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Deanna Skolos

Home Birth Story of Joseph Strother Skolos

By Motherhood 2 Comments
Childbirth was one of my biggest fears. Facing intense physical pain felt so overwhelming to me! I used to want a scheduled c-section because I thought I could just get knocked out and bypass the difficulties. (I elaborate more about this in Evelyn’s birth story on my blog). But then I learned the benefits of a natural labor and wanted to overcome my fear of pain. I had Evelyn in a hospital, as natural as I was able. I had no epidural which was a big win for me in overcoming my fear. I am now very passionate about empowering women to pursue a natural labor! (if possible, there are definitely circumstances where medical intervention is necessary). American women tend to be afraid of child birth, to think they cannot do it on their own and they need pain meds (epidural) to get through it. But your body was made for this!!! Your body was made to bear children! If I can do it, anyone can!
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I was two weeks late with Evelyn and assumed I would be late as well with my second. To my surprise my water broke Wednesday at 2pm, two days before the due date. Let’s just say I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared! We had just moved four weeks before and didn’t have everything ready. But here I was, sitting at a park table, with water leaking everywhere!!! 🤦🏻‍♀️
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I was with a mom friend, our first time hanging out might I add, luckily at the park that was across the street from our new place. I was wearing a tight blue dress and was too embarrassed to walk home with water pouring out everywhere! She walked across the street to our place to grab me towels. I wrapped a towel around me and waddled to my house. I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening, it felt like a movie!! (It is actually pretty rare to have your water break before any contractions or labor starting, unlike what movies portray.)
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It took hours for contractions to kick in. But this allowed us to get more things ready for the home birth etc. Because we had just moved, I didn’t feel very prepared for labor & a home birth. I asked the Lord for a warning for when I would go into labor and this was definitely an answered prayer! It helped me to mentally & physically prepare for labor and feel more at peace.
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I pre-labored that evening but then went to sleep and for a full nights rest. Contractions came and went all day the following day. I was getting discouraged bc my contractions weren’t progressing very much. My contractions still weren’t close enough to be active labor yet or to call the midwife over. But it had been 30 hours since my water broke so my midwife came to check on me before I went to bed. She wasn’t able to see how far I was dilated since my water broke at risk of infection. When she came, I was having back labor, which is more painful, and means the baby is facing the wrong way. The midwife did all these random things to get the baby to flip sunny side up.
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And then BOOM! it sent me into active labor & transition very quickly!!!! It got very painful super quickly !!!. This got me to the point where I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt overwhelmed by the pain and thought to myself “I’m never doing this again.” Classic thoughts of a woman in transition haha. Luckily, you really do forget the pain. I prayed for a short labor, but didn’t realize “fast & furious” births can be difficult for your body to handle since your body is doing the same amount of work in a shorter time. I use the analogy to ripping off a bandaid quickly rather than slowly. The pain is short but more intense. I was grateful it was shorter but will say it was more painful than Evelyn’s birth and that birth I had pitocin half way through. Evelyn’s birth I didn’t make a peep, no yelling or screaming. This birth I was screaming & yelling, very primal like, which surprised even myself 🤪
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Things escalated so quickly we didn’t even have time to tell my birth coach/mother-in-law to come over. Luckily, she brought Evelyn over to put to sleep around 9pm, right when I was in active labor. I went in the shower to try to get some relief. They were hurrying to the the birth tub ready. (It has to be a certain temperature for the baby to be born in it) I was starting to have urges to push & was begging to go into the birth pool. Well kiddie pool actually. Because of covid, I could not rent a birth tub from my midwife.
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Finally, they walked me over to the pool & I started to push. My mother in law was my birth coach & was coaching me through the contractions, trying to help me breathe through them instead of panicking. My sister in law walked in as I was starting to push and began filming. My friend walked in later to take photos. They both barely made it in time! Michael woke up Evelyn & brought her out to see the birth.
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I continued to push in the pool. I was much more aware and present this time around compared to my last 18 hour labor with Evelyn. This birth my active labor was only 1 hour!!!!! The baby was finally out. IT WAS A BOY!!!
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Waiting to find out the gender was SO FUN! It was something I said I would NEVER do, but my husband desperately wanted a surprise. Honestly, it was easier than I thought and we will do it again for the next child.gap
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Michael caught him underwater and pushed him up towards me. I turned around and put him on my chest.  He was very purple which my midwife said is normal for babies born in water. It was a lot to take in – I had a son! All I felt initially was relief. I was just so relieved to not be in pain anymore and to be done. It took me a little to soak in what just happened. It takes me a little bit of time to feel emotionally connected to the baby I just pushed out.
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They walked me to my bed where I did skin to skin. Then it was time to deliver the placenta. Which didn’t hurt but felt weird and uncomfortable. I just wanted to be done with pushing things out of me haha. (I didn’t experience this last time bc I had a 4th degree episiotomy so my placenta just fell out haha)  We kept the umbilical cord attached to him for an hour. So when Michael and Evelyn held him they had to hold my placenta in a bag as well 🤣  The hospital cut Evelyn’s cord right away so we didn’t experience that last time!
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(All pictures by Kimberly Hope Photography!)
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I had a 4th degree episiotomy with Evelyn which means I was all scar tissue which doesn’t stretch like normal skin. I had met with a pelvic floor specialist when pregnant to see how I healed up and learn how to prep for labor to prevent tearing. If I tore past a 2nd degree the midwife couldn’t stitch me up and I would have to go to the hospital. So I was determined not to tear too much. & by the grace of God I didn’t tear at all!!! I was so grateful and healing & recovery is much, much easier than last time!
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They left me my placenta in the fridge. It is common these days to encapsulate it to balance hormones & prevent baby blues or postpartum depression. I opted it out mostly bc of cost & I never experienced baby blues. There isn’t much research on it proving its benefits of eating the placenta but some moms swear by it! I ended up throwing mine away. I would have donated it to the midwife (they use it for training and research) but weren’t taking any bc of covid. If you want to get real granola, you can cut it up and put it in smoothies!
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I was SO grateful I chose a home birth this time around, especially with covid. If I had this birth in a hospital I would have only had Michael there. I loved having a birth coach / my mother in law, friends and family documenting it & Evelyn witnessing the birth of her brother. Also, we could have any visitors we wanted after as well. If you want to see my birth video, message me on Instagram and I will send you the YouTube link!!
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Many people ask what I liked about a home birth versus hospital birth. My first birth was at Mission Hospital in Orange County. It was alright. Not terrible, not amazing. (You van ready full birth story on my blog.) but I did have complications with Evelyn’s birth that I don’t think would have happened with a home birth. This was my main motivation for having a home birth this time around. My contractions stopped half way through my labor with my first. A midwife would have waited as long as needed for them to come back. The hospital only let me wait an hour until they gave me pitocin (a drug that makes you contract but they are different than natural contractions.) Pitocin can put the baby in stress bc the contractions are more intense than natural ones. Also, Evelyn was turned the wrong way giving me back labor. If I had a midwife she could position me to change this, speeding up my labor. As I was pushing, the cord around her neck was stopping her heart beat. They had to give me a 4th degree episiotomy and vacuum her out quickly. I personally believe these complications could have been avoided if I was with a midwife at home.
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Other things I liked with the home birth over a hospital birth:
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  • in Covid times: I was able to have whoever I wanted at my birth rather than just my spouse. If I did give birth at a hospital my birth coach / mother In law couldn’t be there, Evelyn wouldn’t have witnessed her brother being born, & my friend and sister in law couldn’t have been there taking photos and videos!
  • Midwives trust that your is made to give birth & empower you
  • You get to sleep in your own bed
  • You don’t get Waken up by nurses every 2 hours
  • No one is pressuring you get an epidural or vaccinate or any additional and maybe unwanted things
  • A midwife stays with you the whole time while doctors and nurses just come to check in / once you’re pushing
  • At a hospital you are hooked up to all sorts of monitors which is a nuisance when you need to go to the restroom
  • Midwives let you opt out of certain things like antibiotics for b strep etc
  • There is a much lower risk for c-section when with a midwife & at home
  • Midwives are trained for natural labors, ObGyn doctors are trained surgeons (for c-sections)
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Now many hospitals let you have a midwife there as well as birthing tub. The hospital I was at with Evelyn now has this option! This wasn’t an option when I had Evelyn 5 years ago. This is a great blend if you can’t decide or are nervous bc it’s your first labor.
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Some downsides of a home birth:
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  • I didn’t realize how much stuff I would have to prep & provide for the home birth (towels and blankets that can get dirty etc)
  • Labor is messy and it was hard for me at times since it was my own bed bc I’m kinda a clean freak haha
  • Resting in my own home was difficult since there was so much to clean & so much laundry to do! (Midwives make you stay ideally bedridden for a week!)
  • Having other children home wanting your attention while in labor & recovering

