January 22, 2010

You Can Still Go to "Happy Hour"

(My best girls and I at my 29th birthday dinner out; I was 8 months pregnant)

Ladies, don’t deprive yourself of your normal social gatherings just because you’re knocked up. I know it is not as fun drinking a virgin pina colada or soda water with a lime, but it’s okay, you can do it. Instead of staying home because you feel fat, huge, nothing fits, you’re too tired, and all those other fun pregnancy woe’s, just get up off the couch, or make the time in your busy schedule to meet up with the girls, or call some of them, or one of them, and set up a get-together.

One of my very favorite things to do is sushi happy hour… I LOVE my sushi and have missed that tuna sashimi! But I still go to out for sushi… I order a California Roll or veggies rolls, or (cooked) shrimp rolls, and sit there with my “cocktail” (soda water with a splash of cranberry and a lime is great) and thoroughly enjoy my social time. Whatever is your pleasure, keep up with it. Just modify! If you are an avid coffee drinker, and used to meet your friend(s) for coffee, or sit at Starbucks with your laptop, don’t stop just because you can’t crack yourself off on quad venti whatever’s.
Keep meeting your girlfriends or friends, keep going on a Saturday morning with your sister or hubby, and just get yourself some decaf, or a nice chai latte, or tea latte… there are lots of options, including hot chocolate or hot cider.

You’ll enjoy your book, conversation or internet surfing just as much, I promise you.If this is a closet issue, “nothing fits”, “I look fat in everything”, “I feel gross”, then you need to just suck it up and purchase some cute maternity clothes, OR you’d be surprised how cute you can make a pair of yoga pants look with a long sleeved t-shirt, a jacket and scarf, or in the summer, a long maxi or sundress with some comfy sandals. You can do this!!!

You will feel so much better if you just get out of your house and maintain your normal social activities, I promise! I’ve even been to bars for parties… It’s not a total joy ride being the sober Sally, but at the end of the night you feel like you didn’t miss out, and that’s the most important thing. You have to keep your spirits up!

For those of you who have been waiting your whole life for pregnancy and are thoroughly enjoying every aspect of being pregnant, including staying home and sitting on the couch with your tub of ice cream or whatever, more power to you! That is perfectly fine. The point is to stay happy and excited about what you are going through, even when you don’t feel great all the time.

January 15, 2010

100/100/100 –if you do nothing else

(At the top of Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona; 8 1/2 months pregnant... You can do it!)

This simple idea has gotten me through many a day of feeling like I just didn’t have any “me” time or time to keep up my exercise or burn any extra calories. I have to thank Bob Karmel my Muay Thai trainer who used to make us do this (amongst other things) at the end of our 90 minutes of intense training sessions 4 times per week.

Yes, prior to finding out I was pregnant I was actively training in Muay Thai fighting, having earned my shorts, I was hoping to have my first fight within the next few months, but obviously my plans changed when I found out I was two months pregnant!
Muay Thai was the first thing to be set aside in my world, obviously since it is a high impact physical activity. I do miss it, but am sure it will be one of the methods I use to get back into shape after I give birth… eventually that is. I can’t imagine training while breastfeeding, initially.

But not to get side tracked… at the end of our training sessions we would “cool down” with various calisthenics, including Bob shouting, “Give me a 100/100/100!” That means one hundred push-ups, one hundred sit-ups and one hundred squats. Not a lot of fun, but let me tell you, it works all of your major muscle groups, you need no equipment, and it takes only about 10 minutes (more or less, depending on how tired you are, and how used to it you are).

Before you freak out, let me tell you to choose your own number. Maybe you start at 20/20/20, or 50/50/50, and maybe you break this up in two or more sessions whenever you get a chance throughout your day. I do sets of 25, so I’ll do 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups and 25 squats, rest, then keep on going. If I have a lot going on, like for example I’m in the middle of cooking dinner (oh yes, I have no problem busting these sets out right in the middle of the kitchen floor in between sautéing vegetables and stirring the brown rice), then I just do 25 of something in between whatever I have going on, and eventually throughout the morning, the day, or all at once, I get it in.

So on the days when you don’t have time to hit the pavement around your neighborhood, get into your yoga studio or step on the elliptical at your gym, you can at least be sure to get in your 100/100/100.

On the days when I’m feeling fat, when I’m feeling a total lack of energy, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, uninspired, exhausted or stressed, if I make myself do at least the 100/100/100 I feel like I got a tiny little circuit training session, and burned a few more calories than I would have at the end of the week if I’d just given in and done nothing. And there have been weeks where I’ve gotten in little else than my 100/100/100, especially with the class load I had this past year. And even on the days in my first trimester when I was struggling with such severe nausea, ladies let me tell you, if you just force yourself to do it, even if it is only 30/30/30 broken up into sets of ten done three separate times through the day, it WILL make you feel better… get your blood pumping and temporarily take your mind off your misery.

Do what you can. You’ll be glad you did, and you will love the way your arms abs and rear end start looking after a couple of weeks, and the way your little underoo’s continue to fit throughout your pregnancy. I’ve not changed a single size, and believe me, the bigger your belly gets, the more you’ll appreciate a tight little rear.

