Placenta Pills: Do they live up to the hype?

Mostly I tackle topics from my readers (and I promise that I am going to start on those ASAP!) but I had a little experiment I was running myself that I wanted to share with you all. Eight weeks ago I had my amazingly beautiful baby girl, and in preparing for her birth, our new life together, I wanted to make sure that I was as ready as I could be for the challenges I was about to face, both mentally and physically. One of my biggest fears was postpartum depression, I have no idea why because I was not really at risk, but I wanted to limit my risks and ensure that the three months of maternity leave with my baby girl were the best possible three months for all of us, so I looked into taking placenta pills. It sounds gross, but it was one of the best decisions I made for post birth planning.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression effects around 11-20% of women annually (its around 600,000 in the US alone). It’s normal to have some mild symptoms of feeling sad, anxious, and mood swings after giving birth because you have so many hormonal changes going on in your body once that baby comes out, and it should stabilize in a few days to week or so after birth. Postpartum depression lasts longer than two weeks and can have more extreme symptoms of: severe mood swings, severe anxiety (anxiety attacks), excessive crying, inability to bond with your baby, inability to sleep, lack of eating, irritability and anger, feelings of worthlessness, a lack of enjoyment in activities you used to like, and more severely thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or suicide. If you ever have any thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or others, please call your local emergency services immediately (911 in the US). These symptoms can last a few months, and even longer.

Can anything increase my risk?

Unfortunately, because of a lack of sleep during labor (possibly) and after having the baby, along with hormone changes, every woman has a risk of falling prey to postpartum depression. There are a few factors that may increase your risk of postpartum depression such as:

– Family/personal history of depression

– Previous postpartum depression

– Stressful events during pregnancy: illness, loss of job, change in relationship, or pregnancy complications

– Health problems with your newborn (including colic)

– Difficulty breastfeeding

– Lack of support from partner/friends/family postpartum

How can I prevent it?

Having a baby is not easy, and it is an amazing experience, but you need support of others to help support you, and if you don’t have that support to keep you and your baby healthy, you can easily fall into a depression. Being aware of the signs of depression, as well as having supporters that are also aware of your needs and the signs of postpartum depression is key. Sometimes you need to just get a few minutes to yourself or nap, and it can make you feel like a new person, so having someone who can help you to get you some time alone, when you know your baby is safe and being cared for, is key. But there is another thing you can try: placenta pills.

What are Placenta Pills?

Placenta pills (encapsulation) are a bit controversial in the medical world, but animals, tribeswomen, and now celebrities alike all eat their placenta in some form. The placenta is the organ that forms for your baby to live and grow inside of your uterus, and it is delivered after the baby. The placenta is filled with your own hormones, iron, and other nutrients, so ingesting it help to gently lower your oxytocin hormone levels, thus decreasing the risk of postpartum depression, mood swings, and insomnia related to abrupt hormone changes, and it can even release a hormone that helps to reduce stress. Placenta pills can also help to increase your energy levels and increase breast milk quantity by supplying optimal nutrients to support it, including replacing your iron lost through the birthing process. You can eat your placenta raw, cooked, or encapsulated in pill form; whichever makes you most comfortable.

What’s the science?

So, there really is no research to support placenta pills either as beneficial or detrimental to your health. As a practice throughout the animal kingdom and since the beginning of man, essentially, which is still practiced in rural tribes throughout the world, it truly cannot seem harmful and I felt that it could only be helpful.Placenta Pills

My experience: I worked with Kristin Lynch of Placenta Therapeutics to help encapsulate my placenta. We discussed various options for the encapsulation process (the placenta can be encapsulated raw or steamed) and the benefits of each process, and she helped to walk me through it, along with the dose of the pills. I had her make half raw and half steamed pills, so that I could slowly wean down my hormone levels to normal. Once I got over the fact that I was ingesting one of my own organs, the results were amazing: I had absolutely no signs of postpartum depression, my milk came in right away (and I have actually been an over producer of milk), I’ve had energy (much more than other postpartum women that I have seen), and my sleeping has been great (I admit it helps that my baby is a fabulous little sleeper and eater). I truly believe that the placenta pills helped to calm me and stabilize my hormones throughout this postpartum time; I normally react to my own hormonal changes (I get very crabby monthly) but I really had minimal, if any, changes/reactions after giving birth. Kristin was amazing and checked in on me to make sure I was feeling well and she was available to answer any questions I had, but there were no issues, the pills were a complete success.

