PLASTIC IS A HUMAN HEALTH ISSUE

Plastic seems to be everywhere these days and while we’ve come to normalize it, research has actually found it’s a huge health concern. 

What’s so bad about plastic?

“Humans are being exposed to both plastic particles and chemical additives being released from the plastic debris of consumer society. This material is fragmenting, leaching and spreading throughout the biosphere, including indoor and outdoor air, soil, and water systems.”

PUBS

We all know the big story about why plastic is bad – it doesn’t break down which means more waste on Earth, but the story is actually so much worse than that. Not only does plastic cause dangerous waste (insert a poor sea turtle stuck in plastic here), it literally poisons the environment around us.

•PLASTIC IS A HUMAN HEALTH ISSUE•

Exposure to harmful chemicals during manufacturing, leaching in the stored food items while using plastic packages or chewing of plastic teethers and toys by children are linked with severe adverse health outcomes such as cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive effects etc.

NCBI

“Researchers concluded that women who had high levels of BPA in their blood were at significantly increased risk of miscarriage compared to women with the lowest levels.”

GreenMamaLife

The FDA also now recommends to avoid using plastic bottles for infants because the bottle leaches chemicals into the milk.

There are too many adverse affects of plastic that we all must become a plastic-free, especially in our homes.

Ok, that’s a lot of info… What can we do about it?

Our job is to vote with our money. We have to scream “NO TO PLASTIC” by not throwing a single cent in its direction. We have to donate, gift, and recycle the plastic in our homes. We have to limit what plastic is in our lives and lead the way for others on a path of saying no to plastic.

I know – “I already own it so what’s the harm of keeping it,” (you know, other than the literal side effects to your health) but hear me out. Others see us carry on using plastic in our lives and feel validated in continuing to use and buy plastic. Just make the statement “I am going plastic-free” and watch everyone around you get much more cautious and considerate of their plastic usage.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

So, you’re trying to cut down on plastic, but where to start?

Ok, so you’re ready to start taking steps to ditch plastic- awesome! It can be overwhelming at first as so many things that are considered daily use necessities are made of plastic, but there are so many aesthetic and healthier options you can switch to!

Check Your Fabrics

The sneakiest of plastics and one of the most damaging is plastic fabrics, also referred to as polyester, nylon, and acrylic. These are the most damaging to our health (because of their vicinity to our skin) as well as to the environment because of microplastics shedding from the fabric into waterways and the air.

“Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers — all of which are forms of plastic — are now about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/the-goods/2018/9/19/17800654/clothes-plastic-pollution-polyester-washing-machine

The healthiest and most sustainable options are organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo clothing. For more budget friendly options try second hand cotton clothing!

No More Plastic Water Bottles

Ok, I’m sure you’ve heard this one on repeat, but say you are on gross water (seriously, don’t drink tap water), you might feel inclined to buy a plastic bottle or jug of water, but there are much better options. The Berkey water filter is a lifesaver, literally. It provides a zero-waste option for fresh, clean water. You could even pop filthy side-of-the-road water in there and get delicious drinking water. Invest in a Berkey y’all.

BerkeyFiltersUSA

Bye Bye Microplastics 

That face wash, body scrub, whatever it is, never buy it again. The micro scrub elements are actually just plastic. Try a small business glass contained face wash or a DIY bar soap instead!

Upgrade Your Kitchen Storage

That plastic wrap is totally useless. You may feel like you’re keeping germs out of your food, but that’s just how the plastic wrap marketers want you to feel. Choose a plastic-free option such as a cloth cover or beeswax cover which are just as effective. When storing your food, avoid toxic chemicals leaching into your food by storing it in glass or metal storage containers rather than plastic.

Little by little we can escape the grasp of plastic, creating a healthier life and influencing others to stop investing in plastic. Remember, the more money we put towards plastic the more we encourage big businesses to create it!

berkey ceramic water filter for well water

You may also like: An Eco-Friendly & Non-Toxic Guide to Gifts for Kids, My Favorite Eco-Friendly Baby & Toddler Brands, and Prevent Miscarriage: Avoid These Daily Use Items

Prevent Miscarriage: Avoid These Daily Use Items

prevent miscarriage

Miscarriages are heartbreaking. Planned or not planned pregnancy, you still experience a loss. Expecting a baby changes how you look at everything, so when you lose a baby, your whole world seems to fall apart. I personally experienced two early miscarriages often referred to as a “chemical pregnancies” or “not sticky pregnancies.” It’s so hard. I had everything I thought my future would be ripped away from me twice.

Because of these losses, I dove into research trying to make sense of my loss. I stumbled upon some research that I had never heard of and started learning about what in our environments can cause miscarriages.

“About 1/3 to 1/2 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 10 to 20% of women who know they are pregnant will miscarry.”

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9688-miscarriage

Please note this information is in no way intended to shame anyone. We can only know what we’ve been made aware of and do our best with that information. My hope for this article is that it helps future mamas avoid the heart ache of a miscarriage. Be aware everyone deals with loss differently and my way of coping with the emotions is research.

Causes of Miscarriages/Infertility

The medical field is quick to blame women for their infertility using terms like “incompetent cervix” and “hormonal abnormalities,” but fail to note why we may be experiencing these things. I call BS. WOMEN ARE NOT AT FAULT FOR MISCARRIAGES OR INFERTILITY. The toxic environment and products we are being pushed to use are the cause.

