Test Ribbon

Pregnancy Must Haves

Pregnancy Must Haves

Sharing my pregnancy must haves today on the blog!  So many of you have asked for this blog post.  I wanted to make sure I did it towards the end in case I added products.  There’s so many things that come up in pregnancy it can seem daunting to know what pregnancy must haves you need, especially if it’s your first baby.  

Then besides pregnancy must haves, it can seem overwhelming to weed through all the natural products and what you really need.  Well, I’ve done all the homework so you can sit back and relax during your pregnancy.  

With my third baby due literally any day now I’ve been around the baby block a time or two and know what natural pregnancy must haves you really need and what you don’t.  I’m sharing all the details in this post.  I’ve picked up so many products along the way from all of my pregnancies and I’m sharing them in this post with you.

My hope is that you feel armed with a little more info. to make the best decisions for you and your baby!

I’ll also have an updated baby guide soon.  I want to try a few more baby products before I update it, but first I need a baby to try them on. ūüôā

 

pregnancy must haves

Embracing this big belly at 38 weeks!

 

Check out the post I did on Surviving the First Trimester here!  I go over my top pregnancy necessities in the first couple months.

 

*As always this is merely what has worked for me.  Please always consult your physician before starting something new or taking a new supplement.

 

Lily Nichols Real Food For Pregnancy Book-

This book is seriously a game changer!  It wasn’t available for my first or second pregnancy.  Lily does such a great job of weeding through the research and really backing her findings with actual data.  You will know what foods to eat and when to support a healthy pregnancy and baby.  She even dives into supplements, exercise and child spacing.  She also has some great recipes too.  I can’t recommend her book enough.  Get it here!

Lily Nichols For Gestational Diabetes-

This book I got later on in my third pregnancy but I wished I would have had it from the very beginning.  If you’re pregnant than you’ve probably heard of gestational diabetes.  I didn’t have it with my first two and didn’t give it much thought with my third.  However, after testing my blood sugar myself it was elevated.  I wasn’t diagnosed with gestational diabetes but I did want to lower it.  This book really would have been a great resource in the beginning because she recommends you have a certain test done in the very early part of your pregnancy to determine if you’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes.  This test is pretty accurate if done in the beginning of pregnancy.  It would have been great to know in the beginning since you can change your diet, etc. early on.  I learned so much from reading it!  My blood sugar was lowered with just a few tweaks and I felt better overall.  Get it here!

Testing Your Blood Sugar Yourself-

This might sound annoying but honestly it made such a difference for me.  I had just taken the glucola drink with my first two pregnancies but with this one I wanted to avoid the drink.  I did get the undyed glucola drink both times but still, it’s not my favorite and I never have that much sugar at once.  I thought it would be interesting to test my blood sugar myself instead for a couple weeks.  This is what they will have you do if you don’t want to take the glucola drink.  You prick your finger in the morning upon waking, and then and hour after each meal.  Some practitioners may have you even do it after snacks.  You write down your results each time.  It was so eye opening!  It made me realize how my body was processing different foods, compared to others.  For example, I found white rice would really skyrocket my blood sugar.  So I knew to avoid that.  Personally, in the long run I think it’s the best method because it really gives you an individualized approach to what foods affect your blood sugar.  It also just makes you aware of how blood sugar works in general.  I didn’t fully understand it all until testing myself.  I am excited to test myself even after having the baby to see if foods affect me differently then.  Here is the kit I bought from Amazon!

 

pregnancy must haves

Pretty sure my belly is at maxed capacity!

 

DGL For Acid Reflux-

I struggled with acid reflux in my first pregnancy but not in my second.  Then it came back with a vengeance in my third.  DGL is what has helped both times.  DGL stands for Deglycyrrhizinated licorice.  It’s an herbal supplement that helps to ease acid reflux.  If you have a chewable form it takes like black licorice.  This is what my naturopathic doctor recommended.  It worked both times!  I don’t get it everyday, just every now and then in my third trimester.  I would take 3 chewables and it would go away.  So much better than taking an OTC med in my opinion!  This is the one I took!  

Compression Tights or Socks-

I can’t recommend getting a pair of these enough!  They have helped with every pregnancy.  My mom suffered from varicose veins and I have one on my left side that will bother me.  When I wear my compression tights, it feels SO much better.  Plus, I wear the compressions tights for swelling. Most of my pregnancies have been more in the warmer months and I tend to swell more in my feet.  Especially my left side which they say is common in pregnancy.  When I wear my compression tights my legs and feet are so much less swollen.  Plus, if you want to avoid getting varicose veins they recommend you wear them if you are pregnant too.  Get them here!

