I get this question ALL of the time over on Instagram (if you're not following me over there, please come join the party here!) - "what are the best non-plastic dishes for kids?" - so today I am answering that here for you (complete with links - none of these companies sponsor me in any way, these are just my honest thoughts 🙂 ).
Let's start from the baby stage! Perhaps you're bottle feeding your little one and putting bottles in a bottle warmer day after day (or hour after hour in the early days... ) and you're wondering if there is a healthier option than heating plastic up over and over again. Now I should start by saying, yes, baby bottles are BPA free - however, we are learning more and more about what companies are using in place of BPA and there is quite a bit of speculation on whether or not they actually are healthier than BPA (you can read more about it here and here).
We used Dr. Brown's glass bottles initially, but honestly, I found that they leaked and they were very heavy and I was always worried about dropping them (our twins also didn't really seem too fond of them).
Next we tried the winning ticket - Comotomo. These bottles were our FAVOURITE. They were easy to travel with because they're made of silicone and they were easy to use for feedings (especially when the girls could eventually hold the bottles on their own - this is something I would never trust them with when it comes to the glass Dr. Brown's bottles).
The only downside was that the silicone was slow to heat the milk (typically I would pump and transfer milk directly to the bottles and put them in the fridge - so we needed to heat them up prior to giving them to the girls). A little hack that worked really well for us: we used a small mason jar to heat the milk and then transferred it back into the Comotomo bottle. The milk heated up much more quickly in the glass jar (and time is very limited when you have a hungry baby [or babies] on your hands)!
We have tried a lot of cups after transitioning the girls off bottles, but these are our absolute favourites! We wanted to avoid plastics at all costs but wanted something that they could easily take on the run and drop (or throw) on the floor without worry of leaking or breaking. So here are the winners!
We started with these Stainless Steel Miracle 360 Cups and I really liked these! The biggest issue: we put smoothies in ours and found that over time the lid really soaked in the taste. I would suggest putting just water in these (they're not cheap, so repurchasing over and over is not ideal). I liked the idea of not using the sippy cup style and transitioning right to using something that mimicked an open cup (without the possibility of spilling, of course).
After we ruined these, I wanted to try out something different. We give the twins smoothies every morning for breakfast, so I wanted to make sure I could really get it cleaned so that we could also give water in the same cup. We tried these Foogo Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Sippy Cups (and still use them to this day). They're super easy to clean and I really like that the mouthpiece is silicone. This is a great choice and I highly recommend these!
At the same time that we ordered the Foogo cups I also ordered one of these cups by Green Sprouts. We still use this cup to this day and I highly recommend this one as well! It has two different mouthpieces, which I really like - a sippy style and a straw. This cup is so nice because it has a glass inside and a plastic outside. My girls throw this cup around like crazy and to this day it has not shown any signs of breaking (and we've been using it daily for over a year)! This cup also has the silicone mouthpiece, so literally nothing ever come into contact with plastic, which is amazing!
I just purchased these in March but so far am really really liking them! They're made from bamboo and super super durable (they're also made by a Canadian mom, so that's extra awesome 😉 ). The brand is Young Lux and they make cups, plates and bowls (and the prints are super cute)!
When we first started giving solids to the twins, I knew I wanted something that was easy to clean and that they couldn't easily just throw on the floor. This ezpz mat is the BEST (in my opinion) and is a must have. We still use this for almost all of their meals and they've never once thrown it on the floor. It is made of silicone and is extremely durable!
I really love these utensils for the twins. We used the spoon from the early days (and also used these silicone spoons in the very early days). They're easy to clean and easy to use - not much more to say about them 🙂
We just started using these Onyx Boxes and have been really liking them! Since the twins were little, I've had my eye on the Planet Boxes, but the price is intimidating! These are SO similar but a fraction of the price! This airtight option is great for anything that you're afraid may leak. Glass food storage containers are amazing, don't get me wrong, but when you have an aggressive little toddler carrying it around, it may be best to go with something a little less breakable 😉 .
For food items that don't need a heavy duty container, I love these reusable bags by Colibri! I even use one of these in my purse to keep all of my small items together (lip gloss, oils, etc.)
