After having my first baby, I was so proud of my body for bouncing back pretty quickly. I never quite got my pre-baby abs back, but my body shed about 20 pounds within a few weeks of giving birth, and lost most of the rest within about 6 months (honestly, I don’t know exactly because I don’t own a scale!). I nursed my daughter for a little over two years, and was one of those happy breastfeeding cases — I just breastfed myself back to my former body! (Read about my journey the first time around)
Five years later, the second time has been quite different. Though I’m doing everything the same as round one — extended breastfeeding, eating super healthy (give or take a bit of extra pandemic vegan ice cream), and working out way more than usual (hello, home all day!) — my body is stubbornly holding on to more extra weight than I’d care to admit… a full YEAR after giving birth.
Why is this happening??!?! Does breastfeeding actually help you lose weight? What can I do to lose some of this stubborn weight without compromising my milk supply?
I’ve had this article sitting in my drafts for a while, and figured now is the perfect time to finish it up. Obviously, these recommendations are useful for the whole year, but I think focusing on them right now during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially important.
Have you noticed that kids tend to be little mucous making machines? Runny noses seem to be just par for the course in childhood, and once they start school, they seem to jump from one illness to another the whole year round.
With the current lockdown many of us have been under for the last 6 months, you may have noticed that your kids are the healthiest they’ve ever been. But come the fall/winter season that’s right around the corner, you may find that your kids start getting those telltale sniffles, even in isolation!
There are a few simple reasons for this:
Babies and little kids are still building their immune systems, and their bodies can’t always keep up with the loads of germs they are exposed to every day. Between putting everything in their mouths as babies, to sub-par personal hygiene as toddlers and kids, their bodies are being barraged by germs all day long. This is actually a good thing, as it helps their bodies build strong immunities, but often poor sleep or diet catch up with them, and their little systems just can’t keep up.
Childhood is the Kapha type of life. In Ayurveda, Kapha dosha is characterized by growth, building, and mucous. Regardless of what your kiddo’s innate body type (or dosha) is, the first third of life is the time of Kapha, which means their little bodies naturally carry more fat, create more mucous, and grow, grow, grow. If we don’t feed them the right diet for their body types and the Kapha time of their lives, they will inherently be more prone to mucous, runny noses, and colds.
Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to support their systems, balance their Kapha, and strengthen their immune systems year round, and if they do get sick, there are plenty of healthy, natural cold remedies for babies and kids to get them healthy faster.
Below I’m sharing my favorite tools, both Western and Ayurvedic, for helping kids stay healthy.
There is nothing sadder than a sick little baby, is there? Worse yet, is the feeling of powerlessness that comes from not having a lot of options at your disposal as a parent to help your little one. Thankfully there are a few things you can do that really work wonders to relieve baby’s cold symptoms and make them feel more comfortable.
Here are my favorites that I turn to whenever one of my babies is sick.
2019 has come and gone, and a new year is finally upon us. While many are ready to move on from last year, many more of us are not sure what direction to take for the upcoming year. If you are still struggling to make your New Year’s resolution, or maybe even have given up on making one altogether, then here’s an idea for you: Make 2020 the year of wellness.
While the idea of promoting wellness may seem like an abstract and lofty goal, it really isn’t. Once you begin to consider your well-being seriously, you will notice the tangible effects it has on every aspect of your life, from physical health to social interactions and beyond. If you’re still not convinced, here is how you can make 2020 the year of wellness.
The Power of Positivity
Your path to wellness begins with the right frame of mind. So often, we get bogged down in negativity and self-doubt that we deny ourselves valuable experiences and opportunities to pursue what we love. Positivity, much like personality, is unique for everyone. We all have different activities that pique our interests and bring us joy. As you begin to create a year of wellness, you will need to find ways to boost positivity in your life. This could be anything from taking time to meditate and organize your thoughts, to reading a book that inspires and motivates you.
Creating a Sound Mind and Body
Once you begin to feel positivity enter into your life, you must capitalize on its effects. Take that good energy you’ve created for yourself and use it to enhance your physical and mental health. Part of embodying the idea of wellness is trying to become your best possible self. Engage your body in physical activities such as swimming, jogging, and yoga to help you breathe more deeply, run longer distances, and feel stronger. Many find that a fitness tracker or smartwatch can enhance their fitness routine. When deciding which type of device is the best fit for you, consider which features you need and how much you’re prepared to spend.
