guest post by Danielle
I’m a foodie at heart. Always have been. Always will be.
When I began planning my home birth at 7 months of pregnancy, little did I realize that the experience would literally change the way I thought about indulgence, treats, and gourmet dining… forever! Food was about to get a whole lot more exciting!
Here’s how it all started:
We were getting ready to welcome our second daughter at home, with about 6 weeks or so to go, and our first daughter was just on 12 months old at the time. Between late night pregnancy bathroom trips, night time toddler parenting, and carrying my pre-walking babe between chores each day… I was feeling downright fatigued and struggling to get through the day to say the least. You know how it goes!
I was certainly in no physical or mental state to cope with labor, let alone to look forward to the birth with excited anticipation (the emotional place that I really wanted to be). You read in all those lovely pregnancy books, and glossy mags to rest in late pregnancy, put your feet up, nap during the day, do a little deep breathing outside on your morning walk, and hey… head on out and treat yourself to a maternity massage once a week. But, as I’m sure many of you know only too well… these tips work wonders with the first pregnancy… sometimes a little (or a LOT!) more challenging for the second, with toddler in tow.
So here’s what I did in my state of exhaustion: I asked for a solution to present itself to me. “There’s gotta be a way for this to work” I thought. “Geez I can’t be the only tired, exhausted, run-down mama who’s desperately wondering how she’s going to ‘do this birth thing’ all over again.“
You know what, I must have put my intention out there pretty clearly, or with the right vibe, or something…. because in less than one week from sending out that heart felt request to the universe, I had my answer!
You wanna know what it was?
Yep, I’m talking good ol’ spinach and celery (and later I would come to discover kale, carrot tops, dandelion and wild growing weeds).
I’d stumbled across a flyer for a Green Smoothie Workshop being held at my local health food store. On that very same day I’d ‘co-incidentally’ received an email from my good friend and kiniesiologist proposing that the magnesium minerals (and other goodies) found in high doses in dark leafy greens may be just the solution to my predicament that I’d been looking for.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really didn’t get too excited about this at first. After all, everyone knows greens are good for you right?! That you should eat more of them?
But…. there was something about the way those few ‘green smoothie converts’ spoke at that little health food store workshop that night: the high-energy passion in their voice, the sparkle in their eyes, the apparent relief that they had in fact found the solution that they had been seeking (whether that be increased energy, or weight loss or a calm nervous system).
I knew I had to find out what this was all about for myself. I had to know. I had to feel it.
So… with less that 6 weeks till B-Day, I re-allocated my pregnancy multi-vitamin funds, and started to have a big fresh green smoothie box’ delivered every week.
I committed to myself that by the end of each week, every single leaf and stem and apple that was in that big box in the fridge was going to have gone through my blender, and then gone through me. If I could do that for 7 days straight (I was drinking about 1 to 2 litres of smoothie per day), I’d know if I was on the right track.
Within 2 days I began to feel more energetic, clear headed, and able to again cope with late pregnancy while mothering my toddler; within 7 days I was feeling more alive and excited about life than I had done certainly within the last 2 months of pregnancy, and probably within the last 10 years of my life!
The transformation was quite startling and obvious to my husband, and he soon wanted to partake in this weird green swamp sludge that was coming out of our blender. Again, the benefits were clear for all to be seen as he started to rapidly recover from long held body aches and pains that had accumulated through years of working in the construction industry.
My 1 year old didn’t want to miss out on the daily ritual either, and as she began to drink her own little cup of sweet, green goodness, the dark circles under her eyes (which to be honest I hadn’t really even noticed up to that point) disappeared within days.
We all began to radiate with health (even as we continued to eat our regular meals of pasta, bread and potatoes). We had enough energy to be present for each other despite long days working or mothering, and most exciting of all, I had my wish granted: I was now looking forward to this birth with confidence, knowing I had the energy I needed to see it through.
