Handcrafted Ayurvedic Oils for Natural Beauty

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Organic Beauty Arya Essentials Oils

If you’ve been reading The Organic Beauty for awhile, you know that my number one secret for gorgeous skin and hair is oil.  I use it to wash my face, moisturize my skin, and condition my hair (among many other beauty tricks).  Being a slightly lazy organic beauty, I opt for simplicity — pure jojoba, argan, and coconut oils.  But simple can definitely get a little boring.

So I was super excited to discover Arya Essentials Ayurvedic oils, which are anything but boring.  Handcrafted in Brooklyn, Arya (Sanskrit for noble, precious, and pure) oils for face, body, and hair are loaded with super powerful ayurvedic herbs like brahmi, tulsi, and amla which slow aging, boost collagen, and promote hydration and glow. I am a huge proponent of using these powerful herbs internally for holistic healing and wellness, but they are just as effective and magical when applied externally as well. Plus, they smell absolutely amazing.

Arya Essentials Oils | The Organic BeautyThe face oil has a nourishing base of argan, jojoba and sweet almond oil, which are my top picks for youthful, clear and glowing skin, while the body oil features a slightly heavier base of sesame and coconut oils, which are ideal for deep hydration and soft, silky skin. And did I mention how delicious they smell?  Earthy, peppery tones waft off your skin, leaving you feeling like the exotic goddess that you are.

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Get That Body Moving.. In just 15 min a day!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

One of the biggest reasons (excuses?) I hear for why people can’t work out regularly is TIME. Finding time to work out can be a challenge if you think of it as working out.  It’s a chore.  A bother.  Something to fit in.

What if instead of working out, you were simply making room for moving your body in a way that feels phenomenal, energizing, amazing?  What if this movement made you look and feel awesome in your body, and it was actually FUN for you to do?  What if it only took a time commitment of 15 minutes a day?  Would you do it then?

I imagine you would.

Who doesn’t want to look and feel amazing, and have fun doing it, right?

Well, this isn’t another fad or scheme.  This is just about you finding what feels good.

I used to drag myself to group fitness classes I hated, and force myself to get through cardio videos at home that made me miserable.  Working out was a punishment.  It was something I had to do OR ELSE.

Then I said screw it.  I decided that I would only do forms of movement that I love, and that feel amazing.  For me, that’s yoga, Pilates, and ballet/barre workouts.  I love those. I always feel more elegant, beautiful and slender.  I never feel drained or miserable, or like I’m punishing myself.

And guess what?  Once I decided to stop making myself do workouts I hated, and only did those I love, I found that I was moving my body more often, getting into awesome shape, and feeling phenomenal.

Now, I CRAVE my favorite forms of movement.  If I skip a few days, I feel it in my bones.  Not in a holy-crap-I’m-going-to-get-fat panicked way, but in a my-body-misses-feeling-amazing way.  And I’ll tell you what, that is some killer motivation.

Even if I don’t have time for a full yoga class (and lately, I don’t), I make a point of moving my body in the morning for at least 15 minutes, 5 days a week.  The other days, I’m out biking or walking or doing something else physical.  I never feel like I’m working out, and I never feel the pressure or weight of something I have to do.

So my advice is this: find what movement moves you, and do that, for just 15 minutes a day.

To help you along, I’ve created a YouTube playlist with a whole bunch of different workouts, all of them anywhere from 10-20 minutes long.

Check out my Youtube Playlist of Quick Awesome Movement!

 

—> For all you yoga lovers out there… Here are my playlists for Relaxing and Energizing Yoga routines you can do anytime!

—> For you total beginners, here’s my playlist for Beginner Movement!

—> Need some more help figuring out what kinds of movement you’d love?  Check out my article, What’s Your Exercise Personality? 

 

{Image: Pinterest}

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Sweat Outdoors for a Mood-Boosting, Stress-Busting Workout!

by Nkechi Njaka, Msc.

I am not a gym person. I cringe at the very thought of having a membership to sweat indoors. When I have belonged to health clubs, it was more for the hot tub, the sauna and the occasional yoga class (before I discovered studios, and before I was a yogi). But yeah, the gym? Soooo not my thing. Never has been.

