Seed Cycling for Balanced Hormones: Here’s the Scoop

Seed Cycling for Balanced Hormones: Here’s the Scoop

About two years after having my daughter, I was still dealing with some major night sweats. And if you’re married, you know that it’s not like you can just change the sweat-soaked sheets in the middle of the night. Your spouse wouldn’t appreciate that very much. So you do what you do – grab a towel and sleep on that, and then you’re awake for another hour trying to get your sleep back, and you wake up in the morning feeling unrested and quite disgusting.

Aside from the night sweats, it was taking me forever to fall asleep at night. That’s not unusual for my anxiety-ridden very noisy, very-busy-trying-to-solve-the-world’s-problems-from-my-side of the-bed-typical self, but it was different and I could feel it. It wasn’t just my mind. Something was going on in my body.

Add to that the fact that my husband and I were trying to get pregnant with our second and I kept either not getting pregnant, or having chemical pregnancies.

I talked to my dear friend and doctor of functional and integrative medicine, Dr. Dawn DeSylvia,and  she recommended something called Seed Cycling.

“Seed what?” I remember thinking.

Seed cycling is an ancient practice the origins of which I’m not entirely certain. It involves ingesting specific seeds (which I’ll get into) throughout specific times of the month (which I’ll get into) to promote either the increase or support of estrogen or progesterone, the two sex hormones that play a huge role in both getting and staying pregnant, among other things.

When they are out of balance, it can cause infertility, night sweats, trouble sleeping, hair loss, dry skin, increased menopausal symptoms, and a whole host of other symptoms.

Are you nodding your head along? Do you recognize yourself in some of these symptoms?

Great. Well, not great. But also….yes…great, because seed cycling just may be able to help you.

Let’s go back a minute to my inability to either get or stay pregnant.

I decided to give this seed cycling a try, while also consulting the help of my acupuncturist (an angel on earth named Dr. Mike Maguire, if ever you’re looking for someone in LA to help you with hormones or any other imbalance you may have). 

I worked with Dr. Mike once every other week to help me chill the eff out, and I started seed cycling.

I was absolutely blown away by the results, and for me, they were immediate.

When I started the seeds, I was about 5 days away from getting my period. I began seed cycling and my period didn’t come. This may seem like an undesirable outcome, but from what Dr. DeSylvia had told me about seed cycling – and from my research – I was told that it was optimal to bleed on the new moon and ovulate on the full moon for maximum fertility. That’s not to say that you must ovulate on the full moon to get pregnant – and surely many women cycle in reverse – but for optimal fertility, that’s what the research suggests.

My period was 5 days late. 6 days. 7 days. 8 days. 

Now, this wasn’t unusual for me, because my period has never been regular since the day it started when I was 13.

Finally, on the 8th day – my period came.

I looked at the calendar.

It was the first day of the new moon.

“Huh,” I thought to myself. Must be a coincidence.

But then I began tracking my ovulation. And do you want to take a guess when that stick I peed on showed me when I was ovulating?

The first day of the full moon.

I thought it was a coincidence, but then my night sweats went away. And I started sleeping better.

Huh.

I gave it another month. 

Same thing happened: I bled on the new moon and ovulated on the full moon.

I gave it another month. Same thing.

I would have given it a fourth month, but I couldn’t, because by the fourth month, I was pregnant.

And I stayed pregnant.

As if that weren’t crazy enough, I got pregnant during a 2 ½ month long evacuation from our home during a wildfire. Stressed much? Couch surfing with my husband and 2 ½ year old with the only belongings we had grabbed the morning we got the evacuation orders that left us with an hour to pack up and leave? You bet I was stressed!

We were on our second of what would eventually be four houses in our evacuation journey (at that point, we still weren’t cleared to go back into our neighborhood and it had been 10 days), and I was ovulating.

“We can’t try now!” I told my husband, “It just didn’t feel right.”

“Well, we tried when times were good,” he told me, “Why not now? This little soul is going to choose when to come into the world. It’s not up to us.”

I shrugged my shoulders and, well, I’ll spare you the rest of the details.

Suffice it to say that 9 ½ months later, my son Liam came blazing into the world (and I do mean blazing. I went into labor at 5am and he was born at 7:52am that same day. We barely made it to the hospital. But that’s a story for another day).

SO – am I saying that seed cycling can help you get pregnant? No. Am I saying that seed cycling can stop your night sweats or help you sleep better or any of the other things I mentioned? Also no.

But am I saying that it’s possible that it could have similar effects for you, that it could help to balance your hormones, that it could help to uncover some underlying issues keeping you from being in your best health. Am I saying you should maybe consider trying it?

Yes. Yes I am.

So…what the heck is seed cycling and how does it work its magic?

Well, if you want to hear all about it, you can tune into the episode I did with Dr. Dawn DeSylvia on Thursday January 21st, 2021.

But, in case you’d rather read about it (or do both), here is how it works.

You can either go along with your current cycle or you can choose to cycle with the lunar calendar. For the purposes of clearly explaining how it works, I’m going to tell you the lunar calendar way.

From the New Moon to the Full Moon, you will take estrogen promoting seeds. They are:

  1. Chia
  2. Pumpkin
  3. Flax

From the Full Moon to the New Moon, you will take progesterone promoting seeds. They are:

  1. Sesame
  2. Sunflower

The easiest way to consume them is to throw them in a smoothie, or grind them up and put them in a salad or sprinkle them over your favorite savory food (like a Buddha bowl, curry, whatever your heart can concoct) or even over an acai bowl (wow, that was a long sentence).

It’s important that the seeds are not cooked, so make sure to consume them raw. Make sure they are organic, and if possible, grind them up before consuming. That’s when the oils are the most potent. But if you can’t make that happen, taking them whole is fine. Just be sure to chew a lot – more than you normally would.

What will begin to happen for you is going to be your unique experience. 

