Why Birth Photography?

Why Birth Photography?

As a birth doula for the past 4 years, I've seen many partners become parents with the birth of their child. There are such loving yet intense moments between couples when laboring. I started to capture some of these moments when a client would ask to get some pictures during the process and I was always taken back by the beauty in those raw moments.

In sharing these photos with my clients, they were able to process their birth a little easier by filling in the spaces where their memory wasn't serving them properly. Of course, during labor, a mama can be in a totally different realm while working to bring her baby into the world. These images of moments I witnessed helped the mama in understanding her birth journey and even in understanding her power as a woman birthing her baby. As one of my recent clients explained in a testimonial of my services, Parts of the delivery were so fast and sort of a blur in our memories, so the photos are a gift we will always treasure.”

Since adding birth photography to my birth doula work, I capture what I see as it unfolds in front of me. I feel so amazingly privileged to be witness to such precious and raw moments. To be trusted by a mama to guide her through this event and to watch as a couple become parents is an indescribable honor. To be able to capture a woman's partner holding her bravely, caressing her loving smile between contractions, rubbing out stiffened shoulders with soft yet strong hands, holding the scissors with a shaky hand to cut the umbilical cord. These are moments the couple is living as the process unfolds and to have the ability to share my perspective with them after all the hard work is done is so fulfilling and magical.

Why birth photography? The birth of a baby is one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, some would say more so than getting married. To allow our body to grow a human being and then work to bring that human into the world, in whatever means necessary, is something you will remember for a lifetime, but will fade in detail. Capture the moments with birth photography to give yourself, your partner, and especially your baby the gift of remembering the details of his or her entrance into the world. The joyous smiles, grimaces, yawns, sweat and tears, and everything in between are worth capturing. As most of the dads explain after hiring me to take photos for them, “I couldn’t imagine having to try and take photos while I was supporting my wife through labor.” Would you have tried to take photos of your own wedding day? If not, consider hiring a birth photographer to capture these precious moments in your life so you can be less stressed and more focused on the work ahead.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.heartworkdoula.com and contact me about your birth photography wishes. We will discuss, in detail, the arrangements before so you can be worry free when it comes to the arrival of your little one!

Caren Hespeler

Persimmon Cookies

My favorite cookies are Persimmon Cookies and they were my Grandma’s recipe.  I would get them every fall when the persimmons would ripen on the tree and she would make them. We would sit and eat them around her table.  This recipe is similar to hers since I can’t find hers - this one reminds me of the joy of holiday goodness.  This is based on this awesome mom’s recipe.  https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/persimmon-cookies/

Persimmon Cookies

FOR THE COOKIES:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup persimmon pulp (from 2-3 persimmons)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, we omitted)

1 cup raisins

FOR THE ORANGE GLAZE:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in persimmon pulp, egg, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture until everything is combined. Fold in the walnuts, if using, and raisins.

Drop by rounded spoonful’s onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes or until cookies are brown around the edges and set. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the orange glaze, in a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, and zest together. Whisk until smooth. Dip the cookie tops into the glaze and twirl the cookie. Set cookies back on wire rack for glaze to harden.

How to stay on the Diet you Choose at the Holidays


  1. Present your diet as a get “Healthy Plan” instead of a weight loss plan.
    People are pretty excited about someone pursuing health but the we often get jealous of someone potentially losing more weight than themselves (there is an oddly sabotaging attitude about this issue).    Also as a doctor I would much rather people think about making dietary changes for healthful reasons than weight being the motivation.

  2. Be up Front
    Tell people what you are eating and what you have to avoid so they won’t think you are insulting their famous cookies or family pot roast recipe.  People are more likely to feel important and validated if they know up front you won’t be eating so they don’t focus on you not eating their food.

  3. Come prepared
    Bring your own foods especially if your diet change is due to finding some new food allergies.  If you suddenly can’t eat dairy then some holiday favorites may not be available to you. Coming prepared with your own food/drink will help you enjoy your holidays all the more.

