Crib put up and nursery pintrest-worthy decorated ---- check!
Car seat installed ---- check!
Baby Shower ---- check!
Baby supplies ---- check!
Birth plan ---- check!
Postpartum plan ---- wait...what?
Yes! A postpartum plan for moms.
For the past nine months you have been creating a new person - from the fingers and toes to their brain development! Often women start this process without an optimal foundation for nutrition, stress, sleep and movement. And it doesn't improve when the baby is on the outside and needs even more from you. Our culture puts so much emphasis on the importance of self-care during pregnancy - afterall you are eating for two, but after the baby is born all the focus on care goes to the newborn. Often moms are expected to navigate this new role as a mother - whether for the first time or the fifth - and increased responsibilities with little support.
Is it little wonder that so many women - an estimated 50%! - are thought to experience postnatal depletion and feel burned out in motherhood for years. Some symptoms of postnatal depletion include:
What causes of postnatal depletion?There are many different factors that can contribute to postnatal depletion. Here are the top three reasons:
What are three ways to overcome postnatal depletion?
Build your support network: In order to recover optimally we have to build our support network. You can never have too much support!
Build your healing team. Be sure to see your health care provider to get a proper assessment of your current health status. Work with mental health counselors to develop healthy boundaries and support for mental and emotional wellbeing. Make sure your body heals properly from birth with the support of physical therapists and chiropractors.
Build your support network. Make time to nurture your relationships with your spouse. Schedule a regular date night to reconnect. Make time to meet up with a friend for coffee. Join a group of other moms who are encouraging. Meet up with a friend at a park and chat while your kids play.
Make sleep a priority. So often after the kids go to bed moms have a tendancy to stay up late to watch tv or scroll social media. While it feels like you to have down time, it can actually make the depletion and your sleep worse.
Gentle movement through restorative yoga or taking a walk can help your body restore itself.
Make it a priority to eat eal nourishing food instead of just coffee and a grazing on snack foods.
Learn to relax your body. Just a few minutes a day of a relaxation practice can help your body heal from the effects of stress.
Recognise your motherhood journey:
Often when we are in the thick of things we tend to loose sight of our goals and priorities. Your motherhood journey is unique. It is also ongoing and constantly changing. Taking time to recognise all the things you have accomplished as a mother and establish your vision for your journey can be incredibly empowering!
When you focus on caring for yourself, you can better care for those you love the most! This is why Mama Simply was created - to help mamas restore balance and feel like themselves again.
Lately, people have been asking me how do I do it all? Wife, mom to five kids, homeschooling, working a business, going back to school for my BSN, creating a hobby farm...The truth is I don't do ALL THE THINGS. I prioritize the things I love and focus on making time for those things.
Do you ever feel like you’re giving too much of yourself away? That you are spread too thin by doing ALL THE THINGS?
Now that it’s spring, there’s no better time to do some spring cleaning for your personal life to get back more of what you put out there.
Here are ways to bring that into fruition!
1. Be honest with yourself
If you could create your perfect life, what would it be? Write down the things that you would like to have more time for in your life, like reading, learning a hobby or spending time with people that you enjoy being around.
2. Reflect on the things you’re currently doing
It helps to make a list of what you currently spend your time on -- from working to caring for kids to running errands. Think of it as a synopsis of your weekly life. You’ll want to look at this compared to what you want to see more of in your week.
3. Decide what you can compromise on
You need to get groceries for your family. No one can deny that’s not important. “I want to take that new hot yoga class, but I have to go to the supermarket.” Well, not exactly correct! Our marvelous online world allows you to order all of the things you need and either run by and have it brought out to your car or even better, delivered to your door. Problem solved.
4. Stop saying “but”
If you’re always saying you want to do something and adding “but” in there afterward, it’s time to change that way of thinking. Those three little letters are convincing you that you don’t deserve the things you want more of.