When I tested out seed cycling with a group of 40 women, I had reports of everything from periods becoming regular to stomach aches to acne to no changes or symptoms at all.

The idea with seed cycling is to bring the body back into its natural rhythms, and in doing so, it can help to reveal certain blockages in detox pathways or other conditions you may not have been aware of, among other results.

Tune into my episode with Dr. Dawn DeSylvia to hear more, including who seed cycling is for (spoiler alert: it’s not just for women), and exactly how seed cycling works to bring the body back into balance. We also discuss the importance of hormones as the orchestrator of the rest of the systems in the body, and touch a little bit on intermittent fasting, which can also have positive effects on balancing hormones.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at lauren@themomfeed.com. I’ll be happy to answer whatever questions I can, or to pass them along to Dr. DeSylvia on your behalf.

Cheers to balancing your hormones, mamas! 

Lots of love,

Lauren
xxx

How You Can Enter to Win a Gift From Me to You!

How You Can Enter to Win a Gift From Me to You!

I believe so much in what I’m doing here at The Mom Feed Podcast, because if I had had access to this kind of information when I was a new mom, it would have made all the difference. My passion is to be a resource, to serve mamas in their lives as mothers, and I want to spread the word to as many mothers who need this information as possible.

In an effort to do that, I would like your help building our community! You can do that by sharing this podcast with your mom friends, perhaps even sharing a particular episode that really resonated with you. 

You can also participate in my holiday contest on Instagram!

Starting this Saturday December 5th, I’m giving away 3 gifts to 3 different mamas as a thank you for helping me build the mom feed community. Here are the rules:

  1. Follow me on Instagram @themomfeedpodcast and @laurenlobley
  2. Like the post from December 5th. Tag as many mom and mom-to-be friends as you desire. Each tag gets you an entry. One tag per comment please.
  3. Comment and tell me the gift you want most this year and why.
  4. Email me your holiday wish list of gifts around $50 
  5. Sign up for the mom feed newsletter at themomfeed.com if you aren’t already. 

I will announce the winner of the contest on Wednesday December 9th in my Instagram stories so be sure to stay tuned! I’ll also message the winner on DM.

I’ll launch a new contest on Saturday December 12th and again on Saturday December 19th so you’ll have 3 chances to win! 

Prizes will be $50 per winner. BUT, because I like to give back, I’ll also be giving $50 to the charity of the winner’s choice in addition to their $50 gift. So each prize is a $100 value.

Now, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but here goes: if by some Christmas Miracle we happen to grow The Mom Feed Podcast Instagram community to 10 000 moms, I will be giving away….drum roll please….$1000 to the mama who tags the most people throughout the course of the three week long contest. That’s $500 to the mom who wins, and $500 to the charity of her choice for a total of $1000. I do believe in miracles, so I do believe it’s possible, and yet sometimes even miracles need a little coaxing. But there you have it. I said it and I meant it. So go ahead and get tagging!

Also don’t forget to check out my holiday gift guide that empowers women owned and environmentally responsible businesses for a little inspiration for your own holiday wish lists. Remember: you vote with your wallet, so buy carefully.

Thanks for your support, mamas! Let’s grow this community!

*NOTE: This contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with Instagram. Must be 18 or older to play. US and Canadian residents only. This round of the giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Tuesday December 8th.

30 Good-For-The-Soul Holiday Gift Ideas That Empower & Support Women Owned Businesses, Support Local & Help the Planet!

30 Good-For-The-Soul Holiday Gift Ideas That Empower & Support Women Owned Businesses, Support Local & Help the Planet!

Gift giving can be wasteful, especially since we probably already have more than we need (present company included: do I have two stand mixers? I do. Two blenders? Yes. Two food processors? You got me again…). 

That said…:

“I don’t want this beautiful, thoughtful gift you got me!” said no one EVER.

So, we’ve got two things at play here: we don’t really need anything, but we are also suckers for a thoughtful gift that can enhance our lives (and for the record, yes, I do use all of my stand mixers, blenders and food processors). 

In this case, what is a woman to do?

Well, in my humble opinion, if you want to get into the joys of giving this season anyway, why not do it with a purpose? What purpose, you ask? Why, whatever you want it to be! 

In choosing what to gift your friends and family this year, consider…

  1. Supporting a local business. 
  2. Supporting a woman owned business. 
  3. Supporting a business that is good for the environment. 
  4. Supporting a black owned business. 
  5. Supporting a business that supports the people behind the company.
  6. Giving gifts that encourage self care
  7. Giving gifts that encourage using non toxic ingredients

Whatever your values are, insert them into the reason behind why you make a purchase this year. And when you give that gift, be sure to share the story behind the company to the person receiving the gift. It’s important that they know that in receiving your gift, some hard working business owner is literally doing a happy dance because you have made a palpable difference in their life as an entrepreneur. Their vision-come-to life in your hands has paid off, and there is no greater gift than that!

I have spent more than my fair share of time online this year, and I’m happy to say it has paid off! Because I’ve collected a list of my personally favorite gifts that I would feel amazing both receiving and giving. The products are from women owned businesses – in some cases, local – that also support the environment in most cases. 

Gift with a purpose this year, mamas. Here we go!

1. Hooray.For Shirt 

✓ Women owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Local (LA)

This new t-shirt company is owned by two sisters, Anna and Amanda Kloots. They have already gained quite some traction with celebrities like Selma Blair, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Maria Shriver and Sarah Michelle Gellar sporting their totes and tees. The sisters dreamed up the company together and brought it to life in June of 2020. When you buy from Hooray.For, you aren’t just supporting a woman owned, local business, you are also supporting a cause. 50% of the proceeds from each sale goes toward a charity the founders have chosen that relates specifically to the topic of the tee shirt. And bonus: since both women have a knack for fashion the shirts are soft and supple, and perfect for even the most discerning of fashionistas. You cannot go wrong with this gift! Get one for yourself while you’re at it! They also sell face masks, tshirts for youth, and even onesies and baby pjs for the holidays! 

