Sleep Well and Stay Cool

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Dear Readers:

We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, but too often we spend our nights scrolling through our phones, texting on WhatsApp or staying up for “just one more episode” in our Netflix binge. But what if you have done all all of the “right” things (i.e, turned off the phone, shut the blinds, put on the eye mask and avoided food and exercise before bed) and still can’t get to (or stay) asleep?

According to a University of Amsterdam study, you may need to cool down a bit–as in your bedroom. Researchers found that a cooler body temperature not only led to deeper sleep, but also raised the metabolism of the participants , who spent a month sleeping at 18C, two months at 23C and one month at 27C.  ‘These were all healthy young men to start with, but just by sleeping in a colder room, they gained metabolic advantages that could, over time, lessen their risk for diabetes and other metabolic problems,” Francesco S. Celi, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University said (to the New York Times).

Guess it’s extra helpful that I am heading to the snow next week!

Much Love,

Jo

 

Nutritionist Madeleine Whyte On The Nutrition/Fertility Link (Part II)

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Today, I am pleased to share part II of my interview with Madeleine Whyte. Madeleine is a qualified and certified clinical nutritionist. Having completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine, her mission is to guide clients in attaining vibrant health using food as medicine. Madeleine is passionate about helping clients to decode their bodies’ messages and uses simple, tradition-based natural remedies to heal from the inside out. Madeleine is currently living and practising in the Northern Rivers.

 

Do we really need to eat for two?  What is the healthy range of weight gain during a pregnancy? Does this change for each individual? 

MW: This is one of the biggest pregnancy myths! For the first trimester it is unlikely that you will need to consume any extra kilojoules. The second trimester however, is when the fetus really begins to grow so adding an extra 1400kJ during this period and an extra 1900kJ in the third trimester will ensure healthy weight gain. The total healthy weight gain for the entire pregnancy is between 11.5-16kg. This is for an individual within the normal weight range. These ranges will vary if you were over- or underweight before the pregnancy and if you are carrying twins so consult a health care practitioner to ensure you are on track.

 

Can cortisol levels impact fertility?

MW: Cortisol is a hormone produced by our adrenal glands when we are stressed.

Whether we are anxious about a work deadline or being chased by a tiger, our bodies can not tell the difference. As a form of protection, the body diverts energy and blood flow away from non-essential processes (i.e. digesting food and reproducing) and directs it to processes which enable the body to escape the danger. Over time, this becomes a problem as our hormones become imbalanced and fertility begins to diminish. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, the body is protecting our offspring from being born into dangerous conditions. Getting your stress under control is therefore essential in ensuring you are at your most fertile.

What do pregnancy cravings mean? Are we lacking something in our diet that the body naturally craves, can hormones be blamed or is it that we are craving things our growing babies need?

MW: All of the above! Cravings can be a result of hormonal changes, underlying deficiencies and specific nutrient requirements during this time. Just ensure it is not an excuse to go crazy, overindulging on unhealthy foods. Even if you are craving healthy foods, it is important not to excessively indulge in any one particular food. This over exposure may lead to an unbalanced diet and potential allergies in the child.

 

Question ten

Can you share with us your favourite pregnancy supporting dinner recipe? 

MW:  Iron is such a biggie during pregnancy. Low iron levels can cause fatigue, emotional instability and risk of excessive bleeding at the birth. Furthermore, low postpartum iron has been correlated with an increased risk in post natal depression. This meal cheap, super easy, is high in iron, blood sugar stabilising proteins and fats, antioxidants and probiotics. Its the perfect, all encompassing meal!

Beef stew with fermented vegetables

Serves 4 (or 2 with leftovers!)

