My Holistic Pregnancy – The First Trimester

14717105_10153917704280069_3828214895104692499_nYes you read that right! I have been growing a human (:  We are expecting a mini Bernd/Kirsty in early April 2017 and we couldn’t be more excited!

I have been wanting to share this news for sometime, it is so exciting for us! And something we had planned on for a little while. You may have noticed my non appearance on my website or any social media for that matter. I have taken these weeks to relax and just get through each day! To rest as much as I can , and put all my attention and focus I have into growing this little being. All day sickness is a real thing! But I don’t mind one bit, we get a beautiful human in the end with a bit of both of us both combined!

I am going to be doing a blog post on each trimester and put it into a few sections for easier reading. They will be divided into Nutrition, Yoga and Emotional well being.

Nutrition

The first Trimester can be challenging in this department. I remember my sister saying to me that when you don’t want to eat something when your pregnant its not like your being picky or just don’t feel like it, you physically cannot eat that thing! And it’s not that I didn’t believe her, I just didn’t understand, as I had never experienced that. But now I have, and I get it sis! I think you will only understand once you have experienced it. As most people that know me know I am pretty passionate about healthy eating and very rarely do I eat something I don’t believe is good for my body. I remembered thinking ‘when Im pregnant I am going to be so healthy! ‘ Don’t put expectations on yourself mama! Trust me, your doing your best and thats all you can do. Surrender and rest, these months will be hard at times, you wont always feel like yourself. But it will pass (:

I mostly managed to eat rye bread with marmite or peanut butter, and lots of fruit and smoothies! These were my saving grace,  beans, lentils , most grains and vegetables were out! Crazy I know. But I did the best I could and managed to take my Barley life most of the first trimester to get greens in that I was not able to eat.

Nutrients to focus on during pregnancy

 

Folate- While folic acid and folate are often marketed as the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods. Folic acid, while readily utilized by the body, is the synthetic form of the vitamin and often found in supplements and fortified foods. The body is more easily able to use folate and will regulate healthy levels by releasing excess through the urine.

Folic acid/folate deficiency during pregnancy has been linked with neutral tube defects like spina bifida and other malformations like cleft lip . Because of the serious possibility of such birth defects, many woman take folic acid supplements. However I am a firm believer in getting your nutrients from the food you eat, and if your diet is at least 75% raw fruit and vegetables you will without a doubt be getting more than the recommended daily amount of folate. But during my first trimester I did not, due to food aversions and nausea. I didn’t feel I was getting all I needed. So I continued to take barley life and found a good folate supplement from Solgar.

Plant foods high in Folate

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits
  • Beans , peas lentils
  • Avocado

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B12- is essential during pregnancy and is necessary for the proper functioning of Folate. A deficiency of this Vitamin affects nearly all the body tissues, particularly those containing rapidly dividing cells. This can result in pernicious anemia and degeneration of the nervous system. Follow a high fruit and vegetable diet to meet your requirements or I recommend a good quality liquid B12. I use the ‘Vitamin Research products Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12’ .

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Iron- Plant-based foods may contain less iron than animal foods, but eating smaller amounts throughout the day is a great way to increase absorption. Plant sources of iron are Lentils, soybeans, tofu and tempeh. The iron in beans, grains and seeds is better absorbed when combined with the vitamin-C found in fruits and vegetables. Iron is an element essential to life, it plays a huge role in transferring oxygen in the body. It is said to be normal to have slightly lower levels of iron during pregnancy due to the increase of blood volume in mothers in order to meet the needs of the growing baby. The human body has large reserves of iron in the liver and bone marrow. These stores are drawn upon to meet the body’s requirements during the course of the pregnancy. Iron supplementation can cause gastrointestinal discomfort such as diarrhea and constipation. 

Iron is easily available in all fruit and vegetables, and because of the high levels of Vitamin C found in these foods, the body is able to utilize the iron from plant foods efficiently. Cooking destroys Vitamin C in food, so to make sure you meet your Iron requirements, try to eat fruit and vegetables in their raw form as this is when Vitamin C is most usable.

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When my iron levels where checked at 12 weeks they were perfect! 

  • Seeds- Pumpkin, squash, pine, pistacio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • All fruit esp raisins, currants
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Deep Orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.

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I am very grateful that I managed to have my big fruit smoothie every morning for most of the first trimester, I just liked them a little icer and not too creamy. I was also loving fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice. And thats about it for most days. Then came the bread, something, anything to help settle my tum. And it did topped with some organic local cheese I had been craving. I don’t usually eat cheese or dairy but this was an exception, I really felt like it for a while I waited to see if it would pass and it didn’t. So I made the decision and found the best quality cheese I could and got involved and it hit the spot!

