The Blue Planet

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The blue planet who rests on an outer orbit of the solar system plays a large role in astrology. Neptune, whose glyph is the triton that the Greek sea god with the same name holds in his hand to symbolize his rule, is associated with higher love, art and dreams. If Neptune was an organ, it would be responsible for charging the body with creativity, harnessing the mind with psychic ability and powering the spirit with divine intuition. The children of Neptune are the lovers, dreamers and artists. No wonder we have so many artists who were born under a strong Neptune influence, such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Salvador Dali; the list continues into eternity. Having a strong Neptune in the chart can also indicate a seeker of spirituality. 

There is often a strong tie to knowing pain for this group of people. It is as though without knowing such great depths of pain, they would not have been able to produce such great heights of the art or teachings these Neptune-endowed individuals so passionately produced for the world to enjoy. The role of the artist is to share the creative beat they have drumming inside of them, for they are born with it. Artists hold the key to realizing the language, the music, the form and shape that divine inspiration imparts on them, seemingly coming from thin air or from a higher dimension. This is the gift of Neptune. 

Neptune’s children may have a tendency to fall privy to substance use and addiction, for Neptune holds an escapist energy. It wants to escape from the mundane reality of earth and float high above into outer space where it can see everything from a birds eye view where everyone looks like equals and are all going through the same journey that we call life. Neptune envisions a utopian society where everybody respects and loves one another, rescues pets from the shelter, swims with the dolphins and creates art all day while there is beautiful harp music playing in the background. 

Like in Walt Disney’s epic animation, Fantasia, Neptune resides in a world where there are no differences in race, color or creed. We may be whatever we want to be, whether it’s a hippopotamus ballerina, a dancing mushroom or a pastel pink centaur galloping across a cotton candy meadow. Ruling the twelfth house of sleep, dreams and magic, Neptune’s theme was beautifully typecasted in the segment titled “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” starring Mickey Mouse as a baby wizard learning to cast spells for the first time. He falls asleep after a hard day of chores and escapes into dreamland where magic is so easy that he can conduct the stars to spray across the sky in line with the rhythm of the symphony. Though Walt Disney was a Sagittarius sun, he had Neptune very close to the Midheaven, just like his pal Salvador Dali did. 

Neptune knows no boundaries and holds a permeable nature because it feels at home in the element of water. Fluidity and weightlessness are prominent characteristics because they are what is necessary to access the dreamworld. Those with strong a Neptune or 12th house presence in their chart may have a fuzzy appearance about them and be active dreamers. They may even be talented at astral travel. As the purveyors of belief and faith, which may be harder for those without much Neptune to grasp, they are here to be the gentle, big-hearted leaders that raise humankind to be more compassionate, kind and spiritual.

What Groups do you Belong to?

The eleventh house has a lot going for it. Opposite the fifth house which rules romance, short-term flings, children, creativity and gambling, the eleventh house rules friends, liquid gains, charitable organizations, the recognition and awards that we get from work, our personal dreams and desires, and social reform. 

Astrologers would look at the eleventh house of a natal chart to see how the individual will merge with groups of people and what kinds of social activities would benefit us. For example, would we belong to a volunteer group, a gym, Toastmasters, a sports team or Model UN? Depending on what types of aspects and planets this house makes within our natal chart, it can reveal how we could benefit from these organizations, and how important it is to us to belong to them. Having a significant eleventh house in your chart could indicate that you belong to many groups and you would not totally feel like yourself if you were not part of them.

It is also known as a wealth house, but it represents the type of money that comes through sheer luck or speculation, such as a winning lottery ticket or the money you make on a house you bought that was the best choice you made ten years ago. Whereas the second and eighth houses represent the kind of money that you earn or get through other people respectively, eleventh house money is the kind that we all dream about because it takes no work or commitments to get it.

