wellness

How I'm Healing After Miscarriage–Physically & Mentally

This miscarriage has been very different from our first, now over 3 years ago. My heart is still aching from the emotional aspect and my body is weary from the physical trauma, but my faith is stronger and I know without a doubt that the Lord is using it to encourage other women who’ve experienced this same loss, to connect us. It’s an odd feeling and even hard to explain, how I can go through such a rough season yet still see the joy and the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m OK with His plan.  

Miscarriage is odd in that you can grieve and mourn so hard over a little one you’ve never met. I like the way Emily from the Tethering Place explains the loss you experience with miscarriage, “The wave is coming again. A wave of tears and sadness and loss. An odd loss though, for can you lose something you never had? You never held? It is odd because nothing has changed and everything has changed.”

It’s so true. Like, painfully, heart-wrenchingly true. And that wave has hit me over and over the past few weeks.

But for my husband and I, this unexpected pregnancy (and loss) has allowed us to see that we DO want to grow our family. We thought we were happy with just our sweet little Elle, but out of this hardship, we know there’s more to come and I’m grateful, even in it’s yuckiness, that we had the opportunity to feel the realness of expecting again, making plans, dreaming of four.

So, in true Justine fashion, I am putting my best foot forward, seeking out the help and support I need to heal my body–physically and mentally–and get ready for conception in the future!

And in my last post sharing our story and my heart on miscarriage, I told you that I would keep you in the loop on my own health journey––the good, the bad and the ugly.

My greatest health goal at the moment is to heal my body because miscarriage is messy and hard and bloody. Gross, but true. There’s inflammation, internal stress (physically and emotionally), battle wounds of the heart, blood loss, hormonal chaos and all that good stuff that needs to be addressed and supported so that I am left in an even better place than before.

The flip side to this–avoiding the physical and emotional aftermath of miscarriage–is a body who’s left to fend for itself, scars that aren’t tended to that build up fear, resentment and pain, nutrients lost, hormones a mess, inflammation and lots of other imbalances that can affect my future attempts to create life from within. That, I am not going to allow.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years being in the holistic and alternative world of health is how important it is to be self aware and practice mindfulness in every area of your life...not just in what you put in your mouth. Being able to take a step back and look at myself–my emotional, physical and spiritual wellness–allowing myself to see, touch, feel and experience the hurt, the joy, the trauma...all of it...and know that I can make a difference with my own two hands, that I don’t have to sit in fear or whatever the negative emotion is forever, but that I can take action to move forward, to grow, to be better, to love well, to experience more joy and contentment is foundational to a healthy life.

This experience is no different. As hard and awful as it is, there is so much I can do to heal my body with my own two hands, with the help and support of gifted practitioners and the endless love of God. That’s so empowering and so so encouraging to me.

So here’s what I’m up to currently…

Building blood.

Last week, I had my first real acupuncture experience with a super cool friend of mine, Kerry Carlos. He’s a Licensed Acupuncturist and all about holistic wellness and is well loved by his patients. I have been reading a lot about acupuncture and the benefits on fertility health so when I ran into Kerry at the wellness center he practices in after a massage I enjoyed last week, we got to talking about what I was going through and he quickly talked me into how he could help along my preconception journey.

During my initial appointment with Kerry, he found that I am lacking blood post-miscarriage, my adrenals are very weak, my body is holding on to a lot of stress and anxiety, something about grief in my lungs aaaaaand I can’t remember what else because there was a lot going on (and I don’t quite understand all the chi stuff and energy flow and organ connections quite yet). He worked on my main concerns and we joked and laughed about it all, but I kid you not, when I got off that table, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Seriously. I can’t wait to go back!

So in focusing on building blood specifically, I am taking some herbs that Kerry recommended to help with this as well as some other problem areas and I am focusing on getting in certain foods, specifically iron-rich foods to help generate new, healthy and strong blood.

That sounds weird...strong blood? But blood does a lot of important things like transport nutrients, oxygenate your entire body, fight off invaders, remove toxins, transport hormones and sooooooo so so much more. It’s important that it’s healthy...and strong.

Over the next few weeks (and I guess throughout my preconception, pregnancy and nursing journey because these foods nourish these phases as well) I'll be focusing on eating plenty of beets, beef, liver from pastured animals, and pastured, organic egg yolks. I’m also focusing on getting plenty of vitamin C along with these foods since vitamin C helps with iron absorption (think broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and strawberries...vitamin C superfoods!).

