Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Tips for Losing the Baby Weight.


I've been on a mission lately... I like to call it operation lose the last ten pounds by Christmas. I'm trying to embrace my post baby body, but I feel far from glamorous. Life with a new baby has been so busy I barely have any time to myself which makes the whole losing the baby weight thing seem pretty far fetched. 

I was on vacation this weekend and something just clicked. Like duh Leslie, you do this for a living. You know what to do... You just have to make yourself do it. Here's the tips I'm using to get myself back to tip top shape, hopefully you find them helpful too!

1. Drink plenty of water. I know I talked about this in my breastfeeding post... But seriously, I can't stress it enough. Drinking enough water can be the key to weight loss. Feeling hungry? You could be dehydrated. Feeling tired? You could be dehydrated. Start by making sure pure drinking at least half your body weight in ounces. 

2. Eat enough. Here's the deal... Breastfeeding burns a good amount of calories. So does working out. If you're partaking in both its really important to make sure you're eating enough. It could affect your milk supply if you're not and your body might hold on to that pesky body fat. The short not so sciency explanation is that muscle is more calorically expensive than body fat. If you're not getting enough calories your body will shed muscle... Not fat. Make sure you're eating an appropriate amount of calories. If you're not sure how to do this email me and I can help put together a plan with calorie and macronutrients tailored just for you and your goals. 

3. Get some sleep. Hahaha... I know, this one is hilarious when you have a baby. But in all honesty your body will have a hard time shedding that extra body fat if you're not getting rest. 

4. Make a plan and stick to it. It's true what they say: fail to plan and plan to fail. Make some goals in your head and decide how you're going to reach those goals. Get your significant other and friends on board too, a little accountability can go a long way.

5. Be gracious with yourself. This is the one I struggle with the most. If you're a new mom try to be patient with yourself... You just grew a human! My doctor told me nine months in, nine months out. I think that's a pretty good rule of thumb. Our bellies didn't get big overnight and we shouldn't expect to lose all our weight overnight either. You'll get there. Just don't give up! And as a side note, I don't want my kids watching me obsess over my weight. I want them to know that being healthy and feeling good is way more important that a number on the scale. Don't forget, those little eyes are watching us all the time. 

We are in this together. 

Xoxo,

Leslie

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oil Pulling, Fad or Fabulous?

I've been receiving a lot of questions about oil pulling lately.  People want to know what the health benefits are, what type of oil to use and if it is truly effective.

While oil pulling is becoming a modern practice it originated from an Ayurvedic tradition.  Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that evolved in India around 3000-5000 years ago and is now practiced in other parts of the world as complementary medicine.  Ayurveda recommends oil gargling to purify the entire system.  The theory is each section of the tongue is connected to a different organ such as to the kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. 

Health claims for oil pulling include clearer skin, better controlled diabetes, reduced inflammation, improved dental hygiene and whiter teeth.  This practice has been used primarily for promoting oral health.  Oil pulling is essentially swishing around a spoonful of plant-based oil in the mouth for 3 to 5 minutes.  Suggested oils include coconut oil, sesame oil or sunflower oil. 

The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine notes one study in which oil pulling was linked to a reduction in plaque index and gingivitis among adolescent boys.  The American Dental Association however does not recommend oil pulling as a supplementary dental practice or in the place of regular dental care due to lack of research. 

If you decide to incorporate oil pulling into your lifestyle it is imporant to choose quality products, follow the practice correctly and inquire about any possible interactions.  Many believe that if a therapy is herbal or natural it is free of potentially adverse effects; this is incorrect.  To date, there have been few negative side effects associated with oil pulling but diarrhea or upset stomach has been reported and lipoid pneumonia has appeared in literature regarding oil pulling.

Although there is a lot of support for oil pulling, from an evidenced-based standpoint, more research is needed to verify it's effectiveness.  We recommend gathering as much information as possible and speaking with clinicians you trust in order to decide for yourself if a health practice is right for you.

Stay healthy friends!
-Julie

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's for Dinner?

Happy Wellness Wednesday! We've got a great recipe to answer that nagging question, "what's for dinner?". It's Cashew Chicken!

Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and cashews provide healthy fat.  This recipe fits into heart healthy and diabetic meal plans.  One serving contains less than 100mg sodium, is equivalent to two carbohydrate exchanges and is under 300 calories.

The recipe calls for toasted cashews.  To toast cashews start out by spreading in a single layer in a skillet. Simply cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes stirring frequently, until nuts are lightly browned.  Remove immediately from skillet and you're ready to go!
 

Cashew Chicken
Makes 4 Servings

10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups fresh mushrooms sliced
1 red or green bell pepper cut into strips
1 can (6 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
1/4 cup toasted cashews

1. Place chicken in a large resealable food storage bag.  Whisk cornstarch, wine, soy sauce and garlic powder in a small bowl until smooth and well blended.  Pour into bag with chicken.  Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Drain chicken; discard marinade.  Heat oil in wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add green onions and cook while stirring 1 minute.  Add chicken, cook and stir 2 minutes or until browned.  Add mushrooms, bell peppers and water chestnuts, cook for another 3 minutes while stirring.  Vegetables should be crisp and tender and chicken cooked through.

