That's it: we're officially in the middle of sanitize-your-hands, pack-your-spare-tissues, cough-into-your-elbow season. You know, the time of year when everyone and their mother (literally) is sneezing, blowing their nose, and in general feeling a bit blah.
Colds, flu, pneumonia—ain't nobody got time for that. If you want to keep your immune system large and in charge at all times of the year (and especially now), consider adding a few supplements to your daily routine.
Which ones should you choose? To save you time and money (and spare you the headache of scrolling through page after page on Amazon), we're highlighting some of my top picks—starting with an innovative immune-modulating supplement called Moducare® this one is the top choice for immune support!
Immune Enhancing 101: The Benefits of Moducare®
Dr. Jim LaValle is a metabolic health specialist, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and clinical pharmacist who's talked a lot about the importance of immune modulation when it comes to promoting increased immunity. Note that immune modulation is a bit different than immune boosting, though we want both for a stronger immune system.
As Dr. LaValle puts it, supplements which modulate your immune system help re-establish, and then strengthen, an appropriate immune system response. Compare this to products which are considered immune boosting—if a "boost" is given to an uncorrected and faulty system (e.g., an immune system that's been thrown out of whack by chronic stress, sugar, and other toxins), then you may end up only accentuating a busted or abnormal immune response. So while "immune-boosting" supplements DO have their place, you want to make sure you're doing what you can to modulate and restore normal immune function, as well.
Enter Moducare®. This patented supplement contains phytosterols and phytosterolins—plant fat compounds naturally found in things like fruits and veggies. These sterols and sterolins enhance proper immune cell activation so that your immune cells can do what they do best—protect and fight against harmful germs and foreign invaders.
Specifically, research has found that Moducare®:
Restores the balance between T-helper 1 to T-helper 2 cells (key players in your adaptive immunity)
Modulates the stress response, and
Reduces immune system hyper-reactivity (an over-the-type response seen in conditions like allergies and autoimmune disorders)
Moducare® also improves the ratio between two hormones, cortisol, and DHEA. This is critical because when your cortisol-to-DHEA ratio is elevated, your body's ability to produce antibody-creating immune cells is suppressed. And in at least one double-blinded placebo-controlled study, subjects taking Moducare® were found to have healthier immune systems compared to the placebo group, thanks to the supplement's ability to minimize the rise in stress hormones in response to exercise.
Additional Supplements to Include in Your Immune-Boosting Rotation
Taken intermittently throughout the cold and flu season, probiotics "top up" your gut microbiota and make sure you have a diverse and healthy population of friendly bacteria living in your GI tract. This really matters, because your gut microbiome and immune system are so closely linked that the bacteria living there have been called the "forgotten organ." Turns out these little bacteria aren't a bunch of freeloaders living inside your intestines and gorging on your food—they actually help your body metabolize and absorb nutrients, reduce inflammation, and most notably enhance your immune system.
Look for a high-quality product that provides at least 1 billion colony forming units (CFU) per day, although some people opt to take as much as 10 billion CFU or more.
Fish oil—particularly the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found within it—is known as a potent anti-inflammatory that does everything from boost your immune health to lower the risk of heart disease. This supplement is a biggie—aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of EPA + DHA per day.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
Garlic has long been known as a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Research shows it can improve heart health and even reduce the risk of certain ailments like diabetes, stomach cancer, and osteoarthritis. Aged garlic extract has also been shown to promote increased biodiversity in the bacteria living in your gut, which as we've seen supports a healthy immune system.
A recommended dose based on the literature is around 600 milligrams per day.
Research has found that children taking supplemental Vitamin D3—an essential vitamin for bone health, brain health, cardiovascular health, and gut health—have a 40% reduced risk of falling ill with the flu. According to the U.S. Institutes of Medicine (IOM), the recommended daily dose is around 800 international units (IU) for adults, but research indicates that anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day is safe and beneficial.
Both animal and human studies have found that supplementing with this mineral can boost immune system function thanks in part to maximizing antioxidant capacity. Magnesium has also been found to help you sleep, which is important for keeping your immune system functioning properly.
Most adults should aim for 150 to 350 milligrams per day. Magnesium citrate is a readily bio-available form of this mineral, but just be aware that it can induce a laxative effect—so introduce slowly.
Question: does your kitchen counter have to look like a mini-pharmacy every morning as you're taking your supplements this cold and flu season?
Answer: not necessarily, especially if you commit to maintaining healthy habits that naturally support and optimize immune function. We're talking the biggies, like getting enough quality sleep, exercising, staying well-hydrated, and minimizing/eliminating dairy, sugar, gluten, and alcohol from your diet. And it's worth remembering that supplements are never a replacement for sound lifestyle choices, especially regarding your nutrition and activity level.
BUT the right supplements can be powerful health enhancers (and sometimes necessary) which will give you the extra BOOST of badassery you need to avoid falling ill—or at least recover faster from illness in the event that some germs do find their way into your body. And while we've gone over the tried and true supplements that have worked for us, you ultimately need to do some trial and error to find which brands and supplements work best for you.
Just please do us a solid and chat with your doc before starting or stopping any new supplements, especially if you're taking any medications or dealing with a chronic illness, okay? K thanks.
Posture is one of those elements of health that can have a dramatic impact on you. But, because it's so automatic for most of us, it can be hard to consciously improve. And since I'm all about PRACTICAL and EFFECTIVE when it comes to healthy life changes, I love finding tools that help hardworking moms, like us, make a positive difference in the way we look, feel, and function—especially when it comes to largely subconscious influences like posture.
This is the main reason why I love kinesiology tape, which has been around since the 1970s (you may know it by it's the most popular brand name, RockTape, but there are tons of options out there). While the research is a bit mixed on its true efficacy—a few systematic literature reviews have found inconsistent evidence supporting its purported benefits—studies at least seem to point out it's unlikely that kinesiology tape is harmful, and that perceived benefits (aka placebo effect) shouldn't be ruled out.
