My goodness it’s taken me ages to write this post! I think I started it when my baby was about 8 weeks…he’s now 4 months. It’s been a mixed bag with moments of joy and exhilaration with overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude to almost weeping with tiredness as my baby wants to feed yet again when I have no milk left to give him. It’s definitely a roller coaster, one moment thinking I’m handling my 3 year old boy and new born pretty well for it all to come crashing down in an instant (usually in the middle of the supermarket) with tears and lots of screaming.
I feel I’ve reached a bit more of an equilibrium now. The 3 year old is at nursery every morning (phew) and my little one is more settled, feeding less frequently and sleeping more at night. I still have daily doses of chaos but it’s certainly getting more manageable.
My approach to regaining my strength, vitality and body is a gradual one, nothing too dramatic or extreme. Eating fresh foods, lots of vegetables, fats and proteins and keeping carbohydrates to the gluten-free variety and in 1-2 meals a day. I thought the best way to show this is to give you an idea about how and what I eat on an average weekday.
Breakfast – Porridge with almonds, coconut, chia and cacao.
I’ve been eating this breakfast for a few months now since the combination of oats and almonds are ‘lactogenic’, meaning they help to stimulate breast milk production (essential when one has a constantly hungry boy – for those non-breastfeeding people this won’t make you lactate!). My 3 year old is also a porridge fiend, he can have up to 3 breakfasts in the morning (especially on a weekend) and porridge is always the first. I make a big batch and then divvy it out with different toppings for each of us. It’s quick, easy and (with the toppings) full of healthy fats and proteins.
Here’s the contents of mine. Be warned, I seriously load it up with a lot of extras, all of which are helping me to recover from the birth and keeping my adrenals (stress glands) supported.
- 1/4 cup of organic oats.
- 1/4 cup of full fat organic milk.
- 1/4 water.
- 1 tbs coconut chips.
- 1 tsp chia seeds.
- 2 tsp cacao nibs.
- Approx. 8 almonds.
- 1 tsp of Organic Vitality Mix (Inspiral). This is a really nice mix of immune and adrenal supportive nutrients (the adrenal glands manage our stress response and can become depleted when the body experiences prolonged stress).
- 1 tsp Milled Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts and Co-Q10 (Linwoods).
- 1 tsp raw honey.
I team this with a pot of Jasmine green tea (Pukka).
My 3 year old fireball is in nursery 5 mornings week, which means I actually get a bit of breathing space. I’ll sit down (and try not to waste too much time looking at banal YouTube videos) and drink a range of beverages to keep my hydration levels up. These range from a cup of English breakfast tea and water to my new discovery of a matcha latte. I realise this sounds like a slightly pretentious drink, but I brought some matcha powder a few years ago (it’s not cheap), needed to use it up and found adding lots of almond milk made it much more drinkable. I’ll combine this with either a raw snack bar (Nakd) or if I’ve been organised and made these energy balls.
Lunch – Green Scramble
This is pretty standard for me, unless I’m having leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. My life becomes much more chaotic once my older boy is home so lunch needs to be quick and easy. It usually involves eggs and spinach, I’ll also chuck in any other veg that’s in the fridge (again any leftovers from the night before such as roasted sweet potato or steamed broccoli) and then scramble it up with two eggs (fried with coconut oil). I’ll add on a side of sauerkraut and avocado if it’s going. It’s easy, can (mostly) be done one-handed and is very healthy.
Thankfully my 3 year old will also eat scrambled eggs with spinach (cut up into minuscule pieces), combined with sourdough toast and butter.
It doesn’t always look like this photo, in fact this photo was only made possible because my snot-imbuded boy was so tired after nursery that he fell asleep on the sofa and let me make this attractive looking meal and eat it without having to read Pepper Pig whilst breastfeeding the baby!
HOWEVER, there are days when the only thing possible to make is a piece of toast and peanut butter!
Dinner – Salmon with roasted vegetables and rice.
The preparation time I put into dinner varies a lot. It can veer from a stressful and noisy 30 minutes to a relaxing hour. It all depends if my husband gets back in time to sit with the boys. If I have time I like to try some new recipes a couple of times a week or if time is short I go to my staples. I also try to get in a couple of vegetarian dishes a week alongside the lamb, chicken or fish we normally have. Here are the basic dietary rules I follow:
- Must contain a solid source of protein i.e. lamb (my husband doesn’t eat any other red meat), chicken, fish or if we’re doing veggie halloumi cheese.
- Must contain at least 3 different vegetables (including something green such as broccoli, kale or spinach). These are either steamed, roasted or sautéed. My 3 year old is a picky eater and getting anything green in him is nigh on impossible. He does eat raw carrots and cucumber so I always give him a good helping of these as a pre-dinner snack while he gets his time watching Bing/Peppa Pig/Teletubbies. If possible I will also try and sneak in some more during dinner (but this isn’t always possible).
- A gluten-free starch or carbohydrate such as rice, quinoa, rice pasta, sweet potato or regular potatoes. I may skip this but the others demand them!
What you see here is a pretty standard meal of roasted vegetables, baked salmon (makes it easy as I can shove everything into the oven), homemade pesto (whatever herbs are around combined with pine nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper). This is with rice but I may make some pasta for the boy as I can mix some of the pesto into it without him complaining too much! Thankfully he loves salmon and will eat the same size portion as me.
My boy will get some fruit and full fat natural yoghurt. If it’s the weekend, he’ll also get a biscuit or some chocolate.
I’m also partial to a little bit of something sweet but will try to have made something healthy-ish. If there’s nothing I’ll opt for a piece of dark chocolate.
- I start the day with a pot of Jasmin Green Tea.
- I will have 1 cup of English breakfast tea with milk a day (sometimes 2 if I’m flagging in the afternoon).
- Possibly a decaf coffee if I’m out.
- Fennel or the Pukka Chai tea.
- I’m trying to drink 2 litres of water a day but this is where I seem to struggle at the moment (which is not ideal as I’m breastfeeding).
That’s it! This will vary on the weekends and if we have guests. I’m very lucky in that my husband loves to cook and is a phenomenal one! So on the weekends he goes all out and will dive into a cookbook (Ottolenghi and Sabrina Ghayour are favourites) and may also make a decadent dessert.