Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Here is a wonderfully simple… bursting with fresh and gentle flavors… delicious zippy punch… Raw Vegan Soup! This recipe is filled with superior nutrition including fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For example, there’s avocado which is not only rich in texture, but also rich in nutrients. It’s filled with a whopping 9 grams of dietary fiber (sometimes more!), plus B-vitamins, including folic acid – making this an excellent choice for pregnant ladies.
Zippy Energy Soup
Yield 3 cups
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups kale
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 avocado pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon Garlic Red Pepper Miso*
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
3/4 – 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
Blend everything together until creamy and enjoy a zippy day!
* South River Miso is the BEST miso on the planet. It’s organic and they even offer soy-free varieties, like the one used in this soup. You can substitute with any flavor miso, but Garlic Red Pepper is so very much especially nice. Last year I bought a mixture of about 10 jars of their various miso from them. They basically last forever so I stock up and take advantage of their 10% discount on orders $100 or more.
For more delicious Raw Vegan soup recipes, check out my book (ebook is also available), Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Soup Recipes.
Sunday, January 24th, 2010
I’ve received a number of emails and blog comments from women asking about the consumption of chocolate while trying to conceive and/or while pregnant. It’s a great question. I know that during previous blog posts I was avoiding chocolate when trying to conceive, and at the time I imagined that I’d also be avoiding it during pregnancy. That said, it’s important to constantly reassess values, ideas, and plans on an ongoing basis to see if things change when new information becomes available (or when hormones take over, LOL… just kidding. Mostly.). But in all seriousness, as you’ll read below, yes, it’s true: I have enjoyed some Raw chocolate while pregnant. So. What changed? Read on…
As many of you know, I’m not a midwife or doctor, so the information I’m sharing is about what I am doing and is in no way prescriptive for you.
Chocolate While Trying to Conceive
When I was TTC (trying to conceive) I eliminated virtually all caffeine including chocolate, coffee, and tea. I might have had one or two bites of Raw chocolate over a span of a couple of months at a time, but you get the picture. Chocolate has a limited amount of caffeine and so I was avoiding it. It also has another “stimulating” type of ingredient called theobromine, which interestingly literally means food of the gods.
Do I think chocolate needs to be avoided completely while TTC? Not necessarily. I do think there are some bad forms of chocolate and I think there are some healthier options. Personally, I would avoid the bad forms, i.e. processed, non-vegan, loaded-with-crap chocolate. The healthier option would be Raw, organic, vegan, dark chocolate. That said, not everyone responds well to chocolate, raw or otherwise, so that should be taken into consideration.
Chocolate While Pregnant
During my first trimester, I don’t recall having any Raw chocolate… I might have had a bite, but I remember staying away from it, so maybe I had my chocolate in a dream? :) When I think back, I didn’t have a solid reason for my choc-abstinence, other than thinking it might be too stimulating from the caffeine (albeit limited) or theobromine, or that having it meant also having the sugar (like the agave in many chocolate recipes). Interestingly, I have since read of a study showing a link between regular chocolate consumption and reduced risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Go figure.
Now that I’m in my second trimester, I have had a couple of pieces of Raw organic vegan chocolate here and there. What changed? Honestly, I don’t know that I can pinpoint it exactly. For starters, I am sticking to the Raw variety while pregnant, so I have that going for me. The other thing that happened to me was that, frankly, I really wanted a piece! It sounded so good. I was having a number of headaches at the time and maybe my body was telling me I needed magnesium. Raw chocolate is a great source for that. My hormones were raging, too, so perhaps my mind craved chocolate’s calming effects. Perhaps there was a magical force drawing me, as though by instinct alone, to my freezer where the Raw chocolate was just sitting there, waiting to be eaten. I’m guessing it’s all of the above.
I spoke with my midwife and she is fine if I have some chocolate. I’ve since learned that many healthy pregnant women I know indulged in chocolate happily and without guilt while pregnant – I was suddenly the weird one for having stayed away from it. To be sure, I continued with my research and found that prenatal chocolation is fine according to some other books and sources as well. For example, in Shazzie’s wonderful and colorful book about pregnancy and birth, Evie’s Kitchen, she writes, “…We also discovered that researchers had found babies born to chocolate-eating mothers were happier.”
