Hoping for A Natural Birth?

Are you hoping for a natural birth? Assembling a care and support team for pregnancy, labor, and delivery is a vital for achieving the birth you want, but your support system will also play a longer-lasting role in your family’s health. Since a healthy pregnancy is an important part of a healthy birth, and a healthy birth sets the tone for baby’s wellness throughout life, establishing partnerships with providers you trust is essential from the very beginning of pregnancy. Whether you’re planning to get pregnant or you’re currently expecting, here are a three providers you want on your team to increase your chances for a natural birth.

 

A provider that supports your choices through pregnancy and labor

Whether you choose an OB or midwife, find a care provider you resonate with and trust. You should aim to find someone to support your goals during pregnancy and delivery. It’s also important to consider the facility where your provider practices. Some birth centers and clinics put their providers on call, which means when you go into labor, you might end up with a different doctor or midwife than you planned. Make sure you’re comfortable with all the care providers and that they’re willing to support your desire for a natural birth. Finally, look up the cesarean section rate if you’re delivering at a hospital before deciding.  Remember, if your provider isn’t supportive of your choices, it is never too late during your pregnancy to switch to another provider!

A doula

Studies show individuals who use doulas have lower c-section rates. Doulas are very helpful in helping moms with pain management techniques, which can in turn lessen the chance of extra interventions during birth. Having a doula is especially important for those having a hospital birth, particularly if an un-medicated labor is part of your birth plan. It’s so empowering to have someone to advocate for you and your choices as you prepare to meet baby.  Remember, a doula isn’t there to replace your partner, they are there to support you both and because they know birth and labor stages better than most parents!

 A prenatal chiropractor and body worker

Finally, a chiropractor and body worker who specialize in prenatal care can play a significant role in keeping you comfortable during pregnancy and preparing your body for labor, especially when it comes to baby’s position for delivery. Optimizing the balance of the pelvis relieves stress on the uterine ligaments, allowing the uterus AND baby to get into an ideal birth position. Chiropractic also decreases tension in your body, particularly in your stomach, hips, pelvis, and diaphragm, which contributes to a quicker and healthy labor, based on a study from Dr. Joan Fallon.  Chiropractors have extensive training in nutrition and can help you optimize your health before pregnancy, when prenatal visits often don’t  start until 8-12 weeks of pregnancy with your birth care provider.  Remember, it is never too early to begin planning for a healthy pregnancy and baby!

Who supported you most when you were expecting? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

Boost Energy Naturally

If your energy levels plummet in the winter, you’re not alone. Lack of sunlight and subsequent deficiencies in Vitamin D, plus changes in routine and nutrition around the holidays, can have surprisingly profound effects on our energy levels and overall health.

It’s important to differentiate Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, from generic winter blues. Caused by the way sunlight deficiency affects our circadian rhythm along with changes in the chemicals serotonin and melatonin, SAD presents in depression, loss of interest in hobbies, difficulty sleeping, agitation and sluggishness, and overall low mood.

While TK Americans have SAD, even more experience a “winter funk” that comes around with the colder weather and darker days. If you live in a snowy climate (like Minnesota!), you may also have a sense of “cabin fever” that comes with being holed up at home in the winter months.

The good news is, there are some simple shifts in lifestyle that can help increase your energy levels and boost your mood until the sun (and its warmth!) shows its face again. Here are a few suggestions for beating the winter blues:

    • Invest in the right supplements:
      • Vitamin D is essential for anyone who experiences the winter blues. Did you know the majority of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D in the winter months? If you’re low (anything less than 50 is not optimal), you may experience mood changes or a weakened immune system.
      • B Vitamins: Since B-vitamins are essential for proper energy production, a good Methylated B-Vitamin complex is essential, both in winter and throughout the year.
      • Adaptogens: Herbs that help the body adapt to stress, adaptogens like Maca, Holy Basil, and Ashwagandha can equip the body with stamina and strength you need to make it through a funk.
      • Inflammacore: If your energy is zapped due to recurring sickness or general inflammation, Inflammacore can help restore your gut, reduce inflammatory responses, and strengthen your immune system.