“In 2011, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) researcher Tracey Woodruff and colleagues reported finding traces of dozens of harmful chemicals in 99 percent or more of the 268 pregnant women whose urine they analyzed; among them were organochlorine pesticides, perchlorate, phthalates and cancer-causing compounds found in vehicle exhaust and smoke.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/environmental-toxins-are-seen-as-posing-risks-during-pregnancy/2018/08/03/770fab98-7643-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html

It’s important to understand how genetics, illness, and our environment all interact to affect how we function. The key to the interactions is epigenetics. Once we are conceived, our genes are set in place. However, our genes can be turned on or off at any point in our life (or in utero).  Epigenetics is how our genes are expressed and gene expression can be altered by our environment. You can have no hormonal imbalances or family history of infertility but then be exposed to certain chemicals that will cause infertility (whether a result of epigenetics or toxic abortion).

Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.

Toxic abortion is a medical phenomenon of spontaneous abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth caused by toxins in the environment of the mother during pregnancy, especially as caused by toxic environmental pollutants.

Chlorinated Water

A pregnant woman with a water bottle in hand is supposed to be a picture of health. We believe we’re doing right by our babies by staying hydrated, yet we are not being told of the risks that come with the treated water and water bottles.

“Drinking five or more glasses of cold tap water per day could increase the risk of miscarriage to women in their first trimester, according to a large-scale study of chlorinated drinking water by California state researchers.”

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-feb-10-mn-17476-story.html

Chlorine is linked to a number of health issues such as cancer, asthma, and skin damage, yet it is used to treat water. Chlorine is a toxin in the body and can cause toxic abortion.

Makeup and Other Beauty Products

“Leading up to and during pregnancy, women are told to avoid alcohol and cigarettes, to make sure they get enough folate and omega-3 fatty acids, and to get adequate sleep and exercise. Most are told little or nothing about reducing their exposure to chemicals despite evidence suggesting that ingredients in plastics, vehicle exhaust and cosmetics additives can have profound impacts on babies’ health.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/environmental-toxins-are-seen-as-posing-risks-during-pregnancy/2018/08/03/770fab98-7643-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html

“Although most chemicals in cosmetics pose little or no risk, some have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, reproductive and neurological harm, and developmental delays. Cosmetic chemicals enter the body through the skin, inhalation, ingestion and internal use, and pose the same risks as food chemicals.[18] In addition to the risks posed by intentionally added ingredients, cosmetics can be contaminated with heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel.”

Top Toxic Beauty Ingredients:

  • Formaldehyde (Including Paraformaldehyde, Methylene Glycol, Quaternium 15)
    • “Exposure to formaldehyde has been linked to higher risk of congenital anomalies, low birth weight, and premature birth. Higher miscarriage rate has also been reported in several previous studies performed in various groups of women.” (See here).
  • Mercury
    • “Studies have shown that heavy metals like lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg) have toxic effects on reproductive outcome and are also associated with miscarriages.” (See Here)
  • Phthalates
    • “Women with the highest concentrations of a type of phthalate called di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, were 60% more likely to lose a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks than those with the lowest concentrations, the study found.” (See here).
    • “researchers found that those with the greatest urinary concentrations of monoethyl phthalate (MEP)—a type of phthalate commonly found in personal care products such as fragrances and cosmetics—had twice the risk of excessive weight gain during pregnancy than those with the lowest concentrations. Those with the highest mid-pregnancy MEP concentrations also had a seven-fold higher odds of impaired glucose tolerance (higher-than-normal blood glucose levels) in mid-pregnancy than women with the lowest concentrations” (See here).
  • Parabens
    • While I have not located research directly linking parabens to miscarriage (because no studies have been conducted), research has clarified parabens are absorbed through the skin and passed to the baby and have negative effect on mom and baby. One study found parabens would alter a child’s epigenetics (aka the turning on or off of certain genes) to be less satiated after a meal. 
    • “positive correlation between the concentrations of butylparaben in the mothers’ urine and a higher body-mass index of their children — particularly of the daughters — until their eighth birthday.” (See here).
  • PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl)
    • “The study estimated a nearly 80% to 120% increased risk for miscarriage in women with the highest level of two common PFAS compounds, compared with those in the cohort with the lowest PFAS levels.” (See here).
  • M- and O-phenylenediamine (in hair dye)
    • A known carcinogen (cancer causing) shown to absorb through the scalp. While studies are very limited, hair dye is associated with increased risk of miscarriage.
    • “Hair stylists, who’ve spent many years being in daily contact with hair dye chemicals, do appear to have a slightly higher risk of having a miscarriage. This is thought to be due to regular contact with chemicals in dyes called teratogens, which can cause birth defects and increase the risk of miscarriage.” (See here).

Plastic (BPA and Phthalates)

“Researchers concluded that women who had high levels of BPA in their blood were at significantly increased risk of miscarriage compared to women with the lowest levels.”

https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/15/health/bpa-miscarriage-phthalates-fertility/index.html

Unless plastics or metal note that they are BPA free, you can assume they contain BPA. 

See above for the research on phthalates.

How To Avoid These Toxins

Chlorinated Water

Berkey filter
BerkeyFiltersUSA

I talk to mamas all the time who are having trouble getting pregnant and recommend the berkey! We tried for over a year to get pregnant with our second and within two months of switching to drinking berkey only filtered water I got pregnant and brought our second child earth side nine months later!

