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Hydration during labor is very important.  Hydration in labor feels good.  Hydration in labor keeps us safe.  Hydration in labor nourishes baby.  Hydration in labor prevents complications.  Hydration in the form of commercial sports drinks...  meh, not so good.

So, what's the alternative?  Fortunately, there are a lot of natural commercial drinks available, but they can be pricey.  Furthermore, the key is to go into labor already well hydrated, with a little bit of puffiness that you've been building up for the last weeks.  No, of course we don't want excessive swelling, but our ability to retain water at the end of pregnancy is a very good thing.  We basically build up our own IV fluids so we don't have to have actual IV fluids during labor.

Getting moms to actually be as hydrated as they should be is a different story.  Nevermind the scorching hot environments many women experience where no matter how much fluids we built up during pregnancy, we're going to need to replenish them a whole lot more and may add a little extra elecrolyte balance in with nutrients and added natural salts.  An herbal laboraide drink is super inexpensive to make, fun, and if you get some really cute silicon molds, you can make absolutely gorgeous ice cubes that you simply want to use just because they make you happy. Score for #TheOxytocinMethod.

I love this drink so much my kids and I make it as a summer picnic tea.  It is gentle like that.  This labor herbal electrolyte tea packs a powerful nutritive punch full of natural Vitamin C, but gentle enough to soothe cramps and calm a laboring mother.

HIBISCUS

Hibiscus is the beauty in this blend.  This is what gives the breathtaking wine color that few herbal plants can create, which also has a lovely tang when unsweetened.  It can also resemble a nice herbal fruity drink with a smidge of whole leaf stevia or honey added.  Oh my YUM.

Nutritionally, hibiscus is an excellent source of Vitamin C and antioxidants including anthocyanins (the flavonoid that gives blueberries their brain-boosting benefits).   Evidence also suggests it is beneficial at lowering blood pressure, making it a wonderful drink for the immune system and perinatal health.

RED RASPBERRY LEAF

We all know Red Raspberry Leaf.  It has been used for centuries during the childbearing years.  Red Raspberry Leaf has a mild herbal flavor and provides many nutrients required for muscle function including iron, magnesium, Vitamin C, and other minerals that make uterine contractions efficient (as do all nutritive foods).

STRAWBERRY LEAF

Strawberry leaf, like Red Raspberry Leaf and all the other plants in the rose family, is high in fragarine.  This is the chemical thought to provide Red Raspberry Leaf with its labor-supportive abilities.  As herbalists, we know it is so much more than one constituent.  Strawberry leaf is high in Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and other minerals and flavonoids.

NETTLES

Nettles, like all dark leafy greens, packs a powerful nutritive punch.  While nettles is normally my go-to, because of its strong herbal flavor, we can use a little less of it in this blend and let the other herbs shine through.  A little goes a long way with nettles and it is wonderful for supporting anemic mothers, and is high in Vitamin K, so a wonderful herb to have on hand in case of hemorrhage.

LEMON BALM

Lemon balm is very gently calming.  It is a common child's-herb, and as such, works beautifully for a laboring mom to calm the muscles without slowing anything down unnecessarily.  We know a tight cramped muscles doesn't contract well, even though it is in a somewhat constant state of flexion.  A muscle needs to be smooth and flexible to remain strong, and lemon balm gives us just that.  It can help to balance the emotions of a laboring mom and has a very slight lemon flavor that blends well with these other laboring herbs.

 

These herbs are blended up along with either whole leaf stevia (yes, the whole leaf, not the extracted white stuff or drops) or good raw honey.  The sweetness makes this really enjoyable to sip on without being distracting.  The whole blend is light, just a touch of flavor is all we need.  Alternatively, honey makes a great energy boost when mom just needs to keep on going but its not really a great time to nap.  A pinch of Pink Himalayan sea salt helps with hydration as a well rounded electrolyte drink.

 

Transformaide Herbal Electrolyte Drink

2 Parts Hibiscus Flower

1 Part Red Raspberry Leaf

1 Part Strawberry Leaf

1 Part Nettle Leaf

1 Part Lemon Balm

Whole Leaf Stevia or Honey to taste (optional)

Pinch of Pink Himalaya Sea Salt per cup of water

Blend all the dried herbs together.  Use 1 tablespoon per cup of water, or 1/4 cup of the herb per quart of water.  Pour just-simmering water over the herbs, cover, and let steep at least 10 minutes.  I recommend making this in a 1 quart jar with a drinking lid screwed on top.  Once this is steeped it can be drank as is, or poured into silicon ice cube trays and frozen.  They can be eaten as ice cubes, or ice pops, or popped into a glass of water for a light flavor.

The ice cubes make a great addition to your labor bag no matter where you're birthing.  You can freeze them days (weeks) in advance and seal them up in a really good insulated carrier and just pop them in your labor bag when you're off to the hospital (or for doulas, when you go to meet a client).

So, grab a cup... or a quart jar... and let's have a drink!

Motivational Tea Scrolls can be printed free, clipped, and added to each cup of herbal tea (or your favorite relaxing drink) for daily inspiration.  Various formats from quotes, tip, scripture...etc., plus new additions regularly, will keep your daily cuppa inspirational for pregnancy, motherhood, and beyond.

Add motivational tea scrolls to gifted tea blends for blessingways, baby showers, and postpartum gift boxes.  Print these out for your loved one (scrolls for mom and dad) to give them a surprise moment with every glass.

 

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker helps you track your food intake, movement, and self-care routines during pregnancy for a happy health birth.  This prenatal health guide is available in both Excel and App form and helps you to document your food intake, movement routines, and relaxation routines daily and see a visual graph to easily see where you might be lacking in nutrition or other prenatal wellness routines.

Prenatal Wellness Tracker Includes

  • Due Date Calculator
  • Food Group Recommendations based on Simple Portions prenatal nutrition
  • Movement Recommendations
  • Self-Care Recommendations
  • Weekly/Daily Wellness Tracking
  • Visual Chart of Wellness Routines
  • Indicators of High Wellness, Medium Wellness, and Improvement Areas
  • Printable format for daily and weekly averages to communicate with care providers

Prenatal Wellness Tracker - EXCEL

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker Excel version is the traditional robust version of the prenatal wellness guide.  This version provides mothers that want a look at their average weekly health with a way of daily input and savings and a more accurate way of determining your balance of wellness as well as options to print off weekly charts for communicating with your care provider and for your reflection journal.

Prenatal Wellness Tracker APP

The Prenatal Wellness Tracker App provides a simple quick overview of your daily input for nutrition and lifestyle routines for great on-the-go monitoring of your wellness habits and routines.

Mushroom Coffee?  Herbal Coffee?  Mushroom Hot Chocolate?  No way, you say?

Coffee.  Caffeine.  Morning Cuppa.  Chai.  [Black] Tea.  What is it about those deep dark flavorful aromas that we love to fill our sit down and sip time?  Why is it that with all the energy-boosting methods out there, we turn to caffeine the most?  With the push of a button, that's all we need now for our favorite flavor.  Around every corner you see another coffee shop popping up to fill this addiction.

Kicking the coffee habit during pregnancy or breastfeeding is a great idea...  putting that idea into a practice can be another story, though.  I'm a sucker for the smell of coffee... the flavor... the depth.  I could just sit in a coffee shop just for the smell.  My favorite ice cream blend is chocolate & brownies with a scoop of coffee ice cream.  It is simply intoxicating.  Nevertheless, I cannot drink it regularly.  I will use it after a long birth, or a stressful night.  I'll use it when it gets super cold and there's snow all around and I just want that experience standing on my porch in the crisp morning.  Autumn is a weakness for me, for sure.  And that's why I have this Mushroom Herbal Coffee blend.  I can get my fix, and feel nourished while doing it.

While the consensus is one cup of coffee per day during pregnancy or breastfeeding may be OK... it is not the ideal.  Caffeine, and acidic foods, in any addictive manner can be detrimental to adequate hormonal balance and overall health.  It causes a draining affect on the body and creates a dependency for circulation and tension-relief.  Coffee and black tea can deplete the body of nutrients through their diuretic affect, even when they're decaffeinated.  Coffee and black tea can make it harder to stay hydrated, which effects multiple health aspects, and can effect your milk supply.  Starting out the parenting journey with overall healthy sleep and nutritional habits will be crucial to your future health.  Want to sleep when the baby sleeps?  Need to mellow out your moods?  Try this delicious mushroom herbal coffee alternative to help you break the caffeine, and preservative habit.

This is not just another herbal coffee blend.  This mushroom coffee mix is naturally decaffeinated and nourishing on multiple levels, wonderful for all ages, and can spice up any cool night around the fire.  That being said, as with all herbs that stimulate the digestive and diuretic nature of the blood - they can be overdone.  You can use these blended with coffee to slowly work your way to reducing the caffeine in your daily routine.  Then you can reduce the amount you're relying on these types of drinks altogether where they eventually turn into a treat now and then.  Anything that makes you feel as if you need it to function, be motivated, or relax daily is detrimental to your overall health.  Use sunshine, movement, sleep, and social connection along with a well-balanced habit of whole foods whenever possible to nourish your mind and body, and these treats for now and then or special occasions.

