Okay, so here I am trying to have the healthiest body as possible in preparation of conceiving. Even though I eat a very healthy diet, with tons of fresh, organic, raw foods, I will need extra nutrients when I get pregnant. To make sure I’m getting them, I thought I’d take pre-natal vitamins. In my quest for the perfect pre-natals, I thought back to the many studies I read years ago showing how harmful synthetic vitamins could be. I learned that you should be able to read and comprehend the ingredients without needing a PhD in chemistry. So, I was on the hunt for a completely whole-food, non-synthetic multi, pre-natal vitamin.
I went to Whole Foods and asked for a recommendation for pre-natal vitamins, because once I was there, I saw some bottles labeled as having some organic aspects (but not all…hhhhmmm) as well as some labels claiming they were food-based. I was recommended this brand, Super Nutrition, which I bought because I saw the words “food-based” on the label and figured I’d trust the “oh so sure these are the best you can buy sales girl.”
I started taking them for a couple weeks. I had a stomach ache a few times because I didn’t take them with enough food, although they claim to not upset your stomach (uh-oh – this got me rethinking my choice). Plus, my pee was very yellow, let’s be honest, it glowed in the dark. I mean, think about it, my pee isn’t neon yellow no matter how many bananas or greens or fruit I eat. So, neon pee after taking a supplement…Double uh-oh.
I immediately became curious and put on my detective hat. For starters, I emailed the Super Nutrition Vitamin company that I had been taking to inquire as to whether they had any synthetic ingredients. Here is their response:
Thank you for your interest in SuperNutrition. Our PreNatal multi-vitamins use USP nutrients, in a food-based tablet.
By law, all vitamins manufactured in the United States, including SuperNutrition’s, are made with U.S.P. (United States Pharmacopoeia) grade nutrients, the majority of which (with only one or two nutrients excepted) are always synthetic in every company, no matter the subsequent processing of the tablet or the terms used to describe the processing.
U.S.P. nutrients are bioidentical to the vitamins found in food, and have been shown by over 200,000 published, independent, and peer reviewed scientific studies to be well-absorbed and beneficial for the body.
Our vegetarian, hypoallergenic, food-based tablets are made up of plant vegetable fibers and green foods such as, alfalfa, chlorella, dulce and spirulina. These plant fibers aid in disintegration of the tablet and the green food blend, contain various, and valuable micronutrients. We use no artificial fillers or binders in any of our products, everything in our tablets contribute to the nutritional whole of the product. Please contact us with any other questions.
WTF? U.S.P.? By law? Pharmacopoeia? I don’t even like those words!
I was immediately skeptical since I knew from past research that there were whole food-based vitamins out there. By law, my ass.
The problem was that it had been a long time since I researched vitamin supplements because I never felt the need to supplement with how great my diet was. And, I figured the label was enough if it claimed they were food-based. And their reply with over 200,00 studies
, well, it only takes one study showing me a link with dangerous problems resulting from synthetic vitamins to get me scared (examples on that below). Plus, I knew there had to be totally food-based vitamins out there, so the option was available, meaning, to me, that there was a reason they were available. I just had to find them.
Needless to say, I’m a little fired up. You always have to do double research and get recommendations from people you trust, not just someone who works in a reputed health food store, even when you ask if they’re whole food based.
I was pretty upset when I realized I’d been taking synthetics, knowing how harmful they can be. Just because they contained some organic greens (and such) doesn’t mean squat if they also have synthetics. For example, Synthetic Vitamin C linked to the thickening of the arterial walls of the heart by as much as 2.5 times. Synthetic Vitamin A linked to birth defects in pregnant women who took it. Synthetic Vitamin E linked to lung cancer.
Therefore, I will be returning the vitamins I bought (I had stocked up and bought 2 bottles).
I have been looking at New Chapter PreNatals and it looks like those might be the answer.
Thursday, June 26th, 2008
We’ve been spending the week at my mom’s house and it’s so much fun. I know I’ve written before about times such as these, but I can’t help but share again. She only lives about 40 minutes away, but I swear, we feel like we’re at a retreat when we’re here. We bring our laptops, books, dvds, dog, tennis shoes for long walks, swimsuits for late night swimming under the stars, and mom provides the rest…
She stocks up her refrigerator with our favorite foods and we all just relax, hang out, and graze on yummy food all day. I especially love spending time in her backyard because it’s very zen…with wind chimes, shady trees, flowers, bunnies and birds (they love eating up her organic scraps), big fluffy cushioned chairs, and warm sunshine. I feel like I’m transported away to a special garden with only the sounds of nature floating around me.
Most of you know that my mom and I are very close. So, you can imagine her excitement with all of my baby talk. Let’s just say…huge! It’s going to be such a beautiful time in my life to share with my mom, just like she shared with her mom when I was born.
