Food: 5/30- 6/6

protein

Since this is a post about food, I thought I’d share a little about the role food has had in my pregnancy so far. One of the many reasons I love midwifery care has been the importance my midwife places on nutrition. I haven’t had any complications so far (knock on wood) and, although I’ve started to slow down a little now that it is regularly in the 90s here in Alabama, my energy level and general feeling of well-being have been fantastic.

My midwife, Carolyn, suggests (requires, requests, urges, etc.) that I consume between 80 and 100 grams of protein per day. That’s alot, y’all. A whole lot. Some days I just can’t get it down. Other days, I surpass 100 and eat a spoonful of natural peanut butter just for fun.

A diet high in protein but low in carbs and sugars has been linked to drastically lower rates of preeclampsia and toxemia. That’s reason enough to eat a little meat at each meal. In addition, when you’re eating as much protein as I am, there’s little room for drive-thru chili cheese fries a la Kim Kardashian or bags of Doritos. Of course I indulge, I’m pregnant! But I’ve found that what I really crave are the foods my body needs to grow this child inside me. Never in my life have I drank glasses of (whole) milk but without at least one or two a day I feel malnourished. At twenty-five weeks, I’ve gained 11-ish pounds. I’ve had no swelling, no body aches, very few headaches, no nausea since about 12 weeks, no blood pressure issues, no kidney infections or UTIs,  precious little heartburn, and one very active baby.

My meal plans don’t quite give you a good idea about what I actually eat everyday because I’m eating four or five mini-meals instead of the three listed (these are primarily for Cody). For example, I usually have a glass of milk or orange juice and maybe half of a bacon, egg, and cheese on whole wheat sandwich thins when Cody eats breakfast at 6:30 a.m. I usually sneak back in bed after he leaves until 9:30 a.m. or so and eat again when I wake back up. Milk or juice, ice water, maybe some fruit, and the other half of my first breakfast are the usual second breakfast. I’ll have a snack sometime around 11:00 a.m., often involving peanut butter or Greek yogurt (14 grams of protein in a Chobani!). I’ve been eating lunch a little later in the day now and it usually involves a steamed vegetable of some sort and fruit or maybe leftovers from the night before. I’ll eat another protein-rich snack mid-afternoon, often something cheesy. Supper is whatever is listed on my menu plan and is often a last-ditch effort to rack up on my protein for the day. If I haven’t done very well, I’ll eat another protein rich snack or “dessert” after supper. Maybe a banana with peanut butter, fruit, a yogurt, or a glass of milk with an ice-cold red apple. Cookies and milk are another favorite. The few times indigestion has hit have been after I’ve eaten junk or bread late in the evening, so I try not to eat too much after 8:00 p.m.

Who knows how my body will handle this last and, from what I hear, hardest trimester. Nevertheless, a focus on protein, fresh produce, whole fat dairy, and a small daily dose of whole grains has really paid off for me so far. I feel like my body is getting everything it needs to grow my child and build up my strength for labor and a long and abundant breastfeeding relationship. I strongly encourage anyone who is preparing to conceive or who is pregnant to think carefully about your diet. Not for the purpose of gaining the perfect 20 pounds so that the baby weight melts away quickly, but because it is one thing that you have the most control over during pregnancy that yields the greatest and most remarkable results when attended to carefully and purposefully. Instead of focusing on not eating that whole package of Oreos that you just can’t get out of your mind (I’ve been there), focus on stuffing in all the good stuff that you haven’t included in your meals that day. More often than not, I am thinking about what I haven’t yet eaten on a given day than regretting what I have.

Just a little hormonal rant. I’m off to eat a plate of roast beef. Here’s our frugal-midwife’sfeeissoondue-Ineedtobuyclothdiapers-ohmygoodness-he’llbeherebeforeweknowit-meal plan for next week. Notice the protein 🙂

Thursday
Breakfast-eggs and orange slices, green smoothies
Lunch- tuna salad with lettuce, apple, Greek yogurt
Supper- steakfingers in coconut oil with turnip greens and corn on the cob

Friday
Breakfast-bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on whole wheat thins
Lunch-leftovers with salad, boiled eggs, grapes, bananas
Supper-pinto beans, ham, fried corn bread, fried zucchini

Saturday
Breakfast-bacon and eggs
Lunch-family reunion (make double batch of banana pudding and fruit pizza)
Supper-grilled Dale’s chicken with baked potatoes and salad

