preconception health

Episode 65 | 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Challenge

It’s no secret that detox is a wonderful part of a healthy life, but often times in our detox obsessed media, it can be be taken too far, done incorrectly and even cause more harm than good. Our take is a bit different and we’re all about supporting and optimizing your body’s natural detox abilities while improving your food and lifestyle so more junk isn’t coming in.

But how do you know if you need to detox? What are the causes of toxin overload? And what symptoms is your body showing that may indicate that you need some intentional detox support? Listen in and we’ll share the juicy deets.

Since we are all about taking action and really making this content a reality in your own life, we’ve create a 30-day detox program for you, simple enough for anyone to follow. We’ll walk you through the daily routine to support gentle detox and new steps to add in each week to amplify your detox routine.

And to help a sista out ever more, we’ve create a freebie for you to help you stay on track and nourish detox the right way.  Click here to download your 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Guide!

Our goal is to encourage you to nourish your body with real food and non-toxic living on the daily while creating routines that support your body’s natural ability to detoxify.

Follow along our detox journey over on IG– @caroline__potter and @alowellness and join in on the fun by adding #nourishingdetox

Thank you Primally Pure for sponsoring this episode! Be sure to listen along to learn how you can get your free lip balm!

Highlight Reel:

06:58 | Why you need to eat real food to detox best

08:55 | Potential causes of toxicity

10:45 | Symptoms of toxin overload

15:35 | Daily steps for gentle detox

22:15 | Weekly detox steps

36:40 | Monthly detox action steps

Download Episode 65 in iTunes!

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Don't forget to download your freebie!  Click here to download your 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Guide!

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Episode 64 | Finding Radical Healing in Creating a Non-toxic Environment

Today’s episode is something special. I think we both agree the story of transformation that our guest shares is nothing short of miraculous, but not because of some random happenstance, but because of a desire to live beyond her circumstances and cultivate an environment for her and her family to thrive.

We invited Marilee Nelson, co-founder of Branch Basics, to join us on the podcast and share her incredible story of healing. Marilee shares her journey from a very ill young adult told there was no hope for her unknown condition and she’d never conceive, to overcoming the odds using food as medicine and finding the healing power of a non-toxic environment. With a child damaged by illegal pesticides, Marilee shares how she learned first hand how chemicals and pesticides in the home and daily environment impact the growth and behavior of a child and how making proactive changes to decrease exposure changed their lives forever.

It’s really hard to put into words just how impactful this episode will be on those who listen. Her story embodies courage, bravery and what can be done when you challenge the status quo and dig deeper to find answers and understanding to the health problems (both known and unknown) that are plaguing families today.

Whether you are a college student, pregnant woman, new mom, career woman, empty nester or anyone living in today’s world, this episode is for you. As we uncover in today’s episode, ignorance is far from bliss, especially when it comes to your and your family’s health. We hope that Marilee’s story and passion will serve to inspire you to make simple, yet life changing actions that will positively impact your health and those of generations to come.

Read Marilee’s full story here and check out Branch Basics for a one stop shop non-toxic cleaning option for your home (and what we both use in our own homes everyday)!

Thank you to the Nutritional Therapy Association for partnering with us to sponsor today’s episode.  Nutritional Therapy Association: real education for people who believe in real food.

 

Highlight Reel:

06:00 | Marilee’s story–from Standard American Diet to food as medicine

19:30 | The environment piece and how Marilee learned the importance of a non-toxic environment first hand

32:04 | Is ignorance really that blissful?

35:50 | How to put yourself in a “take charge” place and create a safe haven

43:15 | THe easy, first step to dramatically improve your air quality at home

Download Episode 64 in iTunes!

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Marilee’s Full Story

Branch Basics Cleaning Concentrate

Healthy Home Cleanse

Luminance Skincare

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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The Better Beauty Gift Guide–The Gifts that Keep on Giving

If you’re anything like me, this year you thought, “This is the year I am going to get all my holiday shopping done BEFORE November. No stress. Think ahead. Relax during the holidays.”...then November rolled around and you realize you’re back to your usual holiday scramble. Anyone?

No worries, there’s still plenty of time to get all the goodies you need and still have time to relax your pumpkin spiced tush into the season!

This year I have a better idea of how I want to bless the loved ones in my life. Their health is always at the top of my priority list, as I'm sure it is on theirs as well, so I am going to give the gift of good health this year through safer, conscious products.