Mountain Meadow Herbs Gentle Birth Drops-

My midwife recommended these to me this time around for the third baby.  She said every patient of her’s who’s taken them has a pretty straight forward birth without complications.  It’s an herbal liquid tincture.  You just take it starting at 35 weeks and then up the dosage at 36 weeks.  It does have blue cohosh which some people don’t like since it’s been linked to birth defects in animals. They do have a version of the herbal tincture that does not contain blue cohosh if you feel more comfortable using that instead. Get them here!

Get at least 80-100 grams of protein a day-

I remember thinking this seemed crazy with my first pregnancy!  However, your baby is growing so rapidly and needing the extra protein for fetal development.  Plus, for me the biggest thing I noticed when I ate enough protein, especially in my first pregnancy was increased energy and less nausea.  It helped keep me full longer which kept my nausea at bay. I know you will crave carbs really and that’s it a lot of times but if you can really get some good protein in it helps so much.  They say the average pregnant women needs 80-100 grams of protein!  And if you’re having twins it’s more like 120-150 grams.  This also helps with blood sugar regulation.  I have an extra protein shake everyday using Activ Whey Goat Whey Protein. It’s so tasty and the protein powder is the best!  You can read more about the protein powder here and why it takes the cake in my opinion.  I will add 1 cup of Forager coconut/cashew milk, 3 ice cubes, a teaspoon of chia seeds, and blend that all together.  Then I’ll add the two scoops of the Activ Whey protein powder after the ice is all mixed up and smooth.  I only blend the protein powder for a few since if you over blend it can add air to the drink and make you feel gassy when you drink it.  Sometimes I’ll even add a scoop of cacao powder- it legit tastes like a chocolate milkshake!  Check out Activ Whey here.  Also, check out my protein podcast I did with my naturopathic doctor here!

Natural Stretch Mark Cream For Belly-

Avoid all the mainstream stretch mark creams filled with synthetic chemicals and snag a natural one instead. Let‚Äôs be real, I rubbed stretch mark cream on my belly a couple times a day during my first pregnancy. With my second pregnancy, same story.  But with this one…I rubbed it on faithfully and I got two stretch marks! The more I read up on stretch marks the more it has a lot to do with your hormones and genes.  My belly was so different this time around too.  It protrudes so much more than the first two.  I’ve come to peace with them!  But the natural stretch mark cream is good for helping ease itchiness too.  I really like Primally Pure’s Baby Oil– it’s what the founder used for her growing belly and I love Earth Mama Naturals Belly Oil and Lotion.  I rub it on my belly morning and night. 

 

I would also recommend taking your blood throughout pregnancy.  I did and it really helped me to know how my thyroid was doing and if I was low in anything else.  Your body goes through so many changes when you’re pregnant, it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening so you can properly adjust or supplement if you need too.  I’m going to share a few supplements below that I started to take after getting my blood work back.

 

Inositol- 

This is great for helping with blood sugar regulation.  It’s just a powder that you add to some water.  It almost tastes a little sweet.  My naturopath had recommended it to me initially after seeing that my antibodies were getting pretty low(I have Hashimotos) and he said that taking a combination of that plus selenium had shown to help reduce antibodies even more. So I was already taking it but then after my blood sugar testing had shown my blood sugar was elevated he said to keep taking it since it helps regulate blood sugar as well.  Check it out here.

Iron-

I also started to take an iron supplement.  The baby goes through so much iron!  So even though you might not think you need an iron supplement since you’re no longer having a period and losing blood, you might.  Obviously, talk with your doctor and have your levels checked but I’ve always been low in iron in my pregnancies.  It’s best to have your levels checked in the beginning so you can get a jumpstart on supplementing.  Check out the iron I take here.

Probiotic-

This is one I find not everyone considers taking when pregnant but I think it’s a great one to incorporate.  Studies have shown that you can help achieve a negative GBS(Group B Streptococcus) when tested.  This is the bacteria you get tested for towards the very end of your pregnancy.  Taking a good probiotic might help your test to come back negative.  If you have a positive GBS then they say you have a 1 in 200 chance of your baby getting an infection.  The bacteria isn’t necessarily bad for adults but for babies.  If you are positive your doctor will have you take antibiotics during your birth. It’s obviously not the end of the world, but if you can avoid getting antibiotics then why not. Check out the probiotic I take here.

I also can’t recommend meal planning enough for postpartum.  I didn’t do this for my first or second but wished I would have.  Knowing I have healthy options is so key when having a newborn.  It would have helped me ease into things a little slower.  I did a whole meal prep video showing you how I meal prepped for a month and how I stored the food here.

