Posts in Beyond Food
Ten Inspiring Wellness Instagrammers You Should Be Following

Hey love! I've got a quick post for you today inspired by an amazing client I chatted with last week.

She shared that she followed quite a few fitspo accounts on Instagram in an attempt to motivate her to make healthy lifestyle choices. The more we chatted the more she realized most of those accounts weren't actually inspiring her at all, they were causing her to feel guilty and ashamed.

Inspiration by its very definition is meant to encourage and fill you with hope, confidence, and life. But many of those fitspo accounts discourage, depress, and chide. 

I encouraged her to take inventory. And I encourage you to do the same. Ask yourself this one question, when I look at my favorite wellness Instagrammer's account, do I feel like I'm enough and can take good care of myself or do I feel like I'll never be enough and can never do enough?

If the accounts you're following aren't making you feel like your body is good, wise, and you're perfectly capable of nurturing it without depriving it, then I encourage you to reevaluate if they deserve to take up any space on your social media feed.

Guilt and shame never created lasting change. 

In need of some new accounts to follow? I got you! I'm sharing a few of my favorite truly inspiring accounts I think you should take a peek at and maybe, just maybe, add to your feed.

Scroll through and click on the images to visit their feeds.

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Don't Forget to Leave Room For Magic

A few days ago I was chatting with a friend about infertility and how much we dislike the label, "infertile." She shared a story about a loved one that filled me with so much hope.

Someone close to her had been diagnosed with infertility at a pretty young age, which understandably was devastating. Despite her diagnosis, she never stopped trying. And years, I'm talking decades later, the woman spontaneously got pregnant, gave birth to a healthy baby (though she was well past the age that was thought to be possible) AND then got pregnant again and had another healthy little nugget of delight.

It got me thinking about how important it is that we leave a little room in our hearts for magic. That's not always easy to do that with all of our medical diagnoses, stats, predictive equations, risk assessments, and probability analysis that try to tell us how likely we are to conceive right down to the 100th decimal place, but it's so important.

Miracles happen every single day. Our bodies were designed to heal and find balance. I've seen, heard about, and read too many stories of folks who have overcome the insurmountable and have done the impossible to not believe in magic and miracles.

And if you take a look at your life or the lives of people you know, I'm sure you've experienced things that defy science too.

I'm a huge fan of science. I believe in the power of science. Maintaining my credentials mandates that I practice in line with science. But I also know science doesn't have all the answers. Yeah, I said it.

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Overcoming My Fear of Infertility

I finally had to allow the question lurking in the corners of my heart, mind, and womb to surface. "What if I can't have children?"

I was approaching thirty. I had read the articles and the question, "When are you going to have children? You're not getting any younger," was something I had been hearing more often (seriously folks, just stop asking people that question. It's rude and frankly, nonya business.)

My chances of conceiving were declining according to everything I read. My family history sure as hell wasn't reassuring. Hysterectomies due to heavy, painful periods that resulted in anemia. Premature ovarian failure. Fibroids. Not exactly the picture of optimal fertility.

While I didn't have any definitive proof I would experience infertility, I didn't have a guarantee that I wouldn't, either. And it was that uncertainty that left me unsettled and fearful.

I like to know what's ahead. It gives me a (false) sense of control. And there's nothing I like more than to feel like I'm in control, completely in control of my life, my body, and most certainly my fertility.

I knew I had to do something to overcome my fear of infertility. So I faced it head on. Below are the three steps I took (and continue to take) to get back the peace and confidence I had lost.

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How to Prepare for Pregnancy With Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is a game changer. When it comes to managing stress and PMS pain, very little comes close. It's amazing how quickly a couple of drops can banish cramps and mellow a haggard soul.

I love singing essential oils' praises. So I was beyond excited when one of you lovely readers asked how to use essential oils to balance your hormones and prepare for pregnancy. Thanks for the post idea; you know who you are! This one's for you.

Wanna know how to use aromatherapy to create a more fertile and fruitful body and mind? Read on.

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Making Peace With My Period

Warning, oversharing ahead...

