Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Food to Babies? A Special Announcement + A New Subject for the Blog


Hi!
So….how are you!? I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked but trust me when I say I have a very good reason why…and this time I truly do.
For the past 16 weeks my body has been adjusting to some major changes thanks to this little bundle called a baby. The journey has been both a blessing and a curse, but I am very happy to say that things have finally calmed down and I am now in the blissful stages of pregnancy. I am once again energetic, happy and best of all, able to eat.
With time permitting, my goal is to blog about my journey through pregnancy and motherhood as the health and environmentally conscience individual that I am. Building and raising a baby requires a lot of health and diet related decisions, which I hope you can help me with! It’s been 8 years since I was last pregnant and my ideals about food, health, etc. has completely changed making this feel like a whole new experience for me and my family. I also want to document this experience in hopes that it helps other like minded moms out there relate. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing you’re not alone.
So to begin, I think it’s only best to back track on the last 15 weeks of my life as a newly pregnant momma. It’s an interesting story that should NOT go untold.

Discovery

Before my missed cycle, before I even took a stick test, I knew something was “wrong” with my body. I could tell my hormones were off by the random changes my body was going through. I guess learning to tune in and listen to my body finally paid off. The first thing I noticed was a sudden flare up of back acne. Random, large zits would pop up daily on my back and wouldn’t go away. At first I thought it was a reaction to the new shampoo I was using, but even after not using it for a week, the acne continued. (Keep in mind, my first pregnancy was symptom free from beginning to end.) That was sign number one.
The second thing I noticed was a swing in my emotions. Don’t get me wrong, as a woman and human being having emotional swings isn’t all that rare. It happens, but usually when I haven’t eaten right or during that time of the month; never mid-month when I’m usually my happiest self. In addition, I also noticed I became very annoyed with people being in my personal space. I couldn’t even take my daughter or husband being near my face, or in my bubble for a long period of time. It was sort of sad honestly because I felt like I was being mean and hateful. What happened to the happy, loving person I used to be?
After waiting a week after my missed period I finally took a test. My husband was convinced that my cycle was just off, but I knew that was not the case. Ever since I started my raw food journey, my cycle was on point every single month. It was so well scheduled I could plan trips around it without an issue. No way was it all of a sudden late. Of course, I was right. The test came out faintly positive. To be sure I took one more the following day and sure enough, we were having a baby!
It was a shock to us as this was totally unplanned, but we were no doubt happy and thrilled. Having lost two in 2013, and swearing we would never try again, we knew that this baby was a miracle from God.

Misery

The first few weeks of my pregnancy were quite a breeze. I had some sharp pains here and there, some cramping, along with tiny bouts of nausea, but nothing serious. I thought to myself, maybe this pregnancy will be just like my first: easy, breezy, and stress free. Haha, did I jinx that one.
All of a sudden, I was suffering from migraines that wouldn’t ease with water or sleep; severe nausea; strong food aversions; and eventually, severe vomiting. I could barely keep food or water down. My dreams of having a completely raw food pregnancy were toast. Instead, I was living off organic saltines, ice cubes, seltzer water and rice when I could manage it. My multi-vitamins weren’t staying down either, leading me to panic about the health of my baby. No vitamins, no healthy foods and little water….what kind of damage is this going to cause? As much as I wanted to take care of this little human inside of me, all I focused on was taking care of me. Eat, drink, throw up, sleep, repeat – that was my routine for 7 weeks straight.

