April is OT Month

So as you know if you’ve read my biography I am an Occupational Therapist (OT). Most of the time when I tell people what I do for a living I get, “That’s cool…so what is that exactly?” Since April is OT month I decided to write this post to share some of the reasons why I seriously LOVE my profession.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

An Occupational Therapist is a health and rehabilitation professional. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages who need specialized assistance to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives due to physical, developmental, social, or emotional problems. Occupational therapists use the “occupations” of self-care, work, and play/leisure activities to increase independence, enhance development, and/or prevent disability. To achieve these goals occupational therapists may also adapt the task or the environment. (Source)

Where Do Occupational Therapists Work?

OT’s can work in many different settings. They work with children at school to assist with activities such as handwriting or socializing with others. They work in communities helping adults with brain injuries or disabilities re-integrate into the community or be able to function independently at home. They also work in special settings such as hand therapy clinics or spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers. The list goes on, as these are just a few examples of where you can find an OT.

Personally I have always enjoyed working with adults. I currently work in skilled nursing facilities with geriatric patients who have difficulty completing their activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing, etc) due to a physical or cognitive decline. Through the use of therapeutic exercises, therapeutic activities, cognitive retraining and neuromuscular re-education I am able to help my patients become stronger and more independent so they can ultimately return home or to a lower level of care. As an OT I work to make changes to the person, enviroment or occupation in order to ultimately increase health.

OT model Image Source OT model PEO

5 Reasons I Love My Job

  1. It’s Rewarding!
    It’s the best feeling ever to watch others make positive changes in their lives! The most rewarding part of my career is seeing a patient get stronger and healthier so that they can do the things they want to, or need to, do on their own.
  1. Different Settings
    The job description of an OT varies greatly depending on where they work and with what population. Since there is so much variety you can always find new places or different career paths to take, which prevents burn out and increases job satisfaction.
  2. Client Based Practice
    A big part of being an occupational therapist is helping patients do the things that THEY want to do in life. By having your client be an active participant in goal setting and treatment planning you achieve better outcomes and more effective therapy, as people are able to work towards goals that are important to them. For example, I had a man once tell me that his goal was to be able to play golf again by the spring, although we needed to work on strength and tissue healing we were able to create a customized treatment plan to make sure that he could do the things he needed to do to get back out on the golf course!
  1. Treating the ‘whole person’
    Working as an OT I have learned the importance of treating the whole person (mind, heart and body) rather than focusing on just the physical aspects. By being able to adapt the task or the environment you can make things that may of seemed impossible a reality. For example,  through training clients how to use assistive technology and adaptive equipment people with spinal cord injuries can lead full and productive lives despite their physical limitations.
  2. Perfect combination of creativity, science and problem solving
    By using all three of these skills OTs are able to make meaningful changes in someone else’s life. I love that there is room for some creativity because sometimes the solution isn’t always black and white! For example, I love using whatever I can find at the dollar store in order to make adaptive equipment for my patients to use at home, most of the time it’s the simplest gadgets that make the biggest difference! The possibilities are truly endless!

If you have any other questions about how an Occupational Therapist can help you be sure to send me an email or check out http://www.aota.org/ for more information.

This post was inspired by Christie at MamaOT.com . Check her out! She is a pediatric OT and has an awesome blog full of advice and resources for those who care for or work with young children!

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Lactation Smoothie

I posted another recipe on yummy lactation cookies that turned out great, so I decided to just take the ingredients and throw them all into a smoothie. It turned out great too! Here’s the recipe…

imageYou need, a blender of sorts – We have the Nutribullet and it’s awesome.

Ingredients
1/4 cup rolled oats (old fashioned works best)
1 tablespoon brewers yeast
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 tsp coconut oil or flax seed oil
Almond/Coconut/Cows Milk
Cinnamon for taste
Handful of Spinach (optional – you can’t taste it but it’s a good addition!)

Put all the dry ingredients in the blender, fill with milk, blend until smooth.