Overall, I feel comfortable enjoying my Raw chocolate in moderation. I might add that it tastes so wonderful – it feels so wonderful – that I’m confident it’s spreading good feelings and vibes through my body when I have it, which are shared with my baby. Within reason, happy mommy = happy Monkey.
I totally understand if some women avoided it altogether and I would also understand if someone had some (although I wouldn’t recommend consuming large quantities). Based on all of the conflicting points of view on this subject, I’m of the opinion that there is no broad consensus as of yet on a “right answer” that can be confidently prescribed for all women. And remember, every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. As always, if you have concerns, a good place to start is by discussing the matter with your midwife or doctor.
So, I’d love to hear your feedback. Did you eat chocolate while you were pregnant? Why or Why Not? If so, how much?
Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
Congratulations Sara! Your name was chosen as the winner of my 17th Awesome Giveaway. The prize: A bottle of Garden of Life / Vitamin Code’s Raw D3. Simply email me with your address so I can get the vitamins sent to you.
Here is what Sara had to say when asked, “What is one of your New Year’s Resolutions / Goals that you’re still sticking with today?”
Mine is simple….to eat way healthier with my daughter. My daughter who is in high school has started a blog about the benefits of eating organic and cutting back on processed food. It has been a huge hit and she has even been written about in her school newspaper:) We are both trying out new recipes and new foods.
My next Awesome Giveaway is January 31, so check back for details!
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Today is an ALL RAW DAY for this pregnant, eco-friendly mama! I started the day by taking the dog for a nice long walk. My midwife says that walking is the best exercise in prepping for birth. Therefore, I make it a point to walk 1-2 (usually it’s 2) miles 5-6 days a week. It’s also instrumental in helping keep my weight in check for a healthy pregnancy weight gain. So far so good! My weight is right on track.
All food is organic.
Green Juice (1 quart)
2 tomatoes, 1/3 bunch celery, 2 large cucumbers, small bunch swiss chard
It was really great. Look at all that GREEEEN!
I took the leftover pulp and made a small batch of Raw vegan crackers by adding ground flax meal, tamari, coconut vinegar, and orange zest. They are dehydrating in my Excalibur dehydrator now and they smell fantastic. I can’t wait to enjoy them tomorrow.
Gently Spiced Omega Protein Shake (3 cups)
I’ll post this recipe on January 28, so be sure to check back for it. It’s one of my new faves!
10 Raisins - Yummy little snack
Zippy Energy Soup (3 cups)
This is sooooo fresh and good. Love this recipe – I’ll be sharing it with you January 26, so come on back to get it. It’s nourishing and makes a perfect light lunch or snack. Mmmmm!
2 Small Raw Chocolates
Same as the other day. I dove into my freezer for 2 pieces of the Mint Chocolate Jazz. I’ve been asked many times now about my feelings regarding chocolate while trying to conceive and while pregnant. I am featuring this as a post on my blog on January 24th, so you can check it out then.
Large Fresh Salad w/ A Creamy Tangy Dressing
This salad had romaine, cabbage, red bell pepper, and it was topped with leftover dressing from the other day, a revised Light-n-Livey Tahini Parsley Dressing. Only this time, I took the left over dressing and blended 1/2 of an avocado into it. The result is a decadent creamy and tangy dressing. Avocado is especially great for pregnant mamas because it’s loaded with fiber, B-vitamins, folate, and healthy fats. Yum! Oh yeah, I had a pickle on the side… of course.
That’s it so far. I’ll probably get hungry later because I’m going to need more calories. If I do here is the plan…
Plain Protein Shake
Raisins and Walnuts
I’m really enjoying raisins the past 3 days which is unusual for me. I’ve always liked them but was never drawn to them like now. The walnuts give me an extra boost of protein and omegas.