Ingredients

0.5kg organic beef chuck

2 brown onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 carrots, chopped in chucks

2 potatoes, chopped in chunks

2 parsnips, chopped

2 zucchinis, chopped

250mL tomato passata

250mL water

Salt

Pepper

2 Bay leaves

1 bunch parsley chopped

Fermented veggies (I always have a jar of raw sauerkraut on hand)

Method

  • Sauté onion, garlic and celery till soft
  • Add beef and slightly brown.
  • Add all other ingredients except the zucchini and parsley and simmer for 1 hour
  • At 45 minutes, add the zucchini.
  • Turn off heat and stir through parsley.
  • Serve with a small side of fermented vegetables.

You don’t need to follow this recipe exactly. Change the veggies to make it seasonal, add more liquid to make it soupier or less to make it stewier.

Thank you so much for your wisdom, Maddy.

 

 

Nutritionist Madeleine Whyte On The Nutrition/Fertility Link

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Dear Readers:

I love to cook. So much so that my friends “affectionately” refer to me as a feeder.  Whilst struggling 15-years to identify my food allergies,  I really learned to cook basing my technique on three simple requirements: Is it fresh? Is it tasty? Is it healthy?

Aside from this, my food knowledge is the same as that of the average soul. I thought today I would get the advice of  nutritionist, Madeleine Whyte for some more in depth information. Madeleine specialises in women’s health, particularly in fertility. So, in light of the recent baby boom at the JMP studio, I asked Maddy to share her expertise in regards to the nutritional health of Mum, Dad and Bubba. Note: The second half of this interview will be posted tomorrow.

Is it possible to boost fertility by eating well? Does this apply for men as well? 

MW: Eating well can certainly boost our fertility! Diet has such a profound impact on our overall health that even just small changes to what we eat and drink can be a complete game changer. Preparing for pregnancy is a great time to connect with our bodies and address our relationship with food. This doesn’t mean just eating well but really relaxing around food, enjoying it and having a deep appreciation of how it nourishes every cell in our body.

This definitely includes men! It really puzzles me how a man’s health is often not accounted for during the preconception and conception period. Research tells us that men are accountable for up to 50% of fertility difficulties.  So yes, it is very important for men to address their health during this period. This time does not have to be excessively restrictive, in fact i believe this to be more detrimental in certain cases. It is a time when you can actively enhance the health of your child not only in utero but for their entire lives.

We all know that a pregnant woman should eat as healthy as possible to support a growing child, but what about prior to conception? How long does it take to detoxify the body and get it ready for pregnancy? 

MW: As a general rule a 3-4 months (or longer if possible) ‘cleaning-up’ period is great for both men and women. For women, the ova are susceptible to damage during their period of maturation, which is about 100 days before ovulation and for men, the formation of sperm may take up to 116 days. Therefore, I would say that this the most important period to ensure you are in optimum health.

Are there certain things we should cut out when trying to get pregnant, and why? 

MW: Yes, there definitely are a few key things that are beneficial to avoid during this period, which will not only increase your fertility but will also enhance the health of the foetus. Like I mentioned before, it is important to not be too restrictive and to still enjoy yourself during this period. I am a firm believer that a great night out at a beautiful restaurant with good company, a little wine and some decadent food is much better for your health then staying at home miserable, eating grilled fish and steamed veggies. If we aim to be on track at least 80% of the time then this will give you the best shot. Each patient will be different in their requirements however I recommend avoiding:

  • Refined carbohydrates and sugars.
  • Processed foods and foods with additives.
  • Excess alcohol- a small amount of organic wine or beer may be beneficial.
  • Caffeine- limit to at most one caffeinated drink a day if you can’t go without.
  • Allergenic foods- these are foods you may have an allergy too. Consult your health care practitioner.
  • Non-organic animal products- aim for a mostly organic diet where possible.

What is your view on supplements and supporting fertility?

MW: I’m not huge on supplementation and really encourage my clients to reach their nutrient needs through diet. However, during pregnancy, our nutrient requirements increase dramatically therefore supplementation, in addition to a balanced diet, is a great way to ensure our needs met. Each woman’s case will be different and their need for supplementation will vary depending on factors such as iron status, morning sickness and pre-existing conditions. However, my three essential supplements for most patients include: a pregnancy multi (preferably with the activated form of B vitamins), a good quality fish oil and a multi-strain probiotic.

