some getting used to.
It was hard for me in the sense that, in the beginning, I had no idea what was safe. What I could and couldn't eat. I did a lot of research and learned quickly, but those early months brought upon a lot of panic and uneasiness about shopping, dining out, attending events and travel.
If you have any questions, I'm always here to help. However, this post isn't going to be focusing on the how or the what's of what to eat, it's to focus on some of the mistakes or challenges that many new gluten-free foodies and clients of mine face that I wanted to address today. (P.S. I dislike the word mistake, as all of this advice comes out of love and we are all navigating these waters one day at a time, in our own way.) This is just here to serve as a helper along the journey.
Mistake #1 - The Processed Food Trap
This one is number one because it is the one I see most often when I am helping my readers through the gluten and wheat removal process. They find comfort in the boxes emblazoned with a "now gluten-free" label on it. Now while some of these items are fine, most boxed and processed foods lack real nutrition of any kind. Developing an intolerance to gluten can come about for many reasons, but for me and many of my clients, it was a breakdown in our gut health. Gut health cannot be restored through processed grains from another family, or through nutrient-lacking, sugar laden products that are so readily available today.
The best thing you can do when making your transition, is stick to whole, natural, healthy foods such as tolerated vegetables, fruit, healthy meats and fish, opting for gluten-free packaged goods in very low moderation so that you don't feel deprived.
Mistake #2 - The In-Home Contamination Issue
Many of my readers and clients say, "I have to go gluten-free, but my (husband, parents, kids, etc.) don't want to or don't have too. How can we co-exist?" Or the unfortunate instance to where they say they've gone gluten-free but continuously feel sick after eating at home with family members who aren't gluten-free.
One of the tasks I took on when I switched over, was claiming "my" safe spaces in the kitchen. Mr. Charming for the most part is gluten-free, out of support, for his health and because I cook most of the meals, haha, but he isn't 100% and does have his own snacks, occasional bread or waffles, etc.
I purchased my own toaster (this one is key because it's not cleaned like other dishes, such as pans, plates, etc are.) for starters because of waffles and other morning goods I need to heat up after a weekend of baking. I also have my own Ninja, which I know is pricey to own two, but we don't like to dishwasher clean them after each use, and it makes it easier for him to be able to use his milk-based proteins if he wants too and I don't have to worry about residual powder in my smoothie. I also have my very own shelves in the pantry. Crumbs are evasive little buggers, and those with Celiac or an allergy know they can't have even just a sprinkle of gluten, so your own shelves, preferably at the top are best. That way all of our food stays separate and his cookie crumbles don't touch my packages.
Other precautions we take are no double dipping in condiment jars. I have my own almond butter and mayonnaise. We also don't share off of plates, drink from each others glasses, etc. It may seem like a lot at first, but once it becomes a habit it will become second nature. It feels like a normal routine to us now and isn't seen as an inconvenience at all.
Mistake #3 - The Dining Out Question Conundrum
Being prepared and doing research ahead of time can make dining out a pleasurable experience. This one took some learning and trusting for me, but once I had my tools ready at my disposable I found dining out enjoyable again and actually became a professional gluten-free food reviewer nation wide.
Find Me Gluten Free is an amazing app that allows you to find gluten-free places in your area and read reviews. The reviews are number one to me when choosing a new restaurant in a new city. Also, visiting restaurants websites and reading their menus, and even calling, can be a huge help in booking.
Mistake #4 - The Unprepared Traveler
This one I see a lot, I get many people telling me they were stuck at "the airport, hotel lobby, amusement park... etc.) with NOTHING to eat. My biggest tip for you, SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS. Always have a snack for every two hours you'll be gone and then an extra emergency one if there is a delay or it turns out the place you planned to go doesn't have safe food.
Using the Find Me Gluten Free App is always a God send in this situation too. I always map out where the closest markets are and the closest gluten-free or vegan eateries are in the area I'll be traveling too so I can make a plan to go straight there and stock up on food. Not without a stash of protein bars, fruit, veggies or nuts in my purse, just in case.
Mistake #5 - Not Speaking Up
Having a food intolerance or allergy isn't the time to be shy. Whether it's at a restaurant or a friends or families home, it's always better to ask questions, ask for a list of ingredients or ask to bring your own dish. Asking in certain situations may be uncomfortable, but better to be uncomfortable for a few moments than sick for days, or worse.
This one was especially hard for me in the beginning because I always like to be a "good guest". So I ended up starving at most social events, haha. Then as I started to open up and take back my life as an "out of home diner" I learned that most people DO care and would RATHER you ask than starve or risk getting sick at their event.
Mistake #6 - Not Embracing The Versatility
This one took the longest for me in my process. I stayed really safe with a bland rotation of the same foods for many months. It was when I started exploring my kitchen with a fresh, healthier perspective that I got to learn about God's amazing food supply and the creations I could make that could still satisfy that "home cooked meal" desire we all have inside.
Cooking delicious GF/DF meals for family and friends is a challenge I love taking on. When I see their faces light up over my lasagna (you can't even tell there's no cheese in here!") or my banana bread french toast (best. thing. ever.) it warms my heart to know that there is purpose in this journey. There is purpose in your journey too, find the blessings in it and get creative.
The question I get asked the most is, "how do you live without (insert food here)?"
I simply answer, "I live healthier, happier and easier without that in my life."
Plain and simple.
We will also be talking about my professional background in music, how I came to nutrition in this new endeavor, how I'm still involved with NVE Records/Universal Records and much more!
I hope you tune in and call in! I look forward to sharing my love of nutrition and my love of music in the same space!