 

Check out the post I did on Surviving the First Trimester here!  I go over my top pregnancy necessities in the first couple months.

 

Also, If you want to read about my home birth experiences with my first two babies, check them out here and here.

Stay tuned!  I’ll be sharing next week what I have ready and prepped for after baby.  Even though I’m having a home birth there are some essential things I like to have ready to go.  I may not have a “hospital bag” since I’m staying at home but this would be the equivalent if I did!

 

Pregnancy Must haves

Sharing all my favorite natural pregnancy products on the blog!

Healthy Postpartum Meal Prep

Healthy Postpartum Meal Prep

Sharing my healthy postpartum meal prep with you in my newest video.  Everything from how I went about prepping before I actually prepped the day of and what I used to store the food in.  I’m even sharing all the recipes in my free download, along with all the food storage options I used!  

Watch the video here!!

I didn’t use plastic to store any of the food, but also didn’t spend a ton of money on glass food storage containers either.  Check out the storage options I used in my free download here.

Healthy Postpartum Meal Prep

Sharing all my healthy recipes I made for my postpartum meal prep.

Most of the meals are paleo friendly and all of them are gluten free.  You can find them all linked in the free download below. I made a month’s worth of food over a 2 day period and I’m sharing how I did it in the video- check it out below. 

I would love to hear if you’ve meal prepped after baby and what that looked like! Leave me a comment. 

Also, check out my post on how to make the best green smoothie!  I will be making these for breakfast each morning.  They are full of nutrients and actually taste delicious.  You can grab my recipes there too. 

 

 

Healthy Postpartum Meal Prep

Sharing all my tips and tricks for postpartum meal prep in my new video!

How To Survive The First Trimester

How To Survive The First Trimester

So you might be wondering how to survive the first trimester and you’ve come to the right place because I’m going to share all my secrets with you. ¬†Ok, they’re not really secrets but things that have helped me to continue living my life, which is pretty huge when you’re in your first trimester!

If you’ve been pregnant than you totally understand what I’m talking about. ¬†

Here are just a few of the common symptoms first trimester mamas can feel:

  • Nausea
  • Tired- ALL THE TIME
  • Food Cravings and Food Aversions
  • Depressed
  • Not Motivated
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches
  • Heightened Sense Of Smell
  • Frequent Trips To The Bathroom
  • Acne
  • Out Of Breath
  • Swollen Breasts
  • Changes In Sex Drive

 

first trimester survival

My bump is already popping with the third baby at 15 weeks!

 

I like to describe it as being on a roller coaster. ¬†One minute you’re up and the next minute you’re down. ¬†To be honest, sometimes I feel like two different people. ¬†There’s the me before pregnancy, and then there’s the me during pregnancy. ¬†There’s just so many changes happening all at once. ¬†You want to just feel normal and carry on but that is anything but how it is.

I called this blog post how to survive pregnancy in the first trimester because that’s really how I feel. ¬†I know so many people who don’t have symptoms or feel amazing throughout their pregnancy which is awesome. ¬†But it hasn’t been my case. ¬†I literally feel like I’m in survival mode. ¬†Everything that came easy to me before feels 10 times harder. ¬†Whether it’s doing laundry, making dinner, cleaning the house, doing my job, or being a parent to my kids. ¬†It just takes more head space and energy than before.¬†

Suffice to say babies really can take it out of you. ¬†I’ve experienced all of the symptoms in the first trimester listed above. ¬†Overall, the ¬†fatigue is real. ¬†I don’t know how many times I would literally just end up taking a nap when I should have been blogging or cleaning or anything besides napping. ¬†I’m not a napper at all, so taking a nap is just all around foreign to me. ¬†But when I’m pregnant sometimes it’s the best medicine. ¬†

I’m going to be sharing my experience and tips and tricks throughout my pregnancy that really help me. ¬†Trust me, if you’re reading this and you’re not a mama yet, don’t worry! ¬†Pregnancy looks so different on everyone and you might not experience these symptoms at all. ¬†It also usually gets so much better as you get further along in pregnancy, especially nausea.¬†

I created a list of natural resources that have really helped when it comes to surviving the first trimester. ¬†I hope these help you like they did me! ¬†After all, us mamas have to stick together. ūüôā

 

First trimester survival

Just a few of my favorite things in this first trimester!

