Tag Archives: Coconut oil

Learning From A Pregnant Woman

I’ve been a bit MIA for a while…perhaps you noticed. The last time you heard from me, I was hating on the microwave.

Well, I haven’t forgotten about you. And I have missed you. But I’ve been quite busy…busy growing a baby!

As you can imagine, I have been researching up a storm. No surprise, I’m all about being pregnant and raising a child in the most organic, healthy way possible. As a result, I have come across some amazing info over the past several months – info I will be sharing with you now and in future posts!

But don’t stop reading if you’re not a pregnant woman, or if you’re not a dad-to-be, or if you’re not someone who knows someone who is pregnant.

This is all good info for everyone.

And I’m not just talking about the typical things, which I will mention just in case we need a refresher:
1. Get up and move. Don’t sit for too long in one place.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Get plenty of rest.
4. Reduce stress.
5. Get plenty of fiber.
6. Eat your veggies.
7. Eat whole grains, not white stuff.
8. Exercise.
9. Embrace changes in your body.
10. Laugh daily.

Okay, that’s all old news – good stuff – but let’s get to some NEW information.

Here’s what I’m needing now…

1. THE BODY PILLOW
If you’re pregnant or just someone who needs more body support while sleeping (backaches? insomnia? other concerns?), this pillow has been a lifesaver…I mean a life raft…no, wait…both? Yes. It’s a lifesaver…but we call it the life raft. This thing is huge. But I will say, I couldn’t sleep without it right now. Best if you have a king bed, but doable in a queen. (That’s not me, btw.)

Body Pillow

2. COCONUT OIL
Organic, unrefined, virgin. This has been my go-to moisturizer. Pregnant skin gets very dry and itchy and I’ve been slathering coconut oil on my face, arms, and hands and it really makes a huge difference. So, if you’re the dry skin type, you don’t need any fancy, stinky, chemical-laden creams. You just need some high-quality coconut oil.

Coconut Oil

3. TREATS
Every pregnancy is different and mine has been, how shall we say…not so much in the food department? I have had no strange cravings. In fact, I have had serious food aversion for months now. No joke. There are just a few things that actually taste good to me, and one of them is chocolate.

While I try not to eat too much, as it does have caffeine and sugar, sometimes we all just need something a little sweet. These days, I’m really enjoying Theo, which is organic, fair trade, and soy-free and available at local specialty markets and grocers like Whole Foods.

Theo Chocolate

Another way I enjoy chocolate is with Chocolate Nuttzo, which is an organic nut and seed butter with chocolate…and it’s delicious (they also have other nut and seed butters without chocolate).

With only 2g of sugar per serving, it’s a good way to have dessert. And when I’m being especially naughty (yes, you can all breathe a big sigh of relief – Health Coach Jillian ain’t perfect!), I put it on Strauss Organic Vanilla Ice Cream and it’s like a sundae. 😉

If I’m going to indulge, I always try to make it healthier – with organic and wholesome ingredients…and by eating in moderation!

Nuttzo and Strauss

4. CALCIUM
Now that I’m responsible for someone else’s bones, I’ve had to try a little harder to beef up my calcium intake. Here are my favorite (and unexpected!) sources:

1) Chia Seeds – 1 tbsp will give you 8% of your daily calcium intake. 2 tbsps now find their way into my day.

2) Greens – Greens are the absolute best thing to eat, for calcium and other vitamins and minerals. We could all eat more of them.

A half bag of Trader Joe’s Power to the Greens or Spinach gives me another 8% of my daily intake. I make sure to get at least one serving of one of these each day.

Green juice gives me yet another 8% per serving. I drink two servings of Columbia Gorge Organic Just Greens every day.

Now, fresh juice is better, and whole veggies are best, but I like that this brand has several greens only (no fruit), almost no sugar, and is pasteurized, which is safest for pregnant women and anyone else with a compromised immune system. I don’t have time to juice every day…sometimes you just have to be practical. If you can juice organic greens regularly, or get organic green juice from a local, reliable source, do it.

Also, if you’re pregnant, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT substitute a meal with green juice. Now is not the time to be cleansing. Add green juice into your day along with everything else you are eating. And DO NOT drink unpasteurized juice unless it was made fresh at home or somewhere reliable (and drink immediately) – it could have harmful bacteria and that’s too risky.

Greens3) Garbanzo Beans – Add ’em t0 a salad, pasta or quinoa, or mush ’em up in guacamole, or make some hummus. Whatever. We all know what to do with these guys. But did we all know that a serving (1/2 cup) gives us 6% of our daily calcium needs (plus a good dose of fiber and protein)? Choose Eden Organics for BPA-free cans.

Garbanzos
4) Sparkling Water – Pellegrino and Perrier both have 4% of daily calcium per serving. Big bottles have about 3 servings…12% of your calcium! Extra bonus is it’s in glass, not plastic. Ditch the soda and drink one of these, with or without some fresh fruit added. I choose Perrier first, as it is sodium-free.

5) Sesame Seeds – These little powerhouses top people’s list of favorite seed. And they are tops in the calcium department. 1 tbsp delivers 8% of your daily calcium needs.

**Now, one thing of concern just recently came to light. Salmonella can be found in spices and seasonings. This includes sesame seeds. Best thing to do is cook them instead of adding them straight into your food. I now sauté my sesame seeds with a little coconut oil before adding them in – and I’d never know the difference. Read more about this HERE (and if you want to get interesting articles like this on a regular basis, follow me on Twitter 🙂 ).

