Pictures

Pictures

Friday, January 3, 2014

Yogi Mami is Moving!

With the growth of my blog over the past year I decided it was time to move from Blogger to Wordpress. Please follow me on my new page- http://yogimami.com/ to stay up to date on great articles, giveaways and lots more!

Thank you for your continued love and support and wishing much health and prosperity in 2014 and beyond!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mom Approved Toys for Preschoolers and Kindergarten



When ever holidays or birthdays approach I am always looking for toy ideas for my kids that are both fun and educational. I like to provide this list to family members so that we try to avoid ending up with too many toys that don't get played with. As a homeschooling family I want something that is functional but also something that will keep my kids attention.  This post is a list of great toys for young children from infants thru 1st grade. A few of these my kids have and LOVE and the others are on our wish list.

Infants & Toddlers:

For gift ideas for young children, checkout this post by a great blog I follow, The Darling Bakers. The post shares great ideas for toys and activities for the first year and the toddler years. 

 

Toys and Activities for Children's Early Years- The Darling Bakers 


Preschool to Kindergarten:

Alphabet Bingo Games- Where to Buy
This is a great game for children ages 4-6. It teaches pre-kindergarten children up to 1st grade. It teaches them to recognize the alphabet.

Jax Ltd., Inc. Sequence Letters- Where to Buy
Intended for kids age 4-7. It's a great way to learn the alphabet and the sound each letter makes.


Learning Resources Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game- Where to Buy 
This is a great game to sharpen math skills and the basic operations of addition and subtraction for younger children and as practice for older children.

Melissa and Doug Abacus- Where to Buy
This activity is great for kids 3 and up. It helps to teach math skills, patterning and color recognition. 

Melissa and Doug Pattern Block & Boards- Where to Buy
These colorful pattern boards are great for children 3+ and is a great way to learn about patterns and shapes. 


Melissa and Doug See & Spell- Where to Buy 
This activity is recommended for children ages 4-7. It contains 16 colorful pictures to learn spelling skills. 

Melissa and Doug Geometric Stacker- Where to Buy
This durable wooden toy for kids 2 and up. It helps to build shape, color and size differentiation skills. 

Plan Toys Preschool Sorting Board- Where To Buy 
Perfect for kids age 2-5. This toy teaches colors, shapes and math concepts. 


ThinkFun Zingo Sight Words- Where to Buy
For grades pre-kindergarten to 2nd grade. This game was developed by educators to teach sight recognition and of essential words. 

ThinkFun What's Gnu- Where to Buy
This game is designed for kids age 5-8. It teaches word recognition, vocabulary building and reading. 





Do you have any mom approved toys to add to the list? We would love for you to share!


Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.



Friday, November 22, 2013

Yoga Postures to Alleviate Pregnancy Discomforts and Prepare for Labor




There is no denying the miraculous life experience of pregnancy and childbirth, however, there can be quite a bit of discomfort and anxiety involved for the expecting mother. In fact, it is one of the most physically demanding events of a woman’s life. There are many uncontrollable factors such as the size and positioning of the baby, the intensity of the contractions, and the amount of space in the pelvic girdle. Pregnancy brings along with it many symptoms such as headaches, morning sickness, joint pain and insomnia. While these elements can be out of the woman’s control there is a way that the mother-to-be can prepare to have an enjoyable pregnancy and manageable labor. Prenatal yoga offers expectant mothers spiritual, mental and physical comfort during both pregnancy and labor, which is beneficial on this life-changing journey. This article will discuss how prenatal yoga can be incorporated into a daily regimen to achieve a happy and healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

Yoga During Pregnancy: 


Practicing yoga everyday is preferred, but if not, at least 3 times a week to receive the most benefits. It is important to find the right practice whether it’s at a studio, gym, DVD or your personal home practice.  Prenatal yoga helps to stretch the growing body, quiet the mind and help prepare for the demands of motherhood. Breathing and postures increase lung capacity, improve quality of sleep and help you to connect with your baby more deeply. While you many not want to work out during the first trimester due to morning sickness or being tired, practicing prenatal yoga can bring relief to many of the impinging symptoms that occur throughout the pregnancy. Modification of poses can be used throughout the pregnancy to adapt to the growing body.  


