Monday, 7 December 2015

Review: Joanne's Absolute Nutrition & Competition!!


Last week I had the honour of meeting the lovely Joanne of Absolute Nutrition who specialises in Paleo treats which are both delicious and full of flavour. We had a lovely chat about all things Paleo, nutrition, breastfeeding and family and the time flew between cups of coffee and delicious samples of her gorgeous treats!

As a busy mother I know how hard it can be to provide healthy nutritious treats for your family. We all have days where the house is a tip and the baby just wants to suck the life out of you (literally) meaning it can be tough to keep everyone happy. I am a firm believer in limiting the amount of junk food my family eats but the truth is the tweenager sometimes wants some nice treats and I just don't have the time right now to make them. I want him to feel like he is having treats but I don't want him eating refined sugar (not least because he is actually Type 1 diabetic). I also want some treats from time to time. Breastfeeding gives me a sweet tooth I never had before and it is nice to satisfy it without having to resort to refined sugars.

We all know how hard it is to find healthy but tasty treats in the supermarket. They're either seriously lacking in flavour or only marginally healthy to begin with. As I say to clients, the amount of sugar in some so called healthy treats you would actually be better having a fricking Mars bar (don't though!)

 

Enter Joanne and her Paleo goodies. I love her story. After the birth of her 4th child Joanne joined a gym and got into health and nutrition. However she found it really difficult to find tasty but healthy treats on the market. Her gym owner told her it was super difficult to find those types of products to sell in the gym and Joanne realised there was a definite gap in the market. She started making the treats in her own kitchen and they went down a storm with her family. From there she started providing them to her gym where they were devoured and Absolute Nutrition was born!

I love that she has grown this family business herself from passion and hard work and that she has recently started supplying SuperValue stores in their "Food Academy" sections.

What about the flavour?! Joanne kindly gave me some samples to try and can I tell you they were delicious! From her take on Rolo sweets (dates and nut butter covered in chocolate YUM) to her Chocolate Power Fudge (one of her more popular products but which does contain whey protein if you are avoiding dairy) these foods are amazing. I am really reluctant to recommend products unless I really believe in them and I am happy to say I really like Joanne's products. They even got the thumbs up from the tweenager who happily ate the dates stuffed with walnuts and loved the cocoa balls which are made with organic cacao powder. 
Keep an eye out for these products in your local SuperValu and support a good Irish company. 
I also have a yummy hamper to giveaway. 



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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Top 5 Paleo Christmas Gifts 2015

With Christmas fast approaching many of you are no doubt wondering what to get your loved ones for a gift. Sometimes people are predictable and easy to buy for, other times things can be a little more tricky. 

If your partner/spouse/friend or colleague are interested in Paleo or healthy living, maybe you have pondered whether to buy them something related to their lifestyle choices - I think this is a wonderful idea! Not only does it show that you have been listening to us as we rabbit on about the merits of Paleo living but it means you have actually considered getting us something we will really use and value! 
Also, someone you love may be considering taking on Paleo from 1st January and what better way to encourage them then to buy them a Paleo gift to begin their journey with? 

Here are a list of the top 5 Paleo gifts which are perfect for any Paleo devotee or Paleo wanna be! 

5. The Paleo Book 



There are a growing number of excellent books on the literary market dedicated to Paleo. A book can be a great way to learn about the subject of Paleo to educate before taking it on. Some of the most popular include Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint", Rob Wolfe's "The Paleo Solution", Sarah Fragoso's "Everyday Paleo" and my personal favourite Diane Sanfillipo's "Practical Paleo". Diane's book is excellent and one which I always recommend as a first port of call for anyone interested in learning about Paleo. Buy it here.  I also really recommend Chris Kresser's "The Personal Paleo Code" and "Mediterranean Paleo Cooking" which is new release and really good!

4. The Slow Cooker
 I love mine and use it really frequently. I really believe it is a kitchen must have for the busy mum or shift worker. The merits of the slow cooker are numerous! Stick some meat and herbs and veggies in before you go to work in the morning and leave it there. Come home after work to delicious tender meat - ready to eat as soon as you are! I also regularly make bone broth overnight, or cook soup all night and have it ready to simply decant into my thermos for lunch the next day. A slow cooker is an excellent gift for your Paleo friend (or yourself!)

Check out this great programmable on by Crockpot. Buy it here. 

3. The Paleo Plan 
Does your other half or friend struggle with taking on new lifestyle choices? Do they need extra support but are not sure of where to find it? Maybe they want to eat clean but don't know where to start? This January I will be launching my brand new protocol which helps you take on the fundamentals of clean living. It goes beyond diet to look at other aspects of health such as sleep, movement and removing stimulants. Why not pay for them to join as the ultimate Christmas gift. Email me for details on theirishpaleo@Gmail.com 

2. Nutribullet
 The Nutribullet has fast become the must have kitchen gadgets for the health conscious! It is super powerful so can really pulverise all those fruits and veggies in smoothies (there is nothing worse that blueberry skins stuck in your teeth while drinking a smoothie) It is also strong enough to make nut butters and even your own coconut milk. The best part?! It is so easy to clean! This is so important. My juicer doesn't get used much as I hate cleaning it! 

You can buy the Nutribullet in Argos.

NutriBullet - Grey.

1. Spiraliser 
I purchased one of these a few tears ago and LOVE it!  A spiraliser is a gadget which takes pride of place in every Paleo kitchen. It allows us to recreate "pasta" by producing perfect vegetable spirals every time.  I use this every week for my spaghetti and really never miss the pasta!

Check this one out, buy it here 

I hope this list helps those of you struggling to buy Paleo gifts! 

Denise 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

BABYWEARING & COMPETITION: WIN A MOBY WRAP WORTH €54!!



A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog post outlining my experience as a new breastfeeding mother (read here) One question which came up quite a bit was where to purchase a sling. I was very new to babywearing but had heard many people praising their usefulness as a tool in your mother artillery! I was very dubious about how useful it would be. After all, hadn't I just spent a fortune on a state of the art travel system!? Wouldn't the baby be in it every day as I  leisurely walked around the country roads working off my baby tummy?

Baby had other ideas and for a number of weeks she had ZERO intention of lying down in her pretty and colourful bassinet. Make that lying on ANY surface other than Mammy's tummy! As someone who has come to learn alot about attachment parenting in the past few months, I knew that this clinginess was normal behaviour for a newborn. Afterall they have been plucked from the lovely comfortable surroundings of your uterus where they were in constant contact with you, listening to your heart beat with constant temperature, a steady stream of nutrients and a feeling of safety and security.



All of a sudden they are plucked from you and brought into a world full of bright lights, incorrect temperatures, hunger, itchy nappies and clothing and so many unknown sensations. All of this can become too much for your baby and they look for reassurance and contact with the only thing they know and feel safe with - YOU.

