Picking Back Up with Prenatal Yoga

I did prenatal yoga every week with my first child. I loved it and there was as a studio not too far from my house with a St Vincent employee discount. It was a great set up and I was so thankful for an amazing teacher. It was such a wonderful experience. I really loved that commitment that I made to myself and William at the time. I wanted to continue that with my second pregnancy. It is different when it comes to finding time and money to do that activity with baby #2. Life is so crazy busy and with a toddler, I have had to make arrangements for William in the evenings so that I could attend a yoga class. That is one of the main reasons that I think make it so hard for moms with multiple children to be able to continue their prenatal yoga practice.

I have now reached my third trimester and I am at 35 weeks and we are about 5 weeks away from meeting Baby Busenburg #2. These last few weeks are definitely the most uncomfortable and I have been working to re-prioritize my yoga practice. It is worth it to have that 75 minutes a week to stretch, realign and re-center myself. I went to my first class back in awhile last week and it was amazing. I felt so much better after the class. I am so thankful for a husband who is willing to help me with William so that I can take that time and go to the yoga studio. I did my initial Prenatal Yoga post back in 2016, the last time I was pregnant. If you want to check it out - CLICK HERE and you can read through some great reasons for our prenatal yoga can prepare you for labor and delivery.

Even if you haven’t practiced yoga before and you are now pregnant, enrolling in a yoga class can be super helpful. There are so many benefits that prenatal yoga provides throughout each trimester of pregnancy.

First Trimester (for some more information - CLICK HERE)

  • It can be tough at times to want to get up and do anything. When you first find out you are pregnant often there is a lot of nausea, vomiting and just overall exhaustion.

  • If you are feeling poorly a nice, smooth motion can sometimes help you calm down and feel better. Doing something like prenatal yoga is a great way to help take your focus on your “bad feelings” and instead focus on your practice.

  • If you are exhausted feel free to take breaks and even modify positions as they feel good.

Second Trimester

  • This trimester is great because you start to feel better and tend to have more energy. This is the perfect time to work on some strength training during your yoga practice. Plus, at this time your belly isn’t that big yet so it is not uncomfortable to be in certain positions.

  • Some strength training exercises can involve squats to help your legs and pelvic floor. Doing stretching is also helpful to manage any hip pain and increase in the hormone release of relaxin. This strength training is helpful for labor.

Third Trimester

  • As you reach this trimester, mommy and baby are growing and this shifts your center of gravity. That can make things more uncomfortable.

  • Focusing on meditation and pain management is helpful when it comes to anticipating labor. Focusing on centering yourself is helpful as you work through that labor process.

  • More relaxin is released and again this causes mom to be more uncomfortable and doing stretches/some strength training to help with other movements and relieve some stress.

It can be tough to make time for prenatal yoga or really any yoga practice. It get more complicated when you have children to think about or other work responsibilities. I wanted to encourage you to take some time for yourself. It is worth the time and investment in helping you feel better. Make a short term goal for yourself and work towards that goal. If you are interested in trying to find some prenatal classes, check out the list of some locations around the Indianapolis area.  

Prenatalal Yoga Locations around Indianapolis

 

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Freezer Meals for Maternity Leave

One goal that I have set for myself over the next month is to put together some freezer meals for my upcoming maternity. Baby Busenburg #2 is due on February 16th. That is quickly approaching. I have put together a “To Do List” of things that I want to try to get done over the next month. Needless to say there is a lot more on that list than I originally anticipated. Some of those things were anticipated, but others weren’t. I have been quite busy trying to work on somethings for RD Anna and my work at Mini Minds before I take some time off for my maternity leave. That has been taking up quite a bit of my free time.

But back to Baby Busenburg #2 and my maternity leave … I want to make sure that I have some freezer meals in our deep freeze for those 7 weeks that I will be off. I learned with my first son that after having a baby, going to the grocery and cooking become extra challenging. I know how much of a struggle that was for my first son and I can imagine that having two children will make things even more challenging.

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I have decided to try to set myself and my family up for success and trying to put together meals that I can have in the freezer and use during that time off. Thankfully this time around we already have a deep freezer that is currently empty. It had been filled with breast milk from William, but it has sat empty for a little while now. Obviously it will start to get filled with breast milk again, but until then I am aiming to try to fill it up with food for us to eat starting in February.

My Freezer Meal Goals:

  • I want to aim to put together 6-10 meals that are in the freezer and ready to go for when Baby Busenburg #2 arrives.

  • I want these items to be a variety of food items (including different types of meat and vegetables).

  • If I knock out 10 recipes then I might try to work to make some sides and freeze those as well (for example - cornbread to go with chili, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, other rolls to go with soup, etc).

  • Most of the recipes listed below are main entrees that will then be paired with a vegetable or two that are fresh or roasted and that is easy enough to prepare while these items are cooking.

Recipe Ideas:

  1. Chili with meat and beans

  2. Meat Lasagna

  3. Roast with potatoes, carrots and onions

  4. Crockpot ham and potato soup

  5. Sticky Bourbon Chicken

  6. Chicken Tenders

  7. Cilantro Lime Chicken

  8. Chicken Enchiladas

  9. Honey, Soy Pork Tenderloin

  10. Broccoli Beef

Obviously these recipe ideas and freezer meals could be used for any occasion. You don’t need to be doing meal prep just for an upcoming maternity leave. Even if you put some of these food items in the freezer to have for a busy weekday meal or a weekend when you don’t want to cook, those are all great options.

The idea of having a baby is overwhelming enough, trying to be worried about cooking and cleaning is something that can wait for a little bit. That is what I hope to accomplish during my maternity, especially at the beginning. I want some time to just be ok with relaxing and getting to bond with this newest member of our family.

2018 Year End Review

It is crazy to think that 2018 has now come to an end and we are getting ready to embark on 2019. It has been such a great year filled with so many neat surprises and I am eager to look forward and see what 2019 holds for myself, for RD Anna and for my family.

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Wrapping Up 2018 Goals

  • Weekly Blogging - Successfully accomplished. I was so excited to be able to write and share with you all 52 blog posts in the last year! Also posted daily nutrition information on the RD Anna Facebook page almost every day to share a variety of nutrition information with followers.

  • Media Contact for St Vincent - Successfully accomplished. I was able to do 6 TV media interviews and then 1 Newspaper interview as well over the last year in the greater Indianapolis area.

  • Writing a chapter for AND’s Nutrition Communication book - Successfully accomplished. This was such a neat project and an amazing process to be a part of. I am excited for the publication of this book in 2019 and to get to see the chapter that I helped to write!

  • Test Question Writing Committee for CSPCC (Certified Specialist in Pediatrics in Critical Care) - Successfully accomplished. This opportunity came my way unexpectedly, but was a neat process to be a part of and I learned so much about how standardized tests are created and written.

  • Wrote article for the Building Block Newsletter for the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group on RDNs working to create separate breast milk and formula preparation areas. I was excited to get this draft sent off at the end of the fall and eager to make edits and have this article published in the spring of 2019.