Overall, it’s important to nourish with a variety of vitamins and minerals so until I see my Nutritionist (yes, this Nutritionist has her own Nutritionist!) for more specific nutrient support, I’ll continue my prenatal and a few other supportive supplements.

Tonifying and draining my uterus.

This is an interesting one, huh? But it’s an important element of healing your future babe’s home. I am currently taking a Gemmotherapy that helps to tonify and drain the uterus (I also used this in my third trimester and totally credit it to my speedy labor and birth) and bovine uterine tissue (via supplement form people!) to nourish my own uterine tissue.

I understand this point may sound odd to some, especially if you’re new to the holistic world, but this is a big piece of my healing protocol and I’ll take both therapies morning and night for 6 weeks.

Addressing stress and giving my adrenals all the love.

Oh this is a big one. When I first started miscarrying, I had a lot of peace about everything and I still do, BUT there was a lot of physical and emotional stress that was goin’ down that I didn’t really realize. About a week after the initial news, it was like it all came to a head and I began feeling the acute symptoms of stress–chest tightness, a super short fuse, overwhelm, sugar cravings, etc.

I know my body well enough to understand what was going on and I immediately had to hit the pause button and take a chill pill. Massage, asking for help, all the essential oils and magnesium before bed to help me relax and sleep, adrenal support supplements, acupuncture, etc..

But this doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to heal emotionally and to nourish the adrenal glands.  

This is one of the most important pieces of a healthy life, but it’s also one of the most challenging so this is always an ongoing focus. Stressors like miscarriage aren’t a chosen stress (like putting your kids in too many sports or taking on too much at work), they just come, without warning or invite. And they’re inevitable in life.

Stress management is at the top of my list because it sneaks in everywhere. Especially during this time of year. So each day I wake up and choose to take one thing at a time, to eat well and keep my blood sugar stable, to take my adrenal support (supplements), to say “no” when I need to, to create much needed quiet, alone time (#onlychildproblems), and to nourish my soul with God’s word.

It’s a process, but when you’re able to strengthen your body’s ability to deal with stress (and give it the rest to be able to do so), you kind of kick ass at life. It adds to your patience, your energy, your drive (in life and sexually!) and creates a new will to rock out life. No joke, having strong adrenal function is down right amazing.

So there you have it, a little inside look into my healing process. I am working on getting in with my Nutritionist in San Diego and I know we will be looking at thyroid function and sex hormones as these can cause issues with fertility and miscarriage. I have a pretty long cycle so I am looking forward to getting that in check and creating more balance from within.

If you have experienced a miscarriage this year, I am praying for your heart and your healing friend. I know it's awful and heartbreaking. I hope that sharing my journey of mourning and healing will help encourage you. 

Before I go–I just wanted to thank everyone who has been lifting Matt and I up in prayer, for all your kind and supportive words and your outpouring of love. We are more grateful than you know!

xoxo

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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Episode 46 | Finding Freedom + Joy in Healthy Living with Meredyth Cann

 

You will fall in love with today’s episode with the bubbly and endearing Meredyth Cann of Meredyth Delayne Nutrition.  Meredyth is a fellow NTP and in our words, “She’s just our people.” We absolutely adore her take on nutrition and healthy living and know she’ll be a light in your day.

On today’s episode, Meredyth shares how a rough time in her life led her to the field of nutrition, how powerful a nutrient-dense diet was on impacting her emotional and physical well being and how this drove her to share her passion with others. She also gives us some helpful tips on how to make healthy changes stick, creating a mindset shift and really making it a lifestyle.  Meredyth goes beyond just the aesthetics of nutrition, really getting to the heart of the matter and her fresh take on healthy living will leave you inspired.

We hope this episode inspires and encourages you to continue to take your healthy journey forward, one day at a time, one bite at a time and to always find beauty in the process!

And before we go, we wanted to let you in on a giveaway opportunity! To celebrate our 50th episode, coming up in a few short weeks, anyone who leaves a Colorful Eats podcast review in iTunes will be entered to win a super awesome healthy living gift…giveaway deats to come! We will announce the winner during our 50th episode! Add a little reminder in your phone or planner to leave some love in iTunes and we’ll enter you to win! I’d say that’s a win-win!

Highlight Reel

03:02 | Caroline’ reads a sweet listener review

06:30 | Meredyth shares how she went from grief to emotional grounding

11:39 | What motivates her to live a healthy life, beyond the aesthetics

16:00 | How Meredyth founding freedom and joy within healthy living

22:00 | Meredyth’s anti-quick fix encouragement

34:30 | Don’t take yourself too seriously

Download Episode 46 in iTunes!