Mushroom Herbal Coffee Key Ingredients

Roasted Dandelion Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Dandelion is well known as a liver-supporting herb able to help the body detox while not depleting the body of potassium like many diuretics.  While non-roasted dandelion is the best medicinal form, using a roasted dandelion (even 1/2 roasted and 1/2 not) is a key ingredient in this mushroom herbal coffee blend for a bitter rich flavor.

Roasted Chicory Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Chicory root has long been used as an herbal coffee replacement and additive.  You'll see this soft blue colored flower blanket the roadsides through the summer as with most liver-supporting herbs, it grows well in poor soil working to improve the soil conditions for future plants, just as it can improve the conditions of the body for future health.

Roasted Chicory Root gives this blend a dark rich color and the bitterness you know well from your favorite cup of ahh.

Roasted Carob - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

While there are many coffee alternatives, unfortunately, some do lack the rich flavor that we know so well in coffee.  Roasted carob helps to bring back that richness in this mushroom herbal coffee blend.

Carob is often used as cocoa replacement.  You can get it in powder or chopped form, and even sweetened carob chips for cookies.  We're using the chopped form here for flavor and boldness.  It isn't quite as rich as cocoa, but brings a depth to this blend with many nutrients included such as magnesium and calcium.

Burdock Root - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Burdock root, like dandelion root, is wonderful for the liver and detoxification system.  If you're experiencing skin-eruptions and other skin-conditions in pregnancy, burdock is a great support to the liver so it can do its job of removing toxins.  It also has a nice bitter flavor, building up that coffee replacement profile.

Ground Milk Thistle Seed - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Milk Thistle Seed doesn't give this blend much flavor at all; maybe a little nuttiness if anything.  This addition is almost purely for the work it does on the liver.  While most of the other herbs in this blend support the liver through their diuretic and elimination nature, milk thistle has the added benefit of actually improving the liver's ability to regenerate so it functions better overall.  The beauty of the liver is that it has the ability to improve its function and even reverse diseases that are often thought of as incurable.  Because so many in our world aren't nourishing themselves by not only reducing meats, repetitive foods (mono-diets), and reduced processed foods alongside adding healthy doses of greens and a variety of whole vegetables and fruits, they become more and more reliant upon supplementation, medication, and intervention.  Our body only functions if we nourish it well and regularly.  Balanced nourishment (through food, movement, sleep, spiritual and social connection) are the foundation to full-body function.  With that foundation, milk thistle can improve the time the liver regenerates and may also support the body's ability to prevent pregnancy complications like acne, mood imbalances, PUPPS, cholestasis, HELLP and pre-eclampsia.

Reishi Mushroom - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

It is a common belief that a pregnant woman has a decreased immune system.  What if, they were simply not nourishing their body and due to the extra energy to gestate a baby, they became more susceptible to illness?  Reishi is very nourishing to the entire immune system helping you to avoid and fight off viral infections and other disease.  Reishi, like many mushrooms, has a mild flavor and gives this blend more depth.

Cordyceps Mushroom - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Cordyceps are packed with antioxidants and are also thought to improve muscle efficiency in the body, including the circulation system.  They can also help to balance blood sugar levels, something many women are concerned for during pregnancy.  Cordyceps, in powder form, build texture in this blend with more flavorful depth.

Maca Powder - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

Maca is known for improving the health of the blood.  It is high in potassium, b-vitamins, vitamin c, manganese, and iron (even protein).  Maca can also help to balance moods.  The Maca Powder in this herbal coffee blend has a sweet buttery flavor to the mix.

Raw Cacao - Mushroom Herbal Coffee

While not a part of the basic blend, adding raw cacao gives this a mocha or hot chocolate option for kids and adults alike.  There is conflicting information as to if cacao actually contains caffeine or if it only contains a substance that stimulates similarly to caffeine.  Regardless, it adds a bit of an energy boost and depth of flavor.  Why raw cacao?  Because it has more nutrients.  There really isn't a big different in the roasted form many are familiar with (cocoa), but we keep it raw for the deeper flavor.  In fact, a lot of the this vs. that are looking at the differences in chocolate vs. cacao - two completely different products.  That's like comparing eggs vs. cake.   It does depend on where you get your cacao or cocoa from, but we prefer to stick with raw cacao for this blend when we can.  Cacao is high in magnesium and antioxidants, improving the nutrient profile of this mushroom herbal coffee blend.

I hope you enjoy this easy peasy mushroom herbal coffee mix and share your favorite way to enjoy with me on social media!

Mushroom Herbal Coffee & Hot Chocolate

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This whole herb recipe is for all you exhausted, adrenal fatigued, immune-compromised, inflamed, 1+ per day coffee drinkers, trendy supplement takers, long-hour working parents, low-milk supply mommas, baby-won't sleep, woke up with baby on my boob and I didn't know it, need a little afternoon pick-me-up, can't get enough greens, and all the humans out there.  I'm telling you, with the right herbal blends, you can find much more wholesome nourishing foods to put into your body for energy and healing as you work to balance your life.

Esali THRIVE herbal blend contains herbs known for their highly tonic (nutritive) benefits.  THRIVE can be used as a smoothie mix or snack ingredient for all ages and is available in a loose powder or encapsulated form for convenience.  If you are my client, you can order this blend through me, but I don't keep it in stock anymore so it takes about 1 month for me to fill orders.  The loose powders are great for smoothies and mixing in water or other foods, or they can be made into convenient capsules (even blended in with dehydrated placenta during postpartum).

If you're more of the DIY type, are learning to blend herbs, or just want to save some money - I'm sharing my easy step by step herbal blend because it's too amazing to keep to myself.  Wanna share some love if you're blending on your own?  Share the link!

Why Whole Herbs?

Let thy food be thy medicine... whole foods have nutrients and constituents that work together that simply cannot function the same way when those constituents are extracted one by one.

Many herbs are simply nutritive - foods that were once a typical part of the human diet.  Is this a meal replacement?  Absolutely NOT!  Can this be my vitamin?  I cannot tell you yes or no.  I don't test my blends for nutrient percentages.  I can tell you that I use this as my family's "supplement" and I personally feel much better using this blend than any other vitamin supplement I've ever taken (including other whole foods forms from excellent brands).  This is not an MLM ploy - it's just traditional knowledge and wisdom being shared with the people.

Whole herbs are the food you should be eating.  Many of these "herbs" are simply food that used to be a normal part of our diet and we stopped picking them from the wild so they're simply not a standard part of our diet any more.  Powder them, and that just makes it easy.  No, not quiet like fresh foods because they will start to break down their potency when they're powdered, but by using very high quality herbs and quality storage, the powders can do great through a few months of storage.

Where do I buy the whole herbs?

Normally, I would say try to grow the herbs or shop local.  If you know you're growing your herbs in high quality soil (or finding them in the woods in high quality conditions)... or you know the source of your local herb shop and their storage is high quality - then absolutely, grow or shop local.  However, otherwise, Mountain Rose Herbs is my recommendation.  Their business practices are incredible and they source from the best sustainable high quality sources possible.  The history of the company is wonderful as well.  There are others I will go to in a pinch, but this is my recommendation.

What are high quality whole herbs?

The soil the plants grow in determine the nutrient content of the herbs, of course.  Beyond that, the storage in the facility before getting to the storefront as well as during shipping and at the storefront make a big difference in the potency of the herbs.  Here are a few points you can use to help you determine that you're not only purchasing from a high quality source, but the shipping and storage retains the quality once it arrives at your doorstep.

  • The herb should look like its fresh state without added chemicals and fillers (If the plant is green, the dried herb should be green.  If the plant is red, the dried herb should be red...etc.)
  • The herb should smell like its fresh state without added chemicals and fillers (Peppermint should smell like peppermint.  Valerian root should smell like fruity floral dirt socks...etc.).
  • The herb should do what it is intended to do [when used in the correct application for the correct individual].
  • The storefront should be willing to share their sourcing and storage practices so you can know your farmer.
  • Herbs should be shipped and stored in dry conditions, out of direct sunlight, in a cool area, and not for extended periods

How do I store my whole herbs?

For the powders, after blending, I recommend storing in a mason jar (or other air tight container) in the freezer or refrigerator.  You don't have to do this, of course, it just extends the shelf life.

Otherwise, store in an air tight container in a cool dark place.

What are the ingredients already?!?

First things first - this is FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THRIVE's ingredients are known to be packed full of phytonutrients, antioxidant, plant-based proteins, vitamins, minerals, herbal nervines (nerve nourishing, building, and soothing), herbal tonics (nutritive and body-strengthening) all in whole-foods form; however, I make no claims for its ability to do anything for you.

Parts

Your "part" is simply the unit of measurement you choose to use.  I normally use "ounces" by weight when I am blending this particular blend.  So, 1 part would equal 1 ounce.  2 parts would equal 2 ounces. 1/2 part would equal 1/2 ounce...etc.  I could use a handful, a teaspoon, a bowl full...etc., and the same concept would apply.  Ounces as a part gives me almost a whole quart full of powders blended which will last us around a month or so.

2 Parts Nettle Leaf

If you're looking for only one ingredient as a powder (or tea, or food for soup) to use - nettles is the one!  I use whole nettle leaf in omelets, quiche, soups, and as a tea.  I also use the powder form for this blend.