Goals for 2019

  • Continue with weekly blogging. I have really enjoyed putting together various nutrition content for the blog and sharing that information with you all. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to Contact Me and let me know what you would like to learn more about!

  • Continue to serve as a media contact for St Vincent and do TV, Radio or Newspaper interviews as needed.

  • Continue to grow my contracting outpatient nutrition counseling business with Mini Minds in Carmel, IN. This undertaking has been quite the learning process. I am hoping to pick up more clients and do more outpatient counseling as the year goes on and continue to do some class education as well for families.

  • Work to complete additional hours towards a Lactation Counselor certification and renew the Certified Specialist in Pediatrics Exam. I am always working to learn more and advance my nutrition knowledge. I am hoping to continue to do this through completing the necessary coursework and obtain some additional certifications.

  • Run as a national candidate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Ballot as a At Large House of Delegate in the category of 30 years and younger. I decided to give this a try and just go for it. Elections will be held at the beginning of February.

I always think that is fun to take a moment and look back over the last year and see some of those analytic data that I can get from running a website. It is so fun to see more people being exposed to the content that I provide and hopefully increasing that impact that I am able to have!

Blog Statistics

  • In the last year, RD Anna has had 2,025 page visits which is an increase of 26.2% from last year (that is any where from 121-218 page visits per month).

  • During the last year, 1,924 unique IP addresses were looking at my content, which is an increase of 35.9% from the year before.

  • The vast majority of readers are in the United States (84%), but there were about 3% from Canada and 1-1.5% from India and the Philippines.

  • When it came to popular content the most popular blog post was “Always Say Yes!” which had 166 page views, then the Pregnancy Glucose Test post that had 157 page views and in third was My Nutrition Journey which had 110 page views.

Thank you for taking the time to read and support this website, my blog and my business. I have appreciated all your comments, you taking the time to read what I write and give me your feedback. I really enjoy having this outlet and using this platform to help provide nutrition education to people around the world! I am so thankful for a wonderful 2018 and excited for more wonderful opportunities in 2019.

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

It is hard to believe that today is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. 2018 is winding down and it has been such a crazy year. Thank you so much for all your support for RD Anna and for taking the time to read my blog posts. I have been enjoyed maintaining this blog and hopefully the information that is provided is interesting to you and helpful in your daily life.

As we wrap up 2018, I just wanted to thank you for all your support. I am excited to see what all transpires for 2019 for RD Anna. There are lots of exciting things that I am looking forward to this upcoming year. I will put together a 2018 Highlights blog post for you here at the end of the month and as we head into January 2019! But for now I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and enjoy this special time of year with your wonderful family and friends!

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Healthy Holiday Creations

I had my first cooking class last week at Mini Minds. Some of you may remember that I have been starting to do some contract work for Mini Minds and made RD Anna and LLC and working to launch my own business. We finally were able to get some families to sign up for this cooking workshop that was held on Saturday. We had 4 families that participated and it was a huge success. I am not just saying that, because I helped to lead the class, but I think everyone that came had a great time and learned some things. The highlight of the day was hearing from a mom afterwards that her daughter tried a new food, green pepper. The mother was telling me how picky her daughter was and at home it can be really tough to have her try new foods and she has a lot anxiety about that. That is totally common for lots of children and that is one of the reasons why I love doing group education, because in that setting it is easier to remove some of that anxiety and use positive peer pressure to help overcome a fear. That little girl was able to choose 1 new food to try and she chose of the green peppers. She tried them and she liked them! And then the cherry on top was that she also tried yellow peppers, because myself and another mother told her if she liked the green peppers, she would like the yellow peppers even more, because they are sweeter. She did and was so happy and proud of herself! Hearing things that like make me smile and have all the hard work that goes into putting on a cooking class worth it!

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One of my goals with this class was to have an environment where the parent/caregiver is there with the child and they get to cook and make things together. We have one 5 1/2 year old, two 9 year olds and one 10 year old. All the kids were able to participate and do different tasks. It was so neat to watch them get to cook on their own. One child had never cut up a vegetable before. I worked with me and showed him how to cut up the green pepper and he totally did it! That is the overall goal that I wanted to accomplish … empower children to learn how to cook and enjoy it!

I had planned 5 different recipe items that we would make over the 1 1/2 hour class time. That ended up being overly ambitious, but I much rather have too much to do versus not enough. I saved the easiest snack/craft items for the last thing we did and I ended up doing those for the kids and they finished off the craft by drawing on it or cutting out a hat that we glued on.

I wanted to highlight some fun, kid friendly recipes that the whole family can help prepare. I was going to share with you one of my favorite recipes that we did. This one was a huge success and there is so much that you can do with this recipe to change it up and make it different, based on your own families preferences.

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Ingredients

  • 1 Pizza dough tube (you can make your own or purchase premade pizza dough)

  • 1-2 cups pizza sauce

  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese

  • ½ cup Feta cheese

  • 1 cup chopped, green peppers

  • ½ cup olives  

  • Handful of pepperonis

  • Top with parsley for additional flavor

Instructions

  1. Roll out your pizza dough on a clean surface that is lightly covered in flour. Using a rolling pin.

  2. Use the cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the pizza dough. Brush with olive oil.

  3. Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (to prevent sticking). Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes until the pizza dough is lightly browned.

  4. Top with sauce and other toppings. Place back in the oven at 400 degrees for another 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts.

If you want more information about upcoming classes with Mini Minds …. let me know! We are going to do a session on snacks and then lunches in January. I was planning on a January 12th and 26th at 11am for those sessions.

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Handling the Holiday Stress

It is amazing how the holidays kind of sneak up on us every year. It is that time again, the calendar is starting to fill up with holiday activities and family gatherings. This is a beautiful and exciting time of year, but it can also be stressful. There is so much pressure that we put on ourselves to bake ALL the Christmas cookies, send out Christmas cards, purchase gifts for ALL the people in our lives, participate in ALL the festive happenings around the city and of course see every family member that you don’t see the rest of the year.

All of this stress that we put on ourselves can leave this joyful time of year, feeling somewhat depressing and just plain overwhelming. That is why I think there are some easy tips for you to remember through the next month to help you feel less stressed and consumed in all of the hustle/bustle of the holidays.

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De-Stressing Your Holiday Season

  • Prioritize your time. This is huge. All of us want to be able to do ALL this things this time of year, but that isn’t always realistic. Make a list of things that you want to do and then go through that list again and prioritize what the most important things are to do for this year. Maybe going to see Santa, doesn’t make the cut this year or maybe it is focusing on doing an activity with a close family member who will actually be in town on a specific day. If you aren’t able to do all the things that you would love to do this holiday, that is ok. Make sure you prioritize and make time for the really important things/memories.

  • You can say “No.” Sometimes family obligations are intense this time of year. Lots of families want to get together and spend time together, but some times that isn’t feasible. Especially if you have work obligations or small children, it is hard to get time to spend with all those family members. You don’t have to feel like a terrible person, if you have to say “no.” That is alright and your family will understand. That is the beauty of family, is that they might be temporarily frustrated or disappointed, but they will always love you and there will be opportunities to see them and get to spend time with them in the future. Don’t put additional stress on yourself if you can’t make a family obligation fit into your schedule. Go easy on yourself and give yourself some grace and the power to say “no.”

