Monday, August 11, 2014

17 Weeks: Resources, Tools and Supplements for a Successful Plant Based Pregnancy


I can’t believe I’m 2 weeks away from the halfway mark! I feel like it wasn’t so long ago that I discovered I was not only pregnant, but 2 weeks behind my expected schedule. I thought to myself that day, this is going to be the longest pregnancy ever. While time has seemed to slow down a bit, realizing that I’m almost 18 weeks is sort of scary. Where did the last 10 weeks go? The realization has definitely set me in panic mode as I start thinking about all the decisions I have to make. As a chronic procrastinator, for the first time in my life, I’m actually well ahead of the game. I’ve already been reading, researching and writing down all the decisions I have to make. From cord blood banking to how I want my baby to be handled in the delivery room to the dreaded decision of pediatricians and such. I’m very thankful I started early because it’s taking some time to figure it all out. Of course, I couldn’t have gotten through without some useful resources. From books to sites, I’m going to share with you everything I have found helpful so far.
 

Books

When I first discovered I was pregnant, my desire was to follow a fully raw diet. Being new to the whole concept of eating healthy and plant based while pregnant, I wanted to find some helpful resources that could guide me through my pregnancy. I wanted to make sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed for me and baby.
The one book I have found most helpful so far is called “Well-Rounded:The Ultimate Guide to a Raw Food Pregnancy” by Joanna Stevens. I had purchased the book along with her other book, “The Milk Way: The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding on a Raw Food Diet”.  “Well-Rounded” has served me well so far. Not only does it contain valuable information about the nutrients necessary for a growing baby, but it also contains information on caring for your body and preparing for birth, along with helpful tips on how to make living with a newborn a bit easier for mom. I use her book very often as a reference as I continue to figure out what to eat and what decisions to make.

 
I do want to note, Joanna’s book is not just for the rawsies; it’s for vegans and vegetarians too! As you will learn, Joanna didn’t follow a 100% raw food diet. She also included some kefir as well as cooked foods when she so desired. I have learned in the past few weeks that it’s all about balance and listening to your body, pregnant or not.
If you’re new to a plant based diet and/or pregnancy all together, then some other helpful books include “The Everything Vegan PregnancyBook” and “Your Vegetarian Pregnancy”.  I have both and each one is loaded with information from A to Z about both veganism and pregnancy. They also contain some delicious, nutritious, easy to make recipes as well.
Last, my sister just lent me a book called “Pregnancy Sucks” by Joanne Kimes. I have yet to fully dive into it, but from reading a page or so I can already tell this book is a must read. Not only is it humorous but it sheds some light on the not-so-glamorous side of pregnancy. It’ll make mommas like me who have been head over the toilet bowl feel much better about not being alone in the miserable pregnant woman department.

Websites

Besides the oh-so-famous Babycenter website, here are a few others you may find helpful, especially when following a predominantly plant-based pregnancy.
Joanna Steven’s Blog: The author of the “Well-Rounded” book also has an extremely informative blog. I love reading her articles about pregnancy and parenting seeing as her ideals seems to match up well with mine. She also shares some great info on nutrition as well as recipes that are healthy and delicious.

Oh She Glows: Angela, author of the “Oh She Glows” blog is currently in her third trimester and has been blogging about her pregnancy along with the all the delicious foods she loves to make and eat while pregnant. I find her website helpful when it comes to making delicious, complete, vegan meals that will not only satisfy, but provide the nutrients my baby and I need. Her growing section, “baby” is also full of helpful resources as well!

The Detoxinista: Megan, author of  “The Detoxinista” blog, just had a beautiful baby a little less than a year ago and has been sharing with the world her pregnancy as well as her life as a new mother. Her site is also full of helpful resources, product reviews as well as good-for-you recipes to satisfy both the pregnant and nursing momma.  

BabyCenter App: Okay, this isn’t a site, but it’s the one and only app at this moment that I have been using to track my pregnancy. What I love about the BabyCenter App is that it gives you little tidbits of info as well as an activity to do daily. For example, today they shared a little baby joke and gave me the task of trying a relaxation technique to help me sleep better. I find the app fun and it keeps me on track.