Benefits of Prenatal Yoga During Labor:



Prenatal yoga helps to promote body awareness by teaching the individual how to go within and listen to the needs of the body. Yoga focuses on breathing (pranayama), postures (asanas) and meditation as a way to distinguish areas where tension is being held. Awareness of these areas allows the woman to release that tightness, letting the body open up and facilitate labor. When the body is stiff and rigid, it prevents labor from progressing smoothly. In addition, the deep connection with the body allows the women to rely less on medical thinking and more on the intuitive wisdom of the human body. Prenatal yoga during pregnancy offers countless benefits when it comes to relieving pregnancy discomforts and managing pain during childbirth.


Prenatal Yoga Postures To Alleviate Common Pregnancy Symptoms: 

 




Balasana/Child’s Pose: Kneel on the floor, (use blankets as needed to support knees) touching your big toes and sitting back on your heels. Open your knees hip distance, or wider. Inhale through the nose bringing your arms over head, and during the exhale lower your torso down in between your knees and rest your forehead on the mat. Your arms are overhead resting on the floor. You also have the option to rest the head on a block, bolster or pillow for added support. Rest in this position as long as is comfortable. This pose is great for relieving headaches, morning sickness or heartburn simply by placing a bolster under the head and chest for extra support. It helps to prevent and relieve hemorrhoids and is great for preparing for a restful night sleep.  



Cat/Cow: Start on your hands and knees in tabletop pose with your knees under your hips and your wrist, elbows and shoulders all in one line with head in a neutral position. Inhale, gazing up towards the sky and raising your sit bones toward the sky and letting your belly drop towards the floor. This is a great position in the 3rd trimester as it creates a lot of space in the womb to give some relieve to mama and baby. On the exhale press your palms into the mat, tuck your neck and pelvis and round your back just like an angry cat. Flow through these two postures for 10-20 breathes each. This combination is great for stretching out the spine, releasing back tension and helping the baby to move off the sciatic nerve. Practicing this posture daily helps to move and keep the baby in an optimal birthing position. 



Viparita Karani/Legs up the wall: This posture might take a little more effort, especially towards the end of your pregnancy, but I promise you it’s worth it! Find a spot near a wall and have a couple of folded blankets or a bolster/pillow to place under your hips. Lay on your back and swing your legs up onto the wall. You do not need to have your bottom all the way up against the wall. You can be at an angle. The important part is that your legs are elevated. This posture is useful for preventing and relieving hemorrhoids, swelling of the legs and feet and varicose veins. Practicing this posture before bed is helpful to promote restful sleep. 




Supta Baddha Konasana/Reclined Bound Angle:  Lay a bolster, or folded blanket in the middle of the mat. sit down at the end of the blanket and bring your feet to touch with your knees opening out to the side. Slowly lay back onto the bolster, or blanket making sure your head and neck is supported. Allow the pelvic region to sink into the mat, which will allow the hips to open up even more. It is beneficial to use a wall to hold your feet into place otherwise as you tend to settle into the posture your legs will begin to slide away from your body. You can also use a strap to hold the feet into place.  This nurturing and restorative posture helps to relieve heartburn and morning sickness, as well as opening up the chest and relieving back tension. This posture can be held as long as is comfortable and even be used during meditation, or visualization sessions. 




Baddha Konasana/Cobblers Pose: Sit with your legs extended out in front of you. You can sit on a block, or blankets if you have tight hips. Bend your knees, bringing the soles of the feet to touch and allowing your knees to drop out to the sides. Back is straight and you can rest your hands on your knees or you can bring your hands to prayer center. This posture is great for relieving sciatica and back pain. It stimulates the digestive system and relaxes the pelvic region. This posture should be practiced daily, especially for pregnant women who sit for long periods of time. 