The sign that rules the 11th house is Aquarius whose planets are Uranus–who is radical–and Saturn–who is stable. Though seemingly a paradox, these two planetary energies combine to make a pretty cool, forward-thinking person who scoffs at trends and paves their own way. Therefore, having multiple personal planets here could make one a trailblazer. Uranus-ruled people think outside of the box and are open and progressive. The element is air, so it is an intellectually-based part of our make-up. The air element in astrology is responsible for communication, thoughts, ideas and social exchange. There is also a quality of turbulence as Uranus seeks to keep us from getting stagnant, with a mature and stabilizing force thrown in by Saturn who is the all-seeing regulator.

It truly is a rewarding house, promising various social engagements and the fulfillment you can only get from contributing to a worthy cause. Having the Water Bearer as its symbol, the water that is being poured out is actually representing the riches that we get from knowledge. To make the most of the treasures that we can only get from this house, do your best to get in touch with what turns you on and find a group you can join to engage in related activities. Whether you get fired up about animal advocacy, women and children, travel, astrology or art, there will always be an organized group that pertains to your passion. Your contribution matters. In order to evolve to the best version of your divine self, participating in what you truly care about will offer the utmost gratification. This is the house of gains, after all. By giving what only you can give to the world just by being who you are, you will gain a whole lot more.

Kali, the 8th House Goddess of Sex, Death, Money & Transformation

Kali is the Hindu goddess of death. Her skin is blue, her wild hair blows in the wind, her eyes are ablaze as she stares directly into your eyes, and she slings a chain of the heads of men she has slayed around her neck. In her hands lies the most potent power of nature because death is where we come from. They say that she resembles true fury, the kind that mothers call upon when they are in the deepest throes of childbirth. It is the kind of fury that stems from our most primal being which lies in the deepest chasm of our core.

Her other name is Adi Shakti, or Mother of the Universe, for this reason. The 8th house in astrology holds the keys to our secrets, hidden fears, other people’s money, sex, death and finally, transformation. The house is ruled by Scorpio, so it has a very provocative flair to it. Its planetary ruler is Pluto, who is the son of Saturn and therefore carries some karmic and hard lessons to be learned by us. 

In the 8th house is where we find true intimacy because it is here where we can share ourselves with someone where nothing is left behind, everything must be uncovered. This is where our love for the person who we decide to be with in the 7th house gets truly tested, because the 8th house will stand for nothing less than the real truth. Perhaps this is why we find this house to be so sexy, because of its undeniable power that is revealed when two people come together after they are stripped naked with nothing left to hide.

The goddess Kali is a sexy, deathly, powerful queen. She resides in the 8th house. There is something about her presence that demands us humans to be completely genuine as we bow down to kiss her feet. Why does death trigger so much fear within us? It is because death stands for the unknown – it is the opposite of life, or the playground of where we live out our lives. Death is beyond this realm, and therefore serves as a motivator to be everything we can be during our waking lives. 

The realm beyond this one can be accessed through deep bonding, otherwise known as sex. How many times have we humans tried to describe the mysterious allure of the power that is felt when two people come together in this way and yet no words can ever describe the heights that can be obtained by humans only through this portal. For it is a portal; it transports us into the beyond. There is no other way to get there.

Choose wisely who you decide to enter the 8th house with. For most of us, this will be our marriage partner. For others, it can be through the loss of a relative or someone very close to us. When the time comes to sign papers to transfer your loved one’s trust over to you, remember the double meaning of that word, trust. The type of bond that the 8th house provides is rooted in karma, so there are multiple layers of reasons why you are bonded with that person. Whatever the 8th house propels you into exploring, don’t take it lightly. Delve. Go further than you thought was possible, and keep going even then. You will be rewarded like nothing else you will experience.

BGP0264bSey Pitton is an astrologer, holistic nutritionist and walker of the spiritual path. She can be found online at seypitton.com or on Instagram @sey_heartbeats

 

Scorpio, our Inner Killer

The deadly Scorpion is infamous for his stinger. It’s what sets him apart from other ominous creatures. When he is face to face with his prey or a potential danger, he holds the stinger that has the ability to kill in an instant high above his head, pointing it at the opposition with full control. His stinger is everything. It gives him the power to cast a spell on you because you know you will never be able to escape what is coming.