 

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There is a concept called a pain free birth in some Christian circles. Since, painful childbirth was part of the curse, and Jesus reversed the curse on the cross, some women have experienced no pain in labor! I read the book Supernatural Child Birth when I was pregnant with Evelyn and was hoping for a pain free labor at first. But since pain in labor was my biggest fear and I wanted to overcome it, so I actually wanted to experience pain, which I know sounds strange. Jesus endured so much pain to give us life, I received so much cool revelation experiencing pain to give Evelyn life. We live in a very comfortable society where we want to escape pain or discomfort as much as possible. But painful moments can have so much benefit and teach us so much. I told the Lord this second birth I wouldn’t mind being pain free 😀 But I would have to say it was very, very painful. But enduring the pain of child birth makes you feel like you can overcome anything. Which I think you need going into parenthood!! I am grateful that he answered many of my other prayer requests such as a quick labor,  a “warning” of when I would go into labor and no tearing.
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If you’re worried about insurance not covering a home birth I suggest you check out Samaritan. It’s a Christian insurance. I’ve tried three different Christian insurances that all cover home births (Medi-share, Christian Healthcare Ministries & Samaritan) Samaritan is the cheapest monthly for same or better coverage. One level covers 5K of home birth (most cost $6500-6800) & the highest level covers 100% anything maternity!!
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Lastly, we decided not to circumcise. It was something I thought a lot about. It is now very common to not get circumcised. Which can be weird to hear for some. I was thrown off by it when I first heard my friends choosing to not circumcise.  I went back and forth and asked many of my friends what they decided and why. Both sides had good points to think about. Some of my friends who circumcised were concerned the boy would feel different from his circumcised father. Some parents who didn’t said their kids didn’t even notice theirs looked different. Another concern is since the dad is not circumcised (generally speaking) then it’s difficult for him to teach the son how to cleanse it well. Everyone was circumcised back in the day because there was a high chance of men going to war where good hygiene wasn’t easy and infection could happen easily. Biblical reasons are some people deciding factor to get circumcised. But I learned that back in the Old Testament they cut only a very small slit, where as today they cut off the entire foreskin. But in the Old Testament they would circumcise on the 8th day. That is when the baby has enough Vitamin K to stop the bleeding. In the hospital, they circumcise the first or second day, when the baby doesn’t have enough Vitamin K. But its routine to give them a Vitamin K shot right out of the womb. Most of my friends went to a Mohel, a rabbi or doctor that waits until the 8th day. After much thought, Michael and I decided to not circumcise.

Baby Registry

By Motherhood, Nontoxic Living No Comments

Baby Registry!

 

This is a list of things I personally registered for or already had from Evelyn. There are things that are much “cleaner” or more non-toxic, but I also like things to not break the bank & also, to be practical in what people will actually buy you. Unfortunately, the “healthiest” baby gear etc, is very pricey & on websites or stores people typically do not shop at. There were “healthier” options, but I had to compromise on some because of price (especially things like stroller & carseat.) These are things I recommend for a baby registry that balances health, price & availability.

The registry I used was Babylist because you can put things on there from any website!!! Also, if items are available at multiple stores & websites it will show all the buying options. I noticed people tend to buy items that are from the more common places (amazon, target, buy buy baby) so I searched on those first.

Life Factory Glass Bottles

Comotomo Glass Bottles

Non-toxic Baby Wipes

Low EMF Baby Monitor

Diaper Cream Earth Mama

Non-toxic Bamboo Diapers

Baby Soap Earth Mama

Organic  Hooded Bath Towel

Baby Bath Baby Delight

Organic Nursing Cover

Organic Zip Onesie O2Baby

Organic Zip Sleep Swaddle

Organic Cotton Onesies

Bamboo Zip Onesie Kyte Baby

White Noise Dohm Fan

Snot Sucker

Hand Breast Pump

Silicone Pacifier


Baby Wrap Moby

Ergo 360 Baby Carrier

Ergo Infant Insert

Arms Reach Co-Sleeper

Arms Reach Sheet Organic

Bamboo Changing Pad Cover Kyte Baby

Boppy Nursing Pillow & Positioner

Compact Baby Swing 4moms rockaRoo

Infant Carseat with Stroller Evenflo Pivot

Rider Board Stroller Attachment for Older Sibling

Steel Diaper Pail

Diaper Bag Backpack

Car Mirror

Bumbo Table Top Seat & High Chair

Feeder Pacifier

Bamboo & Silicone Bowl & Spoon

Silicone Bib

Wood & Silicone Teether & Rattle

Wellthy Kids Christmas List

By Motherhood, Nontoxic Living No Comments

WELLTHY KIDS
CHRISTMAS LIST

 

Kids and baby toys can be full of toxins these days. It’s important why they are still developing to limit their exposure to the toxins in plastics and dyes. Here are some great ideas to add to your children’s gift list!


