Pregnancy – First Trimester Must Haves


Pregnancy is a wild ride with so many ups and downs. Everything is new. I spent hours googling “is this normal?”

I also spent most of the first trimester sleeping as much as I could. Most evenings would consist of me lying on the couch hoping I wasn’t going to throw up and generally just feeling quite terrible. I hope your first trimester is better. I didn’t exercise much and I didn’t want to eat anything, but not eating made the nausea worse. So yeah, it was fun. There were a few things that helped me feel a little more human.

Here is my first trimester must haves:

1. Fruit, carbs and cheese. That is all I wanted to eat. My normal diet of veggies, greens, grains and legumes went out the window. I could barely stomach looking at them. Instead I munched on fruit, toast, pasta, pizza, and cheese. I say if you can’t fight it, go with it. At first I felt guilty because I wanted to eat the best for the growing little baby, but by the time I got into my second trimester I was happily eating my normal diet again. 

2. Fresh ginger tea, peppermint candies, lemon water. Anything that will settle your stomach will be your friend. 

3. Prenatal vitamins. I liked the whole food based ones. They are more expensive, but easier for the body to digest.

3. Comfy pants. This is the most awkward stage, you will be bloated, but not showing yet. Wear clothes that are comfy and not too tight. 

4. Belly Oil. I love the Earth Mama Angel Baby products. They have a delicious smell and go on smoothly. I used almost an entire bottle of their belly oil and body butter during my pregnancy. 

5. Water- I carried a water bottle with me at all times. It was amazing how quickly I got thirsty!

Next up: second trimester tips. 

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Almond Milk Lassi


Almond Milk Lassi
This drink is easy to make, but oh so delicious! I like lassi with yogurt, but I was pleasantly surprised how refreshing and fulfilling this drink was with homemade almond milk.
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  1. 1/2 cup almonds
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon cardamon
  5. 1 tablespoon rose water
  6. 3 dates pitted
  1. Soak almonds overnight
  2. Once soaked, drain almonds and rinse
  3. Put almonds and rest of ingredients in blender (preferably a high speed blender)
  4. Blend for 3-5 mins
  5. Strain in nut bag or very fine mesh
  6. Put in fridge or add ice for a very refreshing summer drink!
Annalisa Marie
If you are looking for a nut milk bag, there are tons on the market. Just make sure you get one with a fine mesh material. 

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Yogurt Dill Salad Dressing

Dill Dressing

My love for salads is year round. Winter, spring, summer and fall, you name it. I vary the ingredients depending on my mood and what is in season. The trick to a great salad is making sure you have different textures, tastes (sweet, sour, salty, etc.), some protein and fat, and a really good salad dressing. I rarely find a store bought dressing that I like, I find that making my own is more satisfying and delicious. My go to is olive oil, lemon or balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, but, it is also fun to mix it up a bit. 

This yogurt dill salad dressing, is a perfect balance of tart, creamy, slightly sweet and refreshing. Enjoy!

Yogurt Dill Salad Dressing
Serves 2
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  1. ¼ cup yogurt
  2. 1 tablespoon lemon
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. Dash of maple syrup or sugar
  6. Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Taste and add salt, pepper or more sweetener if needed.
Annalisa Marie
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Cilantro Parsley Pea Pesto


I’ve decided spring is officially here! The daffodils are blooming, I can walk outside without a heavy down coat, and the grass is green. Spring is a perfect time to renew and refresh. Eat tons of greens, eat berries, and in other words, eat seasonally. This recipe takes advantage of green peas and herbs that are in season. If you don’t have access to fresh green peas, no worries, just use frozen. Sometimes you have to just do the best you can do!

Cilantro Parsley Pea Pesto/Dip
Serves 4
This dip is pleasantly sweet and would pair well with something salty like pasta, chips or as a spread on a sandwich.
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  1. 1 cup cilantro
  2. 1 cup parsley
  3. 1 1/2 cup green peas
  4. ½ cup pine nuts (walnuts work just as well)
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon salt (add more if needed)
  7. Pepper
  8. Optional: a garlic clove
  1. Remove the hardy stalks of the cilantro and parsley.
  2. In a food processor or blender combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Annalisa Marie
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Vegan Mac and Cheese


Disclaimer, I LOVE cheese. I dream of going to France or Italy and eating slice after slice of cheese. The problem is I notice my menstrual cramps get worse when I eat a lot of dairy, so I’ve been cutting back on dairy over the years. It’s sad, but not when I make recipes like this. I don’t miss the cheese in this vegan mac and cheese. This “cheese” is creamy, smooth and nutty.

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Sugar Substitutes

Guess how many pounds of sugar the average American consumes each year…

CupcakesHave you guessed?