Let’s look at a common place where you add “but” in your life ~ when we need to make dinner. No, you don’t. You can prep those meals on your Sunday and voila! Your early evenings are free to pick up another pursuit. We’re so trained to feel guilty for indulging the things we want, but we need to do those things because we can’t be our best for everyone else.
What are 3 things you want to make more room for in your life? Comment and let me know what you would LOVE to make more time for.
Want to gain clarity on how to make more room in your life for what you love? Schedule a FREE Clarity Call at www.mamasimply.net. I would love to hear your story!
Yeast (Candida) Overgrowth- The Secret Factor Behind Your Health’s Demise
Is your general health deteriorating for no real reason?
Have you blamed it on stress and bad luck?
Well, fortunately, you might have just found an explanation after all.
Your exhaustion, stress and gastrointestinal issues may be easily blamed on an issue more common than people think.
Candida albicans are tiny yeast organisms that exist in high numbers throughout your body, though generally don’t cause you any harm. In fact, Candida yeast actually assists with digestions and nutrient absorption. When there is an overgrowth of this type of yeast, however, then you can begin to experience less-than-ideal symptoms.
Unbalancing The Scale
Candida yeast thrives in unbalanced environments. Similarly, when your brain notices that your body is out of whack, it acts accordingly. Yeast overgrowth can affect the entire neurological system with its imbalances, which leaves you with severe mood disorders such as dramatic mood swings, anxiety and even depression.
You May Feel Extra Sleepy
One of the most sufferable symptoms of Candida overgrowth is the constant fatigue that people feel. This fatigue is not simply cured by getting an extra few hours of sleep or taking an extra rest. Instead, it can last longer than six months and will eventually prevent you from completely regular daily tasks with a cloud of chronic exhaustion, joint pain and overall blood fogginess.
More Than an Upset Stomach
Yeast and other bacteria is found in your gut at all times, since they are partly responsible for nutrient absorption and digestion. However, an overgrowth of Candida affects the efficiency of the digestive system. In large numbers, Candida breaks down the walls of the digestive tract, allowing toxins such as acetaldehyde (a known carcinogen) to enter the bloodstream. Similarly, an overgrowth of Candida can increase the chances of leaky gut syndrome, which also allows toxins and partially digestive food particles into the bloodstream.
A Toxic Body
As a result of leaky gut syndrome, Candida yeast has an effect on the liver. When too many toxins are released into the bloodstream via broken down intestinal walls, the liver must work overtime to cleanse these toxins. As a result, an overloaded liver cannot do the same high-quality job that a regular-working liver can, which results in a high number of toxins floating throughout your body.
The Entire Body
The culmination of stress, gastrointestinal issues and an overburdened liver triggers a negative response in the immune system. This negative response is reflected as chronic inflammation of the entire body, including weight gain, skin rashes, brain fog and eventually, autoimmune disease. These symptoms are severe enough to cause pain, prevent the efficiency of regular daily tasks and cause harm to your body in the long run.
But How Did I Get These Yeast Overgrowths?
There are a few lifestyle factors that affect the growth of Candida yeast. The first cause is a poor diet; diets that are high in sugar, acid, fermented foods and alcohol encourage yeast growth. Yeast thrives in high-sugar and acidic environments.
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics is another cause of the overgrowth of yeast. Some antibiotics, or simply the overuse of antibiotics, clear away “good” yeast and allows Candida yeast to prevail. It is crucial to use antibiotics as directed and perhaps try a more natural remedy for infections in the future to reduce the use of antibiotics.
In addition to antibiotics, oral contraceptives or birth control pills also have an effect on the growth of yeast. Birth control pills allow for an estrogen dominance throughout the body (which simply means that there is more estrogen than progesterone present in the body), which stimulates Candida growth in other places besides the gut.
