Friday, June 24, 2016

Homestretch – The “Good”, The “Not As Good” and the “REALLY?!”

By this point (35 weeks), many women are just about to wave a white flag and demand eviction of this little person!  You’re hot, tired and feeling more like a bison than a pregnant lady.  I definitely have noticed some changes since I left the second trimester, but luckily I’m not quite as ornery as I thought I might be at this point! 

Despite some changing in energy (yes, back to short naps here and there) and feeling rather “large and in-charge,” I’m doing pretty well and for that, I’m thankful.  I won’t declare this an easy stretch, however, my doctor said by this time many women are starting to look a little disheveled and exhausted - he mentioned I looked “ok.”  This may or may not be a compliment, but I’m taking it as one!

Some other interesting events and observations in the life of a pregnant pro triathlete:
  •         I can no longer see my feet.  I knew they would go eventually, but that time is officially here!
  •          I’m thinking about trying to insert my own catheter to get some real sleep at night.  Seriously, how many times can a woman get up to “go” during one eight-hour stretch?  If this part were a competition, I might be winning.
  •           Flip turns in the pool are now a thing of the past.  This belly does not enjoy being crunched up so open turns it is until the time comes!
  •       Running, also a thing of the past!  I hung in there as long as I could, but it’s now too much pressure to be bouncing down the road.  I’m a walker, which is just fine with me for now. 
  •           Clothes: While doing laundry, I realize that many of my husband's t-shirts that I have adopted during pregnancy, will graciously be returned to him soon and I can shop for some "cute stuff" with a normal-sized waist. I'm looking forward to not having to try everything on before leaving the house to make sure my clothes haven't become inappropriately too short. Prior to my baby shower a few weeks ago, I was planning to wear this great non-maternity strapless maxi dress that was tighter around the top, leaving plenty of room for the belly. Thankfully, the day before, I decided to try it on. As I managed to get it up, Kyle, who was observing from behind, informed me that there was no way on God’s green earth the zipper was going up. Luckily, I had a back-up that I had ordered for a wedding. Crisis averted!  
Dress I had planned on wearing in my delusional state (pic from last year about this time)!

Change of plan!  I had one other dress that I had ordered for a wedding and it became the new instant winner.  Whew, that was close!  

Dress choice that made a lot more sense!

Mandy, Renee's Daughter and I at the shower

Many people have been asking me if I plan on racing again after the baby is born and it’s a tough question to answer. It’s hard to wrap my brain around the idea of this human being outside of my body and me finding time and energy to swim, bike and run again. Since this is our first child, we will figure out as we go what works best for us. At this point, the short answer is, it’s too early to tell! I certainly miss racing in many capacities, but it’s been kind of nice not having the pressure of checking off my workout boxes each day. I plan to write a blog about this topic in the near future from a professional triathlete's perspective. It’s been very interesting, the mental shift that happens during pregnancy. I’m sure it’s biological - your mind is preparing, just like your body, for what has to be done. It’s a different kind of “gun going off” than at a start line.

We’ve read books and finished our birthing class series, so we are aware of all of the fine details of labor, complete with videos (all I can say is WOW, that was a LOT of information). I’m thankful to all of the people in our lives, offering help and advice already. We’ve been given lots of helpful tips and tricks and the “nursery” (which was already yellow) and crib are ready to go! 
Our "little owl" theme in the yellow room!

Now it’s time to keep gaining weight (yay, so excited!) and wait until "Baby S" wants to meet the world, in about four more weeks. After next week’s 36-week appointment, we’ll feel we’ve made it to the first finish line of pregnancy. Anything after that will be a bonus!

In other news, the Fuel Your Passion team of athletes is on FIRE with results this season and we are excited that Ultragrain has sponsored the team!!  The athletes received a beautiful gift basket with Aztec Tortillas made with Ultragrain, Hodgson Mill Pasta made with Ultragrain, Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour, Ultagrain All Purpose Flour and some fun kitchen preparation tools!  Many of the athletes will be sharing their recipe ideas on the Ultragrain Facebook page so make sure you like the page and check those out as well! 
Some members of the Fuel Your Passion Team after a sprint Triathlon a few weeks ago!
Beautiful and delicious goodies from Ultragrain / Ardent Mills

Thanks for reading!  More updates to come!

Disclosure: Ultragrain by Ardent Mills is one of my sponsors and supplied free product for this post. The opinions in this blog are my own. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pregnancy Nutrition & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Greetings from the land of 28 weeks pregnant!

