paLEO 2013. Inspired by the birth of my son LEO.

By Emily Hecker, CNC, DC


My journey has begun…again.

I started eating paleo January 2012 and fell in love with it. I felt great, I lost baby weight from my first son and I unexpectedly got pregnant again! Whoops! I worked with Autoimmune patients at my office EVERYDAY and I encountered people (women and mothers especially) who were struggling with items that you and I take for granted because their autoimmune condition was overtaking their life. My reason for choosing the Paleo Lifestyle was reinforced everyday just by talking to my patients.  I knew it was the right way to eat,  and even more so knowing autoimmunity runs in my family.

After I got pregnant with baby #2, I continued to eat paleo and I hardly gained ANY baby weight until the end. I had a DELIGHTFUL unmedicated homebirth December 2012 and then all hell broke lose.

I was breastfeeding and craved sugar like it was going out of style. My 18month old was extremely needy and wanted me to hold him every minute he was awake. My husband was traveling for weeks at a time. For the first 5 months of my new baby’s life, he needed to nurse (or so I thought) every two hours of the night. I was not sleeping at all. I did not go back to work and became a FULL TIME stay at home mom. Everytime a child cried, (which was a lot) I ATE. It turned into a stress management tool. I became an addict and was NOT living a lifestyle that I was endorsing. Doughnut runs became weekly adventures on Wednesday mornings as I embraced a new found love of garage sailing to add to my infatuation with all things Montessori.

Something had to change. I noticed when I drank red wine now, I went to bed with stiff fingers and woke up with headaches. The sulfates. When I ate a large amount of gluten now, the back of my head itched and my fingers became stiff.  I am having more loose BMs in the morning. My moods are fluctuating more than ever! I am gaining a TON of weight.


I am turning into one of my own patients!!! I am a gluten-loving sugar-addicted mom with no sleep, two screaming kids who has no time for herself and her health.

So here I am. New paleo cookbooks adorning my counter, expensive coconut products decorating my kitchen. I am ready to start my new paLEO journey…again.  Inspired by the birth of my son LEO and the many women I meet who are struggling with autoimmune issues. Here we go.



GUEST BLOG: By Morgan Paris, Certified Personal Trainer

For the last post of this series, we are going to be talking about something that a large number of American’s (about 70 million) want: better sleep. You may have heard some of these simple and effective ways to improve your sleep from The National Sleep Foundation:

-        Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends

-        Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a bath or listening to music

-        Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool

-        Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows

-        Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex

-        Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime

-        Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime

-        Don’t smoke — not only is it a major health risk it can lead to poor sleep

-        Avoid alcohol close to bedtime; it can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night

But today, we’re focusing on one very important thing you can do to improve your sleep:

-        Exercise regularly, at any time of the day

The National Sleep Foundation recently published a study showing the importance of exercise on getting a good night’s sleep. This study found that  “Vigorous, moderate and light exercisers are significantly more likely to say “I had a good night’s sleep” every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers (67%-56% vs. 39%). Also, more than three-fourths of exercisers (76%-83%) say their sleep quality was very good or fairly good in the past two weeks, compared to slightly more than one-half of non-exercisers (56%).”

While vigorous exercisers report having the best sleep, it is important to note that ANY amount of exercise or movement will help you sleep. If exercise is not a part of your routine, the best thing you can do to start experiencing improved sleep is to simply make sure that you don’t sit all day long. According to the study, “Those who sit for less than eight hours per day sitting are significantly more likely to say they have “very good” sleep quality than those who sit for eight hours or more (22%-25% compared to 12%-15%).”

How can you start to make a few changes in your daily routine to accommodate more movement and therefore better sleep?

  1. Get up from your desk at least every hour and take a walk around your office
  2. Go for a walk first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, right after work, or as the sun sets. This simple act will benefit you greatly. Even adding a 10 minute walk every day can give you what you need to sleep better at night.

Here’s to you and better sleep!


