Eating during the First Trimester

Let’s be HONEST about eating during the first trimester. This blog post is 100% based on my own personal experience, and hell, it is different for EVERYONE during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Prior to being pregnant, I practiced eating intuitively, meaning that I listened to my body and ate whatever I felt it needed. Most of the time that included lots of fruits, veggies, grains and a lot of homemade meals (and dark chocolate of course). The first 4-5 weeks of pregnancy I was able to stick with my normal routine. I was eating real food and whole meals, and I felt pretty damn good. Then I hit week 6 and EVERYTHING completely changed. The nausea, food aversions and sensitivities to smells came rolling in fast. I didn’t struggle with nausea in the morning, it would hit me in the late afternoon and evening.

I have a sensitive stomach in general, therefore I was already mindful of the food I ate prior to being pregnant. But this was a whole different ball game. It wasn’t just the usual upset stomach that I was used to dealing with, it was the hey, you could throw up at any moment if you smell this or eat that sort of upset stomach. Also, let me preface this by saying that throwing up is my LEAST favorite sickness - I cry every single time. So learning to manage it was a bit tricky for me. Snacks (MANY times a day) became my go-to, while the idea of full meals went out the window. Other things that went out the window - eating healthy, real food everyday, I basically had NO desire to eat fruits and veggies. This was a shock to the system for me. Having food aversions to the things I used to eat every single day - like avocado, dark chocolate, salads, etc. was bizarre and frustrating. I had to learn to navigate what my stomach could and couldn’t handle. Plus I wanted to avoid additional nausea (or any) at all costs, BUT that wasn’t as realistic as I’d hoped.

My new eating routine consisted of ALL THE CARBS, which was definitely an adjustment for me. Grilled Cheese - sign me up! Pasta - sure! Bread - absolutely! Mac and cheese - hell, let’s have it a couple nights a week! I felt like the eating habits I had when I was a child were coming back. I also wanted things like applesauce, chicken noodle soup, chicken fingers, yogurt, cheese and potato chips. (Yes, I used to be a picky eater and was VERY particular about what I ate for a LONG time). Oh and cue the cravings for junk food - sour gummy worms, sour patch kids, sweet-tarts, fudgesicles, cinnamon rolls, etc. The cravings would hit me at random times, a lot of the time it happened at night. The one thing that I did notice was that eating sour thing helped with the nausea, which was surprising to me.

I have a background in holistic health and nutrition coaching, so last Spring I began researching and studying nutrition during pregnancy. I read numerous books, taking detailed notes on each one and created an outline of a nutrition regimen I planned to follow once I became pregnant. For the first five weeks I was actually able to stick with it and I felt awesome. Then week six came around and it wasn’t possible because I simply didn’t want the food of the week and didn’t want to eat something that could make me feel nauseous when I already did. Was this ideal for me and what I had planned? Absolutely not, but when you’re pregnant, you learn to go with the flow.

So I’m here to remind you babes that even when you make plans, life can always come around, smack you in the face and change them. That’s just how it goes. Learn to go with the flow, embrace the craziness, the chaos, the frustrations, and the ups and downs. Especially you mamas out there - pregnancy changes things whether you’re ready for it or not. Do what works for YOU. At the end of the day, if you’re doing your best that’s all that matters. Being pregnant has brought things into a whole new light for me. My body is not my own anymore, there’s a little babe growing inside of it that I need to take care of. And if that means I end up eating grilled cheese for dinner every night for a week so I don’t feel nauseous, you bet your ass I’m going to do it.

The Benefits of Yoga during Pregnancy

I wanted to chat with you guys about yoga and how amazing it is for your mind and body in general, let alone while you’re pregnant. I started practicing yoga in high school and did it pretty consistently until college. During college I had convinced myself I was “too busy” and didn’t have time, when in reality I simply wasn’t making it a priority. I picked it back up again about four years ago when my sweet husband bought me a package at a local yoga studio. Since then, yoga has seriously kept me sane. It’s my “me time”, an hour where I focus on breathing, moving my body and relaxing my non-stop mind.