  4. Remember that your family loves you and just wants to share.
    Especially grandparents like to cook for people they love and this may be upsetting to them if you refuse their food, but it isn’t about  them.  Your diet is important to you and they should respect that; they may give you a hard time only because they feel hurt you aren’t trying their food.  Remember that you love your family always.

Vegan Buddha Bowl

Prep time 20 mins.

Cook time 30 mins

Total time 35 mins

The Recipe is based on Alex Caspero’s Buddha bowl but has a chick pea twist that Dr. Walker and her Children just love. Zara Calls the Garbonzo’s “ More Rabonzo’s please.”

Serves: 4 bowls

Ingredients

Tofu Bowl

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

  • 1 cups shredded carrots

  • 2 cups spinach leaves

  • 2 cups broccoli florets

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or additional sesame oil, divided

  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned)

  • salt/pepper

  • 16 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and drained


Peanut sauce

  • 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

  • 1/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cube tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes. If you aren't using a non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray. Remove from oven and place in a shallow bowl.

  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter) until creamy and smooth. Add 1/2 of the sauce to the tofu bowl and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Toss the broccoli with 1 tsp sesame or olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes until just tender.

  4. Heat remaining olive or sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, in batches, along with the marinating sauce until crispy and golden browned, about 3-4 minutes.

  5. Assemble 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas (1 can), Drizzle Olive Oil or other neutral oil, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp Chili Powder, 1/8 tsp Turmeric, 1/2 tsp Oregano. Place the mixture on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.


 

To serve this dish, divide the brown rice among 4 bowls, top each bowl with ? cup shredded carrots, ? cup spinach leaves, ? cup broccoli, ? cup garbanzo beans and a few pieces of tofu. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce.

 

10 Best Food High in Calcium

10 Best Foods High in Calcium:

  1. Collard greens: 268 milligrams per 1 cup cooked

  2. Broccoli: Calcium content: 86 milligrams in 2 cups raw

  3. Broccoli Rabe: Calcium content: 100 milligrams in one 2/3-cup serving

  4. Kale: Calcium content: 101 milligrams in 1 cup raw, chopped

  5. Edamame: Calcium content: 98 milligrams in 1 cup cooked

  6. Bok Choy: Calcium content: 74 milligrams per 1 cup shredded

  7. Figs: Calcium content: 121 milligrams per 1/2 cup dried

  8. Oranges: Calcium content: 74 milligrams in one large orange and 27 milligrams in a    cup of orange juice

  9. Tofu: Calcium content: 434 milligrams per half cup

  10. White Beans: Calcium content: 63 milligrams in 1/2 cup cooked

UTI’s

Urinary Tract infections are categorized as a bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder or kidney. This infection is usually from a bacteria in the intestinal tract such as E.coli and can infect both males or females.

What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract infection?

  • Strong and frequent urges to urinate

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating

  • Strong smelling or Foul smelling urine odor

  • Back pain

  • Bloody or cloudy urine

  • Fever and fatigue

  • Chills and aches


How do we get a Urinary Tract infection?

The two most common ways to get a urinary tract infection are not wiping properly and during sex (coitus). Men have gotten a bad wrap for having the dirty penis causing the UTI’s but typically in either scenario the infection of the urethra comes from transmitting bacteria in the ones own intestinal tract to the urethra. Our own bacteria is causing the infection. When our own intestinal E.coli or other bacteria go up the urethra, we get an infection. Women are more likely to get UTI’s than men due to the relative short nature of our urethra, but men also get UTI’s and unfortunately for men if there isn’t some sort of contact infection, it can often be an indicator for prostatitis or other male health issues.

How do you diagnosis a urinary tract infection?

Doctor’s direct a patient to do an in-office urinary dipstick test and if this is positive they may decide to send it out for a culture or they may not. Treatment is usually given based on a lab culture, if a doctor thinks that the white blood cell count in the urine is high enough. Blood in the sample usually indicates the infection is in the bladder and possibly to the kidney. The doctor may perform what is called a kidney punch test to determine if the infection has spread that high and if sensitivity is present to that point or not.

How are Urinary Tract infections Treated?