Yup, it's decided.  

As I dive into the world of non-toxic living, the more I see the need for knowledge all around me–hence why I am always sharing my fave products on Instagram stories or on the blog.

Because the products we use on our skin and around our bodies can affect our health in a positive or negative way. Yes, what you eat matters, but it’s just not enough!

Everyone uses products–skin care, beauty, home and cleaning, etc.–each and everyday, so I thought to myself, “Why not make my gifts a little more meaningful so that I can help create positive change in the health of the people I love the most!?”

No brainer, right!?

I have actually tried this in years past with friends and family who were interested in health and wellness and they loved the goodies and now support those very same companies I gifted them products from.

So many people are starting to learn that the products they use may be affecting their health, specifically their fertility and conception journey, but it can be really intimidating, especially if you’re brand new to the healthy living game. Everyone desires to have better health, to feel better and live with more vibrance–gifting someone a safer product, like a delicious smelling non-toxic body butter, lip gloss or candle, can be a great way to introduce them to the world of non-toxic living and encourage them to explore further on their own.

So today I have put together a list of my very favorite products that will fit oh-so-perfectly into any stocking or beautifully wrapped holiday box and create a positive ripple effect in your loved one’s health! Now that is some seriously good gift giving, right!?

***Just FYI–I share a lot of my fave products from two of my go-to beauty and skincare companies, Primally Pure and Beautycounter. A little birdie told me that both companies will be having some A-MAZING Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals! I'll be posting again on Black Friday with more info! I'll also be doing a GIVEAWAY this weekend so definitely stay tuned!

Use the links below to take you to your gifts!

2017 Safer Beauty Gift Guide

Skincare

  • Primally Pure’s Starter Kit–absolutely perfect for the clean beauty newbie or pro on the go, the set comes with a body butter and deodorant of your choice, an ‘everything spray’ and three lip balms!
  • Primally Pure’s Spa Kit–everything you need to pamper yourself or a loved one, the spa set comes with a dry brush, a body oil of your choice, sea soak salts, flower bath salts and a beautiful organic bag (yes, even the bag is good for you!)
  • Primally Pure’s Baby Kit–perfect for the new mama or new baby (whomever you decide to gift it directly to!), it’s got everything you need to keep little ones all clean and snuggly!
  • Mini Body Butter Collection–yes, one is not enough. You need to have them all. PP’s body butter is like heaven, so silky smooth and super hydrating.
  • Lip Balm Set–this set was made for a stocking, I’m sure of it! I keep one of these lip balms in every room of my house and every bag or purse I own!
  • Body Oil Collection–PP just reformulated their body oils and this set is perfect for anyone who loves beautiful scents and products that actually hydrate the skin...perfection!
  • Multi-Masker Set–let me just say, these masks are a GAME CHANGER. I have seen these beauties in action at one of my Beautycounter socials and it was pretty impressive.

 

Beauty + Makeup

  • Ultimate Nudes Eyeshadow Palette– TO. DIE. FOR. I got this for myself (oopsies) and it is all things amazing. So many beautiful shades for dressing up or down. A must.
  • Illuminating Trio– This set is at the top of my “yes please!” list! Perfectly paired highlighters for any skintone.
  • Perfect Pout Trio, Pinks– This set can be given whole or split up between stockings or personally curated gift sets.
  • Best of Brushes Set– Four brushes that every beauty needs!  
  • Blue Tansy Beauty Cream–the perfect addition to your safer beauty routine, blue tansy oil is used to

 

Safer Products for the men in your life...because their products matter too!

  • Clean Slate Charcoal Duo–comes with the charcoal bar and the No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask, perfect for the man who's OK with gettin' his 
  • Counterman Perfect Shave Set–everything your man needs to prep, shave and soothe, this is the perfect gift for your health conscious dude or any man in your life for that matter!
  • Beard Oil or Beard Oil Pack–the perfect way to nourish, tame and hydrate facial hair without weighing it down or looking greasy. Plus, they're cocktail scented (old fashioned and mint mojito please!) which is pretty awesome. 

 

For the Non-Toxic Home

  • Branch Basics Starter Kit–does it seem weird to gift someone cleaning products!? haha Not when they're one-of-a-kind goodness, packaged in a beautiful reusable cloth bag with a red bow, ready to make that loved ones life way easier (and less toxic, duh!). Use promo code "alo10" to get 10% off your starter kit!
  • Honey + Fern beeswax candles–this is one of my fave new shops and I already have a box full of candles to gift to loved one! Their candles are non-toxic, pure beeswax and just plain pretty. 