  • Make activities family affairs. If you do have a list of things you want to do this holiday season (decorate the house, make cookies, wrap gifts, volunteer somewhere, etc) make those activities family affairs. Include your children, your spouse, your extended family and do those activities together. I know sometimes cooking with children takes more time and is messier, but that way you are getting some quality time together while doing things that you would be trying to do on your own. So much of what we like to do over the holidays is centered around others, why not spend some of that time actually doing those activities with those people we care about.

  • Make time for you. I know this is a crazy concept, but take some time each day for you. It can be something simple, like sitting in peace and quiet for 15-20 minutes on the sofa with no expectations for yourself. Give yourself some grace and love. It can be take an extra warm shower or getting a new mask to use and try it out afterwards. This time is important to help handle stress and give you a chance to reset.

Enjoy the holiday season and find ways to help you feel less stressed. It is a wonderful time of year, but stress can often make seen overwhelming and less fun. Hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help you enjoy the holiday festivities more!

Wrapping Up 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy #2

It is hard to believe that I am almost to the end of the 2nd trimester with Baby Busenburg #2. Time has just flown by and I am pretty sure that is due to being busy and chasing an almost 2 year old around. I have been so thankful to feel good and be healthy during this second pregnancy so that is a huge blessing.

I am currently 28 weeks along with Baby Busenburg #2. So that means we have another 12 weeks to go before getting to meet this little guy. That is just crazy, because I am not sure I am ready to embrace the life of motherhood with two children.

This little one has a had a little bit of a hiccup when it comes to causing us to worry. At my 26 week appointment we heard some PACs (premature atrial contractions) when the OB was listening to the heart rate. This means the heart beat was off and there were some irregular beats happening. This is typically due to the heart being premature and that electric pulse running though the heart, not being fully developed. We are now going in weekly for heart rate checks and had another ultrasound. The ultrasound showed everything was anatomically fine so that is good news. This is an issue that normally resolves naturally and isn’t a huge cause for alarm. At my 28 week check, the PACs were less frequent, so that is a blessing. We just continue to pray that this little’s one heart continues to mature and his heart beats normally.

Thankfully the lab work and glucose tolerance test were all good and those values were within normal limits. That was great news and that has been a huge blessing.

Last 12 Weeks of Pregnancy

  • I want to savor and enjoy all the moments with my boys (my husband, William and our dog, Einstein). I know when this second kiddo arrives, life is going to get crazy and I want to enjoy and appreciate our routine right now.

  • I am going to work to figure out where we want to store this little’s clothes and diapers. He is going to share a room with William so I need to think through how I want to store his stuff so they can share that space. We are also going to try to figure out what type of toddler bed we want for William and what space will allow for in their room. We plan to keep him in his crib for awhile longer, but needed to kind of figure out what might work best for that space in the months to come.

  • I will need to wash and pull out the newborn clothes and get those ready for this little guy.

  • I need to read through the Bradley Method workbook from when I was pregnant with William I want to remind myself about the stages of labor and work to get ready for hopefully an uneventful, unmedicated 2nd birth process.

  • We have a bassinet for this little guy, which is exciting, and I will just need to figure out where to put it in our room and where to set up a diaper changing station in there as well.

  • Wrapping up projects at work. I will plan to work up until the day I have this baby, but I still want to work to get things organized and ready for my maternity leave.

  • I plan to cook several dishes and get them in the freezer so that we can use them during my maternity leave and I don’t have to cook every day.

  • Organize the two closets. I know that seems like a strange thing, but I find organizing things quite relaxing. I want to organize the hallway closet and William’s closet in his room before the baby comes. I would also like to do the same thing with the office closet. This is totally part of my nesting phase here at the end.

  • I am planning on continuing to run/going to the gym these last weeks of pregnancy. That is something I did with William. I was running/doing yoga and using the elliptical more days a week with William, but I am just so much busier with having one child already I am doing good to get to the gym twice a week and then doing yoga at home weekly.

I am so thankful for coming to the end of another trimester, only one left to go through and then we will have two little boys in our life to take care of. It is crazy and exciting. I know these last couple of months will continue to fly by.

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Thanksgiving and the Kick Off to the Holiday Season

This week is Thanksgiving and you know what that means … lots of delicious food and time with family and friends. I love the holidays and the next month is filled with fun activities, birthdays and celebrations. Thanksgiving is a great time to kick off this festive time of year and enjoy some amazing food along the way.

I have posted in previous years about tips and tricks to help make healthier choices this holiday season. Last year’s post was focused around an article that I read in the New York Post about Thanksgiving favorites. The year before that I read a handout from MyPlate and put together some Healthier Holiday Options blog post. It did a similar topic in 2015 as well and enjoyed providing some recommendations on how to stay on track on Thanksgiving. So if any of those topics sound interesting check out those previous posts!

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Lots of years I feel like the mantra around the holidays and trying to be healthy is negative. Lots of time I feel like we hear what to avoid and what not to do. I don’t love that message. I think that we should focus on what Thanksgiving is about - being grateful for what we have and getting to celebrate those blessings with our loved ones.

A Grateful Look at Eating Healthy this Thanksgiving

  • So much food! This is often what people find the most overwhelming and as the main stumbling block starting here in November with Thanksgiving …. there is so much food that we love to eat. I say we celebrate that fact. We have lots of food. That is such a blessing. Lots of people all over the world and even in our country struggle with food insecurity. They don’t know where their next meal will come from. On this day, we sit down to a huge table, filled with food and we celebrate having plenty. This tradition has been passed down from the pilgrims. This one day we take what we have and we share it and we enjoy it. I think we focus on the fact that we enjoy this day and all that comes with it. This isn’t to say that you stuck yourself to bursting, but enjoy your holiday favorites. If you really enjoy pumpkin pie or homemade mash potatoes, then get a serving of those favorite foods and savor every, single bite. The other amazing part to Thanksgiving is the left overs. This is another opportunity to share the bounty that we all have with others. If you know of a family or individual who would benefit from a home cooked meal, take some of those left overs to them. That is a great way to get to show others some love and demonstrate the mantra of the holiday.

  • Mandatory family time. Some times the pressure to see family and friends or the disappointment of missing that opportunity is stressful for people. Instead of focusing on how much of an inconvenience it is to see family or travel to a different city, take this chance to appreciate the fact that you have loved ones who want to see you and spend time with you. There are lots of people who don’t have those special people in their lives and having this expectation to see family and friends should be celebrated and looked at as a positive thing. Yes, it means giving up something, traveling and taking time away from what you might want to do, but it is means so much to see those people who you love and care for.