As a runner, I’ve always enjoyed my cardio done outdoors. And studies are showing that there is something to that!

image

There have been several studies done where researchers found that their volunteers enjoyed outdoor activities more than indoor activities. Furthermore, when psychological tests were administered, these same volunteers scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem. All great, happy things! They also happened to display lowered  depression, tension and fatigue after their outdoor activity. [Source]

few small studies have found that individuals, after an outdoor activity, displayed lower levels of cortisol–a hormone we know to be related to stress– when compared with with an indoor activity. Another cool thing that happens when being outdoors is that we are directly exposed to sunlight (oh hey there, vitamin D!) which has been known to positively affect mood. [Source]

Perhaps I am spoiled. I live in San Francisco, one of the most beautiful cities in the country and in the world. And in said beautiful city, I live in the woods near the beach. I mean, who needs a gym when there are trees and ocean? These are simple, natural things that our planet and our bodies need. Simple things that cannot be found indoors.

You know what would be cool?  An outdoor gym…

I live in a world (and a city) of possibility; I wonder if we can make that one happen.

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How to get over the guilt of self-care

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Prioritize Happiness
Last Monday, I woke up feeling a little “meh.” I had tons on my plate between clients, my upcoming program launch, and preparing for my trip home to Minneapolis, but I was feeling some resistance toward jumping into my super productive morning routine.

These days, I know that when that happens, it’s rarely for no reason.  When I feel “meh,” unmotivated, or run down, I know it’s because I haven’t been taking well enough care of myself.  I know what I need in those moments… SPACE.

So I did what I needed to do… I started the morning off nice and slow.  I meditated, did some pilates, journaled, made my favorite green superfood smoothie (click here for the recipe!), watched some news, and read.  I didn’t even start working until about 11am.  And it felt amazing.  As the morning went on, I felt more and more myself.  More and more taken care of.

But in the back of my mind (as well as the pit of my stomach), I had this aching feeling of guilt.  “But I have so much to do!” it insisted, “How can I justify wasting precious time like this?”

And there’s the clincher.  We all know we should be heeding the needs of our bodies and minds, but that guilty little voice just keeps getting in my way.  I see it every day with my clients, and that feeling just increases exponentially with the number of responsibilities that are on your plate.

School, work, kids, family, friends, even our fun social lives all end up taking precedence over our SELVES and our deepest needs.  And the second we think of putting ourselves first, we panic and guilt ourselves out of it.

I myself have been working through a little process of overcoming this guilt that I want to share with you.  Try it out and see how much more space you can create for yourself in your life!

1. Realize that you’re not being SELFISH.

A happier, calmer, more balanced you equals being more productive and less stressed out at work, being a better mother, partner, and friend, and makes you more able to take care of all the things in your life that require your attention.  Once you frame it that way, it’s a lot easier to see that you’re not being selfish by taking care of YOU, you’re just better equipping yourself to deal with what comes your way.

For me, this means reminding myself every day that I am a better counselor, a more moving wife, and a more productive entrepreneur in my business when I feel like I have the space to care for myself.  A happy me benefits everyone in my life!

2.  Take baby steps towards creating space.

You may not be able to go from stretched thin and overworked to taking the morning (or the whole day!) off to take care of yourself overnight.  Start small by creating little pockets of space for yourself.  Maybe it’s a long walk without your phone after lunch, or not checking your email after 7 or 8pm, or building 10 extra minutes into your morning for a mediation practice or some movement.

Resist the all or nothing mentality that can just keep you stuck in a rut.  The more space you create, the more you get used to the feeling and all it’s benefits, the less guilt you experience.

3. Notice the measurable impact.

Nothing kills off guilt like sound reason and justifications, right?  So make sure to notice, and even write down, the benefits you notice from your space-making.  Do you feel less annoyed by your coworkers on a day when you take time to meditate in the morning?  Are you more patient with your kids on a day when you took a long lunch and enjoyed some quiet time?  Are you more forgiving of your partner’s quirks after a night of staying in and rejuvenating yourself?

Making these connections is super important towards creating a new relationship to self-care.  Often times we feel great/happy/calm/connected, but don’t take the time to recognize what behaviors or choices contributed to our feeling that way!

For me, this means seeing how much more work I get done, and how much more I enjoy doing it, on days when I listen to what I need.