For me, having researched this so called "Fourth Trimester" and the need to allow your baby to learn to trust you and its surroundings, I knew that this "clinginess" that everyone talks about is in fact perfectly normal. For me, allowing my baby to cry it out or feel unsafe was not an option, despite the advice from others. However it is not always possible to hold your baby all day (much as we would like to!) Other children, housework and other demands on our time dictate that we do sometimes have to use both our hands and holding a baby all day may not be feasible. The solution? Babywearing.

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Babywearing is the practice of carrying a baby around in a wrap or sling and has been practised by many cultures for centuries. It has seen a resurgence in recent years and has any important benefits to both mother and child:


  • Close contact with newborn promotes the release of oxytocin which is very important for promotion of bonding with baby as well as production of milk.
  • Important role in prevention of post natal depression and an important tool in paternal bonding.
  • Promotes calm baby as he/she can smell, hear and touch caregiver
  • Maternal heartbeat promotes calm in baby as they remember the pulse from being in the womb
  • Movement is soothing for the baby 
  • Position and movement can help sooth the colicky or windy baby and promote passing of wind. 
  • Close contact promotes social development and allows copying of facial expressions. 
  • Contrary to popular belief baby wearing actually promotes independence faster as baby learns to trust and feel reassurance earlier. 
  • Allows both hands to be free allowing caregiver to get household tasks done easily or eat meals while baby feels content and happy in the sling. 
Which Carrier/Wrap should I choose
There are many many types of wraps and slings on the market. It can be very difficult to know what type would be suitable for you to choose and it is therefore recommended that you visit a Sling Meet close to you to gain advice and try on various types to see what suits your needs. Some even have a sling library where you can literally borrow a sling/carrier and try it for a while to see if it is suitable. To find out where there is a local meet in your area check out Babywearing Ireland's Website 


I purchased a Moby Stretch Wrap as I wanted something soft and suitable from birth (many carriers need an additional purchase of an infant insert to allow you to hold your baby from birth) as well as wanting it to allow baby's neck and body to be adequately supported. The Moby wrap fitted my brief and I bought from Irish website www.earthmother.ie who I happened to meet at a baby fair and who I felt had excellent customer service and support. 

My Moby wrap has been and continues to be an important part of my day to day life. I use it more than my buggy and it is so useful for situations where a buggy is not practical (such as at large events with lots of people or on country walks or hiking) or when baby is feeling like he/she needs reassurance of extra cuddles (during development leaps, teething, sickness etc) 

As someone who never contemplated baby-wearing in the past, it has quickly become an invaluable part of our everyday lives and something we will continue to do into the future. 

To celebrate my blog reaching an amazing 19,000 likes and with special thanks to www.earthmother.ie I have a Moby Wrap available to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

To be in with a chance to win please like and comment below my Facebook post and let me know why you want to win this for you or someone close to you. 

Entrants must also visit and like Earth Mother on Facebook. Tell them I sent you!
Check out their website for details on their sale which has up to 50% off selected lines. 


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My First 6 Weeks As A Breastfeeding Mother

Hey everyone! Hope you are all well and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Long may it last!

As you know I have been super busy myself with a newborn! My little girl was born on 19/8/2015 and is just perfect. I got my lovely Gentle Birth and had a beautiful drug free birth - exactly as I hoped for. I cant believe she is 6 weeks tomorrow! It has flew by in a haze of Pampers and night feeds and I want time to slow down so I can enjoy my little bundle as long as possible!

I have decided to write this post about my breastfeeding journey to date. Tomorrow marks my 6 week anniversary of our first feed and I felt it was a good thing to post on given that National Breastfeeding Week begins on Thursday next the 1st October 2015.

For me, breastfeeding was always something I was going to do for this baby. I unfortunately did not even attempt breastfeeding my now 12 year old. I was young and it wasn't even on my radar at the time. I did not understand the significance of breastfeeding and assumed formula was the same.  This time around though I knew it was the only way I wanted to feed and I was determined I would do it.

As a Nutritionist I am profoundly aware of the huge importance of breast milk for gut health, the prevention of autoimmune disease, development of healthy immunity and brain. It is one of the first questions I address during consultations with clients, as being breastfed has such long reaching effects on health. As someone who truly credits nutrition as a gateway to health, giving my baby formula was not something I wanted to do. It just wasn't for ME.

In saying that I know that many women struggle with breastfeeding because of lack of support, lack of education and sometimes other issues such as hormonal imbalances. I was acutely aware of the benefits but would I succeed?

The Challenges Of A First Time Breast feeder

My journey has not been plain sailing. I am not going to lie - at one point I did exclaim "If this is natural why is it so hard"?! I wasn't naive about how tough it would be. I had read the books in preparation - I knew about cluster feeds and mastitis. About the milk taking a few days to arrive. I had read about the baby's tiny tummy and the adequacy of colostrum during the initial days. I knew the importance of skin to skin, of taking to my bed and enjoying my baby and trusting my baby and I on this lovely journey of mutual learning. However I still wasn't prepared for the huge task of being the only one able to feed my baby. To having zero nights off in the beginning, despite being absolutely shattered. Of doubting my supply and my ability to persevere. Of painful nipples which seemed like they might never heal. It is hard work!

However that incredible feeling of hearing their weight gain and knowing YOU helped to grow her with your body is amazing. That she has survived every moment from conception to this because YOU exist. That feeling of love as she latches on and looks right into your eyes, her hand stretched out on your breast as if in a whisper "I love you Mam". That pride that you are giving her the best chance at preventing disease and illness through life, nurturing her as nature intended.

And the cracks healed. And the nights become more achievable. And the feeds less difficult. And one day you wake up and you realise you've made it. You got over that initial hurdle and you finally feel you can keep going. You finally feel like you're not a novice any more. You are a breastfeeding mother..

Our journey is only beginning in many ways, I know that. But I often hear that the first weeks are the most difficult and I believe that. Here are the tips I feel helped us in our journey to this point:

1. Preparation is Key

For me, preparation during pregnancy stage for breastfeeding was key to my success to date. I often hear people say that there is nothing to it - "Just latch the baby on". If only that was it! In order to have full knowledge of normal newborn behaviour, understanding cluster feeding, having the confidence to know your body can and will be able to this as well as the knowledge to know when to get help, you need to be prepared BEFORE the birth.