Follow them on Instagram.

 

2. Organic Face Masks from The Simple Folk

✓ Women owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet

It’s safe to say that face masks are here to stay. Even once we get a handle on Covid-19, I suspect face masks will remain mandatory in many of our day to day activities, like flying, shopping and the like. But just because we have to wear them, doesn’t mean we can’t feel great about wearing them!

I bought these face masks for myself and my daughter earlier this year from The Simple Folk, a mom owned organic clothing company for kids. These masks are so soft and I LOVE the colors! But what I love most of all is supporting a small, women owned company. The Simple Folk was started by two moms, Abi and Jamie, who dreamt of a “minimalist line of nature-inspired, ethical, organic, and high comfort play clothes for their children that are easy to wash and easy on the senses, so they last for years.” These two moms saw their vision come to life while still nursing their little ones, and now I am one of the lucky mamas who get to enjoy the fruits of their labor! 

While it is a children’s clothing company, they make masks for children and adults alike. They are my choice for masks, and I cannot recommend gifting these to the ones in your life as well! 

Follow them on Instagram.

 

3. Your favorite Cookbook

✓ Women owned
✓ Mama owned 

Covid has turned many people into chefs, have you noticed? I have a bachelor friend who never used to cook and basically lived at the Whole Foods and Erewhon food bar who has become a baker extraordinaire! I often get texts from him with questions about ingredients to use in his latest creations. It makes me smile every time!

Whether you know someone like my friend or you just know someone with an appreciation for cooking, consider gifting them one of your favorite cookbooks this year. In doing so, you’re literally supporting the author of that book. And as I cookbook author myself, I can tell you how much time and energy (and tears!) goes into creating recipes. 

Some of my personal favorite cookbooks are obviously my own, The Accidental Paleo, as well as Blissful Basil, a fellow mama and food blogger. I also LOVE N’Ice Cream, a vegan ice cream cookbook written by two women, and Oh She Glows creator and mama (and fellow Canadian!), Angela Liddon has two wonderful cookbooks. And I love Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly’s books and online courses as well. And score – she is another fellow mom boss and business owner, local to LA.

 

4. Ceramics from Rare Bird Goods

✓ Women owned
✓ Local (LA)

Ceramic goods are always in fashion, and what better gift to give than a locally woman owned ceramics shop here in LA? Gift someone a beautiful vase, a lovely bowl or cup that your friend can look at every day and feel happy about. The founder, Emily Tyra, is a former dancer who has found that in creating ceramics, she is transported back to her years in the ballet studio. She has the most beautiful pieces and I cannot recommend her enough! Shop Rare Bird Goods.

Follow her on Instagram.

 

5. Cold Pressed Juice from Little West 

✓ Women co-owned
✓ Family owned (Cassandra and Andrew are a husband and wife duo with two children)
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet 

If you’re not in LA, you can’t do this gift option BUT you can certainly find an option close to you!

This company, Little West, is owned and operated by my friends Cassandra and Andrew Walker, parents of two little boys, West and Wolf. Cassandra (who you can check out in Episode #4 of The Mom Feed) inspired me to become a chef, and is a genius when it comes to flavor combinations. Her juices are nothing short of wonderful. You can order them directly to your door, and feel good knowing you are supporting a local, small business that works closely with sustainable farmers to help the planet. They also plant a tree for every order placed to offset the carbon emissions created by that order! You cannot lose with this one.

Follow them on Instagram.

 

6. Affirmation cards from Love Powered Co and Gabby Bernstein

✓ Women owned
✓ Mama owned

We could all use a little inspiration these days, and I love these affirmation cards to help with that. There are no shortage of cards, but I’m a particular fan of these ones from Love Powered Co and Gabby Bernstein, two women and mama owned companies.

 

7. Stasher Bags

✓ Women co-owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet 

I’ll admit, I have wanted these bags for a long time and kept not taking the plunge. They are pricey. But as with health care, you invest today so you don’t pay tomorrow. Our planet is in peril, and every choice we make with our actions and our wallets directly impacts the world we are leaving for our children, their children, and so on. I personally want to be a part of the group that stood up and said, “Enough.”

I know how convenient plastic zip bags are. Trust me. I’m a mother. But – the planet. The planet is more important than my convenience. Because without the planet, nothing matters. If you just google plastic bags and pollution, I promise you won’t like what you find. This is a great article that lists ten facts about plastic bags you won’t feel great about. 

If you’re a mama, I know what you’re thinking: ziplock bags are life! When kids are young, you need them to store frozen purees, and when they get older, you need them for snacks for school, among other things. Fear not, mama! Because a few years ago, a fellow mama began to observe her use of plastic bags in her home, and she thought: there has to be a better way! After much research and testing, the bags you may have heard of were born: Stasher bags are silicone bags available in a variety of sizes for your convenience. No more plastic zip bags needed! Head over to their website and snag 15% off your first order for first time customers (or at least that is the offer at the time of this article). Stock up and gift these to anyone in your life who cares about the planet.

Follow them on Instagram.

 

8. Reusable Water Bottle from BKR  

✓ Women co-owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet 

If you are still using throw away plastic bottles, please take this with love: PLEASE STOP!!!!!!!! (yes, I’m yelling, but kindly and with all the love in my heart for you and our planet). I’m not saying it to judge, I’m saying it because if you don’t know, now you know, and if you’re reading this, I know you care about the planet. This article will give you a good overview of how bad plastic water bottles are for the planet, so have a read and please please make the switch! For your health, for your family’s health, and for the health of the family!

There are plenty of reusable water bottle options in the world today, but one of my favorites has to be this woman owned company, BKR. The idea for the company was born in 2006 when best girlfriends Tal Winter and Kate Culter dreamed up a company that breaks up with plastic bottles. 

