Talia Baderman, known on instagram as @talia_sutra, is an amazing international yoga teacher. She came to Barcelona for her "love and all is coming" workshop, hosted by vivea, and we chatted about veganism, yoga and pregnancy.
Talia has been vegan since she was 11 years old. In general, she likes food that are not overly cooked, nor spicy, nor sour, nor oily nor with too much vinegar. Although she hasn't felt cravings arise with pregnancy, she has noticed more sensibility towards intense foods such as garlic or onions. She enjoys clean and simple foods: "I like avocado, with lemon and sea salt on top on a piece of flax cracker or nice bread (whole wheat), and a lot fruits and vegetables. I make a lot of juice, green juice. I use kale, spinach, celery, cucumber (lots!), and apples (for sweetness). I'm also making the effort to eat organic as much as possible."
Another vegetable Talia likes are carrots both in its "original form" and juiced. "At the beginning of my pregnancy I ate a lot of mangos. Now there are no mangoes and I am enjoying sweet potatoes very much. I like fresh, rich, whole foods. I’ve always liked it and now more than ever, for my well-being and the baby’s".
I asked her for insight for a vegan mom-to-be. She described how it depends on the person: "how long she has been vegan, and if she has a healthy lifestyle". After all, vegan is not a synonym of healthy. "If you are strong, energetic, and healthy, you should be ok. When you are pregnant you should get tested. My mid-wife asked me to get some blood tests done and everything was normal, exceptional or very good. I know my diet is working for me. It has always worked for me. When I was little my parents also made me do blood tests every once in a while to check that everything was well." I also believe it is super important to do blood analysis tests at least once a year. "If you have a good diet, you should not worry and you can take supplements, just like most non-vegan moms do." I loved how she said she always takes B12 with her: it is such an important supplement both for vegans and vegetarians alike.
Follow your heart, do what is good for you and your baby. Your skin and your energy tell you if your diet is working for you.
Talia's practice is strong and graceful. Now it is more hatha based: with pregnancy the center of gravity changes and the body is heavier. "Until week 7 I was extremely tired; I had many hormonal changes. One week after conception-I felt different-I was more emotional and reactive. Something had changed and I knew I was pregnant. I am very aware of how I feel in the morning and how my energy levels are. I knew I was not ill, so that's when I thought: I think I’m pregnant. Slowly, I got accustomed to my new hormone level.”
Talia’s practice usually takes place in the morning for about an hour or sometimes a whole day. "I hop into my mat whenever I feel." Her practice is now less ashtanga based. "I am heavier and slower, it is a good thing, and I love it. This is my first pregnancy so it is very special. I enjoy every moment I can. Now I love connecting with my hatha practice, it was the first yoga I did, and it is the yoga that my mom practices".
She loves laying down on her dharma wheel and doing gentle poses like baddha konasana, lotus variations, and hip opening. "All theses movements are not active stretching for me, they feel natural”.
Keep doing your practice. You can read a book about what not to do, but you’ll know. You will feel what is not right. For me, a book wouldn’t be relevant; I follow my first intuitive self. Do all the research you can, just don’t follow it blindly. Make sure it matches with your physical sensations. Understanding your body will give the tools for a happy pregnancy and birth.
To me, it is very inspiring to hear Talia talk about her pregnancy. I have to admit it is a topic that sounded a bit scary to me. "Pregnancy is going to be an extension of your practice. Pregnancy is not a problem, it is not illness, it is not a medical condition. It is a blessing, it is beautiful. Women are meant to carry children. It is a miracle. Our bodies and our hearts are meant for this, we are meant to be mothers. It is in our physical bodies. It is not something to be afraid of or intimidated by. In the last 100 years or so, western women have become afraid of their bodies. I've done a lot of research, and midwifery has been replaced and the power of birth has been taken away from women and given to doctors. Women are treated like patients: they are connected to an IV and heart monitors. They are asked to lay down, when it is best to be squatting, bouncing on a ball, moving... To lay down disconnects you from birth, but it is the more convenient to check out “the patient”.
In the case of animals, Talia described how they know what to do. It is in their intuition. "Also, African women know what to do. Information is passed from woman to woman. From mom to daughter. and then to her daughter. My grandmother and Ezra’s grandmother had 11 children at home. They were never in a hospital or had been drugged. Neither other women around them. This knowledge has been lost. Now, a lot of people in yoga communities are interested in getting this knowledge back. They are interested in what is natural and intuitive: to bring back balance and peace into ourselves. “
Thank you so much Talia. Thank you for your inspiration and wise words.