I recently became a first-time mom, and it’s the most exciting season of my life. Sometimes I’m scared by the weight of the responsibility of raising this tiny, precious baby. Other times I’m just filled with love and a deep desire to do my best for this baby, no matter what it takes.
But let me take you back just a little to my baby-bump journey over the last couple of months.
Conscious Living, to me, means:
- Being kind to our world
- Protecting our environment from harm and pollution
- Making daily decisions that Positively impact nature.
In my post on My Zero Waste Kitchen, I shared that I practice Conscious Living right from home, because at the end of the day, I believe that Conscious Living starts with the individual person. It’s all about taking action in our homes and in our communities, wherever we live in the world.
During my pregnancy, I found that it was possible to remain true to the decision to Live Sustainably, even though everything else in my body was changing. In this post, I will share with you some of the new experiences I went through, as well as the new Conscious Living decisions i had to make along the way. Join me and see how it worked out for me.
Eco Conscious Mom-in-Waiting
Everything about you changes when you’re pregnant. Well, almost everything…… Maybe your eyes and the shape of your ears remain the same, but everything else shifts, grows, bends or stretches to nurture the miracle growing inside your body.
And as for the likes and dislikes, that deserves a whole chapter of its own. From food, to smells, to people: every mother can tell you a different story. Some either intensely like certain people or intensely dislike others. Even their own husbands are not spared!
I heard of a lady who would cry when her husband would leave home to go to the office – she just wanted him to be next to her All The Time! (There’s a happy ending here, though – I heard that she got a baby girl….. who absolutely adores her dad!)
Let’s face it: the loyal husbands out there deserve a medal!
Half the time, these poor guys hardly know what’s going on with us when we’re pregnant. One day you’re happily frying him an omelette, and the next, you can’t stand the smell of anything fried, not just the eggs! Then, just when he thinks he has adjusted to your new like (or dislike, as it would be), a new one develops.
As your whole body, mind and emotions shift priority to the growing baby, you realize pretty early that you now have to make very Conscious Choices about everything you ingest. Suddenly, what you eat, drink and apply to your skin and hair matters more than ever.
The increased concern is really because of the likelihood of chemicals getting passed through your system to the baby, that may affect its development and well-being. Let me share with you some of the cravings I went through, as well as how I coped with the things I came to hate. In each case, I will share with you how I tried to remain an Eco Conscious Mom-in-Waiting.
I have always loved fruit but when i was pregnant with my son, pineapples became an obsession for me. I had to have pineapples every single day. Not the juice – it had to be the fresh fruit chunks, either on their own or in a salad.
Fortunately, pineapples are readily available around Sabah, so getting them wasn’t really a problem. And the leftover pineapple rinds? Well, I learnt how to make some really delicious drinks and infusions from them. When stewing the rinds in water, they give off the rich aroma of pineapple, which wafts through the kitchen and fills the rest of the house.
So cool! It felt great to be able to reuse the leftover pineapple rind and bits before composting them.
Zero Waste Pineapples? You Bet!
What’s even better is that, if you’ve got too much of the pineapple bits left over, just store them in a container in the vegetable compartment of your fridge. When you’re ready to make your next batch of drinks, pull them out and you’re good to go.
Want to learn how to make a delicious pineapple drink from the peels and leftover pieces? Just follow this link to see exactly how to do it. Trust me, you won’t be throwing away your pineapple bits after this. Just remember, if you’re using the peels, they’ve got to be washed clean!
Pineapples turned out to be a healthy craving for me, because they are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the baby’s development. Did you know that a cup of pineapple contains nearly 100% of a pregnant woman’s recommended daily intake of Vitamin C?
That’s not all…
Pineapples also contain:
- Folate (So important; Folate deficiency during pregnancy can lead to birth defects)
- Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)
- Dietary Fibre
With all these nutritional benefits, this is a fruit you definitely want to include in your diet.
My relationship with milk has been ‘On again, Off again’ for most of my adult life. Reason being, I am mildly lactose intolerant. I love milk in my tea and cereal, but my tummy can’t digest it most of the time.
So I end up bloated and uncomfortable. For several years pre-baby, I generally avoided it and took my tea black.
Fast track to 2019. I was 5 months preggers, and one night, totally out of the blue, I got the worst heart-burn ever in the middle of the night. We did not have anti-acid medication in the house, and even if we did, I probably wouldn’t have been allowed to take it.
So I get out of bed, go to the fridge and pour myself a full glass of cold milk in desperation. Within seconds, the burning in my chest stopped.