The rest is history:

“In 2011, Tal and Kate launched bkr with a focus on one main concept which in their minds was Beauty 101: drinking water is the foundation for soft, dewy, pretty skin–and wtf­–hydrating shouldn’t be so hard. The clean, addictive, cult favorite, small-mouth, original glass water bottle was sustainable and eco at its core, but it also made drinking water blissful and easy for a change and people started noticing. A growing obsession with the pretty little bottle resulted in reports that they people were finally truly hydrated and, as a result, they were looking and feeling better. And, as it’s said, the rest is history.”

Their bottles are beautiful, and a perfect gift for any friend who wants to hydrate their way to soft, supple skin any time of year while taking care of our planet too. 

Follow them on Instagram.

 

9. Reusable Metal Straws 

✓ Good for the planet 

Ok, this one is for the planet…again (are you noticing a theme here?). If you’re still using plastic straws, I’m just going to go right ahead and say it: you need to stop (ok, now I’m just being bossy. But sometimes that’s what the situation calls for). Straws pollute the environment and end up in the digestive systems of too many of our land and marine life. Don’t believe me? Check out this article for the details (and a disturbing video of a poor little turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his nostril – it’ll make you never want to use a plastic straw again).

But don’t be sad, because there are so many options to replace straws! I love these gold plated ones from World Market, but just go to your favorite local shop or restaurant and you can find them there.

 

10. A Year Long Gratitude Calendar 

✓ Good for the soul

My husband’s 88 year old cousin, Phil, is a legend. Every year, we go to his and his wife, Pat’s, house to exchange Christmas gifts. Last year, he gifted me this Year of Gratitude calendar and I swear, it’s something I look forward to reading every morning. Much like the affirmation cards I mentioned above, each day there is a quote from various people that helps shift my mood for the better. It’s hard to feel unhappy when you’re feeling grateful. It’s safe to say that 2020 has rocked us to our core, some of us more than others, particularly if we have lost loved ones, jobs, relationships, etc. But as long as we are alive and breathing, there is always something to be grateful for. This calendar is a beautiful reminder of that. I highly recommend gifting it to anyone in your life! I don’t know of any locally owned businesses that sell them, but if you can find one in your area, buy it from them. Otherwise, you can purchase one here.

Want a sneak peek at my message today?

“Learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

 

11. Angel Cards

✓ Good for the soul

I don’t know much about this company, to be honest, but these cards are a staple in my life. I was introduced to them when I worked for lululemon. Before we started each shift, we would gather in a team huddle and once we had finished going over any administrative affairs that needed to be addressed, we would pick a card from the deck. Each card holds a single word – an intention that we are meant to focus on for that day. I pick one every morning and it totally helps to ground my day. I love these cards!

According to the description on Amazon, these are “The Original Angel Cards are one of the most powerful ways to connect with the angels. Angels are inner companions. They help us look at the world in ways that infuse our lives with vitality and assist us to experience the deepest levels of understanding, creativity, and caring. Each Angel card quality evokes your intuitive abilities and renews your spiritual connection. Created by Kathy Tyler and Joy Drake, the Angel Cards are an international best-seller–over 1.3 million sold in 6 languages.”

You can purchase them here.

 

12. A membership to an online workout like Unicorn Wellness or Amanda Kloots

✓ Women co-owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet
✓ Good for the body and soul

Online fitness has become the most popular way of working out in these times, but it’s not new to the party! That said, it can be hard to find your perfect fit. Where I know there are countless amazing platforms, hands down, my two favorites that have actually delivered me results (see these before and after photos to prove it) and from two women who are total #shebosses and #mombosses.

My first favorite is Unicorn Wellness Studio from former Equinox Fitness Pilates Regional Director and dancer, Tandy Gutierrez. This online pilates studio combines the power of reiki, pilates, the lunar cycle and tarot to bring you the most magical workouts in 30 minutes a day! I kid you not, 30 minutes is all it takes to see results, and I have only done them 4 times a week! I lost 6 pounds and an inch from my waist and couldn’t believe it. If you’d like to try it for free, head over to her website for a free 14 day trial.

Dancers truly do seem to know where it’s at, and Amanda Kloots of AK Fitness is no different. She has a wonderful subscription series for only $9.99/month! You can try it free for 7 days. I promise you and whoever you’re gifting this to won’t be disappointed!

Follow Tandy on Instagram.

Follow Amanda on Instagram or her Fitness Account here.

 

13. A Jump Rope 

✓ Woman owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the body and soul (and your inner child!)

If you’re a busy mother like I am, sometimes all you can get is 10 minutes to work out (and let’s be honest, many days I can barely manage that).

I love the idea of jump rope! It’s amazing cardio and even a few minutes can go a long way. I’m talking 2 minutes, ladies. For real. 

This jump rope from Amanda Kloots was designed specifically for her signature jump rope classes. It’s a great gift for any busy mama in your life, and you can feel good knowing your supporting a fellow woman and mama in purchasing one for here

 

14. An Empowering Book to Help Mamas Find Their Voice or Their Path

✓ Woman owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the soul

There aren’t many great substitutes for a great book, especially one that inspires. Consider gifting the mamas in your life with a woman authored book to inspire them into the new year! I love Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo, and Didn’t See That Coming from Rachel Hollis.

Follow Glennon Doyle on Instagram.

Follow Marie Forloe on Instagram.

Follow Rachel Hollis on Instagram.

 

15. A digital workshop from Almost 30

✓ Women owned
✓ Good for the soul

I have been listening to these ladies, Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik on their spirituality podcast, Almost 30, for about 3 years now. I have catered a few of their events (when we used to meet in person) and attended some as well. And recently, I did one of their online courses for podcasters.