Nettle leaf is a nutrient powerhouse high in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium.  When used regularly over time it may provide a natural balance for seasonal allergies with its anti-histamine properties.  It may be great for joint support and suppressing arthritis with strong anti-inflammatory properties.  It is high in Vitamins A, C, E, F, K, & P as well as B complexes providing powerful energy and body support.  Its toning properties provide blood building, toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities.

2 Parts Oat Straw

Oat straw is another tonic, nutritive, herb.  In its milky form, it is excellent as a nervine to soothe and calm.  In its dry form, oat straw has demulcent properties and is high in calcium which provide nourishment to the nervous system. Additionally, oat straw can support digestion as well as adrenal and liver support.  Oatstraw may provide blood sugar balance and cardiovascular support.

2 Parts Alfalfa

Another power green, alfalfa is a complete plant-based protein and offers digestive support.  It is high in Iron, Calcium (needed for iron digestion), potassium, and magnesium.  It offers Vitamins A, D, E, K as well as B complexes.  It’s blood building, toxin cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties increase its headache suppression abilities.

1 Part Beet Root

Beet root is a dark red sweet vegetable offering phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.  It offers Lutein to support healthy vision as well as Vitamins A, C, and B complexes.  It provides toxin cleansing, digestion support, and cardiovascular support.

1 Part Barley Grass

Barley Grass provides Vitamins A, C, and B complexes as well as Folate, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Zinc making this a powerful immune system supporting herb.  It is a complete plant-based protein and offers digestion support with pH balance.

1 Part Wheat Grass

What Grass is a mineral-packed complete plant-based power green known for its anti-inflammatory support and toxin-cleansing abilities.  It offers amino acids as well as Vitamins A, C, E, I, K and B complexes.  Its blood sugar balance can support many of modern culture's ailments.

1 Part Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake is a powerful super food with ancient uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Shiitake may aid in suppressing cancer and offers cardiovascular support, and immune system support.  It is a great source of iron and antioxidants.

1/2 Part Chlorella

Chlorella is another well-known power green known for its cleansing abilities. It offers Chlorophyll, as do all greens, as well as Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Gamma Linolenic Acid.  It offers Vitamins A, C, E, K as well as B complexes.  It provides blood building, strong toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities as well as blood sugar balance.

1/2 Part Spirulina

Spirulina is another well-known power green known for its body-building and anti-inflammatory properties as a complete plant-based protein.  It offers Chlorophyll, Vitamins A, C, and E as well as B complexes and calcium.  It provides blood building, toxin cleansing, and odor cleansing abilities.

1/2 Part Cranberry

With today’s diet and lifestyle, bacterial imbalances are high. Cranberry’s antioxidants and immune system support may aid the body’s healing abilities while also pinpointing urinary system support.  It is high in phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It also provides cardiovascular support, may help to suppress cancer, and is anti-inflammatory.

1/4 Part Kelp

Many people today, despite a high fortified diet, do not consume enough natural levels of iodine needed for thyroid health. Kelp is naturally high in iodine and also provides Iron and the Vitamin C that increases iron absorption.  It provides estrogen balance, antioxidants, and breast cancer suppression (which even males can suffer from).  Kelp is an anti-inflammatory and may help balance blood sugar-making this a super food for modern culture.

How do I blend the THRIVE Herbal Powders?

By using the "part" measurements from above (or the easy to read version below) - weigh/measure your parts.  The "parts" make it super easy to scale down or scale up your recipe at any time from a "pinch" to bulk ounces.

Don't have one of the ingredients?  No biggie!  When I get low on powders, for myself, or if I'm drinking a lot of nettle infusions, I leave various herbs out.  I also add things in like marshmallow root powder on occasion.  Blending your own herbs makes things like that easy and fun.

Stir everything altogether and then put it in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.  Or, if you're lazy efficient like me, just measure everything out in a quart size mason jar, with a kitchen scale you can zero out each time, and then just put the lid on and shake.  In all seriousness, there is some serious therapeutic artistic energy when you take the time to measure by hand and swirl all these beautiful herbs together.  I love doing this on a weekend morning while drinking a cup of energizing nettle tea... or maybe even a raw cacao hot cocoa... or even after a rough night and a cup of coffee (my heart is thanking me that this isn't routine).

How Do I use the THRIVE Herbal Powders?

The Esali THRIVE Herbal Powders can be used in any way you would like them to enter your mouth - a few options include:

  • Mix with water
  • Mix with Juice
  • Eat it right off the spoon (have some water handy so you don't choke breathing in powders) - this is my kids favorite because on the occasion they get juice, they want that full flavor of juice and eating it off a spoon is just quick and easy
  • Mix with yogurt, cereal, granola, or sprinkle it on some ice cream if you'd like
  • Excellent green smoothie blend!!
  • Blend with a little bit of honey or date puree, just enough to roll it into little balls for a chewable... or any sort of nut and date blend for a great on the go breakfast or snack
  • Encapsulate these (by hand or) with an easy capsule machine.

How Much of the Whole Herb Blend Do I Take?

The amount you take depends on you.  While you can't pinpoint exactly what a "serving" is to each person - a general estimate is that 1 teaspoon of powder is equal to about 1 serving of fresh leafy greens, for an adult.  This gives you a bit of an idea of how convenient these herbal powders can be if you have trouble getting in enough greens and balanced foods.

Start with 1/2 teaspoon per day (or about 2 size 00 capsules packed tight) for an adult.  Slowly increase.  These are PACKED with greens... chlorophyll... which means they help toxins move through your system by providing the liver and the blood with nutrients that make your system work.  If you're not working to change your lifestyle, adding a bunch of greens into the mix isn't going to fix you and it may just make you feel kind of... blech... maybe even just stimulate your system enough to give you a bunch of zits rather than actually eliminate the toxins through your bowels.  So, start slow.  Build up to an amount that makes you feel good.  I usually don't take more than about 3 teaspoons a day, and I take less when I know I'm eating really well, and sleep is amazing, and... so usually I take about 3 teaspoons a day.  My kids, of course, take an amount proportional to their size, which you can determine with these children dosage guidelines here which is in line with the amount I am currently taking since we have similar eating and lifestyle patterns.

Esali THRIVE Whole Herb Powder Blend

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

- 2 Parts Nettle Leaf

- 2 Parts Oat Straw

- 2 Parts Alfalfa

- 1 Part Beet Root

- 1 Part Barley Grass

- 1 Part Wheat Grass

- 1 Part Shiitake Mushroom

- 1/2 Part Chlorella

- 1/2 Part Spirulina

- 1/2 Part Cranberry

- 1/4 Part Kelp

Directions

Choose your "part" (i.e. 1 teaspoon, 1 cup, 1 ounce).  Use this "part" measurement with the numbers above to measure out each ingredient.

Mix well, breaking up any small clumps - especially in the beet root and cranberry powders.

Store in a glass, air-tight container in a cool dark place (preferably the refrigerator).  Consume within three months.

Want help blending?  Let's set-up some time where I pour you a cup of a tea, or wine, and let's blend this together.  Super fun for a group night out!

What's your food vice?  What is your food you feel you need every day, multiple times a day, or multiple times a week that isn't totally nourishing?  No worries - we're going to focus on foods to add for a healthy pregnancy, not foods to eliminate.

It's easy to tell someone what not to do.  It is another thing altogether to provide someone with the information to actually take a positive step forward.  Changing habits, lifestyles, is daunting enough.  Taking away that "thing" can be overwhelming.  We want to build oxytocin for a happy healthy birth, so let's start with a positive approach to choices with these seven foods to add for a healthy pregnancy.

Nettles - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Nettles - one of the most nutritious and healing wild foods available.  Nettels are high in calcium, vitamin A, iron, plant-based protein, fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, lutein and many other nutrients your body needs for healthy function.

This tonic (nutrient-rich) herb can be purchased online and in many of your local health food stores as a tea.  You may even find a patch of this stinging plant in your back yard (wear gloves when harvesting, the sting will go away when it is steeped, cooked, or dried).  Nettles are wonderful for removing proteins from the urine, improving protein digestion, nourishing the liver, and supporting immune function improving atrophied parts of the body systems.

As clinical herbalis David Hoffmann tells us, "When in doubt, give nettles."

Drink nettle tea 1-3 times a day.  Throw nettles in a bowl of soup or make nettle pesto.

Eggs - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Eggs are another one of those complete meals all in one.  Eggs are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Choline, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Omega-3, Omega-6, protein, lutein and of course many more things your body and baby needs.

Eggs can be scrambled, poached, fried (try a high-heat tolorant oil), baked, soft boiled, hard boiled, deviled....  Add them to a sprouted-grain blend pancake with nut butter and fruit on top.  Add them to a stir fry for texture and flavor.  Put them on a salad.  Pair them with a cup of nettle tea and some fresh fruit.  Put apple sauce on them.  Eat them, love them, share them with your baby's placenta, amniotic sac, and eye health.