I would highly recommend anyone to try the encapsulation, especially if you have had issues with postpartum depression previously, or if you are at risk, to try to prevent it. It cannot harm you, as long as you handle the placenta appropriately (if you have certain infections, or an abnormal placenta you might not be able to use it for encapsulation). If you are in the greater MA area, I highly suggest Kristin Lynch at Placenta Therapeutics (I was in no way given any goods/services for free, I just really think she is amazing), but look here for encapsulation services by reputable services (i.e. they follow blood-born pathogen protocols and ensure that your placenta isn’t exposed to anything infectious!)

Yours in good health




Nurses Unite: In Response to “The View”

Normally I stick to topics related to questions asked by my readers, and give scientific answers, but today I want to step on my soapbox and make my own response to support the #NursesUnite cause. I love reading all of the stories of the nurses in different roles explaining to Joy Behar why they need their stethoscopes…and they aren’t just a part of a costume and they are certainly not only for doctors, but there is another side of being a nurse too. Let me explain what I mean, by telling you MY story:

Currently, one of my stethoscopes is in my office, and it has been lonely for a while as I am on maternity leave from my ‘nursing’ position (ironically nursing my baby somewhat non-stop) but my other stethoscope is right at home with me. Why would I need a “special” nurses stethoscope (because it HAS to be different from a doctor one, right?) outside of the hospital? Well let me tell you, just because I have traded my “nurses costume” for some nursing tops covered in baby spit up for a couple of months doesn’t mean that I haven’t helped to treat friends, family members, and neighbors! Not a day goes by that I am not asked to “just look” at someone’s rash, help a neighbors or friends child with a bump/bruise/cut, give health and wellness advice, let them know the proper dosing of over the counter (OTC) medications, suggest OTC remedies for common ailments, or check someone’s blood pressure that thinks it might be high, but they aren’t sure. Do I mind? Nope. I love helping people, and it is a relief for my friends and family to know that they can count on me and I am there to help with medical needs and advice (which can be confusing and scary!) I will do anything in my power to help others, whenever I can because I am a nurse.

IMG_8843I am always a nurse, even outside of the hospital, and I will always be a nurse. Every single nurse is a nurse every day, with or without our “costume” and stethoscope. We care for people, we help people, and even when they quite literally shit on us, we support and assist them and let them know it is OK. We give all we have to help people at their lowest times and when we cheer them on at their highest. We don’t ask for praise; we do what we do because we love it, despite working long hours, holidays, weekends, and countless days/nights away from our families. Who chooses to work a job where you might get a full lunch break, time to empty your bladder in a 12 hour shift, covered in bodily fluids, or help to save a life/help a family as they lose a loved one all in one day? A nurse.

In short, thank you Miss Colorado for bringing our profession and hard work to light, and a big thank you to the ladies of ‘The View’ for your ridiculous comments and “apology” because we all heard you…we just choose to educate you on your ignorance and rise above.

Nurses Unite!

Yours in Good Health,


Am I On Camera? No Paparazzi Please!

In a time where technology seems to be the common theme throughout the world, and the majority of people have smartphones with video and camera capabilities at their fingertips, it is most certainly changing healthcare. Have you ever thought to ask a nurse if you could use a camera to record them during standard care for you or a loved one…or even secretly taped by them?

