Health & Wellness, Parenting, Products I Love

WEIGHTED BLANKETS – Why your whole family needs one

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What is a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are blankets with weighted beads sewn inside, which help promote self-calming and enhance proprioceptive feedback.

How does a Weighted Blanket work?

Firm pressure or deep touch therapy on the body for an extended period can calm the mind, as it simulates being held or hugged. Research has found that deep pressure touch stimulation releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that works in the regulation of mood, sleep and sensory perception.

Weighted blankets mimic deep pressure touch stimulation and thus have a calming and soothing effect.

Who should use a Weighted Blanket?

Babies who struggle to sleep through the night – This is perfect for when your baby is past the swaddling age, yet still needs the comfort of being swaddled. The weighted blanket assists to calm the baby, and give them a sense of security, resulting in a deeper longer sleep.

Children suffering from anxiety or autistic children suffering from hypokalaemic sensory over stimulation – Studies have shown weighted blankets can help children with ASD & Anxiety fall asleep. The kids benefit not only from the release of serotonin the weighted blankets bring, but also from the decrease in heart rate and blood pressure that result from the calming effect. This allows for more control, and in turn, a better chance of rest.

Adults suffering from Insomnia, Stress or Anxiety as well as autistic people suffering from hypokalaemic sensory over stimulation.

Weighted Blankets help to reduce cortisol as you sleep. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and a reduction will lead to overall better sleep quality

Also people suffering from:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder,
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder,
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,

would also greatly benefit from using weighted blankets

How to use a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets can be used at bedtime to induce sleep and left on overnight or for as long as you want or need. If the blanket is used for a calming effect, it can stay on as long as needed. There are no ill effects of leaving a weighted blanket on for long periods of time, and the benefits are wonderful. Many people compare them to receiving a big hug.  You receive a wonderful sense of security and calm.

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Where can you buy a Weighted Blanket?

Here in South Africa there is an amazing company called Weighted Blankets South Africa, where I bought my weighted blanket.

They offer exceptional service, and the blankets are made with the utmost love and care, in the most luxurious Egyptian cotton fabrics.

They are:

— Machine Washable

— 100% pure cotton

— 300 thread count Egyptian cotton

— High-quality breathable fabrics

— Hand-made, professional construction

— Ideal for any climate

 

They come in 3 different options:

  1. Basic range – 100% cotton front & back with a colour border
  2. Classic range – 100% cotton print front with a 300 Thread Count Egyptian cotton back
  3. Luxury range – 300 Thread Count Egyptian cotton front & back
  4. Bespoke range – Patchwork Quilt front & Egyptian cotton back

All blankets are quilted into blocks to evenly distribute weight.

 

They come in 5 different sizes:

Baby:                     73 x 75 cm

Toddler:               80 x 120 cm

Child:                     100 x 150 cm

Adult:                    120 x 180 cm

Large Adult:        150 x 200 cm

 

And there are an array of beautiful fabric options to choose from, in a variety of colours and patterns

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To find out more on these blankets, you can email Adele from Weighted Blankets South Africa adele@weightedblankets.co.za

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Taryn Leigh

 

Health & Wellness, Parenting, Products I Love, Recipes

Why You and your Baby should drink ROOIBOS TEA

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Rooibos tea is a medicinal, herbal beverage that is acquired from the Aspalathus linearis bush plant that is found in South Africa. According to the South African Rooibos Council, rooibos is not a true tea, but a herb. The fermented tea is red in color.

 

The tea is absolutely FREE FROM CAFFEINE content and is also low in tannins, with absolutely no possible side effects. Rooibos tea has no oxalic acid and therefore, it can be consumed by people who have kidney stones.

Rooibos tea is rich in many mineral contents such as:

  • iron,
  • calcium,
  • potassium,
  • copper,
  • manganese,
  • zinc,
  • magnesium
  • alpha hydroxy acid.

It also contains ANTIOXIDENTS like aspalathin and nothofagin, and the extremely potent and versatile phenolic compounds.

Rooibos tea is said to contain rare nutrients like Quercetin and Bioflavonoids that assists in good blood circulation and obstructs haemorrhaging.

