Holistic pregnancy the 3rd Trimester

 

And here we are , flowing towards on the end of my 3rd trimester and preparing for the birth! Here is a look back at these last weeks. A few discomforts popped up, ย the occasional indigestion and leg cramps, but that was for a couple days and then is disappeared. I have had aches and pains here and there but again, nothing to serious and mostly goes away with a good Yoga class and a massage ๐Ÿ™‚ Strangely I had sternum pain… yes you read that right. I certainly didn’t expect that. I felt it the most from 26-34 weeks and then it eased off a bit, my husband would rub that area with arnica and it was AMAZING! Which brings me to him, what a flippen amazing human he is. From the first day he has been nothing but supportive and caring and just plain incredible. Working all day and then coming home and cleaning if I have not been able to, feeding the dogs , folding laundry and sometimes cooking or buying me yummy food (: I must admit I have tried to just keep doing my normal routine but was put in my place by him and my body telling me to stop. There is a certain amount of guilt for me, feeling like I need to do more, but he lovingly reminds me Im growing a human and that is enough work to do. So thank you my love, your support and complete unconditional love for me, it lights me up and has made this pregnancy that much more blissful!

We are ย so excited to meet our little boy and experience birth and the beautiful changes about to take place in our family. We have been preparing in many different ways. Physically, mentally emotionally, and then there is all the baby and house stuff that I had long lists for. Again thanks my love, ticking off the boxes as each weekend goes by. My nesting has for sure kicked in. It feels good to get everything you can ‘prepared’. But mostly I have tried to keep my mind in a positive space. Listening to birth affirmations and reading positive birth storied makes a big difference from all the horror stories you hear around you. People love to tell their stories and I get that, but am amazed at what comes out of peoples mouths, so keeping positivity around you is so important!

Nutrition

I have still been enjoying a lot of fruit and smoothies this trimester and Im sure that is due to the very hot summer we have had. I have been feeling like a lot more sweet foods as well, so this has been a bit of a challenge, I try to turn to fresh dates, date balls and dried fruit as sweet snacks. I have also focused on keeping my plant fat intake high, avocado, flax oil, hemp and chia seeds . Baby is building his beautiful brain and needs all he can get.

These last few weeks I have also been focusing on getting in extra kale as it is high in Vitamin K , this will give baby more for when he is born.ย A few weeks ago I got a cold, not fun… but we got through it. ย I took extra vitamin C and drank lots of fresh juice, rested as much as I could and that seemed to do the trick after a few days.

Yoga

I have noticed the most changes in my body this trimester of course, which has changed my practice. I am moving much slower and adjusting poses and flows more. Resting when I need, most importantly. When I teach my classes I do more verbal queuing than demonstrating the flows . ย It has improved my teaching skills for sure. In my own practice I have been focusing on squats, keeping my hips open and just really focusing on my breath and connecting to my body and what feels good. Finding some quite in my mind and connecting to our baby.

I have had some leg cramps and some general aches and pains in my back and hips, and without yoga Im not sure what I would do. It helps to keep everything open and my blood moving. My husband has been rubbing my legs before bed which helps so much. And if I can recommend anything that you should make a priority during your pregnancy that is prenatal Yoga and get yourself a prenatal massage! Its so worth it and you deserve it, you and your baby will benefit so much from this. And you get to lie on your tummy as there is a hole in the bed! How coo! I feel such a release when I go, and feel so nurtured by my massage therapist, she is incredible. If your in the Upper Highway area, go see her. Kirsten from Nurtured. 0732803860.

I have also found using a foam roller really beneficial for my lower back/glutes and coccyx. As well as my hips now towards the pregnancy have been very achy at night . During the day when I am sitting I use my birth ball which is so much more comfy than chairs and I bounce away while doing work I need on my computer. Walking is always great as well when you have the energy, I keep them pretty short and slow and just take my time, but I always feel good after and gets my blood moving, got to keep active so we can prepare for the physical strength needed during labour! In saying all of this do what feels best for you and don’t push yourself. The shape you were in before you fell pregnant makes a huge difference, thats why I recommend starting a Yoga practice before as well as walking and following a healthy plant based diet. SO much happens in those first weeks of pregnancy, so to have your body thriving before will not only be amazing for baby but for you and help you just flow through pregnancy with ease and joy (:

 

 

Emotional Wellbeing

We decided to take a hypno-birthing course, and I so recommend you do if interested. It has made us feel so much more calm and emotionally prepared for the birth and the changes about to take place. Not that you can ever be fully prepared! But it has for sure helped ease some anxieties. We did out course with the amazing Callen from Gentle Welcome. With this I have been listening to positive Birth affirmations, doing relaxation techniques and just staying as positive as I can about birth. Keeping in that space is so important, releasing fears and anxieties you have before the birth. I have also made a birth board with positive affirmations and images to keep me going during the labour. I have also created a playlist of my favorite music. I may do a post in the near future of ways to prepare for birth and postpartum care. (after my birth, when I can add more advice and let you know how it all goes )

We have also been reading to baby as recommended in our course, this helps with bonding by hearing our and connecting to our voices. There has been research done that baby later on in life favors the stories you read in the womb! Quite amazing.ย 

Books

hypnobirthing – Marie Mongan

 

 

My Holistic Pregnancy – The First Trimester

14717105_10153917704280069_3828214895104692499_nYes you read that right! I have been growing a human (: ย 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, ย 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-ย 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.ย 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.ย 

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!ย 

  • 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 ย 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,ย 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 BarleyLifeยฎ 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. ย 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 (: ย 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 *ย 

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 โ€“ 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, donโ€™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.

 

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.

ย 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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Ultimate Nutrition for your baby

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During my time of studying nutrition, I have reallyย 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.ย 

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 itย ,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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Soft chewy Medjool date balls with Carob

dates 1Dates oh dates oh how I love you! And it hasn’t always been that way. I remember thinking when I was on the processed sugar train, I can’t wait for the day where I find dates delicious and sweet! And the day has come my friends! I LOVE dates. Especially Medjool dates, they are soft chewy and toffee like, and did I say sweet!

Dates are such a great alternative to your usual refined sugar, they are great for cooking and raw desserts, or just on there own! Yum. So as I always do I’m going to give you a bit of info on the amazing health benefits of dates and why you should definitely add them to your diet!

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Rice Crispy Almond and Chocolate Squares

rice crispy 1One of my best memories from childhood are all the sweet treats my mom made , sweet fudge, marshmellows melted on marie biscuits, and rice crispy treats!

Whenever we had bake sales at school we had rice crispy treats filled with refined sugar of course, oh but I loved them, the sweetness with the sticky crunch from the marshmallows. Since starting this health journey I have missed these. So I set out on a mission to make a healthy version. What to replace with marshmallows…mmmm I tried with the amazing almond butter and they turned out so great, I ate most of them , whoops(;

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Cheezzzy Kale Chips

I love Kale ! And I love chips!

So I made Kale Chips and let me tell you, they were delish!!! I made them to snack on for the week and they only lasted one day…. oops!

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Kale is a dark green leafy cruciferous vegetable that is packed with Vitamins and Minerals. Kale is particularly high in Vitamin A,C and K as well as your B Vitamins.

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The beautiful leaves of the Kale plant have an earthy taste. ย There are several varieties of kale; these include curly kale, ornamental kale, and dinosaur (or Lacinato or Tuscan) kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance.These are pretty straight forward, you can either dehydrate them or cook them in the oven if your pressed for time. I dehydrated these.

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