In other words: kinesiology tape is almost assuredly not going to hurt you, so if you try it and it helps, why the heck not use it?
Understanding Kinesiology Tape—And The "Bad" Posture it Can Help Fix
I have personal experience using kinesiology tape with my chiropractor. For me, it's been a HUGE game changer for improving my posture.
The basic premise is that the tape acts like a mini-feedback system. After applying kinesiology tape to your body (with the body in an ideal posture), the tape provides real-time tactile cueing for as long as it's on you (quality brands should last around 2 to 3 days). Any time you deviate from that ideal posture, you'll feel the pulling of the tape and be prompted to correct yourself. It's basically like a higher tech, more effective version of snapping your wrist with a rubber band.
Other reported benefits of kinesiology tape include:
Improved blood and lymphatic flow (by slightly lifting the skin and increasing space for tissue perfusion)
Reduced muscle and tissue tension
Like I said, the jury's out on how legit these benefits actually are, but considering how many people use kinesiology tape (including professional athletes), I think you'd be hard-pressed to say that people aren't finding success with this tool.
Before we go into the how-to's of kinesiology tape, I think it's worth taking a moment to define what I mean by "better" posture. In an ideal world, our posture will look like this:
Head is neutral with the gaze straight ahead (chin not pointing forward nor up)
Ears are lined up with shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles
Shoulders are down and relaxed (not rounded forward)
Curves of the spine are neutral, with posterior neck and anterior trunk muscles relaxed yet engaged and elongated
Ribcage and pelvis are neutral and not sticking out (the "cup" of your pelvis isn't tilting forward or backward)
Knees have a slight bend
Starting any functional task from this position is ideal because it minimizes strain and tension on our tissues and joints, encourages appropriate core muscle activation, supports ideal breathing patterns, and yes—helps reduce the presence and appearance of a mom pouch.
Research even shows that improving your posture can improve your mood. You read that right: we're talking about physical AND psychological benefits to standing up straight with your shoulders back!
Ladies—improving your posture take practice and time, but don't give up—it's truly worth it. And if something like kinesiology tape safely helps you, then have at it.
3 Ways to Use Kinesiology Tape for Better Posture
Taping to correct hyperlordosis.
Hyperlordosis basically looks like walking around with the butt sticking out and the pelvis tilted forward. This can cause serious shortening of the hip flexors and lead to a lot of low back pain.
A basic correction is the standard H technique. Put two pieces of tape on either side of the spine, extending from the belt line up to the mid back. Then apply a strip of tape running perpendicular to the spine in the low back area, from hip to hip (be sure this strip extends over the other two upright strips).
Taping to correct forward head.
If your neck is frequently sore and achy after using a computer, smartphone, or while out and about in your daily life, you may be straining the tissues in your cervical spine by continually sticking your head forward.
Here's one variation of the forward head/neck pain technique to try: Apply two pieces of tape on either side of the spine from the lower shoulder blade up to just below the hairline. The third piece of tape goes perpendicular to the spine and the other two strips at the base of the neck and along the upper traps.
Taping to correct rounded shoulders.
This technique prevents general slouching, scapular protraction, and shoulder internal rotation (which can cause shortening in the pecs, upper back pain, and a disruption in your breathing if left uncorrected).
Use the posture X technique for this one. You'll measure two strips of tape, each running from the tip of one shoulder to the opposite armpit, then apply the tape in the shape of an X at the upper back.
For best results, I STRONGLY encourage you to consult with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or any other person certified in the use of kinesiology tape FIRST. They can put the tape on correctly and then teach you how to do it yourself (or teach someone how to help you). If you're postpartum or pregnant, finding a pre or postnatal specialist is even BETTER, because these pros can help you in regard to other unique issues you may be facing, including diastasis, weakened and dysfunctional core activation, pelvic girdle pain, and so on.
Ladies, have any of you tried kinesiology tape before? Let me know what you think! Need more help with posture positioning and healing your core post pregnancy? You can download my full ab rehab program here: Nancy Anderson Fit Ab Rehab Program.
Let’s talk postpartum core strength! The number one goal I hear from my post-pregnancy clients is to get flat abs again. The muscles in your pelvic floor become stretched and often weakened during pregnancy & after birth. If you're experiencing lower back pain, pressure, pain, bulging, coning, or overall discomfort, something needs to change. Lots of women get ab separation during pregnancy and rehabbing your core afterward takes lots of hard work, intention, and time. You don't HAVE to live with the "mommy pouch." You CAN bring those abs back together, tighten your core, and have a flat tummy again. If you've tried your "typical" ab exercises and still aren't getting any closer to your pre-baby abs (or even making things worse), then we need to first take a step back and strengthen and reactivate in a way that's safe and effective.
Breathing is arguably the most important part to really nail down the best results in rehabbing your abs postpartum. You have got to learn how to do this properly. You also need to apply the pattern - inhale and release, exhale and engage to every single breath you take all day long. Let’s review a few things about proper breathing and suggestions for those struggling. Please comment below with any issues you’re having and I will try to help!
Proper Breathing Technique
When you take a deep breath in and your diaphragm contracts down, it stimulates the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, this sends a message back up to the brain telling you to relax. Lots of wonderful things happen when we relax. We sleep better, we are more calm, less frustrated/anxious, we go to the bathroom easier (#2), sex is better, our lymph system function improves, food digests better, and so much more.