  • Read books - the best one I could recommend is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which is written by The La Leche League (LLL), an international league of breastfeeders and support. It really is the bible of breastfeeding and covers everything you need to know
  • Establish Your Support Network - Attend a local meeting while youre still pregnant. They welcome pregnant ladies and will offer you information, guidance and sense of breastfeeding as the norm. I actually attended my local one while in labour! You can find a group in your area on their website here www.lalecheleagueireland.com Talk to other family members who have breastfed.
  • Check out online resources - www.kellymom.com is one I have found great. 
  • Join an online support group - I found a great facebook group for Extended Breastfeeders in Ireland which I joined while still trying to conceive. This allowed me to have lots of time to see the common issues which arise for breastfeeding ladies and how to address them. There is also always someone there who has been through the same as you so you don't feel alone. I also joined an online Mother group and really benefited from the advice of other experienced mothers. 
2. Trust Your Body

Unfortunately we live in a society which is very familiar with formula feeding and often lacks in its knowledge of breastfeeding. Well meaners will often give their tuppence of advice and a common misconception is that because breastfeeding babies feed little and often and not in fixed three hour spurts like formula feeders they are "not getting enough". Do not listen to this! Your body knows what it is doing and it is doing as nature intended. Babies are not designed to go for extended periods without feeds, especially at the beginning so trust yourself. Unless that person has actually breastfed themselves take their advice with a grain of salt. It takes time for both you and your baby to learn this art so do not be hard on yourself. 

3. Get Help Early

There is nothing wrong with needing help. It is better to get help than to struggle and give up. Seek out a lactation consultant in your area while still pregnant and call if you need to. It was the best money I ever spent and meant my painful nipples finally healed. If budgets are tight consider buying less clothes or other unnecessary baby items or asking for the consultation to paid for as a gift. It is money well spent. LLL volunteers are often very helpful too so get their contact details early. 

4. Never Quit On A Bad Day
I have been told this many times and I am glad I listened. I have had days I questioned whether things would ever get easier. Days that the allure of a 3 hour gap between feeds sounds amazing but I am reminded that all babies are hard work. Formula is not the fix all many claim it to be and colic, reflux, constipation and wind are issues many formula fed babies struggle with. Anyone I have spoken too who gave up when things were bad regretted it so stick with it and take it one day at a time! 




5. Invest in a Sling
This is the best advice I got. I purchased a Moby Wrap during pregnancy and it has been a life saver on more than one occassion. While a clingy baby is not a breastfeeding issue per say, keeping baby close supports good milk production and bonding. It also means you get work done with 2 hands! You can buy one here


Update: One Year On (Almost!)

I cannot believe I am updating this post almost a full year later! It has been an amazing year, filled with pride, love and laughter. In typical maternal style I can't quite believe how fast this year has gone, we are just 2 weeks away from Amelia's first birthday and still feeding.

When I wrote the post above at 6 weeks post partum I remember feeling I had turned an important corner, that I could finally envision continuing long term. I still had a lot of journeys to overcome but I am so happy and proud to have got this far.

My new advice?
Keep feeding, ignore the nay sayers and enjoy every milky cuddle. Surround yourself with people who understand and accept you. Avoid those who don't.

Because before you know it those babies will need us less and less and even the cluster feeds will feel nostalgic (seriously!)

Take it one day at a time, don't worry about "when" you are finishing and ignore what society thinks you "should" do.

When will I stop? I don't know. But I DO know it will be when my baby and I are both ready. And not a second before that.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

My Top 10 Tips To Keeping It Paleo


Struggling with Paleo Nutrition or just curious where to start?

Check out my Top Ten Tips for making the transition to Paleo.

Here they are:


10. Research, Research, Research
Do plenty of reading on Paleo. This is not a do it tomorrow type diet. You need to read into it, understand its foundations and be 100% ready for it. I recommend checking out all the blogs and sites above, as well as possibly buying at least one book. I started with Loren Cordain's "The Paleo Diet" but I found it quite scientific and bland. I wholeheartedly recommend "Practical Paleo" by Diane Sanfillipo. I also recommend "It Starts With Food" from Melissa and Dallas of Whole30 creation! It is an excellent book and explains the whole concept of Paleo and the science behind it, without boring you completely! It is available from Amazon here.
Knowledge is power.

9. This is a lifestyle change not a diet. 
We have all done it or at least seen others so it. You want to lose weight so you embark on a "diet" planning it for X amount of weeks or until Y event. You go hell for leather, telling yourself it is only for a while and then you can eat the way you want again. Right? WRONG!
Unsurprisingly this never works and the weight gradually goes back on over time.
What went wrong? The goal was short term and aesthetic and not directed towards health. You need to view this as a long term goal, a journey for optimum health and well being. Part of a bigger picture. Until you view it that way you will never fully adopt the paleo way. Sure we all slip up sometimes, and very few are 100% paleo - but you have to strive for it.

8. Fat is your friend. 
Yes I know I know, we have all been told for years that fat is bad. That fat kills. That fat causes heart disease...yada yada. Alas we have been fooled. Sure some fats are bad - vegetable oils and margarine kill - but real fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil are GREAT! They fill you up, they provide energy, they taste good and they are healthy! Do not be afraid of fat. It is truely your friend!

7. Forget everything we have been told about nutrition!

Ok so not everything - we all know we should increase our fruit and veg intake and that we need to drink plenty of water. But the stuff they don't tell you is that grains are not health foods and you should not be eating 6 portions of refined carbs a day! Also as mentioned above, fat is not to be excluded from your diet. Eat healthy fats with relish and enjoy their sustenance. Do yourself a favour and pretty much ignore the entire food pyramid! Fats + Protein + Veggies = Meal. Simples.

6. Get Your Ass (back) In the Kitchen

It still surprises me the number of people who do zero cooking at home. We were always provided with home cooked meals growing up, and I wouldn't even consider takeout for dinner. It is not difficult to cook from scratch. Relying on pre-packed foods and food from a packet is not a recipe for a good meal. Rather it is a recipe for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Get some meat and vegetables, cook it and eat it. You don't need processed junk. You and your children are developing on this food, if you put crap in your not getting the best from your body. Do yourself a favour and eat real food.

5. Plan your meals for the week

I am not saying plan everything with military precision. But it pays to buy your shop weekly and have a rough guide of what you will be eating for the week. Think about your breakfast. Do you have eggs, bacon, fruit etc to ensure you have something to eat or prepare for breakfast all week (or most of). What about lunch? Will you be having leftovers or do you have something handy in the fridge to cook up to bring in a box?
Remember the motto - "Fail To Prepare, Prepare to Fail".

4. Do this for you, and ignore the well meaning comments of others. 

This is probably the toughest part of going Paleo or any healthy eating regime. Other people often do not get it and love to tell you how much they disagree with your way of eating. The fact is people believe what they want to believe. They have been convinced by health "experts" that grains are an essential part of the diet and needed for dietary fibre etc, and they choose to believe it because lets face it - we were all reluctant to give it up right?
The fact is people will be quick to judge your "Atkins style diet" while munching on bagels and cream cheese and wondering why their own "diet" isn't working. Ignore them. Do not try to preach and be happy in the knowledge that they will soon be asking "Have you lost weight"??

