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What is a vaginal steam? (and why YOU should consider doing one)

Alright friends, since we are going to be talking about vaginal steaming today I figured it is okay to call y’all friends, since I wouldn’t talk about this to just anyone. So sit back and hear me out before you rule anything out by just hearing the words ‘vaginal steaming’.

steam my vagina

(And to make it official, I am not a doctor, you should make sure to do your own research before attempting a vaginal steam. This should not be done while pregnant or nursing.)

What is now becoming a new, popular tread, vaginal steaming is actually an age-old tradition meant to cleanse and detox the uterus.

So, let’s get the facts straight.

What is a vaginal steam?

A vaginal steam is basically a steam ‘facial’ only it is for your vagina and uterus. (See? Aren’t you glad I said ‘friends’ because we are talking about personal stuff here!)

What makes the vaginal steam beneficial is what is used in the steam. Typically herbs are chosen that can help increase circulation to the uterus or to aid in cleansing.

Stagnation is not a good thing when it comes to any organ system, but when it comes to the uterus it can cause a myriad of issues with menstruation and fertility.

Herbs can be picked for the individual to help with specific issues and health conditions. Some herbs that are typically used are oregano, motherwort, mugwart or rosemary. (all available at Mountain Rose Herbs)

what is a vaginal steam?

How does this work?

When doing a vaginal steam , you are basically making a ‘tea’ out of herbs and allowing the herbal steam to travel to your vagina and uterus. This sounds kind of hooky, but really the tissues of the vaginal area are very porous and absorb things quite easily.

The steam carries the volatile oils from the herbs to the tissues where it is adsorbed into the body. (Our bodies are so amazing!)

The herbs can help improve circulation and blood flow to the area. The vaginal steams are also said to thin mucus and help the uterus detox and cleanse.

In the past these steams were used to help with irregular periods, fertility issues, and even anxiety. The idea being that the herbal steam goes right where it is needed to aid the reproductive area.

How do you do a vaginal steam?

The hardest part about doing a vaginal steam, in my opinion, is finding some quiet time to do it. (You do not want people banging on the bathroom door when you are trying to relax!)

You need to decide what herbs you would like to use and make a big pot of tea.

1 cup of herbs*
2 quarts of water

You’ll also need a chair or stool with either slats or a hole in the middle (available on Amazon), a couple of chairs next to each other (a cheek on each!), or a clean toilet (turn off the water and flush so it empties the bowl).

  • Bring the water to a boil and let settle for few minutes, add the herbs and stir.
  • You will then want to find a quiet place, which I recommend setting up BEFORE you get your steam ready, to set the basin of water that you will be able to sit over. (If you use a basin that fits into the bottom of your clean toilet, this works well)
  • Once you get the steam ready, sit above it making sure the steam is not too hot. You do not want to burn the area, the vaginal tissue is sensitive.
  • Wrap blankets around your waist to keep the steam trapped in.
  • Typically steams last 20-40 minutes. This is a good time to read, journal, or pray to pass the time.

Once you are done it is a good idea to lay down for a while to allow your body to relax and the herbs to do their work. (This is good to do before bed because then you can just go to sleep and stay resting)

*What herbs do I use?

While it really is something that personal and should be picked on what issues you are trying to work on, these are a few that I found to be beneficial.

  • Rosemary-has been used to help fight infection (steaming should not be done during an active infection)
  • Yarrow-an herb used for cleansing and toning
  • Motherwort-a long-standing herb used for woman’s issues can help with toning the uterus as well as used for anxiety brought on by your period
  • Calendula-a mild, soothing herb that can be beneficial for scarring
  • Lavender-a typically relaxing herb which also has antibacterial properties

When should you do a vaginal steam?

From what I read there really is not set time to do a steam. Traditionally, a safe time to do it is right after your period and before ovulation, this allows any lingering tissue and cells to be cleansed before ovulation.

Some say if you have a lot of menstruation issues that the week before your period is a good time.

I have also read that if you are struggling with  fertility to do it right before ovulation.

However if pregnancy is suspected, do not do a vaginal steam.

A long-standing tradition, vaginal steaming does seem to have it place in the world of herbal remedies. I know that isn’t the most fun thing to talk about, but knowing how herbs work, this practice seems like a great therapy to aid in uterine and vaginal health.

If you are comfortable sharing, I would love to hear from you, what benefits have you seen from doing vaginal steams? 