These ladies have a knack for curating the most amazing content and bringing together the most wonderful people. In lieu of their usually buzzing live events, they have turned to digital workshops. Each workshop is different, and focuses on a particular topic from one of the many guests they’ve had on their podcast. From human design to managing money to finding your voice, these ladies have got a lot to offer.

Consider gifting yourself or a friend one of their digital workshops, or any digital workshop from someone who you may follow and love. In supporting these or anyone, you are directly supporting a local business. Such a great gift that is good for the body, mind and soul!

Follow Almost 30 on Instagram.

 

16. A bouquet of flowers from Farmgirl flowers

✓ Woman owned
✓ Good for the soul

The founder of this amazing flower company, Christina, has a wonderful background story I highly recommend checking out here. Aside from disrupting the flower industry with her insanely beautiful and signature bouquets, it’s very important to Christina to source from ethical farms and companies. She also pays above minimum wage, offers full medical benefits and 401Ks, and keeps most things – including customer service – in house. 

If you’re thinking of sending someone flowers this season – or any time – look no further than Farmgirl Flowers!

Follow them on Instagram (it is a true feast for your eyes).

 

17. A beautiful vase (like the ones they have at Farmgirl flowers)

✓ Woman owned
✓ Good for the soul

I don’t need to sing any more praises for Farmgirl Flowers, except to say that their vases are stunning! My husband got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday one year, and they came in the most beautiful clear vase with a gold base. It has been my favorite vase ever since! I highly recommend gifting someone a beautiful vase, as it truly is the gift that continues to deliver a smile to someone’s face.

 

18. Natural toothpaste from Wellnesse 

✓ Woman owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet
✓ Good for your body

It’s so important to choose non toxic ingredients not just for the health of you and your family, but also for the health of the planet. We have to stop settling for bad ingredients, especially when it comes to what we put in our mouths and on our bodies.

It may take some getting used to, I’ll give you that, but if you haven’t made the switch over to a natural toothpaste just yet, it’s time. I’m a big fan of Wellnesse, a company founded by podcaster Katie Wells of Wellness Mama as well as the toothpaste from Native.

It may seem like a strange gift, but gifting someone some natural toothpaste – along with some other natural products – could be just the thing to help your friends and family hop on the natural train this year!

Follow Wellnesse on Instagram.

Follow Native on Instagram.

 

19. Natural deodorant from Kopari

✓ Woman owned
✓ Mama owned
✓ Good for the planet
✓ Good for your body

I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s so important to use non toxic ingredients on your body, and for mamas especially – anything that goes so close to your boobs must must must be non toxic! There are many great brands out there now, and my personal favorites are from mama founded, Kopari Beauty, and from Native. I have also heard good things about Hume, founded by Kelly LeVeque of Be Well by Kelly, though I have yet to try it. 

Consider combining this with the natural toothpaste, a toothbrush, and some other natural products!

Follow Kopari on Instagram.

Follow Hume on Instagram.

 

20. Luxurious eye mask for meditation 

✓ Good for your body and soul

Whether you’re a mom or not, it’s safe to say that we could all use a little reminder to practice some self care. Consider gifting the women in your life with a luxurious eye mask like this one from Anthropologie, or else find one in a local shop in your town. Consider combining it with the either the gifts above, or else with the upcoming 3 gifts.

Follow Anthropologie on Instagram.

 

21. Crystals 

✓ Good for your body and soul 

Who doesn’t love pretty things? I have been collecting crystals for a few years now, and every time I get a new one, I put it in the windowsill in my bathroom. Every time I look at my collection, it makes me happy. 

Consider picking out some crystals for the close friends in your life. Need some guidance on how to pick them? Start with making a list of things your friend or family member could use some help with. Does she have a lot of stress or worry? Could she use some extra energy? Does she have trouble sleeping? There is a crystal for everything. Use this guide to pick the right crystals, and then seek them out from a local shop like this one on Etsy (another great way to support local!).

 

22. Epsom Salts and a Bamboo bath tray 

✓ Good for your body and soul
✓ Woman owned
✓ Mama owned

While we are on the self care track, I can’t think of anything more beautifully paired with crystals then a warm bath to soak in while enjoying said crystals! And bonus – add epsom salts to help detox the body and replenish magnesium! 

Consider buying epsom salts from a local business, like this one from LA local mama, Sophie Jaffe, as well as the bamboo bath tray. But if you need some inspiration, here is a great bamboo bath tray recommended by a wonderful woman I follow named Alison Wuhaus.

Follow Alison on Instagram (she has one of the most beautiful accounts I’ve ever seen).

Follow Sophie Jaffe on Instagram.

 

23. Flameless candles

✓ Good for your body and soul 

I’ve been taking epsom salt baths once a week at the advice of my friend from gift #12, Tandy Gutierrez of Unicorn Wellness Studio. It has been amazing to schedule 40 minutes to soak in a hot bath, even though I admittedly am not quite a bath person. But there is something about water that is so healing, and I’m really beginning to enjoy my bath time!

Rather than turn on the bright lights of the bathroom, though, I’ve been using my 3 chunky flameless candles as light instead! The dim lighting really adds to the spa-like feeling of the bath, and since they are flameless, I don’t have to worry about fire! And bonus: since I have curious young children, when I’m using the candles outside of the bathroom, I don’t have to worry about curious little fingers knocking anything over and starting a fire!

You can get these candles in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Here is a good place to start.

 

24. A Journal and pen 

✓ Good for your body and soul 

What else goes well with a bath and a bamboo tray for that bath? A journal! Pick a journal – any journal will do! Whatever you can do to encourage your friends to write is a good thing. This particular journal is from Shinola, but go ahead and find a local store in your area – or even on Etsy – and buy one from them! And make it glamorous by adding a gold pen to the mix! There is something that feels so lovely about writing with a beautiful pen, don’t you think?