Lastly, Candida growth is encouraged by stress. If your body’s mental health is out of balance and your body is under great stress, then this could result in a Candida yeast overgrowth. Unfortunately, the imbalance or disturbance in the gut and the rest of your body can affect your brain’s proper capacity, therefore leaving your body in a constant cycle of stress and yeast growth.
How Can I Prevent Overgrowth?
Though the overgrowth of Candida yeast running rampant in your body may seem severely inconvenient, there are several ways to reduce the risk of developing an overgrowth. Consuming probiotics in the form of food or in supplements may help to increase the number of “good bacteria” and discourage more growth of this “bad” bacteria.
The most important way to decrease the amount of Candida in your body is simply to clean up your diet. Improving your diet means ridding your meals of acidic foods and beverages, consuming lots of green vegetables, consuming less starch and sugar and drinking plenty of water. Eliminating or reducing alcohol consumption is also largely beneficial to your gut health.
Is This The Cause Of All Your Health Problems?
5 Signs You’re Suffering From Candida Overgrowth - And What You Can Do About It
10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & What To Do About It
9 Candida Symptoms & 3 Steps To Treat Them
Candida & Oral Contraceptives
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet.
What exactly is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is not a diet of vegetables alone. It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which may exclude or minimize meat, including chicken, dairy products and eggs. The diet will definitely exclude foods made from refined flour and sugar, and certain refined vegetable oils.
There are several food categories from which to choose, and most of these can be included as ingredients in familiar dishes you may want to prepare, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, and burrito bases.
Here are some of the foods you can add to a plant-based diet.
•Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, plums, lemons etc. •Vegetables: lettuce, dark green veggie varieties, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, cabbage etc.
•Starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, squash, peas, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans.
Bear in mind that iodized salt should be added to your food as it is a great source of iodine to help maintain a healthy thyroid.
The basis of a plant-based diet. Starch-based foods and fruit form the basis of a whole-food plant-based diet. While leafy greens play an important part in the diet, they are low in calories and do not provide much of an energy source, so they may result in decreased energy levels, and leave you feeling hungry. However, combined with starch-based foods like corn, peas, potatoes etc, provide fantastic all-round nourishment, and keep the energy pumping.
The idea of a plant-based diet is not to eat one food for a single nutrient, such as oranges for vitamin C, as an example. The main plan of a plant-based diet is eat what is known as a package of the foods that you enjoy, which contain all the essential nutrients. This package can provide you with most of your daily nutrient needs, and be of enormous benefit to your general health.
Health benefits of a plant based diet.
•A plant-based diet automatically lowers blood pressure because of the potassium- rich legumes and nuts. •Plants contain no cholesterol, and this includes the super-food coconut oil.
•The fiber in plants helps to fight high blood sugar, by slowing down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream.
•A low fat, plant-based diet seriously lowers your risk of falling prey to cancer.
•Weight loss happens naturally when you eat wholesome, unrefined foods, lots of fiber, take in natural vitamins and minerals, rather than animal fats and sugary, floury foods.
•Research has shown that replacing saturated animal fats with the mono-unsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados and olive oil, substantially lowers your risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.
•You will also experience less inflammation in the body which is caused by sugary and fatty foods that can lead to other problems like constipation. The fiber in a plant based diet will keep your colon healthy.
Plant-based foods contain nutrients which are in proportion according to our human needs, and a variety of whole foods will easily meet your nutritional needs.
The best way to start a plant-based diet.
Changing to an almost vegan-type will not be easy, especially if you have not been a healthy eater. Whether you want to fully embrace a plant-based diet, or perhaps keep chicken or fish as part of your diet is a decision that only you can make. But there is no doubt that reducing your meat intake, and following a plant diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.
If you are finding it difficult to immediately flip over to a new diet, here are some tips to help you on the way. •Begin with including legumes in your regular diet, as they are generally feel-good foods, and will make you feel full, and give you energy.
•You can also substitute one or two refined items with a plant-based food in a meal each day.
•Gradually exclude red meat from your diet.
