Change for the Better
Lucinda Puddicombe continues her monthly blog installment talking all things wellbeing, mindfulness and pregnancy...
There are two weeks to go until I am a Mum for the first time. Rumor has it that my life is going to change a lot. I thought I’d better not ignore this rumor just in case it is true so I’ve been planning…just a little.
They call it the ‘nesting period’-a hormone fueled stretch of time before you give birth during which you simply can’t stop getting jobs done around the house, in fear of not being able to do them once the baby arrives. Andy is officially scared of being chased around the house by the vacuum cleaner and the laundry baskets remain mysteriously empty!
I feel very new to childcare, so in preparation for motherhood, I have taken some of the essential pre-natal classes and read a few parenting books. It’s clear that a different routine is inevitable. I anticipate feeding the little one every two to four hours, changing diapers at least eight times a day, and sleeping in shifts, just as the baby does. And it’s not just the timetable that can be unsettling. Add in the unpredictability of childbirth, my prospective career as a milking machine and sharing my life with a brand new miracle that I am going to be responsible for; all fairly daunting.
There’s no doubt that I will be full of pride on arrival day and when the midwife puts the newborn on my chest for the first time, my Mum says “you’ll feel like the cleverest person in the world”. But it’s no wonder that with all the anticipated change, that in between the highs of looking forward to being a parent, at times, I’ve been feeling fearful, nervous and doubting my abilities.
When life feels like a challenge, I like to focus on three basics: exercise, meditation and nutrition. Sure life is going to change in a big way but this doesn’t mean that it has to fall apart-if I can get the basics right, I feel I have a fighting chance. I’m convinced that the routine of yoga, quiet time and healthy food have helped eased my pregnancy journey up until now. Knowing this, it makes sense for me to continue on this pathway as best as I possibly can. I’m already planning on how and when I will stay active and knowing how sleep deprived I will be, the best ways I can stay mindful once I am a Mum. And then there is food.
Eating is a part of life that many struggle with when there are difficult obstacles or the routine gets hectic. What happens, when there’s no time to clean the juicer or chop vegetables? Some Mums tell me they have so little time or are so tired, they forget to eat or drink water. Well I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t last long doing this. Sure, the baby’s routine comes first, but I won’t be able to care for the little one properly if I don’t look after myself.
There are plenty of ways you can eat healthily whilst on the go. I have been tightly packing my freezer full of bread, grains, casseroles, soups and some of my favorite desserts that I can prepare in a moment’s notice. Instead of spending countless hours in the kitchen at 38 weeks pregnant, I cook more than is needed at dinnertime and store the leftovers in portion-friendly, freezer bags. The granola tin is overflowing and I’ve bought heaps of of dry snacks that I can store for a long time (my cupboards look like they are prepared for World War Three!). I’m stocked up with healthy food that involves little or no preparation time. I’m sure my body will thank me for it and my baby will appreciate the better mood I am in because I am eating regularly.
Smoothies are nutritious and great ‘on the go’. I have all the essential smoothie ingredients ready: plant protein powders, nut butters, bananas and frozen fruit. I’ll throw in a few fresh leaves to get my green fix. For convenience, I’ve signed up with a service that delivers fresh, farmers’ market quality vegetables straight to my door. The produce is seasonal and local so I get to help the environment too. It doesn’t even cost any more than going to the supermarket.
When life takes a dramatic turn, hopefully friends and family are not too far away to lend a hand in the kitchen or babysit for a night-I’ve not been shy in asking for help in advance. The take out menus are in the bin and the grocery stores are wondering why their stocks are so low! Testing as it may appear, I’m ready to face motherhood in good health. Change here I come…
Lucinda's Gorgeous Granola
Lucinda's Gorgeous Granola
Makes 6 cups and takes just over 1 hour to prepare
1 cup whole raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 1/4 cup oats or buckwheat groats
3/4 cup dried fruit of choice, unsweetened, soaked and chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch himalayan sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 tbsp liquid sweetener such as raw honey, agave or maple syrup OR 6 tbsp date paste*
*for the date paste simply blend 3/4 pitted dates with 1/4-1/2 cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (140 degrees C).
2. Process 1/2 cup of the almonds in the blender until you get a fine flour consistency. Add this to a large mixing bowl.
3. Put the the other 1/2 cup of almonds with the walnuts in the blender and process until the nuts are finely chopped. You will also be left with some fine flour. Transfer the nuts to the mixing bowl.
4. Add the oats or buckwheat groats, the dried fruit, sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon and salt to the nut mixture and stir in throughly.
5. Combine the oil, sweetener and vanilla, then add these to the dry ingredients. Fold the mixture with a wooden spoon until they are totally combined.
6. Spread the granola onto a 13“ by 9” baking tray and pat down into a 1 cm layer.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, then take out the tray, turn the granola and pat down with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. Again, turn the granola to ensure it cooks evenly crisp and golden. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes if needed.
8. Cool for an hour or so before storing. You can store the granola in air tight containers in the fridge for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 6 weeks.
For more ideas on mindful eating, check out The Headspace Diet
Images courtesy Fred MacGregor