Weaning; Sugar-free banana bread

We’ve hit a stumbling block! Lacie is usually so, so good with her food and now she doesn’t want vegetables. She doesn’t want fish or protein. And she certainly doesn’t want puréed sweet potato or butternut squash. Until now, she’s been the healthiest, unfussiest (if that’s a word!) baby and it’s phased me. It’s like all of a sudden she’s turned into a stubborn little monkey and knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. Give her bread and she’s happy! Well I’m not!

To help the situation I’ve been baking. Last week I made sweet potato and butternut squash muffins. This week I made banana bread with sweet potato and grated carrots. She loved it. I either give it to her warm with a little almond butter or coconut oil and she’s happy to munch on it.
To help any other mums through this difficult phase, here is the recipe. I like that it’s sugar free and that it’s got only almonds, eggs, bananas, cinnamon and sweet potato in it. I wonder if next time I make it, I can add a bit of spinach? It’s worth a try!

To make, you will need;
2 eggs
200g sweet potato
1 large banana
1 grated carrot
100g ground almonds or almond flour
50g hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
30g Lucy Bee Coconut oil
Pinch of salt.

First of all boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft, then blend (I love the baby cook) until they are puréed, then
grate the carrot and mix with the almond flour, hazelnuts, coconut oil, eggs, salt and baking powder.
Add a pinch of cinnamon before putting the mixture into a well oiled loaf tin and bake at 160 degrees for 60 minute.
Let it rest. Then cut up and store in a cool dry place.

This really is a perfect finger food for lunch time or as an afternoon snack – for (mummy) & baby. Enjoy!

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A Clean And Lean Pregnancy

You may have heard me mention ‘Clean and Lean‘ in a few blog posts already. That’s because I love the concept behind it.

Founded by James Duigan, Clean and Lean is all about being kind to your body and mind and sticking to natural foods and cutting out the C.R.A.P (Caffeine, Refined sugar,  Alcohol and Processed foods). According to James, sticking to ‘clean’ foods that haven’t change much from their natural state like an apple or egg will make you look & feel great. Its true!
I rarely eat processed foods but when I do, God, I feel awful the next day.

James has recently brought out a fantastic book called ‘Clean & Lean Pregnancy Guide.’ It is what it says on the tin, a book that guides you through conceiving, the first, second and third trimester and post-pregnancy.

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There are exercises and food suggestions to follow, with lots of easy recipes that will keep you nourished throughout the day.

One of my favourite recipes has to be the Nutty Granola. Its great for emergences when I feel like something sweet and ‘carby’ and best of all it’s easy to make. I make a big batch at once then keep it in a Tupperware – it doesn’t tend to last very long though 😉

To make it I simply mix gluten free oats, manuka honey, prunes and mixed chopped nuts.

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I then spread it on a baking and baked in the oven for 15 minutes, before getting it back out, giving it another stir and baking for another 30 minutes at 110 degrees.

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Try it, it’s lovely! I tend to have mine either on its own or with some Chocolate CO YO. You can’t get better than that!

The Clean and Lean Pregnancy Guide is available from www.kylebooks.com

 

 

My favourite Sugar Free Snack – 40 weeks pregnant and overdue!

I’m now 40 weeks pregnant and 2 days. I feel huge and using my days to get as organised as I can for the big day. I just wish I knew when it was.

To keep me occupied I’ve been trying loads of yummy recipes and cooking lots of sugar free treats. I don’t know about you but I really struggle mid-afternoon when I’m starting to feel tired and a bit bored.

To stop me walking down to Tesco and stocking up on rubbish, I’ve been making this tasty smoothie instead. It’s filing, sugar free and is full of goodness.

You will need;
1 scoop Vanilla Sunwarrior ‪‎Warrior Blend‬
– 200ml coconut water
– 100ml coconut milk from a can
– 200ml water
– 1tsp organic manuka honey
– 1/2 frozen banana
– 2  ice cubes
– sprinkle of cinnamon

To make I just simply pop everything into a blender, whizz for a few minutes and then serve in a chilled glass with a pretty straw.

I really do love it. It’s really creamy, filling and stops my sweet tooth while giving me a pick me up. I may even pop one in my hospital bag for some instant energy. It’s a nice idea – so I’ll make a note of it and if there is time before I’m whisked to the hospital I will do this. Something to look forward to, while providing me with some energy.

