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Ep. 56 – Do lactation treats work? That’s a tough cookie, with guest Alasen Zarndt, the Nutrition Doula

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This is Maureen Farrell and Heather O’Neal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

Heather O’Neal: So join us for another episode. Welcome to The Milk Minute. We are pumped to have our resident nutrition doula back on the podcast. Her name’s Alasen Zarndt and her business is called The Nutrition Doula, and she helps postpartum moms get back to eating in a way that is going to serve their bodies.

Maureen Farrell: And it’s been awhile since we talked to her. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you might remember her from episode eight. So yeah, what we’ve got like at least 40 episodes between then and now. So I’m so excited to have her back. And today we’re going to talk about lactation cookies.

Heather O’Neal: Yeah, and this is a sensitive topic for many, many people. People are very attached to cookies and, you know, we just want to say, we love cookies too. And although this may not be the lactation cookie episode you want, this is a lactation cookie episode that you, you need.

Maureen Farrell: Heather, I already want a cookie.

Heather O’Neal: Oh, I’m actually really hungry too. But either way we had to bring Alasen on because we wanted to talk a little bit about what a cookie actually does in your body when you eat it and how it gets to your milk. Yeah. Or does it?

Maureen Farrell: It’s okay to be mad at us in this episode, if you want. Feel defensive about your cookies, that’s all fine, but I want you to listen anyway.

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. Please listen because it is so much more than just talking about a cookie. It’s talking about how we feel about ourselves when we eat a cookie, the reasons behind why we feel we need a cookie and then also what it’s telling us when it works or when it doesn’t work.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah. But before we get into the nitty gritty about lactation cookies, we’re going to take a listener question. And then if you stick around to the end, we’ve got another award in the alcove for one of our amazing lactating parents.

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Heather O’Neal: Today’s listener question is from Justice. They say, if you only pump how much breast milk do you feed your baby? I just pumped six ounces on my left side cause it was clogged. My baby is only two days old. I feel like that would be too much to feed him.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah, your feeling is correct. At two days also, we’re still dealing with probably colostrum or transition milk and baby’s tummy is like, the size of a walnut at the most.

Heather O’Neal: And you also in that first six weeks of breastfeeding typically have more than you need. Because your body tends to give you a little bit more than you need, and then matches what baby is demanding and you down-regulate, and that’s when you are “regulated” after the six to eight week mark.

Maureen Farrell: Cause your body doesn’t know, like you could have triplets. How would it know?

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. So, you know, the thing is, we’ve done a poll in the group before where hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people responded to, “How much do you freeze in a storage bag?” And the average amount was four ounces, which is actually kind of on the higher end. So you really don’t need to be freezing any more than four ounces in a bag.

Because you’re going to end up wasting it or overfeeding your baby. So three to four ounces is perfectly fine and I’ll be honest, I never actually measured mine. I would just pump and be done with it.

Maureen Farrell: And really like, I think about that quantity as a baby, like around six weeks or over, in the first week, I say, start with, you know, especially if it’s colostrum still, start with a half an ounce.

You can always put more in a bottle, right? You can put an ounce in there, feed real slow, pace feed, just, you know, if baby seems full, don’t push it.

Heather O’Neal: Right, don’t push it, follow their lead. And I’m guessing because you had a clog in the first two days that you’re experiencing some engorgement?

Maureen Farrell:  Yeah, that would be my guess too.

Heather O’Neal: Be very careful continuing to pump because you’re sending some messages to your body that it needs more and then you’re just gonna make the engorgement worse.

Maureen Farrell: So usually in the first few days, when we’re managing that primary engorgement, that’s just correlating with your milk coming in, maybe some extra IV fluids, like hanging around or in there. You don’t want to necessarily pump till you’re empty first.

You always want to try to feed that baby, right, when you’re feeling engorged. But if you’re pumping instead, or baby’s not hungry, warm compresses, a little bit of expression, just to feel comfortable.

Heather O’Neal: Just enough to feel comfortable. Let’s get into the episode.

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Maureen Farrell: Okay, here we are with our good friend, Alasen. We’re so excited to have her back.

