Anytime in the next day or so, my wife, Chelsea is going to go into labor and if all goes according to plan, we will have a baby, in our home, with no drugs or painkillers, completely naturally. Something I never even imagined a few years ago, before I met her.
I didn’t even think I would have children, much less try to have one at home. I was in my 40’s, with no kids and had come to terms with the fact that it probably wouldn’t happen for me and I would just be an awesome uncle to my younger brother’s 4 children and felt blessed to have them in my life.
Funny enough, shortly after I surrendered to this fact, I met Chelsea. We became friends, then lovers and I knew for the first time in my life, I wanted to have a family of my own with her. We were married a few years later and began praying every day that we would be blessed with a baby, naturally, with no stress.
In addition to being an amazing prenatal yoga teacher, Chelsea is also a certified birth doula (birth coach) and she leads childbirth education classes where she teaches women the tools they need to have a natural birth. So she is very passionate about the natural birthing process and was born at home herself. After assisting in mostly hospital births, we decided that we would rather delivery our baby in the safety and comfort of our own home also. Before she was even pregnant, we told our family about our plans and my niece Honey said, “so you’re going to have an organic baby?” I thought about that and said, you know what? that’s a great idea. I wonder if we could actually do that.
Less than a month after my 45th birthday in May, we went to Turkey, where I was officiating our friends wedding. Chelsea said, “I want to get pregnant in Turkey.” I said, “I do too!” We stepped up our prayer requests in hopes of it happening then.
About a month later, I came home on the morning of the 4th of July after an early morning bike ride to watch the Ironman in Hermosa Beach and caught her in the guest room with a weird look on her face. I said, “what are you doing?” She said, “Am I reading this right?” as she handed me a pregnancy test. There was a giant + in the spot where it said yes you are indeed pregnant. I looked at her with my jaw dropped open and she said, “There goes your freedom.” We laughed. But were serious at the same time, things were about to change in a major way. After 45 years of being the most important person in my life, I was now #2 and soon to be #3. My instincts to take care of Chelsea during these next 9 months took over. I knew that her water intake and food intake were of paramount importance for the proper development of our child. Let’s eat everything organic and see if that makes a difference. If we’re going to have an “organic baby” let’s go all the way and eat an “organic baby diet”.
I am a big believer in the importance of organic foods and eating lots of fruits and veggies. In addition to that, staying away from processed foods. I’m on the board of directors for the nonprofit organization GrowingGreat, which teaches science-based garden and nutritional education to elementary school children and is now expanding their programs to reach middle and high schoolers as well. So eating healthy is a passion of mine. I decided that I would do my best to make sure Chelsea ate as much organic, locally grown, seasonal produce as possible. We normally eat like this, but we now had more motivation to be even more mindful of what she was putting into her body. Since a growing baby is so small, things matter that much more.
So for the past 9 months now we have created several delicious, healthy and easy to make meals that are nutritious and satisfying to Mommy and Baby and even Daddy. I have included our favorites below. There is a meal for each night of the week, with one night set aside to go out to dinner. Even though we both love to cook, it’s nice to go out to eat and have someone else do the cooking. Whether its dinner with friends or out to eat Simmzy’s (our favorite local spot). It’s the one night we let go of the strictness of everything having to be organic. We do our best, but some things you just can’t control. So we let it go and just enjoy.
Chelsea has been a vegetarian for most of her life, but she said she would be open to eating meat during her pregnancy if she felt like her body craved it. Turns out, this baby is a meat eater. From her early cravings for chicken wings and breakfast sausages to this morning when she said “I want some bacon”, Chelsea has indulged in turkey, chicken and pork. However, I made sure of two very important things when it came to her meat intake. #1 The meat had to be consciously raised. Meaning it had to be organic, grass fed, free range and therefore, free of hormones and antibiotics. #2 We blessed the food before eating it and thanked the animal for giving its life so that we and our baby could enjoy the protein that it provided. This made us feel better and enjoy the food more.
There are so many unknowns in a pregnancy and things that are out of your control. However, you can control both what you put into your body to nourish it and your growing baby and you can also control your thoughts. It’s easy for fear to creep in. When you become pregnant it seems like everyone wants to tell you either their birth story or an exceptional tale that someone they know went through. This seems to be especially true with a home birth. Some people will tell you their fears as they question the sanity of what you are doing or the negative stories that they have heard along the way. It is important to not allow their fears or the worst case scenario to dominate your thoughts. Chelsea and I both have our own ways of dealing with this.
