The First Trimester Roller Coaster & How Food Can Help!

One thing I’ve learned in just the first 4 1/2 months of pregnancy, is that it comes with lots of ups and downs! From the lows of exhaustion, nausea, depression/anxiety, and fluid retention to the highs of energy boosts, excitement, nesting, unconditional love & gratefulness, finding out the gender, and feeling him move for the first time, it is a 9 month roller coaster ride! One thing that has helped me through the hard times as been proper nutrition and activity. It’s not always easy to stay on track when I’m feeling low, but whenever I manage to eat well and stay active (within my new limitations), I’ve been able to at least manage some of my symptoms.

As I mentioned in my last post, the main thing that helps with exhaustion is eating smaller, more frequent meals that include both carbs and protein. The carbs provide boosts of energy, while the protein helps your body use that energy longer to fight exhaustion. This combination also helps fight nausea because it keeps your blood sugar steady- the carbs bring your blood sugar up, while the added protein helps keep it from spiking and crashing. Another added benefit of carbs (and one reason we tend to be drawn to them) is that they are mood-lifters. Many pregnant women go through at least a couple weeks of overall feelings of sadness, depression, and/or anxiety. This is the most difficult symptom to manage nutritionally (and I feel the most difficult symptom overall) because it is mostly tied to our hormones and the big changes that lie ahead, but getting the right amounts and types of carbs and proteins throughout the day can help take the edge off while you cope.

Of course, in the beginning, finding proteins that I actually wanted to eat seemed near impossible! I was able to rely on things like greek yogurt and kefir, nuts and peanut butter, beans, and hard-boiled eggs when meat and fish were off my radar. These foods combined with fruits and whole grain breads and pastas helped stave off the nausea and at least somewhat give me energy. As mentioned in my last post, my favorite breakfasts have included whole grain waffles or bread and eggs, or whole grain cereal with kefir and frozen fruit. I have also relied on snacks like an apple and peanut butter and raw veggies and cheese.

Another symptom that I have fought to manage is fluid retention.  The main thing that is recommended, and that truly helps, is staying hydrated. While growing a teeny human, we need extra water but that’s not always easy to do when water makes you feel nauseous! One thing that helps is infusing my water. I chose lemon and ginger, and can quickly and easily make a pitcher of it every day or other day. This really helped fight nausea when I needed it, and it helps keep me hydrated.

All there are foods that can also help with fluid retention! Potassium is the main electrolyte that helps fluid move more freely within your body’s cells. High-potassium foods combined with water and high-water veggies are extremely helpful in reducing swelling. After searching for ideas for smoothies, I was able to piece together my own fluid-retention pregnancy-superfood smoothie recipe! It has been so delicious, and has made me feel so great throughout the past several weeks! It includes high potassium foods like mango, high water veggies like cucumber, and other pregnancy superfoods like spinach and flax seed for the folic acid and fatty acids we know to be so beneficial for our growing babies! Note the flax seed also serves as the protein for this yummy snack, even with a small amount of protein, because it is also a fat, and it gives your energy and blood sugar more staying power!

Since not being able to sleep past 6:30am lately, I usually feel a lull or crash mid-morning, but this smoothie really helps perk me up and re-focus me in addition to the benefits it has on my hydration.

  • 8oz Coconut Water (100% pure, not from concentrate. Try Harmless Coconut Water!)
  • 1/3 of a large cucumber (skin on for fiber!)
  • 1/2c frozen mango
  • 1 tbsp whole flax seed
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (great for nausea and digestion)
  • 1 slice fresh turmeric (great for inflammation, which is helpful with all the soreness that comes with pregnancy since we can’t take ibuprofin)
  • 1c fresh baby spinach or kale (I like to keep mine in the freezer)

Combine all ingredients into a good blender (I love my Ninja system). I find that the single serve blenders like the bullets work best for this recipe. When I tried it in my large Ninja attachment, the flax seeds got stuck and were missed in the
blending process. If using a large blender, I suggest using already ground flax seed.

Have a great week! Leave comments for questions 🙂

 

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Watermelon Seeds

Okay so maybe it’s not a watermelon yet… but it will be! Yep, I’m pregnant!! Right now, Baby Boy is only about the size of an avocado, but he is growing quickly! We expect him to arrive in September 2017, and we couldn’t be more excited to be parents!

So far, it’s been quite the adventure. I’m learning a lot about what our bodies go through, and how hard it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially when your hormones are wreaking havoc on your energy and stomach in the 1st Trimester! I was very lucky and only suffered minor nausea occasionally, mostly when I was hungry, which meant eating ALL the time! I have tried when I could to be healthy, but it certainly isn’t 100%! (Just ask my sister about my donut fixation)

I was really struggling with the fact that I had gained almost 10 pounds in just my first 10-11 weeks. For those that don’t know, the recommended amount is only 3-5 pounds in the first trimester. I’ve been exercising pretty much throughout the pregnancy, and while I have indulged a bit, and have definitely increased what I’ve been eating, I’ve mostly eaten healthy and controlled portions and only when I’m hungry (or nauseous). It just goes to show that everyone’s bodies are different and that you can’t always judge health by what the “norm” or “recommended” numbers are! Since that 11 week weigh-in, my weight gain has definitely evened out. I know my body has always been sensitive to hormone fluctuations, so I guess I’m not really surprised by the initial gain, and my doctors have not voiced any concern.
While my weight did throw me for a loop, my top priority has simply been to have a healthy pregnancy and most importantly, a healthy baby. I have stuck with (mostly) choosing whole grains, healthy fats like avocado, beans and legumes, dairy, and eggs or other lean proteins (although meat was definitely an aversion I had in the very beginning). Even though my body has been mostly craving carbs (and I have given in), I am still trying my best to stick with my one cardinal rule of combining carbs and proteins. Occasionally, a carb by itself gets by, but adding the protein really has helped me fight through the energy withdrawal!

My top pregnancy super-foods have been avocado, eggs, fruit, peanut butter, and some sort of dairy. My dairy preferences have changed throughout. I started off with greek yogurt, then quickly started hating it, and now I’m loving whipped cottage cheese by Friendship Dairy or low fat kefir.

I’ve been loving prenatal yoga, and mixing it up with low/no impact cardio and toning, and (weather permitting) walking. I’ll get more in depth about my workouts in a future post!  For now, here are some of my favorite healthy recipes I’ve been relying on for a healthy pregnancy!

Breakfast:

Slice of whole grain toast topped with 1/4 avocado and 1 DHA egg

or

1/2c Kashi Very Berryful Shredded Wheat, 1/2c low fat kefir, and 1/2c frozen blueberries

Snacks: 

1/2c Friendship Dairy whipped cottage cheese, 1/2c frozen blueberries

or

1 tomato sliced, 1/2 cucumber sliced, and 1 oz fresh mozzarella cheese topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil

 

Still searching for my favorite lunch idea! Follow me on my social media accounts to see future favorites 🙂