Share your experience with these steps and eliminating the guilt of self-care in the comments below!

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Have a healthy beach day with Biosolis

Biosolis Health Beach Day Must-Have's | The Organic Beauty Blog

We just got back from a trip to Palm Springs, where we spent a good many hours lounging in the sun with our little bundle.  She swam and splashed, then we relaxed by the pool while she napped.  For a few moments, we almost forgot that we were new(ish) parents and enjoyed a relaxing vacation!  After some trial and error, we got the whole process down pat.  Here are some of our healthy sun day must-have’s:

A diaper bag-turned-beach-bag: One of the best things about diaper bags is that they make for awesome carry-alls for excursions, and a sunny day at the beach or pool is no exception! Stash diapers, a change of clothes, sunscreen, toys and activities, snacks, and sunnies for mama and the littles in your diaper bag and make sure everything is at arm’s reach.Activities: A book for mama (to read during naps, of course) and one for the kiddos too will make sure everyone has something to do while relaxing in the shade.  I love Indestructibles books for beach days — they can get wet, dirty, anything, and you just toss them in the wash! I’m also a fan of bringing along some BPA-free buckets or cups that are great for playing in the sand or water.Healthy snacks: A hungry mama or little one can ruin a fun beach day super fast, so pack a healthy snack to keep everything happy until lunchtime.  My go-to’s are Lara Bars for mama and fresh berries for the littles!A great sunscreen: Do you know how much crap and toxins are in most sunscreens out there?  Ditch the drugstore brands in favor of an organic, non-nano mineral sunscreen.  Our fave is Biosolis, which has clean, nourishing ingredients in a safe and effective formula.  Learn more about this awesome sunscreen below!Floppy sun hats: Using a good sunscreen is amazingly important, and you can take your sun protection even further with a sun hat, which protects your scalp and face from even more sun. Plus, everyone looks instantly fabulous in a big floppy hat ; )

I started using Biosolis sunscreens a few months ago, and am totally obsessed. I use the Sun Milk for Face and Body SPF 30 on myself, and love the smooth texture and awesome protection.  Loaded with skin soothing and protecting ingredients like aloe, rapeseed and sunflower seed oils, and carrot root extract, this sunscreen does so much more than keep your skin from burning! Another key ingredient is karanja oil, an Ayurvedic ingredient that helps to heal and restructure the upper layers of skin, preventing premature aging and amplifying the results of mineral sunscreens.

Biosolis Sun Milk | The Organic Beauty Blog

For the littles, there’s the Kids Sun Milk SPF 50, which has many of the same skin protecting ingredients but with an even higher SPF to ensure that baby soft skin stays safe!

Biosolis Kids Sun Milk | The Organic Beauty Blog

Biosolis mineral sunscreens are non-nano, which means that the minerals stay on top of skin, where they offer the most protection, and don’t get absorbed into the bloodstream (this is especially important when picking a sunscreen for your kiddos!).  On the other hand, non-mineral chemical sunscreens penetrate skin with toxic ingredients that are made even more volatile under the hot sun.  These chemical sunscreens are also super damaging to delicate coral reefs and ocean eco-systems, making them a disastrous choice for the environment.

Biosolis non-nano mineral sunscreens are clean and free of pollutants, petrochemicals, silicone oils, and synthetic fragrances, and they come in environmentally friendly packaging, making them a great choice for our bodies and the planet. Their ingredients are certified as safe and eco-friendly by two independent European certifying bodies (which have much higher standards for safety in cosmetic products than the US), Ecocert Greenlife and Cosmebio, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Now, on to an amazing, healthy day in the sun!!

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Gluten-free Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

Since little Margaux came into the world two weeks ago, I’ve definitely been on hiatus from all things cooking. But the perfect combination of my mom napping with the little babe and a sudden burst of energy on my part (probably due to my placenta pills… But more on that later!) led to my first venture back into the kitchen to make a super yummy adaptation of a recipe I saw on Greatist.

