10 Fresh Fall Activities To Do With The Whole Family 

1. Plant fall-loving vegetables or spring bulbs in your garden. Vegetables like kale, carrots, broccoli, and radishes love this time of year!

2. Start making weekly trips to the farmers market. Summer was slow but things are picking back up again! Mini farmers markets are popping back up all over St. Pete (Saturday morning market is being held every Saturday morning from 9am-1pm in Williams Park). There is no better way to support local and support health than this fun activity!

3. Do a fall scavenger hunt. Plan out a day full of apple cider and pumpkin carving with stops along the way during this fun trip, finding the coolest places to experience fall in St. Pete!

4. Visit a U-Pick farm or a Petting Zoo. It’s a beautiful season to be outdoors this fall! Make sure you get plenty of outside time and create some fun memories with these cool outdoor ideas!

5. Camp out in your backyard. Put together a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, and spend this fun activity under the fall stars! (be sure to bring your flashlights and tell scary stories!)

6. Watch fall movies and make popcorn over the stove. There is nothing like spending a family Friday night eating freshly made popcorn and watching fall movies! This is a great time to watch an old classic, a family favorite, or pick a fall themed movie.

7. Roast pumpkin seeds. Remember those leftover pumpkin seeds you scooped out when you carved pumpkins on your fall scavenger hunt? Waste-not as you brush these with a little olive oil and a little salt and pop them in the oven for a fun afternoon snack!

8. Learn how to bake a pie. Fall is the BEST season for pies, ranging from cinnamon apple pie to the classic pumpkin pie or pecan pie. There are so many delicious pie recipes to choose from this season. Challenge yourself and your family by choosing a recipe that builds the pie from the ground up, no premade crust or filling- all from scratch!

9. Run a 5k. This fall get your groove on with a fun fall 5k with your family, girlfriends or significant other!

10. Make your very own fall candles. Michaels has a ton of cool candle making supplies. Try this new craft idea with the kiddos!

*Bonus*  Create an autumn wreath and a fun fall-themed porch display, make fun fall crafts, make pumpkin art, and paint/craft with leaves! 

What is Dry Brushing? And 10 Reasons Why Your Skin Will Thank You For It.

Dry brushing. Maybe you’ve heard of it in a health magazine years ago, or a friend mentioned it in your last fitness class. But what is it really? And how can it benefit you?

 

Dry brushing is a technique that has been used for thousands of years as a health practice to remove old skin, regenerate new healthy skin, and detoxify your lymphatic system. Here are 10 reasons why you should give this simple practice a try.

  1. Dry Brushing stimulates the glands located around your body such as the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, etc. helping them wake up, function properly and work they way they are supposed to.
  2. Dry Brushing removes old dead skin. Removing old skin helps your skin breath optimally and glow the way that it’s supposed to.
  3. Dry Brushing stimulates new skin growth. The semi-rough bristle action of the dry brush on your skin is going to help stimulate your skin to produce new skin cells. This helps regenerate new beautiful skin for that amazing youthful vibrancy!
  4. Dry Brushing helps the lymphatic system move and detoxify. Our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump in the same way that the other fluid in our body, the blood, does. Our lymphatic system depends on muscle movement to help the fluid get to where it needs to go to be filtered and eliminated out of the body. Dry brushing is a gentle movement over the lymphatic system that can benefit immensely in getting the lymphatic fluids to the detoxification organs that filter the fluid and eventually expel it out of the body.
  5. Dry Brushing can help reduce cellulite by breaking up some of the stored toxins underneath the skin to smooth things out.
  6. Dry Brushing enhances blood circulation.
  7. Dry Brushing clears up the skin from dead skin, toxins and debris to be able to absorb nutrients, sunlight, and be able to breath better.
  8. Dry Brushing helps stimulate and rejuvenate the nervous system, making the nerves right underneath the skin much more responsive.
  9. Dry Brushing relieves stress. The slow brushing of the skin is soothing and relaxing. Most people who finish a session of dry brushing feel like it’s a meditation in and of itself, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed.
  10. Dry Brushing improves digestive and kidney function. Improving the circulation of the fluids in the body greatly effects the function of the elimination organs. When you help move those fluids towards these organs, they can move through their cycle quicker and keep your body cleaner overall.