So play around with it, and give yourself the gift of the 100/100/100. Work up to it if you have to, that is totally fine. If you hate squats, do lunges instead, if you hate sit-ups, do another abdominal exercise that is equally effective, like side-plank crunches or similar. I mix it up some days too. Set your goal, choose your poison, and get busy. Remember if you do nothing else, you can always get in your 100/100/100.

January 12, 2010

“My Body, My Baby, My Business” - Boundaries in General

(My sister Jamie, my amazing Grandmother and Mother, and myself, 3 weeks before Mia was born)

This is a phrase I want you to memorize that I came up with while laying in savasana after a particularly challenging yoga session. I had been miffed for the entire 90 minute session because I had gotten some real negativity about my very active pregnancy earlier that day.

I am sure if you haven’t come across this already, you most certainly will, it is unavoidable. Something happens the moment people find out you are pregnant, they feel somehow obligated to instill in you their knowledge about pregnancy, labor, birth, motherhood in general. And they seem to have no qualms distributing that knowledge to you whether or not you like it. But that’s okay, because we aren’t going to let it bother us, are we. Because we are going to memorize those three B’s, and say them with a smile whenever our personal boundaries are being crossed by an advice distributing individual.
“My body, my baby, my business” And you don’t have to say it all snooty, you can paraphrase or for those of you too sweet to spout it off at some stranger offering unsolicited advice, you can say something along those lines such as, “Thank you for your concern, but I feel very confident with how well I know my own body and baby, and will handle things on my own” or something similar. You catch my drift. The point is, don’t feel bad if you tell people that you don’t want their advice. I didn’t say anything to anyone for the first few months, but finally the amount of “advice” and “opinions” I was receiving from random strangers and people I barely knew was overwhelming, and I felt like I was in information overload as it was from all the baby books, internet research and advice I was asking for from my friends and family, I just cut those people off of whom I didn’t know.

Congratulations and big smiles and telling strangers how far along I am, or that I’m having a girl, well that part is fun and I like that. So get a sense of your own boundaries, and don’t feel like you have to listen to advice that you just don’t want to hear at that time.

The same can go with relatives. Thankfully I’ve had very supportive and non-invasive family support throughout my pregnancy. My Mom only gives me advice when I ask for it, and has been just a dream through everything. Same with my other Aunts, cousins Grandmother and others, but if this is not the case for you, you absolutely can use the three B’s on your family. Let them know that although you appreciate the experiences they’ve had, that this is your journey, and these are things for you to experience and discover.

So ask that they keep the lips zipped unless you ask for advice, and respect the beautiful family time that this pregnancy is, because this is a very special time for you and your partner, especially if you are having your first child. Each kick you feel, new size you have to start wearing, article or book you read together is all part of the experience and adventure of becoming parents, even if you’re already a parent, it is still a special time, and a time that should be respected and honored by your family and close friends.
Let them know that you want them to be a part of the journey with you, but in a healthy way that won’t leave you resentful by the time your little bundle arrives. Remember, it is always better to put up healthy boundaries in the first then to deal with resentment and hurt feelings later, or to become bitter at people just because you didn’t want to, or didn’t have the courage to speak up. Bitterness just takes a toll on you, and we don’t want that, because you have enough going on.

So remember the three B’s, and feel free to use them. People will understand, and be grateful that you were honest. And if they don’t understand, well then that’s their problem, not yours. This is your journey, so enjoy it the way you want to.

January 10, 2010

My Green Solution for Morning Sickness and Adding on Only Fat-Free Pounds

First of all, who are they kidding when they say “morning sickness?” For me it was all day, every day, all night, and every night sickness for a few weeks.

We all experience different levels of nausea in the first trimester, ranging from none, to queasy, to full on revisiting each meal every single day for weeks. I had nausea. Plain old sickening nausea without the tossing of my meals, well, most of the time; I did have several sporadic days of throwing up, but mostly it was just the persistent, nagging nausea that really got me. I would say that I’d rather of been throwing up, because at least then I’d feel better for a while, but those who tell me they do nothing but throw up would give anything to just be nauseated without the vomiting.
So whatever you are struggling with, either way it is no fun. Also, if you lose weight during the first trimester (let’s be frank, it isn’t disappointing to see the pounds disappear from the scale), don’t worry about it. Those pounds will be back in a jiffy, and you eat properly, you’ll only be putting on nutrient-rich weight that will support your growing baby and come off easily after you deliver. That’s what we all want, right?

I lost about 7 lbs. during my first trimester, and then literally started putting weight back on around week 14. My doctor said that was perfectly normal, and fine. So don’t stress out too much.
If you’re like me, you tried every solution available for nausea. Drinking ginger ale, sucking on a lemon wedge, those Preggie Pops, the ginger candies, the B-Natal vitamins, dry toast or crackers, and nothing worked, right?
Physical causes of morning sickness are hard to pinpoint, but are more than likely a combination of your body getting used to brand new hormones (hCG first, then other new ones as pregnancy progresses) and the initial imbalances that this causes, coupled with a heightened sensitivity to odors, tastes, and a general feeling of “oh my goodness, I’m pregnant, what is happening to my body…”
Some of you lucky girls out there won’t experience a lick of nausea or vomiting, and lucky you! Your body is adjusting well to the new hormones. For the rest of us, let me share with you what ended up being the only “solution” for me, and one I’ve continued to use throughout my pregnancy.

