Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weight Gain During Pregnancy & Childhood Obesity

One of favorite things about being involved with AdvoCare is the incredible trainings they provide on different topics- from financial education, debt freedom, personal growth & development and leadership, to various health issues.
It is especially neat to me that they provide opportunities for distributors to meet the doctors, be trained by them, and ask them questions. We have FULL access to them all the time, which I’m sure is unique. I have had the privilege of hearing from several of the doctors on different occasions and they are all incredible.  I recently heard Dr. Leanne Redman speak and absolutely love hearing her share a glimpse of her knowledge. She does a fantastic job of making her intelligent ‘doc talk’ understandable in layman’s terms. Dr. Redman is so passionate about her work & research (which I love and appreciate) and enjoys paying that forward and teaching us so we can help others. (Of course I wanted to pass on what I have learned in hopes it might help someone else.)
She is one of the esteemed doctors on our Science and Medical Advisory board, particularly in women’s reproductive health. (Leanne M. Redman, Ph.D., MS - Assistant Professor, Head, Reproductive Endocrinology & Women’s Health Lab, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La.) You can read a little more about her and what she does here:
Dr. Redman is currently heading up some cutting edge research on women’s health- specifically focusing on weight gain during pregnancy and how it affects children. She referred to women as the “nutritional gatekeeper of the home”…Wow, what a responsibility we have! One of her current goals is to educate mothers regarding proper nutrition, and in her current project, she is partnering with W.H.O. in hopes to see childhood obesity plateau by the year 2020.  (If you look at & you get an idea of why supplementation is so important. Also wrote this post a while back about why supplementation is important.)

The # 1 killer in America is cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the #1 risk factor is obesity (and the chronic diseases related to obesity). Unfortunately, kids are in the growing population of Americans suffering from CVD as more than 16% of children are obese.
It is no secret America is in a health crisis. According to the CDC:
Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.
Chronic Diseases are the Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the U.S.
  • 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.1
  • In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – had at least one chronic illness.2
  • Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese3 and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese (BMI ≥ 95th percentile of the CDC growth chart).4
  • More than one-third of all adults do not meet recommendations for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and 23% report no leisure-time physical activity at all in the preceding month.9
  • In 2007, less than 22% of high school students10 and only 24% of adults11 reported eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

These statistics are not surprising. As the “nutritional gatekeeper,” many women are the ones doing the shopping, cooking, meal prep, etc. Because we are so BUSY & on the go, and many mothers are working outside the home and simply don’t have enough time in the day to do it all, we often choose convenience over quality. Understandably so, but unfortunately our health & our children’s health is paying the price. (Not to mention we are living a more sedentary lifestyle than ever- have you read statistics about the amount of time a typical American spends sitting in front of a screen?) I am not blaming women by any means, but that is why I am so passionate about educating others & helping them take control of their health. Taking care of our health & our temple enhances our quality of life AND allows us to serve at a greater capacity. And THAT is my ultimate passion, calling, & goal. To serve the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength- and raise children to do the same.

According to Dr. Redman, the most CRITICAL time of development in one’s life is from pregnancy to the first two years of a child’s life. That is approximately 1,000 days….around 276 in gestation and around 730 days during the first two years of life. Nutrition in the womb has a major impact on a child’s metabolic rate, obesity potential, etc. “Many Americans of all ages struggle with weight gain, and many pregnant women work to meet new guidelines that provide healthy levels of weight gain during pregnancy. In most cases, pregnant women are gaining weight in excess of the recommended guidelines. As a result, both mothers and babies are faced with an increasing probability of negative health outcomes.” (source) Basically, the whole “eating for two” theory is a myth. And it is imperative to get in as much good, quality nutrition as possible during pregnancy. Moms-to-be focus on SO many things to give their child the best- from diaper brands, to planning the nursery, to picking out the perfect type of baby lotion. In reality, one of the best things we can do for our babies (besides pray like crazy- something else I firmly believe in) is EAT right. Check out this article that validates the importance.

I know it can be tough with nausea and cravings, etc., but when possible, we need to eat well so we set our children up well.  A growing body of research suggests we can even help prevent autism by taking a quality prenatal and eating a diet rich in Folic Acid. (source)
I know women use pregnancy as an excuse. They think of it as a time to indulge & do not like to monitor their weight.  In reality, THIS is the time to be more conscious of diet than ever! Definitely consult with your doctor to determine a game plan regarding supplements. Make sure to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible. Maybe try smoothies? (Great way to pack in some fruits and veggies!) Unfortunately many medical professionals do not have an extensive background in nutrition & do not cover it for a significant amount of time in medical school. That is why I believe it is so important to help educate others who simply may not have the knowledge.
Conclusion: What you eat during pregnancy & what you feed your children is important. Educate yourself. Make the effort. It’s worth it.
Check these out as well:
Nursing: What I Eat & What I Take
Nutrition During Pregnancy
Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
Baby Led Weaning: Introducing Solids

(Diclaimer:  I’m sure some pregnant women or mothers will be offended by this post. I gained 29 lbs with my first pregnancy and ate more junk than I should have, so I am definitely not perfect by any means. However, hearing this research makes me want to step my game up and eat even better to ensure I continue to give my kids the healthiest possible choices during their first years of life.  I wrote this post solely for the purpose of educating, informing, and helping women who may not have the knowledge. I am also not a doctor or nutritionist & encourage you to check with your medical professional before beginning any supplements.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day in Georgia

Baby Jase saw snow for the first time when we went to the Tennessee mountains in early January. had our first snow day at home on January 28, & that made it extra special! It has been GORGEOUS!!!

