Business, Health, Yoga

Affordable Health Care + Yoga?!

Yoga studio owners and full time teachers have a number of things in common.  We’ve made our passion our profession and  in essence, we’re yoga evangelists – We will talk to whoever, whenever about how much we love yoga and how it absolutely will change your life. We’ve usually experienced some sort of emotional and/or physical breakthrough or transformation as a result of our asana practice.  We take our yoga off the mat and its teachings are an integral part of our spirituality. And most importantly, (for this post) using creativity to make ends meet is a way of life.

Today, I am not going to pontificate about the countless ways yoga has transformed my life so you too can nod in agreement and experience. For a moment, I am going to take my Yoga Evangelist hat off and slide on my attorney-business woman cap.  For those of you that didn’t realize, in addition to being a yoga evangelist, I am also an attorney with over 10 years experience business transactions and contract negotiations in healthcare, pharmaceutical drug development and academic research. Sounds impressive, right?  Well, honestly, it isn’t…but I do know a bit about healthcare policy and more specifically – the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” otherwise known as Obama Care).

I will not  go through a litany of reasons why the ACA is awesome sauce or why it sucks balls. It’s up to you to make your own determination. I am however going to tip you off on something beneficial for yoga studios and teachers; the Workplace Wellness ProgramThe ACA creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs and encourage employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. It literally opens the preventative care door for yoga in the workplace.   Naysayers may cite the metrics, and standards for the reward as problematic, but as yoginis, we know that a consistent yoga + meditation practice can have specific and measurable results.  You and I both know that yoga reduces the number of “PC Load Letter” or “TPS Reports” meltdowns. Mesaurable health targets aside, yoga wellness programs typically provide a 5/1 ROI. That means that for every $1 spent on yoga programming, the return on investment is $5. For companies that are self-insured, it could mean a reduction of more than $200 per employee for health care costs.

According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation, about 41 percent of U.S. companies with 200 or more workers offer some type of wellness program, and only 10 percent of smaller firms offer them. That means that 59% of BIG companies in your area and 90% of smaller companies are your potential students/clients.  This is more than making ends meet, this is potential abundance.  This is offering your gift of yoga to stressed out people that need it most.  This could change your bottom line and it will definitely change the life of the worker that nervously walks into their first yoga class with you.

Between now and January 2014, you should be busting your tight yoga booty to develop your corporate yoga offerings.  And I don’t mean thinking about it and maybe jotting down some numbers on a pink post it. I mean writing a professional corporate proposal (PDF) that can be submitted via email or hand delivered to an HR department.  Every yoga studio should have an “in studio” corporate yoga package ready to go.  Every yoga teacher should develop their own “on site” corporate proposal for “in house” or “on site” yoga.  This needs to be an essential part of your offerings.  Find a wellness buddy in your community, a nutritionist, a health coach, someone you can partner up with and start developing your corporate package. Make sure they’re polished by October and ready to be sent by November!

Next week I’ll give you 5 tips on what to include in your corporate yoga package that will have corporate offices begging you to teach at their office.  I’ll also   include some sizzling tips from a corporate wellness superstar!!

You’re here to change the world through yoga. I am here to help you do it with abundance.

Have questions? Need Help? Want to pick my grey matter? Email me. 🙂

Health, Spirituality, Yoga

Friday Faves

It’s Friday, and these are a few of my favorite things…..

Gratitude Band by Finding My Muchness

Getting in touch with the MUCH
First up, Muchness Bands made by my favorite Muchy girl, Tova Gold over at Finding My Muchness.  Muchness Bands are gorgeous satin and sequin tie bands that come in a rainbow of colors and inspiration. The best thing about them is they have an inspirational quote on the inside of the band. Each band is custom made just for you – you can choose from a selection of quotes or you can submit your own. they are designed to be a physical reminder of the strength you embody and the light and joy that surround you, even if you are struggling with grief or sadness. Wrap it around your wrist, your ponytail, your bag strap… wherever you catch a glimpse of it and be reminded of it’s powerful message. I ordered my first two Muchness Bands last fall (Courage and Healing) when my life was in a rocky place. EVERY time I wear one, someone stops me in my tracks and compliments me.  I NEED an entire rainbow of them, one for every outfit.  It’s probably time for a new order 🙂

28 Day Cycle of Wisdom & Creativity

Click the picture to go to the FREE download!

