Monthly Archives: May 2011

Kale Breakfast Smoothie

25 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  2 Comments

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  You’ve heard this phrase countless times in your life.  Honestly, I think all meals are important and should be used to maximize your health.  But what you eat for breakfast truly does affect your hunger and choices for the rest of your day.  For most people, when they eat a healthy and satiating breakfast, they tend to choose healthy foods the rest of the day.  Here is the recipe for a Kale Smoothie that I make frequently for breakfast or after a workout.

Kale Smoothie:
2 servings

2-4 kale leaves
1 cup water or milk of choice (coconut milk, raw milk, almond milk, etc)
Frozen strawberries
Frozen blueberries
1/2-1 scoop good quality protein powder (Optional)
1-2 tsp. chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
1 Tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil

Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

*Any frozen fruit can be used in this recipe. If you want to mask the green color of the smoothie for your kids (or husband), then add more blueberries.

Here is a simpler Kale Smoothie recipe:

1 large ripe banana
2-4 kale leaves
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup milk (raw milk, coconut, or almond)

Mix all ingredients in blender. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Workshop & Vendor Fair

20 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

Should I Consider Natural Childbirth?

15 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  5 Comments

By Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH, who is a certified nurse-midwife.

The term “all natural” (or the shortened form “natural”) has become ubiquitous. We see it on foods, we see it on beauty products and health supplements, we read it and hear it in the news and in every day conversation. In spite of this, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus or agreed upon definition of what all natural/natural means.  The same holds true in birth. Years ago if we heard the words “She had her baby natural” we generally agreed this meant without the assistance of any medications to alleviate the pain of labor. Today, with the skyrocketing number of operative births, “natural” has come to mean something very different.  In some circles the only way to have a natural birth is to stay far away from doctors, bells whistles and all things that go “ding.”  For others, having a baby naturally simply means having a vaginal birth. I have actually heard people say “What? Just because she had an epidural she didn’t have her baby natural? She had it vaginally right? Well that’s natural.” Far from it, I want to say. To me, a “natural birth” is one that starts on its own, is guided by the laboring woman’s baby and her body, and is free from medication, or interference from outside forces.  Many people falsely assume that I believe every woman should have a natural birth like the one I define above. This is far from the truth. I am not completely anti-intervention. What I am is anti-them being in total control of YOUR birth process.  I am also most certainly against doing things in the name of “routine.”

Today, in the world of pregnancy and birth, while there is an enormous amount of information available, women are going through their pregnancies and birth uninformed, under-informed, or misinformed. Women willingly give up their power, their rights and their births to others in the name of “my doctor knows best.”

Many women tell me that they would never consider a natural birth because they are afraid of the pain and don’t want to feel like they are “out of control.” In the next breath, they tell me they are very fearful of having a cesarean. Yet these same women will walk blindly into the hospital for an induction when their body is not ready. They will allow their provider to break their bag of water, give them various medications including, pitocin and misoprostol (cytotec). They will get epidurals without knowing the risks and allow continued fetal monitoring all without being fully informed. They blindly trust their provider, having no idea that these things themselves could be paving the road straight to the operating room.  Interestingly enough, it’s a cesarean section that will create the very things that women have told me they fear most: pain and being out of control. The reality is a cesarean is major surgery, and it causes major pain. And lets face it, nothing says giving up control like laying on an operating room table half asleep while a surgeon cuts you open and takes your baby from your uterus.  Mothers who have had a natural birth use phrases like empowered, fulfilled, strong, independent. Conversely, women who have had cesareans often report feeling more depressed, more out of control, and are more likely to say that their birth experience was unsatisfactory.

Does this mean the only way to feel empowered about your birth is to birth naturally? No.  Does this mean if you don’t have a natural birth you will have a c-section? No, there are a lot of options and outcomes between a natural birth and having a c-section.  Does this mean that every woman should have a natural birth? No. Natural birth is not for everyone; however, every woman should learn about, understand, and consider natural birth.

Why should you consider natural birth? Because in considering natural birth you will also come to understand the cascade of interventions that go along with “unnatural birth.”  In doing so you will be able to make truly informed choices about your birth plan.