I love snacking on carrots because they have a little sweetness coupled with a lot of crunch. It’d be smart if I ate these with something that had some fat because the beta-carotene is better assimilated when in the presence of fat. Hhmmm… I know. I have leftover dressing from above, so I’ll dip them in that!
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
You ever wonder how some people get those awesome, young Thai coconut noodles that are actually long and noodle-like? I have an answer: Fruit Scoopers! The next time you want great coconut noodles, use a fruit scooper.
I love these kitchen gadgets. They come three in a package and I’ve yet to put the large (orange) scooper to real use yet, but I use the middle size (red) scooper ALL the time for avocado (video here), and I use the small (green) scooper for digging out my young Thai coconut meat. Perfect. Easy.
Once you scoop out the meat, you can clean them up a bit, and slice them as thin as you want using a knife. In this picture, I’ve simply shown you how they come out of the young Thai coconut after scooping; I haven’t cut them into thin noodles yet. Fruit Scoopers ROCK!
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Here was my delicious day!
Kashi Organic Shredded Wheat w/ Raw Granola topped with Organic Rice Milk
I was famished when I woke up today and I wanted something QUICK! Monkey was hungry! So, I ran for a bowl of cereal. The Raw part was the granola, which was from the company Two Mom’s In The Raw (they now have their raw vegan granola available at Starbucks!) I like the granola for the most part but sometimes I get a funny taste in my mouth with it.
1 Quart fresh organic Greeeeen Juice
After the cereal, my body was craving something pure, fresh, Raw, and alkalizing. I made a juice with my Hurom juicer comprised of the following ingredients: cucumbers, kale, Swiss chard, lemon, and celery. It was fabulous. Green juice does a body GOOD!
2 small Raw Chocolates
About a year ago I made the Mint Chocolate Jazz recipe from my book, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. I enjoyed 2 of them. They remind me exactly of York Peppermint Patties – only my recipe is healthy! I love having a freezer full of organic Raw vegan chocolates for those times you need a bite. Mmmmm! (I don’t eat a lot of Raw chocolate while pregnant, but a little bit here and there.)
Huge Salad with Light-n-Lively Tahini Parsley Dressing
My salad was seriously large. It was filled with organic romaine, carrot, and red bell pepper topped with a version of my Light-n-Lively Tahini Parsley Dressing from my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Salads & Dressings – except that I used cilantro instead of parsley. Cilantro is a great herb that is full of nutrition and has the ability to help draw toxins (especially heavy metals) from the body.
Celery with fancy schmancy nut butters
In practicing to be a mommy, I went to the kitchen with the intent on making the kid-friendly Ants On A Log recipe. Instead, I ended up using Rejuvenative’s Raw Vegan Organic Almond Butter for two celery logs and their fancy schmancy Pecan Pie Butter (they sent me samples). I write fancy schmancy because the Pecan Pie Butter tastes unique and gourmet. It’s made from pecans, dates, almonds, cinnamon, cardamon, and nutmeg. I ended up liking the Pecan Pie Butter even more than the almond butter today. It was so yummy on the celery.
I made a quicky shake with 2 scoops of raw protein powder mixed with water. It filled my up nicely for a while.
2 cups organic Greeeeen Juice
I made extra juice when I made my morning batch and here is where I finished it off.
2 organic bananas & 1 small organic pickle
I love bananas… aren’t they like the perfect FAST snack. They’re sweet, nutritious, inexpensive, and did I say FAST? If you make sure that you keep a steady supply of these on your counter than you can do all sorts of things from eating them plain (did I mention what a FAST snack it is?) to blending them into smoothies, sauces, nut milks, desserts, and soups.
The pickle… well, I am pregnant. ;)
2 “Pretty High Raw” Tostadas (organic)
These were made from sprouted corn tortillas from Food for Life (they’re not raw but they’re pretty much minimally processed). I topped them with cooked black beans, (raw) fresh salsa, (raw) guacamole, (raw) lettuce, and (raw) Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce.