•If you decide to retain chicken and fish in your diet, make sure that the chicken is organic and free range, if possible, and opt for healthy fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel, for the omega 3 content.
•A good idea is to replace one or two days of your week’s meals with a full vegetarian, plant-based meal. Do this on a regular basis, until you no longer want to return to your previous way of eating.
Some meals you can try to prepare.
•Sweet potato lasagna.
•French fries baked with olive oil and herbs
•Lima bean soup.
•Tuscan white bean burgers.
•Black bean and rice burritos.
These meals are popular choices, and most of the recipes can be found on the internet.
Backed by science.
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are supported by scientific research. Fatalities from heart problems is rated as the biggest single cause of death today, mainly due to poor lifestyle habits, and grossly unhealthy diets. Don’t be another victim, embrace a healthy diet and help lower your risk of a future heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.
Moringa - The new superfood
Heard of Moringa before? You might want to go and get some after reading this….
Moringa (moringa oleifera) is also known as the Ben Oil Tree, Drumstick Tree, or Indian Horseradish. Moringa is a fast growing tree typically cultivated in India, tropical Asia, Africa and Latin America, yielding long seed pods that resemble drumsticks, hence the name Drumstick Tree.
Moringa has long been used in eastern medicine to treat many ailments such as low energy, adrenal fatigue and helps to naturally detox the liver just to name a few. As a dietary supplement, Moringa is high in protein, Vitamins A, B and C and contains minerals such as calcium and iron.
It is also rich in flavonoid, a class of compounds found in plants that contribute to essential plant functions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Moringa products have antibiotic, antitrypanosomal, hypotensive, antispasmodic, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypo-cholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic properties”. In essence, this makes Moringa a new superfood that is nutritious and medicinal.
Moringa is particularly mentioned in Ayurvedic treatments as the most nutritious tree in India. In traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments, moringa is used as a natural and safe detox, often used as a regular tonic of the body. Apart from wellness from within, moringa leaves and barks can be processed into a balm for external application, alleviating joint pains and rheumatism as the plant has a mild analgesic effect. It’s no wonder the Moringa plant is now being hailed as the latest superfood.
In the western world, Moringa products come in various forms, with the most convenient and widely-available form being Moringa powder ground from dried leaves and taken as a supplement in pill form.
Here are just some of the wonderful health benefits:
1.It's nutrient-packed - vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2.It fights free radicals - molecules that cause oxidative stress and cell damage
3.It fights inflammation – helping to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity
4.Reduces diabetes symptoms – reducing lipid and glucose levels
5.Protects cardiovascular system – prevents plaque formation and reduces cholesterol levels
6.Protects the liver – with high concentrations of polyphenols
7.Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – to fight infections
Here is your guide to taking Moringa in all it’s forms so you can start benefiting from this wondrous superfood.
Due to different manufacturing styles and ways to process the plant, the dosage can be varied. Always check the label for recommended dosage given they have different concentration of active ingredients. Usually it’s one pill per day.
For Moringa leaf powder, it is typically sold in packets or jars. For the most effective health benefits, it’s best taken raw, as heat may destroy some of the useful and healthful compounds. The general instructions for various brands seem to suggest starting off slow and adding more powder day by day in order for the body to get used to the detoxifying qualities of Moringa. Start off with a quarter teaspoon added to your smoothies, iced tea, water or sprinkled on your breakfast such as yoghurt or overnight chia pudding and slowly build up to 1 tablespoons a day.
Seeds and Leaves
You might come across roasted whole Moringa seeds or even whole leaves. These are usually hard to come by so if you want to use these, it’s best to check your local health food store, Asian markets or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. The seeds are typically bitter and astringent though; how much you use will depend on personal taste. To use Moringa seeds, remove the shell and chew five to ten seeds a day if possible, or grind them into powder and sprinkle on your food.
