Vegan Pregnancy Products I Love!

This is the time that I pimp a bunch of great vegan products that I have used during my pregnancy. I am not being sponsored by any of these products or companies (at least not yet anyways…hit me up!). These are just things that I have found helpful that I think other women might find helpful too!

Natural Stretch Oil (Earth Mother Angel Baby):
This is a light oil that you rub on your belly and breasts to help prevent stretch marks. Again, as I wrote about in my stretch marks post, there are no guarantees that any product out there will ensure you don’t get stretch marks. What I will say about this product is I have been using it my whole pregnancy and if nothing else it makes me feel like I am doing something proactive. It is also a great moisturizer and will relieve the itchy feeling you get from your skin stretching as your belly and breasts grow.

Hemp Pro 50 Protein Powder:
Let me start this off by saying I am not a fan of flavored protein powders. I know people love to drink “chocolate” and “vanilla” flavored protein shakes but I can’t deal with them. The over powering sweet fake flavor gives me the creeps. That is why I love this hemp protein powder because it is flavorless. I can simply add it to my smoothies and forget it is even there. It is plant based, raw and has omega 3 and 6.

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws:
These are not necessarily a vegan product but they are not a non-vegan product ether. I originally ordered them for an arts and crafts project I was doing with my boyfriend but I ended up using them all the time. It is so important to stay hydrated when you are pregnant and I found drinking through straws really helped me take in more water with every sip. Plus, it makes it easier to drink from a glass when you have aches and pains and are laying on the couch.

Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap:
I have always used bronner’s in the shower as a body-wash because it is vegan and cruelty free. I recently started also using it as a household cleaner. Once I got pregnant I stopped using my regular cleaning products because they contain chemicals that are not pregnant lady safe. Some bronner’s and water in a spray bottle is a great all purpose cleaner. You can also mix a paste out of bronner’s, water and baking soda to use as a soft scrub for bathtubs and sinks.

Weight Gain

This is a subject that I have been struggling with a lot in the past few weeks. I have hit the point in my pregnancy where the amount of weight that I have put on is really starting to effect me. My legs, knees, ankles and especially my lower back are feeling the effects of the extra 20 lbs I have on my frame. But in addition to the the aches and pains the weight is showing up in places I didn’t expect, such as my legs, hips and face. There is just more of me everywhere and as zen as I am trying to be about it, it is hard. I keep reminding myself that I am growing a human and it is all part of the process but I still can help but hide from the mirror.

So, what is healthy weight gain during pregnancy supposed to look like? Well according to WebMD if you start at an average weight (whatever that is) you should put on between 25 lbs to 35 lbs. In your first trimester you are not going to be putting on too much weight, only a few pounds in the first few months. In the second and third trimesters you are looking to put on roughly 1 to 1.5 lbs per week. According to my midwife there may be some weeks I put on .5 lbs and other weeks I put on 2 lbs. You are just aiming for a healthy average across the weeks. But! we are all different and when and where we gain the weight is going to change from person to person. At the end of the day no matter what weight gain is hard on all of us. I just keep reminding myself it is all part of the process. Plus! I am getting a baby out of all of this

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.

The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book Two)

The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book Two): Skinny bitch Bun in the Oven
The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book Two):
Skinny bitch Bun in the Oven

Hello my fellow vegan-parents-to-be, here is my second reading recommendation. I found this book while wasting time on Pintrest one lazy afternoon. The name of the book is Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. You are probably somewhat familiar with the their very popular first book Skinny Bitch. But! please do not be fooled by the provocative title. They make it very clear in the book that this book, unlike Skinny Bitch, has nothing to do with loosing weight and everything to do with having healthy weight gain during your pregnancy. This book is definitely written for women who are not yet vegan but are interested in becoming vegan during their pregnancy. However, even long time vegans will learn a lot from reading it. The two authors are really good about making this book a fun and easy read. Even in the chapters that have a drier subject matter, you will find yourself laughing out loud. They cover a range of topics including healthy eating, skin care, breast feeding, and much more. The only warning I have is ignore the online reviews. There are a lot of people out there that seem to be put off by this book and it’s vegan message. We know that veganism gets strong reactions out of people and vegan pregnancy can get even more. That being said, I found this book to be helpful, funny, and inspirational.

Where do you get your probiotics?

Probiotics are micro-organisms, found in many fermented foods, that are similar to the micro-organisms that are found in the human gut. Also known as the friendly bacteria, probiotics have been reported to help with many digestive issues in pregnant women. Eating probiotic foods (foods that contain live friendly bacteria) have been known to help with heartburn, cramping, diarrhea, and many other digestive problems. This is because when this bacteria is introduced into the human gut it helps to break down what we eat and fuel the cells that line our intestines.

Usually when people think about probiotic foods they think of dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. But! there is a wonderful range of probiotic vegan foods. Here are a few of my favorites:

• Dairy Free Yogurt: There are many types of dairy free yogurts. Most notably of course being soy and coconut. My favorite is So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk. I buy the plain unsweetened (no need for extra sugar) and add it to my smoothies every morning. Or you can just  grab a  bowl full and top with nuts and agave nectar for an afternoon snack.

• Sauerkraut: Usually found atop ballpark hotdogs, sauerkraut is a vitamin rich food made from fermented cabbage. In addition to eating it on soy dogs, it is also a great add on to any sandwich or even by its self as a quick snack. Just be sure what you are buying says “LIVE” on the package. There are many cheap sauerkrauts, usually the stuff in cans, that do not contain any live bacteria. You should have no problem finding the good stuff at your local health food store.

Probiotic Food: Kimchi
Probiotic Food: Kimchi
• Kimchi: This one may not be for the faint of heart. Kimchi is maybe one of the best things you can eat. This spicy and extremely pungent fermented cabbage product is the national dish of Korea. In addition to being probiotic, kimchi contains calcium, iron and vitamin C. But, be for warned that you may not want to consume this dish in close quarters. The  scent may illicit strong reactions from friends and co-workers. I love kimchi but I do tend to enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. You can eat it plain, over rice or mixed into salads. Just make sure to read the ingredients. While a good percentage of kimchi is vegan, there are a few products out there that contain fish.

The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book One)

The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book One): Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide
The Knocked Up Vegan Book Club (Book One): Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide

I am really big on doing my research. So needless to say, I have been doing a lot of reading in the past 17 weeks that I have been pregnant. One of the first books that I picked up on amazon is still my favorite by far. So it seem appropriate to also make it the first book I am recommending for expecting vegan parents. The book is called Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal and it is a wonderful straight to the point little guide book. The book covers everything you want to know about nutrition, supplements, morning sickness, aches and pains, and awkward social situations that may come up as a result of being a pregnant vegan. A lot of the book is in short paragraphs and list, which I really appreciate because it is easy to refer back to parts you want to reread. This book will save you hours of googling. I will be buying a copy for all of my girlfriends that decide to get pregnant.