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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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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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Summer Harvest Bowl


With summer produce in full swing I wanted to make something that highlighted all of the fresh vegetables growing in gardens and being sold at farmers market. I decided to create what I am calling a Summer Harvest Bowl. There is something really satisfying and nourishing about eating a meal from a bowl. I was also inspired by Sarah from My New Roots and her abundance bowls. Most of the time when I cook, I pick simple recipes and simple ingredients. I don’t have a lot of time to look up recipes or bring together many different ingredients, so this is a typical meal I might make. I created this dish from ingredients I already had in my kitchen, so I encourage you to combine vegetables, toppings and a base grain to your liking.


Serves 2 people

1 cup quinoa (1.5 cups water)
2 summer squashes
1 cup of chopped green beans
Big handful of arugula
1 cucumber
Variety of  tomatoes
10 0lives
1/2 an avocado sliced
1/2 block of tempeh
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon
Fresh herbs such as: basil, oregano, thyme
1/4 teaspoon of salt


1. Make quinoa. I like to toast the quinoa with fresh herbs before adding water. To toast, add quinoa and herbs to a pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally, once the quinoa is slightly tan, or popping, add water. Be careful with this step, the quinoa will be hot and sputters out of the pan when water is added. Add the water slowly.
2. Marinate the tempeh in some tamari for a few minutes. Add to hot pan with coconut oil. Once one side is brown flip over to the other side.
3. Gather your vegetables, cut them up and saute in coconut oil, some salt and any cut up herbs.
4. Cut up the toppings: olives, cucumber, arugula, tomatoes. Other ideas: walnuts, goat cheese, sprouts, raisins, pine nuts, spinach, roasted garlic.
5. Make dressing: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
6. Arrange in bowl (this is the hard part for me!) or just pile everything together. Pour dressing on top.


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Black Sesame Chai Smoothie


I was first introduced to authentic chai when I was 18 years old when visiting India. From the first sip I was absolutely hooked on the piping hot, overly sweet and spicy drink. Chai is everywhere in India. You walk into a shop to look at saris and many times they sit you down on a tiny plastic chair and serve you a tiny cup. The minute  you walk into a home the host offers you chai and of course, if you need your fix, there are vendors on every corner (not something I would always recommend).  Since trying Indian chai, the slightly bland version that is sold in bottles and in cafés in America does not compare. Not even close. So, when I was introduced to Bhakti Chai I knew I had found what I always dream of when thinking of chai. It’s bliss in a bottle. Vegan, organic and spicy. They have ones with soy milk, almond milk, sugar free, with sugar or in concentrate form.

While I wouldn’t recommend it everyday, chai is lovely treat. Iced in the summer and hot in the winter it’s perfection in a glass.

Black Sesame Chai Smoothie

1/2 cup of cold chai
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 banana (frozen or not)
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds

Blend and enjoy for a treat or for breakfast!

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