Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Grace.

I think we’ve all finally come to the conclusion & realization that you can’t compare your real life with anyone else’s social media life, right? I mean, we can keep talking about it because I know we sometimes need the reminder to stay in own own lane, but I think we’ve brought enough attention to the “highlight reel” that it’s pretty much understood now. So this isn’t a post about the comparison trap.
It’s about grace.
Jonathan & I have had some tough life stuff happen.
Jon’s very best friend was killed in a car accident right before our wedding. My big brother passed away unexpectedly just a few years later. The next year we lost Jon’s mom, 2 weeks before I was due with our second son. Three unexpected calls you never want to get. Three people we fully expected to be here today.
Then it was a close family member getting a cancer diagnosis. And this time last year I had a miscarriage. In May, we lost a six figure income when our business restructured, right before we were about to have our 4th baby.
It’s life. Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it? Unpredictable.
But we are seriously SO.VERY.BLESSED. The blessings we’ve experienced over that same span of time are too numerous to count. So we choose to focus on that, even in the hard.
And ya know what I’ve learned? ALL of my friends & family...the people I know best and am closest to...they could all rattle off their “lists” too. They all have their hard stuff they’ve dealt with. They may or may not put it out there, but they’re having to navigate losses, struggles, and trials in the midst of their beautiful lives. And my guess is you have too.
So I understand now, even more as I’ve grown older, that we just really need to just give everyone a lot more GRACE. Because everyone you meet is probably carrying around some heavy stuff, just like you are and just like I am. And chances are, even if they are open & transparent about it, & even if everything looks beautiful & happy in all their posts (because there probably really is a lot of beautiful & happy too, even in the hard), we still have no idea their whole story.
So can we just be happy for people when they’re experiencing victories? Cheer them on? And pray for them when they need prayers & are hurting? And not place expectations on others? And be quicker to forgive & assume the best in someone’s intentions? Goodness, our world could sure use a lot more of that!! Less worrying about things we can’t control, and way more intentionally choosing grace. Staying in our own lane, but with a whole lot more thinking about others and a whole lot less thinking about ourselves.
GRACE.
And just in case you’re reading this and don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, do you know who was/is my rock during all of that? My husband is beyond incredible, smart, talented, & hard working, but it wasn’t him. My children bring me so much joy & are my world, but it wasn’t them. My parents and family are so helpful & generous, but it wasn’t them. My friends are some of the best & so encouraging and supportive, but it wasn’t them either. That’s too much weight to put on any person, or even your village. But it’s never too much for God.
“On Christ the solid ROCK I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” 
He knows. He cares. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. He’ll give you a peace that passes all understanding. He’s a good, good Father. And I’m so grateful for his good GRACE.
Let’s pass that same grace on to others today...

Monday, December 9, 2019

Emmie Kate's Newborn Photos

We took our sweet girl's newborn photos when she was 10 days old.

Brittany always does such a great job with the babies...she has a gift! We call her the baby whisperer, and I love that she has been able to capture all of our sweet Butler babies!

It is a LOT of work & feels stressful trying to get everyone ready, but it's always SO worth it and I always cherish these photos. I didn't have time to get the boys anything to wear since two of them just had major growth spurts, so I just let them wear their big bro shirts.

The newborn shoots usually take a few hours because you have to nurse the baby, etc. to get them to sleep. Jonathan was ready to go after about an hour & a half, so I didn't get quite as many of just EK as I wanted (since we did all the family pics first), but the ones we did get were so precious!

So thankful for these sweet babies!

 

 





 

 

 















Thank you, Lord, for this sweet girl!!

*********
And here is her birth announcement...



Saturday, November 30, 2019

Immune Boosting Hacks During Flu Season

Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 
Image result for an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
It’s that time of year again, folks. The dreaded "flu season."

