nutrition

Book Review: Green Kitchen at Home

Green Kitchen at Home

It's hard to find inspiration sometimes, especially when cooking. If you follow a specific diet - like vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan - it can be even more difficult to find inspiring, easy recipes without too many specialised ingredients, which is why we are so excited about the Green Kitchen at Home cookbook.

This book was written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, the family behind the Green Kitchen Stories blog. It's full of versatile recipes for all types or meals and snacks. We picked up this book a couple of months ago and have been testing it with great (and delicious) success! 

Where this book Succeeds

Delicious food! The recipes in this book showcase and combine veggies in new and delightful ways - it made us love cauliflower and fennel like nothing else! We also love the side tips on how to elevate the recipe. We especially love the Mediterranean Tray-bake with Halloumi Chunks and the Green Pea, Broccoli, and Mint Soup with Puy Lentil Topping. 

It reads like a narrative. We weren't familiar with the Green Kitchen Stories prior to picking up up this book, but now we feel like we've known them for a while. The authors do a great job talking about why they picked these recipes and how their family (they have 3 little ones) feels about every dish they talk about. 

Versatile recipes! They have options for everyone - whether you're vegetarian, gluten free, or vegan! If you are an omnivore, you can easily add meat to most recipes as well! 

Points worth noting

Some recipes require a lot of ingredients. They're not necessarily speciality items but they also may not something you have on hand or shop regularly for, which can add up if you're getting them on top of your usual grocery list. 

Many recipes also require more prep work than others, which may be difficult or hassle full for some folks. We found most recipes we had to plan for - it wasn't something we do in the spur of the moment. 

If you want to check it out but are unsure about committing to purchasing it, the Toronto Public Library has several copies on hand! 

Love, 

The Spectrum Team

 

The First Forty Days - Book Review

The First Forty Days

During the forty or so weeks of pregnancy, there is so much anticipation and planning for the birth! Often, there is less planning when it comes to postpartum, especially in caring for the birthing person and/or new parent(s).The transition into parenthood or post-birth healing is filled with joy, challenges, and adaptation. Preparing for postpartum beforehand can go a long way in those early weeks when sleep is lacking, your body is healing, and you’re possibly doing everything for first time.  

Heng Ou, founder of MotherBees, wrote The First Forty Days - a gentle guide for postpartum healing and care inspired by the Chinese Tradition of zuo yuezi, the practice of sitting for forty plus days post-birth.  Zuo yuezi, and similar practices, occurs within many different cultures and countries as a way to support postpartum recovery and prepare for parenthood. While for some it may not be possible or ideal to completely shut the outside world out for this length of time, there is a lesson to be learned from this practice.

North American parents are praised for being able to ‘bounce back’ quickly after childbirth, but this overlooks a crucial period of healing and adjustment. The First Forty Days is meant to guide individuals through this period and adopting zuo yuezi to their lifestyles and postpartum experience.  Using ‘five insights’; retreat, warmth, support, rest, and ritual, Ou presents plenty of methods for self care and recovery that are easy and ranges from creating a support team and preparation for parenthood to spiritual and emotional practices.

WHERE THIS BOOK SUCCEEDS

Fundamental to The First Forty Days guide is giving yourself time: to heal, to learn, to make mistakes, to be cared for, and to move through your postpartum journey whatever it may look like. There can be a lot of pressure placed on new parents and plenty of advice and opinions (both wanted and unwanted). Ou does an incredible job of highlighting how the transition into parenthood is personal and a process through which individuals should be honoured and supported to encourage both confidence and recovery. For those birthing people not becoming parents, this can serve as guide for your physical and emotional recovery after birth as you will need time to focus on your wellness.

Ou suggests doing some of this planning beforehand, including food preparation, compiling a list of friends and family for support, having conversations about how a baby can change your relationships, and establishing the boundaries necessary for your selfcare. If you allow yourself this time and approach postpartum without expectations of certain outcomes, you will find you can adapt throughout the experience with the many tools and approaches laid out in this guide that prioritize your health and wellness.

The Food! The recipes are delicious and easy. Warming and soft foods, like soups and stews, are the basis of most meals outlined for the first forty days as these are more easily digestible and hearty enough for fueling and nourishing postpartum. When your focus shifts to caring for and becoming acquainted with your little one, it’s easy for you to neglect eating well, yet food is so important to postpartum healing and health. Heng Ou reminds readers that by nourishing themselves it will benefit baby too! What’s great about these recipes is that they could be made in bigger batches ahead of time and are easy enough that others could make for you. Beyond this, the recipes encourage simpler food preparation and eating habits, using local and seasonal produce, and can be adapted depending on dietary preferences. Some favourites include the Ginger Tumeric & Honey Tea, the Avocado Coconut & Lime Smoothie, and the ‘C-recovery’ vegetable stew.

POINTS WORTH NOTING

The choice of language in the book largely assumes that the birthing person is a woman and a mother, the baby is gendered, and the birthing experience is feminine. Nevertheless, the approaches put forth in the First Forty Days are beneficial for any birthing person, parent(s), or person playing an active role in care and support during the postpartum period.  The care practices and recipes are so beneficial and rejuvenating that they can be used by anyone, not strictly for postpartum parents.

Much of what Heng Ou recommends is easy and accessible in practice, but it requires some pre-planning and setting up supports. Ou does the stress the importance of doing this work beforehand (even better if you can start before baby arrives). It also helps those who will be a part of your postpartum journey know better how to support and help you. Depending on your personal and life circumstances, some approaches may not be for you, but this book has been set up as a gentle guide so that you can pick and choose what is useful for meeting your needs.

