You’re pregnant, congratulations! Now what? Last year I became a mom and am dedicated to help educate women on the benefits of eating healthy during their pregnancy.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to start changing your life for the better as you prepare for motherhood. We all know during pregnancy we need to consume more food because we are also feeding a baby. We also know we are going to gain weight. Unfortunately, many of us are not completely aware of the healthiest way to do this. One of the easiest ways is to start making healthier choices, which includes eating mindfully and eliminating lazy habits such as skipping meals or choosing non -nutritious foods. Paying attention to your body’s hunger signals during pregnancy can help stabilize your blood sugar levels to help decrease cravings and low energy levels. Make sure you get enough rest. During pregnancy the normal amount of sleep requirements increases as your body is sharing its energy resources. Honor your body’s needs. When we are tired we tend to crave less nutritious foods.
So what is a healthy diet during pregnancy? It is imperative that you eat three meals a day as well as at least two snacks a day. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the harder it is to consume a lot in one sitting therefore grazing is always a great option. Protein, whole grains and healthy fats are essential to you and your baby’s well-being. I encourage you to take inventory on the foods you eat in abundance. Do they mostly come from a package or are they fresh, perishable foods?
Sugar is never something we want to consume a lot of however during pregnancy we need to be extra careful to avoid gestational diabetes. A good rule of thumb is: 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams (this is important to know when reading nutrition labels). Try using alternative sweeteners such as maple syrup, raw agave, honey, stevia or brown rice syrup.
Organic is a topic we hear a lot about and it is an essential one to think about when you are pregnant. We want our babies to start off with as clean a foundation as possible. While organic can be more expensive, it is worth it in the end. You definitely want to consider buying organic dairy, eggs and meat. For a list of foods with the highest pesticide residue go to www.ewg.org .
My Labor Story…
Many of you have noticed I have been remiss on posting my juicy health and wellness information these past months. So, where in the world was I “hibernating”? Well, I am ecstatic to say on February 8, 2012 I gave birth to a healthy, happy baby girl named Blake Shoshanna! I have been in HEAVEN from the start!
I want to share my labor story because I learned an important LIFE lesson which I want to pass along.
Being in the alternative, holistic world I had an idea of what I wanted my birth to be like… mixing some conventional ideas with a holistic approach. In fact, I worked with a doula even though I was delivering at a hospital. All along my journey I was terrified of what giving birth was going to be like, as there really is no way to explain it or prepare for it. I decided to write a birth plan expressing my labor desires.
Throughout my pregnancy I kept up my physical activity routine which included walking and prenatal yoga. When my due date approached, I felt very well supported with the proper tools and people to handle labor. Well, to make a very LONG story short, Blake was 13 days late and I was in labor for 5 days. I wound up having to have a lot of medical intervention, which I did not anticipate. However, my “physical” training and amazing support enabled me to handle the stress of the complicated labor with as much ease as possible. In the end, thankfully, I wound up with a very healthy, happy baby girl.
LESSON HERE: I learned that it’s not the planning that’s so important, it’s how we handle the detours in life. For me, my BREATH and calm mind were everything I needed.
Super Bowl Sunday is this coming weekend. Most of us enjoy watching the big game, and much hyped commercials and half-time show, surrounded by food and friends. Big sporting events, especially football, seem to focus on food, snacks in particular. Did you know Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating occasion of the year, next to Thanksgiving? There are some healthy snacks, carrots in particular, that actually see a large increase in sales during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
Of course many of us enjoy the standard “healthy” snacks such as vegetable crudite (try using hummus or black bean dip as a wonderful way to reduce the calories and fat intake of your dips), baked tortilla chips or pretzels with salsa or guacamole and maybe even some roasted nuts. However, this can be a little boring and conventional for some. As the super bowl game becomes more exciting (or nail biting) especially since 2 very popular teams are in it this year, we tend to nibble more.
Here are my top 5 Healthy Super Bowl Snacks to Satisfy All (including your waistline):
1) Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs
2) Good Health All Natural half naked popcorn with a hint of olive oil
3) Roasted pistachios OR Trader Joe’s Go Raw trail mix
4) Way Better Snacks Black Bean chips OR Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips
5) Mediterranean Snacks Baked Lentil Chips
Why do I love these snack choices?
They all taste delicious, contain a minimum of 3 grams of fiber, are low in sodium, have a moderate amount of protein and are gluten-free.
BONUS HEALTHY TIP: try using Greek or plain yogurt instead of sour cream in your homemade dips.
I am always looking for inspiration when it comes to cooking. I am what I like to call a “no muss, no fuss, healthy cook”. In other words, I cook healthy meals which are EASY to prepare as well as clean up afterwards. That being said, sometimes I run out of ideas. The other night I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network and one of the chefs discussed a sauteed onion, ground beef and egg dish which looked like a DELICIOUS scramble. I was inspired to make my own healthier twist on it. Here’s my version of a Dinner Scramble:
1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
3-4 slices sweet onion, diced
3/4 lb. 90-93% lean ground beef
5 eggs (2 whole eggs, 3 egg-whites only)
dash of sea salt and peppeer
Heat oil in a saute pan. Add onions and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Let beef cook through about 95%. Add eggs. Cook/scarmble everything together until cooked through, about 5 additional minutes. Can add more salt and pepper if desired (I did not).
