I'm proud to introduce you all to Renee Heigel. Renee shows women entrepreneurs in their mid-20s to mid-40s how to strip down their diets to eat more local, whole foods, so they can lose inches and love themselves naked. She is a Certified Health Coach as well as a loving wife and mother and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
THE SECRETS OF GROWING BABIES:
What Every Woman Needs To Know About Preparing For Natural Pregnancy
Years ago, after a trip to Jamaica where I found myself hiding underneath my bathing suit cover-up, I made a decision to make a change. I came home and did a seasonal detox that completely changed my life. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to feel this incredible and I immediately wondered how I could feel this euphoria all the time.
Now, let’s press rewind and go back years before the pivotal-moment-of-truth detox occurred. My eating was totally out of whack. I had all sorts of cravings and I was working super hard running a business and not taking the best care of myself. I had hormonal migraines weekly, out of balanced emotions, fears around getting pregnant, no period at all for over a year after getting off the pill and I was pretty stressed out. My fiancé at the time (now my awesome hubby) and I talked about babies and I even said I wanted a baby and the practice would be fun…. However, when it came down to being pregnant, changing my life and being responsible for someone else I had all of these fears. Was I healthy enough? Would I be a good mother? Can I even get pregnant? Will I still get to travel? What will I eat? Will my body supply enough nutrients? Will my life change? What is my body going to look like? Will I know what to do?
Stepping through fear is where we grow the most. A year and a half later, I was pregnant…
As an avid gardener and composter, I often viewed that growing blueberry in my belly as my own organic garden-experiment of love. Looking at life through different eyes, I began setting intentions for everything I wanted to have happen in this new role of mama. Everything from the best super foods, non-toxic paint and sustainable furniture, the birth and greener-cleaner self-care and cleaning products became my priorities.
The fears woman face when it comes to their first pregnancy and birth are normal. When we eat well we are less fearful in general. Our food affects our mood. We can physically change the cells within our body with diet. The following 4 simple tips are a must in a healthy woman’s pregnancy journals and toolkit.
- Don’t make drastic changes. High quality food nourishes and grows the baby and it also prepares the body for birth. However, sudden and big changes to the diet upon getting pregnant can have side effects. Especially pregnant woman will want to stay away from intoxicants, highly refined and chemical-laden products. If we decide to switch to a new healthy diet plan suddenly for baby, the body will begin to heal. However the flush out and release toxins not only have the potential to harm the fetus but they also usually come up in the body in the form of symptoms such as skin disorders, allergies, changes in hair, nail, skin or hormones. If you want to cleanse or switch to a new lifestyle or diet wait until you are done nursing your child.
- Crowding out. Crowding out is an effective strategy because instead of focusing on all of the foods you want to eliminate, you are finding nourishment to add in. You want to increase your WATER intake to half your body weight in ounces per day. Increase alkaline foods such as, dark green leafy veggies like collards, chard, kale, spinach, parsley and cereal grass. These greens are packed with folate, calcium and dozens of key vitamins and minerals necessary to grow a strong healthy baby. Craving sweets? Note that this can also be a sign of dehydration. Crowd out sweets by eating natural sweet treats like non-citrus fruits, dates, sweet potatoes and squash. Add in seeds and nuts for omega-3’s. Omega 3’s maintain the nervous system, clean the arteries, renew our cells and are also a good anti-inflammatory. High quality fats (oils) such as fish oils, hemp seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed, flax seed and rape seed are also necessary to help us assimilate the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and a bonus is that they also help us reduce cravings.
- Supplements. Is my body ready to grow a baby? The world we live in today is much different than 40 years ago. We are exposed to free radicals and the soil quality has to a great extent depleted leaving the quality of our foods (even if they are local or organic) and air to be less than what our bodies may need. I personally was one who didn’t think I needed supplements because I was eating a diet that included a healthy variety of local and organic foods. I decided to pay my holistic doc a visit while we were trying to conceive and I’m glad I did! I found out that I was lacking in protein, calcium, magnesium, B-12 and zinc in my diet. I wasn’t at super low levels or anything however once a baby is growing inside a woman they take whatever nutrients they need and can deprive mama of nutrients. This can led to future issues for woman t later in life. Take your prenatal vitamins because we need to drop this notion that we don’t need supplements because I’d rather be on the safe side, you know? B-12 is one that needs to be absorbed sublingually so using a spray or patch is typically best especially for non-meat eaters. Vitamin D is recommended at least 1000 IU’s per day. Most importantly, if you haven’t done so, get a blood test even if you are super healthy. Find out what you might need to replenish your nutrient supplies and if your levels are good then you’ll feel that much better. The vitamins and minerals important for reproductive health (vitamins A, C, E, B complex, zinc and selenium) enhance fertility and are lacking in the Western, highly processed diet.
- Balancing Foods. Simple rule of thumb: too much of one thing is never a good thing when it comes to our diets. Diversity is best. There are foods that support the uterus and the reproductive capacity. Foods that help you to have good milk supply after the baby is born. However, if we eat too much of one thing it throws everything off. If a pregnant woman is craving salt, she is probably lacking in minerals. Too many nuts (Omega-6 fats) for example can hinder us in absorbing the Omega-3 rich foods like chia, hemp, flax and sea greens. Try not to stick to one type of seed or nut—mix it up. With oils a good balance between olive, grape seed, ghee or coconut oil is important. Beans and dark foods with salty flavors cooked with seaweed are great for pregnant woman. If you are into juicing, the first trimester is especially important to have LOTS of greens so load up and just eat a variety. Protein is key for development of your little bambino and there is protein in everything that grows. Make sure it is not refined and the biggest key is to find the most high quality protein available.
The most vital ingredient for everyone in terms of food is awareness. Our food is not the only nourishment we are ingesting daily. We also take on an emotional and spiritual transformation for self-respect and clarity while bringing a child into the world. As woman we have such an opportunity to use our pregnancy as a stepping-stone for learning about our healthy-selves. Even the healthiest of people need guidance, accountability and another set of ears and eyes to give a different perspective. As a holistic health coach I have both a health coach and life coach because I need support just like everyone else and it’s okay to ask for support. Ladies, we are all in this together. If you are looking for extra support with your journey in health and wellness, check out my website to learn more, sign up for my newsletter or find Local Nourish Flourish on Facebook.
You can learn more about Renee and her programs at www.reneeheigel.com and sign up for her newsletter, Local Nourish Flourish.