What is your view on water? Is tap water ok for a pregnant body or should we all be drinking filtered water? If so, what is the cleanest way to filter our water? Does it depend on where you are located and are there things you can do to make tap water healthier (i.e. add lemon?)

MW: This is a really great question and is so often overlooked. I really believe investing in a quality water filter is one of the best things we can do for our health. A good quality filter will not only remove all the nasties but will also remineralise and energise the water, often passing through a series of natural materials that emulate nature’s method of providing pure water.

Adding lemon is a great way to make water more nutrient rich however it will not remove any chemicals and harmful toxins. This also applies to boiling water. While it does remove bacteria and some chlorine, it unfortunately concentrates other toxins.

In my opinion, removing fluoride from water is extremely important. However, I encourage everyone to do their own research, as it is a controversial topic. Check with your local council to see if your area fluoridates the water.

Morning sickness for some can last well and truly past the first trimester. What can be added into the diet to help ease this and other symptoms? 

MW: Morning sickness and general nausea during pregnancy can be extremely debilitating for the mama to be. While it may be difficult to eat anything at all during this period, it is really important to balance your blood sugar levels, as a dip in blood sugars is one of the a main cause of nausea. This means good quality protein at every meal, plenty of snacks and limiting the intake of sugar and refined carbs. Keeping snacks near the bed can also prevent blood sugar drops during the night and consequently nausea in the morning and also means you can eat as soon as you wake before getting out of bed. Ginger (fresh, powdered, in teas or supplemented) and vitamin B6 are great for treating nausea however speak to a health care practitioner before supplementation.

 

Please visit the blog for more of Maddy’s wisdom tomorrow!

Madeleine is a qualified and certified clinical nutritionist. Having completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine, her mission is to guide clients in attaining vibrant health using food as medicine. Madeleine is passionate about helping clients to decode their bodies’ messages and uses simple, tradition-based natural remedies to heal from the inside out. Madeleine is currently living and practising in the Northern Rivers.

 

 

5 Reasons I Love Teaching Pilates

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Dear Readers:

We have officially passed halfway through 2016, how did that happen already? As I am about to take a week off and head away to reset and reboot, I thought i would reflect and share with you the reasons why I love what I do.

Every body is a “Pilates” body.  No matter what stage of life (I have been been practicing Pilates since i was 12) Pilates has made me feel that I am welcome, supported and able. Coming from a dancer’s background, which at times is not that positive on a young woman’s body confidence, this was a huge gift. Pilates has taught me to love, nurture and care for my body, no matter what it looks like externally.

Pilates created a mind-body focus. Lets face it; not everyone is cut out for meditation, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it. Pilates is my meditation. Being able to quiet the noise in my mind,  focus on my body, how it’s moving, and when to breath is essential. Before I know it, an hour goes by and I float out of my session.

Stress/less environment.  I am one of the lucky ones in that I have been able to make my passion my job. Note: I have to remind myself of this when I curse at my alarm when it rings at 5.30am. I get to spend my days in a space I love, with wonderful inspiring people, practicing what I love to do the most.

Support system. Even though I teach Pilates, it does not mean that I’m “injury” free. Thanks to years of intensive dance training, my body at times can sound like a percussive snap, crackle pop. My most recent of injuries has been self imposed accident (last January, I jumped off a boat and landed wrong on my tail bone. It’s still a pain in my arse).
What my training has done is create a functional support system to carry me through my life’s adventures. What ever hiccups come my way, I know that my body will be supported by my training.

It keeps me grounded. No matter what life stresses find their way into my day ( emails, bills, writing blog posts, making dinner, whatever), taking myself down onto the mat, sucking in a deep breath, and moving my body immediately calms and grounds my mind. I can’t control everything, but Pilates has taught me to relax and focus on the now.

Why do you love your practice so much?

Much Love,

Jo