That moment in pregnancy when you feel like you’ve been hit by a steam train. You’re lying on the floor in a semi-conscious state trying to play with your toddler but dreading the prospect of getting up to make anyone any breakfast. Then the voices in your head start whispering – I thought you were going to workout today!? WORKOUT!? I can’t even get up off the floor. Hang on, I think I have a cold and why on earth does my tongue hurt?
And then you wonder – is this normal?!?!
Nope. And no, you shouldn’t have to live like this, pregnant or not! After 3 weeks of this hell, I knew something wasn’t right.
First step is to ask your midwife, I did, and it went like this – “I am so crazy tired, is that normal?” “Oh yes, you’re pregnant, you’re growing a human, you need to rest!” To which I respond – “’Please pass that memo onto my toddler!”
And then 6 weeks later at the routine blood screening, “your iron levels are desperately low, how are you surviving the midwife asks!?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I’m not! I got my 18-month-old to dress me, feed me and bring me here!
And then comes the same conversation I’m sure every pregnant woman with low iron gets – you need to take a supplement of 100mg. And by the way, this is really going to hurt your stomach. Ok, sounds great, and how much can your body absorb, just 30mg! So why can’t I take the supplement with 30mg that won’t upset my stomach?
Let’s just skip all this, why can’t I just eat my iron levels up!? Apparently, you need to eat lots of meat. But I don’t eat meat. Well you can’t do it through vegetables alone.
You get the general idea after this shody conversational part of the blog post today!
So here I sit (I’m up off the floor), after extensive research and trial eating and time to pass, you can do it through vegetables, the fruit of the earth, alone! And I am here to tell you how!
Let me just explain quickly. Iron comes in two forms, heme (only found in animal products) and non-heme (only found in plants). Recommended daily intake is around 18mg per day (1) but there are a lot of factors taken into account here. Men and post-menopausal women require only 8mg and this rises to 27mg per day for those of us that find ourselves ‘with child’ (or knocked up if you prefer)! But, non-heme is unfortunately harder for the body to absorb so you need to make sure you are consuming plants with some vitamin C rich foods to help with the absorption (2). Also, avoid drinking tea and coffee with your meals as this can hinder absorption from 50-90% (3).
What people don’t know is that these plants are crazy powerful, I won’t go crazy with loads of examples, but here’s one for fun. 100grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times same amount of salmon (4).
Here is what you have been waiting for. These are the beauties that are iron rich:
For all you plant eaters out there, this should be a solid list for you to get your teeth into. And good luck, don’t suffer on the floor in silence – reach for the broccoli and you’ll be golden! Have a look at my Instagram or facebook @gotvitality for recipe inspiration and I promise to pack in a lot of iron!
Have a happy and healthy day!
Do you ever ask yourself after something’s happened, like a good workout or a successful business meeting or a tough day or an argument, ‘I’ll treat myself to something naughty…..’ (insert your vice here!)
I found myself a while back saying, now I’ve just done that huge workout, I’m going to treat myself to a bag of skittles!?! How crazy is that. I am going to ‘treat’ my dear body, that I’ve just put through all sorts of paces in the gym, to a bag full of highly processed sugar, e-numbers and a host of other chemicals it has absolutely no idea how to digest! Alongside that, my current endorphin kick will get a little higher with the sugar kick and then I’ll crash so hard I’ll hate everyone insight unless they provide me with more chemicals to get me back high!
Sounds like an addict if you ask me….
I sought out help. From my fridge! And I want to give you a few little super quick tricks I learnt along the way to satisfy my desire for a ‘treat’ but one’s that are nutrient dense and good for my soul:
As an ex-sugar addict, I feel your pain and I am right here for you if you need additional support, recipe inspiration or just a shoulder to cry on. If you can try those 3 simple suggestions above you are well on your way to ‘treating’ your body to everything in needs and deserves to be is happiest and healthiest self, all for you to enjoy.
My next workshop is on Superfoods to help you live a life full of energy without having to reach for the highly processed, chemically pumped treats available on shelves! All details are on my facebook page @gotvitalitystockholm! And do check in for sweet treat recipe inspiration and I promise to pack in nutrients!
Have a happy and healthy day!
The last two weeks have incorporated some of the top stress inducing activities I have ever been through in my life! Let me list them here for sympathy; travelling solo from the Middle East at 7 months pregnant with an 18 month old toddler, moving house, letting an apartment, coming home to cat crap and sick all over the apartment (including your laptop and retro handwritten planner), entering the third trimester of pregnancy, not being able to find a preschool place for my little boy and launching a new website! (Enter deep breathes here).
