Happy Healthy Blog

How to Have a Super Fantastically Awesome Birth in 5 Easy Steps

Are you a first time mom?  Are you having another baby after a not so great birth experience?  If you’re looking for some tips on how to have an amazing birth, then look no further!  Here are some of my top tips for anyone planning on having a baby.

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  1. Quit listening to the haters.  Haters gonna hate, or more specifically, women who have had traumatic birth experiences love to share them with every pregnant lady they see.  Do your best to avoid these horror stories or tune them out if you have no other option.  Likely, they are still processing what has happened to them, which is not a bad thing, it’s just not something that may be appropriate to discuss with hormone laden pregnant women whose anxiety and emotions may be running high.  Instead, surround yourself with positive birth stories and like minded momma’s.  I highly recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, the first half is full of positive birth stories in all different situations.midwife-giving-prenatal-care-for-pregnant-mother-47195773
  2. Hire a Doula!  Having continuous support from pregnancy to birth and even intopostpartum can be incredibly comforting.  Regardless of whether you have a Midwife or an OB transfer of care happens, other births may happen and the care provider you had hoped would be there may not be able to.  Hiring a Doula is a near guarantee that you will have someone with you that knows you and what your choices are and can be at your house as soon as you need them.  Hiring a Doula early in your pregnancy gives you time to bond with her and give her all of the information she needs as well as allowing you to have an expert at your fingertips if you have a burning question that Google can’t satisfy.  That Doula will be your pregnancy bestie and may even offer Postpartum work so you can hire someone you trust to watch your new babe while you catch some sleep or a shower.  Doula’s are walking birth encyclopedia’s (remember those?), take advantage of their knowledge and abilities for what is one of the most important experiences of your life.midwife-checks-baby-heart-beat-and-movement-39418141
  3. Hire a Midwife.  Having a good care provider is so important during this sensitive time.  But why settle for good?  Why not have great and go with a midwife? Midwives MUST attend 60 live births to complete their training and they are used to all forms of vaginal birth whether medicated or not.  If delivering vaginally is important for you, then a midwife is a must.  If delivering unmedicated is something you seriously want, then a midwife is likely the best route.  If a home delivery is your thing, then a midwife is mandatory.  Another amazing bonus with midwives is that they come to you and your baby for appointments instead of you having to figure out logistics for you and your new little bundle of joy.  They’ll come to you and examine you in your bed if that is what you prefer.  This service is spectacular and can’t be beat!right-before-giving-birth-in-water-75994559
  4. Try a Water Birth.  More and more hospitals are installing bathtubs or birth pools in their facilities and there is good reason for this.  If you are having an unmedicated birth then being in water can drastically improve labour pains by alleviating the pressure of contractions and using heat to ensure your comfort and relaxation as you labour.  Renting a birth pool for a home birth is an excellent idea unless you have a very large tub at home.  Rentals come with disposable liners to ensure hygiene and are an excellent way to have the benefits of a water birth without breaking the bank.  Just please please please make sure that the hose connector fits your sink tap so that you or your partner don’t have to get a connector mid-labour!!  (I speak from experience, read about it here).peacefully-laboring-woman-73760090.jpg
  5. Hypnotize yourself!  No, Really!!!  This was in my top three in my “Money Well Spent For My Birth” list (the other two were Hiring a Doula & Renting a Birth Pool). My husband and I took an incredible weekend course in Toronto that was mind blowing!  The recordings we received helped me to have a completely calm and quick active labour and I wish I had had the wherewithal to have played it while I was pushing as it likely would have helped me to enjoy it a bit more than I did. Being able to labour calmly and quietly is one of the greatest things I have ever experienced and will always always always recommend it to my clients and anyone I know or casually overhear looking to have a natural (vaginal, unmedicated) birth.

I hope these help you to have a super amazing rockstar birth experience! Is there anything you would add to this list?

 If you are looking for a walking birth encyclopedia, aka a Doula, and are located in the East GTA, please feel free to contact me for a FREE consultation to see if we’re a good fit!