My goal, like all the rest of the mamas, is to keep myself and my kiddos as healthy as possible all the time. My biggest concern with flu specifically is that I have a newborn and a kiddo with asthma, so I really want to be as proactive as possible in preventing it. I've done quite a bit of reading and research and even took a masterclass with a holistic pediatrician on this topic, so I wanted to share some of my favorite homeopathic/natural remedies for boosting immune systems and keeping everyone well. (For the record, it’s not fool proof. Me and one of the boys had a cold just last week. But I do believe these practices help significantly + shortens the duration when they do come down with a little something.) I don’t think there are many things more heartbreaking than seeing your baby not feeling well, so I want to help with that some if I can.

**I also have an awesome FB group called “Health Mama/Healthy Kiddo Hacks” where all my mama & grandmother friends share their fave resources, ask questions, etc., and I’d love for you to join us there if you like. You can just click on that link & request to join.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I am not offering any medical advice/prescribing anything here. I am simply sharing what we choose to do for our boys to boost their immune systems. I do believe parents are the best advocates for their own children’s health, and I highly encourage parents to do their own research/consult with a doctor on each of these supplements to make the best possible decisions for their babies.

Here are some of our fave homeopathic and natural immune boosting secrets. (I included direct links to purchase.)
  • Don’t wear shoes in the house. SO simple! Have you ever thought about all of the yucky germs/viruses/bacteria you're tracking in on the bottoms of shoes? Think about what is on the floor of public restrooms, doctor's offices, in elevators, etc. that you're tracking in! YIKES!! I have a friend who is a childhood oncologist and said it's one of the first things he recommends to his patients family. Easy peasy- just take shoes off at the door. And NEVER set shoes on surfaces where you eat like kitchen tables or countertops. (I used to do this without thinking about how DISGUSTING it really is. And I also quit practicing the "5 second rule" since people do still wear shoes in our house. I'm trying!) I clean our floors with a Norwex mop.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water. I’m not a fan of antibacterial soap (antibacterial disinfectants disrupt our skin microbiome) or hand sanitizer (most are endocrine disrupters) unless it's Poofy Organics, Thieves, or another homemade or more natural kind. There was actually a study in the American Society for Microbology journal that said water is extremely effective in killing influenza A. Teach your kiddos to wash their hands OFTEN & how to do it the right way. (Tip: Teach kiddos to sing their ABCs or the “Happy Birthday” song while scrubbing in between fingers, around fingernails, then use the paper towel to open the door if in public. Stay away from the hand dryers. Google that one if you don't believe me.)
Image result for how to properly wash hands

