Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT 1-What am I eating?)

So for those of you who do not know yet, I'm actually in my thirty third week of pregnancy. This coming Friday I will be 34 weeks along in gestation. The above shot is a 4D ultra sound of Baby Brock at 28 weeks gestation. Wow, this pregnancy has been a wild ride! While we are ecstatically happy and excited, there have been lots of ups and downs. This little pumpkin is so loved already!

One question I've been asked repeatedly is since I'm going through this pregnancy naturally, living a holistically healthy lifestyle that is extremely different than the way I went through my other two pregnancies, what am I doing differently? How am I supporting my body systems and the baby? I will share all I've been doing in segments so the blog articles won't be too long. For this entry I'll start with foods that can be positive options and delicious. Your choices might look different than mine and that's perfectly fine.

What am I eating?

Truth be told, the time to start eating well is two years before pregnancy states Sally Fallon Morell, president of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dad to be's diet matters just as much as Momma to be's as well. It's no surprise to those of us in this crazy, nutty, crunchy world of food that what is eaten daily is most definitely a different picture than of what a regular (SAD) Standard American Diet is composed. For anyone just beginning their health journey who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, I hope this article will assist you in making good supportive yummy choices. Do what's right for you.


 One food focus that is unanimous among most doctors allopathic and naturopathic and certified nutritionists that it is extremely important during pregnancy to consume enough protein. According to the American Pregnnacy Association, pregnant women need at least 75 grams of protein daily. Some sources say 100 grams. Confirm what is best for your body with your health professional. Protein is really important for baby's natural development. I notice I feel so much more energetic and less nauseous when I eat enough protein especially for breakfast not too long after I awaken.

Some of my favorite protein sources are farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens without soy in the feed, sheep yogurt, avocados, organic pastured turkey bacon, quinoa, organic ground turkey, wild salmon ( although I've not really had a taste for it as much during this pregnancy), wild mahi mahi, grass-fed cow hydrolyzed collagen in my smoothies, hemp seeds, raw soaked and dried nuts, sprouted organic rice and organic beans together, and buckwheat.

*For convenience when I just can't get out ingredients and bring myself to make anything, my husband keeps a few packs of Hilary Eats Well frozen veggie patties in our freezer. I LOVE to cook, but let's be honest, making the little human wears us out! These patties are truly awesome for 1) being a frozen food that is yummy and 2) for health value. These patties are gluten, soy, egg, dairy, rice, nut, and corn they kick the major allergens out of the park. They are even cooked in coconut oil, not a bad for you polyunsatured fat, which is typically the case in packaged foods. I just pop them in the toaster oven. They can be found at Whole Foods Markets and Earthfare Markets. I typically eat them on top of organic lettuce either in a bowl broken up to top a salad with avocado, or using the lettuce as a wrap. If these stores are not near you, you can order them here.

Folate, Fiber, and Magnesium

A second food focus has been folate, fiber, and magnesium. I grouped these together because of one reason: plants. Before pregnancy and during the first trimester, folate is a very important component of the daily diet especially for spinal development as well as promoting normal growth throughout the body.  Folate is found primarily in plants foods, although eggs do contain some. I opted not to take a pre-natal vitamin since my folate in-take was strong, and that's typically the main reason pre-natal vitamins are recommended. After a dietary assessment, my midwife was in agreement with this decision. You should do whatever makes you and your medical provider feel comfortable. I will talk more about supplements in another article.

Quinoa, if you can eat it, is an awesome multitasking food. I mentioned it up in the protein section, because it is a complete plant based protein. If you are vegetarian, I'm sure you have it in your pantry. Since it is a plant food, it is rich in fiber as well. It also contains calcium. I like the versatility of it. I have several articles on quinoa recipes. I like to replace pasta with it. See if you like this recipe below:

Italian Quinoa (Makes enough for a family of four)
2 Cups Uncooked Quinoa, (This will fill a semi-large pot when cooked up, and you will have some left over)
4 cups Filtered Water (for cooking quinoa)
2-3 Tbso Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
10 Asparagus Spears, chopped
3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, diced or sliced, whatever shape you prefer (or any onion you have at home)
1/2 Bag Frozen Organic Bell Peppers (maybe 2 cups or so)
1 28oz Jar Bionaturae Strained Tomato Sauce
1 Tsp Dried Organic Basil
1 Tsp Organic Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Himalayan Salt
As much organic fresh ground black pepper as you want


Put the quinoa and water in a semi-large pot. Put on high to bring to a boil, then turn down low, stir, and cover until cooked.