I lay on the floor, behind our orange velvet couch. Curled up like an infant, I gripped my belly in pain. My only thoughts, "I'm dying, I don't want my mom to worry. I'll just die here behind the couch." Melodramatic much?

My mom found me. And it turned out I wasn't dying. I was just having my first period. Oh!

Now, before you judge me, my mom, or the California school system, just know I had already read and reread the menstruation pamphlets from my pediatrician's office at least 10 times. My mother had already had "the talk" with me. And my teacher had already walked us through the wonders of puberty.

But somehow, everyone forgot to tell me how much it might hurt. And I failed to connect the dots. Blood in cotton bloomers and cramps = period, not death. Good to know.

After our first meeting, I was afraid of my period. I dreaded its arrival. Excruciating pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting certainly didn't fill me with the warm fuzzies.

Unable to use tampons, I had to wear bulky pads. Which may have been ok if I wasn't an active kid. In the SoCal heat, a bulky pad was far from comfortable.

It wasn't until I was 19 that I was able to successfully insert a tampon. While the menstrual product problem was solved, the painful cramps and tummy upset continued to kick my butt.

My PCP offered me the usual: birth control pills and NSAIDs. Though I turned down the BCPs, I happily accepted the suggestion to pop painkillers at the first sign of my period.

First I tried Midol. Total waste of time and money. Then Tylenol. A little better but I needed more. Finally, I tried Aleve. It worked like a charm... until it didn't. 

After years of bliss, Aleve turned against me. Suddenly, it stopped alleviating my pain. Worse yet, I would vomit nearly immediately after I popped that once magical little powder blue pill. 

I was 26. I had suffered for 15 years. And I was over it.

Tired of the pain, tired of missing work, and tired of assuring people I wasn't pregnant when I inevitably upchucked at work, I finally took matters into my own hands. I turned to the three things that never fail me in a crisis: prayer, Google, and PubMed.

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What You Need to Know About Marijuana and Your Fertility

I've been putting off writing this post for awhile now.  

Mary Jane, weed, pot, Bobo bash, no matter what you call it, marijuana can be a very polarizing topic. And I tend to steer clear of controversy, at least in my online life. 

When you talk about cannabis, folks tend to assume you're a pothead. Add in my fro, fondness for boho fashion, and love of essential oils, and it's easy for people to assume I must be.

Truth be told, aside from the time in elementary school when my older friend (who had much older friends) rolled sugar, pepper, and dried grass from her backyard in a sheet of loose leaf paper and offered it to me as a makeshift dooby, I've never been offered a smoke of anything, nor have I ever smoked anything. But just because I choose not to, doesn't mean I'm completely against others choosing to.

There are medically legitimate reasons to take it. And it's the most used recreational drug in the US. Nearly half of the US population has tried it at least once. With more and more states decriminalizing its use, medical marijuana going mainstream (heck, even Whoopi Goldberg has medical cannabis line of products for menstrual issues), and Well + Good dubbing cannabis as one of THE wellness trends to watch in 2017, I'm sure its use is only going to continue increase.

Before we get started, remember I'm not here to pass a moral judgment, I just want to provide you with the info. That way you can make a decision that's right for you, your health, and your fertility.

That being said, I would be an awful healthcare practitioner if I didn't say, the American College of Gynecologists strongly encourages women to avoid taking or using marijuana in all it's forms while TTC, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Alright, let's jump in and answer your questions about fertility and marijuana.

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How Stress Affects Your Fertility
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. - Ovid

Last year really kicked my butt. The stress from all the changes, some good, many not so good, negatively affected my hormonal health. The wonky periods and acne I experienced over the summer proved that.

While I wasn't TTC, I'm still WTT, I'm fairly certain if I had tried, it wouldn't have gone as I would have hoped. Hormones and periods gone awry usually aren't a sign of optimal reproductive health. Quite the opposite. 

The connection between fertility and stress in all its forms, whether psychological or physical, is complicated. The, "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" question comes to mind. Which comes first? Does stress lead to difficulty conceiving or does difficulty conceiving lead to stress? 

I'm going to go with both.

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