Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Back To Raw In My First Trimester

by Kristen Suzanne in cheezy hemp nacho sauce, pregnancy, vegan

Whew! This week marks my 9th week being pregnant!!!! I’m in the final stretch of the first trimester and my body is visibly changing with this little life growing inside me. I’ve been sick as a dog (all-day-morning-sickness) but happy as hell about it. However, there were many days over the past 2 weeks that I didn’t want any food… not Raw, not even cooked vegan… not bread… nothing! And, this coming from a woman who used to eat even with an upset tummy. However, even though I didn’t want to eat the past couple of weeks, I forced myself to eat. I had to. I was able to manage some fresh fruit, as well as a green smoothie here and there, but most of it was cooked vegan.


But, something has changed. Even though I’m still feeling nauseous (Monday and Tuesday were particularly bad), I have been wanting Raw food! I’ll still have some lentils sometimes (quinoa, beans, etc) for extra protein and such, but my body wants lots of fresh, organic Raw foods. I’m not in the mood for Raw pastas or things like that (although a piece of my Raw lasagna does sound yummy! I just don’t feel like making it. If only I could wiggle my nose and blink my eyes and magically my husband could make it!). I am craving big salads, fresh fruit, fresh veggies and dip, green juices, green smoothies… things like that. In fact, the other day, I made my famous Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce recipe and loved it up with organic Romaine hearts, carrots, and celery for three days in a row. YUM! (I also had it as a sauce on my organic cooked veggie burger —>>> DOUBLE YUM!)


I’m eagerly anticipating my CSA box on Saturday. This week in the my organic CSA, I selected:
Romaine
Red Bell Peppers
Swiss Chard
Oranges
Lemons
Garlic
Carrots
Broccoli
Celery
Apples (3 kinds)



THEN… I ordered from Boxed Greens (blogged about them in the last post):


Sunflower sprouts
Pea sprouts
Kale
Avocados
Cucumbers
Raspberries
Bananas
Kiwi
Pineapple
Feijoa (never had this!)
Grape Tomatoes
More Romaine

I’m going to be in Raw food heaven!!!!

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Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Ordering Organic Produce to Help Prevent Swine / Seasonal Flus And To Help My Pregnancy

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

I was watching Dr. Oz the other day and he did an episode on the dangerous germs lurking in the grocery store. For obvious reasons, I was all eyes and ears when it came to the produce department. Would you believe they showed a woman (on hidden camera) actually climbing on the produce with her dirty shoes? And, many people licking their fingers to open plastic bags and then touching the produce with their germy fingers?


Here is what it says on Dr. Oz’s website regarding this episode:

THE PRODUCE SECTION
Dirty little secret: When you grab an apple for lunch, your hands may be the 20th pair to touch it. That’s right, veggies and fruits are picked, sorted, thrown on a truck, taken off a truck, sorted again, boxed, and unboxed all before they reach the display case where they’re fondled by other customers before they meet you. Experts say, all in all, 20 people will touch a tomato before you slice it up for your salad. And that’s in addition to all the animal waste that can mingle with produce on the long journey from farm to table.

Quick fix: Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables before eating, even if you don’t plan on eating the skin. When you peel or cut vegetables and fruits, the bacteria from the exterior can travel inside. Keep any prepped veggies, such as sliced tomatoes, at 41 degrees or cooler until you eat or cook them.

After seeing that episode, and with the swine and seasonal flus going around, I started thinking about all of the hands that could have the flu bug on them, or other germs, that are touching the produce I buy. From people licking their fingers to open the plastic bags or touching their faces and then picking through the produce bins… it’s scary. (I’ve even seen women leave the bathroom without washing their hands at Whole Foods!!!) Unfortunately, washing the produce doesn’t dispel my fears because I’m not completely confident that my vinegar wash (or any other wash I use) is eliminating 100% of the germs.

As a pregnant woman, this alarms me, especially during the flu season. For starters, I’m not going near the vaccines (see blog post with videos here). So, I’m taking other necessary precautions to avoid the flus and stay healthy. One of which is how I handle buying my organic produce (more things I’m doing to stay healthy toward the end of this post).

Here is my plan…

Currently, I get a weekly allotment of fresh organic produce from our local CSA. This is the best choice of keeping my produce from too many hands because it touches the farmers and that’s it. Since I’m part of the CSA, I don’t have to think about other farmer market customers touching my produce at the market because our food is set aside for pickup every Saturday (see why I love our CSA so much here). But… the limitation with a CSA is that, even though I pick out what I want every week, my farmer doesn’t grow everything I need and want. Therefore, I usually go to Whole Foods for produce I can’t get from our local CSA.