In a large skillet put the oil, onion, asparagus, and bell peppers. Saute until softened a bit, then add sauce, basil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper on low. Finally add spinach. Stir a around and cover to simmer for about 5-8 minutes.

In bowls add a few scoops of quinoa, then top with vegetable sauce. Feel free to add organic Italian chicken sausage, chicken breast, a white wild fish, or even crumbled hard boiled eggs for extra protein if you'd like. Top with shredded Romano cheese, soft goat cheese, or nutritional yeast.

Fiber, only found in plant foods, contributes to our digestive health. Magnesium, a much needed daily mineral, which most people are deficient in, also can only be consumed through plant foods. Enjoying a very plant based food regimen is important to me. Plant based doesn't have to mean no animal foods. I define it as making sure a majority of what I eat is covered in a plethora of plant foods to ensure multiple nutrients. I try to cover half my plate in plant foods, or snack on plants through out the day. Sometimes a whole plate of food is too much, so I'll break it up. That's okay too. Just eat well for you.

Tip: At the beginning of each week I like to bake several organic sweet potatoes, I let them cool, and they get stored in the fridge or freezer. You can make a fast meal out a of a sweet potato with toppings or adding them to other dishes. Right in the toaster over it can go with some grass fed butter or organic unrefined coconut oil and Himalayan salt. The sweetness can also help curb the sugar monster.
An easy and tasty way to ensure folate, fiber, and magnesium intake is up is through green smoothies. I drink several a week. Smoothies create an all encompassing great, easy to make, quick meal. Adding half an avocado makes them so creamy smooth. I try to alternate my greens in my smoothies for maximum nutrients and not to overdue certain foods. I've taken advantage of pre-cut/washed leafy greens like kale and spinach. A little work taken out of the prep-time for food makes a big difference when  your body is again making a little human, which tends to make us Mommas sleepy. I always do a quick swish in some filtered water and Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak just to be sure though. You can purchase that wonderful, safe, pre-made veggie soak here for 24% off.

 I've liked making jar salads too. This is an easy way to take food on the go. Jar salads are fun to put together and you can include a variety of foods in the jar. I always try to include fermented veggies in my salads or on the side of my plate. They support my digestive and immune systems, add a unique flavor, and provide that folate, fiber, and magnesium! What a food multi-tasking bargain!

Organic frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer makes meal time much more pleasant during pregnancy as well. Do not feel bad about this either. Get the foods in your body that you need, the best way for you. you can make healthy meals this way. Keep it organic, since conventional frozen foods, even plain veggies and fruit tend to have unnecessary additives on top of that pesticide load that is bad for you and baby. While I will agree fresh is best not sitting in a plastic bag, at least heat is not involved.

During this pregnancy sleep has been a delicacy. I wake just about nightly and usually hungry. My husband makes sure we always have a bag of organic frozen dark cherries from Costco. Cherries are not too hard when frozen so they won't harm tooth enamel when chewing and they are a super natural source of magnesium, a mineral you need when trying to get back to sleep. Magnesium can promote good rest.

Never ignore true hunger when pregnant. Although the eating for two scenario has been confirmed to be a myth, you do need to eat some more. Listen to your body, even those cravings. Now if the cravings are not for normal, healthy choices, consider talking to your health professional for better options. My cravings during this pregnancy have been refried beans (these can be made in a very healthy way at home), blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cantaloupe.


My third focus are lots of healthy fats. Our brains and even more so babies brains need them for safe and healthy development. My favorite fats are avocados, organic unrefined coconut oil, 100% grass-fed butter, raw goat cheese, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic raw nut butters, and some organic red palm oil. I try to eat an avocado everyday. Eating enough healthy fat can help with unhealthy sugar cravings. High quality farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens actually are a dual food in offering not just significant protein, but healthy cholesterol, another term for fat. I've eaten eggs practically everyday in the second and third trimesters. Even though during most of my first trimester I couldn't even hear someone say the word egg. Don't hormones make our bodies do funny things?