Breathing Exercises: 



Breathing techniques are important to practice during pregnancy to help the body become familiar with conscious breathing when it is time for labor. During moments of stress our breathing typically becomes rapid and shallow resulting in less oxygen circulating through the body. In labor, breathing techniques calm the mind, bring fresh oxygenated blood to body/baby and provide energy. Taking the time to discipline the mind and body to breathe more efficiently is helpful in all aspects of life and improves overall well-being. 

Deep Yogic breathing is deep, even inhalations through the nose and deep even exhalations through the nose. Deep breathing involves complete expansion and contraction of your lungs. This breath is used to replenish healing qualities that are needed to maintain harmony and balance. Being conscious to completely fill and empty the lungs while also paying attention to your facial muscles, making sure the muscles around the eyes and the jaw are relaxed. We carry stress in our face, hips and shoulders, so consciously relaxing one area tends to spread relaxation to those areas as well. 

Cleansing breath follows the same principal as deep yogic breathing, but has a strong emphasis on the exhalation through the mouth instead of the nose. This breath is used to clear away tension, discomfort and negative thoughts and emotions. Bring your attention to those tense or negative feelings and imagine they are being blown away with each breath as you exhale forcefully through the mouth. Cleansing breathe helps to clear carbon dioxide from your lungs and encourages the body to relax. 


Meditation Techniques:



Relaxation and visualization play important roles during pregnancy and labor. Practicing these techniques regularly work to condition the mind and is a great way to eliminate any fears and anxiety associated with the birth process. Taking the time daily to relax and mediate helps to eliminate muscle tension and making the relaxation response easier to reach during childbirth. Bonding exercises are a great way to connect with your little one while in the womb and begin the parenting relationship. Envisioning a successful labor can bring confidence in the woman’s ability to birth without the need for medical interventions. Many of the restorative postures can be held for long periods of time and are ideal to pair with relaxation and meditation. Affirmations and mudras (hand postures) are also useful during these exercises as a way for the expecting mother to tune in with her body and her baby and trust in their ability to have a fulfilling labor experience. 

Did you use yoga during your pregnancy? If so, how did it help you and what was your favorite pose? 

Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Traditional Portuguese Sopas Recipe



I am third generation American, but my ancestors are from Portugal. To be exact my great grandparents were from Madeira and the Azores. Growing up in a large Portuguese Community of San Diego every year thousands would all get together and celebrate the Festa do Esprito Santo- The Feast of the Holy Spirit. This celebration would honor the religious beliefs, traditions and people of the community with a parade and festival in which everyone would come together. Today it is the oldest ethnic festival in San Diego (2014 will be the 104th year!) and I have been apart of it almost ever year since I was born.

I love getting together with family and friends for this joyous occasion and some of my favorite memories were enjoying the traditional meal served on this day called Sopas. It is a very simple beef stew but the flavors are very unique. When I was growing up I would wait all year for this favorite dish, but now that I am grown I love to make it a couple of times a year. I recently ordered some grass-fed beef from my new rancher and couldn't wait to make Sopas. If you are looking to try a different and ethnic beef stew recipe here is one I think you would enjoy!

Traditional Portuguese Sopas:

4lbs of boneless chuck roast
6 cups of water
3 cups of beef bone broth (homemade preferred)
1 cup of red wine
1 can tomato sauce or 2 cups of chopped tomato
1 yellow or white onion sliced
1 head of cabbage cut into wedges
2 large potatoes cubed
4 cloves of garlic chopped
a bunch of fresh mint leaves and stalk
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp pickling spices
Salt and Pepper to taste
French bread sliced (day or two old bread is great!)

Add everything except cabbage, potatoes, bread and mint to a large pot on medium high heat. Use cheesecloth or strainer to contain pickling spice and cloves. Make sure the meat is covered. Once liquid comes to a boil, turn on low and let everything cook for about 4 hours, or until the meat is falling apart. Towards the end of the cooking time add the potatoes and cabbage, some mint and let it cook until both are soft. Place sliced bread in a glass or ceramic cooking dish and place a few mint leaves on top of bread. Ladle some of the beef broth over the bread and serve.