I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy, high-protein snack to munch on while breastfeeding — cuz let me tell you, keeping a little munchkin fed burns a ridiculous amount of calories and can leave you totally starving. I’m not typically a snacker, but this nourishing another human thing kinda changes everything! It’s been amazing to watch the baby weight just fall off with simply eating super healthy and breastfeeding! (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on healthfully losing baby weight)

Anyway, this gluten-free, flourless protein cookie recipe looked like just the thing! I modified the ingredients slightly to increase the healthy fat factor (super important for making milk and keeping energy high) and bind the cookies together a bit more. But try these puppies out – they don’t disappoint!

Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

(gf, v)

Ingredients

2 cups organic rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon organic hemp protein powder (I use Nutiva)
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, protein powder, almonds, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, stir together almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk.
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well.
Form into cookie sized balls, drop onto a non-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

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Best Vegetarian Protein Sources

By: Natasha Uspensky

The first thing everyone asks me about when transitioning into a plant-based diet is, “Where will I get my protein?”  Great news, people! There a tons of delicious vegetarian protein sources that are naturally lower in saturated, unhealthy fats and cholesterol (not to mention toxins, antibiotics, hormones, and other additives) than their plant-based counterparts.  A well-rounded plant-based diet with plenty of delicious vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds is naturally high in protein.  Getting your protein from plant-based sources decreases your risk of cancer and heart disease, increases life expectancy, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and a million other benefits! Check out these amazing sources of vegan protein in the chart below!

Photo: MercyForAnimals.org

Other great vegetarian sources of protein are:

Organic eggsOrganic greek yogurtHemp seedsChia seedsAmaranthBuckwheatWhole grain breadWhat are you favorite vegetarian protein sources?  Share in the comments below!Related articles:vegetarians may live longer than meat-eaters! (thefitchronicles.com)Yoga Mama Series – My Plant-Based Pregnancy (yogalina.net)Could That Steak Be Killing You? Vegetarian Diets Proven To Increase Life Expectancy (medicaldaily.com)Want to Live Longer? Eat a Plant-Based Diet (livescience.com)Vegetarians & Protein (fit4liferbm.com)Study: Vegetarians Live Longer (secretsofthefed.com)

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Get Your Green On: Juices and Smoothies

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Eat Your GreensYou know by now that you’ve gotta eat those greens.  Dark leafies are the single healthiest group of foods out there.  Loaded with nutrients, they are major health powerhouses, and the best part is, you can eat them as much as you want!  If you’re not doing so already, make greens a big priority in your eating — shooting for a full serving at least twice a day.  Salads, cooked greens, greens in your eggs, greens tossed into soup, and as a side for pretty much anything you’re eating — they are super easy to make into a daily habit.

Green smoothies and green juices are some of the best and easiest ways to get a whole load of greens, with the least amount of time and effort.  Check out my favorite, nutrient packed recipes below, each targeted toward a specific health concern (but they’re great even if you don’t have that particular issue).  So get your green on, and make green juices and smoothies a part of your day!

Green Juices (best for between meal pick-me-ups, or detox dinners)Detoxifying Green Juice

This green juice is great after a night of partying, or some not-so-great food choices.  It’s also super energizing and mood-boosting.  Pretty much the workhorse of the green juice world.

5 large leaves organic kale2 organic apples, washed, peels on1 cucumber, washed, peel on1 organic lemon, peeled

 

Anti-Inflammatory Green Juice

Great for pain, inflammation, arthritis, and immunity, the addition of ginger and parsley really take this green juice up a notch!

3 large leaves organic kale4 sprigs flat leaf parsley2 organic apples (tart varieties like granny smith are best)1 inch piece of ginger1/2 an organic lemon, peeled1/2 tsp raw honey (optional)Juice all the ingredients, and mix the honey in at the end, if desired.Liver Tonic Green Juice

Great liver cleanse for skin, detox, and again, cleansing the body of alcohol and other toxins.

2 handfuls dandelion greens3 organic carrots1 cucumber1/2 organic lemon, peeled

 

Skin Clearing Green Juice

Awesome for clearing up skin and balancing hormones.

1 cup organic broccoli florets2 large organic carrots1 cup organic spinach1 celery stalk1/2 organic appleGreen Smoothies (meals, not snacks — breakfast or a detox dinner)Mood-Boosting Green Smoothie

Omega-3’s in kale and flax seeds, combined with the tryptophan in the banana, makes this one happy-making smoothie.  