Read more:

Yup, I’m gonna talk about vaginal steam baths by Stephanie Brandt Cornais

Should you steam your vagina? by Nicole Jardim

Traditional Vaginal Steam for Healthy Fertility by Dalene Barton-Schuster



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What keeping a food log will tell you

Food diary, food log, food record or food list, whatever you name it, it sounds the same, right?

I can guarantee you they are not.

In my practice, keeping a daily food log is 80% the key to your success in a designed clinical nutrition program.

AND, you don’t have to be on a program to track every little bit of every little nibble that goes into your mouth.

keeping a food log

Why Keep a Food Log?

Believe me when I say (personal experience: I have kept a food log for the majority of the past year) you have no idea what you’re putting into your mouth unless you’re tracking it.

Top 3 objections people have to tracking what they eat:

  1. I eat the same thing all the time.
  2. I will lose the piece of paper.
  3. I don’t have time to write it all down.

My responses to the top 3 objections people have to tracking what they eat:

1. Actually, you don’t eat the same thing all the time. When you have a week or two to look back on, they might think they have the same thing for breakfast every day, though the food record indicates that most of the time they have eggs. Sometimes another food is mixed into the eggs, and other days they have thrown in a dietary meal replacement or shake, and then there is the quick, ‘I grabbed a muffin at the office’, or ‘ate half of my son’s waffle’.

2. You may lose the piece of paper, and you may not. Even in these technologically advanced days of digital everything, most people are still carrying around a bag of some sort with a planner, a pad of paper, or a folder where they carry important documents.

This is an important document. THIS food log is a picture of your current state of health.

Even if you don’t carry a bag with you, it’s likely you have a pocket you can fold it into until you need to pull it out and jot down what you’re eating. The best food logs my clients turn in to me are the ones with food and water stains, they are tattered and wrinkled-they have been used.

If it’s an important document for you, it’s less likely you’ll misplace it. You might forget it on the kitchen counter but you probably won’t lose it entirely.

3. None of us have “extra” time in our days, we’re all on the same clock, however, its all about priority. Is it a priority to get better quickly and stay that way or are you fine with slugging along feeling so-so and hoping things will change? This is where you take matters into your own hands.

Most people eat while sitting down. Whether this be during a project at your desk, while having yourself on mute during a conference call, or while perusing a magazine or browsing online. You are likely sitting. Which means taking out your food log and jotting down what you are eating takes all of one minute. Then you can carry on with the task at hand.

Even if you’re standing because you might feel rushed-it still takes a few minutes to chew and swallow, so get scribbling while you’re at it.

If you forget to write down what you had at lunch because you got distracted while having lunch with a friend, write it down the moment you remember, or during dinner.

Taking responsibility for your health is an empowering step, and one that can be easily made by keeping a food log.

Suspect you have food intolerances or allergies?

Then a food log could be your best friend without yet eliminating any foods. I always tell my clients we aren’t going to eliminate food groups unless we have to, meaning, unless you have tested for needing to remove them one in my program.

However, sugar isn’t a food group.

In case you were wondering.

And gluten can be an anti-nutrient.

But that’s another blog topic right there.

Off soapbox and back to topic: people who have begun paying attention to what they are eating or attribute certain foods to a rash, headache or stomach ache, may notice this might happen, though haven’t challenged it in any way.

Having a food log allows you to see what you’ve eaten in relation to how you’re feeling. Did you know it can take up to a week for your body to communicate its level of unhappiness in regards to a particular food? Yes, your body can respond right away with a scratchy throat, runny nose, a cough, explosive diarrhea, headache and belly ache or a number of other things….or if can take a bit for your body to process, in which case we blame that headache on stress, kids fighting, tight muscles or the like.

It’s not to say our bickering children can’t cause a headache, or your boss pressing into you with a deadline can’t get your heart racing, but having kept a food log, you can look back and connect that after book club stop at the pub for onion rings and a beer with the girls (which is, say, rare for you) with the stabbing gut pain you had two days later as your body is working so hard to digest that gluten you usually don’t eat.

How to begin keeping a food log

Grab a small notebook to keep with you making up three columns, one for each breakfast, lunch and dinner. Track this info, along with your water and other beverage intake each day, leave a spot to track snacks, and perhaps a place to jot down a note or two.

An interesting note to keep in the margin would be a quick word or two summing up how you felt that day: sluggish, full of energy, rested, bloated, etc.

Another level of tracking would be to look at your bowel movements, their number and consistency, along with how many hours and quality of sleep you got.

I can almost guarantee you won’t need a professional eye to make some basic changes based upon a few weeks of data you collect.