5. FRUIT AND VEGGIE WASH
With our immunities down, us pregnant gals and other immunocompromised folks are more susceptible to infection. And an infection is the last thing I want. So I make sure to wash all of my produce really well. But the rest of you should do this, too. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and other markets sell produce wash, which gets the dirt, waxes, and pesticide residue off your food.

Fruit and Veg Wash
Think I’m being extreme? Then think for just a moment about where your food has been. Have you ever driven down the highway and either seen it growing two feet away (love those freeway-adjacent farms), or on the back of a truck, open, traveling next to you, getting a fine coat of dirt and exhaust?

And have you ever seen the Porta Potties on those farms? Let’s face it, Porta Potties don’t really allow for a good hand-washing in between food handling.

Well, if you haven’t driven the I-5 up and down California for this agricultural view as many times as I have, then I ask you this – ever seen produce fall to the floor at the grocery store? Or ever seen someone feel a piece of fruit and put it back? That produce goes home with someone…

So, do yourself a favor and wash your food well. Bottom line is, you don’t know where it’s been and what it’s wearing.

And my final lesson learned in this remarkable journey of pregnancy is something I’ve said before but I feel needs repeating:

Listen to your body.

Tired? Rest. Hungry? Eat. Just listen to your body. Really listen. It will tell you what it really needs. Don’t eat just to eat or fuel yourself with caffeine and sugar because you’re tired. Get back to basics and treat your body right…whether you’ve got someone growing in there or not.

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Filed under Chocolate, Coconut, Health, Organic, Spices, Sugar, Superfoods, Tips and Tricks, Vegetables, Water

Thanks for Giving Me Alternatives…

As we head into Thanksgiving – my most favorite holiday EVER (hooray! it’s almost here!) – we prepare for the legendary feast that means full bellies and a few extra pounds (eek! let’s bond, mr. elliptical!).

You know how everyone says the turkey makes you tired? It’s probably just the ridiculous volume of food we consume, not the turkey.  When we overeat, the rest of the body shuts down so the digestive system can do it’s thing.

Ah, the third Thursday of November.

It’s my worst day by far. But SO worth it.

That being said, I still bring the health coach part of me to the kitchen. Here’s what I do to make the Thanksgiving table that much healthier for my family…

1. Organic, Free-Range Turkey

Conventional meat is not raised humanely and the stress and fear that these animals experience when they are jammed into cages and can’t move, and are slaughtered in frightening ways, creates stress hormones that end up in the meat we eat. Not to mention, they’re given genetically modified feed, which they can’t digest, and that combined with their living conditions makes them fat and sick…cue the antiobiotics. ALL OF THAT ends up on our plates. Gross.

Organic and free-range, on the other hand, mean the animals live and eat the way animals are supposed to: outside with food they can digest. Make the investment in your health and go organic with your meat this holiday season. We’ll be eating Mary’s Organic.

2. Organic Potatoes

Because they grow in the ground, potatoes soak up all of the nasty pesticides in the soil like a sponge, so organic is the way to go.

And for those of you with sweet potato dishes, Trader Joe’s has the most delicious organic sweets. Stay away from the cans, which have BPA, and do fresh. You’ll taste the difference.

3. Use Ghee or Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking

Coconut is just the best damn oil. If you want the butter taste, though, choose ghee (clarified butter) which can be found at health food and specialty stores. For my concerns about conventional dairy, check out my post on it.

Two reasons ghee and coconut oil are better options:
1. Because of their heart healthy medium-chain fatty acids
2. Because they can both withstand higher temperatures than butter and other oils before breaking down.

Learn more about ghee here. Make sure you choose high quality (not commercial versions) – go organic for both and unrefined for coconut oil.

4. Healthy Cookware/Bakeware and Storage

Check my previous post for my favorite kitchen tools. And don’t forget to store your leftovers in glass containers – NOT PLASTIC! Some might argue that leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving…so keep them BPA-free!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I, for one, am grateful for so very much. Take that moment to reflect on your life, enjoy the time with your family and friends, and have a kickass meal and a wonderful holiday!

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Filed under BPA, Health, Organic, Tips and Tricks

Crockpot Chicken Extraordinaire

Whoa. I freakin’ knocked dinner out of the park last night.

Normally, the husband and I take to the kitchen separately to make our own salads. That’s right. The husband eats salads for dinner. How great is that?

But yesterday I said, “Husband! We’re having chicken tonight.”

(There were vegetables, too, of course. And it was all organic. You know how I roll.)

And the best part? In all it’s deliciousness, it couldn’t have been easier.

For the veggies, I sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and green beans in coconut oil and Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle. That’s it. You’ll get the au jus from the chicken so no need for more flavor. You can do whatever veggies you want, however you want, but make sure you’ve got some greens in there. 😉

As for the chicken, I did it slow cooker style. Meat was falling off the bone. You’re welcome.

Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle 24 Herbs & Spices
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove giblets from the chicken (HCJ’s secret: have the meat guy do that for you).
  4. Rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  5. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. Don’t add any liquid.
  6. Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Save the scraps and make a stock!

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Filed under Chicken, Health, Organic, Recipe, Spices, Vegetables