How to begin: You can find an inexpensive dry brush at almost any health food store, or online. You’ll do this practice with a dry brush and dry skin right before you shower.  Begin by brushing the bottoms of the feet gently, then use brush strokes up the body always in the direction of the torso. From the hands, work your way up the arms towards the torso as well. Brush the stomach in a clockwise circular direction. Work your way around the rest of your body covering all areas, being careful to not dry brush sensitive areas such as the face and breasts. Go in circular movements wherever there are lymph nodes to help stimulate detoxification, such as the armpit area. Once you’ve covered the whole body, you’re done!

Repeat this practice three to four times a week or daily for incredible rejuvenation of your skin, leaving it softer, smoother, and feeling ten years younger!

 

The Best Healthy Brownie Recipe Ever! (Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Processed Sugar-Free)

When it comes to chocolate, cookies, desserts and more, it’s so hard to say no. Almost impossible, right?! Well here is a recipe that anyone can indulge in, at any time. Without the added processed sugar, wheat-gluten, or animal products, this is a guilt free dessert that is a huge crowd-pleaser also! There are a few different creative ways to use alternative ingredients that you wouldn’t normally think of to make this easy dessert.  The ingredients are simple and few. The process is easy, you won’t even need a mixer or an oven!

When it comes to baking, the fewer ingredients the better when it comes to avoiding added harmful ingredients. Boxed cake and brownie mixes have a ton of ingredients listed on their labels. As ingredients pile up, so do the chemicals, preservatives and added dyes that you don’t want in your food, let alone your body! The best route when it comes to what you put into your body, is to keep things simple. Choose quick and easy recipes you can whip up at home without the added processed ingredients and without the harm! Not only is this recipe delicious and easy, it’s also animal product free, making it a great substitute for anyone with a dairy or egg allergy, or anyone wanting to incorporate more plant-based recipes into their life! Enjoy! 

 

Raw Plant-Based Brownies 

 

2 cups pitted medjool dates

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

All you’ll need is a loaf size baking pan lined with wax paper, and a food processor.

Directions: Add all the ingredients into the food processor and mix until they are well combined, sticking together like a thick cookie dough recipe. Take out the “batter” and press it into your wax paper-lined loaf size pan, sprinkling on additional nuts or chocolate chips on top to decorate. Refrigerate, cut into slices, and enjoy!

 

Golden Milk Tea And The Amazing Benefits Of Turmeric

Inflammation is a buzz word in our society today, stretching its sphere of influence to everything from auto-immune disorders to arthritis. It has a far and wide reaching audience to everything it affects and impacts. Is there anything we can do about it? Are there lifestyle choices we can make that impact our health in a preventative way to reduce inflammation, and possibly prevent the harmful effect it has on us? Absolutely!

Turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory food that can not only be added into the diet for its great health properties…but it’s also a delicious spice! (see recipe below)

There are so many reasons for adding this ingredient into curry, soup, or tea next time you cook. Here are 10 things that you can benefit from if you add this spice into your life!

(Pro Tip) combining turmeric with black pepper increases its absorbability by up to 2000% (some studies show); making it a POWERHOUSE anti-inflammatory food.

  1. Turmeric has curcumin in it, a powerful antioxidant that is best absorbed with fat, and black pepper.
  2. Turmeric helps lower inflammation in the body with its unique anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Having low inflammation in the body as well as a high antioxidant capacity can lead to wellness benefits such as reduced heart disease, lower cancer risk, less headaches, and more.
  4. Many people swear by the fact that turmeric has drastically impacted their arthritis in a positive way.
  5. Turmeric has shown positive benefits to treating depression, and Alzheimer disease.
  6. Turmeric can have a positive impact on aging gracefully and living longer.
  7. Turmeric can be used to help keep blood sugar levels normal.
  8. Turmeric is anti-viral and antibacterial.
  9. Turmeric can help manage cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  10. Turmeric can be used as a mask to help with acne.