  • Chance to give back. I love working to give back during the holidays and it all starts with Thanksgiving. There are so many different ways to volunteer at a food pantry, serve a Thanksgiving meal, participate in a run/walk event where the proceeds goes to a food pantry or homeless shelter. There are countless ways to share some of the blessings you have with others. I think we sometimes question if there is still good people wanting to help one another in the world and I think the answer if yes. Take this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to show others how you care and want to help and support your community. We have so much and being able to share a small piece or part of that with others is a great experience. One of the traditions that my family has done for the last 5 years is participating in the Broad Ripple Drumstick Dash. My parents and I have been going and we love being able to exercise in the morning and then encourage our feast later in the day. We have enjoyed being able to involve our other family members (my husband, our son, my cousin and other friends). This is a great way to exercise, be active and then support a local food pantry.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and the start to the holiday season. Try not to stress about all the food, but embrace the day and enjoy, in moderation these amazing foods. Find some ways to give back to your community and show love to your neighbor. Being thankful for all the the blessings of the season.

Cooking With Your Child

I have talked about including your child with cooking before on my Facebook page and blog, but it can definitely be a tough thing to do. It takes WAY longer to include your child in the cooking process and it honestly can make a much bigger mess, when all is said and done. I still want you to encourage you to give it a try! I am not asking you to include your child with every meal, every day, but make an intentional effort several times a week to cook with your child. If you want your child to grow up and be independent and enjoy the cooking process, that love for cooking starts now.

Tips for Cooking with Children

  • Embrace the Mess. When cooking with children, whether toddlers or older school age children, messes happen. It is inevitable that things will get spilled and your kitchen will end up being twice as messy compared to it your children weren’t “helping” you. Working to embrace that mess and be ok with that “disaster” is important. We would all love a neat and tidy work space, but teaching children and having them learn things can be a messy process. Along with the mess that will happen, take them time to work with your child and have them help you clean up. That is just as important of a skill as learning how to cook is how to clean up. Being able to take the time to involve them in the measuring, the mixing, the cutting (as they get older) and the stirring helps teach them to follow directions and create something. Having your child help with the dishes, load/unload the dishwasher, dry the dishes and put them away are useful skills to teach following directions and seeing a task through to completion.

  • Be Patient. As you cook with your children, you will quickly learn that it takes LOTS of patience on your part. It is way more stressful for you to slowly walk through the instructions and slowly measure/mix the ingredients. Your child will want to be independent and try to do that task on their own. That is great, but will require an extra dose of patience when they spill the ingredient on the counter/the floor. It will take extra patience as you work with your child to unload the dishwasher as they slowly place the silverware in the drawer, one piece at a time. Teaching your children these skill is a slow process. Try to keep your cool and embrace the fact that you will need to be patient, but they are learning and that is worth the effort.

  • Assign Specific Tasks. As you are working with your child, give them specific jobs to do. Explain to them what you want them to do. For example, have them stir ingredients on the pot on the stove. Give them a spatula and tell them that their task will be stirring the ingredients. Talk through how the pot and the stove are hot and they need to be careful. Give them affirmation that they are doing a great job following your directions and they are a big helper. This specific instruction is helpful for children to know what is clearly expected from them and then gives them a sense of accomplishment.

  • Be Flexible. Nothing will go quite as you planned it. You probably anticipated being able to prepare that food item in less than 30 minutes, but working with your children can length that task out by at least an additional 10-20 minutes. Sometimes you will have an expectation of what roles they will help with and how they will be involved, but your child might have different ideas. That is ok! Be willing to be flexible and let them help you in ways that they are interested in and make the experience positive. If you are cooking a meal like pizza with different topping options, be willing to let your child pick whatever they want on their own pizza. Be willing to hand over that responsibility to the child and let them take ownership of that. If you assign your child a job task, like sweeping the floor after they finish cooking, let them do that however works best for them. Be flexible with empowering them to take ownership of a task.

  • View this Experience as a Teaching Moment. Our main job as a parent is to teach our children. Taking the time to involve them in cooking and preparing food in the kitchen is a great way to teach them the art of cooking/baking, but also following directions, helping other people, functioning as part of the family unit and creating something to share with people. These are all amazing skills and using cooking as an avenue to work on these skills and instill these qualities in our children is a great goal. Talk through each step you are doing so your child learns what all goes into making a meal for the family. Your child will get better and faster at these tasks as you work with them over time, but enjoy the learning process and embrace the teaching moments.

Enjoy working with and getting to know your child better in the kitchen. This is a fun time to work with your children and help teach them skills that they will be able to use in the years to come. It can be stressful, but work to keep the environment positive, listen and dance to music as you cook and enjoy these little moments cooking with your child.

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Jump In and Go For It!

I feel like this is becoming a common theme in my life. I have been blessed with amazing opportunities growing up through 4-H, opportunities to visit other countries on mission trips, the chance to learn an instrument, attend an amazing college, serve on various boards/committees throughout college, land an amazing first job, move into a specialty area and get another amazing job, etc. All of these opportunities have been blessings. I strongly believe that, but I also believe that I have “jumped in and taken a chance” when opportunities presented themselves. I very easily could have just avoided the opportunity and not applied for a board position or a chance to do something that pushed my comfort zone.

When it comes to advice, I am a strong believer in “jumping in and going for it.” Whatever that opportunity is! If you see a chance to take a leap, push yourself, advance your career, learn a new skill … then take that leap! This made me think of the Purdue 150th Anniversary Celebration. As you know, I am a proud Purdue Alum, but I love the theme for this year and this celebration - “Take Giant Leaps.” I think this fits perfectly into my mantra for life … “Go for it!” In order to continue to learn and became better and whatever you decide to do, you have push yourself and take risks at times.

The whole reason I decided to make a blog post on this topic was, because I had an opportunity that presented itself this last week. I was sent an email encouraging me to pursue an application for a national board position within the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Is it a long shot that my application would even get chosen and then if I would even get elected to that position …. yes! It is a huge long shot. Did that stop me from throwing my hat in the ring? No! I was asked by a colleague what made me want to apply? I said, “because I can.” I didn’t need another reason. I had an opportunity come my way. I had a chance to take a leap and try something I have never done before. I decided to try to make that dream a reality and I am going for it. Who knows what will happen. Probably nothing. I gave it a go, but I am not afraid of failing and not being chosen. It is fine. I am busy with lots of things and if this opportunity doesn’t work out this time, that is fine. I can always apply again in the future and see where that door leads.

Basically I wanted to share these thoughts with you to encourage you to push yourself, take those giant leaps and don’t be afraid to say “yes” to an opportunity that comes your way. Putting yourself out there is the best way to move forward and to learn! So jump in and go for it!

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Halloween Tricks and Treats

Something about fall and the cool crisp air makes me love Halloween. It is kind of the start to the holiday season and of course you doesn’t love a cute kid wearing an adorable costume. Halloween means delicious candy will find its way into your house, if it hasn’t already. Lots of times we think that those “fun sized” candy bars are perfectly size … and they are if you only eat 2 not 15. Every year I feel like the fun-sucker when it comes to Halloween candy. I love a small amount of candy, but it is definitely a treat that can be over done. There are lots of neat food items that you can pass out that aren’t candy - pretzels, popcorn, crackers, fruit cups, etc.

