Oh! What? When? How?

Oh yeah! I believe a lot of you out there experienced that moment, very unexpected, just out of the blue, you weren’t really prepared for it and immediately started asking yourself these questions. I know! I know! You planned it right, the food, the drinks and sodas as well as the occasional moderate exercise, adding 1 kilo a month all the way to the end of your second trimester, then 2 kilos each month throughout the third. Sounds like a perfect plan! Things were going just fine and suddenly halfway through the second trimester, you wake up in the morning and decide to weigh yourself, you know, mornings are much more merciful, you didn’t have any food or drinks so you want to believe that the scale will be more cooperative and supportive, but there it is! The figure you have never imagined you would see in the entire cycle of your life.

During my 22nd week of pregnancy, I went through the exact same experience, and had the exact same shock and disappointment. What went wrong? Should I blame it on my ice-cream cravings? Burgers? Or the articles that say that you need to indulge in whatever you crave, as this is a sign from your body that it needs that specific dish or dessert. Does this mean that my body was in need of this weight gain? What about the pasta and the cheese? Oh! What about the fact that I’m actually eating for two, sounds like a perfect excuse and I tried it but with a massive fail, my husband constantly kept on reminding me of the comparison between my size and the size of  my palm which reflects the size of my baby, explaining that’s the “Number 2” I’m eating for, honestly? it kind of makes sense. Trust me these thoughts, excuses and the list can go on and on and on, at this stage its just useless to think more, feel down and get into a long depression phase; you think it’s too late since nothing could really be done for what happened, instead you should think of what is it that you can really do for the remaining of the 18 weeks of your pregnancy, weight loss? I don’t think so.

Last night I walked to my husband and asked him if I look big or fat, didn’t really know what he meant but he said “You look pregnant”, [Excuse me readers… this is the husband and I sweetly said that as a compliment… I’m just saying 🙂 ] it didn’t really bother me, at the end of the day I am pregnant and I have to accept the fact that the shape of my body is going to change. As much as I do, there are certain things I have no control over. I just took a step back and decided to go over what I had planned and started with toning my body and try and keep the shape as much as I can for as long as I can.

Well ladies, some of you might know her, as for the ones who don’t, please meet and greet Tracy Anderson, who is actually the personal training of Gwyneth Paltrow and many other celebrities, Tracy Anderson actually developed the Pregnancy Project, This series contains nine DVDs, one for each month of pregnancy. The 35 to 55 minute workouts center around muscular structure work that’s rigorous enough to raise your heart rate, without creating any risk for your baby. You might worry or stress about the whole idea of working out, I have to say I was too, I used to ask my husband to stay around while I’m working out, you know, just in case! However the beauty of this program is that Tracy Anderson developed it while she was pregnant, so the idea of working out with a pregnant trainer gives you the piece of mind and the comfort and at the same time the motivation to stay in shape just like her.

You can check the link below, I actually purchased the whole set and got it in less than 2 weeks. Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project. Well I believe you can also find all the workouts on YouTube, but personally I prefer to have the DVDs as they include more videos for tips and useful information.

As for the food and diet, I don’t believe you should avoid certain dishes or food, I think you can enjoy all types of food but with minor modifications and alternatives while still feeling good about what you eat. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I come from an Armenian family, from where I come from and for my Mama, warm and hearty food is her way to say “I love you and I really care about you” and when I mention to her that I’m craving certain dish but I’m concerned that its going to be heavy or fatty, trust me! my Mama wont sleep till I have a delicious guilt free dish. Speaking of, couple of days ago I was craving lasagna, the next day I get a call from my mother, asking me to pass by and enjoy a lighter version that  I loved and would like to share the original recipe along with our suggested alternative ingredients.

Chicken Lasagna  Yes! we have completely replaced the meat with Chicken! 

Ingredients:

You can use instant lasagna or fresh lasagna sheets in this recipe. 

2 teaspoons of olive oil – We used the extra light olive oil

1 medium brown onion, chopped finely

1 clove garlic, crushed

750g chicken minced

2 cans tomatoes

250g frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

6 sheets of lasagna

Cheese Sauce

60g Butter – We put just two small cubes

2 cups skimmed milk – We used light soy milk

1 cup grated cheddar cheese – We haven’t used cheese at all, and guess what!! It was still so Yummy!!