This is the smoothie that saved my life in the first trimester. It was just about the only thing that I could keep down on the days I was really sick, and helped ease the nausea on the rest of the days. It gave me the comfort that my growing baby was getting all the nutrients that she needed despite my nauseated state. I got on the phone through a friend-referral with Jason & Nandi at Dine Alkaline, http://www.dinealkaline.com/ and was given a ton of information on alkaline living and dining. If you go to their website you can sign up for their smoothie report, but I’m also positing the link here at the bottom of this blog.

You can take it from there and do more research etc. as you want, if you want, or if you’re like me, take this smoothie recipe and run with it, it works! I’m living proof. Not only that but it falls right into our goal of having a fat-free pregnancy.
Implementing this smoothie into your daily diet (drinking it throughout the day) will ensure that you don’t have unhealthy cravings or binges on less than desirable foods. Now that’s not to say that just because you have 8oz of smoothie you’re not going to want to eat half a bag of Baked Lay’s in Southwestern BBQ flavor, as I’ve done more than once. BUT, it does help curb those cravings, and helps you choose more desirable foods to “binge” on, I think. Most of all, it kept me alive, well-hydrated and nausea at bay during that first trimester, and beyond. I drink this smoothie daily, although with several of my own variations, and now adding in more of the superfoods I mentioned in my superfood blog entry.

In this smoothie report, there are many recipes, and they all taste pretty good; each are a variation in one way or another, but here are the core ingredients, and you basically alter the flavor of the smoothie depending on which fruit you add.
You can add mango, banana, guava, berries, kiwi, pears, apples etc., whatever sounds good to you on that day. Some days I added some raw, grated ginger root, and that was really helpful. Other days the idea of ginger root was unbearable.
And as I mentioned, I add in superfoods as well. I make a huge blender full of this smoothie, keep it in my fridge and drink it throughout the day, especially a half hour or hour before I was going to eat a regular meal. This really helped. Here is the basic recipe, just give it a try; even though the sound of the ingredients may make your stomach church, it actually tastes pretty good:

Recipe: Super Green Alkalizing Smoothie

1 Organic Avocado
1 Organic English Cucumber (these are seedless) or Regular Cucumber (Peeled If Waxed)
2-3 Cups Baby Spinach
1 Cup Almond Milk (I buy the brand, Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla, with only 40 calories per serving, and you can buy it COLD in your dairy section; Silk Almond Milk is another fantastic one)
1 Cup Fresh Organic Mango, Pear, Guava, Apple, Banana (fruit of your choice; add as much as you need to make it taste the way you want)
1 Dropperful Organic Green Leaf Stevia (to taste, only if free of imbalance and absolutely necessary; ) (see my blog on stevia)
1-2 tsp Super Greens Powder (of your choice; I have to avoid many due to the flax seed which I am sensitive too... but will use it in a jam)
1 Tlbs Hemp Seed or Flax Seed Powder (I prefer the Living Harvest Hemp Protein Powder)
1 T Udo’s Oil or Raw Coconut Oil (I use coconut oil, I think it gives the smoothie a tropical taste)
Several Mint Leaves (a cup or more really eases nausea)
1 Organic Lemon, peeled and seeded (you can also buy fresh lemon juice; this was key in nausea control for me)
Up to 2 Cups of Ice cubes... whatever your blender can hold!

Blend till smooth and drink. Enjoy!

Here is the link for the full smoothie report, and other variations of the recipe:

I hope this works for you as it did for me… keep experimenting with it until you figure out a way it works for you. Try not to omit the spinach, cucumber and avocado, as these are very water-rich ingredients that are going to keep you hydrated which is key in controlling nausea and when you’re vomiting.

Regarding the Addition of Superfoods:

As you are able to tolerate the smoothie, begin adding in superfoods. I mix up what superfoods I put in, depending on the smoothie or my mood that day, but I always add approximately 1 tsp of Spirulina Powder though, a Tbsp of Local Organic Bee Pollen, 1 Scoop Raw Maca Powder, a few drops of Marine Phytoplankton and maybe a few Goji Berries. Between sips of smoothie I take a shot or two of Aloe Vera Gel, or gut a leaf from my plant and eat the gel. Again, this is 'hard core' so you may want to wait until the next trimester to start adding in some of these superfoods.

Superfoods –What you and your baby need; what will help with your hormones and body balance

First and foremost let me start by saying that your body has certain needs and requirements on a daily basis that we tend to be unaware of. We put things into our mouths without really thinking about it. I am going to provide you a list of the most important superfoods you’ll ever need for your pregnancy. Our babies deserve to have to most nutrient-dense, energy filled foods that we can provide them as they are developing, and let me tell you that keeping these superfoods in your daily diet is going to eliminate (mostly) the cravings you have for unhealthy food choices. Notice that what I’m trying to get you to do is introduce new foods into your diet without telling you all the things that you shouldn’t be eating. That never works. Well hardly ever. If you start introducing these foods into your diet, you will begin to crave other such healthy choices. Remember, like craves like. If you give your body tons of simple carbs, white flour, refined sugars, meats and fried foods that is what you will continue to crave.