Super Simple DIY Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste

Activated charcoal does some wondrous things.  From digestion to detoxification and teeth whitening this is a stellar item to have tucked away in your cupboard for emergencies (like travellers diarrhea!).  

How does it work?  Well activated charcoal is typically from burned hardwood or coconut shells that is then processed to be extremely absorbent with a seriously high surface area.  This absorbency combined with surface area means that it is able to not only grab up lots of bad bacteria and toxins but can also absorb it for easy and fast removal.  

Activated charcoal is used medically to prevent some types of poisoning, by natural health workers to combat bacterial, viral and parasitic/yeast issues and by the beauty world to help remove impurities from the teeth and skin. Oh, not to mention all those water filtration systems that are using carbon, i.e. charcoal, filters to remove any nastiness from your drinking water!

There’s a craze on currently for all things natural charcoal toothpaste and I often get asked where it can be purchased.  My response is always “have you thought about making it yourself?” Because it’s so simple to do!!!  

All it takes is 5 typically in your cupboard ingredients and about two minutes!


Ingredients

2tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp activated charcoal
1tsp sea salt
1tsp baking soda
1/4tsp peppermint extract (the kind you use for baking, not aromatherapy!)

Combine ingredients slowly (the charcoal has a mind of its own and can stain!).  Store in a small Mason jar or other small sealable container.  Keeps on the counter for 3 months. 

Happy Healthy Delicious Gluten Free Chicken Fingers

My husband LOVES chicken fingers.  But since they’re crazy expensive and not the healthiest we don’t buy them unless they’re on some sort of super sale.  So, when I found chicken breasts on sale at Costco I couldn’t resist!  

I wanted to make chicken fingers that we would feel good about eating so I did some testing and found the perfect breeding blend for tasty and healthy chicken fingers that is husband AND toddler approved. 🙂

My daughters new favourite thing is chia seeds, she just gobbles them up!  Since they’re high in fibre and Omega oils I honestly couldn’t be happier so I wanted to include them in this recipe.  Inflammation is always something my husband and I like to work on so adding turmeric was a nice little kick for us and making this recipe gluten freemales all of our digestive systems happy!

You can definitely double or triple this recipe to make a huge batch and freeze a bunch so that you always have lunch or dinner in a pinch!  Definite parenting win!


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips or nuggets
2 cups ground almond flour
1 tbsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp Celtic sea salt 
1 tbsp garlic powder
3 eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350C.  Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk, set aside. Combine all other ingredients (except chicken) in another bowl or dish.  Dip chicken into egg mixture and then into breading.  Coat completely and put onto lined baking sheet.  If baking right away, place baking sheet into oven and bake for 10mins on each side. 

If freezing, then put baking sheet in freezer so that chicken can get hard enough that it won’t stick together when put in a freezer bag, about 2 hrs.  Freeze and bake at 350 for 20-30 mins, flipping halfway through until no longer pink in the middle. 

Enjoy!

Quick & Healthy Breakfast Shakshouka

I love eggs.  And I’m Italian so I also love tomato sauce. Fortunately my toddler loves those things too!

Shakshouka is a middle eastern breakfast dish that combines the two beautifully.  My version is likely more Italian than the traditional recipe but it’s simple and fast  so it suits me and my family perfectly.
This is an excellent way to get good protein and even some veggies into your diet before 10am!  I’ve also added some turmeric in for some anti-inflammatory aid which is essential for pretty well anyone and everyone.

Ingredients
2-3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 small onion
2-3 tomatoes
1tbsp turmeric powder

Recipe
Roughly chop the garlic, onion and tomatoes for a more rustic feel (or an, I just got out of bed and still haven’t quite woken up yet feel..).  Sauté garlic and onion in the olive oil until softened then add the tomatoes and stir for a few minutes until they release their juices then add the turmeric and stir.  Make three wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each.  Put a lid on the pan and let simmer until eggs are nicely poached. Serve with toast.

 

This would also make an excellent addition to a breakfast wrap with perhaps some homemade breakfast sausage for a more portable breakfast!

What are your typical go-to’s for breakfast?  Share in the comments!

