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’s community: What can a pregnant mama do for swine flu?

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

How To Choose A Ripe Tomato

by Kristen Suzanne in tomato

While we were in NY back in September, I came across a farmers’ market where I saw this little sign posted (from Stokes Farm) on how to choose a ripe tomato. I learned a couple things. :)

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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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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Would Write More But…

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

Ooh boy! The only time I get reprieve from the beautiful nausea is when I’m sleeping. And, even though I’m eating some cooked organic vegan foods, thinking it’ll help a bit (although it doesn’t seem to do anything), I’m craving water and water rich foods (like fruits).

My refrigerator is pretty empty from fresh Raw foods though (I have some greens and some old apples that we’ll probably juice later) but other than that… not much. And, I don’t feel up to doing anything other than laying on the couch and resting. However, I’ll force myself to go to the farmer’s market to pick up our organic CSA goodies, and while we’re out, we’ll head to Whole Foods (I want papaya, mango, and pineapple).

Anyway! I’m quickly updating my blog since it’s been a few days, but I’m not feeling up to doing much other than really relaxing… everything from my body to my mind to my soul. Okay, I’m off to munch on some carrots and celery sticks…

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Raw Food. Morning Sickness. Zukay Salad Dressings.

by Kristen Suzanne in salad

I’m officially experiencing some morning sickness. There hasn’t been any puking yet, just an intense nausea that lasts for most of the day. And… I’m happy as hell with it! I Love it! It might sound weird to some, but with all of the hoops I’ve been through to get pregnant, I take morning sickness as a great sign (between blood tests) that I’m still very pregnant. Yeehaw!! Wednesday is my next blood test. I’ll be glad when those are over.

Even though no foods really sound good to me (yet, I’m hungry. It’s bizarre and fun), I’m keeping up with my High Raw to All Raw meals. Sometimes Raw sounds good and sometimes cooked vegan does (Chipotle vegan burrito always sounds good – lol), BUT, I’m keeping it All Raw for some meals, High Raw some, a scant few meals that are moderate Raw, and saying NO to Chipotle. *Everything that passes my lips is organic.

I’ve been eating a lot of big salads. I was recently sent some living, fermented, vegan salad dressings to try by the company Zukay Live Foods. They’re very good(!) and I recommend having a bottle or two in your refrigerator for those times you don’t feel like making dressing. They contain probiotic cultures with no added sugars, canola, or gums. I think they’re all fat free. You can add the dressing by itself to salad or mix it with a drizzle of olive oil. I’ve used them in a few ways and they’re all great. I’ve had it on salad. I’ve had it on my cucumber pasta meals. And, I’ve even added a tablespoon to my green juice to add fun flavor. There are many ways to use these for an extra flavor-punch in your recipes.

I’ve been spending time relaxing in my mom’s backyard under the warm sun, listening to wind chimes, and humming to the little life growing inside of me. I wrote a lullaby for my baby before we conceived and I sang it to the little spirit that was not yet in me, and I continue to do so now that he/she is. Did you see the movie Australia? (If not, it’s such an amazing, epic, beautiful story.) Anyway, in the movie, the little boy “sings his ‘adoptive mom’ to him.” He says, “Mrs. Boss (that’s what he calls her), I sing you to me.” I always liked that, so I said to myself over the summer, I’m going to sing my baby to me. I also read that in some tribes, the woman goes off on her own for a walk before getting pregnant, and a lullaby comes to her spirit. She then goes back to her husband and teaches it to him. They sing it together until they conceive and when the baby is born, that is the baby’s special lullaby. I thought that was so beautiful.

I started creating my play list for the birth day and I’ve been extremely attracted to Deva Premal’s magical music. It feels so right. I can see our home birth happening with that playing in the background. I might mix in some Earth, Wind, and Fire (lol) because I do believe I have a disco Monkey growing in me.

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

Raw Vegan Travel – Santa Fe, NM (El Milagro Herbs)

by Kristen Suzanne in video

After leaving Oklahoma City, we headed to Santa Fe. I’ve always loved Santa Fe… I really feel a sense of belonging there (although it’s too cold for me during the winter). It’s beautiful, from the Sangre de Cristo mountains, to the adobe architecture, to the warm and eclectic people. As my husband so eloquently stated about Santa Fe – Gentle Seattle-fleece vibe meets Southwest style, artists, and old-world authenticity.

The food: Other than Whole Foods, we had a few places from which to choose for eating organic, vegan, and some raw (whether as salads or other raw dishes). We only had time to sample two of them, Chocolate Maven (which was disappointing in its limited organic and vegan options) and Tree House, which we really liked. We look forward to returning to Santa Fe soon (only 8 hours by car), going back to Tree House, and trying some of the other restaurant options. My husband, a huge fan of Southwestern and New Mexican cuisine, has made it his personal mission to catalog all the vegan options at many of Santa Fe’s famous restaurants.