Next up is a freebie (see what I did there?). It’s a free download version of the Vibrant Women Project‘s Vibrant Month Program – 28 Day Cycle of Wisdom & Creativity. Its a daily chart and  guide to what your body is primed for throughout your cycle based on your hormone levels in career, health, sex, relationships, intuitiveness and creativity… and it’s awesome.  I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me. When I was full swing health coaching in my former biz,  Sprouting Wellness, I use to run online Vibrant Women’s Circles.  It was a 6 week program to connect women to their inner wisdom, teach them about their fertility cycle and empower them to make positive changes in their lives.  I wish I had tapped into my intuitive side and developed this chart for my circles. It simply rocks.  You have no excuses. Go download it now.

Yoga class ‘recipes’ for newly trained teachers

Click me!

The Yoga Recipe is an innovative yoga marketplace.  “What’s innovative about shopping?” you ask.. Now let me explain. This isn’t they type of marketplace where you buy new yoga pants, a mat, incense some tingshas and a nice Ganesh statue for your alter. It’s a marketplace where newly trained teachers can purchase classes (to practice or teach) from seasoned teachers.  Any person can purchase a class download, but the mission of The Yoga Recipe  is to create an energy and monetary exchange between seasoned and new teachers that elevates both parties, the yoga community and most importantly the students. I am in love with it. It’s currently in its beta version. Yoga teachers have to apply for approval to run a Yoga Shop. Sadly, my shop Terra K – Darshana Yoga is empty right now. I haven’t had the time to upload anything yet!  That being said, I will, and I am SO excited about it. I have 1000s of hours worth of classes. Even after I became comfortable and confident as a yoga teacher,  I always wrote out my classes prior to teaching them. It was probably the Virgo in me to ensure the lesson and asana flow. I was never an “off the cuff” teacher so the Yoga Recipe is perfect for me. I can’t wait to dig in.  So RYTs – make sure you check this one out and apply for your Shop!

Hi-Tech Chakras: The iChakra Ap

ichakra

In all honesty, I have had this ap on my iPhone for well over a year and never used it. Recently I have been working on my spiritual alignment and balance, bringing meditation, yoga and chant back into my life on a consistent basis.  When I upgraded my phone last week and started sifting through the 100s of aps that were transferred over.  Its rainbow caught my attention (I am a sucker for rainbows) during a pretty dull meeting I was attending at work. I thought my phone was on vibrate until Om Shanti Shanti Sarvarishita Naashini Swahi rang out. Oops. My bad, I presumed some legal stuffed shirts could use a little heart openers.  Since that uncomfortable moment I have been using it every day.  It is really great for quick meditation. There is a mantra option, singing bowl option and guided meditation. At first I was annoyed that I had to restart or tap at every chakra. Then I realized I should have read the directions. Of course you can adjust the settings to progress through each chakra without tapping manually. You can also choose specific chakras and the number of cycles it plays – for example: 1 Muladhara  chant, 2 Swahisthara, 3 Manipura etc. Super awesome if you have some areas you want to un-stick! and it’s only $1.99. Hurry and download now 🙂

Jeanne Rizzo + Breast Cancer Fund

If you are aware of  the Susan G. Komen Foundation and don’t know who The Breast Cancer Fund and its CEO, Jeanne Rizzo are, or think that these two breast cancer organizations are similar, you are doing it wrong.  They are wildly different. The greatest distinction between these two organizations is that the former is focused on research and the later prevention. As a health coach, optimal health and dis-ease prevention is my passion.  As an attorney formerly in the pharmaceutical industry and currently in the academic research industry I have an acute understanding of drug development + research funding. There’s no doubt, everyone wants to cure cancer.  It would benefit millions of people world wide, and it’s a potential billion dollar windfall taboot.  Preventing cancer? not so much money there.  We’re currently living in the new era of Breast Cancer. Women are being assaulted with endocrine disrupting chemicals and  on a daily basis. It’s coming from our beauty products, our cleaning products our food and even our jobs. Breast Cancer Fund (and a few other NPOs such as the Silent Spring Foundation) are the lone wolves in fighting for prevention. They are denouncing pink washing and taking the fight to Washington to advocate for legislative reform of our broken (and outdated) Toxic Substances Control Act.  Jeanne Rizzo is my favorite and she should be yours too!  Read more from Jeanne here.

