The need to know

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Late on a Sunday afternoon, my husband said to me “you should read this article on pregnancy anxiety – I think it will resonate with you”.

Now hang on a minute, I’m not even pregnant yet – how is this going to be relevant to me? Rowan Martin speaks of the intense paranoia she experienced during her pregnancy – after a “missed miscarriage” with her first pregnancy she became, understandably, anxious about what might happen to her baby when she was expecting again. Her fear took over and she became obsessed with monitoring her baby, even going to the extreme of taking more than 100 pregnancy tests within five weeks and spending nearly £2,000 on private clinics, just to check her baby was still growing.

Whilst my situation is not the same, there are certainly elements of Rowan’s story that I can empathise with, even during the process of trying to get pregnant. When things don’t go to plan, you feel like your body has let you down – how can you trust it again?

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Sesame Salmon

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The internet is full of articles on super seeds…eat more seeds to lower your cholesterol…eat more seeds for healthy hair…eat more seeds to lower your anxiety. But can they actually help with fertility?

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From browsing t’interweb, it seems sesame seeds are frequently recommended as a fertile food. They are a great source of zinc, which is a key mineral for both men and women trying to conceive. For guys, zinc can help testosterone and sperm production, whilst for ladies it can help with egg production, maintaining follicular fluid levels and hormone regulation. Ok I’m sold!

Luckily it’s super easy to incorporate sesame seeds into your diet – they add a nutty crunch to stir-fries, salads or porridge and I absolutely love the smell of sesame oil. This is a really easy meal to make so it’s good for a weekday if you don’t want to do anything complicated.

So, open sesame…here you go!

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Healthy Fish Tacos

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I first tried fish tacos when I was in California – they are a true West Coast dish, and I’ve never had one as good as I had there. I will admit my own recipe isn’t quite up there with an authentic Baja Fish Taco, but it is healthier! I’ve used oven-baked fish rather than fried, natural yoghurt instead of sour cream and lots of fresh, raw vegetables.

I cheated and used store-bought salsa for this as I couldn’t be bothered with more chopping and it’s not the star of the show anyway.

The fun is in assembling the taco yourself, so lay everything out on the table and get everyone to make their own (when I say everyone I’m talking about me and my greedy husband). I didn’t manage to get a picture of the final taco as we were just way too messy when we made these and kind of just wanted to eat them, but you can imagine how it should look!

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Lentil Cottage Pie

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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!).

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Sweet chestnut porridge

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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.

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Garlicky Chicken Kievs

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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?

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My Body is f**king with my Mind

Dear Body

What’s going on? Mind has been telling me you’ve been playing tricks on them.

You and Mind have known each other for a long time. Mind has always been on your side – making sensible decisions about what to eat, telling you when you’ve had enough and keeping you out of danger. And in return you have looked after Mind, making sure everything works and keeping everything looking good so Mind doesn’t have to worry.

But Mind tells me you’ve been f**king with them recently. Last week you were acting like you had something exciting to say. You know, the cramps, the tender breasts, and not just like it was a period coming. This was full on. So much so that it took Mind back to when we were pregnant before. Every day you would do something to convince Mind that an egg was implanting and a baby was starting to grow. Then one day you just switched it off like it was nothing; like you were just kidding; like it was an April Fools.

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