Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slow down now...Mastitis is no joke!

Have you reached a point (or already have..) in your life where you realized you needed to slow down and were forced to since you got sick or ill? I think many of us can relate with this where we have been go go go all week then suddenly you start feeling "off" then unable to complete daily tasks and can't get out of bed! Think about a time when this happened to you and how did you overcome it? How did this just change your life afterwards?

Just a few days ago, life was quite busy to say the least.....between jobs, freelance on the side, grad school, mom duties :-), two girls and the added stuff (cleaning, dinner, gym, etc etc), it's no wonder I started to feel off. Next thing I knew, I had the chills, aches and fever. Sure enough, mastitis had come in full force.....

Mastitis is an inflammation in the breast tissue which can be brought on by many factors, such as plugged ducts, not emptying breast completely, poor latch and many more. If your baby has had any yeast infections or oral thrush, this can also be passed to mom as well. Up to 33% of nursing moms have developed mastitis in a recent study, so it is quite common.

I won't dive too much into details but wanted to touch on what I did that helped me overcome this. It essentially mimics flu-like symptoms accompanied by weakness, feeling general malaise and redness, tenderness, pain and swelling of the breast. Everyone has their own experience and symptoms may vary.

Some natural preventive measures to help with prevention of plugged ducts (if you have recurrent mastitis or plugged ducts) is to drink more than 8 cups of water per day, especially when nursing. Secondly, take a daily omega-3 supplement or eat healthy fatty fish twice per week (salmon, tuna, halibut), and third, consider taking a Lecithin supplement daily or consume lecithin-rich foods, such as eggs, milk, or fish, to name a few. Eggs are a very rich source of choline (derivative of lecithin). Lecithin is a natural fat emulsifier and can help break up fat molecules that are transferred to breast milk which will aid in lessened risk for plugged ducts, thus less risk for mastitis...and a happier and healthier mommy. Lastly, another key to recovery is a hot shower and Epsom salt baths. This will help soften your breast tissue and relieve soreness and tenderness and drain the duct much more efficiently....just some tips that worked for me that I hope work for you.

With lent around the corner, this is a perfect time to eat more fish and eggs :-) This is a time of year to be thankful for quality of life and to take time to simply rest and reflect on the good things and good people around you. I certainly had time to reflect and understand that life does not have to be consumed by busyness all the time...we all need a "Slow down" lesson here and there, sometimes it can happen out of the blue and when we least expect it! But I feel it makes us stronger every day. What can you do from here on out to ensure you are slowing life down and taking care of you? Maybe it is a 15 minute walk without the cell phone or sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning without the news on..simple small changes may be the ticket..

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate & Wine Lovers!

This Valentines Day I will certainly be enjoying chocolate and red wine, because the combination is simply amazing. It is the perfect pair, the real food of love. If you want to be more health conscious this Valentine's Day, pair red wine with dark chocolate as they have positive components that are truly good for your heart health. In a recent study, having one glass of wine provided same heart health benefits from 30 minutes of cardio exercise, but unfortunately, more wine is not better in that respect :-) Red wine and dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content contain resveratrol which has been shown to help with blood sugar balance. Red wine also contains catechins that help to increase HDL or your good cholesterol, which acts like a vacuum cleaner to get rid of unhealthy levels of cholesterol. So which red wines are a good choice for providing these benefits? Many! Pinots, shirahs, merlots - all rich in resveratrol and catechins; Dark chocolate selection of 70 percent cocoa or higher and assorted dark chocolate Truffles or Souffl├ęs which contain phenols or flavonoids which promote anti-aging benefits. Here is a delicious and healthy truffle recipe for you to share with that special someone this weekend....

10 oz high quality dark chocolate (70% or greater cocoa)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp unrefined Virgin Coconut oil
8 oz Coconut milk, original, unsweetened
To garnish: coconut flakes & 100% good cocoa powder

All you do:
Chop chocolate into small chunks, add to large bowl and add in coconut oil and salt.
Bring coconut milk to simmering boil then remove from heat immediately, pour over chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth, will resemble a ganache.
Pour into a bowl.
Cover with cling wrap and let set overnight or at least four hours in the fridge.
Next day, add cocoa powder into one separate bowl and shredded coconut into another.
Remove ganache from fridge and take a small cookie scooper and scoop ganache out of bowl and into palm of your hands.
Gently roll into a ball and add into either bowl of coconut or cocoa powder.
Place all completed truffles onto a decorative serving plate, cover with cling wrap and then place in fridge until firm.
May store well up for 4 days. Let's be honest, they will be gone beforehand :-) Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Truffles Recipe picture