What are you loving this week?

FYI – I am not an affiliate to any of these businesses or organizations. I do not get paid for any endorsements within this post. They are honestly, just a few of my favorite things.

Health, Yoga

Om Sweet Om

This morning I practiced yoga with a group of friends, family and yoga teachers.  It was morning satsang and kirtan in celebration of my dear friend Lauren’s birthday.  It was the first practice I have done in months.  That seems shocking to say out loud.

When I got the invitation in the mail a few weeks ago, my stomach dropped. I spent weeks trying to figure out how to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I am so detached from my practice. My body isn’t what it was when I was teaching. My boobs no longer fit into my yoga clothes. I was horrified of what my yogi friends would think and afraid of my own judgement. I knew in my heart I wanted to go. That I needed to go. I just didn’t know if I could actually follow through.

Of course the morning was judgment free and wonderful. Our practice was outside in the backyard. It was hazy and cool. I connected to my voice and my body. I took the flow slow and at my own pace. My calves and hamstrings were angry but slowly began to loosen and by my last down dog my heels came to touch the earth. During savasana a light rain began to fall as connected to my breath and listened to Lisa sing.  I felt a peace with my body and my yoga for the first time in over a year.

As we gathered inside for Kirtan, my friend Ming gave me a big hug. “It’s wonderful to see you practice again, Terra.”  It brought tears to my eyes. I blinked them away and settled down into a cushion for kirtan.

Oddly enough, Ming is the only person I have actually talked to about my disconnect with yoga and my practice. A month or so ago, he held space for me over a beer without judgement. I was grateful in the moment and I am grateful for his words today.

Sometimes we just need an open mind, an ear and a hug to remind us where home is.

Food, Health

Day 2.

My Jawbone UP still hasn’t arrived from amazon. I am slightly annoyed by that, but tracking says it will be here today.

Yesterday was my first day of the Isagenix cleanse.  I will say that the shakes are…mediocre. They remind me of appetite suppression/fad diet shakes my mother used to make in the 80s. The difference being about 20 years of nutritional innovation. The ingredient list, while quite long, only has one scary word: isomaltooligosaccharide. IMO is a prebiotoc starch. There are  worse things that could be on a “powdered drink” ingredient list. I will deal.

I had the option to choose a diary free box or the whey protein box when I ordered. While I don’t do dairy on the regular (and hate milk), I know my body works well with wey protein so I went with that option. meh… it tastes very “milky” to me, which is probably why I find it to be mediocre instead of great. If you don’t have an aversion to milk, you’d probably love it.  I was worried yesterday about being hungry, being jittery or being miserable. I am happy to report no jitters, hungry only just before dinner (I’ll call that intuitive eating 😉 ).  The only miserable effect was/is my caffeine withdrawal headache, which was to be expected. Every time I do a detox, whether it’s whole foods/macrobiotic based or a juice cleanse, the damn coffee headache gets me every time.

Hubby is doing his best to be supportive, which I need and appreciate. We had a nice dinner last night – grilled chicken, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and peppers. It was totally delish. I sorry I didn’t take a picture!

This morning my headache was slight and dull. Definitely not as extreme as last night.  I blended my am shake with a 1/2 a banana and I found that to take away a good amount of the “milk” flavor.  Technically I don’t think I am supposed to, but it’s not a “cleanse” day and it’s only 50 calories, so THIS health coach thinks it’s fine.  There was a change in my weight from yesterday morning to this morning, but I am only going to count the weekly change.  My weight yoyos 4-5 lbs on a daily basis on the regular, so a daily weigh in won’t work for me.  Energy-wise I feel good.  We’ll see what the rest of the week brings. I am supposed to get my period, that could lead to disaster.