However, after seeing the Dr. Oz show, I’m second guessing that and I’ve up with a great plan! There is a local organic delivery company (they deliver nationwide, too!) called Boxed Greens. They get mostly locally grown, organic produce from farmers and when I place an order, it’s shipped straight to my door. Whoo-hoo! This is my answer to limiting the number of hands that touch my produce. In this scenario, the only people touching it are the farmers and the workers at Boxed Greens… meaning no grocery store employees and no 10-20 consumers picking through the items looking for their favorite.

Upon inquiry with Boxed Greens, the owner (whom I’ve known for years and trust) assured me that the workers wash their hands AND wear gloves when handling the produce. Plus, because most of it is locally grown and it’s not stored for extended periods of time (like at most grocery stores), I’m getting more nutrition in my food — it’s Super Qi! See my blog post about Super Qi food.

Boxed Greens produce does indeed cost more than what I would pay at Whole Foods, and it’s a heck of a lot more than the CSA (that’s a perk about the CSA though – GREAT DEALS on produce!), but I’m worth it! My baby’s health is worth it! If necessary, I’m willing to make sacrifices in other areas of my life so that I can feed my family only the best. Do I need the coolest car on the block? Hell no! I want the greatest food for my body! And… did I mention that Boxed Greens gets a number of organic fruits and veggies that I can’t get at Whole Foods.

But, that’s not the only thing I’m doing to limit my exposure to germs and the seasonal/swine flus. After scouring the Internet for information on pregnant women and the seasonal / swine flus, I came have a list of things to do (I came up with most of these from Mothering.com’s forum):

  1. Wash hands for 30 seconds with soap OFTEN (avoiding anti-bacterial gels). A good trick is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song three times while hand washing.
  2. PLENTY OF REST!
  3. Don’t touch face
  4. Get Vitamin D!!! (I get mine from the sun, 15-25 minutes daily or every other day)
  5. Gargle with warm salt water twice a day
  6. Take warm salt water and dip a q-tip into it and swab the inside of nostrils daily (or use a neti pot)
  7. Eat fresh, organic, raw garlic
  8. Drink warm liquids
  9. Consume plenty of vitamin C-rich foods
  10. Stay hydrated
  11. Avoid crowded places (I even returned my opening night tickets to New Moon!)
And, speaking of being pregnant… my aforementioned plan of ordering produce has another awesome benefit. As most of you know, I have all-day-long-morning-sickness (which I love in a bittersweet way), and the last thing I want to do is leave the house. So, having my produce delivered is awesome! I also imagine that once I have the baby, having my produce delivered will be extremely beneficial, too! This will save me time and energy. :)

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

8 Week Ultrasound Shows Healthy Heart Beat

by Kristen Suzanne in Mini IVF, pregnancy

Here’s our Monkey striking a pose during the 8 week ultrasound. According to the tech, everything is normal – YAY! I’ll get a call from New Hope Fertility Clinic later today to confirm after my doctor checks out the results.


I’m not crazy about ultrasounds during pregnancy. In fact, my doctor wanted me to get one last week and I skipped it. But… I did want to make sure everything was okay so I went ahead with it at week 8. I have my all day morning sickness to let me know that I’m very much pregnant, but I’m also still taking estrogen during the first trimester so I thought it’d be smart to get the ultrasound and see what the doc says. After all… maybe he’ll be able to take me off it early like he did with the progesterone. I’ve been told that because we went through Mini-IVF, my body didn’t start to produce it’s own progesterone and estrogen so I had to take the medication. However, early on, my progesterone actually shot up on its own, and the doc took me off it. I’m eager to get off the estrogen as soon as possible, too.

I have to admit though…. it was so awesome(!) seeing Monkey and his/her little heart beating away.

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine – Interview of Dr. Blaylock By Dr. Mercola

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

I found this interview full of important information. Find out all the reasons why pregnant women should NEVER get the H1N1 vaccine. Renowned expert exposes major H1N1 myths.”


It’s long, but VERY much worth listening to. I had a few jaw dropping moments while I was listening to it. In the end, everyone needs to decide for themselves what is best… but it’s important to have all of the information in doing so.


And! Here is a great thread from Mothering.com’s community: What can a pregnant mama do for swine flu?