Monday, January 18th, 2010
It’s time for another awesome giveaway (here was the last giveaway I hosted). The prize for January? RAW VITAMINS from VITAMIN CODE. I will be drawing the name of 1 winner for a bottle of their Vitamin Code Raw D3 – The Hottest Nutrient Under The Sun. (How cool of them to offer this to my readers!)
Right now, with this being winter in the United States, I suspect there are a lot of people out there who are in need of this important nutrient! Vitamin D3 is vital for many functions including to help build a stronger immune system. Here is what Vitamin Code / Garden of Life had to say about Vitamin D3…
As vitamin D deficiency has become more prevalent, the attention and focus paid to vitamin D have increased, and for good reason. Most people familiar with vitamin D understand that this nutrient is essential to skeletal system health.† Along with calcium, vitamin D is considered vital for maintaining healthy bones.† Vitamin D actually regulates the use of calcium in the body by dramatically increasing its absorption and utilization.
Much of the interest in vitamin D stems from the fact that it’s found throughout the body in over 600 receptor sites including the brain and the heart. Due to the fact that vitamin D receptors are so prevalent in the body, research has increased on vitamin D, and seemingly everyday new studies tout the health benefits of vitamin D consumption.
Recent studies have also shown that vitamin D supports immune health by helping to regulate the immune system.† The brain is home to dozens of vitamin D receptor sites, and vitamin D has been shown to enhance memory and concentration.† Vitamin D supports healthy digestion, again since receptor sites are found from the mouth all the way through the intestines.† Healthy vitamin D levels support two increasing areas of concern—breast health for women and prostate health for men.†
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
ARE YOU READY TO WIN???
It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Friday night, January 22th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Saturday, January 23rd. (Please note: While I would love to hear from everyone around the world in answering this question, I have to limit the winners to people living in the continental United States.)
QUESTION: What is one of your 2010 New Year’s Resolutions / Goals that you’re still sticking with today?
But that’s not all! Vitamin Code is also sponsoring another giveaway for my readers for their RAW Cleanse product. Great timing, too, as I bet a bunch of you are working on your New Year’s Resolutions for healthier, cleaner living. This product could be a great way to support that. Be sure to check back over the next couple of weeks for that giveaway.
Friday, January 15th, 2010
I was sent a package of food for review by the cool people at Pure Market Express. Have you heard of them? Tried their raw food delivery? Let me say… GOOOOOOOOD STUFF! I’m a fan of their work. Not only do they make good raw vegan food, but their energy is pure love. It comes through in both their food and their email correspondence / customer service. That’s important to me. I’ll be honest, this hasn’t been my experience with all of the raw food delivery companies out there.
Raw food delivery can be so helpful with living the raw food lifestyle. For starters, as a pregnant woman, I sure do appreciate being able to sit back and put my feet up on the couch while I wait for the delivery man. Top that with feeding my body and my growing baby some of the healthiest food in the world. That rocks! I also love that they’re including the nutritional information on the packages of food now. That can be very helpful for people who want to calculate calories, protein, fiber, etc.
Secondly, I’m a fan of raw food delivery during busy times in life… for example the holidays. It’s such a relief that amidst all the food prep for gatherings, attending parties, cleaning, decorating, shopping, and resting from all the activity, it’s a real treat to have a box of organic raw food show up at my door.
Thirdly, raw food delivery is great when traveling. Check out this post (video) I recorded when we traveled to New York and Pure Market Express treated me to a delivery for the first time. (My how my hair has grown since that video in September).
Here are some of the foods they sent to me this second time.
Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
These are really yummy. I had them in the last package and was smiling from ear to ear when they sent them to me again. The combination of spice and creaminess is wonderful. (pictured)
Banana Cream Pie
Pure Market Express knew how much I loved their Banana Cream Pie that they sent me TWO pieces in this delivery. The flavor was the same awesomeness as before, but this time the presentation was different. In NY, the pie arrived in a whole piece. In AZ, the pie arrived kind of all mushed up, like a pudding. It might have been the longer distance it traveled that caused this, but I don’t know. It was still tasty though!
Hhmmmm! Excellent. I really enjoyed these and hope to have them again some day. A lovely treat. (pictured)
I specifically requested this and was very happy with the result. I wish I had saved some for my husband to try. The one thing I’d change… I’d like a little more sauce with it.