 

    • Don’t neglect nutrition: Proper nutrition is key year round to feel balanced and vibrant. While carb-ridden, sugary foods might feel comfortable in the moment, they aren’t helpful for your body long term since they’re inflammatory and negatively affect blood sugar (nobody wants a sugar crash!). Instead, focus on nourishing your brain with healthy fats like avocado and fish oil, and reducing inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar, and grains.

 

    • Move your body: It may seem counterproductive to exercise when you’re already experiencing fatigue, but regular exercise — aim for 30 minutes, a few times a week — plays a big role in maintaining energy levels. Plus, the resulting endorphins are an instant mood booster! If it’s too cold for a walk outside and you don’t have a gym membership, try a yoga or pilates class or try searching a video on YouTube!

 

    • Resist the temptation to over-caffeinate: Do you find yourself reaching for a second cup of coffee every morning? A small amount of caffeine isn’t usually an issue, but too much of it causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers the fight-or-flight response and exhausts the body. If you’re so tired during the day you’re not able to focus, try a nutritious snack like nuts paired with a piece of fruit, or a brisk walk. Green teas like matcha are also less stressful to the body, if your hot beverage habit is too difficult to resist.

 

  • Schedule an adjustment: When your spine is healthy, your whole body will feel healthy! Think of an adjustment like an alarm clock to wake up your body. Regular adjustments ensure your nervous system can effectively send messages to other systems and organs in your body, which can strengthen your immune system, help you sleep and digest your food, and even give you more energy throughout the day!

 

Click here to schedule your next appointment! We’d love to see you soon.

Drop the resolution. Try this instead.

There’s something about a new year that feels like a clean break. We’re motivated to grow and change at the turn of the calendar page, leaving old habits and unhelpful routines behind us. That’s the premise of new year’s resolutions. We all want our lives to be better! But have you ever noticed that, come February, many of us have abandoned the resolutions we were so determined about just a few weeks prior?

Whether we set the bar too high to keep up with or other, more timely needs come up shortly after 2019 strikes, it’s easy to miss the mark on goals. The thing is, when we set goals that we can’t realistically achieve, we become discouraged, and in turn, less likely to accomplish what we set out to do. “May as well wait until next month (or year) to start fresh,” we think.

Personally, I know how easy it is to be idealistic about personal growth, especially with the fresh start of a new year! By January 1, I want to stick with a budget, meal plan, eat healthier, exercise more, spend more time playing with my kids, and plan more intentional date nights with my husband. All of those things are great, but they’re also a LOT to keep up with.

What if there was a more sustainable, intuitive way to go about personal growth this new year? A way to stay on track with the things you value without getting stressed or discouraged?

Setting yourself up for success is as as simple as a single word (a tip I’ve learned from some great coaches through my journey.) Rather than setting goals or resolutions in 2019, try choosing a word that encompasses what you want to focus on in the year ahead.

Presence

How to choose your word

Setting an intention or word for 2019 is as simple as looking back at the last year. What did you struggle with or miss out on, and what do you want to adjust? Or, you can work backwards from your goal. Picture yourself on New Year’s Eve of next year. Which one word or phrase sums up where you want to be at the end of 2019?

Maybe you noticed 2018 was full of busyness and distraction, with little opportunity to deeply connect with loved ones. A word like “presence” could serve as a reminder to stay focused on the people and passions that matter to you most.

Maybe you’ve struggled with self care, and you noticed that your health took a hit as a result. A word like “wellness” or a phrase like “self compassion” could help you remember that, at the end of the day, your own health is the precursor to everything else meaningful in your life.Presence (2)

There’s no right or wrong choice — just try to pick something that will set a positive tone for the year ahead!

How to use your word

I’ve found the most important thing is to keep your word visible. Think about writing your word on a post-it or index card and hanging it in a high-traffic area, like your fridge or your bathroom mirror. This way, you’ll have a constant reminder of your “filter” for the year, and many opportunities to reflect on it.