3. Serve chicken and vegetables over rice, top with cashews.

We hope you will incorporate this recipe into your weekly meal plan.  By having a menu set for your week it makes grocery shopping and meal preparation much easier.  A meal plan or weekly menu helps us to stay on track with healthy eating and avoid reaching for convenience foods or detouring through the fast food drive through.

Stay healthy friends

-Julie

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Probiotics

Happy Mommy Monday! I thought I'd start your week of talking about probiotics. I feel like they're one of those hot topics that you hear about... but not everyone is really sure what they are and what they do. Let me enlighten you. 

Probiotics are a dietary supplement (sometimes food) containing live bacteria or yeast that supplements normal gastrointestinal flora. Basically what that sentence means is they're "good" bacteria that live in your gut. Quick science lesson: there's bacteria everywhere. Some is good and beneficial, others are bad and cause us to get sick. When everything is balance that is when we are the healthiest. Probiotics are used to help keep your good bacteria supply up... especially for times when you're on things like antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, even the good kind. That's why sometimes when you're on antibiotics you might get diarrhea or even a yeast infection, the good bacteria that is usually there helping to keep you healthy has been killed. You don't need probiotics for your body to go back to normal, but it could help speed up the process or help you to not even get sick in the first place. 

Side note: I want to take a second to talk about PREbiotics. Confused? PREbiotics are foods that stimulate good bacteria growth. PRObiotics are basically just the bacteria that you put into your gut through supplementation or eating fermented foods. Examples of PREbiotics are oats, bananas, onions and even some honeys. 

Okay, back to probiotics. There are two main types of probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There's other types, but these are the most studied and found to be the most beneficial. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that probiotics, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Here's the thing... we still don't know a ton about these things, but we do know that there is evidence that supplementing with probiotics can help your gut health. Diarrhea, constipation, and IBS all have strong evidence showing that the use of probiotics is beneficial to these conditions. 

There is no FIRM evidence for the rest of the claims with probiotics, BUT..... there are studies showing promise in children with colic, reflux, respritory infections, UTI's, allergies, asthma, eczema, colitis, and even Crohn's disease.  What does that mean for you as a parent? If you have a child that (or even you yourself) struggles with one or more of these conditions, probiotics may be beneficial for you. It also means if you or your child struggles with constipation or diarrhea, these definitely could benefit you. So here's your next step... talk to your pediatrician and see if they feel supplementation for your child is the right thing to do. I can tell you personally that my son struggled in the beginning with his gut health. My pediatrician was very helpful and told me to start supplementing with the probiotics and to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. Make sure if you have an infant you're using the infant probiotics and if you have an older kid you're using the children probiotics, specifically for the dosage information. It made a world of difference for us.  It is important to note that the FDA does not regulate probiotics, so do your research, talk to your doctor, and buy a reputable brand. 

If you don't feel comfortable giving your infant probiotics and you're a breastfeeding mom, I have good news. You can take the supplement yourself and your baby will reap some of the benefits through your breastmilk. You can also up your intake of yogurt, sauerkraut, cottage cheese, and kombucha however, the amounts of probiotics aren't as strong as taking a supplement. And, just in case you were wondering what the Academy of Pediatrics has to say about probiotics... in 2010 they stated that they are generally safe, but they are unsure of what the long term effects or their effectiveness are. I have a feeling as more and more studies are done we will be pleased with the evidence that we get concerning these little bacteria. 

In closing... I'm not saying probiotics are a cure all... but it wouldn't hurt to talk to your pediatrician and see if supplementing could be beneficial for you, your kids and your guts. 

-Leslie

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Mighty Soybean - The Only Complete Plant Based Protein


Soy protein is the only plant protein with all eight essential amino acids, making it equivalent to animal protein. It’s a lean, green, protein machine.

Soy is very nutritious and one cup of cooked soybeans supplies: 
- 57% DV protein - 41% DV fiber - 49% DV iron - 18% DV calcium
- At least 18% DV of 10 other essential vitamins and minerals
- Rich in health promoting bioactives, such as isoflavones, saponins and phytosterols, as well as the omega-3 fatty acid ALA.

KEY FACTS TO KNOW:
·  Phytoestrogens—isoflavones in soy and other plants—possess antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. They are the source of much past confusion over soy safety; however, research confirms their safety in humans. Phytoestrogens are structurally similar to estrogens, but act differently and are much weaker.

·  Soy is beneficial for athletic performance and muscle recovery, and is rich in antioxidant compounds that may help reduce oxidative stress associated with exercise. Soy protein provides an “intermediate” rate of amino acid release, and when combined with other proteins, such as whey and casein, offers a sustained delivery of amino acids to muscles.

·  Studies show moderate intake of two to three servings of soyfoods a day are safe.  
o  A serving is: 1 cup soymilk or cultured soymilk “yogurt”; 1/2 cup cooked soybeans, edamame, tempeh or tofu; 1/3 cup soynuts; a soy-rich nutrition bar; or a veggie burger.