Monday, May 21, 2012


I'm sure getting enough protein was a daunting enough task when you weren't pregnant. Now you have the fear of your baby's health too. Well here's something to ease your mind. Yes everyone says you need protein, protein, protein, but unless you're a body builder, you don't need to load up on it. Of course, it's a whole different story when you're pregnant. Still, it's not impossible to get enough for you and baby.

Meat does have that more complete chain of amino acids, and protein from plant based sources don't. Imagine it as building blocks. When meat is involved, you need less blocks. When you rely solely on plant based sources, you need a few more. Remember, as much as certain people want you to believe it, even meat on its own isn't enough to give you complete, perfect protein.

You need to mix up your sources of protein. You can get it from beans, whole grains, soy products, and nuts. If you still eat fish it makes it a little easier on you. By mixing up these different foods, you can ensure that you're getting all the building blocks you need to complete that chain of amino acids. It doesn't all have to be in the same meal. As long as you have more than one source of protein with in a day, you and baby should be just fine.

My favorites for protein are:

Lentils - Great for protein and as a bonus, it's loaded with iron, fiber, folate and magnesium.

Quinoa - Is a super food. It has the most perfect string of amino acids out of all the grains. If you can include this in your meals as much as possible you're already ahead. It's a great addition to any meal and is extremely versatile. Antoher plus: it has lots of fiber too which is great for constipation caused by the pregnancy.

Trail Mixes -  Nuts have always been known as an alternate source for protein. Trail mixes make, great healthy snacks that are easy for on the go mom-to-bes. They're great for that extra energy boost too.

Brown Rice - Doesn't necessarily kick butt on the protein scale but I like to mention it because it's such an easy switch rather than an "add-on" to your current diet. You up the protein by a bit but it's an everyday staple in most cultural cooking and pantries around the world. This goes for all grains. By switching to brown (whole grains), you'll get more protein and lots of other goodies that comes along with whole foods.
Whole grains are also great for filling you up and keeping you full longer. Because the carbs aren't refined, it takes your body longer to break them down. This gives you a steady stream of fuel rather than the sugar spike refined carbs give you.

Soy Products

Soy has to be one of the most versatile food in the world. It can be made into pretty much anything it seems.

Soy Milk - Not one of my favorite milks on it's own but the chocolate is delicious. Even making your own hot cocoa with it is great. It's one of the creamier milks when you use it in hot beverages but it's great cold when it's chocolate flavoured.

Tofu - Like some people out there, I'm not a huge fan of tofu. I force myself to eat it to get used to it and it seems to work. I find if you stick to the extra firm tofu, you'll enjoy it a lot more. At least I do. My fave way to have tofu is scrambled. It's a great alternative for scrambled eggs in the morning. I'll post my own recipe in the near future.

These are really the only products I personally have opened myself up to. Tempeh is great as well because it is made from fermented soy beans. I find it a little bitter but it can be helped depending on how you prepare it.

***Watch the amount of soy products you eat. Processed foods are already saturated with soy and too much of one thing is never good. It's been proven that soy can suppress hormones your thyroid produces causing health problems. Limit your soy products and when you can replace them from time to time with something else. (ex. bean burgers vs. soy burgers, rice milk vs. soy milk)

I also add protein to my morning fruit smoothies. It's great to balance out the natural sugars so you don't get the sugar high and then suffer from sugar cravings all day. Be careful with the protein you choose. Make sure it is safe for pregnant women. I use pure pumpkin seed protein powder. Pumpkin seed is great as a source of magnesium as well which can help you stay calm. I use Omega Nutrition's pumpkin seed powder.

Health food stores are a great place to get more info on how to stay healthy while being green. I always stay away from synthetic supplements unless certain vitamins can only be derived from non vegan sources other than fish. Health food stores always have knowledgeable employees who work in the supplement section. They can help you pick out the right, natural, vegan supplements for you.

Remember, you should only take supplements if you can't get certain vitamins and nutrients from your regular diet. ALWAYS try to get everything you need from food first. Supplements should only be an insurance plan and not a source of everyday nutrition. Your body absorbs nutrients and vitamins better from whole foods than a pill or powder.

***Remember, always consult your primary care provider and/or a nutritionist before taking any supplements other than ones that are specifically made for pregnancy. I am not a nutritionist or doctor. This is what I do based on the information from my own personal research and the information my nutritionist and midwife have given me. Every one is different. I put the ideas out there so you can ask the questions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pregnancy Pet Peeves

There are a lot of things that come along with being pregnant. The nausea, the back aches, heartburn, restless legs, mood swings, and body transformations to name a few. On the bright side, there's the joy of bringing a new life into the world, the realization that you're no longer number one, the gift that you and your partner get to enjoy together, and obviously there's much, much more.

Then, there's things that are said and done that are said and done because you're pregnant. As a first time mom-to-be, I find I'm bombarded by all these strange.... I don't even know what to call them. Some are good and some are bad. What's good and bad depends on the person, but I'm sure there are a lot of pregnant women that run into things that annoy them or make them feel uncomfortable.

Here's a list of my top 10 pet peeves in no particular order:

When I'm asked, "How's the baby doing today?"

You know, I'd like to know too but unfortunately the baby isn't talking to me yet, and I can't see much considering he/she is hiding inside of me.

