Monday, March 30, 2015

Before You Buy Or Blend A Postpartum Depression Tea...


With so much information on the Internet, it's easy to find recipes for herbal tea blends or to find already prepared tea mixes. Many moms are interested in natural or holistic ways to help support their mood and thoughts postpartum, which makes herbal teas for postpartum depression a welcome option. The problem, though, is that many recipes and blends online don't always take everything into consideration that you need to. While having good intentions, those sharing their recipes on blogs and forums may not understand medicinal interactions, the pharmacokinetics or pharmacodynamics of the herbs, or how they affect other things. It's easy to be distracted by the fact that a particular herb can help depression and to not realize it can decrease milk supply, for instance. How many mother's could get thrown into a deeper depression by choosing an herb that isn't appropriate for them? And how many could run into physical problems by choosing herbs that interact with prescribed medications in a negative way? When chosen and used correctly, herbs are a safe and effective way of helping support a mother through postpartum depression and changes, so it's worth knowing what you need to know! Here are seven things to consider before buying or blending a postpartum depression tea:


  1. How the herb interacts with medications (including MOA inhibitors or tricyclic anti-depressants)
  2. How the herb affects milk supply
  3. What the herb does if you take it long term
  4. How long you'll need to take that herb before seeing a result
  5. If an herb counteracts another herb in the blend (this can be a positive thing, too, like in the milk decrease/increase scenario)
  6. If an herb works synergistically with another herb in the bled
  7. If the herbs chosen are targeting a symptom or the root problem, and if that is what you are looking for
Happy tea drinking!

Written from our Blessed Mama Services side of things, which is a holistic business specializing in traditional postpartum care. We exist to support mothers as they strengthen their families. www.BlessedMamaServices.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BlessedMamaServices

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dear Mom Like Me

Dear mom who is run down, looks like a hot mess, feels like she can't remember who she is, is sure she is failing, feels guilty because she is secretly angry inside, is convinced her life is a hamster wheel, but somehow loves being with these amazing little people even more than she is frustrated by all of the "other" things that come along with them:

You know that you're enough, so I'm not going to tell you that. You know that this too shall pass, and you probably feel like you have no right to even tell anyone how you're feeling because you don't want someone to be confused and think that you aren't grateful for your children or that by feeling this way that you somehow take your children or your moments with them for granted.

I know you don't take the kids for granted. I know you don't take the moments for granted. I know you are grateful. But I also know that you miss yourself. I know that you struggle with being depressed and happy at the same time and man, it's so confusing. I know that you want to scream at doing 400 dishes a day, that Mt. Laundry might as well be called Mt. Never Ending Treadmill and that you just wish you could be a "normal" person (i.e. showering more than once a week) again.


Dear mama, this is what you need to know. This is what I need to know. And this is what we need to remember, and remind each other of daily:


  • Your children think you're beautiful.
  • No one else knows how messy your house is.
  • Your kids don't care how messy your house is. (oh, the irony)
  • If you're like me, you just can't accept the fact that your house is going to be messy while you have young children. Instead, work on accepting the fact that you're just going to feel crappy about how the house is while you have you have young children.
  • You still have the same smile that your husband fell in love with.
  • You can own your new "mom" identity. 
  • You don't have to let go of who you used to be. Just because you haven't ran a marathon in 2 years, played piano in 6 months, aced a college exam in 10 years, or learned a new skill that didn't involve your offspring in...a long time..., doesn't mean that those things aren't still a part of who you are. There are seasons, and just because the corn isn't being harvested now, doesn't mean it isn't growing or that it won't be planted again. And if you decide to grow squash next time instead of corn, it's ok. Your entire life makes up you, not just the present.
  • It's ok to rest. 
  • It's ok to have a bad day.
  • It's ok to love and hate what you're doing, where you're at, and to be frustrated by the fact that you can't change it.
  • And it's ok to admit that none of these things mean that you don't love your kids more than all the other moms in the world. In fact, they have no effect on the fact that you are a rockstar mom or that your kids are going to grow up, call you blessed, and talk about the awesome memories they have of childhood--because they are going to have them. 
Maybe motherhood of young children is like childbirth; it's excruciatingly difficult at moments, but after it's done, you somehow become oblivious to the difficulties you went through and just remember the amazingness of it instead. Because let's face it, it is amazing hearing a person read for the first time. To see them discover their toes. To hear them say "I love you". The fact that we know what our baby needs by the way she cries. To be the one he needs in the middle of the night. That they want to tell us EVERYTHING. That is amazing.

And you, mama, are amazing, too. Keep your eyes above the waves. You're gonna make it, and you're gonna do great.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Plexus Slim Drink Ingredients: what they do, and what the research says


Plexus Slim, the "pink drink" is hitting everyone's social media news feed and radar right now, and everyone's wondering if it really works. My bottom line guess is that yes, it will probably work, simply because of its effects on blood sugar. I also think that you could probably get a much cheaper version of it by having your Doctor prescribe Metformin for you if you are looking to lose weight or combat blood sugar by taking a supplement. Some people may be attracted to Plexus because it's often toted as being an "all natural supplement that is a tool which just gives you things that your body needs" (paraphrase from what I've heard multiple distributors say; the Plexus website refers to Plexus Slim as "the most-natural way to lose weight"...which means???). I thought that sounded pretty good, too, so I spent some time looking into each ingredient as listed on their website at: http://www.plexusworldwide.com/products/plexus-slim. While I still haven't had time to gather research to point you to on a few of the non proprietary ingredients, you can see what information I have gotten together below. As for me, I have decided to not use this product. Feel free to post other research you've found, especially if you've had time to look through peer reviewed journals!