We are living in interesting times….Read more and join the discussion here on


For my Nursing Readers on Nursing Advancement

For everyone who is in the nursing profession, you have heard of a clinical ladder, clinical or professional advancement, etc. and it is an interesting how people respond to changes, even when they are for the positive to make processes to increase consistency and accountability. Have you clinically advanced and feel supported by your hospital? Read more on

Smoothies to start your day in 2015

There is no doubt that starting your day by doing something healthy for your body, not only makes you feel good, but it leads to you making healthy choices throughout the day. One of the best ways to start your day on a healthy note is to drink your morning meal in the form of a smoothie. They are also great for an afternoon pick-me-up snack, or sometimes, as an alternative for a calorie-heavy dessert because there are so many different “recipes” to make your smoothies that meet your dietary needs. If you are someone that normally buys your food instead of making it, there are smoothie places all over the place, but make sure that they aren’t adding calorie heavy ingredients to your smoothies (like ice cream!), and you may want to invest in a blender and make your own so you know what is going into them and you can experiment with your recipes, and save yourself some money along the way. You can cater your smoothies to your dietary needs: high protein, Omega-3 supportive, heavy on fruits, a green veggie power pack, or whatever else you might want to add in. Here are some options for smoothies for specific dietary needs, but feel free to mix and match, to make it the consistency you want (adding ice might make it colder and thinner versus adding fat free yogurt can help to thicken it up), and taste the way you want (adding agave can add a low glycemic index bit of sweetness). Also, remember that if you live in an area where fresh fruits and veggies aren’t readily available all year round, as I do, the best option is to buy fresh frozen fruits and veggies as they are usually flash frozen and still full of vitamins and nutrients that canned or less than optimal fruits and veggies won’t have.


The top 10 trends to optimize your smoothies:

  1. A focus on nutrition, instead of calories (i.e. higher calorie smoothies with avocados, nut butter, yogurt are OK as long as we are using them as a meal replacement)
  2. Packing smoothies with various veggies (think: spinach and kale)
  3. Chia seeds should be an for protein
  4. Oatmeal addition for fiber, flavor, and antioxidants
  5. Nut butters as protein boosters
  6. Maximizing antioxidant ingestion through a mix of veggies and fruits
  7. Keeping a mix of fiber, fat (the good kind!), and protein in each smoothie
  8. Flaxseed should be a staple addition for fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 additions.
  9. A little agave or honey can sweeten your smoothie with health benefits and they will be easy on your waistline
  10. Don’t be afraid to be creative to meet your taste AND nutrition needs!!

A few of my favorite smoothies are below, to give you some to try, and you can always get fancy and make additions.

For a Protein Boost:

Nut Butter, Oat, and Banana:

1 ½ cup Milk

¼ cup peanut butter (or almond, cashew- whichever you choose)

1 banana

2 teaspoons rolled oats

*1 teaspoon honey (optional for added sweetness)

*1 teaspoon chia seeds (for added protein)

Add all ingredients to a blender, add water or milk to change the consistency, and you have a power packed protein punch!

Citrus and Blackberry Protein Smoothie:

1 cup blackberries

1 banana

1 orange (peeled)

¾ cup Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage because I think it has the nest consistency)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender, and you can add some orange juice or more yogurt to change the consistency to your liking. This is a great morning smoothie and a way to get protein without a nut source if you have allergies or just don’t wanted the added fats!

Get Your Daily Fruit Fix:

**To add a bit of extra Vitamin C and some protein, a good base is 200ml of Orange Juice and milk (whichever type of milk you prefer- soy, cow, almond, etc.) and then start to add your fruits and fiber on top of it!

Mango Berry Mix:

Create the base (from above)

Add mango pieces (1/4 mango)

4 strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

4 teaspoons oatmeal

Blend until smooth and drink up the fruity and fiber filled blend!!smoothie 2015

Antioxidant Mix:

¼ cup pitted sweet cherries (frozen are easiest)

¼ cup strawberries

¼ cup raspberries

¼ cup blueberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

Blend them all together, and you can add water or more pomegranate juice to adjust the thickness, to get an antioxidant packed start to your day…or to make the most of your afternoon snack as a yummy pick-me-up!