 

The Benefits of Rooibos tea include:

  • useful in infants suffering from colic or stomach cramps,
  • cure for nagging headaches,
  • insomnia,
  • asthma,
  • eczema,
  • bone weakness,
  • hypertension,
  • allergies,
  • premature aging

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Freshpack Rooibos now makes various flavour Rooibos Tea’s for babies, and they are stocked in most supermarkets. The tea has a natural sweetness which babies enjoy, while assisting them with their stomach cramps.

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Refreshing Rooibos Tea Recipe

  1. Make one litre of rooibos tea (four to six teabags)
  2. Sweeten with honey, stirring until dissolved
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight
  4. Serve as is, with mint, lemon, orange or with your favourite fruit juice.

 

Tip: Cold rooibos can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.

 

Despite all the health benefits, there are studies that suggest Rooibos tea could interfere with chemotherapy treatment, and it also might not be beneficial if used during hormone related cancers like breast cancer. So always consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

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Taryn Leigh

Health & Wellness, Parenting

Goodbye Baby Fat – Hello Bikini – How to LOSE WEIGHT post Baby

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It’s every woman’s struggle after having a baby of how to effectively lose the weight.

I am no medical professional, so I speak from one mom to another, who has this daily internal struggle herself. It’s something we all struggle with, so below are some tips and tricks of how to go about it, but also what EATING PLAN I think would work best for us mom’s. An eating plan that is both practical and easy to follow with a new born in the house

Firstly

  • Don’t give into guilt and shame if you are still carrying around baby fat. In reality it took 9 months to gain it, so you should give yourself that amount of time to lose it.
  • Make sure you are mentally ready to lose the weight. Don’t do it because you are being pressured, as you won’t manage to keep to it
  • NO quick fix diets. To keep the weight off, you need to eat healthy, and that means making daily good food choices for months to come.

Secondly

  • Choose an eating plan that can fit into your lifestyle with a new baby in the home. No sense trying to starve yourself (especially not an option if you are breastfeeding), and no sense being stressed about cooking “special diet food”, because then you will need to make different food for your husband or other children
  • Make sure you have rid your home of things like chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chips etc. You don’t need the temptation in your home, enticing you to eat it
  • Commit to drinking more water. This is also essential for breastfeeding moms

Tips for losing weight are to:

  • Set realistic goals – 1kg – 1.5kgs a week is realistic
  • Write down what you eat – This is important as its easy to forget that extra slice of bread you had or that little piece of chocolate
  • Reward yourself for your accomplishments. This is a NON-FOOD reward. So for example when you lose 5kg, book yourself in for a foot massage to celebrate, or buy that nice new pair of shoes you wanted
  • Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.

What eating plan / diet do I recommend?

For me (who has tried every eating plan I got my hands on), the most sustainable one to follow is Weight Watchers. Here is why:

  • You do not need to make any special food
  • You can still eat what your family always eats, and are your favourites
  • There are no food groups off limits, so if white bread is your weakness you can still keep eating it
  • It’s simple to follow, and you will see results within the first week

 

How it works:

You are advised what “points” you can consume for the day. Each food item is given a certain number of points. So for example one slice of bread might be 1 point.

You then write down what you want to eat for the day based on the number of points you are allocated. So for example if you are given 22 points for the day (based on your height and weight), you then look at the list which shows how many points each food item is allocated, and you work your meals around checking you do not go over your points for the day.

What happens if you go over the points for the day? – No problem at all. You either choose to eat less points the next day, or you decide to go for a walk. They even tell you how many points you “gain” for physical activities, which INCLUDE chores in the home, like ironing.

Because you can eat ANYTHING. You do not need to stop making your families favourite meal. Instead what it might mean is you need to eat a smaller portion of it, to stay within your points, but you can then add vegetables or salads to the meal which will be FREE points.

You can be part of a support group which meets weekly, where you can weigh in and discuss tips and tricks on how to keep within your points.

It even allows for you to eat Take Out food, by telling you how many points are in a Nando’s Burger for example.

AND the best part is, even if you are still breastfeeding, you can let them know and they can assist you to eat the healthiest options for your baby’s nourishment.

