Big Announcements!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I know it has been a LONG time since I last updated (about 6 months to be exact!) but it’s been a crazy time. Even though I tried to keep up blogging, I was travelling for a stressful work project that quite honestly knocked out all time and motivation to blog. Luckily that project is DONE and I am ready to pursue the things I really, truly love!

I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed writing and sharing my experiences until I stopped doing so. I have been itching to start back up and I have SO MUCH that I want to share that I just don’t know where to start!

First thing’s first: I have a big announcement to make. Tats and I are expecting a baby girl this February 14 :) Yes, VALENTINE’S DAY!!

See below for my metamorphosis from 14 weeks to 25 weeks!

Week 25 – 6 months pregnant!!

Life has been very exciting, needless to say. Tats and I have been planning our baby shower, our baby registry, our baby names, and our big move for the past 6 months. We couldn’t be more grateful and happy, and I cannot wait to finally meet my little baby who is hiding in my belly and hold her in my arms for the first time :)

Second big announcement: we are moving to California! LOL. I told you I had a lot to share! We are moving in December and it’s going to be NUTS because I’ll be 7.5 months pregnant then. Luckily Tats’ company is handling the moving and all labor associated with it so I can just hang out and be a pregnant lady while other people do the work!

We’re actually moving back to my hometown of Fremont, CA where I grew up. I’m excited because we have a good network of close family and friends back home and though I will miss New York, my parents are moving from Taipei back to the US just to help me take care of the baby :) I feel very blessed!

Third big announcement: Since I’ve gotten pregnant, I’ve added fish and dairy to my diet. I found it difficult to remain totally vegan during my pregnancy, largely because I didn’t have time to prepare my own meals and relied on eating out, and it was hard to find the protein and balance I needed.

Now that I am 6 months pregnant, I can say that I have truly never felt more vibrant, healthy and happy. I cut out all caffeine yet I have so much natural energy and motivation to tackle new things. I also picked up a lot of new hobbies such as scrapbooking memories of my pre-baby days, knitting baby clothes, and felting stuffed animals and toys (the growing collection of cats and bunnies with their own outfits are getting scary). Throughout my busy day I can also feel my little one kicking and doing backflips and it makes me beam with happiness and pride. Now I really understand where the saying “pregnancy glow” comes from!

As for fitness, I literally stopped working out during my first trimester completely because the pregnancy fatigue hit me like a brick wall. I was in bed by 8pm almost everyday! Starting with my second trimester, my energy bounced back 10 fold. However, I haven’t been exercising nearly as much as before. I decided to take it easy and just aim for a 45 minute walk everyday, and on the days when I can’t, I will do a 20 minute workout DVD, Suzanne Bowen’s Slim & Toned Pre-Natal Barre Workout. It is a super quick but sweat inducing DVD that I do maybe 2-3 times a week.

Food wise, I see my doctor about once every 4 weeks, and each time my results are great and I have not had any nutritional deficiencies. There is so much important nutrition you need to pay attention to when you are growing another life inside of you, and I really make sure I am eating enough of everything to get in the required 70g protein, 1000mg calcium, 600iu vitamin D, and 27mg iron every single day. I thought it might be helpful to share an example of how I eat everyday because I personally looooooove seeing what other expectant mamas are up to, especially when they have a busy job and are pressed for time.

FYI – I also take dietary supplements and vitamins to up the nutrients, but I plan to write an entire post about that later this week!

Breakfast:

Vegan apple cinnamon oatmeal with nut butter

This is a favorite breakfast of mine. Sometimes it will vary and I will use bananas or pears instead of apples, pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, etc. The combinations are endless! I’ve gone from eating vegan overnight oats to eating hot oatmeal, because my mom, who is super into Chinese Eastern Medicine, says that pregnant women should really avoid eating cold foods, especially in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 honey crisp apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs nut butter (I love TJ’s sunflower seed butter like it’s nobody’s business!)

Instructions:

  • In a small pot over a low heat, combine oats, apples, almond milk, and cinnamon
  • Stir to combine and cook for about 8-10 minutes, till apples have softened. They will taste more sweet and less tart.
  • At the very end, add the nut butter. Serve with toppings of your choice! See below for some suggestions.

Suggested Toppings:

  • Crunchy granola
  • Maple syrup
  • Raisins
  • Walnuts

Post Breakfast Snack:

Honeycrips apple + 2 string cheeses

I’ve found that my body has been craving cheese since I got pregnant. Since I normally avoid all dairy, I wasn’t sure how my body would take it, so I started small with one snack of string cheese a day and found out that there were no bad reactions whatsoever. In fact I’ve since upped it to 2-3 string cheeses per day as a snack in between meals. My personal favorite brand is Organic Valley Organic Stringles. Sometimes, depending on my mood and sweet tooth, I will have a Fage greek yogurt with strawberries instead of string cheese.