Just like that, cold milk became my new best friend. And because my heartburn was recurrent well into my 3rd trimester, my relationship with milk was restored.
Conscious Living the Milky Way
With my new taste for milk, we needed to stock up on fresh milk to be able to soothe my sensitive tummy. As my baby-bump would have it, I acquired a taste for a particular brand of milk called Brookside Dairy milk. For some reason, every other milk brand left me feeling quite nauseous.
The first week I got the heart-burns, hubby could not understand why I could only tolerate one brand;
“I thought milk is milk”, he would tell me, with a really confused look on his face.
Apparently, the baby didn’t agree. And baby gets what baby wants……. or else mummy pukes. So we settled on Brookside Dairy! No offence to the other milk brands; this was purely a hormonal thing.
We opted to buy 500ml screw-top packs of my favorite brand, stocking six in the fridge each week. In Malaysia, milk is sold in plastic bottles or tetra packs like the one pictured below.
The empty milk cartons are usually collected for craft projects by some centres in Sabah. Others are collected as paper trash and sent for recycling.
We opted for the tetra pack milk rather than plastic bottled milk in line with our Conscious Living decision to reduce the amount of plastic-packaged products we buy.
Unfortunately, these tetra packs do have a plastic coating and a plastic screw top. So although they may be recyclable, they are not ‘green. Lindsay Miles talks about this in her post “Why Tetra Paks aren’t Green or Sustainable (even though they are recyclable)”.
Since my heartburn occurred predominantly at night, I had to change some of my habits to manage it. Let me share a couple of tips that really helped me resolve the heartburn.
5 Ways to Reduce Heartburn during your Pregnancy:
1. Avoid rich, spicy and fried foods. This was a little tricky for us because we love Asian style cooking, which uses lots of butter, a variety of spices and plenty of frying. The new cooking style sans all these extras took some getting used to; hubby had to get himself some good sauces to flavor his meals on the side.
2. Sleep with more pillows to prop you up. You need to elevate your shoulders and torso higher than your feet to prevent reflux of stomach acids. This also took some getting used to but it really worked like a charm.
3. Don’t lie down right after eating. Allow at least 1 hour to pass before you lie down, and when you do, ensure you are propped up as recommended in No. (2) above.
4. Eat small frequent meals spread out during the day, rather than 3 big meals.
5. Avoid constipation, because this puts pressure on your stomach and restricts free flow of stomach acids and digestive processes. Include plenty of fibre in your diet to avoid constipation, and drink enough water.
In my case, i would definitely say that the combination of all 5 tips worked to reduce the frequency and intensity of my heart-burns.
What’s more, all the extra pillows also came in handy later in my 3rd trimester, when i started experiencing muscle cramps in my legs, and when getting a comfortable sleeping position became difficult.
Want to know more about the Best Body Pillows during Pregnancy? Take a look at the reviews of these brands here.When it came to making small frequent meals, I was left with lots of halves when cooking, especially during the day. Half onion, half cucumber, half avocados… and so much more. I was really worried about the food spoiling until I came across Food Huggers.
Food Huggers are food grade silicone tops, designed to store your partially cut fruit and veggies hygienically. They have a range of different sized cups, containers that are in fun colors and practical designs. Take a look at their fun Eco-friendly collections here.
Did you experience heartburn when you were expecting? What worked for you to resolve your discomfort? Drop us a comment and let us know what you did. We would love to hear about your baby-bump experiences.
Pregnancy Peeves – What I Hated!
Sadly, I did go off scented products around my 3rd month. I couldn’t stand anything scented; perfume, cologne, soap, shower gels, body butters, lotions, air freshener, everything.
We had to pack or give away anything that was scented and replace them all with unscented options, especially the soaps and body care stuff. Let’s just say that, because of all the stuff I gave away, I have a very happy mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Scent-sible Living, Conscious Living
So how do you keep your body and your house smelling fresh if you can’t stand perfumes, colognes and the commercial air fresheners? You may not be able to control what people around you wear as perfumes or colognes, but you can do something about your home and your personal hygiene.
Short of opening all the windows, there are a couple of scent-sible ways of deodorizing your house. Let me share my favorite tips next.
1. White Vinegar
This became my go-to solution. To freshen up a room or deodorize a room fast, i would add a teaspoonful of white vinegar to a small bowl of water, and place the bowl in the middle of the room. Within minutes, the air in the whole room gets deodorized because vinegar is able to absorb odors from the surroundings.