Plexus Slim "Pink Drink" Ingredients

Green Coffee/Chlorogenic Acid:
What it is: a phenolic compound formed by the esterification of cinnamic acids. Green coffee is a major source of CGA in nature.

What it does: studies demonstrate lowering blood pressure, inhibiting fat accumulation and body weight, modulation of glucose metabolism, and improvement in vasoreactivity. It’s also shown that CGA from Green Coffee Extract is highly bioavailable to humans.

Negatives: caffeine can have negative effects, though Plexus says there’s only 2% caffeine involved. I also did find a study that claims no difference in body mass index between the control and experimental groups using this.

Bottom Line: this looks really good, but considering what it does and that it hasn’t been studied for breastfeeding or pregnant mothers, I think it ought to be avoided while pregnant or nursing.



Garcinia Cambogia        
What it is: a tropical fruit; the active ingredient is in the skin of the fruit Hydrooxycitric Acid (HCA)

What it does: possibly increases your level of satiety (satisfaction you receive from food) thus making it easier to eat less (it’s been suggested that this is linked to an increase in the precursor to serotonin, and studies show elevated serotonin levels in subjects taking HCA, but research is not clear on this link yet)

Problems: it is best absorbed when the hydroxycitrate in it is bound to both calcium and potassium, and human studies show inconsistent and weak (or no) correlations between Garcinia Cambogia and weight loss.



Alpha Lipoic Acid
What it is: a synthetic antioxidant

What it does: appears to help increase insulin sensitivity, works with other antioxidants to help neutralize free radicals and reduce cellular damage


 Polydextrose:
What it is: Polydextrose is a water-soluble dietary fiber made from corn. Made by mixing glucose and sorbitol and then adding citric acid, it is a very safe dietary fiber that is not broken down by human digestive enzymes.

Safety: FDA says it’s safe but can cause diarrhea, flatulence, and other similar problems

Bottom Line: this is a synthetic fiber. It revs up your GI tract, but at a fraction of the level of wheat bran, which is a natural fiber. While we know that dietary (naturally occurring) fibers are linked to lower risks of heart disease, we have no evidence that polydextrose does this, or that it has any health benefits. In fact, we just really don’t understand its effects on humans, period.

Positives: has fewer calories than sugar, has some prebiotic like effect (alters gut flora)

Why it’s usually added: adds a sweeter taste, bulks up the volume of the food, and manufacturers can claim on their food labels that the products have dietary fiber value.

Alternatives: real fiber, prebiotics

Sources:

Citric Acid:
What it is: an acid found in citrus fruits

What it does: gives a sour (acidic) taste to foods and is a natural preservative

Conclusion: this is approved by the FDA, and I found no controversial evidence about it that was backed up by research


Beetroot Extract:
What it is: extract from the beetroot. :-p

What it does: it’s actually linked to improved blood flow, stamina, lower blood pressure, as a treatment for fever, constipation, wounds, skin problems, and as an aphrodisiac. It also contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6, and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and soluble fiber. I could go on to tell you the other benefits I found, including anti-cancer properties, detoxification support, evidence against dementia, and so on, but it would really take all day. Some of these claims have been proved in trials, whereas other claims haven’t been looked at yet and so can’t be “proved”.

Safety: The only thing really known about safety is that, while not contraindicated, “excessive consumption is not advised in patients with hemochromatosis or Wilson disease” (drugs.com).

Bottom Line: what a great health ingredient! It’s just too bad they say it’s for “color” of the Pink Drink, which leads me to think that the amount included is so minuscule, you won’t be gaining any benefits. We think you should throw out the rest of the ingredients and serve the Beetroot Pink Drink, Plexus!
 


Stevia Leaf Extract: need to research this still (feel free to do it for me and leave your links below)

Luo Han Guo Extract:
What it is: a Chinese fruit.

What it does: It’s generally used as a no-caloric sweetener. In China, it’s considered a “longevity aid” and to balance chi (heat life force) build up in the body. It can also be used for lung congestion, coughs, respiratory ailments, and constipation.

Everything else: unknown. This particular fruit hasn’t been studied.


Chromium:
What it is: a trace mineral that humans need in trace amounts.

What it does: studies show that it lowers blood sugar levels in the body. However, there is not enough evidence showing that it can benefit diabetes or similar diseases, and the studies done about chromium and weight loss don’t show that it helps people lose weight.

Positives: may help lower blood sugar, may help lower cholesterol, may help with depression and PCOS due to its effects on insulin.

Negatives: no safety risks, but it can interact with a variety of medications including antacids and some pain relievers. It’s also still under study and debate, and levels in drinking water have limits. There are also two types of chromium (-3 and -6), with -3 thought to be the safer one. In water and the human body, these types can change back and forth. It is known that people can develop contact dermatitis after years of exposure to water with high chromium levels.

Conclusion: there’s not enough evidence to say that this will help anyone lose weight. The good news is that Plexus Slim contains such a small amount of chromium that even if we discover a health risk at some point, there probably isn’t enough of it in the drink to become a problem to a humans. By the same token, there probably isn’t enough of this in Plexus Slim to give any benefits, either.

Alternatives: get your chromium from the many vegetables, fruits, meats, grains, and yeast that contain it.

Sources:


Guar Gum: need to research this still (feel free to do it for me and leave your links below)

Silicon Dioxide: need to research this still (feel free to do it for me and leave your links below)