This fall, my sciatic nerve started acting up and was SUPER painful, so I stopped going to class like I normally do because I was afraid of injuring myself more. I thought taking a break from from working out and yoga would help it feel better, turns out it did the opposite - it made it worse. Sooo I started going back to yoga (and getting acupuncture done) and BOOM, it started getting better. I was bummed when I had to stop going to hot yoga classes due to this little babe growing inside of me. BUT I’ve learned that yoga is not just about sweating or getting a good workout. It’s about making time for myself and the journey of learning all about this changing body of mine. Let’s dive into why you should consider adding yoga to your routine!

Benefits

  • helps de-stress the body and mind by allowing you to focus on your breathing (which is even more important during pregnancy because baby can feel everything the birthing person experiences)

  • focuses on strengthening the pelvic floor which is important before, during and after pregnancy (it can be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth)

  • the modified poses increase strength, flexibility, balance and endurance (which will help during pregnancy and labor!)

  • helps you become more in touch with your body (and baby!) by focusing on the breathing, thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations that you may feel during your practice

  • prenatal yoga is specifically designed to help you work through the changes your body is experiencing during pregnancy

  • it is a great form of self-care, time just for you

  • decreases lower back pain and improves sleep

  • provides you with breathing techniques that can help you work through contractions or pushing during labor

  • is a safe and gentle exercise option during pregnancy

  • offers gentle stretching to multiple areas of your body

  • studies have found that expectant people who practiced yoga consistently during their pregnancy were more likely to have a healthy baby

  • provides you with a sense of community by allowing you to meet and connect with other people

Keep In Mind

  • always talk to your healthcare provider before attending prenatal yoga to ensure that it is safe for YOU to practice yoga while pregnant. Everyone’s bodies are different.

  • make sure your yoga teacher is certified in prenatal yoga

  • Hot yoga is not recommended during pregnancy, as you don’t want to raise your internal body temperature (it can negatively impact the baby)

  • prenatal yoga and restorative yoga are your best options during pregnancy

  • as always, make sure to LISTEN to your body and how it feels - don’t push yourself too hard. Simply do whatever feels best for you

  • any poses that require you to lie flat on your back or stomach or require a lot of stretching aren’t recommended during pregnancy (there are always modifications you can do instead!)

  • use blocks and props to assist with poses

Natural Remedies to Boost your Immune System

honey.jpg

We’re currently in the middle of full blown cough, cold and flu season and it’s super important to keep your immune system in tip top shape. When I was in high school and college, I used to pump myself full of over the counter meds every time I was sick. The funny thing is, most people don’t realize that you can heal your body naturally. Yes, it does depend on the severity of the sickness, there are absolutely times where medicine is necessary and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if I can eat real food and take small steps every day to prevent myself from getting sick and avoid taking unnecessary medicine that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that’s go-go-go 24/7, working crazy hours and not taking time to rest. Lack of sleep is a HUGE issue that people fail to recognize and address. Not sleeping enough impacts SO many parts of your body, one specifically, is your immune system. It’s almost comical to say sleeping is a natural remedy to keep your body healthy but it’s 100000% true. So if you feel like you’re getting sick or you’re already sick – let yourself get some sleep. Trust me, your body will seriously thank you.

Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite natural remedies you can use to keep your body healthy. Some of them may seem a little whacky to you, but I promise they work. Just give them a try and you will see!

1.       Apple Cider Vinegar –

You guys know I can’t get enough of ACV, to learn more about the health benefits check out my previous blog post entitled "Apple Cidahh Vinegahhh". One of the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar is that it helps create an alkaline environment in your body which can kill bacteria and viruses. One of my favorite drinks to have first thing in the morning is warm water, a splash of ACV and some local honey mixed in. Click here to see the brand we use at home!

2.      Bone Broth

if you watch my Instagram stories (@healthbalancecenter) you’ll see just how often I drink bone broth. Sometimes it’s up to 3 times a day, I just love it. Why do I like it? It has numerous health benefits – it helps create a healthy gut, supports immune system function, and is a fantastic source of collagen as well (which helps protect your joints and positively impacts your skin).

The brand of bone broth I drink most often is Pacific Foods. I warm it up over the stove top and add Frontier Co-op turmeric, Himalayan pink salt, cilantro and Fourth and Heart ghee. If you’ve never tried it before – you absolutely should. It’s fun to play around with different spices and seasonings AND if you can find some locally it’s even better for you!