The Black Berkey Filter’s performance can be summarized as follows:

Viruses: >99.999% Exceeds Purification Standard (Log 4): MS2 Coliphage – Fr Coliphage

Pathogenic Bacteria Surrogate: >99.9999% Exceeds purification standards (Log 6): Raoutella terrigen

trihalomethanes: Removed to >99.8% (Below Lab Detectable Limits): Bromodichloromethane – Bromoform – Chloroform – Dibromochloromethan

Inorganic Minerals: Removed to Below Lab Detectable Limits: Chlorine Residual (Total Residual Chlorine

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): Removed to Below Laboratory Detectable Limits

Heavy Metals: Aluminum, Antimony, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium 6), Lead, Mercury, Molybdenum, Nickel, Vanadium

Also removes or reduces: Arsenic, MBAS, Nitrites, Selenium, Thallium, Rust, Silt and Sediment, Turbidity, Foul Tastes and Odors

BerkeyFiltersUSA
Other Options

You can also remove chlorine from your water by leaving it in an open container at room temperature for a few days, using a UV light, or boiling your water for 20+ minutes.

Chemicals in Daily Products

  • Use glass or bamboo rather than plastic.
  • Buy organic beauty products marked paraben and formaldehyde free.
  • Eat fresh – garden or buy fresh from the farmers market rather than packaged.
  • When buying packaged foods, check that containers are BPA free (this includes canned food).
  • For fabric, (clothes, curtains, sheets, etc.) skip the polyester and buy organic cotton or bamboo.
    • “Is polyester toxic? So, the straight forward answer is: yes. Polyester is a synthetic material which has many toxic chemicals embedded in it. … Also, if you wear synthetic clothes, your body heat also releases these chemicals into the air and the chemicals are absorbed by your skin.” https://www.thehouseofpillows.eu/polyester-shouldnt-be-in-your-bed-blog/
    • Organic Cotton Home Products
  • Organic Cotton Clothing
zestt organics

Are there any other toxins that need to be avoided during pregnancy that I haven’t mentioned? Has your medical provider ever mentioned these dangers? Any tips for other mamas and future mamas?

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

You may also like: Natural Ways to Prepare Your Body for an Easy and Intervention-Free Birth and A Quick Guide On What To Read For An Empowered and Informed Birth

A Natural Mamas Guide to Postpartum Healing & Recovery

postpartum recovery

Being a new mom and experiencing postpartum was, and is, one of the strangest and most difficult transitions I have ever experienced. As someone already familiar with the world of parenting and childbirth due to my education (masters degree in infant and toddler mental health and 8 years as an infant and toddler teacher), I thought I had some slight idea of what postpartum would look like. Oh, how wrong I was. Most likely, your body will look nothing like your pre-pregnancy body and really it shouldn’t. After all, you just created another human. It takes a toll on your body. From the fun and oh so stylish adult diapers to the roller coaster of emotions, postpartum can be a challenging and life altering experience.

My Experiences

Having a home birth with my first, I had a supportive group of midwives to guide me and attended monthly childbirth classes. We discussed the process and what to expect regularly. Regardless of the support and education, there were things I just had no clue about, especially regarding the postpartum body.

First off, I felt like I had been hit by a car after birth. Every muscle in my body ached and I couldn’t walk unassisted for a few days. To be fair, I had an unusually long labor, 75 hours, with around 7 hours of pushing, but I had no idea I would be so physically exhausted and aching after birth. I knew birth was hard and would be painful in its own regard, but I didn’t realize the residual pain it would cause, and not just in my nether regions.

Pregnancy and birth completely changed my body. Everything looked and felt different. Fluids were coming out of literally everywhere. I would wake up drenched in sweat, breast milk and other fun fluids everyday for weeks. (Apparently heavy sweating is a postpartum thing?!). I didn’t recognize myself or my emotions. I would swing quickly from one mood to the next even though I had some lovely bliss hormones from meeting my new baby. Postpartum is different for everyone, but if no one shares what really happens, how can any of us really prepare for this crazy time? I had endless numbers of people attempt to tell me what to expect from the baby, but no one told me I’d be in diapers icing my nether regions for a week or so.

Thankfully, my midwives, tips I picked up from other moms, and my own research helped me to make it through postpartum and heal my body. After what felt like endless months, I found my balance and my identity as a mother. I began to feel healthy and whole again. As I prepare to bring my second child earthside, I’ve decided to compile a list of helpful tips for postpartum to make the transition less dramatic and easier for myself and hopefully for other mamas who face the transformative time of postpartum. 

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

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Tips for Postpartum Recovery

Magnesium and Zinc Supplements

A few months into postpartum, I found myself still struggling with the baby blues and mood swings. I struggled to regulate my emotions. Looking for solutions, I took to the internet and dove into the research. I was so thankful to have actually found somewhat of a solution. It turns out, depression or depressive symptoms can actually be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. I even heard a few other moms mention it helped them during their postpartum period. I decided to try it out and within a day I found it easier to enjoy daily living and not so hard to regulate my emotions.

“Magnesium deficiency could cause abundant psychiatric symptoms including depression, behavior disturbances, headaches, generalized tonic-clonic as well as focal seizures, vertigo, tremors, irritability and psychotic behavior”

“In pregnancy, the fetus and placenta absorb huge amounts of nutrients particularly magnesium from the mother; this depletion of magnesium with not enough intake of magnesium by the mother is hypothesized to be the cause of postpartum depression.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Although I personally did not try zinc supplements during my postpartum time with my first, I plan to try it with my second. Similar to magnesium, this mineral may play a key role on postpartum mood disorders.

“Zinc as a trace element has the second highest concentration of all transition metals in the brain, and its deficiency is associated with behavioral disturbances. Lower zinc blood concentration was found in women with postpartum depression.” 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430492

Herbs

Herbs have endless medical and healing properties and are a great resource for healing during postpartum. From sitz baths to teas, herbs can play a key role in healing after giving birth.

