Ladies, you know I’m a Nutritionist and that I believe food is medicine. If you’ve worked with me in my clinic or been following me for a while, you also know that I work holistically – I have a deep understanding that all of our body systems work together – because we are beautifully complex beings! This is why I always discuss stress management, sleep and movement with my clients – not just diet. Because it’s all related – wellness will never be one thing in isolation. You can’t eat your way out of a stressed body, no matter how healthy the food. Likewise, you certainly can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. And sleep? Well, she is the goddess that sits at the top of the pyramid, without her, your body will not function optimally, no matter what.
There are so many wonderful tools we can add to our personal health-kit (honorable mention to meditation and sun shine!) but what I’m really immersing myself in at the moment is essential oils. Oh baby, every single women needs these in her life!
My story (the short version)
Ok so here’s the deal. I’ve been personally using essential oils for over 5 years now, but in the past I’ve had a negative mindset around the whole “network marketing” thing, and so I haven’t been sharing them. For those of you who aren’t familiar with doTERRA, they’re a network marketing company – if you purchase these oils through me, I make a small commission. And this is what turns some people off, including me. Thats why I wasn’t sharing.
But thankfully, after a few loving conversations with friends and mentors, I realised I needed to get over myself (yes really!) and in February this year, I joined doTERRA as a Wellness Advocate. From the moment I made that decision, its been onwards and upwards with an abundant mindset! We all need to make money right? doTERRA allows me to do that in a way that feels really good to me. I’m sharing a product I really believe in and love. I’m helping people by educating them and introducing them to something that really has the ability to change their life! Just like Tara did for me, when she introduced me to doTERRA. I trust that the right people will see there is true integrity behind my words and I’m more than ok with the judgement that might come with being a Network Marketer. Everyone has the right to their opinion. Mine changed back in Feb and I’m so bloody grateful for that!
I realised it was crazy for me NOT to share these amazing gifts that Mother Natures has given us. I mean, why would I not advocate something I personally love and know to be incredibly beneficial in so many areas – emotions, digestion, skin care, mood, home cleaning, cellular health, detoxification, home remedies, safe + natural alternatives to just about everything! The list goes on…. so yeah, here I am lovingly sharing an AMAZING product with you today.
The 3-min run down of what an essential oil is
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds (fancy jargon meaning small molecules that easily become vapours or gases) that are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Yep, they are 100% natural and straight from our beautiful Mother Nature!
Essential oils are what give plants their distinctive smells, they protect plants and play a role in plant pollination.
They have a very long history of use when it comes to healing the body – they’re a safe, effective and affordable alternative to synthetic remedies – yes please.
These pure plant extract as highly concentrated. 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea!
They contain 100’s of natural compounds with many health + healing properties
No side effects and safe for the whole family.
Why doTERRA and how I use the oils
If you’re intrigued and want a little more info, I’ve put together all the basics for you right here. Have a read and then if it feels right, get in contact with me. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions (I know I had a lot when I was first learning about doTERRA!) Maybe you’re open to me sending you a few sample in the mail? I’d love to!
I’m going to be sharing a lot more about these oils in the future but for now, I just wanted to tell you why I became a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. So, now you know darling 🙂
A side benefit (you know, the opposite to a side effect!)
When I brought these oils into my business, I never expected to be collaborating with so many like-minded, beautiful and supportive people. The community is my favourite part of this oily journey so far. If you’re interested in collaborating with me to build your own abundant business, click here
I’m a Nutritionist so I understand the incredibly important impact that diet has on fertility. But today I want to discuss something I believe to be even more important than diet. Stress.
Ladies, we are all so willing to make changes to our schedule to ensure we can exercise more often or for longer, we’re willing to spend big bucks on the latest fertility enhancing vitamins or herbal products and we are forever thinking about healthy food choices, yet we don’t give stress a second thought. Or worse, we glaze over at the mention of it. If this is you, let me assure you that this blog post is the exact thing you need to be reading!
I personally love to dive deep into emotional wellness, it’s a rabbit hole for me and I could easily write about it for hours. It may not be my area of expertise but I have done a lot of reading on it, I’ve listened to countless experts talking on the topic and most importantly, I have done the work in my own life – I’ve put what I have learnt into practice and I know it works. In fact, stress management has changed my life.
