Kale

The next super food on the list is Kale. This green vegetable is one of the healthiest vegetables around. Move over spinach-kale overtakes you on nutrition and health benefits!

One cup of kale has only about 36 calories and provides about 20% of the RDA for fiber. As we have learned, fiber helps promote regular digestion, helps prevent constipation, helps lower blood sugar and keeps us feeling sated longer helping to prevent over eating. When steamed, the fiber in kale helps bind with the bile acids that are produced after eating fat making it easier for those bile acids to be eliminated thus lowering your cholesterol levels.

Kale provides a high amount of the antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids that help protect our cells from oxidative stress. The particular flavonoids present in kale help fight against some cancers including colon, breast, bladder, prostate, ovarian and stomach cancers. The glocosinolate isothiocyanate that is present in kale actually helps fight the formation of a bacteria called Heliocobacter  pylori which is a can be found in the stomach and is linked to stomach ulcers and some stomach cancers.

One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA for omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in vegetables and help reduce inflammation and other inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders and asthma.

Vitamin K is found in high levels in Kale. Vitamin K is necessary for the formation of osteocalcin which is a protein that helps strengthen our bones. Vitamin K also helps prevent the build-up of calcium in our tissues that can lead to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Vitamin K is also a must for the formation of sphingolipid with is a fat that helps keep our nerves healthy. Vitamin A is plentifully found which helps boost immunity, helps keep our bonds and teeth healthy, and helps prevent urinary stones. Vitamin C is also found in high levels. Vitamin C I not only an antioxidant but helps lower blood pressure, helps maintain a healthy immune system, fight against some of the eye diseases associated with aging.

So what exactly does one do with this leafy green vegetable? Kale can be bitter to the taste. Purchase Kale with smaller leaves for a milder flavor. The health benefits of Kale increase with steaming for about 5 minutes.

Ways to enjoy Kale:

  • I like to add some chopped Kale to my omelet in the morning along with a little shredded parmesan cheese
  • Try braising some Kale with apples then sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar and add some chopped walnuts
  • I like to sauté a little fresh minced garlic, add some chopped Kale, then toss with a little olive oil before serving
  • Add some chopped Kale, pine nuts and feta cheese to some whole grain pasta and drizzle a little olive oil

Kale chips are very easy to make and so much healthier than potato chips. The flavor options are endless!

Basic Kale Chips

1 bunch Kale, middle spines removed, torn into smaller pieces
Olive oil
Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly dry the Kale leaves. This is very important. Place olive oil and salt into sealable plastic bag. Shake to coat, remove air from bag, reseal and rub olive oil and seasonings into leaves. Place leaves in a single layer on a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper or lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until crisp and lightly brown.

Flavor Options

  • Add about 1 teaspoon chili flakes to bag and mix. Sprinkle some Cheyenne pepper and or paprika on top of cooked leaves after removing from oven.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 ½ teaspoons of sesame seeds to the bag.
  • Try ¼ cup sherry vinegar and salt.
  • Combine 2 teaspoons of French onion dip or soup mix to bag.
  • Try 3 cloves garlic minced and garlic salt.
  • Sprinkle kale with 2 tablespoons Parmesan or Asiago cheese before placing in the oven.
  • What about 3 table spoons Balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, juice of 1 lemon and some pepper.
  • Add the juice of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon lime zest or grated lime peel and 2 teaspoons chili powder.

I got this recipe from my sister, who is the pickiest eater on earth. She loves this salad and it only takes minutes to make!

Kale Salad

Baby Kale
6 ounces Brussel Sprouts cut into quarters
½ head red cabbage
¾ cup dried cranberries
Dressing
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash olive oil
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Combine the lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan in a bowl. Combine the prepared vegetables. Pour dressing over the vegetables and mix.