Heather O’Neal: Yes! If you haven’t heard episode eight yet, Alasen Zarndt, our nutrition doula, who we love to ask for advice on postpartum nutrition. She actually talked with us for a full episode way back in July of 2020, but today we wanted to bring her back for a very special topic.

Maureen Farrell: Oh yeah. This one is near and dear to our well, hate love. I don’t know, somewhere in between? Confusion? You know, we have strong feelings about this.

Heather O’Neal: It’s not the lactation cookie episode that you want, but it is the lactation cookie episode that you need.

Maureen Farrell: Yes. So without further ado, welcome. Alasen. We’re happy to have you.

Alasen Zarndt: I am so happy to be here with you guys today. Thanks for having me on.

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. So can you help us to explain why we have such a love/ hate relationship with lactation cookies?

Alasen Zarndt: Yes. Yes. Okay. Lactation cookies. So I think it would be, we’ll start with the hate part because there’s a lot of misinformation out there about food and how it affects your milk supply. And we really, really, really, really, really want it to be like, we just have to eat something. We just need to take one extra thing and it’s going to fix all of our supply problems. That’s what we want that deep in our soul. And I understand this so much because I was a under supplier.

And then I was a “just enough-er” with both my kids and so like, more milk. And my life revolved around how can I get more milk? So if the thing that’s promising that you just have to eat this and you’ll get more milk is also a cookie, then it’s like double win. Right? I can eat cookies and I can feed my baby?

Like, so we have this big emotional attachment to these ideas, like lactation cookies, or various supplements because you know, want to feed our babies. We want to be like the milk producing goddesses of the world. And if this thing is promising, like a simple thing, like cookies. Who doesn’t want to eat cookies? And they’re promising that that’s going to make us into the thing that we want really badly, then we want to believe it. And so that’s why they are just everywhere.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah, it’s great marketing.

Heather O’Neal: And they promise it quickly. Like it’s supposed to be this magic bullet that, Oh, if you just eat three cookies a day. It’s not even like you eat one cookie. It’s like you eat, I don’t even know what the recommendation is. Like people are not looking at the serving size for sure.

They think more cookies equal more milk. So we have people saying, yep. I eat one whole sleeve of lactation cookies per day and look at how much milk I have. And, you know, as lactation consultants, we are concerned mostly about the origin of the supply problem. And then from a nutrition standpoint, it drives you crazy because obviously depending on the cookie, it might not actually be that healthy. So, you know, I don’t know.

Alasen Zarndt:  It can cause more problems down the road.

Heather O’Neal: Tell us, tell us about, tell us about those problems while we’re on the topic of hating them.

Alasen Zarndt: Okay. So, well, so lactation cookies are full of sugar, right? And full of refined carbohydrates, which in moderation is totally fine for you to have a cookie.

Like a cookie, maybe two cookies for dessert. Right. But if your diet is consisting mostly of sugar and refined carbohydrates, then what that’s doing to your body, it’s predisposing you to Ward’s insulin resistance. And we already know that, right. That when we get towards like type two diabetes or all of that is because your body has been trying to process this massive load of sugar for so long, and it just kind of wears out.

So it’s predisposing you for health problems in that regard. Heart disease, all of these things are tied to eating excessive amounts of sugar. So from a grand standpoint, tons and tons of sugar in your diet is no good for your health long-term. And one of the root causes of these chronic diseases that are so common in the US.

The other problem with this is what I call the sugar stress sleep triangle. So high stress levels, high sugar levels, and lack of sleep, all feeding into each other and kind of work in a way that causes, if you eat more sugar than your stress levels go up higher. If you sleep less than you crave more sugar and your stress levels go up higher and they all kind of have this feedback loop that feeds the very things that we don’t need in our lives as new moms and we’re trying to get rid of.

Like, we’re trying to sleep more. We’re trying to lower our stress levels. Right? We’re trying to feel human again and not like some kind of alien in our own bodies, that can’t control anything. And throwing sugar is just like throwing fuel on that fire and making all of that worse.

So yeah, those are the reasons like the main, like global reasons why like, when somebody tells me that I you know, eat six oatmeal cream pies per day because oatmeal helps my milk. I just like, you know, and people are going to do what they’re going to do, but it just makes me so sad that there’s such a better way and a happier way for them to be like going about this stuff.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah. But let’s just put it out there. Like I would put Little Debbie out of business if I could y’all.