Not all eggs are built the same, so be choosy when you can.  Free range eggs (not the same as cage free or organic) provide chickens with the most natural-based living environment to graze on wild edibles both plant and insect-based.  These chickens will be healthier and their eggs will be more nourishing.  In many areas, purchasing a few laying hens for the duration of your pregnancy will prove to be valuable (especially if you've seen the cost of free range eggs at the store).  Befriend a local farmer or find your market for fresh free-range eggs (be sure to ask about their living and eating conditions to be sure).

Fish - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Fish is a great source of protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids.  Your body needs healthy fats.  Your brain needs healthy fats.  Your digestive system eats healthy fats.  In fact, as you start digesting healthy fats, oxytocin is released in higher amounts than if you eat meals without healthy fats.  Score one for the spontaneous labor team!

Stick to the smaller sized fish to avoid high levels of mercury.  But, if fish sticks are all you've got, add them.  Fish is great seasoned in a taco, added to a rice and veggie casserole, or grilled with some seasonal veggies.

Rainbow Salad - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Get all your colors.  Pick whatever fruits you have available to you each week that touch all the colors of the rainbow, and prep a salad as soon as you get home from the grocery store, put it in a glass container, and pop it in the refrigerator.  Yes, fresh picked and uncut fruit is going to be better - but pre-prepped likely means you'll eat more of it.  Do what works.

The colors of your food come from the phytonutrients and other constituents contained in that food.  A lot of food has a little of many of the other colors phytonutrients, but the main color you see will be the main phytonutrient you're consuming.

Red - Pomogranate, Cherries, Grapefruit

Lycopene, Anthocyanidins...etc - Urinary System, Cardiovascular System

Orange/Yellow - Squash, Mango, Citrus

Beta-carotene, lutein...etc. - Immune system, Visual system, Cell Growth

Green - Dark Leafy greens, Kiwi, Avacado

Isoflavones, chlorophyll...etc. - Liver, Kidney & Digestive System, Cardiovascular System

Blue/Indigo/Violet - Eggplant, Blueberries, Blackberries

Resveratrol, Anthocyanidins, Flavonoids - Brain Health, Cardiovascular System

This is just the tip of the iceberg with the nutrients these food color groups contain, but all whole colored foods are vital to whole body health - even the whites, though most are getting many white foods.  Vary your selection, too.  Add variety to not only the types of colored foods you're selecting, but the species within those same food choices that might not be available at just one grocery store.  Mixing these colors up into a salad gives you a quick snack or lunch side.

Avacado - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Avacado is an easy source for healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and many more.

Avacados can be sliced on a salad or sandwich, seasoned with any seasoning of your choice, blended into guacamole, mixed into some amazing chicken salad, or added to a smoothie.  Remember the importance of healthy fats for digestion, smooth bowel function, brain health, and a boost of oxytocin.

Sprouted Lentils - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy

Lentils are a great plant-based protein as well as high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Omega-3, and Omega-6.

While lentils are low in phytic acid when compared to other legumes, lentil digestion and bioavialabilty can still be improved by soaking and then sprouting before consuming.  However, lentils cook super fast, so even if sprouting isn't an option now and then, you don't have to wait hours to enjoy their creamy texture.

Lentils go great in just about any soup or stew.  They're also a great addition to tacos, blended into a dip, or sprinkled on a salad.  You may even enjoy them like cream of wheat in the morning with some cinnamon and raisins or pressed into a patty and grilled for lentil burgers.

 

Now you have six foods to add to your meal planning calendar to play around with and turn them into a new healthy routine.  How will you enjoy them?

Healthy eating isn't always easy when it comes to all the new trendy diet plans.  It seems like the only options are elimination, pre-mixed shakes and caffeine, or counting calories.  None of these options are very practical to get someone started for a life-long habit of wholesome selections that don't deplete the body in some other way.  Let's look at the Esali Birth Simple Portions perspective for some insight.

What are Wholesome Foods?

Wholesome foods should nourish your mind and body for short and long term.  They should not deplete the systems and they should leave you feeling satisfied and emotionally content.  They may not be a quick solution, but they are the only reasonable long-term solution.

Simple Portions is a quick way to look at your plate and balance your foods.  Once you start selecting balanced snacks and meals, it is a lot easier to start making those balanced selections come from a more nutritious food market.  For many, adding in healthy choices is easier than taking away healthy choices - so rather than start eliminating, let's just start replacing the foods you love with better homemade options and start adding in things you may not be getting enough of, like dark leafy greens.

Simple Portions will have hydration, healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and approximately:

  • 1/4 dark leafy Greens
  • 1/4 Other colorful vegetables and fruit
  • 1/4 whole proteins, bone stocks, broths, sprouted legumes...etc.
  • 1/4 sprouted grains and legumes

If you look outside, you will see sources for each of these in every season.  Let's take our cue from nature.  Thinking of this, we see seasonal choices for every type of food from meat and grains to vegetables and fruits.  We never see mass amounts of food in abundance that would allow the high levels of processed foods of the same kind in our diet.  Many allergens are caused from excessive use.  Work toward a seasonal varied diet.

Crunchy Granola

It wouldn't be a wholesome blog without a granola recipe, right?!  This is my family's favorite lightly sweetened (no sugar) granola.

  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Fruit

Melt the honey and butter together.  Pour over the oats and toss until coated.  Layer the oat mixture on a stone pan and bake at 350 deg. for about an hour - stirring every 10 minutes until oats become a golden brown color.  Cool and then mix in remaining ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes: ~15 Servings

Simple Portions: Healthy fats, whole proteins, colorful fruit.  Pair this with a cup of red raspberry and nettle leaf tea for hydration and balance.

This granola is great on its own.  Lovely in a fruit-sweetened parfait.  It also makes a hearty cereal, especially when blended with single-ingredient puffed millet or kamut.  Add any other seeds or nuts you prefer - its the oats, honey, and butter base that makes this crunchy granola wonderful as an alternative to sugar-loaded store packaged items.  Keep this granola as a staple item, and stick it in your nursing bag for easy snacking.  Be sure to grab sprouted ingredients whenever possible for better digestion, increased nutrient profile, and better bio-availability. Also remember seasonal options and rotate some of the ingredients around each time you make it.

 

Lentil Soup

This is another hearty soup to make for the birth team during labor and one for the postpartum doula all your families are sure to love.  I do think you have to appreciate soup to be able to eat something that has a reddish green tone to it when its served, but the flavor is so worth it.  It will feed a crowd, or you'll have leftovers for days.  Lentils are some of the most nutrient-dense and high-protein plant-based foods.

  • 1/2 lb Spicy Italian Sausage OR Mushroom-based Sausage or Burger
  • 2 Cups dried lentils (soak and sprout)
  • Olive Oil
  • 6 Cups Bone Stock
  • 1 Med. Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Ribs Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach, kale or other dark leafy green
  • 5 peeled & pureed large tomatoes (or 15 oz tomato sauce)
  • 1+ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Black Pepper, Basil, Parsley
  • Salt to taste

If you're using Italian sausage, cook this first.  (If your sausage isn't spicy, add an additional 1/2 tsp. to the sausage while you cook it).  On medium heat, add some olive oil to a cast iron dutch oven (or other large pot) and add your cooked sausage, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the onions are clear, stirring often.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer over high heat then reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft.

Makes: ~12-15 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Sprouted Legumes, Dark Leafy Greens, Other Colorful Veggies

This soup will get the blood flowing.  It is so warming, and you really only need a small bowl to go a long way.  Lentils are very filling and have such a fun texture.  You can puree the soup for a smoother feel, but the texture and spice of this soup is really what makes it so wonderful.

 

Avocado Chicken Spread

This spread is a quick addition for leftover chicken that is creamy and garlicky.  Avocados are an amazing healthy fat.

  • 4 pieces grilled chicken tenders, diced or shredded
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, or olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Garlic clove, riced
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lemon or lime juice

Mix all ingredients together with a spritz of lime or lemon juice to help maintain the color a little longer, until avocados are well blended.

Makes: ~4-6 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Other colorful veggie.  Add with a green salad or cup of iced red raspberry leaf and nettle tea for balance.

This spread is great as a dip for snacking or an appetizer, and wonderful in arepas.  It makes a great flavorful addition to any sandwich or on its own in a grilled panini with extra melted cheese.  You'll want to plan to eat this within 1-2 days, even with the citrus juice it won't last long - but a fresh meal is so much better than the preservative-rich alternatives.

 

Looking for more guidance on nutrition?  Register {FREE} on the Esali Birth site and download the nutrition & wellness tracker from the My Journey section along with many other freebie goodies, or contact for a perinatal mentoring and wellness session.

 

 

postpartum anxiety Esali Birth

Postpartum anxiety is an ever growing illness, particularly in western cultures and stemming from western lifestyles that create adrenal fatigue, exhaustion, overload and shutdown.  Due to the nature of our culture, more women experience postpartum anxiety than men, but this is certainly an illness that can be seen in dads and other supportive persons of a new baby, depending on the circumstances.

Most women are seeing western medical providers throughout their pregnancy and postpartum so treatment of postpartum anxiety and depression typically takes a western approach with prescriptions like Zoloft and other anti-depression medications.  For many women, they don't want to take this route (especially as the first approach) and are seeking natural and herbal treatment for postpartum anxiety but may not know who to turn to or have been told this isn't the best approach.