3. Start A Blog

I have to say that starting my blog and facebook page were the best thing I ever done. I started it more as a way to keep myself accountable and share information with a small number of people. Little did I think I would ever get any interest, let alone almost 19,000 fans. Sure it is not the thing of literary greatness but all the same in my little world it is pretty darn brilliant. I am so thankful for all the interest and if I can help just one person reach their personal goals I will be happy. Start your own blog. You never know who you may help or befriend and it will help you stay on track.

2. Do a Whole 30. 

You do not have to do this immediately, although it is a great way to begin if you are an "All or nothing" type of person. I didn't do the full Whole 30 thing until a few months after I began Paleo, but I definitely recommend it. It is a great program and really puts you on the straight and narrow. It is especially useful if you have serious sugar or carb cravings. I also run my own 30 Day Challenges.

1. Enjoy your new found health!

Trust me Paleo makes you feel amazing. Before I started Paleo I was constantly bloated and sluggish. I hated my abdominal area and always felt a mid afternoon slump. Now I have far more energy, feel happy in my own skin and above all I feel healthy and happy! Everyday we see sick people and more and more people on diabetic medication or on medication for blood pressure etc. Knowing you are doing everything you can to combat all of modern societies ailments feels great. Why wait until you have a health problem. Prevention is the best cure!


Keep It Paleo,
Denise x 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Paleo Pregnancy Diaries: My Pregnancy Whole30

Hey all!

Just said I would give you all an update on my pregnancy. These posts have been a surprisingly popular addition to my blog so thank you all for reading!



So I am almost 38 weeks pregnant and officially ready to meet this baby! I think despite your better judgement and knowledge that only 4% of babies arrive on their actual due date, we still become completely convinced that we are going to automatically go into labour as soon as the clocks strike midnight on the date! Of course mother nature doesn't work that way and chances are I will still be waiting after the 18th.

So the main change since my last blog post is that I have decided to take on a Whole 30 (a 100% Paleo protocol except from grains such as bread, pasta, rice and dairy, sugars and processed foods) for the last month of my pregnancy and I am now almost half way through.

I have done many Whole30 challenges down through the years ( I have actually lost count but it is at least 10!) This isn't even my first one since I became pregnant. I also done one in January and I really felt it helped with preventing nausea and morning sickness and I had zero vomiting as a result. Our bodies are more susceptible to hormone imbalances during pregnancy and for this reason ensuring adequately balanced blood sugar levels is crucially important. Eating a Paleo diet which is exempt from sugars and lots of refined carbs is a great way to keep blood sugars more stable and ensure good health.

The current Whole30 I am on has certainly been challenging. As we all know, the last few weeks of pregnancy are tiring, no matter how healthy or active or good your diet is and I have really started to notice the fatigue a little more in the past fortnight or so. I am having to rest more and get to bed early and understand it is an important part of preparation for birth and the need to listen to my body. Of course when we are more tired we want easy to prepare food with as little hassle as possible and this where I am struggling. Sometimes literally nothing appeals to me and I am not going to lie, sometimes I wish I could just have a fricking sandwich! But I don't. I am fairly stubborn when I want to and I have committed myself to this. I feel it has definitely helped in other ways and I don't feel I have the puffy inflammed look that many ladies experience in later pregnancy which makes me hope that my body is well nourished and preparing. I am also hoping that my healthy diet will be preparing my hormones adequately for birth without sugar and processed foods disrupting the delicate hormonal balances we need to be working correctly for the various chains of reactions to take place for labour and breastfeeding. That is my hope and I am sticking with it!

One thing I do need to be aware of is to keep my calories up. I do not want to lose weight or cause fatigue for myself so I am trying my utmost to get in enough calories, which can sometimes be a struggle. Thank god for avocados and the fact that white potatoes are now Whole30 compliant! Otherwise I fear I would never survive it! For details on what I have been eating on my Whole30 check out my instagram at www.instagram.com/irishpaleogirl

Apart from all this I am trying to keep as active as I can, while listening to my body and trying to overcome my hatred of this horrible weather! Last week for example I got in a walk most days but this week they have been fewer. I hope to get out more in the next week or so to help speed up things! I am also bouncing on my pilates ball when possible (I am on it as I type, bouncing and trying to see the letters as I go, no easy task!) and eating dates which some studies suggest play a role in bringing on labour. I was sort of hoping last Fridays full moon would bring on early labour for me with some studies suggesting a link! No such luck though! ;) I am also still taking my weekly yoga classes and enjoying that too.

I unfortunately cannot make the Gentle Birth class I was hoping to attend next weekend which I am sad about but I am still listening to my tracks on my phone. However I am one of those people who studies for an exam in loads of time but then gets to a certain point where I am sick of it all and just want to do the bloody exam prepared or not. That is how I now feel about birth. I have done the reading, I have listened to the tracks, I have done the clean eating and exercise and I just want to get it over and done with! Bring this baby on!

Hopefully I have good news soon!

To read the other posts in my Paleo Pregnancy Diary series:

My Biggest Paleo Project To Date 
My First 12 Weeks of Pregnancy 
6 Paleo Pregnancy Superfoods To Include in Your Diet 
My 2nd Trimester: Keeping Active and Prenatal Supplements 
Belly Buttons and Food Aversions
Week 36: Nesting, Whole30s and Birth Plans  




Monday, 20 July 2015

Pregnancy Diaries - Week 36 - Nesting, Whole30s and Birth Plans


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(Middle Picture is me today!)

Hey everyone! Time to update you all on my pregnancy to date.

So the big day is getting very close now! I am 36 weeks and I am ready to meet this baby!

Nesting Syndrome 
My online Mammy friend group has really started to kick off with a few August babies having already arrived which put the shivers up me that this baby could technically come at any time!! The nesting has been in full swing and I feel I am finally ready to bring home the newest addition and that we are all set for whatever happens!

I have been busy getting baby's room ready (even though baby will be in our room for a long time, I just wanted a base to put all the clothes and other paraphernalia a small little person tends to bring along with them) We also picked up the travel system too. We decided on a Uppababy Vista which I LOVE and cant wait to spin baby around in! I also intend to baby-wear quite a bit as I hear it is very beneficial for bonding and also breastfeeding, which I intend to do. I recently purchased a Moby soft wrap for the early days and I have been practising with various soft toys - much to my husband's amusement!

Birth Preparation 
I have been listening to my Gentle Birth tracks alot over the past few weeks. As mentioned in my past posts I am hoping to adopt many of the principles of Gentle Birth Hypno-birthing and I aim to go as natural as possible. I find the tracks incredibly reassuring and comforting and I feel less overwhelmed about it all when I listen to them. I am also planning on attending a Gentle Birth Workshop with "Juno and the Midwife" on 1st August in Dublin to really get to grips with birth and feeling confident and strong about it all. It is also a helpful way to get your other half involved in the process and allows them to be more confident in speaking up for you in the labour situation. There are still places available on this if you are interested and details can be found here http://junoandthemidwife.com/dont-juno-me/

I have my birth plan all ready to go too which details my plans to avoid epidural unless I request it, to delay cord clamping, to do skin to skin for as long as possible after birth and to not be separated from my baby at any point.