Pain is no stranger to the Scorpio. It is part of their life experience and how they understand the world. The level of pain that can be afflicted by these venomous creatures is so high because they themselves have personally experienced so much of it, yet you will never know how much they have seen and felt because they will not show you until they trust you. Until you earn their trust, you can only be patient until the time that a Scorpio will open up and give you a taste of their pains and secrets that lie beneath their cool exterior.

I am in love with a Scorpio. And although there was passion and compassion, mutual respect and deep bonding from the beginning, it was the trust that came after all of that. It wasn’t until a year into that he shared his deepest wound with me. And in that moment of cracking open the door to the heart, tons of emotional tension was released. Light was brought into the darkness and I witnessed firsthand how much bravery it takes to be vulnerable.

Scorpios are the master of intimacy. This word can be broken down to “into me I see,” and true to their nature, there is nothing quite like allowing a Scorpio in. They will honor your soul and divinity by entering with full consciousness, only in the way Scorpios know how. Look right back into their eyes only if you are ready. They will see everything.Sey_ocean_Cave2

Uranus Direct in Taurus

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Snap! Crackle! Pop! Those are the sounds that Uranus would make as it cracks like lightning across our consciousness. Uranus’ duty is to shake things up by preventing us from becoming stagnant or staying stuck. Having been in retrograde since the summer, he will make his thunderous roar to station direct on January 11, 2020 in the sensual sign of Taurus. As the unconventional rebel, he has been pushing us since last summer to the edge of what we find to be valuable, beautiful and worthy of our adoration and money, which are all ruled by Taurus. Since Taurus hates to change its mind once its been made, this has not been an easy feat. 

Poor old Taurus; the bull-headed Venusian earth goddess cannot wait for Uranus, who has been like an electric prod in her side, to get out of her peaceful bubble. But what Taurus is now waking up to is that the last half year has opened her up to a new possibility of being. Had he never prodded her with his electrifying energy, she would have never seen the other fields of beautiful flowers on the other side of her periphery. Although annoyed at first, Taurus realizes that Uranus blessed her greatly by helping her expand her mind.

With Uranus in Taurus stationing direct, we are all waking up to new possibilities of what is worth coveting. For example, who would have ever thought that an activated charcoal vanilla soft serve ice cream would actually be healthy and delicious, or that cryotherapy which sounds like the worst idea ever will actually tone down inflammation leaving you looking and feeling good? Using technology, which is Uranus’ offspring, to boost and enhance Venusian-ruled things like beauty, money and food, is a great idea right now. You will be surprised what you like when you open yourself up to new possibilities. Even things you did not like before may be more appealing to you now.

As the first outer planet to be discovered using advanced technology in 1781, it has radically shifted our paradigm ever since. As the freedom-loving agent provocateur of the solar system, he contributes the daringness that we need to shake things up and think outside of the box. He wants to prevent us from being “sheeple” because he urges us not to be satisfied with the status quo. He asks us how much greater life could be if we did things differently. A little shock to the system never hurt anyone. And because he is the masterof jolting the system, be prepared for relationships to lose a bit of solid ground. This could be temporary or not. Things that we thought were chill may actually not be chill. Perhaps a new side of yourself will emerge at this time, shocking your partner and causing them to doubt whether they truly know who you are or not. Or a source of income that you thought was reliable will experience a shift. Gifts and surprises may come from the least expected of sources.

When change does occur, make sure to embrace it because Uranus holds a vision for the betterment of society overall. This energy can be used to have some fun and expand your network circles. And if you are a Taurus Sun, or if you have personal planets in Taurus, Scorpio, Leo or Aquarius, then you can expect the unexpected right now. Whatever happens, just know that it is for the better. You can thank Uranus for the upgrade.

 

Chiron, our Inner Wounded Healer

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Though he is technically a comet, Chiron is lumped in with the Asteroids of Astrology. It is always nerve wracking to touch upon him and learn what he stands for because the subject denotes a deep dive into our biggest pains, securities and fears. And on top of that, he highlights our childhood wounds – the kind that were out of our control that were very difficult to deal with. It deals with a circumstance that we had little to no control over, thereby creating an open wound that regularly got salt rubbed on it, which characterized our young years. And who wants to go there at any given point in time? We are only human and we can only take so much.