Scared

It the midst of all the pregnancy horror, one day I noticed the early signs of an oncoming cycle or for those who are pregnant, a miscarriage. It frightened me to tears and I immediately called my doctor for an early appointment. Having miscarried before, the situation was nerve wrecking and left me anxious to eventually see my baby. Thankfully, all was well; really well actually. However, to be safe, the doctor prescribed me prometrium and scheduled me an ultrasound for that same day.
Now, many of you who know me very, very well, know medications are off the books for me unless there is a desperate need for them. If you don’t know what prometrium is, it’s basically a boost of progesterone hormones in order to help keep the uterus functioning properly. I researched, read and debated about whether or not I should pick up my prescription for almost two weeks. Finally I decided my answer would be no. Even though it could potentially help, at the end of the day, I learned it wouldn't prevent a miscarriage and the side effects made it seem like life could possibly be even more miserable and stressful, which was NOT what I needed. I determined I would leave it the hands of fate, or in my case, God. If this baby was meant to stay, then it will.
The ultrasound that day went perfect. Even though I was a complete mess, I finally got to see the reason why I was going through so much fuss. My little cocoon was doing just fine, measuring at 7 weeks, 1 day (weirdly almost 2 weeks prior to what I predicted), with a heartbeat of 136. Seeing him/her put my mind at ease, at least for the time being, and thankfully, all was well.
7 Weeks, 1 Day

Becoming High Risk

At my next appointment, aka my regularly scheduled “first” appointment, my doctor expressed her concerns about the shape of my uterus which she examined from the ultrasound scans. Instead of being the typical oval shaped that it should be, mine showed to be somewhat heart shaped or medically speaking, bicornuate. If this is your first time hearing about such an anomaly you’re reaction is probably similar to what mine was – “Cool. Okay. And?”.  Apparently, having such a unique shaped baby cave can actually put you at high risk. How?
A bicornuate uterus means that I have, what they like to call, two horns or two cavities as opposed to one: a right and a left. The baby settles into one side and happily grows. However, depending on the length of the “septum” in between the two cavities, the baby’s growth could be stunted. I could miscarry, go into preterm labor, or worse.
Now, let me reiterate just one more time how beautiful my first pregnancy went. No symptoms; easy labor; and THIS never came up. Never. And I was born with it! I never had an issue with it during my pregnancy so why should I now, right? I guess for once I’d like to curse the advancement of technology and its ability to now see a more accurate viewing of my screwed up baby cave. If it wasn’t for it, I wouldn’t be in this high risk situation. Of course, I’m sure miscarrying twice has something to do with it too and well, all complaining aside, it’s been a blessing. An expensive blessing, but a blessing. I do get to see my baby every 2 weeks!
My doctor sent me to the Maternal Fetal Associates of the Mid-Atlantic, a place that services high-risk patients, and where almost all pregnant women go for their First Trimester Screening, for a more thorough screening of my uterus to determine if the bicornuate diagnosis was accurate. Although difficult to see, the doctor stated that the diagnosis seemed accurate and asked me to come back every 2 weeks to keep an eye on everything and for my First Trimester Screening. My reaction, of course, was yippee, I get to see my baby every two weeks! What a way to keep my mind at ease! Being high-risk wasn’t so bad after all.

10 Weeks, 2 Days

The Benefits of Eating Raw Vegan

Even though I wasn’t doing so well with my diet, my body was still in amazing shape. The proof? The results of my blood work showed everything was doing fine. I was healthy, and, wait for it, NOT ANEMIC! Now anemia, especially among pregnant women, seems to be a major issue. Prior to becoming vegan and during my first pregnancy, I was anemic and prescribed those gosh awful iron pills to supplement. Ever since then I haven’t had my blood analyzed and therefore, never knew how my iron levels were...until now! Apparently I’m doing great! THANK YOU HEALTHY DIET and thank you greens!
Sorry, I had to boast a bit J
14 Weeks Baby Bump: 10% Baby, 90% fat and water retention!
 

First Trimester Screening

Nothing is more nerve wrecking than waiting for the results of these pregnancy tests and screenings. As a mother, all I wish is for a healthy baby, but when there’s a test that can determine otherwise, well, I worry.
The First Trimester Test is composed of two different tests: a blood test and a screening of the baby’s neural tubes. The blood test was easy, yet painful. Having lacked in fluids that day, drawing blood from my middle finger became a serious task for the nurse. All she needed was 5 drops and my finger was giving her nothing. Eventually she got what she needed, but in turn I got a seriously bruised middle finger that lasted a week. As for the screening, that I enjoyed because I was able to see my baby move in the process. At that time, s/he was measuring at 12 weeks, 3 days, exactly on point, with a heartbeat of around 160.
After about a week or so the result of my screening came in and everything looked great.  I could finally relax for a bit and finally go back to living my pregnant life semi-normally.
12 Weeks, 3 Days