I survived, we survived and everyone is somehow still smiling!
There are days when stress brings me to tears and others when I can turn and look the other way and kiss it goodbye. I can genuinely say that the days when I’m a balling heap in the corner of the bathroom are a direct result of two things for me:
In this day and age we think (for some crazy reason) that sleep is not essential, people say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” But we have to remember that catching those z’s is the foundation on which all our health is based. We regenerate. Our mind and body has time to recover, repair and process. Our brain (the amazing muscle that it is) heals. Our anxiety levels reduce.
Healthy eating (by which I mean, eating what grows on this amazing planet) was intended for us the day we were created. If we start pumping our bodies full of chemicals including processed sugars, sweeteners and various other ones I won’t go into, you send your body into a frenzy because we have absolutely no idea how to process chemicals, it’s just not in our DNA.
So here’s the melting pot – lack of sleep leaves you with an exhausted body and mind, you’re reaching for whatever fast glucose hit or caffeine fix you can get your hands on to keep you ‘up’, you crash back down leaving you even more exhausted, frustrated and emotional.
But there’s beauty in this vicious story! You DON’T have to live like this! There are a million and one different strategies you can use to reduce the stress in your life. Understanding the damaging effect that stress has on the body and the stages we go helps us to make the best choices to limit, reduce and ultimately eliminate stress from our lives.
I would love to tell you more, help you to identify the symptoms of stress appearing in your life and empower you with the understanding to make decisions and strategies to use in everyday life to alleviate some of the stress.
Come along to my workshop 'Stop Stressing'. And if you can’t make it, feel free to get in touch and we can schedule your free one to one consultation to find the right path for you to more forwards towards a stress free, happier, healthier and fuller life!
Picture the moment, its 7am, the alarm blares in your ear, you peer out from under the duvet, its pitch black and know it must be maximum 5 degrees outside, the wind is howling and the rain is pounding – damn, it might as well be the middle of night. And you have to go out and run?! You have GOT to be kidding me?!
You snooze the alarm, crawl back underneath and stay warm.
Procrastination is a dangerous little concept! It creeps up on you and brings you down, right before your day has even begun.
Here are 3 tips to kick that nasty little beast once and for all:
What about you, do you struggle with getting up in the morning? Do you have any tips you could add to the list?
Since moving to Sweden 18 months ago I am fascinated at this time of year when everyone gets the flu. Different varieties are floating around; some come equipped with a cough, a runny nose or a fever – worst case, all three! It is commonly known and accepted.
This got me wondering – what on earth is going on here in Sweden?
Personally I feel terrified I wilI be struck down! In all honesty, I have very little sleep with a one year old who loves nighttime raves, I’m setting up a business during nap times and bedtimes, going to crossfit regularly and rocking the single parent lark whilst my husband flies other people to glamorous destinations – all of this fatigue should be a cute and fitting recipe for the Winter Germs.
The first week of Winter I was faced with a decision – haul up inside and breathe my own oxygen over and over again where there was no risk of invading germs (except through the crack under the door) or go on out there into the world and defend against those Winter Germs one by one!
I did the latter – and so far, I’ve survived!
So what is my secret? Do I even have a secret? Or am I just lucky so far!?
These are my top 3 tips, I wanted to share to save you all the winter germ hell:
Have an amazing Winter – you can make it through flu free – I believe in the power of your body to do this!!
‘Christmas is a coming’!! I love this time of the year, I feel like a child – and it’s the only time of the year you can get away with forcing your family into matching pajamas!! Christmas is that time of the year when we tend to forget all of the disagreements we’ve had with family, friends or colleagues, we reconnect and rejoice in the celebration of magic. And who doesn’t love giving and receiving presents! December is by far my favourite month of the year.
BUT. There are some things about Christmas that in previous years leave me rolling into January like the huge potatoes served on Christmas day…. I’ve personally experienced a few different mindsets over the years, the first was last year when I was pregnant; “Ah its allowed, its Christmas” to previous years when I was sans pregnant belly and training 12-15 hours a week for triathlon “But if my Christmas dinner is 2,578 calories, then that means I need to run for 3 hours and 39 minutes Christmas morning!?” Both of which did not bring me happiness.
I wanted to share some strategies I have worked on and love; Moderation, Alternatives and Joy;
Above all – have a fabulous time with friends and family, play games, light candles, sing, dance and be happy – it’s the time of the year we can all come together and celebrate the magic that is Christmas.
Kirsty Lewis, founder of Got Vitality, IIN Health Coach, Pre/Post Natal Personal Trainer and mum to a little boy toddler with another monster cooking in the oven!