Flower Maker Dough Activity Set
(BPA & Phthalate free, made in the USA entirely of recycle products, packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard)


Solid Fruit Cutting Toy Set
(made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex, as well as chemical-free glue, organic color pigment and water-based dyes)


Organic Giraffe Rattle
(completely non-toxic and biodegradable)


Flower Builder Activity Set
(BPA & Phthalate free, made in the USA entirely of recycle products, packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard)


Busy City Train Set
(finishes that are all non-toxic, child safe and of the highest quality)


Numbers Activity Set
(made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex, as well as chemical-free glue, organic color pigment and water-based dyes)


Car Carrier Vehicle Set Toy
(BPA & Phthalate free, made in the USA entirely of recycle products, packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard)


Tea Set
(BPA & Phthalate free, made in the USA entirely of recycle products, packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard)


Scoot Along Bike
(finishes that are all non-toxic, child safe and of the highest quality)


Bath Toys Play Set
(BPA & Phthalate free, made in the USA entirely of recycle products, packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard)


Drum Set
(made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex, as well as chemical-free glue, organic color pigment and water-based dyes)


Color Pyramid Clutching Toy
(made in Germany with wood, non-toxic plastic, free of chemical glues and adhesives)


Letters Puzzle
(finishes that are all non-toxic, child safe and of the highest quality)


Castle Playset
(made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex, as well as chemical-free glue, organic color pigment and water-based dyes)


Toy Cashier
(finishes that are all non-toxic, child safe and of the highest quality)


Elephant Stuffed Animal
(100 percent organic materails using environmentally sound methods, PVC-free and dyes without harsh chemicals)

(Click pictures for more info/to purchase. These are affiliate links. Help contribute to what I do at no cost to you when you buy through these links!)

Beauty on the Outside, Harmful on the Inside

By Beauty, Nontoxic Living No Comments

60% of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your blood steam within 26 seconds.

 

Today, beauty and skincare products are filled with toxins that we unknowingly put on our bodies. We assume companies wouldn’t put harmful things in their products, but unfortunately, their goal is to make money, not to benefit our health. It’s important to educate ourselves and buy from the companies who put our health as a priority. This will cause the other companies to change their products as the demands change.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s)

EDC’s are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system. These can cause many health issues from tumors, premature death, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, endometriosis, immune disorders, liver cancer, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s symptoms, prostate cancer, thyroid disorders, infertility, to female reproductive disorders. Endocrine disruptors are in most beauty and skincare products and toiletries these days.

Phthalates

Is a type of endocrine disrupter that can cause infertility, trouble losing weight, birth defects, and more.

Found in: soap, shampoo, skin moisturizers, make up, deodorant, cosmetics and personal care products, perfume, nail polish, hair spray, food packaged in plastic, detergents, and children’s toys.

Most affected: babies in the womb and children, causes more harm to males (makes them more feminine)

Fragrance/Perfume 

The term fragrance was created to protect a company’s “secret formula.” Companies can actually hide many chemicals (at least 3,000) under the word “fragrance” on the label! Meaning, other things listed in this blog post like formaldehyde, parabens, and toluene can be hidden under the name “fragrance.”

Can cause allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and negative effects on reproductive system.

Found in: most perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash, and moisturizers. Pretty much anything that has a scent that doesn’t come from real essential oils.

Parabens

Used as a preservative but possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated to increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed into the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors!

Found in: make up, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, facial cleansers and even foods.

Sulfates

Sulfates are known to be skin, lung and eye irritants. The major concern is when combined with certain other chemicals it turned into a carcinogen.

Found in 90% of personal care and cleaning products like shampoo, body wash/cleanser, and mascara and acne treatment.

Chemicals in Sunscreen

Sunscreen contains endocrine disruptors and chemicals that may cause cellular damage and cancer. Common names are benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.

Buying “mineral sunscreen” that is free from chemicals listed above as well as fragrance free is your best option.

Formaldehyde

Known carcinogen. Used as a preservative but linked to nasal cancers and can be harmful to the immune system.

Found in nail polish, body washes, conditioners, shampoos, cleaners, and eye shadows.

Toleune

Expectant mothers should avoid! Can cause developmental damage in the fetus. Can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irriate skin. Also listed as benzene, phenylmethane, methylbenzene or toluol.

Found in: nail polish, nail treatments, hair color/bleaching products.

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There is hope!

 

There are safer products out there!!! Slowly start switching over to safer products. Once one products runs out, buy a safer version of that product. Then repeat once another product runs out.

Preorder my face moisturizer! Free from anything toxic. Simple real ingredients that leave your face feeling moist but not over greasy.

Get $4 Off When You Pre-Order The Wellthy Serum Face Moisturizer!

Wellthy Serum Face Moisturizer – PREORDER

Ingredients:
  • Hemp Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Almond Oil

no phthalates | no fragrances | no parabens

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Wellthy Serum Face Moisturizer – PREORDER

Ingredients:
  • Hemp Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Almond Oil

no phthalates | no fragrances | no parabens

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Ingredient FAQs

Sweet Almond Oil
  • keeps skin soft
  • protects skin from UV damage
  • prevents future acne
  • delay signs of aging
  • helps dark circle under eyes
  • natural remedy for eczema & psoriasis
Jojoba Oil
  • oil closet to your natural skin sebum
  • soothes and repairs skin
  • long lasting, deep hydration
  • full of nutrients and minerals like vitamin A, B, zinc, copper
  • anti-aging
  • anti-microbial (helps acne & wound healing)
  • natural preservative
  • soothes sunburn
  • natural remedy for eczema & psoriasis
Hemp Oil
  • balances out oily skin
  • reduces acne
  • moisturizes
  • soothes inflammation
  • anti-aging properties
Lavender Essential Oil
  • heals skin
  • antibacterial & fights and heals acne
  • moisturizes skin
  • reduce redness & scars
  • prevents wrinkles

Check Out These Other Safe Products I Love!

Birth Story & Benefits of Natural Labor

By Motherhood, Tips No Comments

I remember when I was younger telling people, “I hope I can just schedule a C-section, they can cut the baby out of me while I’m knocked out.” I had such an intense fear of childbirth. I’m sure everyone does to a certain extent. But I would think about labor, get pale, sweaty, and nauseous. Just like I do with needles. I had a fear of physical pain and wanted to do whatever I could to escape it.