I have been trying to keep active too, although I must admit it is becoming harder and harder. Tiredness really is the epitome of pregnancy at this stage and it can be frustrating not to be able to do the things you want to. However my body does not take long to tell me I have overdone it and ultimately it is best to listen to it. I am walking as much as possible, doing my antenatal yoga and bouncing on my pilates ball! Rest is becoming more and more a part of my life these days but I try to consider that I will be long enough not able to rest once baby arrives!

Nutrition Preparation 
I just started a Whole30 today! (30 Days of 100% Paleo Nutrition) I have roughly 30 Days left until baby is due so I am preparing my body with optimum nutrition with the aim of reducing any inflammation in the body (and also the birth canal) and in theory, helping to birth the baby easier. I have done some research in this area and the idea is that if you eat alot of grains, sugars and processed foods (which I try not to by and large but sometimes the odd morsel does cross these lips!) it can lead to excess puffiness in the birth canal and make baby's descent more difficult. Not the nicest thing to consider but hey, anything that makes it less difficult eh? I feel it will also improve my recovery after the birth and I have been busy stocking up my freezer with bone broth and homemade casseroles, soups and stews to eat in the days and weeks following the birth. As we all know, these are tiresome days and sometimes eating healthy can be a task in itself, what with cluster feeds and lack of sleep. I am really determined to allow my body to be as strong as possible before the birth and also to aid my recovery afterwards. Some people think I am mad to take this on in the last weeks of pregnancy but to me it is like the final preparation and I want to give me and my baby every chance to have the birth I hope for. Baby may have other plans of course!

To keep track of what I will be eating on this Whole30 and what foods I recommend you eat in preparation for birth, follow my journey on instagram: https://instagram.com/irishpaleogirl/

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is something I am really passionate about and determined to do this time. I have been busy reading my Booby Book  which is really worthwhile if you are interested, I am planning to attend a breastfeeding class in my local hospital in the coming weeks and I am attending a LLL meeting this week, The more support you can get the better your outcome will be in successful breastfeeding so I have been trying to do as much as possible. Hopefully our journey will be a successful one.


So that it is so far, I am on the lookout for a Paleo suitable lactation cookie recipe to boost breast supply in the days following labour so if you have any ideas?!

I will keep you all posted on my Paleo Baby's arrival!




Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Paleo Pregnancy Diaries: Belly Buttons and Food Aversions




Hey everyone! I thought it was time I updated you all with my Pregnancy Diaries! 

It has been a while but the weeks are flying by and I am now officially 30 weeks and on the count down!

Pregnancy Health 

I have continued to have really great health thankfully, something I am very grateful for and I know my flexible work life (I am a self employed Nutritional Therapist) and the fact I have no small children have really helped with this. The past couple of weeks have seen my energy levels dip slightly on what they were in the second trimester but that is to be expected I think. Afterall I am lugging around more weight than I am used to and making a baby is not an easy task! Apart from this I have been very well with minimal symptoms of pregnancy, something I most definitely attribute to my good diet. If I stray from the plan at all I feel like crap and really pay for it in the days that follow. For me it is therefore not worth it and I keep my diet as clean as I can for this reason. It actually makes me a little sad that women do not realise how much of an impact diet has on the health of their pregnancy and while I know there can be genetic reasons why someone gets bad symptoms, I can't help but feel that alot of these issues could be prevented or made easy through a clean diet rather than feasting on lots of sugar and rubbish comfort food just because you are expecting!

Changing Tastes 
In saying all that I have seen a definite shift in my taste in the past few weeks. I am struggling to eat vegetables! I of course am still eating them, I know the importance of including these antioxidant rich foods in my diet, however it isn't as enjoyable or easy for me to eat them lately! I am really hoping this will pass after the birth and I do remember some of my nutritionist friends saying the same in pregnancy. I am still making that effort to eat lots of greens and colourful vegetables but the shift in my taste has definitely become obvious. In saying that I think my appetite as a whole has decreased overall so perhaps I am just content to eat small meals and snacks more frequently now that I am bigger? I will definitely keep an eye on this in the coming weeks.

Apart from this I am being conscious of including fermented foods, oily fish and healthy fats in my diet as well as including iron rich foods to ensure my iron levels don't drop, a common issue in the third trimester.

My Changing Body
In terms of body changes I feel I have definitely embraced my changing body alot more than I did at the beginning of the 2nd trimester. I am very used to being slim and toned (some call it luck I call it hard work and dedication with my diet!) and initially I found the changes difficult. However now I am just embracing it and I am definitely avoiding that scales! Focusing on a scales is never healthy but for me looking at that number change radically (as it should) in pregnancy was messing with my head! So now I avoid thinking about it! I believe that if you eat healthy food, balance blood sugars (a MAJOR thing for me in this pregnancy) and keep active, your body will only gain what you and your body needs. The only funny thing is my belly button which is definitely looking a little mutant like and popping! I strangely like it though!

Gentle Birth
I think a major part of my outlook at my changing body has been taking on the wonderful principles of Gentle Birth. I have found the whole approach wonderfully empowering and powerful and it has really taught me to not fear birth but to view it as something our body is made to do and that it should not be a medical event unless necessary. My outlook this time around is so different from my first pregnancy 12 years ago where I basically just didn't think about it at all! Instead I have very clear ideas of what I want and don't want (if possible of course) while also keeping an open mind. However I do know I want it to be as natural as possible. Gentle Birth also teaches relaxation and stress prevention practices as well as birth preparation meditation and mindfulness, all of which are so important for both you and your baby. I have been listening to the tracks nightly and I really feel it has helped with stress reduction and also preparing me mentally for birth. It will be interesting to see how it helps in labour! I hear the Duchess of Cambridge Kate used Gentle Birth strategies during her recent birth to baby Charlotte and look how great she looked afterwards!
More details on Gentle Birthing classes and purchasing their tracks can be found on their website here 

I have still to actually sit down and write my birth plan but I know what I want in there now which is the main thing! I am also planning on doing some homeopathy during labour and will be speaking to a homeopathic friend Anne Collins about that in the coming weeks. Anne offers a full labour preparation consultation in her clinic in Naas where she goes through the remedies you need for labour and recovery.

