September 27, 2010

When the Going Gets Rough, Get Going!

No one is going to kick your butt for you. Unless you pay them to, that is… but still even then, no one will be showing up at your house on a daily basis making sure that instead of sitting in front of your laptop Facebooking you are using your hand weights or taking baby in the stroller for a jog. This you have to do for yourself. It can be hard I know this for a fact. But when the going gets rough, you have to keep up with your daily exercise regimen and healthy eating more than ever to combat the blues and have enough energy to still give your baby the very best even though you are completely drained. The only thing (other than some TLC from your loved ones) that will get you through the rough patches is consistency and a good calorie burn.


(Mia on a morning run with Mommy; she loves to get sips of water from my Camelbak water bottle)


If you have ever had an experience like I’ve been having, you’ll know what I’m talking about. All of a sudden six weeks ago my perfectly scheduled baby started resisting naps and waking up at least once or twice during the night. I figured she was gearing up for her six month growth spurt, or was possibly beginning to teethe. I didn’t pay too much attention, just kept things as consistent as possible with her routine, and ploughed on. About a month ago, things escalated as her naps grew shorter and shorter, and some she refused all together. She began waking during the night, more than once, something she’s rarely ever done.
I’ve always been a fairly good fan of letting the baby cry it out for a bit, but this was getting ridiculous. I tried altering her schedule, tweaking with her feeding times and adding another feeding, but nothing was working. During our trip to Seattle three weeks ago, everything seemed to click as she fell back into her old regular schedule without a single hitch. She was sleeping 10 hours at night, having 2-3 great naps each day, and eating right on schedule. It was amazing.

The DAY we got home everything changed. She was up every hour through the night. I thought at first she had caught a cold of sorts from the airplane and airports, or from one of the many friends or family we spent time with, but the sniffles lasted only a day, and her fussiness continued. We decided she must have an ear infection or her ears didn’t pop on the final decent, but after a trip to the pediatrician assuring us that she was a million percent healthy, I was at a total loss. Going on three weeks practically no sleep, and the last week of almost less then no sleep –she wasn’t napping, and waking up every hour to hour and a half through the night, I was breaking down.

I consulted with my naturopath, I consulted with all my mommy friends, I talked to everyone I could think of who might have an answer. How could this be happening to ME? People used to pay me to get their infants on schedules and sleeping through the night, and here I was feeling more helpless than ever. I had a sneaking suspicion that my little one needed more in her tummy. Although I had determined to wait at least nine months until starting her on solids, I could see this was not going to happen. With the encouragement of a dear friend and Babywise II in my hands, I carved through the next two days with what felt like a plastic spork and a prayer.

First and foremost I started Mia on cereal, because that is what we’re told to do: I have my own theories on not starting babies on cereal first, but I was too tired to review my research and get a strategy together that I thought I wasn’t going to have to implement for another couple of months.
She took to the cereal immediately and even her next nap after receiving the cereal was better. She slept only waking three times that night, had two great naps the following day, and woke only two times the following night. The next day, three great naps, and a super happy baby! I have many theories on baby’s first food… and I am not going to get into any debates about cereal first and/or what most pediatricians say… I’ve been doing my own research for a while, and let’s just say Mia is just loving butternut squash and avocados and I am now “okay” with not waiting any longer to give her food. She is a very busy, active, alert and strong baby. Her needs are obviously growing, and I am going to follow my intuition on what she needs. More on that later ;)
Here is a great site about homemade baby food however… I can’t wait to start making Mia some really tasty meals in a few weeks!

The hardest part was realizing I was at the point where I have to let her cry it out, during naps and at night. She was exhausted. I had a fatigued baby, not just a tired baby. This required me helping her sleep in any capacity I could. I loved the advice I got from Pick Nick’s Brain: Mastering Naps & Schedules on have been using her advice and ebook for a while, and always recommend this information to my clients, but everything suddenly became very clear when I washed away the past, and started from scratch with Mia three days ago. The change isn’t in full effect yet, but I can see it coming. Between that and what I am recalling from my days as a Nighttime Baby Nurse and Sleep Consultant, everything is starting to click. Just because I had all that experience didn’t make everything go easy, as you are reading. It is difficult! And when you are “in the trenches” not getting sleep and still having to function through 16 hour days, the pain is very real.