Find out more about adding exercise into your routine and schedule your complimentary in-home training session at



The Best Way to Avoid a Burnt Butt


By: Morgan Paris, Certified Personal Trainer, Guest Blogger

The beginning of summer is my favorite time to do outside workouts. The sun is shining, the temperatures are nice and there are lots of other people playing outside, too. But as the summer progresses and the heat index rises, I am better off working out inside.  The thought of sweating immediately as I walk outside, burning my butt on the hot car seat, and driving to the gym, sounds like torture.

If you can relate, keep reading.

The heat of the summer doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your workout. Completing an at-home workout using body weight circuits is one of the most effective and efficient ways to exercise. This style of training incorporates strength, endurance and cardio all at the same time. You can even burn more calories in the same amount of time as traditional cardio programs (i.e. running, biking, or elliptical machine). So what exactly is a body weight circuit? Let’s break it down. Body weight exercises use your own body weight as the resistance instead of machines or free weights. A circuit is a group of exercises (in this case, body weight exercises) that are performed one after the other without rest in between.  When I train clients, they usually complete the circuit three times with a 60-90 second break after each circuit.

A typical circuit looks like this:

This style of exercise is wonderful because you rarely need extra equipment which means that you can do this at home, in the park while your kids are playing, or even in a hotel while you are traveling.

Completing these circuits takes between 30-45 minutes if you go through them three times. Give this one a try and see what you think. And do your butt a favor this summer by avoiding the hot car seat as much as possible!

Work it out, sista!




By: Morgan Paris, Certified Personal Trainer

You hear it everywhere. Stress is bad. Real bad. A quick Google search on stress returns this nasty list of effects that stress can have on our health:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Premature Aging
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema
  • Cancer


Um….yeah. Stress is bad. But instead of ‘stressing’ over it, let’s focus on a few easy ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.

Here are my top three ways to reduce stress:

  1. Make your physical wellbeing a priority. No, but seriously. Eat well, exercise, meditate and get enough sleep. When your body is in good shape, you are more able to handle the demands of life. As I always say, “if you don’t have your wellbeing, you don’t have sh*t.”
  2. Stop the glorification of busy.  How often do you find yourself in conversation about how busy you are?  I know I have. While being busy can be good, our society has started to glorify the idea of being busy. But why? What are we getting by being busy? Is there an omnipresent score-keeper tallying up all of the things we are accomplishing? Who are we trying to impress with our busyness? In my experience, I have used busyness as a distraction from what is really going on underneath. I have used it to justify my value. You see, the problem with being too busy is that we miss the present moment! And frankly, life is too short to be too busy to experience it. Want more on this topic? Here is one of my favorite articles on ‘The Busy Trap’:
  3. Do something that you LOVE. When you are doing something that you truly want to be doing, stress melts away. Your worries are by the wayside, and you are getting to express yourself in ways that you may not normally get to. It is VITAL that you spend time (regularly, not just once a year on vacation) doing things that you love. Perhaps even go after that new, scary, exciting career or project that you dream about at night?

There you have it. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. For real – it doesn’t have to be hard.

But undoubtedly, we make it hard. I can almost hear you saying, “MY life just isn’t set up that way, I can’t possibly make that happen.” And to which I respond, “Think again, sister. Anything is possible.”

Big Love!



P.S. If you need help with the diet and exercise, you know where to find me by now!

Should vs. Want

By: Morgan Paris, Certified Personal Trainer

Exercise is important.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you have heard it all before, in one hundred different ways. But what you may not have heard is that it doesn’t have to be hard!

If you are anything like me, you’ll start an intense new workout program, get really into it, and then about a month later, you’ve completely forgotten about it. This applies to other areas in your life, too! If you think about all of the things in your life where this pattern occurs, what was the common thread? My assertion is that they are all things that you felt like you SHOULD do, not what you actually truly WANTED to do.

Warning: ‘shoulds’ can sometimes feel like ‘wants’. We are pretty good at convincing ourselves of this.

“I should be thinner, so I want to work out”.