And there you have it! These are the EXACT options that we use and that I can personally recommend to you! I would LOVE to know if you're using products I haven't mentioned that you're absolutely loving - let me know in the comments!
I will continue to share what we use and what we love as the girls get older but if you have specifics you'd like to learn more about, let me know 🙂
Until next time friends,
Yours in health,
Infertility rates continue to rise in Canada and the US and now more than ever, couples are struggling to conceive. The reason behind this is largely unknown, but our exposure to environmental chemicals, the food system and our stress levels certainly aren't helping.
Getting pregnant is supposed to be easy, right? Not necessarily the case.
I say this with the most compassion because I KNOW the struggle. My husband and I struggled to conceive and at the time, fertility nutrition was not an area of interest of mine, but as it became my reality, my passion for this area exploded. Once I realized that there were things I was doing (and wasn't doing) that may have been hindering our chances of conceiving, we made some big swaps in our home and in our diets and 3 months later, we were pregnant with fraternal twin girls (I get the odd client joke about hoping I can help them conceive twins - it hasn't happened yet but we will see what this year brings!).
The power that nutrition and lifestyle changes can have on fertility are absolutely incredible and it is my life's mission to share this information with couples who need it.
If you're planning on conceiving in the next 6-12 months - these nutrition tips are important for you. We can all benefit from boosting the health of our eggs and sperm - so read my top tips below and in the next 90 days, you'll be ready to go! If you're looking for a deeper dive on this topic and would like to work with me one-on-one, contact me here.
This is sort of a boring tip to start with but it's so important - it's all about antioxidants! Our eggs and sperm are fragile and oxidative stress can cause damage to the eggs and sperm, which can result in chromosomal abnormalities (one of the major causes of miscarriage). Fruits and vegetables are a major source of dietary antioxidants and incorporating 3-4 cups in your diet each day can be a great way to really boost your intake of antioxidants. Some of my favourite vegetables for antioxidants include oranges, spinach, kale, broccoli, berries and grapes.
We want to make sure we do what we can to have the healthiest eggs and sperm possible, so get in your fruits and veggies, ladies (and your partner, too 😉 ).
One of the leading causes of miscarriage is vitamin D deficiency (crazy, hey?). Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin (if you want to learn more about it, check out my post here) and during the winter months (from October to May in Canada and the Northern US), our ability to produce enough vitamin D from sun exposure is extremely limited. Many of our diets do not include enough vitamin D to keep our levels adequate, so a supplement is often necessary.
If you're able to get your vitamin D levels checked with your primary care physician, this is an excellent idea! You're going to want to make sure that your levels are in adequate range before you consider trying to conceive, if you can.
A great food source of vitamin D is salmon (which is one of the superstars in the next section) and dairy products like milk and yogurt (for a list of food sources of vitamin D with exact amounts, click here).
Omega-3 fats (particularly DHA and EPA) can be very anti-inflammatory in the body and are very a key piece of a well balanced fertility diet. I won't dive deep into the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fats right now but know that if you're not consuming 2-3 servings of fatty, cold water fish per week (salmon, sardines, herring, etc.), then a good quality supplement is what you're going to want to look for.
I know - you're probably cringing at this. When we were trying to get pregnant and someone would say this to us, I would be cursing them under my breath (and secretly wanting to punch them in the face, let's be honest here). I want to give you the backstory though - when your body produces the stress hormone cortisol, it steals from the resources needed to produce progesterone, which is required for ovulation. Therefore, keeping your cortisol production low allows for more resources to be available for reproductive hormone production.
There are a couple of things that I like to recommend for stress reduction (but honestly, do whatever makes you feel best). I love this breathing technique here, I love this free yoga channel on YouTube and I also like to focus on some key anti-stress nutrients (you can read about them here).
If you're waiting until you find out your pregnant to take a prenatal vitamin then you've missed a critical window. For my clients I recommend taking a prenatal vitamin for a MINIMUM of 3 months before trying to conceive. We often think that we are born with the number of eggs that we are going to have throughout our lifetime and there really isn't much else we can do to ensure that they are healthy. This is a HUGE misconception. The maturation cycle of an egg is about 3 months and during this time period our nutrition and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the health of our eggs and the potential for chromosomal abnormalities. This is ESPECIALLY important if you've been on hormonal birth control, which depletes essential pregnancy nutrients.
