Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Paleo Parents are coming!

Have you been wondering just what the Paleo diet is and why anyone would undertake a grain-free lifestyle?

Get a Paleo Eating 101 education at our December 19 meeting!

We are thrilled to welcome the Paleo Parents Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth of the super-popular blog and the cookbooks Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe and Guidebook for Gluten-Free Kids and Beyond Bacon to speak on the topic of Paleo Eating for the Holidays...and every day! on Thursday December 19, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 for a prompt start.

Come learn how Matt and Stacy turned around the health of their family by adopting a grain-free diet and find out why it might make sense for you and yours. Just what did our ancestors eat and how can we take that wisdom into our lives to improve our health int he 21st century?

In order to accommodate a larger crowd -- and snacks! -- this meeting will be at a special location of Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King t. Alexandria, VA. (east exit off of 395 and then first right!).

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow day meeting a blast!

Dr. Rene Hackney's talk on Tantrums, Whining and Backtalk went on Monday as scheduled even though schools were closed. The trees were sparkling but the roads were clear by the time the meeting started, and it was fun to have a playdate on a slushy morning. We had a great little crowd -- and by little, I mean we were outnumbered by little people who quickly made the Beatley large meeting room their home away from home.

It was a fun morning, and the adults in the room all learned a lot. The children got experience making obstacle courses, coloring and stamping. A good time was had by all. We'd love to do more daytime meetings, so if you're interested in helping coordinate those, let us know!

We'll try to post some notes to our members and might add a few more here once we've recovered from yet another snow day, but to put it in a nutshell:
  • The name of the game was consistency. The more consistent you are as a parent, the easier your job will be and the more comfortable your children will be. So pick what kind of protocol you're going to follow and stick with it!

Many thanks to Dr. Rene for joining us even as her daughters were home from school. Dr. Rene's other talks, classes and workshops can be found at She'll be back on April 24 in the evening to share with us how sibling relationships and birth order shape our personalities.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two meetings in December!

Our holiday gift to you? Two fabulous meetings with local stars in their fields!

On Monday, December 9, we're having a special daytime meeting with Dr. Rene Hackney of Parenting by Dr. Rene on the topic of "Tantrums, Whining, and Backtalk." 

Find out how to prevent these pesky problems in the first place and how to deal with them in a way that keeps them from taking over your lives.

A former preschool teacher, Dr. Rene is an expert in child development and has lectured all over the DC Metro area on various parenting topics, including positive discipline.

Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St., Alexandria, VA
Monday, December 9:
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

 Doors open at 10:15 for a prompt 10:30 start. Q&A may go past 12:00.
Children are welcome but please bring quiet toys to supplement ours.

Then, for our regular third Thursday evening meeting, we are thrilled to welcome the Paleo Parents Matt and Stacy of the super-popular blog and the cookbooks Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon to speak on the topic of Paleo Eating for the Holidays...and every day! on Thursday December 19, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 for a prompt start.

Come learn how Matt and Stacy turned around the health of their family by adopting a grain-free diet and find out why it might make sense for you and yours. Just what did our ancestors eat and how can we take that wisdom into our lives to improve our health int he 21st century?

In order to accommodate a larger crowd -- and snacks! -- this meeting will be at a special location of Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King t. Alexandria, VA. (east exit off of 395 and then first right!).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Anatomy for Mamas 101 - Postpartum Healing meeting a huge success

Women really care about their bodies! And as well they should! We had a wonderful turnout for our Postpartum Healing meeting. Many thanks to physical therapists and pelvic floor specialists Ann Udofia and Marisa Alonso of Body Connect Health Wellness.

We learned a ton! We'll be sharing the handouts and detailed notes with members and with guests who requested them and can share with others as well upon request.

The big takeaway of the night was to be mindful in all exercise during and after pregnancy. Strengthen your transverse abdominal muscles throughout by pulling up and in but not doing crunches. Repeat gently immediately postpartum and increase as you heal, but take a full  6 weeks before even considering any strenuous activity. The pelvis is all over the place and the muscles and ligaments take a while to relearn where to go.

Braces and binders of various kinds can be effective at providing support during and after pregnancy. Our bodies do need support through these tremendous changes, but they also need stretching and lengthening, so don't forget stretches and yoga.

Women who are already runners may continue running when they get pregnant but should stop with ANY kind of pain and get an evaluation from a therapist. Walking is great for anyone, including women who were sedentary before getting pregnant.

