I am really pleased to be holding a very special, four week focus on Mothering. Yes! May is Mothering Month on the Urban Momtographer. I invite you to click on the top bar for Motherly Mondays in May. As a part of Mothering Month- I will be focusing on recipes and items from the great cookbook shown here, The Gourmet Pregnancy By Leah Douglas. Be sure to tune in to the Food Is Fuel Friday features over the next month for recipes and items that are Doctor-Approved for pregnancy. But before we get started on actual food items and recipes, let me introduce you to the source.
FoodIsFuelFriday – May 7, 2010 – The Gourmet Pregnancy by Leah Douglas
I was recently completely blessed with the opportunity to check out this new, innovative and totally fabulous cookbook by Canadian teacher, Leah Douglas, PhD. The Gourmet Pregnancy is such a great idea- for women who love gourmet, fancy foods, but who are nervous of all the restrictions and confusing information about what is safe or unsafe to eat while you’re expecting.
The foreword was a great read- The focus on nutrition is very present right from the first sentences in the book. The greatest thing was that I learned something new about immune systems in pregnancy that I didn’t previously know, but this was a far cry from textbook type information you might expect. With a fresh and modern approach, I think that Dr. Jan E. Christilaw, MD, FRCSC, MHSc, (an OB/GYN at the same hospital that I delivered my baby in) was the perfect selection to start this book off right.
The introduction had a real, personable feel to it. And I can fully relate to the authour’s reasons for wanting to create a guide for pregnant women who want to indulge without the worry- and I really appreciate the honesty that’s shared in this introduction. When a woman is pregnant she shouldn’t have to worry about what might be in the things that she enjoys eating. I really feel like this book is a great guide for true foodies who know that pregnancy should be a relaxing time free of stress. Especially when it comes to a favourite human pass-time, eating!
I also noted, in this section, just how much I love the inclusion of random, inspirational quotes. It gave a really friendly feel to the book, and made me feel like I was definitely getting something more out of it. I looked over this book without the intention of actually making anything right off the bat, but I still came away from it feeling uplifted and encouraged. I’m not even pregnant, and that’s definitely a sign that it’s easy to appreciate the words and thoughts collected and shared in this book.
I also really like this book simply because of the nature of it’s Food Is Fuel message. A lot of women who are pregnant have never really had the time to consider their food as their source of energy. It is a fabulous thing when a book can encourage people to start on a routine of eating healthy, balanced meals while pregnant, so that positive habits are in place when baby is born and mom needs to continue sustaining herself in order to make breastmilk. There is nothing bad about starting to develop a healthier view of what your food is, how it tastes, and the connection between high quality food and high quality health.
One of my favourite features is right at the start of this book, entitled “Not Invited to the Party”. A handy, easy to find guide to all the things that you should be sure to avoid while you’re incubating your bundle of joy. What more could you ask for than to have everything known to be harmful listed for you in a comprehensive and easy to understand guide? That is a great idea, and really sets this book apart.
Another great feature that I made note of was the highly customizable nature of the recipes. If one desired, it would be very easy to change these recipes to better suit individual cravings or needs. The main reason that I noted this was because I noticed a relatively high incidence of peanuts as ingredients. Many of you already know that I am one of the millions of people worldwide who suffer from a peanut allergy. I’m happy to say however, that if you have a peanut allergy you’re already likely to know some great alternatives for peanuts and peanut butter. Some of these can include almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even my favourite, hemp seeds. It’s a good idea to look into your specific dietary needs and decide based on what individual traits each of these alternatives hold and offer your diet. In other words, the high presence of peanuts, despite my peanut allergy, certainly didn’t ruin this book.
At first, I thought “Gourmet” cooking had to mean timely, messy and expensive- this cookbook shows that it doesn’t have to be. Most of the ingredients that are called for are easy to find, things that you will have heard of or even have in your house. Each recipe is broken down into not only how much time they take to cook, but also an estimate of your active time. This is an absolutely genius idea- what better for pregnant cooks than to know exactly how much is required of you before you start. And there are things that take less time than driving to the nearest fast food joint, so.. chew on that!
The breakfasts that are featured in this cookbook are all great, high protein options. And in this book “high protein” doesn’t mean “heavy”. There are fabulous lighter options, and twists on forbidden classics like Eggs Benedict. An amazing tool for women who are still on the go- early in pregnancy and still working; Start your day with one of these deliciously different breakfast options and you can be confident that you’ve started your day right.
New twists on old classics are abounding in this cookbook- it certainly doesn’t stop at eggs benny revised. From corn on the cob done maple, to new salad ideas- The Gourmet Pregnancy touches on a little of everything.
The section for lighter meals is such a useful thing to be able to count on in the last weeks of carrying, but also for women who are pregnant in the hotter months or climates. Heat always stifles my appetite, but it’s really important to be maintaining a proper diet during pregnancy. It’s nice to know that you have a lighter section that you can go to on days when you’re just not feeling much emptiness inside. Especially in the last four weeks- you’re going to need your strength! It is really great to be able to read a cookbook from start to finish and not have to wonder, “Is it safe?”. With this book you just know.
The desserts look absolutely decadent and I just cannot wait to try them. And I’ve never been about focusing on calories to lose weight. The answer, for me, was not in calorie counting or dieting. The key- and the reason for Food Is Fuel Fridays at all, was that I lost over 100 lbs by cutting out the processed foods and the high fructose refined sugars that are in so many packaged foods. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in delicious and fabulous desserts- as long as they are made with high quality, real ingredients. I can assure you that each dessert featured in this book is made of the best stuff you can buy. Remember, always, that you get what you pay for.
The Gourmet Pregnancy also features a great guide to fancy, froo froo drinks that don’t have any alcohol. This section isn’t small, it is really well done, has a great selection of different things- from juicy fruity drinks and smoothies to coffees and white teas- You’ll make the drinkers feel left out with your awesome concoctions during your dry months/years (no drinky while breastfeedy, thx). I bet that when you re-enter the world of alcoholic beverages you’ll love these drink options so much you’ll be spiking them!
Missing cocktail parties while you’re preggers? You don’t have to with this guide. It truly is amazing. And for someone like me, who doesn’t drink anyway- I’m using this as a drink guide for the next BBQ we have.
A couple final things that I just love were the overt use of non-traditional cooking oils. This is great because many people are unaware of different oils for cooking, and there are a lot of inexpensive and healthier alternatives to common cooking oils like canola. Get into the habit early of redesigning your oil use. I also love the common use of avocado, which is so high in the essential (good) fats you need to create human life. I love the use of nuts and mushrooms for protein, instead of lots of heavy meats. I was surprised by the amount of fish featured in this cookbook, it was great because so many people shy away from fish when you don’t have to- I just have to remind that fish is really high in mercury and is recommended only once a week at the very most during your pregnancy. In other words, please don’t cook three fish meals in a day. If you’re worried about Omega’s in your diet, consider taking a daily raw, shelled hempseed supplement of 4tbsp a day. This is a habit all adults should be in, woman or man, pregnant or conceiving. Hemp has the highest Omega count of anything in the plant kingdom and it’s protein is second only to soy.
All- in all, The Gourmet Pregnancy is certainly a book that I would recommend to anyone pregnant now, or trying to or planning to conceive, even those of you who’ve sworn off reproducing should take a look into this book. It’s never a bad time to be more conscious of the fuel you choose to run your body on. Leah Douglas’ book makes finding reliable fuel- for the skin you’re in- easy.
Remember to tune in over the next Month for our fun with recipes featured in this book. We’re going to show you just what we’re getting from it throughout Motherly May on RunningScared.ca