During this super rough time, it is crucial that you take care of yourself. You must get in some form of exercise every single day, even if you have no energy, can hardly keep your eyes open, feel like dying, etc. Even if all you do is a 30 minute walk with baby in the stroller… get your exercise. Keep your blood flowing, your serotonin as high as possible, and a positive body image while you feel so depleted. Make sure you are taking your prenatals, and giving yourself optimum nutrition. During this time eating is going to be on a practically prescription basis. Exhaustion requires energy-giving foods, and a balance of cooked and raw foods. Complex carbohydrates to get you through the day, zero simple sugars, caffeine and starches, and stay hydrated. It was very hard for me to muster the daily energy to keep up with my yoga, weights and running… but afterwards, it was the high that got me through the hours of the day and sleepless nights, and it will get you through too. Once you are taking care of yourselfyou’re your needs, you will be able to think clearer to meet your baby’s needs and figure out what needs to change. Remember… When the going gets rough, GET GOING!!!



September 22, 2010

Keeping It Together On The Road

So how do you keep up with your healthy diet and lifestyle when you are traveling with tots? It isn’t easy, so I’m not going to sell you on the idea that it will be, but it IS possible!

Our little family just got back from a wonderful 9 days on the road in the beautiful state of Washington. We've traveled with Mia twice before, but those were just weekend trips. This was going to be a true test to my new mommy skills and determination to keep myself feeling energized, healthy and fit while traveling. Mia is getting so big, and starting to be very busy, so I knew this was going to be a challenge!


We had to do a ‘meet the baby tour’ for all of my husband’s family and some of my own. Landing in Seattle, we rented a car and drove to Aberdeen, where we spent a few days with Steve’s grandparents, brother and sister –in-law and Mia’s cousin Fritz, who is 2 months older than Mia. Aberdeen certainly isn’t a Mecca for healthy lifestyle with gym’s on every block and a local Whole Foods or yoga studio, but if you can keep it up in Aberdeen, you can keep it up anywhere, let me tell you.

Step 1: You let your kindest host/hostess know about your “special dietary needs” meaning, you don’t eat…. (fill in the blanks). For me, I am gluten intolerant, and eat primarily “raw”, so when they asked what to have in the house, I offered a few simple suggestions such as any fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as raw almonds. They asked if I ate any meat or anything similar, and I let them know that I occasionally eat eggs, and fish. These are simple things that anyone has access to, and if they are in the house you are staying at, you can maintain your healthy diet in that environment. If you are on the road and are eating out, this is even easier! It may not feel easier, but it is. First of all you MUST make your own snacks to bring on the road. This is non-optional ladies. Even if it takes you a WEEK to slowly make the snacks and keep them in the fridge so that you have enough to last your trip, you must do this. What you need to buy you can buy, but nothing can replace the homemade treats you will bring for yourself. These will tide you over in between meals, and help you fill up prior to meals so if you are eating at your favorite restaurant in Seattle (or San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, New York City or Atlanta), you won’t completely fall off the wagon. Decide at the beginning of your trip what your 3 biggest indulgences will be. These can be treats from your favorite restaurants, wine from your favorite vineyards, ice cream from your favorite seaside shop, or that ooey-gooey yummy pizza place (pre-gluten free, my fav spot was Blondies in San Francisco). Those are going to be your premeditated indulgences. Other than that, you are going to do your best to stick to your snacks, your healthy meals along the way, and your daily exercise routines. I love Bethenny Frankel, and one of her sayings that I’ve adopted is, “Taste everything, eat nothing.” Meaning, have a taste of anything and everything you want but don’t eat the whole thing… if you absolutely cannot ignore those perfectly seasoned, hot steak fries in front of you, go ahead and have 3 or 4, or even 5 or 6, but don’t eat the whole basket. If you “need” that chocolate, have some, just not the whole box.

Step 2: So what kind of “snacks” do you make to bring? What can you realistically transport? I’ll simply tell you what I do. First and foremost you pack a giant baggie of raw almonds. These will save you. Secondly, you pack your container of green powder. This you can mix with water or juice anytime, anywhere, and it’s a dry powder, so if it spills, ah well. After that, you can either make (I prefer) or buy things to pack into this extra special duffle bag or small carry-on that will be your go-to for the entire trip. There are a couple of items that are gluten free out there that I love. The first are my Two Mom’s in the Raw snacks/bars: These products are fantastic, you will love them as much as I do. Their recipes are simple and easy to make, but if you simply don’t have the time to make your own, but you have the resources to spend on purchasing some of the most high-quality, raw, superfood snacks out there, then spend your money on these products. Starbucks (leave it to ‘em) have actually cashed in on these and are carrying them as well (long after superfoodies like myself have been ordering them online and cheered when Whole Foods finally started carrying them).

