Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherds Pie & my Vegan pregnancy so far

This post does contain the Shepherds Pie recipe - however it's also a tell-all about my experience in pregnancy so far :) Enjoy reading Earth angels xxx

I am loving being home in Carlsbad, CA with my darling hubby-to-be Jonathan. I have so so much organising to do for the baby's arrival which is keeping my days busy, and I'm not accidentally falling asleep on the couch from exhaustion (oops)... This pregnancy has definitely had it's low points but I'm absolutely loving being pregnant now. I feel good MOST of the time, I'm able to workout again - which I couldn't do for the first 19 weeks because I was so sick all the time. I'm enjoying FOOD again - which is a huge plus. But the great thing about my pregnancy is that I haven't been getting any silly cravings for weird and whacky things or for unhealthy food (Thank goodness). I've actually been craving fruit fruit fruit, and my naughty splurge when we eat out sometimes is a veggie burger and fries (can't go past a good veggie burger). I will honestly put this down to having already had a really well balanced and healthy diet before falling pregnant. 

My BIGGEST fear when I fell pregnant was that I would start to crave MEAT! For anyone that knows me - this is actually the biggest NO NO and it literally freaked the crap outta me! I believe in the rights of animals, but the reason I stopped eating meat to start with is because i DID NOT LIKE IT! And as I began researching more, I learned how much healthier a life without meat, is. And so my journey into thriving on a plant based diet began. I have been a Vegan for 3 and a half years now, and I was SO excited to continue my journey throughout my pregnancy and now into motherhood :) And best of all.. I'm sharing it with all my readers...

My only regret is that, because I was sick with ALL DAY sickness and working such long hours, that I wasn't able to document my journey through the early days. However I can tell you it went a little something like this:

Day One:
Wake up at 6am, feeling super nauseous - must eat before i faint.
Go to the kitchen - everything I see makes me want to vomit. Eat some fruit. I feel a little better - enough to take a shower.
Halfway through shower I feel even more nauseous than I did before I ate and I start shaking.
Put on the comfiest clothes possible and travel to work (wishing I could just curl up in bed)
Get to work at 8am - must work, but feel sick and exhausted all day long. Barely eat because everything makes me want to puke, but can't focus because I'm not eating enough.
Don't leave work until at least 6-7pm - get home by 7 or 8pm. Try to force some food down, and fall into bed and straight to sleep.

Repeat x everyday for 10 weeks.

After I stopped working, my days got a little easier. The sickness didn't ease up, but I was able to rest a lot more and trust me - your body needs it. I really have a lot of respect for women who work non stop throughout their pregnancy if they have a first trimester anything like mine because I just struggled and was not myself. I didn't like being pregnant and thought it would never end.

We then had to go to Thailand for our friend's wedding. It was nice to get away and have a little holiday - however it was far from a relaxing holiday for me feeling like total ass the whole time. And to top it off - the delicious Thailand street smells... Well lets just say that I did not stop gagging and was on the verge of puking the whole time. While we were at the resort it wasn't so bad. But I really got sick of all the food - VERY quickly. All I wanted was fresh foods... Fruit and salads... The fruit I got, the salads weren't so good and I really struggled trying to eat cooked food.

Once Jonathan and I got to America (a couple of weeks before Christmas 2012) I was a few weeks away from heading into my second trimester, however nothing really changed. I was able to eat more, but could not hardly get out of bed. I had so much to do, like find a house, furniture, car etc... But every chance I got I was curled up in bed. I met with my midwife and she said I may possibly be low on iron if I'm still feeling this tired in the second trimester. I knew it was a high possibility because we weren't in our own home with all my kitchen appliances so I wasn't having green smoothies or juices, or enough greens in general so I knew my iron was probably extremely low, especially with my blood volume increasing so rapidly. So my midwife put me on a vegan herbal iron supplement. Within a few days of taking it (by now I was back in Australia) I was feeling super again! It was amazing! I felt like I could get up in the morning, I wanted to go walking and lay out in the sun... That was for the first 4 days being home anyway - and then it was non stop torrential rain for the entire 5 weeks I was home.

Now - back in Carlsbad, feeling great, working out, I still get exhausted but I think that is just normal when you're growing a little person inside of you :)

My WEIGHT... Despite the fact I struggled to eat in the first trimester - i still forced myself to or I would have been even worse. Some women lose a little weight during the first and sometimes even the second trimester which, if they can't keep food down, is normal. I only vomited twice. Once was the night before we flew to America before Christmas. My nausea was the worse it had ever been, and I tried to eat to make me feel a little better and NOTHING worked. I went to dinner with my parents that night as a kind of send off and I was just horrible company and barely touched my salad, I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up the entire time. We came home and I lay in front of a movie and my stomach was just turning. I decided to try to go to sleep and as soon as I lay in bed I felt that feeling - JUMPED out of bed and ran to the toilet, and everything I'd eaten that day came up - please excuse the details but I'm a graphic person. I wasn't able to touch sushi again for a long while because all I could taste was my sushi coming back up.

Anyway back to the point, as I only threw up twice, and still forced food down, I still put on weight. At week 18 I had put on 4.5kg/10lbs. When I got back to Carlsbad I saw my midwife a few days later (one week ago) and I had put on a total of 5.4kg/12lbs. My midwife informed me that I should actually be gaining around a pound per week but I'm only gaining half a pound. I was actually shocked because I feel so much heavier than I actually am, but I also think that not working out and losing muscle mass and tone has made me feel soft and sloppier. So now I am focused on upping my good fats - eating LOTS of avocado, using more coconut oil when I cook etc. It is so important to, not so much count calories, but to make sure you aren't just eating empty calories.

So on that note... I will be documenting the rest of my pregnancy and then I will also be documenting (as much as I can with a newborn) after giving birth and my journey back to a healthy post baby body - the RIGHT way!

Now without further adue, here is the delicious dinner I cooked for Jonathan and I last night... If you love Shepherds Pie, this is a GREAT cruelty-free, healthier version :) yum!

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherds Pie

8 large or 10 medium potatoes2 tablespoons vegan butter1/2 cup rice milk
Garlic powder to tasteSalt to taste2 tablespoons coconut/olive oil1 large onion, finely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced170g/6 ounces button mushroomsTwo cans lentils, lightly drained but not rinsed (or about 3 1/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)2 tablespoons dry red wine, optional1 to 2 tablespoon tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos2 teaspoons all purpose seasoning blend 1/2 teaspoon dried thymeFreshly ground pepper to taste3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot220g/8 ounces baby spinach or arugula leaves1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
Stir the butter into the potatoes until melted, then add the rice milk and mash until fluffy. Add some garlic powder and salt to taste. Cover and set aside until needed. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the optional wine, soy sauce, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.

Add the spinach, a little at a time, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.

Lightly oil a medium-large casserole dish. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle some Rosemary (fresh or dried) on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


1 comment:

  1. This is such an awesome recipe! I made just slight alterations (used only oregano due to fact I'm currently nursing my 9 month old-and I added about 2 T. Dijon mustard-for some reason it seemed like it needed the kick and it worked surprisingly well). Thank you for the post!