5 ways to get baby-bod ready

One of the things that continues to blow my mind is how food affects the body. I’m not talking about gaining or losing weight, I’m talking about issues that you don’t necessarily associate with food and often turn immediately to medication for: trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, bowel issues, high blood pressure, skin irritations, chronic pain, and for women, having an irregular cycle. These are all external manifestations of something that is off balance in the body and can oftentimes be solved through diet alone.

Fertility is a huge topic and weight is one of the biggest factors affecting it. I’ll touch on these issues quite a bit, but I wanted to share 5 quick ways that you can start getting your body baby ready. It’s never too early to start to rid your body of toxins that have accumulated over time, and even if you aren’t thinking about kids at all - your body will immediately thank you for making these changes.

1) Remove processed foods from your diet

If you only do one thing, this should be it. Frozen dinners, meal replacement bars, cereal, and pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged, can have a scary amount of ingredients including brain altering chemicals, added sugar, salt and other things you can’t pronounce. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either and will treat it as a toxin, which puts stress on your digestive system and can cause inflammation. Aim for foods that don’t come in any kind of packaging (i.e fruits and vegetables) and pair with organic or hormone free meats and whole grains which will help balance your hormones, keep your internal systems working properly and manage your weight.

2. Pick your protein wisely

I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get on the “organic” train and I’m still not 100% there, but one area in which I have committed to buying organic is meat, eggs and dairy. Make sure what you’re buying is labeled “organic” or at least “hormone free” to avoid ingesting a significant amount of synthetic hormones, which if you’re a woman, can seriously mess up your monthly cycle (think heavier periods, mood swings and even ovarian cysts).

3. Reconsider dairy

This one is not for everyone, some people can’t live without their milk or yogurt and I get that. However, dairy can be a major contributor to your monthly cyclical imbalance since it’s a mucus causing food (not a pleasant thought) and thereby causes issues with your digestive system. There are plenty of dairy alternatives these days such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. but experiment and see what you like and what works for you.

4. Eat the rainbow

Not Skittles (unfortunately), but foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a huge role in all body systems by neutralizing the effects of what are called “free-radicals.” Free-radicals are naturally created in the body as food is digested, but they’re also created from external factors such as environmental pollutants, smoking and alcohol and their goal is to damage healthy cells - including those essential for reproduction and protecting egg and sperm health. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables and the rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more it contains. Berries, oranges, plums, pomegranates, leafy greens, broccoli, beets and red peppers are a few of the most well-known sources so eat up!

5. Get moving

This may seem like a no-brainer and I know you know that you need to partake in some regular form of physical activity to truly be healthy. But the truth is, a lot of people are intimidated by starting an exercise routine and have trouble sticking to one once they have. It’s easy to associate exercise with joining a gym, having to drag yourself there after work when you are tired and a little hangry, and often times not really knowing what to do when you get there. This is something I will dive deeper on in a later post because it’s hugely important, but the one big take-away if you aren’t already active is to just start moving your body more. Even 10 minute increments throughout the day have shown to have enormous benefits. So make a killer playlist or find an addicting podcast and try taking a walk around the block, having a dance party with your girlfriends, or walking to work instead of taking the subway - all of your senses will thank you for that one! Little adjustments can have big results.

The truth behind "eating for two"

I used to think of pregnancy as a time where calories, sugar and other bad foods just didn’t count. I looked forward to eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s every day just because I could (who’s going to tell a pregnant lady otherwise?) and truly indulging in all my cravings. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts in trying to find evidence to the contrary, pregnancy is not the time to binge on junk. I had to repeat this to myself last night as I stared longingly at the bowl of left over Halloween candy! Instead, it’s a time to take extra care of what you are putting in your body because you’re growing a little human that depends on you for essential nutrients and its overall wellbeing. The same rules apply if you are trying to conceive. A little known fact is that a healthy pregnancy begins while the baby is still a glimmer in mom and dad’s eye. Making sure you’re on a healthy track by the time you conceive gets the baby off to a good start in life.

So what does the expression “eating for two” really mean? Generally speaking it means eating half as much, twice as often and thinking twice as long about what you consume. Everyone is different, especially in the first trimester when it can be hard to think beyond saltines and ginger ale, but eating smaller, more frequent meals can help keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling satisfied longer, which ultimately can alleviate unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, constipation and swelling.

“Eating for two” can also help keep your pregnancy weight gain at bay. The average woman only needs an extra 300 calories per day during pregnancy and should gain roughly 25-35 pounds over the course of 9 months. Trying to stay within this weight gain range has enormous benefits. Not only will you simply feel better (see aforementioned symptoms), but it will lower your risk for issues such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Plus, it makes it much easier to get back to your pre-baby weight.

Every time you go to eat something, ask yourself if it’s something you would feed your baby. I know, what a buzzkill. But you might surprise yourself in what you’re willing to give up. This is not to say you can’t give into your cravings once and awhile - it is all about balance or you will drive yourself crazy. The point is just not to overdo it, and make sure the majority of your diet includes lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Snacks on Snacks

Having grown up in New England, fall is by far my favorite season. Summer is a very close second - especially with winters as cold as they are - but there is just something about sunny, cool, fall day that is hard to beat. I feel super fortunate that my final months of my pregnancy have taken place in September and October because I felt great all summer long, and now I can just do some nesting in my leggings, with my crock pot, and sweat half as much as I did just 3 months ago.

With just a few days to go until Baby Tallents’ arrival, I’ve been trying to make a few things that I can either freeze for the first week we’re home or - let’s be honest - that I can eat now. Baby T has dropped and is sitting low, so I have a little more room in my stomach and I’m back to wanting to eat 17 times a day. I’ve done my best to keep healthy snacks in the house so I can stick to eating unprocessed foods that are high in the nutrients I need. I’ve always been a huge sucker for fall recipes and will try anything pumpkin, so I have a few go-to snack recipes that are filled with protein, healthy fats and fiber, as well as essential nutrients for fertility, pregnancy and beyond, such as folate (for healthy brain and spinal cord development), calcium, manganese and beta-carotene (for healthy bone growth) and iron (for increased blood supply and baby’s blood development). Not to mention, they have under 5 main ingredients, are super easy and adjustable and are made using real, whole foods.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic       What you need:    ¼ cup pumpkin    2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)    ¼ cup Tahini    ⅛ cup Olive Oil    1-2 cloves of garlic    Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)    Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy       Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Hummus - A Fall take on the classic

 

What you need:

¼ cup pumpkin

2 cups of chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can)

¼ cup Tahini

⅛ cup Olive Oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

Water, lemon, salt and pepper to taste (add water at the end only if its a little too thick for you)

Optional: Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the finished product to be fancy

 

Throw all ingredients into a magic mix/food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers, carrots or sliced red pepper.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking    What you need:    2 bananas (the riper the better)    2 ½  cups of rolled oats     ½ cup pumpkin     2 tablespoons coconut flakes    2 tablespoons ground flax    Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste    Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste    Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive    Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.

Pumpkin Energy Bites - Great for fertility, pregnancy and post-baby snacking

What you need:

2 bananas (the riper the better)

2 ½  cups of rolled oats

½ cup pumpkin

2 tablespoons coconut flakes

2 tablespoons ground flax

Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste

Optional: any natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup to taste

Optional: pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, goji berries, or any other additive

Mash up all ingredients in a mixing bowl and the batter should be almost like a paste. Adjust the amount of banana and oats to get the right consistency. Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Consume warm (my personal favorite way to eat them), put in a container for later or freeze.