Big News!

Oh Baby - Pregnancy News!

Oh hey!  So, there’s a big reason for why things have been a little quiet around here for the past few months… my husband and I found out in early April that I’m pregnant!  I’ve been staying mum on the subject on the blog until now, mostly because this is my first time at the rodeo and I wanted to make sure that everything was going smoothly before I made a big public announcement.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been on the fence about having children my entire adult life, so making the leap and deciding to try and get pregnant was huge for me.  I was nervous about how a baby would impact my career, my relationships, my finances, my love/need for travel, and about a million other things.  I knew that if I ever decided to have children, it would be the result of painfully long and careful consideration – I feel really strongly about maintaining my individuality and personal interests/passions/hobbies even once my little one arrives.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a good balance between motherhood and the aspects of my pre-child life that are important to me, and I’m convinced that half the battle is attitude and positive thinking.

Anyway, I’m pretty much past the stage of being ridiculously apprehensive and scared, and am now feeling mostly excited and anxious to meet our little one this December.

I figured I’d share all the 411 on how I’m feeling, what I’m eating, and everything in between for those of you who are curious!

When are you due/how far along are you?

I’m due December 16th, and I’m currently 19 weeks pregnant.  Just about halfway there!

Are you finding out the gender?

No, we want to be surprised – we have the option of finding out the gender next week, but plan on waiting until the big day to find out!  I have zero suspicions on whether it will be a boy or a girl.

How are you feeling?

I’m feeling great – I’ve had zero morning sickness/nausea to speak of, and minimal side effects in general, except for being a little more sluggish than usual.

Are you staying vegan throughout your pregnancy?  What is your pregnancy diet like?

In a word, yes!  I’ve felt really good continuing a plant-based diet throughout my pregnancy, and my doctor is fully supportive – so far, all of my blood tests have come back indicating no deficiencies or insufficiencies so I’m pretty confident that I’m getting everything I need (and the baby needs) from plants :)  To be extra safe, I’m taking a few supplements (which I’d be doing on any diet, vegan or not!) - a prenatal multivitamin (I love this one from Rainbow Light), a B-12 supplement (using a sublingual one from DEVA), and a DHA supplement (currently very happy with this one from DEVA).

I’m going to be completely honest here – there were a small handful of instances in which I thought I was “craving” cheese, so I gave into those cravings at the time.  I found afterward that I didn’t feel any better (and in some cases, felt worse) and my craving – whatever it truly was for – wasn’t satisfied by eating a slice of cheese pizza.  I was likely just craving the fat and salt and creamy texture of the cheese.  So, I’ve found that if I just ask myself honestly what it is that my body needs, the answer can be found in something plant-based.  I’m back to sticking to my vegan lifestyle 100% of the time and feeling great/fully satisfied!

Current cravings include fresh fruit (specifically cherries, peaches and bananas), avocado toast with EVOO and Maldon salt, and Amy’s Mint Chocolate Chip Vegan Ice Cream (coconut milk based and outrageously good).  I’ve also been drinking a TON of green juices and smoothies, and eating a lot of grilled veggie and bean tacos, whole wheat pasta with fresh pesto, stir fried veggies and tofu over rice or quinoa, and anything that I can dream up with the abundance of CSA vegetables sitting in my refrigerator at all times.

Are you staying active/exercising?

Yes – I was still running on a regular basis until about 3 weeks ago, and lately have been sticking to hour-long daily walks, light weights, and the occasional yoga class.  I still bang out the occasional run here and there, but I go really slowly and take lots of walking breaks.

Any good pregnancy books or resources you can recommend?

I’m actually trying to minimize the amount of time that I spend reading pregnancy books and websites/blogs because I get easily overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice out there – but there are a select few that I’ve enjoyed referring to now and again.

Books:

The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone – This guide to vegan pregnancy is full of useful information, from everything from diet (including yummy recipes for you & baby) to birthing plans to setting up a nursery.  Some of Alicia’s advice is a little too out there at times for me, but overall, I’ve really enjoyed reading this book and find most of the info in here to be sound and helpful.  This is a companion book to her amazing diet/cookbook and New York Times bestseller, The Kind Diet.

Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal – This cute little book is small but mighty – it contains tons of information on diet and nutrition for a healthy vegan pregnancy, as well as a plethora of other useful stuff (how to deal with the endless questions about where you get your protein, etc.).  Sayward writes a great vegan blog called Bonzai Aphrodite, so you may have already heard of her!

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Mayo Clinic Doctors – This is a great reference manual for pregnancy in general, and not just for vegan mamas to be.  It contains a massive amount of information so it’s been a reliable resource for all aspects of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, knowing what to expect during each trimester, etc.

Websites/Blogs:

TheBump.com – If you’re already familiar with TheKnot.com, this is their sister site for all things baby related.  I mostly use this site for the weekly pregnancy update emails.

WhatToExpect.com I occasionally browse the community forums on this site, and also like to read their weekly pregnancy updates as well.

There are a few bloggers that I’ve been following for a long time that did a great job of detailing their pregnancies week-by-week/month-to-month, so I’ve enjoyed reading their baby related posts now that I’m going through it myself:

Caitlin from HealthyTippingPoint.com

Emily from DailyGarnish.com

Angela from OhSheGlows.com 

Kath from KathEats.com

How will your blog be changing now that you’re pregnant/once the baby arrives?

I definitely don’t want this blog to turn into a “mommy blog”, so I’m going to keep my posts largely focused on food, health, and a vegan lifestyle.  There may be some baby/family related posts from time to time, but they will be relevant to the overall theme of the blog (like, for instance, making homemade baby food, or eco friendly baby products).

