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Prenatal Meal Planning

November 28, 2020
walnut crusted salmon

Deciding what to eat while pregnant can be a daunting task. I’m currently almost through the second trimester, but the memories of endless nausea in the first trimester are fresh. I relied heavily on morning smoothies, eggs, peanut butter sandwiches and daily evening dashes to the store by my husband. Some days we wouldn’t know what I could tolerate for dinner until as late as 4:30pm. Luckily, those days are long gone. Well into the second trimester, I’ve still kept up my daily smoothie habit. But I’m also trying to eat plenty of protein, with whole grains, fruit and veggies. Some days the plan works well and some days it doesn’t. I try not to beat myself up too much. Before pregnancy I followed an anti-inflammatory diet to help with my endometriosis symptoms, but during pregnancy those symptoms have all but disappeared. So if that means I can indulge in pizza or chocolate right now, I’m all about it!

But a couple weeks ago, I felt like my sugar cravings were getting the best of me. It may have been all the leftover Halloween candy, or just the freedom of enjoying that second trimester appetite. After checking in with my naturopathic doctor I decided that I needed a little more planned meal structure to finish out the second half of this pregnancy. That’s when I reached out to my friend Jamie Adams for recipe ideas. Jamie is registered dietician who specializes in prenatal nutrition. She just launched a new prenatal recipe e-book and it was exactly what I was looking for. The recipes are simple, easy to follow and made with affordable ingredients. I flipped to the second trimester section and tried out a few of the recipes last week. First up was the Walnut Crusted Salmon:

walnut salmon
Walnut Crusted Salmon and Crispy Roasted Brussel Sprouts, recipe by Jamie Adams

This was so easy to make and really delicious. I’m used to cooking salmon on the grill or on the stovetop, but this was baked in the oven which made clean up very easy. The topping with walnuts, green onions, lemon juice and seasonings kept the fish moist. I like how each section of the e-book details which nutrients are important for that trimester and why. I am much more likely to eat healthfully when I know the specific effects it’s having on my body and the baby’s. With omega-3 fatty acids in the fish and the walnuts, this dish is great for building the baby’s brain! I paired it with another recipe from the e-book: Crispy Brussel Sprouts roasted with avocado oil. I had to dig in the back of my cabinet for that bottle but I’m glad that I did! Avocado oil has a wonderful rich taste, and it was in another recipe that I tried: Zucchini, Mushroom and Egg Breakfast.

Zucchini, Mushroom and Egg Breakfast, recipe by Jamie Adams

I will typically eat a smoothie for breakfast (and there are several tasty smoothie recipes in this e-book!) and some kind of eggs for lunch, so this dish really hit the spot. I loved that this recipe and others were simply seasoned, but options were given for adding further flavor. I added cayenne pepper and garlic powder to the veggies, then cooked the eggs in the same pan, which added tons of flavor. The choline in eggs are great for the baby’s brain as well, just be sure to cook them thoroughly. Next up, I tried the Apple Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions & Brie:

apple turkey brie burger
Apple Turkey Burger and Sweet Potato Fries, recipe by Jamie Adams

This dish was so decadent and delicious! Definitely saving this recipe for use after pregnancy. The burgers are mixed with shredded apple, coconut oil and dijon mustard and topped with brie cheese, green apple slices and caramelized onion. The brie gets all gooey and melted, making this a perfect fall or winter dish. I paired it with the Sweet Potato Fries recipe, also made with coconut oil, and it was amazing.

I really recommend this recipe e-book to any expecting mothers or just anyone looking for a fresh set of simple and healthy recipes. Jamie also includes a whole snacks and dessert section, which I can’t wait to try. The Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies with dark chocolate chips look divine. And also a section of meals that can be prepped and frozen, ideal for the first several weeks after the baby arrives. Alex and I will definitely be making a few of these in February to prepare for our “4th Trimester” in March and April. Be sure to get yourself a copy. Jamie is offering a $10 discount with the code CYBERWEEK10 now through Friday 12/4. You won’t want to miss it! And you can follow her on Instagram @mamastenutrition for more tips on prenatal nutrition.