I believe you, Mom, and you, Dad, are intelligent human beings that can make informed decisions.  If you're reading this, you're seeking treatment or being active in seeking help for your condition.  Not all families are lucky enough to know that what they're experiencing as postpartum anxiety and depression is anything other than expected and normal.  We've made western mothers and parents believe they should be able to handle life with a baby, that it is supposed to be exhausting, and that baby blues are expected.  I'm calling B.S.

Baby blues are sometimes the first sign that something is wrong.  A mother and father should be nothing other than happy and fairly rested after they have the baby.  If they're not, and this doesn't quickly change, postpartum anxiety and depression are the next step.  We don't wait until the last straw.  We take a holistic preventative approach and then treat with the first signs of any issue.  The fact that western medicine is typically the treatment, however, makes it all that more difficult to accept help since the prescriptions come with side effects like severe depression and suicidal thoughts, nausea, headache, constipation, insomnia, seizure, hallucinations...  Not really the type of first treatment anyone expects.  So while these medications may have their place and time, there are a world of options moms have for natural treatments with postpartum anxiety and depression as well as baby blues and prevention.

General Prevention & Natural Treatment of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

General wellness is imperative for all prevention and healing of all dis-ease.  You will see these same things repeated over and over and over again throughout Esali Birth.  With these general lifestyle choices, that is often all you need.  "Let thy food be thy medicine" as Hippocrates said - not as a form of treatment, but as a form of prevention.  Your daily (especially long-term) choices allow your body to work well or not.  I know it may not be that easy - but these choices will go along with every single treatment program.  These, of course are pregnancy and breastfeeding compatible.

  • Plan for Support - Prior to birth, plan to have someone, or multiple people, help you so that you (and Dad) can rest for at least 3 weeks.  You will have a wound the size of a small dinner plate that needs to heal after birth where the placenta has detached.  Whether this is someone living in with you or multiple people bringing you meals and planning for cleaning for you, the support and rest will help you heal faster and everyone the ability to sleep more, even if that means multiple naps during the day.
  • Get help with Breastfeeding - If breastfeeding is not easy, it is easy for this to influence happiness, sleep, and postpartum healing.  Breastfeeding should not hurt.  Engorgement is not normal (common, not normal).  Nipple shields are a clear sign something is wrong with the latch.  Tethered Oral Tissues are real (and bodywork and/or tie revisions can help tremendously).  Many medical providers, even with a "lactation consultant" title or training, do not have adequate experience or skill to support long term breastfeeding.  Get help.  If the tips don't start improving things in 24 hours, seek additional help.
  • Tell Your Birth Story - Share your thoughts and feelings and series of events of your labor and birth with someone who will HEAR you, and someone that doesn't try to convince you that "all that matters is a healthy baby."  YOU matter, too.  Your happiness IS your health.  Women desire to share their birth story and being told to supress thoughts (positive or negative) about this life-changing event can lead to significant trauma later in life, confidence, and overall depressive natures.
  • Eat Well - Eat adequate greens in all forms multiple times a day.  Eat a rainbow of colors of vegetables and fruits; steam them for maximum nutrient bioavailability.  Eat sprouted legumes, seeds, grains.  Eat minimally processed foods.  Balance your meals with adequate healthy fats, proteins, and carbs.
  • Move Well - Strive for walking a minimum of 1 mile a day and make a goal of an average of 3-10 miles a day prior to birth, and after you've healed postpartum.  This doesn't have to be done all at once and remember it is an overall average.  Take a day of rest, take a day for extra activity, sprinkle in movement and walking here and there.  Add in some calf stretches, bellydancing, hiking, squatting, climbing, hanging, lifting and whatever feels good to get your whole body moving more.  It is the movement throughout the day that allows nutrients to be taken to where it needs to go and hormones to flow well through your body.  Lack of movement means poor sleep as well and that causes more adrenal exhaustion and anxiety.
  • Hydrate Well - Hydration is more than drink more water.  You can drink plenty of water, but without proper nutrients and movement you won't retain the hydration.  Be sure you're getting all your necessary vitaminerals through balanced eating.  Cucumbers added to your water make great electrolyte balance and hydration balance.  Coconut water is another option.  Lemon water (with the organic peel) improves the detoxification system and reduces toxin overload that often contributes to mood disorders
  • Get Sunshine - A minimum of two hours of natural sunshine daily will be more than enough to allow your body to create Vitamin D (for immune support and hormonal balance).  Prison inmates are blessed with two hours of outdoor time daily... I think you can make the choice to achieve that as well and get used to a variety of different weather conditions.  Sure, take it easy sometime - but you'll feel better the more you get outside.
  • Rest - You must get adequate sleep and down time.  Sometimes the postpartum period won't allow full rest (particularly without a lot of real support), so lay down and take it easy for a good 4-6 weeks.  Depression symptoms peak around 4 weeks postpartum (also common after a great birth where mom is so energized she doesn't rest or get support).  Nurse the baby, eat, pee, clean yourself up and don't do anything else.  Seriously.  This time period is when a new mom (and dad, ideally) should be pampered.  We were NOT made to do this alone.  We were NOT made to go back to work at 3 weeks or 6 weeks or 12 weeks after having a baby!!!  I know your circumstances may not support the ideal, so do what you can and get support for the most minimal tasks until you feel rested - as long as it takes.
  • Self Care - You need time for yourself.  As mothers, our postpartum anxiety might begin with believing we are the only one that can care for our baby, particularly if we're breastfeeding.  You need time away from baby, and your significant other, and other kids, and you need time to be with your own thoughts - especially if dealing with postpartum anxiety.  30 minutes a day minimum by yourself to take a bath, write in your journal, interpret your dreams, go for a walk, do a craft, read.  1 hour minimum weekly with other adults that you enjoy being around (strive for this daily).  1 hour minimum weekly with your significant other while no one else is around (strive for this daily).  Your baby will be OK.  Your baby can be brought to you at any time baby needs you - and be sure whomever is caring for your baby at this time understands the importance of that.  The older your baby gets, the easier it will become for others to find soothing methods that will allow you to have your full 30 minutes and more.  Just can't bring yourself to get away?  Then hang out with a group of people with your baby that will also help you care for your baby.  Learn to babywear (and nurse using a carrier) or a stroller.  A big part of this step is doing something for YOU.  Paint, sing, dance, read, take a bath, go shopping, hang out with friends, hike, boat, ski.  Do something YOU love JUST for you - even if it is little bits at a time.  We'll talk more about this throughout this post.
  • Eliminate (or significantly reduce) caffeine, acidic foods, and sugary foods.  All these wreak havoc on the blood glucose, hormonal balance, and hydration levels in the body.  1 cup of coffee or tea may be "fine" daily in western terms, but we're looking at these issues from a more body-supportive approach.  If you're relying on these things to function daily, there are underlying problems.  Some of which are caused by the tannic and acidic nature of the diuretic constituents, fluctuations of blood sugar levels, and suppression of natural energy promoters in the body.  Coffee and black tea (even when decaf and especially when sweeteners and sugars like creamer, sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup...etc. are used) cause significant drops in energy and fatigue for 1-3 days following consumption.  Reduce and then eliminate the consumption of these until they become an occasional treat.  Don't be at their mercy.

For more guidance on general wellness, join the free Esali Birth Prep course valuable for all stages of the childbearing years for happier healthier living.

Chores & Habits for Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

We were not meant to do life alone.  We are social creatures.  Our civilized culture has made us live apart from people and particularly in America we suffer from independence-syndrome where we're so stuck on being independent we lose connection and help.  You can't really have it all, and it's showing strongly in mothers suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression.  Create a true village for yourself as much as possible.  If that village is just your immediate family, you may find herbal support more necessary.  You may find other treatments more necessary.  Unfortunately, that's the downfall of teaching our children to do things on their own as soon as possible... self-soothe, eating solids, sleeping in their own bed (or crib from birth), off to school, off to college, get your own place to live, live isolated/meet brand new people (often move away)... have a baby and other than "letting the doctor take care of you" you're meant to do life without much help.  Sometimes help from people in our culture is more difficult than not getting help, I know that, so use these tips.

