““There is nothing better than helping a client attain the confidence and energy needed to tackle their life’s passions.”“ - Molly Knauer
To offer a holistic approach to nutrition by understanding each client’s individual lifestyle, challenges, and goals.
Prebiotics and Babies
Probiotics are now a household name in the wellness space and gut health is finally getting the attention they deserve. But prebiotics, the nondigestible carbohydrates that fuel probiotics, have acted more as the stage mom, quietly in the back responsible for the success of the main act. Prebiotics nourish probiotics so they can proliferate and multiply. Do babies need prebiotics and where can they get them? Let’s get into it!
To start, let's discuss the basics of gut health. The “gut” is a term used to describe our microbiome, the trillions of microorganisms that make up the digestive tract. A healthy microbiome is abundant probiotics which boost overall health but in particular immunity, energy, and digestion. When our microbiome becomes compromised by the “bad” bacteria or infection, we are more at risk for infection, fatigue, and digestive issues. We nourish our probiotics with prebiotics, which are essentially food for the healthy bacteria in our gut.
When babies are born vaginally, babies are immediately exposed to a large amount of beneficial bacteria through the vaginal canal which helps them establish healthy gut bacteria.
As far as supplements, you can discuss with your pediatrician whether an additional supplement is recommended for your baby, which brand, and when to introduce them. The research on infants and pre/probiotics is still lacking. Take for example probiotics - there are millions of strains that act in different ways! However, they have been deemed generally safe by many pediatricians and recommended especially for babies who have to be put on antibiotics or who experience gastrointestinal distress.
Once children introduce solids, yogurt and kefir are excellent natural sources of probiotics and high fiber fruits and veggies like artichokes, onions, apples, asparagus, bananas and oats are sources of prebiotics to help fuel the healthy bacteria. Fun fact- dirt is one of the best sources of healthy gut bacteria, so allowing your little one to play in the dirt is actually benefiting their health!
The bottom line is that babies get just what they need through breastmilk or formula, but as our children get older it is important to encourage pre and probiotic-rich foods to help them maintain and strengthen their strong microbiome.
Molly Knauer Registered Dietitian with a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition
4 Anti-Stress Foods (+ My Overnight Oats Recipe)
Anxiety is inevitable. We all feel it from time to time and I would be surprised if there is ANY new mom that has escaped at least some level of anxiety.
While so much is out of our control, there are actually foods that might be able to help us reduce and cope with anxiety when it rears its ugly head. During these hectic holiday months, challenge yourself to incorporate a few of these foods into your routine.
These guys are selenium superstars containing the highest levels of selenium of any food. Eating 2-3 Brazil nuts provides your recommended daily intake of this important trace mineral. One study showed that individuals with the highest consumption of selenium had a reduction of ~54% in the chances of occurrence of depression. I think we can all manage to eat 2 Brazil nuts a day!
Swiss Chard is high in magnesium–an essential mineral for neurological health. The American diet can actually be deficient in magnesium because of the overconsumption of refined carbs and lack of vegetables. Low magnesium levels may be linked to anxiety, irritability, confusion, and sleepiness.
Salmon is full of the omega-3’s EPA and DHA as well as vitamin D. EPA and DHA help regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which help us to feel happier and more relaxed. Vitamin D (which can get low especially in the winter months) also helps control these “feel good” neurotransmitters.
There may actually be a reason we turn to chocolate when we're feeling blue. The flavanols in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain, allowing us to better deal with stressful situations. It's even possible that dark chocolate could increase serotonin levels to help reduce anxiety.
One study showed that people who ate 40 grams of dark chocolate every day over a two week period reported significantly lower levels of stress! Opt for fair trade dark chocolate with over 70% cacao and keep your portions mindful.
Oats are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin in the body and can promote relaxation. Turkey is another more well known source of tryptophan due to the famous Thanksgiving “turkey coma”.
Just as important as what we put in our bodies is what we keep out. If you are suffering from anxiety, avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, and sugar as they can exacerbate those negative feelings.
I love to start my day with this rich and chocolatey overnight oats recipe because not only is it delicious and satisfying, I know the combination of healthy fats and fiber plus flavanols and serotonin boosting ingredients will help me prevent and cope with any anxiety that arises.
· 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
· ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk
· 1/4th cup plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
· 1 teaspoon chia seeds
· 1 teaspoon flax seeds
· ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
· 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
· ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
· ¼ banana, sliced
· ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1. Using 16 oz jar, add all the ingredients and mix together.
2. Leave in the fridge for at least 3hours or overnight. I recommend adding the banana and coconut flakes right before consumption.