Sunday
Breakfast-sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches on whole wheat thins
Lunch-Ranch chicken salad with carrots, lettuce, chips
Supper- Paleo chicken fried “rice” with veggies (use leftover chicken)

Monday
Breakfast- cheesy eggs with fruit
Lunch- leftovers, oranges, grapes
Supper- whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce

Tuesday
Breakfast- bacon and eggs
Lunch- tuna salad with peanut butter and honey sandwiches on whole wheat thins
Supper- fried pork chops in coconut oil, honey mustard roasted red potatoes, green beans

Wednesday
Breakfast- bacon and eggs
Lunch- leftovers
Supper- homemade chicken nuggets in coconut oil with English peas and potatoes

Thursday
Breakfast- bacon and eggs with fruit
Lunch- leftover chicken on salad with boiled eggs

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Food: 5/16- 5/23

Thursday

Breakfast- cookies and milk

Lunch- leftover chicken fried rice

Supper- whole wheat spaghetti with meatballs and Parmesan

Friday

Breakfast- bacon and fruit

Lunch- leftover spaghetti, fruit, cookies

Supper- Hawaiian chicken with broccoli

Saturday

Breakfast- sausage links, fried eggs, fruit

Lunch- loaded baked potato quiche

Supper- Wedding!

Sunday

Breakfast- Greek yogurt pancakes with maple syrup and peach smoothies

Lunch- leftover quiche with canned tomato soup

Supper- honey mustard pork chops, green beans, corn on the cob

Monday

Breakfast- bacon, egg, and cheese on whole wheat sandwich thins

Lunch- tuna salad, fruit, tortilla chips

Supper- steakfingers fried in coconut oil, fried corn bread, salad, deviled eggs

Tuesday

Breakfast- sausage, egg, and cheese on whole wheat sandwich thins

Lunch- leftover steak fingers with baked potato

Supper- taco salad with peppers and onions

Wednesday

Breakfast- sausage and fried eggs

Lunch- tuna salad

Supper- baked Parmesan chicken with brown rice and broccoli

Thursday

Breakfast- sausage links and eggs with fruit

Lunch- leftover baked chicken on salad with boiled eggs

Snacks

popcorn, real food chocolate no-bake bars, (make ahead and freeze) green smoothies, cucumber sandwiches, carrots and ranch, peach smoothies, turkey bacon, fruit

 

Garden Update

Our first genuine attempt at a full-scale vegetable garden has been up and going for almost a month now. We planted almost everything the week before we left for our last trip and returned to tiny bean sprouts and a few new leaves on our tomato plants. We’ve had uncharacteristically cool end of April/ early May weather here in Alabama. Last week we had at least five days of rain and temps dropping into the upper thirties at night. Luckily, it seems that we’re finally over our “blackberry winter.” Clear blue skies and warm afternoons are causing everything to perk up.

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We’ve got eleven tomato plants. I’ve been (slowly) working on getting them staked before they get too big to avoid damaging their root systems. Tomato cages at Lowe’s are $5.00 a pop, so I decided to opt for homemade versions instead. A little Pinterest whimsy, don’t you think?

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I keep picking up cheap four packs of pepper plants. I finally ran out of room in the garden and now several yellow bells now have a home in my flower bed. This is a cayenne that’s doing incredibly well. It bloomed several days ago so we should see tiny peppers in a few more days. Red, green, and yellow bell, jalapeno, and sweet and hot banana are all represented. I cook with colored bell peppers several times per week and they’re often quite expensive. I’m hoping to slice and blanch the extras and freeze them in small zip-lock bags to be used during the winter.

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I actually created two separate areas for tomatoes and peppers. These have yet to be staked and are quite a bit smaller. I’m pretty sure they are Better Boy hybrids. Also, I’ve read several places lately that marigolds are an excellent addition to tomato patches because they repel certain pests. I interspersed them between all my plants. In any case, they bring a little color.

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We have eight hills of summer squash and zucchini, all of which have two plants besides one. They seem to be right on track and will be getting big and jungle-ly soon. By the way, the white power is Sevin dust. I’m researching organic gardening methods, but for the time being, I’d rather not have everything nibbled down to stubs. In my limited experience, tender baby leaves are most susceptible to gnawing jaws.

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Our cucumbers haven’t done so well. I planted three hills of Picklebush and none of them came up. They’ve since been replanted with this variety that sprouted in about a week. Hopefully they will catch up soon. I’ve been craving ice-cold cucumber with salt and pepper lately.