At a cute coffeeshop in the historic district, I had what instantly became my favorite brand of kombucha. It’s produced locally by the Santa Fe Tea Company. (I’m going to see if our Whole Foods will carry it.) Unfortunately, I’m mostly staying away from kombucha while pregnant due to conflicting information I’ve read about it. I’d rather play it safe than sorry. But, I did try some to know if I liked it, and I love this brand. My favorite flavor is the Rasta with my second favorite being the Sangria, but there are others I’ve yet to try.

We spent time walking around the downtown area and look what I found: Santa Fe Hemp! I was so excited! We probably spent an hour in the tiny shop. I bought a sticker for my computer that reads: Eat Organic. I also bought my little Monkey an organic cotton onesie that reads: Organic Baby – Save The Whales.

The most exciting part of our time in Santa Fe was stumbling upon a gem called El Milagro Herbs – Organic Skin Care.

We interviewed the proprietor, Tomas Enos, a brilliant man who has his PhD in ethnobotany and has been making organic skin care products for almost 20 years. As you’ll learn in the video, he makes only small batches of product to ensure freshness and only uses the best ingredients. His formulations are nothing short of amazing and I’m happy to be one of his loyal followers now.

One of the things we discussed regarding herbal skin care products is that when you buy products from a place where big factories are creating the product, the product starts to lose its energy from the plants. As the number of steps increase from harvesting to packaging to shipping, and the number of hands increase who get involved, the precious energy goes down. I really believe in that philosophy.

I bought a face wash, skin lotion, toner, sea weed mask, hair oil, as well as some herbal tea to drink. I haven’t tried the hair oil yet, but I enjoy the other products so far. They smell and feel great. And, as you’ll learn in my video below, they harvest all wild and/or organic seasonal herbs, and they make them in small batches right there in the store.

OH! And awesome news! He is currently working on a Raw organic skin care line! He should have his face cream done next week, with other companion Raw organic products following shortly. I highly recommend checking his wonderful goodies out.

I should add that my husband was delighted to meet a real ethnobotanist and had a nice chat about toxic pufferfish and the ethnopharmacology of Haitian Zombieism… um, did you say zombies?… kinda scary, but good timing, as Santa Fe was all adorned with sugar skulls and flowers for its upcoming Day of the Dead festivities. Gotta love Santa Fe!!

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Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Raw Vegan Travel – Oklahoma City, OK at Matthew Kenney’s 105 Degrees

by Kristen Suzanne in kelp noodles, video

After our trip through Fort Worth, we drove on to Oklahoma City where our goal was getting to 105 Degrees, Matthew Kenney’s new Raw restaurant and Raw academy. The weather was awful, like really awful. Pouring rain that made for a nail biting drive. But, we finally arrived. :)

105 Degrees is gorgeous. Oklahoma City is indeed lucky to have such an awesome restaurant and academy there. (For more info on 105 Degrees, visit here.) The decor and atmosphere had a lovely cosmopolitan energy. We were there at night, so the pictures weren’t of the clearest quality, but I still wanted to share some of them.

We met Matthew Kenney and had a nice chat about how he became involved in the 105 Degrees project and about some future things he’s working on, which include projects outside of the United States. I can imagine, one day, traveling the globe and blogging about my visits to various country’s and their Raw vegan restaurants.

Our dinner was amazing. From the appetizers to the entrees to the desserts, our taste buds were treated to complex, sophisticated flavors. Since the restaurant wasn’t crowded (due to the bad weather), I secretly licked my bowl. I regret that I don’t have more good pictures to share of all of the Raw food we had. But, Matthew Kenney will forever have a special place in my heart, because this man officially made me a fan of kelp noodles! The sauce they were tossed in was delectable and it allowed me to get past the “crunch” of the noodles. Victory.

They had a cool little store that was unfortunately closed while we were there (which was probably a good thing in hindsight – LOL). Matthew Kenney’s store had 100% Pure beauty products, and, as most of you know, I love 100% Pure products (check out their website here).

We met the sous chef, Don, and he gave us a tour of the place. This guy has an impressive culinary resume (studied in Paris), and although he’s new to Raw, his talent and passion for food really comes through. He even demonstrated their PacoJet! I’ve always wanted to see one of those things in action. They make the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream. We shot some video of it.

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Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Raw Vegan Travel – Leaving Austin, TX To Fort Worth Water Gardens

by Kristen Suzanne in goji berries

We left Austin on Thursday with a cooler full of goodies from Daily Juice. We had lunch there first and I was able to get their avocado sandwich (they call it Avocado Sammich, I think). It was quite good. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the coconut mayo on it like it normally does, but I still enjoyed it. I’d have to say my favorite things there are the tacos and enchiladas (oh, and the desserts and juices!).

Once we were on the road, it didn’t take me long to tear into my dessert. It’s a Goji Chocolate cookie-thing which was filled with antioxidants from both the goji berries and Raw chocolate. It was yummy. I also bought a cup of their vanilla pudding. It wasn’t long before I devoured that, too. I imagine I’ll be making vanilla pudding once I get home… time to buy some young Thai coconuts and get out the cleaver my husband bought me as a gift a couple of years ago (he likes to surprise me with fancy knives, including my beloved Kyocera ceramic knives).

