Refreshing Summer Drink Blueberry Kefir Smoothie
Saddled with the infamous pregnancy affliction, constipation, I embraced a high-fiber diet more than ever. Still, things were slow going and terribly uncomfortable. Finally, I discovered a regimen that offered some relief. A daily dose of prune juice and probioticrich kefir helped give my sluggish system a nudge. Though prunes are fiber filled, their juice is virtually void of it. Prune juice’s regulating potion is actually sorbitol, a sugar, which retains water and, in turn, softens stool. Kefir, a cultured milk product similar to yogurt, contains good bacteria that help keep the digestive tract balanced and healthy.
In addition to the cleansing effect of prune juice, it is also a good source of potassium, an electrolyte credited with warding off muscle cramps and irregular heart rhythms. Electrolyte imbalance is fairly common during pregnancy and can be avoided with a balanced diet and healthful choices like this smoothie.
- Makes 4 servings
- 2 cups/473 ml plain kefir
- 2 cups/280 g fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup/237 ml prune juice
- Combine the kefir, blueberries, and prune juice in a blender. Blend on high speed for about
- 30 seconds into a smooth, purpley liquid speckled with blueberry skins. Serve
- immediately. Cover and refrigerate leftovers up to 3 days; stir well or quickly blend again
- before serving.
Calories 160 | Total fat 4 g (Saturated 3 g, Poly 0 g, Omega-3 0.04 g, DHA 0.00 g, EPA 0.00 g, Mono 0 g), Cholesterol 15 mg | Protein 5 g | Sodium 72 mg | Carbohydrates 27 g | Fiber 3 g | Sugars 17 g | Vitamin A 3 mcg | Vitamin B6 0 mg | Vitamin B12 0 mcg | Vitamin C 7 mg | Vitamin D 50 IU | Choline 4 mg | Folate 4 mcg | Calcium 159 mg | Iron 1 mg
DURING BOTH PREGNANCIES, BUT ESPECIALLY THE FIRST, I WAS WEIGHED DOWN HEAVILY BY CONSTIPATION, a pregnancy-induced digestive snafu. I would go days staring longingly at the toilet and watch enviously as my husband would emerge from the bathroom with a lighter lilt in his step. Accusatory fingers are most often pointed at progesterone, a hormone that plays a critical role in readying the uterus for the rigors of pregnancy. It is notorious for slowing down the works of the digestive system. You can try to override its traffic-jamming effects by drinking lots of water (which you should be doing anyway), getting plenty of fiber (again, already on your to-do list), and sneaking in substances like sorbitol, which may be helpful in loosening things up. For some women, constipation is a major problem that is especially annoying in the first trimester, when progesterone is really ruling the roost.
Tying constipation for misery points is heartburn! There are theories from every direction, including old wives’ tales about hairy babies, that attempt to explain or prevent the pain of heartburn, but the dependability of any one in particular is hit or miss. From my own personal experience I can confirm that it helps a little to avoid acidic or spicy foods that might aggravate things, but I also ate pizza on occasion with no ill effects and, later, seemingly benign things like plain rice that resulted in five-alarm fires in my chest. I tried to eat less and eat earlier before bedtime.
Sometimes that helped. Sometimes it didn’t. When the heartburn was at its worst, I tried a shot of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which I heard was a cure-all. In my experience, it stung going down and may have taken the edge off the heartburn some, but I didn’t make it a part of my regular routine for addressing the discomfort. I know I’m not the only woman who developed an intimate relationship with her bottle of antacids while pregnant. (Double-check your brand of antacid with your healthcare provider.)
I had the same inconsistent results with preventing the ever-so-ladylike gassiness of pregnancy. Beans or no beans, fiber or not, the musical stylings of pregnancy are an inevitable passing (no pun intended) phase that can be chalked up to the beautiful havoc being wreaked on your system. Laugh, embrace it, and shrug it off.