Avoid running postpartum until/unless you know your core integrity to be strong (without a significant abdominal separation) and your pelvis to not be rotated or asymmetrical. An evaluation by a physical therapist trained to work with pregnant and postpartum women and with pelvic floor training can assess your body, release tightness through myofascial work and give you appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.

Marisa used 38-weeks-pregnant Ann as a model -- along with a plastic pelvis -- and demonstrated how she does an evaluation and what she's looking for.

Once you do start running, if you choose to and think you have the abdominal integrity to do so safely, go slowly with a run/walk routine until you know what your body is able to handle. Listen to any pain and get yourself evaluated by someone trained in postpartum healing, even if your doctor or midwife has told you just to wait and everything will all go back to normal. It probably will not without support, and there are lots of things you can do to improve your body's recovery.

Strength-training without rest is not good, and impact training when there is scar tissue, tightness, a weak core, an abdominal separation (diastasis recti) can cause life-changing prolapse and also lead to back and hip pain. Abdominal separation can be reduced with time and with appropriate exercise, but for some women it will never go away completely.

We learned some self-care techniques, including lying on a Franklin ball to help loosen scar tissue from c-sections and to loosen other tissue as well. Marisa and Ann even brought some Franklin balls for our members and visitors to take home!

They also taught us how to use a scarf to approximate abdominus rectus closure when doing mini-crunches when you have abdominal separation. Pull the sides of a scarf or sheet in across your body to pull the sides of your abs together. Then raise your head just a little being mindful to engage the corset-like transverse abdominal muscles between your belly button and pubis. Any kind of crunches or sit-ups done without proper suppor for a separation can potentially lead to a worsening of the separation and to a whole host of problems, including with digestion and elimination.

Overall, we learned a lot about how abdominal and pelvic health can relate to whole body health and to vibrant, pain-free and prolapse-free living!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting your body back after baby! (Even if it's been years!)

Whether you are expecting for the first time, or are recently postpartum, or are even several years after giving birth but still wondering why your body hasn't gotten back to normal, do we have a meeting for you!

Physical Therapists Marisa Alonso and Ann Udofia of Body Connect Health and Wellness will teach us about how to support our bodies (during and especially) after pregnancy for optimal health and well-being.

They will explain how issues related to pregnancy can have long-lasting impacts on overall health and on specific issues including digestion and ability to exercise safely and strongly.
When and how should you exercise after pregnancy? What should you avoid?
What about kegels?
How do you know when your body is ready to get back to activities like running? When is it better to stick to a bike, to walking, or to an elliptical?
What should we keep in mind when breastfeeding and babywearing to avoid injury and to speed healing?

What are some basics of anatomy that every mom needs to understand about her changed body?
What exactly is fascia, and why should we care?

Included in the presentation will be discussion of:
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • abdominal separation (diastasis recti)
  • scar issue (c-section, appendix and others)

as well as:
  • posture
  • alignment
  • strengthening exercises
Come dressed ready to move and stretch!

Holistic Moms Network Arlington/Alexandria chapter November meeting:
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
AUMC, 716 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22204

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Location changes for December and March meetings

This just in! Our December 19 meeting on Paleo Eating for the Holidays ... and every day! and our March 20, 2014 Five-Year Anniversary celebration will both be at a special location:
Fairlington United Methodist Church in the fellowship hall.

The address for both events is FUMC, 3900 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302.

To get to FUMC from 395, exit east, and the church is right there on your right!

So that's just these two meetings at FUMC:
Thursday, December 19, 7:00-9:00 p.m. - Paleo Eating with Stacy and Matt of
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 6:00-9:00 p.m. - Five-year anniversary celebration with entertainment and giveaways.
Park in the main lot that you see from King Street and follow signs through the building to the fellowship hall.  For loading and unloading or for handicap access, there is an entrance by the playground off of Van Dorn street that can be used, but otherwise please park in the main lot.

We needed lots of room for our big party in March so that we can invite back all our old speakers and other practitioners, have some entertainment, and have a silent auction and raffle, and, we hope, a great crowd!

While we were looking for a venue for March, we decided to upgrade the size of our space for our December meeting, too. Stacy and Matt of have a huge following, and we wanted to be able to accommodate lots of folks! And to be able to sample treats! The FUMC fellowship hall will be a great location for both of these events. Holistic Moms is not affiliated with any religious organization.