Diluted vinegar in water is also great for scrubbing down your hands to remove strong smells after handling garlic or fish. This is still my No.1 go-to for deodorizing the house during my scent-less season. I just loved how fast it worked, as well as the fact that you only needed a little to absorb strong odors.
Vinegar is such a versatile liquid, and I would reuse the deodorizing solution to wash my hands after handling strong smelling foods, or even to rinse out my wash-cloths.
2. Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds contain nitrogen which is great in absorbing odors around the house, wardrobes and even the bathroom. So all i did is this:
Dry a batch of grounds, cut up a pair of my old panty-hose into sections, measure out some grounds into about 4 separate sections and tie up both ends of each section and place each bundle into strategic corners of the rooms that I needed deodorized. If you love coffee, I shared lots of fun and useful hacks for leftover coffee grounds in my previous post, Zero Waste for Coffee & Tea Lovers.
3. Leftover Tea Leaves
They work precisely the same way as Coffee Grounds for deodorizing your spaces. So if you drink tea and you’re wondering what to do with your leftover tea leaves, they are pretty efficient odor neutralizers too. Simply dry them up, and place them in a bowl or tie them up in muslin cloth before placing them around your house. (More on this in my post on Zero Waste for Coffee & Tea Lovers)
4. Personal Hygiene Hacks:
To prevent smelly armpits, the first thing to do is to shave. Underarm hair traps sweat and odors, making you prone to carry odor longer. Once your pits are clean-shaven, you can wipe them down using any of the following:
- White vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Witch hazel
- Tea tree oil
- Lemon juice
To decide what works for your skin, you may want to do a skin patch test first. This is advisable just to make sure no irritation occurs, before you commit to any of these solutions. I settled on tea tree oil and haven’t looked back since.
The Maternity Make-up Dilemma
Ask any lady who’s been pregnant about their maternity journey, and the single constant they will tell you is that they always felt hot! Pregnant women have an increased amount of blood in their bodies, which causes them to constantly feel warmer than usual, and warmer than other people too.
Add to that acne break-outs and changes in skin pigmentation caused by the hormones, and you will understand the make-up dilemma women experience during pregnancy.
Hormones can really do a number on women’s complexions during pregnancy. Some lucky few, however, get really beautiful, clear skin and literally ‘glow’ during those months. From month 4 of my maternity journey, I began to feel the heat. I was always hot and sweaty, and constantly felt the urge to wash my face. Needless to say, whatever make-up I wore in the morning was washed off by 9.30am.
So I simply stopped wearing foundation & mascara because it was becoming wasteful having it on for under 2 hours. Aside from a basic moisturizer, lip balm became the only thing that I could tolerate on my face.
While looking around for an Eco friendly, ‘safe’ lip balm to switch to, i stumbled upon Jessica Alba’s Honest Beauty range of products. Honest Beauty has a variety of tinted lip balms, in shades that were perfect for me. Their range of lip balms has a vegan formula, with Avocado oil, Acai and Pomegranate extracts, that makes your lips taste as good as they feel.
There’s so much to love about these products, including the fact that they are made without:
- Synthetic fragrances
- Mineral oil
- Bees wax
Honest Beauty tinted lip balms give a little bit of color and a whole lot of moisture. So if i want to keep it simple, a single swipe will do; if i want to get some tint on my lips, i just build it layer-by-layer. So cool!
That’s not all! Honest Beauty products are:
- Cruelty free
- Not tested on animals and
- Do not contain animal-derived ingredients.
Take a look at their Honest Standard here. This is definitely a product that motivates you to want to support their Eco friendly, sustainable lifestyle mission. I know I’m going to be supporting them, because they uphold values and business practises that are in line with the Circular Economy.
In her post on the Top 5 Ocean-Friendly Skincare Products, my friend Maria Frackowiak looked at some ‘Clean’ skincare brands. ‘Clean’ meaning they don’t have lots of toxic chemicals that are harmful to people and to the environment. If you’re interested to know more, you could scoot over to her post and take a look.
The Circle of Life
“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors – We borrow it from our children.”
Native American Proverb
This journey of life is actually circular, because every second of the day, a new life is created whilst another fades away. This is why some people call it the ‘Circle of Life’. Each of us has a responsibility to care for Mother Earth, so that future generations will have a place to call home. After all, we have only borrowed the Earth from our children…. So let’s make sure we don’t leave them a ruined, polluted home.
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