Welcome to Sophie from Broody Foodie and her delicious muffin recipe

I’ve had the good fortune recently of finding a fantastic nutritionist who specialises in pre-conception and prenatal nutrition. Even more fortunately, she has kindly agreed to developing recipes for the naturaltransition.com fertility, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, baby and mother care recipe base. So let me introduce you to Sophie Halls Anning from the very aptly named Broody Foodie. Sophie’s practice is in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney where she provides food based programs to help you prepare for pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

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New year, new resolve


New years resolutions are not usually my thing but I decided this year that January 1  is a good time to take stock and have a think about how give some forward motion to all those “I must  do such n such” thoughts swirling around in my head. My  most pressing “ must do” is to nurture my body back to health.

I have been very lax on my diet during 2009, following my 3rd pregnancy in which I stacked on about 20kg. None of which I have lost yet. That’s right, my baby is now close to 17 months old and my weight is the same now as it was 2 weeks after giving birth. In fact, I haven’t been a healthy weight since the first trimester of my first pregnancy- Umm, 10 years ago.

I’m not going to go making any promises to myself to lose all the fat,  it really is only a secondary problem. The primary problem is my love affair with sugar. I eat way, waaay too much sugar. Me sniffing chocolate is like an alcoholic getting a whiff of a favourite drink. I figure if I can solve the sugar addiction, I go a long way to dropping a lot of this excess fat I have on me. Add to this my new Wii Fit Plus, EA active exercise routine and getting back to my martial arts training and I think this flab will start to disappear, simultaneously revealing both the old and a new me.

I’m hoping to get a bit of support and continued inspiration from others out there in the same boat. I know I am a naturopath and am supposed to be the picture of good health but I’ve found that theory and practice are sometime two different things. I have recently had conversations with a few Twitter buddies about committing to a healthier lifestyle in one way or another and look forward to following their progress.

A conversation with with a twitter pal sparked my thoughts about giving away sugar and we made a loose binding agreement to give it away at the conclusion of the festive season. @AgooAustralia tweeted an invite to join her team in @fatlossathon (fatlossathon.com) and I have accepted the challenge-In theory. I have started filing out the entry form twice now and keep stopping when I get to the request for measurements and a before photo of myself in gym wear, swim wear or under wear- Ekkk!!! I will get that done today… That brings me to @phdinparenting– The bravest lady in the blogging land since she posted pictures of herself in swimwear in her post I want to be myself again. Although, I can’t say you look terrible in a swim suit Annie…

I hope that this post will find others who have resolved to bring in the new  year with a healthier lifestyle in one way or another. I’d love it if you could record your health goals in the comments section of this post and leave an update every now and then.  If your blogging about weight loss or achieving better health, please leave a link to your post so that we can support each other.

For anyone that wants to join me in a sugar free start to the new year- Here is a plan to help get us started. I’ll be committing to 8 weeks following this plan to the letter and start on the 4th of January at the same time as my fatlossathon teamkicks off. After that, I will reassess my situation and see if I need to get stricter or if I can relax it a bit.

Take some nutritional supplements that can help with cravings, including:

– Amino acids: Tyrosine, phenylalanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), tryptophan, and glutamine can help. Glutamine is sweet-tasting and can be placed under the tongue after a meal or between meals to calm cravings.
– B-complex: A good quality B-complex supplement is essential for reducing cravings and supporting your nervous system through the withdrawals.
– Minerals: Some researchers claim that cravings are based on the need for minerals in our bodies. This is especially true of chromium, which has also been shown to help balance blood sugar levels.

  • Accept the cravings and give them a chance to pass. Eat fresh fruit sparingly in response to pesky cravings. They will lessen over time and will disappear altogether after about 2 weeks.
  • Keep a food journal- For at least a week, write down everything you eat. You are less likely to eat something you know you shouldn’t if you have to record it somewhere.
  • Don’t use any artificial sweeteners. They are worse for fluctuating blood sugar levels than sugar itself and do nothing for helping you to beat the sweet tooth. They are also carcinogenic- you don’t want them. Stevia is the only sugar substitute that is not harmful in some way and can be used if you really must have a sugar substitute. You can get it from a health food store.
  • Eat low glycaemic index foods. There is a good data base at glycemicindex.com. It is maintained by the University of Sydney and is actually a great site to learn about all things glycemic index.
  • Eat some protein with your meals and snacks. This can be as simple as adding a handful of nuts and seeds to your breakfast cereal.
  • Ensure you eat before you get ravenous.
  • Add spices to your food. Cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaf can help reduce sugar cravings.
  • The herb Gymnema can be helpful in curbing sugar cravings but it is not suitable for those who suffer from hyopoglycemia. If you get light headed and shaky with your sugar cravings, don’t even think about using Gymnema, it will lower your blood sugar levels further.
  • Read labels and avoid anything that has sugar or corn syrup in it as an ingredient.

