Posted in Recipes

Black Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Thanks to my midwives for this amazing cure! IMG_8295

Ingredients

-1 cup dried elderberries

-4 cups filtered water

-4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger

-2 cinnamon sticks  3 cloves

-1 cup raw honey

Add all ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium. Continue simmering for 30-45 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half. Before the liquid cools, strain through a fine mush strainer. Allow the liquid to cool to about 118 F to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey, and gently combine the arm reduced berry liquid with the raw honey. Store in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks. For longer storage, freeze into ice cube trays to defrost for later use!

First I bought this elderberry syrup for $18 in wholefoods store. Then got this recipe from Midwives of NJ. The whole bag of elderberry ($15) bag yields 6 cups which turns out to be much cheaper.

Here is anti-flu recipe from my midwives:

For all adults (including pregnant women): elderberry syrup 2 teaspoons a day, Vitamin D3: 4000 IU per day, Vitamin C: 1000 mg per day

For children: Elderberry syrup 2 tablespoons a day, Vitamin D3: 2000 IU per day,Vitamin C: 500 mg per day

If the baby is still feeding and mom is taking the syrup, then baby does not have to take the syrup.

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Posted in pregnancy

What about the Vitamin K shot for your newborn?

http://www.spineuniverse.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery-large/wysiwyg_imageupload/3998/2015/09/01/syringe_14497301_M_0.jpgOne of the injections that your newborn is scheduled to get is Vitamin K shot. But why Vitamin K? The medical world’s reasoning is to assist your precious one with clotting abilities to prevent any bleeding in the brain post partum or if you happen to get into an accident during your drive from hospital to home.

You would not want your baby to bleed to death right? So, after hearing the purpose, many parents agree to get the Vitamin K shot since it seems to be no brainer. However, what is really in that Vitamin K shot? Is it all natural and harmless to the baby? Is it all necessary?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/1d/1c/e0/1d1ce043533a509665bcfec63b80a129.jpgVitamin K is found naturally in dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli etc, however, a synthetic form of Vitamin K is administered in a shot. What is wrong with synthetic form? Well, the synthetic form is produced in the labs and is not natural for our body to process properly. In fact, any synthetic can actually cause more harm than good.

Is there only Vitamin K in that injection or is it a cocktail form of many substances? It is not a shocker that Vitamin K shot is actually composed of multiple ingredients that are used for different purposes in the medical industry. A shot of Vitamin K has about 4-6 ingredients including Propylene glycol, Polysorbate 80, Sodium acetate anhydrous and ŸBenzyl alcohol  are some of the other ingredients. The manufacturer includes the warning of severe reactions may happen. You are on your own risk pretty much..

Another question you need to ask as a parent is how much vitamin K is in the shot and how much does your baby’s body need? A full term baby has full organ function however what happens to large doses of Vitamin K in the body, no one truly knows. Where is it stored and how is it processed? Some claim that large doses of Vitamin K causes childhood leukemia and cancer but there is not sufficient research to prove that either.

What are your other options? If you were to decline Vitamin K shot in the hospital, there are couple things you need to keep in mind. The biggest challenge for us was we could not get our son circumcised during our hospital stay. We needed to wait 4-6 weeks for the circumcision until our baby had enough clotting abilities.

http://www.revital.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/i/bioticsresearchbio-k-mulsion-17829.jpgIf you plan on declining Vitamin K shot at the hospital, you can choose to provide oral vitamin K for your baby. You need to give a dose at birth then at 1 week and 6 weeks. You need to make the purchase and have it with you at your hospital admission. The research claims that it is not as effective as the shot however, do they really know how much is enough? Also how much of the dose does baby’s body really absorb and process?

Also, especially during the last month of your pregnancy, ensure you increase your vitamin K intake by eating dark leafy greens, also drinking nettle tea everyday can boost your system with Vitamin K which you will share with your baby. Some sources including CDC (Center for Disease Control) claim that breast milk does not supply enough Vitamin K. The truth is some medications can block Vitamin K absorption. If the mom is experiencing gastrointestinal disorders such as celian disease, cyctic fibrosis etc., then she may not absorb Vitamin K properly from her diet, therefore the baby may be Vitamin K deficient at birth.

We live in information age and the purpose of this blog is not to make you decide in a certain way. I truly believe each and every one of us need to be aware of what we are doing to our bodies. Start obtaining information and make informed decisions before you just follow “the protocol” because our doctor says so or that’s what others do. Please do your own research before you make a decision.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/1d/1c/e0/1d1ce043533a509665bcfec63b80a129.jpg

http://media.mercola.com/ImageServer/Public/2014/August/vitamin-k-injection-at-birth-fb.jpg

http://www.revital.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/i/bioticsresearchbio-k-mulsion-17829.jpg

http://www.spineuniverse.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery-large/wysiwyg_imageupload/3998/2015/09/01/syringe_14497301_M_0.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in pregnancy, Super Momma

Weight gain during pregnancy

The first trimester is the toughest when it comes to eating and controlling your weight. You all know what I am talking about. You feel sick all day long, you cannot eat, even if you eat you may not be able to keep it in, and heightened sense of smell does not even let you look at some food groups. Controlling yourself in the first trimester is very hard and you are likely if you can eat some food then keep it actually in.