Whether or not you have an addictive personality doesn’t matter, your body will very easily become addicted to what you expose it to; sugar, caffeine, salt, etc. The superfoods Bible as I now call it, is such a great book. You need to get this book and read it for yourself. I’m going to give you a basic list here but you have to get this book and do your own research. It is written by David Wolfe and it is called simply Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. I’ve learned so much from reading his books, and you will too. Remember, when you’re pregnant is the time to turn your body into a fine-tuned machine, so picking up a book other than a baby book about nursing, birthing or child rearing is OK. You want a fat-free pregnancy just like me, so let’s get you started:

• Goji berries
• Cacao (not chocolate, but organic, raw cacao)
• Maca
• Bee pollen/bee products
• Spirulina
• AFA blue-green algae
• Marine phytoplankton
• Aloe vera
• Hempseed
• Coconuts and coconut products (i.e. Raw Coconut Oil!)

I can already see you rolling your eyes and/or staring quizzically at the list wondering what half of these items are. Now I’m not telling you to go out to Whole Foods and purchase everything on this list and start eating it. I’m just cluing you in as to what your body needs, and we’re going to work these things slowly into your diet. It is not always easy, but it is doable. I’ll tell you the way I work 90% of these items into my diet is through my smoothies. Oh yes. Every day I make a giant blender full of green, water-rich, nutrient dense smoothie that I “graze” on through the day. I cram as much of these foods into that smoothie as possible, and don’t worry about the rest.
I am going to briefly tell you about the benefits of a couple of these foods, but again, encourage you as always to do your own research and come up with your own opinions and decisions that you can live with. For more detail on these foods, and to read about foods I don’t explain, purchase David Wolfe’s book. http://www.davidwolfe.com/, http://thebestdayever.com/

Every little bit helps, and again let me encourage you that in adding these foods into your diet, you are going to reduce your cravings for unhealthy or unnecessary foods, reduce your sugar cravings, and help your body only add on pounds that are going to benefit both you and baby, and come off easily after you’ve delivered. Trust me. And read David Wolfe’s book. That is where I am getting this information I am about to share with you. The proof is always in the pudding, and so far my pudding’s been fat-free.

Goji Berries

These little berries are outstanding! Quite possibly the most nutrient dense fruit on earth, providing us with a complete protein source, including 19 different amino acids, all 8 essential amino acids, 21 or more trace minerals (such as zinc, iron, copper, calcium…) and vitamins B2, B6 and vitamin E. Goji berries can contain up to 11mg of blood-building iron per 100 grams and much, much more. They are some of the highest antioxidant=containing foods in the world. They have 2-4 times the amount of antioxidants in blueberries. ALL these things good things for you AND your baby!

So how do you work these berries into your diet? Many people that I know eat them and love them just plain. You can add them into your homemade trail mixes (with almonds, raw cacao nibs, other dried fruits/nuts), or if you’re like me, and for some reason, especially in my first trimester, I just couldn’t stomach them. No reason why, it was just one of those things that I couldn’t get down. So I simply began throwing a handful into my smoothies, and that works great! You can find these berries at Whole Foods, or online usually, but make sure you are getting the real, organic deal. Navitas Naturals is a good brand, as well as the berries carried by www.sunfare.com (where you will also find the other top 10 superfoods).

Raw Cacao

Cacao is delicious, and so easy to add into your diet, right? Especially those of us who love the dark chocolate flavor; those of you who do not like the taste of dark chocolate, don’t despair, we can add this into your smoothies etc. so you hardly know it is there.

Cacao is the very best food source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty acids, PEA (phenylethylamine; a major class of chemicals that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love!), anandamide (an endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise, that “feel good” feeling), tryptophan (critical for the production of serotonin; serotonin diminishes anxiety and improves our body’s stress-defines), serotonin (the primary neurotransmitter in the body), fiber and methylxanthines (such as theobromine, which is an effective antibacterial substance. Again, these are all amazing things for your body and for your developing baby, don’t you think? I for one throw a handful into my smoothies (a yummy one is unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a banana, a scoop of chocolate green powder, some maca powder and a banana, a little ice, blend) and also eat it just a few pinches at a time with some almonds, or alone. It has almost an espresso taste too it, in that it is chocolaty, but slightly bitter.


This food is KEY for us ladies. This will help keep your hormones stable as we’re going through all these changes and experiencing all these hormonal surges. I’m not saying that it will prevent emotional ups and downs, and that you’ll never have a melt-down, but it helps keep things more regulated, and keeps you feeling more “normal.” This root is just a little miracle, and has been around for thousands of years. “Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popovici, PhD, suggests that maca acts on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands as well as the adrenals. She has theorized that by activating these endocrine glands maca is able to increase energy, vitality, and libido. Maca words on the master gland of the brain, the hypothalamus. The proper functioning of the endocrine system is deeply correlated with the proper functioning of the immune system. Maca is one of the greatest superfoods not only because of its caliber of nutrients, amino acids and fatty acids, but also because it helps to increase fertility, so if you are having trouble conceiving a child, maca is a great superfood to add to your diet. After pregnancy, maca also helps women to produce more breast milk.”