Pregnancy is unpredictable, you just don’t know how your going to feel each day, physically and emotionally. Take each day as it comes, be gentle with yourself and just embrace it all! I really feel preparing for pregnancy is something so great you can do for yourself and you bub.(post coming soon!) Do research, nourish your body and work on your emotions and relationship with your partner.

  • Find a good wholefood prenatal  I used Terra Nova (my wonderful sister sent it from Ireland)
  • Solgar is a good folate supplement if you can’t get any greens in, as well as barley life.
  • BarleyLife is great as a Whole food Multi Vitamin during pregnancy, I take a Tblsp with water or fruit juice as well as my wholefood prenatal.

AIM BarleyLife® is an all-natural, green barley juice concentrate that helps provide the daily nutrition you need to develop a strong foundation for your good health. The power of BarleyLife is found in the nutrients of young barley leaves. Research has found that green barley juice is abundant in enzymes, essential amino acids, and is rich in antioxidant ability, anti-inflammatory activity, immune system support, and cholesterol-lowering effects. The result is a feeling of total wellness.

  • Helps maintain whole body health
  • Promotes a healthy immune system
  • Provides increased energy
  • Offers unique and powerful
    plant antioxidants

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Nutritional Facts

I do recommend getting your nutrient levels checked before and during pregnancy to check where you are at and if you are meeting your requirements, as you don’t want to ‘overdose’ with vitamin Supplementation. Most Vitamin supplements are active chemical agents and should only be taken in pregnancy to make up specific and definite deficiencies diagnosed by your doctor. If you do decide to take supplements, find the best quality wholefood ones. In SA you cant find wholefood supplements so barleyLife is your best chance, or to order in from overseas. We tried to order the Synergy Prenatal from the USA but it got denied at SA borders. Very annoying! Do your best to eat a wholefood plant based diet, and if you feel its necessary to back yourself up with good quality supplements.

The American Medical Association points out that, ‘The routine prescription of multivitamin and mineral supplements for pregnant and lactating woman is common but generally unnecessary. A well balanced diet designed to meet the needs of pregnancy and lactation minimises the need for supplementation.

Yoga

My practice has been amazing! I am so grateful for this. It has helped me keep somewhat grounded and balanced and to help the common pregnancy anxiety.  I continued with my usual yoga practice and just modified some flows as I felt needed. With some of the higher level, more strengthening classes I just rested when I needed (which was quite often) first trimester fatigue… One thing I can say is the yoga helped with the fatigue, on the days I didn’t really feel like going to class I did , I ended up feeling better! But there were some days for sure I stayed in bed and rested. You need to decided and listen to your body on that. Having a yoga practice before falling pregnant is ideal. If you havn’t you can start right away with a very gentle beginners yoga class and let the teacher know your pregnant. This will give your body the time to open and strengthen. To be able to connect to yourself and your breath and baby.

Prenatal yoga is great when it is paired with walking for cardiovascular exercise. These are both great ways to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy and to keep your body strong and fit for labour. Prenatal Yoga can help to tone your muscles and improve your balance, as well as improve your circulation all with very little impact on your joints. The breathing techniques used in Yoga will help teach you how to breath deeply and consciously relax, which is very helpful as you are faced with the physical demands of labour, birth and motherhood. Learning to use the yogic breath ‘ ujjayi’ helps prepare you for labour and childbirth by training you to stay calm when you need it most. When you are in pain or afraid your body produces adrenalin and may produce less oxytocin, a hormone that makes labour progress. A regular yoga practice will help you remain calm and relaxed rather than tightening up the perennial muscles when you feel pain.

More than ever listen to your body! Be gentle and move slowly with awareness.

I have recorded a first trimester practice that you can flow along with from home, I will be uploading it in a week or two (:

Emotional Well being

To stay centered and calm I have tried to do some breathing an meditation in the evening before bed and of course my yoga practice has helped here.

A great book to read during your first Trimester is Magical Beginnings , Enchated Lives by Deepak Chopra. It has great information and tools you can use during your pregnancy from a more holistic side.

I have had some anxieties during the first Trimester as Im sure most moms do, just wanting all to be ok and well. The scan at 12 weeks helped to ease this, hearing our babies heartbeat and seeing them on the ultrasound screen is just incredible! Through this I realized as hard as it is you have to try stay calm and relaxed because of course worrying doesn’t help! I found having friends and family that had been pregnant are a great support for this , and as always my yoga practice. I cant say it enough! Connecting to yourself is most important.