Next time you want to bump up your health game to the next level, add this spice into your food, sprinkle it on hummus, or make this tea. Your body thanks you every time you do something kind to improve its health. Enjoy!

 

Delicious Golden Milk Tea

1 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1/2 tsp dried turmeric powder

1/8 tsp dried ginger powder

1 tbsp coconut oil

dash of black pepper (1/8 tsp)

cinnamon for garnish

Directions: Bring all ingredients to a boil and whisk until frothy (or you can blend at the end to emulsify the coconut oil). Garnish with Cinnamon and enjoy!

 

 

Beat The Summer Heat With This Super Cool Watermelon Juice Recipe! 

Refreshing Watermelon Juice Ingredients:

8 cups cubed watermelon (chilled)

5-6 leaves of fresh mint or basil

Directions: Blend the watermelon with either the mint or basil in a high speed blender until everything becomes liquid. Strain through a fine sieve or nut milk bag and either drink right away, or keep in the fridge for up to 1-2 days (it’s always best within the first 24 hours). Mint adds a super cool refreshing twist to this delicious drink. If you want to switch it up, a touch of basil is a unique way to take this juice to the next level!

Enjoy this super cooling recipe on a hot day when you need to beat the heat!

Benefits of Watermelon:

1. Hydrating (watermelon is made of 92% water!)

2. Contains high amounts of Lycopene, an antioxidant

3. High in Vitamin A, B6, and vitamin C

4. Easy to digest

5. Watermelon is rich in an amino acid called citrulline that may help move blood through your body and can lower your blood pressure.

6. Contains natural sugar and helps curb those sweet tooth cravings without the guilt!

7. Can help reduce inflammation in the body

Eat or drink watermelon this summer in abundance for your health!

5 Simple Ways to Increase Hydration

Many of us have heard of the formula for staying hydrated: drink half your body weight in oz of water, every.single.day. If you love water, this is the best news ever! But if you find yourself in the category where you don’t remember to drink it, don’t like the taste, or typically just end up drinking other liquids throughout the day that take the place of water- hope is not lost, you also can keep your cells hydrated, and thriving, with a few of these creative ways to keep your body hydrated every single day.

 

Our bodies aren’t one stop shops. We can’t just practice a healthy habit one time and have the health benefits last forever. Consistent maintenance is key for long term health. We have to continue to hydrate our bodies every single day to keep up its optimum function. Take a look at these quick and easy things you can add to your day to reach that ideal hydration point your body is craving! 

 

  1. Eat high water content fruits and vegetables, juices, and smoothies. There is living water in every fruit and veggie that can provide amazing benefits for hydrating the body. Your body knows exactly what to do with this pure water. It soaks it up and delivers it to the cells exactly how they need it. Incorporate things like watermelon, oranges, apples, celery, cantaloupe, peppers, pears, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and grapes into your meals. When you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables, your body is getting  much of the water that it needs, and requires less drinking water than a body that is only eating processed foods all day. 

 

