January 22, 2010
January 15, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
• Bee pollen/bee products
• AFA blue-green algae
• Marine phytoplankton
• Aloe vera
• 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
January 9, 2010
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.
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
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
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!