A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
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Despite spending a lot of time dealing with food—shopping for it, preparing it, packing it and serving it—we mamas don't always take the time to actually nourish ourselves.

If you've ever found yourself scarfing down your first meal of the day in the afternoon or knowing that a drive-through donut or five string cheeses isn't the right choice (but is your only choice at that point), you know what we're talking about and you need to know about Kelly LeVeque, the holistic nutritionist and health coach who is helping Hollywood moms and regular moms change their lives by changing one habit.

She's the woman behind the #fab4smoothie you're seeing all over Instagram, the woman who Jennifer Garner turns to when she needs help balancing demanding schedules and blood sugar, and she's helping mamas fuel themselves so that we can fuel the next generation.

"Moms don't have the bandwidth to think about themselves, most of the time," LeVeque tells Motherly, adding that her clients often find her when things have become desperate, when they're overeating at night because they're not feeding themselves well during the day. "They've finally decided to put themselves first, and they just don't know even where to start," says LeVeque, who has good news for any mama who can identify with this feeling.


"It isn't about changing your whole life, it isn't the meal prepping, it isn't spending six hours on a Sunday, because most of my moms barely have an hour, if at all. It really is about saying, "What can you commit to? Could you take three minutes to blend a smoothie, and put it in the refrigerator. Could you commit to just that one habit?" says LeVeque.

Enter the Fab Four Smoothie. It's not a specific recipe, but a customizable formula LeVeque uses to help clients get the nutrients they need and a taste they'll love.

"It just requires four things, hence the Fab Four. Protein, fat, fiber and greens, like spinach, kale, basil, whatever you feel like," she explains.

"It works for any lifestyle. Say, for example, you were vegan, you'd wanna use a pea protein, but if you were paleo, or gluten-free, or into skin health, you might wanna use a collagen protein. Then, healthy fats. Good examples are almond butter, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil. It really just depends on the flavor profile you're going for."

For fiber, LeVeque recommends adding chia or flax to the smoothie.

LeVeque is currently expecting her first child, and while she's had a lot of clients who use plant proteins and protein powders before and after their pregnancies, it's not something that she recommends or does personally.

"I'm actually incorporating some collagen protein, right now, and the reason for that is plant-based proteins tend to be higher in heavy metals," she explains.

"I'm using Primal Kitchen collagen, right now, vanilla, or chocolate. The vanilla is what I've been sticking to for green smoothies. That's a great base. I do the vanilla collagen protein, and then, in the original green, it's almond butter as my fat, and then either chia, or flax, whatever I have in the cabinet, for my fiber, a huge handful of greens. I use Organic Girl [greens], a lot. They're the triple-washed mixed-green mixes at Whole Foods."

LeVeque recommends that time-strapped mamas consider blending and refrigerating smoothies the night before, and go easy on the fruit (only about a fourth of a cup) to prevent blood sugar spikes. It means your Fab Four Smoothie might not taste like the super sweet smoothies most of us are used to, but it will get you so much further.

"We're taking what turns off hunger hormones, what regulates our hunger, and putting it into a shake that's actually meal-replacing," she explains. "The Fab Four Smoothie is pretty thick. It's almost like, sometimes, depending on how people make it, it can be like a pudding consistency. It's heavy enough to activate the stretch receptors in your stomach, so that ghrelin, which is a really strong hunger hormone, calms down. You get protein in there so that you're not craving sugar, and carbohydrates, later in the day."

The author of "Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever", says that typically her clients who incorporate a smoothie into their morning make better choices throughout the day, because they're not starving and caving to cravings by noon. That doesn't mean we have to wake up and chug down our Fab4 at six in the morning. If you need breakfast right when you wake up, do it, but some people don't need to eat until 10 or even 11 LeVeque says, although she cautions against waiting much longer than that.

The #fabfoursmoothie may be Instagram worthy, but it's just a starting place, not the entire picture. But starting our day with one and figuring out that protein+fat+fiber+greens formula can help busy mamas figure out what works for them, and help them feed their kids better, too.

"This is a lifestyle. It's a life-changer, and it's not about rules. Every single time I sit down with clients privately, they want more rules. They feel safe in rules. What I want my clients to always know is that if you understand the biology, you don't actually need rules. You can eat out, without having anxiety. You can pull something together, really quickly, from your fridge," she explains.

"Eating healthy doesn't have to be this beautiful, Instagram-able bowl. It's really about simple ingredients, real whole foods, and eating them in a combination that makes you feel full for hours," LeVeque adds.

Sounds a lot better than a cold coffee and some broken Goldfish.

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Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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By: Justine LoMonaco

From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.

This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Adele's albums have soothed many hearts through hard times, and now she's going through a big relationship transition of her own.

The singer is separating from her husband Simon Konecki, the father of her 6-year-old son, Angelo James.

"Adele and her partner have separated," Adele's people wrote in a statement to the Associated Press. "They are committed to raising their son together lovingly. As always they ask for privacy. There will be no further comment."

Our hearts go out to Adele. Of course, she doesn't owe anyone any further explanation or discussion of her separation, but by announcing it publicly, she is shining a light on a family dynamic that is so common but not talked about as much as it should be: Co-parenting.

Parenting with an ex is a reality for so many mothers. According to the Pew Research Center, "the likelihood of a child – even one born to two married parents – spending part of their childhood in an unmarried parent household is on the rise."

Angelo James' experience will be similar to many of his peers.

