My brand new book is due for release in a week! It has grown with me during my pregnancy and over the first 2 years of my daughters life. I am thrilled to share the knowledge I have learned as a mother and researcher for this book, as well as the hundreds of yummy recipes designed especially for mamas and kids. The following is an exceprt from my book - Homemade Smoothies for Mother and Baby - its the the very first page!
In July 2013, my husband and I were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Emily. Her journey into our lives was not without its dramas. Firstly, with unexplained infertility, it took over 3 years to conceive, followed by finding out she had a birth defect of her abdomen at 12 weeks with risks of associated serious medical problems, and being advised she would require around 6 months in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), at a hospital 2 hours from our home.
Knowing what was ahead of us, I worked hard at having a very healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding period, to ensure Emily had the best start in life possible. Contrary to the doom and gloom presented while I was pregnant, she was born strong and healthy, and spent just 8 weeks in the hospital, defying the odds and amazing the doctors looking after her, with no infections, no breathing assistance, no formula feeds, and no fortified feeds—her medicine was lots of love and my breast milk.
Emily’s conception was all thanks to the wonderful guidance of my natural fertility specialist naturopath, using herbal medicine and tweaking my already healthy way of eating. My excellent health, and that of Emily, had a lot to do with how much effort I put into my diet, and smoothies played a big role in this picture. I have been drinking green smoothies since 2007, and my passion for the humble green drink resulted in the publication of my first book The Green Smoothie Bible published in 2012, and Green Smoothies for Every Season published in 2013.
This publication is a smoothie handbook for all things maternal, from preconception, to pregnancy, to breastfeeding, and introducing solids to your children. The smoothies are inspired by the nutritional requirements recommended for each stage, what tastes great, the latest research and guidelines, and my personal journey, plus the journeys of the wonderful, smoothie-drinking Mamas I surveyed.
Chia seeds originate from the ancient Aztecs, where they were so revered they were used as currency.
Chia have the highest known plant source of omega 3 fats which are known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), meaning we need them to be supplied by our food. EFAs are essential for our nervous system and brain, our cardiovascular system, skin and also our joints. Chia has 8 x the omega 3 that salmon has.
Unlike flax/linseeds and fish which also contain these fats, chia is very stable due to its high antioxidant value. Ground flax seeds and flax oil must be kept strictly refrigerated and used very quickly (in 1-2 weeks) or it goes rancid. Chia has 4 x the antioxidant strength of blueberries, and the black chia seeds will have more antioxidants than the white.
In the newspaper today, I came across an article about a survey the cancer council had done about eating vegetables. Reportedly 'cost and time' is preventing 'vegetable deprived Victorians' from consuming their 5 servings a day.
I am sorry but this is a load of garbage. How pathetic have people become? lets look at two of the claims.
A third of respondents said they would increase their vegetable intake if they had more time - more time to do what exactly? Shop, cook, eat? Clearly they are still eating and shopping as they must be buying and eating food other than vegetables. Is it no time to cook and prepare meals with vegetables? Is it more time consuming to use vegetables as opposed to grain, dairy and
Its asparagus season here in southern Australia where I live, and I am not far from asparagus central being Koo Wee Rup. This week I got some in my veggie box and I was gifted 1.5kg of freshly picked spears, so I needed lots of inspiration to use this wonderful veggie - needless to say I am almost over it having had it in every dinner this week.
So how did I manage to use all my asparagus?? Well here goes!
Asparagus, mushroom and sweetcorn green curry (used asparagus instead of green beans)
Asparagus and pea risotto (adding the greens in the last 5 mins only)
Raw asparagus finely sliced into green salad
Steamed asparagus topped with butter, salt and pepper as a side dish
Asparagus finely sliced through scrambled eggs
Asparagus and zucchini slice
I think thats it!
When we think of sugar, we think of sugar crystals, either in the white or brown form. Table sugar is called sucrose, which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Sugar is really a general term for simple carbohydrates that are sweet, they can be processed into crystals or syrups from a variety of plants, namely sugar cane, sugar beets and corn starch, and exist in many foods we eat, such as fruit, vegetables and dairy products.
