First off, I’m pregnant! 

So beyond being an expert in the field of holistic health, nutrition and herbal medicine, I am now, even more than ever before, an expert in the field of weird cravings, energy drops, mood swings, and figuring out what I need to eat day by day to be happy and healthy!

The last time I shared exciting news with you was when Danny proposed at the end of July! Basically, the next weekend I found out I was pregnant! Funny thing is that on the summer solstice I had let the universe know, “I’m ready to move to the next stage of womanhood, I’m ready to be a mother.” Well, the universe definately heard me!

It’s perfect. Danny is starting a solar, wind, and energy products business in Belfast, I have tons of new ideas for books and teleclasses to expand my business while being a new mom working from home, I’m due in mid April, we’ll have the wedding in August, our families are super supportive and excited, it’s beautiful!

The thing is that nothing prepares you for pregnancy and no one talks about it. Nausea, exhaustion, food apathy, irritability, crazy emotions, and I’m told, “It’s ok you’re perfectly normal!” But that didn’t give me much peace of mind. There must be something I could do to support my body in building both a new organ and a new human being inside of me, while still staying sane!

In short, I set out to discover what I needed to be stable, have energy, eat well, and not kill my new fiance (baby daddy) in the first trimester. But isn’t this what we all need to figure out to some degree at different times in our lives? If you’re wondering how to eat well, have energy, and have true peace of mind in your relationships too, keep reading!

You are your own best healer!

I feel confident that what I’ve learned by listening to my body in the last couple months applies to anyone who has sugar cravings, mood swings, low energy, random aches and pains, constipation, acne outbreaks, or symptoms you can’t quite figure out (in other words not only pregnant women). First you’ve got to reframe the way you think about your health and your body.

Trust yourself and trust your body as your teacher. Let go of anyone else’s ideas about what you should or shouldn’t be eating! Be a dectective! Ask yourself, what is my body trying to communicate to me? What food is really going to satisfy me right now? What activity is really going to nourish me deeply today? 

When I found out I was pregnant I made a checklist. I hung it in my kitchen where I would see it every day. It said, “water, protien, fish oils, vitamins, greens, veggies, whole grains, herbal tea, yoga, walk, rest.” When I hit a wall or a slump I’d look at the list and sure enough I hadn’t been drinking water that day or I hadn’t done yoga or taken a walk yet. Two weeks later the list was no longer motivating so I created another one in a daily journal. Two weeks later that was defunct too. It’s ok. Change is slow. We need to allow for a constant revision, creation, and change in the way we view taking care of ourselves. If I were to create another list today it might also include, “connect with friends, reach out for support, get hugs and kisses from Danny, be patient with yourself, be outside in nature, read fiction.”

You can make your own list for whatever it is you are dealing with in your life. Sweet cravings, digestion, or a stressful time at work? What could you add in to support you? The next step is to stop and listen to your body at different points throughout the day. What is your body really craving? What are you really wanting?

Sweet Veggies

One day I absolutely had to have a chocolate ice cream cone, so I did. It was wonderful! I hadn’t had an icecream cone in a very long long time, I was pregnant, I felt ultra deserving of the sweet, rich, creamy, satisfying coldness. Of course then I was thirsty and craving salt, so I had some chips. Later I felt tired and the next day I was craving more sweets! A “healthy” brownie, some sherbert, a “healthy cookie” I never do this! Before I knew it I had set off a whole festival of mood-food drama in body. I’m pretty sure I actually created morning sickness. Luckily I knew what to do to get right back on track!

If you’re craving sweets yeah you can have the icecream but if you don’t want to deal with the downward spiral of low energy, mood swings, and sweet cravings add in sweet vegetables first. In retrospect I wish I had packed a healthy lunch for the beach with sweet potatoes, apples, cheese and yogurt.  It would have saved me from weeks of trying to get my blood sugar balanced again!

Protien

Although I’ve known this for years in the past couple of weeks I’ve intimately re-discovered there is a direct relationship between protien and sweet cravings. If you are craving sweets (I knew I was in trouble when I started eyeing ding dongs in the grocery store and I don’t even like ding dongs) try increasing the amount of good quality protien you are eating at each meal. It really works!

Water

Yeah peeing every hour isn’t that much fun, trust me! But if you aren’t getting enough water your body could be craving sweets, feeling exhausted, cranky or distracted. Try increasing the amount of water you drink, starting with two huge glasses in the morning, then more water in between your meals verses with your meals during the day (which weakens digestion). Do this for a month and your body will adjust to process the water more efficiently so you won’t be peeing so much.

Greens

I’m convinced at this point that there is some kind of weird evolutionary hormone that signals women in their first trimester to be absolutely digusted with greens. Perhaps so that you don’t try something new during this stage of your pregnancy your appetite makes you stick to bland foods avoiding anything potentially poisonous. This crazy anti-greens campaign had me going down the cereal aisle for the first time in many years, in search of bland foods like cream of wheat, which is delicious for dinner by the way!

Greens are an awesome source of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber, calcium, iron, and tons of stuff we need. Plus they’re great for balancing emotions so I knew I needed to sneak some in somehow.  If you’re not a big fan try to sneak chopped kale into eggs, add peas to pasta, crunch broccoli with hummus, add spirulina to a shake, even asparagus on toast is a start! There are lots of ways to sneak greens into your diet and if you do you’ll notice peace of mind, improved digestion, increased energy, and radiant skin! I noticed a difference overnight when I added in more greens! I’m so happy to be enjoying salad again!

Eat frequently

This is tricky cause you don’t necessarily want your body to have to deal with high blood sugar all day long since your body actually needs time to rest from the process of digestion. But if you’re craving sweets morning, noon, and night then you’re already on the “pin ball diet” (think spikes then crashes). You will definately benefit from eating nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and whole grains more frequently throughout the day to balance your blood sugar levels. 

One day I worked an hour past being hungry not thinking much of it (yes I have been known to do this in the past) and it really impacted the rest of my afternoon with sweet cravings, irritability, low energy, and not wanting to eat dinner. Yikes! When you’re body is hungry, feed it. Listen to the pregnant woman on this one!

Trust yourself

Trust your body. Listen to what you need. When you are tired take a nap. When you are stressed stretch, cry, yell, go for a walk, have a spontaneous mid-day dance party, do something to shift your energy. When you are feeling low go outside and lay in the grass and look up at the trees and the sky and reconnect with the mystery of life and how magical it all really is.

Hire a coach

I am so thankful for my amazing midwife! She’s knowledgable, she’s been exactly where I am and so she knows what it feels like, I don’t have to re-invent the wheel and figure it all out on my own, she’s looking out for my body and my health but also for my mind and my spirit, it’s incredible to be fully supported in this way! I just recently started acupuncture too! It feels so good to be nourishing myself deeply at this time.

If you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, and unsure of how to get results, my number one recommendation for you is that you hire a coach! The peace of mind, support, and forward momentum you’ll gain is absolutely invaluable! 

If you are interested in working with me I literally only have 8 openings left in 2009 for clients to begin my power-packed 3-month Eating for Energy signature system! The top three results? Increase your energy, decrease your cravings, and lose weight! Seriously, it’s easy, it’s sustainable, it’s the best investment you’ll make this year! If you miss out you’ll have to wait till 2011 after the post pregnancy sebatical!

So don’t miss your chance to create vibrant health, abundant energy, and peace of mind in 2009 email me at gretchenheilman [at] gmail.com to set up your initial holistic health consultation today! Also stay tuned for pictures of the bump!