To go even deeper, you may also want to take time to read books, listen to podcasts, or journal about topics related to your word. If you are focused on generosity, for example, spend regular time reflecting on what generosity means to you, and dream up practical ways you can be more giving toward those around you. Spend time with people you consider generous, and get out of your comfort zone with giving to those in need. Maybe there’s a single mom on your street who would benefit from a hot meal — listen to that inner prying and bring her some soup! Or maybe you could tip a little extra when you go out to dinner with your family. Get creative!

Presence (1)

How your word can help you

With your word as a constant reminder of where you want to go and who you want to be, you can make choices more easily. Think of your word less as an arbitrary goal, and more as a filter for decision-making. Will taking on extra hours at work for the money help you to meet your goal of presence? Will adding another soccer league to your kids’ routine add wellness to your life?

Remember, it’s less about perfection and more about a general, positive trajectory. By setting an intention for the year ahead, you’ve already accomplished something positive!

Whatever your word is, we a Nourish are here to partner with you in 2019 however we can. We’d love to see you this year as you make strides toward wellness!

Just click there and we’d love to help! -Dr. Berg

 

4 Tips to Prevent Illness

From October to March, there’s one question I answer far more than others: I’m sick. What can I do to feel better? While our care and supplementation can decrease symptoms of sicknesses like cold and flu and potentially reduce the number of sick days, why not be proactive and prevent sickness before it knocks you out? If you’re curious about how to empower your body with the tools it needs for wellness this winter, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make.

Prevent illness with nutrition.
During seasons when we’re more at risk for illness, the body needs a little extra nourishment. Eating whole, nutrient-dense foods — and eliminating inflammatory ones — is a great way to give your body the tools it needs to fight that pesky virus! During cold season, focus on increasing your intake of Vitamin A, which you can get from beta-carotene rich foods like carrots, liver and cod liver oil. You’ll also need extra Vitamin D, so load up on the green leafy veggies, eggs, and salmon. Limiting sugar, dairy, alcohol and other inflammatory foods and drinks can also give you an extra boost. And of course, staying hydrated with water and minerals is key. Since sickness-fighting proteins are transported through our bodily fluids, a dehydrated person can get sick more easily and stay sick longer.

Choose the right supplements.
Though an individual’s supplementation need varies widely based on what’s going on in their body, all of us need certain nutrients to fend off sickness, especially as the darker, germ-ridden months approach. Here are a few I recommend grabbing and taking regularly through the fall and winter seasons:
● Vitamin A, which promotes healthy mucus membranes
● Vitamin C, which boosts overall immunity
● Vitamin D, which regulates hormones and has immune properties that fight the flu
● Other supplements to try include elderberry, cloves, and cinnamon. Watch out for echinacea, as frequent use can exhaust the immune system, while use during a virus can give you a temporary boost.
● Essential oil blends with cinnamon, clove, peppermint, lemon, rosemary, and eucalyptus, many of which have unique antiviral properties. Just use sparingly on delicate skin (always with a carrier oil!), and around pets and kids since these extracts are potent!

Prevent stress as much as possible.
Where our mind wanders matters. People often find they get sick more easily when they’re under a lot of stress. This is likely tied to the exhaustion our adrenal glands experience after stressful episodes. Replenishing the adrenals with trace minerals and managing your stress levels (link to as post) through mindfulness and meditation may be key to preventing disease.

Pay attention to your posture.

Many people assume germs cause disease. This isn’t necessarily true. If it were, conjoined twins, who share a blood stream, would always get sick simultaneously. But they don’t! Often, only one will get an illness like strep throat while the other is spared.

Fascinatingly, it’s often the twin who has poorer posture that gets sick more frequently. There is also only one body system that conjoined twins don’t share: a nervous system. This leads me to believe our immune system is highly controlled by our nervous system, which is housed inside the spine, responsible for our posture.