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Here’s my pride and joy. We planted four different varieties of bush beans, only one of which totally failed and had to be replanted (it’s also possible that I forgot to actually put seed in the row after the fertilizer). This row in particular did very well. I’ve had to thin it a couple of times. Another row is sporting unusual purple stalks with green leaves. We should have fresh green beans by mid-June, if not a little earlier. I have a feeling that the first couple of pickings will be eaten up pretty quickly. We hope to get at least three pickings from each row. After they’re spent, we’ll rip them up and re-plant another batch that will mature in late August or early September and be used primarily for freezing. Bending and squatting to pick beans should be great for my birthing muscles, right? Our late summer garden plans also include: small pumpkins in June, re-planting one row of summer squash, and re-planting the other row of summer squash with a winter squash variety to store for chicken treats in cold weather.

Not pictured is the back third of the garden that became a stream during our week of rain. Cody actually had to shovel a few small ditches and that were super helpful in draining the puddles (ponds) that had accumulated. I don’t anticipate this being a problem again this season but next year we will have to reconsider what we plant there. We had four rows of corn that were basically washed away. They’ve since been replanted and will hopefully do so-so in their moist home. The okra we planted several weeks ago made it through the flood, but it is a little thin. Okra plants get huge, so maybe that’ll be ok. Also, about half of my sunflowers are six inches tall. I replanted the thin spots in hopes of having a complete wall of blooms in a few months. Cody was dying to plant a few watermelons.  We have six hills. They’re sure to take over the entire back yard in a month or so.

Garden life without a tiller has been hard work. After the initial plowing and cultivating, we’ve only borrowed my parents’ tiller once to run through the rows for aeration and weed control. I try to hoe a row or two every day. We bought a Friskar’s manual cultivator for $25.00 at Lowe’s this past weekend to help out between tilling, too. It’s a little easier for me to manage than a hoe and is great for breaking up hard ground around the tomatoes and peppers. Hopefully we will be able to save up a little money this fall and invest in a used or clearanced tiller before next spring (however, a fall and winter garden are still very much in the plans). I have a feeling it’ll be significantly larger next year if everything keeps going well.

We both enjoy spending an hour or two before dark in the backyard digging in the dirt. Geoffrey and the cats love rolling in the dust and more than a few bean plants have been crushed because of their horseplay.

I cannot wait to bring in a big basket of veggies and fresh eggs every day.

Dry Tortugas Trip the Third

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Picturesque Truman Annex district in Key West

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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West, the perfect precursor to the beauty to come

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Michael Ryan’s first trip to his parents’ beloved Dry Tortugas State Park

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Cody and his friend Matt who joined us this year, along with my in-laws

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We had a pelican problem this year. Every time they guys hooked a fish, one of these goofy birds would swoop in and swallow it, hook and all, before they could get it reeled in. 

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Pretty perfect palm tree

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Impromptu maternity pics at twenty weeks.

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Not looking too bad for a pregnant lady camping close to the equator.

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My darling husband

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Huge hermit crabs that came in hoards as soon as we fired up the grill.

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That’s the moon, y’all.

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Nice silhouette shot

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It takes a pretty big fish to bend a rod like that. In this case, it was a 70-ish pound Goliath Grouper that easily won the battle. Go here to view a webcam placed underneath the dock we were fishing on.

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Neighboring Loggerhead Key

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Sweet baby boy hung in there through all my hotdog eating, fort climbing, snorkeling, and tent sleeping.

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After two nights on a Thermarest and no hot shower, I was looking a lot rougher (and rounder) than I actually felt.

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Lighthouse atop Fort Jefferson

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Free bird photo-op back in Key West

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Cody and his dad are already planning an all-boys trip next spring. Although I would love to go again myself and take Michael Ryan, I sincerely want my husband and several of his male family members to experience some serious sub-tropical male bonding on this beautiful island. Right now, the only big family adventure in the works is Michael Ryan’s birth in September. I’m hoping to squeeze in our annual New Years trip for our fourth anniversary at the end of December (with our baby boy, of course), maybe to close-by Smokey Mountains NP. After the guys’ trip in the spring, we’re thinking about heading west in late Summer 2014 to either Yellowstone, Glacier, or California (Yosemite/ Redwoods/ Channel Islands).

The only big adventure that consumes my thoughts at the moment is the squirming little person in my belly and our big plans for bringing him into the world.