HEAVY PERIODS AFTER CHILDBIRTH: WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?

HEAVY PERIODS AFTER CHILDBIRTH: WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?

For some women it’s no big deal and for others, that first period after having a baby is like a painful deluge, leaving you to wonder if that’s your monthly destiny from here on in. There are a few reasons why our periods change post-partum. Read on to find out what they are and how nutrition can help you.

LOVING OUR PERIOD: A CONVERSATION WITH FERTILITY EXPERT DR. KATHERINE DALE

LOVING OUR PERIOD: A CONVERSATION WITH FERTILITY EXPERT DR. KATHERINE DALE

Hormonal contraception is too often being used as a band-aid to cover up hormonal irregularities.  Many teenagers and women are prescribed the coil or the birth control pill to manage heavy, painful, irregular periods & recurring cysts.  But is that really treating the root cause and helping women support their hormonal and reproductive health?  Read on to learn how to love your period...

DADS IN THE POST-NATAL ERA: A NUTRITIONIST’S VIEW ON “DADDY BURN OUT”

DADS IN THE POST-NATAL ERA: A NUTRITIONIST’S VIEW ON “DADDY BURN OUT”

Post-natal depletion happens to dads too.  Read more about how nutrition can help both moms and dads support sleep, energy levels, immunity and the kindness and empathy couples need to thrive and not just survive through the adjustment of having a new baby.

LOVE: I Dream of Avocado Mash & Carrot Sticks

                          Thrive Nutrition Practice: LOVE Healthy Fats & Raw Vegetables

                         Thrive Nutrition Practice: LOVE Healthy Fats & Raw Vegetables

 

We have put the SLEEP pillar of Thrive’s nutrition trifecta to bed (as it were) and we are now moving on to LOVE.  By “LOVE” what I mean is:

Are we showing our body the love and respect it deserves? Are we feeding it with food that fills us with the sun’s energy and makes our master detoxifying organ (i.e. the liver) happy?  OR are we scorning our miraculous body and making it difficult for our liver to detoxify?

My favourite I LOVE ME foods are:

RAW FRUITS & VEGETABLES & HEALTHY FATS

Delve with me now into the science-behind-nutrition explanation as to why these are my top LOVE-generating foods.

  1. RAW FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Live, raw fruits & vegetables give us a healthy dose of ANTIOXIDANTS, FIBRE, RAW ENZYMES, BIOFLAVONOIDS & MANY MORE NUTRIENTS every day.  

Vitamin C is one of the most famous antioxidant nutrients ever.  And rightly so.  It’s role in immunity is crucial.  But what a lot of people don’t know, is that Vitamin C has the added benefit of nourishing our adrenal glands which help our body cope with stress.

Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol – our stress hormone. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones.  If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue & you don’t have enough vitamin C – what happens is that your adrenal glands “panic”. This increases the likelihood of you experiencing anxiety; and this state of adrenal fatigue in turn, wreaks havoc on your blood sugar, blood pressure, and contributes to the dreaded accumulation of belly fat.

Research and clinical trials have shown that people who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to difficult challenges. What’s more, they bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood.

However, vitamin C is destroyed by heat, so if you want bang for your buck – you must source it from raw ingredients.  Foods with the highest vitC content including citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, kiwis, blueberries and leafy greens, like spinach.

2. HEALTHY FATS

Examples of healthy fats are those found in whole foods like fish, nuts, seeds & avocados.  Examples of unhealthy fats are those found in spreadable butter, margarine & highly refined oils such as: corn oil, soyabean, peanut, canola, sunflower oil.

A diet-rich in healthy fats is extremely important for healthy digestion, energy production & brain function.   Dr. Perlmutter – author of The Grain Brain and one of the leading medical researchers in the study of the Mind-Gut connection, explains why:

The part of the cells that make energy are called the mitochondria.  When you power the mitochondria with calories from carbohydrates, you dramatically increase the production of chemicals called free radicals in your body.  These free radicals have the potential to damage your arteries and even your DNA.  These free radicals must also be detoxified from your body by your liver, which already has enough work to do detoxifying other free radicals from sources like alcohol, pollution and excess sugar.  So your metabolism becomes sluggish and heavy.  You become tired and unproductive.

However, if you power the mitochondria with the calories from fat – far less free radicals are created and this creates a flourishing environment for brain activity.  And amazingly, it allows your brain to create new brain cells in a process called neurogenesis.  New brain cells!  We can actually stimulate neurogenesis by decreasing our carb intake and increasing our healthy fat intake.

So – including foods like avocado, raw nuts & seeds, salmon and coconut in your foods will give you cleaner fuel so that your body can charge through the day feeling like a Ferrari instead of a beat-up Ford Fiesta.

***

Knowing all this now — close your eyes and imagine your teenage daughter came home crying because the boy she liked just rejected her and instead of reaching for a twinkie, she made herself some avocado mash & carrot sticks.

AND – she did this mindfully because she knew, that the best way to feel mentally & physically strong again was to fuel her body with raw vegetables & healthy fats.

The era of nutritional enlightenment is upon us.  And we – as women – and the keepers of our family’s nutritional wisdom are leading and shaping this era.  We have the power to shape the eating habits & behaviours of our children for the better.

But it’s all got to start with us. 

 

Cristina Tahoces is a holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrive Nutrition Practice.  Please join her Facebook group “Thrive Nutrition Practice” for daily articles, recipes, promotions on professional grade supplements and upcoming workshops.

Copyright © 2016 THRIVE NUTRITION PRACTICE LTD.

 

SLEEP: Coffee Does Not Wake You Up

                       Thrive Nutrition Practice: Ditch the Coffee

                      Thrive Nutrition Practice: Ditch the Coffee

 

Imagine your child woke up in the morning and dryly grumbled:

“Can’t function until I’ve had my coffee, mom.”