When it comes to cooking Moringa leaves and seeds, the spices used in Indian cooking, such as cumin and turmeric, complement the anti-inflammatory effect of Moringa. If eaten raw, start off with a quarter cup of leaves per day, and build up to half cup a day.
No matter how you choose to have your Moringa for its therapeutic effect, the key is moderation and consuming it in line with you and your body. For some that means being able to handle more at first, for you it might be to only take a quarter of the recommended dosage.
Being a superfood, it’s important to remember that Moringa is ultimately not medication but a nutrient-rich food that supports a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s not meant to be a superfood that gives you everything you need or a cure for all your ailments.
If you are pregnant, never consume Moringa tree bark or root as it could cause early labor or uterine contractions. If you are menstruating, it can cause excessive bleeding due to the detoxifying nature.
As always, consult your doctor before incorporating Moringa into your daily diet
Breakfast for Busy Women – Why It’s Important Not to Skip
The alarm goes off and you are rushing around preparing for a busy day ahead, whether you have children to get ready for school, or papers to read for a morning meeting, by the time you’ve watched the news, brushed your teeth and sorted your make-up, you are already exhausted – sound familiar?
It’s no wonder so many busy women end up skipping breakfast and just grabbing an expensive coffee which is drunk in the car on the way. But there are many reasons why this habit is bad for our health.
Breakfast Provides Many Benefits to Our Health and Wellbeing
If you think about it properly, when you wake up in the morning, your body has had no fuel since your evening meal the night before – potentially 12 hours beforehand – so your body is in starvation. Think about the words – “break” “fast” – literally the meal which breaks the fast you have been on while sleeping. You need the energy to kick-start your system and get your body ready for the day ahead.
According to nutritionists, a healthy breakfast should give you around 30% of your daily calorie requirements. It provides us with energy, protein, calcium, iron, fiber and B vitamins which are all needed to get you through the day. If your body doesn’t receive these first thing, studies have shown your body is less effective at taking them on during the rest of the day.
How Eating Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight
If you skip breakfast you are not providing your body with what it needs for energy and you will soon get hungry and are more likely to then reach for high sugar, high fat snacks, to compensate. People who skip breakfast tend to end up reaching for the snacks around 10am which doesn’t help if you are trying to lose weight.
In terms of time, breakfast really needs to be eaten between 45 minutes and two hours of waking up. This timing gives you the chance to put the needed fuel into your body to make sure your metabolism is balanced throughout the day. It is also the premium time for your body to absorb any of the carbohydrates you consume, which helps balance out your insulin levels. All of these aspects mean breakfast really sets your body up for the day and can help curb those mid-morning sugar cravings.
In a study it was revealed that people who not only ate breakfast, but made it their largest meal, lost almost 18 pounds over a three month period. The other people, who took part in the study, eating the same calories during the day but most of these for their evening meal, lost only around seven pounds. This study was published in Obesity.
Other Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
Breakfast brings a large number of health benefits, besides weight loss – providing more reasons why it really is important not to skip this particular meal.
Studies have proven that children who eat breakfast do better at school as they are better able to concentrate and behave well. If it has this benefit for our children, then it will do the same for us. Breakfast helps to restore the levels of glucose which help with our brain function. This helps to improve memory, concentration and mood and also lowers stress levels. We all know that feeling of anger that rises up through being hungry. Breakfast can help us avoid this.
Breakfast is the first supply of energy your body receives when you wake up, making it part of your daily required calorie intake. A good nutritious breakfast will give you all the energy you need to take you through to lunchtime, and should be around 300 calories as a general rule. If you think about the energy you burn, you need the most in the morning and you need the least in the evening, when you are more likely to be sat on the sofa relaxing. Make breakfast your energy priority.
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a published study revealed that not eating breakfast could actually increase the risk of diabetes for women. The study showed that women who did eat breakfast between no, and six times a week, were at far higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate it daily.