So where does the Banana Cream Pie come in here I hear you ask?
Well, as yummy as Green Smoothies are… I knew they probably weren’t going to satisfy those nagging pregnancy cravings, or desires for indulgence that popped up daily (at least not for me anyway!). But with all this good I was doing for my body, it seemed odd to then duck down to the store and buy a packet of trans-fat filled chocolate biscuits to munch on top of it (a regular favourite in my first pregnancy).
I did a little research, and found out that “these raw food people”’ who had taught me about the magic of combining greens and fruits in a blender, also had a few other nifty tricks up their sleeve!
They could show me how to indulge in delicious desserts every day, that included only those ingredients that were pure and delicious: good for me and my growing babe! I learned how to make:
- Banana Berry Cream Pie
- Velvety Chocolate Mousse
- Walnut Fudge Brownies
- Scrumptious Energy Balls to snack on during labor…
… and a whole lot more, using nothing but fruits, nuts, seeds and a little raw, organic coconut oil and honey.
Wow! What a revelation this was for me! Sweets that were as good as the real deal, but without the heavy uncomfortable feeling that usually follows.
My favourite was making the Banana Cream Pies (I just love to say those words Banana Cream Pie too… that’s almost as satisfying in itself).
I’ll share with you here how I did it:
To make the pie crust, I ground up a cup of raw almonds with a cup of soaked dates in a food processor. Pressing the sticky dough into the bottom and sides of a pie dish to form the crust, I then left it to set in the freezer.
Next, I’d take about 6 ripe bananas, half a cup of soaked cashews, half a cup of desiccated coconut (I hunted down the organic kind without the preservative 220), some raw organic honey to sweeten, and a few big tablespoons of coconut oil to make the whole mixture creamy and luxurious. Blending it all up in a blender or food processor, it was then ready to pour it into the pie crust.
To add some beauty and zest, I’d decorate the top with beautiful fresh strawberry slices, or a big pile of raspberries, and allow the whole thing to set in the freezer. Once it’s a firm consistency (but before it’s frozen solid), you can slice up a piece of creamy luscious pie. The ingredients are all so nutrient-dense and good for you, sometimes my toddler and I would even sit down to a slice for breakfast (after our morning green smoothie of course). Kept her happy. Kept me happy!
If this kind of dessert gets your mouth watering, go ahead and do a Google search, for raw food pie recipes. You’ll find endless variations. Sometimes I’d add raw organic cacao to make a chocolate cake, other times I’d whiz up some ripe mango and swirl it into the top with a chopstick, pretending I was a gourmet French pastry chef.
As you don’t bake this pie, there’s no need to be exact with ingredients. Just sit a pile of yummy stuff next to your blender or food processor. Then pour and taste test between nappy changes, nap times and breastfeeding. There’s nothing to measure, nothing to burn, and no hot ovens to keep little fingers away from.
So there you have it.
My homebirth experience not only changed the way I view birth forever… it literally changed the way I approached eating and indulging, and nourishing myself and my babes.
The whole world starts to look brighter when you have the energy to show up to it fully, and in no other area of life am I more grateful for this than in being a mother.
Stay tuned for next time Kaitlin invites me to share, and I’ll be sure to post my recipe for those little power-packed Energy Balls that I prepared for snacking on at home during labor.
*Note: If you think you’d like to try Green Smoothies in the large quantity that I mentioned above, speak to your midwife, naturopath or doctor for advice first. I’m glad that I kept my midwife informed of my diet along the way, as it meant that she didn’t have cause for alarm when I had some greater than expected blood clotting. She knew immediately that the cause was all the Vitamin K I’d been ingesting through dark greens, and could respond accordingly.
Danielle Greason is a nature-loving mamma who loves to hang out with the Raw Moms, Raw Divas and Green Smoothie Queens as blog editor at The Raw Divas. She lives in Costa Rica with her husband and two toddlers, where the greens are wild and the mangoes are ripe!