For those of you who think stress is just woo-woo talk, I’m going to explain the science behind it. But before I go there, I need you to understand this:
The body is primitive and cannot differentiate between different kinds of stress. It doesn’t matter if you have an important presentation at work, you have 3 overdue bills or you’re crying in front of the mirror because you’ve put on 10kgs. Our body just sees this as STRESS and it produces cortisol to deal with it which puts us into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
The human stress response – The pregnenolone steal pathway
Let me give it to you in a nutshell:
When we’re stressed our adrenal glands produce cortisol which is the bodies main stress hormone, as well as adrenaline. You would have felt the effects of these hormones before – they raise our blood sugar, increase our heart rate, heighten our senses etc etc which allow us to be ready for ‘fight or flight’.
If we are in a state of prolonged stress (ie if we drag ourselves out of bed 5 days a week to go to job that makes us feel miserable) then our body is constantly producing cortisol.
To produce cortisol, the body uses a hormone-precursor called pregnenolone. This precursor is required to make both our stress hormones AND our sex hormones.
Our body will always prioritise the production of stress hormones over sex hormones because remember, the body is primitive and its main focus is always survival, not baby making (or digestion for that matter)
Constant cortisol production means less supply of pregnenolone (the master hormone precursor) for producing sex hormones.
If the body can’t support sex hormone production, we can’t make babies.
So, as you can see, the Pregnonelone Steal Pathway shows us that eliminating or managing our stress is incredibly important for fertility. It doesn’t matter if you have everything else in order; if you’re not managing your stress, you’ll struggle to fall pregnant. If you’re not dealing with the stresses in your life, please make this an absolute priority. Starting today, darling.
So, you’re ready to conceive a baby? Congratulations! Seems it’s time to start preparing your body for the 40 weeks following conception and give your little one the best possible start in life. You might be wondering when you should start supplementing folic acid into your care regime, how long to take it, in what amount, and why this is so important. Below you’ll find my all-inclusive guide to prenatal folic acid.
First, What’s the Difference Between Folate and Folic Acid?
Before you start down this journey of prenatal care, it’s important to understand the difference between folate and folic acid, which are commonly believed to be the same compound. But they’re not! Folate is an organic group of water-soluble b-vitamins (various tetrahydrofolate derivatives) known as B9. Folate can be found, naturally occurring, in green leafy vegetables and other whole foods. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the common term used to describe the synthetic compound (pteroylmonoglutamic acid) used in dietary supplements and in food fortification. A simple way to look at it is that folate occurs naturally while folic acid does not.
Why is This Nutrient Particularly Important for Women Trying to Conceive?
If you don’t have enough folate while trying to conceive and during early pregnancy, the outcome can be very detrimental to your babies health. B9 deficiency is linked to anaemia, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in early embryo development. The most common NTD (with an overwhelming amount of research linking this condition to a lack of dietary folate during pregnancy) is spina bifida. To ensure that your unborn child has everything it needs to thrive, getting twice the normal intake of B9 is crucial immediately before pregnancy.
How the Body Processes Folate vs Folic Acid
Folate is metabolized to THF in the lining of the small intestine, after which it can be utilised by the body. Folic acid is different. It must be processed in the liver where an enzyme called ‘dihydrofolate reductase’ converts it to THF. Unfortunately, this enzyme isn’t very efficient. This combined with the unnaturally high intake of folic acid (due to fortification and supplements) means that some folic acid doesn’t get converted to THF and enters our blood stream as unmetabolised folic acid. This is where the problem lies.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Folic Acid Supplements and Fortification
Australia, along with other countries around the world, has mandated folic acid food fortification in all flours and breads (other than that labelled “organic” or those not containing wheat flour). Many breakfast cereal manufacturers opted-in, voluntarily, to enrich their products with folic acid and use this as a selling point. This happened because NTDs can occur during the early stages of pregnancy, before a woman even knows that she has conceived. Since the introduction of fortification, the amount of NTDs has decreased. This is great news but unfortunately the risks associated with overconsumption of the synthetic version of B9 compounds, are very rarely discussed and often overshadowed by clever marketing.
The potential side effects of folic acid include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behavioural changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, excitability, and an increased risk of heart attack and cancer. Getting too high a dose can pose serious health threats. For this reason I recommend eating real foods as your first option, because you avoid the risks and reap the benefits of cofactors not included in supplements. Remember that Mother Nature is smarter than us!
What Are Some Whole Food Sources & How Much Do You Need?
Below are 7 excellent real food sources of folate. Increase your intake of these foods to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts. A healthy adult requires 400 mcg, and a pregnant woman should aim for 800-1200 mcg daily.