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During my first trimester I could only eat bagel with cream cheese, pizza, pasta with cheese and any citrus fruit. I could not stand garlic, hummus or anything green including salad spinach etc. I knew not eating would make me weaker and also I had to go to work so I would have a bagel in the morning, some fruit in the afternoon, then pizza and some soup in the evening. I knew I was not in taking nutritious food, but that’s what I managed to eat at that time. I was not too concerned either because I knew this period was transient and I was going to get some supplementation from prenatal vitamins. I was able to take control of my food intake, make healthier food choices and control my cravings as well as portion sizes better once my nausea settled.

http://www.babyyourbaby.org/images/pregweightdiagram.gifThe recommended amount of weight gain is 11-33 lb during pregnancy. If you are gaining less than 11lbs then your baby may be underweight and premature. If you gain more than 33 lbs, it will be harder for you to move around with all that extra weight, you may set yourself for gestational diabetes and/or high blood pressure, and it will be harder to lose all that extra weight post pregnancy. I know people who gained 50-70 lbs during pregnancy and unfortunately, it was really hard for them to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight since it took months and a big commitment and lots of sacrifice.

Tips to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy

woman-eating-two-burgersPeople will try to convince to eat whatever you want in large amounts because you are eating for two.

Learn to say no. Remember your baby only needs 300 calories on average a day so there is no need to double up your portions. All the extra calories are unnecessary and will be stored in your body.

P-portionControl-enHD-AR1Stop eating once you get full.

As your uterus keeps expanding into your abdominal cavity, there is will be less and less room so overeating will create a lot more discomfort for you. Pace your self and remember portion control.

fresh-produceAdd more fresh produce to your diet; keep them available in your fridge.

If you like to snack, have fresh produce and healthy snack ready in your kitchen. If you have good food choices such as hummus, yogurt, edemame, veggies or fruit in your fridge you are more likely to snack on those before you open a package of cookies.

e64cc62a2a20a84d7ad6404bdb80b760Drink water, keep hydrated!

Remember you may not be hungry, you may be thirsty. There is not really a recommended amount of water intake you need to reach. However, still ensure that you are drinking water not soda, coffee or all other zero calorie carbonated drinks. Remember nothing will replace water. If you do not like the taste of plain water, then try adding some fresh cucumber, lemon, mint, and/or strawberries for some flavor. You know what works best to make yourself drink more water.

Sweet tooth challenge 

avoid-sugar

If you have a sweet tooth and it is hard for you to give up on cookies, cake, ice cream then definitely try portion control. During my first trimester, magnum brand double chocolate caramel ice cream bar would relieve my nausea. Weird right?! I would crave for it right before bed between 9-10 pm. After I put on 8lbs during my second month of being pregnant, I knew that habit had to stop. I started eating only half and saving the other half for the following night. Cut your portion size in half, eat slower for a prolonged satisfaction period and avoid from eating in front of TV since you can indulge a lot more without realizing.

Avoid packaged products and baked goods and take control of your cravings.

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Sugar is the #1 substance that 99% of the population is addicted to. There is sugar in everything especially in packaged products. More sugar you eat, more you will crave for it. During my pregnancy, I would crave for dates right before bed after I had my ice cream bar. I would tend to eat about 12-14 of them in one sitting and I know it a big sugar load for my system. I would try to hold off on that to have it when I wake up in the morning. More you expose yourself to late night snacking, more your body will store. If you can hold off on your cravings and eat in the morning, you are more likely to burn that off throughout the day.

If you are struggling with nutrition and weight gain, see a professional.

I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian and all the information that I offer on my website is drawn from my personal experience as a new mother. If you are really struggling with what to eat, want to learn more about different food groups and how they affect your body, also has weight issues, I advise you to see a professional who can guide and help you. You can definitely talk to your OBGYN, see a nutritionist or dietitian.