Western Medicine will usually treat using antibiotics but as many know, antibiotic use can alter the flora in your gut and reduce the body’s natural immunity.  There are alternative methods of treating mild UTIs that are just as effective and have fewer side effects than antibiotics.

In Chinese Medicine, we view a UTI as a damp heat accumulation in the Kidney and Urinary Bladder channels.  There are several acupuncture points along these channels that specifically benefit urinary function.  We would also use points on these and other channels to clear excess heat from the body.

If a patient has a full urinary tract infection they are treated with a course of antibiotics, our office will add D-mannose and Saccromyoces Boulardii to help prevent side-effects of the antibiotics and to prevent adherence of the bacteria while the antibiotics work. Cranberry pill or cranberry juice unsweetened are also excellent choices to help getting over an infection.

If you are someone who has chronic infections, it may be wise to do a stool sample to determine your good and bad bacteria that are present and balance them so future infections are not as easily contracted. Drinking cranberry juice somewhat regularly also can help prevent UTI’s. Practicing good habits, such as wiping front to back and urinating after sex can both be helpful. Changing toilets to the oval shaped bowel so that when men sit their penis doesn’t have contact with the toilet rim during bowel movements.

Chinese Herbal Remedies:

  • Ba Zheng Tang: This is a classic Chinese formula that clears damp heat from the urinary organs.

  • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang: This formula also clears damp heat from the kidneys and bladder but targets liver channel symptoms as well such as headache and dizziness.

  • Chuan Xin Lian: This formula is antibacterial and antiviral and is great for decreasing inflammation and clearing toxic heat.


What are the best Herbs for Preventing Urinary Tract infections?

  • Uva Ursi

  • Oregon Grape

  • Horsetail

  • Berberine

  • Corn silk

  • Cranberry


What are the best Home Remedies?

  • Drink natural cranberry juice (not the sugary kind)

  • Take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day

  • Up consumption of healthy fats to balance hormones (cod liver oil, butter, chia)

  • Vitamin C

  • Acidophilus based probiotics

  • Crushed garlic as a natural antibiotic


 

Acid Reflux & Acupuncture

What is acid reflux?

Also commonly known as heartburn, acid reflux can range from mild and infrequent to severe and constant.  There are many causes of this painful problem.  Some cases are diet sensitive, meaning the issue is caused or exacerbated by the intake of specific foods and drinks.  Some common culprits are coffee, alcohol (especially red wine), citrus fruit and juices, eggs, chocolate, and spicy foods.

Other cases involve structural problems such as a hiatal hernia.  This is when a portion of the stomach pushes up above the diaphragm.  Other people might suffer from overproduction of stomach acid.  This is also a common issue during pregnancy especially during the later months as the uterus takes up more space in the abdomen and creates upward pressure on the stomach.  Also, during pregnancy, the hormones relax the valve separating the stomach from the esophagus, allowing acid to move up out of the stomach.

Not only is heartburn unpleasant and painful, it can also cause damage to the lining of your esophagus if left untreated.  You can read about the long-term effects of untreated heartburn here: http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/untreated-heartburn#1

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine help?

From a TCM perspective, acid reflux is diagnosed as Rebellious Stomach Qi.  The flow of the 12 main channels in the body all have a specific direction they follow.  The stomach channel flows from the face down to the feet.  This makes sense when you think about digestion in general.  We want the food to move down and out.  When the flow of qi is disrupted for whatever reason, the natural direction can be reversed which can cause belching, hiccuping, vomiting, and reflux. Think about when you have experienced indigestion.  Instead of food moving through your digestive tract as it should, it feels like it won’t go down and you may feel that upward movement of gas or food for several hours as your stomach and other digestive organs work hard to move it through.

Acupuncture redirects the qi in the stomach channel by opening blockages along the channel and restoring the channel’s natural downward movement.  Herbs are also extremely helpful, especially in cases of chronic heartburn.  Herbs can replace your over-the-counter heartburn medications such as Tums, Zantac, or Pepto Bismol as a natural alternative with fewer side effects and issues with long-term use.

