GIRL GET FIT

Archive of ‘Women’s Health’ category

Great resource for post-pregnancy fitness and health!

HEALTHYMOM_final_resize

I am really excited to announce the release of my first book, available here and also available through Amazon in all other countries for example amazon.co.uk, amazon.fr etc.

I have already had 7 five star reviews and over 135 downloads and it has only just been released!

The Happy Healthy Mom is a great resource for post-pregnancy fitness and health and gives:

  • Reassuring information as to what is happening to your body and how best to help recovery after birth
  • Precise advice for caring for skin and hair post baby
  • Practical tips as how to manage time and prioritise, following the dramatic change to parenthood
  • Life changing advice on nutrition – including what supplements could help with the present challenges of motherhood. Tips for healthy snacks.
  • LOADS of encouragement and advice as to the exercise and activity you can perform from the first day of motherhood through to regaining your full fitness. Included are pictures of the exercises you can perform at home with clear explanations. Also includes specific advice for those post C- Section.

Following the practical and realistic advice in this book, mums will find they feel they can make confident steps forward in aiding recovery, regaining their fitness and losing the baby weight. Rather than worrying about the changes to their body and struggling with the changes in life’s routine, mums will be loving their new life with their little one, confident in the knowledge they have gained and the encouragement they have received!

Even if you are not a new mum yourself, this would be an excellent gift for mums to be!

A paperback version will be available through the same link on Amazon very soon.

Please download and enjoy! If you love it, please leave a review.

Thanks!

Miri x

* Spellings are in American English as most of my audience are in North America

Fuel your body, get it right for you and your baby!

breastfeeding1

Welcome to the final part in this extremely popular series of questions and answers on Postnatal Nutrition with Esther Street. Here, Esther reveals vital insights into how to optimise breastfeeding. Her honest and practical, yet current and well researched content has been a great help to many of our readers.

Are there any foods you would recommend that can aid breastfeeding? Is there anything nutritionally that mums can do to boost their milk supply?

This is a huge topic and there have been some excellent books written about nutrition and breast feeding. For those of you who are particularly interested I would recommend “Mother Food” by Hilary Jacobson for just about everything there is to know. For the rest of you, here are a few things to include in your diet to help you:

• Phytoestrogens – are thought to boost lactation by stimulating the growth of milk-glands in the breast. Oats, millet, barley, rice, chickpeas, peas, lentils, green beans and quinoa are all rich in phytoestrogens. Soaking or sprouting the grains makes them more digestible, I often soak my muesli or oats overnight.
• Saponins – can influence the body’s ability to make lactation hormones. Foods rich in saponins include oats, asparagus, chickpeas and potatoes with the skin on.
• Serotonin – helps your body to relax and feel good which is essential for lactation. Your body makes serotonin from tryptophan. Great sources of tryptophan are almonds, cashews, pecans, sesame and flax seeds.
• Natural sedatives – certain foods have a sedating effect which increases prolactin in your body increasing the production of breast milk. Good foods to eat are lettuce, onion, fennel and potato.
• Oils and fats – are essential for quality and quantity of breast milk. Good oils are cold-pressed nut and seed oils (keep them in the fridge), butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Some people say that taking 3-4tbsp of coconut oil per day and supplementing vitamin D boosts milk supply. Worth a try?

There are a few things to be aware of which can reduce milk production:

• Dieting and calorie restriction – can reduce the quantity and nutritional content of a mother’s milk. Sudden weight loss may also cause toxins to be released into the breast-milk. Breastfeeding on the other hand can help to get rid of fat deposits in your body.
• Caffeine – foods such as chocolate, tea and coffee may reduce milk supply by inhibiting the let-down reflex and causing the constriction of capillaries in the breast.
• Herbs – parsley, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, spearmint and lemon balm may reduce the supply of breast-milk.
• Vitamin C – excessive amounts of vitamin C either as supplements or eating lots of citrus fruits may reduce milk supply
• Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – over 200mg a day may reduce milk supply.
• Bananas, apples and avocados – while they are great foods to eat in moderation, if eaten in excess they may inhibit milk production in some women.
• Aspartame – a common sweetener often found in soft drinks, chewing gum, ‘low sugar’ foods and chewable supplements may reduce milk supply
• Over-hydration – while mothers are encouraged to drink plenty while breastfeeding since you do need slightly more hydration, drinking too much may actually reduce your milk supply. The key is to drink when you are thirsty and stop when your thirst is quenched. For the same reasons, mothers who have an IV drip during labour can have initial challenges with breastfeeding. If this is the case, see a breastfeeding counsellor for help.