Heather O’Neal: Cancel her.

Maureen Farrell: And you know, like, it sounds silly to a lot of people, when you say that, like, Oh, they eat a bunch of oatmeal cream pies. But really people do this and it’s not, it’s not like they’re bad people for doing this, but it’s, it’s a symptom of this, you know, culture around breastfeeding that we have, that people don’t grow up seeing it, they don’t grow up knowing how it works.

And you know, the reason that we, like Heather and I, and most lactation professionals just hate these kind of lactation quick fixes, is because that they’re a band-aid. They might help for a little bit, but the reality is that most supply problems we see are not nutritional. They’re about feeding efficiency, feeding habits, stress pumping habits.

I mean, I think the reason we see so much low supply as everybody has to go back to work at four to six weeks, and that is not how we’re meant to breastfeed is to breastfeed a little machine. You know, and then go back and feed our babies and then go to work and then feed our babies.

It’s this whiplash for your body. And, you know, and there are so many things we can do to help people with that and it’s not a cookie or a brownie.

Heather O’Neal: Right. But it also sets people up for feeling like failures when they’re eating massive amounts of cookies all the time, and they’re not seeing a supply increase and they feel like they’re at the end of the road. You know, I’ve drank all the body armor.

I’ve eaten all of the oatmeal cream pies or the even made my own lactation cookies. And I thought that was supposed to be even better for you. Like I’ve done all I can. And then, you know, we see them in our Facebook group, Breastfeeding for Busy Moms and they’re, you know, crying. They’re at their wit’s end. They’re like I only pumped an ounce and I ate a whole sleeve of cookies.

Maureen Farrell: It places the blame on them. Like they consciously and purposely did something wrong. And then that’s why they have low supply. Versus when, you know, we have a consult and we can say, Hey, like, you know, you’re in this really awful situation that is not conducive to normal lactation. So here let’s help you fix it. Not, you know, this is your mistake. You’re just not eating enough cookies.

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, you mentioned that these people don’t understand how breastfeeding is supposed to work, because of our culture, because of not seeing it, but the same goes for nutrition. I mean, don’t you find that, Alasen in your business, with your private clients, who come to you with like the most bizarre ideas about how food is supposed to work in your body and it’s not their fault. This is not meant to sound judgmental at all. This is just like; nobody teaches you these basic things.

Maureen Farrell: I think we had a week of that in seventh grade.

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. So here we are, like you and me and Maureen are in this weird little club of niche people for health. Right. You know, we’re not like the doctors that are there in the clinic every day.

We’re like these niche, little people that really, really know a lot about these interesting fields, but they apply to everybody. They really do. So, you know, tell us for real, what happens when you actually eat a lactation cookie? You know, say it’s even a good one.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah. Like one that might have a chance of working.

Heather O’Neal: And then tell us what’s happening in your body once you eat the cookie, where’s it going? And how does that eventually affect your milk supply? If at all?

Alasen Zarndt: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, we put the cookie in our mouth, we chew it up. Right. When we’re chewing the cookie, then you’re getting some enzymes, some digestion stuff from your saliva.

And that’s like actually where the digestion process begins is with the chewing. So if we’re inhaling said cookies because we’re chasing around our toddler then we’re already kind of predisposing ourselves for them to not digest well. So step one, right?

Step two, they get into your stomach. You have like your stomach acid and all this stuff to break everything down. Moves on into your intestines and where it hits your microbiome. And they start having a field day for all of this stuff that’s in this cookie. So because there’s a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates in there. Then the bacteria that like the sugar and refined carbohydrates will have a field day and the ones that like things more like fiber and those prebiotic foods so, which are the bacteria that are more supportive for us. They don’t get to eat very much.

And there’s a little bit of fiber in the cookie from the oatmeal, depending on what kind of oatmeal was used inside cookie. Because if it is like instant oatmeal or whatnot, then the contents pretty small.

 But mostly like those bacteria that thrive on sugars and whatnot are having a field day with a said cookie. So once it’s in our intestines and starts moving into our actual like bloodstream and system from there, we’re getting a pretty big blood sugar spike from the added sugar in the cookie, from the refined carbohydrates in the cookie. It’s making our blood sugar go up.