We both meditate every day. For me, the first thing I do when I wake up, is to go to my meditation spot. We have a little loft (above the nursery) in our house and I go there and just sit. I sit quietly and breath and just allow my thougths to come and go. Usually after a few minutes, they dissipate. Then I say a short prayer and go on with my day. Chelsea has her own space that she goes to meditate. She does a Chakra meditation each morning and plays her harmonium as the sunlight beams in from the window above where she sits. I know in my heart that the meditation practice has helped us both keep fear at bay and trust in the process.
Another thing that has really helped Chelsea is her prenatal yoga classes. She teaches prenatal yoga three times a week and performs the class with her students while teaching. She has prenatal classes that can be found at Spread Yoga Love.
So what have been the results of her “Organic Baby Diet”… Well, let me tell you from my perspective. It has been amazing! She is rocking it. She has plenty of energy and has been happy and vibrant this whole pregnancy. We even hiked the Napali Coast when she was 30 weeks pregnant!
In general, Chelsea is very verbal about how she feels. I always know if she is too hot or too cold or if her back hurts or if she is generally uncomfortable, tired or annoyed. Amazingly enough, she has rarely complained this whole pregnancy. She was tired during the first trimester, which is normal, and she was only nauseous when she didn’t eat anything. Otherwise, she has had plenty of energy and been able to get lots of sleep. In fact, we moved during this pregnancy to a new home and she had everything organized and packed up and then unpacked and re-organized into our new home with the greatest efficiency I have ever seen and I’ve moved over 20 times in my life.
One night a few weeks ago, she was feeling uncomfortable in bed and said, “I guess this is the time in your pregnancy where I won’t sleep very well”, but it only lasted one night. I can count on one hand the number of poor nights sleep she has had during her pregnancy.
She continues to comment on how good she feels. Throughout her pregnancy, she has said that she feels great both physically and mentally. Our midwife seems very pleased and has continually said that everything looks great.
So something is working. As it is with most things, there are several contributing factors. The prenatal yoga, her food intake and our love for each other and this baby have all had a positive impact. YogaLoveFood. The combination that helps with everything.
Here is Chelsea’s typical day eating The Organic Baby Diet.
Warm water with lemon to start the day – This is great for the body’s digestive system.
Smoothie in the morning with…
- Coconut water (hydration, reduces swelling)
- Almond milk (calcium)
- Spinach (Iron, Vitamin A)
- Frozen fruit
- Hemp seeds (protein)
- Chia seeds (hydration)
- Dried oats (fiber plus keeps you full for longer)
- 1/2 avocado (healthy fat)
- Sunflower seed butter (Protein)
Since Chelsea doesn’t drink any dairy from cows, she needed calcium from other sources. Almond milk was the main one. Yogurt too. We found creative ways to use the almond milk. In addition to the smoothie, we ate cereal and oatmeal and added hemp and chia seeds as well as many nuts for healthy fats and proteins. Strawberries, blueberries and banana as well for some fruits with all of their nutritional content. Be careful with fruit to not have too much. The body craves it, but too much sugar can lead to other issues like gestational diabetes. So be mindful of how much fruit you eat but, definitely eat fruit.
Eggs provide good protein and she has craved them nearly every day in some form or another. Hard boiled has been her favorite, however today we had a curried egg salad sandwich. Oatmeal has also been a breakfast favorite in addition to cereal and yogurt. Along with these, she will usually have toast with a nut butter and hemp seeds for additional protein.
Chelsea noticed that small snacks throughout the day, every 2-3 hours helped keep nausea at bay and from what I’ve read on the subject, better for mom and baby. Our doula showed us a picture that shows what happens to all of the internal organs as the baby grows. There isn’t much space for the internal organs, so you have to pee a lot and can’t fit as much into your stomach, but need to eat more because of the nutritional needs of the baby. By eating every few hours, your body has time to process the food and give the baby what it needs. Babies are small and growing rapidly. So feeding yourself with nutritious foods every few hours is feeding the baby, nutritious foods every few hours. Which if you think about it, is how often they usually eat when they are born.