Second are the KIND bars. They actually sell these at Starbucks all of a sudden, so you can grab them there while you’re on the road, or you can load up prior. Perhaps you have another favorite snack or bar you like to take around with you, and if that is the case, stock up!

If you do want to make your own snacks, I highly recommend it! My three go-to snacks are all recipes on my blog here; the Figalicious Fun Bars, the Cashew Cookies and the Spirulina/Cacao balls (“Little Black Balls”). I also like to make my own trail mix. I use goji berries, raw almonds, raw cacao nibs, and a variation of other dried fruits and nuts such as cashews, pumpkin and/or sesame seeds, diced and dried apricots, etc. You can make your own granola clusters and “candy” (peanut butter, gluten free oats and raw honey mixed and flattened onto some wax paper, cut into squares and rolled). These are just a few suggestions, but there are a million and then some recipes out there for granola bars, trail mixes and other on-the-go snacks you can prepare. If you want something other than just your green powder, you can make individual plastic baggies of smoothie powders (I typically will portion out raw cacao and maca powders, spirulina, chia seeds etc.) to add to a smoothie when/if you get the chance to. The point is, there are always options.

Step 3: Let them know about your “schedule.” You can start by explaining any kids/baby’s schedules, followed by... “and when they have their first nap, I will leave so and so with you, and go for my run. I then do 20 minutes of stretching (100/100/100) when I get back, shower, and then I am free to do what you would like for the rest of the day!” This gives them warning that you have a couple priorities for your visit, and as long as you have the allotted time to complete those, you will be a happy camper. Remember, vacations aren’t just for the family, they are for you too. And if you aren’t able to maintain your healthy sense of being, no one will be having a good time. If you are staying in a hotel, or going form hotel to hotel, this will be even easier. All you have to do is ACTUALLY GO AND USE the workout facilities that they have. As nice or as simple as they may be; all it takes is a treadmill, and a few hand weights. If those aren’t available, take in the local sights as you hit the pavement, then follow up with your stretches and 100/100/100 on your hotel room floor on a towel or sheet. Shower, and enjoy your day and any special treats guilt-free. If leaving the baby isn’t an option (relatives are great if you are staying with them, they love this time alone with the kiddies to babysit) you can always pack them up in the stroller and hit the pavement just as well. If you need to make up a kiddie boot camp and have your kids doing a mock 100/100/100, do it! Kids love “boot camp” type activities. Anything organized that you can make seem fun. If you have just one baby so far like I do, then the stroller is your option, or probably a relative hungry for baby time will be happy to take them off your hands for an hour.

Step 4: Utilize the resources around you. When I went running (all but 2 days of our 9 day trip) I would pick the delicious and wonderful blackberries on the bushes along the trails I chose. I hit up every single farmer’s market I could and purchased enough fruits and easy-to-eat/clean veggies to last a couple of days. I ate gorgeous organic honey crisp apples (my personal favorite!), peaches, purple bell peppers, sweet carrots and golden raspberries. I was in heaven!




Pikes Public Marketplace put me into absolute Nirvana, as it usually does. There is a fantastic bakery that serves up a variety of the most delicious gluten free treats, such as The Monster Cookie, an oatmeal raisin cookie that is TO DIE for, as well as banana bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls and more. I make sure to stop there each trip, this is one of my “indulgences” that I totally plan for and look forward to.


There is an endless variety of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and seafood which we took full advantage of, and it was key that almost everywhere we went we walked there.


If there is fruit or other healthy snacks available complimentary at your hotel, use them. If you are staying with friends, load up on plenty of groceries that are healthy and offer to cook a meal or two for them so you can stick to your healthy eating. Ask to keep whatever foods or snacks you need in their fridge, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to allow you.

