“AN IMPORTANT THEME FOR ME DURING PREGNANCY IS DO WHAT FEELS GOOD AND DON’T DO WHAT DOESN’T, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT,” SAYS LANEY CROWELL, FOUNDER OF CLEAN BEAUTY LIFESTYLE SITE THE MOMENT AND MOMMY-TO-BE. “I’ve been so in tune with my body these last few months, I’ve realized that in the past I wasn’t as in tune as I thought I was.” We caught up with the clean beauty expert on her approach to pregnancy, her weird (non-plant-based) cravings and the importance of slowing down.
Images courtesy of Laney Crowell
After becoming pregnant, did your outlook on how you took care of your body change? If so, how?
Such a big question and one that I think women don’t talk enough about. It’s important to note that I haven’t had a particularly easy pregnancy. I was so sick at the beginning that the doctors thought I had Giardia! Which for those of you that don’t know, it’s a really nasty parasite. The doctors ended up recommending a diet called FODMAP to help with my extreme morning sickness. It’s a really complicated diet, but it did help. During that time I felt like I was just doing what I could to survive. So, while my outlook on how I was taking care of my body didn’t really change, physically there were a lot of things I just simply couldn’t do. Working out was out of the question, and even the thought of vegetables made me feel sick. There were weeks were all I ate was organic gluten-free cereal and nut milk!
Eventually the nausea did go away, around month 5, and I was able to work out again and somewhat go back to my normal eating habits. Mentally I had to let go though, which wasn’t totally easy. At times I got really down because I wasn’t following the lifestyle I believe in, but then I realized how much more important it was to be kind to myself and my baby. If I got to the gym, great. If I had a green juice for breakfast, great. If I didn’t, that’s ok too. I have the rest of my life for that, and this is just 10 months.
How would you describe your diet/cravings from trimester to trimester? Were there certain things that you craved that shocked you?
The funniest was probably the weeks where I was craving ham sandwiches. I would dream about them! All of my cravings were totally outside the norm of how I usually eat. I’m very balanced, I never go to extremes, but rarely do I crave processed food or super unhealthy food. Pregnancy was a different story though. All I wanted was Kraft Mac and Cheese and bagels my first trimester. I tell everyone it was like being stoned. But, after the first trimester, the cravings went away a bit.
What’s your typical diet like now?
Green juice tastes amazing to me so I have that almost every day. I see a big difference in how I feel when I eat healthier so I tend to stick to a grain-free, dairy-free diet most of the week. On the weekends, I’ll let loose a little bit. When people ask me if it’s been hard not having alcohol or caffeine I tell them no, because I’ve been having it! I took the French approach to being pregnant in that I didn’t go crazy saying “I can eat whatever I want” nor did I eliminate all sorts of things. It felt silly to me to not eat sushi (good quality obviously) or have a little coffee if I wanted it.
Now that I’m in my third trimester, I don’t have much of an appetite, actually. Before everything tasted so good, as I said, it was like I was high. Now, everything kinda tastes bland and I don’t have much room in my stomach for a full meal. I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Testing out vegan soup recipes, and I snack on carrots, avocado, and grain-free granola. And I drink a lot of Harmless Harvest coconut water. I also haven’t been able to work out much, which is hard because I love to work out (and it’s a bummer to see your Tracy Anderson butt that you’ve worked so hard for disappear!) I go for walks and swims, but for the most part I’m taking it easy and being kind to myself.
What is the dream meal/snack day currently?
I think it’s a tie between cold grapes and Pink Lady apples. They’re so crunchy and fresh tasting. I’m lucky that I’m pregnant during the summer so I’m able to find really good fruit, which isn’t always easy in New York.
Are there certain things you took out/added into your diet while expecting?
Red meat. I have been craving red meat pretty much my whole pregnancy. Usually I eat it once a month, max. Now I can have it 3-4 times a week and my body feels great.
What is the best advice you’ve received when it comes to your pregnancy?
To take it easy and drink lots of water. I’m used to doing it all, running two businesses, working out, being social. It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago when I felt so sick I had to go the hospital that I woke up to the fact that I need to do what everyone has been telling me this whole time: Take it easy, and drink more water. I had been running around the city like crazy, and drinking what I thought was a lot of water, but in the end wasn’t enough. I was dehydrated and had to be put on an IV. Since then I’ve slowed down a lot and I feel so much better.
What supplements do you swear by?
I keep it really simple. About a year ago my naturopath told me that my body was having a hard time processing all the supplements I was taking. I simplified my routine and felt so much better! Now all I take a prenatal and a prenatal DHA. I use Tocos in my smoothies and matcha, and I love the Clean Program protein powder. I alternate between the vanilla and the chocolate. I have to admit, I’m pretty exciting for my yearly Clean Program 30-day cleanse that I’m going to do once I’m not pregnant. I was introduced to it by my friend Geri Hirsch from Because I’m Addicted (a great wellness blog). It’s all around eliminating inflammatory foods and giving your body a rest. Your skin glows afterwards!
You’ve been vocal how the hormones affected your skin. What products/lifestyle changes helped you take back control?
My pregnancy breakouts have been so bad! Luckily I was introduced to True Botanicals Clear line early on. It’s incredible. I swear by the Clear Serum. I also love Peet Rivko’s Gentle Cleaner, which is like Cetaphil but way better. It’s non-toxic and totally free of irritants. I use their body oil too to help ward off stretch marks. My skin adores it.
What are your current clean beauty obsessions?
Ahh, I have so many! I’ve been really loving Jillian Dempsey’s Lid Tints and eyeliners. They’re great. Kjaer Weis can do no wrong in my book and I don’t leave home without one of her cream blushes. I have a lot of W3LL People products in my makeup bag right now, but I would have to say that their concealer is a must. Olio E Osso’s stick balms are awesome and I kinda want to collect them all – I have the Bronzer one that I use as a highlighter. I love Rahua’s new color-safe shampoo and conditioner, which I follow up with all of Playa’s styling products for that I-was-in-ocean-this-morning look. Playa is based in Venice, California so they really know that surfer look which I’m always looking for.
Can you share your favorite recipe that you’ve lived on the past few months?
My favorite little dish to eat has been veggie, grain-free burritos (if you can call it that). I take a Siete tortilla and warm it up in a pan with olive oil. Then I spread Kite Hill cashew cream cheese on top. Last I layer on whatever veggies I have. Tomatoes and avocados are particularly good. But cucumbers, sprouts, shredded carrots, basil, or even leftovers all work. Then I season with Maldon salt and fresh ground pepper. I also make great grain-free cookies and vegan ice cream for when I’m craving something sweet.
What has been the most difficult thing about your pregnancy and how did you overcome that?
Fear. Fear is an emotion that I spiritually spend a lot of time addressing. It’s been very present in my pregnancy as well. I’ve been scared of my body changing, my career changing, my relationships changing, the list goes on. I decided early on that I wanted to be as graceful and connected as I could to my baby and my body. To do that I dove back into my meditation practice and started journaling every day. I’m lucky because I’ve met so many amazing women who I given me their recommendations and advice. I’ve been introduced to incredible healers, guides, acupuncturists, and doulas, who have become my support system. I’ve also been doing a lot of Kundalini meditations by Guru Jagat to help with anxiety and bring me into the present. Pregnancy is a time where your body is not your own in a lot of ways, so every day I spend time connecting and forgiving.