Pregnancy Food

Right after I found out I was pregnant I scoured books and online articles for information about what I should and should not eat.  After exhausting my research I turned to my midwife and doctor.  Here is my most helpful and well rounded list of things to eat and not to eat in pregnancy.

DO

Food

  1. Greens

    Try to sneak as many greens into your diet as possible.  I admit, this one is very hard for me!  I actually slack the majority of the time because greens happen to be the one thing I have had an aversion to since I was about 12 weeks pregnant.  In favor of not upsetting my gag reflex I often opt out of eating them.  However, on the days I’m feeling up to it I will sneak them into my eggs, pick up a green juice with kale or spinach in it, pop a handful of spinach into a smoothie, hide some kale in fried rice, or occasionally even braving a salad.  Who would have thought the world’s biggest veggie lover would have to force feed greens to herself!

  2. Protein

    Eat as much as you can.  As a vegetarian it was recommended I try and get some protein into every meal.  For a snack I’ll often grab a handful of nuts or a hardboiled egg (see Grab-N-Go Foods below).  I default to eggs often but I also have been going for greek yogurt, beans, and protein enriched smoothies.

Vitamins

  1. Multivitamin

    This is your insurance to cover gaps in your diet.  Even if you are a fruit and veggie fiend you simply don’t know how nutritious those whole foods are unless you grow them in your own composted, organic soil.  Take your prenatal with a meal in the first half of your day.  Here’s what to look for in your multivitamin:  400+ mcg of folic acid (folate), 150+ mcg of iodine, 2000- IU vitamin A acetate/palmitate.  I personally recommend a plant based multivitamin because you are more likely to save yourself from experiencing constipation.

  2. Vitamin D

    For women living in the midwest I recommend 5000 IU of D3 daily.  We do not get much sun in the winter and at our latitude any sun we get in the summer isn’t actually that helpful.  My doctor recommended Healthy Origins, 360 softgels.  If you shop on vitacost.com or iherb.com you will save yourself a chunk of change.  Vitamin D should be taken with a fatty meal or alongside your omega-3 supplement.  Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increased risk of preeclampsia and c-section.

  3. Omega-3’s

    My doctor is also a die hard vegetarian but even she gave into taking Omega-3’s because flax, chia, and hemp simply won’t make a dent.  What you want is at least 1000 mg of DHA + EPA.  DHA alone will not help you or your baby, the EPA is the component that will allow the supplement to reach across the placental barrier.  My doctor specifically recommended Carlson labs Fish oil, 16.8 oz (I got lemon flavor for taste).  You can also purchase this on vitacost.com or iherb.com to save yourself some money.  To be honest, I loathe this vitamin.  Whenever I can finally get around to polishing off what I have I plan on getting my fish oil in the form of a capsule.  It’s not the taste.  The stuff doesn’t carry any real flavor.  It’s the texture that gets me.  You try swallowing a spoonful of cold oil a day and tell me if you like it!

  4. Probiotics

    Research is showing that the types of bacteria your baby is exposed to at birth and shortly after may influence the development of their immunity system.  Exposure to lactobacillus and bifidobacteria has been shown to reduce the risk of skin allergy and possibly asthma later in life.  Studies also show that women who take probiotics in pregnancy reduce the risk of having a child with autism.  The best ways to help the baby get these bacteria is to deliver through the vagina, breast feed, and take probiotics.  My doctor specifically recommended a Wisconsin brand called Florajen3 but if you can’t find that brand be sure to take a probiotic that includes both the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.

Grab-N-Go Foods

Since I was so hungry so frequently I spent some time brainstorming what I could carry around with me.  Both my midwife and my doctor recommended snacking on protein because it would last longer for me and I needed to pile as much protein into my body as I could for the baby and delivery.

  1. Hard boiled eggs
  2. Protein balls
  3. Nuts
  4. Protein bars
  5. Greek Yogurt
  6. Fruit (like apples and bananas)

Don’t

  1. Dyes

    They are totally hard to avoid but if you stay away from candy, soda, and other obviously bright colored things you are on the right track.  Dyes ultimately have been said to lead to all sorts of issues in your baby, some of which may include autism and ADD.