Maybe you realize how much sugar you eat between dinner and bed, or that you actually consume 3 or 4 cans of soda per day versus the 2 on your work shift. I have a client who was consuming 6 cans of soda per day, and, on her own eliminated 1 can per day and lost 7 pounds in the first week!

You might notice you aren’t eating any protein with breakfast-maybe that’s why you’re so hungry an hour after you get to work…

Like I said above, taking responsibility for your health is an empowering step, and one that can be easily made by keeping a food log.

And if you decide to begin working with a professional on your nutrition or health goals, you’ll have a great amount of data, failures and successes to share with them, furthering accelerating your quest to being full of energy and vitality.

Have you ever kept a food log? What was your process?



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Salmon and Avocado Salad – a great recipe for your hormones and fertility

A couple of weeks ago I was skimming through Pinterest looking for new recipes and happened upon an infographic with different ways to “perfect your salad”. In the same few minutes I passed another post about the health benefits of avocado and knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone when it came to eating avocados.

avocado and fertility

I grew up hating them and only in the last few years I’ve gotten to love them, but only in my tacos and mexican fare. In my quest to keep my body functioning as it should, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new recipes. The first one inspired from that niffy little salad combining pic!

salmond and avocado

tuna and avocado salad

Salmon and Avocado Salad

A tasty way to boost your nutrient stores, balance your hormones, and increase your fertility through food.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Salmon and Avocado Salad – a great recipe for your hormones and fertility
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can (or about 6-8 ounces) of salmon
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • ½ small red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional – chopped almonds

Instructions
  1. Drain salmon and place in small bowl with chopped onion, lemon juice, and seasonings.
  2. Stir to combine and taste to see if you need more salt.
  3. Add avocado (and almonds if using) and gently stir until it’s fully incorporated.
  4. Serve over lettuce, toast, or enjoy plain.

Notes
Variations:

Use canned tuna instead and omit basil.

Use shredded chicken and omit lemon – add minced garlic.

 salmon and avocado salad

Cooking for fertility

Avocados

Containing more potassium than bananas, avocados are a great source of nutrients like folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 as well as an excellent source of monosaturated fat.

Salmon

Wild caught salmon to be more specific, is full of healthy omega 3 fats that contain the ever important EPA and DHA. DHA is really important for fertility and hormone balance! It’s crucial to the formation of neurons and helps protect the brain from oxidative damage. In traditional Chinese Medicine, they believe that eating fresh wild salmon contributes to yin which is an essential factor in her ability to generate healthy follicles and ample amounts of cervical fluid. The omega 3 fats are also important for proper brain development for babies in utero and while nursing.

Almonds

A good source of monounsaturated fats, almonds also contain plenty of vitamin E, manganese, and biotin (a B vitamin). If you soak and dehydrate them first they are even better for you! And they add a great crunch to this salad.

 

Dietary variations:

Whole foods diet – you can include a piece or two of homemade bread or sprouted toast is a great addition.

Paleo/Primal/Grain-free – skip the bread and eat your salad as is or over some fresh lettuce.

THM – without the bread this is considered an S meal, with 1 slice of sprouted toast it’s an S Helper.

Fast Metabolism Diet – for phase 3 use fresh salmon instead of canned or use shredded chicken or canned tuna. Skip the bread and add a phase 3 fruit if you’re making it for lunch, but include 1 slice of sprouted toast, extra veggies, and no fruit if making it for dinner.

Gluten-free – swap out any gluten containing breads with GF versions (like this gluten-free sourdough bread) or skip the bread entirely.



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French Silk Pie

Every once in a while I go through a season of life where at home is where it’s at.

Whether it’s during a season of tight budgets, or a season of healing where restaurant food just isn’t going to cooperate with the eating plan, sometimes having some really great celebration food in my back pocket is really helpful.

valentine's day French Silk PieFrench Silk Pie

 

gluten free french silk pie

Everyone deserves to celebrate the things (and people!) that are important to them! I also think everyone deserves to have a treat, even if you are trying to stay away from processed food.

I adore this French silk pie for a couple of reasons.

The biggest one being that I am *not* a baker. I completely and fully admit to that. I don’t make a lot of dessert in my house, and frankly I am just not comfortable with it! I have a fool-proof gluten-free pie crust though that is super easy to work with and very forgiving. It makes pie making less stressful when you know you can just patch up any little mishaps with extra dough!