We will be at our regular location of AUMC at 716 S. Glebe in Arlington for our November 21, January 16 and February 20 meetings.

Thank you to both FUMC and AUMC for letting us use their space! Please consider bringing food or diaper or clothing donations to AUMC for our regular meeting dates.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sharing experiences with cancer

We are deeply grateful to our panelists who shared about their experiences with cancer at our October meeting. Our hearts and minds were opened. Thank you so much for letting us in on your journeys.

We planned this meeting because many of us have been deeply affected by cancer, whether we’ve been sick ourselves or seen friends and family members battle the disease. And we had many questions, ranging from how to gather information on all the possible choices for treatment to how to deal with enormous emotional challenges. We wanted to find out how to get help for ourselves, and/or get a better idea of the best way to help others.

At this meeting, five members shared their – or their children’s – experiences with cancer diagnosis and treatment. They touched on finding alternative treatments, seeking options for detox and healthy recovery after chemotherapy, battling extreme stress and the journey to emotional healing after treatment, using spirituality in their journeys and other lessons they’ve learned as they fought cancer. It was a privilege to hear them share their deeply personal and emotional journeys. We were reminded once again what an incredible community we have and how important it is to support one another.

Thank you to our five panelists: Rachel, Monica and Victoria and holistic health coaches Marybeth Walsh of My Whole Self and Christi Flynn of The Super Woman Lifestyle, both cancer survivors who now work with others on achieving optimum health and well-being. We learned so much from all of you.

Some of us took notes and will try to put these together with the panelists notes and share with members on our email loop in the near future. To start, Christi shared this list of books she recommends when someone comes to her with a diagnosis.

1. Cancer, Step Outside the Box
2. Outsmart your Cancer
3. The Only Answer to Cancer
4. The Living Food
5. Cancer Free
6. Knockout
7. Adios cancer

Friday, October 4, 2013

Special fall daytime meeting!

We were happy to welcome Holistic Health Coach Robin Shirley to speak to our group for a special daytime meeting. Robin suffered from rheumatoid arthritis in childhood and has found dramatically improved health through nutrition and lifestyle changes. We had a great crowd and enjoyed Robin sharing with us some tips for clearing out things that draw away our energy and ways to boost our immune systems.

A note about daytime meetings:
Although our regular monthly meetings are in the evenings to make sure working mamas can join us, we're often asked about daytime meetings. We've tried a few in the past and would love to offer them on a regular basis if there is enough interest and volunteer support.

Our chapter has a team of six co-leaders, most of whom work during the day. We are always open to having a co-leader who would lead regular daytime meetings open to the public (with or without speakers) or to having a volunteer organize daytime meetings for members. These might be follow-ups to the evening meetings or could be on another topic and would be in addition to playgroups and outings.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Make your home healthy and green!

Just a few days before the Green Festival comes to town, we had a wonderful September meeting on the topic of "Green Home, Healthy Home."

A huge thanks to Greenproofer Michelle Winters and holistic health coach Beth Donnelly of The Regal Fig to talk to us about healthy, non-toxic products and strategies for the home. We talked about being healthy and green from the inside out, including home furnishings, fabrics and cleaners as well as skincare and food. Beth was kind enough to bring food-grade skincare samples from new mompreneur Greenplicity and Go Chews snacks from local vendor Momme Meals, and she'll share her new E-book with us as well.

Thanks to both speakers for coming all the way to talk to us and to everyone who contributed to the discussion!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Motherblessing for fall mamas

What a delight to celebrate four of our expectant mamas last month! We honored them as they make a big transition in their lives to first-time mom, second-time mom, and third-time mom. It was a lovely evening of enjoying tasty snacks, sharing hopes and fears, and supporting one another. And lots of laughter. And some hand and shoulder massage.

Thanks to all who joined in! And good luck to the mamas!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sharing our holistic journeys in August

Each month, after we've heard a great presentation about a topic related to health or green living or parenting, we gush over the information we just learned and try to catch up before we have to get home.

The conversation might sound a little something like this:
"I didn't realize you had Hashimoto's, too! Who have you seen and what protocols have you followed?"
"So how far along are you in your pregnancy? Who is supporting you with your VBAC preparations?"
"Are you and your family still grain-free? Have you seen a difference? How is your daughter's eczema?"
"What did you decide to do about additional tests?"
"How are you feeling on those new supplements?"
"What was your session like when you met with that energy worker?"
"How has your son been feeling since he started seeing the homeopath?"
"Did your milk supply come in, or are you still supplementing? How is the baby doing with the Nourishing Traditions formula?"
"Who do you think I should see or what should I try next?"