Sound familiar? The first part is you ‘shoulding’ yourself. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into what you really want with that statement.

“I want to be fully expressed in my life. I believe that losing weight and being healthy will help me achieve that.”

This statement is so much more powerful because you are getting to the root issue of why you WANT to work out in the first place. With this in mind, think of all of the things you have wanted to do – you bend over backwards to make them happen, right?

There’s the secret to getting exercise into your life – pick something you WANT to do!

For some, that may be riding their bike, taking a Zumba class, going to yoga, or running. For me, it’s walking. I live in a neighborhood with lots of gorgeous trees and flowers with very little city noise. Going for a long walk feels like an active meditation – it is so relaxing, gets my body flowing and gives me clarity.

And that’s the point, right? We exercise so that our bodies will support us and so that we can clear away the physical distractions that keep us from living the lives we want.

So here’s your task – go try a few things until you find something that you really like. Do that for awhile, and once that is no longer fun for you, try something new.

Here’s to You and the Life of your Dreams!


Want individual support? Contact Morgan at for a complimentary training session!


GUEST BLOG: By Morgan Paris, Certified Personal Trainer

Wake up, take a shower, think about your body, tug at the extra skin around your waist, get dressed, turn to the mirror to stare at your back side, think about dropping a jean size, feel hungry, think about breakfast, think about skipping breakfast, eat like you won’t be getting lunch, think about your body and how it should be different. Repeat. All while taking care of everyone else in your household.

Sound familiar? How many times a day do we think about our bodies and how we want them to be different? We want to lose weight, drop a jean size or two, and feel sexy in our skimps, right? We think, “once I am thin and lean, I will be able to feel confident/find a new job/have more fun/ fill in the blank “. We have devised hundreds of stories to convince ourselves that our bodies need to change in order for us to have what we want.

Consider this: It’s not about the weight.


It really isn’t. It’s about falling in love with ourselves just as we are. As Geneen Roth says in her book, Women Food and God, “Fixing ourselves is not the same as being ourselves”. By constantly feeling the need to fix ourselves, we are avoiding what could actually end our suffering: getting back in touch with deepest part of our being – our true essence! The weight is just a distraction. It distracts us from accepting that there is something going on, and that it’s a lot deeper than our adipose tissue. Think of the times you have felt bored, lonely, or empty. Did you turn to food for relief? We turn to food when we are hungry for something we cannot name. Once we are able to be with our suffering and look at our deeper needs, whether it is for connection, fulfillment, comfort, peace, etc., we can start to learn how to give ourselves what we actually need when we feel ‘hungry’. As a result, we stop eating when we are bored, sad, scared and hurt – and our weight pervades our thoughts less and less.


But, it’s not NOT about the weight, either.

When your physical body hinders your ability to enjoy the fullness of life, instead of being the magnificent vehicle through which you experience it, it’s time to address the issue of your health. When you are too tired, out of breath, or in pain, how can you be fully present to the beauty of your existence? Life becomes centered around your limitations, what you can and cannot do. That’s not really living. When you don’t address your health, you start missing out on the joys of being a mother and being with your friends and family because you have no energy left for them.

Getting adequate exercise (that YOU enjoy), eating clean, getting enough sleep and reducing stress in your life are crucial for your health. For the next four weeks, I’ll be touching on each of these topics to give you the tools you need to start making changes in your life so that you can be Healthy, Happy and 100% YOU.


It’s time to clear away the distractions, and experience all of the joy, love, pain and suffering that is life. Let’s lay down the bat we use to beat ourselves up and learn more about who we really are so that this life is not just something that we ‘get through’ – it becomes the whole reason for living.

Big Love to You,


Learn more about in-home personal training at


Homebirth?! What, Are you NUTS?