 

25. The Time Block Planner

✓ Good for your soul 

While you’re at it with the journal, consider gifting someone this time block planner to help them get efficient and intentional in 2021! This particular planner has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Entrepreneur Magazine, and is meant to help us get focused in a distracted world. This is probably the only gift in this guide that wasn’t created by a woman, but it doesn’t make it any less amazing! Anything we can do to encourage less distraction is a bonus for anyone, especially for a starved-for-time-and-self-care mama!

 

26. An Organic Cotton White T-Shirt from Mate the Label or WearPact

✓ Woman owned
✓ Good for the planet
✓ Good for your body and soul 

Who couldn’t use an organic cotton white t-shirt? It’s a perfect staple for any wardrobe. I personally probably have about 15 of them, and honestly, if someone gifted me one more, I’d be ecstatic. For me, a white t-shirt is the modern day equivalent of a little black dress. 

I personally have a few from Mate the Label, a local LA company that makes clean essentials with non toxic, organic, natural materials. I love the way they fit: not too tight in the belly (where my I-have-had-two-children stomach skin can hide safely behind the fabric) but nicely fitted on the shoulders. I haven’t tried any from WearPact, but I’ve been watching the company for a while now and they are really growing their line. I’m excited to test them out next!

If you’re wondering about your environmental impact when it comes to buying clothes, this sums things up quite nicely as quote from Mate’s website:

“The fashion industry is dirty and we are here to clean it up. Did you know that there are over 8,000 synthetic chemicals used in clothing manufacturing? Many of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting and hazardous to our health…Organic Cotton uses 87% less water than conventionally grown cotton and emits 45% less greenhouse gases. Conventional cotton is also notorious for using more pesticides than any other crop in the world. The use of these chemicals has led to the hospitalization of up to 1 million farmworkers every
year.

I don’t know about you but I would prefer to put my money on companies that are cleaning up a dirty industry.

Follow Mate the Label on Instagram.

Follow WearPact on Instagram.

 

27. The Always pan 

✓ Woman owned
✓ Good for the planet

Ok, this one is a splurge, but trust me, as a chef who has spent too much money to count on fancy pans, cookware and utensils, I can tell you, this pan is worth its weight in gold. Founded by Shiza Shahid along with her two other partners, Our Place is a company that focuses on minimalist but practical functionality in the kitchen. The Always Pan is a cult favorite, and though it is admittedly a little bit small, I can honestly tell you that I use it at least twice a day. Aside from the company being female led and founded, I’m also a fan because of the non toxic non stick coating, which feels like a unicorn in the world of cooking! So, if you want to splurge, you cannot go wrong with The Always Pan!

 

28. A Beautiful Dress from Spring Time In Brooklyn

There isn’t anything quite like a beautiful dress to bring out the strong feminine within us all. But who says you have to be going to a fancy party to wear one? Why can’t you wear one on any given day?

I recently learned about this mama, Zoey Tzfanya, who started a clothing company called Spring Time in Brooklyn just 7 weeks before her husband – and father of their 2 young children – passed away suddenly. After taking some time away, Zoey has relaunched her company and her beauty and strength inside and out is reflected in her beautiful line of clothing.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d take a pair of sweatpants and a white t-shirt over a dress any day, but in a recent Instagram post, Zoey did a video about the importance of getting dressed, particularly when you are grieving. I personally haven’t experienced the kind of loss that this incredible mama has, but her post resonated with me. Because a lot of my days as a mom right now feel hard, and a lot of the time, I don’t do anything to symbolically show up. I just roll out of bed and into the day without doing anything to draw a line in the sand as if to say, “Ok, mom life. I’ve got this. I’m here. Let’s do this!”

I remember once Elizabeth Gilbert gave the advice to do the same thing: whenever she was having writer’s block, she would get dressed – in nice clothes – even if she was only moving from her bedroom to her home office. There is something about getting dressed and showing up that sends a message both to the universe and to yourself that hey, I’m here for it. 

SO – if you want to spoil yourself or a special friend in your life while also supporting a newly widowed mama of two young children, consider a dress from Spring Time In Brooklyn. 

Follow them on Instagram.

 

29. Non Toxic Cleaning Products from Branch Basics

I have become incredibly picky about the products I use not just to clean my body, but also, to clean the things inside my home! My kids are constantly rolling around and eating things off the floor (just me?), so it’s important to me that we use non toxic cleaners throughout the house.

I was introduced to Branch Basics when I heard the founders on the Almost 30 podcast (are you noticing a theme here?) a few years ago. The company was founded by three women when, after being told she wouldn’t have children due to her PCOS, one of the founders decided to clear out all of the toxins in her home. That included everything from toxic nail polish and removers to dish soap, laundry detergent and every day household cleaners. After doing this clean sweep, her PCOS eventually went away, and she went onto have two children without intervention.

I’ve been using these products for a few years now and I LOVE them. Why not gift someone in your life the gift of non toxic cleaning products? Maybe it’s weird, but maybe it’s not. In giving this non toxic gift, you are potentially handing someone the keys to better health. That’s a gift you can’t put a price on!

Follow them on Instagram.

 

30. A gift from any of these and ANY Black Owned Businesses

The Black Lives Matter movement exposed a lot of blind spots in me that I didn’t necessarily want to see. I have a lot of work to do to unpack my systemic racism, and I’ll continue to do the work, as uncomfortable as it feels. But nothing worth it ever really feels comfortable, so I’m here for it. 

In buying for friends and family this holiday season, please be sure to support not just women owned, local businesses, and businesses that are good for the environment, but also consider buying from women of color owned businesses as well. Take the time to be thoughtful and to do your research.