The Present

Since my First Trimester Screening, I have had one other ultrasound, which again, showed that everything was doing great. The baby is growing exactly on point and so far, everything with me is also looking good. The only small concern they had was that my placenta was lying low towards my cervix, but apparently that’s normal early in the pregnancy. Whew.
To date I am 16 weeks along. The vomiting has significantly subsided and I am once again enjoying foods of all varieties. I am not 100% raw, but I do eat a lot of raw foods. I have gone from worrying about eating in general to now worrying about the safety of what I am consuming. From herbal teas, to protein powders, to even chocolate, everything seems to have a safety concern when it comes to being pregnant. In my future posts I’ll be addressing these concerns along with updates on my pregnancy.
 
14 Weeks, 1 Day
Well, I hope you’re as excited as I am to start this journey. As I expressed before, this is all pretty new to me, and I am going to need all the help I can get! I was never cautious about what I consumed or what activities I did with my first pregnancy. This go around, it’s all about making sure that I’m healthy and fit, because a healthy momma means a healthy baby!
So I want to know, what’s your go to snack!? I need ideas!

Beth

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THE SPLIT PLATE 2.0 - Progress = Change.


http://www.chasinglilly.net/blog/changes-ahead/

Well Hellllooo Dears!!!

I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. I’ll be honest, I’ve been lazy. But for very good reasons! I’ve finally found a way to balance my life (well, sort of). I’m in a good routine right now that is working for all of us and as a result, I’m happy and totally loving life! Yeah, there have been a few bumps in the road and hell, what would life be if there weren’t many more to face in the future, but overall things are smooth sailing. Will it change someday? Possibly. For now though, I’m gonna just enjoy it!

Now that life is somewhat on the right track, I’ve decided to revisit this whole idea of blogging. I have come to conclusion that I will continue to blog (I do, after all, have so much to share!), but it will be when I have time and the posts moving forward will contain an array of topics…not just vegan. This blog is called The Split Plate after all. Here we believe that everyone is different and therefore needs to follow a diet that specifically meets their needs.  If this includes animal products then so be it. No longer will we be “diet” specific.  I hope that our current followers will embrace this new philosophy of ours and be as open-minded as we are as we continue to learn about the health and nutrition in today’s society.
Does this mean I’ve gone back to eating animal products? Umm, no. It just means that over the last year I've progressed and my thoughts have changed based on new information and new experiences. I dropped the "diet" labels and began embracing the "me" diet; a diet based on my body's needs and no one else's - something we all should be doing and a diet I will be encouraging others to follow moving forward.

CHEERS to the new SPLIT PLATE blog and to label free living! May you find the perfect diet that is right for you.

Now that we have opened the discussion floor to talk about any and all topics related to food, health and nutrition, what topics would you like to see us chat about?
*Beth*

Sunday, March 2, 2014

B7DRC February 2014 - Day 7: Congrats!!

Welcome to the last day of Brad's 7 Day Raw Challenge. As I mentioned in the beginning of this challenge, today I had planned to break the challenge to celebrate my dad's birthday at one of his favorite restaurants. While my meal was predominantly raw (a salad loaded with veggies, fruit and nuts) my dressing and delicious cocktail was not. Neither was dessert. I would have loved to finish this month's challenge, but sometimes there's a need to put others before yourself, especially when celebrating. In my opinion, today was worth it.

I don't have any recipes to share. It was a busy day so I grabbed a raw, Eco Hemp bar for breakfast then headed out for a day of grocery shopping and celebrating. However, our challenger's have plenty of recipes to share! Enjoy and See ya next month!

CHALLENGER'S RECIPES

(Coming Soon)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

B7DRC February 2014 - Day 6: I'm only human. Bad decisions happen.