I enjoy reminding people of ways to provide trick-or-treaters with goodies that aren’t always food related. There are amazing little goodies that you can find at your local dollar store that are inexpensive and the kids will love them!

Non-Food Related Goodies

  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers

  • Bouncy balls

  • Finger puppets or novelty toys

  • Bubbles

  • Spider rings or mini slinkies

  • Vampire fangs or other Halloween themed goodies

  • Mini notepads or coloring books

  • Playing cards

  • Bookmarks, stickers and stencils

  • Crayons, markers or other writing utensils

  • Glow sticks (bracelets, necklaces or rings)

Why would you want to go through the trouble to pass out non-food related goodies? Well lots of kiddos will end up with tons of candy by the end of Halloween. Most of those goodies will get eaten by themselves or their families. Some candy is fine, but most of us don’t need ALL that candy. Some children have food allergies or intolerances and that means that they can’t eat a lot of that candy that they get. That is definitely less exciting for a child who can’t eat what you give them and makes their parent’s worry that they might accidentally eat something they are allergic to. Offering non-food treats is helpful because ALL of the kids that you pass those items out to will be able to enjoy them.

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The Teal Pumpkin Project - I have talked about this initiative over the years, but I wanted to bring it up again. This is a movement to provide safe, non-food related treats for children. Putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep means you have non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys. This simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.

  1. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.

  2. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available.

  3. Add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map.

  4. Spread the word! Share the Teal Pumpkin Project with your friends and family.

I encourage you all to become a supporter of the Teal Pumpkin Project and work to help provide healthy and safe treats for children this Halloween!

Healthy Benefits of Fall Themed Foods

Well fall has officially arrived in Indiana this week. Monday the weather was mid-80 degrees outside and then by Wednesday the weather shifted and by Thursday the high was mid-50 degrees. It was a big shift and needless to say it finally feels like a cool, crisp autumn day outside.

With this shift to cooler temperatures there are variety of fall-themed food items that start making their appearance in grocery stores this time of year. I love the pumpkin flavoring and of course baked apples. I wanted to talk about some of these fall flavors and tease out what some potential health benefits would be for these food items.

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Fall Flavors

  • Pumpkin - You can find so many different types of pumpkin flavored food items, from bagels, to cream cheese and even your coffee can have pumpkin flavoring. Most of these pumpkin flavored food items are not any healthier than their regular food alternative. The health benefit that is gained from pumpkin is from eating fresh pumpkin puree and putting that in food items. The deep orange color that you commonly see in pumpkins signifies a large amount of carotenoids. Caroteniods act as antioxidants and can be converted to Vitamin A. The Vitamin A is helpful for eye sight and prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Antioxidants are helpful in decreasing inflammation in the body and protect from free radicals throughout the body as well.

  • Cinnamon - This spice comes from tree bark and is very fragrant and this smell is due to the oily part of the bark that releases that smell. This spice is loaded with antioxidants to help protect from free radical damage in the body and can act as a natural preservative. There have also been some studies showing that cinnamon could help with cholesterol levels and reducing high blood pressure or helping with blood glucose control (need to consume 2 teaspoons/day). From the initial research, you have to consume a large amount of cinnamon (120mg/day) and I am not sure that is realistic for the average person. Some cinnamon can definitely make whatever you are making taste good, but I am not sure I would bank on a large antioxidant intake from what you sprinkle on your coffee.

  • Cranberry - These deep red colored berries are commonly seen around the grocery store this time of year. This little berries are packed full of Vitamins C, A and K and are low in calories. They are also rich in proanthocyanidins, which are an antioxidant that help to fight off diseases. Cranberries can help with treatment of kidney/urinary tract infections or other issues. When it comes to dental wellness, the proanthocyanidins help prevent bacteria from attaching to your teeth. These berries are not super sweet so often people add lots of sugar. This is often where the additional calories come from. So try to enjoy your cranberries with limited added sugar.

  • Squash - This is food is technically a fruit and not officially a vegetable. Squash contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium and antioxidants. This is such a versatile food that can be used as a side dish or a main entree. You can serve certain types of squash cold or warm. This can be a diabetic friendly food, because it has a low glycemic index and isn’t as starching as a potato or pasta. The antioxidants help to boost the body’s immune system and helps with glucose regulation and insulin release. Folate is found in high levels in squash and this nutrient is important for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects. The potassium amounts in squash are high enough to help with vasodilation and help with blood flow throughout the body and overall blood pressure.

  • Ginger - This spice is popular to add flavor to various dishes and recipes. This spice can be helpful for nausea and helping with morning sickness for pregnant women. Daily consumption of ginger (2g/day) can help with muscle soreness. This isn’t an immediate affect, but can help with soreness over time.It is hypothesized that ginger, like cinnamon, would help with blood sugar control (2g/day) and could be a helpful supplement for diabetics. If you experience indigestion often, ginger could help with this problem. Some further research is needed, but these are interesting findings and might be helpful for some people.

These are just a few of the common fall flavors that you might see at restaurants or at the grocery store. Hopefully this information is helpful as you consider any of these food items and their health benefits.



The 2nd Pregnancy

I feel like with this blog I haven’t written as much as I did the first time I was pregnant. I think I was so focused on learning about the process and how things change. Writing about that process was helpful for me personally. All those posts are totally still up on the blog and you are welcome to read back through them. This post was focused on the 2nd trimester and that is where I find myself once again. 

I wanted to talk about how things are different this second time around. I feel like I have less time to just think about being pregnant, because I am just trying to keep up with the rest of life.

Differences the Second Time Around

  • I had tracked all the calories that I ate the first time I was pregnant. I used My Fitness Pal and I love that app. It worked great for me. I found that tracking calories was super helpful. This pregnancy, I haven’t tracked anything. I have been trying to monitor weight gain, but I don’t feel like I am overeating. I think because I am busier than I was the first time around, I have less time to eat and even at meals I don’t feel like I eat as much as maybe I use to. I need to replace the batteries in my scale and continue to track weights to help ensure that I don’t over indulge too often.

  • I did prenatal yoga weekly with my first pregnancy. I had that as major priority and it was easy to get to classes. I happily spent the money and I loved it. This time around it is harder with a little one at home to take care of him and then also fit in classes. Plus they are an added expense and we are trying really hard to save money to help support having a second kid. That has made me not really want to spend that money. I do want to get back in the habit of trying to go maybe once every 3 weeks.

  • I exercised almost daily with my first pregnancy. Again I wasn’t having to look after anyone else and so that was easier. I am still working out about 3 times a week, but then I do walk the dog and try to get in a long walk daily. That has been tough though because by the end of the day my energy levels are wipe. Between the job, cooking, cleaning, trying to exercise and then getting ready for the next day it is a lot to manage. So I am doing really well if I can get in an aerobic work out 3 times a week. 