Maca is known to help improve these following conditions: anemia; chronic fatigue; depression; infertility and sterility in humans and livestock; lack of libido; malnutrition; menopausal symptoms; menstrual discomfort and disorders; poor memory; stomach cancer; stress tension; tuberculosis.
WOW! Obviously we need to be making this food part of our daily diets, wouldn’t you agree? The protein alone in maca contains 20 amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. Maca is a great source of hormone precursors and amino acids and provides many of the same effects that are created by a high protein diet, without the downfalls.

That is huge for us pregnant girls! We need lots of protein, and protein fills you up, not leaving much room or craving for unhealthy carbs and sweets, right? Maca is also rich in calcium (so good for baby’s bone development) magnesium, phosphorous, potassium (key if you are working out like I am), sulfur, sodium, and iron and contains many trace minerals such as zinc, iodine, copper, selenium and more, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E. Are you sold on this food yet? And its not at all hard to incorporate into your diet, let me tell you. In David Wolfe’s book there are TONS of recipes you can take advantage of for all these superfoods, ideas and ways to get them into your body and your baby’s developing little body. Unlike soy products, wild yams, flaxseeds etc. maca is free of plant hormones.

I buy maca powder, and just add it to things I’m making. That’s how I get it into my diet. Mainly I put it in smoothies, but you can add it to homemade desserts, sprinkle some in your hot/cold cereal, or anyway you like. It has a slightly malted flavor, is slightly sweet, and some people thing it has a slight butterscotch flavor. I put a scoop in my hot chocolate the other night and mixed it all up, it was delicious!!! Get David Wolfe’s book (again, where I am getting all this info from) and there are tons of recipes for you.

Bee Pollen

This alkaline food is considered to be one of the most complete foods found naturally in nature. It is high in antioxidants; is a potent aphrodisiac and has fertility-improving properties; increases strength, endurance, energy and speed, providing a quicker recovery from exercise; reduces the production of histamine, thus neutralizing many allergies; has outstanding B vitamin concentration, building up our defense shield, increases longevity clears acne; helps relieve type 2 diabetes symptoms, anemia, constipation, colitis, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.

It is a source of 18 vitamins, including nearly all B vitamins (except B12), as well as C, D, and E. Bee Pollen is one of the richest sources of bioavailable protein in nature. Pollen is approximately 25% protein. Gram for gram, pollen contains 5-7 times more protein than mean, eggs, or cheese. This is definitely something you want to start eating! I take a pinch and chew it up. It tastes like honey. You can throw a few pinches into any smoothie, mix it into your tea, put some on your cereal, the options are endless. The best pollen for you is a local one, try finding it at a local farmers market or health food store. I’ve had no trouble finding my local bee pollen at both those places.


Yet another amazing food source; you will want to put this into your diet right away. I love the Barlean’s Greens brand of green powder, this is the one I use in all my smoothies. It tastes great, and they even use stevia to sweeten it. They have a whole mess of amazing green ingredients for you in there, including a great dose of sea greens, which has 1250mg of spirulina.

Spirulina includes chlorophyll, protein, vitamins, major minerals, trace minerals, essential fatty acids, nucleic acids (RNA & DNA), polysaccharides, and a ton of antioxidants. Spirulina is 65%-71% pure protein (the highest concentration found in any food) , is a complete protein source, contains all 8 essential amino acids, and 18 amino acids total. It is rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, E and K (vitamin K is a shot that they will give your baby as soon as he/she is born to promote blood-clotting factors… spirulina can give your baby a head start with producing vitamin K!) Full-spectrum proteins sources are so important because they help balance brain chemistry. And let’s face it girls, our brains aren’t exactly balanced through pregnancy, so this food source is key for us.

Spirulina also is an excellent asset in blood building (your blood volume nearly doubles during pregnancy!), is full of antioxidants, boots our immune system (pregnant women are automatically considered “immunocompromised,” which means we are more susceptible to illness/disease), has GLA (gamma-linolenic acid, which aids our bodies in producing breast milk, makes our skin and hair shiny, soft and strong, which will help us feel beautiful all pregnancy long!). You can also buy spirulina powder and add it into your smoothies if you like, or purchase spirulina capsules and take it as a supplement. For questions about how much you should be taking, purchase David Wolfe’s book, or talk to your ND.

Aloe Vera

Simple enough, isn’t it? We’ve all seen the plant, or you’ve probably seen the jugs of the juice you can buy at your local health food store or Whole Foods. Let me just touch on aloe vera here, and you can do the rest of your own research. Aloe contains vitamins A, C and E, the minerals sulfer, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and chromium, as well as antioxidants, fiber, amino acids, enzymes, sterols, lignins, and, most importantly, polysaccharides (help your immune system fight chronic viral, nanobacteria, and fungal infections). Aloe is lubricating to your joints (this really helps towards the end of pregnancy girls), brain, skin and nervous system.

Aloe is crucial when it comes to weight loss, because it has been shown that ingesting aloe helps you lose weight but also gain lean muscle mass at the same time. Sound good? I think so. Getting this into your diet is easy, especially if you live in my state of Arizona. You purchase yourself a nice aloe plant, and use it. You want to use the gel that is inside the leaf, adding it to smoothies, etc. You simply will cut off a leaf, remove the stickers on either side, separate the gel from the skin with a knife, and toss into your blender.