The hosts of The Almost 30 Podcast game me this list of black women owned brands to support in 2020. Take a look and consider buying from any of these incredible women.

https://www.blackenterprise.com/20-millennial-black-women-owned-brands-to-support-in-2020/ 

In addition to this list, I would add:

  1. Body Complete RX – a plant based supplements company for health and beauty started by mama, Samia Gore.
  2. Millana Snow – a trusted voice in the wellness industry, Millana is a reiki healer, entrepreneur, and the founder of Wellness Official, a “home to practitioners from all over the world with healing content, services, and resources that represent, empower and embrace diversity and the lineages wellness practices came from.” Check out her episode on the Almost 30 Podcast to learn more.
  3. Jas the Moon Mother – Jas offers private coaching as well as corporate wellness in human design. She works with clients to help them awaken their soul’s authentic blue print. Check out her episode with Krista and Lindsey on Almost 30 to learn more and be prepared to fall in love!

 

If you have any other businesses to add to this list, please email me at lauren@themomfeed.com and I will add it!

That’s all she wrote for now, mamas.

Remember: you vote with your wallet. You use your voice with your wallet. Choose wisely. Choose to empower. Choose to be supportive. Choose to be apart of the change you want to see in the world, not just for you, but for those who will come after you.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

With much love and appreciation for you,

Lauren
xoxo

Additional Businesses

Some of you fabulous women emailed me and wanted me to include your business in this guide. You asked, I listened.

Here you go, everyone, more women owned businesses you can support!

The Gift of Meal Delivery or a Private Chef with Mama Monica Castillo

Who doesn’t love a home cooked meal? Support this Malibu local mama by grabbing some yummy food from her or hiring her to cook privately for you! A mom of 3, Monica is hard working and a master in the kitchen. Check her out!

Homemade Baked Goods from twin mama, Amy Robertson

Who doesn’t love a good homemade cookie or granola? Amy’s baked goods from Amy’s Bake Shop are nothing short of amazing. This twin mama has got skills in the kitchen. Consider getting something homemade for your friends and family (and keep some for yourself too) this holiday season.

Beautiful Artwork from Designer, Niya Christine

Add some beauty to yours and your friends’ walls this holiday season with something beautiful from designer, Niya Christine! Niya is a brilliant designer and she even designed this very website!

A fun Mug from Twin Sisters, Lauren and Sari from Creative Cravings

Who doesn’t love a good mug of tea or hot chocolate at this time of year? Lauren and Sari have launched their own podcast called Creative Cravings, and they’ve got some mug swag for you to check out!

Welcome to The Mom Feed Podcast!

Welcome to The Mom Feed Podcast!

My name is Lauren. I am a mother, writer, chef, cookbook author, IIN certified health coach, and most recently, a podcaster! There were many iterations of me before my life changed on February 19, 2016, when my daughter, Madison Grace, graced (see what I did there?) us with her presence after 4 days (yes, 4) of labor. It was 10:39pm on a Friday, and my life was never the same. Life as a mother has asked me to dig deeper into the depths of my soul than any other experience has ever asked of me. It has forced me to come face to face with traumas I had in my closet, and my gosh, it has brought me to my knees. It has also brought me some of the greatest joy of my life, deeper than I’ve ever experienced. Baby giggles? Come on. Watching a child learn something new? THE BEST.

That said, navigating life as a mother has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m two kids in (my son, Liam Edward, was born on August 23rd, 2019), and I’m still finding my footing. I imagine I will be doing this sort of dance for the rest of my life in my role as “mom.”

If you’re a mom reading this, then you can probably relate. My unique experience brought me up close and personal with an identity crisis (err…if I’m mom now, what happens to all the things I was before this?), hormonal imbalances that had me sweating through my sheets for a year and a half every night (sorry to be so blunt), an undiagnosed case of postpartum anxiety with my first, and a reckoning the likes I had never dealt with before in accepting my postpartum body, including a case of diastasis recti that went undiagnosed for almost a year, and most recently, loose stomach skin that hangs over my jeans whenever I decide to squeeze myself into them (which isn’t often, because, well, it’s just not comfortable).

Which brings me to the “why” behind The Mom Feed Podcast. I felt like there was a piece of the conversation missing. I didn’t see myself in a lot of my social feeds. I saw women who had it all together. And every time I looked at them, I felt even worse about myself. Was I the only one feeling so rocked about my transition into motherhood? And – gasp – did that make me a bad mom? The short answer is NO! And when I read about the term Matrescence while reading a book called In the Flo by Alisa Vitti, I finally understood it. I felt seen, heard and understood, and I wanted to create something to help other moms to feel that way too.

The Mom Feed is a podcast about the transition into motherhood. Each week, I feature guests who are experts in their fields, and amplify their voices to help give support to mamas who need it most. My goal is to empower mamas with information and resources that will help make their lives easier, and that will effectively serve as the tribe they need to stay afloat in this fabulous but equally challenging life as “mom.”

Thank you for being here. I see you. I hear you. I am you. And I’ve got you.

Lauren
xoxo

 

 

 

 

8 reasons why I’m proud of my postpartum body

8 reasons why I’m proud of my postpartum body

I had a giant sized poster of Keanu Reeves on my wall when I was younger (it was after I saw the movie Speed: I wanted Keanu to be my boyfriend, and I wanted to actually be Sandra Bullock). Before Keanu, it was Jonathan Taylor Thomas. And before him (and likely during that time too – I was a two timer), it was Daniel di Tomasso (my high school Italian Stallion “boyfriend” (we held hands) whom I adored. Fun fact: he and actress, Jessica Pare were in a theatre production of Robin Hood when Daniel and I were “dating” in high school). Before Daniel, it was Tom Roberts, the cute South African boy who lived across the street. I drew a picture of us in my diary at our wedding, kissing, and vowing to live happily ever after. I was 6 years old at the time.

With the exception of Daniel, none of those stud muffins ever became my boyfriend. And I’m sure glad they didn’t, because if they had, I wouldn’t have found Ted, and I wouldn’t have had Madison.

Why oh why does any of this matter?