- Hard boiled eggs (protein)
- Dried fruit and nuts (apricots for iron) (Walnuts for healthy fats)
- Apples with almond or peanut butter
- Carrots, celery and cucumbers with hummus
- Chips and guacamole (healthy fats from the avocado)
- Yogurt with hemp and chia seeds
Being someone who grew up a vegetarian and rarely had dairy, she had never experienced a grilled cheese sandwich. Well, for some reason, one day she was craving one, so she had one and fell in love. It became almost a daily occurrence for her. I was slightly worried because I wouldn’t condone eating one every day, no matter how delicious they are! However, I knew the calcium and proteins that the cheese had are good for her and our baby, so I just made sure she had good organic cheese, from Wisconsin of course.
The great thing about these meals is that they use a lot of the same ingredients. So these delicious, healthy, organic dinners can all be made on a budget and the ingredients are easy to find. All ingredients are organic unless otherwise noted.
- Red lentils
- chicken or veggie stock
- sweet potatoes, potatoes
- butternut squash
- onions, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli.
Cans – Chickpeas, diced tomatoes, coconut milk
Gluten free pasta noodles. Pasta sauce. Cheese if desired.
Here are 6 dinners that can be made from all of the above ingredients, except for the pizzas which you will need to buy crusts or make them.
Red Lentil Soup
- Chop onions, carrots, celery, zucchini and add to a pot with olive oil. Sautee over medium heat about 7-10 mins
- Rinse 1 cup of red lentils and add to pot with enough chicken or veggie stock to cover veggies and lentils
- Add 1 Bay Leaf, Salt & Pepper, and Everyday Seasoning
- Stir half way through and add more broth to your desired amount
- Cook until carrots are soft and soup is thick and creamy (about 30 mins)
Butternut Squash Stew
- Chop 1/2 onion and garlic, add to a pot with coconut oil. Cook over medium heat
- Add spices – 2 t Cumin, 1/2 t Cinnamon, Salt & Pepper. Cook a few minutes
- Chop butternut squash and add to pot with 3 cups of chicken or veggie stock
- Add a can of chickpeas and diced tomatoes along with 1 cup of red lentils
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until butternut squash is soft
- Squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon and add red pepper flakes (Optional)
- Stir in spinach at the end and mix it up until spinach is soft (less than a minute)
- Chop onion, potato, sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower
- Cook down onions and mustard seeds in coconut oil
- Add remaining veggies plus 1 can of organic coconut milk & 1 can of water
- Add 2 t Curry Powder, 1 t Tumeric, 1/2 t Corriander (taste – add to liking)
- Bring to a boil, then simmer until veggies are soft
- Lastly add, frozen or fresh green peas
- Serve over Quinoa or Rice (optional)
Red Lentils and Quinoa w/broccoli
- Rinse 1 cup of red lentils and 1 cup of quinoa
- Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of chicken or veggie stock to a boil
- Add lentils and quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-12 minutes
- In a separate pot, steam broccoli or cauliflower
- When lentils and quinoa are finished cooking (thick and creamy) add 2 T of ghee
- Broccoli or Cauliflower on the side with a dash of Salt & Pepper
Pasta with Turkey and Veggies
- Boil spiral or elbow pasta noodles and drain
- Sautee onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini and 1 can of diced tomatoes
- Add Garlic Powder, Cumin, Red Chili Flakes, and a Bay Leaf (to taste)
- In a separate pan cook ground turkey meat until browned
- To finish toss everything together and add extra sauce if desired
- Top with fresh spinach and shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
Recipe (crusts purchased from Whole Foods)
- Sautee bell peppers, onion, garlic, zucchini (anything else you like)
- Cover pizza crust with marinara sauce (I like BBQ sauce on mine)
- Add toppings and cheese plus spinach or kale
- Cook for 15-20 mins
A night out
- Have fun and let someone else do the work:) She’s having a kale salad with salmon. Yes, those are fries (probably not organic)
Some studies show that eating 6 dates a day the last 4 weeks of pregnancy can lead to a shorter labor, prevent postpartum hemorrhage and reduce the need for induction. Chelsea has noticed with her clients that have done this that they have all had shorter than average labors. So she is doing that. One of the ways we have incorporated that into her diet is through some delicious ice cream that we were able to make with our magic bullet.
- Ice cubes
- Almond Milk
- Coconut flakes
- 2-6 dates
- 1/2 frozen banana
- Frozen berries
- Peanut butter
Blend it up in the magic bullet for a minute or so until it becomes nice and smooth like ice cream or gelato. So delicious.
Another way to get your dates in is to take out the pit and put a dollop of peanut butter inside and place in the freezer.
So there you have it. Our humble attempt at making an Organic Baby. Check back in a few weeks to see how the delivery went. We don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl, but I’ll be sure to let you know.