For a sitz bath or peri bottle to promote healing after birth, there are some great recipes of natural herbs to prevent infection, soothe pain, and speed up healing. My favorite recipe is from Wellness Mama:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Comfrey Leaf

1/2 cup Lavender Flowers

1/4 cup Plantain Leaf

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/4 cup Yarrow Flower

1/4 cup Calendula Flowers

1/4 cup Shepherd’s Purse

1/4 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

1/4 cup Sea Salt or Epsom Salt

You can find a premade sitz herb mix here.

If you are interested in a calming cup of tea rather than a soak, there are a few great options that will help you heal and recover.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea strengthens the uterus, helps it to return to it’s pre-baby size, and eases postpartum cramping pain.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea regulates digestion and promotes calming relaxation to ease anxiety and promote better sleep.

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea promotes breast milk production, relieves nausea, and reduces stomach cramps.

Nettle Leaf Tea

Nettle leaf tea helps restore iron levels, calms the body, and boosts breast milk supply. It also replenishes the body because it is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Sunshine

Even if this seems like common sense, it needs to be said. Getting outside during the postpartum period is pretty low on any mamas priority list, but it’s necessary for you and baby. The sunshine will replenish your Vitamin D, as well as babies, and regulate both of your hormones, especially sleep hormones. The more natural light baby gets, the more likely they’ll jump on a day/night sleep schedule and you’ll all get more sleep. Not to mention, the awesome happy hormones the sunshine will help you release.

“The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#mental-health

Support & More Support

As much as you may think you will not need support during postpartum (me thinking i could be a super mom), you WILL need support. If you don’t have family or friends available to help, try to set aside money or request as a gift from your baby shower practical support like a maid or food service.

Enlist those who are willing to help with the daily duties, not the baby, while you recover and bond with your new baby.Although I didn’t really want my mother to be present after having my daughter so I could enjoy my new time as a parent, I actually ended up being really thankful she did show up. She was happy to help with the grunt work like laundry, dishes, and walking the dog while I focused on my new role of being a mom. Also if possible, have your partner take off as much time as possible. You’ll both want to be present for these new days and learning together what works makes you feel more like a team.

Postpartum, or the fourth trimester, is a substantial time in your new experience as mama and while no one can predict how it will go, it is helpful to have natural healing remedies on hand to face any challenges that may arise as well as ease the basic aches and pains that come with giving birth.

Please note I am not a medical professional and this information should not be substituted for medical advice.

You may also like: The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

Fourth Trimester Natural Healing and Recovery
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h Mama® Organics

How To Detox After Birth Control

The decision to take birth control is a very private and serious one. Regardless of when or why we started, often times we may be uninformed about the wide range of effects birth control can have on our body. Usually, it’s not until we decide to quit that we become aware of this.

If you have quit or are considering quitting hormonal birth control, you’ll want to know how best to ease the transition and detox so you can return to your body’s natural rhythm.

When I quit birth control (a Nexplanon implant in the arm), I was pretty startled to find myself with cystic acne and no period for nearly 5 months. I told my doctor I was concerned about an irregular cycle and my potential fertility, which she dismissed and offered more synthetic progesterone to ease the symptoms. I knew then I’d have to take this journey into my own hands- naturally.

Now that I’m back to a normal monthly cycle, I want to share what worked for me in my journey of detoxing from birth control. The most important thing to understand is that your body is amazing and is perfectly capable of detoxing on its own. It already knows what to do- it may just need some additional support to heal by nourishing your body. Focus on following these steps below to support the natural healing process you’re already in.

Whether you’re trying to get over discomfort like acne, cramping, and moodswings or looking to get your regular cycle and fertility to return – there are a myriad of natural and non-toxic ways to recover from birth control.

If you are still making the decision of whether or not you’d like to end your journey with synthetic birth control, I’ve included the studied and proven side effects many women experience from birth control. I’m hoping this may validate your experience and give you the go ahead to ditch it when you’re ready!

Hormonal Birth Control Side Effects:

Here are some of the main birth control side effects researched in clinical studies. Since everybody is different, there are likely even more side effects that you may experience personally that have yet to be studied. 

Crohns Disease:

“In two large prospective cohorts of US women, oral contraceptive use was associated with risk of Crohns Disease”

PubMed
Insulin Resistance:

“[All studies] consistently show elevated plasma insulin levels as a result of OC usage. This occurs because the pill causes a decrease in insulin sensitivity in healthy women. Increases in age and weight, regardless of OC usage, will also cause an increase in glucose tolerance. Oral glucose tolerance deteriorates in all OC user groups, the greatest deterioration being in the high-dose estrogen users.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7026112/   
Malnutrition:

“In particular, a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) points out that the influence of OCs on nutrient requirements is a topic of high clinical relevance and should, therefore, receive great attention. It has been shown that the key nutrient depletions concern folic acid, vitamins B2, B6, B12, vitamin C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23852908/
Depression:

“Use of hormonal contraception, especially among adolescents, was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and a first diagnosis of depression, suggesting depression as a potential adverse effect of hormonal contraceptive use.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27680324/   

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Natural Tips for Birth Control Recovery:

1. Eat Healthy Fats

Depending on which hormonal birth control you’ve taken, you’ve stopped producing as much of your own estrogen, progesterone, or both. Your body will have to start making these hormones again to return to a regular cycle. Since sex hormones are fats themselves, dietary fat intake is important in their production. 

Get plenty of healthy fats from non-inflammatory sources like omega-3’s in nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fish. 