Fab Ideas for Quick and Nutritious Breakfasts for Busy Women
So it’s all very well telling you as a busy woman, why you should eat breakfast, and why it’s good for you, but realistically you probably knew most of those things already and yet, you were still skipping? Knowing you need to eat breakfast, doesn’t mean you suddenly gain time in the morning to start preparing and making amazing morning meals does it? That’s why I came up with some tips for tasty breakfasts that are super quick to make.
An Energy Bar and Fruit
The combination of a piece of fruit and energy bar creates a balanced breakfast, providing fiber and vitamins. What can be quicker than just peeling a wrapper and a piece of fruit and eating them straight away? Just doing this could make a big difference to your health.
There are many instant porridge sachets around now – all you need to do is add water and microwave for a few minutes and then you have a healthy breakfast. Avoid the ones with added sugar and flavors, to keep the calories down but a plain version provides an easy breakfast virtually instantly.
Go for natural plain Greek-style yoghurt and add in fresh fruit, for a nutritious, quick and healthy breakfast on the run. Again, this only takes a minute or so to prepare and can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
High-Fiber Cereal or Oats
Fiber can bring health benefits and help you feel full so opting for a high fiber cereal will provide your body with a good start to the day. Make sure you avoid the traditional sugar filled cereals as these will increase your calorie intake while not necessarily helping provide what your body needs. Go instead for the more natural cereals and oats that have no processing for optimal nutrition.
For many women, a busy lifestyle means rushing in the morning and skipping breakfast is a common but bad habit to get into. Breakfast can make a big difference to our health and weight, reaping the benefits for us and there are many options which are quick and easy to make, from smoothies, to energy bars, from cereal to scrambled eggs, so no more excuses ladies!
10 Ways to Kick Stress In The Butt
When we are stressed, it’s quite easy to develop negative thinking patterns because we become frustrated by our challenges and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed. This negative outlook then makes it even harder for us to manage those challenges and move forward and break through the stress cycle.
Practicing positive thinking helps to focus on our strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness and motivation. This, in turn, allows us to spend more time making progress, and less time feeling down and stuck. The following tips provide practical suggestions that you can use to help you shift into more positive thinking patterns:
1. Take Good Care of Yourself It's much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.
2. Remind Yourself of the Things You Are Grateful For Stresses and challenges don't seem quite as bad when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that are right in life. Taking just 60 seconds a day to stop and appreciate the good things will make a huge difference.
3. Look for the Proof Instead of Making Assumptions A fear of not being liked or accepted sometimes leads us to assume that we know what others are thinking, but our fears are usually not reality. If you have a fear that a friend or family member's bad mood is due to something you did, or that your co-workers are secretly gossiping about you when you turn your back, speak up and ask them. Don't waste time worrying that you did something wrong unless you have proof that there is something to worry about.
4. Refrain from Using Absolutes Have you ever told a partner "You're ALWAYS late!" or complained to a friend "You NEVER call me!"? Thinking and speaking in absolutes like 'always' and 'never' makes the situation seem worse than it is, and programs your brain into believing that certain people are incapable of delivering.
5. Detach From Negative Thoughts Your thoughts can't hold any power over you if you don't judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, and don't follow it. 6. Squash the "ANTs" In his book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life," Dr. Daniel Amen talks about "ANTs" - Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like "Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me," or "The boss wants to see me? It must be bad!" When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them!
7. Practice Lovin', Touchin' & Squeezin' (Your Friends and Family) You don't have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick me-up. One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn't touch!
8. Increase Your Social Activity By increasing social activity, you decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way!
9. Volunteer for an Organization, or Help another Person Everyone feels good after helping. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.
10. Use Pattern Interrupts to Combat Rumination If you find yourself ruminating, a great way to stop it is to interrupt the pattern and force yourself to do something completely different. Rumination is like hyper-focus on something negative. It's never productive, because it's not rational or solution-oriented, it's just excessive worry and stress. Try changing your physical environment - go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.