So, seven months into marriage we get pregnant without trying 😀

and honestly, I cried when I found out. I wasn’t wanting to be a mom yet & I had just lost my mom to cancer the month before!!! It felt overwhelming to have to deal with overcoming my biggest fear of physical pain while recovering overcoming the biggest fear of emotional pain. All within the first year of marriage. If it weren’t for Michael and Jesus, I would have completely fell apart.

So here we are, fresh out of ministry school, pregnant, super broke with no plans of how to be successful in life. It felt like the worst timing ever and I dreaded having to overcome this fear and give birth.

This was right in the beginning of my health journey. I began learning about the health benefits of a natural birth. I watched a documentary, yes it was biased like most documentaries, but very educational and something I think every pregnant should watch called The Business of Being Born. It showed the benefits of a natural birth & inspired me to want one regardless of the intense pain. Something I never, EVER thought I would want.

There’s NO shame in not having a natural birth. Everyone’s story is unique. Sometimes it’s totally necessary to have a medicated birth or c-section & it saves lives! But this is my story & I personally wanted to overcome my fear of pain, and try my best to have a natural birth. (see list of benefits below)

 

First off, I was 12 days late. It was ROUGH. They pressured me to get induced after 7 days but I had just researched that the average first baby is 8 days late!!! I learned your due date is not very accurate and is just an estimate. So I decided to wait as long as I could for her to come when she was ready. And she finally came on her own with no induction.

I went into labor Friday at 9pm. Contractions were already close together. About a minute or two apart by 1am. According to the books I should have been far along! I get to Mission Hospital and come to find I’m only 4 cm. I was definitely discouraged. I labored until morning and only dilated 1.5 more cm. The most difficult thing for me was that I kept thinking I was almost done, and I had awhile more to go.

Labor really is a mental game. Expect a marathon and you will do alright. I am so thankful I had a birth coach. I think most women think the nurses, doctors or husband will help them. But most of the time, no nurses or doctors are very present at all, and husbands do not know what they are doing haha! My mother in law was my birth coach, my husband just copied everything she did, and it made all the difference.

I had a lot of painful back labor. She wasn’t in the best position. They broke my water but I still wasn’t progressing much. Then late morning, my contractions stopped for an hour! I really tried to wait it out because I didn’t want Pitocin. Pitocin causes contractions but makes them longer and way more intense. This can cause stress for the baby and is very painful for the mother when not getting an epidural. I really wanted a fully natural, unmedicated birth, but at this point I really had no choice but to get Pitocin. Looking back, if I had a midwife, she probably would have changed my positions during the labor and I may have not been in this situation of my contractions stopping. But what can you do at that point!

They administered the Pitocin drip, and once the contractions started to kick in they were way more intense and plateaued at the peak of pain. If I didn’t focus mentally I would start to panic when one was coming. It sent me into transition fairly quickly though. I was finally in transition (7cm) and I threw up on my pillow from the pain. Oh glamorous labor 😀 At this point, the pain felt unbearable and I was crying, “I can’t do it anymore.” But everyone always says this when there is light at the end of the tunnel. The thoughts running through my head were: “This is the worst thing ever, I’m never doing this ever again.” (Luckily you really do forget the pain!)

I had urges to push but they wouldn’t let me yet. The most frustrating thing ever! I was crying “can I push yet please” over and over. It was so difficult to try to relax, not tense up, and let my body do the work. Everything in me wanted to tense up. Pushing felt relieving because you actually got to work with your body. I was finally able to push after 18 hours. I pushed as hard as I could. Fifteen minutes in her head was almost out. The cord was wrapped around her neck and her heart rate was decelerating. I was unaware of how scary this was at the time, thank God. They told me a very quick episiotomy was necessary. Before labor, I was very against an episiotomy and very scared to tear, but I didn’t care at this point and wanted her out. They numbed me, did the episiotomy and quickly vacuumed her out and before I knew it I had a baby on my chest! It was the biggest feeling of relief to be done with labor.

To be honest, I didn’t have this magical “oh my gosh my baby is here I am so in love” moment. It honestly felt like this random stranger was on me sucking on my boob! I was really just happy to be done giving birth. It took me awhile to really process what happened. I was also being stitched for an hour and half while having skin to skin and my first hour with her. I had a 4th degree episiotomy/tear. In other words, as bad as it can get! (Giving birth to the placenta was really uneventful because it just fell out of me. That’s one plus to having a 4th degree episiotomy.) I had so much adrenaline from the natural birth that the needles from the long stitching process didn’t bother me (usually needles make me want to pass out). The nurses kept saying how bad they felt for me but I didn’t really know any different.

[FYI this paragraph is TMI!] I went to the bathroom after everything was done and it looked like a bloody war scene. I thought this was from the episiotomy and stitching haha but it was the normal uterus lining shedding. Imagine 9 months of your period all coming out. That’s something I was not aware of. You practically have to wear diapers for a couple of weeks after. This may feel TMI, but after you give birth nothing really phases you. I thought I would care about being naked in front of people during labor but I definitely had more important things to worry about haha.

Once everything settled in, she slept on my chest all night, and that’s when I fell in love. That’s when I felt connected and bonded to her. But to be real, the birth and recovery didn’t feel worth it to me right away. Labor was just so intense and recovery wasn’t fun. And being a new mom was difficult. But as time went on, and now that she’s three years old, my love for her is so deep, and labor is so worth it. I would give birth a million times again to have her. Becoming a mom had led me to understanding God’s love for us in a whole new, immense deep way. 

The doctor after the labor said, I think I need to go to your church because of the peace you had during that labor. This was encouraging to me because I felt I didn’t do as well as I hoped. Mostly because it was way harder and more painful than I was expecting! Overcoming my fear and giving birth without pain medication was THE MOST empowering thing in the world. And that feeling came in handy before becoming a mom because if I can do that, I can do anything!

We have been told a lie our whole lives that we should fear labor, that we are not capable without drugs and medical intervention. That’s definitely what I believed. I believed I wasn’t capable without numbing the pain. But women’s bodies are MADE to give birth to children.

You are strong. You are able. You were made for this.

 

Of course, always be open minded and know that some things are out of your control and may not go as planned. Mine definitely didn’t go as planned. I was very grateful I didn’t need a c-section and could have a vaginal birth without an epidural. But I really didn’t want pitocin, an episiotomy or for her to be vacuumed out. But if it means a healthy baby then it’s a must! (see her conehead in picture from being vacuumed out!)

[And again, there is no shame in not having a natural labor. It does NOT make you a bad mom, weak or less than. Sometimes it’s your only choice and sometimes it saves lives. All births are amazing and powerful.]

I am glad I learned about the natural labor benefits beforehand because it encouraged me to fight for it. Do not disqualify yourself from having a natural birth because of fear or lack of confidence in yourself.