Family-Centered Cesarean Section

 

As a midwife I talk to many expectant mothers about their plans for the birth of their baby. Obviously, the most important goal is always to have a healthy baby and a healthy mom, but there are many other aspects of the childbirth experience that are also important to expectant moms. Most women hope for a vaginal birth, and in most cases vaginal birth is the most ideal and safest route of delivery for both mom and baby. Women want to have immediate skin to skin contact with their baby when he or she is born. Not only is this a touchy feely bonding experience for moms but it also can help regulate baby’s temperature, glucose levels, and help with initiation of breastfeeding. Women also want their partner to be involved in the birth by providing physical and emotional support. And cutting the umbilical cord is like a rite of passage for a new dad.

There are situations where cesarean section (C-section) is or becomes the safest route of delivery. While they are still meeting the goal of having a healthy baby, women faced with a C-section many times feel grief over missing out on the other aspects of childbirth that they would experience with a vaginal delivery.

In the case that a C-Section is or becomes necessary, there are still ways to incorporate some of the benefits associated with a vaginal birth. The Family Centered C-Section technique helps to make the experience positive for mom and baby as well as safe. This technique involves slowing the delivery of the baby through the incision in order to allow for squeezing more fluid out of the baby’s lungs (Similar to vaginal birth). Women who are interested can even have their heads lifted to see their baby being born. Moms can also experience immediate skin to skin contact and have their partner cut the umbilical cord.

MacArthur Midwifery provides the Family Centered C-Section option to our patients. We are excited that one mom has generously shared her experience with us, describing the birth as “healing”. If you would like to see what a Family Centered C-Section looks like, follow this link to her birth slideshow (Password: MatthewMichael). WARNING: there are shots of surgery, etc.

[button colour=”accent” type=”slightlyroundedarrow” size=”small” link=”http://vimeo.com/88013651″ target=”_blank”]See the Birth Slideshow[/button]

Childbirth happens every single day but each experience is unique and different. I always say “There is not one right way to have a baby”. If the right way for you is a C-section, schedule a time to talk to us more about the Family Centered C- Section option.

 

Got fibroids? Got polyps?… Get Symphion!

What is Symphion?

It is a hysteroscopic (very small camera/telescope that goes into the uterus) tool used to remove fibroids and/or polyps without having to cut or remove any part of the uterus. Also, it’s an outpatient procedure, so you can go home the same day.

So, what are fibroids?

wud_myosure02These are very common non-cancerous tissue growths in the uterus. The size and number of these fibroids is variable… can be a single fibroid or multiple fibroids, and can range from very small to the size of a cantaloupe. They can be found on a stalk inside or outside the uterus. They can also be found in any layer of the uterus: in the muscle wall (intramural), under the outer layer (subserosal), or just below the inner lining of the uterus (submucosal).

 

So, what are polyps?

wud_myosure03These are small protrusions of the uterine lining (endometrium) that grow, become fragile, and start to bleed. Here is a picture of two polyps and the Symphion device.

 

 

 

So, are polypectomies and myomectomies safe? Effective?

With a hysteroscopic approach or with Symphion, the complication rate is less than 1%. The procedure is 90% effective in reducing heavy bleeding and recurrence rates at 2 years are less than 10% for fibroids and less than 3% for polyps.

What are the steps of the procedure?

  1. Your doctor will gently open your cervix and insert a very slender camera into your uterus.
  2. After visualizing the polyp or fibroid, a slender wand-like device is passed through the camera/telescope into your uterus. This wand suctions and cuts the fibroid or polyp into very small pieces and removes the tissue.
  3. Once the polyp/fibroid is completely removed, the wand and camera are removed. Nothing is left in your body after the procedure.

What’s the recovery like and what can I expect after the Symphion procedure?

Some women have mild cramping, for which most only need over the counter pain medicine. Most women are back to normal activities within a day or two. You are unlikely to have any complications, but call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Fever > 100.4°F
  • Increasing pain not relieved by pain meds
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Greenish vaginal discharge

When will I know how well the procedure worked?

This varies for every woman, but plan to give your body approximately 3 months to fully heal. By then you and your doctor should be able to tell what your cycles are going to be like.