Have you had Traditional Portuguese Sopas? If you have a recipe I would love for you to share your variation!


Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 Practices to Live a Happier and Healthier Lifestyle



For many people taking small steps toward better health helps to make change easier to accept. Incorporating any nourishing changes into ones lifestyle is another way to encourage well-being and promote vitality. No matter how busy one’s schedule is even the smallest changes can make a big difference in helping to achieve a happy healthy life. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be a chore! You don’t need to deprive yourself of everything you love. Instead the key is to nourish yourself and begin to notice even the smallest differences. Once you start to notice positive changes and feel better both physically and mentally the rest will begin to follow. Establishing small steps towards living a better lifestyle is the most successful way to ensure a long-term change. I am constantly implementing change for the better. My husband always teases me because I always have some new concoction or food product that is a new essential! But he benefits from it and he loves it.

Here are five healthy habits that we have integrated into our lifestyle to increase health and wellness and have noticed positive differences in how our bodies function.

1. Meditate
Meditation has been associated with brain improvement in a variety of areas such as stress, addiction, anxiety and cognitive function. Including even just 15 minutes of meditation into your daily regimen can make a big difference. Sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing and trying to keep your mind from wandering helps to reduce symptoms of depression, settle anxiety, lower blood pressure and improve your mood. I try to wake up before the kids, or if they beat me (which happens often!) then I try to do it before bed.

2. Oil Pulling
This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of using oils to remove harmful organisms, bacteria and fungus from your teeth, gums and throat. It is best done in the early morning before eating or drinking anything and using 1-2 teaspoons of organic coconut, sesame or sunflower oil. Put the oil in our teeth and swish around for 20 minutes. I know it might sound weird to swish oil around in your mouth, but my teeth felt so clean after my first time that I was instantly hooked. My gums and teeth felt great and I began to feel better and better after each day that I practiced this.

If you are new to oil pulling it may be easier to start out doing it for 10-15 minutes and then increase your time from there. The oil will begin to break through the plaque and re-absorb bacteria and toxins improving oral health as well as preventing and reducing a number of health concerns.
Once you are finished spit the oil into a paper towel or plastic bag, rinse your mouth out and brush your teeth immediately. It is important not to swallow the oil that contains all the toxins you just removed.
In addition to healing and treating gingivitis, cavities, sensitive teeth and bad breath it is also offers benefits such as eczema, headache and allergy relief, and supports healthy kidney function.

3. Lemon Water
I wrote about lemon water HERE when I first started doing it back in .... I was hooked immediately! It's like a bath for your internal organs. Such a great way to start the morning and a great alternative to coffee and tea. Lemons have strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and immune boosting properties. They contain vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, magnesium, pectin and bioflavonoids that cleanse the liver, aid in digestion and fight infection. It is best to drink first thing in the AM to flush the digestive system, PH balance the system, hydrate the lymph system and aid in weight loss. Lemon water is also a great replacement for morning coffee as it provides energy and can enhance one’s mood.

4. Ghee Water
Ghee is a butter in which all water and milk solids have been removed. Ayurvedic tradition considers ghee to be one of the most health promoting foods shown to strengthen the body, improve mental functions and promote longevity. It is good for the eyes, stimulating digestion and enhancing stamina and protecting against various diseases.
Drink a tablespoon of Ghee in warm water in the morning about an hour before you eat or in the evening before bed. This alkaline forming tonic promotes a healthy glow in the skin, and the ghee can also be used as a healthy substitute for butter or cooking oil.

5. Fermented Foods
Fermentation has become a lost art. Thanks to the advances in food preparation many of the probiotics and enzymes in food has declined over the years. There are several reasons why fermented foods should be included in the diet such as introducing beneficial bacteria into the digestive system and allowing the body to adjust nutrients better. Fermented foods are very easy to make, extremely budget friendly way to include real foods and a great way to preserve food. Fermented foods include Sauerkraut, Salsa, Pickles and Condiments. Fermented drinks such as Kombucha, Ginger Ale and Kefir are great alternatives to soda and have been used as substitutes to help people break their soda addictions. I was a little weary of fermenting at first. It was like a science experiment and takes some brain reconditioning when you see the mother growing on your food/drink, but after the first couple of times the begin to get more confident, less scared and feeling amazing!