Well, I think that is a pretty good start. Do you have anything to add?

Please don’t forget to leave your resolutions and blog links in the comment section below 🙂

To good health in 2010!!


This post is for all those pregnant sisters out there that have lost their ankles and feel their feet wobble when they walk.

I’ve spent a bit of time with my little sister and her belly baby over the weekend. My dear pregnant sister seems to wearing well for 32 weeks pregnant, but she is suffering from some nasty swollen ankles. The kind that make your ankle bones disappear. She has the all clear from the birth centre midwives- no reason to suspect it is anything sinister, just one of those pregnancy things.

Caution: If you have swelling in the hands and face as well as the ankles, or, if you have one leg more swollen than the other, or, swelling comes on quickly- Please get checked out by an appropriate health professional as it could indicate a more severe health concern.

As far as normal annoying pregnancy tankles go, it is caused by a combination of a much greater blood volume and high levels of progesterone which cause your body to hold on to excess fluid . Also, your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins in the pelvis, which impairs the return of blood to your heart. In turn, this leads to swelling in the legs, ankles and feet.

This is a pretty common pregnancy discomfort and almost always goes away after delivery. One of my favourite things about the immediate post partum period is being able to urinate again in one steady, satisfying stream. I remember several loooong wee’s after my last birth and I wondered how on earth I could have had that much to get rid of. It was all the excess fluid I was carrying in my legs finally finding a way out. Ahhhh…

Hopefully you can find some relief before baby is born with these suggestions:

  • Stay off your feet. Avoid standing or sitting with your feet on the floor for long periods. Don’t cross your legs. When you can, sit with your feet up and occasionally rotate your feet at the ankles and wiggle your toes.
  • Spend time lying down with your legs elevated.
  • Avoid tight clothing, cuffs or jewellery around your ankles and wrists.
  • Sleep on your side and elevate your legs slightly with pillows.
  • This one is not easy in the hot Sydney summer but do your best. Stay cool. Heat can aggravate swelling during pregnancy. It might be soothing to apply cold-water compresses to swollen areas.
  • Soak in a large bath or pool of cool or warm water– Not hot. You need to be fully immersed upto your neck for a minimum of 10 minutes .
  • Get some exercise. Yeh, I know just what you feel like in hot weather but it will help. Take a walk or swim laps in a pool.
  • Drink herbal tea containing nettle leaf. It is a really safe and nutritious herb to use in pregnancy, is a kidney tonic and is great for helping to clear excess fluid. Today’s shameless plug: Natural Transitions pregnancy tea contains nettle and other herbs that may help reduce puffy ankles.  It tastes great and is specifically formulated to be safe for all stages of pregnancy. Dandelion tea is also a useful and safe diuretic that can help too.
  • Nutritional helpers include rutin, hesperidin, quercetin and vitamin B6. The first 3 are bioflavonoids, the best food sources of these include buckwheat seed, fruits and fruit rinds, especially citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime) and berries such as blueberries. Vitamin B6 is best found in spinach, bell peppers, garlic, tuna, cauliflower, mustard greens, banana, celery, cabbage, asparagus and other green vegies.

According to the Cochrane review I just read (based on small scale studies) compression stockings don’t work but reflexology works well.  So why not try a pregnancy reflexologist. I would also recommend acupuncture as a treatment modality to try. It can be so effective for pregnancy related discomforts and is very safe when carried out by someone with proper training.

That’s it from me. There are other things I might use with a patient after a proper consultation but that is my list of DIY’s. Does anyone else have a suggestion that might help the pregnant sisters out there see their ankles again before baby is born? If so, I’d love to hear ‘em. I love comments- please leave me one;-)