  • I use to have more relaxation time. I actually had time at the end of the day to sit, watch TV and just relax. That doesn’t happen any more. From the cleaning after dinner, packing lunches, laundry, dog walking, etc there is no time to sit down between 8-10pm. It is go, go and go. When I do sit down, I fall asleep and just put myself in bed. So I kind of miss some of that self-care. I know that when this second child arrives, I have will to set aside some specific time for self care, because otherwise it will not happen.

  • I am not as stressed throughout this pregnancy about being pregnant and the time is just flying by. I can’t believe that I am already at 21 weeks and we are over half way there. We have seen the baby on ultrasound and the baby is doing great. I feel like in the craziness of life … this pregnancy is going by quickly, which is nice, but also surprising to me.

  • I love not having to worry about purchasing lots of pregnancy clothes. I had a bunch of friends let me borrow clothes when I was pregnant last time. That was awesome. I bought some other clothes, but it was really nice, not to have to worry about what to wear. I have all the things I like and that is a nice feeling.

  • We took the Bradley Method classes during my first pregnancy. This time we aren’t planning on taking any formal classes, but I do want to pull out my Bradley Method book and work on some of the exercises and read through the notes from the class. I also have our birth plan and then packing list for the hospital all saved and I will need to pull that up and have that on hand.

  • The main thing that I am worried about it just financial concerns with two children. Cost of two children with “daycare” and just the stress of caring for two children. That is the overwhelming part, but it is manageable and I am working on keeping a level head about those things.

This pregnancy is definitely different than my first one, but I think that has to do with our different my life is now. We live in a different place, we have another child, my husband has a different job and we are a few years older (maybe wiser). It is a blessing to be able to be in this position again and we are praying for a healthy and happy baby!

We had our Gender Reveal party this past week and were excited to learn Baby Busenburg #2 is a going to be a boy!

We had our Gender Reveal party this past week and were excited to learn Baby Busenburg #2 is a going to be a boy!

Book Review - Real Food for Pregnancy

I had the opportunity to write up a book review on Lily Nichols newest book, entitled Real Food for Pregnancy. This is an excellent book! Can I just tell you that I have never read a nutrition pregnancy book like this before. I was so excited to read a book filled with useful information and practical guidelines for practitioners and also for the general public. Lily did an an amazing job talking about nutrition recommendations for this important time in lots of a woman’s life. I also really appreciated the push for real food and using full fat food items made me happy. I love good food and often during pregnancy it is hard to eat and so having something nutritionally rich and delicious is a huge win!

Disclaimer: I was given this book for free in return for writing a review. I was dedicated to writing what my thoughts and professional opinion was as a Registered Dietitian, despite getting this book for free. All the information and feedback provided below are my true feelings and recommendations regarding the information written in this book.

Favorite Highlights from the Book

  • To start off the book, Lily answers the question of why real food? I love that because most women get so many mixed messages about nutrition, I love that she just answers why eating whole food matters.

  • She discusses what real food looks like during pregnancy and the different food groups. She talks about mindful eating and meal timing and how to choose those healthy options. Since that is the title of the book, I love that she covered that in chapter 2.

  • Chapter 3 dives into foods that build a healthy baby. I love these recommendations, because they aren’t ways discussed with your OB or midwife. Foods that she highlights are eggs, liver, meat on the bone, leafy green, seafood, full fat diary and why vegetarianism is very challenging when pregnant. So I have admit that because of this chapter I have been eating 1 egg every morning throughout my entire pregnancy. I recognized that I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet in the morning and that helped with my nausea, plus eggs are a source of choline. “Egg yolks and liver have, by far, the highest concentrations of choline compared with any other foods.” - p.30. Choline is helping your baby’s brain to develop appropriately and most women do not get near enough choline from their diet.

  • On the flip side there is a whole chapter devoted to foods that don’t build a healthy baby in chapter 4. I thought this was a refreshing way to look at the commonly forbidden food items and consider eating on the “safe side’ versus risking nutrient deficiencies.

  • Who doesn’t love a chapter of meal plans. Chapter 5 goes through meal plan ideas and 7 days worth of real food meal plans for you.

  • There is a whole chapter devoted to supplements. In chapter 6, Lily covers everything from prenatal vitamins to chia seed, probiotics and gelatin. I learned so much from this section and just understanding why my own diet would be insufficient and how my prenatal vitamin might be less than perfect as well.

  • What pregnancy book could be complete without a chapter on common complaints from nausea to heart burn and weight gain. These topics are covered and recommendations given on how to deal with common issues for pregnant women.

  • Another topic near and dear to my heart is exercise. Chapter 8 discusses physical activity and pelvic floor strength. I am so glad that Lily discusses the importance of exercise throughout pregnancy and how that looks as the weeks and months go by.

  • Throughout pregnancy women end up with lots of lab work that is drawn. Lily provides a breakdown on what lab tests are normally run and what speciality labs you might want to ask your health care provider about.

  • Chapter 10 and Lily’s discussion about toxins was very eye opening for me. I ditched my plastic containers in my kitchen and switched to all glassware. After reading this chapter I knew that I had to make some chances and now (being pregnant) was as good a time as any to really clean up our house and change some of our habits.

  • The next chapter was short and focused on stress and mental health. This was a good reminder that this phase can be stressful, before, during and after pregnancy and being mindful of that increased stress is important.

  • The final chapter was about the fourth trimester. I am a strong believer in this last part of pregnancy and it is commonly the area that is overlooked and not focused on. This time after baby arrives is quite the transition period for you physically, emotionally and mentally. Know how to cope during this time and then setting realistic expectations will help to set you up for success.

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Why I love this for ALL women!

I wanted to focus on why this book is a must read for any woman who is thinking about being pregnant or wanting to have children in the future. This is a great and easy read. The information provided by Lily is extremely easy to understand and then if you have follow up questions about the research that she presents, all the citations are at the end of each chapter. There is SO much information in this book and I would say most of it is very eye opening. I love her philosophy to encourage women to eat real foods and not to try to follow some unrealistic “diet.” Her recommended eating habits should be part of normal routines if we are pregnant or not.

Why I love this ALL Registered Dietitians!

Of course I had to share my love for my fellow RDs and encourage you all to read this book as well. If you happen to work with women and/or especially pregnant women then this is a MUST read for you. The research that went into writing this book is amazing and all the references are right there for you. You can easily share this with any OBs that you work with or other primary care physicians to help educate them on why a real food, healthy diet is important for all women, especially those who are pregnant. This is an easy read, even with all the research that is cited, and it touches on all the key nutrients that go into having a healthy pregnancy.

This is a MUST read!

This book is filled with so many amazing recommendations and backed with evidence-based research. It is a resource that should be used throughout healthcare to help provide women with the best tools to have a successful pregnancy. I work in a NICU and I see sick women having sick babies all the time. Healthy women tend to have healthy babies and that is better for all involved. We can’t keep all of these babies out of the NICU, but following the recommendations in this book definitely sets women up to be more successful and help care for their unborn babies to best of their ability.

Purchase this book HERE.

Check out Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE’s webpage HERE.