By Emily Hecker, CNC, DC

Everyone has a bucket list, right? A desire to do something that may seem unattainable, fun or just plain crazy. I have accomplished quite a bit on my bucket list:

  • -Ran a marathon
  • -Got my pilots license
  • -Skydove
  • -Scubadove, is that a term?
  • -Owned a motorcycle
  • -Constantly got degrees (BS, MBA, CNC, DC…)

A few items that were still on my list is to exclusively breast feed my child (was not able to do that with my first son) and to have a natural, un-medicated, peaceful & relaxing birth. Relaxing birth may seem like an oxymoron, but that’s exactly what I wanted after I had the birth that I had with my first son.

I am blessed to have two healthy boys 18 months apart with very different birth stories. I had two low-risk pregnancies with no complications in either birth that required immediate attention.

My first son was born in a hospital with multiple interventions. My second son was a planned home birth with two midwives, a midwife in training, a doula and a back-up OB who supported my decision for a homebirth. I know my friends and family think I am nuts for not delivering my second son in a hospital, but the research is out there, and for a low-risk pregnancy a homebirth is very safe. Time are a ’changing folks.

Max’s Hospital Birth Story

I had a great pregnancy. I was married, just finished chiropractic school, had a new dog and starting a new life & career. My husband and I prepared for a total natural, unmedicated birth with reading many books and attending a 12-week natural Brio birthing class. For my “41 week plus 3 day” check up, I went in in the early afternoon to expect a clear bill of health. Everything looked good for my health, and even the babies health. Except when it came time to check my amniotic fluid levels in all four quadrants of my placenta. Using ultrasound, I came up short. Instead of the minimum number of 5, I was measuring at 4.5cm. Shit. I should have drunk more water! Mind you, on the ultrasound you could see my son had a very full bladder and we even commented on it during the ultrasound. If he would have urinated, would it have been enough to measure 5? Because my fluid was measuring .5cm low, it was enough for my OB to want to induce me that night. Exactly what I did not want.

I felt completely defeated on our way out of the office driving home to back our bags. We went out to a nice dinner at Ya Ya’s before we went in for my birth. It all seems rather comical to me. It felt so fake and unnatural. I could barely eat I was so upset. Our OB wanted us to get to the hospital at 7pm and we didn’t arrive until 9pm, I was on edge. My husband could see I was stressing about this and he very jokingly said,

“Really, Emily, You are worried you are going to be late to your own birth?”

I was so nervous going into the hospital room and my first (of many) nurses hooked me up to the monitor and immediately saw I was having contractions. Oh. That’s what those sensations were. My contractions were so strong on the monitor I was able to talk the staff into letting me wait and see if they picked up on their own. This was the beginning of a never-ending battle of compromises.

For the next 40 hours, I felt like I was at a car dealer, with my guard up and tying to haggle for the best natural birth, when my baby and I were perfectly healthy.

Finally, 36 hours after I went in, my OB had had “enough”, and I was mentally exhausted. I was handling my contractions just fine, dancing to Michael Jackson via iPhone and was dilated up to 8cm on my own. It really seemed very easy if this is what labor was! My OB requested I have Pitocin to speed things up and I knew that would be so painful I would need an epidural. I received both medications and my healthy baby boy was born vaginally, measuring in at 8lb 13oz 21.75” long just four hours later.

Leo’s Home Birth Story

Leo was a wonderful surprise gift to us that God decided not to tell us about, due right around Christmas. The greatest gifts happen that way. Leo was a Paleo baby, meaning I had been eating a Paleo diet, the PERFECT diet to eat for fertility and health during his whole gestation. I had met with 6 health care providers to try and find the perfect fit for what I wanted for our birth.  I interviewed 3 midwives and 3 OBs. It took me 16 weeks to decide between a hospital or home birth. My husband was supportive of what ever I decided.  I chose a homebirth. At this time, there were no birth centers or midwives that worked out of a hospital in St. Louis.  I found a great OB that supported midwifery and all it stood for. He ended up my back up for my homebirth incase I needed to transfer to a hospital. He had a great relationship with my midwife.