Now at this point, we should talk about the difference. Like what actually is in sugar. Right? Cause there is different kinds of “ose” sugars right? We have glucose, we have fructose there’s lactose, like all those mean like some kind of simple sugar molecule. And our body uses in all different ways.

So most of the added sugar that’s in a lactation cookie, depending on what it is, is going to be made up of a percentage of fructose and a percentage of glucose. Now, glucose is the preferred energy source for cells. So when that gets into our bloodstream, our insulins spikes, because your blood sugar goes up, your insulin goes up. And insulin is used to kind of push those glucose molecules into cells for energy.

Your favorite energy source is available. And so insulin is like having a field day like push them into your cells for energy. Right? Fructose on the other hand, is not something that we can use directly. So what does that, that goes over to your liver. And your liver has to process fructose into some kind of form that we can actually deal with because as it is, we can’t use it.

So your liver takes that fructose molecule and converts it to fat. So, because we can then take that fat and store it in our fat cells to be burned later. Right? And this makes sense if you think about it, because we have you know, a bunch of glucose around, so we need to burn that up. Cause we don’t have anywhere to store it, except for, to just like burn it.

And we have this other thing coming on that we can’t use. So we’re like, okay, well I’m going to save it for later because once all that glucose is gone, I’m gonna need stuff for later. Right? So the fructose goes and gets stored as like triglycerides, stored as fat in your fat cells.

Interesting thing about insulin is we know that it pushes glucose into your cells for energy. It also pushes triglycerides into your fat cells for storage. And when insulin levels are high, you cannot. It’s a, it’s a one-way street. So it’s like, get in there, get in there to your fat cells and it won’t let anything out. And they’re like, Oh, I want to come out. I want to get burned. No, stay in there.

Stay in there. You actually can’t burn your body fat when your insulin levels are like high chronically. So fun fact there. So that’s happening. That’s basically what’s happening when you eat the cookie. Now you have some other stuff in there that’s supposed to, like brewer’s yeast and things that are supposed to like, you know, help with lactation, but there’s really not a mechanism for what that’s going to do.

A lot of them have flaxseed in it, which flaxseed is like a nutritious thing to eat. Absolutely. It has a high amount of like Omega-3, the vegetable form of those Omega-3s. So in order for your body to actually use them, it has to convert them to the bioactive form. And depending on your genes, you may be efficient at doing that, or you may not be efficient at doing it.

So the amount of actual, Omega-3s that you get from flaxseed can vary. Like two people can eat the same tablespoon of it and actually get a usable amount that’s different. Cause that’s dependent on your genetics. There’s definitely things that are like nutrient dense and they’re like the flax seeds and whatnot.

But, in general, you’re mostly just spiking your blood sugar, which then sets you up later for your blood sugar to suddenly drop. Because you had so much come in that your insulin is like, Oh, I got to catch up. And so it goes like way high. And then once everything gets pushed in, then you have a high level of insulin still in your bloodstream, which can cause your blood sugar to plummet lower than it’s supposed to be.

And what happens when your blood sugar like hits the floor?

Heather O’Neal: Your body thinks that it’s in a situation that’s not safe for itself and starts to spare nutrients for milk making.

Alasen Zarndt: Well, and your brain freaks out and says, “I’m starving and you have to eat something.”

Maureen Farrell: Yeah, your whole body just is unhappy. You’re tired. That’s the sugar crash. And especially, you know, you can literally see children have their sugar crash because they don’t have any self-control. When you’re like, Oh, now they’re crying and screaming on the floor. Right. That’s a sugar crash. That’s how I feel when I sugar crash. I just don’t do that.

Alasen Zarndt: Yeah. Yeah. Like, I mean, if you’ve ever been in a situation where you have low blood sugar and you end up with a headache and you like literally have the shakes. Like that’s what’s going on when your blood sugar crushes. And so when you’re eating like an excessive amount of these cookies and spiking your blood sugar and letting it crash and spiking it and letting it crush, then you’re going to be overeating in general.

Because every time it crashes your brain thinks you’re starving and drives you to eat. And because it’s so low, you then almost binge eat on whatever it is, the next thing that you’re gonna have because your body needs to get that blood sugar up so quickly. So you’re going to crave more simple carbohydrates and more sugar, because those are the things that are going to drive your blood sugar up higher and keep yourself on this roller coaster all day.