Add Veggies to Your Daily Routine:

Green Power:

1 granny smith apple cored and sliced (leave the peel on)

1 ½ cup green grapes (you can go with red, but it makes the color a little funky)

½ cup apple juice

1 cup baby spinach or baby kale (packed tightly)

½ cucumber

Throw all ingredients into a blender, adding more apple juice for a thinner consistency, and drink your veggies down.

Carrot Cucumber Smoothie:

1 cup carrots (I use baby carrots….but if you don’t have a Vitamix or a Ninja, you may want to opt to use carrot juice to save your blender from over working it’s blades and motor!)

1 cucumber

1 cup apple juice

Mix them all up until smooth, adjusting the consistency with apple juice, water, or carrot juice and get your days servings of veggies all in one delicious drink!

Added tip: Think about adding some flax seed or chia seeds to any recipe to add Omega-3’s for heart health, and you can also think about adding a scoop of protein powder (think: whey) to any of the smoothies to add protein, especially if you have had a hard workout to help and support muscle re-growth.

From start to finish, making a smoothie, to cleaning up your blender, is about a 15-minute process that can add loads of nutrition to your diet, in a simple and delicious way. Whether you are trying to stick to a healthier diet, looking to lose weight, or support a healthy pregnancy, smoothies are the best way to add a power boost of nutrition that is filling and satisfying. Start adding a smoothie into your daily routine, and omit a high calorie snack or meal (like breakfast), and start to feel the healthy difference!

Yours in Good Health


Nurse Empowerment

For all of you dedicated readers, I have taken a small break, and I appreciate you all checking to make sure I am alive and still in the blogging world- fear not, your questions will be answered!!

I have taken a small break, as I have had a TON of stuff going on in my world, which you all will learn about very soon, but one of the really exciting things is a collaboration with a bunch of great innovative nurse leaders on a book about nurse empowerment.

I wrote a chapter about something very near and dear to my heart, as I spend a LOT of time every day working on this project and helping nurses improve their skills with cardiac and respiratory emergencies, through running a Mock Code program. Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 10.11.43 AM

For all of you interested in learning more about the book, Form Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses’ System please check it out here.

And for those of you interested in my free giveaway to help others start a program just like mine, which I am so passionate about, please feel free to download my PDF right from here:

mock code tips

I appreciate all of your support through this process!!

In Good Health


Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

I love the excitement that surrounds the holiday season and culminates with New Years Eve! Granted, I am not a particular fan of going out on the town to celebrate New Years Eve because there tends to be a little too much excitement on some people’s behalves, prices are twice what they normally are, and it is either the most amazing night, or you set your expectations too high, and the night is ruined by something silly (or someone crying.) I’d rather wage my bets and be with loved ones and close friends, which may go hand in hand with my decision to not make resolutions for the New

It’s not that I think I am someone who is above reflecting upon that last 12 months and finding ways to improve myself, or my life in some way, we can all find ways to make positive changes, but that is more of a process that I do a few times a year, on dates that are important to me (a few random dates that would mean nothing to anyone else annually and my birthday.) I think it is great when people feel the excitement that comes with ending one year and beginning another, and with that fervor comes the decisions to make some changes that are deemed resolutions that they will keep up all year…and usually fade away a couple of months later.

Some of the most common New Years resolutions that I hear year after year:

 “I will go to the gym every day.”

No, you won’t. It’s actually not healthy for you to train 7 days a week; you will actually over train, your body will need a break, and you will take that break, feel guilty about it, and by the end of February and beginning of March your resolution is caput. A lot of people tend to stay away from the gym when they feel guilty, instead of getting back on the horse and getting to the gym, stay away from the gym. Don’t be that person, set a more realistic resolution, like getting to the gym 3-4 times a week or try to get 20 minutes of exercise a day 5 days a week, which can include walking a couple of miles, doing yoga at home, walking stairs, really any type of exercise that you don’t have to go to a gym to do; you won’t always have the time to get to a gym, it’s a fact of life. Set a realistic goal that you actually know you can attain, and you will get in shape and feel better about yourself.