Our yawning little boy or girl!  Any guesses - pink or blue!

This baby and I are barreling into the third trimester, or as I like to call it, “the home stretch” and it feels good!  I’m starting to really look like a momma-to-be and I’m at the stage where people help you by lifting heavy things and random strangers ask you questions about “how far along you are?” and "do you know what you’re having?”  I don’t mind the friendly banter and questions, as I’m thankful to be pregnant and have embraced the fact that I’m in a stage of life that makes me stick out from the crowd for good reason!  Growing a life is pretty neat and I felt honored when people wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, even though I’m just mothering as a housing unit at the moment!

Many people have asked me if I’m eating any differently than I was when I was training/racing.  
While the general principals have stayed the same, I’m certainly eating a slight more energy (calories), while my activity level has dropped dramatically!

If you read my last blog, it explains how I used to train 24-28 hours on an average week for triathlon and now I’m exercising about 6 hours per week if I’m lucky!  
Riding my QR PRsix bike indoors in our living room 

 I’m still focused on the same main nutrition ideas, eating foods with fiber and nutrient-density (meaning lots of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) and getting enough protein throughout the day.  Most pregnant women need between 2,200-2,900 calories per day, and surprisingly, in the first trimester, are not expected to gain any more than 1-4 lbs.  In the second trimester, an extra 340 calories per day allows us to gain appropriate weight and an example would be an 8oz. Greek yogurt mixed with raspberries and honey (205 calories) and a hard-boiled egg with whole grain toast (130 calories).  With two well-planned snacks, these extra calories should be a way to get extra nutrients for you and baby to keep you both healthy and satisfied.  Adding protein in small bursts throughout the day (20-30 grams at meals and 15 grams at snacks) helps keep blood sugar stable and retain lean muscle mass that I’ve worked so hard to build all these years while supporting growth for the little one!  In the third trimester, consuming around 450 calories extra per day allows the final 2-4 lbs per month to be gained so that the baby grows appropriately.  Again, this can be done in a way that allows for maximum nutrition by choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy and some healthy fat sources like avocados, olives or nuts! 

Yum!  Lunch this week - Spinach, Raspberries, Walnuts, Cranberry and Steak Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Iron requirements climb during pregnancy from 15-18mg per day for healthy adult women to 27mg per day to support the extra blood volume needed to circulate for both parties!  I’ve been aiming to include some lean red meat servings such as flank steak on a salad, lean ground beef hamburgers or stir-fry with steak at least once or twice a week, along with my prenatal vitamin which has a larger dose of iron. 

I also take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement with 1,000mg of EPA & DHA (the two active compounds of fish oil) per serving to support brain growth of the baby and keep inflammation in my own body in check.  I used to eat tuna five days per week, but with the mercury levels being higher, I have cut down on this fish to once per week (the recommendation from the FDA is 2-3 servings of low-mercury fish per week or approximately 8-12oz). 
For Mother’s Day, I made my first whole grain chocolate chip banana bread to give as a gift and it turned out beautifully!  It was fun to make a new recipe that was traditional and give it the added whole grain nutrition and added fiber with Ultragrain All-Purpose Flour.  With Ultragrain substituted for regular white enriched flour, I'm adding whole-grain nutrition with additional fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals to a recipe that tastes the same!  It's a great #NutritionUpgrade to #FuelYourPregnancy or just your healthy lifestyle.  I’ve included the recipe below! 

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Yield: 8 Servings
2 cups Ultragrain All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Juice of ½ an orange (3 Tbsps.)
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 Tbsps. Mini chocolate chips

1.       Preheat the oven to 350° F
2.       Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl
3.       Mix together the vanilla, eggs and orange juice in a separate small bowl
4.       Combined the sugar and butter in a medium bowl and stir for 3-5 minutes until pale yellow
5.       Add the egg mixture to the sugar/butter and beat with electric mixer until creamy
6.       Mix in the mashed bananas and continue to beat on low until consistency is even
7.       Pour the flour mixture in ½ at a time, beating on low until incorporated
8.       Stir in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon
9.       Pour into a greased 1 1/2 -quart glass loaf pan and bake one hour. Cool, remove from pan and slice

Recipe adapted from:

Disclosure: Ultragrain by Ardent Mills is one of my sponsors and supplied free product for this post. The opinions in this blog are my own.