And because those simple carbohydrates and sugar, aren’t giving you a whole lot of nutrients, then we’re perpetuating this overfed and undernourished state, which eventually this is pretty much the root cause for my people gain weight when they’re breastfeeding.

You know, they’re like, I’m breastfeeding, I’m supposed to lose all this weight. Instead, I’m hungry all the time and I just keep gaining and gaining and gaining. And it’s because we’re not focusing on the nutrient dense foods and so we’re eating too many calories, but not enough nutrients.

Maureen Farrell: Right. Yeah. And you know, I want to say like some of the ingredients in these cookies are fine, right? Like you said, oatmeal is great. Flax seed is great. Brewer’s yeast, awesome. But the point is that the whole package doesn’t, first of all, it doesn’t even allow you to properly digest the good parts in it. And, and it just has all these added sugars and carbs that our bodies don’t need and we don’t want them to have in that quantity.

So, you know, when people ask me about, okay, well, you know, they’re working for me. Like, why would I stop them? How could I stop them? Like, well, let’s think about what could possibly be working in that cookie for you? And how do we replicate that in a healthy way? You know, let’s talk about, you know, steel cut oats in the morning with a tablespoon of flax seed on top and a little bit of milk and some berries. Like that is a really nice way to maybe fill some nutritional gaps in your body in a healthy way.

Heather O’Neal: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So, I mean, I just kind of feel like. You’re exactly right that people get fired up about this. Because you know, this is the same thing with Body Armor. Like the most mad you will see somebody in our group is if you try to tell them the cookies don’t work. And we’re not saying that the ingredients in the cookies won’t work. What we’re saying is when you put them all together and glue all those good ingredients together with sugar, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice.

Maureen Farrell: And I have to mention this makes people even more mad. Placebos work. Oh, you know, they actually work really well, which is why we compare medicines and supplements against placebos because they work well. Like, you know, our brains are this amazing, powerful thing that can just convince our bodies to do all kinds of crazy shit, you know?

And if we eat a cookie and everybody tells us it’s going to work and we’re going to make more milk, it might just work for literally no other reason than we think it will.

Alasen Zarndt: Well, I was actually gonna say exactly that. Like so if you are somebody who’s been eating the lactation cookies and they work for you, then congratulations. You are a mind like controlling bad-ass of your body and producing milk has always been within your capability. Like you’re amazing, like continue to produce said milk. You know, and another reason why so much of the placebo effect, why they work is because they’re convinced that it’s going to work and we eat the cookie and then our stress levels immediately drop.

Because we’re like, finally I have a solution. And if your cortisol levels go down, if your stress levels drop, then you can let down. Yep. And one of the big reasons I think for low supply is because we’re not getting affective let downs. And if you’re not letting down and therefore not all the milk is leaving, then you end up in that supply and demand situation.

And so the demand feels lower for your body because you can’t let down. And that leads to these kind of supply and demand mismatch. Because if you’re so, so stressed that you can’t let down, then you’re not fully emptying when you’re pumping or whatnot.

I know like a personal story with my oldest daughter. And I like to share this with people because it really illustrates this. Like I said, chronic under supplier, I was pumping five times a day at work or on the commute to get my between 12 and a half and 14 ounces of milk to send to school with her the next day. So that’s all I could make in five pumps.

So those of you who are pumping and saying, I only get an ounce like, I’ve been there for sure. And one day around when she was eight months old, I only got like 11 ounces and there was no way I could send her to work with like 11 ounces of milk. And I was in tears and I sent her to work, I sent her to school the next day with a four ounce thing of formula to be mixed up, to go with it.

Right. And just felt like super, like, you know. Finally, it just came to it. I was like okay; she’s going to get it. And for the first time, since I had been back at work, I was pumping the next day not worried that she was hungry, right. Because underneath all of it, I was worried that my daughter was hungry while I was at work and trying to pump.

So the first time I was like, okay, she’s not hungry. She has more than enough. Like she’s not going to be hungry today. And lo and behold in three sessions, I got like 14 ounces, which is more than I’d ever pumped in three sessions. Like by the end of the day, I think I’d been at 16, which was the most I’d ever pumped in a day.