“I am going to only eat healthy foods. No more snacks and unhealthy food.”

This is a great resolution, but it is really tough to maintain. People start off awesome with this one: preparing healthy snacks and lunches for work, the night before, they feel good about being healthy and make time for it, then as there is a deadline or need to work late, or the winter blues get you down, you don’t have the energy at night one night to stay up and prep those meals, and there goes the healthy cycle. For women, there is that monthly draw to sweet or salty foods as part of our hormonal flux, which is unfortunate, but VERY real. And, it is OK to indulge in sweets every now and again. Because if you deprive yourself of those snacks that you crave, instead of just allowing a small indulgence every now and again, you end up craving more and more and you tend to over indulge. Eating healthy is an awesome goal, and I think that more people should make it a habit/goal, but set your sights to something realistic, which allows you small cheat meals every now and again. Even the people you see in Men’s/Women’s Health magazine allow themselves a cheat day, and sometimes you can trick yourself with fruits and veggies to curb your sweet tooth; just plan ahead and know that you will want a sweet or salty nosh at some point, so plan to make some baked sweet potato “fries” with some sea salt to satisfy your salt craving, or have fresh fruit already cut up to kill off your sweet tooth…and have some chocolate on hand just in case of emergencies! When you eat healthy, you tend to feel better about yourself, so while I fully support this resolution, don’t just say it, do it!


“I am going to get more organized.”

Some people are inherently organized, some people aren’t. This is something that a quick stop to the Container Store and $500 won’t fix. This is a true lifestyle change that takes time and effort. I applaud all of you who want to get organized: having an organized brain and home is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and it helps you stay on track with every other goal you set for yourself. Part of getting organized can be prepping healthy meals for you and your family, making a schedule to get to the gym, or de-cluttering your home. Setting a resolution with lots of opportunities gives you more opportunities to succeed!

Set yourself up to succeed in the New Year, don’t set yourself up to fail! If you hit your goals and keep going, you will only feel better and better about yourself and keep moving forward. So, Cheers to 2015 and the year of setting goals and creating resolutions that we can actually attain towards a healthy lifestyle!

Yours in Good Health


When to head to the Emergency Room, and when you should stay home!

Emergency RoomThere is no getting around it: healthcare is expensive. Even with insurance, it can be tough to cover the co-pays, and following the rules of which healthcare practitioners you can see (and then the waiting period) can be really confusing. But two things that most people don’t realize are that the co-pay for emergency care can be quite expensive, up to $175 per visit for some insurance companies, and, depending on the city and time of day, Emergency Department (ED) waiting times can be up to 20 hours, so it really is important if you are debating going to the emergency room, to know if you need to be there, or not.


Yours in Good Health


5 Ways to Eat Heart Healthy through the Holiday Season

It’s probably not at the forefront of your thoughts when cooking for the holidays, but whether you or a loved one has heart disease yourself, or it isn’t an issue in your family, it’s important to protect ourselves from the risks of unhealthy foods! Eating those decadent holiday foods, that are deceptively high in fat and cholesterol, can build up plaques in our arteries and increase our risk for stroke and heart attack. The good news is that foods high in antioxidants and fiber can help to prevent those plaques from forming and can actually protect your heart. And, a lot of those heart healthy foods are actually really yummy and easy to add on to any menu! What are the best heart healthy foods?

Read on over at Amerikanki.comhealthy foods

Yours in Good Health



Healthier Holiday Meals: Trim the Fat to Stay on Point this Holiday Season!

Usually during the holiday seasons we are bombarded with candy, baked goods, holiday parties laden with fattening comfort foods, and combined with cold weather that makes most people less active, we are in a dieter’s nightmare. Come January 1st everyone is looking to get back on their healthy tracks and get back into shape and work off all of those indulgent foods, but what if we never fell into the Holiday food trap? There are ways to make those comfort foods that you love, but just make them healthier and equally as good (if not tastier!). Get the scoop and the fixes here on

Yours in Good Health


Organic Veg