I find it awkward and strange to say "The baby is good?" like I would actually know.

When people stare at my belly while talking to me. 

O....M....Gosh! I'd rather people stare at my breasts. There's nothing interesting going on there so why are they staring as if a movie is being projected onto my bump?

Oooooorrrrr, maybe the baby is talking to them. I should ask them the next time this happens if THEY can tell me how the little one is doing.

When random people touch/rub my belly.

It seems being pregnant gives everyone a free ticket to rub or touch the belly. My personal space, my bubble, my very small. There are few people I feel comfortable within my personal space. And I'm talking about something as simple as a hug. I can count on one hand how many people I feel comfortable hugging. If you see me hugging someone not on that list, it's because I'm being polite. Believe me, I'm cringing the whole time.

So imagine my horror when I have to cringe and be polite to people who want to rub my belly all the time. I personally find it worse when they actually ask.

"Sure, knock your self out! Have fun!" *I stick out my belly so they can touch it*

When I'm told, "OMG you're huge!" or "OMG you're showing!"

I think this bothers people depending on their personality. I just don't like comments about my size period. I'm happy with my bump but I still struggle with my self esteem and the last thing I want to hear is that I'm huge. The other day, some one made a comment that I`m not gaining weight anywhere else other than my belly. Now that`s acceptable =D.

Did the baby move yet? No? Not yet?

I hate when people ask me the same question everyday. If I've been asked once or twice, I'll get the point and tell you when the amazing thing happens. I also find they're pushing in on my moment. This is something I want to share with my husband and family first. So by asking me for play by play details, I feel like people are shoving their way in on special moments that I want to savor with my husband first, not with other people.

I've even grown so spiteful that I lie to certain people whether I've felt anything or not. I just don't want to share my joy with them because they've pressured me the whole time. One girl even had me worried when at eighteen/nineteen weeks I still didn't feel anything, and she insisted that she felt her baby move long before that.Well, everyone is different and every pregnancy is different.

When women who were pregnant have a completely skewed memory of their pregnancy.

I'll be asked how far along I am, my due date, if it's a boy or girl....

Then, if the person had been pregnant, they go off about their past pregnancy and I feel as if their memory is completely off about details such as; their size, when they FIRST FELT THE BABY MOVE, their symptoms, or how great being pregnant was and how could I not enjoy it (and that's after they complained about all the symptoms). I find women may remember what they went through but they don't remember what it felt like going through it. And once again, they have to realize every pregnancy is different and that no, I didn't experience everything they did . (My baby is kicking right now btw) 

I find it's like when you go on a roller coaster ride. You may remember your pee-in-the-pants-fear as 'thrill' rather than being ready to cry. Or like when you see someone cry over a paper cut and scoff at them because they're crying over a scratch you can't even see. At that moment, you don't remember how painful it is and that when you get one, you even wish it was a full blown cut because it seems those hurt less.

When women who miss being pregnant try to relive it through you.

Gahhh! You have no idea how much this annoys me. They have had their moment and now it's mine. This is referring to the same people who over ask certain questions and try to crowd in on YOUR special moments. If certain people miss it so much they can get pregnant again.

When people don't see you anymore, they see a pregnant woman.

I'm not saying this is absolutely annoying but sometimes if feels as if this pregnancy has ripped away my identity. I guess this is sort of linked with people staring at my belly while talking to me. No one sees me anymore. I find family is the worst for it sometimes. I feel as if I'm only seen as this vessel that's carrying a future grandchild, a future niece or nephew, or a future cousin. If I'm lucky, they'll say hi to me before addressing my belly/baby. Which leads to....

People seem to think all I want to talk about is the pregnancy.

Yes, I'm excited and yes, I love to talk about the pregnancy but there are other things I still enjoy talking about. There's only so much that happens in a day. I can complain about the symptoms and gush about how many times the baby moved today. I can talk about my hopes and dreams for the baby's future and my plans to buy a house and what colour the nursery will be. Within the seven or so months (considering I didn't find out I was pregnant right away) that I'm waiting to meet this new little human being, these topics can become redundant. Unless I'm flipping back and forth on the colours for the nursery, there's really nothing much to say other than the odd updates about how everything is going.

Now I know there are women who live and breathe the whole pregnancy thing but honestly, I find it just drags things out and makes the wait longer.

When older women imply I'm a wimp.

This goes back to women who's memories are slightly skewed about what it's like being pregnant. Earlier, I had a girl in mind who just got off of mat leave. So imagine women who were pregnant twenty some years ago. Remember how I said every pregnancy is different? Well some women truly don't understand that. My hours have been cut down at work because of fatigue and back pain. An older woman actually looked down on me and stated proudly that she worked the whole way through and that she worked thirteen hour shifts. Good for her. I happen to be a big baby, just ask my husband. Either way, that woman doesn't know what kind of pain I'm feeling and for that reason can not judge me.

If any of you feel like you're wimps or whiners, don't. For some (I think for most) pregnancy is hard. Specially if it's the first time you're going through it. A lot of things are happening physically and emotionally, and you have every right to do what you need to ease the stress of the pregancy and everything around you. If you need to stop working earlier than expected, do it. If you have to cut down on your hours, do it and never feel ashamed. Remember, bringing a new life into this world isn't easy. It's a miracle, but it's science and nature too. Unfortunately, in our case, nature is a bitch.