5 leaves organic kale1/2 of a peeled, sliced cucumber1/4 frozen mango1/2 banana or 1 small banana2 tablespoons ground flax seed10-12 ounces of coconut water

 

Stress-Busting Green Smoothie

Avocado is amazing for lowering blood pressure, which combined with calming fennel, and potent anxiety-quelling nutmeg, makes this one powerful stress relieving smoothie!

1 cup organic chard or spinach8 leaves of fresh mint1/2 an avocado1/2 cup fresh, roughly chopped fennel1/2 cup frozen blueberries1/8 tsp nutmeg

 

Green Smoothie for Digestion

Chock full of digestive enzymes, fiber, and the cooling power of mint, this smoothie is amazing for improving digestion.  Add some flax seeds if you’re a little backed up!

1 papaya (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into chunks1 bunch organic beet greens (just the greens!)1 inch fresh ginger, finely choppedJuice of 1/2 organic lemon4 fresh mint leaves, plus 1-2 sprigs for garnishWater, to taste1/2 tsp raw honey (optional)

 

Anti-Aging Green Smoothie

Loaded with potent antioxidants, this green smoothie will stave off wrinkles, disease, and aging inflammation!

1 cup mixed organic frozen berries3 leaves organic kale1/2 avocado1 tbsp sesame seeds1/2 cup unsweetened green tea

{Images: LunchBoxBunch.com, InspiredTaste.net}

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7 Fertility-Boosting Foods (And 2 Baby-Busting Foods!)

By: Stephanie HeinoFertility-Diet

You probably know that eating a nutritious diet and living a healthy lifestyle (which includes exercising, keeping your weight under control, and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, among other things) is a great way enhance the chance of conceiving and prepare your body for pregnancy. And if you’re already taking those steps, you are on the right path. What you may not know, however, is that researchers have found that beyond eating a generally healthy diet, there are some foods (fertility foods) that may be particularly helpful when trying to conceive. In addition to that, there are some unhealthy foods that may be especially harmful when trying to conceive. So while there is no one food that will guarantee pregnancy, there are definitely some foods you should you dig into (they’re good for you, and that’s a good enough reason) and other foods you should ditch.

There’s no need to feel deprived when you’re trying to get pregnant though, it is actually quite the opposite. Check out these foods that taste great and can help keep your body in top baby-making condition!

low-glycemic-grains1. Whole Grains. You don’t have to give up carbs, just choose the right ones and you are fine. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, brown rice, stone-ground cornmeal, and oatmeal don’t affect blood sugar and insulin as dramatically as refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, bleached flour, etc). And anything that’s good for insulin function is good for fertility.

2. Plant Protein. Protein from plant sources like beans, peas, and nuts have been associated with increased fertility, as opposed to protein from meat and poultry. Beans are also high in iron, another fertility-helper. There is no need to become 100% vegetarian while trying to have a baby, but do try to eat mostly seafood if eating protein from animals.

fruits+and+veggies+border3. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. It is possible to explain how healthy and important fresh produce is for fertility? There are just so many reasons! First of all, it’s full of antioxidants, which promote general and reproductive health. Plus many fruits and vegetables like oranges and citrus fruits, strawberries and, green leafy vegetables are very high in folate (water-soluble B vitamin) which is an important nutrient to load up on before pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

4. The “Healthy” Fats: Monounsaturated, Polyunsatured, Omega-3 Fatty Acids.healthy_fats
Always remember this: Say no to trans fats and saturated fats and yes to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. That is the rule of thumb when it comes to health! These fats reduce inflammation and insulin sensitivity. You’ll find them in avocados, nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds, sardines, and salmon.

You can combine these foods in all sorts of ways to magnify the fertility-boosting impact of any meal or snack. Instead of a plain salmon sushi roll, order the one with avocado; add almond butter to your morning smoothie or switch to brown rice. It doesn’t have to be hard, those small changes will be very fertility-boosting!

YAM5. Wild yams. Some experts think that this yummy Thanksgiving staple contains a substance that may help stimulate ovulation (amazing!). In fact, populations that eat a lot of wild yams have a high rate of twins. When it comes to fertility foods, this one may have double the effect!