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Top pregnancy supplements to help look after your bump

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Eating a healthy diet is always a good idea, especially during pregnancy, but since falling pregnant 32 weeks ago, I’ve taken a pregnancy supplement every day without fail to help cover any nutritional gaps in my diet.

Even with the most solid diet, it’s extremely difficult to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients for both you and baby. While I don’t recommend going crazy with the supplements, there are a handful that have been shown to help with pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Here’s a round up of what I’ve found to be effective:

Solgar Prenatal Nutrients Tablets

Solgar is a brand I’ve always trusted and I took these for a good few months before I fell pregnant.

The NHS recommend you have 400 microgram of folic acid every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant, which is why I like this supplement.

Each tablet has the perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), except for iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyway, to help fight fatigue).

It also had an adequate level of folic acid, which as I said before is extremely important prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of conditions like spina bifida.

Viridian Pregnancy Complex 

I like this brand because it has a healthy amount of DHA, which is vital for helping your baby’s brain develop. You can get DHA from eating fish such as salmon, sardines and herring but what with my morning and afternoon sickness, the last thing I wanted was fishy fish!

It also contains a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is good for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

The NHS recommend you take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day when you are pregnant and if you breastfeed to provide your baby with enough vitamin D for the first few months of its life.

Zita West Vital Essence 3

I knew of Zita West, since I had read many of her books when planning to conceive, so it was a no brainer to try her  supplements, which are tailored to suit each trimester. You take one, three times a day with food and they will then provide you with everything you need to safeguard your everyday diet, including 400mg of folic acid plus lots of protective ingredients such as Beta Carotene (a safe way to help support your intake of vitamin A), copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc, all of which support normal cell division and help to protect DNA.

I also brought her Vital DHA, which you have twice a day and contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids (necessary for baby’s brain development, and to ward off inflammation), plus a small amount of zinc.

Please speak to your doctor or health adviser before taking any supplements. 

The Perfect Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy is NOT the time to diet. It’s not the time to eat for three either. Eating for two is fine but your diet needs to be rich in whole foods rich in nutrients to create a healthy balanced plan to nourish you and your baby.

But what should you eat and how much? It’s easy to get it wrong, which is why I signed up for the Doll Curves Perfect Pregnancy Plan, especially as I hit my last trimester – the all important one, when my baby is growing bigger and getting ready to face the big wide world.

Founded by Celebrity Personal Trainers and Fitness Models, Sarah McLean and Lydia Rees, my Doll Curves plan gives me weekly nutrition advice to keep me healthy and well during my last trimester. It also reminds me that I only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day – the equivalent to a large banana!

Here is a round-up of what I’ve been eating over the last week and why it’s so good for me…

Breakfast

Banana Breakfast Smoothie
Blend ¼ gluten free oats, ½ cup of CO YO coconut yogurt, 1 banana, ½ cup Kara coconut milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
The benefits; Bananas are great at reducing fluid retention and swollen ankles – a common side effect in pregnancy. ‘They are also rich in potassium and the perfect energy booster,’ says Sarah.

Snack
120g Unsweetened Greek yogurt with blueberries
The benefits; Yogurt is full of ‘good bacteria’, which helps balance the good/bad bacteria within the body. ‘Yogurt is also rich in protein and calcium, which is good for you and baby’s growing bones,’ says Sarah.

Lunch
Annabel Karmel’s Chicken Pitta Pockets 
Chicken, ½ avocado and watercress pitta pockets with chopped tomatoes and a side salad.
The benefits; Avocados are loaded with folic acid, vital for forming your baby’s brain and nervous system, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, which can help your baby’s tissue and brain grow. Watercress can also help aid digestion, while the protein in chicken will help every cell in your baby’s body to grow and develop.

Snack
Hummus on organic unsalted rice cakes with chopped vegetables and 20g unsalted almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts.
The benefits; Raw vegetables will keep your immune system strong and the unsalted rice cakes with hummus are a great source of slow release carbohydrates and protein.