 

First Trimester Natural Resources-

 

  • Brooklyn Crafted Extra Spicy Sugar Free Ginger Beers- These have helped me in a massive way with my nausea. ¬†My friend Kate from Root and Revel had recommended them to me. ¬†They’re made with just a few real food ingredients and sweetened with stevia not sugar so you’re not getting a crazy high sugar spike. ¬†Plus, they have real ginger in them so they help ease nausea. ¬†They’re carbonated too which is huge for me! ¬†I love carbonation when I’m pregnant and these definitely hit the spot when I’m needing something fizzy. ¬†I usually have one in the morning when my nausea is at it’s peak. ¬†Get them here!
  • Real Food For Pregnancy Book- This book was recommended to me by my friend Dr. Ben Lynch. ¬†He’s a research doctor and knows his stuff. ¬†It has been such a resource for me! ¬†I’ve read pregnancy books before that have talked about nutrition but don’t have a lot of evidence to back up their claims. ¬†This book really gives so many references! ¬†It debunks so many of the common pregnancy nutrition guidelines people have been taught and turns them on their heads. ¬†Lily does such a thorough job of laying out what you should eat during pregnancy and why. ¬†She even goes into meal plans, recipes and supplement advice. ¬†I can’t recommend this book enough if you want to optimize your pregnancy. Get the book here!
  • Seeking Health Supplements- These supplements have been taken on the daily by me. ¬†Supplementing is so important these days since are soil is so depleted and even if you’re eating a whole foods diet you can miss key nutrients. ¬†From Seeking Health I take their Optimal Prenatal, or their Optimal Prenatal Chewable, ¬†their Optimal Fish Oil,¬†Vitamin B Complex Plus, NAC, ProBiota HistaminX,¬†¬†and Optimal Magnesium. ¬†It’s so important to take folate instead of folic acid. ¬†Watch this video my friend Dr. Ben Lynch did. ¬†So insightful! ¬†
  • Elite Fuel Iron Supplement- This has been the best iron supplement I’ve found. ¬†It literally has increased my iron levels quicker than any other iron supplement. ¬†I can’t recommend it enough! ¬†Get it here!
  • Elite Fuel Vitamin D3+K2 Supplement- This is a liquid Vitamin D3 +K2, I love that it’s a liquid. ¬†It’s so easy to take. Get it here!
  • Podcasts: ¬†I’ve done two podcasts about fertility and conceiving and what to supplement, eat and so on in pregnancy. ¬†You can check them out here and here. ¬†Such great resources!

 

first trimester survival

This is the best stuff! Sweetened with stevia and contains real ginger.

 

Other Tips-

 

