Tag Archives: healthy pregnancy

Real Food in NYC

Eating gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly paleo (always real food) in New York City is easy! Check out our favourite spots from our birthday trip/babymoon.Last June, the hubby and I spent an extra long weekend in New York City! It was my 30th Birthday (and his 36th) and I was 6 months pregnant, so not exactly up for a raging party – haha!

So as a combo birthday trip and baby-moon, we hopped on down to New York City for what was to be a wonderful vacation!

Some people are able to make modifications to their way of eating while on vacation, and while we can do that slightly, we more or less stick to what we know works best for us. That way we can feel our best and enjoy our trip to the fullest!

Usually we rent an AirBnB, VRBO or make sure to get a hotel with a kitchenette, and find a grocery store (ideally a Whole Foods) as soon as we get to town. And while we still did this, we modified it slightly because it’s NYC! A HUGE city with enough people to have restaurants to cater to every diet! So I did some research on restaurants that we could enjoy and picked an apartment located smack in the middle of all my amazing finds. 

I’ve had many questions about where to eat in NYC so I thought I would (finally) make an actual blog post out of it! Here are all of the places where we enjoyed delicious food:


Hu Kitchen

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Options, Quality Meat, No Vegetable Oils, Paleo, Vegetarian/Vegan Options

Hu Kitchen was my favourite place ever. It was pricey, but that’s what you get for high quality ingredients. As someone who is VERY sensitive to vegetable oils, being able to go out for a few different meals, and not worry about the subsequent inflammation (joint pain, ugh) was amazing. 


Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!



We enjoyed roast chicken, paleo meatloaf, lots of veggie sides (with cashew cheese!), Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips (purple heirloom potatoes cooked in coconut oil), fair-trade organic coffee with coconut milk and maple syrup (there were so many milk/sweetener options) and some yummy paleo desserts. The hubs had a carrot cake whoopee pie for breakfast on his birthday, and I enjoyed a paleo blueberry muffin!



Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!Springbone

Paleo/Vegan Soft Serve Ice Cream

Another real-food restaurant that serves Bone Broth and lots of gluten-free options. But we went for the 3-ingredient ice-cream.

Chocolate Avocado & Raspberry Banana.

All dairy free and no junk.

Enough said.



Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!Pokeworks

Wild, sustainable fish burritos

Poke works was a little takeout burrito joint, that basically resulted in giant, customizable hand rolls. Wild sustainable sushi-grade salmon, avocado, veggies, sea greens and rice wrapped in a large sheet of nori. We each grabbed a burrito and enjoyed them in Bryant Park before walking over to Times Square to see The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious (and incredibly offside). 


Keste Pizza

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!

The best pizza I have had in my life.

Over 50 pizza options on the menu, 10 of which were gluten-free! Although a very strict no changes/substitutions rule, you are able to omit an ingredient. We had gluten-free pizzas that had mozzarella and sheep cheese, and omitted the mozzarella, because we don’t tolerate cow-dairy. They also had several gluten-free beer options! 

This tiny, authentically Italian (direct from Napoli!) pizzeria in Greenwich Village is one of the top 5 restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life. And I’m lucky enough to have been to some really nice ones, because my parents, specifically my Dad, plan all their trips around the top restaurants in that city. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree eh?

We went here for my birthday dinner and we literally didn’t speak the entire time except to say “oh my goodness” and “holy $h!t” over and over. We’ve since sent many people there, both gluten-free foodies like us, and eat-everything-foodies, and everyone has had an amazing experience. 


Whole Foods/Trader Joes

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Whole Foods Haul: bacon, eggs, greens, coffee, coconut milk, goat yogurt, clean snacks (potato chips, fruit, applegate meat), cider and kombucha.


We rented an apartment right by NYU/Union Square, so we were a 10-15 minute walk from Hu Kitchen, Whole Foods, Springbone and Keste (priorities, amiright??). The first thing we did was stock up on groceries from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s on 14th. Making breakfast is always how we do things, because it’s hard to find quality breakfast restaurants. Not to mention, when you just get bacon & eggs, it seems expensive for something you cane easily make at home! And to be honest, I love waking up and having coffee and breakfast in my pjs! Especially at 6 months pregnant when I was moving a little slower in the mornings.