Day 6 was a complete fail. Contrary to what you may believe, my diet is not perfect. I fall victim to cravings from time to time, especially at my most vulnerable moments when I’m busy and starving. I know there’s no excuse, and trust me, I’m not making any. All I’m saying is that I’m human. Like most, I fall off the path from time to time and instead of accepting failure, I look at it as a simple mistake from which I grow from. I learn my lesson, take it with me and move on. 

This morning I started the day off as normal with a warm tea; a green one with raw honey. An hour later I made and sipped on a Tropical Citrus Smoothie as we contemplated what we do today. We had promised our daughter we’d go ice skating sometime soon so we decided today was the perfect day to do so. 

On our way to the rink, my family grabbed some snacks to hold them over until we were done with our skating adventure. I, being me, decided I wasn’t hungry at the moment and ate nothing, but threw a raw bar into my purse for later. Bad idea all around. We locked my purse into a one-time use only locker and the smoothie that had me full and satisfied prior, was burned through within minutes of skating. By the time we were done I was exhausted and famished. I had no energy left. As a result I made a very bad diet decision.

On our way out we spotted an old favorite: Einstein’s Bagels. They had shut down all locations in our hometown when we were younger so seeing one here brought back old memories. As the starving individuals that we were, we made the decision to visit this old favorite. I figured I was already going to fail the challenge when I joined tomorrow’s birthday dinner, so why not. Bad idea, round two. I haven’t had a bagel in years because I normally avoid any and all gluten whenever possible, let alone a processed bagel. Even though it was full of raw veggies, it didn’t change the way It affected my body. 

Minutes later I was feeling groggy and fuzzy and my stomach, empty. It was like I hadn’t eaten anything. We came home, took a nap and when I awoke I still had a headache. My stomach felt icky and my head was aching. I already knew what was causing it and I’ve been beating myself up all night for the decision I made. It wasn’t worth it at all. The bagel wasn’t even that good and the way I feel now is far worse than the hour I could have spent feeling starved waiting to get home to eat. Lesson learned. Of course. But I’m sure it won’t be the last.

For the rest of the evening I drank lots of water, nibbled on my last jicama burger and had a few dates and raw nut butter for a snack. 

Overall my day was great. I took my baby girl ice skating for the first time. I enjoyed a wonderful day with my family. I feel on my butt a few times. And best of all, I learned another valuable lesson: Don’t let your stomach rule your head or your heart. Being hangry is just not fun; and neither is a headache. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

*Beth*

Tropical Citrus Smoothie
By Beth Mickens


  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 kiwi, peeled
  • ½ cup mango, frozen
  • ½ cup pineapple, frozen
  • ½ cup berries
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ½ cup raw almond milk
CHALLENGER'S RECIPES

 Simple Taco Wraps
By Lucia Morrison

  1.  1 large lettuce leaf filled with 1/2 sliced avocado, 1/2 diced tomato, 1/2 tbsp diced onion, 1/2 Tbsp cilantro, squeeze of lime jice and squeeze of lemon!
Strawberry Banana Sorbet
By Nick Lassonde 

  1. In a high speed blender, blend frozen strawberries and frozen chopped bananas with stevia and vanilla.
  2. Blend until smooth texture is achieved. 
Indian  Spiced Pulp Crackers
By Kristin Lassonde


  •  3 cups juice pulp
  • 3 heaping tsp unsweetened almond pulp
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin powder
  • 1 heaping tsp coriander powder
  • 1 heaping tsp curry leaf powder
  • 1 heaping tsp turmeric powder
    1. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor. You may need a little water.
    2. Spread onto a dehydrator sheet and score into desired size/shape
    3. Dehydrate for 24 hours.
 OTHER
http://www.choosingraw.com/the-only-raw-vegan-granola-recipe-youll-ever-need/


Friday, February 28, 2014

B7DRC February 2014 - Day 5: A delicious raw burger that's easy to make with only 5 ingredients!? No way!



TGIF!!! It’s Day 5 of Brad’s 7 Day Raw Challenge and I am feeling well rested and full of energy! Let’s get right into today’s eats.

Early Morning

I started the morning off with a warm, apple cider vinegar with raw honey. It helped with the sore throat I’m still dealing with.