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Supplements While I’m Pregnant

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

I’m asked all the time about which supplements I’m taking while pregnant. There are a few things that I take for sure… meaning that I will take them throughout the pregnancy, and there are some things that I’ll take for a certain period of time and then, perhaps, stop. There are some women who don’t feel the need to take supplements while pregnant. Personally, because I’m vegan, I want to make sure my diet is complete, so I feel better by supplementing. Moreover, with the “all-day ‘morning’ sickness” I’m experiencing, I feel even more compelled to take some things because it’s hard for me to get a balanced diet right now.


The following are things I’m taking, but they may not be what you took while pregnant, or want to take if you’re pregnant now. Everyone is different. I researched these items thoroughly before deciding what would work best for me and my baby. If you have questions about your own situation, I’d suggest researching information yourself, and then asking your midwife or doctor.

Here are the items I will take throughout the pregnancy for sure (the prenatal and DHA I pretty much take daily, the others in this list I take every other day or a couple times a week).
  • Vitamin B12
  • DHA (vegan) (there are many vegan options other than NuTru)
  • prenatal*
  • wheat grass (in pill and/or powder depending on how I feel)
  • probiotic**
  • Vitamin D
*Vitamin Code sent me their Raw prenatal to try, which is what I’m taking now. I’m happy with it although it’s hard to say whether I notice anything (as is the case with many multi-vitamins when your diet is already good). I’ve been told that the Vitamin Code prenatal would help with morning sickness. It has not changed that for me – I’m still nauseated all day (remember though, I love it, hard as it is. It’s the daily sign of my pregnancy, so I’m not complaining. In fact, if it went away before the second trimester started, I might be a little bummed). Vitamin Code also sent me other products to try. 


UPDATE: Vitamin Code’s prenatal might not be very vegan after all. The D3 is derived from lanolin – ugh! However, they state that they are following the definition of “vegan” as prescribed by the Vegan Society. You can read more about it on Garden of Life’s website. **Also, you’ll see Dr. Ohhira’s probiotic in the picture. That has beeswax in it so I no longer take that for my probiotic. Instead, I’m taking Ejuva’s Moflora for my probiotic.

I have also spent part of the past year taking New Chapter Organic Prenatal. That is a highly reputable company and many women have successfully used their prenatal. I love that it’s made from food and is organic, but my biggest complaint is that it’s in a tablet form instead of a capsule. From what I understand, when a company makes a tablet, it usually requires heat. Vitamin Code’s Raw Prenatal is in a capsule form, making it easier for them to keep it Raw, which I love. Update {2/9/11}: I have since learned that New Chapter’s Prenatal is not vegan. 

The most important thing for me when getting a prenatal was making sure there were not any synthetics in it. Here is a blog post about when I found synthetics in my prenatals last year. If a prenatal is truly a whole food vitamin, then it shouldn’t upset my stomach when I take it without food. And, in my experience, whole food multi-vitamins don’t turn my urine yellow.

There are some other things I take, although I don’t take them daily, and I’m not sure I’ll take them through the whole pregnancy. It depends on how I feel as time goes by, as well as what foods I’ve had in any particular day. They are:
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella*
  • Kelp granules
  • Iron
  • B-complex
  • Vitamin E**
  • Protein powder(s) to help me keep my protein higher on all-raw days
  • Chia / Flax seeds
*Chlorella can be tricky because it can cause detox to occur. I’ve been taking this all year pretty much, so my body is used to it. I’m not sure I’d be taking it while pregnant if I hadn’t already had experience taking it prior to getting pregnant. And, it’s not something I take daily anymore either.

**Vitamin E is known as a fertility vitamin because it’s reputed for helping to reduce the rate of miscarriage. I try to get most of my vitamin E from foods, such as organic sprouted sunflower seeds, but I don’t always get enough of those, so on occasion I supplement with it.

I’ve listed some of the things I’m currently taking, but there is so much more than just writing a list. My diet changes all the time – sometimes I get in bananas and avocados (these have B-vitamins) and sometimes I get lentils and other higher protein, iron rich foods. Some days I have oranges and kiwi and greens so I’m getting minerals and phytonutrients. Some days I have herbal teas of nettle and alfalfa (and in the future trimesters, I’ll add raspberry leaf tea). The bottom line is that my diet changes, and as a result, I’m prepared for any possible inadequacies I might experience. I pay attention to my diet every day, with every meal. Some people might say that I over-think this stuff. Quite the contrary. One way I don’t stress about getting the perfect diet is knowing that I have supplements and super foods available to help balance everything. Plus, most importantly, I’m doing everything I can to provide the best environment for my baby. There can be no over-thinking, if you ask me, so long as you don’t stress about it (stress is one of the worst things for a pregnancy).

