People always seem rather curious about the way we eat, especially as we often get asked how we are staying so healthy, balanced & happy!
I am by no means talking about how to be super fit or extra skinny, as we are none of that. I am talking about being healthy, energetic & happy. Able to cope. In my experience, this has nothing to do with a number on the scale or hitting the gym for hours every day.
We do long walks, yoga at home and have regular swims. It's recreational movement to feel good.
The simple answer is fruit & veg, people! Fresh nutritious organic food provides our bodies with everything we need in abundance and keeps us healthy & nourished.
So here is some general stuff... and then below a little run down of what we eat!
One thing upfront:
I understand that we all have different budgets & priorities and would never judge any family for their way of living! We are all doing the best we can. Always research and make the decision that works best for your family!
Why Organic Matters
I talk and discuss this with Dave regularly. He often thinks that organic fruits & veggies are too pricey and tries to convince me to buy more conventional produce.
We are also planning to join a community garden in our area and grow some of our own, but so far city apartment living has prevented us from doing this.
I try to get most of it on the markets, where the prices are SO much better than in the supermarket and the quality is great. As a breastfeeding, Mum and also giving food directly to baby Faye buying organic is very important to me.
Conventional produce is sprayed with pesticides and chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, all of which are toxic and harmful to our health. But it isn't just our own health I am concerned with, it is mother nature! All these toxic chemicals pollute the soil and water. It all ends up in our drinking water eventually, in our rivers, the ocean and the soil itself becomes unusable after a while.
It's a short-sighted money-hungry way of farming that I rather not support. It shouldn't really be allowed NOT to farm organically.
Therefore I do see it as my responsibility to buy as much organic as I can. But as David is our budget master, I try to buy seasonal market produce and then buy some of the not-so-polluted produce from conventional farming.
The Clean Fifteen & Dirty Dozen
Have you heard of these before? They are a really handy little shopping guide that tells you which things NEVER to buy conventional as they have the most pesticides and the ones that you can buy as they haven't gotten as much rubbish on them. Really helpful.
However, if you feel you absolutely can't afford organic produce right now and don't have access to a market or garden then be assured that even conventionally grown fruits & veggies are still so much better for you and the environment compared to any animal products!
So fruits & veggies is where it's at.
What does Faye eat in a day?
Faye is only 9 months old and still breastfed, so food is just for fun at this age.
I feed her on demand, still very frequently, whenever she is hungry.
She also still nurses a little during the night but as we are cosleeping in the family bed, this doesn't really interrupt my sleep much at all.
For us it's all about letting her explore the different tastes and textures, to feel and practice chewing and to be part of mealtime as a family.
We all sit down together in the morning on the table. Faye sits in her highchair, which is a Stokke Tripp Trapp and we are loving it.
We sing a little blessing rhyme and then enjoy our meal together. We assist Faye with her spoon, she likes us to help to load it up but then wants to feed herself. Some items she can just eat directly with her hands and she loves to feed herself in this way.
I guess you could say that we are following some baby-led weaning, but we often fork mash her food or she sometimes gets porridge or other things that require a spoon.
We started her with fresh seasonal fruit, like juicy mango, ripe avocado & bananas which she all loved and it was easy to let her feed herself or fork mash the fruit for her. We then tried all sorts of other seasonal fruits.
From there we moved on to steamed veggies and then raw veggies and have now introduced some grains like brown rice, oats & quinoa...together with a few nuts & seeds like flaxseed meal, almond & tahini. One of her absolute favourites is Baked Pumpkin! She always finishes all of it really quickly :)
We will follow with legumes soon. So far Faye has really enjoyed all her food and has not had any reactions (actually she once got a nappy rash from a very tangy kiwi fruit, so we have stopped giving them for now)
If we steam some veggies for our dinner, I just leave a few for Faye's breakfast the next morning. A few times I have made her baby oats, by making oat flour in the Vitamix and then boiling it with water or homemade almond milk (or cashew milk), I would keep a few portions in a jar in the fridge, so she can have it for a few days and then add different ingredients in the morning. For example blueberries or a soaked sugarplum or peaches.
In the last month, Faye has shown interest in more food during the day and I am now offering her an additional "meal" in the afternoon. Every baby is different.
I learned that it is important to always offer milk first before solid food, that way the optimal nutrition is guaranteed and you won't wean too early by letting them eat too many solids too early. After milk, they can then eat as much or little solids as they like. Faye had very little at first when we started introducing solids at 6 months but now at 9 months she really developed an appetite. She makes cute little "Yum, mhmm..." noises as she enjoys her food.
It's been incredibly easy not having to make her special purees and I love that she gets to experience the different textures.
We will step by step introduce more different foods until her first birthday, which is when we will feed her anything we are eating, (except spicy things etc) From this point onward solid food will be her main source of nutrition.
We are planning to keep breastfeeding in addition to solids until she turns two, or however long we both desire.
What do I eat in a day?
