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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.

Vegan Mango Lassi Smoothie

As I have written about before, I love smoothies. I have one everyday for breakfast. This morning my wonderful boyfriend surprised me with a vegan mango lassi smoothie.
Vegan mango lassi smoothie
               Vegan mango lassi smoothie

Here is the recipe that he created:

• 2 cups frozen mango
• 1/2 cup vegan yogurt (soy or coconut)
• 4 mint leafs
• 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
• A bit of lemon zest
• Enough water to cover the mixture

Note: If you are just drinking this is a fun treat you can leave it here. I add hemp protein powder and flax oil to all of my smoothies. You can also add spinach (which will not change the flavor but will change the color) to add some extra iron. 

Recipe by: Jesse Injustice, BlastBeets.com

Where do you get your iron?

As vegans we are used to people always asking us, “where do you get your protein?”. When you get pregnant you get a fun new question to answer which is, “where do you get your iron?”. There is a myth that most vegans
are iron deficient (at least that is what my doctor told me). This puzzles me because most of the vegans I hang with eat tons of leafy greens and legumes, which are both great sources of iron. The fact of the matter is however, once you become pregnant your iron needs do go way up. You have twice as much blood in your body so you need extra iron to make more hemoglobin. Iron is also extremely important in growing your baby and placenta. Pregnant women usually need 27 milligrams of iron per day.
Fresh spinach for morning smoothies
Fresh spinach for morning smoothies

Here is a list of vegan items and their iron content*:

  • 1 cup iron-fortified ready-to-eat cereal: 24 mg
  • 1 cup fortified instant oatmeal: 10 mg
  • 1 cup edamame (boiled soybeans): 8.8 mg
  • 1 cup cooked lentils: 6.6 mg
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans: 5.2 mg
  • 1 cup chickpeas: 4.8 mg
  • 1 cup lima beans: 4.5 mg
  • 1 ounce roasted pumpkin seeds: 4.2 mg
  • 1 cup cooked black or pinto beans: 3.6 mg
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses: 3.5 mg
  • 1/2 cup raw firm tofu: 3.4 mg
  • 1/2 cup boiled spinach: 3.2 mg
  • 1 cup prune juice: 3.0 mg
  • 1 slice whole wheat or enriched white bread: 0.9 mg
  • 1/4 cup raisins: 0.75 mg

As you can see from the chart there are lots of great plant based ways to get your iron. One great idea that a friend shared with me this weekend was adding a hand full of spinach to your smoothies in the morning. It may turn your smoothies green (which I find fun) but you can’t even taste it. I also keep hummus on hand at all times for snacks. Plus! who doesn’t love rice and beans for dinner. These are just a few things I do but make sure to talk to your doctor about what is right for you. They might recommend a supplement just to be sure you are hitting that 27 milligrams mark.

*Chart found on babycenter.com

H20

Drinking water is super important, especially when you are pregnant. In the 15 weeks I have been knocked up my body can’t seem to get enough water. I am so thirsty all the time! Which makes sense because your body is working over time to create a new life. So it only seems right that your body needs some extra fuel to keep it going. My doctor recommended that I drink between 8 and 10 glasses of water (juice and soda don’t count) everyday. Drinking water can help with morning sickness, dizziness, fatigue and it can help prevent stretch marks, urinary tract infections and gestational diabetes (all common during pregnancy). So there is no good reason not to be getting your 8 to 10 glasses a day.

The problem that I was having was that I was just getting sick of drinking plain ol’ water. I was thirsty, I knew I needed it but I was just so tired of it. So here are a few ideas to spruce up your water. It is a amazing how much easier it is to drink water when you are actually enjoying it. I bought a small pitcher that I keep at my desk while I work. I make different flavors of water every day. These are just a few of my favorites.

