Weird Wednesdays: "I need my tonic!"

Honestly, I feel terrible.

There I said it. Actually, that should have been past tense, because I felt terrible last week. I was dealing with but not quite getting on top of a UTI, my kidneys were aching, and I was not sleeping well, a common symptom of pregnancy that you can actually do something about.  I may be pregnant, but that is no excuse for feeling this bad. I knew I needed to get proactive, and do everything I knew to do to increase energy and over-all well being.

My tonic tray

You may not be pregnant, but maybe you have a case of the post-holiday blahs – too much sugar and processed foods, too little sleep, etc. etc. Don’t worry, there is something you can do about this! The following is a list of tonics and natural pick-me-ups that I would reccomend adding to your daily routine to beat those winter blues…

1. Liquid Chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that harnesses the sun’s energy in photosynthesis. It can be added to your daily routine easily by just squirting a few teaspoons in a glass of water. (Mine is in the quart jar with the yellow straw) It is a digestive tract detoxifier, pH balancer, and supports intestinal and circulatory health. Best of all, it has a mild mint flavor and won’t turn my stomach, even when I’m pregnant! Interestingly, the chlorophyll molecule is chemically similar to human blood, making it especially good for replenishing a mother’s blood supply after birth – my midwife always has me go through an entire 16oz bottle the week after I give birth. Lots and lots of green water. 🙂

2. Herb Teas
A warm cup of tea, with a little milk and a drop of honey really IS a lovely way to start the day. I should do it more often. I’m drinking a pregnancy herb tea blend this month (in the white mug), but you can choose whatever appeals to you in the herb tea aisle! Raspberry tea (made from the leaves of raspberry bushes) is a wonderful herb for women in all seasons of life – it can help relieve symptoms of PMS, add essential vitamins and minerals to your system during pregnancy, and, in combination with the herb Blessed Thistle, support healthy lactation in nursing mothers. Brew yourself a cuppa’ today!

3. Cranberry
It’s tradition. I start each pregnancy with a whopping UTI, which I only get the better of when I have completely eliminated sugar from my diet and added a good dose of cranberry to my daily intake. It was hard this year to get pregnant right during the holidays, but every time I succumbed to the temptation for a little sweet something, the infection flared up again, causing lack of sleep, aching kidneys, and the added fatigue that comes when your body is fighting something – all things I DO NOT need to be dealing with on top of normal pregnancy symptoms! Thankfully the perfect anecdote can be found in nature (isn’t God amazing?) Studies have shown that cranberry disallows bacteria to adhere to the lining of the urinary tract. Again, the best part about this tonic is that it’s yummy! I enjoy mine in the form of a concentrated syrup that is sweetened with apple juice – a few teaspoons in a glass of water or other juice is really quite tasty. Beware trying to treat an infection with Cranberry juice that is not naturally sweetened – adding more sugar to your system will only prolong the life of the infection. You can also take cranberry in pill form.

4. Kombucha  
Honestly, I took a bit of a break from brewing or drinking Kombucha for a while – the whole mushroom juice idea was not working for me with my loss of appetite! But I’m back on it now, and have a new batch that will be ready by tomorrow or Friday. I just knew I needed to get it back into my routine because, being pregnant, my liver needs more support than ever! Kombucha is safe and recommended for pregnant women. I’ve already posted about Kombucha several times, so I won’t go into it in depth here – but I will share a tip I just gleaned from the Fall 2009 issue of Wise Traditions (the quarterly publication of the Weston A. Price foundation). In an article on Kombucha, it listed several ways you could obtain the starter culture, or, SCOBY, one of which was – “Grow your own from an unflavored, store-bought bottle of Kombucha. Just pour into a wide mouth jar, cover, and a SCOBY will form in a week or two.” This may be an option for any of you who have wanted to try Kombucha but have been unable to find someone to give you a ‘baby’ to start. Bottled Kombucha can be found in the health food section of your grocery store, or at the health food store. Just be sure to get a brand that ‘has the mother’ in it – you should see some ‘floaties’ in the drink. Yeah, I know – sounds gross, but it really is tasty, and soooo good for you!

5. Coconut Oil Smoothies!
Oh, yum. What a lovely thing to have on your to-do list! I am making a concerted effort to blend one up for me and the kids every day this week. It’s a great way to boost my protein intake and add the healthy benefits of yogurt and coconut oil to my daily intake. Did you know that coconut oil can help with blood sugar issues? When I am pregnant I’m hypoglycemic, requiring me to eat frequent, high protein meals to avoid low blood sugar. That’s why this excerpt from “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” was especially interesting to me, and motivation for eating my coconut oil!

“Diets based on low-glycemic index foods usually overlook one important point: fats lower the glycemic index! Putting butter on a high-glycemic food like bread will lower its glycemic index, meaning that the food is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream rather than in one quick burst. In fact, when testing foods fro glycemic index, researcher found that a sugar-laden Mars bar had a lower glycemic index than cornflakes or potatoes…because the Mars bar contains lots of fat. That’s why using butter as a spread, or including coconut oil in every meal, can further lower the glycemic effect of both high-glycemic foods, like potatoes, and low-glycemic goods, like vegetables.”

Isn’t that fascinating? And wonderful news if you struggle with keeping your blood sugar levels steady! The smoothie I’m drinking as I type is delicious with cranberries (I stocked up during the holidays and froze them), cherries, and banana.

Also on my list are a couple of “No’s” –
NO sugar
NO un-soaked grains
NO skipping meals or snacks when I need them
NO going to bed without a high-protein snack (I call it my ‘nightcap’!)

Plenty of water, and taking it easy – I feel better already, and am hopeful that the coming days will contain less ‘blah’, and more “ahhhh…”

Next week we’re gonna get really weird with another great tonic – Beet Kvass! I’ll show you how to make and let you know how it goes down….

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