I’ll say again, not everyone is the same. Not all pregnant, mostly Raw, women will think they need to supplement. I’m not here to prescribe a list for you. It’s simply what I’m taking. Based on my information here, you can further research it, and evaluate your own lifestyle – Do you live in a toxic city or in the woods? Do you have a balanced diet? Is it organic? Are you stressed? Did you have fertility issues? Do you get enough rest? Do you meditate? Do you exercise or burn extra calories? Are you older or younger? Do you have allergies which restrict certain foods from your diet? – As you can see, we are all different and we should all take care and pay special attention to our own, unique situations. A great example is that when I told people about my nausea, I had many people tell me to have ginger. Ginger didn’t help me one bit. I had others tell me to have lemon. Lemon didn’t help me one bit. The list went on and on (peppermint, carbonation, acupressure bracelets, etc). What I think is great is to have all of these wonderful options available and experiences from people. But keep in mind that we’re all different (my mom is amazed that I still love the smell of coffee because she hated it when she was pregnant. She also finds it weird that she only had sickness in the morning and I have it all day. So, as you can see, it’s even different for people in the same family). You never know what might work so don’t be afraid to try different things. Do what is best for you and your baby.

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Raw Vegan Travel – Pensacola, FL

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy, raw travel

So, I’m going to back track a bit and write about the awesomeness of our stay in Pensacola, FL. We have family there with a farm (horses, cat, dog, huge pond with fish, etc) so we stayed a few days and just relaxed. It was amazing. The day after we arrived we were blessed with warm sunshine so we went to the beach briefly and stuck our feet in the water. The remaining days were filled with pouring rain, but it was magical as we sat on the big porch in rocking chairs and talking for hours and hours and witnessing nature do its thing.


One late afternoon when it wasn’t raining, but the grass was wet after having just been rained on, we went out and blew bubbles. How fun! And! How meditative! Gently blowing into the wand, watching the beautiful bubbles form and then float softly to the ground, where they stayed for many minutes at a time, was soothing. It’s funny… I was telling my mom about it and she relayed a story to me, “Yes..I use to buy you those cheap bubbles in the bottle… When you were done with the bottle, I filled it with water and kitchen soap. It took you two minutes to tell me, ‘ITS NOT THE SAME!!!’”

There were a few highlights to this leg of our trip (in no particular order). First, being on the farm was nurturing to my soul as I awaited the day for my first pregnancy blood tests. The full moon, the fresh air, and the warm night breezes completely relaxed me. Secondly, the horses. I love horses. I really really love horses. When I’m around them, I’m in the moment… I’m under their spell. I don’t think about the past or the future. I’m just calm, mesmerized by their beauty, and in awe. Being around the horses and feeding them organic apples and carrots was enchantment. The third aspect of the trip that was awesome was spending time with family that we rarely see. This was one of the main reasons for taking the drive down south instead of cutting across the Midwest. We laughed so much and had a blast. Lastly… I found out I was pregnant while in Pensacola. I had the first blood draw on Monday morning and received the awesome news of our success in the afternoon, which most of you know by now from my earlier blog posts. It was wonderful to share that exciting time with our family. So, as you can see, Pensacola has a very special place in my heart.

Regarding our food adventures while there, we had access to a fantastic natural foods market called Ever Man’s. It was filled with all kinds of fresh organic produce.









I bought fresh sprouts, pineapple, apples, kiwi, kale, and spinach to make nourishing green smoothies. Yum! There were also two vegan (mostly organic) restaurants that we tried. End of the Line was quite good. I had a sauerkraut Reuben sandwich that was mega tasty and a bowl of lentil soup that I swear was the best lentil soup I’d ever had.

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Monday, October 5th, 2009

I’M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

It’s official! I’M PREGNANT! I just received the call from the nurse at New Hope Fertility. My numbers came back great! YIPPEE!!!!!! YEEHAW!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!! HURRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Friday, July 10th, 2009

EXCITING, AWESOME, AMAZING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne, pregnancy

I’M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!


…about 4 weeks along, due St. Patrick’s Day 2010!

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Monday, September 15th, 2008

Fertility Monitor For Pregnancy

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

Since my husband and I started planning for a family, I have been doing research on fertility and tracking my cycle. There are old-fashioned (tried and true) methods such as taking your temperature every day (immediately upon waking). I’m doing this, but with my erratic sleep schedule, it’s proving hard to do. I think the best aspect of taking my temperature will be when my temp stays raised once I’ve conceived, letting me know sooner than later that I’m pregnant.