  • Nasal spray every day...especially after being in a confined environment. Hopefully you can flush out viruses before they begin colonizing in your nose. We like Xlear brand because it  contains xylitol and grapefruit seed extract.
  • Probiotics. ALL of us take probiotics, every.single.day. Over 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut, so gut health is VERY important. Your gut is often referred to as your “second brain” because so many aspects of your health (even mental health, which is astounding) is tied back to gut health. P.S. Antibiotics destroy the gut. They kill ALL bacteria, both good + bad, so probiotics are especially important in maintaining gut health while on an antibiotic and/or rebuilding it after. And we personally try to use antibiotics as a LAST RESORT.  I would recommend amping up probiotics while on an antibiotic, but you really want to take them at different times of day so thy don't counteract one another. Jon and I are taking probiotics that come in our customized IDNutrition. We have switched the boys to this one because it tastes great, is SUPER high quality with 3 strands you REALLY want, & it's really affordable. You can do the subscribe and save for convenience (can cancel, change dates, etc. at any time) and they'll even give you a 10% discount. It'll be automatically applied and deducted from retail price if you choose a date for scheduled delivery.They also have a super fun Black Friday deal that is good through Dec 4th that includes the children's multi (same one we use) and super cute lunch box.
  • Vitamin D. I think vitamin D is one of the most underrated supplements there is, and people are totally missing the mark. (Most adults are deficient too.) The liquid drops/sprays are easiest with littles, and I start at around 6 months (even while breastfeeding). I like to get as much sunshine as possible when the weather is nice because our body stores it up and this helps us fight off infections during the winter months. (I don’t use much sunscreen for this reason unless we are going to be in direct sun for extended periods.) I prefer Mary Ruths because it also contains the co-factor K-2, which helps improve absorption. (I also love her olive oil and she is having a major Black Friday sale that I'm sure is still going on,)
  • Bone broth. If you can’t get them to drink it by itself, cook with it. I use it as a base in soups, to stir fry veggies, etc. Of course it's best if you can make your own & it's actually very easy. (Just google how to do it.) If you don't want to do that, my favorite brands are Bonafide and Thrive Market Organic bone broth. I also use a chocolate bone broth protein & the boys drink it warm like cocoa.
  • Oscillococcinum is an awesome herbal remedy (my personal preference over Tamiflu because of the psychiatric side effects- you can read about them directly from the insert) if someone DOES catch the flu. I’d stock up now because when flu season hits, you can’t get your hands on any. We have friends that used this + elderberry last year and the flu symptoms eased very quickly. This can also be taken as a preventative measure. 
Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets, 30 Count/0.04 Oz each
  • Colloidal silver spray. I first heard about colloidal silver at a huge holistic health conference we attended a couple years ago. They sold me on it. You can give it daily as maintenance, and amp it up when they’re starting to come down with something. You just follow the directions (age/weight and desired outcome determines the # of sprays). You can get drops too, AND they have some for adults as well. We personally just use it when they're coming down with something.Also, make sure you choose a quality brand like Sovereign Silver & don't overdo it.
Sovereign Silver® For Kids Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol™ for Immune Support* - 2oz – Fine Mist Spray - Ultimate Refinement of Colloidal Silver - Safe*, Pure and Effective* - Premium Silver Supplement
  • Vitamin C. I first learned about orthomolecular vitamin C while watching the Healthy Child Summit with Dr. Saul. High-dose vitamin C is POWERFUL for healing! (Check out the site to read more about the benefits, how it works, etc.) Some people give it to the point of loose stools. I don’t do this, but I do give a pretty good amount if they’re coming down with something.
  • Elderberry syrup. We give this daily during flu season and amp it up if someone isn't feeling well (Reminder: NO honey for any babies! Botulism is very REAL, and their digestive tracts aren’t formed well enough to be able to handle raw honey. They say once they’re over a year old it’s okay, but I’m very conservative and don’t do any honey under the age of 2. I also don’t use as much as the recipe calls for.) We buy our own organic elderberries and make our own (Wellness Mama’s recipe, or follow the recipe on the back), but you can find someone local who makes it or buy it pre-made from Mary Ruths too.
  • Limit sugar. Too much sugar at one time shuts the immune system down for 5 hours at a time. FIVE hours!! No wonder “flu season” shows up right after Halloween & Christmas and all the parties, treats, candy, and cookies. We are basically filling them with junk and shutting their immune systems down. (For the record, I’m not a total weirdo and my kids aren’t deprived. I haven’t totally found a solution for how to navigate this and I do let them have candy & treats. I’d definitely like for them to consume less sugar though.) We should shoot for LESS than 25 g a day. When we do go to some type of celebration, I typically encourage the kids to pick one thing they want as a treat. For example, they can have a piece or cake, OR a juice box...not both. (They are their mama's child and always go for the cake!) We also don't do any juice and really try to limit candy & processed treats. 

{image from here}

  • Make sure they get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when their bodies recover, their brain grows, etc. Not getting enough sleep actually weakens the immune system & hinders their ability to fight off viruses. I know we can definitely work on getting ours in bed earlier more consistently.
**Check out the National Sleep Foundation's guide to how much sleep they need at different stages.
  • On Guard + Thieves (oils on the bottom of feet & diffuse). I use them interchangeably and like them both equally. I personally like to mix it up so they don't develop an "immunity" to it. I diffuse oils every single day & I love them as an alternative to toxic candles, scents, air fresheners, etc. I also uses Thieves hand sanitizer and sometimes I clean our house with Thieves (I just ordered some Thieves oil, but before that I made my own with a recipe I found online.) Make sure you do your research to determine what is safe for littles (not everything is) & proper dilution. Also, I personally do not ingest or use neat. I know some people do, so you’ll want to come to your own decision on that. I do not diffuse around the new baby either since her lungs are still forming and EOs are very potent. Again, I know some people do, but I'd rather not. You can find your fave oils person to get hooked up.
  • Hydrate. Let me say that again for ya..HYYYYDRATE! We live in a society that is chronically fatigued and dehydrated. Get them to drink plenty of water (at least 1/2 their body weight in ounces, and more if they're sick or sweating). I also love to give mine Hydrate because sometimes they get bored with just plain water. It has coconut water, important minerals like magnesium, electrolytes, and NO artificial colors or sweeteners. All 3 flavors taste awesome. Comes in stick packs for on the go or canisters for at home, and they are on sale right now for Black Friday

