Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Food Journal...

It's been a long time since I have posted my food intake for the day and figured that today would be a fun day to give you an update on what I have been consuming as a pregnant clean eater!

Today was an interesting food day because I am working from home and have choir practice tonight...

Pre-breakfast: 1 scoop Amazing Grass Chocolate SuperFood + 1/2 c homemade unsweetened vanilla cashew milk + 1/2 c water

Iced Vanilla Americano: 1 shot espresso (made with my new Nespresso Citiz) + cold water + splash vanilla cashew milk

Breakfast: 3 egg whites + chicken sausage + 1/3 c oats cooked with 1 1/4 c water + 1 T chia seeds + 2 T ground flaxseed + 2 T wheat germ + 1 tsp cocoa powder topped with 1/2 T homemade coconut butter

MidMorning Snack: 1 slice Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin toast + homemade raw almond butter + 1/2 c chocolate pudding

Lunch: Fridge clean out smoothie - I rummaged through the fridge and grabbed everything that looked like it needed to be eaten soon and threw it into the VitaMix: 1 small orange + 1 small mushy apple + brownish banana + leftover young thai coconut meat + leftover young thai coconut water + spinach + vanilla protein powder + ice

This made a HUGE smoothie... I drank 3 cups of it and put 2 cups in the fridge to have with my MidAfternoon snack. Look at how BRIGHT green it turned out!

MidAfternoon Snack: No Bake Nut Butter Energy Bar (from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook) + the rest of my fridge clean-out smoothie from lunch

Supper: I will be eating around 7 PM when I get home from choir practice and will most likely have 3 scrambled egg whites + chicken sausage + 1 slice of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin toast - this tends to be our go-to meal when I have choir and we don't have leftovers in the fridge

Evening Snack: I usually get hungry around 8:30 PM and have a small snack. I made raw Hazelnut Gelato from the Ani's Raw Food Kitchen cookbook and will most likely have 1/2 c of it before HypnoBirthing practice, which we do nightly

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hidden Ingredients

A close friend of mine (Hi Miss Laura!) told me about the Mrs. May's Trio bars that she picked up at Cosco that tasted yummy, were relatively inexpensive and had a very simple ingredient list. Better yet, the bars are described on their website as being:
Vegan, No Trans Fat, No Additives, No Preservatives, No Cholesterol, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free, Non-GMO, Kosher
I was instantly intrigued. So, I looked up additional information on the Mrs. May's brand and their food philosophy. The following is Mrs. May's About Us section of their website...
In a world of processed foods, endless ingredient lists, and high sugar treats; Mrs. May's Naturals took a more basic approach. Why not combine simple and wholesome ingredients to make a delicious snack?
Sounds easy, but it wasn't. While Mrs. May's treats go back more than two generations, we've re-worked and perfected our recipes to bring you the best possible product.
The result is always the same: a deliciously light and crunchy snack that everybody loves. After introducing four flavors just a few years ago, Mrs. May's now offers 15 great varieties.
Each made with premium grade ingredients such as roasted nuts, toasted sesame seeds, natural fruit pieces, organic evaporated cane juice, rice malt, and sea salt.
The snacks are slowly dry roasted to bring out the most flavor, and to add a lively crunch!
All Mrs. May's products are vegan, non-GMO, cholesterol free, dairy free, wheat free, Gluten free, 0 Trans Fat and contain no artificial colors or flavors. And our ingredients lists are short and sweet!

Well, that sounded excellent! Then Laura then sent me the Trio bar ingredients list and I was instantly intrigued.
  • Cashew
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Strawberries
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Dates
  • Raisins
  • Rice Malt
  • Natural Flavors
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Sea Salt
At first glance, this ingredients list seems rather harmless and clean. The bars are filled with yummy, good for you natural ingredients... nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Evaporated cane juice and sea salt are used, which are both great clean alternatives to refined white sugar and table salt. Also, these less desirable ingredients are at the very end of the ingredients list, meaning that they were used sparingly.

However upon further inspection, I was a bit taken back by Mrs. May's use of "natural flavors" to describe some of their ingredients. If they are truly a natural company, as their website states, why would they not simply list the "natural flavors" that they use?

According to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations describes a "natural flavouring" as:
the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavouring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or any other edible portions of a plant, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary function in food is flavouring rather than nutritional.