 

Health

The Summer of Me

I just finished up my first semester in the MCIS program. I think I squeaked out with an A.  It’s a good place to start.  I am still all over the place with the concentration of my degree program.  The research projects that I worked on this semester for my Communication Research class all revolved around the general topic of Feminism + Social Media.  I am passionate about it but  I haven’t been immersed in  women’s studies (from a theoretic point of view) in well over 10 years. I feel very behind the game.  It doesn’t help that I am in the communications department and not the women’s study department and there isn’t a lot of commingling.

I need an advisor and an academic coach because I’m also not sure if it’s smart to just start from scratch with feminism and social media.  So much of my background it health related. It seems logical that my concentration should be health communication and I weave it together through Women’s Health.   That would allow me to  utilize my backgrounds in holistic health, yoga, pregnancy and childbirth as well as my pharmaceutical background. I would just have to shift slightly into environmental health and I would have almost all of my backgrounds covered… Direction is really challenging for a scanner.

TRUTH

Speaking of women’s health. Mine is in the shitter. Marriage + a year of not teaching and sitting on my ass in an office from 9-5 is taking its toll.  I am fat and feel totally uncomfortable in my own skin. I haven’t had this feeling in years. I also haven’t been this heavy and unhealthy in years and it totally sucks. My weight began to increase and my health  decline when I stopped working with my Sprouting Wellness clients.  The mirror is a powerful force.  I totally fell off the wagon when I stopped teaching and my personal practice declined to non-existent. I now have a serious aversion to studio practice for fear of judgement.  Mostly my own; my boobs don’t fit into my yoga clothes, my hamstrings  have college soccer-sized knots and my belly is just in the way. I am also tired of having to explain, no I am not involved in LBG anymore.  It’s all just prickley and uncomfortable and I’d rather play the role of ostridge and put my head in the sand.

So given my uncertainty in my degree program + my dissatisfaction in my physical health, I am taking the summer off. I vow not to be an over achiever that finishes a part-time graduate program in the same amount of time as a full time student.  I promise to dedicate this summer to my health. I promise not to over schedule and over commit myself.  This summer is the summer of ME.  It’s about getting healthy.  It’s about changing bad habits. It’s about releasing weight. It’s about increasing energy. It’s about finding my practice again.  And it’s about doing some serious academic soul searching.

I am trying two new things to get me on and keep me on track. First, I am going to be doing the Isagenix 30 Day Cleanse.  If any of my former clients or students actually read this blog, they probably just fell out of their chair. I have never been a proponent or endorser of powdered cleanses. I basically do not believe in them.  That being said,  I know that there are some serious issues happening with my liver, endocrine system and toxicity load. Juice cleanses haven’t been able to get to the bottom of it. Bad habits die hard.   I went back and forth between a Metagenics Liver Cleanse and Isagenix. In the end, I decided that I needed (and wanted) more than a week long detox. I reached out to a number of my IIN colleagues for review and information (not just the sell sheet) and I am comfortable with my decision. I need to go at least 30 days, possibly more (I am toying with 90). The more I see results, the longer I will continue the program.  For me, results aren’t just numbers. It’s my energy level, my hair, my nails and other indicators of health in the body. This is going to be one hell of an experiment.

UP for the challenge of keeping me on track?

I need my readers to help keep me on track. To hold me accountable, to ask questions and demand answers. It’ take a community right?  I also got a Jawbone UP to keep me on track. I have wanted one of these gadgets for months. I was really unsure due to the reviews on the battery. People that love them, LOVE them. People that hate them, Loved them first, but then got pissed off over the battery and warranty issues.  So this handy little minx links with an ap in your Iphone and does a ton of stuff:

  • Tracks steps taken and calories burned
  • Tracks sleep patterns — how long it took to fall asleep, how many times you woke up out of sleep and for how long, measures light vs. deep sleep
  • Has a silent, vibrating alarm that will wake you when your body is most ready to awaken within a certain time frame you set (PSYCHED to try this one out!)
  • Allows you to log workouts – type, level of difficulty, duration
  • Options for logging/tracking food and mood
  • Uses data to develop trends and comparisons (ex. you are happiest when you burn x amount of calories a day and sleep x hours a night)

It’s like a tiny little health coach on my wrist keeping me on track. I hope it’s up for the challenge. I pray that I am up for the challenge. My future and my life literally depend on it.  I also hope to find the nerve to actually talk about and post my updates, struggles and triumphs here. It’s definitely outside of the adkjerseygirl blog box.  But this summer is me time. I guess it’s about to personal up in here!