Would you:

a) send your child to bed earlier the next evening thinking that perhaps the solution is more sleep?

OR

b) say, “Absolutely honey. Here’s your cup.”  

I can’t think of a single mother who would encourage a coffee habit with her child because we know in our gut that coffee is not the answer.

Dr Michael Breus is a psychologist and insomnia expert who has conducted a load of research on sleep.  His research reveals:

Drinking coffee first thing in the morning does not wake you up, make you alert or give you an energy boost. All it does, according to science, is raise your tolerance for caffeine so that you need to drink more and more of it to feel any effects at all.

In fact, he says that the worst time to have a cup of coffee is within two hours of waking OR within six hours of bedtime, especially if you have sleep problems.

So what DOES coffee actually do?

  • Coffee suppresses natural melatonin production by interfering with your natural circadian rhythms which govern your sleep cycle.
  • Coffee puts our body in “fight or flight” mode.  It gives us that morning boost by pumping up our stress hormone cortisol.  The problem with waking up with a cortisol injection is that we are forcing a spike in blood sugar, which needs to be mitigated by an insulin response.  This is bad news for post-natal mamas who have stopped breastfeeding and are trying to shift their baby weight, especially if their morning breakfast is plain oatmeal, cereal or toast with no accompanying protein.  These grain-based breakfasts break down in your body into simple sugars, exacerbating that blood sugar spike created by your coffee.  Whatever sugar your body doesn’t need is packaged into fat by your liver.
  •  A body in “fight or flight” is also not focused on resting and digesting.  As a result, digestion is compromised and all those beautiful nutrients you are hopefully taking in with breakfast will not be optimally digested and absorbed, resulting in nutritional deficiencies, which affect everything from your mood to immunity levels.
  •  Coffee is a diuretic and that is a problem first thing in the morning for TWO major reasons:
    • FIRST:  We lose about a litre of water over the course of the night through perspiration and exhalation.  So, by the time we wake up we are dehydrated. Diuretics like coffee and black tea are thus the polar opposite of what our body requires to actually kickstart all of its daily functions. Mamas who wake up and feel nauseous, please have a look at how much water you are drinking throughout the day and how you are using coffee.
    • SECOND: As a diuretic, coffee is also encouraging your body to pee out all of your water soluble vitamins, like your B-vitamins and Vitamin C.  Those of you who’ve been reading my posts for a while know that these are exactly the vitamins our adrenal glands need to cope with stress.  So you’ve reduced your body’s ability to cope with stress even before you get to work.
  • Coffee also affects iron absorption in your stomach and particularly your kidneys ability to retain calcium, zinc, magnesium and other important minerals.    All bad news for post-natal mamas who have to be extra cautious about iron levels to replenish blood lost and maintain energy levels.  Also bad news for mamas with constipation and sleep problems as magnesium is a crucial mineral needed to maintain regularity and ensure restful sleep.

In short – not only does coffee sabotage your natural melatonin production – it also dehydrates you, depletes you of much needed vitamins and minerals and impairs your body’s ability to cope with stress.

But if not coffee — then what?  

And herein lies the difficulty.  If you’ve read this and gone, “There is no way on earth I’m going to be physically capable of surviving the day without coffee” — then you are most likely so sleep deprived that coffee is your saviour.  And so, you are caught in a vicious cycle – too tired to give up coffee.  Too wired in the evening to fall asleep before 10.30pm and get those golden 8 hours of sleep. 

(And by the way — if you are sleeping 8 hours daily and still wake up feeling like you need a coffee, that is not normal and you might want to consider getting a blood panel to check iron levels, thyroid & adrenal function).

Here are a few ideas to help you break the sleep-caffeine cycle:

  • Dr Breus recommends drinking a big glass of water in front of a window first thing upon rising to hydrate your body and stop the production of melatonin so that you stop feeling sleepy.  He also suggests you follow with a tepid shower to help your feel invigorated.
  • Have a protein-fueled breakfast in the morning, like my Adrenal Friendly Breakfast.  This helps give your body energy, healthy fats & fibre to help you combat stress effectively, regulate your hormones, boost immunity and keep you regular.
  • Try having a cup of maca instead of coffee to boost your energy levels.

 MACA ROCKET FUEL DRINK

Put all the ingredients in a small pot and whiz with your hand-held blender.  Then heat until hot and put it in your thermos to go.  So energizing and warming!  And for half the price of a Starbucks (I’ve done the math).

And did you know that maca….

  • is rich in vitamin B, C, and E — all of which help you combat stress;
  • has plenty of calcium, zinc, iron & magnesium to boost immunity & help with sleep;
  • reduces anxiety;
  • improves thyroid function;

AND HELPS MEN AND WOMEN INCREASE THEIR LIBIDO!

Sleep, sex & stress management – all in a drink that won’t give you a hangover.

Mamas – it is totally within your reach to break the cycle of fatigue.  Nutrition can help you bust that rut.  And who knows what else you might have energy for before bedtime!

 

Cristina Tahoces is a holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrive Nutrition Practice.  Please join her Facebook group “Thrive Nutrition Practice” for daily articles, recipes, promotions on professional grade supplements and upcoming workshops.

Copyright © 2016 THRIVE NUTRITION PRACTICE LTD.

SLEEP: Let's Talk About Anxiety

SLEEP:  Let's Talk About Anxiety

Today is Day 1 of SLEEPLOVEPOOP FOR MOMS.  

Thrive's goal is to get all mamas out there to achieve what I call the nutrition trifecta by Christmas.  This month, we'll be working on improving our quality of SLEEP.