First the foods that are keeping me happy right now. Forgive the brand promotion but these people have my deep gratitude.
1) Kashi blueberry waffles. These little guys are like guilt-free versions of an Eggo toaster waffle. Instead of being made of deadly crap, they’re made of – and I’m not exaggerating: whole wheat flour, oat flour, brown rice, triticale, barley and buckwheat and ground flaxseed. And blueberries. For 150 calories, I can have two of these whole grain marvels, and for less than another 100 calories, a pat of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, sliced strawberries and a dollop of plain greek style yogurt for tang. A dash of cinnamon over that and I’m in breakfast heaven. Fiber, protein, fruit – can’t go wrong.
2) Laura’s Wholesome Junkfood Extreme Chocolate Fudge Bite-lettes. I don’t have an appetite for sweet things right now, and these are a good balance of light sweetness and rich chocolate – like a good dark chocolate bar can be. But these little balls of goodness have rolled oats, rice flour, dates, coconut and soy powder, and just two of them have only 110 calories. They’ve got a little dose of potassium, calcium, iron and protein. And they’re dark chocolate. Two make a perfect midafternoon snack for me right now. Whoever you are, Laura, thank you.
3) Naked brand fruit smoothie drinks. I always avoided these because, though delicious and packed with real fruit puree and juice with no sugar added, they’re pretty calorie dense drinks. A 15 oz bottle is considered 2 servings and contains 300 calories. BUT, no fat, no added sugar and, depending on which fruit blend you’re drinking, a host of vitamins and minerals, micronutrients and antioxidants. Since I need like 300 calories more daily to feed the Red Bean and all the additional personal uh, attributes, for incubation, it’s a nutritious snack I no longer feel guilty about. Usually on my walk home from work I’m pretty hungry and feeling a little ill. A bottle of Naked makes me feel worlds better and tides me over till I can rest and then fix something for dinner.
Now for books. Pregnancy books are a touchy subject to me, because, as I have mentioned, most of them suck hard. They’re badly written, boring, and assume that a) you and your spouse don’t get along, b) you have every right to be the worst, most selfish version of yourself right now to other people while being some kind of monumentally regal baby-making goddess, and c) your ability to make good choices depends on said books. For that reason, I’m pretty much not reading any more of them. But three have made the cut. Maybe others will but I remain skeptical.
1) The Pregnancy Countdown Book. OK, this one does all three of the things above, but still offers some fun insights into baby’s development, in page-a-day format for the 240 or so days of pregnancy. I don’t love it but we keep it by the toilet, and I dislike it less than some others.
2) Bonding Before Birth. A joyful little book that I read in full on a bus ride home from New York, Bonding Before Birth is an encouraging look at all the ways you can do good things for your weetle bean while it’s cookin’. The author is a little opinionated at times, and has a tendancy to pick and choose which research she holds sacred and which she takes with a grain of salt, but overall it’s a neat look at how mom’s life affects babe. For example, when I exercise, the endorphins that make me feel good afterward make baby feel good too. When I’m relaxed, baby and I are equally free from the damaging effects of high cortisol levels. When I’m eating good foods, (duh) baby gets good stuff to build parts with. She describes it more artfully, and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s one of the only books I’ve come across that praises sex during pregnancy – love and affection between partners makes mom happy, and all the good hormones in my system afterward also reach baby. Oxytocin, the “love and bonding” hormone, has similar wonderful affects for baby that it does for mom and dad. I appreciated that at least one pregnancy book makes the assumuption that the people who just decided to become parents actually love each other and enjoy sex, and encourage the having of it. Bravo, Dr. Stoddard.
3) Momma Zen. I cannot describe how wholly I love this book. In a series of open-hearted essays, the author describes her experience of pregnancy and motherhood as a path in her life’s journey toward balance and wholeness. I love her warm and encouraging tone, even when laying bare the loss of her desired “birth plan”, the agony of sleep deprivation, the challenge of not giving way to the lust for stuff. She describes each of her steps in terms of how to yield gracefully to the new things happening to you, to the new forces at work and in control of your body and your time, and to the magic that awaits each moment. Her writing makes me feel peaceful, capable and assured. Also, it has Cherrios on the cover. I plan to give this book to every pregnant friend for the rest of my life.