We stocked up on bacon, eggs, mango kombucha (a major pregnancy craving, one of my only ones), mixed greens, bananas, sheep-milk yogurt, cold brew coffee which we warmed up in a small pot (so we didn’t have to fuss with grinding coffee, or not having a coffee maker), coconut milk, maple syrup, Jackson’s Honest chips and some clean cold cuts for snacks. 

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Breakfast at “Home”: bacon, fried eggs cooked in the same pan, on greens, fruit and mango kombucha. Side of prenatal vitamins!

Needless to say, we ate well. Very well. It cost us a pretty penny, but not any more than eating out at every meal. In fact, it was probably less than most people spend on food in NYC! Regardless, quality food is always a priority for us. In lieu of buying me a fancy 30th birthday gift like shoes, jewellery or a purse, we enjoyed every bite of every piece of food, without thinking twice about the cost! 

Now, NYC is a unique place, because it is so big, with so many different types of people. So you can find restaurants to fit all diets from vegan to paleo, and all budgets from $2 street vendor meals to swanky high end joints. 

Real food in New York City! Gluten-free, paleo, sustainable, vegan deliciousness!
Dinner at “Home”: paleo/vegan caesar salad from Hu Kitchen, Jackson’s Honest Potato chips in Coconut Oil, Applegate Ham




But the approach we have travelled to places quite the opposite, and always find success. For example, we spent a week in Rocky Harbour Newfoundland for our honeymoon. Other than seafood, Rocky Harbour was practically a food desert, but we figured it out! Root veggies and broccoli rounded out our fresh seafood dinners every night, which we cooked on our BBQ at the little cottage we rented. It’s definitely possible to eat well, or eat in a way that will nourish your body within your limits, where ever you travel. It just takes a bit of planning. The longer you live this way, the easier it gets!


What tricks do you use for eating well on vacation? 


First Foods

JUDGEMENT-FREE POST: Please note that this not how you *should* do things. This is just a window into how I did things, and I relied mostly on my instincts. Do what feels right mama. *Should precedes shame* so I strongly encourage you not to *should yourself*! Parenting is hard enough as it is. You’re doing great!! 

Introducing foods to your baby can be a fun, but also intimidating process. The best advice I can give is to (a) understand when a baby is ready for food, (b) identify your goal with food intro and (c) have a few resources you can trust!


When Is A Baby Ready For Food?

There are 3 things you want to look for:

  1. Interest. Ideally your kid is expressing an interest in what you’re doing when you’re eating. They might want to grab your food, or try putting things in their mouth. This is a little tricky, because as of 4 months most babies put everything into their mouths, and suddenly are a lot more interested in the world, so this isn’t the only consideration for being food-ready.
  2. Sitting Up Independently. For safety reasons, it is best if your kid can sit up, mostly unassisted. Sticking them in the bumbo doesn’t count!
  3. No More Tongue-Thrust Reflux. The tongue thrust reflex is an important safety reflex in newborns. If something solid gets in their mouth, the tongue automatically pushes it away, to protect the airway. This tends to disappear somewhere between 4-7 months. (NOTE: I struggled to find a video showing the tongue-thrust reflex, other than this one, but I’m posting cautiously. I promise I’m not judging this family, it’s just a great example of the reflex!)


My 2 Goals with Food Intro

NUTRITION: My first goal was nutrition – obviously! Breastmilk is notoriously low in iron and zinc, and no matter how many supplements you take, it won’t become sufficient for your kiddo. That’s why the recommendation from the medical community is to start with iron-fortified grains. Since I am a real-foodie, the idea of using a fortified food as a first food doesn’t sit well with me. Not to mention grains are full of anti-nutrients that actually inhibit nutrient absorption and can contribute to poor gut-health. A lot of real-foodies, or those who follow baby-led weaning principles, choose root veggies as an alternative. But, those don’t contain the nutrients babies need! So instead, I went straight to the source of iron…meat, specifically liver. The first food that we gave Baby H was pate – specifically my friend Megan Garcia’s Pate. Although I modified the recipe to be dairy-free (I used bone broth and coconut oil), and I used ingredients I had on hand such as chicken livers (instead of beef), rosemary and a gala apple.

