Author: Carmen

omega-3s

The importance of Omega 3’s

Omega 3’s in Pregnancy If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss out on during pregnancy its omega 3 fatty acids. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard about the wonders of omega 3 fats, and how important they are for our overall health. And not just in pregnancy that is. Omega 3 fatty acids are found primarily in oily fish (such as salmon, tuna, anchovies, etc), though there are some plant sources such as flax, chia and hemp seeds. But what’s all the hype about? Omega 3’s are essential fats that our bodies cannot produce. We require them for a number of processes such as making hormones, regulating blood clotting, maintaining adequate cholesterol, heart and brain health and much, much more. During pregnancy omega 3’s are very important for the adequate development of the baby’s eyesight, brain and central nervous system. Studies have also linked adequate omega 3 intake during pregnancy to higher child IQ scores. Not only that, but research has shown that it also helps reduce the risk of …

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Warm Squash and Dukkah Salad

Halloween might be over, but squash and pumpkin season is still in full swing! This autumnal warm salad really does bring out the best of this versatile vegetable, and it’s so delicious if I do say so myself! I think I could eat this salad every day, it’s warm, satisfying, so good, and of course, healthy. A great combination of iron rich cooked kale, sweet squash, bitter chicory (or endive in the US), salty feta cheese, and crunchy dukkah. YUM. Dukkah? If you haven’t caught onto this trendy aromatic Egyptian nut/seed/spice mix yet, you definitely should. You’ll realise you’ve been missing out all this time! It’s a wonderful combination of hazelnuts (healthy fats anyone?), sesame seeds (really high in calcium- and so necessary in pregnancy!), cumin and coriander seeds (great digestive seeds and warming during the cold months). I’ve added dukkah to this salad, but you can also use it to spice up lots of other dishes such as meat, fish, steamed veggies or even just add some olive oil to make a dip. You can …

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Constipation in Pregnancy

Oh the joys of pregnancy! While you might not have expected to discuss any ‘toilet talk’ other than your baby’s nappies, constipation is an issue for many women during pregnancy, and often an embarrassing one to bring up. But why does it happen? Well, there are a few reasons, some of which you have zero control over (like hormones & the growing weight of your baby). But it’s not all bad news as there are lots of things you can do to ‘relieve’ yourself (you get me?). A yogurt a day keeps the toilet away… Okay, not exactly, but a lot of people think that eating yogurt a day alone will keep you regular. The truth is, that’s just the advertising trick to make you buy more of that yogurt. Natural yogurt does have live bacteria that can be beneficial to your gut, but that does not replace fibre. Dairy products actually do not contain any fibre. A question I ask all of you ladies that I see during your pregnancy that have constipation; do …

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Pomegranate & Persimmon Autumn Salad

Persimmon’s are a bit of a forgotten fruit, the kind that some people have never heard of or tasted. They are more often sold in markets and fruit stalls, and totally worth the search! Disguised by their sweetness, you wouldn’t tell that these fruits have one of the highest contents of vitamin C of any fruit. Almost 80% of your daily requirements in one persimmon! These nutritional bombs are also packed with iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus; in much higher quantities than other fruits such as apples and pears. It’s no surprise therefore, that they are appropriately named as ‘food for the gods’ in Latin, but if your up for the search, you can enjoy these godly fruits too. Combine persimmon with pomegranate, already famous for its nutritional qualities, and your body and baby are in for a real treat. But your taste buds are not forgotten either, because this is a delicious combination of sweet and tart flavours, soft and crunchy textures; a sure ‘gift from the gods’! In other words, this combination …

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Rooibos & Cinnamon Poached Pears

As the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to turn a beautiful auburn colour, we also start to naturally gravitate towards warm, cooked and soulful meals. Our bodies are still very much in tune with the seasons, despite the supermarket isles tricking us into believing otherwise. That’s not to say we aren’t incredibly fortunate to have all of this produce available to us, but it also means we have lost touch with natures intuitive way of providing us with what we need, when we need it. Most of us are even unaware of what grows seasonally unless we have a veggie garden or go to farmers markets, and even so, I still see mangoes being sold in October in the markets in Holland! So, lets take cucumbers for example (but you could say the same for radishes, lettuce, celery, etc); these grow during the summer months and are about 96% water (the rest being nutrients & fiber). During the summer heat we sweat and loose a lot more water than during the winter, which …