Yet Chiron actually holds the key to the greatest potential in our chart. In fact, Chiron’s astrological symbol is a key.  He provides the potential to access what is too beautiful and impossible to ignore within ourselves. It is found behind all the emotional scar tissue and smoldered mental anguish. Where we hurt is where we are vulnerable, and in that vulnerability is a place where there is no ego. It’s where we find ourselves humbly fallen to our knees, eyes closed with our heads bowed to the Cosmos because it is within life’s hardest lessons that we become the best version of ourselves.

In this place where the ego has no defense, we are raw and open. In this place where we perpetually keep stumbling, much to our chagrin, we are given the chance to become a little better than before. In this place where we wish we could eat/drink/meditate/fuck away the pain, we are reminded that being human means being imperfect, so we just have to accept it. Even if you run away from it, all you have to do is look back within yourself and there it is. Chiron lovingly staring right back into your eyes. All he wants for us is to come down to earth and face ourselves.

Chiron is known as the Wounded Healer in astrology and in Greek mythology. As one of the magnificent Centaurs, he was strong and respected by fellow Immortals because he was also wise. Yet he sustained an injury after Hercacles accidentally shot him with a poisoned arrow. Consequently, he became a healer to all, but ironically, could never ever heal himself. And like Chiron, it is where we hold our deepest wound that the gate to our greatest potential lies.

A ninth house Chiron, for example, can indicate someone who had conflicting spiritual teachers growing up but as a result caused the individual to become a great teacher of spirituality in adulthood. A Chiron in the sign of Leo can cause a lot of pain around having low self-confidence so they grew up to become a great performer who gets lots of praise and adoration from their audience. A Jupiter aspect to Chiron can indicate the ability to access the gifts of Chiron with ease and an open hearted willingness to accept its lessons. Chiron also plays a significant role in synastry because any interplanetary aspects to it can indicate a theme of healing, but it can also be an indicator for triggers of old pain.

Look to see which sign and house your Chiron falls in. Also look to see if Chiron is involved in any major aspects with other planets to get more clues about how in touch you are with Chiron already. Becoming more intimate with your Chiron may be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it is here that you will find the greatest gift that you can give to the world, which is ironically the greatest gift that you can give to yourself.

 

How I used nutrition and exercise to build self-LOVE and overcome low self-esteem/confidence

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When I was 19, going to Jack in the Box to get a snack at midnight with my friends wasn’t a bad idea. And 10 times out of 10, it was because we were really high and full of energy and probably did not eat 3 square meals that day and had burnt a lot of calories from laughing and talking, so Jack in the Box was a regular stop on nights like those, thanks to being open 24 hours a day. Being on my own for the first time, living in the college dorm and with the generosity of youth on my side, I never considered how my lifestyle choices were affecting my health.

What I wasn’t conscious about at the time was how little I cared for my body, which was a reflection of how little self-respect I had. It just had never crossed my mind that eating junk food at 2am after inhaling copious amounts of smoke was actually bad for me because I was having so much fun. The question is, why was doing those activities so much fun for me?

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I realized that I was looking and feeling less than optimal. My face and stomach were always bloated, I constantly had heavy under-eye bags and dark circles, my energy levels were low and I generally did not feel very positive. I had a lot of anxiety and dealt with stress by drinking. All of these factors pointed to one thing: I had to change some things in order to improve myself, because I was not happy with where I was at. The knowing that there was more to life than feeling stressed, tired and anxious was what caused me to come face to face with where I was.

Sure, I had to grapple with the fact that I was less than perfect at that time. And having been raised to be responsible and mature, it was difficult to confront my flaws. At around the same time, my mother was diagnosed with melanoma, and I took on the responsibility of being her primary caretaker. Together, we focused on being the healthiest that we can be which turned my life around in more ways than one. Together we adapted a whole food, plant-based diet, which means that everything we ate was made from whole foods. We ate a lot of brown rice, vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices and everything was organic. I started running a couple miles a couple times a week and doing yoga at home. I meditated and/or journaled almost every night and homed my focus on positive thoughts. And did I mention that I did not drink alcohol for a whole month?

