healthy mom

Looking & Feeling Beautiful & Radiant

A couple of weeks ago on the Mom Show we talked about a Spring Detox. Doing a basic detox is a great way to kick into a healthy life style shift. Life's busyness can get in the way of us feeling good about ourselves. Here are some tips on how to feel radiant from the inside out!

Supplements: Supplements can be very helpful for your body to feel good and balanced. A good food-based multivitamin is a nice start. Make sure it is food-based, they are much easier for your body to absorb. Some other key supplements are B Complex, fish oil, magnesium and vitamin D-3. This regimen will help with long lasting energy, improved mood, healthy cholesterol and strong immune system.

Sleep: Eight hours of sleep every night is ideal. Sleep deprivation can wreck havoc on your body. Sleep helps your skin glow, your mood to be steady, you body to be free of illness and of course good energy levels! If you have to wake up early, plan to go to bed and hour or two earlier. Do something relaxing before bed to help you get into a deep sleep such as reading for 10 minutes, a bath or meditation.

Water: Try and make 3 liters of water per day your goal. Get a water bottle that holds a liter and keep track of how many you drink. If you need something more exciting than water, try adding fruit. You can add any fruit to water. Put it in the fridge overnight; pour it into your water bottle the next morning and you have an amazing tasting beverage! Water does wonders for wrinkles and just helps you feel good in general.

Skin Care: There really is no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on skincare, unless you want to of course! If you are looking to save money and have beautiful skin, you can keep it simple. Buy a micro-fiber cloth and wash your face with a gentle soap in the morning and before bed. After washing use a toner is important; it helps your moisturizer soak into your skin. Use a moisturizer with an SPF to protect your skin from sun damage daily, even in the winter. Last, use an eye cream for around your eyes, not face moisturizer. The skin around your eyes is sensitive and needs something formulated for that area.

Exercise: There are so many exercise programs out there today. There is something for everyone! Whatever route of exercise you use, whether it be walking, running, yoga, a home DVD or crossfit, it is important to move your body for at least 30 minutes per day.

Diet: The main thing to keep in mind for your diet is eating whole foods. If you can stick to fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, nuts and whole grains, that is key. Stay away completely from all processed foods. Sleep, water intake, exercise and diet all work together for a healthier, more radiant YOU!

How to be a Flu-Fighter!

influenza-696x577.jpg

The flu virus seems to be lurking around every corner! Thankfully, there are some ways to combat this nasty virus naturally.

What is the Flu?

Many times there is confusion as far as what the flu actually is. Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. It is more severe than a common cold and is not the same as a ‘stomach flu’ virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting.  The flu tends to come on suddenly whereas a cold usually develops slowly over a couple of days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever over 100.4 F
  • Aching muscles, especially your back, arms and legs
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat

How to prevent the flu:

  • A good vitamin D supplement is a wonderful way to keep your immune system, 5,000 iu. With our months of underexposure to sunlight, we need to be particularly vigilant about getting enough vitamin D through diet and supplementation.
  • Eat nutritious, whole foods and avoid processed sugar. Load up on fruits and veggies; particularly green leafy vegetables. Keep your protein intake high as well. Eat protein with every meal and snack.
  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. This can be tough a with little ones but try your best to go to bed early so that you can get your 8 hours in.
  • Wash your hands regularly throughout the day. This may seem easy but it sure is effective! 
  • Avoid contact with sick family members and friends. You may find yourself having a family member or friend that needs support in their time of sickness. You can still do this. Make them a meal and set it outside their door.
  • Exercise has been shown to flush bacteria from the lungs and airways that may cause colds and viruses. It also can cause changes to the body’s white blood cells and antibodies positively impacting the immune system.

What to do if you get the flu:

Sometimes there is just no avoiding it! If you find yourself with the above symptoms there are some ways to try and shorten how long you feel miserable!

  • Rest, rest and more rest! You probably won't feel like doing much anyway but try and stay in bed and sleep throughout the day and night.
  • Stay hydrated! You can alternate water, Emergen-C and coconut water to help with this. The Emergen-C and coconut water will help keep your electrolytes up.
  • Eat simple foods such as vitamin rich bone broth.
  • Take extra Vitamin C daily.

Top 5 Things to Have a Successful Start to School

It won't be long before it is time for kids to head back to school! Along with school supplies and new clothes and shoes there are great ways to help prepare your children for a successful start to the school year.

1. Start the day with a good breakfast that includes protein. We have all heard the importance of a good breakfast. For kids, it is very important to eat a good meal before a full day of learning. Including protein in the meal will help tide them over until snack or lunch. Here are some simple ideas even for the pickiest eaters!

  • Eggs, bacon/sausage and wholegrain toast
  • Pancakes or waffles cooked with protein powder, these can be made ahead of time and frozen
  • Fruit smoothie with protein powder

2. A good night's rest is essential. Children between ages 6-11 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. In this day and age of electronics and constant stimulation this can be hard for some families. Here are some tips:

  • Start a bedtime routine and follow it diligently each night, even on weekends if possible
  • Turn off the TV and electronics at least one hour prior to bedtime as this is very stimulating to the brain
  • Read a book or have your child read a book before bed
  • A sound machine can be soothing as well as diffusing essential oils

3. Add a supplement or two to their diet. Adding supplements into your child's diet can help with their immunity, nutrition and brain development. It is important to buy quality supplements; a good place to look is your local co-op. Here are some supplement options:

  • Multi-vitamin: a food based option is a great choice
  • Vitamin D-3: This will help keep your child's immunity strong
  • Fish Oil: We love Nordic Naturals, they are small, chew-able and kids love the taste

4. Make space for family check ins. Does your family have a regular time to check in with each other? This could be during after school snack, family dinner or bedtime.