Lentils: 1 cup = 358.38 mcg, 45% DV
Asparagus: 1 cup = 268.20 mcg, 33.5% DV
Spinach: 1 cup = 262.80 mcg, 33.3% DV
Turnip Greens: 1 cup = 169.92 mcg, 21% DV
Broccoli: 1 cup = 168.48 mcg, 21% DV
Beets: 1 cup = 136 mcg, 17% DV
Romaine Lettuce: 2 cups = 127.84 mcg, 16% DV
The daily value (DV) percentages above are based on an 800 mcg dietary intake – the amount needed during pregnancy.
What About Folate Supplements?
Ladies, I know how you work; you want to know about supplements (i.e. the easy route) right? First, a disclaimer: if you do choose to take prenatal supplements, check the label to ensure that you’re supplementing with real folate, NOT folic acid. The below information IS NOT a prescription, its a guide. Here are some options to consider:
Frequently Asked Questions About Folate by Mothers-to-Be
Anyone who has decided to conceive is excited, and should be able to rest easy knowing that they are doing everything they can to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a happy baby. Here’s what mothers are asking. I’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you.
So, when should you start increasing your intake of folate and/or supplementing?
A: It’s ideal to start several months prior, aiming to consume 800-1200mcg daily. If you are already trying and/or are pregnant, I would suggest supplementing with 600-800mcg per day.
And, how long should you continue with the increased amount?
A: Throughout pregnancy, for 6-12 weeks after delivery, and for as long as you are breastfeeding.
But, how much folate is too much when you are pregnant?
A: The body does not store whole food derived folate, so it is perfectly safe — too much folic acid can be harmful, though.
Remember that even during the earliest stages of pregnancy, rapid cell duplication is taking place, and your baby needs proper nutrition now more than ever. Consult with your doctor or health care practitioner (as soon as you make this exciting decision) to discuss any health concerns you may have.
I’ve been interested in fertility nutrition for quite some time now. Because a) I’m super excited about being a Mamma Bear myself one day and b) the amount of women who struggle to get pregnant breaks my heart and I want to be able to help.
There’s so much we can do on a natural level (ie without drug intervention) to increase our chances of a successful pregnancy. As a Nutritionist, I know that the health of our gut is one of the most important aspects, yet it often gets overlooked.
Before we get into the details, I want to mention that in an ideal world, we should start preparing our body for pregnancy about 12 months before we start trying to conceive BUT I understand this isn’t always possible. If your personal situation doesn’t allow this, thats ok, just do the best you can. Please don’t let pregnancy-prep become another stress in your life. To stress over it is extremly counter-productive and will do you and your fertility more harm than good. So, no matter where you are in the journey, start right there. Don’t go looking at what if’s. Life is right here and now, lets work with what you’ve got, ok?
Lets look at why gut health is so important from 3 simple angles:
If your gastro intestinal tract isn’t functioning properly, it’s not going to be able to digest, absorb and utilise the nutrients from the food you’re eating. This causes two problems. First, if you aren’t getting the required nutrients, your body won’t be functioning optimally and among the first things to suffer, will be your hormones and your fertility. Second, you’re going to be growing a little person from scratch inside your womb and that means you need to provide ALL the required building blocks for vital organs, strong bones, a healthy brain – the lot! If your gut isn’t working well, it’s highly likely you have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Well guess what? If your lacking these nutrients, baby is also going to miss out too. And I’m sure you understand that we’re talking about fundamental nutrients for growth, so its pretty gosh-darn important stuff!
Babies are born with a sterile gastro intestinal tract and during a normal vaginal birth, vital bacteria are passed on from mother to baby. This isn’t an accident, it’s a very important step in child birth. So, if you don’t have a healthy, balanced microbiome (your community of gut bacteria), then baby is going to be passed on the same unhealthy, out of balance gut-bug situation, setting her/him up for a weak immune system from day one. Our microbiome is extremely, super important and for baby, its going to set the scene for the rest of their life.
An unhealthy gut leads to systemic inflammation. Inflammation of any kind is seen by your body as stress. Stress (in all its forms), leads to an imbalance in your nervous system called ‘sympathetic dominance’. This basically means that your body is more often in ‘fight and flight’ mode than it is in ‘rest and digest’ mode. When you’re in fight and flight mode, your body moves its resources from bodily functions that it doesn’t see as imperative to your immediate survival. Unfortunately, fertility is usually the first non-vital system to go, because you don’t need to be having a baby if you’re in danger! You’re digestion is another non-vital system that is highly likely to stop functioning properly. This causes more stress on the body and soon you’re stuck in a vicious cycle.
If you think that your gut health isn’t as good as it should be, start here.
Not planning on pregnancy any time soon? That’s ok, the health of your gut is still something I highly recommend you look into.
I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any comments or questions please pop them below.