It is vital to eat a varied diet of natural organic foods, this will increase the quality of your breast-milk which will help your baby and help your body too. It is a breastfeeding myth that you need to drink milk to make milk. Cows fed a diet of grass, dandelions and nettles produce rich and creamy milk. While I’m not in any way saying that we are cows, this does underline the importance of fresh food! As well as eating healthily, a study has also shown that women who exercised regularly had an increased supply of breast-milk. What a great reason to get out for a walk with your baby!

I hope these tips have inspired you to eat well, get fit and recover well. Healthy living is not about diets but about positive changes to the way you eat which will set a great example to your children as they grow. Every summer my children and I choose different fresh fruits and vegetables and learn together how to cook and eat them. Enjoy trying new foods and most of all have fun!


rsz_esther_street_portrait2Esther Street is a nutritional therapist who works both in the UK and internationally.  She lives in England with her husband and two kids who are just as excited about delicious, healthy food as she is.

 

 

 

 

 

This article is not intended as medical advice, just some notes from my personal experience of having babies myself and helping others who have had babies. The advice is not intended to replace advice from your doctor so please contact your healthcare provider with specific questions or issues.

Part 3: Postnatal Nutrition with Esther Street

women on scales

Let’s be honest, women want to lose their baby weight. We just need to know the healthiest way to do it! Here is more expert advice for post pregnant women from nutritionist Esther Street!
We have already published two articles from Esther and have received an incredible response from readers around the world. Here is the third question along with her reply, with further insightful and practical advice.

What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to get back to their pre-baby weight in a healthy way?

• Don’t lose weight too quickly – focus on recovery and health rather than weight loss. It takes 9 months to grow a baby and can take 9 months to a year to recover and build up your nutritional reserves again. Rapid weight loss can affect your metabolism leading to long term weight gain. Focusing on regaining your health and eating well not only helps set a good example for your baby as they wean and start to eat meals but helps you to get back to a healthy weight in a sensible way. Your body will be different after having a baby so focus on learning to love your new body and keep it healthy and strong.
 
• Eat REAL food not FAKE food – don’t go on any crazy diets – low fat, low carb, low calorie etc. Your postnatal body needs real food. By this I mean no processed food, ready meals, instant meals, jars with a huge list of ingredients which you don’t understand. This doesn’t need to be time consuming. My best friends were my organic vegetable box and my slow cooker. This cut down shopping time and cooking time and meant that I could come back after a day filled with toddler groups, trips to the park, school runs and ballet classes (with my older child) etc and sit straight down to a delicious home cooked meal. The more simple and ‘real’ your food is, the easier it is for your baby to move on to what you eat which then cuts down the separate meals you have to cook for them.
 
• Sit down at a table to eat – this prevents mindless snacking on something you can grab instantly which is most likely unhealthy and you won’t remember eating or tasting it a minute after you have eaten it. It also helps your digestion to be more efficient and get the best out of your food. It sets a good example to your child about mealtimes being relaxed, social and purposeful times to enjoy good food. Generally by always sitting down to eat you end up eating less but enjoying food more.

 


rsz_esther_street_portrait2Esther Street is a nutritional therapist who works both in the UK and internationally.  She lives in England with her husband and two kids who are just as excited about delicious, healthy food as she is.

 

 

 

 

 

This article is not intended as medical advice, just some notes from my personal experience of having babies myself and helping others who have had babies. The advice is not intended to replace advice from your doctor so please contact your healthcare provider with specific questions or issues.