Water Flavors:

Strawberry Slices + Basil Leaves + Water

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Lemon mint flavored water

Cucumber Slices + Mint Leaves+ Water
Cucumber Slices + Mint Leaves + Water

Smoothies Smoothies Smoothies

I love smoothies! Ever since I have been pregnant I can’t seem to get enough of them. They are fun, filling and easy to drink on my drive to work. Plus, they are a great way to mainline vitamins and nutrients! Every morning I whip one up with hemp protein powder, flax oil, soy yogurt, assorted frozen fruits and some walnuts for good measure. This is an easy way to make sure I am getting my protein, probiotics and omga-3s all in one.
A couple of my latest finds with my favorite reusable bag
A couple of my latest finds with my favorite
reusable bag

I was going to my local health food store every morning and buying a smoothie but they started to add up at almost 6 bucks a pop. So I decided it was time to get a blender to call my own. However, at this point in my life I was not ready to invest in a Vitamix(370$ plus!). So I picked up the Oster BLSTPB-WBL My Blend 250-Watt Blender on amazon for under 30 bucks. It is a great little blender that makes your smoothies right in your to go cup. It really is a neat little machine.

You can find frozen fruit anywhere but the my favorites so far have been the Berry Medley and the Organic Tropical Fruit Blend from Trader Joes. I also really like the AÇAÍ Smoothie Pack from Safeway.

Here are a couple recipes to get you started:

A couple of my latest finds with my favorite 

reusable bag

The Every Day

• 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
• 1 squirt of flax oil
• 3 tablespoons soy yogurt
• 1 1/2 cups frozen fruit
• A few walnuts
• Enough water to cover the mixture

The Sunday Special

• 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
• 1 squirt of flax oil
• A few walnuts
• 1 Banana
• 1 table spoon peanut butter
• Enough chocolate coconut milk to cover the mixture

Live Fast Dye Your Hair

Like a lot of girls growing up in Northern California listening to Black Flag, Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks I have always bleached my hair platinum blonde. This was a bit of a problem when I first found out I was pregnant. Harsh chemicals and developing life forms do not mix. Most dyes, not just bleach, contain harsh chemicals and when applied directly to the scalp can enter your blood stream, which is also now your baby’s blood stream. This can be especially harmful during your first trimester when your baby is developing.

This is where you call in the experts your doc. and a knowledgeable hairdresser. I first consulted with my doc. and she pretty much told me what I expected. Bleach when applied directly to the scalp is bad for the above mentioned reason(it can get into your blood). Highlights, that do not touch the scalp, can be an option but there is still a small risk involved. Most women choose to wait until the second trimester to highlight their hair, when there is much less risk involved because your baby has developed and is now just growing. The best and safest option is to forgo all the chemicals and go with a semi permanent that has no ammonia or peroxide. This option is safe at any stage of pregnancy. So I talked to my wonderful hair dresser and she confirmed that this was the safest option. Since I could not use ammonia or peroxide there would be no way to lighten my ever growing dark roots. So good bye Marilyn hello Betty! I went from almost white blonde to a medium brown to match my roots.

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I strongly believe selfies are only ok if there is a dog involved

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you choose a hairdresser that you trust and that knows what they are doing. The woman I go to is the mother of two so she knows whats up. You always need to let them know you are pregnant and what your needs are(no ammonia or peroxide) because some semi permanent dyes still have the harsh chemicals. Also make sure your hair dresser knows about your cruelty free lifestyle and is willing to work with you to find products that fit your morals. I live in California so most people are pretty understanding. If you live somewhere else you may have to call around a bit more.

As far as home dying I can’t really speak too much to that. I tend to err on the side of caution and go to a professional. Keep in mind that some semi permanent dyes still have the harsh chemicals. If you do decide to dye your hair at home make sure you are using semi permanent with no ammonia or peroxide. I would even call a salon or beauty supply store and ask for recommendations. Again lightening will not be an option. You are limited to your shade or darker if you choose this route.

At the end of the day as hard as it was to give up being blonde I felt like I made the right choice with the least risks possible. Talk to your doctor and they will help you make the right decision for you.

Hello World

My name is Christina and I am one knocked up vegan. At the time of this post I will just be reaching the beginning of my second trimester, or at least that is what the app on my phone tells me. I live in a small beachside town near San Francisco, CA with my boyfriend and our two rescue dogs. We are both vegans and looking forward to raising our first vegan child. This blog is to share my experiences with other vegans getting ready to become parents. For a lot of us we are (or will be) the only vegan parents we know! So this is my way of reaching out to all of you out there. We can go through this together!