During my pregnancy, I really enjoyed reading and learning more from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blue Print book, and Primal Blue Print Cookbook as well as Quick and Easy recipe book. If you want to learn more about nutrition, making better food choices and how to make healthy food in seconds, these books are treasures that are definitely worth checking out.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

http://cdnpix.com/show/imgs/794674b4a789e9679bedc38af7a50f39.jpg

http://www.babyyourbaby.org/images/pregweightdiagram.gif

http://s3.amazonaws.com/etntmedia/media/images/ext/773200008/woman-eating-two-burgers.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e6/4c/c6/e64cc62a2a20a84d7ad6404bdb80b760.jpg

http://www.yeahmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/avoid-sugar.jpg

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/05/17/article-2145853-1324353C000005DC-829_468x443.jpg

Posted in pregnancy

Nutrition and pregnancy

We all agree that not only during pregnancy but also in our everyday lives, we need to eat right and/or make better food choices. What does eating right mean? I think it is such a general concept or intention that when it comes to application, majority of the time we fail to do so.

pregnant woman

I am not a big fan of going extreme and being super strict with your diet, start measuring the amount of food per meal or day, being super picky with food choices. I believe that you are more likely to get off of track when you follow a strict diet. I believe in being good 80% of the time, and being more lenient 20% of the time. That means, 80% of the time eating right and choosing healthy food, while cheating and being more lenient towards not-so-good-for-me food groups 20% of the time. Once you give yourself a bit more wiggle room, you are less likely to get disappointed and give up. Lets take a closer look at different food groups and how they can affect your body and baby.

The first trimester is the toughest when it comes to eating. You all know what I am talking about. Feeling sick all the time, not being able to eat, having a heightened sense of smell, and not being able to tolerate even sight of some food groups are some challenges of the first trimester. Controlling your diet in the first trimester is very hard since you are lucky if you can eat some food and actually keep it in.

My advise to you is eat whatever you can and do not worry about what it is. For example, during my first trimester I could only eat bagel with cream cheese, pizza, pasta with cheese and any citrus. I could not stand garlic, hummus or anything green including salad spinach etc. I knew I needed my strength to get out of the bed and go to work so I had a bagel in the morning, some fruit in the afternoon, then pizza and some soup in the evening followed by a magnum double chocolate caramel ice cream bar right before bed. It was the ideal diet, however that’s what I managed to eat at that time. I was also taking my prenatal vitamins that provided vitamins for my body so I did not stress over it too much.

http://www.babyyourbaby.org/images/pregweightdiagram.gif

What your growing baby needs is protein for your baby’s developing muscles and internal organs, fat for neurological system including the brain and the spinal column, minerals and vitamins for bone health. All these elements play an important role in your baby’s development since they all work together as the building blocks of your baby. Did you realize that I did not include carbohydrates? Your baby does not really need many carbohydrates, so carbs really end up on the bottom of the list.

When broken down, carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar and we all know sugar actually feeds into inflammation, causes weight gain and is usually used in our body as a quick access energy source so it is not meant to be storage, it is meant to be used so you can get rid of it. I am 5” 4’ 120 lb (pre pregnancy) and gained 8 lbs just in a month due to my increased carbohydrate intake. I was determined to change my diet when I started feeling better which started happening around 14 weeks of my pregnancy. I stuck with a high fat protein diet and tried my best to stay away from carbohydrates.

I will give you two examples of what I ate once I no longer experienced morning sickness,

  • Breakfast: omelet with 2-3 eggs, onions, peppers, olive oil and cheese
  • Lunch: mixed nuts, salad, chicken
  • Afternoon snack: Green apple
  • Dinner: yogurt.

The next day,

  • Breakfast: Panini
  • Lunch: stuffed pepper
  • Afternoon snack: a banana
  • Dinner: fish with salad, Avocado

Pre-pregnancy I did not have dinner, instead I would eat a lot more for the first half of the day. During my second trimester, my body went back to my old habit of eating more during the day and eating less at night. I am not saying that is what you need to do, just figure out what works best for your body.

Even though my goal was to stick with a high protein high fat diet, I was still eating carbs too. For example, Panini has bread that is carbs. Fruits such as apple and banana also have some amount of carbs in them since they have sugar. I was not too concerned because I was not eating a ton of fruit. Remember if you are good 80% of the time, you will be ok- at least that’s my philosophy.

food_pyramid_flat_2011sm-1Some great sources of protein are: of course all the meats, fish, poultry, eggs, yogurt, green peas, quinoa, nuts (minus peanuts) and nut butters (I advise you to grind your own nut butter from whole foods that has no additive), tofu, edemame, leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach, chia sesame sunflower seeds and the list goes on.

Some great resources of fat: nuts (minus peanuts), avocado, natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter (stay away from corn oil, margarine, vegetable oil, sunflower oil etc)

For your vitamins and minerals stick with eating lots of vegetables and control your fruit intake since you do not want to spike up your sugar levels.

51T4YZfJGTL._UY250_During my pregnancy, I really enjoyed reading and learning more from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blue Print book, and Primal Blue Print Cookbook as well as Quick and Easy recipe book. If you want to learn more about nutrition, making better food choices and how to make healthy food in seconds, these books are treasures that are definitely worth checking out.

I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!

Images retrieved from:

http://mommydocs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/pregnancy-weight.jpg

http://www.babyyourbaby.org/images/pregweightdiagram.gif

http://s247.photobucket.com/user/MDA2008/media/MDA2010/food_pyramid_flat_2011sm-1.jpg.html

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51T4YZfJGTL._UY250_.jpg