 

I hope this gift guide helps give you a few ideas for gifting safer beauty, skincare and home goodies to your loved one! Healthy living really can trickle into every aspect of your life, even in the gifts you give!

I'd love to hear what some of your favorite healthy gifts are or if you end up gifting any of these goodies! Please share in the comments below! I love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays my friend! Praying you have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

xo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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How Nutrition & Non-toxic Living Helped This "Infertile" Couple Conceive Naturally | A Testimony

Today I wanted to share a story with you, from a beautiful client of mine, Erin. It's one of those testimonies that leaves me in awe. It begins similar to so many other women's story. One of dieting and restriction and years of unintentional abuse that can leave a body in a bad, bad place. A place that makes starting a family an incredible challenge. The difference in Erin's story is that she decided to do something about it and used Nutritional Therapy and healthy living to change the direction of her (and her husband's) health journey in order to conceive naturally. When Erin emailed me to share she had become pregnant, I literally cried my eyes out! What a gift and what a powerful testimony. I am so grateful that Erin was willing to share her story with us and I hope that it encourages and inspires you to continue on your path toward a healthier body and better fertility! 

"My hormonal problems started long before I realized how crucial hormones actually are. When I was about 13, I became very body conscious and desired to be thin above all else.  At that time, I associated being thin with being healthy.  The thinner the healthier was what I thought, so I got very thin. I did so by eating less than I had ever eaten before and exercising as much as possible. I would eat an apple before school, a banana with a slice of fat-free cheese for lunch, and a salad with fat-free dressing for dinner. I feared fat in all forms. This behavior continued for several years and, when I look back, the saddest part for me is that I honestly believed I was “healthier” than my friends who were eating three normal meals. I thought I had accomplished something by eating less than 1,000 calories per day and was proud of myself.  

By age 14, my menstrual cycle had disappeared completely. This should have been a huge red flag that I was not, in fact, healthy but it did not bother me one bit. Prior to college, at age 17, during a physical at my pediatrician’s office, the nurse asked me when my last menstrual cycle was. I giggled and responded that it had been years. Her look of concern frightened me. The pediatrician, however, told me not to worry and prescribed me birth control pills to “bring on a period.” I started the birth control pill, got a monthly bleed and was happy to continue my restrictive ways. I wish so badly now that the pediatrician had done more investigative work and told me the importance of hormonal health.

Over the next years, I met my husband, went through college and dental school, got married and started a new job. All this time my nutrition and lifestyle did not change. I ate about 1,200 calories per day, exercised vigorously 7 days per week, and was under chronic stress from school and work. I often thought about wanting children one day, but I always seemed “too busy” to worry about it at that time.

When my husband and I decided we wanted children, I went off the birth control pill. To no surprise, my period did not return. After 8 months of no cycle, I went to the OBGYN and had blood work performed. At the age of 27, my hormones were that of a post-menopausal woman. I was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, which means essentially my brain stopped communicating with my reproductive organs due to the stress signals it was receiving. My doctor informed me that my lifestyle had caused this and that I would never conceive on my own. He told me that, when we were prepared, he would refer us to a specialist for assisted reproductive technologies. I did not want this at all and was willing to change whatever I needed to make it happen naturally.   

I knew in my heart it was time to make some drastic changes. I did a great deal of research on Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and made lifestyle changes. I quit intense exercising, ate more calories, and stressed less. After 15 years of no period, my cycle returned, albeit irregular. At this point we knew it was game time for trying to conceive.

During my research on hypothalamic amenorrhea I came across several holistic health blogs, podcasts and books. The more I learned, the more I realized how much I do not know! Of course this led me down the path of more research as I learned exactly how critical our nutrition is to our own health and that of our offspring. I realized, my body was craving specific nutrients and minerals to build the healthiest DNA possible. I also learned that my husband’s health was just as important as mine, as he will be providing half of the DNA for our children.

In mid- 2016 one of the holistic health podcasts that I listened to, The Colorful Eats Podcast, did an episode on preconception health. I listened to that episode three times in a row and hung on every word. I was fascinated by the fact that my husband and I have the power to influence the health of our future children before I was pregnant! Changing what we eat and how we live our lives now could protect our future children from illnesses and give them a healthier foundation. This sounded like a no-brainer to me. Now that we knew it was possible to impact the health of our future children, we had to take every advantage of this opportunity.