This food is such an easy one to add ladies. First of all there is delicious Hemp Milk. It comes in plain, vanilla or chocolate flavor, and you can use it in your smoothies, on your cereal or drink it plain. There is excellent Hemp Protein Powder, which is what I use in my smoothies daily. I personally prefer the Living Harvest brand of Organic Hemp Protein powder with Fiber, which you can find at your local health food store or online. They have a chai flavor which I haven’t tried, but the original flavor is just plain, you can’t taste it at all.

Hemp is considered to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Hempseeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.
Does that sound like a good deal for you and your baby? I think so. No other single plant has all these nutrients in such an easily digestible form, or such a perfect ratio of fatty acids to meet our human nutrient needs. Hemp has 33%-37% pure digestible, complete protein. Approximately 47% of each hempseed is composed of an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (crucial for your baby’s brain development).
Hempseed is also an outstanding source of omega-9, which is another healthy energy source and a high quality beautifying oil! It contains lecithin, which is a lipid substance important in brain building and liver-support. Like spirulina, hempseed also contains GLA. And remember, GLA is known to help balance hormones.
This means that hempseed (and spirulina) may help improve PMS, mood swings, pregnancy hormone ups and downs, and breast pain reduction. Other than a couple of weeks in my first trimester, I’ve had no breast pain whatsoever, and am hoping that this will also help ease breast pain when my daughter is born, and I begin nursing. (***Update: It totally did!)


Who doesn’t want to eat more coconut? I love it! Well, maybe you are one of those that hate coconut flavor, or maybe you are having an aversion to it since you’ve been pregnant. Let me see if I can help change your mind if that’s the case, because this nut is just too good to pass up.
Coconut products are beneficial in the following ways: they improve digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids (when we’re pregnant girls, we need all the help we can get, right?!); they contain antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial saturated fatty acids, helping to naturally fight off viruses (colds and flu’s ladies, H1N1, and other viruses you might be struggling with such as HPV, HSV1 or 2, and more), bacteria (UTI’s!!!), and fungal overgrowth (i.e. yeast infections).
Coconut improves the utilization of blood sugar, and lessens the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Coconut improves the absorption of the right kind of calcium and magnesium (more for your baby!), and consists of 90+% raw, saturated fat (not to be confused with saturated animal fats, this is different), which is an important building block of every single cell in the human body. This is important as we are not only sustaining ourselves, but building another little human being from scratch!
Coconut contains powerful antioxidants, it helps regulate and support healthy hormone production (this includes the HCG hormone that is crucial at the beginning of pregnancy, helping our bodies support and maintain that tiny embryo in the first trimester, and helps produce and stabilize other pregnancy hormones); coconut increases the speed of our thyroid (many women begin having thyroid troubles during pregnancy, this is key for you ladies), helps restore natural saturated fat levels to the skin and cell membranes (so you have that pregnancy “glow”), and increases your metabolisms, helping with weight loss (after birth, and preventing excessive weight gain during pregnancy). Those are just a few of the benefits of coconut… in David Wolfe’s book you can read about more, and get some great recipes.

I drink coconut water after every Bikram yoga session to replace all my electrolytes naturally without any of that sugary, useless stuff in Gatorade, Powerade, etc. A great site to check out about more coconut nutrition is: http://www.cocotap.com/nutrition.htm. In the electrolyte department, an 8oz. serving contains: 600-680mg potassium (12%-14% of the daily value), 40-60 mg sodium (2%-3% of the daily limit), 4%-6% of your daily calcium needs and 6%-10% of your daily magnesium needs. All in a tasty, clear, coconut water. This is a great way to rehydrate and get these nutrients into your body.

Now just because I wasn't able to get into the Marine Phytoplankton or AFA Blue/Green Algae, doesn't mean they are not important! Its just that I didn't want you to stop reading my blog because it was too long... because it really is already too long, ha! Marine Phytoplankton has played a crucial role in my health. Read up on it and TAKE IT. Same with AFA. Take 2-4 capsules first thing in the morning.

I hope this gives you a good place and a good reason to start researching these superfoods on your own and adding them into your diet. As I mentioned several times I would get a copy of David Wolfe’s book and devour it. There are so many other great books out there, and David provides many other resources in his book as well.
Start adding in one thing at a time, and play it by ear. If you are an “all or nothing” kind of girl like me, go for it! Start making smoothies as I do and cramming as many of these superfoods into them as possible. You’ll notice a change in your hormone and energy levels almost immediately, I promise. Not to mention you’ll be sleeping better at night and able to have more energy evenly spread throughout the day. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!

My Top Favorite Sites for Purchasing Superfoods:





January 9, 2010

The Power of Stevia –sweet without the calories or harmful side effects

You simply must discover stevia! This is an all natural sweetener, a super-sweet one that has been a keystone in my diet for nearly 6 years. This little plant provides a sweetening agent that is nonglycemic and actually assists your body in managing your blood sugar levels. This is a HUGE help during pregnancy when our cravings and blood sugar seems to be up and down and all over the place. I use stevia in everything possible. This is just a personal habit, and I feel personally that out of all the sweeteners out there, that stevia is the safest one available. Sugar in the raw is fine, but let’s face it, I’m not looking for extra calories here.