Breastfeeding Preparation
Breastfeeding is something I am really keen to do this time around. I know it is so important for baby health and cannot be replicated in formula so I really want to do this. I have been preparing for it for months now as I feel it is something you need to be properly prepared for and not something you can "just try". They say that the more support you can establish in pregnancy the more likely you are to succeed so I have been busy reading "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and I plan on attending a La Leche League (LLL) breastfeeding group in the next week or so. Many women don't realise that you can attend these classes in pregnancy and I think it is a great way to get tips and to learn normal newborn behaviour so you can be fully prepared mentally for the journey once it continues. Unfortunately while some hospitals and midwives are super supportive, many women feel they are failed following birth when they are supplied with incorrect information or pressured into formula top-ups. Being prepared increases your confidence and chances of success following birth so prepare now and establish your support network now.

For full details on LLL meetings and groups in your area check out their website https://www.lalecheleagueireland.com/



Nesting 
The so called nesting stage has definitely kicked in with me! I am busy washing and ironing baby clothes and packing my hospital bag and of course all the jobs are in my head now that need to be done before baby arrives. It is so funny what we think we need to do though isn't it! As if the baby gives a crap about whether the kitchen presses are clean, but it is all part of it.

Exercise
I have continued my walking throughout the pregnancy getting out as much as I can for long walks with my dog. The weather is beautiful at the moment and it is a pleasure to be out in it soaking up that Vitamin D. I am still also doing my prenatal yoga which I am finding really great and hope to continue it up to the end if possible. I have spoke about it before but I think keeping active in pregnancy is extremely important for both labour itself and recovery afterwards. I read recently it is actually even more important in the case of caesarian section so if you have increased chances of having a section birth it is doubly important to stay active.


So that is it! My 30 week update! The end seems so close but also so far! So excited to meet my little one now and have them join our family.

Talk soon
Denise

Monday, 8 June 2015

COMPETITION! WIN A NUTRIBULLET WORTH €129.99!

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To brighten up your Monday morning I have an amazing competition to announce with special thanks to Curry's PC World!! 

People often ask me what food processor I use for smoothies and nut butters: it can be really difficult to find a processor which can take on the task of blending seeds and fruits as well as being high powered enough to blend up nut butters. 

I bought the Nutribullet Silver in January and would honestly say that it is one of the best appliances I have ever purchased,

The NutriBullet juicer is really easy to use. Simply place your ingredients into the tall cup and use this 600 W mixer to blitz them into a smooth mix. The powerful motor and bullet cyclonic action force ingredients through the blades so that even nuts, seeds and ice will be blended. It rotates at up to an impressive ten thousand rpm, which means it can break down stems and seeds to release nutrients which in my experience many conventional smoothie makers struggle to do. 

The milling blade makes it suitable for milling grains or grinding fresh herbs, and the stainless steel design means you won't need to sharpen it.


The cups are dishwasher-safe and you can rinse the blade under the tap when you're finished making clean up super easy! Who, like me, loathes the idea of lugging out a heavy food processor only to have to clean all the parts afterwards and put it all away again?! 


A selection of accessories included with the NutriBullet allow you to create delicious and nutritious meals without needing to purchase additional equipment. The short cup is ideal for single servings, and includes a comfort lip ring that makes your drinks easier to hold. The handled short cup provides an even easier way to enjoy your drinks.

The pack includes two Stay-Fresh resealable lids that fit both the short and tall cups so that you can take your healthy drinks wherever you go - which is really handy for those busy mornings when you barely have time to get the kids off to school, let alone make anything too complicated for breakfast. 


The Nutribullet is definitely a must have for the busy healthy household where convenience and practicality are important. Check out the Curry's PC World website for full details of what is included in this great prize here


To enter the competition and win this amazing prize with thanks to Currys PC World - your one stop shop for all your home electrical needs:

Like and Share my post on Facebook here 
Like Currys PC World page on Facebook here  
Follow me on Instagram here  







Monday, 11 May 2015

Paleo Banana Bread

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Who doesn't love a good banana bread? Well this one is one you are sure to enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or as an alternative breakfast or snack option for your or the children.
Free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars this yummy banana bread is sweetened with just ripe bananas and a tiny bit of maple syrup meaning you can enjoy it without worrying about being naughty! And who doesn't love a righteous treat which you can fully enjoy but without guilt?!


Banana Bread
1/2 cup coconut flour
3 ripe bananas
6 eggs
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)
1/ tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a bowl sift the coconut flour and add in the salt and baking powder.
In a blender (I used my nutribullet) blend the bananas, vanilla extract, maple syrup and eggs until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.
Add the melted coconut oil and mix to incorporate.
Pour into a well greased loaf tin and bake for 45-60 minutes checking every 5 minutes after 45 minutes as cooking times will vary depending on your oven. A skewer should come out clean from the centre of the tin.
Remove from oven and cool before serving.


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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Paleo Pregnancy Diaries: Keeping Active in Pregnancy and Pre-natal Supplementation






Hi everyone! 

Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather we have been experiencing the past few days. It is lovely to have such stunning sunshine but also very distracting if you have to work!

Today I want to fill you all in on my pregnancy to date as well as speak to you about pre-natal supplementation and whether it is necessary at all.

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby (after an almost 12 year gap!) and I am getting very excited about my impending arrival! My bump is getting much bigger now that I am about to begin my third trimester but I am lucky enough to be still feeling great and keeping myself active and busy. Baby is growing well and is kicking and moving around lots in the past week or so. I started to feel movement from 16 weeks but it is now getting more and more evident. Even as we type I just had a huge kick which made me take a sharp intake of breath! Baby is having fun in there!

Thankfully I have had no heartburn or anything yet, just some tiredness if I do anything above and beyond my normal activity. After something exerting I feel like I could sleep forever!



When I look back on the first pregnancy 12 years ago and compare it to this one, the differences are striking. I have been working hard at trying to ensure I am keeping my diet as Paleo as possible in order to nourish both myself and my growing baby.

Pregnancy nutrition is so important and unfortunately is often overlooked in favour of prenatal supplementation - something I definitely do not agree with. Diet should always come first. Supplementation of nutrients should always be viewed as just that - a supplement to an already healthy diet, not an excuse to eat rubbish food and "top up" with a man made supplement to counteract it! If your diet is varied and healthy you should not need a prenatal supplement, your diet should be enough.

To learn what foods you should be including in your diet read my post on important superfoods in pregnancy here

In saying that there a couple of supplements which I do include in my pregnancy regime which I think are important and which you may also like to add in.

What Supplements Do You Need?