  • Make breakfast ahead of time- I’ve found for me that having some foods prepped has helped me a lot. ¬†In the mornings my nausea is at an all time high. ¬†One of my favorite foods to have on hand is homemade granola. ¬†Then I just add some to 100% grass-fed organic greek yogurt. ¬†I really like the brand Maple Hill. ¬†They have an organic 100% grass-fed greek yogurt that’s amazing. I just eat plain to avoid the extra sugars. ¬†This greek yogurt I’ve found has the best texture! ¬†The combination of the fat and protein with some carbs has been just the ticket for me. ¬†It helps to curb my nausea and keeps me feeling full a couple hours. Plus, it sounds good which is half the battle! ¬†If you have been pregnant before you know this is key. ¬†Knowing I have this quick breakfast in the morning to go too has been huge. ¬†It really has made a huge difference in helping me operate smoother in the mornings. ¬†Then I’ll make a green smoothie a couple hours later. ¬†But right away I need something the moment I wake up. Scroll to the bottom for my granola recipe.¬†
  • Chicken and Egg Salad- For whatever reason I’ve been craving both of these throughout my pregnancy. ¬†I’ve made them both and then we also have local place that uses good ingredients that I feel great about ordering from. ¬†I’ll make some for the week and store it in the fridge for lunches. ¬†It’s so nice already having something pre-made on hand. ¬†I don’t follow a particular recipe- kind of a rebel like that but there are a few ingredients I use instead of conventional ones that are important to note. ¬†Instead of regular mayonnaise I use Primal Kitchen’s Mayo- super clean ingredients. ¬†I like adding dill to my egg salads- love me some dill! ¬†For the chicken salad I put celery, chicken, pecan, and apple a lot of times. ¬†It really depends on what I have on hand. ¬†Then I chop up some spinach leaves and toss it all together with the chicken or egg salad. ¬†SO good! ¬†If you want a good recipe I would up opt for one that’s paleo- usually they have pretty simple, clean ingredients. ¬†Here’s a chicken salad recipe and an egg salad recipe.
  • Soda Stream- If you follow me then you know I love some good carbonation. ¬†Well it’s at an all time high when I’m pregnant! ¬†The carbonation really helps to ease my nausea. ¬†I love having this glass soda stream. ¬†It keeps me fully supplied with sparking water. ¬†I love knowing that my carbonated water is filtered since I use the water from my Berkey. ¬†They have the plastic bottles but I prefer the Soda Stream that use glass bottles. ¬†Plastic bottles can leaky unwanted chemicals into my water. ¬†Check out the glass Soda Stream here!
  • Cold Fresh Fruit- All my pregnancy I’ve craved fresh fruit, this one no different. ¬†I loved having organic strawberries, organic organges, organic blueberries and organic raspberries on hand. ¬†Costco has some of the best deals for organic fruit. ¬†I’m pretty sure I had 2-3 Cara Cara oranges a day! ¬†
  • Smoothies- I find it hard to eat my normal amount of veggies when I’m pregnant in the first trimester. ¬†Texture, smell and taste are all off for me. ¬†I’m grateful for smoothies! ¬†These help me pack a ton of veggies in and just slurp them down instead of having to chew them and gag- just being real. I would pack spinach, celery and cucumber in my smoothies and then add some healthy fats like cashew butter, some fiber with chia seeds, some superfood powders like pomegranate powder, camu powder, a√ßa√≠ powder, and half a banana. I would add a cup of coconut milk and blend up! ¬†Then once blended add my protein powder. ¬†Activ Whey Goat Whey Protein is the BEST protein! ¬†If you haven’t tried it you need to get on it. ¬†I personally know the owner and founder and love how authentic he is. ¬†He sources from grass-fed goats. ¬†Can’t recommend it enough! ¬†Get it here! ¬†
  • Eggs- I hadn’t been eating eggs because my food sensitivity test showed I was sensitive to them. ¬†However, when pregnant I’ve been eating them because of the choline content in them. ¬†Choline is so important in pregnancy. If you want to understand more about Choline check out a podcast I did with Sarah Morgan a functional nutritionist.
  • Primally Pure Deodorant- I knew I needed to find a natural deodorant that was safe during pregnancy because your underarms soak up so much of what you put on them. ¬†I was happy to find Primally Pure and know that they are completely safe to use during pregnancy. ¬†They have done extensive research to ensure that their products are clean. ¬†I love the Blue Tansy and Charcoal Deodorant- so does my husband! ¬†Get them here!
  • True Botanicals Pregnancy Skincare Line- I love knowing that I can still have an active natural skincare line that is still safe for myself and baby during pregnancy. ¬†If you’ve followed me you know that I love True Botanical’s Antioxidant Booster and Repair Serum- holy grail products in natural beauty. ¬†Well, True Botanicals has a whole skincare line dedicated to pregnancy. ¬†Excluding the ingredients you don’t want in your products while pregnant, yet still creating an amazing skincare line. ¬†I’ve been using their Calm Pure Radiance Oil and Vitamin C Booster. Since True Botanical’s Antioxidant Booster isn’t recommend for pregnancy I’ve been swapping it out for the Vitamin C Booster. Check out all their pregnancy safe products here!
  • Beautycounter- Another safe line for pregnancy is Beautycounter. ¬†I trust their line completely with all of their third party testing and stringent screening process for ingredients. ¬†I have been using their body butter– so luxurious and crucial for my growing belly! ¬†I also have been using their body wash and their shampoo and conditioner. ¬†Plus, their Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream. ¬†I love knowing I can literally just go to their website and not think twice about picking up a product when I’m pregnant. ¬†Shop all of Beautycounter’s products here! ¬†This is an excerpt taken from their website:
Yes. All of Beautycounter‚Äôs products are safe to use during pregnancy and nursing. We screen every ingredient for safety, keeping those especially vulnerable‚ÄĒlike pregnant women and babies‚ÄĒin mind.
If you have specific medical concerns, we always advise consulting a physician.

 

chocolate granola recipe

This granola recipe is SO good! It is a spin off of Purely Elizabeth’s chocolate granola but with less sugar and more good fiber!

 

Chocolate Granola Recipe-

  • 3 Cups Gluten Free Organic Oats(I like One Degree Oats since they’re glyphosate free too)
  • 1 Cup Quinoa Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Cacao Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Lily’s Chocolate Chips(stevia sweetened)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then spread on a cookie sheet.  Cook at 325 for 15 minutes and then stir and cook for 10 more minutes.

That sums up some of my tips, what are some of your tips for surviving the first trimester?  Leave me a comment below.

 

First Trimester Survival

Sharing how I survive the first trimester. All my tips and tricks!

Pregnant With Baby #3!

Pregnant With Baby #3!

So excited to finally share I’m pregnant with baby #3! ¬†It’s been a secret I’ve been keeping under wraps for what feels like forever, but I’m so excited to finally be able to share the news with you!