They have amazing liquid stevia drops that not only come in a plain flavor, but a dozen or more delicious flavored drops that can be added to beverages, smoothies, salad dressings and more. Flavors such as root beer, grape, lemon drop, cherry, vanilla, milk chocolate, dark chocolate and apricot to name a few. You can find these drops at Whole Foods, Mother’s Market, Sunflower Market and many other health food stores , and online.

I add them to sparkling water for a no-calorie, non-chemical beverage, I will add the chocolate flavor to my almond milk when I want chocolate, I will add vanilla to my tea or coffee, or a drop or two of plain stevia to a couple tablespoons of liquid aminos and dash of cayenne pepper for a tasty stir fry sauce. The ideas you’ll come up with are amazing, and you can start experimenting with using stevia in baking, although it is tricky, so I’m not going to get into that here.
When using stevia I notice that I don’t crave sugar or sweets very much at all, and I feel like I’m indulging my sweet tooth all at the same time.

They have powdered stevia that you can sprinkle onto your hot or cold cereal, and packets to go which I carry with me everywhere. I put them in my lattes, teas, and sometimes even in my food when I’m traveling or out and about. And at least daily, I squeeze some lemon into a very tall glass of water, put in a couple drops of stevia and enjoy refreshing, cleansing “lemonade.” I promise you that if you begin implementing stevia into your diet, you will notice a dramatic reduction in your sugar cravings and other cravings.

I personally do not drink soda. Every once in a while I’ll have an all natural root beer if I’m craving one, or my favorite, ginger ale. But I gave up soda about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back. The stuff is caustic to your body. Lie to yourself all you want, but you know deep down that those caramel or brightly dyed carbonated beverages with either 8 teaspoons of refined sugar or God forbid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose just can’t be good for you, and certainly are not a good nutritious resource for your growing baby. I’m not going to get up on a soap box, but as I always will tell you, do your own research and come up with your own opinion, and make the choices that you can live with.

I will tell you though that drinking either regular or diet sodas will increase your cravings for other sugars and sweets, it will make you bloated, and it will raise your insulin and glycemic levels, making weight gain during pregnancy more likely and weight loss after your birth more difficult. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Do your own research! And try my recipe for natural soda by putting a few drops of flavored stevia into some sparkling water. You’ll be surprised how good it tastes, and you won’t feel an ounce of guilt or an ounce of bloat.
For reading I would recommend the Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven book, because they have a whole chapter on artificial sweeteners that I would take to heart, and with a grain of salt.

A great resource that I love and have used repeatedly during my pregnancy is www.mercola.com. He has great articles interviews that you should take advantage of, and provides excellent insight on many prevalent topics. For artificial sweetener and stevia research, I would recommend his article here as a starting point: http://products.mercola.com/sweet-deception/ Beware, truth is sometimes uncomfortable!

January 8, 2010

Pregnant Bikram -you will not "cook" your baby

Bikram (hatha) yoga has been a life changing experience for me from the first day I tried it back in early 2000. And through the past 8+ months it has been an absolute life saver. I go into a hot, humid room nearly daily, for 90 minutes and sweat out loads of bloat and unwanted toxic fluid build-up that can accompany pregnancy, and stretch out my poor aching morphing body until everything feels lose, comfortable, relaxed and flexible again. It is the only thing that has made me feel like “myself” as my body has slowly taken on its new pregnant shape.
I work on strengthening my core, so that I can push this little girl out, I strengthen my arms so that they look good and that I have strength to hold my baby girl for hours on end nursing her and cuddling her close. I strengthen my legs so that they stay tone, trimmed and strong, and man, it does wonders for your rear!
I’ve been able to maintain my balance and center of gravity for the most part, and it is the only thing that relieves the achy-achy back that we have to deal with through the later few months and weeks of pregnancy.
As the relaxin hormone has been released into my body, I’ve been able to utilize it to stretch out my muscles and ligaments in preparation for delivery. The truth is, I’ve become more flexible than I’ve ever been the past few weeks, going deeper into every pose than I thought possible for myself at this point.
Bikram does have an entire pregnancy series which is a modification of the original series developed by his wife who also continued her practice through her pregnancy.
The studio I’ve been attending since I’ve lived back in Arizona has been outstanding in its support of my practicing through pregnancy, and I’ve had great encouragement and guidance from one of the instructors who also continued her practice through her pregnancy, and beyond, and had dramatic results.

This is what I hope to accomplish through maintaining my practice as well… after all, who doesn’t want to bounce back quickly?
I’ve been met with a lot of praise and encouragement for my decision and commitment to carry on my practice through pregnancy, and of course I’ve been met with a lot of glances, raised eyebrows, and flat-out disgust by others. I’ve been accused of “cooking” my baby, of restricting blood flow to her developing little self, and putting myself at risk for falling, over-heating, raising my blood pressure and more.

