Why every woman should be taking a prenatal vitamin

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Are you taking a prenatal vitamin?

I recommend every woman who’s old enough to have her menstrual cycle take a prenatal vitamin daily. I always live by a ‘food first’ philosophy but this is where supplements absolutely have their place. This is especially true for women who are considering starting a family.

Why?

Folate. Low or inadequate intakes of folate in pregnancy is associated with the development of multiple congenital abnormalities and clinical complications. 

  • Spina bifida - the spinal cord failing to close, leaving a gap where spinal fluid collects during pregnancy - can lead to  paralysis below the gap

  • Anencephaly - the absence of a brain or spinal cord

  • Encephalocele - a protrusion of the brain through the skull

While these complications are among the most common abnormalities that exist, they’re also the MOST PREVENTABLE. 

How?

Get enough folate in your diet through BOTH whole food sources and supplements.

I recommend all women take a prenatal with folate because neural tube defects develop just 21 - 27 days after conception. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. 

What does enough folate look like?

It’s recommended that women consume 600 mcg DFE* of folate per day and 400 mcg folic acid from fortified foods or supplements as well as 200 mcg DFE from fruits and vegetables.

*DFE stands for dietary folate equivalents. One DFE looks like one of the following …

  1. 1mcg food folate

  2. 0.6 mcg folic acid consumed in fortified foods or a supplement taken with food

  3. 0.5 mcg of folic acid taken as a supplement on an empty stomach

I know, that looks super complicated.

Basically it boils down to this:

  1. Take a folic acid supplement on an empty stomach. 

  2. Ensure you’re eating enough foods high in folate (legumes, eggs, leafy greens, brussels sprouts, citrus, asparagus) - there’s no upper limit here so eat up!

  3. Eat some food that’s been fortified with folate (cereals, breads, corn flour, brown rice, oatmeal are typically fortified with folic acid - check the labels!)

Personally, I get my prenatals from Care/of (you’ll get $40 off your first order if you use that link). I’ve extensively researched their practices and policies and feel comfortable getting my supplements from them. If you’re curious as to how legit your supplement company is (they’re NOT federally regulated so it can be hard to know for sure what you’re getting), please reach out. I offer complimentary consultations and would be happy to talk you through your supplements and make sure you’re putting the best things in your body for you and your baby.

Recipe | Nourishing Breastfeeding Smoothie

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You’ve been up all night, haven’t been to the grocery in weeks, and are attached at the boob to a tiny human.

Welcome to motherhood.

I’ve been in your shoes - four times - and I can tell you there’s nothing quite like wandering around the kitchen at 2am frantically searching for something to satiate your rabid hunger. New babies take so much out of us (about 400 calories a day!) and demand all of our time and attention. While we’re worrying about how to increase milk supply, the best things to eat as a new mom, what even are lactation cookies, and will I ever sleep again? our babies are sipping away at this liquid gold and we’re hungry!

Today’s smoothie recipe is a really special one for all my new mamas. It includes Majka Nourishing lactation powder which is a simple, wholesome protein powder for new moms. Normally, I stay away from quick fixes, powders, shortcuts when it comes to my food. But when you’re a new mama, it’s all about the nutrition and milk supply and it’s about getting it quickly and easily!

Some of my favorite ways to easily and quickly kick the nutrition up a notch when you’re a hungry new mama:

  1. Lactation cookies - the jury is still out on if these actually work to increase milk supply (most current research points towards no) BUT if you find or make some with wholesome ingredients from real foods they can make for a really filling, delicious, relaxing snack that can then lead to increasing your breast milk supply! (research shows that foods that are comforting can help facilitate letdown and, in turn, increase supply)

  2. Smoothies - I love smoothies because they’re simple, nutrient dense, and delicious. Bonus points if I don’t actually have to measure anything. This nourishing breastfeeding smoothie is a handful of this and a handful of that and blend away! A few things to keep in mind:

    • watch the sugar - fruits are super high in sugar which is fine (you need the energy), but make your smoothies with more veggies than fruits.

    • bonus points for protein - your body needs protein especially while breastfeeding, to support all the changes happening in your body (while pregnant you need about 70 grams a day!). toss in a spoonful of your favorite nut butter, a scoop of Majka Nourishing lactation powder, or a handful of nuts to round out the protein content in your smoothie!

    • go for the greens - it’s not just a trend - green smoothies are packed with nutrients that you and your baby will benefit from. you can’t go wrong with some kale, spinach, swiss chard, arugula (my favorite!). load it up!