So, I sent Mrs. May's an email asking about the natural flavorings that they use and here was their response:
Our Natural Flavor is composed of the following ingredients: DEXTROSE, CORN STARCH, WATER, SILICON DIOXIDE (ANTI-CAKING AGENT)
Dextrose: Better known today as glucose, this sugar is the chief source of energy in the body. Glucose is chemically considered a simple sugar. Dextrose, commonly called glucose, d-glucose, or blood sugar, occurs naturally in food, and is moderately sweet. It is a monosaccharide (basic unit of carbohydrates, C6H1206) and has a high glycemic index (digested carbohydrates ability to raise blood glucose levels, also called Gl) ranking at 100.
Cornstarch, or cornflour, is the starch of the maize grain, commonly known as corn. It has a distinctive appearance and feel when mixed raw with water or milk, giving easily to gentle pressure but resisting sudden pressure. The composition of cornstarch varies depending upon the feedstock, but it may considered to be approximately 25% amylose and 75% amylopectin.
Our products are "dairy free." Please be advised, because there is cornstarch in the “natural flavor,” there is a small amount of corn derivative in our product.
For more detailed information for “natural flavors” please visit
I hope this helps!
Thank you,
After receiving this information, I determined that the bars are really not as clean as I once thought because they contain dextrose (high-glycemic, refined sugar), cornstarch (filler/thickening agent), and silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent).

Now, I don't know about you, but I would not identify cornstarch, water or silicon dioxide as ingredients that are used for the sake of flavoring. Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickening agent or as a food filler and is regarded as being tasteless. While silicon dioxide is an anti-caking agent. It seems as though Mrs. May's might be attempting to hide these ingredients from consumers as opposed to protecting their list of natural flavorings. Although, I do applaud their customer service for being frank and open in addition to sending a very prompt response to my inquiry.

The moral of the story is that we should always, always, ALWAYS be weary of the ingredients in EVERYTHING that we consume, even if everything looks clean and natural... natural is not always clean. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Please read this...

Please take a moment to read the following articles/blog posts. Unfortunately, the general public does not understand that the responsibility of Clean Eating and living in an eco-friendly way is our individual responsibility and the government is NOT looking out for our best interests. Tell me what you think!

An Open Letter to Our Children: We're Sorry About School Lunch

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alcohol and Clean Eating

One of the things that I miss most from my pre-pregnancy days, aside from soft cheese, sushi, my lovely body, HIIT, and lifting really heavy, is enjoying a nice glass of organic red wine on Friday nights while making homemade pizza with Allan. Now I drink POM with seltzer, mint and lime while Allan has a beer.

However, just because I can’t have alcohol right now doesn’t mean that you aren’t enjoying a glass or two here and there. One of the questions that I get asked frequently is how does alcohol fit into the clean eating lifestyle?

Most sources of alcohol are not clean because of added refined sugars, not being close to the source/excessive processing and distillation, questionable additives/preservatives along with its detrimental effects on the body. However, alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a clean lifestyle in moderation, one to two servings per week as part of a planned cheat meal.

Unfortunately, in the United States alcohol producers are not required to place nutrition labels on their products making it very difficult for clean eaters, like ourselves, to really know how the number of calories and specific ingredients that we are putting into our bodies. This makes choosing a clean alcohol source even more difficult. For this very reason, I strive to choose alcohol that is local, organic, certified sustainable or biodynamic.

Sometimes the liquor store labeling can be confusing, so instead of getting frustrated, simply ask! I find that the salespeople can be really helpful and many times they have tried a lot of the products that they sell and can be a valuable resource.

Organic red wine (without added sulfites) is the best choice when it comes to alcohol. Although it does contain sugar, they are natural occurring sugars. Also, organic wine is less processed, being closer to the fruit's natural state, than other forms of alcohol that are distilled/processed several times. Also, red wine is a good source of beneficial antioxidants, when enjoyed in moderation.

However, it is important to note that some organic wines and most inorganic wines contain preservatives such as sulfur dioxide and potassium sorbate. Although, these preservatives are generally recognized as safe, I always stay away from food additives and preservatives because what is generally recognized as safe today may be carcinogenic tomorrow. I am perfectly happy consuming items that are produced exclusively by Mother Nature with as little human intervention as possible. Fortunately, most winemakers note the use of sulfites on their label so that we can be savvy consumers.

Allan and I have had several wonderful bottles of wine from Frey Vineyards and Morgan Winery. Which organic wines do you like?

