Monday, July 25, 2011

Heartburn in Pregnancy and What To Do About It

I have had some pregnancies with no relief from heartburn and at least one in which it was hardly an issue.  So, what's the diference?  Some will tell you it is how much hair your baby has.  And after Kynzie was born with a very full head of hair, I thought it might be true!  But since then, I've started to have my doubts.

I have had plenty of time to experiment with various remedies.  I thought I would list some of my findings here.

Some of the obvious, easy ones are drinking enough water and eating small meals at regular and more frequent intervals, preferably with plenty of protein.  Another given - some regular exercise.  Walking, swimming, etc.  Some regular movement. 

Also, the method of treating your heartburn depends on why you have it... are you not producing enough acids, or are you producing too many?  I have not learned really how to tell the difference, so it has been by trial and error finding relief.

1) Chewing on some gum... I reccomend xylitol gum.  There used to be a heartburn gum on the market when I was pregnant with Kynzie (over seven years ago) that I used with great success.  Two years later when I was pregnant with Max, they didn't sell that gum anymore.  So, I started to experiment with other chewing gums.  I guess the premise is that it helps stimulate acids to help break down the food.  Pregnancy often slows down digestion.

2) Paypaya or other enzyme tablets - these have been life savers for me at some points.  I buy the chewable, but as with any chewable tablet, there is always a sweetner, so watch out for corn syrups as well as artificial sweetners. 

3) I have used milk or yogurt successfully as well as...

4) Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's).  Two seemingly opposite ends of the specturm, milk and vinegar, but again maybe it is due to my heartburn being caused by different problems at different times?

5) Lastly, I have a theory.  I believe that if you become constipated (which also seems to plague many pregnant women), you will have more hearburn.  I have used psyllium husk for this with great success.  Some have told me psyllium husks cause them to have stomach cramps.  I am not sure, but possibly this is a sign it is doing what it is supposed to??  Not sure, though, as it doesn't give me cramps. 

I have heard some use slippery elm bark instead of psyllium husks.

This last point is also helped by regular exercise and a healthy food plan (Bradley or better!) and plenty of water.  Eliminate white sugar and flour, and add fiber where you can!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Peanut Chicken Recipe and Menu Plan

Originally, I had been looking for a copy-cat recipe of Cheesecake Factory's Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp (minus the shrimp for me) to make at home when I came across this recipe.  It was actually a recipe someone on the Menus 4 Moms boards shared.  I have tweaked it to our family's liking. 

I have since found copy-cat recipes for the Bang Bang Chicken, and I am anxious to give that a try.  But we will likely keep this favorite on our menu rotation for now. 

Oh, something else about my cooking... I don't measure most of the time.  I also don't remember from one time to the next how I have tweaked a recipe and whether we liked it better or not.  It drives my family mad.  But it is all part of the creative process for me!  I am trying to make notes here and there because I do want to pass the recipes on to my kids as well. 

Someday, I hope to even add pictures!  Ooohhh!

Peanut Chicken
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy seems to be best
1/2 cup vinegar, we typically use Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1/4 cup brown sugar or Sucanat
1/2 - 1 tsp ginger, ground
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, more if you like more heat
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1.5 cups rice, quinoa, etc. or a blend (you may want to use additional coconut milk and/or broth in place of the water to cook the rice for flavor)
2 T coconut oil
Carrots, julienned
Zucchini (or Cucumber), julienned
Shredded coconut
Chopped peanuts
Green onions, sliced

Put rice on to cook.

Heat first eight ingredients in heavy saucepan until mixed and bubbly; stirring frequently.  Then add chicken.

While sauce heats, slice green onions, carrots and zucchini or cucumber. These are best ice cold.

To serve, scoop rice onto each plate and top with chicken and sauce. Top liberally with onions, cucumbers, carrots, coconut and peanuts. 

Notes: for presentation, it works nicely to scoop rice into a small bowl, packed tightly.  Place the plate on top of the bowl upside down.  Flip bowl and plate together, then lift the bowl, leaving the rice in a nice rounded mound.  Then spoon chicken and sauce over and around rice.  Then top with the carrots, coconut, peanuts, etc. 

Also, we double the sauce for our family. 

We often serve this with a stir-fry veggie medley (broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, maybe squash or peppers, and onions, chopped and 'wokked' in a little butter and lemon juice, please!).  When we have dessert on Peanut Chicken night, I like the Mandarin Napoleons from Robin Miller.  Yum!  (We double this recipe as well.  The sugared, baked won tons are so yummy all by themselves as well!)

Monday, May 09, 2011

I Love That Boy!

Tomorrow, my oldest son will be five years old.  I love to remember his birth story.  It was the first and only birth where no other friends or family were present except Scott.  It was fast, and for a harrowing few moments, we thought it was going to be grave.  But, thankfully, God had a different plan for Max.  As the story goes, Max made his appearance as Mommy was beginning to be wheeled to surgery for an emergency cesarean.  I am not sure the nurses believed me at first when I said "he's coming!"  But after a quick peek under the blankets, they put my bed back in its place in the labor room and began calling for the doctor to head back to our room!  Max was born within minutes.  Such joy and relief! 

Max has requested candy cereal for his breakfast in bed tomorrow, pancakes for lunch, and Cheeseburger Casserole for dinner.  He doesn't really care for sweets, so I couldn't really get him to pinpoint a dessert.  He likes Popsicles, though.  Maybe I'll surprise him with Popsicles.  Hmmm, can't really stick a candle in one of those, can ya?  Well, maybe his candles will go in his casserole!

He is such a loving little boy.  He is always excited for the new baby (ies) when I am pregnant, and this time is no different.  He hugs and kisses the baby (aka my belly) and talks to his sibling.  It is precious.  He wants to be brave and courageous.  He has a heart to be a warrior and a protector.  I love these things about him.  I know God put these things in him to be used in marvelous ways as he grows older.  I pray God teaches Scott and I how to nurture the good and weed out the bad in his life.