    • find something a little unexpected - smoothies can get boring after a while. same thing day in and day out. and while they can be one of the best things to eat as a new mom, you need some excitement and variety in your life! consider adding things like cilantro, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, or cayenne to your smoothie!

  3. Trail Mix - keep a stash of nuts or trail mix in the following places: (1) your bedside table, (2) the glovebox of your car, (3) your purse/diaper bag, (4) your office desk. Nuts are a great source of protein and a little sugar from some chocolate chips or dried fruit will help keep your energy up from those marathon feeding sessions!

And now to the good stuff …

nourishing-lactation-smoothie

Nourishing Breastfeeding Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 handful kale

1 handful spinach

½ small cucumber

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Handful of cilantro

1 Handful of parsley

1 scoop of Majka Nourishing lactation powder

1 blood orange

1 banana

2 cups of coconut water

1 cup of filtered water

Directions:

Blend it all up together and enjoy!

*you definitely do NOT have to be breastfeeding to enjoy this smoothie. It’s super nutrient dense and delicious for anyone! and if you’re not breastfeeding, it won’t make you suddenly start lactating ;)

Why mamas can't lose the baby weight

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I overheard a conversation this weekend that really got me thinking (and kind of broke my heart) ...

We were at a 6 year old's birthday party and everyone was lining up for pizza. A couple of mamas were sitting at the end of the table, lamenting their lack of progress towards losing baby weight and despite eating well and exercising 'all the time'. They were joking, laughing, commiserating and chowing down on pizza together as they wondered aloud why they weren't seeing the results they wanted.

Oh girlfriend, I have such a hard time navigating these situations. On the one hand, social support is integral to behavior change and meeting goals. On the other, the wrong kind of social support (the people who will commiserate while eating massive amounts of junk food with you) can make meeting those goals even harder. 

So WHY aren't these mamas losing the weight?

HOW can they actually get there and stop self-sabotaging?


We as women tend to overestimate the amount of exercise we're performing and the difficulty of it. We also, tend to underestimate the amount of unhealthy foods we're eating. This leads to, obviously, an unrealistic view of our current state of health and absolutely explains why we're not losing those last 10 pounds of baby weight.

So back to these mamas at the party ...

One said she's been trying for YEARS to lose 10 pounds. The other chimed in with "yeah and I'm at the gym every morning!"

Mamas - something doesn't add up.


There are only a few realistic reasons why losing that baby weight isn't working:

1. You think you're doing all the right things but you actually don't know the best ways to lose weight healthily.

2. You self-sabotage by binging every time you see a setback.

3. You don't believe you can actually achieve your goals.


So which category do you fall in?

Whichever one fits you best, there are simple steps to overcome. One step is taking a look at your "old self", your current self and your "future self" and really visualizing what it would FEEL LIKE to reach your goals. 

It's a process I go through with every new mama I work with and it never fails to produce incredible results!

I've uploaded a new Personal Transformation worksheet in the Resource Library for you to work through on your own and help guide you to some major lifestyle and health changes! Simply click the link below to download the worksheet for FREE.

A Seven Day Meal Plan

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If you're like me, the weekend is when the meal planning and grocery shopping happens. Or, if you're in the trenches, it's when you run to the store because you're out of milk and toss a bunch of stuff in your cart and hope you can make a meal out of it for the week ahead.

I see you, mama. 

Luckily, I've made it super simple for you. Below is a SEVEN day meal plan! 

This plan is perfect for mamas looking to get on track to a healthier diet. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, make sure to add one or two of the snacks from the snack list in the Nourish Library to get enough calories to support that little one of yours!
 

Monday

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with strawberries and oats.

  • Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables.

  • Dinner: A tuna salad, dressed in olive oil. A piece of fruit for dessert.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins.

  • Lunch: Leftover tuna salad from the night before.

  • Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with veggies, tomatoes and onions. A piece of fruit.

  • Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich, with cheese and fresh vegetables.

  • Dinner: Mediterranean lasagne.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Yogurt with sliced fruits and nuts.

  • Lunch: Leftover lasagne from the night before.

  • Dinner: Broiled salmon, served with brown rice and vegetables.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in olive oil.

  • Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, oats and nuts.

  • Dinner: Grilled lamb, with salad and baked potato.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins, nuts and an apple.

  • Lunch: Whole-grain sandwich with vegetables.

  • Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made with whole wheat, topped with cheese, vegetables and olives.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with veggies and olives.

  • Lunch: Leftover pizza from the night before.

  • Dinner: Grilled chicken, with vegetables and a potato. Fruit for dessert.

Adjust as necessary for your own preferences and dietary needs!