First of all, welcome back to our online archive of content. Thrilled to spearhead this return and offer our online community all things to the beat of 'Laka'. We back.
As I sit here eager to share what I did differently, the same, or discovered during this pregnancy, I am 39 weeks pregnant and due at any moment. The feeling of wrapping up this chapter of my life and recording the highlights of the last 9 months is exciting and a great practice.
So I can break things down and not miss anything, this will serve as part 1 to my Laka pregnancy series and I hope each part will equally inspire and serve to advocate for women during such a raw, special, powerful time in their lives.
Please be aware that nothing shared is intended to be medical advice and you should certainly speak to your doctor or practitioner for patient specific implementations.
To put it simply, I ate way differently this pregnancy! The nutritional themes of my first pregnancy was bagels, mushrooms, moringa juice, coffee, and plant-based mexican food. The themes of my second? All of the first themes plus beef, liver, local eggs, and daily matcha.
I rolled into the pregnancy of my first on a 100% plant-based diet, with the adoption of eggs a few times a month towards the end and possibly a serving or so of beef broth my baby daddy *forced* me to drink towards the end. I had been committed to a plant-based, mostly raw vegan foods diet for a decade at this point and my pride wasn't going to stop during pregnancy. I had felt incredible on a plant-based diet and all of my blood panels came back as sufficient. It wasn't until postpartum that I got a cold hard taste of what I imagine was low reserve stores.
I was depleted beyond belief and suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety, and fatigue well beyond what I felt was normal.
At the exact time of the birth of my son, I signed on a investor to our team and the pressure was on to perform at our highest level as a company, with myself doing majority of the workload. How did it go? It didn't. I couldn't think straight, my body felt weak, I kept trying to turn to plant foods and refreshing, energizing salads/shakes/meals that had always promised optimal performance in the past as well as made my body feel smooth as glass and nothing seemed to help restore me to the level I was pre-baby. Oh and then the pandemic hit (lol) which was the cherry on top of my "wtf am i going to do?" disposition. I felt incapable.
Instinctual nutrition a sophisticated level of wellness.
My instincts after a year of never feeling like I was replenishing what breastfeeding, critical thinking, low sleep, and learning motherhood was taking from me were telling me to survey my regimen. I was supplementing with all* of things that plant-based eaters needed in order to get their daily dose of nutrition without animals. Not only was it expensive, but it was dependent on a cornucopia of supplementation that didn't feel like the deep grounding and said replenishment I needed. I retracted back to one of my previous Chinese Medicine doctors in Virginia little sliver of advice when I came to him wondering why I had no menstrual cycle for 4 years but ate incredibly healthy (raw vegan, 1500-2000 calories daily, daily exercise, no party, and lots of sleep): he told me to stop drinking kombucha and start eating beef liver because my body had no blood left in it. It took me a decade to finally experiment with his "offering".
Long nutrition story short, I gradually started incorporating things like local beef, pastured eggs, seafood, turkey, local cheese, raw milk, beef liver, raw and grass-finished butter, and cod liver into my diet
over the next year or so and this pregnancy a return to animals has taken a front seat in my effort to support my nutrition throughout pregnancy, build healthy reserves for postpartum, but also limit* the amount of supplementation we need as pregnant women growing humans. My monthly supplement bill this pregnancy significantly decreased by just returning to animals.
We are all part of this cycle of life on earth together, and just as everything has purpose and a place, so does utilizing plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria during times of need. I felt that. But! Quality triumphs quantity ALWAYS.
Here's a list of some foods + supplements (both animal, plant, fungi, and leaf) I used all pregnancy to help me deeply nourish and prep for baby. My focus is fat and protein, but I love approaching my nutrition with a ton of flexibility.
1. Grass-fed + local beef
1-3x weekly, just a fistful serving size on salads, bowls, tacos, or with veggies.
2. Local tempeh
This is the last man standing when it comes to my plant-protein sources that are here to stay! Enough with the tofu and imitation meats - gross! Not food. I loved Kauai Tempeh black bean or chickpea tempeh and would feed our family this 1-2x weekly for our nightly, culture-rich protein.
Okay this felt stupid writing that I ate vegetables during pregnancy. Of course I did. BUT, this time I opted for way less salads and juices and more steamed, low-starch veggies to help me optimize the ever-evolving digestion you experience while pregnant.
4. Beef liver
6-8 caps daily of desiccated liver for iron, retinol, B vitamins, Vitamin K, amino acids, leucine, protein, and Choline. I think of this as an elevated, of-the-earth prenatal. Discover my supplement choice here.
5. Cod liver oil
4-6 caps daily of cod liver oil for retinol, Vitamin D, full spectrum Omegas. Discover my supplement choice here.
6. Laka Matcha
1-2 cups daily for chlorophyll, antioxidants, prebiotics, and L-Theanine. I opted for way, way less coffee this time around (1-2 cups per week* if that) to help my hormones stabilize and build up some balance-intelligence prior to postpartum. I learned the hard way last time that cornering yourself into a coffee addiction for postpartum success is no bueno.
2-4 caps daily for microbiome support. I feel strongly about the quality and legitimacy of this particular synbiotic! Laka is now a partner of Seed's affiliate program.
Use our code LAKASEED for 15% off your first month's supply of @seed's DS-01™ Daily Synbiotic. (#ad #accountable)
8. Ritual Prenatal -
1-2 caps a few times a week. Ok so I kind of just ordered this because I felt irresponsible not* ordering a prenatal, but I wouldn't take it every day because most prenatal vitamins I have tried extremely constipate me because of the excessive iron (another story for another time). Again, beef liver was my sit-in prenatal that I made sure I took regularly. This one is my favorite though for a daily dose of multi-vitamins that help baby and mom thrive.
Give me all the choline! I drank this shake daily and it didn't seem to back me up like most pea-protein shakes do. I would simply blend 1 scoop with 1 frozen banana, some cinnamon, some ice, and enough milk to blend and be on my way. I also loved adding blue spirulina and Laka Matcha for added energy.
10. Evening Primrose Oil
This is a towards-the-end kind of deal to help start thinning the cervix. I took 1500mg daily in my third trimester. I purchased from my local health food store.
11. Laka Shroom Drip -
1-2 tbsp daily for Beta-glucans, plant protein, balanced omega fats, and minerals. One of my favorite supplements for immune, digestive, and brain support. Use code SHROOMBELLY for 10% off your next jar, just for kicks.
12. Saffron -
A pinch added to weekly herbal infusions to help relieve third trimester muscle tensions and manage stress. An end of pregnancy affair, again. I used The Fullest saffron threads.
13. Raspberry Leaf
A handful dried raspberry leaf added to weekly infusions to support uterine contractions and cervix health. Purchased in bulk from local health food store.
14. Home-made mushroom blends
I would enjoy a home mushroom blend of Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, Cordyceps, Tremella, Poria, and Lions Mane Mushroom regularly added into matcha/coffee, shakes, broths, and weekly batches of chia pudding. Have fun with it! Don't stress on formulations. Adaptogens are non-toxic to the body, but all you need is about 2g daily of your favorite shrooms for adequate support. Not feeling like an herbalist? I love Shroom Drip for easy and tasty daily delivery or any of Rainbo mushrooms tinctures added to drinks.