Like, and the only difference between there was the stress levels. And from then on, I sent like a bottle, like not mixed yet. I have these cool bottles that you can put the boiled water in them and then you can put the formula in like this little cap. And you can mix it  up. So I sent one with her on Monday and I knew she had that extra, so she wouldn’t be hungry and I never under supplied for the day again. And she breastfed until she was two.

Heather O’Neal: So you’re a Jedi too.

Alasen Zarndt: Yeah, it’s all like, you know, it’s one thing to know that it’s all in your head, but like, but to get to the point where you see it or where you actually really feel it.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah.

Alasen Zarndt: Cause you know, you can logically be telling yourself, like it’s all in my head. I need to de-stress. It’s all in my head. I need to de-stress. But until you like really, actually are able to do it and whichever way you’re able to do it, just telling yourself that versus feeling those feelings is the difference between the two.

Heather O’Neal: And also, I just want to say that a lot of people, well, let me take that back. That most people have the most volume of milk in the morning. And as the day wears on, their milk supply goes down and that’s normal because the calories actually increase as the day goes on. But by four o’clock people think, Oh my gosh, my supply is dwindling. I need to do something. It’s me. I haven’t had enough water.

I haven’t had enough good stuff to eat today, but it’s also four o’clock it’s time to start making dinner. I don’t have time. So they go and they eat a bunch of cookies and they chug a bunch of water and then they go to sleep and then they wake up in the morning and they pump 12 ounces and then they take a picture and they put it on our Facebook group and they say, Oh my God, these cookies totally work. And it’s like, wait a minute. What happened was what was going to happen anyway.

Maureen Farrell: Right. And, and it’s funny. People don’t realize sometimes coming home from work is the most stressful time of the day. You know, they think, okay, going to work, that’s going to be my most stress. But for most people, like maybe not us, but like most people, work is predictable.

Same shit happens every day. It’s a little bit stressful, but you’re really used to it. But when you’re transitioning between one environment and the next, and you’re suddenly changing your parent brain. Right. You have to switch that on after work ends and you’re like, Oh, crap dinner, pick them up from daycare.

Get them in bed by eight. Like that is more stressful for a lot of people too. So, yeah. Right. Like for most people really. And then we see that normal change in milk volume get compounded by stress and an inability to completely release milk during that milk ejection reflux.

Heather O’Neal: And then the self-blame.

Maureen Farrell: Right. And then the normal cluster feeding babies do before bed because they want to be full all night. Right? So they, they just like do this little pulse feeding where they’re like, Oh, a snack. Oh, I’ve got room, have a snack. Got a little room, have a snack, and that actually keeps them sleeping longer, which is great. But it makes you real stressed out around 7:00 PM.

Alasen Zarndt: Cause you’re like, Oh my gosh, my baby’s so hungry. What’s wrong with me?

Right. And you’re like in the middle of making dinner and you’ve got the baby in the sling and you’re like, why won’t you stop feeding?

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. So, you know, we’re not saying don’t eat a cookie, you guys. We’re saying understand the process of what’s going on. Understand how to make a healthy food choice. And if you don’t understand how to make a healthy food choice, reach out to somebody like Alasen Zarndt, our nutrition doula, who is more than qualified to walk you through that journey and help you.

Not only just figure out the knowledge behind it, but how to implement it in your life and also work with other moms and other parents in general that are on that same journey with you. Because it’s very, very hard to practice these things, these lifestyle changes in a vacuum. So, you know, reaching out to somebody like her, you know, Alasen, do you want to tell us a little bit about your program?

If people want to be a part of that? Just because that’s what we’re doing here, you guys, we’re trying to make this easier for you. We’re trying to help you understand it and really kind of, pun intended, spoon-feed it to you. So you don’t have to stress about it and be that person at four o’clock who’s crying and self-blaming, you know, let us help you out.

So Alasen, how can you help people out?

Alasen Zarndt: Yeah. Yeah. So I’m super excited about this. So I’m starting a newer program that is kind of combining a few of the old ones that I have. And it really what you just said, Heather. It really hits on what you’re talking about. Like being in a community of like-minded women who are going through the same thing and dealing with the same stresses and all that and making the same type of lifestyle changes.

