Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Holistic Pregnancy

One of my most favorite memories is being pregnant with my son.  I felt incredible and lord knows, pregnancy hormones are pretty spectacular.  My goal was to have a natural childbirth without an epidural, and I was very blessed that I was able to achieve that goal.  That doesn't mean this is the best option for everyone, and sometimes, things just don't go as we planned.

I actually think that is one of the reasons we go through pregnancy.  To learn there are things beyond our control and to just trust God. Because life is about to get even more unpredictable with a new baby.

I also think pregnancy is meant to teach women to relax.  Take extra good care of yourself.  Be super mindful of what you put in your body. Slow down.

Hard lessons for women to swallow at any given time, especially the working mom or mom with multiple kids. But good lessons for us to prepare for motherhood and an expanding family  

Mishaps can happen along the way for the pregnant mom, and thats okay.  There are plenty of holistic solutions available for you to give a try for whatever ails you!  

In my opinion, these are the most important items to assist with a holistic pregnancy and natural childbirth:

1) Care about what you put in and on your body.  What you choose to eat is sooooo important.  Choose organic when possible and non-gmo.  There are have been no long-term studies on the effects GMOs have on the body, so this is especially important for a growing fetus.  Find a prenatal with methylated folate and methylcobalamin (B12) because these are best absorbed by the body. Folic acid is a synthetic ingredient that does not even cross to the placenta. Find foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, DHA, choline, biotin, glycine, sulfur and saturated fats.  These foods are excellent for supporting a healthy pregnancy (taken from The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon).  While treats are definitely ok, I can guarantee your baby is not craving pints of ice cream each week. Thats all on you girlfriend :)

Remove the toxins in your environment. Let me give it to you straight.  Women usually put on 80 chemicals before 8 AM and 300 by the end of the day.  How?  By placing chemical and paraben-filled makeup, lipsticks, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, lotions and you name it.  Where do you think all those things go?  Yes, your skin.  But then it gets absorbed...into your body.  I see a lot of people advertising "clean" brands out there, and they simply aren't.  We personally use Young Living in our home, because it is affordable and has multiple benefits to our health.

Don't forget your toothpaste either.  Most every toothpaste has triclosan, SLS, flouride and carrageenan in them which is just frightening.  Fluoride is an established neurotoxin and has possible devastating effects on the fetal brain.  Check out this article with some specifics: http://fluoridealert.org/studies/brain05_/folks. Don't worry there are plenty of great alternatives! Taking care of your teeth is so important because each tooth in your mouth has a meridian point, meaning it is connected to different organs, glands and tissues in the body. 


Here is a great article regarding chemicals and infertility: http://globalivf.com/2017/04/17/chemicals-in-cosmetics-can-cause-infertility/

I also find the Better Baby Book by Lana Asprey to be so helpful about this topic.  



2) Exercise!  Regular activity is super important for a healthy pregnancy, and this looks different for each female.  What is important is to listen to your body!  Yoga, gardening and any other activities that require squatting are excellent support for labor.  Swimming is also awesome because it strengthens breathing and relieves pressure on the abdomen.  If you are trying to avoid chlorine (which is optimal if possible), then swimming in the ocean or a salt water-treated swimming pool is an excellent option!

Don't forget sex, sex, and more sex.  Now your hubby is paying attention to this post :) But seriously, regular sex during pregnancy has been shown in studies to significantly decrease the chance of preeclampsia in pregnancy. It also stimulates labor. 



3) Essential Oils: We use Young Living, which uses organic seeds, has public farms, does not use land that is chemically treated, and is exceptional quality.  It is the only brand with a Seed to Seal promise. Essential oils were a mainstay during my pregnancy to maintain a natural pregnancy.  I used peppermint and ginger oil for morning sickness, and Progessence plus serum gives wonderful progesterone support, which is so important, because healthy progesterone levels prevent miscarriage and support a healthy pregnancy. Clary Sage helps support active labor, and frankincense helps support labor and a healthy pregnancy.  You can drink Ningxia Red everyday- one shot has the equivalent of the vitamin c of 150 strawberries, the vitamin k of 260 tomatoes, the magnesium of 45500 raw almonds, the folate of 70 onions, the pantothenic acid of 120 broccoli heads, the iron of 100 bunches of spinach, the vitamin b6 of 45 carrots, the vitamin A of 45 apples, the vitamin c and folate of 200 oranges, the manganese of 1600 blueberries and finally 100 grams of the most antioxidant-rich food goji berry! My family drinks 1-2 ounces twice daily!