So, what happens if you have a shallow breathing pattern and the top of your chest and shoulders move primarily when you take air in (which is how most people breathe)? Well, cortisol happens— your body is thrown into a flight or fight stimulus as this is your stress hormone. No one needs that extra stress, life is hard enough especially if you’re a new mom, so let’s break it down a bit more and get you into a correct deep breathing pattern. Aside from this, improper breathing is not helping to heal or strengthen your core unit. With every breath you take, you are either helping your abs or hurting your abs. Let’s make sure we are helping them:
Step 1: Get your ribs to expand out in a 360 fashion when you breathe. Your belly shouldn’t be the only thing that moves.
Step 2: Get 360 expansion of not only your rib cage, but directly underneath your rib cage, as well. Correct breathing is not belly breathing. It’s a 360 expansion of not just your rib cage, but your torso as well.
Step 3: The last step is learning how to use this breathing system for exercise. If you get correct expansion of your entire abdominal wall, you will be able to maintain some core tension (but not holding breath) through an exercise while breathing for both the inhale and exhale. When done correctly, this will take core work to a whole new level. Without this tension and proper expansion on the inhale, you will not be able to maintain spinal stability and your body cheats to make it happen by either going into a shallow breathing pattern or holding your breath.
There is a time and place for proper breath holding, like when you are maxing out your deadlift, but if you are suffering from back or neck tightness, hernias, abdominal separation or pelvic floor issues, you really need to take a closer look at how you manage pressure in your core and why that misutilization of pressure is causing issues. If you lift heavy or go hard and practice holding your breath to increase pressure in your core to get through plyometrics, planks, or heavy lifts- please stop doing this for now. Go lighter, and go slower and move through the exhale never holding and bracing your breath or core— make sense?
Now, let’s get it!
Even if you are not a mom or a c-section mom, this breath WILL get your diaphragm moving down and get your pelvic floor engaged. For those who really struggle to get air into the whole canister and not just the chest and belly, I think this breath variation can be particularly helpful. Learn what it feels like to feel your diaphragm MOVE down and your canister to expand ALL over front back sides and down.
Breathing is only a small part of finding success in rebuilding your core post-pregnancy. My full Ab Rehab program goes into depth on breathing techniques and strengthening and healing your core as a whole, from the inside out. You can download the Ab Rehab program on my site: NAF Ab Rehab Program.
Cheers to a happy, healthy, and core-engaged breath, ladies!
You may remember them from grade school biology class. I fondly recall them as “the powerhouse of the cell.”
Yeah, you remember these guys: those little organelles inside all your cell that convert food and oxygen into cellular fuel?
Well, turns out these little guys are absolute CHAMPIONS for your well-being, and when working properly can really optimize your health.
On the other hand, when your mitochondria aren’t working properly, you’ll probably feel it.
Check this for a laundry list:
Low energy. Chronic pain. Weakness. Mental fogginess. Memory loss. Impaired metabolism. Weakened immunity. Vision and hearing problems. Accelerated rate of aging. Increased risk of obesity, liver disease, heart disease, and more (take your pick).
These and other issues are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.
What’s messing up your mitochondria in the first place? It’s generally a hodge podge of lifestyle and environmental factors, like toxic exposure, chronic stress, and junk food.
Now, in order to deal with these kinds of stressors, your body ends up producing chemically unstable metabolic by-products called free radicals. And like rust on a bike, free radicals “oxidize” your cells (and the mitochondria inside them), which essentially damages them and accelerates their aging process.
So, how to fight free radicals, restore mitochondrial health, and slow aging?
Learn what healthy eating ACTUALLY looks like.
Follow a sustainable, challenging, safe, and evidence-backed workout program.
Most importantly, start seeing your healthy life choices as things you’re doing not “just” for the benefit of your aesthetics or performance, but also for the sake of your cellular and mitochondrial health, too.
Because the truth is, your body doesn’t have to start “breaking down” in your 40s, 50s, and 60s. We can control and influence WAY more of the aging process by upgrading what we do in our daily routines. Enhance your daily routine with Nancy Anderson Fit’s Bible Diet, a lifestyle diet that compliments your body, health, immune system, energy levels, sleep cycles, and get you L-E-A-N.
Green smoothies are a healthy and delicious snack with lots of benefits! Some of these benefits include:
If you or your kids struggle with eating your recommended amount of vegetable servings, green smoothies are the perfect solution
An energy boost!
A great source of antioxidants
Improves gut health
Improve Mental clarity
A green smoothie would be a great part of a healthy routine menu. I’ve compiled 9 amazing recipes for you to try. Happy blending!
Best Green Smoothie Recipes
This creamy, low-carb smoothie is a great way to start your day and get into fat-burning mode. The ginger is also great for digestion.
1 ½ cups almond or cashew milk
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
2 teaspoons grated ginger
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 handful baby spinach or greens of choice
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
I crave nutrient-dense foods that fill me up and keep me going for hours. This smoothie is the best way to start your morning. So healthy!
1 lemon, quartered (washed and unpeeled)
1 whole avocado, peeled and pitted
2 stalks celery
2 cups spinach
½ bunch parsley
½ bunch cilantro
1 organic cucumber (washed and unpeeled)
1 teaspoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend together until smooth, adding water, as needed for desired consistency.
This bright green smoothie gets its creaminess from nutrient-dense avocado, an excellent source of all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies need to build muscle, as well as the omega 3 fats our brains and hearts need to be healthy. The green tea is loaded with bioactive compounds and helps us increase fat burning.
1-1 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 ounces (about 2 big handfuls) baby spinach leaves
1/2 small avocado
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Juice of 1 lime
1 packet green matcha tea (about a teaspoon)
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.
Triple Green Smoothie
Full of high-quality fat with coconut milk and avocado, this smoothie helps you burn fat and keeps you fueled!
1/3 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
juice of 1 lime
1 large handful baby spinach leaves
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Lean and Green
A protein smoothie perfect for post-workout or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up!
