As I mentioned in my last post I have some exciting news that I’m thrilled to share with you all. Some of you might have guessed already but for those of you that haven’t i’m delighted to say (dramatic pause) I’m pregnant! This was a wonderful but unexpected surprise, we had planned on trying for a baby after a year of marriage but we really couldn’t be happier that it happened a little earlier. In fact as soon as I saw that second line appear on my first pregnancy test (we did a few after, just to make sure) I was overwhelmed with how fiercely I already wanted this little baby. I know lots of couples have agonising waits to fall pregnant so I’m very grateful it happened this way around, plus even if I’m not quite ready yet I have 6 months to prepare myself for all the changes that are about to happen!
As you can imagine such a huge life-changing event throws up all kinds of worries and concerns, especially when you suffer with anxiety. Until the scan I was anxious that the baby was ok, was anything even in there? You worry about what you can and can’t do, what’s ok to eat, can I still exercise? Will I be more likely to suffer from pre or postnatal depression? Will the baby be ok throughout the pregnancy? Am I going to be a good Mum? ALL of the questions run through your mind.
On top of this you have to keep it all a secret so all these worries and fears tend to escalate, as you’re not talking them through. To make matters worse you have the hormones to contend with…get ready to cry over adverts, your dogs face because it looks too sad, eating the last square of chocolate….pretty much anything. Your body is constantly changing and it’s totally out of your control.
Right I’m not really selling this for you am I. Being pregnant also overwhelms you with positive emotions. Excitement, wonder and awe at the capability of your body, happiness, curiosity- who will my baby become, just pure joy. A whole new chapter in life is about to start, one which will be totally different to anything you’ve experienced yet. I can’t wait to find out what our baby will be like, i’ve never felt excitement quite like it.
Before I fell pregnant I worried that it wouldn’t happen for me, I had very irregular periods and once went two years without one. I believe this was a combination of food restriction (during a particularly black period of anxiety) and stress. When I am feeling stressed my periods always stop, when you think about it it’s actually a positive, a survival technique. You shouldn’t be able to fall pregnant when your stress levels are that high, your body needs all your energy to get through it and it’s not a good environment to grow a child.
It’s an amazing feeling to know that when I’m nourishing my body properly and feeling happy that everything is working as it should be. I feel so grateful to my body, I punished it for years and it still fought back and is stronger than ever. Seeing our baby on the screen during the scan was such a magical feeling, I felt so proud that I was keeping this little one alive and had so much respect for my body. Dear body, I promise you I will never neglect you or treat you badly again.
Through the blog I plan to share my thoughts, feelings and anxieties that pregnancy bring with you, how I cope and manage all the changes and overcome any hurdles along the way. I am very lucky to have a great support network to help me, I’m not focusing too much on all of the scary bits, I’ll think about them eventually but instead I am taking it one day at a time. I am listening to my body and relaxing when I need to, I’m exercising because I want to be strong for the birth and the baby plus the endorphins released by exercise are helping to regulate my mood. I’m eating lots of nutritious, home cooked meals but also allowing myself chocolate and treats because that’s what I fancy and I want to feel happy!
I’ve chosen this recipe because it’s delicious and it’s high in folic acid, which is particularly important during the first trimester of pregnancy. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects – serious birth defects of the spinal cord and brain so it’s critically importantly during the baby’s development. Although you’ll be taking supplements if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive my view is the more the merrier and mango has one of the highest levels of folic acid of all the fruits. It’s also full of antioxidants that can protect against certain types of cancer, it lowers bad cholesterol, boosts our immune system and aids digestion plus it’s also one of my favourite fruits – a win all around.
It’s a dish which is lovely mix of salty and sweet, this really suits my taste buds – despite usually have a very savoury appetite I am craving sweet foods at the moment. I really would recommend at least overnight marinating as it adds so much flavour to the fish, I have tried to do it more quickly before and the taste did suffer. This dish would work with any white fish and it’s also great with salmon too.
Sticky Miso Cod with Fresh Mango & Chilli Salsa
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sake, rice wine, sherry or dry wine (use whatever you have open already, if none of them use 2 tbsp water.)
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sweet white miso paste (I used clearspring)
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
Two 140g thick & chunky cod fillets
FOR THE SALSA
200g mango chunks, diced (or 1 small ripe mango, halved, stoned and chopped)
Juice ½ lime
1/2 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp fresh mint or coriander, roughly chopped
About 6 cherry tomatoes, diced
Steamed pak choi and rice (optional)
Up to 48 hours before eating marinate the fish, heat the soy, wine or water and mirin in a small pan with the sugar and stir until dissolved then whisk in the miso until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. Tip the cooled marinade in a shallow container or a sandwich bag and add the fish. Make sure it’s all coated and leave for up to 48 hours in the fridge.
Mix all the ingredients for the salsa with some salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat grill to high and line a baking tray with foil. Remove the fish from the marinade and once the grill is hot cook for about 6 minutes each side, depending on the thickness, until cooked through and caramalised.
Spoon the salsa onto plates and top with the cod. Serve with rice and wilted pak choi dressed with soy, if you like.