Do you practice any of these healthy habits? If so share with us what you love or how it has benefited you!

Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Health Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea for Women



Raspberry leaf tea is a mild tasting similar to the taste of black tea, but without the caffeine. The tea is made from dried leaves of the raspberry plant. This powerful herb is high in vitamins, nutrients and tannins which makes it great for women in all stages of life, and pretty much everyone else.  I discovered raspberry leaf tea in my first pregnancy and used it again in my second with wonderful results. I was reintroduced recently when I began to research some natural treatments for my own personal health issues. This post will share with you the benefits of including raspberry leaf tea to your routine. 

Nutritional Information for Raspberry Leaf

 

Raspberry leaf tea is very rich in vitamins and minerals and is a great way to boost the immune system when feeling ill and can also be used as a base for homemade electrolyte drinks. Raspberry leaf tea contains high amounts of:
  • Calcium
  • Carotenoids
  • Pectin
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron 
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D& E. 

Because of the high nutritional value raspberry leaf tea is especially beneficial for both men and women's reproductive system as a way to detoxify extra hormones from plastics, food additives, commercial meats, dairy or natural hormonal shifts.


Health Benefits of Raspberry Leaf

 

Raspberry leaf tea has been used throughout history to treat problems such as anemia, cold/canker sores, bloating diarrhea, gum disease, sunburn, rashes and other skin disorders. This herb is ideal to balance hormones and ease symptoms of PMS, endometriosis menstrual problems and cysts. Raspberry leaf tea possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. It is said to boost fertility and is highly recommended for women who are trying to conceive and, if approved by your healthcare provider, is safe to take throughout pregnancy. Raspberry leaf tea is also shown to reduce morning sickness symptoms and leg cramps that are common pregnancy discomforts and is often recommended by doulas and midwives. The tea strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles and studies have shown that women who drank raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy had shorter labors and were much less likely to have interventions than expecting mothers who did not consume the tea. Since I used it in both of my pregnancies I don't have anything to compare it to, but I did have two, amazing and fast natural childbirths and attest it to all the natural modalities I used throughout my pregnancy which included raspberry leaf tea, yoga, relaxation and meditation and evening primrose oil.

How To Use Raspberry Leaf Tea


Raspberry leaf tea comes in tablet, tea bags, loose leaf or tincture form. It can replace your morning or evening tea, since it doesn't contain caffeine and can be served either hot or iced. A tincture can be applied externally to help skin problems, or can be taken internally to alleviate PMS, menstrual flow that is too light or too heavy and infertility. Raspberry leaf tea can be purchased online (HERE), found at many health food stores or from health practitioners. It is important to purchase herbs from a trusted source to avoid contaminated products.  

 

I have been using raspberry leaf tea most recently as one of the natural modalities to balance my hormones and alleviate the symptoms associated with my fibroids. I have noticed a difference in my health and well-being and couldn't wait to share the information I have found with my readers.  Herbs effective everyone differently so it is best to consult a medical professional and test to see which herbs work best for you!

Do you, or have you taken raspberry leaf tea? We would love for you to share your experiences with us!

 

Sources: 

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-309-RED%20RASPBERRY.aspx?activeIngredientId=309&activeIngredientName=RED%20RASPBERRY

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_raspberry_leaf

http://www.pregnancy.com.au/resources/topics-of-interest/pregnancy/raspberry-leaf.shtml

www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/raspbe05.html



Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Post on The Dabblist: 7 Essential Oils to Facilitate Labor Naturally



I am so excited! I did my first ever guest post over at The Dabblist! It's all about essential oils to help ease pregnancy discomforts and facilitate labor!

Checkout 7 Essential Oils to Facilitate Labor Naturally!

 

Disclaimer:  Please note: I am not a medical professional. Please use your careful discernment and double check with your naturopath or doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.