Well, the bar wasn’t that high, to be honest. I’m a chronic dabbler in short-form running. How many times have I started the Couch to 5K program? Too many to count. How many times have I finished it? A handful. How consistent have I been about running, even short distances? Not at all.
Up until last year, that is, when two beautiful life events colluded to make me a more consistent runner.
A friend and neighbor asked me to run with her every Monday morning before work, and assured me she not much of a runner—aka not too fast.
Fit Approach started partnering with Gixo, which offers live coached fitness classes, including runs, and I felt compelled to give all the class formats a try. Becauseit’s for work.
Anyway, thanks to the happy coincidence of these things, I’ve made a dramatic shift in a few habits: I’m running way more consistently than I ever have before—to the tune of 3-4 times per week—and believe it or not, up until third trimester hit, I was actually getting faster and stronger. As I got more pregnant.
So fucking weird I almost can’t believe I’m writing those words.
Not weird, I guess, to everyone out there who recognizes, that duh, consistency is the name of the game when it comes to fitness or any other skill you’re working to develop.
And, guess what, I don’t hate it. Running, that is. Or, I am distracted enough by either my run buddy or by the Gixo coaches that I can actually not focus on counting down the seconds or the tenths of a mile until I can stop.
It’s also been the perfect solution to my #momlife crisis of finding time for myself and for fitness. Another weird (for me) habit I’ve developed is getting up early most weekday mornings. I do a 6 am run or workout, shower, drink coffee, and even have a few minutes to myself before the rest of the house is awake. Life-changing, that pre-sunrise quiet is.
None of these results are revolutionary, of course— so many people in my community figured this basic shit out years and years before I did, and have been singing its praises for forever. It just took the lifestyle crimp of toddlerhood + chronic excess of competing top priorities (#workingmom) to push me into trying something new.
If you want to join me, the training program I’m following is free, and you can get a 7-day free trial of Gixo to try the classes that are part of the program, or to participate in race day on May 5. Full disclosure: I’m getting free access to Gixo classes because they’re a partner, but the subscription price is one I’d pay in a heartbeat.
Speaking of working motherhood, this interview with Selina Tobaccowala is the best I’ve read on the topic. There are no generic platitudes about priorities and self-care; just honest, practical examples of what sacrifices and decisions she makes as she wins at both business and parenthood. Reading her example about what she chooses to say yes or no to was a liberating moment for me: there’s no capitulating to the ‘should’ or the mommy guilt; she just makes decisions that work for her and her family. Now that’s #girlboss.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m no recipe whiz. I consider myself more of an assembler of food more than a cook. Occasionally I’m a baker, too, but that seems to be a whole different category of making.
Every year, it seems like, my goal is to improve my kitchen skills, introduce a few new recipes into my highly limited repertoire, and also get better at meal planning and prepping. The results have been middling.
So, when we decided to do a community recipe swap presented by Eggland’s Best eggs, I gamely signed up, knowing that participating would be just the accountability I needed to inch myself closer to those goals. I got paired up with Sara from Nymph in the Woods, an amazing blogger, jewelry designer, and human being, who I had the pleasure of meeting at BlogFest last year. <3
Sara sent me exactly what I needed (she’s clearly psychic): a not-too-complicated recipe chock full of protein that also nets you a ton of freezer meals.
Her recipe for breakfast burritos is here. I mostly stuck to it, with a few edits: this being Texas, I made tacos instead of burritos, because I don’t think I’ve even seen burrito-size tortillas here. I also had to halve the recipe, more or less, because I didn’t realize until midway through that there was no way my largest pan could accommodate 24 eggs. I did, however, use 100% of the cheese the original recipe called for. 🙂
It’s an easy recipe that yields a ton of returns: you do a bunch of chopping, cook the egg mixture with all the delicious fillings you desire, including sausage, peppers, onions, cheese, and salsa, and then wrap and freeze burritos / tacos to your heart’s content.
I used this kitchen adventure as an excuse to test out some of my new food photography skills (here’s the free course I took).
My biggest challenge with food photography is lighting. My kitchen lighting is, well, just plain awful. Look at what should be a bright, fresh pan full of bell peppers and onions, made sickly and fuzzy in the fluorescent light:
I’ll spare you other pictures of the prep work; the food and recipe are beautiful, and my kitchen lights do not do them justice!
Once my burritos were prepped, I staged a few on our patio where I could at least get some natural light and a non-shiny background:
I’m still no professional but at least the lighting is much improved.
Sara recommends letting the whole mixture cool before you wrap and freeze, so during that downtime, I served my family breakfast. They were a hit! Everyone from my parents (especially my dad) to my 2-year-old loved them.
