Category Archives: labour

Walnut Brownie Energy Balls (with a Divine superfood twist-vegan/glutenfree)

From breastfeeding to errands and work schedules, it can feel overwhelming to prepare snacks at home that are high in nutrition and easy to eat on the go. When I was making this Walnut Brownie Energy Ball recipe, I wanted to create something that was easy to prepare and tasted like a treat without the sugar crash to get myself through my daily errands. With only three steps to make, these energy balls are quick to assemble and even easier to eat!

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With the bitterness of walnuts and richness of chocolate, the base of nut butter and dates provides a creamy texture for these energy balls. The recipe itself is very versatile depending on your pallet. Try playing with the amount of walnuts and coconut flakes if you want something with less bitterness. There is also an option to add sweetener to the recipe if your sweet tooth desires!

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You can also change-up the type of nut butter you use.  I used peanut butter when I made these but the possibilities are endless: cashew butter, pumpkin butter, or tahini.

I also wanted to try out Harmonic Arts new Divine Feminine Herbal Tonic Blend so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. With a rich amount of adaptogens and hormone regulators, the Divine feminine Blend is an opportunity to reset your body and create balance within the many cycles and systems of your body.

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As each person has different needs, the addition of this blend is not a required element of the Walnut Brownie Energy Ball recipe. If you are breastfeeding, you may be interested in adding Brewer’s Yeast to turn these into lactation energy balls, or maca if you want to stick to one herb.

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The key to a good energy ball is making something that is tasty, nutritious, and easy to prepare. Try exploring with this recipe as a guideline and create something that you’ll want to make again!

Walnut Brownie Energy Balls
½ cup chopped and soaked dates
¼ cup nut butter
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 tsp Harmonic Arts Divine Feminine Blend *if desired
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

*¼ cup chocolate chips if desired
* 1-2 tbsp sweetener like honey or maple syrup if desired

Using a hand emulsifier, pulse dates and nut butter together until smooth (If using a food processor, pulse walnuts until they are a desired consistency first and remove. Continue to use food processor on pulse setting as to not over-mix the batter once all ingredients are added).

Add in remaining ingredients and fold together using a spatula. Taste batter and add sweetener if desired.

Roll dough into teaspoon sized balls using the palms of your hand. Roll in coconut or hemp flakes if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

 

With Love, From Ficus.

http://www.ficusdoula.com

 

 

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Making Informed Decisions Before Your Birth

We’ve all heard the birth stories about the parents who goes in with their ideal birth plan and end up with a number of procedures that they felt were unnecessary. They might have thought I won’t have to have a c-birth because I have had a healthy pregnancy or I am going to birth at home because that was what I was able to do with my first child. There are a number of reasons why we don’t focus on the fact that birth can change paths so quickly but it is something that needs to be recognized.
Here in the Comox Valley, I am fortunate enough to be part of the Comox Valley Doulas– a collection of empowering birth advocates who get together once a month that have worked as Doulas amongst other titles within our community. Every time I walk away from a meeting, my mind races with many ideas of how I can integrate my training to be a better doula, how can I help families recognize their strengths, how can I open up their ability to make informed decisions during their birth?
And then the answers started to hit me: It starts with the power we have as individuals to make informed decisions outside of the critical moment. If I can help women understand many avenues of birth that they are not focusing on, will they feel the power of consent when it comes to procedures? Will they feel like they are making the best choice for themselves and their baby when they say “Yes” or “no” to something because they know what their medical care is talking about before hand? Can I help them take away the fears surrounding interventions before they may or may not be approached with them so they can keep their confidence as a birth warrior?
The answer: I know I can.As doulas, we cannot speak for you. We cannot replace your consent with our own and we cannot speak on your behalf. No matter how close we become during your prenatal care, it is a line we do not cross. We can ask you questions, we can help you look for answers, but in no way, shape or form can we put our voice where yours belongs. So what can we do? We can help you search for the answers to questions about interventions, inductions, tests and monitoring during your pregnancy so you are confident in your words if these situations come up. We do not doubt your abilities to create your birth wishes (we love those wishes) but in a world where birth is unpredictable– may that be because of hospital staff, stress levels, positioning of baby or even lack of sleep, it is so incredibly important to be able to speak confidently for your body and your baby.