Get Rid of the Plastic

I have been debating this idea of getting rid of all the plastic food containers in our kitchen for awhile now. I have been going back and forth and how feasible this would be and if it is really necessary. Some of the containers that we have are from 2012. We got them when we got married and now it is 2018. That seems like WAY too long to keep plastic containers that are storing food items. I wash them, but they are looking a little rough. With that in mind, I was reading Real Food for Pregnancy and there is an entire chapter devoted to toxins. That was the chapter that really made me stop and decide to order more glassware. I am going to write up a whole review on this book, once I am finished reading it. I am almost done and I have to say it is such a great book for anyone who is expecting, planning on having children or counseling pregnant women. It is a must read! There is a blog post that Lily wrote up on this topic as well that I thought I would share. The big take away so questioning storing foods in plastic and reusing them over time. That is practice has not been shown to be healthy for pregnant women, but also can affect just healthy individuals as well.

I think this information applies to pregnant women obviously, but also all people. Those toxins are in these products and will have an affect on us whether we are pregnancy or not. I started to also think about all the times I am using plastic throughout the day. The cream cheese I got is in a plastic container, the bagel is stored in a plastic bag, my reusable water bottle is plastic, and then I am putting all of our left-over food in plastic containers in the refrigerator. I work hard to limit our consumption of certain products and we recycle the plastic that we do use. But I think there are always ways that we can do more. How many times are you coming in contact with plastic throughout the day? 

I took all the plastic containers out of the cabinets and started to put them out on the counter. It was amazing how many containers I had accumulated over the years. Some of these containers are older than others and I don't feel like they are suppose to last as long as they do. I have had some of this Rubbermaid since 2012 or before. That is over 6 years and I feel like heating and cooling plastic for that long and eating food out of it isn’t the best of ideas. I decided to go with glassware instead. Glassware can last for 6 years and hopefully more and you don’t have those same concerns as with plastic. I purchased a set of Pyrex glassware with plastic lids. The lids are replaceable and you can get new ones if needed. I ordered this set off of Amazon and then got some small 1 cup containers as well for packing lunches for work. I don’t have all the plastic and glassware in the picture below, but it is the majority of what we have. I have been slowly getting rid of the plastic and replacing containers with glass instead.

I encourage you to take a look at all the plastic that you encounter throughout the day. Are there ways that you can reduce your plastic consumption? Can you reuse or recycle some of those items? Do you have to use plastic as all? What if you looked to get rid of that plastic and replace it with another product like stainless steel or glass? This isn’t suppose to a post to scare you, but instead make you think and find ways to be healthier and help our environment along the way!

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Running during pregnancy

When it comes to exercising during pregnancy there are lots of types of activity that you can do. Any type of exercise can be good. Obviously, contact sports are discouraged, but other activities like running, swimming, aerobics, etc are all great options. I specifically wanted to focus on running when pregnant. I should also say that any type of activity you were doing prior to being pregnant you can continue while you are pregnant. If you never ran before in your life, maybe don’t start running right away while you are pregnant. Ease into that and start with walking or using the elliptical at the gym first and work up to that more strenuous activity. If you run in the past, that is totally something that you can continue while you are pregnant. Being active during your pregnancy is good for you as the mom and good for baby. Exercise has also been shown to help with blood sugar control and blood pressure control as well. Both as wins during pregnancy because you do not want to develop gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.

What does running look like when you are pregnant? Well every time you lace up your shoes and head out will be a different adventure. That is the thing about being pregnant, your body changes every day and that makes any activity different and more challenging as the months go by. With my first child, I ran all the way up through about 37 weeks gestation. I got too uncomfortable at the very end to try to run. I went to the gym and used the elliptical and that worked out well. I still got in some aerobic activity, but didn’t have stress on my belly and joints that comes from running. I would encourage you to keep running if you did that prior to becoming pregnant, if you weren't a runner, then I would recommend start with something like walking before you start running. 

What does running look like with a 1 1/2 year old? Well I would say running with one child is a lot different than running with no children while pregnant. I have always taken William running with me and now that I am pregnant for the second time that isn't changing. He does well in the stroller and I think it is good for him to be out and about. Now I just push a stroller in front of me while running. This is a definitely a work out. It builds arm strength to be out there pushing a stroller with a 27 pound child in it, but it is good exercise. I am definitely not breaking any speed records, but getting out and working hard is definitely important. 

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I really enjoy having this time and ability to work out and maintain my health and the health of my future child. Any form of exercise while pregnant is so important to help with blood sugar control, fluid management and weight control. It has definitely been proven to be make for a better labor process and of course health outcomes for mother and baby. Finding some form of activity is key. I also really enjoyed prenatal yoga when I was pregnant the first time round. Cost is definitely more of a factor this time and I haven't been able to go on a weekly basis. I need to work hard to do some of the stretches and poses at home, but we know how tough that can be to actually follow through with at home. Finding different forms of physical activity can help ensure that you stay healthy throughout this entire pregnancy process.

Tricks to keep running through your pregnancy:

  1. Go at your own pace. Don't try to set any speed records. Your body is already working hard carrying yourself and a baby.
  2. Don't push yourself super hard. Ease into the run and work up on intensity based on how you feel.
  3. Stay hydrated and plan potty breaks. It is key to keep fluids handy when exercising and then also know where close restrooms are, because those might be needed more too as time goes on. 
  4. Keep your energy up by eating before and after. Throughout pregnancy good nutrition is key and having a small snack before and after you exercise can be helpful. Again make this a healthy option and include some protein to help with recovery after you finish your work out.

Baby Announcement!

Well I have an announcement to share with you all ... We are expecting another baby next year in February! You might remember back in 2016 we shared with you some exciting news about our first child. It is kind of crazy to think that next year we will have baby #2 here and we will be parents to two little ones and one dog. It has definitely been an adventure being pregnant again and with one child running around, but it has been good. I am at 16 weeks and really appreciating the 2nd trimester. That surge in energy and lack of nausea has been a relief. Being pregnant for the second time has been smoother than the first go round. Obviously, knowing what to expect makes it easier. It is going quickly and hard to believe that we are already in that 2nd trimester and this little one will be arriving in no time after the craziness of the holidays. 

 

I am trying to get back into my exercise routine now that I have energy to devote to working out. I am also trying to work in some prenatal yoga classes. I don't have the time or money to go to a class every week, but I am going to try to go two times a month. I really enjoyed and benefited from prenatal yoga when I was pregnant the first time with William. Food is also less repulsive now so I am trying to get back in the habit of making better meals at home.

I am excited to share this journey with you all like I did the last time. It is a little different since this isn't all new to me, but it neat to get to experience this amazing process for a second time. If you have any pregnancy related questions or topics you would like me to address on the blog, let me know! 

Excited to welcome this second little one around February 16th, 2018. 

Excited to welcome this second little one around February 16th, 2018. 

Probiotics

I had a special request to write up a blog post about probiotics. I thought this was a great idea. I hadn't written about probiotics specifically before. I had discussed gut flora and keeping your GI tract healthy, but not specifically through the use of adding a probiotic to your diet.