Thank You To The Nutritional Therapy Association For Sponsoring This Episode—Real Education For People Who Believe In Real Food.

 

 

 

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Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell

Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell Being healthy is not just about the food we eat, though that is very important. It really is about so much more—it comes down to sleep, relationships, contentment and a big portion especially in today’s world is non-toxic living.

We wanted to specifically talk about safe skincare, products that as women, we use most days of our lives. This topic is gaining so much popularity in the mainstream news or circles today and we truly believe that this is more than just a movement, it’s not a fad that is going to fade in a week or even a year.

On today’s episode, we welcome Kate Criswell, a woman passionate about safe skincare and a Managing Director with Beautycounter who shares it all with us!  Join us for this eye opening conversation about how the products you use daily affect your hormones, fertility, children (even future children) and weight loss!

So go hit the “Subscribe” button on iTunes and share the podcast with your friends and family!  We are so excited to be here with you all each and every Monday morning!

Download in iTunes!

 

This podcast episode is proudly sponsored by the Nutritional Therapy Association: Real Education for People Who Believe in Real Food.

 


 

Link Love:

Shop Beautycounter Products

Environmental Working Group’s “Health Living” App

The Nantucket Project with Gregg Renfrew

Hibiscus Cream Blusher

Fig Lip Gloss

 


 

Episode 8 | Safe Skincare - More Than Just a Movement with Kate Criswell

Why I Love My Work + Grain-free Zucchini Apple Muffins

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Last week, a woman came into my office after being brutally tortured {dramatic, yes} by an RD pushing “healthy” whole grains, margarine and diet drinks. Her food plan looked like a supermarket bread isle with 1-2 servings of grains during 4-6 meals each day. She is insulin-resistant and dealing with some less than desirable thyroid issues. She’s looking for relief, knowledge and empowerment to take charge of her health. I could hear the despair in her voice as she laid out her history and deep desire to feel well.

Unbaked muffinsAmidst her bags of supplements and meds, food journal, paperwork and a stack of Paleo cookbooks, she pulled out two recipes she had printed for me, “that I just HAD to try!” I was so excited that she shared one of her favorites with me, knowing how finding a good recipe, a tasty meal, a new ingredient can make a foodie’s whole day!

My clients are awesome. They come to me, often times desperate for something more than they’re getting from other healthcare providers, looking to change the course of their health. They want to feel better, move better and live fully.

The most rewarding aspect is when they kick-butt and totally rock out whatever crazy awesome protocol I put them on.

They come in astonished by how well they’re sleeping {I even had one guy get mad at me, saying, “How am I supposed to catch up on my TV if I am sleeping through the night!?”}, they’re new-found energy and lack of sugar cravings and how they can’t believe they’re not bloated after meals. They feel good. They feel alive.

I am so thankful for each one of my clients and am inspired by their drive to take action.

Today I wanted to share my version of my client’s recipe, {Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins. Enjoy these nutritious muffins for breakfast with butter or coconut manna or as an afternoon snack. These are also a great for children’s lunches!

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{Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 cup nut butter {almond, organic peanut butter, sunbutter, etc.}
  • ¼ cup or less raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped {soaked and dehydrated is best!}
  • optional: 1/2 chocolate chips {I like the Enjoy Life brand}

Preheat over to 350°F.

Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or strong paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Place zucchini, apple and carrot in a medium mixing bowl and lightly toss. Add nut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into a lined or greased cupcake pan. I like the If You Can brand, Unbleached Baking Cups or using coconut oil to grease the pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Enjoy!

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness seminars! 

Nourished Travels

Travel season is upon us my friends and MAN I am SO excited! One of my favorite things in life is vacationing, seeing different places and straight up livin' the life {tell me, whose favorite isn't it!?}. It helps that I have a husband whom I adore and would rather no one else to adventure with! Ah, sweet vacay memories... The hubs and I leave for Mammoth tomorrow to visit friends and celebrate a wonderful pair exchanging vows! June brings a Palm Desert lady's weekend and in late July the hubs and I are off to NY and Scotland! Summer is the perfect time to get away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and live it up in the sun doing things that bring us joy.

The hubs and I on a mini-trip to good ol' Vegas for a friend's 30th. Road trips are the best.

Lily loves the road as well! Obviously...