Benefits of Natural Labor:
  1. Labor is often shorter. Epidurals can interfere with body’s natural way of laboring and slow down contractions. It’s also difficult to not feel contractions or the body’s queues of when to push, leading to a longer time of pushing. 
  2. Epidurals can often increase use of medical interventions. Epidurals can cause prolong labors which can lead to Pitocin drip to speed up the labor or vacuum or forceps to move fetus through canal.
  3. Breastfeeding can come easier. Babies born through natural childbirth can be more alert and show more interest in breastfeeding once delivered. The babies can be affected by the epidural pain medication and interfere their innate suckling behavior that normally comes after birth.
  4. More endorphins are released. An euphoric feeling comes after a natural, unmedicated birth which relieves pain and calms the mother.
  5. Greater connection to the experience. When drugs are not used during labor, women are very alert and fully conscious. Pain medications can dull the woman’s senses which can lead to a physical detachment from the birthing process.
  6. In vaginal birth, the baby receives beneficial bacteria. As your baby passes through the birth canal, it ingests bacteria that contributes to its gut health and microbiome.
  7. Recovery time for the mother is faster. Less intervention and drugs lead to a quicker recovery.
  8. It’s cheaper! Less intervention = less money spent
Advice for New Mothers:
  1. Be prepared for a marathon. Labor is long, especially your first one. My biggest struggle was thinking I was almost done, and being far from it. It discouraged me mentally. Mentally prepare yourself for a long, difficult process. Then imagine it being harder than that :p
  2. It’s all mental. Labor is 90% mental, 10% physical. It’s important to not have fear, relax your body, prepare for the long haul, and stay on top of the contractions.
  3. Get a doula or birth coach. This is VERY important. Your husband will most likely be overwhelmed and not sure what to do to help. The doctors and nurses will not be there 90% of the time. You will need someone who knows how to coach you mentally and physically. You will need that emotional support. You will also need an advocate if you are at a hospital and wanting a natural birth. The doula can help stand up for what you wanted in your birth plan.
  4. Let your body do the work. One of the hardest things to do in labor is to not tensing your body. Contractions naturally push the baby down, but since they are painful your body naturally wants to tense up. This actually is fighting against the process your body is trying to make and stopping the baby from progressing down the canal. It feels counterintuitive but you have to try with everything in you to relax, not tense up, and let your body do the work. This is why it feels good to push, because you finally feel like you get to work with your body rather than fighting against it.
  5. Educate yourself beforehand. I think it’s important to know what you are getting into and what to expect. This will help you mentally prepare.
  6. Remind yourself the labor may not go as planned and that’s okay. We all have a birth plan or have in mind what labor will be like. But like most things in life, things don’t always go as planned. Have grace on yourself, go with the flow if needed. Remember, the goal is to get that baby out and have everyone healthy regardless of how it happens 🙂
  7. When pushing, don’t push with your face. You could pop an eye vessel! And it won’t get you very far. It’s very important to focus the pushing and strength in your lower body, not your upper body. It’s harder than it sounds but will make your pushing time go way down!

 

IF you want to know my opinion about vaccines & shots during and after pregnancy. These are purely my opinion. Always do your own research!

  1. Flu shot when pregnant: I don’t recommend getting this. I believe it’s unnecessary and could do more harm than good. 
  2. Hep B and TDap when pregnant: I do not recommend getting these as well. There are many harmful things inside vaccines these days. This is my personal opinion based off my own research, always do your own research. I suggest researching from sources that aren’t receiving profit from vaccinations 😀
  3. Hep B once baby is born: I do not recommend this either. My pediatrician, who was more conservative with vaccines, said this one is not necessary and is outdated.
  4. Vitamin K shot. This one is pretty neutral. I do’nt think its necessary really, but I haven’t heard of it doing much harm. I have heard needles can be somewhat traumatic for babies who just got out of the womb so that is why I opted out of it.
  5. Eye goop. This is the only one I got for Evelyn. This one is also pretty neutral. I don’t think it’s super necessary, but also can’t harm. It’s to prevent any infections they could get in their eye from passing through the vaginal cavity. My pediatrician said it’s harmless and can be beneficial so that is why I got it.

My opinion on vaccines from after delivery is another topic of conversation and something you can always message or email me about!

Could Technology Be Harming Your Health?

By Nontoxic Living No Comments

EMF stands for electromagnetic field. Our bodies create EMF’s but are very weak compared to the man-made EMFs. Man-made EMF’s include radio waves, WiFi signals, and microwave radiation, visible lights, UV lights, and infrared radiation.

Exposure to man-made EMF’s can negatively interfere with the electromagnetic systems inside of our bodies. Children are particularly susceptible to harm from EMF radiation because they have smaller and growing bodies.

Most companies claim EMF’s are safe because they only test short-term exposure. But the main issue of EMF’s are LONG-TERM 24/7 exposure that most of are experiencing because of the nature of our society now. Symptoms from EMF exposure aren’t noticeable at first, but over time can cause major health issues.

Chronic high levels of low frequency EMF exposure can result in:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Infertility
  • Cancer or increased risk of cancer

I remember first learning about this and being so confused. What do you mean my phone and wifi is bad for me? I was on a Facebook mom’s group reading about moms talking about protecting themselves from their wifi and honestly thinking it was a weird, crunchy-hippie mom thing. But once I learned more about this topic, I realized really how important this is to our health.

People don’t think something so common and necessary in our society can be bad for you. When I first told my husband about it he got defensive. He is a techy guy attached to his technology. But once I told him more, he slowly came on board. He now researches it more than I do!

The electronic and telecommunication industries have strong financial interests in consumers not being aware of potential harm from using their products. It can be very expensive for them to make things safer. This industry unfortunately is not regulated well in terms of safety. Most safety studies haven’t been redone in over 20 years!!!! Think about how much our technology usage has increased since then.

EMF’s can be compared to cigarettes. We were told they were safe at first, but then realized later long term usage of smoking caused health issues and lung cancer. These technologies are so new, no one is fully aware of the long-term affects it will have on our bodies. Especially children developing and growing in an EMF filled environment.

“There is no question EMFs have a major effect on neurological functioning. They slow our brain waves and affect our long-term mental clarity. We should minimize exposures as much as possible to optimize neurotransmitter levels and prevent deterioration of health”. – Eric Braverman, MD

Recently, more and more studies and instances are popping up of negative health issues from EMF exposure. And it will only get worse. 5G is already rolling out and will be in full effect by 2020. Our current issues are about to get much, much worse. Watch the video below to learn about 5G & is also a great summary of EMF dangers.

All of this is very overwhelming when first learned about. There are simple, easy things you can do now. And other things you can do later if you’d like more protection. I have them in order from easiest to most difficult/expensive.