  1. Drink a glass of high quality (filtered) water with a squeeze of lemon or a tiny pinch of sea salt or pink himilayan salt. If you forget to drink water frequently, adding things like lemon or a teeny tiny pinch of salt to your water will make it easier to absorb. Think of the pinch of salt like adding electrolytes into the water. If you are making sure to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods (aka high sodium foods), then you don’t need to worry about the sodium in the salt. Your body needs some sodium! Just not too much. 
  2. Drink aloe water. Aloe is an incredibly healing plant that can do wonders for your body. It can improve your liver function, increase the alkalinity of your body, provide you with amazing minerals and vitamins, is antioxidant rich, and is great for your skin. To make aloe water from scratch, take a 2 inch piece of aloe and carefully slice the skin away from the gel. Place the gel into a blender with 2 cups of water and a squeeze of lime if desired. Blend and drink right away for a quick, easy, hydrating boost! 
  3. Drink herbal tea. Herbal tea is an extremely  hydrating drink that can aid you  with  whatever healing properties you need  by choosing which tea you brew. You can make this iced or hot. PRO tip: brew a half gallon of tea in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for easy access to pour over ice. There are so many medicinal benefits to herbal teas, and they can really transform your water drinking to a time where your body gets in those added healing properties of the tea. Want to take your hydration to the next level? Replace your coffee with herbal tea. Not only is coffee acidic, it’s also dehydrating. Drinking coffee first thing in the morning after a night’s sleep when your body is already slightly dehydrated, can only worsen the situation. Switching over to an herbal tea, or at least having a glass of lemon water before you drink coffee, will do your body wonders. 
  4. Make hydration your priority first thing in the morning. Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee, let lemon water be the first thing that hits your stomach after your body has been fasting all night. Then go ahead and have your cup of coffee. PRO tip: Keep a bottle of water or a drinking glass in places where you already have a good daily habit established. For example, if you take a multivitamin every day, keep a full glass of water next to it to remind yourself to drink water every time you take that vitamin. Or keep a glass by your toothbrush to remind yourself to take a glass of water when you brush your teeth in the morning or at night. Tacking on a good habit to another good habit is a great way to build up the healthy lifestyle that you want to achieve! 

 

Hydration is powerful! it has the power to jump start your health by:  flushing out toxins, helping the kidneys filter properly, regulating body temperature, eliminating constipation by flushing body waste, keeping the skin clear, can help with kidney stones, headaches, weight loss, maintaining blood pressure, and  maximizing physical performance by allowing the muscles and joints to work properly. 

 

15 fun Ways To Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables (And Other Tips And Tricks To Eating Healthy With A Picky Eater)

We know that fruits and veggies are good for kids, but have you ever tried to get a kid to eat them? Talk about a completely different story! What if it was as easy to get kids to eat their carrots as it was chips, a cookie, or a popsicle? What if kids could eat their favorite food, and have it be healthy for them? I’m optimistic that by applying a few of these tried and true tips, your kiddo will be on the healthy train in no time (and they might even get you eating a few more servings of veggies too!), making the kitchen a place of happiness, health, and peace of mind, knowing your kids are fueling their brains, bodies and activities with the healthiest fuel on the planet. 

 

 Let’s dive into 15 tips and tricks to get kids engaged in the eating process, excited about different foods, and make healthy eating a delightful tradition for kids and parents all around. 

 