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The Goddess of all Greek Salads

With the weather being so changeable these days it’s hard to decide whether we should still be eating summer-inspired or autumnal dishes. With that in mind, I thought a ‘autumnaly salad’ was probably the best way to go forward. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of a traditional Greek salad that I’ve always loved, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a meal, and rather more of an accompaniment. So this goddess of Greek salads was created to make a more substantial and wonderfully colourful lunch. You know you’re onto a nutrient packed meal when it’s colourful (naturally colourful, not E number colourful, that is) as well as fresh! VITAMIN A DID YOU SAY? So why enjoy this salad other than because it’s delicious and satisfying? Well it’ll be sure to give you a hit of vitamin C, fibre, lycopene, and carotenoids (from carrots and other orange and red coloured fruits & veggies); a form of pre-vitamin A. Wait, vitamin A did you say? I can almost sense your quizzical look appear with the mention it. That probably …

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Homemade frozen pesto

It’s been a little while since my last post, so I apologize to all of you for the long wait. I have actually been busy moving country, so I am now a proud resident of the Netherlands! The first thing I did when moving here was to scour out all the supermarkets in town. I was so excited to see all the new produce and products, but of course it has also meant not finding others. It hit home how challenging it can be to find certain products when you don’t live in such a metropolitan city such as London! So in honour of simple ingredients, I have made one of the simplest yet most satisfying sauces which you can combine with almost anything. Homemade pesto. Why frozen you might ask? Well, call me a snob but I really don’t like shop bought pesto. It looks like it has been in that jar way too long, loosing its vibrant green colour and fresh taste along with it. So whenever I have the chance during the …

Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts1

Pregnancy Diet Do’s and Don’ts

Finding out you are pregnant is such an exciting, amazing, nerve-raking, scary, and emotional time, in addition to a whole range of other emotions. It comes with a huge sense of responsibility that what you eat/drink/do/experience is inevitably going to affect your baby (whether positive or negative). Your baby is 100% dependent on you for all of it’s nutrients to build his or her bones, organs, blood, skin (no pressure huh?!). That’s why it’s so important to make sure you eat healthily during pregnancy. Different countries and cultures have their own advice on what you should or should’t eat and drink, most of it pretty common sense and basic (such as alcohol and foods that might make you sick). To make things a little more confusing and add to your stress, advice changes from country to country. But don’t despair, I have made list for you considering all the different advice out there, so that you can have a bit more of a definitive list. Most importantly, I have included a range of foods that …

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Top 15 Tips to Relieve Nausea in Pregnancy

Morning sickness is what we all associate with  early pregnancy, and it seems that most pregnant women experience some form of nausea and/or  vomiting at some point during their pregnancy. It is called morning sickness because it typically affects women in the morning, however many still experience it throughout the day as well. Some are very unfortunate to develop hyperemesis gravidarum; a severe form of vomiting during pregnancy, though this is the minority. Nausea & vomiting usually starts around 6 weeks of pregnancy and continues up to 12-16 weeks, but can last longer in some cases. It is one of the most unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, and yet there is little out there that has been shown to be really effective. You may have heard about a drug called ‘Thalidomide’ that was given to pregnant women in the 1950’s to help relieve nausea and vomiting, but was later found to cause severe malformation of the limbs in their babies. Since then most women are very cautious when it comes to taking drugs for morning …

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Virgin Bellini

With the festive season in full swing, along come the Christmas parties, wine, cocktails, mulled cider, and all the things you can’t have. But just because you’re pregnant it doesn’t mean you need to stay on boring old water or cordial all night. It’s time to explore the ‘mocktail/virgin’ part of the menu. You might be pleasantly surprised  to find that you may not be able to tell much difference! And who doesn’t love a bellini? Lightly sparkling, it’s refreshing and feels like a celebratory drink. Plus, if you haven’t told anyone that you are pregnant yet, they’ll never know your not drinking. Originally an Italian drink made with white peach and prosecco, I’ve stuck to the traditional peach puree, but substituted the alcoholic prosecco for sparkling grape juice. It is a perfect drink for those of you who love a glass of bubbly, or if you are suffering with heartburn as it’s not overly acidic as most other cocktails. You can always try different fruits instead of the peach of course, such as strawberry, …