Solutions:
  1. Sleep with phone on airplane mode
  2. Talk on speaker as much as possible
  3. Keep your phone away from your body as much as possible
  4. Turn wifi off at night or buy timer
  5. Buy EMF blocker phone chip or case
  6. Put EMF blockers in outlets of kids rooms
  7. Buy laptop and ipad EMF blocker cases
  8. Sleep away from circuit breakers or large appliances that run overnight, including if the appliance is on the other side of the wall
  9. Check if you have smart meters and ask for them to be uninstalled or block the EMF’s (this is very important to fix!!!! EMF radiation from smart meters are extremely high)
  10. Buy low EMF baby monitor
  11. Filter out dirty electricity using whole house filters (also saves you money on your electric bill)
  12. Buy EMF meter & fix things in your house with high EMF readings
  13. Protect whole rooms from EMF’s with paint or wallpaper (you have to ground the wall though, research first)
  14. Minimize use of digital devices when possible
  15. Hard wire internet connections rather than using WiFi

Things that are MOST important to fix.

  1. Smart Meter – The electric companies put these on your homes without asking or you knowing. It’s so they can remotely read your electrical readings. These give off extremely high EMF radiation.
  2. Wifi – This is constantly emitting EMFs into your house 24/7. You can cut your exposure almost in half by turning it off at night
  3. Your phone – This gives off a lower radiation but is constantly close to your or on your body. The key is to have your phone far away from your body. Try to not keep it in your pocket, or turn it on airplane mode when doing so. Try to talk on speaker. (80-90% of brain cancer is by the ear on the side of your head)

It’s impossible to completely avoid EMF exposure in this day and age. Here are a few things you can do to combat dirty electricity.

  • Grounding – it allows our bodies to neutralize positive ions from electronic devices and re-synchronize. Grounding includes walking barefoot outside on the earth as well as standing on aluminum foil a few minutes a day.
  • Exposures to negative ions such as being near moving water, Himalayan salt lamp, or a negative ion generator can mitigate negative effects of exposure to EMF radiation.
  • Eating a nutritious diet high in antioxidants can help mitigate some oxidative stress from EMF exposure
  • Certain crystals are also known to reduce EMF effects: shungite, tourmaline, hematite, and more

A good place to start is to lower the EMF exposure in the bedrooms since you spend 8-10 hours there. When your body is sleeping, it is more susceptible to damage from EMF’s.

“A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks. The Kaiser Permanente study was published today in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group).”

There is a lot to cover in regards to EMF’s. Think of this post as EMF 101. Below are many more resources for you to check out to learn more! I think its extremely important we all educate ourselves in this topic.

Other Resources:

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/index.cfm

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet#q4

https://wellnessmama.com/129645/emf-exposure/

https://wellnessmama.com/podcast/brian-hoyer/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171213095534.htm

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/09/24/electronic-devices-emf-dangers.aspx

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/protect-your-house-emf-pollution/

https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html

Dairy: Go Raw

By Eating Well No Comments




Wonder why so many people are sensitive to dairy or are sensitive to lactose? The main reason being the pasteurization process destroys the enzyme your needs to even digest lactose!!! (Lactaid just puts that enzyme, lactase, back in!) How have we never known this?! Especially with all the lactose intolerance issues out there. It’s not our bodies’ fault that we aren’t receiving what it needs to even digest dairy. Some people’s bodies are able to re-create the enzyme needed. Some have a more difficult time creating the enzyme or over time aren’t able to as easy.

The pasteurization process also unfortunately kills most of the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria in the diary. This is why most milk is fortified with vitamins. Milk in its natural state has many health benefits but unfortunately those get lost in the pasteurization process that all milk goes through theses days.

“In theory, pasteurization may seem beneficial, but it actually reduces the quality of milk. The heat transforms the structure of the milk proteins to a shape your body is not able to process. It also destroys the naturally occurring probiotics that can benefit your digestive system. As a result, this creates a blank slate where harmful bacteria can proliferate, turning the milk sour and causing digestive problems when consumed.” (Dr. Mercola)

raw diary benefits:

  • reduces allergies (wow!)
  • boosts the immune system (probiotics)
  • aids digestion
  • improves skin health
  • contains healthy fats
  • helps prevent nutrient deficiencies
  • increases bone density
  • helps build lean muscle mass

They started pasteurizing milk in the 1920’s to combat diseases caused by dirty production methods and poor animal nutrition. But if the cows are grass-fed and the facilities and processes of retrieving the milk are clean, the risk of disease is very, very low.

Unfortunately, raw diary today is very expensive because the FDA puts extremely strict cleanliness guidelines on the diary farms. (Pasteurized, conventional milk is so cheap because it is subsidized by the government). Organic Pastures Dairy is the most accessible raw diary company in Orange County. They’re based out of Fresno, CA and have amazingly high standards!! I’ve talked to them in person about their filtering process. 

“As a world-leading innovator and pioneer in raw milk production food safety systems, we are deeply committed to the safe production of high-quality raw milk. Our company was the first to develop and implement a comprehensive Risk Analysis Management Program (RAMP) ten years ago and we continue to improve our food safety program as better technology becomes available. Our company utilizes industry standard testing-technologies to provide extremely low risk, safe, and healthy raw milk. We achieve our high standards using a team approach, ensuring all risk elements are addressed from our grass to your glass. Every batch of milk is Triple-Tested by three different entities: the Fresno County Health Department, California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), as well as a third party laboratory.”

Not all states are legally able to sell raw milk. Luckily, in California we are allowed too. Since this is a controversial topic, please do your own research! If you choose to raw dairy, make sure it is from grass-fed cows, processed in a very clean facility and tested well. I’ve seen raw dairy sold in Sprouts, WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s and Mothers Market. You can buy Organic Pastures Dairy online here.

I don’t eat diary all the time because I believe we aren’t meant to consume too much of it. But when I do, I make sure its raw so that my body can digest it & receive all the good nutrients.




