Elderberry To The Rescue- How We Fight Off Fall and Winter Germs

mwt-elderberry

What is Elderberry and why it’s a mandatory staple in our house for the fall and winter months?

Elderberry is one of the most common herbs used for seasonal wellness.

Used for colds and flu primarily, they contain: organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid,vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C.

They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic.

Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.

According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Elderberries also have a really pleasant taste, are safe for kiddos and for pregnant or nursing mamas as well.

Every fall/winter we make a simple elderberry syrup to take daily

1-2TBS/day for prevention, every few hours to treat illness -roughly 1-3 tsp. for kids 2 and up.

((Though with my daughter she received it as young as 1 year.))

elderberry-syrup-recipe

Syrup Ingredients:

 * ⅔- 1 c. of dried elderberries
*3-4 c. water ( some recipes use apple cider instead!)
*2 tbs ginger
*½ tsp black pepper
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tbs licorice
*½ tsp. Cloves
*½ tsp nutmeg(optional)

 Place all herbs in a pot.

Add water.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat.

Strain herbs using a mesh strainer and/or cheese cloth.

Combine the liquid with raw honey

(depending on how sweet you like your syrup use 1:1 ratio or ½:1 ratio.

So 1 cup of honey to 1 cup of syrup or 1 c. of honey to 2 c. syrup) or anywhere in between.

Other recipes use closer to 1 c. honey to 3 c. liquid decoction (the boiled liquid from roots/berries).

Stir.

Pour into glass jar or amber bottle.

Store in fridge for a month or so.

Make sure to label with dates for optimal freshness!

We have also loved turning our Elderberry Syrup into Gummy Snacks.

(great as a daily treat, or to munch on when your feeling under the weather)

elderberry-gummies-recipe

Gummy Ingredients:

 * Silicone Molds Or A Glass Pan
( you can cut them into squares once gelled)
*Beef Gelatin Powder
*2 Cups of Liquid

Mix 1 c. of cold syrup with 3 TBS gelatin.

Heat the other cup of syrup and then add to the mixture.

Whisk.

Pour into molds and put in the fridge for an hour or two. Voila!

Mama Wellness Tip to make your house more joyful

Add this one thing to your shopping list for joy on your mama journey no matter where you are. It’s especially useful to enhance the romance of life. Make sure to choose roses or dried rose petals that are free of pesticides. Especially if you will be adding to your tea. What makes this even better, a girls night shared with a fellow mama soaking in the joy and sharing some tea time together.

Looking for on online collection of mama’s to join on this journey with, join us on facebook Happy WOMBen: Pre-conception, Pregnancy, and Mama Wellness. 

What held me back from having a great period for years. (Even after I went to Nutrition School)

love your period

It’s common in our culture to disdain that time of the month when we bleed.  Our commercials for period accessories try to prove how great they are by showing how they help us completely ignore our periods all together.

When I got my first period in middle school my mom sort of just said Ok, here’s a tampon, good luck. There was certainly no celebration of entering womanhood or passing on of womanly wisdom.  I did get a discreet envelope during my 5th grade “sex ed” class full of intimidating pillow sized pads.  That was super helpful. I got the message: we don’t really talk about this, except maybe to complain.

That message has been reaffirmed throughout my adult life.  I didn’t actually learn about how to chart ovulation or connect with the lunar cycle until I was much much older.  And in the meantime, I assumed that dramatic PMS symptoms like cramps, drastic mood swings, clumpy or heavy bleeding were just normal.  After all, isn’t this why we were supposed to complain all the time?

Turns out, I was wrong.

I wish someone would have told me in my early twenties that not getting my period for months at a time was not a cause for medication but actually about my strict calorie counting, self-loathing and obsessive exercising.

I wish someone would have introduced me to the idea that my lunar cycle is a celebration of womanhood, the potential for motherhood, and a unique opportunity to gently cleanse every single month.

I wish someone would have helped me understand the impact nourishment, rest and reflection would have on those “unavoidable” symptoms.

I wish someone would have passed on some wise woman wisdom about herbal, nutritional and yoga therapeutic remedies to help regulate my hormone production so my body didn’t feel the need to get my attention every month.  The role my liver, thyroid and adrenal function played in having a consistent cycle.

I wish someone would have told me about the toxic chemicals in most period accessories.

I wish someone would have taught me to love my period.

What if you could have a great period?

Ignoring it was the problem. It held me back.

I was talking to a client the other day who ignored the severe pain she was having for a year because her endocrinologist said “getting pregnant would fix it”. We need to get back in touch with our intuition, and stop ignoring your period.