4) De-stress. Too much stress during pregnancy can use up vital nutritional stores, especially Vitamin A.  In addition, worry and stress during pregnancy can be very hard on the adrenal glands, leading to adrenal fatigue in both mother and baby (what I most commonly see postpartum in women). Having a well rounded B complex supplement is important.

Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and set boundaries.  Avoid if possible moving homes, launching new businesses, accepting challenging assignments.  Look, I was still in grad school, so I get it that this is challenging. So accept what you can't change, and modify what you can.  I relinquished extra commitments and felt so much freedom.  Also, I felt like I could focus more on my son and preparing for childbirth.  Pregnancy is an empowering time for women, and is a wonderful time to honor your own needs, and of course, ask for help when needed.

I encourage my pregnant patients to get regular pregnancy massage and chiropractic adjustments.  This provides excellent support for the body and relaxes the muscles you need to give birth. 

5) Elect for less Ultrasounds.  This is definitely something I wish I knew when I was pregnant round #1.  Research has shown that mother who had received multiple ultrasound treatments gave birth to lower weight babies.  In fact, in 1993, a large study on ultrasound found that routine ultrasound provided no benefit for mothers or babies in terms of pregnancy outcome.  Ultrasound did not reduce the number of infant or maternal deaths nor lead to better care for the newborn, but it did expose families to increased risk and cost.

In 1993, the FDA approved an eight-fold increase to the potential acoustical output of ultrasound equipment, greatly increasing the possibility of overheating and negative effects on the fetus.  Unfortunately, we have no studies to examine the effects of this imaging on babies short or long-term.    I suggest working with a midwife, doula, or birthing center, to better gauge how many ultrasounds you truly need for a SAFE and healthy pregnancy. 

6) Ditch the glucola drink.  What? Yes, women, you have other options.  I am so glad I found out from a friend that you can request an alternative.  The current glucola drink is filled with chemicals, dyes, and fillers.  My OB was super supportive of natural alternatives and allowed me to select organic apple juice for my alternative.  One just needs to find something with the equivalent of 50 sugars that needs to be consumed in 2 minutes or less.  I found Whole Foods had organic apple juice (with one ingredient: apple juice!) that has 25 grams of sugar per 6 oz carton.  I easily drank 2 in under 2 minutes to meet my 50 grams requirement.  I was able to avoid that "icky and gross" feeling women have described to me that the glucola drink gives them.



7) Not a fan of formaldehyde, heavy metals or aborted fetal tissue? Take the extra time to learn about vaccine ingredients.  There have been NO studies on vaccines in pregnant women, let alone the fetus. Package inserts tell us "Animal reproduction studies have NOT been conducted with influenza virus vaccine.  It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant women." Yikes!!

I am pro-choice and support safe ingredients, and I encourage other women to do the same.  I recommend 'The Vaccine Book' by Dr. Sears, and this factual you tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHWeJ0f_o3A . This particular series is excellent and is research based, involving dozens of healthcare professionals.

I hope these suggestions help!! The most important concept I have found out of all of these?  To de-stress.  I feel based on the time I have spent with patients, that is the biggest contributor to all sickness and disease.  So I place the most value on that being valued and honored. 

Also, have joy! Pregnancy is a joyous season, a miracle, and such a blessing.  Not every woman gets to be a mother, and it is truly such an incredible occasion   Remember to reach out to other women for support, friendship and community.  No pregnant mom should ever have to feel alone or isolated.  You need a community, grace, and warmth!!  I suggest reaching out to a local mom's group, church, gym or online network to meet other moms who share your same interests and goals.

Enjoy your special miracle.



Blessings,

Lindsay

As always, while I am a healthcare professional, this advice is in no way meant to replace your own doctor's recommendations.  You are welcome to message me for more guidance, or I suggest reaching out to another integrative/holistic healthcare provider or naturopath.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On the day you turned two...

A letter to my son Jace Alexander...

Everything changed the day I had you.  My destiny that I thought I had written was rewritten.

Everything that that I thought I was purposed to do was erased and a better purpose was created.

You were my hero before I met you.  You have taught me to so much about life, love, freedom, peace, and balance.

You have brought smiles to rainy days.

You have brought laughter during hard seasons.

You have brought joy through every trial and challenge.

You are my special miracle, and I am forever blessed to be your mother.

Happy 2nd Birthday <3


Blessed,

Lindsay












Friday, April 28, 2017

So you want to get pregnant?