There was some zing to this that affected my mouth a bit (my husband’s mouth, too) that I could do without, but otherwise it was good flavor and a pretty presentation. (pictured)
These were fun. My favorite part was the somewhat crunchy exterior – reminded me of donut holes.
Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
Although I don’t normally subscribe to people getting lots of protein in their diets, there are two groups that I believe should get a little more – pregnant moms and growing children. How much is “a little more?” Well, that is a good question and I don’t really have an answer. But, here is how I’m handling it with my pregnancy (I’ll address growing children and protein when I have one). I’m not a midwife or a doctor or a nutritionist, so I’m taking in information from various experts I know and sources (including lots of books and online research with my MacBook), and I’m adding my own mama intuition to weave my own blanket of a plan.
I’ve been advised by some people (as well as what I’ve read in some natural childbirth books) that a pregnant mom will do well with a daily protein consumption of 75-90 grams a day (the higher range being extra recommended during the third trimester according to some experts – for baby brain development). Some of these books and experts support a vegetarian diet for pregnant moms, so I know that they “get it” at least to some degree. 75-90 grams a day is a bit high for me when I’m consuming mostly raw… unless I want to drink protein shakes with Raw sprouted brown rice powder. I do this on those days that I want to tip the scale higher for protein (it’s easy and quick). But, I don’t always want to rely on it for protein because whole food sources are healthier. On the days that I have cooked organic vegan protein such as beans, lentils, quinoa, organic tofu, etc… it’s easier to get a higher quantity. However, having one meal like that doesn’t always get my day’s total to 75 grams when the rest of my day is Raw. That being said, I also believe that Raw protein is better assimilated and better digested. Therefore, I probably don’t need as many grams as 75-90 most days since that recommended 75-90 grams is likely based on cooked protein recommendations (not much is written about pregnant moms and Raw vegan protein), and it probably takes more cooked protein to assimilate what I might get with a Raw diet. Hhmmm… but I don’t have the magic answer.
So… what makes me feel most comfortable is to have a mix. Some days I get higher protein with both Raw and cooked vegan protein sources. Some days I get whatever protein comes naturally with my Raw food intake. Plus! I consume various superfoods (I just love that word… makes me feel like a superhero, Wonder Woman – lol – I’m a kid at heart). Pretty much on a daily basis I have hemp foods. Did you know that a mere 2 tablespoons of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds contain a whopping 11 grams of complete vegetarian protein? And, I also add Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder to some of my smoothies (2 heaping tablespoons give about 15 grams of complete vegetarian protein). Then, probably 3-5 days a week, I take spirulina tablets, wheat grass tablets, and chlorella tablets. Those pack a nice punch of protein.
So… what do you think about the protein debate with respect to children and pregnancy?
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
I know my blog is primarily Raw food centered, but the raw lifestyle can reach into so many other areas of life that are natural, beautiful, eco friendly, etc. It all fits, if you ask me. I also have many women writing to me that they are glad I’m sharing my personal journey with fertility and pregnancy, the things I’m experiencing, the things I’m learning. So, with that introduction…
On Sunday, we attended our first HypnoBirthing session in preparation for our future homebirth. HypnoBirthing is a special alternative to the traditional Lamaze and Bradley classes that many folks take. HypnoBirthing might sound a little “out there” to some, but it’s been pretty amazing so far. The basic premise of HypnoBirthing, according to HypnoBirthing.com, is that it’s a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. Sounds good to me. :)
Even though we’ve only had one session, my take is that it’s basically getting into a meditative, relaxed state during child birth, which can help the mom to better cope with it. I saw a few videos on YouTube and most women usually look like they’re having a nice, relaxed birth. In a number of cases, you wouldn’t even know they’re experiencing child birth. That probably sounds crazy to some people. On the other hand, there are some people who went through HypnoBirthing classes only to find that they couldn’t really use the techniques when it came to birthing time. I learned that one important thing is practice, practice, practice. The more I practice the HypnoBirthing techniques, the better my chances are that HypnoBirthing will be an awesome experience for me. Ongoing, daily listening of the cds is important, as well as reading the HypnoBirthing book about 4 times, attending all classes, and practicing breathing. There is more to it but I’m not that far into the course to describe it.