Lunch:

Spinach salad with salmon and whole grain bread

There are tons of delis and bodegas near where I work and I usually go to Green Cafe. I get a spinach salad with a nice variety of add-ins including chickpeas, feta cheese, red onions, edamame, scallions, mushrooms, and salmon. This has been a favorite lunch of mine because not only is it delicious and filling but it hits all of the prenatal nutritional requirements. I am also very happy I added salmon to my daily diet because it provides a lot of important benefits for the baby’s developing brain. There is a recent NY Times article about how health officials called for more fish in the diets of children and pregnant women. According to the article:

“Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the F.D.A.’s acting chief scientist, said the agency was concerned that pregnant and nursing women were missing out on the benefits of eating fish. He cited studies showing that children born to women who consume fish have higher I.Q.s and better cognitive development than children born to women who do not.

‘A large percentage of women are simply not eating enough fish, and as a result they are not getting the developmental and health benefits that fish can provide,’ he said. ‘Studies very consistently demonstrate that among women who consumed more fish during pregnancy — or at least the amounts we’re currently recommending — that there were improvements in children.”

Post Lunch Snack:

Hot chocolate with soy milk

I neeeeed to have something warm, comforting and sweet nowadays, especially with the weather getting colder and colder! I usually get this from the downstairs cafe around 3:30pm, about 3 hours after I’ve eaten lunch, and it always gives me a second wind! I love sipping this while reading work emails – enjoying my favorite hot beverage makes everything seem less panicked and urgent!

Dinner:

Kale and quinoa pilaf with beans (inspired by Food52)

To be perfectly honest, I cook dinner about 2-3 out out of the the 5 week nights. Sometimes I get home so late and I’m so tired, I will just go to another bodega and get a brown rice bowl with beans and veggies. But, when the stars are aligned and the Whole Foods line at Columbus Circle aren’t maniacal, this is my favorite quick, go-to meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 cup washed quinoa
  • 1 bundle kale, thoroughly washed, de-stemmed and chopped into 1 inch strips
  • 2-3 cloves of smashed and minced garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions:

  • To a medium-sized pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, lower heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • While quinoa is cooking, add black beans and chili powder to a small pot and stir well to combine. Allow to simmer on a very low heat while the pilaf is cooking.
  • Add kale to pot in two batches. Add first batch and stir well to combine with quinoa, then add second batch, along with garlic. Stir well to combine, cover and allow to steam for another 6-7 minutes. Pilaf will be ready when kale is bright green and tender.
  • When the pilaf is done cooking, stir in olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.
  • To serve, ladle pilaf into individual bowls and top with a healthy serving of black beans and cheddar cheese.

This sounds super RANDOM but it is seriously delicious! Truuuuust me. And it’s very healthy as you get to pack in protein, healthy carbohydrates, calcium, and iron all into one bowl :)

Dessert:

Honeycrisp apple

Yes, I eat about 3 apples a day!! Organic honeycrisp apples from Whole Foods are insanely delicious right now. I can’t even describe.

While I wish I had more time to conscientiously prepare and make my own meals everyday, time is short and it isn’t always realistic. Keep in mind I am not a nutritionist and that this is just an example of my daily diet. Luckily I have not had any morning sickness or food aversions! Also, I drink a ton of water everyday. I stopped keeping count but I drink about 3 to 4 large pitchers just during the day in my office alone.

Anyhow, that’s it for me! I have to get ready for a friend’s baby shower today, followed by some cleaning and packing up for the work week. Now that my work project is over and I’m back to my regular schedule, I am very excited to get back into blogging. I have really missed writing and seeing everyone’s comments – I shall see you all very soon this week!

Love,

Ting

Posted in Eat byTing

7 Things I’m Loving Lately (Spring Edition!)

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday morning :)

This past weekend in NYC was absolutely beautiful. We took advantage by having a nice picnic in Central Park with some friends who were visiting from out of town. I packed a big tupperware of my go-to kale salad, made green smoothies for everyone, and together we walked to the park and laid out a picnic blanket and relaxed for most of Sunday afternoon. Feeling the sun on my skin after a very long, brutal winter was amazing!

In anticipation of spring, I’ve been playing around with all kinds of new produce, ingredients, and products. Below are the 7 things that rocking my world lately. I hope you give them a try too, and of course, let me know what you think!