To keep your posture in check, schedule regular chiropractic adjustments in the winter months. It’s also important to monitor how frequently you use your electronic devices, since looking down at a phone or laptop is a major culprit of poor posture. Finally, adding more exercise (especially the postural ones we give you in our office) into your routine, even low-impact activities like yoga and pilates, can do wonders for spinal posture.

Click here to schedule your next appointment! We’d love to see you soon.

Easing Holiday Stress

It may be the most wonderful time of the year for many of us — but that doesn’t mean the holidays are stress-free. From planning get-togethers and meals to holiday shopping and travel, the chaotic routine that comes with the winter holidays can take a toll on both physical and mental health, compromising the wellness you’ve worked so hard to maintain throughout the year.

 

Thankfully, there are some easy, practical ways you can protect your mind and body from the effects of the stress you might encounter between now and January. Here are a few of our best suggestions for both promoting health during the holiday chaos:

 

Focus on your breath.

baby-beautiful-child-1257105 (1)

When everything else seems chaotic, one thing you can control is your breath. Breathing mindfully can pack a big punch in promoting calm, as it signals your brain to turn off the fight-or-flight response and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response. Plus, increased oxygenation helps you stay alert and energized, which is always beneficial during the holidays. To start, try breathing in for a four count, then an exhale an eight count, and repeat until you feel calm.

 

Load up on Vitamin D.

 

Vitamin D deficiency has a huge impact on mental health, and it can also affect our immune response. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get enough Vitamin D through just nutrition (unless you’re eating fatty fish every day!). Because the darker winter months result in less exposure to Vitamin-D rich sunlight, I always recommend increasing dosage from October through March. Supplementing with 1000 IU daily is a great place to start, though blood work may reveal you need even more, in fact, the Vitamin D Council says 1000 IU per every 25 pounds of weight you carry.

 

Pay attention to your nutrition.

 

It can be so easy to eat mindlessly during the holidays, when all your favorite foods make their annual return. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of champagne or a Christmas cookie (‘tis the season!), don’t trade your well-being and energy for a moment of enjoyment. Instead of inflammatory, sugary foods, which can impact anything from mood and energy levels to immunity and blood sugar, choose low-carb, nutrient-dense options. Not only will you feel much more balanced when you eat well; you’re doing your future self a favor by setting the tone for wellness. Remember: The foods you eat become the building blocks of every cell in your body. What do you want to be made of?

 

Move your body.

shutterstock_180002318

There are so many emotional and physiological benefits to frequent exercise. Whether you enjoy more relaxing activities like yoga or high-intensity movements like running, don’t drop your exercise routine in the winter, when you probably need it most. To keep your mental health in check during the busy holiday season, schedule exercise before holiday events, like the morning of Thanksgiving dinner at your family’s or just before heading out of town for Christmas.

 

Try essential oils.

 

Our senses play a huge role in promoting an anti-stress response. By taking advantage of all the benefits of aromatherapy this holiday season, you can not only fill your home with scents you love, but also keep yourself calm. It’s a win-win! One trick I swear by is making a mini-oil diffuser and keeping it in my purse to smell when I feel stressed. I find frankincense and lavender to be very grounding.

 

Let go of the non-essentials.

 

We all want to create a memorable, meaningful holiday season for our loved ones. But that doesn’t mean we have to strive for perfection. Try keeping your expectations and plans low-key this year, and see how it impacts your stress levels. Think about what you can let go of while maintaining your core values. If it’s not necessary to get everyone in your extended family a gift, can you go without it? Can you opt for gift bags instead of wrapping, or choose to purchase fewer gifts and make more memories? What about decorating salt-dough ornaments instead of baking cookies?

 

We’re here to help.

shutterstock_335104034

Looking for a little extra support during the winter months? We totally understand, and we’re here to help! Chiropractic adjustments, a nutritional consult, or massage can all be great tools to prevent stress and promote overall wellness during the winter season. Just click to get started!

-Dr. Berg