2. Increase Your Fiber

Fiber is such a vital part of any diet, especially when detoxing. People coming off of birth control often can experience metabolic issues like unstable blood sugar, low energy, or hunger spikes from altered insulin function. You may also struggle with gut dysbiosis like diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion. 

Fiber helps with all these things in its own way: 

  • Fiber is digested slower than simple carbohydrates, giving you longer sustained energy and stable blood sugar. 
  • Fiber feeds helpful bacteria and yeast in the gut that break down important nutrients, help you digest food, and even help you metabolize estrogens and progestins. 
  • Fiber supports a healthy digestive tract and easing things like diarrhea or constipation.
  • Fiber supports regular and cleansing bowel movements that help expel waste and toxins from your body.

3. Micronutrients

Hormonal birth control can deplete b-vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc. Luckily those fiber-packed food staples like leafy greens, brown rice, beans, nuts and whole grains also contain all these missing nutrients!

Along with fiber, these nutrients help strengthen your digestive tract and support your mood and energy levels. 

Take some time to research which vitamins are missing in your diet and what foods you could add to make it up. If you’re having trouble counting all these things, try an online nutrition tracker for a day or two to get a better picture of your diet. 

A multi-vitamin is also a great way to ensure you’re meeting all your nutritional needs when your schedule is tight.

4. Probiotics

Hormonal birth control changes the natural populations of the gut biome. You may struggle with some issues like irregular bowel movements or yeast infections. 

“Preliminary studies also suggest that progesterone may alter gut permeability and populations of certain bacteria.”

https://andytherd.com/2021/01/19/is-birth-control-bad-for-your-gut-health/

Probiotic pills are a great option for helping reestablish bacterial populations. There are also some nutritious and flavorful dietary sources of probiotics too. Try eating some sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kim chi, or other fermented veggies. If you’re feeling real adventurous, you can even try making your own probiotic drinks like kombucha.

5. Supplements

There are plenty of over the counter supplements that can help support your body’s return to a regular menstrual cycle. I’ve included two that I’ve personally used. 

Vitex Agnus-Castus (Chasteberry): This herb has been used hormonal balance for a long time. Chasteberry is typically used for increasing blood levels of progesterone, helping regulate periods and also relieve menstrual discomfort.

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): This one may seem too simple to be on here, but it’s helped me quite a lot. Vitamin C has been shown to help increase fertility, reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels, and lower inflammation.

While you may assume you get enough vitamin C from your diet, you may not be eating as much fruits and veggies as you might need. Also, vitamin C absorption can be blocked by things like high stress, alcohol usage, and smoking. 

6. Respect and Trust Your Body

This final step is probably the most important thing I did throughout the entire journey. Sure- you need your nutrients to sustain your body. But that only means so much if we aren’t maintaining positive thoughts towards our bodies. 

We communicate with our bodies through what we give it (food, medicine) but we also communicate by what we tell ourselves. When we think of our symptoms (acne, yeast infection, headaches, irregular periods, etc.) as something wrong – we tell our body that it’s flawed in some way. When in reality, these symptoms are just the healing phase of our recovery from these drugs. Our body needs as much emotional support as it does nutrition, and you won’t do yourself any favors telling yourself something happening is “bad.” 

So instead of getting stressed about our symptoms (trust me- I know how hard this is) we should cheer our body on for detoxing and healing from such a powerful synthetic drug. We should accept the way we look and feel as the most natural and strategic response to taking something like hormonal birth control. 

Instead of saying; “What if I don’t have my period again?” or “There’s something wrong with me,” try saying: 

“I am safe, secure, and happy with who I am.”

“I am ready to have a regular period once my body is ready.”

“I love my body.”

“My [acne, cramps, fatigue, etc.] is my body’s ancient wisdom helping me to recover.”

I really encourage you to change your mindset from “bad side effects” to “signs of healing” and treat your body with the patience and kindness it deserves. Pay attention to yourself and keep track of your needs in terms of sleep, exercise, and meditation.

Stand by and support your body as it does the work it knows it needs to do. The healing will come.

You may also find Ways To Prevent Miscarriages helpful.

Is There A Right or Wrong Way To Parent? Intuitive Parenting

There is so much to debate around parenting. There are endless choices to make – different styles, techniques, “tricks,” ways of disciplining, and so much more. But what if those choices don’t matter? What if there is not a right or wrong way to parent? Stay with me here, don’t worry, I’m not suggesting it’s fine if people are neglectful of their children.

A friend and I had a long conversation about how overwhelming motherhood can be. Before becoming mothers, a lot of us have an idea of what motherhood will look like, but it can be challenging when reality doesn’t match up (you can read more about realistic expectations of motherhood here). While I was very shocked by how challenging I found motherhood as a new mother, looking back, it makes sense. How can we know how to parent our child when we don’t know who our child is?

We get ideas about what parenting is – guidance, discipline, teaching, and love. But these ideas make the assumption that our child is an empty vessel for us to pour into, but anyone that’s been around children knows each kid comes with their own unique way of being. Research even backs up the theory that children are born with personality traits and differing temperaments. Some kids are happy to play alone and are often quiet, while some cling to your leg screaming all the time. No two kids are the same, and therefore, should not be parented the same.

Ok, so kids are different, why can’t we parent them the same?

Well, the short answer is, you can.

But it won’t feel right and it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the child (look into the concept of goodness of fit for more info on this).

The more you grasp for answers outside of yourself, the more you follow what others say you should do, and the more you parent from the ego (decisions based on what might make you feel embarrassed or proud & taking your child’s behaviors personally), the more you’ll feel disconnected.

