Pregnancy countdown – 39 days to go and I’ve done myself…

A new eating plan….

Now I’m nearing my last month of pregnancy I’m conscious that I need to feed my growing baby loads of healthy nutrients – despite the fact that I constantly feel bloated and to be honest a bit sick. It’s hard to over-eat but I don’t want to under eat either (not much chance of that!)

So I’ve written myself a plan of action of what I will be eating over the next few weeks. I’ve decided that little and often works best for us….here is the plan.

7am Green juice BEFORE gym

9:30am Spinach Omelette with grated hard goats cheese

12:30 Homemade soup or salad with lean protein and 1/2 avocado

3:30pm Sunwarrior protein shake with coconut milk and banana and cinnamon

7pm  Protein like salmon, chicken, turkey etc with salad or roasted veggies

7:30pm Chopped apple with cinnamon and almond butter.

8pm – Herbal tea.

I really love the Sunwarrior protein as it tastes like chocolate and sorts out my cravings, which always tend to pop up in the afternoon. It’s really tasty with the banana too and the coconut milk makes it really creamy.

Some other great snacks to keep me satisfied until dinner are;
* LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bar. They come in various flavours – my fav being Rosehip and Lemon. It’s really tangy and has no added sugar, grains or dairy.
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* UpRaw Bars – they are high protein and are made with wide array of wholesome ingredients such as walnuts, whey protein powder, desiccated coconut, honey and cocoa powder. Again these are wheat, dairy and sugar-free and really chocolatey.
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* CO YO – a coconut milk yogurt that is vegan, sugar-free, dairy free and soy-free. It’s super creamy and tastes wonderful with raspberries and banana with a few sliced nuts on top.
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Grenade® Reload Protein Flapjacks – again a protein rich snack that is satisfies my sweet tooth with any nasty refined sugars. I find this really dense and filling – so sometimes I can only have half – depending on how hungry I actually am.
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You may have noticed that all of these snacks are high in protein. This is because foods rich in protein take longer to digest and do not cause a high spike in your blood glucose levels like carbs can.
The amino acids that make up protein are also the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body as well.
It’s vital that we get enough protein throughout pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters, when your baby is growing the fastest and your breasts and organs are getting bigger to accommodate the needs of your growing baby.

 

 

 

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Three ways to stay stretch mark free during pregnancy

Research suggests that stretch marks, those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear mainly around the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy have a lot to do with genetics: If your mother or sister got stretch marks during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them, too. Other studies show that younger moms, particularly teens, are more prone to getting stretch marks.

The key to keeping them at bay is to make sure you don’t pile on the weight too quickly. The recommended amount of weight during pregnancy in most cases, is 25 to 35 pounds. Gaining it slowly may help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, as will drinking lots of water, which helps keep your skin cells plump and supple.

Foods rich in Vitamin E (seeds and spinach), zinc (beef and lamb) and silica (celery), will also help to form collagen, while Vitamin C (oranges, peppers) in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, while helping it to form collagen.

There are also lots of fantastic creams on the market that are designed to be used day and night to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and help build tensile strength.

Here are three of my favourite that I have used everyday of my pregnancy. At 34 weeks, I can safely say that I’ve not got an inkling of a stretch mark – I must be doing something right…

1) Zita West Beautiful Belly Balm
This restorative moisturiser from fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West contains all natural plant extracts, designed to help keep the skin of your stomach in good condition throughout pregnancy.
It’s really rich, smells gorgeous – and is not greasy making it perfect to put on in the morning before you get dressed.
£18.95; www.zitawest.com

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 2) Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter
This is great for all over protection from stretch marks as a little goes a long way. It’s made with super-elasticising Omega 3, 6 and 9’s oils to help build your skin’s strength and has a rehydrating shea butter base, making it super thick, and really smooth to apply.
£23; www.mamamio.com

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3) Fushi Really Good Stretch Mark oil
Rubbing anything unnatural on my tummy is a no-no for me, which is why I love this stretch mark oil. It contains Holy Basil, known for its superb skin healing powers and renowned benefits for stretch marks, African Baobab oil, which holds the properties of omega 3, vitamin E and D, and is ideal for scars, blemishes and stretch marks. The oil is a little greasy but keeps my  skin hydrated for hours, which is why I like to put it on last thing at night.
£14.45; www.fushi.co.uk 

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32 weeks pregnant and counting…

I thought I would give you a quick update as to how I’m feeling.

