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  • Yoga for Holiday Stress

    by Christina Thompson Olson RYT RPYT

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? But if the onslaught of holiday parties, shopping, and family gatherings has you feeling a bit stressed out, you’re not alone. How many more times is Aunt Ginny going to ask when you’ll be having a baby? Before you snap or find yourself making up stories to distract from your fertility situation, try these simple yoga techniques to stay grounded and let all that chatter melt away.

    Get into your breath

    Before reacting to someone or something, check in with your breathing and see if you can allow it to slow down. Try Samavritti pranayama, or equal breath to help calm your mind and relax your body. Start by bringing your attention to the tip of your nose, inhaling and exhaling through your nose if comfortable. Notice the length of your inhale and exhale, and work towards equal breathing by silently counting to four on your inhale and exhale: “In-2-3-4, Out-2-3-4”. Let your breath move deeply through your abdomen, expanding your diaphragm as you inhale and gently drawing in as you exhale, working towards twelve rounds of breath.

    Gently move your body

    Try some easy yoga poses to relieve stress, even if you’re in the restroom at a holiday party! One of my favorite moves to ease tension in the mind and body is the forward fold, which can be done in a variety of ways. Try a halfway forward fold or L-shape, walking your hands down a wall (or on a countertop) as you take your feet hip-width distance and create an L-shape with your body. Take 4-5 deep breaths to relax your shoulders, lengthen your spine, and send your sitting bones back evenly behind you. Then take your feet wider and find a dynamic squat-forward fold by bending your knees as you exhale and returning to the forward fold with an inhale for another five rounds of breath. 

    From this wide leg forward fold, with hands either supported by a wall or on blocks, take a gentle open twist by bringing your left hand under your face and lifting your right hand up towards the sky, or to your right hip. Breathe deeply for several rounds of breath to gently massage your digestive organs in this twist, and then repeat on your left side. Take one more symmetrical forward fold of your choice, coming up slowly when you’re finished, and hopefully you’ll return to your holiday season feeling a bit more at ease in your body.

    Beat the Winter Blues in the New Year with a FREE Yoga for Fertility Community Class (with me!) in Chicago or in Highland Park with Cassie on January 11th at noon!

    Did you know Yoga for Fertility can reduce anxiety by 20% or more in just six weeks? Join my next series in the New Year to support your journey starting on Saturday, January 25th at noon!

  • Simplifying the Best Diet for Fertility

    By Robin Miller RDN

    There seems to be so much information out there about diets and foods to consume and not consume while trying to conceive and during pregnancy. But what really is the best diet when it comes to fertility? 

     

    We know that food likely plays a role in fertility and our ability to conceive, but is there a specific diet per se, that will lead to pregnancy? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, however the research does suggest that including specific food groups and foods, while eliminating others can increase chances of pregnancy.

    One recent study* showed that couples undergoing IVF, in vitro fertilization, had almost three times the chance of a successful pregnancy when they closely adhered to the Mediterranean Diet, which is consists on a high intake of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and a low intake of red meat. Let’s dig deeper and look at specific foods to include in our daily diets to help improve overall fertility.

    1. Berries:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are filled with antioxidants that limit inflammation in the body as well as protect our cells from aging and environmental damage.  
    2. Cruciferous Vegetables:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, turnip greens, turnips and rutabaga.  These vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that regulates estrogen metabolism and helps convert “bad estrogens” into good ones.
    3. Healthy Fats:  The fats we eat play a very important role in fertility.  They are incorporated into our cell membranes (think egg and sperm) and make up the backbone of many important molecules in our body.   Monounsaturated fats help to lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and are found in olive oil, avocado and most nuts.  Omega-3 fats are key to lowering the level of inflammation in our body and are found in fatty fish, dark leafy vegetables, walnuts, chia and flax seeds.  
    4. Beans/Lentils:  Besides being a good source of protein, beans and lentils contain soluble fiber, which helps bind excess hormones and remove them from the body.
    5. Whole Grains:  Whole grains are a rich source of fiber and B-vitamins.  B-vitamins are crucial for optimal egg development and ovulation. 
    6. Lean Protein:  Choose lean proteins like organic chicken, turkey, grass-fed red meats, and organically raised eggs.  

    To learn more about specific foods and food groups to include in a fertility-friendly diet and improve your overall nutrition; schedule a nutrition consult online here or call us to learn more at: 312-321-0004 today!

    *https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29390148