 

Part 2: Postnatal Nutrition with Esther Street

Healthy-hairWelcome to Part 2 of the series on Postnatal Nutrition where expert Nutritionist Esther Street answers questions for our readers.

2. Following pregnancy, many women suffer problems with their skin and hair. Are there any supplements that specifically help skin and hair after pregnancy?

When you are pregnant you lose less hair because of higher oestrogen levels in your body. You may enjoy 9 months of thicker hair that looks like you model for a shampoo advert. Unfortunately, 3-6 months after your baby is born and your oestrogen levels fall, some hair loss is to be expected. Any extra hair loss can be worrying but don’t panic this usually stops by the time your baby is 1 year old. For a small proportion of women, their hair becomes extremely thin and patchy and further help is needed.

In addition to the supplements mentioned previously, my top tips to help prevent hair loss are:
• Biotin – for healthy skin, strong nails and healthy hair experts advise supplementing up to 3000mcg of biotin daily (this can safely be taken when breastfeeding). When taken by breastfeeding mothers, biotin may also reduce cradle cap in babies. Biotin rich foods are cheese, cauliflour, mushrooms, peanuts, walnuts and wholegrain rice.
• Fruit and vegetables – provide antioxidant protection for hair follicles.
• Vitamin E – for antioxidant protection eat nuts and seeds, whole grains, avocados, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, tomatoes, and berries.
• Ground flaxseeds – good for healthy hair, skin and hormones.
• Iodine – for a healthy thyroid. Thyroid problems are common after birth and can contribute to hair loss and poor skin condition among other things. Seaweed, especially kelp is a good source. If you suspect a thyroid problem, talk to your doctor.
• Too much sugar – high sugar consumption is linked to fluctuating hormone levels which may accelerate hair loss. We all know that we should cut down on sugar but it can be more difficult in the early months after your baby is born. Don’t reach for a biscuit every time you need energy. Don’t substitute with ‘sugar free’ foods, these are often loaded in sweeteners some of which have been associated with thinning hair. Instead be prepared with healthy snacks like the ones I listed previously.
• Rapid weight loss (over 1lb per week) – may cause hair loss, try to focus on recovery and health rather than weight loss.
• Hair products – try not to use too many products on your hair and use a natural, organic, pH balanced shampoo.

Even though it is easier said than done, ‘do not stress’! Stress can worsen hair loss and contribute to hormonal chaos. Try to relax and give it time. If you need extra help see a doctor or your nutritionist. Everyone is different and needs a tailor made solution which works for them.


rsz_esther_street_portrait2Esther Street is a nutritional therapist who works both in the UK and internationally.  She lives in England with her husband and two kids who are just as excited about delicious, healthy food as she is.

 

 

 

This article is not intended as medical advice, just some notes from my personal experience of having babies myself and helping others who have had babies. The advice is not intended to replace advice from your doctor so please contact your healthcare provider with specific questions or issues.

 

Part 1: Postnatal Nutrition with Esther Street

Welcome to Part 1 of a 4 part series on Postnatal Nutrition where Nutrition expert Esther Street answers 4 questions exclusively for girlgetfit.org. In this series Esther presents some excellent and up to date advice as well as practical tips on meals, snacks and how best to look after your body by feeding it the right food.

What types of food or meals can you recommend for soon after delivery to help with recovery?

Preparation for recovery begins right back before pregnancy begins.  Eating a healthy diet before conception builds up nutrient reserves for you and your growing baby. Continuing to eat healthily during pregnancy is essential for your postnatal recovery and breastfeeding as well as for your baby’s growth and development.  Your baby receives its nutrition not only from what you eat but also from your body’s reserves so if you are not eating right before and during pregnancy, your body may suffer.  The good news is you can prepare your body for a speedy recovery well in advance of the baby arriving before life gets a whole lot busier.  Once the baby arrives there is still plenty you can do to help your body recover well, here are a few of my top tips:

The key is ‘keep it simple and avoid processed junk’!  Food should be fresh, seasonal and organic if possible.  Eat a wide range of foods to get a wide range of nutrients.

