Doulas - How They Can Help You

Birth Doulas
You’ve just found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations!  You’re now faced with many decisions about your pregnancy and birth journey; this can be very overwhelming. So, how can this process be made easier?  A birth doula is a trained individual who provides one-on-one emotional, physical, and informational support to a birthing person through pregnancy, labour, and birth. They provide support at home, in birthing centres or hospitals, and maintain a constant presence with you through the entire labour process, from start to finish. The goal of a doula-assisted birth is to empower the birthing person to take control, decrease fear and anxiety, and ultimately leave them with a positive birth experience. The Doula Role  Typically, a birth doula meets with you one to two times during your pregnancy, depending on what stage you’re at when you first connect. During these meetings, you discuss how your pregnancy is progressing and a plethora of information about labour, birth, and postpartum. Together, you will develop a birth plan which encompasses all of the possible choices and outcomes that may come up during the birth.  The birth doula will provide constant support during the labour process, in which they communicate regularly and stay by your side. They assist with pain and discomfort, keep you calm, help with your emotional needs, can guide a partner on how to support you, and facilitate communication and informed consent with medical providers. A birth doula does not provide any medical advice and does not replace an obstetrician (OB) or midwife. Rather, doulas complement their care. In the postpartum period, your birth doula will follow up with you to ensure you are healing well, check in on your mood, and offer additional support. They may also be able to provide you with some breastfeeding support, depending on their experience and training. However, extensive breastfeeding support should be sought out through a lactation consultant.  Note that a postpartum doula is a different type of doula; they provide help in the postpartum period and focus on catering to your household needs and infant care. Training & Knowledge  Certified doulas are trained individuals who have a strong knowledge of the birthing process, including the physiology of labour. Oftentimes, doulas seek out additional training and certifications to help offer you the best care they can. Physiology Of Labour  An incredibly important part of how a birth doula helps to improve the quality of your labour, particularly by decreasing discomfort, can be explained through the physiology of labour.  First, let’s review the different states of the nervous system. There are two systems: The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The sympathetic nervous system can be described as “fight or flight” mode, while the parasympathetic nervous system is described as the “rest and digest” mode. When you are in an SNS state, it signals to the body that there is danger. The main hormones that take over are adrenaline and cortisol. When you are in this state, the blood flow is shunted to your muscles, heart, lungs, and brain to help fight whatever danger is near. Consequently, the blood moves away from your uterus and baby, resulting in lactic acid buildup, increased pain and cramping, and potential distress to the baby. When you are in a PNS state, the body produces hormones such as oxytocin (i.e., your love, bonding, and birthing hormone) and endorphins. Blood will redirect to organs in your digestive and reproductive system (e.g., your uterus). This state tells you that you are safe and induces calmness. Oxytocin is the hormone that creates contractions and facilitates bonding and breastfeeding. Natural oxytocin reduces cortisol and relieves pain and discomfort as well. Additionally, endorphins as you probably know also reduce pain and induce a happier state of mind. At this point, you can likely tell which state is more favourable for labour. On TV and in movies, most births are depicted in a way where the birthing person is screaming in intense pain, and overall, it seems like a very scary experience. Such expectations create fear and anxiety, which will put you in an SNS state; this prolongs labour, increases pain and discomfort, increases the need for medical interventions, and is associated with adverse birth/labour outcomes, including worse bonding and breastfeeding experiences.4 Other factors that induce an SNS state are the environment (e.g., harsh lighting, hospital sounds, various practitioners in and out), feeling overwhelmed or confused, and certain interventions and medical procedures during labour.  You might be thinking about how to keep yourself in a PNS state with all that is happening during labour. Thankfully, birth doulas are trained in techniques that help induce this state and also revert you to a PNS state should stress increase. ...

Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie!⁣⁣The change of season is here! Longer days, warmer temperatures and a sense that the world is slowly getting back on schedule. @sabrinavirdee is rolling out a delicious treat that can be enjoyed anytime of the day. By adding natural ingredients along with a bit of love, you will be cooling down in no time with a cold smoothie in hand! Add Kaizen Naturals Vanilla Protein Powder and help build muscle, repair tissue! Check out past recipes to put together a full day of eating, snacking and enjoying time with your loved ones and friends! #livelifehealthy⁣⁣Mango & Coconut Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie⁣Serves 1⁣INGREDIENTS ⁣1½ cups Frozen Mango ⁣½ cup Frozen Pineapple ⁣½ cup Coconut Milk ⁣1 tsp Turmeric Powder⁣1 cup of Cold Water⁣1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder *optional ⁣⁣DIRECTIONS1. Add all your ingredients into your blender and mix until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. Add more water for desired thickness! Enjoy!⁣ Recipe created by: @sabrinavirdee

Post Work Out Recovery & Protein Waffle Recipe

Nutritionist & Healthy Planet Ambassador Marissa Liana shares the importance of post work out meals and how it effects performance and recovery. Discover  what happens to muscles when you exercise, the 3 muscle building amino acids, how they work and what the body needs to repair itself for optimal muscle building. Learn what happens to the body when you don’t get the proper nutrition post workout. Marissa shares an easy to make and incredibly beneficial post workout recipe that not only goes down easy, but sets you up for the next session in the gym! Enjoy Marissa’s delicious Protein Waffle Recipe below with Genuine Health Vegan Protein     DRY INGREDIENTS: • 1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use VEGA, genuine health or sun warrior)  note: has to be plant based protein powder or the recipe/consistency will not work. • 30 g gluten free pancake mix (about 2 tbsp) • 1/2 tbsp Ceylon cinnamon if desired • 1/2 tsp of both baking soda and baking powder • Packet of stevia WET INGREDIENTS: • 1 whole egg • 1/3 cup egg whites • 2-3 tbsp almond milk   DIRECTIONS: • Mix wet and dry ingredients separately first and then add wet to dry. Mix until pudding-like consistency is formed. • Pour into waffle maker and let sit until steaming stops. • Top with your fav fruit/syrup and enjoy!    Tag us with your waffle creation @healthyplanet with #livelifehealthy. Enjoy!

Almond Hemp Energy Balls

Almond Hemp Energy Balls? Yes please! On the go treat that will energize you all day? We got it.  Packed with superfoods and high in protein, these Energy Balls will keep you energized and on the move all day feeling healthy and complete. Healthy Planet Ambassador  marissaliana shared with us one of her favourite Fitness snack recipes, AMAZING Almond Hemp Energy Balls. Super fast and easy to prepare, this is the energy ball you will be craving pre and post workout. Combine hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond butter and  protein powder together for what will quickly become your new favorite post workout snack. Find what drives you and fuel it with a heart healthy and nutritious treat made with love. #lifelivehealthy Almond Hemp Energy Balls Ingredients: 1/2 cup Organic Traditions Raw Almond Butter 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds 4 tbsp Prana Chia Seeds 1 overly ripe banana 2 scoops Vega Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder (70g) 2 tbsp Shady Maple Farms MapleS 6 tbsp Giddy YoYo Dark Chocolate Chips   How to prepare Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Roll into golf ball sized balls and store in freezer for best texture. Let thaw for 5 minutes before eating and enjoy!   Put together your favourite Energy Ball recipe, tag @healthyplanet on Instagram and show us what keeps you going! Use the Healthy Planet hashtag #livelifehealthy and we will share your recipe with our followers! Keep spreading the love!

