Author: Carmen

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Bone Broth: A Pregnancy Friend (+ Video)

What’s the difference between bone broth and stock anyway?  And why has it suddenly become so popular? Food goes through trends just like fashion does, and bone broth is no exception. Fashionista foodies and health enthusiasts alike have taken to bone broth by storm; it’s the new in drink to have on hand. Coffee is so last year. Okay maybe not, I have to admit that I have yet to see it on the Starbucks menu. But bone broth has really taken off lately, to the point that you can now even buy powdered bone broth protein shakes. And yet, like the fashion world, bone broth has been around for a long time. Perhaps it’s only now that we are finding out the health benefits it can provide. But I think instinctively we’ve always known that it’s what our bodies were craving when out of balance. Can you think of what your mom or grandma might have made you when you were sick? Did anyone say chicken soup? All around the world we have different …

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Top 5 Skin Foods to Avoid Pregnancy Stretch Marks

Don’t we all want to be one of those lucky 10% of women that don’t get stretch marks during pregnancy? The reality is that most of us get at least some stretch marks while growing another human being under our skin. And if you think about it, it’s understandable given that our skin would not normally stretch at such a speed under normal circumstances. Stretch marks are there to be celebrated in a way, a mark that shows a woman’s incredible ability to grow and bring life into this world out of just two cells. But like those wrinkles that appear as we get older and wiser, stretch marks are generally not a welcome side effect of pregnancy. The real question is, how can we avoid pregnancy stretch marks? Did I hear everyone say – moisturizing? Yep, we all thought that. The truth is, moisturizing will help you deal with the common dry skin itchy feeling that you get around your growing belly. But, according to the research, no matter how much cream or oil …

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Dark Chocolate and Coconut Truffles

For the love of chocolate! It’s Valentine’s day tomorrow. And though I’m not much of a romantic, I have to admit that all the chocolate and strawberries around were making my mouth water. But I figure, if anything it’s time to show a little love to ourselves for getting through January’s dark and cold days! And let’s be honest with ourselves, none of us actually need an excuse to eat chocolate, right? I used to really dislike coconut (mom- I know you’re reading this in disbelief), but now my tastes have changed, I have come to love that coconutty flavour in sweet things. Coconut actually has a naturally sweet flavour, so you don’t need to add a lot of sweetener to make a difference. Coconuts are also relatively high in fat, which help give you that feeling of indulgence. All in all, a perfect treat combo! Plus, that tropical flavour really does something to brighten up your day on a cold February evening. Or maybe it just ignites your imagination to bring you to somewhere …

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Broccoli and Almond Soup with Mint & Crème Fraiche

When it comes to pureed soups, I think there are two types of people; those who love them and those who don’t. A bit like marmite some might say. So for those of you who already love pureed soup, you can skip this paragraph. After all, I’d be preaching to the converted! But for those of you who, like me avoid pureed soups at all costs, read on my friends. I admit that I definitely fall into the non-soup eating category and rarely make soups unless they have lots of chunky pieces of veg, meat, or noodles in them (like ramen- yum). BUT, this soup is an exception. Yes, it is pureed. And yes, I don’t just like it, I actually love it! And I’m not the only one; we used to make this broccoli soup at a cafe I worked at while I was a student in London, and it proved hugely popular. Even among the pureed soup avoiders like me. And believe me, when you realize how easy and quick this soup is …

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How to eat yourself fertile

Is it oysters? No. Chocolate? Not quite (if only though!). Strawberries? Maybe. The answer to eating yourself fertile is not quite as exciting as a special valentines meal. But hey, the oysters and the chocolate at least might get you in the mood! Especially as it’s a common issue that when we have babies on our mind, we can’t get them off our minds. And let’s face it, that’s not always fun. In fact, planning a pregnancy can be such a daunting, exciting, disappointing, joyful and nerve-wracking experience that it certainly tends to raise a lot of questions in our mind. So, let’s start with some good news to brighten up your day! You’re in for some unexpected benefits. Firstly, women who planned their pregnancies seem to have a much lower rate of nausea & vomiting in the first trimester, especially the severe form of it, called hyperemesis gravidarum. Hooray! This is because women who have higher stress levels tend to have more problems with nausea in early pregnancy. And it goes without saying that unplanned pregnancies can be …

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Nutty Banana bread with a Twist

