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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.

 

MOVE MORE= SLEEP BETTER

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!

Morgan

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

 

 

The Best Way to Avoid a Burnt Butt

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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!

Morgan

Stressin

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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’: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/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!

Morgan

 

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

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!

Morgan

Want individual support? Contact Morgan at www.morganparisfitness.com for a complimentary training session!

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE WEIGHT, BUT IT’S NOT NOT ABOUT THE WEIGHT

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,

Morgan

Learn more about in-home personal training at www.morganparisfitness.com

 

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.