Overall, I’m feeling really grateful and excited about this new chapter of my life!  More to come soon!

image via Pinterest

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Why You Should Be Eating (& Drinking!) Turmeric

Turmeric

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the astounding health benefits of turmeric.  I’ve always had a bottle of the dried stuff lurking somewhere in the back of my spice rack, but until recently, it rarely found its way into my cooking.

Turmeric is a root with tough brown skin and bright yellow-orange flesh – you’ll most often find it used in Indian, Pakistani, Persian and Thai cuisine.  In addition to imparting wonderful earthy flavor and bright color into whatever you cook it with, turmeric also contains anti oxidant, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti carcinogenic, anti mutagenic, and anti inflammatory properties – that’s a lot of really good antis.  Turmeric contains a powerful substance called curcumin, which has been linked to cancer prevention (including slowing the growth of preexisting cancerous tumors and destroying cancer cells), relief from arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease prevention (and also slowing the progression of the disease), reduced risk of heart disease, liver detoxification, reduced cholesterol, reduced weight gain, regulated insulin levels, reduced cramping, and a strengthened immune system.  Ah, yeah…I’m convinced.

Once I started reading about how this little root can do so much for our health and bodies, I decided to make a concerted effort to regularly incorporate it into my diet.  I still have turmeric powder, but I’m a big believer in using food in its whole and original form (when possible) so I ordered a few pounds of the fresh stuff online (you can also find fresh turmeric root occasionally at Whole Foods and other health stores).

I prep turmeric by peeling it with my favorite vegetable peeler and then either slicing, chopping, mincing, or finely grating it (with a Microplane) into whatever it is I’m cooking it with.  I store whatever I’m not using either in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator, or tightly wrapped up in the freezer.

Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate turmeric (both ground and fresh) into my diet:

  • Blended into a smoothie or green juice
  • Steeped in hot water with ginger and a little agave (recipe here)
  • Grated into marinades (for tofu, tempeh & veggies), sauces, and salad dressings
  • Grated into pots of rice, quinoa, and other grains, and beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Grated into homemade veggie burger/lentil loaf mixtures
  • Tossed into tofu scrambles
  • Thinly sliced into stir fries
  • Minced and used in soups, stews, curries and broths
  • Chopped and roasted with vegetables and/or potatoes
  • Sprinkled on top of cooked dark leafy greens

What are your favorite ways to use turmeric?

(image via Pinterest)

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5 Sites I’m Loving Right Now

5 Sites I'm Loving Right Now

Along with my beloved morning coffee, my most essential AM ritual is scrolling through my favorite blogs and websites before getting started on the (ahem) more productive aspects of my day.  Most of my favorite sites are linked over on the right side of the blog (under “Link Love”), but there are a few others that I’ve been turning to every day for recipe ideas, wellness advice, exercise motivation, and just generally smart, readable content.  Here are 5 sites that I’m loving right now:

Well + Good NYC: While this site is technically geared toward the NYC metro area, I think that the large majority of their content is applicable to health conscious people worldwide.  Some of my favorite features are the “Refrigerator Look Book” (a glimpse into the fridges of healthy New Yorkers), and the Pantry Primers.  Lots of great workout inspiration here too, if you’re motivationally challenged like me.

MindBodyGreen: I only just discovered MindBodyGreen a few weeks ago and I’m so glad I did!  I love this website for its sound, up-to-speed diet advice, frequent vegan recipes, and holistic approach to health/wellness.

Darling Magazine: While this is not a health specific website, I love Darling Magazine, a relatively new online magazine geared toward women and the art of living well!  I come here for articles on entertaining, beauty, wine, blogging, travel and business, to name a few.

Dark RyeYou may have already heard of Dark Rye, the award winning online magazine from Whole Foods Market.  I love this site for its up-to-the-minute coverage on food trends, seasonal cooking inspiration, and smart posts on sustainability, technology, travel, and cocktail culture.

Well Blog (New York Times): Ok, so linking to a New York Times blog might be a bit of a cheat here, but I couldn’t in good conscience leave it off this list considering how often I find myself spending considerable time reading through its very well researched and written articles on all things health/wellness.  You’ll find articles here on everything from green-ing your home, to the psychological health benefits of exercise, to the latest medical research behind popular diets/foods.

What are some of your favorite websites?

[original image via Pinterest]

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Friday Link Love

Cherry Blossoms

image via Pinterest

 Happy Friday!  Some good stuff ’round the internet to kick off your weekend…

Need this coffee mug.

I’m pretty sure I could watch Jon Hamm photobomb people indefinitely.

Tips on how to plate food like a pro.

Can your phone help you get a good night’s sleep?

Inside a woman’s mind at Target.  Amazing.

Behind the scenes of the brilliant President Obama edition of “Between Two Ferns”.

Science gets behind the Five Second Rule.

I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to eat these mint chocolate chip bars.

Did you see Sarah Jessica Parker’s cute video interview for Vogue?

How to keep a cut avocado fresh.

German shepherd puppies and baby piglets = head exploding.

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Glass Food Storage Containers

Glasslock ContainersI recently read an eye opening article on how even BPA-free plastics carry significant health risks, and so I decided to finally swap out my plastic food storage containers for glass ones.  Turns out that when BPA-free plastics were tested in a lab, more than 25% came back positive for estrogenic activity (elevated estrogen levels are linked to issues with brain and organ development, as well as increased risk for breast cancer and other diseases).

I did a quick search for glass containers on Amazon and decided to purchase this tempered glass set with locking lids.  I just received my new glass containers in the mail and LOVE. THEM.  The set comes with both rectangular, square and circular containers in a variety of sizes.  Aside from being sturdy, leak-proof, oven/freezer/dishwasher/microwave safe, they look so much nicer in my fridge than the dingy plastic containers that I’ve been using for years.  Such a worthwhile swap!

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