Being well is strengthening not only your body, but also your mind. Meditation, reading, and academic pursuits are ideal for increasing focus and stretching creativity. The power of improving your mental and physical health can do wonders for your wellness, which is why so many people who suffer from anxiety, addiction, and depression use physically and mentally stimulating activities to improve their lives.
Discover Something New About Yourself
Nothing can be more motivating than watching an idea that started in your brain manifests itself in the real world. As you focus on making 2020 the year of wellness, you shouldn’t be afraid to push your mind and body to achieve new things that you have never done before. This could be writing down a story you thought up while jogging outdoors or reaching a new fitness goal that you have never been able to do before. As you reach for new heights, you will feel a level of satisfaction that brings you pride, self-confidence, and motivation to keep reaching further.
Improving your wellness is a process that begins with positivity and ends with you pushing yourself to do things that will help you be a better person. It isn’t a resolution that can happen in a few weeks at the gym or a month in a book club, but instead calls upon you to continually give and grow and push yourself further and further. If 2019 felt like a step back for you, why not take two steps forward this year?
Dana Brown lives in Miami. She created Health Conditions to provide readers with content that will help them make healthier decisions for their lives.
When my husband and I were trying to get pregnant with our first kiddo, we ran into hurdle after hurdle. When all was said and done, we had gone through 8 (maybe 10?) cycles of IUI (intrauterine insemination), two surgeries between us, and a whole host of testing, stress, drama and strain on our relationship over the course of nearly two years.
Then, we took a trip out west, had a wonderful long weekend together planning for an eventual cross-country move, took all the pressure and stress off, and got pregnant naturally, with no interventions. I’m not going to say that getting out of dodge (or stressful NYC) was the magic bullet, but I will say that among the major fertility issues we experienced, stress and living somewhere that was just no longer making us happy was a big factor.
The second time around, 3 years later, we assumed we would run into the same issues. But lo and behold, we got pregnant on the first try. Again, I’m sure there were many factors that contributed to our success. Our lives were very different — we were settled in lovely Santa Monica, California; we had a much higher quality of life than we did in bustling New York, with much more exposure to nature, sunshine, and farm-fresh food; we were healthier, happier, and much more balanced (even with a precocious 3 year old in tow). And of course, we had the benefit of having remedied a lot of the fertility health issues that we had discovered the first time. But I was still astounded.
Needless to say, as a holistic nutritionist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, I’ve always strongly believed in a non-Western approach to boosting fertility. Looking at all contributing factors such as diet, stress, lifestyle, quality of relationships, happiness, is just as important to fertility as identifying and treating underlying medical issues, but these factors are all too often ignored, even by the best reproductive endocrinologists.
So let’s dig into them, and let me share with you the 5 most important things you can do, at any age (within reason), to boost your fertility and get pregnant naturally.
Is your skincare and beauty routine ‘clean’? Most of us know to avoid products with parabens and chemicals, but it can get tricky to determine if your favorite shampoo or skin cream is safe – especially because the government isn’t doing anything to ensure safety in beauty product ingredients. Meanwhile, some manufacturers hide chemical components under other phrases on their labels, since the FDA doesn’t have the authority to regulate the manufacturer’s labeling when it comes to ‘trade secrets’.
But we’re getting smarter about the harmful effects of chemicals in our skin and hair care products. Consumers are questioning the science behind the treatment and beauty products they use, while celebrities and product brands are pushing forward toward natural and clean beauty.
As a result, brands have been forced to be more transparent and honest about the formulations behind their products, and the Clean Beauty space has exploded in recent years.
Some of the top clean beauty product trends to look for this year are…
There is something magical about mornings. Before the kids wake up, before we start checking our email or dealing with our never-ending to-do list… there is quiet. There is calm. Taking time for yourself in the morning is one of the most powerful things you can do to cultivate wellness, ease, focus, and a sense of control in your busy day. By creating an intentional morning routine, you will find yourself making healthier choices for your body throughout the day, experiencing less stress, exhibiting more patience with your family, and getting more done in your work. Enter: your Morning Power Hour.
