I'm nearing the end of this pregnancy, and having such an easy time of it. I don't know if it's some odd blessing, or good nutrition, or being too preoccupied by another child to notice anything else, but I'm very grateful this has been my experience.
Good nutrition has certainly been part of it. While I'll happily eat the occasional pancake or portabella burger, this pregnancy has been very high raw since around the halfway point. Most days I eat lots, and have no trouble getting enough calories or nutrients. Here's an example of what I might have over the course of a day:
- Smoothie: 2 cups pineapple, 2 cups strawberries, and the insides of 4 oranges
- 6-8 cups Simple Kale Salad (see below)
- 2 servings Vanilla Almond Smoothie (see below)
- 10-12 cups Orange Rosemary Salad
- Larabar (or other raw bar), a few pieces of licorice, or some chocolate
- 1/4 of a large watermelon, sprinkled with sea salt
I might also have some DHA flax oil, a raw prenatal vitamin, or a vegan probiotic. To stay hydrated, I drink plenty of pregnancy tea, chia seeds with fresh orange juice, or water with lime and mint.
Some other things I've been enjoying lately:
Simple Kale Salad. When I first started massaging this salad together, I'd eat two pounds of it in one sitting. My ridiculous consumption of greens has waned a bit, but the salad is still in heavy rotation. One of the most interesting things about this pregnancy has been listening to my body's cues and discovering that I'm genuinely eating what my body needs. Some vegetarians crave protein and translate it as "steak," but it's exciting to crave protein and immediately think "greens," which are a more available source of protein-building amino acids anyway.
Simple Kale Salad
The salad can also be made into crunchy, cheesy kale chips: simply cut kale into 2" x 2" pieces, massage everything together as directed, and dehydrate (or dry in an oven on low heat) until very crisp. Store in an airtight container.
2 large bunches kale (about 1 pound)
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 1/2-2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Thoroughly rinse kale leaves, and trim the stems, if you like (I prefer to keep them intact). Chop roughly into 1" pieces, and transfer to the largest bowl you have. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and sea salt, and massage well with clean hands. Add olive oil and nutritional yeast, and massage again. The salad will take on a slightly creamy cast; keep massaging until it feels silky in your hands.
The salad can be eaten right away, but for best results, allow to sit, at room temperature, for at least 20 minutes before serving. Eat as it is, or add to wraps, mound it on raw crackers, or use as part of composed salads. The kale keeps excellently for several days, refrigerated.
And for a different sort of kale salad full of avocado and Asian-inspired flavors, try this one.
Juices. I've always preferred green smoothies to green juices, but I'm really enjoying lighter, sweeter juices made in my Green Star juicer these days. My favorite blend is pineapple, carrot, cucumber, celery, apple, lime, and cilantro, sometimes with a bit of jalapeno tossed in.
Substantial smoothies. I find myself wanting lots of fat lately, and instead of digging into a bag of potato chips (which isn't necessarily a bad thing; I just want my food to pack the biggest nutritional punch possible), I blend up a heavy and satisfying smoothie. This one has been a favorite for the past few weeks.
Vanilla Almond Smoothie
If you have a high speed blender, toss in the whole 1" section of vanilla bean, pod and all; the machine will blend it perfectly, and the exterior adds even more vanilla flavor.
Using fresh young coconut water in place of the water makes this beyond delicious.
2 frozen bananas
8 Halawi dates, pitted, or 6 Medjools
2 heaping tablespoons almond butter (toasted or raw)
2 cups water or young coconut water (not coconut milk)
seeds scraped from 1" of vanilla bean, or 1" of vanilla bean
2-3 cups ice
Blend everything until completely smooth. Drink right away.
And finally, simple, heavy foods. Step aside, sauerkraut, tangy fruit, and assertive salads; I want comforting stuff, like bananas, root vegetables, avocadoes, and coconut. Part of it is the changing season, when heavier foods ground the body, and extra fats compensate for the weather's drying effects on skin and hair. It's also convenient as a woman nears labor, when knowing exactly what you want keeps things simple...so you can tackle that 200-item To Do list.
This pregnancy has been great: plenty of energy, my body feels great, and I've stayed active with swimming and yoga. I've had none of the usual maladies that pregnant women experience, like swelling, back pain, or heartburn. And all that energy is being put to good use; I'm renovating several rooms in my house, finalizing the details of my cookbook, and running around relishing the last bits of my daughter's only-childness.
I'm also getting ready for all the usual baby stuff: birth, breastfeeding, ECing/cloth diapering, baby wearing, and seeing a sweet baby doze next to me. It's going to be an adventure, and I can't wait...well, maybe until I can check a few more things off that list.