A favorite snack of mine are sliced organic granny smith apples and raw almond butter. I also like almond butter on organic ribs of celery.

Did you know fats are good for the digestive system too? Many days a week I take some organic unrefined coconut oil on a spoon. I was vigilant about this in my early first trimester when I was constipated for almost one whole month (which by the way I've NEVER been in my life...just awful). Sometimes I'd mix it with my boiled organic prunes (never want to see a prune again, just saying). Healthy fat can encourage movement in the intestines as well as coconut oil specifically can assist in maintenance with beneficial gut flora, which I need.

Hope you enjoyed seeing what I've been eating to support my body. This list didn't cover everything of course. Are you pregnant? What have you been eating? Have you had any cravings? Reply in the comment box. I'd love to hear from you!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

8 Things Healthy Families Use

I'm a mom and I'm all about keeping things simple and natural. Are you the same way? I have a lot to get completed throughout the course of a day and I'll take as much support as I can get. I don't like depending on unnatural chemicals daily. I'd rather use items from nature for self-care, cleaning, and eating. I find nature does our family best!

Here are 8 things as a concerned Momma and certified health coach that I would say are the bare minimum for a physically healthy home after real whole foods. There are several other things I like to keep around as well, but this is a great start!

8 Things:

Raw Organic Honey: Kick out the refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, they just feed cancer. Instead use real, organic, raw honey. You always want your honey to be in its natural raw state because then it contains nutritional values and anti-bacterial properties. Avoid heating your honey to keep nutrients in tact. To support skin health you add raw honey to minor cuts and scrapes as well as using it for a facial mask once a week. 

Fresh Garlic: This is truly nature's antibiotic. It also happens to taste really yummy in foods. It is inexpensive and great to keep around all year. You can easily grow it as well. Try to make sure sure you purchase local garlic or at least from inside the USA. A lot of garlic is from China in the grocery store, and the agricultural practices there are not the same as ours here in the USA. Keep in mind heating it does destroy it's antibiotic properties. It's still a worthy add to cooked meals though for a flavorful plate. 

Fresh Raw Ginger: This root is such a treasure. Ginger is a natural over all body anti-inflammatory food. It's a spicy delicious addition to smoothies, baked goods, soups, and stir fries. It provides wonderful digestive system support. It's a safe tummy tamer for pregnant women. 

During my pregnancies I love to make fresh ginger root tea. I actually enjoy this all of the time. Use about 1 1/2 inches of ginger, peel it, and slice it. Add it to a mug of hot boiled filtered water. Cover the top and steep for about ten minutes. I prefer mine without a sweetener. You can add a little raw honey or organic stevia drops. 

Fresh Organic Lemons (Lemon Water): What a joy it is to slice into a fresh lemon! When you slice into a lemon, that delightful smell is actually a tiny bit of the natural essential oil escaping. Did you know citrus scents help enhance good mood? Be sure to purchase organic citrus fruits if possible. Even though we do not typically eat the peel, whatever we touch and our children for that matter touch goes into our skin and is absorbed. Conventional citrus fruits are coated in toxins and some are even grown in toxic waste. No amount of washing will remove it. Even if you use vinegar. 

I like to drink lemon water first thing each morning. This is a great way to prepare the body for your day by hydrating and getting enzymes flowing. I drink 32oz of room temperature water when I wake with one fresh squeezed lemon added plus 1 drop of Young Living Lemon Vitality. Yes, you can over due it with lemons just like anything else. Healthy foods consumed in moderation then stay healthy. Benefits to drinking lemon water are natural support to your liver, digestive system, and immune system. 

Essential Oils: In our home due to purity and the highest of standards, we only use Young Living Essential Oils. Essential oils can help support the body, mind, and spirit as well as make a lovely addition to your natural cleaning regimen. Essential oils are the heart and soul of the plants, basically the plants' immune systems. They are aromatic oils that disperse into the air in tiny molecules quickly and they can come from various parts of different plants. You can get your's here

Good Salt: Have you bought into the lie that salt is bad for you? Salt is actually a necessary component to our lives. It purifies our bodies as well as adding many needed minerals. The difference is knowing the salts to stay away from and the salt to consume. Regular table salt has been bleached and all of the minerals have been stripped from it and sold to supplement companies. Some salts even add MSG, sugar, and aluminum. The iodine added is not natural iodine either. Table salt is very hard on all of the body systems. 