  1. Rename foods to sound delicious. Call fruit “dessert”, call water “river juice”, call a plain fruit smoothie a “tropical delight”. It sounds silly, but these simple life hacks can make a huge difference in a kids perception of a certain food. 
  2. Make it fun! Keep the atmosphere around food light, happy and exciting. When at all possible, try to not give negative behaviors any attention. Also with an unfamiliar food, they might not like it the first time, that’s okay, keep trying! 
  3. Fruit smoothies with hidden veggies. I’m not talking about cabbage or cauliflower here. I’m talking about greens! Throwing greens into a fruit smoothie is a great way to eat up those greens without having to put a salad in front of your kids. Smoothies are a great way to mask the flavor, and enjoy every sip. PRO tip: use mild flavored greens for this, like spinach. Some greens out there are much more bitter tasting to kids and it might not be so hidden if the flavor is too strong, so choosing a mild green will go a long way to getting those servings of veggies in. 1 cup of spinach = 1 serving of vegetables.  
  4. “Get-your-greens-in” pesto.  Made with spinach, kale, arugula or any other kind of green; adding in greens to your pesto is a great way to add servings of veggies for kids (and stretch the sauce out too!) Use this pesto the way you may traditionally use it, on pasta, or as a pizza sauce! 
  5. Disguise veggies in other “comfort foods”. Mac and cheese with veggies in it? It can be done! Lots of creamy sauces can be made super healthy by adding steamed and pureed cauliflower or zucchini. Try steaming some cauliflower florets and blending them into a “mash” then add them into the cheesy sauce. Voila! You can also do this for alfredo, spaghetti sauces etc. Cauliflower is a somewhat neutral flavored food that can easily be added to tons of dishes! 
  6. Cut food into shapes. Whether its heart shaped watermelon, or Mickey Mouse shaped blueberry pancakes. Kids LOVE shapes! Get creative with cookie-cutters to cut up some fun shaped fruits or veggies for snacks. 
  7. Kale chips. Forget the veggie straws as a crunchy snack.  (They’re really just cleverly marketed potato chips). Instead throw some kale pieces in olive oil, salt, with maybe a little garlic powder and some nutritional yeast (optional) and bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crispy. These “chips” turn out healthy and delicious, making it easy to get in those servings of veggies. It’s hard to keep track of how quickly these disappear. I’ve eaten a whole tray in one sitting, before I even knew what happened! 
  8. Frozen popsicles made from fresh blended fruits. Start by making a smoothie however you like it, with fresh berries, banana, maybe some mango or strawberries, and some sort of plant-based milk, then just pour into the popsicle molds and wait until the next day for them to set in the freezer. These are great things to make ahead of time for a weekend of fun in the sun. 
  9. Spinach quesadillas. No matter what you’re making, throwing in some veggies that are “muted” in flavor is a great way to help your kiddo understand that veggies are here to stay. When you’re having quesadillas for dinner, they have spinach in them. When it’s spaghetti night, there are chopped zucchini and red bell peppers in the sauce. Not only does this normalize vegetables, it also begins to change kids’ palates when they are introduced to these servings of fruits or vegetables regularly. 
  10. Zucchini bread. There is nothing more fun and delicious to bake than some fresh warm zucchini bread. Similar to banana bread, but with servings of veggies in each bite! Zucchini has a mild flavor that can easily be disguised in this amazing dessert. 
  11. Fresh juices. Store bought juices are already processed and have lost so many of their vitamins, minerals, living enzymes and healthy impact that the original fruit or vegetable may have once had. Try juicing your own fresh fruits and vegetables to have on hand. These can be bottled and frozen for later or kept in the fridge for a few days to substitute for those sugary drinks kids always reach for! There are even reusable juice pouches that you can purchase to put your own fresh juices or smoothies in! 
  12. Veggie snacks. Bite size nibbles are always a favorite with kids. Have a plate or bowl of cut up veggies and make them super available by having them already prepared in the fridge for a quick grab. Carrots and hummus, cut up watermelon, or already de-stemmed grapes are great ideas for grab and go fuel for after school snacks and quick turnarounds. 
  13. Fresh lemonade. Lemons are a powerful fruit for a healthy body! Use 8 cups of water with 2 fresh squeezed lemons and a hint of natural sugar like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to beat the heat and get in all the amazing benefits of this amazing fruit! Keep on hand for those hot days of summer! 
  14. Fun straws, spoons or bowls. Have certain dishes that kids exclusively get to use certain items with. Have some fun fruit shaped straws that come exclusively with a smoothie. Or a special bowl that they only get to use with their fruit “dessert”. Kids will feel like they are getting something rare and exclusive, and adds tons of excitement to an otherwise normal meal. 
  15. Have a “no thank you” helping. Growing up, this was a consistent tactic my parents used (and successfully I might add). If we didn’t want to eat a certain kind of food or meal, we had to eat a tiny portion of it as our “no thank you” helping. This got us as kids to at least try different foods, and over time, develop our taste buds to like that food. 

 

Last but certainly not least, give it time, and don’t lose heart. Taste buds take about three weeks to adjust to a new taste or way of eating but the good news is that they DO change. Give kids the delicious flavors of real fruit for a few weeks, and when they go back to having processed sugar it sometimes tastes too sweet. It’s the same with salty foods. When your kiddo is eating all the healthy snacks you’ve been replacing chips with, that first taste of a chip is going to be insanely salty. Once the taste buds change, the food preferences soon follow suit, your kid will be asking for fruits and vegetables in no time! 