It doesn’t matter the style of parenting you want to do, what matters is what makes you feel aligned and connected as a mother (or parent).

Parenting disconnect is easy to recognize – you have a lot of guilt, you often feel like you’re failing, you are typically overwhelmed, parenting doesn’t feel fun and most days, feels like a challenge. While parenting intuitively won’t solve all your problems, it will, without a doubt, allow you to feel more present and connected as a mother.

“Learn to trust it, trust your intuition, and in good time, answers to all you seek to know will come, and the path will open before you.”

Caroline Joy Adams

What Is Intuition?

Intuition is the ability to know something without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind (Forbes). We all have gut feelings and science is now reaffirming the importance and value of listening to your “gut instincts” or intuition in daily life.

Scientists believe intuition operates through the entire right side of our brain, the brain’s hippocampus and through our gut (digestive system has neurons as well).

Forbes

How To Start Parenting Intuitively

When you have parented by all the “shoulds,” it can be challenging to make the switch to intuitive parenting. Getting in touch with our intuition and listening to it can take practice and patience. It is totally normal to need to check in with yourself to decipher if you are parenting from a place of fear and judgment or from the gut. As I began making the shift, I utilized meditation, journaling, podcasts, and alternative parenting/motherhood books (read some of my favorite books for gentle/alternative parenting here) to help me get more aligned and connected to my intuition.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Resources To Help With Intuitive Parenting

My favorite parenting books

Intentional Parenting Challenge

Sacred Motherhood: An Inspirational Guide and Journal for Mindfully Mothering Children of All Ages

Journaling

Research has shown that expressing your thoughts and emotions in your journal can enhance your emotional intelligence.

Psychology Today

GreenMamaLife Facebook Page

Earth Mama Get Ready For Summer Sale

You may also like: When I Am Not Being The Mom I Want To Be, 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Commenting On My Parenting – Natural Parenting, 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting, and The Peaceful and Intentional Mom Challenge

Growing Your Family: Books To Ease The Transition For Your Older Child

Growing your family is beautiful. (Congratulations by the way). For little kids, expecting a new sibling can be a time of excitement, confusion, and concern. One way to help your child process these emotions and gain more understanding around the changes in their life is story telling. Relevant story books can help children process the big changes in their life and even become more excited about the new baby!

When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I knew it was important we help our daughter transition into being a big sister. We put a big focus on how exciting a little sibling would be and how important her role is as a big sister. We began reading books about being a big sibling every day as the end of my pregnancy neared and sure enough, our first child was excited and proud to become a big sister! Even more heartwarming, big sister now loves to “read” the sibling books to her baby sister.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Picture books are an important source of new language, concepts, and lessons for young children.

Frontiers In

Mommy’s Magic Within- A Book For Big Siblings

I wrote this book after seeing there was a lack of books explaining pregnancy to kids in a fun way! This books talks about how mommy’s are magic and how sometimes they might not feel well while growing a baby but it’s worth adding another amazing person to the family!

Mummy, What’s In Your Tummy?

This book is adorable! It’s fun and silly from the toddler’s point of view of what might be happening in mom’s growing tummy!

Hello In There! A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting

One of my favorite big sibling books, this book helps your daughter connect and get excited with the little one in your tummy! It was our daughter’s favorite!

You Were The First

A very sweet book to remind your first child they are still loved and important!

Little Dragon and the New Baby

This book adds a fun twist to typical big sibling books since it’s about a dragon getting a new sibling! This book addresses the emotions of jealousy or avoidance a big sibling might feel when expecting a new baby in a fun and gentle way.

There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

You may also like: 5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books) and The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books

How Your Morning Routine Controls Your Life

best ways to start your day

We all have different ways of starting our day – some of us try to have a very intentional routine while others linger in bed scrolling, and most of us have experienced both. Starting our day with intention has a monumental impact on our productivity, mood, and overall well-being.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but the way you start your day is the way your day will go. Our perspective determines how we feel about the day and if we start the day with a feeling of “I’m exhausted and don’t want to do anything” it will surely linger throughout the day slowing us down and making our daily tasks feel like an annoyance. While on the other hand, if we start our day with gratitude and the intention of being happy, our day is much more likely to be full of positivity.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Benefits of A Morning Routine

Creating a morning routine can impact our mood, our productivity, our creativity, and our overall mental health. Not only does the routine itself help relieve stress because you don’t need to make choices each morning and you know what to expect, but the intentional time each morning can have monumental effects on our well being and personal growth.

Researchers have found that routine can have far-reaching psychological benefits, including alleviating bipolar disorder, ADHD, and insomnia.

Headspace

Tips For An Effective Morning Routine

What your morning routine consists of will alter its effectiveness. These practices will allow your routine to improve your mental health, overall wellness, and personal growth.

Schedule your day research on morning routines

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude has been defined as an emotion or state resulting from awareness and appreciation of that which is valuable and meaningful to oneself.

Psychology Today

When you’re focused on the good, it’s a lot harder to be upset when things don’t go the way you hoped. Practicing gratitude can bring us joy by seeing all that is good in our lives.

Gratitude can change your brain and overall emotional state. When you wake up each day and think about what is good in your life, you shift your selective attention. You train your mind to focus on the positive.

Psychology Today

If you don’t know where to start or feel silly you can start really simple by just making a list each morning of 5 things you are grateful for. I am grateful for my cozy home, I am grateful for warm coffee, I am grateful for the birds singing outside, I am grateful for nutritious food, and I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on life. You can also try guided gratitude journals or gratitude cards. Do your best to really feel the gratitude and joy with each statement. The more you do it, the easier it will get!