What kind of words do you associate with it? Are you trying to get pregnant and dread that time?  Are you “postpartum” and can’t seem to find a good normal?  Have you been able to learn to love it? What are your favorite ways?

Any of this sound like what you’d love to know?  Let me help you.  Schedule your Mama Wellness Breakthrough Session by clicking here.  Let’s get an action plan going for your specific period needs.

Take Your Practice into Winter

 

Winter Yoga Practice

As the weather turns colder, your practice will change as well.  A season of drying and cold, it’s important to include poses that are warming, grounding and nourishing to your thymus and lymph system.  The pose pictured above, legs up the wall or viparita karani, is wonderful for reversing lymph flow and increasing circulation.  If you’re pregnant, prop up your upper body or your hips to take pressure of the vena cava nerve.

Other poses that are useful for winter might include: ujjayi breath (the victorious breath), camel pose (stimulates thymus and throat chakra – beneficial when bronchial problems are abundant!), warming sun salutations and plenty of time to meditate.

Bonus! The pose on the right (fierce pose or chair pose) is great for enhancing fertility by increasing circulation to the pelvis!

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.11.15 AM 9 half squat

Abhyanga – Daily Ayurveda Practice for Pregnancy

ayurveda pregnancy
In Ayurvedic view, the season of pregnancy is dominated by vata energy.  Vata is one of the 3 main constitutions (vata, pitta and kapha).  Being dominant and out of balance with vata is  characterized by dryness, hurried mind, anxiety, constipation, the need to buy things, quick, changeable, cold hands and feet.
I am already predominantly a vata constitution, so pregnancy really aggravates this in me and I need to pay extra careful attention to use foods and habits that nourish my system.  Here are a few key (and easy) ways to help balance vata in pregnancy:
  • Warm dairy
  • Routine and Rhythm
  • Rest when you can around 2-4 pm
  • Warm bone broths
  • Spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove
  • Foods like avocado, coconut oil, nuts, sesame oil, cooked veggies (especially root veggies and greens)
  • Abhyanga: daily self massage with oil

Abhyanga is super easy. Choose a vata balancing oil like avocado, almond or sesame (I prefer sesame in the winter).  Make sure they’re organic high quality oils.  And give yourself a fully body rub down daily.  Especially in a downward direction.  Morning and evening is best.  Take those few moments to breath, be quiet and go inward.  It doesn’t take a lot of time and really does help! My favorite way to have the warm oil is to fill up the sink a little with hot water and stick the glass bottle of oil in it while I’m in the shower or bath and then it’s all warm and ready to go when I get out!

Enjoy!

 

Seeds for Hormone Health

foods for fertility

There are all kinds of things you can do to help balance hormones before, during and after baby.  Herbs, supplements, yoga, meditation, medication.  But one of the simplest is to increase foods in your diet that help to remove excess estrogen, protect the body from xenohormones (synthetics that bind with estrogen receptor sites and inhibit the liver’s ability to remove excess estrogen), contain blood nourishing iron and vitamin C to help with iron absorption, and omegas for healthy cell membranes.

Some of my favorite foods for this are a few easy-to-eat seeds. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which helps to support progesterone release and also omega-3 fatty acids.  Flax seeds are high in lignans and omegas, helping to block excess estrogen.  Sesame seeds are also high in lignans and sunflower seeds contain selenium – a trace mineral that aids the liver in detoxification.  Best if eaten raw, (and especially in the case of flax seed – ground), added in small amounts daily to smoothies, yogurt, or soaked cereals.   I have been craving pumpkin seeds the entire 14 weeks of this pregnancy so far!

New Mamas – Don’t Take Your Prenatal

mama wellness tip postpartum vitamin

You’ve probably been told to keep taking your prenatal vitamin postpartum.  But did you know that breastfeeding mamas have very different needs than a pregnant mama?  Everybody’s worried about your nutrition prenatally, but a lot less worry about nutrition for postpartum mothers unless there’s a concern about food allergies for newborns. I think it’s a lot more important than that!  Paying attention to our nutrients and nourishment postpartum can help prevent postpartum depression and increase longterm reproductive health.

In fact, the amount of milk a new mom produces in the first 4 months is roughly equivalent to the same amount of energy she used the entire pregnancy creating a human being!  That’s crazy.  It was a surprising statistic to me.  Your prenatal vitamin might not cut it.  You’ll also need to increase the amount of food you eat, and choose foods that are healing for the first 6-12 weeks.