Look, I have to give a disclaimer here.  I seriously didn't do really any of these things before I got pregnant round #1.  Honestly.  My son was a complete surprise and miracle, and it is amazing how healthy he is considering my health took a downwards turn right before getting pregnant (But I'll talk about in a later post how to keep your child healthy in pregnancy).

So how do I know what I'm talking about? Because I have had to heal from being at death's door, and I help others do that too.  Being a holistic nurse practitioner, Im going to give it to you straight. No fluff.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had already started making changes toward a holistic lifestyle.  I poured into every book on holistic and traditional (how other cultures practice) pregnancy that I could find and learned so much.  It was all in this experience I learned a great deal more about fertility and postpartum health.

It was also during this time that I noticed many of the women around me were struggling to get pregnant.  Most women I knew had adrenal fatigue, autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalance, and other symptoms that were bothersome.  Treating their symptoms with pills didn't fix the problem and often led to more pills.  Many had infertility and miscarriages.  In fact, 1 in 8 women cannot get pregnant.

So let me try and help.  I definitely don't have all the answers, and I never will.  Are these ALL the things you can do?  Absolutely not!  I gather my suggestions and tips from having the experience of working with women, following a Weston A Price model, and aligning myself with integrative and holistic medicine, which will have a profound impact on your body.  I am practicing these tips too, as I am preparing for pregnancy soon, so I will walk right beside you.

Let's get started.

1) Your Diet is Important.  Maybe you already do this, and maybe you don't. But your diet most definitely matters if you are trying to get pregnant.  Eating organic is important because there have been no long-term studies on GMOs and their effect on our bodies long term. One thing we do know about GMOs is that they have an affinity for aluminum and other heavy metals, so if you plan on vaccinating while pregnant or for your child, the more heavy metals in your body, the increase of heavy metals that can cross the blood brain barrier and get to the brain.  So stick to organic foods when possible.  I also cannot emphasize enough the need to skip sugar.  I'm not saying to never enjoy a sweet treat but be mindful of your sugar intake and the type of sugar.  Fruit is wonderful, but foods with GMO sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not doing your body any favors.  In fact, it is very toxic to the cells and is the biggest contributor to chronic disease - more than many other thing.  Be mindful that sugar isn't just in the white powder form either- it's in breads, baked goods, pastas, and most dairy.

I actually go a step further with my patients to recommend a gluten free and dairy free diet (ideally soy free and paleo or a dairy-free ketogenic).  This is because most dairy is not actually true dairy and not from good sources.  It is often filled with sugar and chemicals.  It is well established in research articles (I did my final thesis paper on this topic in grad school) that gluten causes inflammation in the body- some feel that and have symptoms and some don't.  But up to 60% have a sensitivity, and its in my opinion that it should be avoided whenever possible, but especially when you are pregnant.  Extra inflammation in the body can contribute to autoimmune disease, which often presents more difficulties in getting pregnant.

What nourishes your body and cells? Greens, fruit, bone broth, fermented foods, organic/organ meat, nuts fats. There is an endless list of food to choose from. I often have people ask me "What can I eat?" We are blessed to live in a day and age where everything is almost immediately accessible to us.  You can easily find paleo or ketogenic recipes online, order a recipe book from Amazon Prime, or download a cookbook on your phone.  You just need to take the action in doing it.

2) Remove the toxins in your environment. Simple right? But what if I challenged you to open two of your kitchen cabinets or the cupboard below the sink.  What would we find?

Let me give it to you straight.  Women usually put on 80 chemicals before 8 AM and 300 by the end of the day.  How?  By placing chemical and paraben-filled makeup, lipsticks, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, lotions and you name it.  Where do you think all those things go?  Yes, your skin.  But then it gets absorbed...into your body.  I see a lot of people advertising "clean" brands out there, and they simply aren't.  Just enter in the brand or ingredients into EWG.org to see if it's safe.  You will be surprised to find that Tom's, 7th generation and Method (among others) aren't all they are cracked up to be.  We personally use Young Living in our home, because it is affordable and has multiple benefits to our health.

Don't forget your toothpaste either.  Most every toothpaste has triclosan, SLS, flouride and carrageenan in them which is just frightening.  Fluoride is an established neurotoxin folks. Why dentists are still using it I'm not sure, but it is frightening.  All the research is out there- just do a PubMed search.  Don't worry there are plenty of great alternatives! Taking care of your teeth is so important because each tooth in your mouth has a meridian point, meaning it is connected to different organs, glands and tissues in the body.

