In the little packet I received from my midwives it says "We believe that diet is the single most important factor in ensuring health for mother and baby during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum time." They go on to recommend whole, fresh food, whole grains, dark leafy green vegetables, fresh fruit, good fats, and other vitamin and mineral rich foods. Thankfully, this wasn’t a challenge for me. It’s how I already eat- I was just a little more diligent about avoiding certain things (like nitrates, alcohol, caffeine- although I did have my cup of coffee here and there). I didn’t take a prenatal vitamin but a few times here and there- mostly because I just don’t believe that supplements like that are able to do the job of food… they are hard on your stomach and you can’t even absorb the nutrients very readily. Not a good substitute! Our bodies are meant to eat food to get what they need. Anyway, it occurred to me after I had Vera that I’d been taking this body of mine for granted. All the precautions you are supposed to take during pregnancy are important to take all the time. Just because the precious baby has exited doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care for your own precious self in the same way. It just got me thinking about my body differently. And, my health improved as a result.
One thing that I took note of was the regulation of my cycles. My cycles had been irregular for as long as I’d had them. Usually not a big problem, just unpredictable. However, once I started regularly drinking this pregnancy tea (during my pregnancy with Vera and then all the time afterwards), I found that my cycles evened out, I had little to no cramping, and practically no PMS symptoms. Win! It just felt healthier… something had been ironed out.
My sister and I love this tea, and rather than call it "pregnancy tea" we’ve dubbed it "Happy Woman Tea", because really it’s good for us all the time. And, if you are not a woman and reading this, don’t despair! It’s good for you too! To sing a few of its praises- it is high in calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, E, and some B complex. Also high in potassium and phosphorus, and is a well known uterine tonic. It makes a delicious iced tea, too.
Happy Woman Tea (per quart of tea)
2 tablespoons Red Raspberry Leaf
2 tablespoons Nettles
After that, you can add any number of herbs. Personally I like to add rosehips (Vit C & bioflavinoids), dandelion root (supports liver function), and usually a little black tea. But you could add mint, ginger, chamomile, any number of herbal variations!
Also, I’ve been trying to focus on not wasting any of this food of ours coming out of the garden. I’ve mentioned this before, but I read somewhere that on average people waste about 30% of the food that they bring into their homes- usually forgotten in the back of the fridge. Anyway, I try to be conscious of that and creatively use our leftovers. We are always having slightly bizarre foods that I label as being "wicked". Thankfully, my family is full of adventurous eaters, and I think Jeff has come to expect a few interesting one-pot meals each week full of mismatched ingredients. It’s also a way for me to stretch that creative muscle and have some fun. This past week, we had pasta salad that Jeff’s sister brought us, some leftover steak, and a bunch of green tomatoes that the little girls picked before their time. So… green tomato spaghetti pie!
I mixed the pasta with a few eggs, some salt and pepper, and then spread it out on a greased pie sheet. I remember my mom making a pie "crust" like this when I was little, although I don’t remember what she filled it with… fun.
Then I layered it with steak, slices of green tomatoes, and cheese. Baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes, and it was delicious!
Then there’s eggplant. I love eggplant, but it’s hard to use up all at once. Last year I just sliced it up and put it in freezer bags, but when it came time to use it, it was just soggy eggplant… really only good for use in soups or a well simmered curry. Not a total loss, but not the way I wanted to use eggplant throughout the year. So I’ve decided on baba ghanouj. I love this dish, it’s soooo delicious. It’s also extra special to me because I’m allergic to chick peas, so I never get to eat hummus. This, I’m told, is very similar. Anyway, every time I have an eggplant surplus I’ll be turning it into this lovely dip and freezing it in pint bags for use throughout the year.
All you do is roast your eggplant for about an hour (cut in half lengthwise). Scoop out the soft insides of the eggplant and put into a food processor. Then add a couple of splashes of lemon juice, a few cloves of crushed garlic, and about a 1/4-1/2 cup of tahini (or to taste… I know these amounts aren’t specific, I just kind of wing it until it tastes right). Voila! One of my favorite things. Eat with pita or grilled/raw veggies. Yum!