This week we made some refreshing and phyto-nutrient packed coleslaw. We made a gigantic batch of it and have been eating it for a few days now. We’ve also been drinking lots of Plant Blood and smoothies made from The Ultimate Meal. But, that’s not all, of course…we’ve also had our share of fun treats (we are, after all, at mom’s).
I want to say a special thank you to everyone who has been posting comments on my blog with respect to my plans for pregnancy. All of you are saying how great of a mom I’m going to be and it feels so lovely, warm, and encouraging to read those. Y’all are just like family and I love it. Thank you again and again for all of your support. I’m sending you a huge right now…feel it? Nice and big!
Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
Kristen Suzanne in liver
Today was our first midwife interview (yippee!). I immediately liked her, and of course, it makes me even more excited about getting pregnant. I’ve been researching other midwives and although I haven’t interviewed others, I’m very excited about the prospect of hiring the midwife we interviewed today.
She is impressed with my diet and daily habits, and she gave me a little gift packet with great information about nutrition, co-sleeping and other pregnancy topics. I asked her about things to facilitate fertility (in addition to B-vitamins for healthy mucus, folic acid, etc), and she recommended: Pine’s Wheat Grass Tablets and Chlorofresh Liquid Chlorophyll (both of which I found at Sprouts, a local health food store). I’m cool with taking those to ensure I get extra chlorophyll, even though I usually have green smoothies and/or green juice daily, because I’m eager to make sure I have all my bases covered.
One area of concern I have with consuming so much Raw produce during pregnancy is the potential of it being contaminated (thinking about the tomatoes and spinach issues in the recent past have me thoughtful). As an adult, I can tolerate these challenges without much worry, but when I’m pregnant, it’s a different story. As a result, I’m planning on not eating Raw foods at restaurants (salads, etc) to prevent the possibility of eating something either contaminated from the meat being served there and touching the cutting board or knives, etc, or from the produce simply not being thoroughly washed. I also will not have juice from any juice bars, even if it’s organic. It’s just not a risk I’m willing to take. When I’m at home preparing food, I will be extra diligent about thoroughly cleaning all of my produce. It’s kind of a tough place to find myself….knowing all of the delicious benefits of fresh, raw, whole vegan foods, but concerned about contamination. I mean, after all, this should be the healthiest food to pass my lips, rights? Everything is different when planning to become pregnant.
The liver is an extremely important organ throughout pregnancy and I want to make sure my liver is in top shape. Prior to embracing Raw and Vegan, I took many prescriptions for headaches, birth control, over-the-counter stimulants for body building, etc and I hope my liver isn’t still cleaning out those toxins. As a precautionary measure, I’m adding milk thistle seeds to my diet. I bought some through Natural Zing and I’m going to grind them and add them to my smoothies, or make a tea out of them. Plus, milk thistle is in the new shake mix I’m drinking, The Ultimate Meal.
It’s such an exciting time in my life; I can hardly explain it. Up until some months ago (before I was considering getting pregnant), my life was fun, happy, and full of joy. Now, with the hope of pregnancy on the horizon, my life has taken on new meaning and it feels…well…so beautifully wholesome, pure, feminine, and empowering.
After reading many times about how great this meal replacement powder is, I decided to give it a go. It’s 100% Vegan, Mostly Organic, and High Raw. I recommend reading through the entire website about it (Check out the FAQ, too). But if you choose to buy it, get it from Amazon since it’s less expensive. Here is the list of ingredients.
I was attracted to it for a number of reasons:
1. Loaded with nutrients – Even though I get plenty of vitamin and minerals throughout my week by trying to rotate foods and such, I’m still interested in making sure I have as many bases covered as possible. Additionally, The Ultimate Meal has a number of things that I would like more of in my diet.
2. The reviews are great – Like I wrote earlier, I’ve read a number of reviews about this product over the years, I just hadn’t tried it until now. People are very happy with the product, including the famous Vegan Ultimate Fighting Champion, Mac Danzig. Check out the blog article on him here (this is one of my favorite blogs to follow). Once you’re done reading that, you can check out an “in-depth look” here about his diet specifics (for the in-depth look, scroll down to #6). If you want me to cut to the chase, here is this super-mega star’s review of it:
I swear by this stuff, it’s a whole meal and has made up a huge part of my diet for 3 years now. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but I truly notice myself feeling better when I use it daily. Remember to follow the directions and add the apple and banana. (This is not your normal “add powder to water” supplement.)
3. Great for weight loss – The Ultimate Meal is great for helping people lose weight because it’s reputed for helping people stay “full” up to 6-hours after drinking it. Many people enjoy this for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, or some have it for all of their meals some days. But, it’s not all about just weight loss because...