3.      Echinacea

for those of you who aren’t familiar with Echinacea, it is classified as an herb, although it is technically a flower. The flower itself, as well as its roots and leaves have been used as a plant-based/herbal remedy for hundreds of years. It is said that Echinacea decreases your chances of getting a cold by half, as well as reduces the duration of your cold. You can most likely find echinacea supplements and teas in your local grocery store. If not, you can always find them online.

4.      Essential Oils

As you all know, I’m an essential oil enthusiast for numerous reasons. There is literally an essential oil for every symptom or ailment you may have. Some of the best oils to help alleviate symptoms during cold and flu season are listed below:

Thieves (anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, anti-viral and antiseptic properties)

Peppermint (soothes headaches, chest congestion and can reduce fever)

Lemon (purifies the air in your home due to anti-viral properties, decrease congestion)

German Chamomile (soothes aching muscles or pains, also calms coughs & chest pain)

Oregano (this oil is extremely potent and is known to be as powerful as antibiotics; it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties)

Lavender (helps ease aching muscles and headaches due to its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, also acts as a calming oil and can help you sleep more soundly)

Eucalyptus (promotes clear airways, eases congestion, and helps you breathe deeply; it can also be used as a rub for your chest and shoulders)

There are TONS of blends you can purchase or create your own blends at home using the essential oils you have on hand. My favorite DoTerra blends to use during the winter are OnGuard and Breathe. If you want to learn more about essential oils or are interested in purchasing them, send me an email! Also keep an eye out for future blog posts and potentially videos on essential oils!

5.      Elderberry Syrup –

Elderberry is known as one of the best anti-viral herbs on the planet. Studies have shown that elderberry can reduce the chance of getting a cold or the flu and can shorten the amount of time you are sick for. It’s also proven to be a safe and effective treatment for the flu if taken within the first 48 hours.

6.      Freshly chopped Garlic –

I know, you probably think I’m nuts for telling you to eat raw garlic, but it’s for a legitimate reason. When you chop up or chew on a clove of Garlic, it releases Allicin, which is a powerful anti-bacterial that can kick an oncoming cold goodbye. Allicin is only present right when you cut it or chew it, not when it’s cooked. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, it is also anti-microbial, anti-viral, and provides your body with antioxidants as well. Hesitant to try it? I know, I was too – but once I learned that it can help knock out flu symptoms, I immediately ate some.

7.       Green Smoothies –

Looking for a way to get a ton of veggies in your body? Whip yourself up a green smoothie (or go support a local smoothie bar). There are TONS of smoothie recipes online that you can use to whip them up at home. Some of my favorite ingredients to use in green smoothies during cold and flu are: ginger, oranges, pineapple, kale or spinach.

8.      Pineapple –

For some reason, I tend to crave pineapple during the winter months. I never understood why, but I’m pretty sure it’s part of the reason I’ve stayed healthy the past couple years. I did some research on the health benefits of it and found out that they contain Bromelain, which is an enzyme that fights infections and kills bacteria due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Eating pineapple and drinking pineapple juice can help soothe a sore throat, calm a cough and aid your body in getting rid of mucous.

9.      Ginger –

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to include ginger in my green smoothies. Why? Studies have shown that fresh ginger fights respiratory viruses. You can include fresh ginger in your smoothies or you can also put it in boiling water and drink it as a tea. (P.S. it's also helps with nausea!)

10.   Raw Honey –

I'm not sure about you guys, but I have always LOVED honey. I especially love putting it in my tea or adding it to a stir fry as a natural sweetener. Not only is honey sweet and delicious, but it provides you with a ton of nutritional benefits as well. Research has shown that honey is just as effective in treating coughs as over the counter cough syrup (cough, cough - food is medicine). Consuming raw honey also boosts your immune system thanks to the high amount of polyphenols found in it, which are super powerful antioxidants. Stop by any farms near you to pick up some local honey if possible!

And last, but surely not least - DRINK MORE WATER. Shocking, I know. I’m sure this is not a crazy revelation for any of you. BUT in general, I think everyone could hydrate themselves more throughout the day, especially when you are sick. Drink lots of fluids, all day, every day – even if you’re not sick. And if you’re looking to boost your electrolyte count, you can drink maple water, coconut water or use Nuun tablets.

I hope you all find these remedies helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or if you use any of these remedies and have a success story to share!