Juice

I’m low on produce so I had to be a bit creative. Grapefruit. Pineapple. Leftover coconut water. Sounds refreshing, sweet and juicy! Yumm!

Citrus Coconut Cooler
By Beth Mickens



  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1 heaping cup of pineapple
  • ¼ cup coconut water
    1. Juice. Drink. Enjoy.

Lunch

I saw this burger recipe last night, recognized how easy it was to make, even better, realized I had all of the 5 ingredients needed and decided I was definitely going to make these. And this morning I did just that. All it took was a few pulses in the food processors, a little molding, a few hours in the dehydrator and by lunchtime I had the best tasting, raw burger salad I have ever tasted. Ever. Even better than the frozen, vegan burgers I used to whip up. Way better. 

These burgers are bursting with tons of spice and flavor. It’s amazing how just a few ingredients could make such an amazing meal. These burgers have the best texture; dry and crispy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside with a nice crunch to every bite. You can’t tell these are even raw! Yes, they are THAT good. All you need are a few ingredients so go get ‘em and make these..NOW!

Makes 4 burgers


Burgers
  • 1 cup jicama
  • ¼ cup white onion
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • Fresh dill, cumin, coriander, chili, salt and pepper
Salad
  • Mixed greens
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • Lots of tomatoes
  • ½ avocado
  • Any other veggies you prefer
  • Favorite dressing
  1. In a food processor, process the jicama, onion, lemon juice and as spices to taste. Pour into a small bowl.
  2. Add the walnuts into the food processor and process til a thick paste is created. Pour into the bowl with the veggie mix.
  3. Mix together with your hands until well combined. Season to taste.
  4. Using a large cookie mold or just your hands, mold into 4, ½ inch burgers.
  5. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees for 3 hours or until the burgers are dry and crisp on the outside and hold together well.
  6. Use as desired.
For the salad: On a plate add the mixed greens, onion, tomatoes, avocado and other preferred veggies. Top with 2 burgers and serve with favorite dressing.

Enjoy!

For the rest of the evening I nibbled on pineapple and more caramel chocolates!

End of Day 5! Happy Friday!!

*Beth*

CHALLENGER'S RECIPES

Raw Taco's
By Nick Lassonde




Taco Meat
  • 2 cups sprouted quinoa
  • 2 heaping tsp of walnuts
  • Cumin Powder
  • Coriander Powder
  • Paprika 
  • Turmeric
    1. Process in a food processor until well combined
For the Tacos/Nachos
    1. Spread onto romaine/raw chips with salsa and guacamole
Raw Brownies
By Deliciousyella.com and Lucia Morrison


  •  2 cups medjool dates
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw cacao
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    1. Process in a food processor till well combined.
    2. Spread out onto a baking sheet
    3. Refrigerate for 3 hours
    4. Slice and enjoy!
Italian Seasoned Pulp Crackers
By Nick Lassonde


  • 3 cups juice pulp
  • 3 heaping tsp unsweetened almond pulp
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • 3 heaping tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp garlic powder
  • 2 heaping tsp onion powder
  • 1 heaping tsp dry oregano
  • 1 heaping tsp dry basil
    1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor. You may need to add water while processing. 
    2. Spread onto a dehydrator sheet and score to desired size/shape.
    3. Dehydrate for 24 hours.
 

B7DRC February 2014 - Day 4: Quick, raw eats for when life happens.



We’re halfway through Brad’s 7 Day Raw Challenge and I’m feeling great so far sans the mild, sore throat. I can’t determine if it’s the dry air in our home, the cold weather (right after warm weather) or if I got a small bit of my daughter’s head cold. Either way, I’m working on, once again, healing it with warm tea and “flu shots”. I’ve noticed that for the past few challenges I have had to deal with a sore throat. I wonder if maybe it’s a detox symptom? Hmm… 

As you read through today’s eats you may notice that my menu seems abnormal. No juice. No smoothie. Two salads. I know. It’s weird for me too, but sometimes life just gets in the way of your plans and instead of stopping everything you’re doing to scream, cry and mope, just ride along. You never know what you may discover or learn! Life is, after all, a journey.