"Increases in divorce mean that more than one-in-five children born within a marriage will experience a parental breakup by age 9, as will more than half of children born within a cohabiting union," Pew notes.


Adele and Konecki already know a thing or two about how co-parenting works, as Konecki has an older child from a previous relationship.

They can make this work because so many parents are making this work. The reality is, two parents can still be a family, and be a team for their child without being romantic partners.

Decades ago, co-parenting after a divorce wasn't the norm, and a body of research (and the experience of a generation of kids) has changed the way parents do things today. Today, divorce isn't about the end of a family. It's about the evolution of one.

Research suggests joint physical custody is linked to better outcomes for kids than divorce arrangements that don't support shared parenting and that divorced couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse"(so, are friends, basically) are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Co-parenting is good for kids, and clearly, Adele and Konecki are committed to being a team for Angelo James.

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Beyoncé's new Netflix documentary Homecoming hit the streaming service today and gives us an honest look at how difficult her twin pregnancy was.

"My body went through more than I knew it could," she says in the film, revealing that her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi was a shock right from the beginning, and the surprises kept coming.

In the film she reveals that her second pregnancy was unexpected, "And it ended up being twins which was even more of a surprise," she explains.

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé | Official Trailer | Netflix

The pregnancy was rough. Beyoncé developed preeclampsia, a condition that impacts about 5 to 8% of pregnancies and results in high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia poses risks to both the mother and the baby. People who are pregnant with multiples, like Beyoncé was, are more at risk to develop preeclampsia, and the only real cure for the condition is to give birth, which proved to be another medical challenge for Beyoncé.

"In the womb, one of my babies' hearts paused a few times so I had to get an emergency C-section," she shares in the film.

Thankfully, Beyoncé made it through her extremely difficult pregnancy, but the physical challenges didn't end there. The road to rehabilitation for the performer was difficult because, as she explains, she was trying to learn new choreography while her body was repairing cut muscles and her mind just wanted to be home with her children.


"There were days that I thought I'd never be the same. I'd never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same," Beyoncé recalls.

We know that becoming a mother changes us in so many ways, and in Homecoming, Beyoncé shows the world the strength that mothers possess, and rejects any ideas about "bouncing back."

Becoming a mother is hard, but it is so worth it, and Beyoncé isn't looking backward—she's looking at a mother in the mirror and loving who and what she sees. "I just feel like I'm just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not even trying to be who I was," Beyoncé said in the documentary. "It's so beautiful that children do that to you."

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A new study has some people thinking twice about kissing their bearded partners, or maybe even letting those with beards kiss the baby—but there's a lot to unpack here.

According to Swiss researchers, bearded men are carrying around more bacteria than dogs do. A lot more. But read on before you send dad off to the bathroom with a razor and ask him to pull a Jason Momoa (yes, he's recently clean-shaven. RIP Aquaman's beard).

As the BBC reports, scientists swabbed the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs. When they compared the samples, they learned beards have a higher bacterial load than dog fur.

Dudes who love their beards are already clapping back against the way the science was reported in the media though, noting that the sample size in this study was super small and, importantly, that the scientists didn't swab any beardless men.

The study wasn't even about beards, really. The point of the study, which was published in July 2018 in the journal European Radiology, was to determine if veterinarians could borrow human MRI machines to scan dogs without posing a risk to human patients.

"Our study shows that bearded men harbour significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs," the authors wrote, noting that when MRI scanners are used for both dogs and humans, they're cleaned very well after veterinary use, and actually have a "lower bacterial load compared with scanners used exclusively for humans."


Another important point to note is that most bacteria aren't actually dangerous to humans, and some can be really good for us (that's why some scientists want us to let our kids get dirty).

This little study wasn't supposed to set off a beard panic, it was just supposed to prove that dogs and people can safely share an MRI machine. There is previous research on beards and bacteria though, that suggests they're not all bad.

Another study done in 2014 and published in the Journal of Hospital Infection looked at a much larger sample of human faces (men who work in healthcare), both bearded and clean shaven, and actually found that people who shaved their faces were carrying around more Staph bacteria than those with facial hair.

"Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair," the researchers wrote.

A year after that, a local news station in New Mexico did its own "study" on beards, one that wasn't super scientific but did go viral and prompted a flurry of headlines insisting beards are as dirty as toilets. That claim has been debunked.

So, before you ban bearded people from kissing the baby (or yourself) consider that we all have some bacteria on our faces. Dads should certainly wash their beards well, but they're not as dirty as a toilet.

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From toddlers to teens, most kids love Easter Egg hunts. But the traditional Easter game can be a bit challenging for small ones and those with disabilities—especially kids with mobility disabilities or children who struggle with social interactions. Sadly, as much as you try to nudge them in the right direction, your efforts are often in vain.

Thankfully, there's a brilliant hack that helps kids of all ages find the colorful eggs without the stress. The best part? It's also great for parents and hosts that can't remember where they hid the eggs (yup, been there, done that!)

We're thankful Facebook page Noah's Miracle had moms in mind when he shared an image of helium-filled, colored balloons adhered to plastic eggs to give attention to the location of each egg.

"Great idea for children with mobility challenges so that they can participate in Easter egg hunts easier and remain in wheelchairs & gait trainers & walkers," says the caption in the post that's garnered thousands of Facebook comments and shares since its posting two years ago.

Now we can't control if April showers will put a damper on your hunt, but this hack is a surefire way to get the whole crowd involved.


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