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Surrender and rest, these months will be hard at times, you wont always feel like yourself but it will pass and you will feel better (:  Read , sleep eat , do yoga, watch happy movies repeat.

You are growing a human! Don’t forget that.

All my love and to a happy and healthy pregnancy

Kirsty

xxxx

 

Sources * 

nomeatathlete

Healthy Kids the Natural Way by Mary Ann Shearer

Why you need to remove refined foods!

Why you should remove refined foods from your diet?

Processed Foods and Food Additives

Life is at such a fast pace and so busy these days. We rarely find time to make a home cooked meal never mind a healthy one. The thought of following a healthy lifestyle can be daunting. Not knowing where to start or what to eat. We often give up and cave in for those processed sugary and MSG filled foods. About 60-70 years ago, only ten per cent of the average persons Daily diet consisted of processed foods. Now that average is a scary 80% of our diet! Our bodies were never designed to cope with these processed foods, and definitely not in the amounts consumed. A highly processed diet will have devastating effects on your health and well being, and your ability to cope with the daily stress of modern times.

When processed foods and food additives are consumed it is linked with many common ailments, ranging from frequent colds and flu, allergies, blood pressure problems, behavioural disorders and impaired brain function. As well as conditions like heart disease, cancer and Diabetes. Consuming these food on a regular basis will eventually lead to low energy and general ill health. If you want to take control of your stress, you need to make an effort to avoid foods that are processed and full of additives. Rather make better choices by nourishing your body with plant foods that will keep you well and thriving!

Refined Sugar

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Refined sugar affects the central nervous system and the endocrine system in a variety of ways, it is the number 1 enemy when it comes to depression, mood swings and irrational and emotional behaviour. We need glucose to function optimally. When your body starts to run low on glucose, it signals the lack of this vital brain nutrient through a craving for sweet things. And instead of eating fresh fruit we turn to refined sugar to satisfy our cravings. But refined sugar has a large impact on our blood sugar levels, and when our blood glucose levels are thrown out of balance many unpleasant symptoms can result including depression. The use of refined sugar depletes the body of B vitamins, so vital for brain function. This can result in fatigue anxiety irritability migraines hyperactivity forgetfulness phobias feelings of panic and lack of sex drive. All of these symptoms can be avoided by removing refined sugar and following a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit, raw and cooked vegetables and nuts.

Artificial Sweeteners (Nutrasweet, canderel and equal)

Aspartame, it is claimed by independent scientists to cause neuro-endocrine disorders i.e. disorders of the central nervous system and the endocrine system (mental retardation, brain lesions).Further research shows that chronic brain damage may be caused when aspartame and MSG ( monosodium glutamate) are consumed together. Aspartame can upset any of the endocrine glands, but is suspected of slowing down the function of the thyroid thereby slowing down metabolic rate, which defeats the reason for taking it.

Sorbitol- mainly used as an artificial sweetener, formerly presumed safe – recent research shows that there is a possibility of it being carcinogenic causing in particular bladder tumors and can also cause diarrhea.

Saccharin– has been found to cause cancers in laboratory tests, particularly cancer of the unary tract. There has been much controversy surrounding this product throughout the past century, but the fact remains that it is carcinogenic and mutagenic (is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material, usually DNA, of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level.).

*The most natural sweeteners to use would be freshly extracted juices, dried fruit pastes such as dates paste in baking, raw honey or pure maple syrup.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

This flavour enhancer stimulates the taste buds, which causes them to become inflamed and more sensitive. This deceives us into thinking that our food has more flavour than they really do. MSG is found in packet soups, seasoning, most processed savory foods, bouillon cubes, sauces and almost all fast food. MSG stimulates the taste buds to make them more sensitive which makes the food taste amazing. Just what the fast food industry wants. Almost every savory processed food contains this chemical and it is often referred to flavour enhancer. MSG affects the chemistry of the brain, and can cause discomfort to the body, including headaches, respiratory problems, and muscle tightness (usually felt in the neck and shoulder area).

Caffeine

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Caffeine is found in coffee, cocoa, tea (including green tea), chocolate and soft drinks. It is a flavouring agent that acts as a stimulant, in turn affecting the Central Nervous System, the heart and the kidneys. Consumption can result in nervousness, anxiety, irritability, aggression, sleeplessness, and insomnia. It has been shown that coffee drinkers are more prone to heart disease. Continual stimulation of the Central Nervous System with caffeine can result in tiredness, depression, moodiness and contributes to ME.