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
1-1 ½ cup water
1/2 medium avo, pitted and peeled
1 roma tomato
1 handful of raw spinach
1/4 unripe banana
Place all ingredients in a blender, adding additional water as needed for desired texture. Blend for about 2mins. Serve immediately.
Creamy Green Apple Smoothie
You might think of fresh-cut grass when you sip this yummy smoothie for breakfast! It has an earthy, herbal flavor with a touch of sweetness from the apple. If a tart taste does not appeal to your taste, you can use a Red Delicious or Gala apple instead. This smoothie contains about one-third of your daily fiber requirement in one tasty glass.
2 cups spinach leaves
1 green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton)
1 avocado, peeled and pitted 3 ice cubes
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
Blend the spinach, apple, thyme, coconut milk, and avocado together until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend until smooth and thick. Serve immediately.
Green Pear Protein Smoothie
Flaxseed isn’t just packed with protein, it’s also a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. The fat and fiber are crucial for slowing digestion and reducing the speed at which sugar is absorbed. Add an extra teaspoon of flaxseed for a mega boost of these nutrients.
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
1 cup torn kale leaves
1 Bartlett pear, cored and chopped
½ English cucumber, cut into chunks
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon flaxseed
Add the kale, pear, protein powder, cucumber, water, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, and nutmeg to a blender. Blend until the drink is smooth, and add the ice. Blend with the ice until the drink is smooth and thick.
Island Dream Smoothie
A creamy, light way to start the day with a touch of greens and have you dreaming of the beach!
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp NA, GF pure vanilla extract or unsweetened vanilla powder
1 serving vegan vanilla protein powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 handful baby spinach
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Green Smoothie Reverse Natural
Here’s a recipe with healthy carbs and healthy fats!
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1 cup almond milk
½ chopped avocado
1 1/ 2 cups ice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 serving vegan protein powder of choice
Stevia or other natural sweetener to taste
Optional: Add a little Hi-Maize as a source of resistant starch
Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and silky.
If you prefer any of these smoothies to have a touch more sweetness, add the Stevia last to achieve the sweetness you want. The advantage is Stevia won’t raise your blood sugar like sugar. I don’t recommend artificial sweeteners since some can cause your pancreas to release insulin. Stevia is available at most supermarkets. Some Stevia sweeteners contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Erythritol shouldn’t cause your blood sugar or insulin level to rise and is not synthetic.
I hope you love these recipes! Give them a try, and let us know which one is your favorite! If you are making these for the kiddos-- skip the protein powder or, if you want to include it, make sure to check with your child’s pediatrician first. Enjoy!
When I woke up Saturday (11/11) morning around 6am, I noticed I was having contractions- which felt like period cramps. I didn't put this together that they were actually contractions until my water "broke" (but really just started leaking little by little) around 11am.
We had planned to take Kenzie to play "video games" aka Dave and Busters (his new favorite thing to do) that afternoon and I quickly realized after my water started leaking that we probably wouldn't make it. I quickly changed my story and told him that instead he was going to get his special surprise that baby Leo bought him (a new bike). Luckily he was cool with that.
I called my OB and told her my water broke around 11am. She told me since my last birth was a c-section that they would want to monitor me a bit closer so to be at the hospital around 4pm at the latest. Contractions were coming but sporadic and not at all uncomfortable. I could easily move and talk through them.
I had actually already scheduled a repeat c-section with her for the upcoming Wednesday bc I tend to have big babies and since I was overdue the chance of me being able to have a VBAC with a baby that was close to Kenzie's birth weight (9 lbs) was slim. If you haven't read Kenzie's birth story you can find it here: https://www.nancyandersonfit.com/blogs/news/kenzies-birth-story
I decided that I wanted to schedule a c-section and not keep waiting to go into labor naturally since I was already overdue. I knew that the outcome of trying to VBAC a big baby out of my small pelvic inlet (what I learned from my first labor and delivery) would probably not work out for me. However; since I went into labor on my own IE water breaking my doctor and I confirmed on that phone call that the plan was to try for a VBAC.
So, I hung up with her and we went about our day staying at home. We played outside with Kenzie, made food, watched tv and waited for things to pick up. We have no family on the west coast so it's just my husband and I. I called our nanny (who bless her heart had basically been on call every weekend for 3 weeks) and she came over around 230pm.
By now Kenzie knew something was up. He didn't want me to go to the hospital unless he came along. He was getting very clingy and emotional. It sort of broke my heart- his whole world was about to change. I was trying to stay calm because now I am thinking well F*CK this might be a long ass night (I had a VERY long labor with Kenzie), I need to conserve energy and stay relaxed. So my husband took Kenzie to target to pick up a few things for me (headphones, batteries for my tens machine and pads for post hospital). By the time he came back poor Kenzie was sleeping (passed out from crying so hard) and it was time to head to the hospital.
We got to the hospital around 5pm, checked in and went to triage. There they tested if my water broke (which it did) and checked my cervix (3CM and 70% effaced). This was great news to me b/c with Kenzie I started at 1.5 and 50%. We stayed in triage a while, not much happened. I was having contractions but easy ones and about 5 min apart but not consistent. Some were 1 min some were 10 minutes. Sometimes I didn't even know I was having one. I kept having to ask how often they were happening.
I think we were in triage for a couple hours then they took us to labor and delivery. I got set up, met my nurse (Sara- who was freaking amazing) and started laboring for a while longer. I actually don't remember how long but I know we watched a whole movie and then some. Things just weren't moving quickly. I was staying at 3-4 cm and my body wasn't kicking the contractions into high gear. Since I've already had a c-section it is a risk to have a rupture if your uterus has too much wear during a long labor plus my water had broke so now time was also an issue bc of the risk of bacteria or infection for mom and baby.