Meditate

Meditation is a practice used to train your brain to control your thoughts and focus (usually on your breath). It is often defined as a tool to heighten your state of awareness. Meditation is great way to start your day refreshed and gain control of your thoughts and intentions.

One study found that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation helped reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, along with increasing positive self-statements and improving stress reactivity and coping

Healthline

There are endless guided meditations you can try. One of my favorites is Breathe People (not an affiliate). These meditations are very helpful for releasing stress, tension, and creating a sense of calm. You can also try just sitting and focusing on your breath. Breathe in. Breathe out.

For more information and guidance on meditation I recommend Practicing Mindfulness and Quick Calm.

Journal

Journaling is the act of writing in a journal– you can write about your feelings, about a memory, about your day, or about your hopes and dreams.

Research has shown that expressing your thoughts and emotions in your journal can enhance your emotional intelligence.

Psychology Today

When we write about our hopes and dreams, it can actually help those dreams happen. You can create a mental rehearsal by writing your dream: a practice of feeling and planning what your dreams will look like and how they will make you feel when they happen.

According to research on mental rehearsal, once we immerse ourselves in that scene, changes begin to take place in our brain. When we are feeling the emotions of our future — whether that’s gratitude, joy, freedom, abundance, enthusiasm, love, and so on — the creative thoughts in your mind can become the experience. As the body receives the chemical signals of these emotions, essentially the body is receiving the signal that the event has already occurred.

— Dr. Joe Dispenza

Plan & Set Intentions

Plan your day! Create a schedule, decide how you’ll feel for the day, and set intentions. Planning and setting intentions can happen while journaling, you can write to do lists, you can choose some affirmations for the day, and organize your thoughts and schedule.

For example, if you are wanting to eat healthier, set the intention that you will nourish your body with healthy foods and plan ahead by preparing healthy meals and snacks.

Do you have a morning routine? What are your favorite parts? What do you want to add to your morning routine?

As I’ve gotten older, time feels like an increasingly rare commodity, so I try to be more mindful of how I use it.

Liz Fooslien


You may also like: Realistic Expectations for Motherhood, 5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books), and The Secret To Being A Calm Mom

It’s Not Gentle Parenting

gentle parenting

It’s not gentle parenting

It’s just love

Without conditions, sorrow, and intentional hurt

It’s not gentle parenting 

It’s parenting 

The love our babies deserve 

Without conditions 

Don’t let them fool you

Your baby is not bad 

Needing to be punished

They are love

If you allow it

Littles need gentle guidance

Support learning expression

And if you guide them with hurt 

They will learn to hurt

Put down your hand

Forget the punishments

And just love

And your little will show you their light

It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

L R Knost

You may also like: The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books and 5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

The Nature Books You Need In Your Homeschooling Library

nature books

Whether distance/online schooling, home schooling, or unschooling, a good home library is key to the learning process for any child. Every child can learn on their own with a good book, even if they’re not reading yet!

Findings published in the journal Social Science Research show that raising a child in a home filled with books positively impacts her future academic growth and job attainment.

https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/study-finds-benefits-of-childs-home-library.html

These books, with beautiful images and lots of easily digestible information, will allow your young learner to grasp the science of nature in a more relatable and meaningful way.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Nature Books You Should Own

The Big Book of the Blue (The Big Book Series)


The Julia Rothman Natural Anatomy Book Set

Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest (Books)

The Wonders of Nature

The Big Book of Bugs

Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum

The Big Book of Blooms

In The Garden

A Kid’s Herb Book: For Children of All Ages For Children of All Ages (Books)

Foraging with Kids: 52 Wild and Free Edibles to Enjoy With Your Children

The Magic and Mystery of Trees

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups

What are your favorite homeschooling or nature books?


You may also like: What You Need To Read Before Homeschooling Your Child and 20 Quotes For World Schooling

The Natural Mom’s Postpartum Healing and Recovery Essentials

natural postpartum recovery essentials

Postpartum is a time of transition when your body is unfamiliar and the little human you’ve been growing is learning the outside world and how to communicate. Everyone is tired. Everyone is messy. There’s beautiful, blissful moments and heart wrenching, dreadful moments. With so much to navigate and learn, it can make a huge difference to be prepared for this time of transition. With a little preparation, postpartum can (usually) be a time of healing and bonding rather than flat out chaos.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made on links with no additional cost to you.

Mess Control:

When my first child came along, the mess of postpartum was something I was not prepared for. I knew birth would be messy and I’d have to wear an adult diaper after. What I didn’t know is that the mess continues for quite some time in the form of bleeding, clotting, leaking breasts, spit up, diaper explosions, sweating, and all the fun mystery fluids. I quickly ran out of all the natural postpartum gear I thought I had stocked up on. Being a natural minded mama, I was left scrambling trying to quickly source non-toxic, low-waste solutions for this messy time.

This list resembles how I stocked up for my second home birthed baby to avoid the postpartum chaos.

Pads

Adult Diapers

Rags & Burp Cloths

Tools for Healing:

Having a home birth with my first, I had a supportive group of midwives to guide me and attended monthly childbirth classes. We discussed the process and what to expect regularly. Regardless of the support and education, there were things I just had no clue about, especially regarding the postpartum body. First off, I felt like I had been hit by a car after birth. Every muscle in my body ached and I couldn’t walk unassisted for a few days. To be fair, I had an unusually long labor, 75 hours, with around 7 hours of pushing, but I had no idea I would be so physically exhausted and aching after birth. I knew birth was hard and would be painful in its own regard, but I didn’t realize the residual pain it would cause, and not just in my nether regions. Pregnancy and birth completely changed my body.