Let me say a few things to clear the air for you. First of all, if you have never before practiced Bikram or any other hatha (hot) yoga, I am not suggesting that you begin a practice when you find out you are pregnant. As I mentioned I’ve been practicing for 9 years, and my doctor felt very comfortable with me continuing on as I had been, knowing that my body was adapted to the conditions in the hot, humid room, and exercising comfortably at such humidity and temperatures (in fact, she has been practicing yoga through her recent pregnancy as well!). If you are interested in doing Bikram or another hot/hatha yoga through your pregnancy and are not yet pregnant, your doctor and the Bikram studio (for one) wants you to have been practicing that style of yoga for at least six months prior to becoming pregnant if you wish to continue throughout your pregnancy. There are other styles of yoga that are very beneficial and are safe to start after you’ve learned you are pregnant, and you can discuss those options with your doctor and the studio you are interested in attending.
Secondly, our bodies are amazing! They are adaptable to many environments, like the one I live in here in Arizona. Our summers are brutal as you might have heard, so when I have to live in 115˚ summer weather, taking 90 minutes out of my day to practice yoga in a 105˚ room doesn’t seem so awful.

Our bodies are able to maintain homeostasis in such a variety of environments. It will work hard for you to maintain your internal temperature of 98.6˚ through thick and thin. Even when we do get a temperature, it is our body’s defense mechanism going into high gear to burn up bacteria and foreign invaders to keep us alive and kicking. Being in a hot room, performing slow, steady, precisely executed movements is not going to cause you to overheat or “cook” your baby. During my practice is one of the times when my little one moves the most… in between every posture. And I feel so good about all the freshly oxygenated blood that I am sending straight down to her as I deeply breathe and circulate new nutrient rich blood through my body. I believe that the breathing techniques I’ve learned will be an amazing asset through my labor and delivery, as well as the ability to maintain my deep, purposeful breathing throughout a variety of postures that raise my blood pressure. I’ve learned how to control my blood pressure and breathing through the stress of the postures, bringing it back to normal in between each posture. This will come in very handy as I am going through contractions and pushing through delivery.
The ways I’ve been able to stretch out my hips, strengthen my core and focus on one spot in the mirror for a minute or more will also be invaluable during my labor and delivery. And one of the best benefits of my Bikram yoga practice is that I have had not even a full day of that terrible bloat, or kankles, or similar. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and still wearing my wedding rings and don’t have that “puffy” look to my face. This is through no good luck, but through the daily sweat of my yoga practice.

Only you and your doctor can decide if a hatha yoga practice through your pregnancy is right for you, I’m just letting you know what it’s been like for me. A lifesaver!
Lastly, if you do the appropriate modifications provided, you will not harm your baby by practicing yoga through your pregnancy. They modify poses so that you do not do any inverted or compression postures, and keep your chin up so that you do not risk restricting blood flow from your carotid artery to the placenta and baby. They modify the appropriate standing postures so that falling out of postures is unlikely, and they keep you laying on your side for any savasana poses so that you are not on your back at length. Most importantly, listen to your body. Our bodies are amazing, as I mentioned above, and will tell us when to back off, when to stop, when to take it easy and when to push ourselves. Trust your body and yourself. You’ll love the results!

January 7, 2010

The Begining

(2 1/2 months pregnant, relaxing on vacation with my girlfriend in CA, and thinking about how my pregnancy was going to go)

You can have the pregnant body you want. It is that simple. If you don’t want to gain 40, 60, 80 pounds and be all soft, bloated and miserable, you do not have to. Pregnancy does not have to be an excuse to let everything go if you don’t want to. You don’t have feel ugly, fat, awkward or unlike yourself. Pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to turn your body into a fine tuned machine that will undertake the most amazing and difficult challenge of your life, labor and birth. You must think of the delivery of your baby as a marathon you are preparing to run. You have to train, you have to focus and you have to be driven.
For me, it was quite simple. Getting fat, seeing cellulite, accumulating stretch marks was not an option. I’m not saying I’m invincible to such things, but I simply told myself from the moment I found out I was pregnant (okay, after the shock wore off) that I was not going to let myself go. This attitude may have begun as vanity, I’m not going to lie, but in a matter of days turned into something so much more. I began to realize the challenge that lay before me, and what I was being called to do. Create life. Be responsible for the construction of a tiny human being who helplessly depended on every decision I made for his/her life. I was called to prepare my body for an unfamiliar and seemingly daunting task of pregnancy, labor and finally delivery.
The first thing I decided was that I was not going to give up on my workout regimen. Obviously as my pregnancy progressed there would be modifications made, but I was not going to just stop, or begin substituting slow, pointless, ineffective “pregnancy yoga” or long walks around my neighborhood for my ass-kicking routine of running, weight lifting and Bikram (hath) yoga. This simply would not do.
Secondly, I chose then and there that I would not allow my pregnancy to an excuse to give in to irrational cravings for junk food or deserts or endless empty calories. Not only did I not want to gain excessive weight, but what good would junk food do for my baby? And how much harder would the weight be to lose after I gave birth, if the pounds consisted of Jack in the Box drive thru fare or half gallons of Ben and Jerry’s, vs. raw fruits and vegetables and other such choices? Certainly much harder, even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time of temptation.
Third, it was suddenly very clear to me that I needed to stay as busy as ever, because sitting around reading baby books and contemplating 10,000 baby names would just not keep me in gear or feeling accomplished at the end of the day. As it turns out, it wasn’t too difficult for me to stay busy, seeing as I was a full time student until about two weeks ago when I finally got to break for the holidays. That’s when I decided to start this blog, because there is SO much information out there, a girl needs to sometimes be able to just hear from another pregnant woman how she is doing things to get ideas, or hear something that’s not in a baby book. Enjoy!