What else can I do to lessen my discomfort?

Here are some simple tips for beating the burn:

  1. Sleep with your upper body slightly elevated.

  2. Don’t eat late at night.  Try to eat several hours before going to bed to give your body time to digest before laying flat.

  3. Try peppermint or ginger to aid general digestion.

  4. Take probiotics to ensure proper gut health.

  5. Reduce intake of exacerbating foods.  Pay attention to what flares your heartburn and remove it from your diet.
    Iris Martin, Light & Joy Acupuncture Inc.

Simple Sauerkraut

I am German and I have loved sauerkraut my whole life. My Grandmother’s Recipe is just salt and cabbage. For gut healing, I love the added caraway seed and carrots. I have included Abel James Sauerkraut Recipe for a healthy fermented food option, enjoy.

Prep time:
20 mins
Total time:
20 mins

A Simple Recipe to Reverse Leaky Gut, Lose Weight, and Boost Your Immune Function
Author: Abel James
Serves: 8

Ingredients
1 organic head of green cabbage (2 to 3 pounds)
1 to 2 tablespoons sea salt
1 large organic carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

  1. Instructions:
    Thoroughly clean a wide-mouth mason jar, chopping knife, cutting board, large bowl, and your hands.

  2. Rinse the cabbage and carefully peel off the two outer layers.

  3. Lay the two cabbage leaves on top of your jar like a “lid.” Use a knife or clean scissors to cut the cabbage leaves about an inch wider than the jar all around. You’ll use these cabbage leaf rounds to hold the sauerkraut below the brining liquid in a later step.

  4. Quarter the head of cabbage and chop out the thick core from each quarter. Slice each cabbage quarter lengthwise into thin ribbons.

  5. Put each handful of cabbage you cut into a large bowl and sprinkle it with salt. Add salt as you go to help keep the cabbage crisp. In the end, you want to have added between 1 and 2 tablespoons of salt.

  6. Use your hands to massage the cabbage with the salt for 5 to 10 minutes, until it becomes watery and limp.

  7. Add the shredded carrot and caraway seeds to the cabbage and mix with your hands to combine.

  8. Take handfuls of the cabbage mixture and press them into the bottom of the mason jar, packing them tight with each handful so the liquid (created by salting and massaging in step 5) rises to the top over the cabbage.

  9. Take the cabbage rounds you cut in step 3) and press them into the jar so they hold the cabbage under the liquid.

  10. Wipe the jar mouth clean and cover it with a cloth, cheesecloth, or paper towel and secure it in place with a rubber band or twine. This allows air into the jar but prevents insects from getting in.

  11. Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage leaves to keep the cabbage packed under the liquid as it ferments and rises. If needed, you can add more brining liquid by mixing filtered water with a bit of salt (1 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup filtered water).
    Allow the sauerkraut to ferment at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 3 to 10 days, checking daily to make sure the cabbage is not floating above the liquid. Taste every few days until the desired taste is achieved.


The sauerkraut will keep in the sealed jar in the refrigerator for at least 2 months.

7 Tips for Allergy Relief

Allergy Hygiene

Remove hat, outer shirt and shoes in your garage after a walk outdoors during pollen season. Pollen will cling to your clothes and keep exposing you long after you have come indoors. Wash your face as well which will help pollen stay away from your mucus membranes.

Keep Window’s Closed and run your Air Conditioner with HEPA Filters

Consult your local HVAC professional to determine the correct filter for you and your household. You may also want to get the air ducts cleaned as this can be a source of dust and mold.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Take 1 tbsp in the morning during the allergy season. The theory is that it helps the mucous flow and cleanses the lymphatics so there is no build up.

Probiotics

They help balance the immune response since current research is stating that most allergies are due to an imbalance in the body. There are also studies that link large amounts of beneficial bacteria to fewer allergy incidents.

Quercetin Supplement

It is nature’s anti-histamine. It stabilizes the mast cells so they don’t release any more histamine, which is the cause of all those miserable symptoms.