With time and a few key supports, my body began feeling it’s new normal and everything healed wonderfully.

Peri Bottle

Herbs (Find my favorites here)

Essential Oils

Epsom Salt

Teas (Find my favorites here)

Massager

Earth Mama Herbal Balms

Breastfeeding:

Nursing Tops

Comfy Nursing Bras

Booby Tubes®

Breast Pads

Organic Nipple Butter (Hot & cold pack for breastfeeding)

For Fun & Memories:

Camera

My First Year Book


What have you found essential for Postpartum?

You might like: The Best Books To Read for Postpartum Wellness and Recovery

Natural remedies for fourth trimester postpartum wellness

The Peaceful and Intentional Mom Challenge

peaceful and intentional mom challenge

15 Days To Intentional Parenting

Motherhood is challenging. I’ll keep saying it on repeat because I never want to mislead anyone. Motherhood will push you in every way; testing your patience, your ability to communicate, your expectations, your plans, and well, EVERYTHING. Motherhood changes everything. That is okay, and even great, if you allow it to be. Motherhood can teach you how to be more peaceful and intentional. I know, it’s contradictory. Motherhood can make you lose every last bit of your sanity but it can also push you to find and hold tight to your inner peace.

You’ll quickly learn, without intentionality, motherhood is utter chaos. Don’t confuse being intentional with being planned or organized. I by no means am discussing being more organized, having a sparkling home, following a long written-out schedule or any of those more surface level ways of honing motherhood. I am, however, discussing planning your thoughts, your reactions, and your way of being with your children. When I discuss intentional motherhood, I mean planning the mother you want to be and putting into action your desired qualities rather than living moment to moment trying to respond to each issue on the fly.

Becoming an intentional mother means deciding who you want to be as a mother and making it happen. It DOES require planning, but don’t worry, you can put your schedule away. This kind of planning requires deep reflection, personal assessment, and really getting to know who you are and who your children are. 

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Steven Covey

The goal of this challenge is to start chipping away at thriving as a mother: Stop kicking into survival mode and actually start being the mother you want to be. Don’t worry. This is a judgement free zone. I, by no means, have it all figured out. I’m in survival mode much more than I want to be, which is why I decided to make this challenge. I know I’m not alone. I know there are so many of us who just want to catch our breath and start being the mom we always intended to be. I’ve started down the road of intentional motherhood and wanted to help you get started as well. I know you’re busy, so daily practices to become more intentional will never ask for more than 30 minutes of your time.

As an affiliate, I may receive a small stipend, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

“An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.” John C Maxwell

Day 1:

10 Minute Journal Session- Jot down notes on the mother you want to be. Note any fictional mothers who have inspired you or characteristics of mothers you want to embody. If you’re feeling extra inspired, include a photo of some motherly inspirations.

Day 2: 

Make a list of 5 affirmations you want to use daily to embody the characteristics you want to hone as a mother.
Here are my affirmations for inspiration-

  1. I can access my abundant inner peace whenever I need.
  2. Patience comes easily to me.
  3. I find joy in the chaos of motherhood.
  4. My actions are aligned with my values.
  5. I am a magnet for peace and positive energy.
Buddhist Gifts
Day 3:

10 Minute Journal Session- Define peace. What does peace look like to you? How do you enact peace as a mother?

Day 4: 

Make a list of daily priorities (be realistic or it won’t help). Where does bonding with your child fall? Where does self care fall on your list? Can you rewrite the list to be more aligned with your values?

Day 5:

10 Minute Journal Session- What are your intentions as a mother? What qualities and values do you want your children to have? How do you or how can you role model these qualities and values?

Day 6:

List 5 Goals You Want To Accomplish As A Mother
Define each goal clearly and how you can accomplish the goal. Post your 5 Goals somewhere you will see them daily.

Day 7:

10 Minute Journal Session- What makes you feel like a “bad” mother? What are the parenting characteristics you want to change in yourself?

Day 8:

Revisit your affirmations- Have you been saying them daily? Are there any you want to change or add? Are any particularly helpful?

Day 9:

10 Minute Journal Session- What would a perfect day look like as a mother? What could you do to make each day more similar to your perfect day?

Day 10:

List and put into action 3 ways to bond with your child today. Try to make a list for each of your children.
My ways to bond list:

  1. Read books together
  2. Go on a walk without using any technology (i.e. don’t take pictures or talk on the phone)
  3. Have a dance party
Ecocentric Mom how it works
Day 11:

10 Minute Journal Session- Reflect on bonding plans. What worked? What didn’t work? What could you do differently next time?

Day 12: 

Be vulnerable. Talk with your significant other and/or your kids about the kind of mother you want to be. Get their feedback on how you could be more aligned with your parenting goals.

Day 13:

10 Minute Journal Session- When is it hardest to be intentional and parent how you intended? What can you change about the environment and your actions to make these times less common?

Day 14:

Focus on one parenting goal. Reflect on how you can accomplish that goal today. Write yourself a list of tips and reminders and leave them in a noticeable place that will help you stay on track throughout the day.

Day 15:

10 Minute Journal Session- What have you learned about your parenting? Would you adjust your parenting goals? What are ways you can continue to be a more intentional parent?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Resources To Grow As An Intentional Parent:

Calm Mom Tips Here

Find my favorite parenting books Here

You may also like: Realistic Expectations for Motherhood and 5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

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