And since we were eating them fresh, we added some avocado we had on hand. Big bonus: the avocado added some extra color for photos.
Once the mixture cooled, I started wrapping them… and promptly got fired from the job. My dad said, you know, I could do that better. And I was all too happy to let him finish wrapping up and freezing tacos. 🙂
Even after halving the recipe and feeding 5 people breakfast, I still ended up with about 15 tacos in my freezer—a pretty amazing return for just an hour or so of work. I’ll definitely be making these again, and experimenting with fillings; it seems so easy to customize the recipe based on what you have on hand. I think I’ll definitely make a batch or four of these before the baby comes—what a perfect breakfast to have on hand.
Thanks, Sara, for this delicious kitchen adventure, and Eggland’s Best, for encouraging the community to connect this way! 🙂
How do you get enough protein when you don’t eat meat?
This is a question our vegetarian and vegan friends get asked all the damn time, and I don’t know a single plant-based person who isn’t sick to death of explaining quinoa and lentils to curious carnivores deprived of access to common sense or Google.
When you’re pregnant and not eating meat—whether by choice or because of extreme aversions to flesh in all forms— it’s the same story, only with a few fun twists.
First, everyone and their unqualified coworker cares about what you put in your mouth, like all of a sudden when you became a vessel for new life you became public property to be fondled and judged indiscriminately for all of your choices.
Second, there are professionals asking you how you’re doing, diet-wise, on a near weekly basis, and in my experience most of them have extremely high standards for the amount of protein they want you consuming. I’ve heard quotas between 80-100 grams of protein per day while pregnant. As a point of reference, that’s:
13-16 eggs (6g per egg)
6-8 cups of black beans (12g per cup)
10-12 cups of quinoa (8g per cup)
4-5 scoops of protein powder (20g per scoop)
In other words, A LOT OF FOOD.
Third, if you have meat aversions or are experiencing pregnancy nausea, you probably also hate quinoa and eggs and black beans and other typical, healthy, non-meat sources of protein.
What’s a well-meaning, potato-chip craving pregnant woman to do? (Besides, of course, posting pictures of beautiful salads you’ll never eat to Instagram to prove what a #fitpregnancy you’re having. All’s fair when you’re cooking a human, folks).
I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to crack this code, mostly so I could get back to my potato chips without further interruptions. Here are my four ninja ways to get protein into the kinds of foods you’re likely willing to eat, especially during nausea-time.
Sorry, plant-based friends, these involve sneaky animal products; you’re on your own for getting up to that 80-100g threshold.
This seems like a good time to insert my eternal disclaimer: I am not qualified to tell you how to be healthy, during pregnancy or not during pregnancy. Ask someone who is.
Add collagen to your beverages
Whatever it is you’re drinking, add collagen. I find it works really well in lemonade and limeade (two drinks I could reliably stomach during first trimester). There’s no flavor change, and you turn your empty-calorie drink into 11 grams of protein.
Now that I’m able to drink coffee again, I have been adding collagen into my coffee, and that is similarly tasteless and effortless and also makes my hair ah-mazing.
If you’re getting most of your hydration from non-water sources (I certainly was during first trimester, when water was right up there with raw chicken) you could easily hit your 80-100g goal on just boosted beverages alone.
Progress toward your goal: 10% for each drink.
Cook your rice in bone broth
There was a period of time when steamed white rice and soy sauce was all I could muster, and it drove my husband crazy that our baby’s earliest development was fueled by nutritionally vacant calories and sodium.
I called it survival.
We compromised: he made me rice in bone broth, and as long as I didn’t witness it, I could douse that rice in enough soy sauce that I never knew the difference. Based on my casual googling, I *think* a cup of rice cooked in bone broth has ~9g of protein. That’s about twice what you’ll get from rice cooked in water.
Progress toward your goal: 9%
Whip some collagen into your cream cheese or potato soup or other white semi-solid food
My first pregnancy, bagels and cream cheese were my jam. During the first few weeks of my second pregnancy, I only ate potato soup. Specifically, this potato soup:
Needless to say both foods are on my no-fly list now, but they are both excellent vehicles for a dose of collagen. Just stir or mix a scoop, or a handy travel pack, into whatever soup or spread you’re able to stomach, and boost the protein by 11g.
Progress toward your goal: 10% for each boosted white food
Make homemade gummies, or get someone to make you some
Sour or gummy candy was surprisingly helpful for me with managing nausea, especially on the go; even just a quick sugar boost or something to suck on would get me through some rough moments. There are tons of easy, DIY home-made gummy candy recipes out there on the internet; this one from Nicole looks especially delicious. And because they include gelatin, they have protein in them!