 

The Fabulous Benefits of Walking

What if there was a magic pill that could help control your weight, improve your digestion, reduce risk of heart diseases, help maintain a healthy blood pressure, help control sugar levels and insulin in the blood, boost your mood, keep your mind sharp, AND boost your immune system, -all bundled into  one pill that you take once a day, with no side effects? Would you take that pill? Of course you would! I’m not here to tell you that a magic pill has been created, that would be too good to be true, but the great news is that  the solution to these things exists today, and always has! It’s simple, affordable, fun, and almost anyone can take advantage of what it has to offer.  The answer is walking!

We all have heard that walking is good for us, but do we really know how amazing it is for us? You don’t have to be a runner, an athlete, or even consider yourself “fit” to be able to do this one simple thing that can drastically improve your health. Walking is a lifetime sport. Movement plays a significant role in the aging process. Those who move their bodies throughout their lifetime, whether its dance, tennis, walking, running, swimming, aerobics classes, yoga, pilates, weight lifting etc, are able to maintain functional fitness well into old age compared with those who live more sedentary lifestyles. 

The key is to find movements that you love. If you don’t like running, you don’t have to force yourself to run in order to be “healthy” or “fit”. Walking provides nearly identical benefits to running when we look at cardiovascular fitness, lymphatic movement, blood circulation and caloric burn. A one mile run vs a one mile walk may take less time, but other than that, you are still reaping all the glorious benefits that a one mile run can have. In fact, if you walk instead of run, your joints will thank you for it.  Walking is a gentle enough activity to provide you with a lifetime of fitness well into old age if you choose to incorporate it regularly into your week, which is great news if  you dislike running but enjoy walking.  it. Enjoyment is key in finding the activity that you’ll love doing, for life. 

7 amazing benefits of walking:

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking helps move your lymphatic system. Lymph is an extremely important fluid in our body  that has many jobs to do, but unlike the blood, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to help it move and flow freely to where it needs to go. Things like muscle contractions and movement act as mini pumps to help this fluid move and not stay stagnant. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking improves blood circulation and blood pressure. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking boosts your immune system function, increases the oxygen circulating in your body, and releases endorphins. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking helps with digestion. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking helps boost creativity, brain function, reduces anxiety, depression, and stress levels.  It keeps your mind active, awake, and sharp. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking strengthens bones and muscles, giving you an edge as you age ever so gracefully. 

🏃🏼‍♀️Walking is an activity that can increase friend and family bonds when done together as a group.   

Think of all the easy ways you can fit a quick walk into your day. Go for a stroll before dinner, take the kids out around the block during break-time, walk down the street to the nearest store to get a treat. Take a walk on the beach at some point during your beach day. Go to the park by the bay to walk, people watch and get some fresh air. Go on a long hike on a trail into the wilderness. There are so many ways we can fit this amazing activity into our daily lives, and our bodies will thank us for it. The benefits to this simple activity are almost endless!

Kick-Start Any New Health Routine With These Simple Smoothies

What are some of the best ways to get the biggest bang for your health in a smoothie?

1) Keep it simple. contrary to trending health movements, you don’t need to add a ton of ingredients to a smoothie. Choosing a few high quality ingredients to add to your smoothie is going to allow your digestive track to get started slowly, waking up the stomach and digestive organs to let them begin their day.   Not only is it going to be faster to use fewer ingredients in the mornings when you’re rushing out the door, but your body is going to thank you when it has 2-4 ingredients instead of 10-15 ingredients to pay attention to, process, and digest. Your digestive track is waking up too.  Just like us, it wants to be gently woken up, not given a million tasks to do first thing in the morning!

2) Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates. Granted, there are healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates. Adding spoonfuls of sugar to a smoothie would not be the same as adding in a cup of nutrient packed mango! Fruits like bananas, berries, cantaloupe, mango, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, apples, watermelon, and oranges all have essential vitamins and minerals in them that we can benefit from. The carbohydrates in fruits are easy to digest, and give your brain and nervous system the healthy sugars they need to function properly. Remember the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Fruits should not be feared because of their sugar content. A few servings of fruit a day, added into a diet with non-processed foods like vegetables, whole grains, legumes, healthy proteins and fats is key to finding your health again and maintaining it.