You may have also heard of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which has been increasingly used in the food and drink industry since the early 1980s. HFCS is 45% glucose and 55% fructose. It is sweeter, cheaper to use than sugar; hence the food technology industry loves it. However, the process of creating HFCS involves genetically modified corn and is not a naturally occurring substance in corn, going through many conversions to get to the end result. Hence it is a highly processed product.
There are a plethora of gluten free grain/seed options available and they include: rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, tapioca, millet, chia, flax, potato flour, chickpea flour, lentil flour, coconut, and nut meals e.g. almond or hazelnut meal
Whether you need to eat wheat or gluten free, it’s best to mix up sources of grain/seed/flour products for reasons of variety, and most alternatives have better nutrient profiles anyway. The most nutritious options are: quinoa, amaranth, millet, chia, flax, coconut and lentil.
As per my previous post, I don't advocate the consumption of a lot of gluten free substitutes, however there is a place for them and understanding how they can be used from a flavour, textural and nutritional point of view, is important.
When a food group, or type of food is removed from the diet we naturally seek to substitute it for something that is familiar to that that eliminated. e.g. rice or soy milk for cows milk, or gluten free versions of bread, cakes, etc.
My preference is to seek alternatives not substitutes.
When first starting out, substituting is easier. We are creatures of habit more than we are willing to admit so suddenly stopping not just gluten containing foods but the nature of the food itself is difficult. Stopping all bread, crackers pasta, cake, biscuits, pastry, etc is difficult, though a very good thing to do!
Wheat is the third most used crop in the world after rice and corn. Historically wheat is different to what is most commonly used today. Ancient forms of wheat are still around and have been making a bit of a comeback as they tend to be better tolerated by those intolerant to modern wheat products. Some of these forms are Spelt, Kamut and Farro. These ancient grains are harder to grow and harvest, as yields are smaller and the husks are an effort to remove. Modern forms have been bred to combat these issues.
Unfortunately the newer forms of wheat are less nutritious and have less flavour. This is because their root systems are shorter, they grow quicker, and their soil is generally poorer quality due to chemicals added and lack of crop rotation. Newer forms also have higher gliadin content. Gliadins are known for their role, along with glutenin, in the formation of gluten, found in wheat and other gluten containing grains. These proteins help wheat products especially breads to rise, hold shape, to have elasticity and lightness. The older wheat varieties and other gluten grains have lower gliadin and this is thought to be the protein that is the main problem with gluten intolerance.
Parsley belongs to the celery and carrot family and was held such high esteem to the ancient Greeks, that they adorned athletic victors with it.
Parsley is very high in the green pigment chlorophyll which is a detoxifier/chelator of heavy metals, and a deodoriser, masking the odour of other foods. Chewing on parsley after a pungent dish such as with garlic helps to freshen breath. It is also rich in the Vitamin A rich, yellow, carotene pigments such as zeathanthin is necessary for macular health in the eye.
Parsley is an excellent source of Vit A, K and C. It also contains Vit B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic acid, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium and Calcium! The combination of high Vit C and Iron makes parsley an excellent source of non-haem iron for vegetarians, given Vit C increases the uptake of iron in the body.
Dr Ann Wigmore
_Ask juice experts and smoothie experts this question and they
will extol the virtues of their bias in a convincing fashion, enough
that you begin to go down either pathway with confidence. However, is one method better than the other? The main pro-juice argument is that the absence of fibre provides easy assimilation of
concentrated nutrients straight into the bloodstream with little
digestion required. The other side of this debate is that the presence
of fibre in smoothies is the unique selling point.
The late Dr. Ann Wigmore, a nutritional pioneer, advocated a diet that was 70 percent blended smoothies and 30 percent other living foods. She lived an extremely healthy and fit life, and reportedly had no grey hair. Best-selling author Steve Meyerowitz, “the sprout man.” teaches that consuming fresh juices conserves the body’s digestive energy, so more energy can be spent on healing. Interestingly Ann Wigmore said the very same thing. They both speak of pre-digestion and the provision of a high level of nutrition from their preferred drink.