And because I don’t really enjoy dessert making all that much, I don’t care to spend a bunch of time fussing over every little step. Not only is the crust easy, but the batter just blends up and spreads into the baked pie crust – no cooking! And the whipped topping is as simple as plopping simple and quick homemade whipped cream on top. Looks fancy but it is so easy.

My other reason for really loving this pie is because it is so creamy and rich. It is truly a splurge –and perfect for celebrating anything from a birthday for your loved one to Valentine’s Day.

homemade French Silk Pie

5.0 from 3 reviews

French Silk Pie
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 baked gluten free pie crust (If you use my recipe, just get the crust into your pie plate, poke some fork holes in the bottom, put some foil with beans into the bottom of the crust to weight it down, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the weight and bake another 20ish minutes. Cool completely before filling!)
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup organic pure cane POWDERED sugar
  • ½ cup whole sour cream
  • 3 TB raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup melted chocolate chips (I like using the Enjoy Life brand – just watch the ingredients!)
  • 1-2 cups homemade whole whipped cream
  • Optional sprinkle of cacao powder to garnish the top

Instructions
  1. Blend the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the sour cream, cacao powder, vanilla, and sea salt, and melted chocolate chips and blend through to combine.
  3. Spread the chocolate batter into the cooled pre-baked pie crust.
  4. Spread the whipped cream on top and garnish if you choose.
  5. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Great make ahead dish!

 



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Five reasons why you should be skin brushing

I know each year we all start out with good intentions about what we will accomplish, but it seems like it doesn’t take long for those goals to somehow lose their importance. Sometimes it happens because life gets in the way or the goal was too lofty.

My goal for the new year is work on my health. Nice and generic, right? The reason I set it as being more of a broad goal is because I know my body. I know that sometimes I start our doing something I think  I need and it totally is not what I need to be doing.

I decided that for the winter I was going to concentrate on simple things I can do for my body to help let it rest and nourish as needed. I want to support my body and help it to function as best it can. My adrenals are tired and I am ready for them to perk up a bit. Anyone else?

skin brushing

Dry skin brushing was something a friend recommended to me because I was complaining about skin issues. I was a bit skeptical but I decided for the small amount of money it costs (all you need is a natural bristled brush – available on Amazon) and time commitment (just a few minutes a day before your shower or bath) that I would try it.

I was totally surprised that after a few weeks I could see a major difference in some cellulite spots. (Sigh, I can’t believe I said that ‘out loud’) After seeing the improvement, I have been hooked on brushing. It is not a major part of my going to bed routine and I like the effects.

Brushing is also super easy to do. There are a ton of videos online, but I enjoyed this one and I have yielded great results in this method. (All though I really don’t think there is a ‘wrong’ way.)

Skin brushing is something I think EVERYONE can benefit from, if you don’t believe me, just check out the list below. These five reasons are pretty amazing for such a simple thing to add to your daily routine.

Five reasons why you should be skin brushing!

1. Skin brushing moves lymph fluid

The lymph system is one of the most important systems in your body as it is used to help carry debris out of your body. It moves germs and infection out of your system when you are sick. A healthy lymph system aids in a healthy immune system.

Skin brushing helps stimulate the ducts to break up clogs and help the fluid move more easily through your system. Stagnation isn’t good so keeping the lymph fluid flowing aids in helping your body function at healthier levels.

2. Skin brushing helps cleanse the skin

The skin is our largest organ, it not only protects us but it also how we eliminate things we don’t want in our bodies. Our skin also helps absorb things we need. (Which is why natural skin products are a super good idea)

Brushing the skin while dry helps to remove dead skin and tissue to help the skin ‘breathe’, which allows our body to more effectively get rid of toxins. Basically allowing good things in and bad things out.

3. Skin brushing can improve cellulite

Ack! Nobody likes to talk about it and nobody likes to have it, but cellulite is an issue for woman. Skin brushing can help! (I know, I was skeptic about this part too!)

Dry brushing helps break up fat deposits under the skin, there for, helping to distribute it helping to smooth cellulite. I really saw a difference in my upper arm and breast area. (Y’all I’m totally being personal so you know just how much I believe in skin brushing for health!)

4. Skin brushing helps stimulate the liver

In our world today our livers are stressed and overburdened. Their job is to help eliminate toxins, flush hormones and aid in digestion. An easy thing to do to help our livers function better is to brush.

Brushing helps stimulate the lymph system, mentioned above, and in turn that helps to stimulate the liver. It helps keep your body moving all types of fluid needed to work at optimal levels.