I have to admit, even I surprised myself with this banana bread. We all know that when we attempt to make things ‘healthy’, especially when it comes to cakes, we tend to lower our expectations to not be quite as indulgent. Well, prepare to be surprised! I definitely won’t be going back to the traditional banana bread from now on that’s for sure. Plus, it’s a one-bowl recipe. Oh yeah. So what do I mean by healthier? Firstly, it is low in sugar whilst also being high in protein and fibre. This is a good combination because it means that we don’t get a big sugar spike (and as a consequence, a sugar low later on). This banana bread is free from refined flours, and instead is a mix of almond meal and whole wheat spelt flour, with some cacao nibs and walnuts thrown in for added crunch and decadence (and health benefits too, of course). Banana’s and pregnancy leg cramps But there’s a bonus to this banana bread. Banana’s are high in potassium and …

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Iodine & your baby’s IQ

Ever heard of iodine and its importance during pregnancy? Probably not, as its one of those minerals that is not often talked about. In fact, only in the last few years has its importance during pregnancy really started to be a talking point. But what is iodine anyway? And why is it important for us? Iodine is a trace mineral that we all require for our organs to function normally. Iodine is found in pretty much all of our organs, but the one that needs it most is our thyroid. Our thyroid produces hormones that control our metabolism, which is in charge of our heart rate, how fast or slow our brain, liver, and other organs work. If your thyroid is working slowly, you’ll have the tendency to gain weight, feel tired and cold often. The opposite would be the case should your thyroid be working overtime. Iodine deficiency is a big problem worldwide, and only in developed countries, with the availability of iodized salt and balanced diets, have we been able to minimize this …

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Christmas Party Survival Guide during Pregnancy

Christmas parties are not quite the same when you’re pregnant. These usually revolve around wine and cocktails, soft cheeses, meats, pates and smoked fish, all wonderful delicacies that will leave you feeling left out, and wondering if there’s anything that you can eat or drink at the party. Not only that, but if your colleagues still don’t know you are pregnant, they may be pretty certain that you are by the end of the party if you’re having to avoid everything. So let’s start with what you can eat, so you can relax a little and find things that you know are safe: CHEESE All those hard cheeses such as cheddar, goat’s cheddar, gouda, gruyere, gloucester, halloumi, lancashire, manchego, parmesan, pecorino, leicester, jarlsberg, are all fine to eat. Soft cheeses including mozzarella, mascarpone, feta, cream cheese, ricotta, quark, goats cheese without rind, roulade, cottage cheese are all safe as well. Brie & camembert are not safe to eat uncooked, but oven baked until piping hot they are absolutely fine. So if you have a say …

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Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Did you know beans are in right now? No, I didn’t either, but a fellow foodie friend says they’re the new kale, alongside brussel sprouts and sauerkraut (in case you haven’t kept up with the latest food gossip, here you have it). Though I’m not one to follow food trends, this one is actually a thing, even the United Nations have caught up, dubbing 2016 as the year of the pulses to heighten awareness of their nutritional benefits. Beans beans the musical fruit… I have to admit, I had a little proud moment after hearing that, given that for the first time ever I had been way ahead of the trend on this one, as is never the case with fashion. But having grown up in Spain, I have a deep love for Mediterranean style food. I’ve always loved beans, though I realise it’s not a feeling shared by everyone. That little rhyme ‘beans beans the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot’ has given beans a bad press for a long …

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Salmon, Apple and Brassicas Melange

After all that talk about omega 3’s, I thought it was only right to give you a recipe to follow suit! This salmon melange is really a celebration of the late autumn bounty of brassicas, apples and kale, with some bay infused lentils and fresh mint. It’s very satisfying and is ideally eaten warm but can also be taken as an on-the-go lunch. If you read my previous post about omega 3’s, you’ll remember how important they are for pregnancy. Unless you’re vegetarian, it’s recommended that you have around 2 portions of oily fish per week. Not only does this help your baby’s development but also helps reduce the risk of complications such as pre-term labour and pre-eclampsia. Salmon, especially wild alaskan, is high in omega 3’s and lower on the mercury scale. Plus, it’s easy to find in most, if not all supermarkets! The brassicas family, also known as cruciferous vegetables, are those vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, and spring greens that are nutritional powerhouses and very high in folate. You …