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Tips for eating healthy:

  • Eat three nutritious meals per day, with small, healthy snacks in between meals as you need them.
  • Avoid overeating by never letting yourself get over-hungry.
  • Add fruits or vegetables to every meal. They are high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals. Slice up a banana or strawberries for your morning cereal. Add lettuce and tomato to your sandwich. Toss a salad to accompany dinner.
  • Take a close look at your portion sizes. Read the nutrition labels to check the serving sizes.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you can watch what you eat, but it is important to eat when you are hungry and to consume extra calories to allow for adequate milk production.
  • If you are at a weight that’s considered healthy for your size, your calorie intake needs to increase by 500 calories per day from your pre-pregnancy intake if you’re breastfeeding. If you are not breastfeeding, you may begin a sensible diet of healthy, nutritious foods in moderation.

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Some information has been adapted from the Weight Watchers website.

For information on Weight Watchers in South Africa, check it out here

 

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Taryn Leigh

Health & Wellness, Recipes

9 Health Benefits of eating OATS

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Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth.

They’re a GLUTEN-FREE whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Benefits include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of eating oats and oatmeal.

What Are Oats and Oatmeal?

Oats are a whole-grain food, known scientifically as Avena sativa.

Oat groats, the most intact and whole form of oats, take a long time to cook. For this reason, most people prefer rolled or crushed oats.

Instant (quick) oats are the most highly processed variety. While they take the shortest time to cook, the texture may be mushy.

Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk. Oatmeal is often referred to as porridge. They’re also often included in muffins, granola bars, cookies and other baked goods.

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1. Oats Are Incredibly Nutritious

They are a good source of protein, carbs & fiber

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds like Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Folate, Vitamin B1 & B5 to name a few.

This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

2. Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants

Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.

Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels. In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects

Ferulic acid is also found in large amounts in oats. This is another antioxidant.

3. Oats Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-Glucan

Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber.

The health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

  • Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin response
  • Increased feeling of fullness
  • Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract

4. They Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One major risk factor is high blood cholesterol.

Beta-glucan may increase the excretion of cholesterol-rich bile, thereby reducing circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood.

5. Oats Can Improve Blood Sugar Control

Type 2 diabetes is a common disease, characterized by significantly elevated blood sugars. It usually results from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels.

6. Oatmeal is Very Filling, Which May Help You Lose Weight

Not only is oatmeal (porridge) a delicious breakfast food — it’s also very filling

Eating filling foods may help you eat fewer calories and lose weight. By delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty of food, the beta-glucan in oatmeal may increase your feeling of fullness

Beta-glucan may also promote the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This satiety hormone has been shown to lead to reduced calorie intake and may decrease your risk of obesity

7. Finely Ground Oats May Help with Skin Care

It’s no coincidence that oats can be found in numerous skin care products. Makers of these products often list finely ground oats as “colloidal oatmeal.”

Colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) has long been used to help treat dry and itchy skin. It may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema.

8. They May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in kids. It’s an inflammatory disorder of the airways — the tubes that carry air to and from a person’s lungs.

Although not all children have the same symptoms, many experience recurrent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Studies suggest that early introduction of oats, may actually be protective. One study reports that feeding oats to infants before the age of 6 months is linked to a decreased risk of childhood asthma.

9. Oats May Help Relieve Constipation

Elderly people often experience constipation, with infrequent, irregular bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Studies indicate that oat bran, the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, may help relieve constipation in older people significantly reducing the need to use laxatives.

How to Incorporate Oats into Your Diet

You can enjoy oats in several ways.

The most popular way is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

Here is a very simple way to make oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats.
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of water or milk.
  • A pinch of salt
  • Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the oats, stirring occasionally, until soft.

To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits, nuts, seeds and/or Greek yogurt.

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Also, oats are often included in baked goods, muesli, granola and bread.

Although oats are naturally gluten-free they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they may be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other grains that contain gluten. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity choose oat products that are certified as gluten-free.