  2. Caffeine

    A cup a day won’t hurt but do yourself, and the baby, a favor and choose more sleep instead.  If you really have to have coffee go for decaf, but be aware that digestion in pregnancy gets a little hosed up and coffee is one of the first things they tell you to cut out – apparently coffee makes the esophagus lazy, caffeinated or not.

  3. Seafood and sushi

    A little won’t hurt anyone.  The key to eating habits in general is everything in moderation – particularly the “bad” stuff.  But, according to my reading, tuna and other fish are ok, swordfish and shark are a no-no, and shellfish and other bottom feeders are ok but should be consumed only rarely.

  4. Alcohol

    Apparently even a glass or two of wine is ok now-a-days.  Earlier in the pregnancy I would restrict myself to occasional sips of someone else’s beverage, but I have now cut it out completely.  Despite my findings I feel a lot more comfortable foregoing altogether.  I figure, if the stuff gets me a little bleary eyed so quick I can’t imagine what it would do to the baby.  But what do I know right?

  5. Refined sugar and flour

    This is a pretty broad category but ultimately you want to avoid carbonated beverages, packaged foods, and things like that.  Ideally it is best to stick to a whole foods diet and cooking meals yourself (and that goes for always too but particularly when pregnant).

  6. Deli meat

    My doctors didn’t specifically mention this but I’ve read it all over online.  I don’t eat it ever anyway but I sure am not going to start when pregnant.

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A Photo A Day | June 24 – 30

1M2Tu 3Wednesday-3 4Th5F 6Saturday 7Sunday

MONDAY Sam goes a sniffin’

TUESDAY My little tomato plants are trying so hard to grow big and strong.

WEDNESDAY We have these BEAUTIFUL flowers blooming on our property!

THURSDAY Spotted eggs are my favorite!  Farm fresh eggs = fun eggs.

FRIDAY Loved all the rain we got this week!  Thunder storms are my favorite!!!

SATURDAY Sarah + Mike Wedding (Full photo blog post coming soon! To see more of my wedding photography CLICK HERE)

SUNDAY A sweat bee visitis yellow lilies just after the rain.

a Photo a Day | May 6 – 12

 

1Monday 2Tu3W 4Thursday 5Friday 6Sa7Su

MONDAY  evening light

TUESDAY  *Black Bean Soup and **Cornbread Muffins for dinner with our new roomies, SUPER delicious!

WEDNESDAY  Rolling Green Country Club member’s portraits (full blog post coming soon)

THURSDAY  flowering trees smell wonderful

FRIDAY  Citizen Way at Cup O’ Joy in Green Bay, WI (full blog post coming soon… for more Citizen Way CLICK HERE)

SATURDAY  dramatic wedding weather

SUNDAY  spring flowers

To see other “a Photo a Day” blog posts CLICK HERE.

* There wasn’t nearly enough flavor for me so I doubled the Cumin, Chile Powder (though I only used one kind), and Cilantro and added some sea salt and fresh black pepper.

** I made them as muffins and didn’t toast them.  Bake time was 20 minutes.  I used Silk Almond Milk Original Flavor instead of milk and I added some honey to the batter mix

Created to be Creative

I am an artist.  As an artist I show my work at various galleries on occasion and when I do I always encounter a person or two who approaches me in a sort of state of awe.  Not necessarily about my work, but about the work of having created something.  There is a group of people, perhaps even the majority, that think they are not creative.  I’ve also come to understand that this group of people thinks there are two groups of people:  creative and not creative.  I don’t believe that.  The simple truth is that we were created by the Master of Creativity and if we are made in His image, which we are, then we are not only all capable of creativity, but I would assert that we are all called to be creative.

I am not suggesting that everyone go out and buy a camera or pick up a paint brush.  I am suggesting, however, that each of us uses our innate creativity to bring beauty into our every day, ordinary lives.  Such ordinary circumstances like parenting, marriage, your home, your routine, work, dating, and eating are all areas that can, and should, be subjected to your art of creativity.

Creative Parenting

Parenting is often the root of a mommy and daddy’s existence for approximately 18 years.  I am not an ordinary parent, but I do parent two dogs and it is similar in a lot of ways.  I have found each dog to be so different in personality and demeanor, so much so that they require completely different methods of “parenting.”  I go into depth about the differences in discipline and love languages from dog to dog, or Haley to Sam, HERE.