Enjoy!
Natasha

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Effect of Exercise on Breast milk

So with all this running I’ve been doing it got me wondering if I am negatively affecting my milk supply and if my baby was still receiving adequate nourishment (I think I was just looking for reasons NOT to train for this half marathon). This led me to do some research! Yes, I know… of course I’m a nerd like that but I didn’t become an evidence-based practitioner for nothing…this is how we roll! So let me share with you bits and pieces of what I learned.

women after long run

In summary, breastfeeding is not negatively affected by exercise whether it be prolonged cardiovascular exercise or moderate to high intensity training. There is some evidence that lactic acid levels increase if you feed your baby immediately after a high intensity workout (Carey & Quinn, 2001), which could cause a change in the taste of the milk but has no negative effects on the baby and most of the time they don’t notice. Even then, you would have to REALLY exert yourself to see this kind of change in milk composition.

In terms of milk supply, as long as adequate fluid and calorie intake is achieved exercise has no negative effect on milk supply (Dewy et al., 1994). This is what I was most worried about because after my long run last week I tried to pump afterwards and got very little! Which was stressful obviously! Of course I panicked, and then my husband reminded me that I just fed her before I left so it had only been a little over an hour and a half. Duh, that makes sense. Also, my own personal hypothesis is this… your body probably puts milk production on hold while exercising because it is using the energy for your muscles, BUT most likely makes up for it later in the day.

When the composition of breast milk was studied it was also found that there was no change in immune factors (such as SigA, lactoferrin, and lysozyme), major minerals (calcium, phosphorus, etc) and major nutrients (fat, protein, lactose) (Fly, Uhlin, Wallace, 1998).

I also found this to be super interesting ….

“ recreational athletes who performed an average of 88 minutes per day of aerobic exercise during the 6 months of breastfeeding had less body fat and produced a slightly greater quality and quantity of milk than postpartum non-exercising women” (Lovelady et al., 1990)

So pretty much because I am exercising I am producing higher quality and quantity of milk as well as reaping all the other benefits of postpartum exercise such as; decreased incidence of depression, decreased stress, improved mood and behaviour and increased weight loss. Guess this half- marathon training is paying off for everyone, including my baby & husband!

Now I have to add, after my quick literature review I did find there is definitely  room for further research on the subject, a lot of the studies were from the 90’s and came from the same few researchers, but it’s just not a very highly studied topic so have to take what I could get!

So there is it, you can put your mind at rest…. breastfeeding and exercise are actually a good combo! Few things to remember…be sure to keep your fluid intake up, especially if it is a hot day out! It’s crucial to replace everything that you sweat out to avoid dehydration. I aim for 16 cups of water a day, and I usually have a coconut water or electrolyte beverage if it’s a day where I particularly sweat a lot. Also, losing 0.5-1lb a week while breastfeeding is perfectly healthy but you don’t want to lose too much weight too fast so be sure to replace some of the calories burned by exercise by having an extra snack afterwards.

In fitness & good health,

Natasha

Sources

Carey GB, Quinn TJ 2001, Exercise and lactation: are they compatible? Can J Appl Phys 26(1): 55–74.

Dewy K, Lovelady C, Nommsen–Rivers L, McCrory M, Lonnerdal B 1994, A randomised study of the effects of aerobic exercise by lactating women on breast-milk volume and composition. New Engl J Med 330: 449–453.

Fly AD, Uhlin KL, Wallace JP 1998, Major mineral concentrations in human milk do not change after maximal exercise testing. Am J Clin Nutr 68(2):345–9.

Lovelady C, Lonnerdal B, Dewey K. Lactation performance of exercising women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;52:103–9.

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Santa Barbara Hikes

So there are only a few days left in March! Crazy how the time flies. In terms of how I am doing with my March Madness personal challenge, I am pretty happy where I stand right now! I have been continuing to eat fairly clean, been working out 4-5x/week and getting walks in on my off days.