  • Hire a Postpartum Doula - Someone that gets life with a new baby, doesn't want to just snuggle the baby (though will if that's what you need), and provides unbiased love and support and house cleaning and errand running and food prep, and pampering and hugs and will leave or come when you need them.  This used to be mom, sister, friend, and mother-in-law - but with our independent nature and strong separation from biological birth and living, we often have to hire these people in our culture.
  • Schedule - Keep a calendar with auto-reminders so you don't have to think so much.  Make habits of putting tasks and calendars on a device you use, be it a journal, your tablet, or your phone.  Connect it with the rest of the family as needed.
  • Be sure your schedule isn't jam packed.  You may know that you don't want to go to the annual Christmas party this year, but you don't have to go to the family dinner or to church or to all these traditions that are taking your energy.  Heal, rest, do what makes sense for you and your family.  Everyone else will get over it.  Even if "they did this when they had a new baby" - a history of doing too much is a precursor to postpartum anxiety and depression in you and your children.
  • Reduce the Laundry - If you work, especially, reduce your clothing options to 2-3 tops, 2-3 complimentary shirts, 2-3 pants, 1-2 shoes plus a few accessories.  Choose all these items with similar colors and patterns to easily mix and match, your accessories can be your wow pieces.  This reduces how much you have to think and how much laundry you have to do.  Same with the rest of the family.  Cycle out your clothes for the season if it helps so you are less likely to have too many dirty clothes at once.  Rewear clothes that actually don't need cleaned.  When your kids can walk, they can help with laundry by at minimum picking up clothes and making sure they go in a basket - make it a game.  The older they get, the more they can do.  My kids (now 9 and 6) have been doing their own laundry for years.  My husband has always done his own laundry.  Yes, we help each other out, but cleaning how is not mom's job even if she's a full-time stay at home mom (particularly during the first 3-6 months and while breastfeeding).  Be realistic and help where it is needed.
  • 15 Minutes of Cleaning - Set a timer (or put on some music) once, twice is better, a day for 15 minutes.  We're looking for that 15 minute indication.  Do whatever you can do in the necessary parts of the house (kitchen, main living space, getting laundry started, bathroom, bedroom).  Pick-up, tidy-up, start a load of dishes, sweep the floor... whatever... for 15 minutes.  You might be amazed how much you can get done when you know you don't need to do it all.  You might be amazed how great your kitchen looks with all the stuff just organized.  These 15 minutes give you motivation to get something done and permission to stop when the timer ends.  If you can't schedule this at a specific time every day and you feel like the only time you have is when the baby is sleeping, do it as soon as the baby goes to sleep - but make a rule that as soon as these 15 minutes are up, you will lay down and rest and try to nap yourself.  You're not trying to host a dinner party, you're just looking for basic function with a space to move around in a little better - its all for sanity.
  • Clean the Kitchen - At minimum, keep your kitchen clean.  If nothing more than making sure you have a clean surface to prep on and clean dishes, make this a priority.  Kids are great at putting dishes away when they're little, scrubbing when they're older, and loading a dishwasher if it is available.  Sometimes, the dishes might not be totally clean, but they're away in the dishwasher and can be easily wiped off for use.  You're more likely to eat healthy when you have a place to prep.
  • Prep Your Meals - Prenatally, use a meal-planning calendar to prepare for your postpartum and stock your freezer with healthy meals that can be heated up when you don't have leftovers or someone bringing a meal.  Prep veggie trays, fruit bowls, healthy snacks, get a salad spinner, make soup and learn to love leftovers (even if they're remade).  Take one day when you have a lot of help, and do as much as you can to prep for the week (or the month).  If you can segment food and freeze it to throw in a pot or crockpot, go for it.  Write down your meal options on a calendar to help with grocery trips and cooking meals (great for dads).  Get your kids to help.  Kids LOVE mixing, chopping, stirring and getting things from the refrigerator and pantry.  My kids help me so much (particularly my youngest) that when I have to prepare a whole meal on my own I'm a little bit lost.  We started them with hook and loop wooden veggie and knife sets, then plastic knives for chopping salads, and watched them carefully with sharper knives at a young age.  Cooking is a life skill that will teach about health, numbers, patience, art, love and social connection.  You can't go wrong.  Have your kids plan the meal if they're old enough.  Even if it's PB&Banana with raw veggies or Spaghetti (with a salad).

Generally, solicit more help for prevention and treatment of postpartum anxiety and depression!  Make a plan to eat an extended family-meal 1-4 times a month. You bring the salad, because it's the easiest (and you know you'll have fresh greens that way) and enjoy someone else's cooking, plus the leftovers to bring home.

Herbal Supplements for Prevention and Natural Treatment of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

A good whole foods and minimally processed supplement can help fill in the gaps.  Esali Herbal Powders, available in the Esali Shop, include the following herbs for daily use as a supplement.  While I am not recommending specific brands, Mega Foods supplements are whole-foods derived and have high quality business practices if you're looking for a more conventional option as well.  These herbs may be used as a supplement during pregnancy or breastfeeding with guidance from an herbal counselor.  Some women are not comfortable taking kelp during pregnancy because of kelp's high iodine levels, however, in the Esali Herbal Powders Thrive blend the overall amount is quite low.  Of course, you also need to be aware of your iodine intake (i.e. if you eat iodonie-fortified table salt then skip the kelp, or switch to a healthier salt source).

  • Nettles (excellent on their own as a tea and soup green as well if you do nothing else - Power Green for hormonal and organ balance, detoxification support, and vitaminerals)
  • Spirulina (Power Green for hormonal and organ balance, detoxification support, and vitaminerals)
  • Chlorella (Power Green for hormonal and organ balance, detoxification support, and vitaminerals)
  • Kelp
  • Shiitake Mushroom
  • Beet Root (Cardiovascular System Health)
  • Cranberry (Urinary & Immune Health)
  • Alfalfa
  • Wheat Grass
  • Barley Grass
  • Oat Straw

Adrenal Supportive Herbs for Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

Most cases of anxiety are related in some form to overstimulation for extended periods.  Sometimes the birth, breastfeeding or postpartum period can be the event that is just too much for a taxed body to handle (even if you had a great pregnancy).  Sometimes hormonal imbalances from various causes (unbalanced diet, processed foods, artificial foods, soda, lack of sleep...etc.) causes anxiety.  In either case, daily adrenal support (tea or tincture - whatever you're more likely to take) can help along with being intentional with your daily tasks.  Adaptogenic herbs, those that help the body to adapt to and rebalance during environmental stress through non-specific activity.  In other words, help your body to work more efficiently without targeting a specific organ.  Adaptogens normalize functions of the body (decrease/increase as needed) to help bring your body back to a state of homeostasis.  They mostly achieve this through improved digestion and detoxification by stimulating the liver's functions of converting glycogen to glucose and increasing blood glucose levels, enhancing the entry of glucose into cells, and improving the usage of glucose within those cells while also normalizing the response to stress by preventing exaggerated stress responses.  While some women are comfortable using adaptogens during pregnancy, it is not widely recommended.  These herbs are fine to use while breastfeeding.

  • Pare down the schedule.  Learn to say, "No" to others and sometimes to yourself.  Listen to your cycle seasons and support your system by scheduling tasks that fit with your hormonal needs.  During postpartum, this means to treat your season like you would during menses.  Relax.
  • If any of your anxiety, unhappiness, or stress is related to communication and parenting, seek alternative parenting methods - Aha Parenting is an excellent website for positive parenting approaches that can really shift the family dynamic and mood for all ages - www.ahaparenting.com
  • Adaptogenic herbs in tea or tincture form (1-3 tincture dropperfuls or cups of tea total per day - I like to start with 1 a day and go from there).  Herbs may include (on their own or as a blend): Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Elethero, or Shatavari (this one particularly for women's hormonal balancing).  There are many adaptogenic herbs, these are some of the most common.

Nervine Supportive Herbs for Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

Nervines are herbs that have a direct action on the nervous system through toning and nutrition or easing tension and creating muscle relaxing effects.  In general, the nervous system always needs supported in any dis-ease, but especially through anxiety and depression illnesses.  Some nervines are better for chronic (daily and regular) use and others for acute (immediate short term use).  You will likely add nervines as a daily therapeutic and keep 1-2 options for those really tough as-needed moments.

Nervines for Daily Routine Use for Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

The following are fine to use during pregnancy (with the exception of Motherwort) and breastfeeding.  1-3 doses daily.

  • Oat Straw/Milky Oat Tops - This demulcent herb gently, but powerfully, nourishes the nervous system.  Excellent for morning or evening use.  Incredibly mild flavor (similar to oats themselves) able to be blended with just about everything.  If you're looking specifically for the calming aspect, you need milky oats - Avena sativa tinctured while in their milky oat stage.
  • Chamomile - Great for tension and stress, particularly when it affects the digestive system.  Great as a before-bed tea (note that steeping it over about 5 minutes will be strong, but it will have a stronger diuretic effect).  Great blended with other herbs.  Can also be infused into an oil for a relaxing muscle rub.
  • Catnip - Makes a great mild-tasting tea with a very gentle relaxing effect particularly for abdominal and digestive tension (very useful for kids).  Great blended with other herbs to enhance the relaxing effects.
  • Lavender - Either the whole herb or the essential oil.  As a daily routine, lavender in a warm bath (not the essential oil unless it is in a diffuser) or on a diffuser necklace, or sniffed directly out of the bottle or bag.  Great as a bedtime routine to support better sleep - particularly when sleep issues are caused from anxiety.
  • Frankincense - The essential oil, especially when used alongside lavender essential oil, can be a wonderful quick-fix for moments where you feel overwhelmed.  I love to just hold both bottles up to my nose and take 3 very long slow deep breaths.  It is effective, quick, and doesn't overuse my oils.  I can do this as often as I'd like to throughout the day, because sometimes it doesn't matter what you do - you have a bad night and need a little pick me up that is nourishing to your body.
  • Motherwort - NOT FOR USE IN PREGNANCY - The mother herb and wonderful for mother-related anxiety and hormonal balancing, for PMS symptoms and other hormonal and mood fluctuations are present and particularly when the heart is concerned or where palpitations are anxiety-related.  This is one of the main ingredients in the Esali Birth Mother Me Tea blend available in the shop (with motivational scrolls for a little extra love and pick-me-up).  Heavy and long-term use may interfere with other cardiac treatments.  It is a mild menstrual-promoter and as such should not be used in pregnancy.  1-4 ml tincture of 1:5 solution in 40% alcohol up to 3x daily or 1-2 teaspoons in 1 cup boiling water steeped 10-15 minutes drank 1-3x daily (this one is bitter - be prepared).
  • Vitamin D3 - Cholecalciferol- OK, Not an herb or a nervine, but necessary if you're not getting enough sunshine.  You'll feel it in your nerves in terms of anxiety and likely cold, flu and other illnesses. (Fortified milk and juice won't cut it and isn't a part of a balanced diet).  Dr. Weil recommends 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily and for a breastfeeding mom 6100 IU/day of Vitamin D3 is enough for mom and her baby.  There is teetering evidence on if any supplementation of Vitamin D works at all, but no matter what, take it with healthy fats because Vitamin D is fat soluable.  You need sunshine daily in all weather conditions (or extra amounts on days if you know you won't be out the next), but supplementation or full spectrum bulbs might be on your next purchase list.  If you're low in Vitamin D, you're likely low in magnesium as well.
  • Magnesium - Oral Chelated Magnesium Glycinate and Topical Magnesium Chloride combination.  This is not an herb or nervine, but likewise necessary for nerve health and if you're not eating a balanced diet (particularly high in wild-harvested green foods) you're likely lacking in this very necessary nutrient responsible for numerous whole body functions.  Magnesium is in many of the tonic and nervine herbs such as Nettles, as well.  For many, topical magnesium is the most readily absorbed.  Flakes in a bath or topical solutions.  If you're low in magnesium, you're likely low in Vitamin D as well.