In my case of parenting my dogs I have transformed a simple walk into a field trip to the park buried in the back of the neighborhood.  Here I can let them off the leash to romp about and play fetch.  I have also transformed the art of a “walk” itself on the occasion I strap on my roller blades and let the dogs pull me all around the neighborhood.

In the case of parenting children the same can be done.  It’s all  about transforming the daily, normal activities and making them not only more exciting and tailored to your children but perhaps even more exciting and tailored to you so you can better enjoy that time with them.  You could transform making meals into family collaboration.  In my experience kids love to be a part of the food making process.  Especially if it involves making something sweet 😉  Or maybe you could transform the bedtime routine into a game – make it a timed race, see who can pick out the craziest pajamas, cleanest teeth contest, etc.

Creating a Creative Marriage

I am married.  Josh and I have discovered that we do best when we customize the way we love to make our counterpart feel it to the full.  I’ve found that the days I’m feeling entitled to being loved a certain way by him are actually the days it is best to focus that attention outward and go out of my way to love on him.  A great way to get started in creatively and intentionally loving your spouse is by picking up Love Dare at your library or buy it (so you can mark it all up).  A less creative although very important way to create a creative marriage is by building each other up in some basic needs like prayer, going to church, dreaming together, budgeting together and MORE.  Once those basic needs are taken care of and you not only have your heart set in the right place but by going to God with your problems you will often find suddenly a creative solution is placed before you and by doing these simple things together you will find you are suddenly inspired to love more and to love better.

Creativity in your Home Space

A home is your habitat.  It is the place that is perhaps the only place you can call your own.

In nature I see so many intentional home builders.  Some male birds build nests to impress the lady they have their eye on, bees build a crazy awesome infrastructure of cubbies, beavers build dams with paramount precision, ants build ridiculously ornate infrastructures of pathways and niches, male clown fish have the job of picking out the prettiest available anemone for their mate and babies to live safely, and that’s just the cherry on the giant, seemingly infinite, sundae of creative home spaces within nature!

So, then, why is it that people often completely neglect the aesthetics of their home?  Now, wives, please to do not bring my article to you hubby and declare, “see, we do need that China hutch I’ve been eyeing!”  No, but I do advocate setting a budget to fix up the place and make any necessary purchases to bring your home to life.  And, more than that, I recommend getting creative with what you already have and see if you can’t repurpose or refurbish things you already own. I just recently finished my own Remaking Home project to infuse creativity within my home space so if you want some inspiration or motivation CLICK HERE to read more about that 🙂

Creativity in your Routine

I once read somewhere that to inspire creativity one of the best places to start is your daily routine.  I am a creature of habit in so many ways so I understand those of you who feel hesitant to give this a try.  However, I have found that with an appropriate ratio of structure and flux my needs to keep a sense of balance and inspire creativity are both met thoroughly.  For example, I set aside Mondays and Thursdays aside for a Sunshine Moment business matters and photo editing; on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I attend to business and blogging in the morning and then I devote the rest of my day to writing, homesteading, researching, or any number of other creative adventures I want to commit to (my areas of flux); Saturdays are reserved for booking shoots and more a Sunshine Moment; and Sundays I maintain as my Sabbath (another area of wonderful flux) and I never miss church unless I absolutely can’t help it.  So there, now you are all too well-informed about my daily work life 🙂

Creative Dating

Josh and I have found that our best memories are of times when we did something a little outside the box or used our money in a creative way.  Maybe there’s a free concert in the park, or maybe you want to go get ice cream, or maybe you can go on a picnic.  Get out and have some fun or stay in and invent a new activity.  The standard dinner and a movie date is particularly rockin’ when you don’t do it all the time 🙂

Creative Eating

This one is simple.  We eat every day.  Those of us that have a passion for food this is your area to get creative!  Spice up your salad, soup, sandwich, or otherwise sumptuous meal with a pop of color, a prop, placement, or presentation 🙂

These, of course, are just a few ways to spice up your life with a little creativity.  There are so many other areas of life that you can concentrate on and make them special.  I know you will find some amazing fruits out of the extra “labor” you put in!