Hibiscus Cooler

When you are pregnant your fun drink options become limited. No booze, no caffeine and a lot of us try to avoid the artificial sweeteners. Lately I have been obsessed with drinking hibiscus iced tea, since I recently discovered that my local market carries dried hibiscus flowers. The hibiscus flower is found in many warm weather climates including Jamaica, Egypt, Mexico and Honduras. Tea made from hibiscus is served as a  mild medicine in many cultures due to its high vitamin C content. It is a healthy flavorful alternative to a standard iced tea (which usually contains caffeine).
Hibiscus Flower
Hibiscus Flower
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup dried hibiscus
A hand full of mint leaves
Maple syrup to tasteIn a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in the dried hibiscus and mint leaves. Turn off heat and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. Add in the maple syrup until the tea tastes sweet enough to curb the sourness of the hibiscus. Strain the mixture into an ice filled pitcher.

Stretch Marks

Healthily Fat: Almonds
Healthily Fat: Almonds

I think every woman who is pregnant lives in some sort of fear of stretch marks, I know I do. We all hope that we will be part of the lucky 10% of women who are spared. But the truth of the matter is that most women get them and if your mother got them you will probably get ’em too. Even with all the lotions and balms on the market there is no surefire way to completely prevent them. I know the out look seems bleak.

The good news is that diet can play a roll in minimizing stretch marks. The first line of defense is slow and steady weight gain. Stretch marks are caused by your belly and breasts growing faster then your skin can keep up.

So eating 5-6 smaller meals a day and choosing healthy calories instead of empty ones, such as sweets, are both good ideas. The other contributing factor is skin elasticity. So make sure your skin is nice and stretchy by drinking lots of water and getting your healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado and nuts.

Now for a word about lotions and balms. There are lots of products on the market that are going to make all kinds of claims about preventing and treating stretch marks. It is important to keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence behind these claims. That being said, keeping your skin moisturized certainly isn’t going to hurt. Just be super careful of what is in the products you use. There are all kinds of harmful chemicals in lotions and balms, even the ones that say “natural” on the label. My recommendation is to keep it simple. Some women swear by plain ol’ coconut oil. I really like a product called Natural Stretch Cream by Earth Mother Angel Baby. If you are reading the ingredients and you don’t know what something is or you can’t pronounce it, it is probably better to stay away. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions about what products are safe to use.