In a perfect world, you will take your prenatal vitamin for 6 months (longer if you can) before trying to conceive. So if you're planning on getting pregnant this year, please make sure you start taking your prenatal today! Side note: Not all prenatal vitamins are created equally. If you have questions about your prenatal choice, let me know in the comment section below!
Okay - I hope this post is helpful for you all! Coming up soon - a post all about MALE fertility! That's right ladies, there are things that your partner can focus on to ensure that his sperm are as healthy as possible as well!
As always, let me know if you have any questions and until next time,
Ladies - this message is important!
We all know that folate is important if you’re in the preconception period or if you’re pregnant (scroll down in my feed for my post on folic acid vs. folate). Our physicians tell us to take a prenatal that contains folic acid and we are good to go. Sometimes, however, this isn’t the whole story.
To keep things simple, the MTHFR (which stands for methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) genes (there are two) are responsible for converting folic acid (in many prenatal vitamins and fortified foods) to the active form of folate that the body can actually use. Some people have a mutation in one or both of these genes and, as a result, cannot adequately convert folic acid into the useable form in the body (for reference - it is estimated that 30-50% of us have this gene mutation). Why should we care about this? This gene mutation can result in folate deficiency (and folate is a CRITICAL preconception/pregnancy nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida or anencephaly), high homocysteine levels and miscarriage.
You can get genetic testing done to confirm whether or not you have this gene mutation but for all of my preconception/pregnancy clients, I recommend a good quality prenatal vitamin that already contains the active form of folate (simply look at the label of your prenatal to see that it says 5-MTHF or L-methylfolate instead of folic acid)
If you’ve had recurrent miscarriages, preeclampsia or genetic issues with another pregnancy, I recommend talking to your physician about testing for this gene mutation.
Have you heard of this gene mutation before? Let’s chat in the comments!
Please share this post - if 30-50% of is are affected, someone will benefit from hearing this message.
Until next time,
Chromosomal abnormalities are one of the major causes of miscarriage during the first trimester. What isn't really talked about is how much our diet and lifestyle can impact the health of our eggs and sperm. One of the major areas of focus are antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect eggs and sperm from the impact of oxidative stress. We want to make sure that we're incorporating at least 4-6 cups of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables every single day to optimize our intake of these nutrients. I love berries as a great source of antioxidants (and a great source of fibre as well - if you haven't seen my last post about the importance of fibre for eliminating excess estrogen, I encourage you to check it out).
Are you eating 4-6 cups of fruits and vegetables each day? What is your favourite way to prepare your vegetables so that you enjoy eating them?
Let me know in the comments.
Hope you enjoyed this quick tip!
Until next time,
One thing I focus on with my clients is fibre intake. Fibre intake is important for general health but it is especially important when my clients are dealing with issues related to hormone imbalance.
One of the major ways we detox excess estrogen from the body (among many other things) is by having a bowel movement everyday (and we all know that fibre can be really helpful for regularity). Research has shown that by increasing our fibre intake, we can reduce the amount of circulating estrogen in our body.
Some of my favourite sources of fibre are cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and things like chia seeds and ground flaxseed.
I like to aim for between 25-40 grams of fibre per day (tip: make sure you increase slowly so that you don't cause too much digestive upset and also make sure you’re drinking enough water!)
To give you an idea of the approximate amount of fibre in these foods - I'll outline them here:
Broccoli (2 cups): 5 grams
Cauliflower (2 cups): 4.5 grams
Brussels sprouts (2 cups): 8 grams
Chia seeds (2 tbsp.): 7 grams
Ground flaxseed (2 tbsp.): 8 grams
Raspberries (1 cup): 8 grams
With a good strategy, you can hit the 25-40 grams of fibre per day but it takes a bit of thought, in most cases!
Have you thought of how much fibre you're getting each day? What is your favourite source and how do you incorporate it?
You guys - I have to start this post by saying I am SO sorry I have been so sporadic over here on the blog (please follow me on Instagram here - I am super active over there right now!)
Life with a full nutrition practice, working on a bunch of amazing projects for you guys and being a twin mom and wife has got me full out 24/7 (not to mention the podcast that I am trying to get up and running - YIKES!)
