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Patty James has her Masterís Degree in Nutrition, is a Certified Natural Chef and is the Founder of the first Certified Organic Cooking School in the country. She has developed The Patty James Health Guide, a tool for understanding nutrition and portion sizes.

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Vital Health with Patty James
by Patty James, Organic Cooking Expert

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Now that your bundle of joy has arrived and you've settled in to becoming a new Mom (or perhaps a Mom again) how do you get rid of the bundles you don't want -- the ones around your middle, hips, thighs, arms and anywhere else you have "baby weight?"

How do you get back your pre-pregnancy look? Or, if you wanted your pre-pregnancy body to look better than it did, how do you begin?

Well, first and foremost, I hope you are willing and able to breastfeed your baby. It is so important for the health of your baby and it actually helps you to slim down and recover, burning approximately 500 calories per day.

Breastfeeding naturally helps to contract your uterus, so your uterus can get back to shape too. Let me be clear however, you need more nutrient-dense calories while breastfeeding for the health of your baby.

Breastfeeding is not to be used as another way to diet; 500 extra calories per day is a couple of healthy snacks, not another meal!

The key to slimming down after pregnancy is nutrient-dense foods and exercise. There is no need to wait until your 6-week post partum check-up to begin moving.

If you had a vaginal birth, you can start walking generally within two weeks. If you had a cesarean section, the time frame is usually when your stitches are removed. Ask your doctor, of course.

Begin by walking with your baby if possible. You can gradually begin to jog a bit if you like, but a fast-paced walk is great exercise. Weight training is also a great idea as are push-ups; great for the arms!

You can get advice from your local gym, personal trainer, or if you are like me when I first gave birth 28 years ago, I did whatever was free! Push-ups are great for your arms. Walking is good for you and your baby.

I also understand how tired you are with the lack of sleep and all the effort it takes to care for a family and perhaps even hold down a job, but exercise actually gives you energy. Just stick with it and you'll become addicted.

My own daughter recently gave birth and now she can hardly wait to get out that baby jogger and tie on those tennis shoes! My little granddaughter loves it and so does Mom. Olivia gained 45 pounds and in one month has already lost 30 pounds by, well, having a 9-pound baby, eating well and beginning an exercise routine.

I had assisted her with a healthy meal plan during the pregnancy. It was simple, tasty and healthy... and the same plan is still being used. Don't skip meals and eat healthy snacks. Nothing fancy needed, just honest, good food. Homemade is the key.

Here are some recipes that you will love and will help you slim down.

The Best Kale Salad Ever

One of Patty's family's favorite salads.
Have the kids wash their hands and do the mixing.
Serves 6

2 bunches kale, washed, dried and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium apple, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 whole, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Tamari soy sauce or Bragg's Amino Acids
1/2 cup cashews, raw, chopped

Wash, de-stem and chop kale; place in large bowl. Add lemon juice and avocado, and with your hands mix together until the avocado is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately.

Per Serving: 190 Calories; 15g Fat (66.6% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 127mg Sodium

Wonder vegetable: Leafy green vegetables are wonder foods. We would all be so much healthier if we ate dark green leafy greens every ...    Continue

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