My ideal birth was in my home, in a birthtub of water, snow falling at night, full moon, fireplace roaring, candles burning, Christmas lights and tree up with the smell of cinnamon and vanilla filling the house.

After Christmas, one morning in my 40th week of gestation, I had my first contraction. They continued all day long and were so mild it felt very manageable. I ran errands, went for a prenatal appointment with my midwife, went to lunch at Ya Ya’s (we decided to make it a tradition) and the grocery store. Surely I wasn’t going to have this baby anytime soon, maybe the next day. I was comparing it to Max’s labor and thought I had a day or two left. WRONG.

That night was relaxing. I put Max to bed, ate a great dinner, took a bath, lit some candles and watched a little TV on the couch.

It started to snow and there was a full moon. This was the night.

We decided to time the contractions and they were pretty close together but I was definitely NOT keeling over in pain. I really wanted all of my birth team to get a good nights rest. I contacted my doula and she told me she was coming over. I told her not to hurry. It was midnight when she walked through the door. 15 minutes later, I was on the couch going through transition. Transition is the most intense part of childbirth in my opinion. Each contraction was on top of another for 45 minutes. I went to the restroom and once the water was turned on at the faucet, I looked at my doula and said, “I have to PUSH!, I am having this baby NOW!” …I started pushing, I couldn’t contain it! At this time my doula contacted my midwife team and they were on their way at super sonic speeds.

My husband was running around the house warming up towels, getting gloves from our birth kit, placing pads on the floor in front of the bathroom all the while holding Max, our 18 month old who awoke from my primal outbursts.  My doula was amazing. She saw that my bag of waters had not even ruptured yet but was about to and had me on the floor. This took pressure off my cervix and slowed down my pushing. I felt no pain just an urge to get this baby out safely. My body took over and my doula was on the phone with my midwife as she as instructing her on what do to.

My husband and son were sitting in the hallway with me. They placed their hands on my head, encouraging me and it was the sweetest moment of my whole birth experience.  Just then the team arrived, monitored the baby’s heartbeat, got everything ready and our son was born in the hallway, crying as he entered this world at 2AM.

My son Max was in awe, pointed to Leo and with a smile said, “bebe!”


I held him for a bit, got up, walked to the bedroom and then delivered my placenta. Our whole family was lying in bed with each other enjoying this new little human that was just born. It was so magical.  After the newborn exams were done, I was good to go and the team left, our whole family fell asleep for a couple hours in our own home and own bed with our dog curled up next to us. Best feeling EVER. And so thankful Leo’s birth was so perfect. Even though I didn’t get to birth in water, I did get about every other wish I had.

Laid-Back Breastfeeding, a Lesson Learned.

By Jen Jester, Birth Educator & Doula

In the dark, quiet of a hospital room I learned a valuable lesson at my most recent birth.  On this occasion, my lesson was given by an amazing doctor whom I will refer to as Dr. X. I am entering into the “seasoned” portion of my doula career, and I have realized that I always have something to learn from each birth.

This particular learning experience actually had nothing to do with birth.  This lesson was about breastfeeding and patience. 

Allowing the mother, encouraging her, to stop “doing” and start trusting – That is one of many things that I do for my clients during their labor and birth.  “Stop thinking. Allow your body to do its work,” I might say.  But, I lost that mentality regarding breastfeeding somewhere along my path as a doula who works largely in a hospital setting.

Although I know the benefits/advantages/necessity of “Laid-back Breastfeeding”, it escaped my practice with mothers.  I teach it in my birth classes, yet I have ceased to encourage the practice with my clients.

WHY? Well, in the hospital births that I’ve participated in – even the most “natural” births – the baby is usually placed on the mother’s abdomen for “immediate” breastfeeding. *And they mean it!*  I learned early on that if I didn’t dig in and help that mother latch her baby on right away, a nurse in the room would assume my incompetence, roll her eyes, grab the baby and a breast, and set to teaching that kid how to latch on.  She’d typically lay the baby horizontally across the mother in the “cradle” position, grab the mother’s breast, and force the baby to nurse by encouraging it to open its mouth, then shoving the mother’s breast in.  This was contradictory to the education that I had and the reading I had done, but most of the time it worked and everyone was happy.  The nurses are really good at and trained to get their tasks completed within a prescribed period of time for each patient in a very effective and methodical manner.