This was a project that I NEEDED to get out to you guys because you have been asking questions and I had to get this in your hands!
Why have I created this resource? Because I KNOW the impact that environmental chemicals can have on our health (particularly our hormones) and women NEED to get this information. If we can make these simple swaps in our home right now, we can have an incredible impact on the health of ourselves and our families.
My first session with all of my fertility clients includes talking about hormone disruption due to exposure to environmental chemicals from our cleaning products, our pots and pans (check out this post if you don't know what I am referring to... or better yet, watch the documentary on Netflix "The Devil We Know"....) and our personal care products.
I first started exploring this area of environmental chemicals back in 2015 when I hear Dr. Victoria Maizes speak at a health conference in Arizona. I was absolutely BLOWN away by the research she shared and immediately bought her book "Be Fruitful". I started incorporating her principles in my counseling sessions with my clients and was amazed at the changes I saw (mostly around period regulation and the ability to conceive) - this was SO POWERFUL.
Anyway - I realized over the years as I looked at more and more research that I HAD to share this with more women than just my clients. Women deserved to have access to this information. Now, one thing that I really don't like is fear mongering. I think that spreading fear without giving actionable steps that are fairly easy to follow is really not helpful at all. So this is where the guide comes in! This guide has EASY TO FIND products and the EXACT ones I recommend picking up. Not every product from a specific line is rated so great - so I have used the EWG database and picked out the top rated products that you can find at your local grocery store, health food store or on well.ca (free shipping over $35 makes it really reasonable).
Are there products on this list that you'd like me to update? I want to continue making this resources as comprehensive as possible and your one stop for totally overhauling your home. Let me know in the comments if there are product categories that you'd like to see that haven't made the list!
To access the guide: Click here 🙂
And if you're not following me on Instagram yet - head over here and join the party! I am hanging out there SO much these days and I love sharing my daily routine with you all!
Until next time sisters,
If you know me, I am all about quick and easy (and I am also all about not wasting food, especially when it comes to my sometimes picky toddlers). Muffins are such an easy snack options for the twins (who are now 18 months - where does the time go!?) and I think you guys will like it too! I love this recipe because I only dirty two dishes - my blender and my muffin tin!
Now, let's get to the recipe!
2 cups regular minute oats (dry)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk of your choosing (I use whole milk for extra fat)
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (you could use chia or hemp hearts here as well)
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
*If needed to have your blender process all ingredients, you can add a bit more milk, as needed.
Add all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor (I use the Vitamix - it works amazing for this!) and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into a 12-well silicone muffin tin (or a greased muffin tin).
Baked at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
I always top mine with some butter and peanut butter for some additional healthy fats 🙂
I got a great question on the Grounded Health Facebook brand page last week (if you’re not following me, please join in the fun here). Someone asked what she could do each day to improve her gut health. So here we go – I wanted to keep it SUPER simple and leave you with some really usable tips that you can start incorporating this week!
Before we get started, let’s chat a little bit about why we should care about the health of our gut. Good gut health is important for SO many reasons – but to name just a few – good digestion (which means better nutrient uptake by the body), improved serotonin production (most of our serotonin [a feel good chemical in our brain] is produced in our gut… have you ever heard that the gut is our “second brain”, this is part of the reason!), and improved immunity (over 70% of our immune system actually LIVES in our gut).
Now you really understand why keeping our gut healthy is SO important, let’s get into it!
1) Incorporate fermented foods in your diet
If you haven’t heard of fermented foods by now, you must be living under a rock. Just kidding, but really – fermented foods have been ALL the rage the past few years, and for good reason! When I say fermented foods, I mean raw sauerkraut (this is not the sauerkraut you find in the condiment section at the grocery store – raw sauerkraut must be refrigerated and can be found in the natural food section at the grocery store), kimchi, kombucha, kefir and yogurt (just to name a few).
Raw sauerkraut or kimchi can be added to pretty much any meal but I like them served with a dish of meat and vegetables. Just be sure not to heat the kimchi or sauerkraut, as this will kill some of the bacteria.