Diet Changes

Going on a GAPS based diet or an anti-inflammatory diet can be enough to reduce the allergy threshold and decrease allergy symptoms. It is especially important to remove any foods you know you are allergic to.

Netti Pot or Nasal Rinse System

Put 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt in 1 quart of boiled water then rinse (you can also buy pre-made solutions). Do 2 times daily for best results (morning and evening). It cleans all the particles out of the nose that may have collected at night with an open window or during the day while out and about.

Stomach Pain: Peptic Ulcers And Acid Reflux

What are the common causes of stomach pain?

Some of the most common causes of stomach pain are gas, acid reflux, peptic ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, SIBO, food sensitivities and over eating.

What helps to differentiate the cause of the pain?

• Gas - Bloating and pressure in the tummy that may cause flatulence or just pain.
• Diarrhea – bowel changes and frequent bathroom trips.
• Stomach flu – Bowel changes, vomiting
• Food Sensitivities – stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea or bloating.
• Constipation – bowel changes, straining during bowel movements, feel like have to go but not being able to
• Acid Reflux – burning in the throat, pain in the stomach or chest pain
• Peptic ulcers – stomach pain, burning in the stomach, belching
• SIBO – stomach pain, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, joint pain, fatigue

What is the treatment for each of these conditions?

• Gas – Activated Charcoal, removing gas causing foods, digestive enzymes or probiotics
• Diarrhea – change diet, probiotics, l-glutamine powder, food allergy testing
• Stomach flu – Drink broth and electrolytes when able, rest and BRAT diet
• Food Sensitivities – Remove irritable foods from diet, get allergy testing that tests both IgG and IgE antibodies (blood test), do a gut healing protocol with a doctor (see a standard protocol below).
• Constipation – change diet, probiotics, aloe vera liquid drink, fiber, food allergy testing, plenty of water, exercise, omega 3’s, prunes
• Acid Reflux – spoonful of baking soda (1/2 tsp baking soda in glass of water), aloe vera juice, no laying down after a meal, apple cider vinegar, stop smoking or drinking, chamomile tea
• Peptic ulcers – H. Pylori testing (stool or breath test), fenugreek, bananas, cabbage juice, DGL supplements
• SIBO – Glucose and lactulose breath testing, oregano oil, berberine, antibiotics, probiotics

When to go to the Doctor for stomach pain?

Any stomach pain that has lasted greater than 2 weeks and hasn’t responded to any of the home remedies you have tried warrants further investigation by a competent doctor. Pain that wakes you up at night is a good time to see the doctor, blood in your stool, eczema or rashes that won’t go away, not pooping daily even after taking probiotics, trouble eating or significant weight loss. If you have any of the above symptoms going on it is important to seek out a doctor. Our digestive health is very important and this is how we absorb nutrients to fight off infections. Living with an unhealthy gut can be detrimental to your overall health and your doctor will take these complaints very seriously.

What are Gut Healing Protocols? How would I do one?

Gut healing protocols usually come in several forms.
A stool sample can be taken to determine what imbalance exists. This type of individual should consult with a doctor to determine which substances can be used to help kill the harmful bacteria and restore balance to the Gut.
To determine true leaky gut, a blood test is needed and zonulin (intestinal permeablilty marker) is tested to determine if extra healing is needed in the tract to close the gaps and restore balance. If symptoms aren’t very severe you can attempt an at home protocol like the one seen below; however if more severe symptoms persist or the protocol isn’t helping, please seek a doctor for help.
Remove commonly Gut harmful foods: Sugars, wheat grains (that aren’t sprouted), Conventional meat products, Dairy products, and sometimes eggs.
Add healthy Gut healing foods: Bone Broth, Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, veggies, kimchi), Coconut products (medium chain triglycerides are easier to digest than other fats), Sprouted seeds (Chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp etc.)
Repair with Healing supplements: L-Glutamine, DGL, Quercetin, Digestive enzymes
Probiotic Balancing: Probiotics that have diverse species count and a prebiotic either from food (Soluble fiber items: legumes, beets, okra, apples, peas, carrots) or in a supplement form