Nervines for As-Needed Limited Use for Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

* ASTRISK NOTE:  Do not use the herbs noted with an '*' astrisk if you are taking a prescription depression or sedative medication unless under the direction of your care provider.  They can interact and enhance each other - not always the outcome you're seeking.  If pregnant, use these herbs with guidance from an experienced herbalist.

All of the herbs in this section are OK for use while breastfeeding.

  • Lavender - This is included in both sections as lavender can be used daily for general support, and the essential oil is great for in-the-moment anxiety relief by taking three very long deep breaths through your nose directly out of a bottle.
  • *Skullcap - Makes a great mild-tasting tea with a relaxing effect particularly for anxiety and anxiety-related tension.  Great blended with other herbs.
  • *St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum - Great for neuralgic pain and other inflammatory issues (often common with anxiety and depression).  Also useful for injuries to the spine, coccyx, and traumatic shock quite common after modern births, particularly in a hospital or birth center where women usually don't labor instinctively (choosing their own positions for labor and birth) or where birth has been induced or augmented.  A long history of perinatal use for anxiety and depression.  Note, reduction of oral contraception efficacy has been noted.  2-4 ml 3x daily of a 1:5 in 40% alcohol solution or 1-2 teaspoon of dried whole herb infused into 1 cup boiling water (pour over the herb) and steeped 10-15 minutes 1-3 times daily.
  • *Kava-Kava - Not for long term use.  Heavy long term use may cause skin irritation.  Heavy long term use may cause liver issues.  This is best used on a limited as-needed basis.  When you didn't get much sleep the night before.  When you're having a rough day (or week).  It can be used for mild insomnia and depression and in such cases can be used for a longer period.  This is a great tincture to keep on your person (particularly to alternate with Lavender or if lavender only makes you sleepy rather than anxiety reducing).  Kava can be great for hormonal-related anxiety and depression.  No more than 60-120 mg kavalactones 3x daily.  You know a strong tincture when it tastes nasty.
  • *Passion Flower - Passiflora is great as a soother and sedative (often used for insomnia).  Excellent for neurological-related conditions like seizures and Parkinson's disease and other anxiety conditions.  1-4 ml of a 1:5 solution in 40% alcohol about an hour before bed for support while sleeping or up to twice daily for anxiety-related concerns.  Or 1 teaspoon of dried herb infused in 1 cup boiling water (pour over the herb) and steeped for 15 minutes about an hour before bed or up to twice daily.
  • *If you're lacking quality sleep, especially if you think yourself awake, a blend of 2 parts California Poppy, 1 Part Valerian, and 1 Part Passion Flower tincture, 5 mL about 30-60 minutes before you want to go to sleep.  Chill for a while and you'll have a more restful sleep which can really change how you feel during the day.

Now, don't let anyone tell you there are no holistic or natural or herbal options when it comes to postpartum anxiety and depression.  Most of these are lifestyle changes.  Sometimes it can be support with other aspects like sleep support rather than specific herbs for anxiety and depression - it depends on root causes and lifestyle.  Sometimes, it is changing our own perspective and our eating/lifestyle choices that can be the hardest.  Once you do (and do it slowly as needed), you'll feel so much better.  I can't say life will ever be easy, but you'll figure out what works for you and everyone will be healthier for it.

If you're looking for support, get in touch!  I'd love to listen to your story and help you find a specific wellness plan that works for your personal constitution and situation.

Date Sweetened No Bake Cookies Esali Birth

I love food - all of it.  There are things I don't like of course, but I don't discriminate based on savory, sweet, salty, crunchy, gooey, chewey, comforty.... YUMMY food!  I also really don't like processed sugar.  My family started cutting back the sweets and baked goods years ago, and my kids especially don't get many sweets compared to others.  They could literally probably name every piece of candy they've ever had and know which holiday or event it coincided with.  I'm a full time work-at-home-homeschooling mom - I don't do crazy hyper "that's just how they're supposed to act" kids and artificial additives and sugar are the main culprits.  We do lots of outdoor time to, and, well... let's get back to these dates.

Date sweetened recipes are amazing.  Dates have this amazing sweetening ability like the lovely banana.  Dates pack a bigger sugar punch than the banana, and not something I'd over indulge in - but these are going to be one of your favorite sugar replacements because they will give your baked goods such a similar flavor to your normal processed [brown] sugar.  There may be some consistency changes to some of your favorite recipes - but you can pretty much sub dates equally in most recipes.  You may need to adjust your dry ingredients or just expect a little different result in the end.

Nourishment from Date Sweetened Treats

Dates are high in fiber making these treats a great sweet selection during pregnancy to help avoid constipation.  Dates are also high in iron, B-vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Tannins (supportive antioxidant when not in extreme doses), magnesium and so many other main vitamins and minerals that these can make a great option for a natural sweet option.

Making Date Puree for Date Sweetened Treats

Measure the same amount of dates as your recipe calls for.  One cup of dates for one cup of sugar, plus a few extra.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and puree.  For a baked cake, you may want to start with pureeing first and then measuring out the same amount of puree as the recipe calls for and test out a small cake first to see how you like the flavor and consistency.

Date puree can be used for granola bars, nut balls or just simply to spread on toast.

Date Sweetened No-Bake Cookies

No bake cookies have to be one of the most crave-worthy treats.  Not so much because they're the best tasting - but because of their conveniently fast prep and clean-up time.  Within a few minutes of a craving, you can soothe it with a little protein, a little digestive support, and a hint of chocolate.  Unfortunately, they're high in sugar and this is where your date sweetened puree will really shine.  These no bakes won't setup like the traditional candied chocolate no-bake cookies - but they'll hold together well, not runny, and be just as chewy and delicious.  This recipe can easily be doubled to feed a crowd, but I enjoy the small batch that doesn't cause binge-eating reactions.

Date Sweetened No Bake Cookie Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 1/2 Water (you can replace this with any milk choice if you'd like - or add more if you need to when blending the dates and adjust the rolled oats accordingly)
  • 2 Tblsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tblsp Dark Cocoa Powder (or regular cocoa or cacao powder for a milder raw flavor)
  • 1 1/2 C Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 C Natural Unsweetened Nut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Mineral Salt

Yield: 12

Add the water to the dates and puree until smooth.  Add the dates, cocoa powder, milk, and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in the peanut butter and rolled oats.  Spoon out onto a silpat and shape.  Let sit until cool and store in an air-tight container.  Refrigeration recommended.

NOTE: These will not setup like typical no-bake cookies, but will hold their shape.  Alternatively, you can roll the mixture into balls.  You can also omit the butter and just mix everything together after pureeing the dates adding - even adding more oats for more of a granola bar consistency.  We're not trying to make candy, so you don't really have to follow the recipe on this one.  Add sprouted seeds for more protein and texture - the possibilities are endless.

 

Date sweetened treats can be a great way of having a guilt-free choice for your sweet tooth craving.  What are your favorite date sweetened recipes?

 

 

Receiving an iron supplement is incredibly common in modern pregnancies.  The intention is that they will prevent prenatal anemia and as such prevent complications of childbirth such as postpartum hemorrhage.  Unfortunately, much of modern obstetrics have totally missed the mark on perinatal health and wellness, especially when it comes to iron supplement options, necessities, and certainly prevention.

Is my iron supplement necessary during pregnancy?

Your body only contains around 3-5 grams of iron and it is said that pregnant women need to consume approximately 30 mg daily of iron to retain this amount.  Though, this doesn't really tell us what type of iron is helpful or how to obtain this much.