I’m now 32 weeks and yes still working out five to six days a week but starting to wake up more tired and also feel the effects of working out with a little person inside of me. It’s not a case of sitting down on the mat for tricep dips and then just getting back up again. Everything is taking that little bit longer. I feel like a granny 🙂

Saying that – my energy during the day is still good and I’m setting my alarm on my phone to remind me to eat every three hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a slap up meal every time my alarm sounds but I will head to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a healthy snack like some avocado on rye bread or hummus or veggie sticks.

Sleep – it’s ok. I have one of these amazing pregnancy pillows from Mothercare – which I recommend to EVERYONE! (I even got my husband one because it kept stealing mine!) Sleep is so important for recovery an growth and there is tons of research out there also that says it can help stablise your blood sugar levels and stop you reaching for sugary snacks. There is alot to be said for 8 hours a night – if you can get it!

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My pregnancy pillow from Mothercare is definitely my new best friend! http://www.mothercare.com

Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

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Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

It also had an adequate level of folic acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. You can get DHA from eating fish such as salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400mg of folic acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of vitamin A), copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all of which support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

The Perfect Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy is NOT the time to diet. It’s not the time to eat for three either. Eating for two is fine but your diet needs to be rich in whole foods rich in nutrients to create a healthy balanced plan to nourish you and your baby.

But what should you eat and how much? It’s easy to get it wrong, which is why I signed up for the Doll Curves Perfect Pregnancy Plan, especially as I hit my last trimester – the all important one, when my baby is growing bigger and getting ready to face the big wide world.

Founded by Celebrity Personal Trainers and Fitness Models, Sarah McLean and Lydia Rees, my Doll Curves plan gives me weekly nutrition advice to keep me healthy and well during my last trimester. It also reminds me that I only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day – the equivalent to a large banana!

Here is a round-up of what I’ve been eating over the last week and why it’s so good for me…

Breakfast

Banana Breakfast Smoothie
Blend ¼ gluten free oats, ½ cup of CO YO coconut yogurt, 1 banana, ½ cup Kara coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
The benefits; Bananas are great at reducing fluid retention and swollen ankles – a common side effect in pregnancy. ‘They are also rich in potassium and the perfect energy booster,’ says Sarah.

Snack
120g Unsweetened Greek yogurt with blueberries
The benefits; Yogurt is full of ‘good bacteria’, which helps balance the good/bad bacteria within the body. ‘Yogurt is also rich in protein and calcium, which is good for you and baby’s growing bones,’ says Sarah.

Lunch
Annabel Karmel’s Chicken Pitta Pockets 
Chicken, ½ avocado and watercress pitta pockets with chopped tomatoes and a side salad.
The benefits; Avocados are loaded with folic acid, vital for forming your baby’s brain and nervous system, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which can help your baby’s tissue and brain grow. Watercress can also help aid digestion, while the protein in chicken will help every cell in your baby’s body to grow and develop.

Snack
Hummus on organic unsalted rice cakes with chopped vegetables and 20g unsalted almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts.
The benefits; Raw vegetables will keep your immune system strong and the unsalted rice cakes with hummus are a great source of slow release carbohydrates and protein.

Dinner
50g wild rice with ½ cup streamed green vegetable and Annabel Karmel Salmon with tomato salsa
The benefits; ‘Wild rice is rich in fibre and has an excellent effect on the gut wall,’ says Sarah. News has it that women who eat oily fish, like salmon during pregnancy are also more likely to have brainy and sociable children. Just make sure you don’t have it more than twice a week.

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Cheers to Chia Seeds

Omega 3 is the buzz word these days. And for good reason. It helps fuel every cell in your body including your brain and heart, while lubricating your joints and helping build lean muscle tissue. I love chia seeds because it is full of it!

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These tiny little seeds that look like frog spawn when soaked in water also absorbs 16 times its weight in liquid, making them really filling (think of the room these are going to take in your stomach) and full of nutrients.

To eat them, I’ve been soaking them overnight in filtered water. I then add them to my smoothie or juice in the morning.

Despite looking a bit slimy and gross, don’t be put off. They don’t taste of anything, yet will provide Omega 3, fibre and protein (which contains all eight essential amino acids), vitamins and antioxidants to power your body.

As well as adding to my juices, I’ve also tried making a breakfast chia seed pudding by simply tossing together chia seeds, coconut milk, blueberries, shredded coconut and sliced almonds in a bowl and letting it sit overnight in the fridge -it’s lovely and so filling and easy to eat!  It’s good for my growing baby too!
The omega 3 is great for a supporting my placenta, while the complete protein is essential for every cell in your baby’s body. The fibre helps things run smoothly too, especially as constipation can be very common in pregnancy.