We decided to start a very low dose of pitocin to try to speed things up. I'm not a fan of medicine however I would rather have medicine like pitocin and have vaginal birth than have to have a repeat c-section. Now at this point- my thought of going natural (no meds or pain killers) is out the window in my head b/c I labored without any meds or pitocin with my first for 20 hours and I know how painful our own contractions can be but dealing with pitocin contractions without pain meds? OH hell no. Not interested. Until my pain level got to a 6/10 though the nurse said we can hold off on the epidural. I was at like a 2, even with the pitcoin.
Now this is where shit got scary. About 30 minutes after we started pitocin, I was sitting on the birth ball and my nurse rushed in the room telling me to please quickly get back into bed and lay on my left side. She put an oxygen mask on me and told me to take long deep breaths. She then hit some call button (to the nurses station?) and said she needed "more people now" and I am internally freaking the f*ck out bc obviously something is wrong. She then move me to all fours. By now there is like 5-10 people in the room with the on call OB (mine wasn't there yet) and they are talking about how the baby's heart rate had dropped too low and they are trying to position me plus give oxygen to bring it back up. Which it did come back up- he actually recovered "beautifully" they said- which honestly in that moment made every single workout and healthy lifestyle choice for the past 10 months 100% worth it. Strong Mom = Strong Baby. Does this mean that bad things can't happen in healthy labors? No. But it was reassuring to me to know that I did everything to my knowledge to prepare my body and baby for stressors (exactly like this) that can be put on them during labor.
So they then turned off the pit. My OB ordered a epidural (in case it happened again and we had to do an emergency c-section). I honestly wanted to say fuck it right then and there and have another c-section which is what I told basically asked my OB via phone. That was enough for me. She said although it was scary to me- this happens in labor and maybe the cord got pinched during a more intense contraction. She noted it wasn't time to throw in the towel yet- a VBAC was still possible. We decided to let my body labor on its own and see what happens. They planned to assess and check me again at 4am and see where I was at.
A couple hours passed- still was 3-4 centimeters. By now I had the epidural, which by the way makes contractions a BREEZE lol. Such a huge difference than no epidural. We used the peanut ball and switched my position every 30 minutes. I had to dilate after all- which was my problem last time. I got to a 5 then started swelling because Kenzie was too big to fit through my pelvic inlet. So basically I got to a 5 then started going backwards because my cervix was swelling.
Around 1am (I think?) they started pitocin again bc my contractions still weren't picking up. Around 2am the heart rate dropped AGAIN. My nurse was in the room this time- same routine. She called for help and "more people" put me on oxygen, on all fours everyone rushed in. I was naked this time by the way ass in the air on all fours, vagina out. In the moment you don't care bc you're just worried that your baby is going to be ok but after all is good you look back like OMG how mortifying. Lol. I'm sure they are used to it. Anyway, this time they gave me a shot of something that basically stops labor. They checked me again and I was still 3-4 centimeters. I am sure once I got to 5 I would have started swelling. Same thing, different birth. This time my OB called it- we would have a repeat c-section. The cord was likely bunched up somewhere or getting caught or pinched and it was getting cut off during contractions. If I was close to a 10 maybe we could have kept going but I had a long way to go and was making like no progress over the course of several hours.
(my amazing husband was so supportive the whole way. So lucky to have such a great partner in life).
30 minutes later my OB was there, we reviewed the night, the reviewed some things about the c-section and got ready for surgery. C-sections are hard. I had serious PTSD after my first one. I was so heart broken over it. This time- I knew it was possible and I went into labor with an open mind so I wasn't nearly as disappointed. I just wanted my baby to arrive healthy.
At 3:53 am Leo was born. Again handful of people saw him before did, I saw a picture of him on my husbands phone before I saw him in real life. It sucks. C-sections suck. The recovery is hard. I hate the fact that the one thing my body should be able to do as a woman- it can't. If I made 6 pound babies it could (maybe) but not when I made 8-9 lbs babies. I married a division 1 football player. He is big, then men in his family are just as big or bigger. It's not will, it's not about 'letting my body to what it's supposed to.' I tried- both times. The out come was this- c-section or bust.
At the end of the day, I wouldn't have been able to vaginally birth either one of my babies. My OB said that my hips are normal sized but my inlet is just VERY narrow and would not fit babies that are 8-9 lbs. After opening me up, she noted Leo wouldn't have fit either, same as she noted with Kenzie. Some of her tools wouldn't even fit which I guess never happens.
I used to be so against medicine. Pain meds, c-sections, other intervention meds and then I realized through my own experiences that modern medicine is amazing and saves lives and without it I wouldn't probably wouldn't be here and neither would my boys. So I am thankful for it. I praise it. It may not always be necessary as many people would argue, but it was necessary for me. Both times. It's a little heart breaking that I will never be ale to experience a vaginal birth as I imagine there is something magical about bringing your baby into this world.
I am thankful that I had such an amazing hospital, nurses and especially my OBGYN who I just can not say enough great things about. She was always supportive of my wishes with both pregnancies, she is just above and beyond anything you could ever ask of an OB. I wish every woman could experience such an amazing rapport with their OB.
It can be super frustrating when your child only wants to eat French fries for breakfast, lunch, dinner. There are still some effective ways you can help make healthy foods favorite choices or at least more frequent choices in your home. Here are some tips to how to get your kids to eat a little bit better:
Where do foods come from? Visit a farm with your little one. Explore the crops where foods come from and how they grow. Can you try planting your own fruit and vegetable? We try to do this every season at our local farm. We go through and walk the crops and talk about all the vegetables and fruit and even let him "water" them with his water bottle. It sounds far fetched- but he loves it every time. I will offer him something new that we saw at the farm at home and remind him that he helped grow it by watering it- he at least takes one bite!