In August, we'll have a whole two hours to learn from and support one another.

Friendly chatter can't take the place of medical advice, but it sure can help a mama feel supported and know where to turn next!

Join us on August 15, 7-9 p.m. at the AUMC at 716 S. Glebe Rd. in Arlington for an open discussion on our holistic health journeys. We will share what issues we've faced and how we've addressed them.

This should be a great time both for folks new to holistic living to get some ideas of where to start and for all of us to get to know one another more!

Since this meeting will not feature a speaker, we appreciate hearing from members and potential visitors ahead of time so we can plan whether to break into small groups or mini-convos.

If you think you're going to come, it would be great if you could RSVP to HolisticMomsArlAlex (at) gmail by Saturday, August 10 to let us know:
1) What conditions or topics you'd like to discuss. What do you want to learn?
2) What conditions or topics you can share information about. What do you already know and can share?

And, if you're really motivated, we'd love it if you'd put together a quick listing of your favorite resources or practitioners so that we can compile a Greatest Hits handout. This could just include name and website or whatever other details you have time to share. If you're open to people contacting you to ask follow-up questions, please include an email address or phone number. Deadline for inclusion in the handout is Saturday, August 10. Email your info pasted in the body of the message to HolisticMomsArlAlex (at) gmail

See you on the 15th! Come with an open ear!

Update: This was a wonderful meeting with so much great conversation, the time flew by! Mary will be typing up all the ideas and suggestions that were shared on the poster papers, and we will discuss in our leader meeting to plan future meetings and discussion topics. Thanks to all who came out and shared!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Celebrating the Solstice with a Potluck Social!

After a winter and spring of inspiring presentations, we got to connect and play in at a potluck social and celebrate the summer solstice at Fort Scott Park, 5-8 p.m. on June 20.

What amazing weather! Not only was it a delight to have the chance to play, catch up with old friends, and make new ones, but it could not have been a more gorgeous evening to celebrate the beginning of summer!

Delicious food and a wonderful time were had by all! Thank you to everyone who came out and to everyone for sharing the goodness of your kitchens!

Special thanks to Amy and to chapter co-leader Leigha for organizing crafts and making the gluten-free sunbread and to our guest Kristen of MommeMeals for letting us sample her brand-new GoBites lactation bars!

Our August meeting will be a discussion and we might have a food-focused meeting in December. We'll have Moms Nights Out and motherblessing events for members, but our next big social event open to the public will be a 5-year chapter anniversary party on March 20, 2014. We hope to invite back all of our speakers and other interested folks who might want to connect with our community plus some entertainment. Stay tuned for more details!

Practitioners and holistic businesses: Contact Jessica at JessicaHMNArlAlex (at) gmail if you're interested in donating refreshments or an item for our silent auction or having a table at this event!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thirsty? Get the health facts of What's in Your Cup?

We all know it's important to stay hydrated in the summer. But how can the specific beverage in our cup affect our health?

Join us for the second meeting in our Vice or Nice series exploring the goods and bads of caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages. HMN member and holistic health and nutrition coach Christi Flynn of Raia Health will cover the pros and cons of each. Christi will reveal the hidden problems in our beverage choices, best kept secrets to conquering our cravings and shows us how to leverage healthy stimulants to get easy, instant energy without harmful side effects.

Please let others know about this meeting: Caffeine, Cocktails and Carbonation: How to Kick Your Cravings, Upgrade Your Options and Have Boundless Energy To Bounce Through Your Day

See you July 18, 7-9 p.m. at AUMC, 716 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fertility and Birth Control: Options in a Holistic Framework

How does our overall health affect our ability to conceive? And how does contraception fit into our overall picture of health?

Join us on May 16 when our speakers Shep Saltzman,R.N. of Vienna Complementary Medicine and Vital Mind/Body Therapies, and Katy Vega, N.D. and midwife-in-training will put fertility in a holistic framework.

Our speakers will explain the complex interactions of the endocrine system including thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, pancreas and address how these glands work and are affected by hormonal contraception like the Pill and the patch. They will also discuss how digestion, allergies and overall immune system function can affect fertility.