  • Baby latched on? Check!
  • Mom nursing immediately? Check!
  • Countdown to postpartum floor admission?  Check!
  • Countdown to newborn procedures? Check!

So, I learned to jump in BEFORE the nurse, and get that baby latched on!  My clients were paying me to help them breastfeed after all.  I wouldn’t want them to think I’m falling down on the job, right?  Well, I believe my actions actually did my clients a disservice.  I knew in my heart I wasn’t doing the best for mom and baby, or that initial breastfeeding could have been a better, more natural experience, but I felt limited or trapped by the system around me.  Imagine how my clients felt.  Perhaps they didn’t think twice about the “help” the nurses or I were giving them.  So it was.  I was a cog.  I would get to help the mother breastfeed before the nurses.  Healthy attitude, right?  Not. At. All.

BUT, what if breastfeeding doesn’t magically happen within our postpartum time frame of one hour?  What about those babies who don’t like to be force fed?  I have seen this play out, and it usually results in a crying baby, a crying mother, and feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes the baby is carted off to the nursery traumatized and hungry for newborn procedures.

At one point, I decided to only encourage “laid-back breastfeeding” with my clients that were new mothers; to help set the stage for their future breastfeeding experiences with subsequent children.  They had no breastfeeding baggage.  I quickly dropped that when at a homebirth the midwife poo-poohed my laid-back breastfeeding “idea”.  She watched the baby working hard to get to the breast, and then jumped right in with the scenario I described above.  I felt foolish. Was I losing my mind?  Did no other birth professional know about laid-back breastfeeding?  Was I wasting valuable bonding time?  I wonder if the laid-back approach was just taking too long for these professionals’ comfort.  I wonder if they truly thought the baby was struggling unnecessarily with its head bobbing as it made its way toward the breast.  Perhaps it makes them uncomfortable.

With my clients that have nursed previously, I resigned to letting them choose their method of newborn nursing.  They have wisdom, right?  I didn’t consider that perhaps these mothers did not learn laid-back breastfeeding, or that it had been so long since they had a newborn to the breast that they may not recall the best way to handle this tiny new baby.  I saw most of these moms holding their newborn like a 6 month old veteran nurser.

So it was for my most recent birth.  I was aiding this mother in the delivery of her third child, a daughter, in a quiet hospital room.  The doctor quietly encouraged this mother to follow her body’s instincts for labor and birth.  There was no rush.  No bright lights.  No noise.  An already unfamiliar scene at the hospital, but it felt right.  The room was filled with love and encouragement for this mother.  She was surrounded by a team of 4; the father (feeling comfortable enough for the first time to watch his wife deliver their baby!), her nurse (following the doctor’s cues to be respectful, quiet and hands off), me (at the mother’s head giving hushed encouragement and physical support), and Dr. X.

What was Dr. X doing?  Nothing.

Well, she was really doing something by “doing” nothing.  She was observing; keeping a watchful eye. She knew this woman would deliver her baby just as she needed to.  She trusted the baby would find the right position, like a key in a lock, as she descended down her mother’s canal.  Patience.  Dr. X applied a warm compress and a soft voice when needed.  Not my typical delivery experience.

You may know what I’m referring to:  Although I try to encourage the staff to follow my clients’ wishes, the nurse continually checks the mother’s cervix as the mom continues to feel “pushy”.  Doctors, nurses, residents flood the room with lights, noises, loud talking, wheeling in equipment, and everyone in the room is instructing the woman just how and when to push while they watch the monitor.  Alas, routine care pervades.   Patient wishes, and an ancient wisdom are dismissed. Pressure.  Direction.  Passive process.

Not this time!