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So I thought I would start with a definition of a probiotic. A probiotic is a substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties in the intestinal flora. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your digestive help. Our body is full of bacteria (good and bad). You can find probiotics in foods and also you can take supplements. There are lots of different types of probiotics with different health benefits. 

  • Lactobacillus is a common probiotics that you commonly find in yogurt and fermented food items. This strain can help treat diarrhea and also help people who are lactose intolerant. 
  • Bifidobacterium can be found in some dairy products. If can help to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast probiotic and it can help fight diarrhea and other GI issues. 

Probiotics are helpful for your GI tract. Your intestinal tract is often known as a "forgotten organ." Your gut needs to stay balanced and prevent a leaky gut (where your intestine doesn't absorb nutrients appropriately). This leaky gut can leave your GI tract vulnerable to other infections or illnesses. These probiotics containing foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, Tempeh, Kimchi and others. I love this list that I found on Health.com outlining a list of foods that are good sources of probiotics. I like the idea of getting probiotics from food sources. I think that your body can use and metabolize them better compared with a supplement. Plus supplements are not regulated the same way as food. Often with a supplement you are only getting one type of probiotic, compared with eating the food item you are eating multiple types of probiotics. Also just keep in mind that probiotics are not the same things as prebiotics which are dietary fibers that serve as the food for friendly bacteria that are already in the gut. 

The list of ailments that probiotics can help treat are long. Everything from skin eczema to Crohn's disease. Everyone's experience is going to vary and the type of probiotic that you take could help with a different issue. I believe that working to keep your intestintal tract functioning optimally will help you stay healthier and feel better. There was a guide which outlined various strains of probiotics and which strain helped with which issues. You can find that article if you CLICK HERE. I am not going to rewrite all of those recommendations, but know that resource is available if you need it or would like to look over it. 

Some other things to consider when it comes to intestinal health is fluid intake and exercise. Your GI tract benefits from physical activity just like your heart, lungs and brain benefit. Exercise helps your body to move through food you have eaten and absorb what is needs from that food and then excrete the waste in a timely manner. If you have had issues with constipation or just being irregular with bowel movements, work to add in some physical activity (even walking) into your day and that can help keep your GI tract moving appropriately. Fluid intake can also have a big role to play on how well your intestines work. Staying hydrated and focusing on drinking enough water is helpful. 

Your intestinal tract flora is able to change based on your environment and what you eat. If you had an illness and had to take antibiotics, that medicine probably wiped out that good bacteria that had colonized in your gut. Often a doctor may prescribe a probiotic at the same time as a antibiotic to help lessen that breakdown of the gut flora. What you eat can have an impact as well on helping your gut to re-colonize with healthy bacteria. There have been studies showing the gut flora in a healthy weight adult who regularly exercises compared with an overweight adult who never exercises and they have different microorganisms living in their GI tract. What you regularly eat has a role on your gut health. Aim for a healthy diet - filled with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy and whole grains. Those healthy foods will help fuel to healthy bacteria to grow in your intestinal tract. Do I think you need to take a special probiotic supplement to help with your gut health? No, I don't think you HAVE to take one, especially if you are eating this probiotic containing foods and an overall healthy diet. If you have noticed GI issues and try some of these probiotic containing foods and if that doesn't help, you can try some of the supplements and see if that helps with your symptoms. I think it is important to talk about gut health and helping people know that there are ways to aleviate some of these uncomfortable symptoms.

Hopefully that is helpful to provide you some insight into what probiotics are and how they can help your body. If you have any other questions or ideas for topics you would like me to cover on the blog, let me know! 

References 

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#1 
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-101#section1
  3. https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20918991,00.html#kombucha-tea--0
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
  5. https://www.humnutrition.com/blog/the-guide-to-choosing-the-best-probiotic-for-you/
  6. http://pilatesnutritionist.com/5-fermented-foods-boost-intake-probiotics/

Exciting Opportunity for RD Anna

I wanted share with you all who follow along with RD Anna about some exciting new opportunities. I have had some new endeavors that I am getting involved with this fall. Some of your may remember that I did some outpatient pediatric nutrition counseling at my last job. I really enjoyed working with a feeding clinic and doing some weight loss classes up in Lafayette, IN. I haven't had the opportunity to do any of that in the last several years. I am continuing to work my full time job as a NICU dietitian as well. I wanted to make that abundantly clear as well. This is going to be a fun, side job that I am excited for and have been eagerly anticipating for the past 6 months. 

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There was the opportunity to create a partnership with a business in Carmel, IN and I had to say yes! I use to work with Megan, Mini Minds business owner, at St. Vincent. She left her job at St Vincent as a social worker to launch her own private practice as a therapist/counselor. I have really admired her journey and I am so excited to learn from her about owning her own business. Mini Minds has grown and expanded into an amazing therapy office servicing the Indianapolis area. Make sure you check out their website and all the amazing services that they offer. Of course, the newest line of services including nutrition therapy and education options. 

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As you may remember I made RD Anna a LLC this past year and then I also worked to get my NPI so that I could start charging insurance companies for nutrition counseling services. This has been a big step for me, because I have never owned my own business before or offered nutrition services for payment before. I am really excited to partner and work with Mini Minds and get to provide nutrition education/counseling for those clients and their families. We are getting started with a workshop class this upcoming weekend on Back To School: Putting Together Healthy Snacks for Your Family. That should be a fun session trying new snacks, talking about healthy options and then even making some delicious recipes. I also have plans for launching a 3 week cooking class series in October focused on shopping and cooking healthy family meals with your children. There are lots of neat things that I am hoping to do in the fall with this opportunity. So stay tuned for those exciting announcements about RD Anna! 

Realities of Life

Being a Mom is hard. It is a full time job and it is definitely the most rewarding thing I have done, but it takes a lot of energy. If you pair that with working another job full time it leaves you not that much time to pause and think about things. I love my day job and I love my child. I couldn't imagine now life without either occupation. 

I have also being working on a variety of side projects and to be honest I now feel that I am very overwhelmed with everything. I think I said "yes" to several opportunities and now life has shifted a little and that has made for a crazy next couple of months. I am determined to do all these projects to the best of my ability, but I think I might be maxed out when it comes to taking on anything else at the moment. I have decided that I need to devote some serious time to a few of these side projects so that I really focus on getting some quality writing done. I have do some editing on a chapter of a book that I co-authored as well as writing an article for a pediatric nutrition publication. These are all neat things, but I really need some creative time to focus on them. 

I decided to finally take my Mom up on an offer my son, William over night. I know that might not seem like a lot, but we have never spent a night apart and he is 1.5 years old. This is just reality of life. With so much going on I really need some help and that involves giving me a day to work on side projects. I was hoping to use that day to do writing, but I realized that I am going to be teaching a workshop that day instead, which is still a great thing to do and I am excited for the opportunity to do more with RD Anna, LLC. 

Some times with the realities of life you need help. Raising a child or children takes a village, especially if you want to continue to stay engaged with your career and continue to to be the best Mom you can be. I just wanted to encourage you that it is ok to ask for help and that doesn't make you any less of a Mom. 

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