The best salts to purchase are Celtic (real Celtic salt is a little wet and greyish in color), an actual brand called Redmond Real Salt (shown in the picture), and Himalayan salt (this is pink in color). You can purchase all of these in whole rock like forms, little mini rocks, or finely ground. I like to add a pinch to my water throughout the day to ensure I'm getting necessary minerals. No, it cannot be tasted. Most filtered water takes out a lot of our necessary minerals along with  the toxins so adding a pinch of salt helps replace the good stuff. 

You can even make something called Sole. This is basically a concentrated salt water. You can make this simply by getting the good salt of your choice, a glass jar, like a clean mason jar, and filling it 1/3 of way with the salt. Fill it to the top with water. Leave a little room. Shake it. Let it sit for about 8-12 hours. Add this to your warm or room temperature lemon water or plain room temp water first thing in the morning. You can use a plastic measuring teaspoon or a glass dropper to add 1 tsp to your water to help start your day off well will lots of minerals. One tsp should be all you need. Your naturopathic doctor or holistic health practitioner can tell you exactly.

Remember I mentioned salt purifies. If your throat is feeling scratchy, add 2 tsp to a glass of water and gargle to support your body.

Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil: It was a great day when I brought coconut oil into my life. I believe this was one of the first food and body care switches that I ever made. Organic unrefined coconut oil is comprised of three antimicrobial medium chain saturated fatty acids: capric, caprylic, and monolauric. The monolauric acid is very supportive to the immune system. This type of fat is great for brain support. I do so many things with this oil. I bake and cook with it, use it in my homemade skin care products, as well as my homemade toothpaste. I also oil pull with it; click on the link if you don't know what that means.. 

It has a heat tolerance of 350, which makes it lovely to bake with since most recipes bake at 350. Cooking eggs in it is my favorite. Never heat it in the microwave. The waves will damage it's integrity. Depending on weather it will go from solid to liquid. When you need it liquid, put some into a glass measuring cup, close to what you need. Always put it a bit under the marker on the cup because once it melts it will most likely be right on the money. Put the measuring cup into a small pot with a little water. Boil on the stove until the oil melts. 

Raw Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar: I add a splash of this each day to a glass of my water as well. There are numerous benefits to the body in consuming raw unpasteurized ACV. It absolutely must be raw and unpasteurized containing the what is called mother. Real ACV is made through a lengthy fermentation process. The mother is the brown healthy strands of amino acids. This vinegar is particularly supportive to the digestive and immune systems. You can use it with food and drinks and you can clean with it. Another use is for body care as a facial toner or it can be a support to the scalp if there is flakes or dandruff. When anyone in our family even looks like they are getting under the weather for natural support I make this tonic that contains:

1 Tbsp ACV ( I like this one.) 
1/8 Tsp Ground Organic Cayenne Pepper (Try this brand.) 
1 Fresh Garlic Clove, sliced
1 Inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp Raw Honey ( Local is best, but if you can't find any, I like this kind.)
1 Mug Hot Boiled Filtered Water

Add everything to the mug EXCEPT for the honey. Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes. When it's time to drink, add the honey. 

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Your Teen

I have two teen sons in the house, and it is an adventure. I actually began reading another bloggers article about 5 ways to spend time with or connect with your teenager, but after about her third tip I started to drift and all of these thoughts about healthy teen and parent relationships starting pouring out of my head. Lucky for you I caught them…haha, or at least I hope that this blesses anyone with teens or anyone who deals with that age group on a regular basis. Strong home and family relationships are an extremely important part of your own health and wellness. Creating as much balance as you can at home will help you to be a healthier individual. Keep in mind always that you are only responsible for your own actions and words. So MOM, don’t beat yourself up if that teen won’t meet you even half way, it happens.