Supplements

I know that supplements are not exactly a resource, but I feel they belong in this post considering it’s one of the first things you research and purchase, along with books and sites, when you first discover you’re pregnant.
I didn’t do too much research on which prenatal to purchase. I figured with a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet, my prenatal would serve as a supplement and nothing else. I was partially right. After reading Joanna’s book, I realized I needed to make sure my parental multi-vitamin contained all the necessary nutrients, in its correct form. Thankfully my prenatal is pretty good. I personally chose to take the Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal by Garden ofLife due to the fact that it’s raw, plant-based, and predominantly organic.

 
I also take an Omega-3 supplement, Algae Omega, by NordicNaturals. The Omega-3s are sourced from algae as opposed to fish making it 100% plant based as well. I do not take a Vitamin B-12 supplement at this moment. Since my multi-vitamin contains 100% B-12 already, I don’t want to overdo it. I know that our bodies do not absorb all of the nutrients from supplements and food, but as long as I’m not deficient, I’m good.  
I know there are several other brands of vegan/raw prenatals and omega supplements out there to choose from. It can get overwhelming to decide which one is best. Take your time to research before deciding. Just know that anything is always better than nothing.

Do you have any go-to resources for pregnancy and/or parenting?

This week:

My Diet


I’m still stuck on protein milkshakes for breakfast. They seem to hit the spot every time and they keep me well satisfied. I noticed that if I don’t have one in the morning time, I snack like the Cookie Monster at a cookie shop; it never ends.
My new obsession has been raw kale salads for lunch. I honestly can’t get enough of them. The weird thing is, I have been eating the same salad everyday for over a week! If you have been following us for a while you know I rarely eat the same thing twice; especially not in the same week! I don’t know what it is, but the earthiness of the kale combined with the tangy creaminess of the dressing and the briney saltiness of olives just makes every kale salad I have consumed the best freakin’ think I have ever tasted. It’s crazy I know.
My go to recipe has been the Weekend Glow Salad by Angela from “Oh She Glows”. The dressing is so good, I swear to you, you’ll lick the bowl clean.

 
As for dinner, I’m still whipping up extras of whatever cooked sides my family eats. This past week I got to indulge on crunchy black bean tacos with lettuce, tomatoes and fresh guac as well as a bowl cilantro-lime rice, fajita veggies and guac to top it off. Yeah, we’re Mexican food lovers.
Ooh and snacks! Oh man I’m a horrible product purchaser when it comes to snacks. My favorite find this week are the new, organic trail mixes by Peeled Snacks! I am currently in love with the Coco Nosh flavor: bananas, mango, coconut , peanut, cashews and dark chocolate! Even though the bag says 6 servings, it usually only lasts two! Soooo good! You must find and grab ASAP!

 
In other news, I have been venturing out a bit and enjoying some wild caught seafood. I’m not sure why I am so drawn to seafood, but it’s the one, non-vegan food that I have been really wanting most during this pregnancy. As a person who believes in listening to her body and not being a food perfectionist, I have decided to give into these desires. I have enjoyed crabs, fish as well as mussels on very rare occasions. I do not consume them daily, not even weekly. Just once in a while. I have found consuming seafood once in a while to not only satisfy the craving, but I usually feel very nourished. The healthy omegas combined with the multiple vitamins and minerals does not make me feel guilty at all about feeding my body or my baby this food.

My Exercise Routine

Yep, haven’t been doing well in this department, I have been walking more often, which is a plus, but I still need to get some stretching in. My body is aching all over!

My Pregnancy

17 weeks, shrunken belly
This week has been pretty uneventful in terms of symptoms. Nothing new at least. Sleeping has been less than restful as I continue to toss, turn, and wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. Only having two sleep position options is no fun; especially when you’re not used to them. I’m hoping the purchase of a whole body pillow does the trick.
I have been feeling the baby move more now that my uterus has moved up and out a bit. I seem to feel the movements most in the evening time when I’m lounging on the couch or at night when I’m lying in bed.  I think we may have a night owl on our hands. Either way, I love the new feeling. It not only confirms my baby is doing well, but there’s something about it that just makes me smile and feel so wonderful and blessed.
Next week I should know the sex of our baby! Wish us luck and pray, boy, boy, boy!

Beth