Healthy Planet New Year Resolution

Tis the season to embrace your family and loved ones. Your time is occupied by holiday parties, friend's gathering and surrounding yourself with family. It’s a chance to immerse yourself into the holiday spirit and leave behind the stress of daily life and the issues that come with it. While we mask the not so positive parts of ourselves during the holidays to keep up a positive and festive mood around others, doing so can lead to increased stress and anxiety. This can make way for excessive eating and sometimes deepen an already depressed state of mind. Taking care of your mind and body during the holiday season is of utmost importance not just for you, but those around you as well. With the New Year quickly approaching, we all know what comes when the big hand strikes Midnight. A laundry list of how we are going to improve our Health and Wellness in the upcoming year. Resolutions like increased time in the gym, adapting to an organic diet or making a pact to spend more time with nature are popular with the health and wellness lifestyle. Healthy Planet is here to help assist you in being the best version of yourself.Here is a list of some of our favourite New Year Resolutions and how we can help reach your goals! Digestion Health: Change of Diet Resolution: We an all overindulge in food and sweets over the Holidays. Here are some of our favourite products that will help realign both your gut health and digestive health for the New Year. Genuine Health Probiotic Gut Health - Benefiting both skin health, digestive health and immunity. Start your New Year building a defense in your gut against bloating and weak digestion. New Roots Digestive Enzyme - Get more energy from your food while helping increase vitamin and mineral absorption from foods. Helping with digestion, boating and gas, give a little love to your Gut Health with the arrival of the New Year. Traditional Medicinals Eater's Digest Peppermint Tea- This Kosher, Non GMO, Organic, after dinner tea is perfect for occasional indigestion and soothing a full belly. Let’s be serious, who doesn’t love a cup of tea after dinner. Dry Winter Weather: Spend More TIme In Nature Resolution Spending more time in nature can bring a sense of calmness following the busy holiday season. Dedicating more time walking and exploring the outdoors can be a fun way to enter the New Year feeling invigorated and fresh. Earth's Care Dry and Cracked Skin Balm - Winter months can be harsh and cold. Increased time spent exploring outside will leave you cracked and dry. Absorb the benefits of Shea Butter, Arnica and Cajaput Oil. Dr. Bronner Lip Balm Peppermint - Keep your lips from getting chapped with a classic. Support proper moisturizing of your lips over the cold months into spring. All organic and all love, Dr. Bronner should be a staple for everyone this New Year. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Lemon Echinacea Tea - Heating up with a warm and comforting Tea after enjoying a walk in the park in the Winter months is the perfect treat. Organic, Non GMO, Kosher and Fair Trade. Gym Supplements: Joining Gym Resolution One of the top New Year Resolutions is joining the gym. We always promote self care and improving your body at Healthy Planet. Allmax ISONatural - Gluten free and formulated with probiotics to improve intestinal microflora, Allmax protein technology is a great addition to any training regiment. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer - Go into your workout fully energized and ready to build your best self empire. Increase your endurance while raising your menta focus and recovery time. Amazing Grass Green SuperFood - Complete raw food with powerful antioxidants, Organic, Raw, Gluten Free, Natural, support your body while you train it to be the best it can be. Going Organic: Going Organic Resolution The Organic movement has made huge strides in the last few years. With the public understanding the importance of healthy and pesticide-free produce and products, trading in your processed foods and items for Organic will be an easy transition. Organic Traditions Sprouted Quinoa - Full of protein and incredibly versatile in the kitchen, quinoa is one of the easier proteins to fuel your body for the New Years challenges. Organic Traditions is one of our favourite Organic brands on the market. Prana Organic Cashews - Known to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and lower the risk of diabetes, Prana Organic Cashews are some of the best Organic nuts on the market. Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts - An easy way to add omegas, protein and fibre straight into your diet, Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts are free of any additives or preservatives. A healthy and organic addition to your New Year Goals. Going Cruelty Free: Cruelty Free Beauty Self Care Resolution One of the most popular and fastly growing New Year Resolutions/Movements is jumping on board the Cruelty Free Cosmetics and Self Care. We are proud to carry all Cruelt ...