Justine from Alo Wellness had mentioned on The Colorful Eats Podcast that she was passionate about preconception health. My husband and I discussed reaching out for guidance on our journey and decided to set up a pre-conception game plan with Alo Wellness.  We drastically changed many aspects of our lives from nutrition to sleeping to cleaning products.  My husband jokes we added the “B’s” to our lives… butter, bone broth and Beautycounter!

One of the simplest, most impactful changes we made was changing the products we use in our home. After learning how quickly the toxic chemicals from everyday products can enter our bloodstreams and influence our hormonal health, we were adamant on only using non-toxic products. I began reading about products on the Environmental Working Group’s website (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/). We purchased safer, non-toxic cleaning and personal care products. I did a beauty product dump and purchased all new products from Beautycounter.

We also made many diet changes. We focused on getting a balance of carbs, fat and protein with each meal as well as a variety of vegetables each day. We began taking whole-food based supplements rather than the synthetic supplements we had been taking for years. We added bone broth to our daily diet to promote gut health, which has been shown to be extremely important in overall health. Finally, we cut back on our caffeine consumption to support our adrenal health.  Amazingly, caffeine is no longer a daily necessity for either of us, but rather an occasional, special treat.

We implemented these practices religiously for 6 months before we went to see a specialist about our troubles conceiving. It turns out, while they were running tests, they told me I was already 6 weeks pregnant! I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and could not be happier. All babies are miracles, but I truly believe this baby is a miracle and a testament to the power of lifestyle changes that we can make prior to conception!" Erin, North Carolina

Wow, what an incredible testimony of healing and the power that real food and healthy living can have within your life and on your fertility journey. It's surely not always easiest route, but it's always worth it!

If Erin's testimony touches your heart and you'd like to create your own path to better fertility, naturally, I'd love to help support you! I support couples who are preparing for conception, are struggling with infertility issues or are looking to begin assisted conception and would like to get their bodies as healthy as possible. Learn more on our Preconception + Fertility page.

Have questions? Not sure if it's right for you? I'd love to schedule a time to talk and see if Nutritional Therapy can support you! Email justine@alowellness.com 

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Why Making Preconception Health a Lifestyle, Not a Fad, Does More Good Than You Can Imagine

I read a random blog post recently that really got me thinking. The woman writing the post, obviously some sort of health practitioner or Nutritionist, was talking about how we as women, are all about taking care of others. Even within the “fertility fad”, she wrote, we’re focusing on doing something for someone else (um, that healthy baby we’re dreaming of?) and that we should work on making healthier diet and lifestyle improvements for ourselves so that one day, when we do conceive, we’ll be nice and ready to make a healthy baby.

Because we’re focused on nurturing ourselves. Not for anyone else’s benefit.

That was wordy, sorry. I definitely don’t disagree with her. In fact, I really liked her viewpoint, but then I thought, "Is it really different than my own?"

What am I really hoping for when couple’s come to me for fertility support or when a woman reads a blog post of mine about preparing for conception? What is my ultimate goal with the education and support I provide?

I can say for certain that it sure as heck isn’t a “fad”. It’s not about something you do today and drop like a bad habit the moment you get pregnant.

It’s about so much more than that.

Yes, it’s about eating better and focusing on nourishing foods and cleaning up your environment and lowering your stress levels, but a big piece of it is about YOU learning to take care of yourself better. Learning to make your beautiful self a bit more of a priority, getting healthier so that you can show up better in life, but also better as a mother and caretaker. Not just today, but when you get pregnant, into mommyhood and beyond. The same goes for the hubs.

This is by no means selfish. Mommying is hard work.

I believe it’s one of the most important jobs on this earth and an absolute gift, but it’s taxing and overwhelming at times and if you’re not working daily to take care of YOU in some way or another, it can be an even greater challenge to show up as the best version of yourself.

Maybe with less mood swings, better energy and patience and my very favorite, more joy.

Preparing your body for conception is about so much more than just what you put in your mouth or the cleaning products you buy.

In the intentional choices you and your husband make each day to live healthier, you’re working toward creating a stronger connection between that lucky sperm and ready egg, a welcoming womb that nourishes and protects and a home environment that nurtures baby in every way possible.