Here is a great article regarding chemicals and infertility: http://globalivf.com/2017/04/17/chemicals-in-cosmetics-can-cause-infertility/

Find yourself a holistic dentist you does use toxic materials on your body by looking them up at: http://holisticdental.org/find-a-holistic-dentist

3) Make sure your thyroid and progesterone levels are okay.  The adrenals are connected to the thyroid, which is connected to the hormones, which are connected to the adrenals.  Think of it as a triangle.  Everything is interconnected.  Most every woman (and many men) I meet is in adrenal fatigue.  I see it commonly among type A personalities, who tend to work long hours and put too many things on their plate. They ask me:

Why am I "wired but tired?"
Why can't I sleep at night?
Why can't I lose weight?
Why is my hair falling out?
Why do I have no sex drive?

The reason is because you are doing to much, your nutrients are depleted it, you are wearing out your body and you are wearing out your adrenals, thus wearing out your thyroid and hormones.  If these are depleted you will have a VERY hard time getting pregnant or having a healthy pregnancy.

In fact, it is rare for me to see women in their 20s, let alone 30s, with optimal hormone levels. Their DHEA, progesterone, and pregnenolone are often suboptimal and they are estrogen dominant.  Estrogen dominance is common among women today, which often presents with extra fat in your belly and thighs, irregular menstrual cycles, difficult PMS, fibrocystic breasts, brain fog, insomnia, gut issues, and more.  Get rid of the toxins in your home that contain hormone-mimicking chemicals (xenoestrogens) and opt for clean toxin free products (we use the Thieves cleaning line).

You may also need to support your body with progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, hormone supporting herbs (ex. vitex, wild yam extract), or hormone supporting oils.  Make sure to get connected with a naturopath, functional medicine practitioner, or holistic practitioner who can get you connected with the right lab testing and products.  These people are specifically trained to find out the root cause of your symptoms and to assist the body in doing what it was created to do: heal itself.

4) Supplement accordingly.  Frankly, I feel everyone should be on supplements.  Our soil is about a 180 (in a bad way) from what it was 100 years ago and people just don't get enough nutrients in their diet.  It is recommended you start taking a prenatal at least 6 months prior to getting pregnant.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of people wasting time on prenatals their OB gave them.  Don't get me wrong, I love my OB.  But 99% of the time these prenatals are made up of synthetic ingredients, fillers, allergens, you name it.  What's worse is that women truly need folate addressed in their pregnancy, with the prevalence of the MTHFR mutation which is so important to a person's methylation cycle (works on absorption, detoxing and neurotransmitters) and typically, these prenatals at the doctors office and at the supermarket contain folic acid which is synthetic. This synthetic folic acid doesn't even cross over to the placenta and it is poorly utilized by the body.

The best prenatals for women to get contain methylated folate and methylcobalamin. The latter is the most easily digested form of B12.  It is also recommended to include cod liver oil,  (Weston A Price model and several other functional/holistic baby books) Vitamin D (you might need to add Vitamin K to it to better absorb), and to do a detox to really get your lymph system cleaned out and ready for pregnancy.  A healthy lymphatic system that is draining adequately is absolutely essential in order to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.  One simple and affordable way to do this is with daily dry brushing.  Check out this article:  http://natural-fertility-info.com/10-detox-tips.html

For specific brand prenatal recommendations feel free to comment on this post or shoot me a message. You may also consult with your practitioner.

5) Deal with emotional trauma.  You may not know this but emotional trauma and unresolved issues can present themselves as physical symptoms.  It's true.  90% of our brain is unconscious, so all those part hurts, resentment, unforgiveness, strife, disappointment, heartache that you don't deal with?  Yeah, it is still all in your body. And negative thoughts and emotions have a negative frequency on the body and the cells which contributes to inflammation and disease states.

This is REALLY important people.  You must work through these past hurts to heal.  It is crucial.  I can speak for my own testimony that this was really important to my healing and continues to be daily work for me.  Freeing my mind, thus freeing my cells, thus freeing my body.  There are different ways of going about this: working with a counselor, doing EFT (emotional freedom technique), working with a Reiki master and/or energy healer, 3 Hearts Method, Emotional Sweeping, etc.  The best book I have found to provide invaluable assistance with this is by Amy Scher and entitled, "How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can."