In Ayurveda, the daily self-care routine is called dinacharya, which is a customized set of practices (most of which take place in the morning) that drastically improve your health and mindset, balance your body, and set the tone for your entire day. Though the full, traditional dinacharya is rather extensive and can take multiple hours, I have had great success in creating a modified routine that takes no more than an hour (and can even be accomplished in less if need be), fits into our busy modern lives, and yields amazing results.
Below is a basic Morning Power Hour dinacharya that you can modify, add to or subtract from based on how much time you have to dedicate to self-care in the morning, and customize for your body/mind type (or dosha).
Towards the end of summer, those of us blessed with sensitive skin seem to be in a constant state of redness. All that sun and heat combine to create a perfect storm of oily/sweaty skin, breakouts, and sun damage which don’t seem to clear up until the cool fall weather kicks in.
For sensitive skin (Pitta skin, if we’re going to get all Ayurvedic about it), there are two skincare ingredients that can’t be beat: aloe vera and rose. These two are great for use year round, but are particularly beneficial during the hot summer months, when sensitive skin can get particularly inflamed. Here’s why these two cooling, calming ingredients can’t be beat:
Aloe vera has been used since ancient times for it’s healing properties, and though it has many benefits, skincare is where it really shines. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, aloe is used to soothe inflamed skin, counter the signs of aging, heal sun damage, and to treat chronic conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne, and psoriasis. It’s loaded with antioxidants and skin-feeding nutrients, and features two phyto-hormones (Auxin and Gibberelins) that heal wounds, soothe inflammation, and promote cell turnover. It’s pretty much the perfect skincare ingredient!
Rose is another ancient skincare ingredient that is basically a magical beauty potion. Perfect for all skin types, rose petals distilled into rosewater are anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial and antioxidant. It balances skin’s pH and oil production, unclogs pores, reduces redness, heals inflammatory skin conditions (like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea), and promotes cell regeneration. Women (and men, I’m sure) as far back as ancient Egypt and India have touted it’s ability to keep skin youthful, glowing, and beautiful. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the scent of rose is soothing to the nervous system, and promotes feelings of calm, joy, and openness.
These two ingredients are such a perfect match that combining them in your skincare routine really amplifies their soothing and beautifying effects. So you can imagine how pumped I was to discover Green Leaf Naturals, an entirely organic, all-natural skincare line that harnesses the beautifying, soothing power of these two all-star ingredients.
As a Pitta dosha, your body and skin match your fiery personality. You run hot, both physically and emotionally, which means you are the most productive, organized, and Type A of all the types. You like things to get done, and to get them done your way. You are passionate about the things that matter to you, and never shy away from a heated debate. When out of balance (eating the wrong foods, overheating, not managing your stress and perfectionism), you are quite literally inflamed — prone to irritability, digestive issues (IBS, colitis, loose stool), breakouts, rashes, and inflammation of the skin and organs (pretty much anything with an -itis suffix). Download your Pitta Dosha Guide to learn more about your type and get more tips to bring your body into balance!
PITTA SKIN TYPE
Just like a Pitta-type body, Pitta skin is characterized by inflammation and sensitivity. Combination (in terms of oiliness), fair, and prone to rashes, redness, breakouts and other reactions, Pitta skin needs cooling, calming, and gentle treatments to balance it out and keep it happy. When in balance, Pitta skin is radiant and seems to glow from within. Other Pitta skin characteristics are:
a congested T-zone, often with large pores
reddish skin or blushing easily
sensitive to the sun and harsh chemicals
lots of freckles, moles, and sun damage
prone to eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and pimples
The number one best treatment for Pitta skin is cooling ingredients and foods like cucumber, aloe, and rose, internally and externally. Keeping cool helps balance Pitta both inside and out, and since Pitta skin is very sensitive to diet and lifestyle changes, keeping cool and soothed needs to be a lifelong mantra as well as a skincare prescription.
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I'm Natasha Uspensky, holistic nutritionist, Ayurvedic practitioner and healthy lifestyle expert. I created The Organic Beauty to be your resource to celebrate and learn about everything from healthy eating and living for your whole family, to natural beauty and sustainable style. I hope to inspire you to live beautifully and healthfully, in a life you love!