“Oh my goodness, Mom…is it really here? It’s SNOWING at our house?!?!”


Of course we ate lunch in front of the window…


And couldn’t WAIT for Daddy to get home from work to enjoy it with us. Thank you, Lord, for a warm home and for us all being here safely.


How about that hill for sledding?? I see some ER visits in our future…


The lake view is gorgeous. (It’s prettier in person.)


And love the snowy woods & pasture in the backyard. We really have the best of all worlds!


But my favorite view is right here….


Fun in the snow with my lil man! (Seriously, some of these are HILARIOUS.)



And my fave. Jase was being a wild man and clearly I didn’t know what to think.


“Enoooooough with the photo shoot, Mom! Get me inside!”


Fun memories with our precious little man. Thank you, Lord for all of the seasons.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Current Faves: Natural Beauty Products

I don’t use everything all natural all the time, but I know there are toxins in everything from shampoo to perfume to make up.  And for that reason, I do try to use real, natural products as often as possible. I clean our counters & wash our fruits & veggies with vinegar/water mixture, for example. These are some of my current ‘around the house’ natural products that can double as beauty products.

  • Coconut oil: I use this as moisturizer under my eyes, on my elbows, hands, knees, feet, etc. I also use it occasionally as a moisturizing treatment for my hair. (I like to wrap it up in a thin towel & blow dry with coconut oil massaged into hair so it ‘melts’ into scalp.) Make sure you wash & rinse thoroughly though or you might end up looking like this even AFTER a shower. (I slept in it through the night though & my hair looked & felt AWESOME the next day though….so aside for looking like a grease monkey when we had friends over, I’d call it a win.)


  • Grape seed oil: My mother- in- law told me about this one. She read it is an awesome facial cleanser/make up remover, so I’ve started using it a few times each week. It definitely removes the makeup and doesn’t have any harsh ingredients that some facial cleansers have. (I use the kind in the middle….found it in the health food section at Kroger…but I’m sure any kind would work.)

  • Vitamin E: I follow up the Grape seed cleanse with vitamin E under my eyes. Never too young to start taking care of the wrinkles, right? I did a LOT of damage to my skin when I was younger. Praying I don’t get skin cancer in the future & trying to reverse damage by taking in LOTS of antioxidants, wearing sunscreen daily, & avoiding the sun when possible.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Jon & I drink 1-2 tbsp in diluted water daily because it has so many benefits, BUT it can also be used as an awesome facial astringent. I use it as a hair clarifier too if I start to notice some build-up from hair products.

  • Lemon: I drink lemon in my water, but lemon juice is also great for lightening dark spots on your face. I used to have some skin issues with adult acne, scarring, & Melasma. It has drastically improved and I don’t really seem to have issues with that too much. (I think the Clarisonic, pregnancy, & staying out of the sun has helped too.)

  • Juicing: This is hands down my #1 “beauty” trick. Every single time I start juicing, I get comments for the next few days about my glowing complexion. Never fails! I don’t do it all the time because it’s such a pain to clean up, but I shoot for at least a few times a week. One of my favorites is 1 cucumber, a few stalks of celery, 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 lime, & about an inch of ginger root.


  • Epsom salt & lavender essential oil: Stress ALWAYS shows on my face. I am all about de-stressing in a long bath. LOVE some Epsom salt baths with a little bit of lavender essential oil splashed in & praise and worship music on Pandora. (My favorite Epsom salt is made by The Eco Bath- Chelsi got for me as a gift. Next fave is lavendar Soothe & Sleep by Dr. Teal’s.)


  • Baking soda: I have one friend that cleans her wedding ring with baking soda, but I use a little bit on a toothbrush every now and again to whiten my teeth.

  • Sugar in the Raw/Olive Oil: This is an AWESOME exfoliator! Just be careful…it gets slick in the shower.

  • Sleep: We love Sleep Works, but when I can’t have that because I’m pregnant or nursing (AKA the last 18 months), I drink a small glass of tart cherry juice. Jon sticks with the Sleep Works. Can’t WAIT to have that again! Only reason I can’t now is because it has lots of natural herbs that haven't’ been tested for obvious reasons. I try to sleep on my back because I’ve noticed one side of my face is aging faster from that skin always being pulled as I sleep on that side.







Any other natural product or tips you love??