I started liking what I saw in the mirror for the first time in years. The inflammation in my face and stomach toned down. Even my hair and nails looked lustrous. I saw the old me, but also simultaneously a new me.

Having had low self-esteem without being very conscious about it for so many years, this increased level of self-esteem felt like a cloud being lifted. Always having been a perfectionist, I was the kind of person who could list more things that I did not like about myself than the things that I did like about myself. In addition to this increased level of confidence from accomplishing my goals of healing my bloated body, my energy levels increased and therefore I felt a lot happier than before. Happy for no reason. But there was a reason – and that was the knowing that I had done something really good for myself. Treating myself well by eating healthy foods, exercising and thinking positive thoughts was both a result of self-love and the practice of self-love. I ate, exercised and treated myself well because it’s how you love yourself, but it’s also because you love yourself. Being so proactive at self-love was a first for me, and the benefit I gained from it was increased self-confidence.

How to bust sweet cravings. Easier than you thought.

Are you starting a new diet protocol to get bikini ready in time for spring break? Perhaps you’ve been finding that challenging to do because you have your go-to sweet treats which you find comfort in at the end of a long workday. Or perhaps whenever the kids nag you, or there’s more than usual going on at work, or you’re facing a sudden, big change in your life, one of the first things you’ll do is have a piece of cake, or a package of cookies, or munch on a box of cereal, or you hit that tub of ice cream. And when you suddenly become conscious again, fork/spoon mid-air projected for your open mouth, the guilt sets in. You feel so guilty because you promised yourself that you’ll be rocking a fit body in a couple of months and feel good about yourself. But right now, you are feeling the total opposite! So what do we do when this happens?

Firstly, we just put the fork or spoon down and take a biiiiiiig breath in through the nose. Then we sigh it out the mouth. Do this 3 times or at least until you feel a sense of calm. Forgiving yourself is the key here!

Secondly, we make a grocery list. And all you have to put on your grocery list are:

  • Coconut oil
  • Avocados
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Lots and lots of fresh, organic fruit
  • Some sweet vegetables like sweet potato, kabocha pumpkin (if in season)
  • Nuts of any kind. Macadamia, almond, pecan, pistachio, whatever you enjoy!
  • Dark chocolate – at least 70%

And if you eat animal products, add these to your list:

  • Wild-caught oily fish like salmon, sardines, opah, mackerel
  • Grass-fed butter, beef, chicken (if you eat animal products)
  • Organic, grass-fed heavy cream (for your coffee/tea and to whip for eating with your fruit)

Thirdly, go brush your teeth and make some herbal tea to turn down for the night. If you have trouble sleeping at night, I suggest getting an adult coloring book. It helps relax you and stops the chatter of the monkey mind.

See how easy? No gross guilty feelings, no self-sabotage, and no self-punishment.

Your next set of actions is to find a time in the next 2 days to go buy everything on that list. The reason why we are getting these specific items is because the best way to kick a sweet craving is to fill our system with healthy fats. What are healthy fats?

According to Dr. Steven Masley, eating “smart fats” will lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, makes us feel full and satisfied for longer, and… you got it! It will lower your sweet cravings! Why? Because sweet cravings come from stress, and a desire to self-soothe. If you are anxiety-ridden, you probably get intense sweet cravings. According to Ayurveda (Indian medicine), the sweet taste helps soothe agitation, the feeling of being un-grounded and being too firey.

Load yourself up with healthy foods, especially smart fats, good proteins and fiber and your body will be so satisfied already that it won’t really crave anything beyond a bowl of fresh berries with a dollop of whipped cream, some maple syrup, and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Yum.

What to eat when you are expecting

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If you are reading this, it may be because you are either pregnant, looking to get pregnant, or considering getting pregnant. Wherever you are, you are also probably aware that pregnancy requires different nutrition requirements. I commend you for being so on top of it and proactively deciding to learn more about this very important topic!
 