Summer Reading Roundup

September 25, 2020
bookshelf with plant in foreground

One of my intentions of late has been to read more, and to take time to absorb and process the things I read. Have you ever gotten to the end of the year, knowing you read several books but unable to conjure the details of each one? Heck, I’ve gotten to the end of the year and couldn’t remember which books I even read. Especially when you read a lot on an e-reader, it can be harder to remember the titles of books because you don’t see the cover each time you pick it up. At least on my older model Kindle you don’t. During this strange summer of a global pandemic and ongoing social unrest in the U.S. I found myself reaching for novels to escape in and stories about brave, determined women who overcame incredibly challenging situations.

There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing by Ruthie Lindsey

A memoir by one of my favorite podcast hosts (check out @unspokenpodcast), telling the story of how she experienced a life-altering accident and the years long aftermath. It is also a beautiful love story about her daddy, her faith, her first love and growing up in the South. As well as a critical look at the role of painkillers in the process of healing. The language evolves along with her experience of the world, and it really pulled me into her journey.

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

I could not put down this new novel from Brit Bennett. A story of two identical twin sisters, both light-skinned Black and growing up in small Louisiana town – spans 50 years of how their paths diverged and their own children made their way in the world. The format is brilliant and I was instantly invested in these characters. Bennett explores themes of racial segregation, domestic violence and identity while revealing the complicated inner lives that everyone leads.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

There’s a good reason why this book always ends up on summer reading lists. Ever since it came out in 2017 I felt like the cover was calling me from every airport book nook I wasted time in before a flight and this summer I finally gave in and read it. It’s a gripping story about motherhood and class, set in the delightfully portrayed 1990s midwest suburbs. It seemed like fate that I ordered this book before I found out I was pregnant and then read it while sitting on the beach, contemplating what exactly I had gotten myself into. Flash forward to three weeks later when I was in the throes of first trimester fatigue and nausea, I found myself lying on the couch binge watching the stellar television adaption of Little Fires on Hulu. Highly recommend both the book and series!

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

In addition to Little Fires Everywhere, I snagged another gem from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. The perfect summer read, it takes place in 1930s colonial Malaysia and follows the mystery of an old Chinese superstition of a recently deceased man possessing a tiger that hunts humans at night. The Night Tiger is a really a coming-of-age story as the two main characters: a young woman named Ji Lin who is navigating the world outside her stepfather’s home and Ren, a smart young servant boy who carries tragedy and the hope of the next generation. This book was incredibly fun to read. The imagery and fast-paced scenes read like a colorful movie. I had the most incredible dreams while reading it.

A Burning

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Set in modern day India, this short novel follows the paths of three different characters around the same set of events: a fire at a train station that is later blamed on Muslim terrorists. Although it was fiction, I learned a lot about aspects of Indian culture and politics that I knew little of before: the prejudice against Muslim communities, the sensationalized media and political landscape and the unique position that some transgender people hold in modern day India. But this was my least favorite read of the summer. It came across as abbreviated and brutal. The epic ending did not feel earned, and the characters remained opaque throughout. As a first novel, I felt like Majumdar had some great ideas but they never solidified into a unified story. But I would definitely keep a lookout for later novels of hers. She has a knack for capturing inner monologues in a way that intrigues.

A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell

I got this book for Kindle on a whim, because I had Amazon digital credits that were about to expire. Little did I know that I would be taken along on the adventure of a lifetime. The true story is about Virginia Hall, a Maryland-born woman who became on of the Allied force’s most important spies and source of espionage during World War II. I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that Hall endured some of the most excruciating setbacks throughout her life and she continued to rise up and relentlessly pursue her goals. I was truly inspired by this woman. I really hope that someone in Hollywood gets a clue that this story would be a Marvel-comic-level blockbuster for a generation of young women. It takes a little patience weighing through some of the descriptions of Hall’s various associates along with background on the war, but the effort is well worth it.

What did you read this summer? Or better yet, what are you reading this fall? As the weather turns chilly and the daylight fades more quickly I find myself curling up with collections of essays and some of my favorite poetry collections. More to come!

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