FUN & FLAVOUR: To avoid becoming too clinical about food, I also started introducing fun, high-flavour foods. While babies don’t need fruits & vegetables til around 1 year, I played around with them to help develop her palate. I took a page out of the book French Kids Eat Anything (stay tuned for a post on this amazing book) and started with fun soups. I also did not worry about introducing one food at a time, since that (a) didn’t make intuitive sense to me (b) there’s no evidence to back that up and (c) food should taste good, not bland! So my soups contained big flavours like cumin, ginger, coriander, and even Thai curry! Things we wanted to eat!

Check out my post on Favourite Foods at 6 Months!



Megan Garcia – my friend Megan is a wonderful resource. She has a ton of free information to get you started. But even better, she has a course you can take, which walks you through nutrition and introducing foods to your baby! Great for anyone who wants to go into this stage with all the knowledge and confidence!

CanDo Kiddo – I subscribe to Rachel’s newsletter, and there was one video that really resonated with me. It showed the stages of muscle development as a child learns to move food through their mouth. It was absolutely fascinating. She also has great info on her blog, as well as a course you can take to boost confidence!

Postpartum Fitness

If you asked me during my pregnancy, when I would be back to the gym after having a baby, I would have said “6 weeks, maybe 2 months”.

Oh how naive I was…

Aside from the fact that (unknowingly going in) I was a full-on attachment parent, or that our baby girl nursed every 20-90 minutes (but I never knew when it would be 20 vs. 90), the pounding your body takes in the early weeks of having a baby is like nothing I have ever experienced. Here’s how it went down for me:

  1. 14 hour labour – which isn’t too long in the grand scheme of things. But it was like a constant workout, and I stopped eating about 30 minutes after labour actually started. So I did a 13.5 hour workout without eating more than a few grapes and a glass of juice.
  2. 2.5+ hours pushing – yeah so that was intense. Especially since it was unmedicated. It was like doing a max-effort workout for an entire minute. Every 3-4 minutes, for over 2.5 hours. Again, on no food. And one hell of a workout for my pelvic floor muscles.
  3. 24 hours awake – from when my water broke to when baby girl arrived, on very little food, with adrenaline going like crazy. Oh and labour. 
  4. 4 hours sleep – she arrived at 3am, we fell asleep by 6am, and woke up around 9:30am for our first day with our baby girl.
  5. Up 2-3 times/night for 45-90 minutes for 6 weeks – so after that marathon and a half, what would have been amazing, was a goodnight sleep to recover. But nope! 
  6. Creating milk to sustain another human – on little sleep, struggling to eat enough and full of stress hormones (amongst other hormones).

Soooo, now that I’ve painted a beautiful picture of having a baby – haha! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, I promise. In fact, writing that makes me proud about what a freakin’ badass I am. Women are strong. Shockingly strong. But I digress…

By the time I hit 6 weeks postpartum, I was pretty darn depleted. As someone who historically didn’t let themselves workout on less than 7 hours of sleep, due to a history of adrenal fatigue, I was feeling super torn. I wanted to go back to the gym SO badly, but I couldn’t knowingly put my body through that, on top of what I was already demanding of it. Also, I was pretty sure that the almost 3 hours of pushing likely resulted in some muscular damage/imbalances. So here’s what I did:

1. Embraced this season of life.

This took a lot of introspection and mental work on my part. Never in my life have I taken a significant time off from being active. The most was 5 or 6 weeks with minor injuries, but I often figured out how to work around it, like participating in basketball practice while my hand was in a cast (smart Amanda, real smart). Being active, and more recently, being a Crossfitter, is actually a major part of how I self-identify. So on top of the massive identity shift that happens when you just, become a mom, I was also no longer working on our business (which is also one of my life’s passions) and I was very quickly losing strength, mobility and the mental clarity that comes with exercise.

A few quotations that helped me embrace this season of life were:

“Don’t treat a gift as a burden.”

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“This is the longest, shortest time.”