Later, while on the road, we feasted like kings on more raw organic goodies. Here are the nori rolls we had. Personally, I can’t stand nori, because it’s too fishy to me. I wish I liked sea vegetables, and I’ve tried them many times in an effort to see if “this time I’ll like them.” But, I never do. The exceptions are when I hide dulse flakes or kelp powder in my green soups, smoothies, and dressings. That’s the only way I can tolerate them. However, these rolls had collard greens wrapped under the nori, so I simply peeled off the nori and enjoyed them without it. (This picture is with the nori on it.) A good tip for people who like nori… to help keep the nori from getting too soggy, wrap your rolls in collard greens under the nori, like they did here.

Then, we also had leftover organic romaine lettuce hearts that we used to make little burritos with the different pates we bought from Daily Juice.

After Austin, we headed to Fort Worth where we stopped at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. What an amazing and interesting place. We took some time to walk around and enjoy ourselves. Part of the movie Logan’s Run takes place there, although I’ve not seen that movie. But, I need to now. :) Once we spent some time basking in the sun and relaxing there, we headed to Oklahoma City, OK to meet Matthew Kenney and check out his new academy and restaurant, 105 Degrees.

It’s been such a great road trip. Partly because I’m overjoyed at being pregnant and partly because we’re going at a leisurely pace and not spending long amounts of time each day in the car. It’ll be great to get home and back into my kitchen though. I’m looking forward to making my own Raw vegan food. So far, I’m still feeling great. I don’t have any morning sickness, I’m craving my Raw vegan foods like normal, and there are no aches or pains. October 11th marks the beginning of my 5th week. Exciting!

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Raw Vegan Travel – Austin, TX

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

Austin, TX is such a cool town. We arrived Wednesday morning and I was filled with excitement because I knew I was about to embark on a delicious Raw vegan culinary adventure (I heard there are 3 Raw vegan restaurants in town, plus the Raw bar at Whole Foods). The Whole Foods Market headquarters are here with their flagship store. Whooweee!!!!! Talk about FUN! One of my MOST favorite things to do is shop for healthy foods, natural beauty products, organic clothes… all that kind of stuff. My husband and I walked in and he said, “Honey, you just take your time.” I took a deep breath and ventured up and down the aisles, looking for things that I don’t normally find in other locations. And, of course, I found some stuff. They had a nice organic baby clothes section. Here are my scores for Monkey. (Speaking of Monkey… I had another blood test today to check my hormone levels and I’m continuing to do wonderfully! My pregnancy hormone is growing perfectly and the doctor is very pleased. My next round of blood work will be October 14).

But… we didn’t eat at Whole Foods. I saw their Raw vegan bar, and although the stuff looked pretty good and I think it is very cool that they have it there… we opted to have two of our meals today at Daily Juice. For one, the food was awesome (details in a moment) and for another reason, when given the choice between a chain like Whole Foods versus an independent establishment, I like to spend my money on the latter.

Daily Juice was super awesome. I have to say that it is quite possibly my favorite spot ever for organic Raw vegan food. The food was superb. The service was impeccable. The decor and atmosphere were fresh, with an energy that was slightly seductive. I LOVED IT!

For lunch, I had a wonderful green juice made of greens and young Thai coconut water – heavenly! And, for the first time, I tried fresh durian. At that tasting, I decided I would fall into the camp of “not being partial to durian.” It tasted like onions to me, and I’m not a fan of onions. My husband thought it was cool though. I was told that it’s better in a smoothie so my husband decided to try that at dinner time, and I admit, that upon tasting it in a smoothie, I liked it (although I couldn’t really tell it was in there because it was masked by so many wonderful flavors).

We each had a Raw enchilada (the flavors were outstanding), and for dessert, I had a vanilla chocolate cookie-type thing and a cup of vanilla pudding made from young Thai coconuts. As you can probably guess, the desserts were as equally awesome as the green juice and enchiladas.

I simply had to go back there for dinner. They had an avocado sandwich which looked so intriguing, but when we arrived, sadly, it was unavailable (we’re going back there tomorrow though… I hope I can try it then). I started the meal with another large fresh organic green juice while my husband started his meal with the smoothie containing durian. For our main meal we each had two tacos. Again… nothing short of pure deliciousness and rich, fantastic flavors. My husband also had a shot of marine phytoplankton (check out this cool page of theirs detailing benefits of some super Raw foods). After having both durian and marine phytoplankton, he was feeling pretty darn good. For dessert, I polished off another one of their cookie-type things (this one had goji berries in it, too) and another pudding like I had at lunch. I was feeling super duper awesomely vibrant after such an amazing day of organic Raw vegan foods.

We leave Austin Thursday and head to Dallas, then to Oklahoma City, OK, where I think we’ll stop by 105 degrees. It’s a brand new raw vegan culinary institute by Matthew Kenney, which also has a cafe that I’m excited to try. After that, we’ll head to Santa Fe, NM (I heard there is a Raw vegan place there) and then we’ll be going home to Scottsdale, AZ.

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