On the advice from a good friend, I bought the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor to track my cycle. And, it’s really cool. Basically, I pee on a stick every morning, insert the stick into the machine, and get a reading for my daily fertility. It’s fun, especially when I see the little egg symbol meaning that it’s the right time to try if we’re ready. It’s not an inexpensive gadget (the sticks you have to keep buying or the monitor) but I decided it was worth it. If we decide to have more than one baby, I’ll use it again. And, when the time comes, I’ll pass it on to someone else to use.

The reason I started using it now is because it can take a couple of months to “learn” your cycle and because I was dying to know if an egg would show up. Whew! It did! The Amazon reviews on the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor are terrific, check them out. Some things I’ve learned so far are 1) make sure you use the first pee of the morning and 2) pee for a full three seconds on the stick (count 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi).

Other things I’m doing for pregnancy prep:
1. Researching various topics such as breastfeeding, vaccines, and homebirth

2. Finding a midwife and doula
3. Trying (and checking) into different pre-natal
options for those times I might need extra help if I think my diet lacks on a particular day, or when traveling
4. Eating extra healthy (lots of plant blood, extra protein, etc)
Obviously being HRAV (high raw, all vegan) gives me a great advantage because this lifestyle is already extra healthy.
5. Eliminating toxins from my life (hair, body, home)

6. Putting on a couple extra pounds so I’m at a healthy weight for getting pregnant
7. Researching supplementation of B-complex and DHA
Many other things…

haha… had to update you with something Raw and fun. It’s night time and I was craving cookies BIG TIME so this is what I did. Not even measuring, I tossed the following into my food processor and processed until coarsely ground: soaked and dehydrated buckwheat groats, almonds and pecans, dried unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, Himalayan crystal salt, and cacao nibs. Then, I added currants and dried cherries and processed it until it was mixed well. Voila! Took me about 3 minutes to make a HUGE bowl of it which will last for well over a week (maybe! haha). Anytime I get a craving, I simply open up my refrigerator and take a few spoonfuls! YUM!

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

We Met Our Future Doula

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

It’s been an exciting week so far. I’ve been assembling my future birthing team (found my midwife already) and this week we interviewed our future doula. I want to have as much planned and figured out as possible so that when I’m actually pregnant, I can just relax and focus on the health of my mind, body, and spirit. Anyway, back to my doula… she’s AMAZING! We clicked immediately and I’m truly ecstatic to have her as a part of my birthing team.

What is a doula? Well, she’s basically my helper for anything I need during birth. The word “doula” means “servant to women” so she’ll be there to do everything she can do make me comfortable from massage to making sure I’m hydrated and fed to coaching and supporting us to running interference if anyone or anything is messing with my birthing flow (very important!) to helping me have the best and most safe birth experience I can.

What am I eating these days? My goal is to get used to eating a little more than I usually do. I want to put on a couple of pounds to help facilitate getting pregnant and get used to eating more protein on a daily basis. For the past couple of months (and going forward), my HRAV food intake includes:

a) 1-2 quarts fresh organic green juice (I affectionately call it Plant Blood)
b) Organic
Hemp Green Smoothie (loaded up with all kinds of goodies for extra nutrition)
c)
Vitamineral Green Powder
d)
Fruits of the Earth Powder (and/or camu powder) every few days or so
e) Fresh fruit and salads

f) More Raw Vegan foods (for example: raw pasta, pesto, soup, crackers, etc) and/or low fat cooked vegan foods (for example: lentil soup, beans, sprouted bread with raw nut butter and jelly, hummus, red quinoa, cereal/raw hemp seed milk, etc).

g) I’m still taking my
Heavy Metal Nano Detox (will be done this week) and Pine’s Wheat Grass (will take throughout pregnancy and beyond) daily
h) I’m done taking my ground milk thistle seeds to cleanse my liver

i) I’ve recently decided to add this
Vitamin B complex after much research and debate. I’d rather be safe than sorry and I can’t guarantee to get enough B-vitamins with my foods alone. I don’t want to stress about it either, that would wreak havoc on my body.
j) Women’s Tea of nettle, alfalfa, and raspberry leaf daily (I want to add lemon balm, but
mountainroseherbs is out of stock right now).

Another thing I’m getting into my routine is taking a 2-3 mile walk every day no matter what. It’s something I want to keep doing all through pregnancy so I’m getting into the habit for it now.

Daily Conversation Question:
In what era would you most like to have grown up?


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