Advocacy, Feminism, Health

There’s a fork in the blogging road.

There’s a bunch of stuff that I have been meaning to write about, but haven’t found the time words. I really want to talk about how I broke up with yoga in 2012, but I am just not there yet. Perhaps next week. We have a first date scheduled.  I miss my mat. Perhaps I will be graced with all the loveliness of a first kiss and it will begin to flow.

I want to write about school. The excitement, the anxiety, the inability to narrow down my research focus. Politics. Campaigns. Modern EcoFeminism. Environmental Communications. Equality. Women’s Rights. Environmental Justice. Social Justice. Activist Rhetoric. Branding for Campaigns. How the hell do I weave this tapestry together?

I want to write about conception and pregnancy, without my Health Coach hat on. It’s ridiculously personal. Do I want it on this blog?  Do I use this blog to talk about finding inner peace, being healthy, getting bendy and getting politically active? A how-to of sorts? Am I a seasoned guide and teacher or am I as much of a student as anyone else? Judgement.  (that first date really can’t come soon enough!)

I want to write about the projects and crafts that I am working on. But I’m not working on them. I am a crafting, DIY rock star….in my mind. I have most the knowledge. A lot of the tools. A good amount of ideas (not even swiped from Pintrest), yet none of the follow through.  I blame most of it not on the lack of hours in the day, but the lack of craft space and clutter in our apartment….which leads me to the next topic.

I want to write about home renovations. YUP! We’re buying a house! It’s nauseating and dizzying and exhilarating all at the same time. We’re scheduled to close February 14th. Happy Valentines day to us! But there’s still one outstanding matter that needs to be resolved for our underwriter to sign off. (It could ruin it all. It’s related to my prior business, and I am infuriated about it so I am definitely NOT blogging about it right now).

I keep telling myself when I have more space and less clutter (and we’re not living out of boxes) I will have more time to learn, create, write, grow.

If there’s more time, what do I write about? Is is this blog personal? Is it educational? Is it business of some variety?

Do I talk about yoga? Environmental Politics?  Feminism? Picking, interior design and home renovations?  Does it have to be any one thing?

I certainly hope not. As a scanner, I will never be able to stick to any one thing. It’s the curse of the disturbingly curious mind.

Health

Folic Acid and Prenatal Health

Before you dig into this post about folic acid, I want you all to know that my auto correct tried to correct folic to FROLIC.  I am pretty sure none of us wants anything to do with frolicking through acid, so my apologies in advance if there are any FROLIC acid typos that I missed.  🙂

Cruciferous Veggies!

A new Study by University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute in Australia found that synthetic and non-natural folic acid supplements taken by mid-to-late-term pregnant mothers may lead to a much higher risk of asthma in the child. LINK Researchers are urging pregnant mothers to continue supplementing with folic acid, however during late stages of pregnancy mothers should switch to natural sources of folate. Folate levels in preconception and prenatal women influence the child’s nervous system development. Low levels of folate can lead to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children aged 7 to 9.

Folic acid (folate) is a B-vitamin essential for proper cellular division because it is necessary in DNA synthesis. Without folic acid, the fetus’ nervous system cells do not divide properly. Vitamin B is most often found in dark leafy green vegetables. Despite folic acid’s wide occurrence in food (it’s name comes from the Latin word folium, meaning “foliage,” because it’s found in green leafy vegetables), folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world. Foods with high levels of folate include:
Spinach: spinach offers 25% of the daily value of folate per ½ cup cooked serving. A serving of raw spinach still gives you 15% of the daily value of folate. Try adding fresh spinach leaves to your salad or your favorite fruit smoothie. Add cooked spinach to your lasagna, stir fry meals and soups.