6 Goal Setting Strategies to Help Build Muscle

It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old: More and more people are adding the goal of building muscle as part of their overall fitness program. Whether it’s for aesthetic reasons, sports performance, weight management, to improve your active lifestyle or a combination of the aforementioned – more people than ever before are engaging in resistance training as a means of adding lean muscle to their physiques. If you’re one of them, here are a few tips that can help you maximize your results:   1. HAVE A PLAN: Sure, it sounds simple, yet the gyms are filled with people just “winging it,” wandering aimlessly from machine to machine and making up their workouts as they go. A few crunches here, a biceps curl there, a quick stretch, with no method to their madness. Lack of structure is one of the primary reasons so few manage to achieve their workout goals. Yes, there is a science to building muscle, and it starts by following a well-designed exercise plan. It can be a workout found in a book, a magazine, an exercise DVD, one in an exercise app. Just make sure you are following an intelligently-designed strength training plan. (Ideally one created by someone with an exercise-science related degree and/or possessing one of the top fitness certifications, such as those from the ACSM, NSCA or NASM.)   2. CHOOSE YOUR PLAN CAREFULLY: Unfortunately it’s not enough to simply follow a plan – You also have to ensure that the one you do select is based on sound exercise science. Thanks in large part to the internet and social media there’s a plethora of bad fitness advice, questionable workout plans and self-proclaimed “fitness experts” out there. Choosing an improper strength training plan can not only keep you from achieving your goals, it may also potentially lead to injury. Be sure you seek out information from a reputable source.   3. USE APPROPRIATE RESISTANCE: There is a line often used in fitness: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” When it comes to resistance training and building muscle, the concept is known as the “Overload Principle.” Simply put, it means you should lift weights that are challenging, without losing your ability to maintain safe, proper form. The human body is an extremely intelligent machine, and can adapt to the stressors imposed upon it. Lifting the appropriate weight breaks down your muscle tissue and your body “adapts” by rebuilding and repairing itself, including increasing the size of your muscle fibers.   4. EAT YOUR PROTEIN: Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle, and protein is made up of amino acids. Failure to eat adequate daily protein can prevent you from building lean muscle. A good strategy is to try to consume high-quality sources of protein with each meal.   5. BE CONSISTENT: Lifting weights a few times a month will simply not get you the muscle building results you are looking for. You need to overload the muscles at least a few times per week to adequately overload and stimulate your muscular system.[annotation]Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. (2016). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine. 46(11):1689-1697. A good plan is to engage in a full-body strength training workout three times per week on non-consecutive days.  It doesn’t matter if you do it at home or the gym, with free weights, machines, or your body weight. You just need to do it, and do it consistently.   6. GIVE IT TIME: Building muscle, like just about everything related to exercise, takes time. No, it won’t happen overnight, or even in a few weeks for that matter. But it can happen, as long as you don’t expect immediate results and you follow the advice listed above.   Reference:

Best Cardio Workouts If You Despise Running

Whether it’s macrobiotics, Ayurvedic practices, raw food or food combining—I love finding ways to reduce stress and increase energy. I’ll take my research and obsession with freshness and nutrient density, and turn them into approachable tips to help you prosper. Regardless if you are plant-based or not, I hope to help you reach optimal wellness with the most up-to-date information on healthy living. Many Vega employees, and of course our formulator Brendan Brazier, are cardio fanatics. Of the five members of the Vega Education Team (my department) I’m literally the only one that is not a runner and has not done a marathon. But no shame here; my training is in functional athletics. However cardio training, or aerobic conditioning, is important for heart health and overall fitness levels, for athletes of all types. If you’re like me and dreaded the timed mile test in high school or the thought of “going for a run” sounds excruciating, you’ll love my favorite fun cardio workouts that are not running: Trampoline If you haven’t been on a trampoline yet, or since childhood, you are missing out. I just got a mini one for my home as a way to encourage myself to do more cardio. The benefits of bouncing on a trampoline are said to include invigoration of the heart and cardiovascular system while being gentle on your joints and tissues. It can also be used for improving your balance as well. Some athletes use trampolines to improve their speed, jump and anaerobic performances. 1 If you don’t want to invest in one for your home, many gyms now offer classes using this equipment or better yet there are trampoline parks where you can take your entire family to play. Jump rope Jumping rope is like a little black dress: simple, classic and never goes out of style. It also has the benefit of being portable; if you’re traveling, pack one in your suitcase and it hardly takes up any room. Whether you’re in a gym or outside in the sunshine jumping rope is great way to achieve cardio benefits and shows potential for improving shoulder strength as well. 2 Rowing Rowing is one of my new favorite workouts. As a full body movement it gets your heart rate up, making it an effective cardiovascular exercise and is a great deal of fun. Some of the rowing machines (ergs) even have games that you play as you row. High-intensity and short duration rowing is said to preserve skeletal muscle function and structure, in addition to playing a role in preventing atrophy in antigravity muscles (joint stabilizing muscles  such as quadriceps, glutes, and spinal erectors—muscles of the lower back).3 A quick internet search can help you find rowing clubs near you so you can experience this activity outdoors and meet other people interested in fitness. If you haven’t noticed I love workouts that don’t feel like workouts. Finding an activity that you enjoy doing is a great way to ensure that you’ll continue with it. What are your favorite fun workouts that are great for the cardiovascular system?   References1. Karakollukcu M, Aslan CS, Paoli A, et al. (2014) Effects of mini trampoline exercise on male gymnasts’ physiological parameters: a pilot study. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.2. Duzgun I, Baltaci G, Colakoglu F, et al. (2010) The effects of jump-rope training on shoulder isokinetic strength in adolescent volleyball players. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 19(2):184-99.3. Krainski F, Hastings JL, Heinicke K, et al. (2014). The effect of rowing ergometry and resistive exercise on skeletal muscle structure and function during bed rest. Journal of Applied Physiology. 116(12):1569-81.   By Paige Snyder

Top 10 Tips for Staying Motivated to Work Out

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a gym beginner, staying motivated to work out can be a challenge.  Let’s overcome this challenge together! Below are 10 tips that I’ve learned through my own experiences as a Personal Trainer for staying motivated.  I have worked with all types of people, personalities, and ages! I even pride myself on exercising my cat, Mitzi!  Believe me, she wasn’t the most motivated to workout. I hope these tips are helpful and keep you on a path to overwhelming wellness in your life. Try something new! Ever taken a yoga class? Pilates? Cycle? Barre? Zumba? Kickboxing?  There’s an abundance of classes available to let you experience something new. Find hobbies that keep your body moving.  That way, you’re enjoying your workouts!  Some of these include (but of course, are not limited to) hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, running, swimming, and cycling. Keep an exercise calendar. Set up a calendar and keep track of your workouts. It will help you stay consistent and you can plan ahead a week in advance. Keep a workout journal. Be proud of your workout accomplishments!  If you’re a weight lifter, track your sets/reps and muscle groups trained.  If you go for a 30-minute run, write it down! Find a workout buddy.  Whether it’s for spotting you on a bench press, or having a jogging buddy, finding people who are as motivated as you are will be a great way to keep on track. Plan your meals. Focusing on exercising is only part of the battle! Making sure your food choices are as thoughtful as your exercises will keep you fast tracking to success. Be kind to yourself.  Be your own #1 supporter.  No one is perfect; there will be days when you have planned a workout and didn’t get to it.  When those days happen, be kind to yourself…tell yourself it is ok and you will try again. Get enough sleep.  If you’re moving your body more, your body needs rest! Stretching, Foam Rolling.  In my personal experience, stretching and foam rolling after working out feels great.  I may be at home while watching a TV show, and stretching out my glutes, hips, calves…and foam rolling my IT band.   Multitasking is great! Get Excited.  The fact that you read all the way to the bottom of this blog posts tells me that you are already on the right track. Good luck and have fun! Have a fitness tip? Share it in the comments. Kara Hamada