5. Skin brushing increases circulation

The action of the brushing increases circulation in the skin. Increased circulations helps to encourage waste elimination. This helps the pores of your skin open up. (This is even where I saw a difference in the pores on my nose, they are quite a bit smaller.)

Dry skin brushing just takes a few minutes out of your day, but is a great and gentle way to detox and stimulate the body. Some times the simplest of steps make a remarkable difference in our health.

Do you dry skin brush? What type of benefits have you seen from brushing? 



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Are cleaners disrupting your hormones?

Changing your diet is a great way to start on the road to health and happy hormone balance. But your environment can also a large factor in your own personal health. Taking a good look at the products you bring into your home in order to clean it and make it smell nice could be disrupting your hormones.

Are cleaning supplies disrupting your hormones

Have you ever really looked at the chemicals you use in your own home?

Conventional cleaners are full of toxins and chemicals that have been associated with birth defects as well as reproductive problems. Unfortunately manufacturers are not required to place their ingredients on any sort of label. So let’s just look at some of the ingredients that are most common in products.

Alkylphenolic compounds are surfactants and used in all-purpose cleaners as well as laundry detergent. These compounds have also shown to be endocrine disrupters, which means they mimic the hormone estrogen and cause problems with your hormones that regulate reproduction and the development of a baby.

Perchlorethylene, or PERC is found in carpet cleaners, spot removers, de-greasers and also in dry cleaning fluids. This toxin is important to stay away from because when it is inhaled, it can actually be stored in our fat tissue (known as a bioaccumulative toxin). This toxin has also been shown to negatively affect babies in the womb as well as contaminate breast milk.

Petroleum distillates are not only found in hand dishwashing liquid, paint thinners, stain removers, furniture polishes, and oven cleaners, but also in lip gloss and perfume. Exposure to this chemical can cause problems with the respiratory, immune, and most important for those trying to conceive, your endocrine system.

So are these cleaners disrupting your hormones?

If I listed all of the chemicals in regular cleaners, we’d be here all day. But the gist of it is this: we’re bringing chemicals into our homes that get onto our skin (because many of us don’t wear gloves like the bottles recommend) and we breathe them in while we’re spraying and cleaning. Sometimes we might even ingest them if an object hasn’t been rinsed off appropriately!

So how do you keep these hormone disrupting chemicals out of your body? You keep them out of your home and use natural cleaners.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to run out to the store and spend tons of money on the natural products either, though you can if you lack time but not money…

Many of you even have these items in your home already! Here’s a cheap, natural way to keep your house clean.

Here’s what you buy at the store:

  • one large bottle of vinegar (approx. $2-$3)
  • one large box of baking soda (approx. $2)
  • one large bottle of hydrogen peroxide (approx. $2)
  • two small spray bottles (approx. $2-4)
  • one single spray top (or another spray bottle if you can’t just find the top) to use on the hydrogen peroxide bottle as it needs to stay in the brown bottle

Total spent: $8.00

Optional purchases:

Quick and easy cleaners that won’t wreck your hormones:

For an all-purpose cleaner you can use straight up vinegar (or dilute it half and half if the smell is to strong for you) in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of essential oil if you’d like a bit more germ fighting power and/or scent. And don’t worry about your home smelling like pickles, the smell vanishes rather quickly.
*cost per bottle – .10 to .20 depending on dilution and EOs used.

Have a tough cleaning job like a tub or messy stove top? Sprinkle some baking soda around and spray with vinegar. Although this does work very well, you do need just a touch more elbow grease than when you use the highly toxic cleaners. Adding a bit of salt can give you extra scrubbing power.
*cost per bottle plus soda usage – maybe .50 to .60

For a great disinfectant spray the counter down with hydrogen peroxide and follow-up with straight vinegar. When using both together they somehow activate disinfectant properties. I love using this after I cook each night! (make sure you do not mix them beforehand, and always keep the hydrogen peroxide in a dark bottle. Otherwise the hydrogen peroxide will break down and become useless water)
*cost per bottles (one of each) – .30 to .50

As you can see, with such a cheap alternative to toxic cleaners, there really is no reason to overload your home and body with chemicals that disrupt your hormones!

You can also check out the many cleaners I’ve come up with over the years as well as other non-toxic ways of living here – 31 Days to Cleaner Living

 What are your favorite homemade/natural cleaners?