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Taryn Leigh Armstrong

Beauty, Health & Wellness, Products I Love

Create a Spa at Home for your Mother this MOTHERS DAY with Rain Africa

It’s no secret that Rain, is my ALL TIME FAVORITE beauty range of products. For those who have followed my blogs over the years, you will see I am a true believer in what they stand for as a company, but also the decadent products they produce.

 

Well this Mother’s Day, they have not disappointed! Rain have created a special range made specifically with Mom in mind.  Priceless Galilean rose scent forms the heart & soul of this romantic beguiling LIMITED EDITION floral range.

 

So if like me, you are wondering what you can do to treat your mom this Mother’s Day? Look no further!

My idea is to pamper mom and make her feel like the Queen she is, by treating her to her very own range of Rain products to help her create that Spa at home.

 

This LIMITED EDITION range consists of the following:

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Passion Bath Salts:

These luxurious bath salts will allow mom to soak all her troubles away. Made with natural sea salts and rose oil, to add romance & passion to any bathing ritual. It will relax muscles, soften dry and calloused skin and it even promotes cell regeneration while also detoxifying.

Rose soap with a Liquid Heart:

This beautiful aromatic soap is covered in rose petals, and contains a liquid heart of passion wash. Allow mom to cleanse her skin with such pure indulgence to relax her body and mind.

Damask Body Butter:

This decadent body butter is rich and nourishing to feed her dry and tired skin. Perfect as the winter months approach, allowing for the extra moisture and pampering she so deserves.

You can also include in this special Mother Day Spa gift a Damask Rose Glycerin soap, Damask Rose lip Balm, Scented sachets, and soft bedroom Slippers, to top off Mom’s Spa experience.

 

Look out for our very special Rain Mother’s Day Give Away, in our next blog!

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Leigh

Health & Wellness, Pregnancy, Products I Love

Pregnant & Breastfeeding Moms: TRY THIS Delicious Mom2Be Shake

Pregnant and breastfeeding moms … are you looking for an alternative to swallowing those nasty vitamin pills every day?

 

Yes we know it’s good for you and your baby …. blah blah blah …. But sometimes it’s just nasty having to slug down a handful of pills, and you just wish there was another option to give your baby the nutrients s/he needs in a great tasting way.

 

Well this Mommy has a solution! It’s called Mom2Be®, and it was a LIFE SAVER for me when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, especially when I was wishing for CHOCOLATE because it comes in this AMAZING chocolate flavour.

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Okay okay …. So you want the info already? Let me get straight to it ….

 

Mom2Be® has a SHAKE ….. mmmmm ….. it can be taken with water for those who don’t want to consume milk, OR it can be taken as a proper MILK SHAKE. I’m a milk lover, so for me I would mix the powder with some milk and ice-cubes. Shake it up, and sit and sip away. QUICK, FAST AND SIMPLE.

 

It is packed FULL of the vitamins you need during pregnancy and beyond, and is actually a great option to take from the time you are trying to conceive (especially because of the Folic Acid it contains).

 

It comes in 3 amazing flavours: Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate!

 

Pregnant and Nauseous?

 

The Mom2B® Shakes have vitamin B6, which is known to help ease Nausea during pregnancy.

My FAVORITE FLAVOR when I was pregnant was Strawberry!! What I loved was on days when I just didn’t feel I could stomach enough nutritious food, I knew that by drinking my Mom2Be® Shake, I was at least giving my baby the nutrients he needed, and the best part is they are low in fat!!!! We all know, it’s so tough trying to make sure we get enough nutrients, without adding unnecessary centimetres to our ever growing waistline, with the Mom2Be® Shake this isn’t even a concern.

 

When you are in a rush, you just put 3 scoops in some milk or water, and shake away!

 

But when you have some extra time, here are two RECIPES I loved to use …. It just requires the blender to do all the work … easy peezy!

 

Mom2Be® Banana Smoothie Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

3 Scoops of Mom2Be® Shake Vanilla

250ml Full Cream Milk / Water

1 banana

Ice Cubes

 

Method:

Throw all in the blender, and let it blend away. Pour in your favourite glass and relax and sip away.