It’s important to understand the signs of stress and react with a positive way of handling it such as these 10 tips. The key to busting stress is making sure that you look after YOU. As your happiness levels increase, your stress levels decrease. Have a look at your work life, your personal life and social life to see if there are any areas you can create more happiness. You might be surprised on what you find.
One of my personal goals for health and wellness has been to explore gut health and start intentionally incorporating more gut friendly things into our meals and lifestyle. What a fascinating topic! There are several simple steps you can take to support your gut health.
What Is Gut-Health?
There has been lots of talk recently about what has become known as “gut-health.” The Johns Hopkins Medical Center website, one of the most well-respected hospitals and Medical Schools in the United States, there is a good reason for this. Hidden within the walls of your digestive system is what is known as “your second brain” and this “brain in your gut” is changing the way that we look at the links between mood, digestion, health and even the way that you think.
Does Disease Begin with Gut-Health?
The answer is not exactly. Not all the diseases start in the gut. For an example, it doesn’t apply to the genetic or inherited diseases. But, there are evidences that lots of chronic metabolic diseases do. They begin in the gut. We can prevent these diseases by following some easy steps.
Step 1: Know What Second Brain and Why Does It Matter
This “little brain” is called the “enteric nervous system” or ENS and it comprises 2 thin layers of over 100 million nerve cells that line your GI tract from your esophagus to your rectum. The role of the ENS is to control digestion, including swallowing to releasing the enzymes that help break food down, to the control of blood flow, which aids with both nutrient absorption and elimination. The ENS communicates with our brain with significant results. When you have an unhealthy gut the symptoms of that can manifest themselves in other parts of your body. It’s your body trying to tell you that something is wrong or out of balance. Studies have found that increasing your gut-health can lead to improvements in:
• Immune function – 80% of our immune system is located in our guts
• Brain function
• Symptoms of anger, sadness, and depression
• Toxin levels in the body
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What Results? How Is This Even Possible?
The ENS may sense things that our cerebral brain can’t. Evidence has been found that when the GI tract is irritated it sends signals to the central nervous system, which can trigger our mood and ultimately affect it. When you consider that between 30%-40% of the population has bowel problems of some kind and that a higher percentage of these individuals develop depression and/or anxiety it’s easy to see how there could be a connection.
Our bodies are filled with bacteria – good and bad. There are more bacteria in a human body than there are cells and there are an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms living in our bowels alone (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/ 13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/.) The key here is to have more good than bad bacteria in your gut – the fancy name for the good microorganisms is probiotics. Probiotics help us do things like:
Step 2: Get More Probiotics
There are quite a few ways to get probiotics, but one of the easiest is to take a supplement called a probiotic. You will find many different kinds under different brand names and it would be a good idea to talk to your physician or pharmacist to see which is the brand that they recommend.
There are foods that are also high in probiotics. These foods include:
More Probiotics, What Else?
The ones that your grandmother and mother told you - stress less and laugh more. Stress, especially long-term stress, not only affects our gut bacteria, but it also affects the productions of hormones and neurochemicals that communicate with our brain. When it is long-term stress these chemicals and hormones can change permanently (unless you specifically work to change them back). Long-term stress may also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, IBD, IBS, and potentially food allergies
Laughter really is the best medicine. It helps to reduce stress and floods your body with the happy hormones and chemicals that make the good overtake the bad. There was even a study conducted (you can read more about it by clicking the link,) https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19543102, where researchers studied healthy people as well as those with atopic dermatitis – a disease that is often associated with imbalances in gut bacteria. The researchers had the participants watch funny movies daily for one week. In only one week, the patients’ gut flora had changed and resembled the healthy participants.
Step 3: Play in The Dirt!
This is true both literally and figuratively. Gardening is good for you because it gets you outside, gives you exercise, and putting your hands in soil introduces your body to the microorganisms that are found on the plants and in the ground. In a more figurative way, stop killing all the bacteria. They have recently stopped putting anti-bacterial agents in things because humans are killing all the bacteria, the good and the bad. And what is happening? The bad bacteria are getting stronger and the good bacteria are dying.