Raw diary nutrients & their benefits:

amino acids – body’s’ building blocks for proteins. There are nine essential amino acids that our body cannot naturally produce; therefore, we must consume these through a healthy diet. Raw milk contains all nine of these essential amino acids.

probiotics – raw milk is rich in healthy bacteria that can benefit your stomach flora (gut) which plays a huge role in your immune system

calcium – prevents osteoporosis, strengthens bones, and helps with weight loss. About 99% of calcium in a healthy body is used for the formation of bones and teeth and the other 1% is used for basic functions within the body.

vitamins a, b-12, & d – helps immune system function, improves vision, reproduction, cell-to-cell communication, central nervous system, blood formation, dna production, healthy eyes, skin, strong bones.

conjugated linoleic acid – a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. It raises your metabolic rate, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, and strengthens your immune system.

omega 3 fatty acids – are considered the “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell of the body. They are important for brain function and general health.

lactoferrin – helps regulate absorption of iron in the intestines and protects against bacterial infections, but also promotes healthy gut bacteria.

lacto peroxidase & lysozyme – enzymes naturally found in raw milk that function as natural protection to “bad” bacteria.

immunoglobulins & antibodies – are a natural tracking system for the body to recognize foreign substances, like “bad” bacteria. These are essential for a healthy immune system.

minerals & enzymes – are essential for a properly functioning body. Minerals (like calcium, iron, magnesium, etc.) are critical for proper cell and body function. Enzymes are active proteins that perform specific functions in the body.

cholesterol – an important fat found in all cells in the body. Cholesterol is needed to make hormones, vitamin D, and aids in digestion.

phosphatase – is needed for the absorption of calcium.

phosphorus – combines with calcium to form our bones.

lipase – an enzyme that aids in fat digestion.

 

Resources:

https://www.organicpastures.com/aboutraw/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/05/10-things-you-should-know_n_211715.html

https://draxe.com/raw-milk-benefits/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/raw-milk.html

Diets Explained

By Eating Well, Tips No Comments

 

There are so many diet fads and trends these days. And it’s hard to keep up! How do you know what what’s best for you, or even how to do them?! Here are simple definitions of the most popular ones today. I am no expert! This is info I’ve personally collected and summarized in my own research. It’s important to do your own research when committing to one of these. Every body is different. Listen to your body and go with what your body responds well to! If you’re already overwhelmed by diet fads, then just eat REAL, UNPROCESSED food and you’ll be on the right track. It can be simple. But if you want to know the diet lingo, then I hope you enjoy and learn from this!

 

Healing Foods Diet (anti-inflammatory, alkaline)

Definition: Ultimately, this diet consists of eating only foods that do not cause inflammation. Inflammation inside the body is the root of majority of health issues. This diet is great if you have health problems like digestive disorders, depression, fatigue, hormone imbalance, diabetes, heart disease, autism, etc. It can actually reverse health issues! This one appeals to me the most because it’s not about weight loss but about health. This diet also alkalizes the body, eliminates toxins and optimizes nutrients. More info here
What to eat: good quality fats, organic/grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, nuts & seeds, fruits, raw diary or sheep/goat, vegetables, sugar free sweeteners (stevia, monk fruit) cookbook of recipes
Foods to avoid: sugar, bad oils (canola, vegetable) conventional meat & diary, grains, pork, peanut butter

Keto

Definition: The idea behind keto is putting your body into a state of constant ketosis = burning fat for energy versus carbs. Ketosis mimics the benefits of fasting. Keto has a high emphasis on healthy fats and very, very little carbs (almost none). Keto is the quickest way to lose weight since it focuses on burning fat. Keto can also be a lifestyle. To not lose weight, you simply up your healthy fat intake. I highly recommend getting apps that measure how much fat, protein, and carbs you should be eating because it’s all about your fat, protein, carb ratio. Keto is also great for reversing many health issues! You shouldn’t cheat on keto because it will disrupt the ketosis and take a bit to get your body back into ketosis. Please research more yourself!
What to eat: healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds, etc) non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, asparagus etc) sugar alternatives such as xylitol, monkfruit, stevia, protein (grass-fed meat, organic, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, bone broth, wild-caught fish, raw diary) Ideally you want only good quality meat and raw diary. My mother-in-law’s favorite keto cookbook
Foods to avoid: sugar (even honey & maple syrup), all grains including oats, rice, quinoa and pasta, most carbs, high sugar fruits, root vegetables

Paleo

Definition: The cave man diet. The concept is to think of what hunter and gatherers would have had access to eat. Paleo diet consists of eating high in healthy fats, moderate in animal protein, and low to moderate in carbs. It’s very important though to eat good quality meat! More info here
What to eat: This diet consisting of good quality meats, vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts & seeds, healthy fats
Foods to avoid: diary, sugar, grains, processed food, alcohol, starches and legumes



Whole 30

Definition: The goal is to eat real, whole UNPROCESSED food; to eat foods that are in the form they were originally in. Whole30 is a month program that is great when trying to wean yourself off processed foods. More info here
What to eat: moderate portions of meat, seafood and eggs, lots of veggies, plenty of natural fats, some fruit. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients or better yet no ingredients because it’s a real food.
Foods to avoid: sugar (even honey or maple syrup or stevia) alcohol, grains (even sprouted, oats, buckwheat, rice, etc) legumes (beans, peas etc) diary

Gluten Free

Definition: Avoiding gluten because of a sensitivity or celiac disease (only 1% have this). Gluten is the name of the protein found in wheat which includes: wheat berries, durum, spelt, einkorn, etc) barely and rye. Most people have a sensitivity to gluten because they genetically modified wheat to produce higher yields but in doing so increased the gluten content in the wheat. We are not eating the same bread we were 50 years ago. That is why more recently people are having such a difficult time digesting gluten, because of our modifications not because what itself. On top of that, we have different processing techniques. All grains used to be soaked and sprouted which got rid of the anti-nutrients and aids digestion (why I’m a big fan of sprouted foods). More info here
Note: Eating gluten-free isn’t always the best health option. It’s recommended for those with celiacs. Gluten-free foods can be very processed, full of sugar or other fillers. If you do not have celiac but feel sensitive to gluten, try sprouted, ancient grains such as spelt.

Dairy Free

Definition: Cutting out all dairy foods in one’s diet. Many people are sensitive to diary as a result of our processing methods. They started pasteurizing dairy in the 1920’s because of poor sanitation in factories to avoid bad bacteria. The pasteurization process kills potential bad bacteria but also all the nutrients and most importantly the enzyme your body needs to even digest it!!! Some people body’s can recreate the enzyme some people cannot or the ability fades later in life. This is why I’m advocate for raw (unpasteurized) diary because this enzyme (and all the other nutrients diary are suppose to have) are still intact. This is just my opinion based on my on research but please research this on your own. I will do a more detailed blog post on this soon as well! Most dairy out there is pasteurized and causes inflammation so it is beneficial to cut it out or use diary free options. Dairy-free milk alternatives can be processed, hiding sugars and fillers. More info here
What to eat: raw (unpasteurized) cow diary, sheep/goat diary
What to foods to avoid: conventional diary (grass-fed is better but still not digestable)



Vegan

Definition: Anything related to animals are off limits! This is either because of a love for animals or for health reasons. Unfortunately, these days our animal products are overly processed, have poor living conditions, filled with antibiotics and fed foods that aren’t meant to eat. (hence why I try to buy humane, good quality animals products: pasture-raised organic eggs, organic chicken and free-range, grass-fed meat) Americans eat 50% more meat than they should, it is beneficial to cut out some meat from your diet and replace with vegetables! *Raw vegan means they eat everything uncooked because cooking techniques can destroy many nutrients. More info here
Foods to avoid: meat, eggs, diary