Beer is the second best alcohol choice, although some beers contain added refined sugars, flavorings and artificial ingredients that are not clean. Also, beer tends to be very calorie dense. So, if you are trying to loose weight, it may not be your best option.

The basic ingredients that go into beer are water, a starch source (allowing for fermentation, usually malted barley, wheat, rice, oats, rye, corn and sorghum), hops (for flavoring and natural preservation), brewer’s yeast (for fermentation, also adds beneficial nutrients), and clarifying agents (improves the appearance of beer and is not present in ethnic or wheat beers, usually isinglass, seaweed (Irish moss or carrageenan), Polycar (artificial) and gelatin).

Beer has been shown to have some beneficial impact on health due to the nutrients present in brewer’s yeast, specifically magnesium, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, and B vitamins; however, the beer loses these nutrients in the filtering process, therefore it is best to consume unfiltered beer. Also, low-alcoholic beers have been found to have strong anti-cancer properties.

It is somewhat difficult to find organic beers in regular liquor stores, so Allan usually purchases locally produced beer from Grain Belt or Schell's Brewery. Is there a brand of organic beer that you have tried and like?

Your third clean choice is vodka and seltzer or vodka and POM. If you cannot order seltzer (carbonated water), soda water is a possible alternative. With vodka, it is best to choose an organic variety to ensure that you are consuming quality vodka without pesticides and processing additives. One other thing to note is that some vodka's are distilled in charcoal (*yuck*). Check out Prairie Vodka, which is made here in MN, certified organic, kosher, and gluten-free.

Most soda waters contain the following ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sodium Bicarbonate (salt), Sodium Citrate (citric acid related salt and preservative), Potassium Sulfate (potassium salt that may produce gastrointestinal disturbances and irritation), Disodium Phosphate (sodium and saline laxative).

As you will notice, soda water contains added salts (80 mg sodium per 8 oz). This sodium can increase the alcohol bloat that many people experience after a night of drinking.

Tonic water is NOT clean as most contain HFCS and the diet versions use artificial sweeteners.

Here are the ingredients in tonic water: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup (NOT clean), citric acid (salt and preservative), sodium benzoate (carcinogenic when combined with Vitamin C to create benzene), quinine (see below), natural flavors (completely unknown ingredients that are added).

Here are the ingredients in diet tonic water: carbonated water, sodium citrate (citric acid related salt and preservative), sodium benzoate (carcinogenic when combined with vitamin C to create benzene), saccharine (artificial sweetener and carcinogen), quinine (see below).

Quinine is a controversial ingredient that must be called out on the front label to alert consumers of its presence. Some of the known side effects of quinine ingestion are constipation, erectile dysfunction, diarrhea, symptoms mimicking septic shock (fever, hypotension, and blood abnormalities), and hearing impairment, to name a few.

I hope that this helps to resolve some of your questions along with clearing up some prevalent alcohol misconceptions.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pregnancy Update: Belly Pics

This morning I had my 28 week midwife check-up and everything went very well. The little mister seems very happy and is in a good position for this stage of pregnancy (head down). His heart rate ranged from 138-146 bpm and he was extremely active while I waited for my appointment. I am still measuring a little ahead (29.5 wks); however, this measurement is well within the normal range. My weight increased 4 lbs in the last 4 weeks, which is normal at this stage of pregnancy.

Today was also the dreaded 1 hour glucose tolerance test. I was given a half liter bottle of funky lemon lime glucose water to drink and then I waited an hour prior to having my blood drawn. I was a little nervous about drinking the glucose water after reading the ingredients on the nutrition label: purified water, 50g dextrose, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, sodium benzoate .1%. However, for me, the risk of having untreated gestational diabetes far outweighed the risk of the test.

During my wait I did some work and had my regularly scheduled appointment. After the hour was up, the lab drew my blood and tested it right away so that I could find out the results before I left. The goal of the test is for your blood sugar to be below 140 (some practitioners use 150). A normal fasting blood sugar level is 83 and most people are at 100 after a meal. My blood sugar after a breakfast of egg whites and oatmeal along with the glucose drink was 81! It just goes to show that clean eating and exercise really go a long way in ensuring optimal health and resilience.

I go back for my next appointment in 2 weeks.

Here are some long overdue baby belly progress pics from the last few months...

November 28, 2009

January 4, 2010

January 15, 2010

January 29, 2010

January 30, 2010
This is a little sneak peak of the nursery...

February 17, 2010