Back to our unusual scene:

The baby girl is born over an intact perineum and placed on her mother.  Baby is assessed and nursing can commence!  Since this mother has 2 other children, I wait and see how she does on her own with breastfeeding.  She struggles with the baby as she cradles her and manipulates her breast into her mouth without any cues from the child.  The baby cries.  I quickly glance at the nurse, and then jump in to the “rescue”.  I ask, “Would you like some help?” “Yes!” the mother replies.  I help calm the baby and massage the mother’s breast to encourage colostrum to the nipple.  I tickle the baby’s face with the nipple several times and wait for a nice gape.  I roll the mother’s breast into the baby’s mouth.  Baby lets go.  We repeat.  Baby lets go.  Repeat, again.  With the breast in her mouth, baby closes her eyes and stays still, uninterested.  Mom is frustrated. Dr. X – patiently watching this whole scene – gently says something like, “You know, there is something called the breast crawl that I’ve seen where the baby is placed on the mother’s chest, and finds its way to the breast, and attaches itself when it’s ready.  Want to try that?”

Of course! She’s right.  I snap out of it and everything I know spills into my conscious mind.  I step back.  No pulling, pushing or manipulating of body parts.  We adjust the baby vertically between the mother’s breasts.  I watch the ancient magic happen.  I “do” nothing.  The little one acts on instinct kicking her legs, crawling, smelling, reaching, bobbing.  All is done without instruction – without “help”.

The mother looks at me and asks, “Can I help her?”  “Sure”, I say, and I show her how to guide (not force) her to the breast.  Success!  The baby latches on, and actively suckles.  The mother releases a big sigh and melts into the bed.  She lovingly beholds her daughter.

I am surprised at the tension in my body at this time.  My shoulders.  My breath.  I had been poised and ready for action that was not helpful or necessary.  Dr. X sat and watched with a knowing look.  She reminded me that I should still help mothers nurse in a laid-back style no matter if it’s their first baby or their sixth.  She also reminded me that birth and breastfeeding in the hospital (with proper leadership and respect) can be mother-led and beautiful.  I am thankful to her for jolting me out of my hospital routine.  We need more doctors like Dr. X.  And, I need to be a doula that remembers that “doing” or helping with breastfeeding as well as birth,  is sometimes doing nothing.

Lesson:  On most occasions, letting the baby exhibit its ancient wisdom is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Guidelines for laid-back breastfeeding: Download pdf here, from the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

Laid- back breastfeeding,  or Biological Nurturing, means getting

comfortable with your baby and encouraging your own and your baby’s

natural breastfeeding instincts. See for further


  •  Dress yourself and your baby as you choose.
  •  Find a bed or couch where you can lean back and be well  supported— not ?at, but comfortably leaning back so that when you put your baby on your chest, gravity will keep him in position with his body molded to yours.
  •  Have your head and shoulders well supported. Let your baby’s whole front touch your whole front.
  •  Since you’re leaning back, you don’t have a lap, so your baby can rest on you in any position you like. Just make sure her whole front is against you.
  •  Let your baby’s cheek rest somewhere near your bare breast.
  •  Help her as much as you like; help her do what she’s trying to do. You’re a team.
  •  Hold your breast or not, as you like
  •  Relax and enjoy each other.

Laid-back nursing Video here:

Breast crawl video Here:


Heart Rate Zones & Pregnancy

By Joy Holdmeier, CPT

Is there a heart rate zone we should stay within while pregnant? Have you heard you should keep your heart rate below 140?

This used to be the rule…..back in 1985! The guidelines have since changed. Would you think a marathon runner and a sedentary person should workout at the same heart rate? It’s crazy to suggest that all pregnant women work out at the same intensity. We all have different resting heart rates, therefore we all have different target heart rate zones.

New guidelines do not suggest measuring intensity by heart rate at all. Our heart rate and blood volume changes throughout pregnancy, so it’s hard to determine where you should be. Instead the American Council on Exercise suggests using the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale.