So where does this all begin? The minute you find out your pregnant! Our minds swirl through ideas of morning sickness, when to tell people, when to have a baby shower, who is going to be at the birth, who is going to watch previous children, what will you eat and most importantly what kind of caregiver are you looking for.
The first step in your pregnancy is not only finding a medical caregiver (may that be a doctor or midwife) but finding a medical caregiver that has views similar to your own.
This basic relationship and understanding of your body in connection with their level of care is vital for your confidence and keeping the birth power flowing during labour. You can look through your community for different practitioners and ask them questions about their intervention rates, how they feel about everything from episiotomies to c-births and what kind of medications they feel comfortable working with. If there are views or statistics they bring up that make you cringe or feel uncomfortable, you CAN keep searching for the level of care you and your baby deserve. Just like interviewing a doula, it is important to find that your birth support is on the same page as you. You want that emotional connection and understanding of the birthing body, the changes that might happen to you before you sway into transition and the choices you need to make immediately after the birth of your child. You want to understand, you want to be judgement free and most of all, you want to be empowered.

So how do you do this? It may sound like you’re going to university, but research.. And lots of it. You might groan or drift off through parts of it, but this birth will only happen once and feeling like you are prepared will keep you calm and proactive in the deep waves of labourland. It doesn’t have to be all textbooks and articles– you can ask your healthcare provider for answer, you can ask your friends for their birth stories, and your doula can guide you through materials as well(We’re really good at finding information in your study language). The goal is to remove fear associated with some of the unknowns of pregnancy and birth. If you can understand even a little bit of what doctors are talking about before you make your way to your birth location, you are removing the negative reactions within your body and keeping your labour hormones flowing (removing the fight or flight response). There are lots of resources available and I really mean lots.. So let’s work together to make your choices during birth yours!

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Here are a few questions you and your birth partner can ask prenatally about tests and procedures:

– What is the reason for this test and how will the answers effect my pregnancy and baby?
– Will this procedure be repeated through my pregnancy/birth and what are the risks associated?
– What does that “insert big word here” mean? Can you walk me through what it means for my baby and my body?
– How urgent is this treatment? What are the risks associated with waiting?
– If I consent to this treatment, how long after am I able to walk/leave the hospital?
– If I consent to this monitoring, will I be able to continue with movement?
– If I consent to this intervention, how long does it last and flow through my body? How does it effect my baby in the womb/after birth?
– This is a procedure I was strongly against, can you provide a less invasive alternative?
– How/when do you suggest episiotemies/epidurals for your patients?
– What interventions do you seem to use the most? What interventions does your back-up colleague seem to use the most?

-Can we please have some alone time to discuss this option? I need a minute to make an informed choice.

Best wishes exploring your options, and remember, this is your birth, your body and your baby!

With Love, from Ficus.
Ficus Holistic Doula Services
http://www.ficusdoula.com

DIY Postpartum Padsickles

From dilation and pushing to a small tear and the pressure of a baby being born, our perineum’s take on a lot of stress. When you leave your birthing space, you are handed a small bottle to spray water over your perineum after you use the bathroom since you will be very tender and toilet paper/sanitary napkins will feel rough. If you are birthing in a hospital, your caretaker may give you a few cool pads to wear immediately after labour. But what about when you get home?

Postpartum pads are an amazing way to heal a mother’s perineum after labour. Easy to store and even easier to prepare, postpartum pads can be one of those items you make once your contractions begin. Better yet, you could have a friend make them for you!
They are one of my favourite presents to gift to new mamas as they may not be thinking too much about their own healing after labour. A new baby adds so much excitement to the household: How will you connect and read into signals from your newborn? How is your milk coming in? When was the last time you had a meal dropped off for you? Mom, go away! Or at least do laundry. The little things that we do to enhance our healing can make the world of a difference on our healing time.
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Enriched with aloe vera, witch hazel, a selection of essential oils for healing and the cool cool sensation from the beloved freezer, postpartum pads should be an essential item to keep in the house for the first few weeks after labour.

So here is my recipe for postpartum pads. Give your healing a hand, your body will thank you for it!

You Will Need:

– Feminine Pads (Overnight Maxi Pads work best—your body: your brand choice)
– Witch Hazel
– Aloe Vera Gel
-Essential oils ( I like to use lavender for calming the skin and cell regeneration/ frankincense for tissue repair and to prevent scarring)
– aluminum foil (optional)

Open the pads on a clean surface. With a teaspoon, pour witch hazel over the centre of the pad (don’t get too close to the edges as you will want the pads to soak up lochia still).

Take the aloe vera and spread a thin layer over top of the witch hazel.
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Drop 4-8 drops of essential oil over the witch hazel. You can use a blend of multiple oils or stick to one type and label.
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Fold the pad back together and put back in its packaging (or in tin foil if you are unable to put it back into its original wrapping). Place into the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours before using.

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With Love, from Ficus
http://www.ficusdoula.com