Why every woman should be taking a prenatal vitamin

prenatal-vitamin-folate

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.

3 Powerful Tools to Be a More Intuitive Eater

3 powerful tools for becoming an intuitive eater

A huge piece of Intuitive Eating is the ability to tap in to your internal hunger and satiety cues. To know, for real, if and when you're hungry or full and to honor those feelings.

It sounds simple, but it's an incredibly difficult piece of the puzzle. We've been influenced sometimes from infancy to rely on other factors when we eat and how much. We're given snacks at all hours of the day as little children - often sugary sweet ones that disrupt our internal cues and our emotions. We're told in school and at camp that being in the Clean Plate Club is the best way to go and that by not eating the food on our plate we're wasting it.

The break from our internal cues for any number of reasons but it's important to know that those cues do actually exist. They may be long-forgotten, ill-used and need some reworking, but they're there. Under all of the influence, education, pressure we've internalized from external factors, we still all have the ability to tap in to our natural hunger and satiety cues.

So how?

There are so many ways and each may speak to you differently but these are the three main ones that come up for my clients and women I work with:

1. Limit or eliminate distractions. 
In our society, it's completely normal to eat while working, watching television, scrolling Instagram. The thing is, eating is a sensory activity. It's not simply an animalistic act of consuming calories. We need to engage in all of our senses when we sit down to eat a meal. If our sight and hearing and emotions are engaged in other activities while we're eating, it's impossible to truly know when we're full and when we've had enough. Most people who eat distracted report that they barely remember the meal they've just eaten just minutes later. Even if it was filling and delicious, they're reaching for more food soon because their other senses were strained and they don't feel satisfied. 

2. Focus first on yourself.
One of the other principles of intuitive eating is self-love and acceptance of your body. I think it often gets overlooked in favor of honoring your hunger and feeling your fullness, but it's a huge part of getting to that place. If you don't love your body or trust yourself you'll never be able to truly connect with what you're body needs. You'll still be staring at your plate thinking about calorie counts or the fat in your thighs and that's still a form of distracted eating. My favorite way to begin to trust yourself and repair your relationship with your body is to ditch your scale. It NEVER shows the whole picture anyway - weight alone is hardly an accurate indicator of overall health. It's just a tool to make you feel bad about yourself. Ditch the scale and start feeling your body.

3. Practice feeling full.
We often stop eating because our plate is clear or the bag of Peppermint Joe Joe’s is empty (#guilty), but that doesn’t mean we’re full. Often, we eat to excess just to finish our plate or we finish our plate and neglect to go back for seconds when we’re still hungry because we don’t want to look like a glutton. Try this: On an empty stomach, fill 3 large glasses of water. Drink them all in 5 minutes. The feeling of all the water in your belly will mimic the feeling of fullness. Sit down and think about how you’re feeling. Write down any sensations, thoughts, emotions, feelings that you have. Keep this list near you when you’re eating for a couple of weeks to remind you of how ‘full’ really feels. When you get to that point in a meal, stop eating.

We have to stop relying on outside cues like the clock or our plate size or the scale to tell us how comfortable to feel. We have to re-learn to engage in our own senses and internal cues to feel our fullness and satiety in order to truly reach our healthy goals.

Recipe | Iron Pumping Smoothie

leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

At my last prenatal appointment, I had my iron levels tested. I've thought for a while I was slightly anemic but the test confirmed it and I've been looking for ways to increase my iron intake with and without supplements. 

The common recommendations are to eat leafy greens, cook in a cast iron skillet, and take an iron supplement. I started on a supplement and nearly always use cast iron when cooking but those leafy greens have always been my downfall. With five bags of mustard greens sitting in my freezer from last winters garden I've been mixing up smoothies to get some extra in my diet.

Curious as to how much iron is actually in the 'leafy greens' we're supposed to be eating?

Mustard Greens - 0.9mg
Spinach - 0.8mg
Kale - 1mg
Chard - 0.6mg

*amount in 1 cup

leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

Unfortunately, a smoothie of just leafy greens or even a plate of leafy greens can leave much to be desired. It's far tastier to mix in some extras to make your big green smoothie drinkable. Fruit can be super helpful in upping the taste factor but watch out for the sugar content. Being heavy-handed with the fruit can outweigh much of the benefits from the greens or anything else.

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get in essential nutrients - not to mention simple and delicious - for a well balanced diet. Much of my protein comes from nuts or nut milks or butters I add to smoothies as well. Following a plant based vegan diet, especially during pregnancy means taking a little extra time and thought to prepare and make sure you're getting everything the body needs. But even if you're not restricting animal products, you may still be missing key vitamins and minerals from your diet and fruits and veggies are always a good bet for where to find them!

So drink up!


leafy-green-smoothie-recipe

Iron Pumping Smoothie (serves 2)

1 cup leafy greens
1 inch of peeled ginger root
a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple or mango
1 banana
coconut water
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

I like mixing the greens and coconut water first then adding the frozen ingredients and then the rest. If you're using a good high speed blender, the order shouldn't matter much. Add more or less coconut water if needed.

 

Why Diets Don't Work - Even When They Do

alex-loup-397220-unsplash.jpg

So that title is probably misleading and confusing so let me back up...

What is a diet?

Well, a diet is really just the combination of foods you eat on a regular basis. It has little to do with calorie counts and deprivation or specific foods. It's just an overview of what you put in your body. 

But a diet plan, or anything you sign up, pay, or participate in, is something different. But for the purposes of this just know when I say 'diet' what I'm referring to is any plan that requires you to count, restrict, weigh, balance, cut, etc. You get the idea. 

I have worked with many women who have followed various diets and had what they call 'success'. They've lost the weight, their clothes fit better, they look the part. But they still come to me for help with their nutrition and wellness. WHY?

Because despite the lower number on the scale they still don't feel worthy. They don't feel comfortable. Strong. Brave. Powerful. They're still working in this zone of fear that the diet created and they can't imagine a simple solution to health without all the counting and restriction.

adrienne-leonard-648479-unsplash.jpg

When you follow a diet and are successful in terms of weight loss it means you've figured out how to follow a plan, stick with it and make it work for you. And all of that is super important! But what a typical diet won't teach you is how to keep it going without counting, without the accountability of the plan, without the fear of failure. It won't teach you to rely on your internal hunger or satiety cues (in fact, most diet companies are most successful when they get you to completely ignore those cues) and it won't teach you to love your body.

That's what Hello Nourish is all about. We're about ditching the deprivation diets for good and getting back in touch with those innate internal cues that have been so long ignored. It's about feeling amazing in the body you were born with - accepting and working with the biology you can't change - and making the most of the pieces you can. Hello Nourish is about nourishing all parts of you - mind, body, spirit - so that you don't need a diet in the first place. You're so comfortable with your food, your body, your internal cues that a restrictive plan would be completely ridiculous to propose. 

You eat food because you're hungry and because it nourishes your body. 

You stop eating because you're full and for zero other reasons.

You silence the food police that shame you in to stuffing your face with kale salads (when you actually hate kale!).

You begin to accept and even love your body exactly how it is, even if you're working towards becoming a healthier version of yourself. 

Because at the end of the day meals should be fun and delicious and nourishing - not leaving you feeling ashamed, guilty and hungry.

If you want to get started and dig deeper in to how you can become a more intuitive eater without a diet plan I've got an amazing free download for you - simply pop your email in here and you'll receive a workbook that will help you get there!