Vacations can also derail many of our health efforts as we quickly switch into “vacay mode” and eat and drink whatever the heck our little heart’s desire. PEOPLE! Vacations do not = fall off the bandwagon and forget all things we know about health and wellness! We are much better served in our efforts to relax, rejuvenate and recharge if we continue to fill our bellies with wholesome, real foods! They give us energy, thinner waistlines and sexy, sparkling skin to boast. Why fall off and feel fat, tired and right back at ground zero when you get home?

On a flight to Istanbul in July 2011, still packin! I see some beef jerky and plenty of "YumNuts" from Whole Foods! Don't forget to bring a good read!

But how on earth am I supposed to eat healthfully when I’ll be on the road for 15 hours straight with nothing but a Jack-in-the-Crack and a 7-11 for fuel or on a plane with neatly packaged, microwaved wonders full of preservatives and crap!? Great question!

Making vacations healthy is all about preparation! Yes, you have a bit of homework, but the outcome will leave you feeling 100 times better than if you just went with the flow like an Aunt we know…

5 Tips for Healthy Travels

  1. Pack dry storage snacks. This is one of the easiest things to do! There are plenty of healthy, whole food choices in your local health food store that are easy to pack in a “snack bag” that will not spoil during your travels and that will keep you full and nourished. Think grass-fed beef jerky, mixed nuts (soaked and dehydrated, of course), dried fruit, dried seaweed, kale chips, Larabars, plantain chips, Tanka bars (a traditional American-Indian buffalo and cranberry snack), canned salmon or tuna, coconut manna/butter, salami, fresh fruit, avocado, unsweetened dried coconut, etc. Since many of these foods may be packaged, it is important to read labels and avoid additives such as food coloring, preservatives and unnecessary binding agents.
  2. Pack a cooler…if possible. A cooler is key to a successful work day as you are able to pack almost anything and keep it from spoiling. The same goes for your travels, especially if you are road-tripping it! Think raw cheese, fruits and veggies, hardboiled eggs, hummus, sliced meats (turkey, roast beef, ham, etc. from appropriately raised animals and without additives), sauerkraut or other fermented veggies, yogurt, Kombucha, leftovers, etc. Be careful when flying, I have had my yogurt thrown away! You may need to use ice in a baggy, dispose of it prior to security then refill when you get to your gate at an airport restaurant or fast food joint.
  3. Do your research! Often times you can find local Whole Foods or other health food stores near your hotel or airport, depending on your destination. When the hubs and I flew to Maui for our honeymoon, we found a Whole Foods and a small organic co-op type market right near the airport. If you are traveling abroad, inquire about local farmer’s markets or restaurants that use local, whole foods in their prep when you arrive.
  4. Include a healthy treat. I say this because inevitably we are going to want to “treat” ourselves on a vacation and more times than not that equals sweets. Why not come prepared with something that won’t throw us off the deep end and into a sugary bliss that we all know quickly turns to a sugary hell!? I like taking along a good quality, organic dark chocolate (70% or more) bar or dark chocolate covered nuts. If sweets aren’t your thing then make sure your “savory tooth” is fed with the right “treats” as well!
  5. Snack prep – at home! If you’re the type that likes to make the majority of your goodies at home, make sure you plan to begin making jerky, soaked and dried nuts/seeds, granola bars, etc. a week or more prior to take off. Making these types of items at home always ensures that they’re properly prepared and as nutritious as possible. But don’t worry if the week before D-day is more than you can handle, just make sure you make it to the store to get all the nutritious goods you need!

This trips's goodies include {from top left} smoked salmon, organic carrots, sauerkraut, mixed nuts with banana chips and unsweetened coconut, Larabars {this is our "sweet treat"} and organic hummus from TJ's {this is also a treat for the hubs as we don't usually do many beans}. We also have grass-fed beef jerky, apples and hard boiled eggs. Let's just put it this way- if we had to sit in traffic the entire weekend, we'd be well fed.

It definitely takes some planning and prep time (get over it people, real food takes time and it should!), but I promise you will feel like a million bucks when you get home from your summer excursions feeling fit and fabulous. Don’t let vacations, which are meant to bring us relaxation and joy, be something that derail your efforts to be the best you possible!

As we learn more about the benefits of real foods and experience their amazing effects, it becomes easier and easier to stick to it in all situations {mostly because we feel like crap when we eat the junk we used to}. Remember, real food is a way of life, not a “diet”.

Happy and safe travels my friends!

Shine Bright!