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to explore different areas of Santa Barbara, this week we went for walks at Shoreline Park down to east beach, met some clients at La Mesa Park, and did a hike in Montecito! Really hoping to finish this month strong and make these last few days count.

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What’s on the agenda tomorrow? 6 mile run. This should be interesting. My swolemate convinced me that I should sign up for a half marathon with her on Mothers Day. I am not much of a runner, but I must admit I feel different now, running has become slightly easier. Mind you, running after having a baby still feels strange ‘down below’ but I think that’s due to my core still needing some work. I used to HATE running because my hips would hurt, my lungs would hurt, and it was just an awful experience, there was no runners high for me! So this is definitely a new challenge.  If tomorrow’s run goes well I will be on track to finish 13 miles at the beginning of May!

family hiking in montecito

santa barbara beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy the pictures! 3 MORE DAYS of March, I will check in with my final measurements and set new goals for April!

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Product Review: Mika Yoga Wear

Product Review:

Mika Yoga Clothing

mika yoga wear

So I will start by saying I am a very loyal Lululemon customer. I blame it on the fact that I am from Canada, working in the fitness industry for so long, and taking advantage of the 15% discount. This has left me with quite the collection of workout clothes! That being said, my ‘after baby’ body is a little different so some of my stuff wasn’t fitting right. I decided to branch out and try something new, and hey, it’s an excuse to buy new stuff!

After seeing it on instagram I looked into this new(er) brand, Mika. You can check our their website here. After stalking their website for a couple weeks I decided to finally take the plunge and order something! I immediately regretted it, how could I ever love other yoga clothes as much as I love my lulus? On a side note, I tell my husband about this ‘new brand’ and he informs me that his friend and his wife just randomly happen to be the people behind it! Small world…I feel like I personally know a celebrity now! Haha, so let me start off by saying Mr. S, you and your wife have definitely impressed me. Here is my honest review of the Mika yoga clothes I purchased.

First off I bought the Aerial Capri in size M/L in Amazonite (teal), and the Tula Top in pink ribbon (hot pink). The price point is amazing, most items range from $15-70, which means I can get an entire outfit for the price of one pair of lulu pants, AND things actually go on sale! I was pleasantly surprised with the fast shipping, nice quality fabric, and good workmanship of the clothes as I took them out of the package.

mika yoga wear

What I love

– Great colors and prints, I am OBSESSED with teal blue so the pants were the perfect color.
– Good stretch to the fabric, held up well in the wash, looks clean and professional
– Pants are not see through! They are a heavy but comfy material that doesn’t stretch too much and show through when you bend over.
– Top can double as a bathing suit! How awesome. I should mention that a lot of their clothes are designed for hot yoga, so this is a great feature!
– Got me through my workout wicking away sweat and looking cute to boot.
– Free shipping over $100
– Love that they take customer feedback and make changes accordingly! I ordered the old style Tula top, but there was feedback that it wasn’t suitable for large breasted women so they revamped it and released a new style…how great!
– Top is adjustable and ties in the back! This is great for a perfect fit every time (which I have noticed is a problem with other tops since I have been nursing).
– These clothes are not just for yoga, definitely suitable for all kinds of activities.

What I don’t love…

– The sizing is kind of funky. I am usually a size 6, so I looked at their size chart and ordered the size M/L pants accordingly. Maybe it’s just my body shape but I found them to fit quite small (felt like they were pulling down the back a little) so I would probably go with a L/XL, but then that just makes me feel bad since I’ve never been an XL in my life!
– I liked the idea of wearing the top as a bathing suit but didn’t see any bottoms on the site that would be suitable to match. Now this may be just me because I’m picky like that.
– Lastly, the colors were slightly different than what I expected from the online pictures… but I loved them more in person!

Overall I give them two thumbs up. Love the product, love the price. Just ordered myself some more! I’m excited to add some variety to my workout wardrobe, and im loving the bright colors for spring!

Check them out on instagram #MikaYogaWear they have awesome yogi ambassadors showing off their clothes!!

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