Black-eyed Peas: A half cup serving of black-eyed peas contains 25% of your daily value of folate. Toss them on top of your salad, into stir-fry meals, taco fillings, or as a stand-alone side dish.
White Beans: White beans pack 20% of your daily value into a 1/2 cup serving. They are great added to soups and chilis, or tossed with vinaigrette and spinach for a white bean salad.
Asparagus: Just 4 asparagus spears give you 20% of you daily folate value. Rub them with garlic and put them on the grill or chop them into smaller pieces and toss them with your favorite pasta dish.

Broccoli: A 1/2 cup of frozen, fresh or steamed broccoli offers 15% of your daily folate value! Roast it with garlic as a side dish, toss fresh florettes into your salad or your favorite pasta dish.

Brussels Sprouts: A cup of Brussels sprouts supplies 93.6 mg of folic acid and they’re probably my favorite vegetable! These lovely miniature looking cabbage heads are delicious sauteed with olive oil and garlic. Simply cut them in half saute and then top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

As with everything health related, natural is what matters. Whole, natural, unprocessed, food free from additives, preservatives and packaging will trump any synthetic, processed supplement.

Health

Eating for Fertility Part III: Superfoods for Super Baby Making

Conception!

In Part I and Part II of Eating for Fertility we discussed aphrodisiacs and fertility and incorporating whole foods for optimal preconception health. In Part III, we’re diving into SUPERFOODS! Superfoods are the most potent, super concentrated, and nutrient rich foods on the planet. They boost immunity, alkalize the body, elevate serotonin production and enhance sexuality….all super important for super baby making!!

Here’s my short list of superfoods for super fertility:

Maca – helps to increase progesterone, which is extremely important to enhance fertility and the ability to hold the pregnancy. Maca comes from peru and is a tonic for the endocrine system. You can take this product daily. It comes in liquid, capsule and powder form.

Blue Green Algae: Chlorella (fresh water green algae) Spirulina (salt water blue- green algae)– a tiny aquatic plant that has been used by humans since pre-historic times. It’s the origin of life-giving nourishment on the planet. It is packed with nutrients (protein, vitamin A, iron, phytonutrients, etc). Blue-Green Algae nourish the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems and regulate metabolism and repair tissues. The most important quality is its ability to detox the body and help to keep it alkaline (cervical mucus which transports sperm is alkaline, so it’s important to eat alkaline foods).

Flax Seeds – Flax seeds contain B vitamins, maganese and magnesium. They are high in Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids which your body needs to balance hormones. They also contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) knowns as lignans, which block harmful xenoestrogens (synthetic chemicals in the environment which have estrogenic properties) in the body. Try to get about 2-3 tablespoons of flax seeds each day; grind them up for optimal absorption and benefits. You can add them to smoothies, oatmeals or sprinkle them over a salad or oatmeal.

Acai Berry – boosts energy levels, improves digestive function, improves mental clarity/focus, promotes sound sleep, provides all vital vitamins, contains several important minerals, and is an extremely powerful free radical fighter. Acai also has very high levels of fibers, cleanses and detoxifies the body of infectious toxins, strengthens the immune system, enhances sexual desire and performance, fights cancerous cells, slows down the aging process, promotes healthier and younger-looking skin, alleviates diabetes, normalizes and regulates cholesterol levels, helps maintain healthy heart function, minimizes inflammation & improves circulation.

Bee Pollen – Bee pollen contains all the essential components of life. The percentage of rejuvenating elements in bee pollen remarkably exceeds those present in brewer’s yeast and wheat germ. Bee pollencorrects the deficient or unbalanced nutrition, common in the customs of our present-day civilization of consuming incomplete foods, often with added chemical ingredients, which expose us to various physiological problems.

Royal Jelly – This rich concentrated food contains remarkable amounts of proteins, lipids, glucides, vitamins, hormones, enzymes, mineral substances, and specific vital factors that act as biocatalysts in cell regeneration processes within the human body. Although some of the elements found in royal jelly are in microgram quantities, they still can act supremely with co-enzymes as catalysts or can act synergistically. (Meaning, the elements’ action combined is greater than the sum of their actions taken separately.) Royal jelly is rich in protein, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, C, E, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, inositol and folic acid.