4. Excellent pre-natal nutrition – Since I’m not trying to lose weight and will be looking for ways to add more nutrient dense calories to my diet once I’m pregnant, this will be a great choice. I won’t use it to replace meals, rather, I’ll enjoy this as mid-morning/afternoon snack(s). As you can see, it’s up to you how you use this. It can be helpful with losing weight, maintaining weight, or gaining healthy weight.
5. Great pre/post workout shake – This is where my boyfriend comes in. He loves having a shake before or after a heavy duty workout in the gym, so this is perfect for that. It’s filled with carbs from the fruit, protein, and nutrients, to fuel his big muscles. So, all you ladies out there with men who want a shake with some more “oompf!” here it is!
6. Convenient and travel worthy – It’s fast and easy to make. I love that I can take this when traveling, too. It’s important to make sure I’m still packing my body with nutrients when I’m not at home. Yes, you need a blender for this, but that’s not a problem since I travel with this great travel blender.
So, how does it taste? It’s good. I’m not jumping up and down, licking my lips and wanting to lick the glass to get every last drop of it, but I’m also not grimacing and making icky faces either. It’s very likable. I’ve read in the reviews that you need to make it according to the instructions which includes a banana and half-apple or peach or some other fruit for the best flavor. And, if you’re avoiding fruit for some reason, then you can make it with a raw nut/seed milk (hemp would be great) and add a sweetener such as stevia.
So far, I’ve had it as recommended on the container. I’ve also made it and added maca, carob and hemp powder. Another time I added milk thistle seeds and a teaspoon of Vitamineral Green Powder. Overall, we really like it and will continue to use this. If you get some, let me know what you think :)
Here is a new staple smoothie recipe for the summer. It’s so simple, delicious, delightful, light, refreshing, nourishing, beautiful, and vibrant. And, guess what? That’s how you’ll feel after only one sip (or gulp, in my case!).
1 cup water
2 med. bananas
2 med. lacinato kale leaves
1 cucumber, chopped
Give this energy filled lusciousness a whirl in your blender and enjoy with delight.
It’s beauty time girls! In my quest for healthy body care products, I came upon an amazing company. Oh my, let me just tell you, their stuff is exquisite. If you’re looking for organic, vegan and living skin care (my kind of stuff!), then hop on over to Raw Gaia. They use only the most natural, pure, and unadulterated ingredients to make products that are truly healthy for your skin. I’m madly in love with their Sun-dried Green Clay Face Pack – It’s a must have.
Thursday, June 19th, 2008
Did you realize that there is a difference between organic farming and vegan organic farming? Who knew?! It seems to be an emerging trend, so be on the lookout for this to become more popular, like it is in England and Europe (of course).
What exactly is vegan organic farming (a.k.a. veganic farming)? It’s farming without any animal fertilizers or byproducts, which takes healthy farming to the next level. Here is a great article about it (click here to read)
Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
It’s been a fun day so far. I’m filled with so much energy and happiness :)
I’m not doing anything in particular, and sometimes those days are just the best. I’ve been instant messaging a ton with my bud, Malynda, as well as eating lots of Raw Vegan purple cabbage slaw (cabbage is filled with vitamins and phytonutrients!), drinking green smoothies (gotta get my chlorophyll), dancing around my dining room like no one is watching (to some old school Janet Jackson), and working online. Oh yes, I also played with some more chocolate recipes.
Later today, I’ll be going to the gym of course:
Strength Training: Triceps
bench dips, v-bar pushdown, tricep kick backs
heavy weight, low reps, 4 straight sets
Daily Conversation Question:
What are the most important qualities you look for in friends?
In honor of women and our amazing birthing abilities, I’m drinking a Womanly Green Smoothie. As many of you know, I’m going to be “working” on becoming a mom in the (near) future. As a result, I’m starting early in taking excellent care of myself by paying extra close attention to everything that passes my lips and touches my body. I’m making a healthy and fertile playground of my body with conception on the horizon.
I love what Henry G. Bieler, M.D. wrote in his book Food Is Your Best Medicine:
“‘Doctor, is my baby all right?’ is the first question of almost every woman when her child is born. I myself have heard the question thousands of times. If every mother’s greatest wish is to have a truly healthy baby, why (in most cases) does she take such poor care of herself before the baby is born? And why does she feed her child from infancy to adulthood so improperly that illness inevitably results?”
Womanly Green Smoothie
1 cup Women’s Balancing Tea (brewed, cooled to room temperature)
6 organic strawberries
1 handful organic spinach
Blend it up and enjoy.