Folate: 
This is one which is commonly advised me take during preconception and early pregnancy. However there is a huge difference between folate (natural form) and man made or synthetic folic acid (the version commonly used in OTC brands as well as the prescription one). For me I would always recommend someone take folate form of this vitamin and to be cautious if you have MTHFR mutation which means you are unable to absorb folic acid. In this case you should work with a nutritional therapist to ensure you choose the right form for you. There has been extensive research on the benefits of taking folate in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects so do ensure you start taking this prior to conception as well as consuming plenty of folate rich foods like spinach, kale and other greens.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid
These essential fatty acids are so called because they can not be made by the body itself, they must be taken in through diet or supplementation. In the case of consuming oily fish it is imperative that the fish must be wild and be from a clean source to ensure that there is no risk of contamination. While this is always important, it is especially important when pregnant or breastfeeding as the types of toxins found in fish can be stored in the body and passed on to foetus or baby through breast-milk. It can therefore be preferable to take an Omega 3 supplement in the case where good fish is not available. These oils help to reduce inflammation in the body which can help with recovery after labour as well as possibly preventing stretch marks and are crucial for baby brain development.

Probiotics
Probiotics are a critical part of the pregnancy regime. As above you should aim to get these wonderful bacteria from fermented food where possible, but if fermented cabbage isnt appealing to you right now take a good probiotic supplement instead. Babies inherit their mother's bacteria during birth but according to emerging evidence they also take on our bacteria while in the womb. It is not known fully how this happens but it is thought it takes place via transfusion of some type through mother's blood into the placenta. Probiotics ensure that baby gets the right combination of good bacteria which will lead to improved immunity and long term health. They also help mother prevent illness during pregnancy as well as prevent constipation.

                                               

Pregnancy Cravings
What about pregnancy cravings I hear you say?! While it is true that we should not become bogged down by worrying about eating 100% clean and perfectly during this time, it is still very important that we are aware that everything we eat is in part being passed along to our growing baby. I am not perfect by any means (nor to I proclaim to be) but I try my utmost to ensure that the vast majority of my food is healthy, nutritious and unprocessed. Ensuring you balance your blood sugars by preventing eating sugar and refined foods as well as focusing on eating adequate protein will also help prevent fatigue and morning sickness. We owe it not just to ourselves but also to our little miracle who's development depends on us! So resist the urge to use your pregnancy as an excuse to throw in copious amounts of chocolates and instead focus on eating as healthy as you can!



                                               
Keeping Active
In terms of staying active and healthy I recently started pregnancy yoga. It is such a relaxing and therapeutic thing to add to your life at any time but there is something so nice about taking time out to just be and breath and enjoy the quietness. As well as allowing us to relax and switch off from the stresses and strains of daily life it also turns on our parasympathetic nervous system and allows to take time to bond with our growing babies. We are also learning important breathing techniques which will come n useful during labour. I am also walking 2 miles 3/4 times a week which I am really enjoying. My dog is loving my new found enthusiasm too! I am a strong believer in the idea that we should not let pregnancy be a time to sit back and do nothing. This notion of "taking it easy" can be overdone sometimes and providing the pregnancy is a healthy one, everyone should be trying to keep healthy and active in pregnancy.

To the next 3 months: 
All in all things have been going great so far. I have been doing lots of research on birthing and breastfeeding (which I plan to do) and as the weeks go by the thoughts of the imminent labouring process become more and more frequent! As Mothers to Be we all pray and hope for a great labour but unfortunately mother nature usually has her own ideas!

I will do a post soon on my birth plan and what things I hope to include as well as updates on my pregnancy in the coming weeks.

Until then, enjoy the lovely weather!

Denise

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Paleo Pregnancy Diaries: 6 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include in Your Diet





As you may be aware I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with my second baby (my son is 11 and half so it is following a long gap!)

I really cannot believe how fast time is going by. I still feel like I am only getting used to being pregnant but I am almost through my 4th month already!

My body is really changing now, I started to show a little from 14 weeks but my bump has really grown in the past few weeks. I am still fitting into my normal jeans and am still managing with layering normal tops and using a belly band but I expect I will have to invest in a few maternity pieces very soon.

The past week or so has been very exciting - I am feeling lots of movement already which is so lovely and reassuring. I had started to feel what I thought were little flutters for probably the past 10 days but I wasn't sure. Then last weekend I knew it was definitely the baby moving and could even feel it move slightly from the outside. It is very light movement from outside of course but the fact that I am slim I think makes it easier to feel movement.

We also found out the gender this past week too which was very exciting. My son came along with us to the gender scan too which was lovely. It was so fun guessing what it was - my husband thought girl, Nathan thought boy and I remained unbiased and on the fence! One of them was correct anyway ;) Very happy to have chosen to find out and we are doubly excited now.



What I have been feeding my bump! 

In terms of nutrition I have been eating very healthy throughout the week whilst allowing myself the freedom for treats at weekends if I want them. I have really been enjoying lots of salads with evoo and avocado - I seem to be really craving healthy fats right now. Interestingly I am not really enjoying cooked vegetables at the moment. We generally eat a lot of root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and turnips as well as broccoli, kale and green beans. I am not really enjoying them so much but I am loving raw vegetables such as salad leaves, spinach, cherry tomatoes (craving these!) and sauerkraut! Of course I am still eating the cooked vegetables but they are not as appealing as usual to me! I am finding soups made with bone broth an easier way for me to boost my vegetable intake for the day.

For me there are a number of foods I have been making sure I have been plenty of in my diet as well as some which I am ensuring I include which may surprise you.

My Pregnancy Superfood Must Eats:

 

Eggs - Eggs are a Paleo diet staple and are a fantastic food to consume regularly during pregnancy. Egg yolks are rich in choline which is vital for the development of the baby's brain. It is crucial for the development of neurons which are laid down from day 56 of pregnancy to three months after birth, as well as the connections of these neurons. Without choline these neurons cannot be connected and inadequate intake of choline during this window of development can not be made up for at a later time. Regular egg consumption, and therefore regular choline intake can have a beneficial effect on brain health and nervous system resiliance in the entire lifespan of the offspring.

To ensure adequate intake of choline, consume 2 eggs per day.

Eggs also provide a great source of Vitamins A, D, E and K as well as biotin, iron,zinc and selenium. Eggs should be free range.



Butter -  Butter is a rich source of important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are all needed for development of brain and body, as well as minerals such as selenium, copper and zinc. It is rich in cholesterol (a building block of all those extra hormones you are now producing to maintain and support pregnancy) as well as being important for brain development.

Butter is also helpful in gut healing - it is a source of arachidonic acid which also supports immune function and brain function.