Apart from it being super fun to make fun of me and my love interests from my younger and more vulnerable years, this really and truly matters most because for every one of those boys I liked, and for all the boys who came after them who actually became my boyfriends, I did a heck of a lot of trying to be and look a certain way in order to get them to like me. Whether it was a trim body, or a sexy new pair of peace sign earrings, an oversized Club Monaco sweatshirt and stirrup pants (so sexy) with a choker (a necklace that goes around your neck) to entice them, my perfect image was – in my opinion – the only way I would ever get their attention (never mind the fact that I was sweet and kind and a straight A student).

So with almost a lifetime’s worth of fashion magazines in my subconscious, who can blame a girl for being sensitive about her body at any stage of her life, and especially after she’s given birth? Things change, and according to my early teen magazines and the fashion magazines that followed, these changes are not part of the approved sexy lady curriculum.

And yet something is shifting in me these days. I’m maturing in a way that I never have before (and this is big, considering I came out of the womb trying to be an adult). As I was taking my morning walk with the babe yesterday, I had a sudden surge of self-love. Like, serious body love.

Madison in arms, I trudged along down the street, and I couldn’t help but to puff my chest out and feel like a warrior. A goddess. A strong ass woman who really and truly can do anything I put my mind to. With every stride, I felt the power flowing through me.

Nothing has really changed. I’m still heavier than I want to be. I still have a bigger-than-I’m-used-to belly. And there are some things that shall not be named that aren’t quite what they used to be. But rather than look down at my body and feel disgust, instead, I felt its power. And gosh darn it, I felt proud. Proud of my body, yes. But also, proud to be me.

Do you think I’m being full of myself? Well, I am! Why shouldn’t I be? And to loosely quote Marianne Williamson, who am I not to? I’m owning my awesomeness today, people! And frankly, you should be owning yours too! Not at the expense of anyone else, of course! But rather to the advantage of yourself and your self esteem (and funnily enough, by owning your own greatness, you’re a more delightful, productive and happy person, which makes you lovely to be around. So really, everybody wins).

I’ve spent enough time shaming and hating on my body since I gave birth (and – let’s be honest – ever since I saw my first teen magazine and realized I “should” look a certain way and should eat this and not that to stay trim. That way, maybe Jonathan Taylor Thomas would magically show up in my life and marry me and we’d live happily ever after. The end.).

I’ll be honest, I’m probably not going to love my body all of the time over night, but at least I’m going to be more aware of how I’m talking to my body, and what I’m teaching my daughter every time I look in the mirror, every time I smile at or make a look of disgust at myself, and of course – every time I verbally reference my body in anything other than a loving you’re-a-badass-mama-jama way.

So ladies and gents, mothers and fathers, friends and loved ones, this is why I love my postpartum, perfect-in-all-of-its-imperfections body:

1. IT REMINDS ME THAT I’M STRONG.

Every stretch mark, every extra pound, all the new curves, the fullness of my belly – all of it serves to remind me that not long ago, I carried a life inside me. That’s a kind of strength I never knew I was capable of, and it is the kind of strength that only a woman (those of us who are lucky enough to bare children) can ever truly know.

2. IT REMINDS ME THAT I’M POWERFUL.

To feel a life growing inside you is to feel the true force of nature. We are not in charge. Nature is. If you’ve ever been in the ocean, you have felt this same truth as the waves washed over your body and you tried to either resist or to go with the flow of the current. Just like the ocean, to carry life and to give birth to it is incredibly powerful. Not just metaphorically, but also physically: to experience the forceful power of the contractions that inevitably open your body up and push the baby out of your body, well, that is true power.

3. IT REMINDS ME THAT TRUE BEAUTY LIES WITHIN.

Though my tummy and body don’t look the same, my heart is still the same. And it’s really pretty! Besides, nobody greets you and measures your stomach or asks you to weigh in (unless you’re at weight watchers, in which case, that’s kind of par for the course). They measure the content of your character. Their soul scans yours and decides if you are good or not, and my soul has surely gotten brighter…and gooder too.

4. IT REMINDS ME THAT I CREATED A LIFE.

There isn’t a single day that passes where I don’t look at Madison (my daughter) and marvel at the fact that she grew from and came out of my body. It’s just…wow.

5. IT REMINDS ME TO BE GRATEFUL.

Grateful because half of the human race doesn’t get to experience this (men), and further still, not all women get to experience it for a variety of reasons. And further to that, some that do don’t survive the labor process. Childbirth is incredibly humbling and dangerous (every rose  has a thorn, right?), and for every woman who gets to experience both it and the joys of being a mother that follow, well, it is truly an honor, one that I will be grateful for as long as I live and breathe.

6. IT REMINDS ME THAT NOTHING IS PERMANENT.

Life is an ebb and flow. Just like Madison was never meant to stay inside me, and my body changed as she grew, this postpartum piece is just another phase that my body is going through. There are more to come, and thanks to this experience, I feel prepared to meet and greet them with a healthy attitude (of gratitude).

7. IT REMINDS ME TO BE FLEXIBLE.

If nothing is permanent, then it wouldn’t serve me to try to hold onto anything. Perhaps the greatest gift of being human is our ability to adapt, to be flexible. Childbirth and the postpartum recovery have helped me to see this even more clearly.

8. IT REMINDS ME THAT EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

So let me get this straight. You’re telling me that a head measuring 12-15 inches in circumference is going to come out of a hole measuring a half an inch in circumference, or (in other cases) that said being will be cut out of the abdomen, and both parties will survive to tell the tale? Apparently, yes. Indeed, it’s the only way any of us are sitting here today. If that doesn’t defy the laws of what’s possible, I don’t know what does.

So whether you’re a mom or you’re going through menopause or you’ve ever read a magazine that made you feel like you had to be something other than you are in order to love and be loved, this is for you. Let every mark on your body be a reminder that you have had the privilege of living a full life. And let that feeling of a life fully lived be your new sexy.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

With love, and a little help from my friend, Dr Seuss,

Lauren
xxx