These daily choices create a new way of living. A way that’s more mindful and intentional and understands that showing up this way can create a better future. For you. And baby.

Baby grows in this environment and learns her own version of healthy that she’ll take into the rest of her life. Enjoying more nourishing foods, learning to balance rest and hustle, giving herself grace daily, even choosing products that better support her health.

Because that’s what you did and that’s what she saw. 

Daily choices making waves.

As she marries and hopes to create her own family, she’s already in a better place because of the preparation you put in before her life ever began and the positive choices you made thereafter. She’s well nourished and strong and is better off because of you.

Because you had a little forethought to take preparing for her conception seriously. Learning to take care of your beautiful body and better nourish it’s God-given ability to create life within.

I pray for a movement of change, that couples are inspired to take charge of their fertility and create a less stress-filled conception story.

For their own well-being and that of their future little ones.

The journey won’t always be easy and it surely won't be perfect, but every choice we make has the ability to create positive change, healthier bodies and a stronger next generation.

It all comes full circle when you really think about it. What a beautiful thing.

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Episode 22 | Making Babies - Preconception Nutrition with Kim Schuette

Episode 22 Kim Schuette In today’s episode, we’re diving into a topic that we consider the “ultimate form of preventative health”- preconception preparation! This episode is one of my favorites so far. It’s serious, it’s deep, it’s encouraging and it has the potential to be life changing for those in this beautiful stage of life.

No, this isn’t an episode on sex ed, rather on the powerful impact good nutrition plays on creating a human. In today’s episode, we interview Kim Schuette, a Clinical Nutritionist, certified GAPS practitioner, owner of Biodynamic Wellness and board member with the Weston A. Price Foundation. Kim shares a very beautiful and mindful take on making babies. From what foods to eat and what to avoid to optimize fertility (in both men and women) to the importance of supporting emotional health and creating immense love between both partners, Kim shares her incredible knowledge and encouragement for couples planning to conceive.

What I love most about this episode is the change in perspective that Kim presents on preconception preparation. Her wisdom is a gift and we are beyond excited for you to listen in on this episode.

We understand this topic can be a touchy subject for many women so we hope that today’s episode will bring some light around this subject and encourage your beautiful heart.

If the thought of making a baby has got you running for the hills, can we ask you to share this episode with someone in your life who may benefit from the information? Maybe a couple who has been struggling to conceive, the newly weds in your life or even those just dating...it’s never too early to start nourishing your body for game day.

We understand that oftentimes this topic needs a little extra support, so we want to remind you that as Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, this is one of our favorite areas to support in our practices and we’d love to support you on your preconception journey. Click here to check out our services and begin working with us today!

Download Episode 22 in iTunes!


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Thank you to one of our favorite 100% natural skincare brands Primally Pure for sponsoring this episode.  Be sure to check out their fabulous NEW baby line!

Primally Pure

 

 

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All things pre + post-baby health on the Nourishing Buzz Podcast

Ok, I have a new obsession. Thank the Lord because if I didn't like it, I'd be in big trouble. I'm obsessed with motherhood, nourishing my family and keeping them safe and healthy. Particularly my precious baby girl. To me, this is the ultimate job and an incredible responsibility to use the knowledge I have to better her future through good, solid nutrition and non-toxic living practices. That seems to be the best form of prevention, right?

We will be talking A LOT about this on the blog going forward. 

Because I'm obsessed. Remember?

And I know that once you get baby-makin' on the mind, these things become a high priority. 

So, with all that being said I had the wonderful opportunity to talk all things nutrition and healthy living for preconception through pregnancy and beyond with the beautiful Caroline Potter, NTP of Colorful Eats and Holly Marshall, NC on the Nourishing Buzz podcast. I love their podcast because they talk about how to make healthy living and eating practical and non-complicated and encourage individuals to live more fulfilling lives through these practices.

We all need more of that goodness in our lives.

They have lots of great podcast topics to check out so make sure to head over to iTunes to download the latest podcasts. 

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Thank you again Caroline and Holly for inviting me to be a part of the Nourishing Buzz podcast! I am so grateful to be able to encourage women to live healthier, more fulfilling lives!

Oh, and don't forget to check out these lovely ladies on Facebook and Instagram! They've got some drool worthy photos and recipes that you do not want to miss!

Caroline Potter | Colorful Eats | Facebook | Instagram

Holly Marshall, NC | Facebook | Instagram

Shine Bright my friends!