Play a guessing game! This is for a little bit of an older kid- but its fun and works! Prepare several foods for your child to taste while he or she is blindfolded. See if your child can identify each food. Help your child use words to describe what he or she tastes, such as salty, sweet, crunchy, smooth, warm, cold and so on.
Try something new. Allow your child to try a new fruit or vegetable. When you go to the store let them pick out something that's a little different and new to them. Maybe a jicama, mango or a papaya! Let them be a part of cutting it up or prepping it when they get home and have them taste their handy work. I will say- no matter what I am making if I let Kenzie play "chef" he always will at least taste one bite.
Do a taste test or a crunch test! Dip carrots into three different flavors of low-fat dressing or try a crunch test with three different kinds of vegetables to see which vegetable crunches the loudest!
Glam up fruits and veggies- Did you know that adding raw spinach to any smoothie is almost completely tasteless?! You can make a breakfast smoothie for your little one that had vanilla almond milk, avocado, ground chia seeds (omega 3), banana, strawberry, raw spinach and ice. It tastes sweet and it packed with healthy foods and healthy fats (for brain development).
Don't give up. They say it can take 10 times to try a food before you like it. Even if you put it in their lunch or on their plate and they don't eat it- you are still winning. be patient- being a picky eater is pretty normal and part of children's development. They will come around as long as you make healthy food available, don't give in to letting them live on candy and junk food, and lead by example.
I get lots of requests for ab workouts for pregnancy. Here are some basic yet effective moves that are safe for all trimesters.
Directions: Try these moves completing 45 seconds of each move (on each side) then 15 seconds to transition to the next move (or to the opposite side). Take breathers when you need to and try to go through this circuit 2-3 times.
Tip: If at any time you see "coning" in your abs, refocus on core engagement and activation. If you are unable to stop "coning" during the exercise, please take the modifications, slow down, or go lighter in weights. Our goal is to help prevent ab separation and if you are coning we are promoting it.
If you have any questions please let me know! Stay tuned for more workouts and workout videos coming soon! Enjoy! -Nancy
I'm about 7 1/2 months pregnant and this is my first pregnancy update- lol.
I am going to be honest with you. I really don't love being pregnant. It's just not my fav thing. Don't get me wrong I am obsessed with my son and already in love with the one on the way but the actual journey of being pregnant and all the things that come along with it- just not my fav. To the women who say they love being pregnant and miss their belly after its gone, I envy you. I also at the same time sort of think you are full of it :P j/k
Here are some updates with my pregnancy so far:
Weight Gain: 13 lbs about the same as last time, maybe a little less.
Baby: It's a boy (if you didn't know) he is measuring 3 lbs 4 ounces (but who knows if that ish is accurate). He is BUSY. He is head down (hopefully for good) and I already feel very connected to him.
Cravings: Ice cold water (just like pregnancy 1) I must drink 4 liters a day easy. I also have been really into salmon avocado brown rice sushi rolls. Been having this like twice a week. Yes, its raw. I like to live on the edge.
Nutrition: Honestly good. I can't have gluten or dairy or eggs so its honestly pretty easy to eat clean. Anything yummy I would want to cheat on includes one of those ingredients so I just don't eat it. I hate cooked veggies right now but am fine with raw so I have been doing raw veggies and lots of salads.
Sleep: Kinda sucks, but getting better. For like two weeks I would wake up and stay awake for like 2 hours in bed. It was SO annoying. I think that's over though. Hopefully.
Currently having trouble with: Balancing work, pregnancy and mom life. Why is this so hard. I always feel like I am short changing something.
Currently working on: Being present in the moment when I am with my son and husband. My mind is always racing, thinking about work, what I need to do, what I forgot to do, how to be more successful, what to study next that can bring more to my programs and better results to my clients. The list honestly goes on forever. I've been trying to put my phone face down and not look at it when I am with them. Every time my mind drifts to work I try to give myself a mental nudge to bring myself back into the moment with my family. It's hard but I think it's important and I think our kids notice if we are really present or not.
Nursery: I have the design but haven't bought one effing thing yet. I am behind. So busy- who has the time to even online shop when you have kids and a crazy ass schedule?! Here is the design or mood board for it- what do you think? I'm so happy with it! My friend Jenny Leu from @forestandj helped me with it. I can't wait to bring it to life! I'll share more as we put it together. You can check out Jenny's designs here: https://www.instagram.com/forrestandj/
Work: It's great, its crazy. I know I seem like I have a ton of energy, which I guess I do, but honestly by the time Sunday comes around (I work 6 days a week) I am really beat. I will probably stop all of my private client sessions soon. It's just too much. MY goal when I got pregnant was to not work 10-12 hour days anymore, which is honestly what most of my weekdays were. I cut back on some things and tried to simplify but it's all crept back up and I'm working at least 10 hours a day again. So I have to change that asap. It's just too much. Mama is getting big and tired and I also want to have more time with my son before he isn't an only child anymore.
One thing I want to do for myself: I haven't had a pedi or manicure in probably 6-10 months? I can't even remember the last time. Going to find the time to do this before birth.
Workouts: I train 4-5 days a week. Usually 4 and well, you see what I do on my page. Cross-fit or strength and conditioning usually x 2 a week and Barry's Bootcamp 2-3 days a week. I think this is a great program for pregnancy. This is also exactly what I do when I am not pregnant. My weights have dropped by 15% maybe 20% on some lifts from what I do not pregnant. For those of you that speak Barry's, pre-pregnancy my jog pace is 7.0-7.5MPH depending on the day. Now it is more like 6.0MPH and sometimes if I feel good I'll finish the interval at advanced speeds. I have been able to sprint at advanced speeds (12.5MPH and higher) the whole pregnancy. Recently I did a very stupid thing and went to a spin class and it f*cked my hips ALL up. Been trying to get re-aligned and loosened up to get rid of some pubic discomfort I had because of it. Spin DOES not agree with my body. Even not pregnant- just not my friend. Anyway, I have been doing a lot more inclines instead of speed when running bc of this and even one week I only worked out 3 times to give myself a chance to loosen up and reset. I feel a lot better. I think I should be good now.