Step 5: Drink water. It’s as simple as that. We tend to be so busy, flustered, keeping up with this kid and that or the 15 bags you somehow ended up lugging through the airport for just your one baby, making flights on time, getting oriented once you actually got to the rental car, driving here and there, make sure you stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to increased appetite, headaches, constipation and sugar cravings. I don’t know about you, but all of the above sound like they make a nightmare of a time. Get yourself a huge water bottle before you get in your car (for a road trip) or after you get through security (at the airport) and keep it with you. Reuse it, fill it up at every stop. And if you are staying at a hotel, they usually have a water cooler in the workout room, where you can refill your water bottles without paying $8 for the bottle of Fiji Water in your room. If you need to stop at a local grocery store and buy a few bottles of SmartWater to stay hydrated, do so. That is what I usually do, especially as a breastfeeding Mom. Staying hydrated and keeping my electrolytes stocked is crucial.

So there you have it. This is what’s worked for me, and my sweet Mia, who stayed fabulously on her schedule, right along with Mommy.


September 2, 2010

Recipes: Figalicious Fun Bars

These Fig-Fantastic Bars are a great addition to any errand running day, road trip, shopping snack or just to have around as an in-between-meals munchie.
They are packed full of fiber, protein, PEA from the raw cacao, and hormone balancing properties from the maca, not to mention calcium and protein from the almonds, a little boost of energy from the raw honey, and viral-fighting properties in the coconut oil. So eat to your health! And let your taste buds revel in these chewy little wonders. Enjoy!


Recipe: Figalicious Fun Bars

1 cup raw, chopped Almonds
25 dried Mission Figs (approx. 1 package, give or take a few)
1 scoop raw Cacao Powder
1 scoop raw Maca Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Organic, Gluten Free Vanilla
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
2 tsp raw Coconut Oil
1-2 tsp organic, Raw Honey (start with one, and if your mixture still seems a bit lose, add more)

Put all ingredients into the food processor, pulse thoroughly. Form into medium sized balls, roll into mini logs, then shape into bars. Refrigerate and enjoy!



Chlorella Boot Camp

What is chlorella? Chlorella is a type of green, freshwater algae packed with immediately available very large amounts of chlorophyll, which is a vital nutrient when it comes to our health and bodies. It is a whole food, extremely rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, polysaccharides, and a ton of other beneficial compounds. Chlorella contains a whopping 60% of pure, easily digestible protein, and therefore is ranked as one of the highest sources of protein on earth. Chlorella contains more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant source.

The fibrous outer shell of the chlorella nucleus acts as a blood detoxifier by binding to pesticides and heavy metals, eliminating them completely from the body. Hilary Jacobson, in her book, "Mother Food for Breastfeeding Mothers," showed that chlorella can also help remove any mercury deposits in the body. Mercury can come from eating certain fish known to contain mercury, such as tuna, or from amalgam dental fillings as well as other environmental sources. Mercury is a heavy metal that destroys the nervous system over time. There’s more on this below…

Chlorella supports the optimum functioning and cleansing of the liver, which is the organ chiefly responsible for the general day-to-day body detoxification. A Japanese study showed that taking 4-6g of chlorella before consuming alcohol can prevent hangovers 96% of the time, even after a night of heavy drinking (* a note to my breastfeeding mommies: If you are planning on consuming or do currently consume a responsible amount of alcohol while breastfeeding, I highly recommend taking 10-15 chlorella tabs before having your weekly/bi-weekly glass of wine or beer!!! If you are a pregnant mom who has personally chosen to sip wine here and there during your pregnancy, which I am not suggesting, condoning, encouraging or otherwise supporting here, I would strongly encourage you to consider taking 10-15 chlorella tabs (or 3-6 grams) prior to consuming your wine.)
Since we’re on the note of breastfeeding, let me tell you new mommies how important chlorella is for you specifically. Breastfeeding provides your baby with a huge extra load of nutrients and boosts his/her immunity. The exact composition of breast milk changes with each feeding to adapt to your individual baby's needs. A study in Japan followed 35 breast-feeding mothers. Eighteen of them took chlorella supplements and were compared to the rest. Breast milk from mothers who supplemented with chlorella had higher concentrations of Immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is an antibody. These antibodies help prevent viruses, bacteria and fungus from creating infections (
very important if you are doing an alternative vaccine schedule, or choosing not to vaccinate at this time). IgA, in particular, helps protect the surfaces of the body that are exposed to foreign substances like the nose, digestive tract, eyes, ears, saliva and tears. This is a big advantage to young babies. This same Japanese study showed that dioxins, a toxin that is prevalent in all modern human environments, is excreted to the baby through breast milk. The mother absorbs the toxin from her environment through her skin, respirations and diet. Chlorella supplementation actually decreased the dioxin amounts in the breast milk, making the milk safer for babies. Some people do have trouble tolerating chlorella. If this is you, then consider supplementing with an AFA blue-green or spirulina algae, or marine phytoplankton.