Progress toward your goal: 5% for ~15 gummies (not much, but hey, candy)
And there you have it. If you strategically combine these tactics over the course of the day, you can get away with eating whatever you can keep down, and also supplying your baby with the amount of protein your caregivers recommend. Plus, of course, all of the other health benefits of collagen, gelatin, and bone broth: healthier and stronger skin and nails, healthier and more flexible joints, and improved athletic performance. Those are all major side benefits to the very basic goal of getting enough protein, especially during a time in your life when your rapidly changing body seems to serve up fresh surprises and betrayals with every new day.
I will say, too, that my sudden reliance on collagen for protein has my skin and hair looking radiant. Especially for winter.
If you’re ready to hop on the collagen wagon, you can save 20% at Great Lakes Gelatin with the code GLGLife20, valid until 3/15/18.
This post is sponsored by Great Lakes Gelatin in partnership with Fit Approach and the #SweatPink community. All opinions are my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with my first baby, Fit Approach. Thank you. <3
I used to think that growing a baby from zero to 8 pounds of real human being was a miracle. But you know what’s really miraculous about biology and parenting?
How fast you forget the hard parts: how quickly the sleepless nights, the zombie days, and the confusion about how to do the most mundane things—like cutting their nails or feeding them—fades into distant memory.
My daughter is almost two, and I’ve already forgotten the infant months so thoroughly that I struggle to buy baby gifts for friends welcoming new little ones. Beyond that, I can’t even really piece together what I might need for this new life I’m growing (baby boy coming June 2018, what what!). And even if I could remember, I’m sure whatever I did the first time around could easily be improved on.
While I might not remember what nose bulb worked best for us, I am still overwhelmed and confused by the sheer sensory overload of all the baby products on the market. In fact, I don’t know what half of them even do. So when Babylist offered me a chance to try their new Hello Baby Box, a free gift for parents who create a new registry on Babylist (yes, a free gift, just for making yourself a gift list, #signmeup), I was all over it.
I created a registry immediately, something I hadn’t done with my daughter, because, to be honest, I had zero idea what to even put on a registry. I relied on gifts and crossed my fingers we’d be prepared enough. Needless to say, that haphazard approach translated into a lot of last minute, panicked trips to the store and rush shipping orders as we tried to fill in the many holes in our baby product arsenal.
This time around, I’m more organized, and I’m so proud of myself. I gave my memory a jumpstart with some of these registry ideas, and browsed some of my favorite mom blogs to help round out my registry. (Fun fact: Babylist has a bookmarklet that you can use to add any product, from any site, to your registry. It’s like pinning a picture from your browser. It’s SO easy and I love how efficient it is; ain’t nobody got time to keep track of multiple registries at multiple stores).
Creating my registry helped trigger my memory of what those early days were like, and what products were truly lifesavers vs those that ended up being money down the drain. Baby Merlin Sleep Sack? Send me a half dozen in each size. Skimpily-proportioned swaddle blankets? Hard pass.
My growing list of must-haves has gotten me excited in a whole new way about welcoming a baby boy into our home; it’s like a digital version of nesting, as I think through what we’ll need and what will make our lives easier after we bring him home.
My Hello Baby Box is full of new-to-me products to try out, including everything from nipple ointment (so necessary) to those cute little “I’m X months old!” stickers you see attached to babies all over Instagram.
I’m really excited about all the samples I get to try with Moonshadow (his in-utero nickname, we’re not that hippie, thanks), from a little device that helps them pass gas (hoping and praying this is a miracle-worker) to $50 of free babysitting on Urbansitter. Yes, you read that right, $50. F yeah. Urbansitter is where I found my daughter’s nanny so I’m a huge fan of the platform and of course I am a huge fan of anything that puts a dent in my babysitting bill and gives me more time for myself.
There are also breastfeeding supplies, boogie wipes to keep in your purse, and lots more significant discounts on clothes and other gear—basically everything from necessary to fun.
The Hello Baby Box is such a genius idea especially for first time moms, when often you don’t know what you don’t know, and might need some expert guidance on sorting through the profusion of baby products on the market. It’s more or less what some of my mama friends did for me when I was pregnant with my daughter, sending me glamorous things like lanolin and gel pads. I had no idea what those were for … but I quickly learned, and quickly started resupplying in bulk.
I can’t wait to go into round two a little more seasoned, a little more prepared, and with a few secret weapons in my back pocket.
This post is sponsored by Babylist, but if you know me at all, you know my general confusion about parenting and love of bookmarklets and efficiency are entirely my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with the Sweat Pink community!