Raw Dairy - Yes you read right - I have been eating raw dairy. Not alot of it but I have been consuming it when I can get my hands on it. I know current guidelines recommend avoiding raw dairy in pregnancy and I would never recommend a client consumes it without properly researching it themselves. However I truly believe it can be an important addition to the diet of the healthy pregnant lady.
The recommendation to avoid raw dairy is based on the chance of developing an infection known as Listeria monocytogenes, a food borne pathogen which can lead to illness and fetal death. However one US study showed that there are ten times more deaths from listeria from deli meats than from raw dairy.
Raw dairy has numerous benefits including factors which strengthen and support the immune system. as well as being a great source of fats and cholesterol. It is also higher in fat soluble vitamins CLA and omega 3 fatty acids. The calcium is also better utilised by the body in the raw dairy rather than the pasteurised. Maasai tribes of Africa hailed raw dairy as an important fertility foods only allowing men and women to marry after spending several months consuming raw dairy.
Any food which is handled improperly can cause illness - included pasteurised milk for example so source of raw dairy is of course extremely important if you are going to include it. It needs to be from a reliable dairy farmer who is very keen on raw dairy farming practices and hygiene. Never buy raw dairy from a farmer who doesn't drink his own raw milk! Soft unaged cheese should be avoided - raw or pasteurised.
As I said above I would never tell a client to consume raw dairy without properly researching it themselves and making that decision themselves but for me I am happy to include it in my diet.

Bone Broths - Homemade bone broth is a gelatin rice food which is a superfood I encourage all to take, but most importantly including in the diet of pregnanct ladies and those trying to conceive.
It is wonderfully healing food which helps provide healthy bone and collagen in both you and your growing baby and heals and seals the gut improving your immunity and preventing development of autoimmune disorders. It can also help the digestion of meats. It is rich in glycine - an amino acid which is crucial for fetal growth, the development of placenta and removal of toxins.

Read more about the benefits of bone broth here as well as a recipe for making it at home.


Fermented Foods - Fermented foods include vegetables, fruits and dairy which has been preserved in a process which involves bacteria working primarily on sugars and starches to produce lactic acid a natural preservative. As a result these foods are rich in enzymes, lactic acid and beneficial bacteria which are very important for digestive health, immunity and overall good health. Good bacteria in mother's gut will help replenish the bacteria of her birth canal and even in her milk ducts which in turn will be passed on to the baby during birth and breastfeeding. This bacteria helps to modulate and trigger the babies immune system from birth and is therefore very important that the mother works on improving gut health prior to conception as well as maintaining it during pregnancy by consuming fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement.

To read more on the benefits of the sauerkraut and a recipe to make it at home go here 


Organ Meats such as Liver - Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and unfortunately is a food often omitted from the diets of the pregnant woman due to concerns over Vitamin A toxicity. However Vitamin A is crucial for fertility and is tough to find from any other source in the diet. It is also a fantastic source of highly absorbent iron and B12 as well as zinc and folate. As we know, folate is very important in pregnancy but is often not readily available to the body in the synthetic folic acid state often found in prenatal supplements. While it is abundant in spinach and other green leafy vegetables, these foods are also high in oxalates which can block the absorption of other nutrients so consuming liver once a week is a good way to boost these levels.
Try as a pate or mixed into burgers.

So there you go. These are the foods I have been ensuring I have been adding plenty of in my diet, as well as of course including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds and plenty of other healthy fat sources such as wild oily fish, avocados and EVOO to support baby's brain development.
I have been concentrating on removing refined sugars and having healthy balanced meals and regular snacks.

So far my pregnancy has been very healthy with no sickness. I have also been keeping active, getting out for regular walks and fresh air.

To read more on including these types of foods and their benefits I recommend reading "The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care" by Sally Fallon and Thomas Cowan

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and would like some help on cleaning up you diet and adding in these nutrient dense foods call me on 0877184523 or email theirishpaleo@gmail.com 



Saturday, 28 February 2015

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and How Diet Changes CAN Help


 
What is IBS?

IBS is a disorder of the large bowel in which the bowel overreacts to small stimulus such as eating by going into spasms characterised by alternating bouts of diarrhoea and constipation. It is usually a generic diagnoses by doctors when unable to identify the true cause of abdominal discomfort. A frustrating diagnosis for many as they are told there is nothing which can be done.
Affects 1 in 5 in population

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Symptoms

·         Abdominal pain, varies in severity

·         Unusual bowel movements – alternating diarrhoea and constipation

·         Bloating

·         Excessive flatulence and belching which may be alleviated by a bowel movement.

·         Mucus in stool


Causes

Not fully understood – appears to be due to abnormal response of the muscles.

Aggravated by diet, hormonal, genetic, stress and psychological factors.


How to control it

IBS symptoms can be greatly improved by changing diet habits and managing stress.


IBS and Gut Flora

Your gut is made up of it’s own colony of bacteria. Roughly 70% of your immunity is housed in your gut with healthy levels of gut flora helping to protect against foreign bacteria and viruses. A large proportion of inflammatory bowel conditions such as IBS are thought to be related to a shortage of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Including fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee and kefir will help increase this good bacteria and prevent the development of other opportunistic bacteria, viruses and yeasts. If you are unable to make your own you could include a good quality probiotic supplement.

IBS and Food Intolerances

IBS has shown strong links to food allergens. In one study, 50% of participants experienced marked improvement in symptoms while following an elimination diet. Of those experiencing improvements, 50% identified 2 or more foods as allergens with dairy and grains being the most common allergens identified. (Nanda et al 1989)

A strict elimination diet may be a good way to identify possible allergens or food intolerance test which I can arrange for you. 




Dietary Recommendations

·         Focus on well cooked, nutrient dense foods to help replenish depleted nutrients lost through diarrhoea. Include soups, stews ad slow cooked foods which are easier to digest.

·         Make and eat/drink bone broth regularly for it’s gut healing properties. It also contains glycine, an amino acid which has an important role in aiding digestion and regulating the synthesis of bile acids and gastric secretions.

·         Increase soluble fibre such as butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, orange, mangos, turnip and flaxseed – this type of fibre helps proper stool mobility and helps to feed your good gut bacteria too.

Avoid

·         Gluten containing foods such as wheat, spelt, rye, pasta (see gluten free hand-out provided). Gluten is a very common allergen and may contribute to gut issues such as IBS.

  • Any known triggers or allergens. A strict Paleo diet may be helpful to help identify allergens.

·         Large quantities of insoluble fibre such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, potato skins, bran and legumes such as kidney beans, whole beans and lentils as these may flair up the small intestine.

·         Raspberries, strawberries, nuts especially almonds, pistachios and walnuts as these tend to aggravate the symptoms of IBS. Ground nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia may be better tolerated

·         Alcohol, chocolate and caffeine – these foods can contribute to leaky gut (where the walls of the bowel lining become too permeable and allow proteins into the bloodstream. These undigested proteins are then viewed by the bodies as foreign invaders and it launches an attack on these foods causing intolerances) and IBS symptoms.



Relaxation Techniques

Stress levels have a huge impact on IBS symptoms:

·         Take up Yoga or Breathing Techniques to help to counteract the effects of daily stress.

·         Take regular walks to alleviate stress and wellbeing.


If you have issues with IBS and need some help with changing your diet, contact me on theirishpaleo@gmail.com for a consultation.