Chlorella rejuvenates the blood, cleanses the bowls and liver. Chlorella helps to protect against radiation, relieves inflammation, supports healthy weight loss via digestion and elimination (my postpartum mommies!), reinforces the immune system, and accelerates the healing process. For digestive detoxification and weight loss, chlorella can absorb toxins from the intestines, and in combination with its ability to favorably alter the bacterial flora content of the bowels, it is able to help relieve chronic constipation and eliminate intestinal gas. “Chlorella causes the lactobacilli bacteria in our intestines to multiply at four times the normal rate. Taken with meals, chlorella helps provide great digestion and more importantly, better assimilation of nutrients.” However, be warned that when you initially begin taking chlorella, you may experience some gas, cramping, constipation and/or diarrhea. Therefore I recommend slowly introducing chlorella into your diet, to avoid these side effects. And as with any supplement or superfood that I suggest and/or talk about, never over do anything. Take the recommend amounts found on packages or in your own personal research. Be your own educator! And please talk to your Naturopath, Pediatrician or General Practitioner before starting any new supplements.

“Chlorella has even been known to reduce some side effects (like fatigue) from chemotherapy treatment. It is able to do this because research suggests that chlorella is able to accelerate the recovery of developing immune system cells and restores the population of mature white blood cells (WBC’s). And there is a newly available strain of chlorella which contains a significant portion of the blue pigment phycocyanin (found in high amounts in AFA blue-green algae and spirulina) which helps the body produce more stem cells. When superfoods containing phycocyanin are consumed with superherbs such as reishi, maitake or chaga mushrooms, the immune response is significantly improved.”

As far as detoxification, chlorella is capable of removing alcohol from the liver in addition to the cleaning out of heavy metals, certain pesticides, herbicides and polychlorbiphenyls (PCB’s) from human tissue (which is why it is so strongly recommended for breastfeeding mothers, above).
Numerous research projects here in the US and in Europe indicate that chlorella can aid the body in breaking down persistent hydrocarbon and metallic toxins, specifically mercury (have you been vaccinated? Are you vaccinating your baby/children?), as well as the cadmium, arsenic, lead and DDT in addition to PCB. Complete elimination and detoxification of heavy metals or other chemical toxins in the blood can take anywhere from 3-6 months or more, depending on how much chlorella you are taking, and how contaminated your blood is.

Yet another amazing benefit of chlorella is its ability to increase our resistance to viral infections (are you choosing not to vaccinate your baby at this time? Or did you have your baby prematurely? Are you doing a delayed vaccine schedule?) and enhance our body’s ability to kill bacteria. For example: “Cytomegalovirus is a herpes-type virus that can cause serious illness in patients treated with immune-suppressing drugs. Mice treated with chlorella extract prior to introduction of this virus survived lethal infection doses. Chlorella extract decreased virus replication in the organs by 58-65% and the extract increased the activity of gamma interferon, which stimulated the NK (natural killer) cells to attack the virus.”

Lastly for now, I’ll mention the CGF (chlorella growth factor) that David Wolfe talks about. This is an amazing property which has scientists baffled around the world. “Chlorella is able to quadruple itself every twenty hours, growing faster than any food crop known to man. When chlorella is ingested by the human body, it dramatically increases the rate of rebuilding and healing in tissues, multiples the growth rate of the lactobacillus (good flora/bacteria) in the bowel, boosts the immune system, and fights free-radical damage. Chlorella also helps rebuild nerve tissue damage throughout the body and is excellent for treating degenerative brain and nerve disorders. This superfood is being used to help treat patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

There you have it. Chlorella is a must for our diets. Especially us pregnant and lactation women! What a rich and easily accessible source for so many good nutrients that provides such an outstanding array of benefits to our bodies and support immune system, not to mention its amazing detoxifying properites. Chlorella is super easy to find… You can order it online, find it in your local health food store, or in powder form to mix into your smoothies and superfood treats. I add it in wherever I can; smoothies, a pinch in superfood or raw treats I am making, you can even add a pinch to salad dressings, or just take the tabs (pretty easy). Now that you know, you have to do!


One of the most reasonable sources for Chlorella online:

References & Resources:

Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future –David Wolfe