Goji Berries – these tart little berries improve fertility and help to treat sexual dysfunction. They are particularly useful for those suffering from endometriosis and PCOS or anyone trying to balance hormones. They are believed to increase sexual fluids and enhance fertility.

So now that you know what superfoods are great for fertility and preconception health, how do you incorporate them into your diet? Smoothies are a great way to put a new twist on something old. Also, try my Banana Berry Fertility Bread!

Recipes:

Super Food Smoothie

▪ 2 Scoops Protein Powder (non-hormone/ no artificial sweeteners or additives)
▪ ½ Banana (frozen or fresh)
▪ 2 Tsp. Organic Spirulina Powder
▪ 1 Tsp. Maca
▪ 2 Tsp. Organic Royal Jelly/ Bee Pollen/ Propolis Plus
▪ ½ Cup Frozen Sambazon Pure Acai
▪ 1 Cup Raw Organic Milk or Unsweetened Almond Milk
▪ 3 Pieces of Ice (optional)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Banana Berry Fertility Bread

▪ 1 Cup Gluten-Free Flour
▪ 1 Cup Non-Hormone Protein Powder
▪ 1 Tsp. Baking Soda (aluminum free)
▪ 1 Tsp. Baking Powder (aluminum free)
▪ 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
▪ ½ Tbsp Xanthan Gum
▪ ¼ Tsp. Sea Salt
▪ 3/4 Cup Overripe bananas (about 3 mashed)
▪ ¼ Cup Fresh Organic Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
▪ ¼ Cup Raw Organic Coconut Oil (or use grapeseed oil if you don’t like the coconut)
▪ ½ Cup Unsweetened Organic Coconut (shredded)
▪ 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
▪ 1/3 Cup Raw Organic Agave
▪ ¼ Cup Raw Chopped Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
▪ 2 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven to 350*F. Lightly oil a loaf pan with olive oil.

In a medium bowl whisk the baking flour with the baking soda, baking powder, coconut, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the bananas with the oil, agave nectar, unsweetened almond milk, and vanilla. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Stir in the berries and chopped raw nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool on a rack for 20 minutes before turning it out. Let cool completely before slicing.

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Food, Health

Eating for Fertility: Part II

In Eating for Fertility Part I, I explored the connection between aphrodisiacs and fertility. Now lets really dig into fertility health. What you put in your mouth before conception is just as important as after! Preconception health awareness should start 6 months to one year before conception. And this should include both parents. That’s right guys, you have responsibility in fertility health too! As many as one in six couples will experience fertility problems within the first year trying to conceive. However, the odds of conception can be increased by making a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.

There are two basic tenants of fertility health: the removal of toxins and the infusion of nutrients. Environmental toxins include additives and preservatives in our food, toxins in household cleaning products as well as the products we use to clean our bodies and guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

The good news is that simple changes in your diet can boost your fertility and bring your body into top baby making shape. Diets of both men and women trying to conceive (TTC) should be high in folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc. It’s also very important both parents eat clean, organic foods free from pesticides, fungicides, additives and preservatives. Men and women eating for fertility should incorporate the following foods into their diet:

Whole Grains – whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good for insulin function. Refined grains (bleached white rice, flour and pasta) should be avoided as they cause insulin spikes which can affect estrogen levels.

Dark Leafy Greens – greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and conifers such as broccoli, cauliflower and rabe are high in folate which is important for conception and fetal development.

Protein – vegetarian protein from sources like beans, peas, legumes and nuts are high in iron and preferred to animal protein. You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but meat should be limited to small occasional portions.

Good Fats– omit trans fats and saturated fats from your diet, but include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These will reduce inflammation and any insulin sensitivity. They can be found in avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon.

Organic Produce – fresh organic fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that will promote general and fertility health. Many fruits such as citrus, oranges, strawberries (and green leafy vegetables) are high in folate.

Ok, so for the average healthy conscious person the above list seems pretty much like a no brainer, right? Yeah, that’s a great first step. Taking a conscious approach to fertility simply by adjusting your diet and lifestyle will increase your chances of conception. Removing environmental toxins, and making positive, organic food choices has been shown to increase the chances of having a healthy, happy, comfortable pregnancy, a positive and safe birth with little or no intervention, a shorter postpartum recovery period and a baby who is healthy and present.

