I love cooking with lentils. They are a cheap and easy way to bulk up meals, and are a great protein alternative to meat. But did you know that lentils are also one of the top fertility foods? According to Medical News Today just one cup of lentils provides up to 90% of your recommended daily intake of folic acid. Great news for anyone trying to conceive!
Those who are TTC will, I’m sure, be aware that you are recommended to take folic acid supplements before you start trying to get pregnant as it supports the healthy growth of your foetus. It can also help to regulate your menstrual cycle and improve sperm quality. Whilst I don’t suggest that you ditch the supplements, it can’t hurt to add a few lentils to your diet every now and then.
I’ve become a big fan of this vegetarian cottage pie recipe (I think I actually make it more than the meat-filled version now). The sweet potato topping is a nice alternative as well. You can serve this up with whatever veggies you prefer, or if you’re feeling really greedy try it between two slices of buttered bread (seriously it’s delicious!).
Since my acupuncturist told me to eat more warming foods I’ve been eating porridge almost every morning. I’m a creature of habit, but even I get bored of the same daily routine so I’ve been experimenting with ways to jazz up my breakfast. One of my favourites at the moment is this delicious sweet chestnut porridge.
I’d never even heard of sweet chestnut spread until I saw Rachel Khoo make it and slather it all over crepes – it looked so delicious that when I saw a jar in the supermarket the other day I couldn’t resist.
It’s not the sexiest of foods but they say that garlic is great for fertility. It’s high in vitamins C and B6, which play a role in hormone balance, and contains an antioxidant, which is good for the health of the eggs and sperm.
Some people also believe that eating a clove of raw garlic everyday before ovulation can improve the quality of your cervical mucus, making it a better environment for fertilisation to take place. That doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but garlic is something that can be added to your diet easily enough – whether raw or cooked.
A childhood favourite of mine is the Chicken Kiev, which of course is packed with garlic butter. It’s a bit indulgent as you have to use a lot of oil and butter, but screw it; it’s worth it once in a while. I’ve tried to balance the naughtiness out by eating brown rice with it…that’s how it works right?
I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist who has advised that to help the implantation process it’s important to keep your uterus warm. Given that my uterus is snugly tucked up by the digestive organs, I thought it would already be pretty warm, but – so my acupuncturist has told me – cold drinks, frozen food and raw vegetables and fruits can cool it down so there is less blood flow, and it is harder for the egg to attach.
Over the last few months I’ve been trying to eat more warming foods, like soups, stews and curries, and drinking warm or hot drinks to make it feel like my uterus is wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire, so I thought I would share this yummy soup recipe.
Chicken barley soup is one of my favourite dishes from when I was a kid. My mum would make it if you even started to have a sniffle, so it reminds me of being looked after. I’ve adapted her recipe by making the chicken broth, rather than using a stock cube (sorry mum!), but the one ingredient I won’t sacrifice is the marmite! You just stir a teaspoon in to your own bowl when you’re ready to eat it, but it makes all the difference!
Despite it being 30°C here I still find I crave warming, comfort food as we get closer to Christmas. This dish satisfies that need perfectly, and is a much healthier alternative to a takeaway curry.
There are lots of different variations for making an egg curry. I usually cook Guyanese style curries, but this one has more of a South Indian style. The eggs are covered in a rich tomato gravy, and a little bit of coconut cream is added, which calms the spice and gives it a thicker texture. I’ve used sweet potato and green beans here as well – I love a bit of sweetness, and think green beans go really well in curries – but you can play around with the vegetables. Cauliflower would also work nicely.
I’ve never been vegetarian, but every now and then I like to eat veggie meals. It’s a guilt-free way of indulging in comfort food like shepherd’s pie, spaghetti bolognaise or a good old chili con carne and a great way of packing in lots of vegetables.
Veggie alternatives don’t need to be boring though. This veggie chili is full of flavour and you barely notice that there’s no meat.
It uses three different types of chili so it packs a bit of a punch but without making your eyes water. I’ve used a Mexican Cascabel chili and chipotle – mild to medium chilies that are often used in Mexican cooking and have a smoky flavor, plus I’ve added in a couple of red Thai chilies for a bit of extra heat. Feel free to adapt the amount and type of chili to your taste and what you have available.
I don’t often bake…you have to be so precise with ingredients and measurements; it’s not as easy to freestyle like I normally do when I cook. But we had a bake sale in the office today to raise money for Movember so I had to give it a go!
And actually these turned out pretty good. Can’t take the credit for the recipe – this is from BBC Good Food.