Birth Plan: fu*k it, you guys. I think I want to try for a natural VBAC. Yes, maybe I am crazy but this has ALWAYS been a dream of mine. I don't think I've ever wanted to achieve a physical and mental goal so badly in my life. And I have had a lot of physical goals given my line of work and lifestyle. I get it, if you don't get it. Last time, things didn't work out. Hopefully this time it will be different. If you're new to my page you can find my birth story of what happened with my first son here: https://nancyandersonfitness.myshopify.com/blogs/news/kenzies-birth-story
I'll try to do another one of these at some point. Xo- Nancy
Nancy Andersonis a certified fitness trainer, nutrition consultant, pre and post natal specialist and one of the most sought after celebrity trainers in Orange County CA. She is a Trainer for the Pear Sports fitness app and a Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp. Nancy was named one of the top 10 Trainers to follow by Self Magazine and recently just published her first ebook on her nutritional plan ‘Nancy’s bible diet’.
Nancy’s extensive education in health and fitness, combined with her passion for working with people to help them live their best and healthiest lives, continues to take her career to new heights.Most recently, after experiencing pregnancy and motherhood firsthand, Nancy has found a deep passion for working with fellow fit moms who also do-it-all.In addition to being a certified pre- and post-natal trainer, Nancy also created a full pregnancy workout program (for all trimesters) that is featured on the Pear Sports App. Nancy is here today to talk about why you’re struggling to lose that extra baby weight while breastfeeding. You can find Nancy on herwebsite,Instagram,Twitter, andFacebook.
You know what’s crazy? Having a baby and everyone under the sun telling you “ohh all the baby will melt right off as long as you breastfeed.” and then it well, it doesn’t at all happen for you. I gained just about 30 lbs with my first baby; nine pounds of which was him, another 10 dropped off that first week and then BAM as soon as my milk came in that weight loss halted and wouldn’t budge.It stayed like this just about the whole time I was breastfeeding (almost a year!) until I made a few very important changes.
3 reasons why you’re not losing weight while Breastfeeding:
Hormones: In general so many people dismiss the role that hormones play in, well everything, including weight loss.When you’re breastfeeding (and not ovulating yet) your estrogen and progesterone are typically low. This causes problems for those who want to lose weight because low estrogen can slow down our metabolism making it harder for us to drop lbs. The combination of low estrogen and progesterone makes us a lot more sensitive to sugar and carbohydrates not only making us crave them more but making our insulin more sensitive when we do eat them.Which of course is going to make it harder for us to lose weight, especially belly fat.
Adrenal Function: Late night, mid-night and early morning feedings are far too familiar for breastfeeding moms during that newborn phase. The lack of sleep paired with the estrogen/progesterone state during a highly stressful time can really jack up or cortisol levels (stress hormone) and send our adrenals into working in overdrive which can cause weight loss resistance.
Not Eating Enough or Nutrition Deficiencies:While you’re breast feeding your body needs fat. Keep in mind that most of your milk is made up of fat. So if your body is not getting enough fuel, or the right fuel from what you’re eating your body will hold on to fat stores. You have to fuel properly to get your body to relax, trust you and starting letting those fat stores go (shrink). In your bodies defense, this is it’s way of protecting you and your baby from starvation.
3 ways to jump start weight loss without losing your milk supply:
Ditch some sugar and carbs out of your diet and replace it with healthy fats:High sugar causes high insulin and high insulin doesn’t help us lose weight or support our adrenals. Of course you want to still have carbs in your diet still, but try to choose healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, fruits, beans, quinoa, brown rice.Start adding in healthy fats into every meal (just a serving or so would be great). Healthy fats will assist with milk supply, energy, insulin control, hunger control, not to mentionbetter brain function and mood while decreasing your risk of depression.Any Mama who has been deep in that newborn phase can appreciate those last few benefits! Good sources of healthy fats would include: nuts, seeds, grassed butter, fatty fish, nut butters and oils such as coconut or flax oil.
Control your stress:This is easier said than done when you’re a new Mom but try to find some time for yourself. If it’s just 30 minutes to workout or go for a walk or get your nails done. It’s amazing what just a few minutes alone can do to help calm your nerves, recharge and rejuvenate. Try to get a family member, babysitter or your spouse to help make this happen for you. People are always willing to help with a newborn- take advantage of it and take a few minutes for you.
Get some rest:Again this can be hard when you have a new baby. As a Mom the biggest suggestion I can give new Mom’s is to get your baby on a routine and schedule as soon as possible. This is hard work at first, but I would do it ten times over because of how much freedom and rest it gave me in the long run. When you get your infant on a set schedule you get a happier baby with more consistent sleep schedule and longer stretches of sleep throughout the night. The sooner you can do this the sooner you’re going to start reducing your stress, relieving your adrenals and losing weight. Not to mention start feeling like a human being again! If the sleep training thing isn’t something that you’re conformable doing then at least try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Forget about cleaning up, checking emails, or laundry, just take the rest while you can.
In closing,be kind to yourself. Being pregnant is hard,having a baby is hard, taking care of an infant is hard.Remember this is temporary.If you’re holding weight because you’re breastfeeding it will eventually drop when you wean.Hang in there Mama!
Must be Omega-3s on the Brain: How to Give Your Baby’s Brain Some Serious Love So we’ve been told for a while now that consuming omega-3s is essential for optimal adult nutrition, but did you know that it is a building block for baby’s growing brain?
