As founder of Bonberi—a curated guide for food and well being—Nicole knows the benefits of good food, and more importantly how to eat what, and when. Pregnant with her second, we took a moment to chat with her about how no one talks about pregnancy eating disorders, food combining, and getting your blood flowing. @bonberi
Current State of Mind:
I’m feeling good over all. It’s my second pregnancy and I’m mostly anxious to know what the dynamic will be like with two. I suppose ultimately it will be whatever it’ll be.
Being pregnant for the second time:
This time has definitely been more challenging. I can’t tell if that’s because the sex of the baby or that I’m running after a toddler. The first time I was pregnant I felt that I could do anything—I was bouncing around, traveling and working out all the time. However now, I’m just exhausted. Honestly, even the idea of going anywhere besides the grocery store tires me out.
I’ve always loved food and from a young age I equated it with love—for better or for worse—and throughout my teens and early college years I had issues with food as a result. However, in my 20s I hit a wall and was sick of hamster wheel of dieting, cleansing and binging. I found Gil Jacobs, a colonic therapist and master of eating to cleanse. He taught me the basics of food combining, juicing and living an alkaline diet that intuitively rang true to me. I discovered a way to live a cleansing lifestyle within a framework that would allow me to indulge—which is what had been missing for me in the detoxing and health world.
Why do we have to go for out for an opulent meal and then feel bad about it afterwards? With proper food combining, I found a way to marry my love of food and the pleasure of eating with detoxing. My recipes are meant to satiate indulgence, the soul, and hunger, while also staying lean and feeling great. I’ve been eating like this for 6 years, through my first pregnancy, breastfeeding and now this pregnancy and haven’t had the need for a cheat day in years. What I learned was that you don’t have to be cleansing OR indulging, it’s not one or the other.
Eating Disorders and Pregnancy:
People don’t talk about it enough, but pregnancy can bring up all kinds of old food issues for a lot of women. I was more prepared this go around, but the first time I was pregnant was challenging as it brought up a lot of my old emotional eating issues. Suddenly things like juicing in the morning made me sick and instead I had to have a bagel. While I had to listen to my body, this all felt so wrong to me. I literally remember googling “pregnancy and eating disorder”, not that I had one, but rather I wanted to under how often pregnancy resurfaced eating issues for women. At the time there wasn’t really any articles or information out there and I realized that people don’t talk about this enough. With this pregnancy I’ve been able to better navigate around my food concerns, as I was anticipating it. Plus, knowing this too shall pass helped me “feel comfortable in the discomfort”, as the Buddhist’s would say.
Important foods while pregnant:
Fennel is incredible because of its natural anti-nausea and anti-bloating benefits, so I often juice a fennel or eat it raw. Also, foods like baked yams, acorn squash, or potatoes can grounding for pregnant mamas. I’m mostly plant-based so I get a lot my fats from avocados or flax oils, which are great, especially if you don’t eat fish. And lastly, I can’t stress enough the powers of seaweed. In Korea women eat seaweed all throughout their pregnancy and for 3o days after birth because of its healing qualities.
Circulation is key, so I make a point to work out (even if I’m exhausted), go for a walk, get massages, and dry brush—which actively works to tone the skin and minimize water retention. I do Tracy Anderson’s prenatal program plus her dance classes.
With David Chang’s TV show, UGLY DELICIOUS, which is kind of like Anthony Bourdain’s show where he travels all over the world. I get a lot of my inspiration from watching really talented chefs and then interrupting their recipes in my own way.
Self-care is so important during this time. For me, the key to wellness is circulation, whether you’re pregnant or not. It goes back to the Chinese philosophy of stagnation equals illness. During my pregnancy I’ve been actively focused on digestion, which is hard to do because it slows down with pregnancy hormones, but with proper food combining it all flows. This means not combining proteins and starches in one meal. I have suggested this to my other pregnant friends and they say it helps them with heartburn too. Also, it’s important to stay as alkaline as possible, by having juices, fruits, and raw veggies to your vitality and energy up. Too many cook foods can weigh you down and make you feel very tired and heavy. I’m also a big proponent of lymphatic massages and meditation for peace of mind—this could literally mean 3 breaths, it doesn’t have to be 20 min.
Working and being present:
It’s weirdly been go time for me as I’ve felt more ambitious than ever—I want to get it all done before the baby comes.
I believe in having a birth outline. The first time I had a doula and we loosely wrote a plan with the full understanding that the plan would likely change and that would be OK. I like the idea of having a doula but also being in a medical environment.
Advice to new moms:
It’s a really important time to take care of your body. Take time for yourself and realize that you’re not operating at 100% and it’s ok to take a break. Know that you’re not alone in feeling uncomfortable, which can be a really humbling experience.