THE FIRST FORTY DAYS: THE 5 INSIGHTS FOR POSTPARTUM CARE

The First Forty Days is a wonderful resource for anyone having a baby, recently given birth, or for a person supporting another during postpartum. It acknowledges the experience one goes through in childbirth and why a period of recovery and being cared for is important to their health and wellness. Heng Ou puts forward five insights for postpartum care that can be adapted and used during postpartum period. There are many ways to use these insights, but some favourites include:

  • Retreat: doing something nice for yourself, your favourite self care practice, or simply finding some quiet time to be alone.

  • Warmth: a warm cup of tea, a bowl of soup or soaking in a relaxing bath.

  • Support: start early, practice asking others for help (it can be hard for some), and compile a list of people you can reach out to when in need.

  • Rest: SO important! But getting an adequate amount of sleep can be challenging after baby. Rest also includes minimizing your activity, this is not the time to jump back into your pre-pregnancy activities. Reach out to your support people. Most people will be happy to spend a couple hours with baby allowing you to rest. There are doulas and night nurses who do just this.

  • Ritual: if you are becoming a parent, this is a transformative time in your life and you may benefit from a ritual that allows you to honour who you were before baby and welcome this new aspect of your identity. Look into to ‘Mother Blessings’ if interested in this. Anything can become a ritual, what this books suggests is that it’s important to create a ritual that promotes your health and care.

Love, 

Kaia and the Spectrum Team

Spectrum Doula Collective offers postpartum and meal planning support that can help you during your postpartum journey. Our doulas make sure your postpartum transition is as smooth as possible by providing unique, expert care that suits your every need.

Get Snacking: Leftover fruit

fruit salad

Do you ever buy something to use in a recipe and just...forget about it? That's what happened to me this week. I was going to make this wonderful winter slaw and then I didn't, which meant I had a sad mango and an even sadder papaya lying around. That's when inspiration struck and they became a wonderful fruit salad. 

INGREDIENTS 

1 mango

1 papaya

2 limes

2 handfuls of shredded unsweetened coconut

1-2 pinches of sea salt (trust me on this one)

Cube mango and papaya. Add to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix and enjoy! 

Full disclosure - I ate half of this salad right away. It's delicious, keeps well in the fridge, and little and big ones love it! You can have it as a snack - or even as dessert! 

Love, 

Corina and the Spectrum team

Get Snacking: Postpartum

 self-saucing vegan banana caramel pudding

self-saucing vegan banana caramel pudding

At Spectrum Doula Collective we are all foodies! We love cooking for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our clients! 

 broccoli blue cheese pie with tomato salad

broccoli blue cheese pie with tomato salad

A big part of postpartum support is specialised baby care but it doesn't always have to be. Your postpartum doula is there to support you in so many different ways - it could, of course be, baby care but also be holding baby while you take a shower or a nap; healing wisdom both physically and emotionally; listening to your birth story and holding space for you; tidying up; light laundry; helping with pets; and providing you a nutritious meal or snacks! 

And we really really love cooking for our clients. We make mostly vegetarian and vegan meals (based on our dietary restrictions) and we will cook anything from soups to stews, pies, stratas, lasagnas, puddings, cakes, muffins, and energy balls. We post some of these recipes to our blog on a monthly basis and photos of the finished product on our IG.

Want to learn more? Contact us. 

Love,

The Spectrum Team

Get Snacking: Winter Vegetables

wintercooking.jpg

Winter cooking can involve a lot of cheese and carbs. Which is great - we really really love cheese and carbs - but we can't live off that alone. With the cooler weather and our desire for cosiness (and fats), incorporating lots of vegetables into our cooking can be a struggle - we don't feel nearly as dedicated to salad as we do during summer! 

To remedy that we decided to give Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty a try - it promises us an array of vibrant vegetables recipes. We picked a simple Broccoli and Gorgonzola pie (see our photo above) but we changed the recipe slightly. Check it out below:

Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie (recipe adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

  • 1 package of puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 lb of frozen broccoli 
  • 1 tbs of olive oil + 2 tbs water
  • 3 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 water
  • 3 tbs mustard
  • handful of chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt+pepper
  • 1 package (125g) of blue cheese (we used PC blue cheese)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry into a circle that can easily line a pie pan - be mindful not to overwork the dough as it can harden. Line the pan and trim off the excess pastry. Roll out the next piece to make a thinner top; place this piece on a piece of parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Prick the tart bottom with a fork several time and cover with aluminium foil and cover with baking beans. Bake for 15-20 min, depending on your oven. Remove from the oven, take out parchment and baking beans, and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Let cool.

As the shell is baking, cook the broccoli in a pot of boiling water. The florets should be tender but crisp, approximately 2-4 minutes. Rinse broccoli under cold water, and let dry.

Heat up a pan, add olive oil, and saute leeks on a low heat for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed. Incorporate cream, water, mustard, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

To assemble, spread the leek and cream mixture over the bottom of the tart. Spread the broccoli on top. Add the blue cheese. Brush the rim of the tart pan with the egg, and then place the pastry top over the filling. Press and seal the tart, and cut off any excess pastry. Glaze the top with the beaten egg and bake for 30-35 minutes, until your top is golden brown. Allow to cool 5 min before serving.

We served the pie with a tomato, red onion, dill salad, dressed in olive oil and white vinegar. 

We hope you enjoy it, 

Love, 

The Spectrum Team