I wanted to sit down with you like we were chatting as old friends because that’s how I feel about you. ¬†So I thought a video was appropriate to share the story of how I found out I was pregnant.

I’m sharing how we found out, if it was planned, how I’ve been feeling and if we’re going to find out the gender or not. ¬†I’ll be sharing lots more on pregnancy in the future. ¬†Stay tuned for Wednesday’s blog post where I share all the details on natural pregnancy faves and resources, plus if I plan to have another home birth or not.

Hope you guys love the video! I plan to do more videos so let me know what you want to see in the comments of the video or blog post here.

Life Changing Books

Life Changing Books

So the Christmas season is in full swing and I’m loving every minute of it! ¬†Something about this time of year that makes me reflect on the last year. ¬†From highs to lows and everything in between. ¬†This season always reminds me of what’s most important and how truly grateful I am for my health. ¬†I truly believe one of the best gifts you can give your family and friends is the gift of health. ¬†Think about it, you could have all the money in the world but if you don’t have your health, what does it matter? ¬†You can’t enjoy any of it.

This season I want to encourage you to give the gift of knowledge. ¬†I love the verse in the Bible that says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” ¬†It really is true. ¬†I believe most people truly want to do good, but just don’t know where to start or what to do. ¬†Arming people with knowledge, gives them the power to create change in their lives and generations to come. ¬†Just think what would happen if you started to change the way you eat? ¬†Trust me when I say people would take notice and everyone would be affected positively. ¬†What if you decided to stop using the chemical laden products you currently use and instead started swapping them out for safer, cleaner options?

“My people perish for lack of knowledge.”-Bible

You see it’s not just about you, it’s so much bigger than that. ¬†It’s about bringing change to our society as a whole. ¬†This is what I dream about! ¬†Change doesn’t happen overnight though, it happens with one person standing up for something better. ¬†Change starts with you.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Readers are leaders.” ¬†As corny as it may sound, I fully believe this is true. ¬†Why can’t we be the ones leading our families and communities towards a better future? ¬†One of the easiest ways to do this is by giving a book to read. ¬†Sometimes it’s hard to share with friends or family about health, but giving a book to someone isn’t. ¬†It’s the easiest way to not say anything, while actually saying a lot. ¬†Have a book say it for you! ¬†As I’ve said knowledge is power, and all people need sometimes is just a little spark to set a fire ablaze within them.

“Readers are leaders.”

I wanted to compile a list of books that I’ve read that have helped me throughout my health journey. ¬†I also had Dr. Matt share some of his top picks too. ¬†I have some cookbooks I really like, some green beauty books and some health books in general. ¬†Buy them as a gift, buy them for yourself, whatever you decide I believe reading always makes us better.

Also, a great tip I’ve picked up to increase my reading capacity is to listen to books on audio. ¬†Especially as a mom this has been huge. ¬†Whether I’m driving in the car, making dinner, cleaning or just nursing my daughter(hello getting real), I just push play. ¬†Instead of just letting time pass, I’m investing in myself and learning.

Tips on Audio books:

Get Audible by Amazon This has changed my life!  You pay a monthly membership fee of $14.95 and you get 1 book with that membership free each month. Then after that you get 30% off any other book.  Download the app on your phone/Ipad and then you can listen whenever you want.  The books stay on your account so you can listen to them again if you want.  You can roll over up to 6 credits. I love it!

Rent From Your Local Library- Get a library card if you don’t already have one and check out audio books for free(and of course regular print copies)! ¬†Even if they don’t have the title you might want chances are if you request it they’ll get it in for you. ¬†No excuses that you can’t afford books because it’s absolutely free. Take advantage of this!

Split Audio Books with Friends or Family-Audio books tend to be more expensive then just a book, but if you split it 3 or 4 ways it ends up being the same price if not cheaper than a printed book. ¬†Everyone benefits but it doesn’t break the bank.