Asparagus

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Now that asparagus season is officially ON, I can’t wait to make one of my favorite pizzas,asparagus pizza. Only this time, to veganize it, I will omit the cheese and try making it more like a flat bread. Another way I want to enjoy it is by making use of my mandoline and thinly slicing asparagus into ribbons and tossing with good olive oil, lemon juice, pinenuts, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Do you guys have any good asparagus recipes to share? :)

MD Solar Sciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50

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This sunscreen has knocked my previous favorite sunscreen (by Clarins) out of the park. I am very particular about sunscreens: they must absorb instantly, provide a physical block (versus a chemical one), and have a non-greasy, matte finish. This one not only meets all of those criteria, but it also moisturizes, repairs, and goes on silky smooth. And at $30 for 1.7 oz, a little goes a long way. Also important to note: this sunscreen is ”rated among the top broad spectrum sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) and carry the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval.”

Sonoma Farms Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

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I recently picked up two jars of this coconut oil from TJ Maxx and I am obsessed with it! I put in a tablespoon in my green smoothies every morning, I add a tablespoon to my frying pan and make delicious coconut infused stir fries with it, I add a teaspoon to my morning vegan overnight oats, I dab some on my lips and other dry parts of my skin and massage it in for super soft skin… the possibilities are endless. It adds a deep, creamy, rich and nutty coconut flavor to everything!

Mary’s Gone Crackers

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I know I am very late in the game to be discovering the awesomeness of these crackers just now, but OMG they are delicious! My sister has been eating these for ages but I never had any interest. I just don’t like dry, crumbly foods such as crackers, but when I saw these were on sale at Whole Foods (2 for $7) I decided to give the black pepper and onion flavors a try. One bite and I was smitten. It is not dry or crumbly at all, in fact it is full of rich, nutty flavors that would go well with everything. So far I’ve dipped it in hummus and almond butter, crumbled it over savory oatmeal and soups, topped it with olive tapenade and cherry tomatoes for a quick entertaining appetizer, etc. I’m pretty sure this will be a new staple in our household!

Running

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Since I quit Physique 57, I’ve been running everyday. When I was younger, I used to run quite a bit and I really enjoyed it. However, since grad school and discovering group fitness classes, I’ve completely stopped. I definitely enjoy the dynamic of group fitness, I find it very motivating. But sometimes it’s nice to just do your own thing, and running definitely fits that bill. So far I’ve been running 4 miles everyday, with Sunday as a rest day. My average mph started at about 9 min 45 sec per mile, now it is down to 9 minutes. I am very happy with my progress and I always look forward to a good run after a long day or some times I checkout the best spin bikes at home gym ! I am thinking about signing up for a half marathon in NYC, does anyone have a good one they recommend?

Equinox

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Also along the lines of fitness, I absolutely LOVE Equinox. My whole gripe with P57 (aside from the very bad customer service @ reception) is that the same old fitness routine got very boring after nearly two years and I felt like my body wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to. It was often stiff and I would have bad leg and back pains from too much barre work. Equinox interested me because they have a variety of yoga, cycling, pilates, stretching, barre, zumba, and kickboxing classes, just to name a few. And those classes are rarely waitlisted so you can always pop by last minute, even after the class starts, which is great for people with busy, unpredictable schedules! P57 used to charge a $30 penalty if you didn’t show up to a class or were late!! Also, there are tons of machines at your disposal and there is never a wait for a certain machine. Other great amenities include great towel service (there is a fridge full of cold, refreshing towels soaked in eucalyptus oil – amazing after a long run!), two free sessions with a personal trainer, a spacious and clean women’s locker room complete with Kiehl’s products (shampoo, conditioner and body lotion), and my personal favorite: saunas and steam rooms, which I take advantage of every night after my workout. It is such a treat for my sore muscles and so very relaxing. If I am thinking to relax then I prefer to use the best available rowing machines in my gyms.

Spinach, Pineapple, Mint and Kale Juice

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Inspired by a drink at Juice Generation, Get Your Green On, this is my new favorite juice for warmer weather. Refreshing, naturally sweet, and invigorating, I usually make one after a good workout on the weekends. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 spring mint
  • 5 large kale leaves, de-stemmed
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 granny smith apple, core removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 pineapple, roughly chopped

Instructions:

  1. Juice everything in the order listed above. Alternatively, if you don’t have a juicer, you can blend all of the ingredients and pour content through a sieves. Enjoy!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and are even more excited about Spring and the warmer weather to come!

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Love,
Ting

Posted in Eat byTing