So here is Day 4’s eats.

Breakfast


I was in a rush this morning to get out of the house so all my planned juices and smoothies were out the door. Instead I grabbed a classic fave: banana with raw (cashew, almond and walnut) nut butter, raw honey, cacao nibs, and coconut. The perfect breakfast: carbs, protein, quick, easy and fulfilling.

Lunch



Once I finally got home I was getting quite hungry, but was once again, in a rush to make my food so I could get to work. I grabbed some greens, added some cukes, tomatoes, green onions, avocado, and sunflower seeds and whipped up a quick salad which I drizzled with some cold pressed grapeseed oil with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper for a quick dressing. Yumm!

Dinner



Another quick one! I made a quick massaged kale salad which I massaged with grapeseed oil, raw garlic, lemon and salt! I mixed in some shredded carrots and green onions for added goodness.

Dessert



I have been craving for something caramely and wanted my next treat to include raw caramel. Sounds yummy doesn’t it!? I saw a recipe for chocolate caramel cookies and was all prepped to make them…until I found these. Raw caramel chocolates. 

Yes they are just as amazing as they look and sound. What makes these different from any other raw chocolate is the texture of the chocolate itself. Instead of being that hard chocolate that cracks when you bite it and melts instantly the moment it hits your lips, this chocolate is fudgy and chewy. Whether or not Emily, the author of this recipe, intended for the chocolate to be chewy is beyond my knowing. I may have easily messed up the recipe somewhere along the way and created a whole new chocolate. Either way, I love it!! The results are a chewy tootsie-like chocolate with a creamy caramel center. The pecan adds a little nuttiness and crunch which complements the chocolate and caramel very well. The only issue I have is this: I. CAN’T. STOP. EATING. THEM. AAAH!

By Emily from This Rawesome Vegan Life
Makes 12 Mini Cups


 
 Prepare mini-muffin cups by lining them mini cupcake liners.

Melted Chocolate
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or cacao butter, melted (I used a mix of both)
  • ½ cup coconut nectar or date paste (I used raw honey and maple syrup)
  • ¾ cup cacao powder

  1. In a double boiler, melt coconut oil and/or cacao butter.
  2. Remove from the double boiler and add sweetener; mix til well combined.
  3. Sift in the cacao powder and mix well.
  4. Add 1 ½ heaping tsp to the bottom of the liners and push some of the chocolate halfway up the liners in order to coat.
  5. Set in the freezer to set.


  • ¼ cup dates
  • 2 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • ¼ - ½ cup of warm water
  • Pinch of sea salt

  1. In a small blender, blend the ingredients together until a thick creamy caramel has been created. I only used ¼ cup of water for a thick caramel but use as much as you need to achieve the consistency you want.
  2. Remove the pan out of the freezer.
  3. Add about 1 tbsp of caramel. Smooth out with your finger.
  4. Top the caramel with another heaping teaspoon or so of chocolate to cover the caramel.
  5. Place back in the freezer to set. 
  6. Keep in the freezer until ready to devour!

Day 4 done. Of course, as you may have realized, it’s day 5 because last night I crashed before I even had a chance to write my post for the day. Lesson learned: I need my fruit for lasting energy!

*Beth*

CHALLENGER'S RECIPES

Massaged Kale Salad
By Kristin Lassonde

  •  Chopped Kale
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
    1. Massage kale with apple cider vinegar til soft and wilted. 
    2. Add remaining ingredients and mix til combined.
    3. Enjoy!
 
Green Juice
By Lucia Morrison
 
 
  • 3 large handfuls of kale
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 inch cut cored pineapple
  • 8 raspberries
  • 1 clementine
  • 28 blueberries
Banana Nut Butter
By Nick Lassonde
 
 
  1.  Blend 1 tsp nut butter per 1 medium banana
  2. Mix in cinnamon, cocoa, carob or stevia depending on flavor preference. 
OTHERS
  • http://www.choosingraw.com/chocolate-avocado-sauce-and-chocolate-avocado-breakfast-salad/