Dinner
50g wild rice with ½ cup streamed green vegetable and Annabel Karmel Salmon with tomato salsa
The benefits; ‘Wild rice is rich in fibre and has an excellent effect on the gut wall,’ says Sarah. News has it that women who eat oily fish, like salmon during pregnancy are also more likely to have brainy and sociable children. Just make sure you don’t have it more than twice a week.

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My Day and Pregnancy Food Diary

I thought I would share my food and training diaries with you. Now I’m in my second trimester all my cravings seem to have disappeared and I’m near enough eating what I used too.
So here are my food diaries for you. They aren’t perfect but I’m hoping they will help other people eat well and keep me on track too!

Wednesday 18th Sept
1/2 apple before gym
7:30-9am – Gym workout. Weight circuits and uphill walking
9:30am Sunwarrior protein shake with natural greek yog, coconut water, chia seeds, banana and almond butter. 30g oats.
11:30am Berries and nuts
2:45 Chicken, salad and sweet potato wedges
4:30 Bounce ball
6:30pm Mint choc Nakd bar
8:30 Chill con carne with organic lean beef and vegetables. Greek yogurt with Cherry Compote to finish.

Thursday 19th Sept
7:30am Blueberries
Gym – 7:45-9:15 – TRX and stepper for cardio
9:30am Sunwarrior protein powder with banana, coconut water, chia seeds and almond butter smoothie. 35g oats.
11am I then had some chocolate. I do have an excuse though – bubs hasn’t kicked all day so I phoned the NHS helpline and they told me to have some sugar (Cudburys Heroes were my choice of chocolate!!!) and lay down on my left side for a an hour or so and relax. I think that woke her up but the kicks are very light so I’m hoping all is well in there.
12pm – two clients until 3pm

3pm – apple and a few slices of hard goats cheese

6pm chicken with salad followed by Greek yog and cherry compote to finish.

I then had a nice relaxing bath, did my house work and had an early night to a belly full of kicks and baby mo met. Utter bliss 🙂

Cheers to Chia Seeds

Omega 3 is the buzz word these days. And for good reason. It helps fuel every cell in your body including your brain and heart, while lubricating your joints and helping build lean muscle tissue. I love chia seeds because it is full of it!

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These tiny little seeds that look like frog spawn when soaked in water also absorbs 16 times its weight in liquid, making them really filling (think of the room these are going to take in your stomach) and full of nutrients.

To eat them, I’ve been soaking them overnight in filtered water. I then add them to my smoothie or juice in the morning.

Despite looking a bit slimy and gross, don’t be put off. They don’t taste of anything, yet will provide Omega 3, fibre and protein (which contains all eight essential amino acids), vitamins and antioxidants to power your body.

As well as adding to my juices, I’ve also tried making a breakfast chia seed pudding by simply tossing together chia seeds, coconut milk, blueberries, shredded coconut and sliced almonds in a bowl and letting it sit overnight in the fridge -it’s lovely and so filling and easy to eat!  It’s good for my growing baby too!
The omega 3 is great for a supporting my placenta, while the complete protein is essential for every cell in your baby’s body. The fibre helps things run smoothly too, especially as constipation can be very common in pregnancy.

Here are some more ways to include chia seeds in your diet;

Breakfast
Add a tablespoon of soaked seeds into any fruit or green smoothie, stir them into your porridge, sprinkle on top of granola or spoon them into nut butter  then spread the mix on toast, oat cakes or rice cakes. I sometimes add chia seeds to beaten eggs before I scramble them too. I love adding them to a Sunwarrior Protein shake too with 1/2 a frozen banana and some cinnamon.

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Lunch  and Dinner
Add them to either your salad or soup or if you’re having some brown rice or quinoa pop in some seeds just as it finishes cooking and give it a good stir. you won’t even notice them there!

Dessert
Stir into your yogurt or my favorite CO YO – a lovely creamy coconut milk yogurt, make a chia seed pudding like the one above or if you are making flapjacks or oat cookies, stir them into the mixture before cooking.

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My Pregnancy Diet

Since finding out I’m expecting, weight has gone on where I really didn’t want it too and I have craved foods that I really didn’t want to crave.

Admittedly, in the first three months I went with the flow. If I wanted some salad, thats what I had, and if I wanted a digestive biscuit I went with it. I was so relieved to be pregnant, I wanted to do everything I could to protect my baby, and that involved listening to my body and going with it.