Stock up the freezer before labour with nutritious, home-cooked meals and have a collection of quick, healthy recipes to hand for you or someone offering to cook for you.  If you have an extended hospital stay, why not ask friends to in bring salads and fruit.

cheddar-crusted-salmon-watercress-sauce

Here are a few simple meals:

  • salmon, new potatoes, organic crème fraiche with fresh watercress
  • wholegrain pasta, pesto, organic chicken and broccoli
  • wholegrain rice, omelette and vegetables lightly stir-fried in coconut oil
  • baked sweet potatoes, hummus and salad 

 

I always like to have plenty of healthy snacks on hand too, here are a few of my favourites:

  • sourdough ryebread with nut butter and banana
  • fruit and organic cheese e.g. cheddar and grapes, cream cheese and apple slices
  • wholemeal pitta and hummus
  • veggies such as carrots, peppers, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sugar snaps etc
  • dried fruit, nuts and seeds (apricots are high in iron, figs high in digestive enzymes, prunes great for reducing constipation)
  • oatcakes (these come in all different flavours) and goat’s cheese
  • boiled eggs (full of nutrients for healing and recovery, brain function and energy)
  • olives
  • red bell pepper dipped in guacamole
  • handful of strawberries and 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • sliced tomato sprinkled with feta
  • flaked coconut and dates
  • raspberries or honey and natural greek yoghurt

Eating healthy food is the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs. However, before, during and after pregnancy, your body needs extra help.  When you have a diet of hospital food (need I say more!) or are exhausted and barely have energy to eat, let alone prepare a healthy meal, your body needs good quality supplements to help boost recovery.

Buy a couple of pill organisers for your hospital bag and to keep at home.  This helps you remember which supplements you have taken when all your days and nights tend to blur into one!  

pill organizer

These are the supplements I would recommend:

  • A good quality multivitamin and mineral (if you are breastfeeding make sure it is recommended for this).  You can keep taking your prenatal vitamins but make sure they include iron (wound healing, building up reserves following any blood loss, protection against infection), calcium (for bone strength) and zinc (wound healing, to help lower the effects of postnatal depression, healthy hormones).  I love Revital Essence by Zita West which is especially developed for postnatal recovery and breastfeeding.
  • 1000mg Vitamin C with bioflavonoids – this is great for wound healing, iron absorption, skin repair and helping prevent postnatal depression and infection. 
  • Fish oils – may help healing and skin repair, lower inflammation, improve sleep, boost energy, reduce afterbirth pains, nourish your brain (most mum’s suffer from ‘mummy brain’ at some point!) and lower the chances of post natal depression.  My favourite fish oil is Vegepa E-EPA 70 by Igennus (https://shop.igennus.com/  code STREET25 for 25% discount). 
  • Vitamin D3 –  may decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, pre-term delivery and high blood pressure for the mother and may decrease the risk of asthma, low birth weight and heart disease for the baby.  It is recommended that you take a minimum of 400iu, but many experts recommend up to 4000iu both during and after pregnancy.
  • Glutamine – may help with the healing of soft tissue, especially following a caesarean (as long as you have no liver problems). As a supplement for the first 2 weeks and then eat glutamine rich foods (eggs, beef, chicken, yoghurt, milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, cabbage).
  • Vitamin E oil – may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars (once the wound has healed) and improve skin condition.  Pierce a capsule with a pin and rub the oil directly onto the skin. 
  • Coconut oil – may help to improve your skin after birth. I love Coconoil organic coconut oil as it smells great and tastes great too.

 


rsz_esther_street_portrait2Esther Street is a nutritional therapist who works both in the UK and internationally.  She lives in England with her husband and two kids who are just as excited about delicious, healthy food as she is.

 

 

 

This article is not intended as medical advice, just some notes from my personal experience of having babies myself and helping others who have had babies. The advice is not intended to replace advice from your doctor so please contact your healthcare provider with specific questions or issues.