  • Nutrition. I try to help them eat real, whole foods as much as possible. Shew- this is NOT always easy! I try to offer lots of fruits + veggies. There really is power in eating the rainbow because i provides so many antioxidants and phtonutrients that strengthen our immune systems. Organic when you can. Avoid processed food, junk food, and fast food. I sneak in Superfoods when I can by making homemade smoothies, grain free muffins with Superfood blends, etc. I have some tips for getting kids to eat healthier here.
  • Juice Plus gummies. Speaking of nutrition, I like my boys to take the JP gummies because their diets aren't perfect, and this helps bridge the gap. My boys take these in addition to their daily multivitamin. I recommend continuing to give the IDLife multi too (highest quality I've found and best formulation of specific nutrients) because it contains important minerals and co-factors needed for absorption (things they aren't getting in their diet).
  • BetaKids. Beta Glucan is powerful & so beneficial! I also love that is has selenium and vitamin D. Just to save money I don't give this daily, but I do love it.
  • Cod Liver Oil. I only give it in the Fall/Winter, and other times of the year if they seem to be coming down with something. (Same with elderberry.) I've been using this brand - either the unflavored or the orange (I give it to them in a little medicine dispenser and they all take it like a champ), but am trying this brand next. 
Genexa Homeopathic Allergy for Children: The Only Certified Organic Kids Allergy & Decongestant Medicine. Physician Formulated, Natural, Non-GMO Verified & Non-Drowsy (60 Chewable Tablets)
  • V Clear. Highly recommend!! Much better than traditional cough meds, etc. in my opinion. Upper respiratory and lung health support.
  • Get moderate daily exercise. Family walks/hikes/bike rides, sports,etc. If it's too intense, it actually has the opposite effects. But staying moving, getting your body to sweat will be helpful in boosting the immune system.
  • Detox baths. You don't want to do this daily, but I like to do detox baths occasionally for the boys. You can use your own ingredients or just get this one.
  • I am not one who is quick to go to the doctor. I avoid antibiotics at ALL COST unless 100% absolutely necessary. If we’re not careful, we can develop a resistance to antibiotics which would make them less effective in the future if we ever had a serious infection and REALLY needed it. (We are starting to see the effects of this with the super bugs, and it is being addresses in the healthcare industry.) Plus, antibiotics destroy your gut by killing the good bacteria (it has know way to differentiate between the good & bad guys, so just kills them all and takes TWO YEARS for your gut microbiome to recover!). I have also found that it seems lots of antibiotic use leads to more sickly kiddos. When you don’t develop and immunity to something, you won’t be able to fight it off next time, and the weakened gut/immune system leads to contracting stronger bugs in the  future while your immune system is weakened from the previous antibiotic use. Are they absolutely necessary sometimes? Absolutely. But the reality is that most things will run their course if you allow them, and many most viruses cannot be distinguished whether they are bacterial or viral. Antibiotics are pretty useless against something viral that would need to run its course anyway, and there are better ways to manage symptoms. Of course you’ll want to use common sense/discernment here. I personally do NOT use fever reducers anymore. (With a fever, it's less about how high it is and more about how they're acting. We should be more concerned with a 99.9 acting puny and pitiful, not eating, etc. than a 103 kiddo acting totally fine.) Thankfully my boys haven’t had many fevers, but fevers are actually our bodies’ way of fighting something off. They are for our benefit. Our bodies heat up to kill whatever is trying to take us down. When we use a fever reducer, we are many times extending the life of the virus & interfering with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Febrile seizures typically happen when fevers spike very rapidly, so definitely keep an eye out for that! 
  • Also, I definitely encourage you to do some research on the topic for yourself. I recommend reading THIS BOOK (absolutely NO offense to doctors- so grateful for their knowledge! I wish it had a different title, but it is FULL of valuable info nonetheless) for a more comprehensive overview & explanation about this topic. Maybe check out this article about Tylenol raising risks of asthma. If you’re in need of a more natural pain & fever support, I recommend this homeopathic option. 
Homeolab USA Kids Relief Pain & Fever