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Mom2Be® Strawberry Smoothie Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

3 Scoops of Mom2Be® Shake Strawberry

250ml Full Cream Milk / Water

A handful of strawberries

Ice cubes

 

Method:

Throw all in the blender, and let it blend away. Pour in your favourite glass and relax and sip away.

 

So to my fellow Mommies …. Cheers to new ways of giving our babies the nutrients they need with Mom2Be®

 

For more info on Mom2Be® visit their website here

Find them on facebook here

And look out for them in Dischem and independent Pharmacies all over South Africa.

They also have other amazing products like a Pregnancy Omega supplement (that doesn’t taste like fish), and a Pregnancy multivitamin supplement that has all the nutrients you need when pregnant or trying to conceive.

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Health & Wellness, Parenting, Products I Love

Babies with REFLUX, and how you can HELP them!

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This Guest post is written by Dr Mike Marinus who is a Chiropractor, specialising in Colic & Reflux in Babies

 

Babies are amazing… but they have a tendency to leak. This happens mostly because of the vast amounts of milk it takes to sustain a body which is growing more rapidly than any other mammal of the same age. If you want to get an idea of just how much milk our babies are taking in during this period, you would have to drink about 14 litres of milk a day and then spend 20 plus hours of that day on your back and a few crammed into a car chair. You can imagine that under these circumstances, reflux would probably be a big part of your life too.

 

Babies tummies are very stretchy, but even they have limits and when babies take in too much milk at once the valve on top of the stomach loses its grip and the stomach contents make their way back up the oesophagus and possibly out of the mouth. Actually throwing up is only one form of reflux, you also get silent reflux which is when the stomach contents make their way up the oesophagus but not out of the mouth. These babies can be tricky to diagnose because there is no spit up. All they may have is a cough, lots of throat clearing and be upset when you put them down directly after a meal.

 

Speaking of diagnosing babies with reflux, it is important to realize that reflux is normal. It is not a disease process of any kind although It can, however, become complicated when either your baby is throwing up so much that weight gain or even dehydration become issues or if stomach acid begins to track up into the oesophagus, causing burning and discomfort. These are scenarios where you should be speaking to your GP or Paediatrician about how to manage your child’s condition and looking into strategies to alleviate your child’s symptoms.

 

Premmy babies and reflux go hand in hand. This has a lot to do with the fact that their valves are underdeveloped and pop open more easily than most. Add to this the fact they they are playing catch up with their weight gain and relatively taking in massive amounts of food that the tiny valve cannot hope to keep down. Premmy’s also generally have a period in NICU where they are fed through a Nasogastric tube that goes down the oesophagus and into the stomach. This is an amazing solution for babies who cannot yet latch and feed properly but it is terrible for the immature valve that is constantly forced open by the tube. Lastly, premmy babies spend heaps of time on their backs (especially in NICU) which of course means that gravity can’t help in keeping food down… and so up it comes.

What can you do to help them?

Body positioning is the key to dealing with these bubs. Feeding them with head above feet is imperative to let gravity help keep the milk down. If mom has a fast let-down reflex it can lead to baby gulping at food which is a great way to fill the stomach with air which adds to the pressure on the valve. If you have a fast let-down try feeding leaning slightly back or even lying flat with baby on your chest. These little ones need to be upright for around 30 minutes after each feed to allow the milk time to move into the intestines before they are put down to sleep. Research shows us that sleeping on the left hand side empties their tummies up to 60% faster than lying on their backs or right hand side.

 

Lastly, keep in mind that reflux is not the only reason a baby might be throwing up. There are a few nasties which need to be ruled out if your baby is projectile vomiting, has a fever along with the vomiting or is not gaining weight. Make sure you check with your health care provider to make sure you know what it is you are dealing with when it comes to babies and reflux.

Dr-Mike-MarinusDr Mike Marinus (M.Tech Chiro), is a Dad to his two beautiful children and a Chiropractor in Blairgowrie, Johannesburg, with a special interest in family practice and paediatric care. Click here to hear his Podcast and here to watch his YouTube Video on burping babies.

Should you wish to contact his practices, you can get all his information here. He is known in mommy circles as the “baby whisperer”, and he certainly deserves the title! When baby is happy, mommy is happy!