3 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes

I make these all the time for my daughter, niece and myself for breakfast. To them it’s a treat but to me it’s an excellent source of protein and nutrients to start our day! 

They’re also super easy to make and a great way to use any over ripe bananas lying around that might otherwise end up in your green bin. 

Ingredients

1 overripe banana (think cheetah spots, not full brown/black)
3 eggs
1 tbsp almond butter

Directions

Mash the bananas in a bowl until they make a paste.  Crack in the eggs and add the almond butter and mix until everything is combined.  Cook in a pan on medium heat with a little avocado oil.  You can add berries to the batter or once you’ve spooned the batter into the pan. For the girls I make about 10 1 tbsp sized pancakes and still have enough to make one large one for myself!   Top with a really good quality dark maple syrup and voila! 

Easy peasy.  🙂

Looking for some help sprucing up your families diet?  Feel free to contact me for a free consultation to discuss my various meal planning services for the whole family!

Hearty Detox Soup

Soup is one of my favourite things, but for some reason I don’t make it as often as I should.  Maybe it’s because I imagine the prep is too much (which it never is) or maybe it’s because Ella is still too young to eat thinner soups since she has to feed herself now and soup would be everywhere!!

Well, I was cutting up cauliflower for her and decided it was about time I made some of my favourite veggie detox soup.  I added quinoa to it to make it more filling and also so that I could strain the quinoa and veggies so that Ella could eat it too! Quinoa is totally the new pastina!!  🙂

This soup is full of fibre, vitamins, protein and minerals like magnesium and sulphur which are all amazing at cleansing the digestive system and detoxifying the liver.

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Ingredients

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized  pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Handful of chopped kale, spinach or other green
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup dried quinoa

Directions

Over medium heat sauté olive oil, cauliflower, carrots, onion and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, greens, turmeric and salt.  Stir then cover with water, approximately 4 cups.  Let soup come to a boil, add in quinoa then let simmer until quinoa is transparent and cooked through.  Add more salt, herbs and other spices to make it your own!

Looking to do a cleanse or detox in the new year?  Contact me to set up a Nutrition Consultation to get a protocol tailored to your individual needs!

The Big Bad Epidural… And How It Can Be Your Best Friend!

Have you ever heard that Doula’s don’t like epidurals?  It’s a common myth, probably stemming from the fact that having a Doula at your birth significantly reduces your likelihood of needing or wanting an epidural.  It could also be because Doula’s educate their clients about the Cascade of Interventions (don’t know what this is?  Don’t worry, I’ll be posting about it soon so keep an eye on my Facebook page for more info!).

However, a Doula is someone who supports their clients decisions whole heartedly and so a non-biased and non-judgemental take on the use of epidurals is something I take pretty seriously.

Why Epidurals Get a Bad Reputation

The epidural gets a bad reputation in childbirth for a few reasons, among them are the following:

  • Can slow the labour process sometimes resulting in emergency C-sections
  • Not 100% effective on some mothers
  • Side effects can be very uncomfortable for labouring moms
  • Can cause severe headaches postnatally if not administered correctly
  • Crosses the placenta and effects baby as well as mom

How An Epidural May Be Your New Best Friend

With that being said, epidurals can be a huge blessing to labouring women who need to take the edge off of labour for all sorts of reasons.  There are also some upsides to having the epidural, which include:

  • Pain relief (duh!)
  • Enables mom to relax during labour which can be important if labour has stalled due to stress
  • If an emergency C-section is needed then having the epidural in place already saves time in the operating room

Your Choice Should Be Supported, No Matter What You Choose

As a Doula, I give parents to be the information from both sides of the spectrum so that they can make an informed decision about what works best for them.  Some moms want the epidural right away for peace of mind and others want to see how far they can get before they feel the need to get pain relief from drugs instead of the many tools in a Doula’s arsenal.  And sometimes the moms who go into labour thinking they want the drugs right away end up making it through without any and vice versa for the moms who don’t want the medications before they go into labour.

Whatever you decide, it is your decision to make and you should never feel judged for making it.

It is your birth, your body and your choice.  Labour can be unpredictable, but your support team shouldn’t be.