How do you use Rate of Perceived Exertion?

This is a scale of 1-10 with 1 being no effort at all (sitting) and 10 being all out effort (barely able breath)! It is suggested to work between 5 and 8. You can also use the talk test. You should be able to carry on a conversation while working out. If you are unable to talk, you are working too hard.

Remember, the rating of your exertion should be completely independent of the pace you think you are walking; it is dependent solely on the feelings caused by the exertion. Increase the pace to a run and add a hill and you could work your way up to a 10 on the scale.[1]

Of course always follow your physician’s guidelines, especially if you are high risk and do what feels good to you. You know your body best!


Anti-Inflammatory Thanksgiving? You can do it!

by Ashley Nanney, Professional & Boutique Chef

What if this year, Thanksgiving dinner left you feeling relaxed and energized? Just thinking about a delicious Thanksgiving feast makes my mouth water.  It’s brilliant really.  The savory flavors of fall balanced perfectly with sweet soul soothing desserts.

From a culinary perspective, its the perfect storm.  From our bodies perspective, I have to admit, it is a little less perfect.

According to, many of our thanksgiving favorites may be increasing inflammation in our system and leaving us feeling tired, and inflamed.  The increased stress (good and bad) many people feel around the holidays, also contributes to the problem by increasing our cortisol levels.  The combination leaves us feeling a little sick and tired.

Don’t worry, I am not about to take your Thanksgiving away!  By making a few shifts in your holiday meal preparation, you can enjoy the flavors of your holiday favorites, and actually decrease the inflammation in your body!

Consider switching your inflammatory mashed potatoes to a delicious mashed cauliflower.  I know what you might be thinking, but trust me.  We trick even the pickiest of pallets with this recipe.  It is creamy, delicious and it is anti-inflammatory.

Mashed Cauliflower

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • 4 cups chicken stock (this is the trick to delicious flavor)
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (or to taste)
  • Clarified Butter to taste (if dairy is not an issue for you, feel free to substitute butter)
  1. Cut cauliflower head into smaller chunks of the florets and stem.
  2. Place cauliflower and chicken stock in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cover, allowing to cook for 20 minutes or so until the cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed.
  3. “Mash” in food processor with butter, white pepper and garlic.  Be sure not to over process. I think leaving them a little lumpy adds character;)

Inspired, try Google searching “Paleo” recipes for your holiday favorites and you will find a wealth of options.  (See our menu below for inspiration).  Not feeling it this year?

Let Feed Your Vitality do the work for you by preparing your favorite side dishes or the entire feast using healthier options.  No work, no stress. For only $199 (plus tax) you can feed ten people an entire feast. 

A Delicious Feast For Family & Friends Ready To Heat & Enjoy!
Pick-Up Or Delivery*
Wednesday, November 21st 2012

ROASTED TURKEY BREAST Perfectly seasoned & sliced
1 each of the following

$199 (serves 10)
All menu items are hand crafted in small batches from the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Ready to heat & serve. Simple & Delicious!
*$10 Delivery Fee Greater St. Louis Area
A La Carte: Items Can Be Ordered Individually Or Added To Complete Thanksgiving Dinner.
$16 per lb.  Roasted Turkey
SIDES (Serve 4-6)
$12 Sweet Potato Pecan Souffle
$16 Fresh Cranberry Compote
$16 Southern Style Green Beans
$18 Roasted Seasoned Brussel Sprouts
$16 Holiday Salad w/ Dried Fruit & Nuts
$12 Spinach Salad w/ Bacon Vinaigrette
$18 Roasted Root Vegetables
$12 Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes
$10 Garlic Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”
$20 Living Apple Pie (serves 8)
$20 Walnut Pumpkin Pie (serves 8)


Orders accepted through 10am Monday November 19th, 2012
Pick Up & Deliveries Wednesday November 21st, 2012

Feed Your Vitality, LLC
800 N. Tucker Blvd, Suite 412A St. Louis Mo. 63101
PHONE: 314-910-3324