**I also love earth clinic to look up a collection of natural cures and remedies. Awesome resource to keep in your back pocket!

Sweet mama friends, I hope this is helpful for you. I know mommin’ ain’t easy, and we all want to do the very best by our children. Praying that if you’re reading this, the Lord blesses your children with a hedge of protection and thriving HEALTH in the upcoming year! Also praying He gives you wisdom as you navigate the BEST way to take care of your babies. I truly believe God has given you instincts to know how to best care for them, but I also know that when we know better, we DO better. Knowledge (applied) is power.

P.S. I’m always looking to learn! Anything else you use I need to know about??

Friday, November 29, 2019

Tips for Getting Healthy Prior to Conception


I am so passionate about being a mama, and that has led to me also being super about children's health. This may sound crazy, but I believe God has given me a heart for this and the faith to pray for more believers to have more babies. I have a list of babies I prayed specifically for in my prayer journal! (Some of them have come into homes via IVF and adoption, but they are being raised in godly homes and going to help advance the Kingdom,) God is faithful!

"Children are a heritage of the Lord..." - Psalm 127:3
"For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of Him." - 1 Samuel 1:27

That being said, I also believe there are things we can do in the natural to support our bodies & to get back to how they were originally designed. I have spent LOTS of time researching and studying this topic, and my research has led me to understand that having healthy children actually begins YEARS before conception. In fact, the things you are doing now are helping shape the health of your GRANDCHILDREN in terms of gut microbiome, etc. It it is really important to provide optimal "soil" for fertilization, and this requires efforts from both mom AND dad as soon as possible before ever even starting to think about trying for a baby. (We definitely have undervalued the role that a father's health plays in fertility. We want a high sperm count & quality egg, so again, both parents want to invest in their health.) With that, (disclaimer!) please know I am not a doctor and don't pretend to play one on the internet. This is not meant to take the place of any advice from a healthcare provider. This is simply a compilation of tips based on my research and what I personally do to try to be as healthy as possible before trying to get pregnant.


Also, take this for what it's worth, but I personally do NOT take birth control, will not ever take it again, and will strongly discourage my daughter from ever taking it in any form. I regret taking it for the years that I did to try to control my acne (that I probably could have cleaned up with making changes to my diet anyway). If you think about it logically, we are essentially using something synthetic and telling the body NOT to ovulate. That means when you stop taking it, your body has to readjust and your brain has to communicate to the body to begin ovulating again. And while many people do begin ovulating again with no issues after going off of birth control (our bodies are very resilient), there is also a percentage of the population that struggles with getting their cycles to ever go back to normal after years on birth control. I personally believe it's a combination of multiple factors that affect our body's ability to regulate- we eat fake food filled with artificial everything, drink contaminated water, are surrounded by environmental toxins & slathering them on our bodies, are basically living in a chemical crapstorm, are infiltrated by EMF, & live an ultra stressful lifestyle. That's a recipe for all of the health, autoimmune, and fertility issues we are facing today. (If you have really bad cycles and feel like you need birth control for that reason, there may be another underlying health issue that needs to be addressed to resolve that. As always, it's best to try to address the root rather than simply using a band aid.)

Here we go..my fave tips for getting HEALTHY!! 