Being pregnant is a whole different life stage and therefore requires both parents to eat well before conception! Yes – it is important for both parents to eat and live healthily, not just the mother, in order to produce a thriving baby. Once conception happens, the mother carries and develops the baby for the next 9 months and so as the mom, you can expect to experience a whole new way of doing life! Before you dive right into changing your regular eating habits, let’s get a basic understanding of what to avoid during pregnancy.
 

What to avoid 100% during pregnancy:

  1. Processed foods I’m sure you know by now to avoid processed foods in general. They are laden with hydrogenated oils, refined flour and sweeteners, artificial dyes and trans fats. You should not be eating anything that comes out of a box at this point, because it is vital for you to eat fresh and nutrient-dense foods that will help your baby develop and prevent any birth defects. When the pregnant mother eats trans fats, it has been found that it increases the risk for a low birth weight (LBW) baby. LBW babies are at an increased risk of being susceptible more chronic conditions later on in life, such as type II diabetes and cognitive disabilities (Fallon-Morell & Cowen, 2013). Trans fats also wreaks havoc on the baby’s physical and neurological development so it is best to completely rid your diet of these non-foods. Refined and artificial sweeteners are debilitating to both the mother and the baby as this toxin actually strips the body of essential nutrients just to process it. Pregnant mothers who eat refined sugars tend to give birth to babies who become overweight in life and more susceptible to type II diabetes (Fallon-Morell & Cowen, 2013).
  2. Caffeine, alcohol, drugs and smoking Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy to avoid the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) which includes fetal alcohol syndrome. FASD is characterized by physical, developmental and neurological deformities in the baby. If you enjoyed a regular alcoholic beverage before you became pregnant, now is the time to find alternatives. Some good ones are kombucha and kefir, because on top of being delicious, these fermented beverages contain healthy bacteria which make it great for you and your baby’s microbiome. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and caffeinated beverages, should also be ousted because it causes adrenal stress on the mother and baby. It is very important to avoid stress and learn good stress management techniques to use while pregnant to prevent adrenal fatigue in the mother and baby. You can download a free and quick stress management guide here. Pharmaceutical drugs have been historically associated with birth defects and even death, and smoking is associated with the risk for preterm and LBW babies (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). For best practices all drugs should be avoided.
  3. GMOs Genetically modified foods have been found to cause birth defects (Fallon-Morell & Cowen, 2013). In America, some of the largest GMO crops produced are corn, soy, and sugar. Pregnancy is a time of rapid hormone production, and therefore, this is not the time to be consuming phytoestrogens. Avoid all soy products like soy milk, soy burgers, tofu and soy sauce. Stick to eating organic fruits and vegetables before, during and after pregnancy.
  4. Dieting You have to gain weight during pregnancy to produce a healthy baby. You should be gaining anywhere between 28 and 40 pounds depending on what your weight and BMI was before pregnancy. If your BMI was below 18.5, you should gain 28-40 lbs. If your BMI was normal (18.5 – 24.9), your weight gain should be 25 – 35 lbs. If your BMI was high (above 25) you should gain 15 – 25 lbs during pregnancy (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). Weight gain is very important here because growing a baby in-utero requires higher nutrient and energy requirements. Insufficient weight gain can endanger both the baby and the mother because it poses a risk for insufficient nutrients. When nutrients are not being gained from the diet, the mother’s body will actually take nutrients from the mother’s body to deposit into the growing fetus. Dieting is a HUGE no-no during pregnancy. Mild exercising like walking and yoga is great for circulation and stress relief. Do not confuse this with exercising to lose weight; pregnancy exercises are gentle in nature to ensure the health of the mother and baby, and also for optimal birthing. Embrace the changes your body is going through and continue your self-grooming habits, because it feels good to look good.
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s dive right into what each trimester looks like, and what the health requirements are to ensure a healthy baby.
 