Now I’m five months in, I want to take more care of what is going in.

Here is my diet;

Before the gym:  two boiled eggs
10am: Green juice – 1 x apple, 4 x sticks celery, handful of kale, 1 x lemon, 1/4 cucumber and sometimes 1/2 avocado. I will also have a slice of rye bread with almond butter.

1pm: Usually a soup or I have chicken with sweet potato and salad.

4pm: This is my problem time so I have something sweet like chocolate Sunwarrior Protein Shake and 1/2 banana with cinnamon. I might also have a few slices of goats cheese.

7pm: Protein like salmon, chicken, steak or cod with salad or veggies.

8:pm: Apple and cinnamon and almond butter.

Now I don’t know if this is the right diet for everyone but I seem to have loads of energy from this. I’m still putting on weight though, which I suppose is down to my growing baby and my hormones. My nails are strong though, my hair doesn’t stop growing and my iron levels are high and my blood pressure is on the low side of normal. My mid-wife seems happy.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do give into my cravings. For instance, yesterday I was at an event and they were giving out yummy birthday cake with lots of icing. Usually I would have resisted but I think why not. Big shape up is for once the baby is born so that’s when I say no, no to cake and no to junk food but for now, I will have it occasionally as and when I fancy it.

What I eat for breakfast – my green goodness smoothie

Yesterday I went and saw my mid-wife she asked me how my diet was looking and seemed pretty impressed with my breakfast (and other meals for that matter). My juice is mainly bright green and full of vitamins, minerals and good fats. She definitely approved!

One juice I have most mornings is my turbo green juice.

It’s basically 1 x apple, a handful of kale, an inch of ginger, some cucumber, 3 stalks of celery and a lime or lemon.

I then blend it with some ice cues, a cup of water, a tablespoon of Lucy Bees’ coconut oil and a scoop of Bodyism’s Beauty Food. 

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I love adding coconut oil to my breakfast as it helps fill me up for longer and contains large amounts of lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial fatty acid that protects the immune system of my growing baby. Coconut oil is also said to to increase the quality of the womb environment and breast milk – both things that are absolutely vital to me right at 19 weeks pregnant.

If I’m being extra indulgent and want to make my juice nice and creamy I will also add 1/2 an avocado or a dollop of CO YO, a dairy-free yogurt made with real coconut milk. It’s a real treat!

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It’s weird. These days I wouldn’t even think about having cereal or toast. I wake up in the morning craving the goodness of this juice. It sets me up nicely for the day and the benefits of it are evident. My irons levels are super high, I don’t suffer with lack of energy or constipation like many pregnant women at this stage in their pregnancy and I’m getting plenty of green, vitamin rich food even though i don’t fancy eating it as a meal. I’ve really gone of meat and veggies since finding out I’m pregnant and this is a great way of filling up on my greens without gagging 🙂

 

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Maca Power – Magic Baby Dust?

Have you ever heard of Maca powder? I hadn’t either until I read a book that sang its praises for helping to boost fertility.

So guess what – I went and got some and started added it to my daily morning smoothies and  sprinkling it on my granola and yogurt. Whenever I had the chance it was in my food and working it’s magic.

Maca is basically a root-like cruciferous vegetable from the Andes of Peru. It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in volcanic minerals, experiencing freezing temperatures, fierce winds and intense sunlight .

It contains 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients,and is extremely nourishing  for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all vital for fertility and hormone balance.)

It also has adaptogenic properties, which means it helps to strengthen the body so it is able to better resist disease and stress, support the adrenal glands and balances the body’s functions.

This wonder-food has been scientifically researched for the use of increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which directly can affect fertility for both men and women.

I must admit I stopped taking it as soon as I found out I was pregnant because there have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy and as a safety precaution most manufacturers state that their supplements should not be used during pregnancy – it’s not worth the risk. But I’m pretty certain that this superfood really helped me regenerate my body and get everything back working again.

It has a bit of a taste to it – but it can be well hidden in smoothies etc so why not give it a go?

As always, I would recommend speaking to your GP if you are on any medication and treatment as you don’t want it to interfere with anything – just a safety measure – but you should be fine.

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