Kefir and yogurt can be used pretty much interchangeably. You can add fruit, nuts, granola, etc. and serve as a breakfast or as a snack, or add a bit to a smoothie for an extra probiotic kick!
Kombucha (or my FAVORITE – fermented coconut water) can be consumed as a replacement for juice. I typically recommend half of a bottle as a serving. So if you want to pick up two bottles each week and drink ½ of a bottle every two days, that is a great habit to get into!
2) Stop popping those unnecessary NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
If you’re anything like I used to be, I would pop an Advil at any sign of an ache or pain (luckily… or maybe unluckily, I am now allergic to all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, so that bad habit has been nipped in the bud). Next time you have a headache or a body ache, I recommend trying to get to the root of the problem, rather than masking the issue by treating the symptom. NSAIDs can irritate the gut lining and can negatively impact the population of good bacteria in the gut. If you've got chronic head aches, muscle aches or migraines, exploring magnesium supplementation may be something worthwhile for you!
3) Eat some prebiotics
PREbiotics are food for the probiotics (the bacteria). We need to keep these little bugs fed in order to thrive (a gross thought, I know). Some of the best prebiotic foods include onions, garlic and bananas. Incorporate these foods in your diet each day to support those little bugs that we work so hard to consume!
4) Reduce the amount of processed sugar in your diet
This may be an obvious one and has benefits that reach far beyond the health of our gut, however it really can make a huge difference when it comes to building and maintaining a robust population of good gut bacteria. Simple sugars often feed the “bad” bacteria in the gut and can cause a bit of an undesirable balance between the good and bad bacteria. By reducing the amount of processed, added sugar in our diet and instead focusing on incorporating foods that feed the good bacteria, we can really help support the health of our gut!
Alright now, there we have it – 4 simple ways to start improving the health of your gut today! Which of these are you already doing and what do you need to focus on a bit more? Share in the comments below!
Yours in Health,
This casserole is SO good, SO quick and really budget friendly! I have been whipping this up the last couple of weeks for a quick meal that can be ready at a moments notice (very key with two babies around).
This one is definitely a crowd pleaser, I recommend giving it a try this week for quick, grab and go lunches!
P.S. Excuse the food photography - My excuse = twins.
Okay you guys... I was late to the Instant Pot party but I will tell you this - now that I have gotten into using it, I absolutely LOVE it (special thanks to this incredible blogger for the introduction)! One of the reasons I love it the most: my husband uses it and now I would say he does even more meal prep than I do!
Full disclosure: for the last two weeks I have been buying trays of marinated chicken from Costco for super easy Instant Pot meals (add meat and sweet potato, cook for 17 minutes - voila) - served with a side salad or steamed green beans - BOOM - dinner is made and MINIMAL prep and clean up (an absolute DREAM).
The reality? The chicken from Costco is sitting in some pretty questionable marinade and with all of the lovely Epicure spices I have sitting at home in my cupboard, there is no excuse not to have delicious, homemade marinades whipped up in minutes.
So this week, that is just what I did and I want to share it with you all!
I prepared two HUGE trays of chicken with two different marinades so that they are ready to go in the Instant Pot at a moments notice at any point throughout the week.
These are the two spice blends that I used for this meal prep, but of course, you can use anything that appeals to you and your family.
I used the leftover trays from Costco from the last two weeks to store my chicken and they worked perfectly!
Next I mixed up the spice blends - as easy as adding a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and avocado oil and adding them to the chicken.
Voila - meat is prepped and ready to go for the week. In true quick and easy fashion, I picked up some of the Super 7 kale salads and some more frozen green beans (because if you watched my grocery haul videos from January - see here, here and here, you know how much we love our frozen green beans). We have sweet potatoes and rice already here for our starches, which we will add pesto, butter, salt and pepper to for flavour!
I also picked up our regular smoothie ingredients and that pretty much wrapped up my grocery shopping trip!
I decided to share this with you all because my clients often think that I prepare these elaborate meals at home, which could not be further from the truth. I am ALL for convenience but I refuse to sacrifice flavour... so there you have it - the perfect marriage of easy and tasty, all in under 20 minutes!
I would love to know what you all prepared this week! How do you keep your meal preparation simple? Leave your answer in the comment section below!
Until next week,
Yours in Health,