My teens are pretty sweet guys most of the time, and homeschooling them is a bonus. Connecting with them can still be a challenge at times. Although even with our homeschool, I feel like our days are rushed and go by so quickly. I have to fight through the battle of the almighty check list. I really love finding ways to be with each of them on an individual basis; I find it is vital. Each is growing to be a young man with his own thoughts, ideas, and dreams. One on one time creates an atmosphere for me to figure out what is inside that head and heart.

 As they grow I really want to choose to respect how to communicate with each one the best way he receives it. Each one has different learning styles and love languages. I really try to speak with them the way I'd like to be spoken to as well as taking into consideration their personality type, so he receives it. As men, I realize they were created differently. Most tend to be more linear, left brained, and less likely to communicate verbally. I don't find that is an excuse to not find ways to help them communicate better though. I refuse to believe that men cannot or will not talk or execute their thoughts effectively. Knowing that one day may come when my guys may have wives of their own really drives this point home for me. For them, and each one’s future wife, I must facilitate healthy communication. One of mine is actually more right brained, so he's quite the talker. This can be fun and sometimes not since his extreme intelligence can get the best of him and often have him towing the line of disrespect. I am often reeling him in from the line before he sinks his ship.

Since these two were young I've attempted to ask both guys questions with various answers they can choose from so as to get mental juices flowing, like multiple choice. My hope is to train their brains to think freely through options and be able to truly visualize them as they come into adulthood. I like to ask them reflective questions as well especially if we are dealing with a discipline issue. It is necessary that they understand that their choices affect others. Making them stand in the other people's shoes around them allows them to be sensitive to the fact that the world doesn't revolve around them. This sometimes is even better achieved in a completely unrelated scene of events away from the scene of said crime. Connections are made better sometimes when emotions are light and the brain can think more clearly. I work hard not to miss those moments.

I really try to remember to lift them up during a session of discipline as well. I say discipline session because it really is a session or life lesson for all of us. Love cannot be absent here. This is especially important knowing timing of how I lift each one up as well. By lifting up I mean ensuring my love, perhaps I mention things that I've noticed that have gone well or right lately, and best efforts. I also make sure to end that lifting up with prayer. The Lord Yeshua is the softener of hearts, and during discipline sessions, hearts may be hard. Each guy needs it at different times as well. My oldest needs to be lifted up at the end of our conversation otherwise he only remembers his faults and turns into Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh. My youngest needs to be lifted up before the actual "getting down to it all" begins otherwise he is instantly on the offense and feels attacked.

The acknowledgement of feelings and his "why" behind the situation being handled the way that it was by that person even if it was done really poorly is key. Acknowledging this validates him as a person. This is not placating or beating around the bush or pandering. I want to extinguish that young man’s need to be on the offense as much as possible and make it a safe place for him to discuss the situation with me. A huge goal of mine is to effectively allow each one to be heard, if his brother is involved. Often to achieve this I ask straight off the top for him to calmly tell me what happened in your words. Make sure another person is not in ear shot, especially that other person involved, or other siblings that may be nosey and feel the need to give his or her two cents. I want to hear every emotion and thought in order to make correction properly. I acknowledge where he was emotionally at the time, usually by saying something like, "Oh I see, so you probably felt really....(insert emotion)." The one I'm speaking to usually knows where he went wrong, but sometimes he truly does not. Do not assume your teen knows or realizes where he messed up. Give them credit where credit is due of course, and use wisdom if manipulation is taking place, while realizing that he really may not get it. Ask him if he knows where better choices could’ve been made. If he cannot tell you, then do not get mad or tell him he's lying, just explain it. If you explain it, then there's no room for excuses or the famous, "I didn't know song next time" that my oldest LOVES to sing (he's not really singing there, I'm being a bit facetious, but see...I know my kid.)

At the end of the day we are raising adults, men and women, not boys and girls. Making sure to make that fact known to them, how loved they are first by the Lord, and then by us each and every single day. Let them know where their worth comes from (God) and that no matter what they do, their faults and sins cannot diminish their worth because it didn’t come from them in the first place. They were chosen to come into creation as Holy masterpieces of the Most High God. Reinforce this daily. This world in which they live is so transient and constantly messing with their identity.

Love and grace!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!

Marie A. Brock, HHC