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What if Endometriosis was simple? 3 key areas to target

When I first discovered I had Endometriosis, I had no understanding of what the condition was really all about. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it, never mind trying to understand what caused it or what made it worse. My doctor’s explanation of it, didn’t seem to alleviate this feeling as I was constantly asking questions but not really getting any real endometriosis treatments that worked!

natural treatments for endometriosis

At the time, the only solutions that were offered to me were pain-killers, surgery or hormone treatments. I wanted more choices as somehow I knew that these things were not solving anything but merely suppressing the symptoms of Endometriosis.

After having lived with Endometriosis for over 15 years now, I know it personally. It has visited me in the dark hours of the night and left me wondering where I begin and it ends. Endometriosis was a dominator for so long but eventually I had to find a better way to understand it and stop suppressing it. I have finally found an Endometriosis Treatment that actually works!

I spent 4 years researching all that I could about Endometriosis. I stretched my research into inflammatory conditions, auto-immune conditions and even dived into the digestive system and how it relates to everything within our bodies. I have even gone back to studying a degree in Natural Medicine as the whole experience of learning about my body and it actually worked really made me appreciate it so much more.

Eventually I managed to break Endometriosis down into three key areas that I target within my Eat Endo Happy Program.

My Endometriosis Treatment Protocol:

Area 1: Reduce Inflammation

I got clues that Endometriosis was an inflammatory condition since I was always swollen and bloated. I also felt the changes that occurred with my bowel movements and my bladder, during certain times of the month. So, if I managed to reduce my inflammation, I would reduce these symptoms.

The easiest way to reduce inflammation is to focus on eating a non inflammatory diet. This means avoiding foods which are high acid like meat, dairy and sugar. Also, eating foods which reduce inflammation like loads of dark leafy greens, super-foods and foods loaded with anti-oxidants.

 

Area 2: Build up the Immune System

It was hard for me to accept that Endometriosis was an auto-immune condition. I discovered countless indicators and even a researched papers which illustrated that indeed it was. I decided it certainly couldn’t hurt to approach my immune system and build it up. I focused on natural herbs and adaptogens which allowed my body to also cope better with stress.

The immune system is our “fighter” and if it’s down, then all sorts of nasties can enter the body and create imbalances. With endometriosis there have been links to Candida overgrowth, Epstein-Barr Virus and a low NK Cell count. We can boost our immune system by focusing on gut health, a diet high in adaptogens and anti-oxidants and high amounts of Vitamin C. I also found mushroom powders incredible for building the immune system.

 

Untitled

Area 3: Balancing our Hormones

Typically when my doctor approached this aspect of Endometriosis, it was all about simply reducing the effects of the Endometriosis spreading, it was all about control and reducing Oestrogen’s in the body. I wanted to understand why my hormones were out of balance in the first place. It was not as simple as just giving my body more Progesterone! I needed to know why and get to the root of what caused the imbalances. What I discovered is that our hormone health closely relates to our liver health and that ultimately, when I rebalanced and supported my liver, my hormone health improved.

 

I hope this has given you a more simple approach for Endometriosis to explore.

When we approach Endometriosis from this 3 pronged approach, it is amazing how the symptoms and pain just melts away. I would love the new endometriosis treatment protocol to always be handled this way. I couldn’t believe the difference it has made in my own journey with Endometriosis and so many other women with the condition. There is far more to this than just suppressing our hormones!

What has been your experience with Endometriosis? Have you always stuck to just suppressing hormones? Has this opened up some new areas to explore for you?



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How to get your period naturally

I never thought I’d see the day where I was happy to have my period.

When I was a teen and all my friends were complaining about cramps, not being able to swim, wear white safely, etc, etc, I just kind of stayed quiet. Sometimes lamented a knowing “Mmm Hmm…” even though I had no clue.

Sometimes I even wondered if Jesus was meant to have a sibling and I was somehow divinely impregnated but the angel forget to let me know. (Hey, you know you thought that at 13/15 years old too!)

But I kind of got used to it and to be honest, didn’t care. Everyone treated menstruation like a plague and I didn’t want any part of that.

I got married young and did what most do, I went on the pill for a few years to wait until we were ready to start a family. I hated the pill for many reasons (migraines, acne, weight gain), but it was normal in the group of people I hung out with.

And a few years later I began to freak out about my lack of periods… because a lack of periods meant a lack of ovulation, and I wanted a baby yesterday!

