Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sneaky Smoothies

It is hard to get toddlers to eat vegetables. Well, not peas, usually, but the really good-for-you vegetables I have a hard time with. They like carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini, and corn, but they turn their noses up at broccoli and dark, leafy greens. So I sneak those veggies in fruit smoothies and they gobble them up every afternoon, never knowing.

Here's today's smoothie:

1 whole red pear (cored)
1 mandarin orange, peeled
1 large chunk fresh pineapple
1 handful (my handful) red grapes
1 handful muscadines (frozen from the summer)
5-6 strawberries
1 large chunk cucumber
1 large handful broccoli florets and stems
1 stick celery
unfiltered, pressed apple juice

the girls drank about 8 ounces of this, and I had the rest. It's how I make sure I'm getting all of my veggies, too. We make a smoothie almost every afternoon. I'm itching to get up to Whole Foods where I can buy a head of chard and kale. We need some vitamin K, iron, and potassium!

A Life of Luxury

So far today, I have eaten a huge, nutritionally-dense breakfast, washed and put away about a ton of fresh fruits and veggies, eaten a delicious lunch, drank about five tumblers of clear, fresh water which flowed as if by magic from a faucet, taken full advantage of the indoor plumbing facilities, washed laundry indoors in my washing machine, put my babies down for naps in comfortable, safe beds with warm blankets, and thought what a blessed lady I am to live in this time and in this country where food and water are so abundant that they can be taken for granted. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Fish Oil Connection

I had the flu (possibly H1N1, but no way to know for sure) a few weeks ago, and it has put me way behind on a lot of things, including blogging. I have about five drafts, but who knows if anything will make it to be published. But at this moment, I have vitamin D and fish oil on the brain, so that's what I'm going to write about. 

My blood pressure is of particular concern this pregnancy, because I had very high blood pressure with my first pregnancy and moderately high blood pressure with my second pregnancy.  I have been trying to squeeze in any bit of exercise I can (which is minimal, but I figure ANYTHING is better than nothing) and watching my diet and weight gain like a hawk. So far so good, and my blood pressure has stayed nice and low, around 115/65, even as we near the end. That is, until last week's appointment, where it was up to 132/80. I had checked it before I went to the doctor, too, and my little automatic cuff gave me nearly the same reading. That got me concerned, because absolutely  nothing about my diet or exercise had changed. My stress level had actually decreased. I had been walking more. There was no reason it should have gone up. I was stumped. 

The doctor assured me that this is very normal to see an increase nearing the end of pregnancy, that it was still within a normal range for a pregnant woman, and not to worry. I can take some comfort in that, but the fact is, I could tell my blood pressure is up because I didn't feel as good. I had less energy and felt just generally run down. And I couldn't figure out why.

Now, I'm taking a large dose of fish oil currently because I discovered that it seemed to help with my leg cramps and "restless leg"-- two ailments that don't normally bother me but which occurred every single night of my two previous pregnancies. Fish oil is supposed to be good for your nervous system and muscle functions, so it I just decided to try a higher dose. After about a week, I went from leg cramps in the night that were so painful, my legs hurt the entire next day, to no leg cramps. And I have found that if I ease up the dose of fish oil, the leg cramps return. When I up the dose, they go away. It also soothes that "gotta move" feeling in my legs and lower back. But last week, I didn't remember to take it every day, and two things happened: I had leg cramps for the first time in weeks, and my blood pressure went up. After my doctor's appointment, I started taking the fish oil capsules faithfully again, and not only no more leg cramps, but now my blood pressure is back down. In fact, my reading tonight said 108/67. 
The other thing I have done is increase my vitamin D intake to about 4,000 IU's a day, but that's another blog post.

A lot of people think I'm nuts for putting so much stock in vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotics, but I am now convinced that they are playing a key role in my good health, and the health of my girls, who have never had an ear infection or a cold. They have been sick exactly twice: once when we passed around a stomach virus, and they had the mildest cases (which is usually the case with breastfeeding babies, as they were two years ago when we got that virus), and then a few weeks ago, when we all got the flu, and they again had the mildest cases. My little one, who gets a higher dose of vitamin D from her cod liver oil than the older one gets from the tastier, processed chewables, had the mildest case. Other than that, they neither one have ever had a fever, a cough, a sore throat, or an ear ache. I find that pretty remarkable, and most pediatricians I've spoken with do, too.