I didn’t want to look back on this incredibly short time (although it seems sooooo long when you’re in it) and wish I had snuggled my baby more. So I put going back to the gym out of my mind entirely. I was unknowingly putting pressure on myself to get back, so I just stopped. I took it off the table, knowing that the time would come when it would seem very manageable to get back.

2. Saw a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

 There is more and more discussion on how this should be part of standard postpartum care, and in some areas of the world it is. And I can’t recommend it enough. I am strong, I had no obvious damage (no tearing, no stitches), I wasn’t experiencing any incontinence and I wasn’t in much pain. But when I was assessed by my pelvic floor physio at 7 weeks postpartum, she gave me a 1/5. I have never received 20% on anything in my life – LOL – so this was a major blow. Haha! But I did a few weeks of prescribed exercises and jumped to a 3/5. At which point I was discharged, especially because I was asymptomatic, and was sent away with a handful of exercises to continue doing. I credit this step with now being able to do everything I was able to do before, like box jumps and skipping/double unders, without peeing! Unfortunately it is now considered normal to pee when jumping or running, after having a baby…to that I say, just because it is common, does not make it normal. See a pelvic floor physio if you’re experiencing unwanted voiding!

3. Yoga

At 4 months PP the kiddo started having slightly more predictable naps. I was also sleeping quite a bit more at night, so I didn’t need to nap when she napped anymore. My husband and I started trying to strategize about getting me back to the gym for the morning class, but I decided it wasn’t the right time yet. She routinely slept in til 8-8:30ish, which I embraced and slept in with her. I knew that would come to an end soon, so I took those sleep-ins as a gift and an opportunity to continue to recover. Especially since I was experiencing some pretty gnarly arthritis as the hormone relaxin left my body. So instead, I found a wonderful series of yoga videos on youtube, that were 25-30 minutes in length – perfect for nap time, which at this point was rarely longer than 40 minutes. About 5 or so years ago I went through a period of major yoga love. It was right after training for a half marathon (which killed my love of running for a significant while). Yoga felt like I was taking care of my body, after the beating I had just put it through, and was a wonderfully healing experience then, so I hoped to have the same response now. Boy did it do the trick! It felt so wonderful to move my body, work on mobility, engage my muscles and start building up some strength again – in a gentle way, without causing too much depletion. I even (for a split second) considered going back to yoga as my primary exercise instead of Crossfit (it was a short second, I swear, lol!). But if I’m honest, after about 6 weeks of yoga, I started making reasons to skip it. I was getting a bit bored – not because of the yoga, which was still a wonderful program – but because I was used to working out hard, in a group environment, where we all cheered each other on! I really missed Crossfit.

4. Back to Crossfit!

The combination of taking time off, rehabbing my body properly and introducing movement back to my life with yoga in a way that built up my strength, rather than depleting it, set me up perfectly for getting back to the gym by 6 months postpartum. It was a little humbling realizing how much strength I lost, but I reframed it by thinking of how I, you know, grew another human being! After being back for a few weeks, I’m actually more proud of myself than I was before. I can’t believe what I can do, after having a baby and taking 6+ months off! It’s exciting to see my skills come back, muscles starting to show a bit and slowly but surely, feeling my strength come back! 


As is always important with Crossfit, I had to check my ego at the door. When you start Crossfit, you are simultaneously learning new skills and developing strength. I was in an interesting position of having the skills, but not having the strength, or the lungs. So I had to be extra careful not to overdo it an injure myself. I scaled every WOD, and then scaled a bit more. I took epsom salt baths, supplemented, ate really well, foam-rolled and did mobility work at night, and even managed to go for a massage!

To Sum Up…

While it took a while for me to get there mentally, I couldn’t be happier with how I approached my return to exercising during the postpartum period. While many figure out how to get back 6 weeks PP, I truly feel that going back to the gym earlier was not the right decision for me, or my family for that matter. Instead, by being gentle with my body, rehabbing properly and slowly reintroducing fitness, I set my body up for success with Crossfit going forward. And more importantly, I’ve set my body up the best I can, to be able to handle another pregnancy (should we decide to go that route), hopefully as well as it handled this one!

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