I really wish I would have known then what I know now, but at the time I couldn’t find any solid ways to get the body to ovulate naturally when my body wasn’t doing it on its own. Yet after months of researching conventional nutrition and medical ways to assist ovulation and pregnancy, I finally found my way to what real foods can do.

get your period naturally

How I got my period back

I’m asked all the time what I did to start ovulating again, and for me (at the time) it was fairly simple:

Eat real food.

  • I threw away all my low-fat margarine spreads (and sprays! ick.), stopped buying skim milk and low-fat cheese, and ditched the processed foods.
  • Instead I bought real butter, didn’t drink milk for a while and then switched to farm fresh, and added healthy fats to my diet.
  • I also severely cut back on my refined sugar consumption, though still indulged from time to time.

Those three things were the biggest changes I made, and at 27 years I began to ovulate regularly for the first time in my life. First it was every 8 weeks for a couple of cycles, then every six until six months after my nutritional change, it went to a “normal” 28 day cycle.

Depending on your age, overall health, hormonal birth control history, and stress level, it may be simple dietary changes that bring back your cycle, or you might need to add in other alternative therapies to assist healing and reproductive health.

Free videos for you

I know from the emails I get that many of you have the same issue with your cycles, or lack thereof, so I wanted to let you know about this free video series called “Bring Back Your Period” that my friend Nicole Jardim put together. She’s the creator of the Fix Your Period programs and is one of my favorite woman’s hormonal health coaches. These videos are the preview to her paid program, but you don’t have to buy anything to watch them AND they are full of great info (not just teasers to get you to buy something). I’ve watched the first two today and I think you’ll really enjoy them.

She knows her stuff and the ins and outs of hormones and how to balance them naturally.

So if you go months between periods or maybe yours are just unpredictable and never have a cycle the same length, you should totally watch these videos.

how to get your period

And if you’ve found changes you made helped you to begin ovulating again naturally, let me know in the comments below!

 



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Michigan vaccine exemption rule changes

I rarely talk about any subject that includes children here at Natural Fertility and Wellness. But the fact of the matter is, many of you are parents, or will be at some point, and live here in Michigan, so please bear with me as I use this platform to bring attention to the changes in Michigan’s vaccine exemptions.

As of January 1, 2015 new rules were put in place by the Health Department, with no public vote/comment or legislative backing.

Michigan vaccine exemption rule changes

Parents who choose not to vaccinate, or choose vaccinations selectively or on a delayed schedule, will be required to watch or listen to educational material on vaccinations as well as sign a form that states that you know you are putting your child at risk.

Now, I know there are multiple sides on the vaccine issue and subjects like this can definitely fuel a fire. I’m not against parents vaccinating or against those who choose not to. I’m pro-informed consent (which I think is what this law is ultimately trying to do) and pro-parental rights.

I’m definitely not against making sure parents are educated on the subject. While I think that most parents that delay or refuse have done plenty of research, there are probably a few out there that haven’t. And you can’t just decide not to vaccinate all willy-nilly like. And you also can’t ignore the nutritional aspects of boosting the immune system and take precaustions when it comes to denying vaccinations. This is one time you can’t be “kinda-crunchy”.

I also haven’t seen the educational materials, but I also wonder if they present the risk of vaccinating as well as the benefits? Because I think all parents should be fully informed on the risks vs benefit. And are they the same throughout Michigan? It seems like they may not be, at least as of yet.

This is something that I talk with the doctor about at every well child visit. We go over our current lifestyle and diet, look at the health of the individual child, and make decisions based on the information we have at the time. We also often talk about the fact that medical decisions of this nature are now no longer simply between doctor and patient, which frustrates the both of us.

Had the school my kids were going to take enrichment classes at not closed last summer, I was going to have to head to the health department and sit with someone while they gave me educational materials (it was already something being enforced int hat county) or my kids would not have been allowed at the school. Fine with me, just a hoop to jump through for me. (I have children at multiple stages of vaccinations as we’ve changed our thoughts on vaccinations as time goes by)

But what gets me is the form we’re required to sign. 

I take pride in the fact that I spend a lot of time researching and talking to multiple doctors, medical and holistic, in my attempts to keep my family healthy. I would never knowingly decide to put my kids at risk, or in harm’s way, and I don’t feel that because they don’t have the vaccines the state requires that I should be forced to state so.

We used to be able to use alternative forms from MOM Vaccines. I know parents that have crossed out verbiage in the form and changed it to their liking. But it looks like that is a thing of the past – we now have to sign the form as is if we want our kids in school. Summer camps and other programs may also have the same requirements, so homeschoolers aren’t completely exempt.