Let's think about this for a minute in a very simple way:

  • Are you taking a prenatal vitamin that contains iron?
  • Are you eating processed fortified foods like bread, cereal, granola bars, or anything in a package or bottle?

Hmmmmm... that might at least get you started deciding, maybe not if your iron supplement is necessary but if the ones you're already taking are working.

Now, let me ask you another question... Are you eating a lot of iron-rich foods?  We'll get to that in a minute.  First, let's explore iron's role in the pregnant body.

Iron is responsible for, but not limited to, the following biological processes:

  • Red blood cell production
  • Being a part of hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells) to bind to oxygen to transport from the lungs to body cells
  • Binding to carbon dioxide to transport to the lungs for exhaling
  • Converting blood sugar to energy

Basically, iron is pretty important to whole body function, but let's think about this a little more.

Total blood volume increases by around 60-70% of the normal blood volume prior to pregnancy.  During pregnancy, however, this is not just red blood cells, but mostly plasma.  Red blood cells for the mom carry oxygen for the mom (gestating baby creates their own).  Red blood cells increase around 18% of the normal blood volume to accommodate the mom's organ changes (especially the skin, kidneys, and uterus) as well as blood loss during and after birth.  The excess plasma allows the red blood cells to "float" and be carried to the necessary cells.  More importantly, plasma is necessary to carry salt, protein and enzymes as well as transport nutrients and hormones to necessary cells - functions crucial to the body, especially with the changes of pregnancy.  In order to filter toxins, nutrients must be quality and hormones must work well for whole body function.  Because of the higher increase of plasma to red blood cells, hematocrit levels should decrease as the pregnancy continues.  The rough numbers are hematocrit (HCT - red blood cells) 33+ and hemoglobin (HGB - amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell) above 11.  Note that a mom that has extra red blood cells with adequate plasma increase as well can handle more blood loss than a mom that isn't increasing her volume.

Because of the higher increase of plasma to red blood cells, hematocrit levels can appear to decrease around the end of the 2nd trimester resulting in a majority of women being prescribed an Rx iron supplement or being told to take some form of iron to increase their red blood cells and being labeled as having pregnancy anemia.  In cases where mom is otherwise healthy and she is eating a well-balanced diet, this higher plasma ratio is ideal and allows mom to secrete fluid through pregnancy and especially through the birth process.  In fact, a hematocrit level that rises throughout pregnancy could indicate complications that your plasma levels are not increasing to an adequate level and you can experience complications such as toxemia or shock, among others.

Pregnancy anemia similarly can cause the same complications as well as intrauterine growth restriction, toxemia/eclampsia, placenta abruption, premature rupture of the membranes or preterm labor, oxygen deprivation, increase in infections, prolonged labor, and postpartum hemorrhage.  Additionally, we have to look at true medical anemia and actual nutritional-related anemia.  A mother with low HCT or HGB levels needs to be considered with her personal increase in blood volume from the beginning of pregnancy as well as the quality of her diet.  As such, and most importantly, we have to remember that hematocrit and hemoglobin are not specifically iron, and as such we have to realize that low iron isn't always, or usually, the case of low hemoglobin levels which we'll discuss more in the Preventing Iron Supplement Needs in Pregnancy.

Types of Iron and Iron Supplements

If you're prescribed an iron supplement, determining which supplement to take is important after you've determined if they're necessary.  Let's look at the types of iron we get from food and what the supplements are doing to recreate that.

Heme Iron - This is iron that is from the hemoglobin found in animal foods.  You don't need a lot of meat to get a lot of iron from this source.

Non-Heme Iron - This is iron found in plant-based foods.  You need more plant-based foods to absorb more iron from this source.

Heme iron makes up for about 1/3 of dietary iron intake; however, in the United States, approximately 50% of iron intake is actually from iron-fortified foods.  What this really means is, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is significantly lacking in real whole plant-based foods which may have a better overall effect on blood levels...

While it is said to be easier to absorb heme iron, this type of iron can increase oxidative stress and is a part of foods that can be more difficult to digest.  Simply eating a lot of steak isn't the best nutritional choice we can make for preventing toxemia and pregnancy-related conditions.  Likewise, our body will only regulate the amount of iron intake from non-heme iron, further supporting a mostly plant-based lifestyle.  If we eat a high-meat diet, this iron is not regulated in the body and the excess heme iron can cause many of the complications it is trying to prevent as well as neurological conditions similar to most heavy-metal excess complications.

The most common types of supplemental iron are ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate (ferrous meaning elemental iron and more easily absorbed than ferric citrate).   Ferrous gluconate is water-soluble and assumed to be better absorbed than ferrous sulfate.  Ferric citrate is not absorbed well by the body at all.  All supplemental iron forms tend to be very constipating, increasingly so in pregnancy due to other factors such as compressed digestive tract and possible dietary concerns.

Preventing Iron Supplement Needs in Pregnancy

Reduce your toxin load - The ability to increase blood levels is linked to the body's ability to metabolize nutrients and remove toxins from the body.  The spleen is also responsible for creating blood cells as well as immune function and it isn't a coincidince that women having difficulty with blood levels also have difficulty with infections (UTI and yeast infections being more common one in modern pregnancy) and viruses.

Support detoxification - See previous note and just a little more added here to say that a well-balanced diet of whole plant-based foods supports detoxification.  Adequate sleep also supports detoxification as this is when the liver does most of its work.

Increase your green and body-cleansing foods, including herbal teas - This goes along the same lines as detoxification and reducing toxins.  The dark leafy greens and all plant-based foods allow all the organs to function at their optimal level.  Likewise, dark leafy greens are great sources of natural iron.  Folate is found in almost all the same foods that iron is found in (dark leafy greens being one of the main sources) and low folate levels will mimic anemia symptoms so be sure you're not actually low on quality foods and folate before reaching for a possibly unnecessary supplement.  Folate is typically seen as the supplement folic acid, but don't be fooled - natural folate is digested differently and works differently than the synthetic form (folic acid).  You need folate to create new cells, including blood cells, so your anemia may be caused by a lack of greens and other folate-rich foods.  Nettles and Red Raspberry Leaf are some of the best tonic (nutrient-rich) herbal teas and herbal foods to consume during pregnancy (and for the whole family).

Heal your gut - The ability to avoid inflammation and absorb nutrients heavily relies on a healthy gut.  Reduce inflammatory foods like excess of anything and mono diets and be sure to eat soothing to the digestive system foods like bone broths, marshmallow root tea, and herbs like nettles.  Take a probiotic if necessary and reduce or eliminate sugar (something that messes with blood sugar levels and causes immediate inflammation).

Support digestion & eat well-balanced meals - If you eat meat, pair it well to maximize digestion.  Meat takes a long time to digest so avoid high levels in the evenings.  Add acidic foods with your meat (like steak and pineapple) to maximize digestion.  Overall, eat all the colors of the rainbow for all the body's vital nutrients and be sure to get enough plant-based foods.  The vitamin c in these acidic foods helps iron to be absorbed also.  Reduce or eliminate diary, black tea, and coffee (even decaf), especially when eating iron rich foods or taking an iron supplement as the calcium can inhibit the absorption of iron.  Remember that beans and legumes need to be sprouted for maximum digestion.

Iron Supplement Alternatives

Excluding medical anemia, most pregnancy anemias are dietary and lifestyle related.  Here are some options for adding additional iron into your diet above the prevention and treatment actions previously listed.

  • Floradix - This is a mostly plant-based iron supplement with the addition of ferrous gluconate that tends to be a little easier on the stomach.  Of course, eating adequate dark leafy greens in your lifestyle would increase what floradix is doing without the added ferrous gluconate, though some prefer this concentrated option and Rx alternative.
  • Chlorophyll - Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants and due in part to its similar molecular structure to heme (part of the hemoglobin structure) and has the ability to increase hemoglobin.  It also helps improve digestion and detoxification among many other benefits (though for some the concentrated amount stimulates the bowels too much and causes regular discomfort).  Of course, eating adequate dark leafy greens in your lifestyle would increase chlorophyll without the concentrated form, though some prefer this concentrated option.
  • Cast Iron Cooking - Cooking with cast iron is shown to increase the iron absorbed into the body.
  • Vitamin C Regimen - Vitamin C supplements, though containing their own set of risks, helps dietary iron to be absorbed.
  • Vitamin B12 Regimen - Vitamin B12 is necessary for red blood cell creation and found in animal foods, including eggs.
  • Vitamin B6 Regimen - Vitamin B6 is necessary for blood cell creation and found in animal foods and starchy vegetables.

Food Sources of Iron

Supplement or not, a varied diet is important to obtaining the nutrients the body desires for whole body function.  Here is a list of food sources of iron:

Heme Iron Food Sources

  • Grass-Fed Meat
  • Fish
  • Pasture-Raised Poultry
  • Liver
  • Eggs from Pasture-Raised Poultry
  • Liver, Bone & Vegetables combined into a hearty soup or base stock

Non-Heme Iron Food Sources

  • Dark Leafy Greens (Nettles, Red Raspberry Leaf, Kale, Spinach, Chard, Broccoli/Broccoli Greens, Turnip Greens...etc.)
  • Sprouted Legumes
  • Sprouted Beans
  • Peas, green beans, peppers, rice.... plants properly prepared!

 

 

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