  • Learn to talk about emotions and how to manage emotions
  • Set aside a specific time each day
  • Create a safe space in your family for everyone to be heard

5. Be prepared the night before. Getting ready for the morning the night before will help the morning go smoother for you and your child.

  • Pack lunches and snacks
  • Make sure homework is complete, checked and put in the backpack
  • Have clothes ready and laid out

As the new school year approaches try and set aside a special day for your family to celebrate the new year. Best wishes to you and your family for the year ahead!

4 of the most important pregnancy foods you never hear about

Bone brothHere at Health Foundations, we emphasize the importance of a healthy diet before and during pregnancy because we've seen again and again how much of a difference good nutrition makes in the health of mom and baby, including a reduced risk of c-sections, easier labors, quicker postpartum healing, and so much more.  And the benefits aren't just relegated to the childbearing year.  Babies who receive good nutrition in the womb are at a lower risk for many serious diseases in their child and adulthoods, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, autism, and ADHD.  Science is finding the crucial role nutrition plays in epigenetics, or the factors, such as chemical reactions, that influence gene expression.  Cutting edge studies are finding the importance of the gut microbiome in overall health for both babies and adults.  

So in that spirit, here are five foods that you might not find on the list of best pregnancy foods but are actually some of the best foods you can eat when expecting (and when planning to conceive).  

1.  Traditional Fats:  

We went through a phase in our collective history during which everyone feared fats.  And we still haven't quite recovered.  But many kinds of natural fats are not only good for you, they are essential to your wellbeing.  Across cultures, you will find fats emphasized in fertility and pregnancy diets.  Good fats include ghee, butter, dairy fat (full fat dairy products), avocados, and coconut oil.  Used in moderation, these healthy fats can do a world of good for you and baby.  They can support maternal skin health, optimizing your body's response to the stretches and effects of gravity that pregnancy impose.  Healthy fats in pregnancy also lower the risk of childhood allergies for baby, research shows.  Additional studies show that health fat consumption in pregnancy can lower the risk of baby later developing autism.  

2.  Organ meats:

Okay, we are not a culture that commonly enjoyed organ meats.  In fact the words alone may turn people off.  But meats like liver are super foods when it comes to baby making (we're talking pregnancy here, folks).  Organic, grassfed and/or free range organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods absolutely loaded with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fat.  They are particularly rich in the nutrients that help keep our brains healthy and grow healthy well-functioning baby brains-- i.e.  the essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docasahexaenoic acid), and AA (arachidonic acid). Liver is one of the best sources of folate, which is SO crucial in pregnancy (and supplemental folic acid pales in comparison to food-sourced folate in terms of health).  Liver and other organ meats are also tremendous sources of:

  • high-quality protein
  • fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • vitamin A, which is rapidly depleted during periods of stress
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • A highly usable form of iron, so important in pregnancy
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • Purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to eat liver is through liver pates.  Here is a tasty recipe for Chicken Liver Pate.  Here is one for a delicious Beef Liver with fig, bacon, and caramelized onion.  While not as ideal as consuming as food, desiccated liver in capsule form is also available.  

3.  Bone Broth

Beloved by the burgeoning paleo health movement, bone broth has numerous benefits for both mamas and babies (and the rest of us!)  Bone broth has shown to offer the following benefits:

  • builds, rebuilds and repairs our connective tissue, including joints, tendons and ligaments
  • improves hair, skin and nails
  • strengthens bones
  • heals and promotes a healthy digestive system 
  • supports optimal nerve health
  • great for the immune system
  • good source of protein
  • supports brain health
  • boosts fertility
  • and much more

Because broth supports the nervous system, endocrine system and brain function, consuming it while pregnant helps the developing fetus build healthy organs.

Bone broth is cheap and easy to make yourself.  You can use the bones from a whole chicken you have cooked or can get soup bones from the coop. It is best to use high quality bones to make bone broth-- those from healthy (grassfed or free range), organic sources.  This is not a difficult thing to do in Minnesota!  There are many great recipes out there for bone broth.  Here is one simple way to make and enjoy bone broth throughout the week.

4.   Fermented foods

Fermented foods are some of the best sources of probiotics one can get from food (which is a superior source of all nutrients, compared to supplements, in virtually all cases).   Fermented foods are great for maintaining a healthy digestive system in pregnancy, which many of us know can go awry when we are expecting.  Eating these probiotic-rich foods is also great for gut health and the immune system and can positively impact your child's gut health and overall wellbeing.  Fermented foods also increase your body's ability to absorb the maximum level of nutrients from the foods you eat.  You can make your own fermented foods or there are some great (and quite tasty!) options available at co-ops, Whole Foods, and other health markets.  Examples of fermented foods include:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Plain yogurt
  • Kombucha

Here's to you and your family's health, mamas!