I am a fool for Raw Vegan cobblers because they’re satiating, nutritious, and extra easy to make. They remind me of traditional cooked cobblers, but when I’m done eating the Raw vegan version, I’m filled with energy, excitement and happiness :)
My recipe for Summer Strawberry Cobbler hits the spot and delivers everything I promised a cobbler would above. The delicious recipe is available in both my print book and ebook, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Desserts (but I’m also sharing it with you here!). It’s a refreshing recipe with flavors that keep playing in your mouth, well after you’ve swallowed a bite.
I chose strawberries for this cobbler because it’s summertime and they’re in season. And, buying organic food in season is just one of many ways to buy organic on a budget.
Strawberries are loaded with tremendous health benefits:
~ Help protect against a variety of cancers
~ Rich in folate, fiber, vitamin C and potassium
~ Heart-disease fighting phytonutrients
~ Compounds may help strengthen short term memory (nice!)
You’ll also see that I’ve included prunes in the recipe when you buy the book. I love using prunes because they have a wonderful, soft texture and they’re not as sweet as most other dried fruits. And, they’re seriously LOADED with antioxidants.
Summer Strawberry Cobbler
Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw
Yield one 8×8 glass-baking dish
I am a fool for Raw vegan cobblers because they’re satiating, super easy to prepare, and nutritious. Here’s a fun, delicious recipe for exactly that, Summer Strawberry Cobbler. It’s refreshing with flavors that keep playing in your mouth, well after you’ve swallowed a bite.
2 cups raw pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup currants
1/3 cup prunes, chopped
The Strawberry Filling
25 oz fresh strawberries, destemmed (or use frozen and thaw them)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
8 soft dates, pitted
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
Place the nuts, coconut, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor, fitted with the S-blade, and process until coarsely ground. Add the currants and prunes, and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and holds together when gently pressed between two fingers. Set aside.
Take about 15-16 ounces (approximately two-thirds) of the strawberries, chop them and set aside in a large bowl. Then, place the rest of the strawberries along with the orange juice, dates, and agave in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into the bowl with the chopped strawberries and stir.
Pour half of the crumble in the bottom of the glass-baking dish and give it a firm but gentle press. Spread the strawberry filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining cobbler crumble on top of the strawberry filling, allowing some of the beautiful strawberry filling to show through. Serve at room temperature, or warm in a dehydrator for up to an hour at 130 degrees for extra deliciousness. Covered, Summer Strawberry Cobbler will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Today’s Fun Work: I’m listening to the audio soundtrack to What The Bleep Do We Know and working away on my laptop. If you haven’t seen this documentary, I highly recommend it. I liked it much better than The Secret. And, the soundtrack is very cool.
Today’s Fun Exercise: I’m hitting the gym later for cardio and chest strength training. Tonight, I’ll take my dog for a nice long walk when it cools down.
Today’s Raw Vegan Food (in this order):
3 cups Watermelon
1/4 cup Summer Strawberry Cobbler
2 cups Green Smoothie (strawberries, spinach)
2 1/2 cups Truly Chopped Salad plus an avocado
3 cups Green Smoothie (banana, kale)
1/2 cup Summer Strawberry Cobbler
I craved a big, fresh, organic salad today, but I wanted to put a different twist on it for some extra fun and added health benefits.
My inspiration was to make something that was easy on digestion, and since chewing is such an important part for healthy digestion (breaking down the food into small enough pieces), I decided to make my big, fresh salad truly chopped to facilitate that.
Basically, I used my food processor to chop all the different components of the my salad into tiny pieces (carrots, red bell pepper, avocado, cucumber, parsley, romaine lettuce). Using my food process, fitted with the “S” blade, I processed the different produce one-by-one until it was in tiny pieces and then transferred it to a bowl. (I didn’t throw everything into the food processor all at once because the foods have differing water contents, and if you, for example, chop up cucumber with carrot, the carrot takes longer to chop, thereby turning the cucumber to mush by the time the carrot gets small enough).
Then, I added dried cranberries to the bowl of chopped goodies, and tossed in a simple dressing (hemp oil, lemon juice, salt, agave nectar). Voila… Truly Chopped Salad. Great for digestion, fun to eat, and delicious. Just imagine all of the other possibilities… fennel, olives, herbs, cilantro, spinach, pineapple, zucchini, beets, prunes, currants, celery, etc. Yum!
My Organic Raw Food Intake (so far):
Green Smoothie (apple, orange, spinach)
2 large servings Truly Chopped Salad
Summer Strawberry Cobbler (recipe will be posted by tomorrow)
20 minutes on the treadmill (walk/run)
Back strength training (wide-grip pull down, close grip row, hyperextensions)
Jumping jacks between weight lifting sets
Daily Conversation Question
How will our culture change in the next 100 years?