Pregnancy is one of the few times in our lives when we need an increased amount of protein. 70-80 grams to be exact. Getting those grams from clean sources during pregnancy can be difficult. Particularly for those of us who have already decreased our total amount of animal protein consumption, and are not body building or an avid athlete.
Prior to pregnancy, my diet was almost entirely plant based. I would consume about 50 grams of protein a day. Which for my height and weight was all that I needed. In fact, I believe the Standard American Diet encourages more protein than our bodies need. What happens when you eat excess protein? It gets converted to glucose and then stored as fat in the body. This is why the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, has become so popular lately.
In order to ensure I was getting good quality protein to make up the 70 grams I needed for a healthy pregnancy, I start my day with The FastBeets Protein Shake. Its a delicious way to start the day and it ensures between 15-30 grams of protein in my very first meal of the day.
Its also a great hunger squasher, this pregnancy wakes me up with starving hunger. Have you been there? I’m famished to the point where I leave my bed and go straight to my kitchen for this shake. (True story: my teeth brushing generally waits these days till after I'm no longer famished!)
Aside from the protein, I love that I get to fill it with other quality ingredients that feed my baby with vitamins, minerals, naturally occurring folate, and Omega3s. All of which contribute to the healthy development of this baby boy I’m growing.
The FastBeets Protein Shakes are all comprised of the same basic structure. Depending on what mood I’m in that morning, I’ll make some adjustments to the fruit/flavor combinations, but the basics, which are detailed below, always stay the same.
The Ingredient Low Down
- Protein Powder: A quality plant based protein powder. These days I’m loving the Garden of Life brand both for the taste and the quality of ingredients. Or Vital Proteins brand collagen protein to avoid stretch marks.
- A banana is another must, which when I’m not pregnant I tend to omit, but I find that it helps with the morning starvation feeling and provides potassium, which helps ward away leg cramps.
- Calcium-enriched Cashew or Almond Milk. I could make my own plant-based milk, but during pregnancy I’ve been sticking to a clean store-bought brand that is full of calcium, which my baby and I need to grow strong bones.
- Carrots for the Beta-Carotine or Vitamin A. Most prenatal vitamins skip the Vitamin A because excess vitamin A (like 5000mg or more) can cause birth defects. However moderate amounts like whats in a carrot or two are actually beneficial to you and your growing baby.
- Kale. Kale doesn’t really need an introduction to smoothies. Besides the obvious reasons to adding quality greens like kale to your FastBeets Protein Shake, its also a great source of folate which is essential in pregnancy. Most prenatal vitamins use folic acid which is a synthetic form of folate. I say, why not add some natural sources in there too.
- Chia seeds are a wonderful source of protein, fiber, and essential omega3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids not only help your brain function, but they are crucial in growing a smart baby. And let’s be real, that’s a goal for all of us. In addition, the chia seeds make your smoothie thicker and the healthy fats keeps you fuller for longer.
- Cocoa nibs. Not only do these make your smoothie taste like chocolate chips and satisfy that chocolate craving, but its a great source of minerals like magnesium. Any pregnant woman can attest to mood swings during pregnancy, the magnesium in cacao nibs squashes that too!
- Celery is a powerful anti-inflammatory and detoxifying food. When you add it to your smoothie you hardly taste it, but it gives you so many benefits for virtually 0 calories.
- Additional fruit for flavor: Depending on what taste I'm in the mood for that morning, I may just leave it as is with just one banana for taste. Other mornings I'll opt for frozen organic wild blueberries, frozen organic strawberries, pineapple, frozen organic peaches, or unsweetened organic frozen acai.
5 Second Recipe:
In your blender throw in the following ingredients. Then blend until smooth:
- 1-2 scoops protein powder of choice.
- half a cup of kale, fresh or frozen (or other greens of choice)
- 1 cold or frozen banana
- teaspoon chia seeds
- teaspoon cacao nibs
- 1 organic carrot, washed and peeled
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 cups of plant-based milk
- a couple ice cubes
- Optional: 1/4 cup frozen organic blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, acai or other frozen fruit of choice.
FastBeets Fast Tip
Having the greens, carrot, and celery washed cut and ready to go in your fridge or freezer makes this a no-brainer in the morning. It becomes a dump and blend meal you can make while you're still sleeping