Here are some more ways to include chia seeds in your diet;

Breakfast
Add a tablespoon of soaked seeds into any fruit or green smoothie, stir them into your porridge, sprinkle on top of granola or spoon them into nut butter  then spread the mix on toast, oat cakes or rice cakes. I sometimes add chia seeds to beaten eggs before I scramble them too. I love adding them to a Sunwarrior Protein shake too with 1/2 a frozen banana and some cinnamon.

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Lunch  and Dinner
Add them to either your salad or soup or if you’re having some brown rice or quinoa pop in some seeds just as it finishes cooking and give it a good stir. you won’t even notice them there!

Dessert
Stir into your yogurt or my favorite CO YO – a lovely creamy coconut milk yogurt, make a chia seed pudding like the one above or if you are making flapjacks or oat cookies, stir them into the mixture before cooking.

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Review: Pregnancy Supplements That’ll Look After Your Bump!

Back in December, I was prescribed Tamoxifen to help me fall pregnant. As explained in my very first post my body fat was too low to conceive due to too much training and a restricted diet plus my husband had testicular cancer nine years ago so we needed all the help we could get. Chemotherapy in high doses (Mark had it for four months – he stayed in hospital for one whole week every month and had an 8-hour dose a day and then did weekly day visits for a top up) kills the stem cells that produce sperm. He also had to have one testicle  removed altogether due to the cancer, so as you can imagine we thought our only chance of having babies was through IVF.

My specialist gave me hope and told me the Tamoxifen should do the job because Mark recovered well and was very healthy.

So to compliment my Tamoxifen I stared taking a pre-natal supplement, to make sure my body had all the right nutrients. It’s important to start taking these a few months before you conceive because recent research suggests that they can help boost a healthy pregnancy and also help with healthy childhood development.

They also contain Folic Acid, which is important right from the very moment your baby is conceived, because studies show that it can protect your baby from some serious birth defects, including spina bifida, a life-threatening spinal malformation.

So here are my favourite Pre-natual supplements that I have experimented with over the past seven months.

ImageSolgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets
I started taking these back in December. Solgar is a brand I have always trusted and I took these until I fell in April.

They have the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level).

It also had an adequate level of folic Acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

ImageAs soon as I found out I was pregnant, typically I had just run out of my Solgar supplement, so in a mad dash I ran to Revital, a local Health shop near me. They had run out of the Solgar also, so I spent a good half an hour scouting al the other supplements and came across Viridian. I went for this brand because it had a healthy amount of DHA, which I had read was vital for the development for the baby’s brain. You can get DHA from eating fish such as  salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish! These did the trick and had everything in there that I needed!

Zita West Vital Essence 2
ImageSince hitting my 2nd Trimester and getting my normal healthy appetite back (well sort of – I’m still off meat!) I decided to look into getting more specific supplements to suit that stage of my pregnancy.

I knew of Zita West as I had read many of her books (which are amazing BTW) so I opted for her Vital Essence 2 supplement, especially for women in weeks 13-28.

You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400ug of Folic Acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of Vitamin A), Copper, Magnesium, Manganese and Zinc, all of which  support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s), plus a small amount of Zinc.Image

I totally trust Zita West and her products, as she’s renowned for being a leading fertility and pregnancy expert, and a practicing midwife, acupuncturist and nutritional advisor. I love all her books and often see her in magazines and on the TV giving women (and men) fertility advice.

So, I’m confident that my supplements are working well. I’m now 17 weeks and feeling fantastic and full of energy. I’ve had another scan, which reveals I’m having a baby girl and that she is very healthy and active. I’m on cloud nine!

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First point of call – KX to the rescue

My first point of call was to see Gideon Remfry at KX gym in Chelsea.

He slashed my gym routine no end. No more training twice a day, no more running 26 miles a week and no more hammering my adrenal glands to the inch of their life. It was scary, but I knew it had to be done.

He also recommended I take KX daily supplements for one month, which feature a multivitamin and mineral for AM alongside CoQ10 and then an Omega-3 fish oil and Antoxidant for after lunch.

The handy packaging of the supps, made them super easy to carry around with me every day – no jiggling pill pots or no heavy packets. All I simply had to do was pull one side and out the other side pop the supplements, each clearly labelled so I knew exactly what I was taking and why. Clever eh?

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