I recently was gifted a brand new Ninja blender. I know, I know, all vegans are obsessed with their blenders. In addition to my morning smoothies, I was looking for other things I could make with this high powered blending device. I stumbled on recipe after recipe for almond milk. I recently became a fan of almond milk (my first love being soy, of course) so I thought it was worth a try. It is super easy and fun to make. As far as costs go, I am not sure if you really save any money by making it yourself. Pre-made almond milk is very affordable and raw almonds are pretty pricy. The cost per gallon is probably about the same for both homemade and pre-made. That being said, it tastes great and if you are anything like me your DIY ethic compels you to take on projects like these. It was a super satisfying experience and if you are at all interested in giving it a try you should.
What to Do
Step One (the soak)
Take one cup of almonds and put them in a jar. Fill the jar with water and set aside to soak over night.
Step two (the rinse)
Pour the contents of the jar into a strainer and give the almonds a good rinse.
Step Three (the spin cycle)
Place your pre-soaked almonds in your blender and add 4 cups of water. Blend for two to three minutes on high.
Step Four (the squeeze)
Cover a bowl or pitcher with a cheese cloth (folded over once). Pour the contents of the blender over the cheese cloth and squeeze out the extra liquid as you go. The goal is to separate the liquid from the pulp. Once you have squeezed out all your liquid your fresh almond milk is ready to enjoy.
What you need
• One cup of raw almonds
• 4 cups of water
• enough water to soak your almonds
• High speed blender
• Cheese cloth
This is the time that I pimp a bunch of great vegan products that I have used during my pregnancy. I am not being sponsored by any of these products or companies (at least not yet anyways...hit me up!). These are just things that I have found helpful that I think other women might find helpful too!
Natural Stretch Oil (Earth Mother Angel Baby):
This is a light oil that you rub on your belly and breasts to help prevent stretch marks. Again, as I wrote about in my stretch marks post, there are no guarantees that any product out there will ensure you don't get stretch marks. What I will say about this product is I have been using it my whole pregnancy and if nothing else it makes me feel like I am doing something proactive. It is also a great moisturizer and will relieve the itchy feeling you get from your skin stretching as your belly and breasts grow.
Hemp Pro 50 Protein Powder:
Let me start this off by saying I am not a fan of flavored protein powders. I know people love to drink "chocolate" and "vanilla" flavored protein shakes but I can't deal with them. The over powering sweet fake flavor gives me the creeps. That is why I love this hemp protein powder because it is flavorless. I can simply add it to my smoothies and forget it is even there. It is plant based, raw and has omega 3 and 6.
Stainless Steel Drinking Straws:
These are not necessarily a vegan product but they are not a non-vegan product ether. I originally ordered them for an arts and crafts project I was doing with my boyfriend but I ended up using them all the time. It is so important to stay hydrated when you are pregnant and I found drinking through straws really helped me take in more water with every sip. Plus, it makes it easier to drink from a glass when you have aches and pains and are laying on the couch.
Dr Bronner's Castile Soap:
I have always used bronner's in the shower as a body-wash because it is vegan and cruelty free. I recently started also using it as a household cleaner. Once I got pregnant I stopped using my regular cleaning products because they contain chemicals that are not pregnant lady safe. Some bronner's and water in a spray bottle is a great all purpose cleaner. You can also mix a paste out of bronner's, water and baking soda to use as a soft scrub for bathtubs and sinks.
This is a subject that I have been struggling with a lot in the past few weeks. I have hit the point in my pregnancy where the amount of weight that I have put on is really starting to effect me. My legs, knees, ankles and especially my lower back are feeling the effects of the extra 20 lbs I have on my frame. But in addition to the the aches and pains the weight is showing up in places I didn't expect, such as my legs, hips and face. There is just more of me everywhere and as zen as I am trying to be about it, it is hard. I keep reminding myself that I am growing a human and it is all part of the process but I still can help but hide from the mirror.
So, what is healthy weight gain during pregnancy supposed to look like? Well according to WebMD if you start at an average weight (whatever that is) you should put on between 25 lbs to 35 lbs. In your first trimester you are not going to be putting on too much weight, only a few pounds in the first few months. In the second and third trimesters you are looking to put on roughly 1 to 1.5 lbs per week. According to my midwife there may be some weeks I put on .5 lbs and other weeks I put on 2 lbs. You are just aiming for a healthy average across the weeks. But! we are all different and when and where we gain the weight is going to change from person to person. At the end of the day no matter what weight gain is hard on all of us. I just keep reminding myself it is all part of the process. Plus! I am getting a baby out of all of this
When you are pregnant your fun drink options become limited. No booze, no caffeine and a lot of us try to avoid the artificial sweeteners. Lately I have been obsessed with drinking hibiscus iced tea, since I recently discovered that my local market carries dried hibiscus flowers. The hibiscus flower is found in many warm weather climates including Jamaica, Egypt, Mexico and Honduras. Tea made from hibiscus is served as a mild medicine in many cultures due to its high vitamin C content. It is a healthy flavorful alternative to a standard iced tea (which usually contains caffeine).
So eating 5-6 smaller meals a day and choosing healthy calories instead of empty ones, such as sweets, are both good ideas. The other contributing factor is skin elasticity. So make sure your skin is nice and stretchy by drinking lots of water and getting your healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado and nuts.
Now for a word about lotions and balms. There are lots of products on the market that are going to make all kinds of claims about preventing and treating stretch marks. It is important to keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence behind these claims. That being said, keeping your skin moisturized certainly isn't going to hurt. Just be super careful of what is in the products you use. There are all kinds of harmful chemicals in lotions and balms, even the ones that say "natural" on the label. My recommendation is to keep it simple. Some women swear by plain ol' coconut oil. I really like a product called Natural Stretch Cream by Earth Mother Angel Baby. If you are reading the ingredients and you don't know what something is or you can't pronounce it, it is probably better to stay away. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions about what products are safe to use.