Breastfeeding does make me quite hungry and working a lot from home, makes me also prone to snack throughout the day. Being a young Mum is also mentally and emotionally demanding, so it's very important to me to eat well so that I feel well and balanced so that I can be a better Mum and also keep my sanity. Diets high in sugar and processed foods do lead to mood swings and hormone imbalances not to mention all the empty calories, which your body can't use to replenish itself.
As breastfeeding Mums, we need a lot of extra nutrients to keep our bodies nourished and help with the demands of making all the milk.
So there is no room for any junk, any food I eat needs to be nutrient dense and packed with vital vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
It's also important to eat enough calories as a breastfeeding Mum. I am guided by own appetite, some days I have to have bigger portions or more snacks, if Faye is in a growth spurt and nurses more frequently or if I have been very active.
I always start my day with a smoothie.
Usually a green one with Kale, Banana, Chia Seeds & Rice Mylk.
Lately, I have also really loved this pink Beetroot & Berry Smoothie. I do mix it up a little but my staple is my Kale & Banana one. I always buy bananas in bulk and then freeze them when they are ripe. That way I always have enough yummy frozen bananas ready, which also makes great Summertime desserts.
I have a cup of either Dandy Chai or "real" chai tea with Soymilk. It gives me that comforting taste & feel without the strong caffeine of coffee. Now that I am working I am not going to lie, I do enjoy that cup of real tea :)
Here are some recipes:
New Years Detox Smoothie
Smoothie For Energy & Radiance
Probiotic Smoothie Bowl
I have a piece of fruit (whatever is in season) Peaches, Mango, Plums, Figs...
Or if I am really hungry (on days I have done a big walk or exercise) I make myself a cup of oats, together with Buckinis, Coconut and dried berries. I sprinkle some cacao nibs or cinnamon on top and have it plant mylk. Or I have some of my Radiant Rawnola.
I usually make myself a really quick salad, as I often make it while Faye is around.
I like to mix it up but my staple is Baby Spinach, Grilled Tempeh, Chickpeas, Pumpkin Seeds, Apple Cider Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar and a sprinkle Tahini or Avocado. I like to sprinkle a little seaweed like Nori Flakes as well. (for extra iodine which breastfeeding Mums need a lot of!)
A cup of dandy chai or Turmeric Latte or similar with 2 Dates. This is my sweet treat for the day. If I am hungry I might eat a piece of fruit or nibble on some more rawnola. On hot days I might make myself a frozen berry & frozen banana smoothie instead. I like to keep it think and eat it as "nice cream" with a spoon. Blending in cashews is another trick to make it creamier and more filling, for these active days where Mama needs extra calories :)
We have different dinners all the time! A quick staple in our house these days is steamed vegetables (Zucchini, Mushrooms, Eggplant, Bok Choy...anything really) with steamed tofu. The bonus is that I put some veggies aside for Fay's breakfast.
We then either just drizzle a little Tamari Sauce or Tahini or we make a "proper" sauce.
I like to make a cheezy cashew cream sauce by blending a handful cashews with a little water and nutritional yeast flakes. I sometimes add garlic and herbs to this as well.
I also love to cut up some organic Kent pumpkin into thin slices and roast it in the oven, it tastes SO good without any oil or salt needed. Again, I will leave some for Faye.
Sweet potato baked fries with home-made hummus are another winner.
Our Pulse Pasta Recipe is in heavy rotation too. And if it's a very hot day we also love some nibble platters with different dips and salads. I might share some more recipes if you are interested?
But really dinner can be anything from vegan pizza to dumplings or quinoa salad....
And it Winter we are having soup after soup after soup. Never a dull day :)
Although I believe that my diet is nutritionally adequate and complete, I like to take some natural supplements. Just in case :) and to make up for stressful days, lost sleep and high demands. I am still taking my prenatal Vitamins daily, my B12 Spray (Always!!!! And I will start to give this to Faye when she turns one year old), I do occasionally supplement with a vegan DHA/Omega 3 but mostly add Chia, Flaxseed and Hempseeds to my foods for omega oil support. I also like to take a Vitamin C ever so often although I am sure I naturally consume a lot in all the fruits and veggies. My other daily essential is my Pregnancy&Brestfeeding Probiotic. Again, you can also eat an abundance of fermented foods like tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar etc for natural probiotics, which I also do.
Keeping your gut healthy really has a huge impact on your whole body, energy, health and also your skin and through your breastmilk, you will also be able to prevent skin problems and allergies for your baby! Win-win!
More about my postpartum supplements and details of the brands I take in my video here.
Also all about my pregnancy supplements here in my first trimester post.
I eat about 80% raw. Do you want to give it a try? Here is a link to a fab 5 Day Raw Food Challenge.
If getting healthier & happier is on your list for this year there are also great online support sides, which offer recipes, exercise videos and interesting know-how on health & wellbeing.
The site is not all vegan but I found great vegan recipes.
We subscribed to Food Matters and I think it's quite a great resource. They also do group programs, which is ace, if you wish to get a bit of support & community! Like the 5 Day Raw Food Challenge.
Check it out here!