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

My Top Book Picks-

  • No More Dirty Looks(Green Beauty)-This book started it all for me as far as switching to green beauty, and I will forever be grateful for the way it completely changed my life! ¬†It’s full of information on why makeup, skincare, hair products, nail products are all toxic and why. ¬†They also give alternatives and ingredients to avoid. A great book for someone starting their journey into green beauty.
  • Skin Cleanse(Green Beauty)- This is a great integrative approach to achieving clear skin. ¬†It doesn’t just address your skin topically but your whole person. It really helps to pin point what may be causing your skin flare ups. She takes on a less is more approach and some DIY recipes in the book.
  • The Clear Skin Diet(Green Beauty/Health)- This book completely changed my thinking on skincare. ¬†I read it six years ago and I still go back to it time and time again. ¬†It is full of so many nuggets. ¬†It really sets the stage and shows how our skin is affected by diet and lifestyle. ¬†From the hard facts about the correlation to dairy and acne, how we need omega -3 fatty acids to why the Japanese diet is so good for our skin. ¬†A must read for anyone who wants to achieve clear skin without reaching for some medication.
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility(Women’s Health)- This book has been such a resource for me throughout having my two girls. ¬†Before I even got pregnant this book helped me. ¬†I recommend any women read this, especially if you’re wanting to have children in the future. ¬†I’ve found very few people actually understand their cycle and this lays it all out on reproductive health, pregnancy and natural birth control.
  • Beautiful Babies(Women & Baby Health)- I remember reading this book when I was pregnant with my first daughter and it really shook me. ¬†It’s such a good resource for fertility, pregnancy, breast-feeding and baby’s first foods. ¬†You will walk away feeling armed to give your body and your baby the best care and nutrients.
  • Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care(Women & Baby Health)- This book is jam packed with some serious wisdom for the holistic mama. ¬†From breastfeeding, vaccines, child development and what nutrients are essential for baby.
  • Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth(Women’s Health)- This book really helped me take care of my body after baby. ¬†So often you have a baby and then all your energy goes into caring for the baby and we forget about the mother. ¬†The book does a great job of explaining what is happening in the body, why and what to do to help it through each phase. A great resource for any new mom!
  • Eat This and Live(Clean Eating)- This book changed my thinking on clean eating. ¬†It is perfect for anyone starting their clean eating journey. ¬†It lays out what you should eat, why, how to prepare it the best, what nutrients are essential for optimal health and so much more. ¬†Plus, it shares why you want to avoid the Standard American Diet. ¬†It even has a lot of pictures-making it easier to read for those just starting out on their health journey.
  • Dream It Pin It Live It(Dreams & Goals for your Life)- This book really challenged me to look at my life and ask what I want out of it. ¬†It made me realize how my dreams are possible and how to see them played out. ¬†I recommend this for anyone who is serious about wanting to see positive change in their life and doesn’t want to be in the same place next year.
  • The Magnolia Story-(Biography)-Call me predictable but I’m pretty sure anyone should read Chip and Johanna’s story from the popular HGTV story Fixer Upper. ¬†I think sometimes people have the illusion that anyone successful doesn’t go through any hardships. ¬†Their story proves this theory wrong and how success in life takes dedication and hard work.
  • Fed & Fit Cookbook(Clean Eating)- This cookbook has been such a great resource for me in the kitchen. ¬†Cassey really lays out not only amazing paleo friendly recipes in the book but also some health principles that are life changing. ¬†The food is delicious and her story inspiring.
  • Lexi’s Clean Kitchen Cookbook(Clean Eating)- This cookbook has quickly become a favorite. ¬†If someone you know thinks “healthy” food can’t taste good then this is the cookbook for them. ¬†Lexi really makes eating clean fun and creates all your standby comfort foods but with a healthy twist. ¬†I’m always amazed at the flavors that come out of her recipes.

Dr. Matt’s Top Book Picks-

See any faves here?  What are you currently reading and what are some of your favorite books?

 

Gracie’s Home Birth Story

Gracie’s Home Birth Story

So excited to finally be sharing Gracie’s home birth story with you guys. ¬†It’s been three weeks since the little nugget came into the world. ¬†She is just the sweetest babe. ¬†A good sleeper…so thankful! ¬†She’s still a newborn and wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse, but she’s such a better sleeper than Finley was. ¬†My whole experience the second time around has been totally different than with Finley. ¬†You can read my home birth experience with Finley here. ¬†I should have known the birth was going to be different as well.

suz-preg

Gracie was due September 3rd but she came August 31st. ¬†Finley was 10 days late! ¬†So to say I was shocked she was early is an understatement. ¬†I remember thinking I had at least a good week left before she came…haha so not the case! ¬†I woke up Tuesday morning August 30th around 3ish am. ¬†What woke me up? ¬†My first contractions. ¬†I thought maybe they were just braxton hicks. ¬†But they didn’t go away. ¬†I tossed and turned until around 7 am and then got up to shower. ¬†My husband came up and said what I had planned for the day, I said casually, “Well I think I’m going to have a baby.” ¬†He laughed and said, “Are you serious?” ¬†I said, “Yep it’s looking like it.” ¬†The contractions were every 15 minutes. ¬†Nothing crazy, but I could definitely feel them. ¬†I called my mid-wife just to let her know the situation. ¬†She said it sounded like I was in the beginning stages of labor and to keep her posted. (pic. on the right was taken the day I had her)