Refined Carbohydrates

Processed grains deplete the system of the vital B vitamins. Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars and the body needs Vitamin B to process them. But because this vitamin is removed or destroyed during processing, when we eat refined carbohydrates the body robs itself of the vitamin B it requires. Eating refined carbohydrates means we cannot cope with stress very well as vitamin B is the stress vitamin.

Alcohol

Alcohol adds to our stress load. It affects all the glands in our Endocrine System (the system that helps you manage stress) and in particular the Thyroid gland (which helps maintain mental clarity). Alcohol slows down the metabolism, it suppresses your body’s fat burning ability by one third. When you are feeling stressed rather try doing something that takes you away from an environment that encourages you to drink alcohol, try walking or yoga.

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Tips for keeping healthy

Check ingredients on the products you buy. It is time consuming at first but over this time it becomes second nature, and then you will know what is in your food! Most important, don’t buy it if sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, generally the less ingredients the better.

  • Prepare with finding healthy snack recipes!
  • Eat fruit if craving sugar
  • Eat healthy fats if craving salty chips etc.
  • Be prepared with snacks
  • Eat enough whole foods until you are satisfied.

I hope this post has helped to inspire you to make the right choices and to maintain vibrant health.

 

Warming Vegetable Soup

 

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Winter has definitely crept on in these last few weeks! It has been getting rather chilly, and this soup has saved me and warmed myself and Bernd up! I love soup but have been getting tired of the regular combinations all blended up. I wanted something with a bit of crunch ,some  soul soup. My husbands mom makes a delicious vegetable soup with pasta, I was inspired so I gave it a go and changed some ingredients up a bit. Soup is so healing for me in winter, it makes everything better right? Soup, a blanket and a fire (:

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I love this soup because it is such a quick and easy recipe. You don’t need to slave over the stove for hours to prepare something delicious! Your getting in all the beautiful nutrients that these vegetables offer. Like the humble green pea, they are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus, and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, and choline, and they are so delicious. I think I ate more fresh ones while making this soup than what I put in!

It takes me about 20 minutes to make this, with all the prep. A great tip to keep healthy is to find recipes that are quick and easy, recipes you can whip up on those days when you don’t feel so inspired to cook and start to search for the bread and peanut butter!

I am busy working on my recipe eBook that will have easy and quick plant-based recipes for everyone. I’m hoping I will be able to complete it by the end of the year, holding thumbs.

Let me know how you enjoyed the soup!

I have launched myself into the Youtube world and posted my first recipe video. Please do check it out (:

Warming Vegetable Soup

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Ingredients: *Use Organic where possible

1 1/2 Liters boiling water
6 Tbs Vegetable Stock
2 medium Carrots
2 Baby Marrows
1 Cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 Bunch of broccoli
1/2 Cup Red cabbage
100g Brown Rice Vermicelli

Directions:

Prepare by chopping your vegetables and finely chopping your carrots and baby marrows. Then mix your vegetable stock and boiling water with a fork and place into a large pot. Once simmering, add your thinly sliced carrots, baby marrows and brown rice vermicelli. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. You can then add your peas, broccoli and red cabbage just until they are lightly steamed as I like those to still be a bit crisp. Add extra water if needed, depending how thick you like your soup.

You can serve with fresh sourdough or Gluten free bread.

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Boosting your Immune System Naturally this winter!

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Dealing with colds and flu, and how to build The Immune system

It is that time of the year, where everyone is splattering and sniffing all around you. And you just hope you don’t get sick! But most of the time we do, and it effects us all differently depending on the strength of our immune system and the amount of stress in our daily lives. In this post I talk about what compromises our immune system , how to build it up and natural ways to beat a common cold, coughs and fevers.

 The immune system

The development of the immune system begins in early pregnancy and continues into the first few months of life. The lack of essential nutrients, for whatever reason, during this very important time of growth has a huge effect on the baby’s immune system. Small and low birth-weight full-term babies generally have a greatly reduced resistance to infection. This will have a serious effect on the baby’s potential for growth and normal development. In these children the under developed immune system may continue for several months or even years. But, we can build them up again! Research by many leading nutritional scientists and pediatricians have shown that an increase in the number immune fighter cells (T-cells) occurs as early as 5-15 days after an improvement in the diet. 2000 new T-cells are produced every second by a healthy immune system.

