Yep, I confess I’m guilty. I haven’t been blogging in quite a while and while some of you might not have noticed as my nadisunshine Facebook page (give LIKE it if you haven’t done so yet) is still regularly updated, some others might have noticed a break in posting my own recipes here, on my blog. First, sorry for that! Second, I had a very good excuse for it :) The reason, how it often does, lay in my belly. Not a bad gut, nor a sudden lack of appetite – nope, it was a very simple but also magical reason: nadisunshine is getting a baby <3
Next to this wonderful miracle I also got married to the love of my life recently (which was planned long time before) so you can imagine lots and lots of changes were suddenly coming up in our lives! Not only the idea of becoming a parent, a big life change ahead etc. but also it really affected my big passion of food and cooking. If you still wonder why, let me explain my journey of the last months a bit…
How it all started..
About a year ago I was looking for holistic approaches to boost my fertility in a natural way after we didn’t get pregnant for a while. My research lead me to traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and after joining some free online fertility summits I decided to join a programme with a TCM practitioner in London starting in January 2015 for three months to bring my body in the best shape possible in a natural and holistic way. Also I knew I would be busy with preparing our wedding in June, so a baby wouldn’t be in the focus of my attention for the coming months ahead. It would rather be a preparation to get my body in best healthy shape for a baby after the wedding. As the story goes something typical happened! Many people often told me you’ll get pregnant when you least expect, just don’t focus on it. Ha, if that was so easy! But yep, I can only confirm it! Two weeks before I was about to start my programme (imagine lots of traveling, parties and Xmas drinking) I fell pregnant and I didn’t even realize/ think of it for a few weeks! Well, but it happened – just as everybody said!
The first trimester – an adventure
After consulting with my TCM practitioner I decided to do the programme anyways as it’s also highly beneficial for the first trimester in pregnancy which is the most risky part of pregnancy normally. Sounded perfect, but then the tricky part started.. Next to a specific herb mix which my TCM practitioner sent me regularly, I had to change my diet drastically. I was very lucky not to suffer from nausea ever (Yay! Thank you universe!) but I was very, very tired for the first three months. Not the best conditions for putting my usual diet upside down! For optimal fertility and pregnancy TCM believes in keeping the body warm. So no more raw juices and smoothies, salads etc as according to TCM they are cooling down the body. But this wasn’t even the hardest part for me… In TCM meat, especially red, long cooked meat, ideally grass fed and organic is the wonder weapon for fertility and pregnancy (so think stews, broths, thick soups, casseroles etc). On top of that I was told to have it every day! At least some bone broth. Phew! You have no idea how hard that was for me… It was. Really and truly harder than I ever thought. All my cooking and shopping routines, creating new recipes and inventing new creations – all was suddenly stuck! The only chance I had was – like in the very early days – to consult my mum via the phone regularly, get input and explanations, ideas and recipes to try (bless her!). I had to research different types (and names!) of meat and moreover find a trustworthy butcher here in Malta (not so easy like at home in Austria where organic local meat is available very easily). Not such a cool task when you work and feel dead tired all day anyways.
However, I somehow mastered it and at some stage kind of got used to it and I must say I think it was really, really worth it. My tiredness improved and I had a very pleasant and easy pregnancy. My test results were always great and while many mummy friends almost couldn’t believe how well I was, even my hubby and I got used to all the warming and strengthening kind of food we had all winter when it’s getting really unpleasant here in Malta (yep, you read right – it’s damp, cold and houses are horribly insulated and without central heating). Once again, as always in life you do get used to new circumstances.. I made lots of soups with bone broth, bolognese, Greek dishes with beef and aubergines, got a slow cooker for chilis and still always sneaked lots and lots of good veggies inside. As you can tell from the list above minced grass-fed beef was the easiest for me to handle.
Back to the (veggie) roots
Soon my first trimester was over and I decided to not continue with the programme as it’s unfortunately quite expensive. Anyways, it was definitely worth it, I learned a lot and always – aways! – felt in the best of best hands for any question I had, be it pregnancy or diet related. I felt energetic and strong, safe, protected and well taken care of and so did my hubby who thankfully always supports and appreciates me and my interest & experimenting in healthy cooking :)
Well and now, already in my third trimester and meanwhile married to my big love with a beautiful baby bump I must say it was a really interesting ride so far! Being pushed in cold waters to change was once again really good for me.. I learned new things, adjusted and now found a new, healthy middle way. I now understand from the TCM perspective that meat can be a very powerful and strengthening medicine (there is a reason why after birth and when you’re sick as a child you were given bone broths) and I learned that as much as I love raw food, juices, smoothies and salads it’s not the most beneficial when it’s cold outside and especially when you’re planning to get a baby what you want in your belly is a warm, cosy nest for your little one. Once again I was reassured in buying local and seasonal (normally your local foods fit the temperature you need, meaning they have a cooling or warming effect) and pushed to learn more about food as a medicine.
The end.. not quite yet
Well, now we’re in the middle of summer here in Malta and it’s steaming hot outside. So obviously I’m back to a lot of raw foods, salads, cold soups and juices – but now it makes sense as my body desperately needs to cool off. In exactly 6 weeks we await the arrival of our little one and I can’t tell you how excited and at the same time nervous I am. For the first time ever my life is full of question marks.. who will our life be with a baby? Will I still love my life as much as I do now? How will it affect our wonderful relationship and how will my life change career wise? All I can do now is surrender to the change ahead and trust in the universe – and as always, believe in the fact that change means development and growing <3
I really want to thank my lovely hubby for being so sweet and patient and always being there for me…
My mum who is always giving me advise and ideas and mainly unconditional love..
My dad for his incredible generousity and endless interest in me and my life..
The universe for sending us our booboo (baby’s nickname as we still keep the gender a surprise)..
My wonderful friends for always being there for me (and sometimes gently pushing me back to blogging ;-)
And all the lovely people who still follow my blog and like my Facebook page (with numbers growing even though I didn’t even blog anymore!) – I promise, I’ll try to keep up with it again!
Now back to cooking..
Enough chit chat – now finally back with a recipe which I loved a lot lately as it gives me an immediate energy kick on top of many healthy benefits (mainly iron, proteins) which baby and I need a lot of these days…
CHOCOLATY FIG ENERGY BALLS
What you need….
2 cups of dried figs (chopped and soaked)
1 cup of dates (chopped and soaked)
1 cup of cashew nuts
1 cup of ground almonds
1 table spoon of cacao nibs & raw cacao each
1 tea spoon of vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
What to do…
Start by soaking the dried fruit for a few hours or over night. If you only have a normal processor like me this is crucial not to damage your gear (even though it would be the perfect excuse to finally get a Vitamix, I know ;). Drain the chopped and soaked fruit and put them in the blender with vanilla essence, raw cacao, pinch of salt until well combined. It’s fine if there are still some chunkier pieces inside. Add the chashew nuts until they are broken in small bits. Then add ground almonds until you reach a consistency which is nice to roll into balls (you will feel if you need a bit more to make them stick better). In the end add the cacao nibs, give it a last mix (by hand) and roll the mix into little balls. Store in a box for at least a week. This makes quite a lot so spread the yumminess with your friends :)
Enjoy & sending lots of love,