6. Berries. Blueberries and raspberries are particularly packed with antioxidants, which help prevent damage and aging to your body’s cells, and this includes cells in your reproductive system–meaning your eggs. So a diet that’s rich in berries may help keep your eggs healthy and increase their shelf life.

oyster.sflb7. Oysters. The oyster is famous for being an aphrodisiac because it contains zinc, which is crucial for conception. Zinc deficiency can disrupt the menstrual cycle, as well as iron, and slow the production of good-quality eggs, but if you are not sure if you get enough through your diet you can get zinc from a good prenatal vitamin.

And the foods you should ditch:

1. High-mercury fish. Mercury has been linked with infertility. It’s also known to be harmful to the development of your baby, so you’ll want to avoid eating any high-mercury fish while trying to conceive, especially swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, tuna steak, and shark.

2. Trans fats. Researchers have found that the more trans fats in a woman’s diet, the greater the risk is to develop ovulatory infertility. Trans fats (also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, check the labels!) are found in processed and fried foods (packaged snacks and doughnuts, and millions of other items!). So read nutrition labels carefully to avoid trans fats, and stick to polyunsaturated fats (in fatty fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds) and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil).

Other natural ways to improve your fertility include:

The-best-way-to-Increase-your-Fertility1. Tracking Fertility. There are a number of natural family planning methods that can also help you to become pregnant. Keeping track of your cervical mucus, and using the Fertility Awareness Method will help you to become more aware of your body’s natural cycle (Try the cervical mucus method). Try keeping a fertility chart – this will raise your fertility awareness, allowing you to know exactly when you are actually ovulating (Many couples have difficulty getting pregnant because they are having intercourse at times when the woman isn’t ovulating. It is important to have sexual intercourse just before an egg is released, in order to maximize your chances of becoming pregnant!). You may also want to look into purchasing a fertility monitor, which can help you keep track of your conception calendar and dates. Good investment for you who want a little one! There are also lots of free tracking apps, like FemCal that track your fertility signs and let you know your peak times for conception b

Six-Simple-Steps-to-Improving-Fertility-for-Men-Women-RMACT-Infertility-CT-NY2. Sexual Positions. If you are having difficulty becoming pregnant, you and your partner may want to experiment with different conception positions during intercourse. In order to become pregnant, your partner must deposit his sperm as close as possible to your cervix. Certain positions will allow this to happen more easily. Avoid having sex while standing, sitting, or with you on top, as this can cause semen to leak out of your body. Instead, try the missionary position, which allows for deeper penetration. Rear entry intercourse is also effective, as it allows your partner to deposit semen closer to your cervix. To keep any extra semen from leaking out of you, try elevating your hips for fifteen minutes or so after your have sex.

3. Herbs. If you are having difficulty becoming pregnant you and your partner may want to look to herbs for fertility (Very effective!). Herbs have been used to promote fertility for thousands of years and can be considered to be a form of natural fertility medication. Because herbs can be very potent, it is important to speak with a registered naturopath, herbalist, or holistic practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.

– Vitex (Chasteberry): This herb works to increase fertility by stimulating the pituitary gland. This is the gland responsible for producing sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Chasteberry should help fertility by balancing the sex hormones. It is great for women with irregular cycles, a short luteal phase, or PMS.

– Dong Quai: Dong Quai is a Chinese fertility herb, long-used to solve menstrual difficulties. It also helps to balance estrogen levels in the body and improve chances of implantation.

– Maca Root: Maca has been used as a fertility supplement for thousands of years! Maca contains over thirty different minerals and over sixty different phytonutrients. While Maca itself does not contain hormones, it can help to affect hormones in both men and women, making it a valuable supplement. Maca supports the balance of hormones in the body and also supports the thyroid, and normal sexual function. Maca is also able to increase stamina, energy and mental clarity, making it a very valuable supplement indeed. It has been shown to help with a lot of the essential body processes that are necessary for fertility, such as supporting the function of the pituitary gland and other vital body processes.355390-43118-14

– Red Raspberry Leaf: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea has become one of the most popular herbal “fertility teas” that women are using to help them conceive. The red raspberry leaf is the green leaf that is found on the raspberry plant. It has been used for thousands of years, starting long ago with the ancient Greeks and Romans to cure various sicknesses and ailments. These days, it is a popular herbal treatment for fertility and can help with various problems throughout pregnancy since it prepares your uterus, as well as boosting overall nutritional intake since the leaves are high in carotenoids, citric acid, tannins, vitamin A, B complex, C, and E. They also have an easily assimilated form of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and silica.