Studies have shown that kids who grow up with a dog have both a lower risk of allergies and a healthier immune system. Dogs are associated with a type of house dust that actually exposes us to important strains of bacteria, L. johnsonii is one, which is essential within the digestive tract (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/.) Dogs also work somewhat like a probiotic, helping develop healthy bacteria that boost your immune system, stopping you from getting ill, and possibly reducing allergies. Dogs also help you, or in some cases force you, to exercise more and help relieve stress in your life.
It may well be that a large part of maintaining good health is maintaining good gut-health. There are many ways that you can do this, including exercise, and learning to listen to your body; however, some of the easiest changes that you can make are to:
How do you incorporate gut health into your diet and lifestyle?
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection http://www.naturallivingideas.com/13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1954310
It's only the first week of September but already the weather seems to have decided it's fall. It was only 55 degrees today so time to break out the sweat shirts, jackets and tennis shoes.
For lunch I made my comforting lentil soup which is filling, nutritious and so easy to make in the crock pot or instapot. I made mine in my instapot which saves time and fewer pots to clean. If you have time, let it simmer on the stove top and fill your house with a wonderful aroma.
Simply serve with a side of buttered bread and you have a perfect fall lunch.
Comforting Lentil Soup Recipe:
1 lb pork sausage
1 head of garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
1 bag of lentils
2 cans chicken broth
4 cups water
2 carrots, diced
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and shredded
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
To use in the crockpot: Start by browning the sausage in a saute pan on the stove top. When the sausage is browned add the garlic and onions and give it a stir. Allow the garlic and onion to soften, about 5 minutes. Move sausage mixture to the crock pot and add in the lentils, chicken broth, water and carrots. Let simmer for 4 hours in the crockpot on the medium setting. About 30 minutes prior to serving add in the kale, diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a slice of buttered bread. Enjoy!
1 I've been there - four times to be exact - trying to figure out what to have on hand to eat after a new baby comes into our family. Once they arrive life is pretty much turned upside down for a few months and there isn't as much time or energy to prepare meals or snacks. I have found planning ahead helps me to eat well and nourish myself during the newborn stage.
Here are my 5 go to's for helping increase energy, stamina, balance mood and help keep you from reaching for processed convenience foods when life is stressful.
Fresh fruits. Have plenty of fresh fruit on hand - in the fridge, freezer and on your kitchen counter - apples, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, kiwis, oranges, grapefruit, berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, mangos, pineapple, and grapes all make a quick refreshing snack that needs no special preparation and offers plenty of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. (And don't forget fiber...because I know how those first bowel movements after a new baby go!)
Raw veggies. Like baby carrots, radishes, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and more. Cut them up into bite sized chunks and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator and grab a handful when you are hungry. Enjoy them with your favorite dip or try my yogurt dip below.
Nutritious spreads. Hummus, peanut butter and nut butters, like almond or cashew butters, or mashed avocado make an easy and nutritional snack when spread on whole grain crackers, bread, or pita slices.
Fish. Research also shows that nursing mothers who do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to experience postpartum depression. Try canned fish like salmon or tuna over whole grain crackers or a bed of lettuce leaves. Sprinkle lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste over top for a light and fresh snack. Make it meal with some fresh fruit and veggies on the side.
Smoothies. Whip up a quick fruit smoothie with plain yogurt, fresh fruit (like strawberries and banana), ice, spinach and flax seed oil. You can make several servings all at once and keep them on hand in the fridge for something quick to sip on throughout the day.
Mama Simply Yogurt Veggie Dip:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon each finely diced;
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
Mix together and chill before serving
Welcome! I'm Amber. The mama behind Mama Simply. Join me on my journey to making health and wellness simple.