Being a mother is my favorite role in life. It gives me purpose, changed me for the better, and made me realize there is nothing else I would rather do with my time. It’s been such an incredibly rewarding experience to watch my babies grow and cross milestones. I get so many questions about my pregnancies, and each one was a little bit different. I personally loved being pregnant and made it a point to really listen to my body.
I wanted to share some of my favorite foods and routines that helped me feel my very best during my pregnancies:
Throughout all three of my pregnancies, I always tried to stay active. My doctor had told me that if I was active before, I could continue the same level of activity. When I was pregnant with Mason, I ran outside (in Miami on the beach for the first few months, and then in LA in my neighborhood) with music every day for seven months. I listened to my body, which at seven months pregnant, I felt was telling me to slow down, so then I would go on walks in my neighborhood, and rest when I was tired.
When I was pregnant with Penelope and Reign, I would do yoga or go on walks in my neighborhood, usually with a stroller, and would do a lot of hills. I was very active with the other kids too, which kept us busy!
When I was pregnant with Reign, I was in the Hamptons during the summer and remember doing the treadmill, StairMaster, and swimming a lot in the pool with the kids along with yoga. I had an amazing yoga teacher, Leila Johnson, who taught me all about keeping my body in balance through movement and healthy recipes.
Before I was pregnant with Penelope, I got really into the practice of Ayurveda — a traditional medicine system from India that focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. I worked with an amazing Ayurvedic teacher, Martha Soffer, to guide me through the panchakarma cleanse. It helps detoxify the body through cleansing eating practices, massages with warm oil, and healing herb treatments to reset the nervous system and rid the body of what it doesn’t need. This is especially amazing to do before becoming pregnant, according to Ayurvedic traditions, to make a “clean egg.”
While I was pregnant with her, I continued with much of the food and nutritional things I learned from Martha, like taking ghee every morning, eating raw veggies in the daytime, and eating cooked veggies at night, including a lot of foods with purpose.
After I had Penelope, I continued by doing mommy-baby yoga classes at my home, having Martha come over for mommy-baby massages, and cooking lots of Ayurvedic foods to nurture my body for after birth and breastfeeding. Applying oil to the body is grounding and relaxing. You can give love both to yourself and to your baby, while also helping to reduce stretch marks, restore skin’s elasticity, and relieve pregnant belly itching.
Leila taught me a really beautiful way of preparing food. She encouraged me to make everything with love, because what you feel while you’re cooking becomes energy that gets infused into your food and your system. There was an intention behind every ingredient that went into my meals. She taught me that how I eat my food is just as important as what I was eating, so I always kept in mind that food meant love and nourishment for my baby.
To help generate breast milk, we added pine nuts to my meals. In Ayurveda, they are considered to be the closest thing to mother’s milk in the plant world. Ghee, or clarified butter without dairy, is said to have healing properties.
Martha taught me that a baby’s brain needs good oils to grow. We may not realize this, but 60 percent of our brains are made of fat—it’s the fattest organ in our body.
I made this special rice with snap peas, sesame seeds, and flax seeds because Martha explained that you should “eat seeds to make seeds” (good tip for those wanting to become pregnant). They give our body a strong foundation and vitality to conceive, and keep our babies happy and healthy as they’re growing.
I stayed away from the typical foods to avoid during pregnancy like sushi, turkey, nitrates, and hot dogs — and I found myself craving frozen yogurt and cheeseburgers.
Every day after yoga, Leila and I would make this afterglow smoothie together, and every ingredient had a specific purpose. It’s both sweet and sour to maintain the balance of a healthy mind and body.
In Ayurveda, the sour taste helps increase the absorption of nutrients, energize the body, and help with healthy digestion. The sweet taste nourishes the body, strengthens the heart, and brings happiness to the mind.
We included dates to boost energy, flax seeds as a source of omega-3 for a healthy brain, goji berries for a dose of superfoods, cardamom as an antioxidant, a couple drops of rose water to strengthen emotions, pine nuts to support the baby’s nervous system and brain development (mother’s milk), and kefir or yogurt as a probiotic (at this time I wasn’t gluten or dairy free).
Check out the full recipe below that supports fertility and gives a natural glow.
The Afterglow Smoothie
Serving Size:1-2 servings
- 1/2 cup organic kefir (or 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup yogurt)
- 10 organic dates, pitted
- 1 tablespoon organic flax seeds, grounded
- 1 tablespoon organic goji berries
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or hemp oil
- Pinch of cardamom
- Pinch of saffron
- Handful of pine nuts or blanched organic almonds (optional)
- 1/2 cup ice
- Pinch of vanilla bean powder
- 4 drops of rose water
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and whiz away. You can also add mantra work here. Humming or singing mantras in the kitchen is like setting the intention for your food. This Ayurvedic practice also encourages you to think of someone you love when cooking, otherwise you are just making food.