I know this all is a lot.  It is very hard work.  But it is worthwhile work.  Doing these things will help you with pregnancy and many other journeys in life to come.  It is my hope that this post might provide you with some ideas you didn't already know or additional suggestions to have success.  I hope it can encourage you and be a blessing.  These are the top 3 books I recommend women reading for more fertility tips:

1) The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon
2) The Better Baby Book by Lana Asprey
3) The Fertility Cure by Dr. Randine Lewis

Most importantly, this blog post is dedicated to my heroes: the women who deal with infertility or who have had miscarriages.  As someone who wanted another child, and despairingly had to wait until my body was healthy to do so again, I can't imagine what you women go through emotionally and that pain.  You are truly amazing women that have incredible testimonies to share.  Don't give up.  Don't quit.  Your blessing is coming <3

Blessings,

Lindsay



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What is Holistic Living ?

Finally sat my ass down to write this.  It's kind of like- where do I start? I have so many things to say, stories to tell. But really I think I need to start very basic. The foundation before getting started with more tales. Before chatting about other topics.  And it really has to do with answering the question,

"What is holistic living?"

I say this because I think many people don't know.  They feel like it is either dogmatic, impractical, or maybe they feel like they can't keep up.  Maybe they feel like they don't understand what it means.  Or maybe they are totally doing it and eager to learn more.

Truly, holistic living means something different for all of us, but before I start writing, it is important I share what it means to me.  For me, holistic living has saved my life many times over.  For me, holistic living has saved most of my patients, family, and friends heartache, sadness, and has improved their health in mind, body and spirit.

So to be holistic, you must be open-minded.  That is just basic.  If you can't, then you aren't ready.  If you rather follow a system that is narrow-minded and does not encompass mind, body, and spirit, then you aren't ready.  And that is fine too.  You have the freedom to be ready in your own timing.  And you don't have to have all your shit together.

I never have, and I probably never will.  But that is part of being holistic.  It is loving on yourself, through good times and bad.  It is respecting your body and all that it accomplishes everyday.  It is being kind with your words, because your body...and your cells...hear you.

So no I was not born and bred this way.  My nurse practitioner textbooks barely uttered a couple works about nutrition, and there was no mention of holistic remedies.  But that is ok too. Because everything holistic could never fit in one pharmacology textbook.  It could never fit in a whole library!

See, you need to know there are other ways to heal.  I promise.  See, I have in the past experienced almost every symptom imaginable, so I can empathize with you and I'm also not going to BS you.  I don't have the time nor the interest.  But you need to understand that just because you have been experiencing a symptom(s), been given a prognosis, are living an experience- this doesn't define you. You need to know that there is a way out.  But you have to be willing to look at the root of issues and not place a facade over it.  You have to be willing to do the hard work...the emotional, the mental, the physical, the spiritual.  Because to be completely whole, you must acknowledge all the parts.

The philosophical definition of holistic means "comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole."  So see, there are many parts to you, to all of us.  We are all connected in some way too.  And by acknowledging all these parts, we can be whole.

And isn't what that is all about? Being whole?  To be able to live to the fullest, to have our children and families live their very best?  I am willing to do whatever it takes, and I hope you are too.

So let's go on this journey together and be willing to be kind to each other, respect one another and be open-minded. Holistic living.

Blessed,
Lindsay




Monday, April 3, 2017

Welcome to Holistic Living!!

I am soooooooo ecstatic to announce that my blog is getting a facelift and will be NEW and IMPROVED just for you- my readers and friends.

My life has been a bunch of crazy twists and turns to lead up to this moment and this season. I am truly so blessed to have had the experiences I have had because it equips me to help others. An opportunity I will never take for granted!

I am an integrative nurse practitioner who loves everything holistic, and I especially
love working with women and pediatric patients!! Holistic medicine looks at not covering up symptoms and diseases with a medication and/or a bandaid, but, rather, looks at the root cause. It has been my experience that when one address the physical and emotional underlying factors of disease, one can heal.

I can't wait to discuss the following topics with you over the next few weeks- and please, please, please let me know what you want me to chat about!  These are the topics I have in store so far for the next month:

1) Autism & ADHD

2) Infertility, fertility and health pregnancy

3) Baby Health

4) Energy Healing

5) Hormonal Imbalance in Men & Women

Can't wait to share with you. Always know, you never have to settle for not feeling GREAT. And your kids don't either. Our bodies are superior to any other animal on Earth, and we have the capacity and capability of healing <3

Blessed,

Lindsay, ARNP


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