How can you read your body's cues for family planning? A discussion of the basics of Fertility Awareness will explain how to read your body's cues -- and how to address your lifestyle and environment -- to control your fertility.

We also plan to have information to share about other birth control methods and their effects on the body beyond fertility.


7:00-9:00 p.m. 716 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA

Please arrive on time so that we can be sure to hear everything both speakers have to say!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Detox: Spring-Cleaning from the Inside Out!

Spring is a natural time to cleanse your body of toxins. If you have any fatigue, skin issues, digestive issues or any general feeling of needing to let go, there are many means by which to support your body in ridding itself of whatever it doesn't need.

On April 18, health and nutrition coach Ryan McGrath of Blissful Living will present on the whys and hows of doing a detox or a cleanse by means of food, fresh juice and other healthy protocols.
  • What cleansing is, and is not
  • The benefits of cleansing for skin, mood, digestion, energy and overall health
  • What's safe to do while pregnant or nursing
  • How do take care of yourself during a cleanse 
  • Methods of cleansing in addition to food and drink

Get clean and get healthy this spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Unlocking the mystery of female hormones in March

What happens to your hormones after childbirth?
And as you age?
How are thyroid and adrenal and reproductive hormones connected?
What can we do to address hormonal imbalances?

On Thursday, March 21, Dr. Cindy Durakis, DC, will cover these questions and more. On the agenda include the following topics:

·         Fertility
·         Thyroid problems
·         Adrenal stress
·         Peri-menopause & menopause
·         Sleep problems
·         Anxiety/depression
·         Painful, heavy periods, fibroids, and polycystic ovaries and how they relate to “Estrogen dominance” as well as causes, diagnosis, and effective treatments including herbs and bioidentical hormone therapy.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate: Vice or Nice?

February marks the kick-off of a new series in which we will explore the pros and cons of something controversial. Up first: Chocolate.

One week after Valentine's Day, join us to hear from Certified Nutritionist Alana Sugar and Janice Curtain, chapter leaders for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

We will discuss antioxidants and other potential selling points for including chocolate as part of a healthy lifestyle as well as reasons to be wary of it. We will also discuss fair trade and social justice issues.

See you February 21, 7-9 p.m. at AUMC (716 S. Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA 22204). Bring a mug for some hot cocoa!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ringing in the New Year with fabulous meeting topics!

January 2013 marks 4 years -- four years! -- for our chapter. Happy birthday to us!

We are celebrating with a steamy topic this month: "Intimacy." 

Our friends in the Northern Virginia chapter gave us the idea, and we're excited to welcome a speaker from the Old Town Alexandria store Lotus Blooms to help us talk about strategies for keeping the spark alive, even when there are children in your bed!

We'll also discuss how to have good communication and will hear about non-toxic products and accessories for the boudoir. Please join us on January 17. While children are always welcome, you might possibly want to leave them home for this one! ;-)

And a preview of what's to come for the rest of the first half of this year:
February kicks off our Vice or Nice? Series with a presentation about the pros and cons of chocolate.

In March, we'll learn the A-Z of female hormones for the childbearing years and beyond. And if yours are out of whack, maybe our "Detox!" meeting in April will help you get your groove back.

We are looking into speakers for our May meeting on birth control options to explore what effects different mainstream methods might have on our bodies -- especially those of us with sensitivities and compromised systems -- and will also explore Natural Family Planning/Fertility Awareness.

In June, we will have an early evening potluck/family playdate and celebrate the summer solstice.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A season of gratitude

What a delightful end-of-the-year we had! Just before Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a motherblessing for Michelle and Sylvia and a belated celebration to welcome Amy's baby, who came too early for our fall motherblessing. Too early even for the midwife!

Congratulations to Sylvia on the birth of her little boy, and est wishes to Michelle as she awaits her new bundle.

Later in the month, we welcomed winter with an Advent Garden and Solstice Celebration followed a few days later by a cozy social meeting where we sipped warm beverages, caught up on each other's lives, and enjoyed a toy swap.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our group this year, our third year as a chapter. We will sorely miss co-leader Sanchia, whose family has moved out of the area. We will also miss the regular fellowship of publicity manager Lisa, who has moved further west. We thank Sanchia for her leadership and we thank Lisa for her years of public relations work.

Our chapter still enjoys four leaders, but there is always room for more, and it is the participation of members that makes our group such a wonderful resource. We hope to see you in 2013!