Vegetarian

Definition: eating no meat (and sometimes fish) but can eat other animal products such as diary or eggs. This is usually they simply don’t enjoy meat or their love for animals and animal treatment. More info here

Gaps Diet

Definition: GAPS diet is similar to the healing diet in that it’s a therapeutic diet to heal leaky gut syndrome, IBD, autoimmune disease, autism, anxiety, depression etc. The diet consists of 6 stages beginning with most restrictive and progressing into adding certain foods back in. More info here
What to eat: nutrient dense food that’s easy to digest, wild-caught fish, nuts (ideally sprouted) good quality fats, raw cow diary, sheep or goat diary, fruits in moderation, good quality meat, honey and dates in moderations
Foods to avoid: grains, starchy vegetales, refined carbs, sugar

 

Do you eat by any of these diets? Which one and why do you like it? Would love to hear from you!

Why you should toss your sunscreen!

By Beauty, DIY, Tips No Comments





 

Sunscreen. It’s a summer must, what could be so bad about it? Unfortunately, most sunscreens found in stores contain toxic chemicals.

“It’s estimated that we come into contact with anywhere between 700,000 and 2.1 million different toxic chemicals a day – many of which are in our personal care and skin care products.”

Rubbing chemicals on your skin can be worse than ingesting them because they enter the bloodstream without any filtering. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and your skin absorbs 60% of what you put on it.

At least nine of the sunscreen ingredients the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved are known endocrine disruptors. Of the 1,400+ sunscreens tested by the EWG, over 40% were listed as potentially contributing to skin cancer.

what are the solutions?

DO IT YOURSELF!!! I finally made my own and I am so happy with how it came out. I didn’t know these natural ingredients protected your skin from the sun on their own! (plus many other benefits!)


Carrot seed oil– natural SPF of 35-40! anti-inflammatory
Red raspberry oil – natural SPF of 25-50
Shea butter – natural SPF of 4-6, moisturizer, good source of vitamins for your skin, anti-inflammatory
Almond oil – natural SPF of 5, sooths irritation, deep moisturizer
Coconut oil – natural SPF of 2-8, antibacterial, moisturizer, high in antioxidants
Beeswax – makes sunscreen waterproof, protects skin from damaging elements, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
Vitamin E oil – helps preserve shelf life, antioxidant, moisturizer, anti-inflammatory
Zinc oxide (non-nano, not coated) – SPF 2-20

recipes

Click for the sunscreen recipe I used

Wellness Mama homeade sunscreen

Dr Axe homeade sunscreen

Facial sunscreen

Important* buy non-nano, not coated zinc oxide, BE CAREFUL TO NOT INHALE THE ZINC OXIDE! Wear a mask of some sort while making it (zinc oxide is fine on skin but not okay when inhaled) its not fully waterproof so reapply after the water, don’t use citrus essential oils because it can increase sun, this is an estimated SPF of 30-40 but not tested for exact.

It does feel slightly different to normal store bought sunscreen but I was pleasantly surprised with how it applied. It’s feels a little greasy at first because of the shea butter and does take a little more rubbing in to not look white. But its wayyy more moisturizing and smells better! Buying all the ingredients feels expensive at first, but I’ll probably have enough to make my own sunscreen for the next 5 summers! Making things yourself generally saves you money in the long run.






buy non-toxic sunscreen

If this seems like too much of a hassle, these are the top 5 natural mineral sunscreens by EWG:

Badger All Natural Sunscreen Unscented

Kiss My Face Kids Mineral Natural Organic Sunscreen

Beauty By Earth Facial Cream

Tropical Sands All Natural Biodegradable Mineral Sunscreen





Protect your skin from the inside out by eating lots of antioxidants! The American Cancer Society says that, consuming a variety of antioxidants through food sources can help reduce cancer risk.

Why I Quit Coffee

By Eating Well No Comments


I actually didn’t even like coffee until I met my now husband, Michael. He was drinking like 4-6 shots of espresso a day!!! He got me hooked and I drank it almost everyday for about 5 years. More recently, it started to upset my stomach. I was looking for some alternatives and came across the many benefits of matcha:

matcha delivers caffeine slowly over 6-8 hours!

Coffee gives you a caffeine burst, which is why you feel tired in the afternoon & want another coffee! Yet matcha slowly disperses the caffeine throughout the day

matcha gives energy & helps you focus

Matcha is the highest natural concentration of amino acid L-theanine which is in most energy drinks. L-theanine mixed with caffeine enhances concentration & improves memory. Coffee can give you the jitters while matcha gives you a ‘clean alertness.’

countless health benefits:

reduces stress & anxiety
improves mood
helps weightloss
cancer fighting
full of antioxidants
supports immune system
detoxifies the body
clears skin

I started slowly replacing my coffee with matcha everyday. Matcha has 1/5th the amount of caffeine coffee does (which makes it a great option if you are pregnant!) BUT actually can make you feel more awake because it contains L-thanine.

My husband would always need a afternoon coffee pick me up so I convinced him to start switching over to matcha too. With coffee (cold brew more specifically) he always felt tired still and had a hard time concentrating. But now, he says he feels more awake, can focus more during work and doesn’t need another drink in the afternoon.

Now, I know people are protective over their coffee. We used to be. Coffee totally does have many health benefits: antioxidants, protects the liver, increases alertness, and supports cognitive function. BUT I learned drinking too much coffee every day can lead to adrenal fatigue. (Also, if you do drink coffee, make sure you get organic coffee beans because they are usually sprayed heavily with pesticides).

Matcha can feel expensive at first, but a little really goes a long way. Matcha is high-grade, finely ground, concentrated green tea. You only need ½ to 1 tsp per drink. And sometimes can save you money since you don’t need an afternoon pick me up! Below are what I use to make my matcha. The matcha below is some of the best quality you can get and more affordable than what I find at grocery stores. But any ceremonial grade matcha should taste great (yes I do taste a difference between ceremonial grade & not). Also, try to get pure matcha powder, sometimes they have matcha powder latte mixes with dried milk or sugar mixed in).

How I make my matcha:

Put 1 tsp of matcha powder in a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp honey & few tablespoons of hot water (to dissolve honey & matcha powder). Whisk, blend or shake matcha, water and honey until mixed through and frothy. We also add 1 tbs of MCT oil. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Milkadamia macadamia nut milk or any milk with ice & enjoy! I like less milk so I can really taste the matcha. ITS SO GOOD! you guys gotta try this!!! Click below to purchase!!