UPDATE – the verbiage on the new form is better than the one I was presented with last year. It states “By signing this waiver, I acknowledge that I have been informed that I may be placing my child and others at risk of serious illness should he or she contract a disease that could have been prevented through proper vaccination”. I think it’s a step in the right direction for sure.

One of the other subjects of concern is whether or not the Health Department has the right to change this rule without any public vote or comment.

My dear friend Katie, of Kitchen Stewardship, has done all the research and created a great post full of information surrounding this new rule. Whether you agree with vaccinations or not I think it’s important to be aware of changes like this and I ask that you read her post in full where she covers not only the changes in the rules, but discusses whether or not they infringe on parental rights (which is why it’s important for everyone), and ways to get involved.

Michigan Vaccination Exemption Law Updates: Did the State Health Department Break the Law?

One of the other reasons I’m big on bringing this issue to the limelight is that one of Michigan’s news reporting websites is backing the push to take away phylisophical exemptions here in MI, so most of the information people are reading on that site is bias. We all need to be able to see this issue from both sides, so in my small way, I just want to make people aware of this so they can make an informed decision and not base it off of reporters they think are writing well-rounded articles.

Other local-to-me bloggers are also talking about this subject as well because we feel the need for residents of Michigan to know the in’s and out’s of the changes.

Kelly (Kelly the Kitchen Kop) – New Michigan Anti-Vaccination Rules are Unconstitutional: Now Only *Their* Vaccine Exemption Form is Allowed

Adrienne (Whole New Mom) – post forthcoming

Melissa (Integrative Nutritional Therapies) – Michigan Vaccine New Exemption Rule. Another Hurdle for Aware and Educated Parents



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Christmas Buckeyes (peanut butter balls!)

christmas buckeyes

Every Christmas that I can ever remember involved Buckeyes! My mom would have an assembly line set up for my sister and I to help dip the frozen peanut butter balls, and despite the brightly frosted Christmas cookies that crowded the cookie plate on Christmas day, the chocolate peanut butter balls were my favorite from very young.

In the beginning of my real food journey, I played the strict card on holidays. And to be honest it was for good reason. I had many food allergies I was working through, and to blow all my hard work on one cookie would not have been worth it. If you are in a spot of really needing to avoid certain foods while you heal your gut, I promise you it is so worth skipping the treats for one year.

After a couple of years of skipping out on my holiday favorites despite having successfully worked through my gut issues, I decided there had to be a better way. Because, really…the holidays are more than just about food, BUT it is enjoyable to have a once a year treat like a Christmas cookie or Buckeye! And think about it…your great grandparents made Christmas goodies without the Crisco – it can be done with less processed ingredients.

I started playing around with how to bake in a more real food way, and as it turns out it really isn’t that difficult to make some real food swaps for the really processed ingredients some of us grew up on.

buckeyes peanut butter balls

I’m definitely not glorifying this as “health food”- sugar is still sugar. But if you are headed to a party or have a gathering set for your house, having an option like this is definitely better than most. And these are SO good!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Christmas Buckeyes
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (if you use something that has more than just peanuts like salt, sugar, or oils added you will have to play around with the salt, sugar, and flour amounts for the right taste and consistency – it will still work – taste as you go along and you are looking for a stiff cookie dough consistency.)
  • ¼ cup soft butter (not melted though)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup organic pure cane powdered sugar
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 – 10oz bag Enjoy Life Chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions
  1. Combine everything but the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl using hand beaters.
  2. Roll the peanut butter mixture into balls and place them on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for one hour.
  3. Use a double boiler method to melt the chocolate. (Or frankly a microwave works fine – it’s not like there’s much nourishment in the chocolate chips to be destroyed by the microwave! Just do 10 second increments and stir in between until melted)
  4. Use a toothpick to pick up the peanut butter balls and dip in the melted chocolate and then place the dipped peanut butter balls back on the Silpat lined baking sheet. If your chocolate begins to cool off too much and gets thick just melt it again.
  5. Freeze the dipped buckeyes for an hour to set the chocolate.

So keep me posted if you try these out for your holiday parties!

homemade peanut butter balls

 

Note from Donielle.

So. Do you call them Buckeyes? Or Peanut Butter Balls? 

When Renee said she wanted to do recipe post for buckeyes I had to figure out what she meant! And peanut butter balls were always a favorite of mine as well. Except I’m pretty certain my mom added wax to her chocolate. Ewww! I’m definitely making these to bring to a Christmas Eve party. (as an added bonus, they are gluten free.)



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