Clean up your water. This is one of the very FIRST things I did and would recommend. Municipal water has some things in it you do NOT want to be consuming- from heavy metals, to fluoride, to birth control, Benadryl, & even Prozac. (Yep, most pharmaceuticals people are consuming and peeing out/ flushing are coming back into our water supply & even soil.) We have a whole house water filtration system (which for me is 100% worth the investment considering I soak/rinse my produce, wash dishes, bathe my kids, etc. in the water) & a Berkey for our drinking water that we’ve had for over 5 years.
Your water really, really MATTERS, especially when trying to conceive!! It is critical to stay well hydrated, but unfortunately if you’re not consuming clean water, it can be doing almost as much harm as it is good. There is a local town where the fish are not even reproducing at the same rate because of all of the birth control in the water supply. If it’s affecting fish at that level, what do you think it’s doing to us?
Tap Water Toxicity

**This also means being cautious with bottled water. I only choose this option when there is nothing else available, but typically I bring our own water from home with us everywhere we go. Looking into adding a travel Berkey, but for now I just fill up several stainless steel bottles and bring a Brita water pitcher when we go out of town. If you DO have to buy a bottle, I prefer Fiji or San Pellegrino.
Bottled Water Risks



Balance hormones. This can be done naturally with things like herbs, seed rotation, supplements, specific nutrition choices, etc. It may take some work, but can absolutely be done! I would look into talking to a naturopath for more support in this area because there is no one-size-fits-all protocol here. You'll want to work with someone who really knows what they're doing when it comes to herbs, etc. Here is a great place to start though.

Keep your electronic devices OFF of your body. Don't sit around with your cell phone/ipad/laptop on your lap. Encourage your hubby not to store his cell phone on his hip/in his pocket. EMF cannot be good for our reproductive organs...& we want healthy eggs/sperm.

Manage stress/get adequate sleep. Exercise is the biggest factor that helps me in BOTH of these departments. Prayer + making Bible study, quiet time, and praise and worship along with choosing gratitude help me manage my stress. Working out, shutting off all screens 2 hours before bed, or at LEAST wearing blue blocking glasses, all help with sleep. I also LOVE these Sleep strips because you don't become dependent on them, you can take them like traditional sleep aids, you don't feel groggy at all the next morning, and wake up very refreshed and not groggy the next morning. HIGHLY recommend! (P.S. you can save 10% by choosing the subscribe and save option, which is something you can cancel/defer/change at any time with no penalty. You're basically just picking a day for them to be delivered each month like I do with my toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, etc. on Amazon. And they reward YOU for choosing the convenience option by automatically giving you a 10% discount off the retail price. They are already very afforable, and this just makes them even cheaper! Here's a video about the science behind it & a product overview that tells you all about it.)

Also, I know I'm nerdy and enjoy learning and implementing #allthethings health related, but if it's more of a stressor for you, I'd probably take a step back and just focus on doing the best you can & taking baby steps. If it's an added stress, that's probably doing more harm than good. You know yourself better than anyone, so do what makes sense for your personality type and tendencies.

Take quality prenatal supplements. I just learned about this prior to my 4th pregnancy, but this go round I am opting out of folic acid and choosing methylfolate instead. If you're looking for a super high quality basic prenatal, I recommend this. If you want a more customized and personalized option, I would take this free HIPPA protected health assessment and choose the customized ID Nutrition.

Test for MTHFR gene mutation. Over 40% of the population actually has this gene mutation (myself included!) and has NO idea. That’s unfortunate because it’s actually one of the leading causes of miscarriage and infertility along with a host of other issues. It does not have to define your health though (I don’t have any symptoms from it at all other than some fatigue)...but it is important to know so you can combat it appropriately. For example, you may have trouble detoxing some things others can, such as folic acid & B vitamins, as well as heavy metals. The DNA kit I used to test for this is $100 off through December 4th (it normally retails for $249) and you'll get tons of other great health info too! Here are some links with more info about this gene mutation:
https://drjockers.com/mthfr-gene-mutation/
https://mommypotamus.com/mthfr-mutation/
http://mthfr.net/mthfr-mutations-and-the.../2011/09/07/