So what else? There’s got to be more, right? You guessed it, Super foods! That’s what else! If you’re not sure what super foods are, you can catch up with an awesome post by my pal, Lauren here. If you want the cliffs notes, super foods are nutrient dense foods that have an abundance of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In Eating for Fertility III, I’ll dig into super foods and fertility. Super foods for super baby making! Stay tuned!

Food, Health

All I want is Food and Creative Love

 Eating for Fertility Part I

in celebration of National Pregnancy Month!

Pardon the Rusted Root reference (all I want is food and creative love) but considering food and love have been bedfellows for centuries, I thought it was appropriate. Food and love, sounds like a fresh new relationship, doesn’t it? You know, the blissful ones, sharing chocolate cake, gazing at each other with honeymoon eyes.

So, say you’re past the honeymoon eyes phase and onto the seed germination phase….conception…baby making. Does one have to do with the other? Does it even matter what passes your lips? You betcha it does!!

What you eat BEFORE you get pregnant is important!

Hundreds of years ago, before people really knew what vitamins, minerals and nutrients were all about, people attributed qualities such as shape (ie: foods in the shape of sexual organs such as oysters and figs) or the food’s ability to make your temperature rise (e.g. chili peppers or curry) to increased potency or fertility.(P.S. That’s a picture of a fresh fig, one of my favorite fruits!) Aphrodisiacs aside, diet really can affect your ability to conceive. Positively and negatively. And believe it or not, there’s actually a bit more to aphrodisiacs than the shape and temperature of the food!!

Overly strict dieting and excessive exercise that results in extreme weight loss may result in loss of ovulation. On the other spectrum, too much eating resulting in obesity may also inhibit fertility. The diet of both men and women trying to conceive should be well balanced, consisting of whole foods rich in folic acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc. There are simple changes you can make to your diet to boost your fertility and bring your body into optimum baby making shape.The fun part is the food and creative love….aphrodisiacs!After conducting a little research on traditional aphrodisiacs and their nutritional content I found the correlation between tradition aphrodisiacs and preconception health to be uncanny! The ancient ones who ate whole foods rather than processed, chemicalized foods always got it right. Just check out a of the aphrodisiacs on the list below:Avacado: The Aztecs called the avocado tree “ahuacuatl,” which means “testicle tree” (avacados hang in pairs on the tree). Avacados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid, all of which are essential for preconception health!

Banana Flower

Bananas: Do I really have to articulate why a banana is an aphrodisiac? Besides the banana flower’s amazing phallic shape, bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins, necessities for sex hormone production. Bananas also provide 452 milligrams of potassium, 33 milligrams of magnesium, and just over 2 grams of fiber. They are high in potassium and a respectable amount of magnesium as well.

Chocolate: See, there really IS a God and the Aztec’s called chocolate the “nourishment of the Gods.” Not only is chocolate a superfood, it contains more antioxidants than red wine! So if you really want more bang for your buck, try sharing a glass of Cabernet with a small piece of dark chocolate.

Oysters: have been linked with love and sexuality for hundreds of years. The ancient law of similarities reasons that their similarity to female genitalia dictates they may in fact possess sexual powers!! Similarities aside, oysters are full of vitamins and minerals like A, B1, B2 ,C and D, calcium, iodine, iron, potassium, copper, sodium, zinc, phosphorous, manganese and sulphur and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids.

Pineapple: has been traditionally used as a homeopathic treatment for impotence. It’s an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B1, copper, dietary fiber and vitamin B6.

Other aphrodisiacs include almond, arugula, asparagus, basil, broccoli rabe, carrots, fennel, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, licorice, mustard, nutmeg, pine nuts, raspberries, strawberries, truffles, vanilla, and wine.

In Part II of Food and Creative Love: Eating for Fertility and I will provide a few recipes to boost your fertility while tickling your taste buds! When I first researched and wrote this blog entry, I had so fun doing the research and learning about it that I turned it into a workshop.  One of the most awesome things ever, is that a 41 year old woman that attended this workshop (last fall) is now pregnant and due in October!