Consider this: You are a week away from your due date. You are instructed to come to the hospital at an ungodly hour for an induction. Since you are a week from your due date and your body is not ready for birth, your induction can take 2 full days creating undue anxiety and pressure. Additionally if this is your first baby and your body is not ready, agreeing to induction significantly increases your risk for a cesarean section.  You arrive nervous and afraid. You are poked, prodded, and strapped to a machine that minimizes your movements and requires you to seek permission to do something as natural as going to the bathroom. You are told you can’t have anything to eat or drink yet you are exerting the physical energy of someone running a marathon. How can you labor effectively if your body does not have adequate nutrition? And for the record IV fluids are not adequate nutrition.

You want to get out of the bed and move around but you are told that you can’t. You are forced to lay in an uncomfortable position in the name of “keeping your baby monitored.” All the while research shows that ambulating and movement allows a woman to find the best position for facilitating a vaginal birth and research has shown that continued fetal monitoring does NOT provide better outcomes. In fact, continued fetal monitoring increases your risk for an operative delivery.  Your water bag is broken artificially and now you are at increased risk of getting an infection. If you get an infection, indicated by a fever during labor, your pediatrician will then want to do invasive testing on your newborn.  You are given Pitocin to increase the strength of your contractions. While Pitocin is not bad when used judiciously, it has the potential to create contractions that are dangerously strong which can create distress for your unborn baby and create a need for an emergency c-section.  You opt for an epidural because you can’t tolerate the pain. This adds another risk factor for operative delivery and along with an epidural comes the chance that you will have a fever (unrelated to an infection) again creating the need for the invasive testing on your newborn. You are put on a time clock and pray you deliver in time because you know if you don’t you will have a cesarean. You are finally 10 cm dilated but now you have no urge to push your baby out. Your doctor is impatient and uses forceps or a vacuum extractor to “help” pull your baby out, both of which come with risks of injury to your infant and increasing the likely hood that you will have a large vaginal laceration or episiotomy.  At every step of the way you assume multiple unnecessary risks and you didn’t even know it because nobody told you.  All the while you were afraid of natural birth, you really should have been afraid of all of those interventions. While this scenario is obviously not the case for every woman, it is a common scenario taking place in labor beds all across the country even as you read this.

I ask again: Does this mean that every woman should have a natural birth?  No. Natural birth is not for everyone; however, every woman should learn about, understand, and consider natural birth because just like natural birth is not for everyone, routine interventions should not be either. And as you research and consider natural birth you may find that it’s the perfect option for you.

The fact is, in birth just as in life, we are often faced with a challenge, with an opportunity, with a situation that we may have initially thought we were too weak to handle. Then by divine design and because we have no other choice, we make it happen. We are so much stronger than many of us have ever imagined and we can handle much more than we know. YES… labor is hard. YES, natural birth is hard. More importantly however you should know that YOU are STRONG!

In Birth and Love,

About Nicole:
Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH is a midwife and labor nurse with more than 15 years of experience in women’s health care, advocacy, and empowerment.   Nicole has practiced as a midwife in Washington DC and Mississippi and has worked as a labor and delivery nurse in numerous public and private settings throughout the country.  Nicole currently works part time as a labor and delivery RN in New Orleans. She will soon be launching her virtual midwifery coaching business and is hoping to begin catching babies again before the end of this year.  In her “spare time” you can find Nicole blogging at and tweeting as @SistaMidwife about birth, life and other related issues affecting women and their health.


Nutrition Workshop

04 May
by Kristen, posted in Uncategorized   |  No Comments

This Saturday, May 7, 2011, I will be giving a FREE Nutrition Workshop at The Green Wagon in East Nashville.  A few things I will be talking about are:

  • America’s Disease Epidemic
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Your Body’s pH Levels (Alkaline Vs. Acidic)
  • Raw Foods & Enzymes
  • Benefits of Juicing
  • Food Intolerances/Sensitivities

Below is more information about the workshop. If you know anyone else who may be interested, invite them!  I hope to see you on Saturday at 10 am!



Preparing For Your Pregnancy

03 May
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

In honor of Pregnancy Awareness month, the next few weeks’ posts will feature guest bloggers who specialize in this area.  So if you’re pregnant, have little ones at home, or a woman of childbearing age, you don’t want to miss this month’s posts!

By Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP ROHP at Your Green Baby 

I am often amazed at how little thought and time woman take in preparing their body for pregnancy. The journey of pregnancy is a demanding one; you are building a human being from scratch…yes, you are building a human being. It truly is an amazing gift women have been given, and preparing for this journey before you conceive sets the foundation to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Research now suggests your preconception nutritional status sets the foundation of your baby’s long term health and well being.  With this in mind, what should you be eating preconception?

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables supply the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.  Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you get all the nutrients you need.  Aim for lots of color and choose organic as much as possible.  Don’t forget about nutrient dense dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, watercress, swiss chard, spinach, etc.  These are especially important because they supply so many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.  Leafy green vegetables are also a rich source of folate, a must-have nutrient for any woman trying to conceive. Folate is a B-vitamin that prevents serious birth defects. Folate deficiency has also been linked to infertility. 

Protein.  Required for every function in the body, protein is very important for health and well being.  Protein is important for building tissues, muscles and digestive enzymes, and will help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Choosing plant-based proteins is best for optimal health and well being.  Nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, beans and grains (especially quinoa) are excellent choices.  If you will be consuming meat or poultry, choose organic to avoid hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.  If choosing to eat fish, be cautious with your choices – avoid tuna, swordfish, Chilean sea bass, grouper, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, halibut, bluefish and tilefish due to mercury concerns.  Instead focus on anchovy, mackerel, pollock, herring, rainbow trout, salmon (not farmed), sardines and smelt.

Carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains provide us with fiber, important minerals and vitamins and immune supporting properties.  Fiber is an extremely important nutrient in our diet – it helps the body get rid of excess hormones and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn aids in balancing hormones. It can be beneficial for some woman to avoid gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in some grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, barley and rye.  Many people have difficulty digesting gluten and are sensitive to it.  Creating an environment of healing is important preconception and avoiding foods that cause sensitivity is imperative.  Gluten is also known to be very sticky and can “gum” up the intestine, which in turn means things don’t move quite as well through your body.  Gluten free grains include quinoa, millet, oats, amaranth, rice, buckwheat, sorghum and teff.

Calcium rich foods.  Calcium is important to create an alkaline environment in the body, which is a very friendly environment for the sperm and the fertilized egg.  Choose plant-based calcium rich foods including sesame seeds, almonds, quinoa, chia seeds, beans, lentils and dark leafy green vegetables. Why choose plant-based calcium rich foods over dairy? Dairy is very congesting to our bodies.  This congestion can have an impact on your ability to conceive; even more so if you are experiencing any hormonal imbalances.  It is also important to note that non-organic dairy production uses hormones and antibiotics during production, both of which can lead to increased levels of estrogen in your body and hormonal imbalances – both unfavorable environments for conception.  When trying to conceive, it is best if we are easy on our digestive system; unfortunately for many of us dairy is difficult to digest.  When our digestive system is stressed the other systems in our body don’t work as well.  Your body must use a lot of energy to digest dairy; energy your body needs elsewhere to ensure optimum health and well being for conception.

Fats.  Fats are necessary for hormonal balance and the production of hormones.  The right fats control inflammation in the body, aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, are important for healthy egg production and are important in every step of the reproductive process.  Omega-3 fatty acids are also very important in the development of the brain, nervous system and retina of your baby.  Choose fish oils, flaxseed oils, hemp seed oils, nuts (especially walnuts), chia seeds, hemp seeds, avocados and olives to meet your needs.  Minimize animal fats and avoid hydrogenated fats. 

If there was ever a time to provide optimum nutrition for your body, preconception is it!  During this time it is important to choose the freshest, healthiest and most natural foods to support reproductive and general health. By optimizing your health you will increase your chances of conceiving, having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  This is within your control; you have the power and the choice to make a difference in your health, fertility and in the health of your baby. Take control and become empowered.

About Kim:
Kim is a mom, holistic nutritionist and writer.  She is passionate about cooking, real food and raising happy healthy babies.  Kim specializes in mom, baby and toddler nutrition, offering workshops, consultations and cooking classes through her company Your Green Baby. She has recently published her first book “Raising Happy Healthy Babies” which focuses on nutrition preconception right through the toddler years and included 95 recipes for mom, baby and toddler.
Find out more about Kim and read her blog at 
Receive daily tweets about mom, baby and toddler nutrition by following Kim’s Twitter page @yourgreenbaby