In my opinion this dish needs a whole grain to balance out the protein. I made homemade sweet potato spears – roasted sliced sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt at 425 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.
Have you ever been inspired to cook or bake something you saw on tv or in a magazine? If so, I would love for you to share your dish in the comments section.
These easy to make, vegan treats are sure to be a crowd pleaser!
Canola, sunflower or unrefined coconut oil
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup organic agave nectar (raw preferred)
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup almond or peanut butter (can use crunchy or smooth)
2 generous tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup ground flax seeds
2 tbsp. brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips OR chopped 70% vegan dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly coat an 8-inch baking pan with oil.
Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips in a food processor or mixer.
Process until smooth, scrape sides as needed.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cooked through.
Cool to room temperature on counter, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 16 squares.
Recipe adapted from Alexandra Jamieson’s Chocolate Chick Blondie Recipe.
Healthy Gluten-Free Snacks for Summer
Warm weather + fun in the sun = summer! Summer is such a wonderful time of year. We spend more time outdoors, the days are longer, school is out and we tend to feel more relaxed. We also indulge in more picnics, snack times and other potential pitfalls to nutritious eating.
There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. If you are like me, you probably enjoy snacks. Let me take it one step further and say I enjoy snacks daily. In my opinion, the key to a healthy lifestyle does include snacks. As a certified health and wellness coach it is my job to educate clients on exactly what constitutes a healthy snack. The 5 essential things to keep in mind for a healthy snack are:
1) Whole grains
4) Low amount of added sugar (fruit is a great choice)
5) Healthy fat
The combination of fiber, protein, healthy fats and whole grains (complex carbohydrates) will fill you up longer and as a bonus add essential nutrients.
Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, unhealthy fats and refined sugars. Selecting healthy snacks is extremely doable. Think apple with peanut or almond butter for a crunchy treat, trail mix for a sweet treat or even plain yogurt with agave for something creamy.
What about healthy snacks if you are gluten-free? This is actually easier to do than you think. Many of us, myself included, follow a gluten-free lifestyle whether by choice or for health reasons.
So what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat (einkorn, durum, faro, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt) rye, barley and triticale. Once you know what to avoid, finding healthy products and snacks can be really easy. Some of my favorite snacks are:
• Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus
• Raw nuts or trail mix
• Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips
• Good Health Half-Naked popcorn
• Cut-up vegetables (peppers, cucumbers, carrots) with hummus
• Celery with almond or peanut butter and raisins on top (ants on a log)
• Larabars or Kind bars (without yogurt coating)
• Piece of fruit (apples and bananas are very portable) or frozen grapes
For those of you who are not gluten-free, I should mention that you will probably enjoy the suggested snack choices as well. Having these snacks readily available at the beach or pool will prevent you from seeking “unhealthy alternatives” to satisfy your families hunger. Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Go ahead and be creative. Here’s to healthy snacking!
Summer is my favorite time of year. The days are warmer and longer which means I love to spend more time outside. I also thoroughly enjoy a good bbq. In my household my husband is the grill master. Ordinarily he would probably NEVER cook us dinner however when it comes to barbecuing he is on board. Believe it or not, grilling is an easy way to cook food without adding a lot of fat or calories. Here are 5 tips (including a favorite recipe of mine) to help you get your grill on in a healthy way:
1) When selecting red meat choose leaner cuts such as filet, sirloin or porterhouse. In other words avoid ribeye! Click HERE for my favorite recipe to marinade and cook steak!
2) Think fish! Meaty fish like wild salmon or tuna are wonderful alternatives to meat.
3) Make your own marinade using agave or honey instead of sugar and use light soy sauce instead of regular.
4) Marinade vegetables: zucchini, squash, portabella mushrooms or peppers in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt and pepper.
5) Grilled peaches with a little soft goat cheese, honey and roasted pistachios make a delicious dessert.
One last tip: Less is More… In other words you can leave things plain and they will still taste good!
As a child I was never a big soda drinker. It was allowed in my house, but somehow no one really drank it too much. When I went off to college I discovered diet soda, and was not really enamored with it either. Many of my friends and peers were BIG diet coke drinkers. I noticed many people would eat whatever they wanted (you know order the ice cream sundae) but order a diet coke to drink.
Over the years I have met and even worked with many people who are “addicted” to diet coke. They must have it in the morning and all throughout the day. There are numerous studies on the harmful effects of the chemicals (phenylalanine – an amino acid in aspartame) in diet coke, including weight gain. It amazes me how many people still drink it on a regular basis. In fact, diet coke might be the #1 selling soda!
I recently led a wellness retreat and one of the attendees brought her own diet soda because a)she was thirsty and b) she knew I would not have any in my home. I can’t help but wonder what it is about diet coke in particular that people actually crave? Is it the caffeine? The artificial sweeteners? I would love to hear your thoughts or comments so please share them here.
The summer is the best time to find an abundance of fresh fruit & vegetables. We hear so much about the importance of eating organic and local. Many of us seek out organic produce at our local farmer’s markets or specialty stores. One of the biggest things I have educated clients about is the “dirty dozen” list which is the 12 fruits & vegetables with have the highest amount of pesticides. I also talk about the clean fifteen.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently updated their “dirty dozen” list and it now includes…. blueberries and kale!
Click here for additional information and to learn about the clean fifteen.