My husband took Finley outside and I went into full on cleaning/organizing mode. ¬†If it needed to be washed, cleaned, etc, it was getting done. ¬†I kept experiencing the contractions as I cleaned. ¬†Sometimes I would have to stop and just breathe through it. ¬†My mom came in the afternoon. ¬†She always stays with me a week after giving birth(she’s a saint). ¬†She helped with Finley too. ¬†My sister in law also showed up. ¬†She was my doula basically for Finley, even though she isn’t a doula. ¬†She’s had three kids and two of them at home. ¬†To say she’s amazing is an understatement! ¬†I feel so at ease when she’s there helping me. (pic. below of my two loves a week after Gracie was born)

01My contractions were kind of all over the place still by 5 pm. ¬†We were timing them and some were 5 minutes apart, some 10 minutes. ¬†There wasn’t any real consistency. ¬†I was getting annoyed that I wasn’t progressing faster. ¬†Most people will tell you that your second is a lot faster than your first. ¬†My first mid-wife even had said to call the minute I sneezed with the second because it was going to be fast. ¬†Finley’s birth was relatively fast for a first birth-around 9 hours from the start of my first contraction to birth. ¬†This time around it seemed to drag on. ¬†So I started walking up and down my stairs to get things moving. ¬†It seemed to help. ¬†The contractions started getting closer together. ¬†Still not super consistent though. ¬†Some were further apart, other’s closer together. ¬†I called my mid-wife again and she said it was up to me if she came. ¬†I didn’t feel like she should come yet, I mean what was she going to do but sit around. ¬†I started to bounce on the exercise ball and the contractions seemed to pick up. ¬†I had called my midwife around 7 and it seemed my contractions started to pick up around 9. ¬†I called her and told her to come. ¬†She showed up around 9:45 pm. ¬†I was definitely having intense contractions, but when she checked me I was only dilated to a 5. ¬†I was so frustrated! ¬†I was thinking I would have a baby already, but still wasn’t close. ¬†Finally, things started to pick up after that, and my contractions were getting longer and closer together. ¬†I laid down once on my side but felt that slowed down the progression, so I went and sat on the toilet and that really took things to the next level. ¬†It got pretty intense in the bathroom and I knew I was getting closer. ¬†This whole time my sister in law is helping to coach me and push on my back where I was having back pain.

02

My midwife suggested I move back in my living room, so she could check and see how far along I was. ¬†But it didn’t happen. ¬†I moved to the living room and right as I got there I had another intense contraction. ¬†I just fell to my knees and had my hands and elbows on the couch. ¬†I told her I needed to push. It was so intense! ¬†More intense than with Finley I felt, which is odd because Finley weighed 9.05 lbs. and Gracie was 7lbs. 12 oz. ¬†However, with Finley, I never felt the urge to push like I did with Gracie. ¬†It was like my body couldn’t not push her out. ¬†So I pushed and they said they could see her head. ¬†I pushed again and her head came out. ¬†I pushed two more times and her body came out-relief! ¬†The most amazing feeling, it’s hard to describe. ¬†As I mentioned she was 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 inches long. ¬†She was born at 1:21 am. ¬†I climbed on my couch and held her, cord still pulsing. ¬†I had witnessed a miracle again. ¬†She pooped on me when I was holding her. ¬†I don’t know it could have been my poop too, haha, there’s all sorts of stuff coming out of you when you give birth! ¬†Ten minutes later I pushed out the placenta. ¬†So I ended up giving birth on my knees this time around. ¬†With Finley I was laying down. ¬†Can I be honest though? ¬†Laying down is one of the worst positions as far as when you’re having contractions. ¬†I much prefer to be on my hands and knees. (pic. above taken right after Gracie was born)

03

This time it was harder for me mentally, just because it ended up being a lot longer than I expected. ¬†Although the contractions weren’t super intense until later in the day, it just seemed to drag on, compared to Finley’s birth. ¬†My water also didn’t break until Gracie came out, whereas with Finley it broke before I even had contractions. ¬†For me, giving birth at home is so convenient and comfortable. ¬†I love being in my environment, not having to go anywhere before or after. ¬†I take a shower in my shower after the birth and can climb in my bed. ¬†My biggest piece of advice for anyone thinking about having a home birth is to not have preconceived expectations. ¬†Things always change, and it helps to just keep an open mind. ¬†In the end, the goal is a happy and healthy baby! (pic. above taken a week after Gracie was born)

Have you given birth at home?  How was your experience?

Pin It on Pinterest