benefits-of-yoga-for-female-fertility4. Exercise. This one seems to work on every single condition, but yes people, moderate exercise can also be a good natural fertility treatment. When combined with a balanced and nutritious diet mentioned above, exercise can help you to maintain a healthy body weight. Excess body fat can increase the amount of estrogen in your body, throwing the female fertility cycle out of balance. Exercise helps to burn off this excess body fat, allowing hormone levels to return to normal. It is best not to overdo exercise since over exercising can actually impair fertility. Try low impact aerobic workouts like walking, swimming, cycling, pilates and yoga (Check out the amazing benefits of yoga for women’s fertility here!) Balance within is everything!

Good luck! If you need any help getting that right balance in life, don’t hesitate to schedule your free consultation with holistic health counselor Natasha Uspensky!

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Say Buh-Bye to Belly Bloat!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Say-Goodbye-to-Belly-BloatBelly bloat is one of the most common issues that my clients come to me with, and if you’re anything like them (and I know you are!), that “food baby” nasty bloat is something you are ready to say goodbye to, forever.

Unless you’re suffering from an unmanaged food intolerance or IBS (and if you are, please schedule a consult with me so we can get you feeling all better, fast!), belly bloat is a matter of compromised digestion or simply sub-par food choices.  And guess what? It’s a pretty easy fix.  Follow the tips below to make that belly bloat a thing of the past!

1. Quit that 6 small meals a day/snacking habit!  To give your system a chance to fully digest your food, you need to go at least 3 hours between meals.  If you’re snacking all day long, or committing that carnal dietary sin of several small meals a day, your body never has a chance to completely digest what you’ve eaten, and all that food just piles up in your belly.  Rock three meals a day, with lunch as your biggest meal (see the next tip) to give your body all the time it needs to fully digest and metabolize what you’re eating.

2. No more big dinners!  Our digestion is at it’s strongest at midday, and that is when your body is best able to digest a big meal.  Not at night!! Think about it… If you’re eating your biggest meal at a time when your body is winding down, you have no chance to burn it off, and no chance to properly digest.  This means that big dinner is still sitting in your stomach when you go to sleep, getting stored as fat in all the places you don’t want any extra padding.  So have your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime, when you can actually digest and burn it all off, and make dinner a light and easily digestible meal — like a soup, salad, or some cooked veggies.

3. Chew your food!!  Seriously, if you pay attention, you’ll be amazed at how little you’re actually chewing your food.  Which means that you are swallowing larger chunks of food that haven’t been properly broken down, making your digestive system work so much harder.  This especially applies to high-fiber foods like bread, beans, and potatoes.  Turn everything into a smoothie-like consistency in your mouth before swallowing, and watch that bloat disappear!

4. Step away from the computer!  Eating while stressed or distracted also compromises your digestion, and can lead to overeating.  It is super important to eat your meals in a calm, undistracted state to promote digestion and decrease bloat.  So make time to eat away from work and your computer.  I promise you, you can find 15 minutes to sit in at your dining too table, conference room, or break room to eat your meal.

5. Go for a post-meal walk.  This is an awesome habit that is a cultural staple in many countries.  Particularly after your biggest meal (lunch!), it’s important to take a walk to get things moving and promote digestion.  This also helps to release gas!  A crucial anti-bloat move.

6. Sip some ginger tea after your meal.  Ginger tea is wonderful for aiding in digestion and soothing your stomach.  Keep some tea bags in your purse and make it a post-meal habit!

7. Avoid cold drinks while eating.  Sipping ice water with your meal is a one-way ticket to Bloatsville.  It makes your digestive system work twice as hard, and can cause gas to boot.  It’s generally best to drink liquids before or after eating, but if you must drink something during your meal, make sure it’s room temperature.

8. Don’t finish with fruit. If you’re still experiencing belly bloat after eating, take a look at when you’re consuming fruit.  Eating fruit after a meal can promote gas and bloating.  Opt for having fruit 30 minutes before your meal instead.  Consider it a little appetizer or amuse bouche!

{Photo: Pinterest}

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