I read the HypnoBirthing book before I got pregnant, and I’ve been listening to the hypnobirthing relaxation and affirmation cds for many months now. They were instrumental in helping me relax for our fertility adventure with Mini-IVF. As far as I was concerned, this wasn’t going to be just a tool for birthing, I was eager to implement these elements to my whole life.
Our session on Sunday focused on a few things.
1) Language – there is a preferred HypnoBirthing language that should be used. For example: We say “surge” instead of contraction. We say “birth companion” instead of coach (for the husband or partner). We say “birthing time/month” instead of due date. We say “birth breathing” instead of pushing. We say “pressure/sensation/tightening” instead of pain or contractions. Personally, I really like the suggested words. I feel much more relaxed saying the word “surge or pressure” instead of contraction or pain. The HypnoBirthing language relaxes me and the medicalized language tenses me. The next step will be teaching this to the grandmas who will probably attend the homebirth.
2) “Emergency Room” vs “Healing Room” – These are not actual rooms, but rather they are states of mind. In life we should strive to only be in the emergency (stressed, high alert, tense) state about 2-5% of our lives at the most, during those rare instances that legitimately require a fight or flight response such as emergencies, etc. The rest of our time should be enjoying the healing room. :) Most likely, we all spend more than 2-5% in the emergency room, but being aware of this and making a concerted effort to increase the time in the healing room is a good start. When we’re in the healing room, our breathing is deep and relaxed, our digestive system is relaxed and running efficiently, and we feel good. When we’re in the emergency room, we’re tense, on alert, breathing is more labored, digestion is put on hold, etc.
This becomes important during child birth because if a woman is in the emergency room state of mind during this time, her cervix can tighten up, thereby making birthing more difficult and increasing the chances of “special circumstances.” (That’s more HypnoBirthing language… we say “special circumstances” instead of complications. Isn’t that much nicer? I think any mom who plans a home birth and ends up having to go to the hospital will be in a much softer state of mind if she considers it due to special circumstances, rather than complications.)
3) Limp Lucy (Mom) and Gorilla (Dad) – Our HypnoBirthing instructor, Sherry Gilbert, had two little stuffed animals that she used to represent the birthing parents. Mine was Limp Lucy, which was a soft white bear that had really limp and loose arms and legs. All I could think about when I saw her was, “Ahhhhh…” Limp Lucy is totally relaxed and demonstrates the state in which I should strive for child birth, and how I should feel and look when doing my Calming Breathing. Heck, I want to be Limp Lucy all the time. The birth companion, on the other hand, is a protective gorilla. Need I say more? My husband found this image from the following article and he forwarded it to me with the following caption: Picture of me at homebirth when pizza guy comes to the door (my husband also noted that he is the gorilla on the left, pizza guy on the right – lol).
4) Surrounding myself with positive birthing stories
Our HypnoBirthing instructor gave us each one of these pins. I love it! She explained the importance of hearing positive birthing stories… and how it can do more harm than good when people share their birthing horror stories. She said that as I grow in size and my pregnancy becomes more obvious, I might be surprised how some strangers will feel compelled to share their “not so great” stories, and by wearing this pin I might be able to shield myself from that.
My HypnoBirthing homework for the week:
1) Go to the “healing room” daily
2) Listen to rainbow relaxation track on the HypnoBirthing cd once a day
3) Listen to affirmation track on the HypnoBirthing cd once a day
4) Practice my “Calming Breathing” 5X/day
5) My husband and I are to each visualize the home birth independently. Then, we need to discuss it and compare visualizations. That will be fun!
Here are some neat statistics about homebirthing experiences.
And… here is a quick video showing HypnoBirthing in action. I noticed when they edited the video, they actually used the word “contraction” – oops!
Have any of you used HypnoBirthing? What did you think?