Things to focus on with your diet and supplementation:

  • Extra B vitamins: especially B6 for seratonin and melatonin production.
  • Organic kelp: Supports your thyroid – which decreases function usually around month 4 postpartum (why some women have hair loss).  A healthy thyroid keeps your metabolism going well and wards off mood swings.  The iodine in kelp helps to support brain development in baby.
  • Vitamin C and copper : both good for development.
  • A small amount of fermented foods: to help metabolism and digestion.  Not too much though – they can produce gas which is particularly uncomfortable if you’ve had a surgical birth.
  • Bone broths: If you’re not a vegetarian the minerals found in bone broths are irreplaceable to healing postpartum.  Stock your freezer now and have a few sips or bowls of soup made with it each day.
  • Avoid sugar:  You’re gonna want it.  You’re tired and exerting more energy now with your new little one nursing and possibly an older child or a few of them.  But just say no!  Having sugar postpartum can lead to that crash feeling, increased anxiety and feelings of depression.
  • Fish oils: Especially in the interest of warding off baby blues and keeping your immune system up, add in the fish oils.  I really think Fermented Cod Liver Oil is the way to go – the fermentation process maintains the most nutrients and it’s sourced really well.
  • Herbs:  There are too many to list here!  A good one to start with is chamomile, as it aids with after birth pains and induces a feeling of calm or even sleepiness in some.

One supplement I recommend often (and it’s a newer one) is New Chapter PostNatal.  They ferment they’re whole food sources and add in supportive herbs. You might also encapsulate your placenta, drink a little beer for hops and possibly lactation teas.  I could go on and on!

Need your New Mama Guided Meditation?  Click here.

Ready to find hormonal balance and wellness postpartum?  Click here to schedule your Blissful Mam Breakthrough Session now!

MWT – Lemon Balm

 

lemon balm holistic pregnancy tip

 

Happy Mama Wellness Wednesday! Here’s your Mama Wellness Tip for this week.  This one is a holistic fertility, holistic pregnancy and holistic postpartum gem.

Lemon Balm is one of my favorite mama herbs!  Safe for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding seasons of life, it can help to reduce tension and relieve a headache. The large amounts of essential oils in Lemon Balm (or Melissa) have an antispasmodic effect and can therefore help with digestion and gas relief. Combined with Nettle Leaf it’s a great allergy tonic for pregnant women.

But my favorite thing about Lemon Balm is it’s light, lemony flavor.  I add it to otherwise grassy or bitter tasting herbs when I’m drinking something medicinally.  I think it’s this taste that contributes to it’s ability to help with depression and insomnia.  (Two things that are my high priorities for all categories of clients: mamas trying to conceive, pregnant women and new mamas!) Because it tastes so delicious I recommend taking it as a tea or decoction.  It tastes great with almost anything and is good iced as well.

Mama Maurer’s Moodalicious Tea

  • 2-3 parts Lemon Balm
  • 1 part Motherwort
  • 1 part Red Raspberry Leaf

 

You can find Lemon Balm in my Happy Womb Tea and Fertile Mama Tea! You can also order in bulk from good sources like Mountain Rose Herbs.

Why not sip some Lemon Balm tea before you sit down for your Empowered Mama Guided Prenatal Meditation? You can download it here. Or click here for your Abundant Mama Guided Fertility Meditation!

 

Mama Wellness Wednesday – Holistic Fertility Tips

holistic fertility tips

Did you know some studies have found a relationship between the type of dairy you eat and challenges with fertility?  There is a correlation between eating low fat dairy and and ovulation infertility. What’s most interesting is that high fat dairy seems to protect against ovulation infertility.

The process of removing fat from dairy also removes estrogen and progesterone (bound to the fat) which leaves high concentrations of androgens, insulin- like growth factor and male hormones causing an imbalance.

In addition choose the source of your milk carefully. There is a major difference between the gallon of milk from a factory farm where it could be from hundreds of cows, fed genetically modified feed (known to cause reproductive problems in humans) and fresh milk from a local, grass-fed cow.  Talk to your farmers and find out their practices!

Worried about getting fat?  We need to dismiss the idea of eating fat = being fat (a successful marketing strategy from the past few decades) and think less about being fat and more about being well.  My own life is proof that the happier I am the better choices I make for my body and my weight stays in a healthy place, and the better choices I make about food the happier I feel.  It’s a cycle not a linear path.

Consider two recent studies that conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is associated with reduced body fat. In a study published last year in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter, and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.

The more whole food you eat, the less stress on your endocrine system and the better your chances of conceiving!

Have you downloaded your Abundant Mama Guided Fertility Meditation yet?