Expecting mamas with high levels of one of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), at the time of delivery give baby a huge advantage in nutrition. Scientists have formulated various ways to test general developmental markers such as problem solving and language development, to measure brain development in infants whose mothers consumed omega-3s in comparison to those who did not. In fact, Dr. Emily Oken, a professor in the department of Nutrition at Harvard University conducted a study in 2004 and found that higher omega-3 consumption during pregnancy resulted in higher visual recognition memory and higher scores of verbal intelligence in the infant. Ultimately, there is a large amount of data that suggests that omega-3 fatty acid intake during pregnancy is crucial for fetal brain development and continues later in life through the child’s neurodevelopment. Dr. Jaclyn Coletta-Luca and her colleagues from Columbia University Medical center also found that omega-3 fatty acid deprivation during pregnancy is associated with impaired developmental and behavior scores later in the infant’s life.
It’s hard to keep up with constantly changing science, but we can rely on one thing for certain: DHA level during pregnancy is linked to baby’s development. The human body does not make the essential fatty acid DHA, so the best way for you to achieve high DHA levels is through your diet! Expecting mamas should aim to consume anywhere from 300-500 mg of omega-3s (or 1 serving of omega-3 rich food) daily.
Your best source of omega-3s will come from food; avoid solely relying on your DHA pill supplement to cover your mg amount. As far as healthy food options goes, seafood is a popular source for getting your omega-3s. A lot of expecting mamas avoid consuming fish during their pregnancy, but that shouldn’t be the case- you can find a separate blog post I wrote about eating fish while pregnant here).
More great options are omega-3 fortified eggs, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts. And a word on supplements- any supplement you choose to take should serve as back-up for whatever your food is lacking. It is EXTREMELY important that if you choose to use a supplement, that you are consuming the highest quality supplement possible. Because supplements are exempt from FDA regulation, it makes it hard for consumers to weed out the good from the bad; did you know that some supplement suppliers secretly make their products with pesticides or fillers?
When choosing a supplement, be on the lookout for seals of approval from third parties that test whether the supplement was well-manufactured, that it contains only the ingredients listed on the label, and that they do not contain harmful levels of contaminants. Here is a supplement that I love and TRUST.
You can find it on Amazon by clicking on this link: http://rstyle.me/n/cqaf9qb9r77
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Let’s Talk about Fat.
Lately it seems that most health and fitness bloggers are either telling their readers to consume a lot of fat or advising their readers to avoid fat completely. Yikes. And to make matters worse, when it comes to eating, 90 percent of Americans consume the wrong kind of fat anyways.
Allow me to tell you here and now: it is SO important to understand the impact of different types of fats on the body. And just to set the record straight, you absolutely need to consume healthy fats in most of your meals. The better and higher quality the fat, the better your body will function. Did you know that the average person holds anywhere from 15-30% of fat in their bodies? Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks; it is used every time the body needs to build cell walls. In fact, there are more that 100 trillion cells in your body. Yup, that’s right- 100 TRILLION. And you guessed it; every single one of them needs high-quality fat to be constructed and to properly function.
Now that you know how big a role fat plays in your body, it’s time to figure out which fats your body needs and why the kind of fat matters for cell production or organ function. Just think about it like this: imagine you’re starting a new project- you’re going to build a home or maybe you’re going to build a car. Would you build the frame of the house or car with strong, reliable and high-quality material? Or, would you just use the cheapest crap you could find? If you choose to go the cheap route and don’t use high-quality material- and maybe you’re like me and you’ve run into this issue with your home (oops)- problems almost always come up. We end up having to strip things back down and ultimately fix the problem from the inside, out. If we had just chosen the high-quality material in the first place, we wouldn’t be working twice as hard now to fix a preventable problem. And sure, maybe the problems start small; a leak here or crack there, but small problems add up. Worse still, small problems can also be signs that there is even greater damage than we thought.
I like to think of the human body in the same way.
If you want to fuel your body with the cheap and easy stuff (like most Americans), then opt for the typical prepackaged, fast food. When this is the fuel that you give your body, this is what your body is forced to put to work to build cell walls. When cell walls are built using foods with shitty-to-no nutrition, they end up being shitty quality. That means the cell walls will be stiff and hard, with no flexibility at all. When cell walls aren’t flexible, they are more vulnerable to inflammation, which causes sickness and disease and the functions of the cells become much, much slower.
To change the cells in our bodies from rigid to flexible, AKA completely rebuild our body’s structure; requires us to change our diet. This means incorporating those good, high-quality fats and limiting consumption of the bad fats. And this whole process can take up to a year. The hardest part isn’t finding the information (you have it now!), but being patient and consistent with a new way of eating.
Here are a few pointers to help you choose better quality fats, ones that will help rebuild your cell walls in the right way:
1. Increase your omega 3 fats. You can source this fat through cold-water fish, organic (not optional- always go organic!!) canola oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, flax oil Brazil nuts, and/or sea vegetables.
2. Avoid trans fat and shitty processed fats completely, such as: safflower, soybean, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils; margarine and shortening.
3. Source your fats from this power group: coconut butter; organic, virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil; organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil; MCT oil; organic flax seed oil; organic, expeller-pressed refined avocado oil; walnut, pumpkin seed, pistachio and hemp oils
Let’s keep in mind, there is a reason that most Americans are eating bad fats- they are usually the cheapest, fastest option. Healthy fats (or foods that use healthy fats) can be very expensive, hard to find, or take some time to prepare. For these reasons (not because people actually want to be unhealthy) is why consuming healthy fat is low on most people’s list of priorities. My hope is that with more widespread knowledge about healthy fats, people will start to make small but mightier choices for their bodies. And in due time, food industries will follow and realize what the consumer actually wants. It might-be a far-fetched dream, and no-doubt one that will take years, but my hope is that by sharing this knowledge we can make healthier changes for ourselves and eventually, for our society as a whole.