Direction:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add chicken; cook, stirring, until chicken is changed in colour.
  2. Stir in undrained crushed tomatoes, spinach, tomato paste and basil, simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Place one-third of the lasagna sheets over base of oil shallow 3-litre (12 cup) ovenproof dish, trimming sheets to fit. Spread with half the chicken mixture, then a third of the cheese sauce. Repeat the layering with another third of the lasagna, remaining chicken mixture and half of the remaining cheese sauce. Top with remaining lasagna and cheese sauce.
  4. Bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cheese Sauce: Melt butter in medium saucepan, add flour; cook, stirring until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat, gradually stir in the milk, return to heat; cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in cheese (Optional)

Hope you enjoy the read! the workout and the recipe! and always remember, you are carrying a miracle! 🙂

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I woke up like this!

I woke up today on a notification from babycenter, my pregnancy app congratulating me on hitting halfway mark on my pregnancy, I smiled, and as usual got out of bed to get ready for work. There it was, for the very first time I was having trouble tying my shoes, and after a long struggle I stood up and realized that I can barely see my feet, YES! it hit me! 20 weeks! 140 days I have been walking around while creating a tiny human being in my tummy.

I don’t know about you ladies out there, I know when I first found out that we are expecting I started carrying the perfect lunch box to work every single day, filled with vegetables, fruits, fresh juices, home cooked food and a big bottle of water. As the days passed I started feeling less energetic which was reflected on my lunchbox; days, weeks and months passed and today I came to realize that I have almost no time left to get back on track, be healthy and even include moderate exercise to my daily routine, you know what they say, better late than never.

I walked into the elevator and started checking myself in the mirror, Wow! when did this happen? I cannot hide it anymore, its just there! is it cute? should I freak out? Is it a comfort that I can still get into my tops and few of my dresses? I already got over the jeans situation that went from tight, to unbuttoned, to using hairband for extra breathing space to finally giving up to the maternity jeans that I have altered to a skinny style trying to keep the look and feel along with my Vans.

While driving to the office I kept on thinking of all kinds of things, hormones, emotional roller coaster, physical changes, baby, responsibilities, I believe thinking too hard made me kind of freak out, but do I have to? I rushed to my office, started reading and reading, was quiet surprised that a lot of these websites are talking about the depression most of pregnant women go though, But why? I looked down at my tummy, I saw a life growing in me, its a miracle, I’m blessed for going through all these changes, and its an opportunity to experience every aspect of it. while reading I came across Yoga, apparently three lovely ladies are offering free Yoga classes every Saturday morning in Al Shaheed Park which is not very far from where I live, I immediately called my OB and confirmed that it is perfectly safe to do yoga during pregnancy and that you are actually preparing your body and mind for labor and delivery through the prenatal yoga.

Well, later that week I went to my first yoga class, I was nervous, haunted by all the thought that I might fall, hurt or squish my baby. I love the fact that I got a special attention just because I was pregnant 🙂 drifting into the moves and poses, I started freeing my mind from all these negative thoughts, I focused on my body, brain and soul, and there it was, I was feeling my tiny yoga buddy moving, I embraced the feeling, I embraced my bump and I embraced by baby, it was an excellent loving compassion practice for myself and my baby.

That night, I walked into my kitchen and prepared what I believe a very delicious and healthy soup, full of a variety of fresh vegetables which will feed your body with nutrition you need and plenty of vitamins, it didn’t take me much time, and the fact of enjoying this warm cup of soup just before I go to bed made me feel so healthy and relaxed and eased the night enjoying a very good sleep!

Thought of sharing the recipe with you –  its called Tuscan Soup

Ingredients
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed – I personally smashed it hoping it might ease the bloating. 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional –  I haven’t added the cheese to make it lighter but it still tasted SO YUMMY! 

Direction
In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more. Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.

Read more about the recipe on Food Network

And if you wish to follow the yoga instructors on Instagram for latest updates, here are their accounts: Fyomkaspinalyoga and yogeras. You can also follow Al Shaheed Park instagram account for their latest news, activities and updates: alshaheedpark 

Enjoy reading mamas!