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MTHFR
https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/.../what-is-the.../
https://wellnessmama.com/27148/mthfr-mutation/
https://draxe.com/health/mthfr-mutation/


Go organic. I know some people think it’s a scam, but it's 100% NOT. I HIGHLY recommend putting those doubts behind you when you’re in a season of trying to conceive. I have more than one friend who went organic & saw immense benefits from a fertility standpoint.
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Avoid GMOs and processed foods. The more research I’ve done, the more I realize the importance of eating REAL, whole food! This is a time when you really want your body to be as HEALTHY as possible, and this includes both you AND your spouse. (So pretty much everything I have listed applies to him too.) You want to limit processed grains, gluten, most things in a box/package, fast food, etc. Instead, focus on consuming plenty of leafy greens & cruciferous veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, quality protein, healthy fats, and nutrient dense carbs.You may also want to chill out on some of the "cooler foods" (smoothies, cucumbers, etc.) and consume some of the warmer foods (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc.). Side note: research suggests a vegan diet is not optimal when trying to conceive. I tend to follow more of the Weston Price suggestions during this time.

Consider a fast. Before we started trying to get pregnant, Jonathan and I both did a 21 day Daniel Fast (no bread, sugar, caffeine, meat, nothing processed etc.) A couple months later, I did a 3 day water fast. That resets SO many things in your system & helps your body flush toxins. (The water fast was more for spiritual reasons, but it just so happened to come at a time right before we started trying to conceive. I’d been doing some intermittent fasting and even a 24 hour fast, so this isn’t something I’d just jump into. You should consider doing this under the care of a physician, especially if you’ve never fasted or have any health issues.

Limit caffeine, alcohol, OTC & prescription meds. I don’t drink alcohol or take any OTC or prescription meds, so that’s no biggie for me. But I do make it a point to start cutting/limiting caffeine when I’m ready to start trying.

Maintain a healthy weight. I have several friends who are OB/GYN physicians, and they have seen women get to a healthier weight (even 10 lbs) and be able to get pregnant. This applies to women who are both underweight (do not have enough body fat) and overweight. It’s important for the husbands to be at a healthy weight too.

Clean up your personal care items (deodorant, shampoo/laundry detergent, hand soap, conditioner, lotion, perfume, skincare system, makeup, etc.) If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs what you put on it almost instantly. Lots of the toxic chemicals we put on our skin are hormone/endocrine disruptors. This industry isn’t well regulated, and the average woman applies over 26,000 chemicals per day (or something like that)! I like Poofy Organics and Beauty Counter.

Eliminate toxic household chemicals. Same reason as above. (Cleaning products, etc.) If you’re still burning regular candles or have plug ins/air fresheners, I would toss them immediately. Some of my favorite products that I actually trust and there isn't any greenwashing going on is Poofy Organics. I wrote a blog post with some of my favorite products here. I also share lots of my favorite product recommendations in my FB group I mentioned earlier.

Limit BPAs & choose safer cooking options. Switch from plastics to glass when it comes to water bottles, food storage containers, etc, and choose cast iron/stainless steel (rather than non-stick cookware). Super simple swap but makes a huge difference.
**Check out this article,

If you're already healthy, consider doing a detox 6 months or so (or even longer) prior to trying to conceive. You do not want to detox while pregnant or nursing. Things like Infrared Sauna are safer closer to trying to conceive and are extremely beneficial.

Consider Arvigo therapy and abdominal massage. I did this towards the end of pregnancy & LOVED it! The info suggests it would be really beneficial prior to trying to conceive too. You can search for a certified practicioner in your area.

If you start making the healthy swaps/changes early, the new healthy habits easily become a new way of life & you don't even have to think about it. It will benefit your entire family and help the whole family live healthier even after that sweet blessing comes into the world. Super simple!! Some things you should probably just toss/donate right away, but with many of these things you can just buy a cleaner version as you run out. Easy peasy! And remember, the SOONER you can start before trying to conceive, the BETTER!

Any other tips for improving overall health & fertility?