 

Power Green Smoothie (Morning) 

2 frozen bananas

2 cups spinach

1 cup pineapple

Coconut water or unsweetened Almond milk to blend

 

Getting some green into your smoothie  is an amazing way to boost your health, especially if you aren’t a salad person, and that added spinach or kale is going to be the only green thing you’ll eat all day. A great tip to keep in mind for your smoothies is to save your fats and proteins (nuts, chia seeds, yogurt, protein powders) for later on in the day, when your stomach has had a little warm up.  Still want your protein smoothie? Do it as an afternoon snack. Once your digestive system is woken up with your simpler morning smoothie,  it will have plenty of digestive fluids moving and flowing, and can handle the heavier foods you’ll eat throughout the day.

 

Pick-me-up Berry Blast (Afternoon Snack) 

1 cup frozen mixed berries

2 frozen bananas

1 scoop protein powder

Coconut water or vanilla unsweetened almond milk to blend

…Just the snack your body needs to get you through the rest of your day; full of vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates easy to digest protein, and bright living food!

Fruits and vegetables are key to a healthy happy life. At the end of the day, it matters less if you steam, sauté, blend, bake, chop, air-fry, or disguise them, than if you are just making sure they are somewhere in your every day life. The FDA recommends about 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Just by adding in 1 or two simple smoothies a day can help you meet this requirement and watch as your health improves! Choosing to replace your McMuffin or breakfast biscuit in the morning with something your body will digest easily, thrive on, and love, is one of the greatest morning routine starters you can make. Getting your day started off on the right foot can lead to a million other great choices…just think of the possibilities!

How Does Stress Affect My Pregnancy?

Let’s face it….pregnancy can be stressful. We are constantly worrying about what is happening with our baby, if we are making the right decisions, and stressing about the birth process. In our society, we are faced with even more stress than ever before and this impacts the way that our body functions, and the way that we give birth. When we are stressed, we produce more cortisol (our stress hormone) which travels through the umbilical cord and goes straight to baby. We see that women who are under more stress have more pregnancy complications, longer delivery times, and more interventions during birth….which leads to more stressed kiddos (i.e. colic, reflux, constipation, immune struggles, ear infections).

Let me break this down….

When we are under stress, the sympathetic part of the nervous system (fight/flight stress response) or “gas pedal” mode is activated. When this happens, it suppresses the parasympathetic (rest/digest) “brake pedal” mode that controls sleep, digestion, relaxation, immune function, and growth and development. During pregnancy, you are LITERALLY growing and developing a little human inside of you. I think it’s fair to say that this part of our nervous system needs to be functioning properly! During labor, this parasympathetic or “brake pedal” part of the nervous system is what is responsible for producing the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for uterine contractions. So, if you are stressed and your body is stuck in “gas pedal” mode, the cortisol (stress hormone) produced will inhibit the production of oxytocin and lead to longer labors, and more interventions during the birth process.

After birth, we tend to see longer NICU times, and babies who are also stuck in that fight or flight stress response from day 1. When this happens, babies don’t sleep well, their digestion sucks, their immune system is challenged, and they don’t grow and develop in the way they are supposed to!

The great news is…Chiropractic care can help! Chiropractic care suppresses the fight or flight stress response by activating the parasympathetic (“brake pedal”) mode through way of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve exits the cranium right outside of the top part of the spine, and controls sleep, digestion, immune function, growth and development, and relaxation. When we are able to get the vagus nerve functioning correctly, chiropractors can stimulate the parasympathetic “brake pedal” mode, and get the nervous system out of the sympathetic “gas pedal”/ stress mode. This not only means a healthier pregnancy, but also a better labor and delivery, and a healthier baby!

If you have any questions about how stress can affect your body during pregnancy, how it can affect your child, or how chiropractic care can help, please reach out to our office, Blossom Family Chiropractic. We have the technology to be able to measure how much stress your nervous system is under, and how well your body is functioning. The best part is, these scans are completely safe for pregnancy and for kids! Feel free to reach out to us at 727-498-5643, and we will be happy to answer any of your prenatal or pediatric questions. 😊