Looking for a Doula who will support your choices?  Check out my Labour Doula packages and book your free consultation today!

A Canadian Pregnancy Book You’ll Love

If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant in Canada, do me a favour and ditch your What To Expect When You’re Expecting books.  The information in them has been known to freak out newly expecting moms with some information being more fear mongering than factual, they are also specific to the US and therefore no good to us Canadians when it comes to the statistics it portrays, hospital regulations it refers to and the insurance information since we have universal healthcare.

Enter your new best friend: Ann Douglas’s The Mother Of All Pregnancy Books 3rd Edition which was originally published in 2011 and the third edition came out in May 2015.  It is “An All-Canadian Guide to Conception, Birth, and Everything in Between”.

This book is an excellent guidebook for any first time parents trying to navigate what is happening and all of the finer details surrounding pregnancy.  These include tips for conception, nutrition information for a healthy pregnancy, what to expect from each trimester for you and baby, a list and detailed explanation of all tests and procedures and a really excellent and positive take on preparing for birth and getting through the labour.

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There is also a super handy glossary of terms at the back which are used throughout conception and pregnancy and will be helpful for you if you’ve never heard of things like Kangaroo Care or Meconium.  On top of that are sections dedicated to creating a birth plan, what to do in case you or your partner have to deliver the baby in an emergency, a slew of Canada specific online resources and a prenatal record you can use to track your doctors appointments.

If you are Canadian and are looking for easy to read information on all things pregnancy, then this is the book for you!  You can purchase it virtually anywhere that sells books (I even found a copy at Shoppers Drug Mart) or borrow it from your Doula (if they have a lending library) or local library.

Happy Reading!!

(If you are NOT a reader or feel like you need some help navigating some of the more difficult periods of your pregnancy and labour and you are located in the GTA, then please check out my Doula packages and send me an email to arrange a free consultation to see if my services are right for you!)

My Not So Guilty Pleasure: Happy Healthy Chocolate Shake!

Chocolate Milkshakes have always been a favourite of mine and something I commonly crave when I need a treat.  With not so healthy shakes easily accessible and super cheap, think $1 Frosty’s, it’s tough sometimes to think of homemade options.

Introducing this super easy, super healthy and super tasty chocolate shake you can make at home in less than 5 minutes!

This recipe uses all natural ingredients that are excellent sources of Magnesium, Fibre, Iron, Protein and Trace Minerals that your body needs on a daily basis and even more so if you are trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding or even PMSing.

Magnesium is a miracle mineral and is responsible for helping your muscles to relax.  If you have any muscle aches, pains or cramps then magnesium is essential for you and is something our body uses in almost everything it does from the cells to the muscles!

Ever notice how chocolate is often a woman’s number one craving when she’s getting her period or is feeling stressed out?  One heaping tablespoon of raw cacao provides you with 50% of your daily intake of magnesium.  Your body’s craving for chocolate is actually a craving for more magnesium!

So why not indulge with this amazing treat?

Happy Healthy Chocolate Shake

Happy Healthy Chocolate Shake 

Ingredients

3 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 heaping tbsp organic raw cacao powder

1 tbsp maple syrup

Half a tray of ice cubes

Method

Blend all ingredients together until ice is crushed.  Add more maple syrup to taste!

(Makes approximately two glasses)

Variations: You could add practically anything to this shake to boost it and tailor it to your taste and what your body needs!  I typically add about 1 tbsp of coconut oil to boost my intake of healthy fats.  1/2 tsp peppermint extract makes this into an After Eight slushy!  You could also add some orange zest and juice to add a citrus zing.  Or frozen strawberries or other fruit in place of some of the ice to add some extra fibre and nutrients to your shake!

Looking for some help with your cravings?  Check out my nutritional services page and contact me for your free consultation today!

CANADA DAY SALE!!!

10% OFF Doula Packages

25% OFF Private Breastfeeding Class

Email jacquie@happyhealthydoula.com to get your discount!

 

Book by July 15th.  Doula package discount only eligible for due dates from September to December 2016.  In-Home Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes must be scheduled to take place before December 31st, 2016.