Most people will notice a large improvement in their health within 15-21 days when improving their diet and lifestyle!

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What Raisins can offer! and simple oat porridge

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Hello friends! It has been a little while since I posted a blog. I have been working on my website, cleaning it up adding a new logo, and correcting some spelling mistakes in previous posts (; So pretty much revamping a bit! Let me know what you think I am feeling super inspired to share more and have a long list of posts to share. If there is anything you want me to talk about let me know in the comments!  I have recently been having some serious raisin cravings, and oh boy these raisins from The natural Way are so amazing! I am on my second packet in just over a week…. My course mentor Mary Ann Shearer did a post on Raisins and their benefits and I am sharing all that good information on here for you guys , so lets get into it. Read more

Food Combining and a smoothie for great Digestion

What is food combining ?

Food combining is the correct combination of eating food for best digestion and health. We do not want to eat concentrated proteins with concentrated starches. What is meant by a concentrated starch is usually a food with a 20 percent or more carbohydrate content. Potatoes, rice, bread, noodles, corn on the cob, and all grains such as wheat, rye oats, etc, would fall into the category. These foods need to be chewed well so that the enzyme ptyalin, which is secreted in the saliva, can start acting on the starch. The ultimate aim is to break down these starches down into simple sugars, which is the only way they can be absorbed into the blood stream. very simply, starch moves into the stomach, where it is churned up while the ptyalin continues to act on it.This mixture called chyme, then passes into the small intestine where further digestion takes pace with the aid of amylase or starch-spitting enzymes. The simple sugars that result from this breaking-down process are then absorbed into the blood stream and used by the body.

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Recent travels and exciting future projects!

Hello Beauties!

It is good to be back on here again and writing to you all. It has been a while …. a whole 3 months. We all need a break now and then right? Christmas happened January flew by and here we are in February already. It was a much-needed break from the internet as I spent time with my love and my beautiful family, and this last month I dug into my Nutrition Consulting course which is great! Progress is being made.

Last weekend myself and my partner(soon to be husband!!! Bernd) yes that also happened! I’m getting married (more about that later) we made a trip to Cape Town and stayed in Gordon’s bay as I had a full day conference with Mary-Ann Shearer from the Natural Way (the course I am currently studying). It was a full day conference filled with amazing information about leading medical research on the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Natural Way course is now affiliated with PCRM ( Physicians comitee for responsible medicine). The amazing Dr Neal Barnard is the founder and president of PCRM, The Physicians Committee is leading a revolution in medicine—putting a new focus on health and compassion. The Physicians Committee combines the clout and expertise of more than 12,000 physicians with the dedicated actions of 150,000 members across the United States and around the world”  I encourage you to check out the website! 

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All about Watermelon, and a refreshing Juice !

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Well hello beauties!

 It has been a while since my last post! Life has indeed been busy, I have been focusing a lot on my Triyoga Level 2 Training, that has been my main priority and everything else has been left to the side for a bit, including my blog! I do my exam this coming Wednesday December 9th. I am so looking forward to it, we have worked on this Level for 2 years, so it is time to wrap it up and keep enjoying the flow. So after that I will be focusing more on my blog and writing more post with yummy recipes. So lets get to it.

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Ultimate Nutrition for your baby

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During my time of studying nutrition, I have really been enjoying the nutrition for kids, giving them a good start can save them and yourself a lot of troubles in the future. So I decided to write a post to help any mammas feeling overwhelmed. This is just my view from what I have learnt in my studies. 

This is a big subject and it has so many opinions. So I will try keep this to the point and get as much necessary information in! The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family is research. Look into different lifestyles, look at the science behind it ,as well as what feels good for you. So assuming you have been through a pregnancy or are pregnant, that alone has so many opinions about what you should be eating so you and baby get enough nutrients, that is a whole other topic though! Then the decision breast or bottle? Then around 4-5 months and on, what do we feed these little humans? What is the best food for them? Oh so many questions!

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108 Days of Hanuman (Part 3)

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Wow , I have reached 108 days! I did it guys! I’m so stoked, it has been so fun doing Hanuman everyday, even on those lazy days or when I’m feeling stiff and tired. But I did it, I got on my mat and it always made me feel better and I was always glad I did. This practice has taught me to just do it, stop having conversations in my head about whether or not to do something. Just get on with it and enjoy it and be in the moment, and fully present in that moment , but find the balance of not pushing , be gentle with yourself.  Yoga is a journey, not a destination.  Read more