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Raw Berry Cheesecake Recipe

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

Eating this raw berry cheesecake feels like a celebration of life. It’s nourishing, creamy, sweet and delicious. The best thing is it’s free of gluten, dairy and processed sugar, but I promise you, your family or friends will never know! It’s that good. If you end up just eating it all yourself, I will totally understand.

Raw Berry Cheesecake Recipe
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  1. 1 cup pitted dates
  2. 1/4 raisins
  3. 1/2 cup walnuts
  4. 1/2 cup almonds
  5. 1/4 coconut shreds
  1. 2 cups cashews soaked (for at least 6 hours)
  2. One lemon
  3. Two cups of strawberries (or berries of your choice)
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 cup sweetener of your choice. I used maple syrup (not raw), you can use anything you like.
  6. 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  1. To make crust combine pitted dates, raisins, walnuts, almonds and coconut shreds in food processor until it forms a ball.
  2. Oil pan with coconut oil and press the crust evenly in the pan. Refrigerate.
  3. To make filling, drain and blend cashews with lemon juice, sweetener, vanilla and coconut oil.
  4. Add strawberries (leave some for decoration)
  5. Taste the filling to see if you want to add anything (such as more lemon or sweetener)
  6. Pour the filling into the crust and put in freezer. Two hours before serving take out of freezer so it can defrost. Add berries when serving.
Annalisa Marie
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No Gluten? No Problem

In my last post I talked about the Elimination Diet, a great and “simple” way to figure out if you have any food sensitivities or allergies. I put simple in quotations, because it requires some will-power and planning, but it can be done!


Thai food is normally gluten-free!

If you did the elimination diet, good for you! Now you know if there are certain foods that your body might need a break from or is sensitive to. It’s up to you to decide how much you can eat the foods. Sometimes just eating less of the food group, or taking a break can do wonders. Sometimes, people find fully eliminating the food group is best. You have to figure out what is right for your body, everyone is different. For the next few blog posts I’m going to help you with substitutions, because unfortunately the common foods that causes allergies are also some very common foods that are usually eaten daily.

Let’s start with gluten.

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The Elimination Diet


During the elimination diet you can eat yummy salads like this.

Let’s talk about food! Everyone wants to know, “what should I be eating?” In this modern age, everywhere you turn there is a new eating plan/ diet out there at is supposed to change your life, help you lose weight and get the energy back that you are lacking. It’s confusing! How are you supposed to decide what to eat? Well, it’s a complicated answer, because the truth is, there is no one diet for everyone. Everyone has individual needs depending on many factors, such as: where they live, how old they are, their constitution, genetics, activity level, and so much more! Not only that, but throughout your life, your eating needs will change.

Don’t let this discourage you. Instead, it’s time to take charge of your health, get into the drivers seat, and listen to your body. Do you pay attention to how you feel after you eat a certain food? After a certain meal? Start paying attention. Experiment. Eliminate a food group, and notice if you feel better. Try adding something in, and observe your body. You are the only one that can truly know how a eating plan is affecting your body and your health, so pay attention!

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Vegan Chai Cheesecake


This decadent two layer vegan chai cheesecake will delight your friends and family. They won’t believe that no dairy is involved and will find it hard to stop at only one piece!

Serves 8-12. If you have a smaller cheesecake pan, cut the ingredients in half, or make three layers. :)

9 inch springform pan

1 1/4 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded dry coconut

(One layer will be chai and one will be chai chocolate so we will be dividing everything in half)
3 cups cashews
1/4 cup of coconut oil melted
2 cups of Bhakti Chai (one bottle)
1/2 cup of sugar (unless the chai has sugar, then omit this ingredient)
1/2 cup of cacao powder (for one of the two layers)

1. Begin by soaking cashews in bowl with water overnight (makes them softer and easier to digest).
2. To make crust, mix all of the crust ingredients together for one minute in a food processor.
3. Press crust into bottom of your springform pan.
4. For the first layer of filling, blend half the cashews (about two cups because they expanded while soaking) in a blender with 1/8 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup of sugar (if chai is unsweetened), and Bhakti Chai. Start with 3/4 cup of chai and keep on adding until the consistency is very smooth and slightly thick (think pudding).
5. Pour the first layer of the filling into the pan. Even it out. Cover and put it in the freezer for a few hours until it is hard.
6. Once the first layer is in the freezer, work on the 2nd layer. Blend the remaining cashews, sugar, coconut oil and all of the cacao powder. Start with 3/4 cup of chai and continue adding once again until the consistency is like pudding.
6. Once the first layer is hard, pour the second batch on top. Even it out and freeze again.
7. Take out of freezer 45-60 minutes before serving. Cut while still slightly frozen for nice even slices. Once fully unfrozen, it will be very pudding-like.

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