First trimester:

The embryonic period, which is between the first and eighth weeks of pregnancy, is considered to be a highly sensitive time and is crucial for the mother to live a healthy lifestyle with a nutrient-dense diet, gentle exercises, and free from stress to ensure healthy embryonic development. The first trimester includes the embryonic period as well as the first part of the fetal period. The baby’s organs are being created purely from cell division which is a critical period for ample nutrition intake. It should also be known that abnormalities caused to the embryo during this time are not reversible (McGuire & Beerman, 2013). Miscarriages can happen during the first 20 weeks if there are complications. Eat a diet with plenty of good quality proteins (eat an additional 25g of protein per day) such as pastured meats, fatty fish like sardines and wild-caught salmon, raw milk, liver, and free-range eggs. Also be sure to eat healthy fats like cod liver oil, coconut oil and pastured (grass-fed) organic butter. Talk to your doctor about finding a good supplement that includes essential micronutrients for pregnancy, such as folic acid. Nordic Naturals carries excellent quality and esteemed cod liver and fish oil products.

Second trimester:

Much of the fetal period (weeks 14 – 26) comprise the second trimester. The placenta is fully operational now, and it is where nutrient and oxygen exchange happens between the mother and the baby; think of it like the baby’s life support. It also expels the baby’s waste products. The baby’s skin, bones, facial features and kidneys are now rapidly developing, and the baby is starting to suck its thumb for the first time. This is when the baby first begins to look like a baby. Listen to lovely and soothing music, because the baby can now hear it too. There is a lot happening to both of you, so load up on healthy fats, good carbs such as organic fruits and vegetables, grains, and good-quality meats. Eat foods rich in vitamin A, calcium, iron and folate. Adequate folate consumption prevents spino bifida, a condition where the baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly and appears as a huge hole in the spinal column. Continue supplementation. Enjoy eating! Your body is also radically developing. Remember that eating should be pleasurable. Chew your food at least 30 times for each bite because digestion starts in the mouth. Eat in a relaxed manner for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

Third trimester:

The baby’s final stages of development are now happening as she or he is getting ready for birth! The baby undergoes a huge growth spurt now, mainly in the skeletal system, then the lungs, then definition in the body such as ligaments and facial features, then brain and nervous system development. You are going to be at your heaviest now, so go easy on yourself. Relaxation is important; do not undertake serious responsibilities and focus on you and your baby’s wellness. The baby is requiring a lot of phosphorus and amino acids, so be sure to be eating lots of good animal meats and eggs. The last stage of skeletal development requires calcium and vitamin D. Spending time in the sun in moderation is a good idea for getting vitamin D.
 
As you can now see, growing a baby requires a specific diet and lifestyle. The references for this article can be found below. In particular, The nourishing traditions book of baby & child care by Sally Fallon-Morell and Thomas Cowen is packed full of information for pregnancy and is a must for all expecting parents!
 
References:
 
Fallon-Morell, S., & Cowan, T.S. (2013). The nourishing traditions book of baby & child care. Washington, D.C.: New Trends Publishing, Inc.
 
McGuire, M., & Beerman, KA. (2013). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

How to release neck tension

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Sit up tall in a comfortable seat. You can sit in a chair, or on the ground. Just make sure your spine is nice and straight. Relax the shoulders down towards the ground. Hands can be resting in your lap, with the palms facing up or down.
 
Take a big in hale in through the nose and exhale your left ear down to your left shoulder. Take a couple slow breaths here. Then, take your left hand and place it gently on top of the right side of your head, allowing the weight of the hand to encourage the stretch in the right side of your neck. Breathe.
 
When you’re ready, inhale the head back to center. Exhale.
 
Inhale in and exhale right ear to right shoulder, feeling the stretch in the left side this time. After a couple breaths, take your right hand and gently place it on top of the left side of your face. Take a couple breaths here.
 
Inhale the head back to center and exhale out the mouth.
 
You can do this at home, at work, in the car. It only takes a few moments to release tension from the neck area. I recommend using peppermint essential oil, as it’s a great oil to feel coolness. Feeling tension and/or stuck-ness in the neck may also be correlated with the hampering of your self-expression (fifth chakra). Use one drop of peppermint essential and rub it between the palms of your hands. Inhale the scent then rub it into your neck, giving yourself a massage. The cooling sensation will be very soothing and encourage the tension to unwind.
 
Affirmation: I express myself clearly with joy and ease.