So you really have that support and that ability to ask questions and get the help that you need when you need it. So it’s called The Healthy Happy Mama Academy. And the way that it works is you come into the program and the first month that you’re in there we’re going to be getting you all of the nutrition information that you need.

And every week you get a live phone call with me to like, whatever your unique situation is that you have going on, then we can talk through that and deal with exactly what you have going on. So that’s what makes this different from everything else, because it’s going to be specifically tailored to you like your lifestyle and exactly what you have going on.

And then after the first month, you’re going to move into the sort of maintenance phase where you’re in that community with the like-minded moms. And you still get two live phone calls a month to work through what you need help with. And then we’re also going to be focusing on, after you get that initial nutrition stuff, like the other lifestyle aspects that feed into this.

So how do we get your sleep better? How do we set up like the meal planning system so that you can get your meal plans and your grocery list and everything done in less than 15 minutes a week. So we’ll be dealing with things along those lines. We have a whole section on exercise. Like, how am I going to get exercise in effectively when I’m dealing with a newborn and a toddler?

So we just kind of go through all of those You know, we focus on a different area each month from there afterwards. So that’s, that’s what the program is.

Heather O’Neal: Well, Alasen, where can people find you?

Alasen Zarndt: Well, so I’m most active on Instagram lately. So it’s @TheNutritionDoula is my Instagram. So come on over there, follow. That’s like where all my content goes out. So if you want to see everything it’s on Instagram, I’m also on Facebook. The Nutrition Doula is my Facebook page. I have a Facebook group called Healthy Eating Made Easy. Oh, and then the website is So you can always get ahold of me through there.

Heather O’Neal: Well that’s easy. Way to be on brand with yourself. And I have to, I have to give you some props, your Instagram’s on point, your reels are hilarious.

Alasen Zarndt: Oh, well, thank you. I love making them they’re so fun.

Heather O’Neal: Well Alasen thank you so much for being here and letting us ramble at you and for giving us all that value that you brought today and thanks everybody.

Well, that was amazing.

Maureen Farrell: I love that. I love chatting with Alasen. I hope you guys love hearing from her. I hope we didn’t make any of you too mad about your Little Debbie or your, your little brownie, whatever it is. Sorry if we did, but you know, like I said, it’s not about never having them. Just have like realistic understanding and expectations about these things, right?

Heather O’Neal: Yeah. I’m just so happy that she came on. I mean, I’ve learned. I learn every time we have somebody on here and I really didn’t understand the sugar cycle of the spikes, the peaks and valleys.

Maureen Farrell: It’s things like that like I’ve learned a lot of times in several different settings and yet it doesn’t stick real well in my brain, you know?

Cause we just don’t talk, like I don’t talk about it every day at work. Right. You know, like she does and that’s great. And so that’s why I like having her here. Cause I’m like, Oh right. Insulin and resistance and the thing. Oh yeah.

Heather O’Neal: Give it to me in cookie form.

Maureen Farrell: Remember

Heather O’Neal: And now I will remember. So before you go putting a cookie in your mouth, I want you to think about what’s going to happen next after you start digesting that cookie.

And maybe there could be a better way. And if you feel like you have no idea where to go check out Alasen because she’s definitely going to help you get to where you need to be. But before we go, we have to do an award in the alcove for one of our amazing listeners.

Maureen Farrell: Yes, absolutely. I’m really excited today to give the tenacious titty award to Nicholas. Nicholas as a member of our group and had a lot of issues with producing and feeding and it was multifaceted. We’re so happy to be supportive. And Nicholas let us know that they overcame the shitty titty and nursed baby to sleep for the first time since baby was a newborn.

Heather O’Neal: That’s amazing. Congratulations. That’s such a big deal. That feeling that you’re able to provide comfort for your baby is so huge. And I’m so glad you got to have that moment.

Maureen Farrell: Yeah. So congratulations, Nicholas, and we’re real proud of you and hope that you keep finding support in the group. Yep. Thanks folks. Bu-bye Buh-Bye. Thanks for listening to The Milk Minute. If you haven’t already please like, subscribe and review our podcast wherever you listen. If you’d like to support our podcast, you can find us on Patreon at

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