I’m not going to lie, when I was asked if I would review Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West I was a little hesitant, because to be honest I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to broadcast on my blog that we are trying to get pregnant, but then I thought why not because it’s not exactly a secret, even if I don’t talk about it that much. The reality is that my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 3 years and are dealing with Secondary Infertility. I’m not going to get into all of the specifics with you but it’s a long, emotional and very difficult journey that we never saw coming and so I will take any advice I can (within reason!), so considering that I love food, cooking and cookbooks and I am trying to get pregnant I decided why not?!
Zita West is a fertility expert and midwife based in the UK. During her career she has also worked as a nutritional advisor and then as an acupuncturist so she is more than qualified to be writing this book! The recipes however come courtesy of Christine Bailey an award-winning nutritionist, food and health consultant, chef and cookery teacher.
The 160 paged paperback is packed with information about getting your body ready for pregnancy as well as 65 healthy recipes to ensure you get all of the vital nutrients required for conception in your diet. There are questions to help you assess your overall health such as ‘How healthy is your digestion?’ ‘How toxic are you?’ and ‘How stable is your blood sugar?’ and a recommended fertility cleanse if you think you need it. As it turned out everything seemed good for us so I skipped the fertility cleanse and opted to pick and choose my own recipes from the book (the fertility detox is just a detailed meal plan with all recipes taken from the book).
The recipes are divided into chapters including ‘Boosters & Breakfasts’, ‘Light Meals’ and ‘Main Meals’ and the majority are accompanied by beautiful photographs. They literally all sounded so good so I really had a hard time narrowing down which ones to test and in the end have so far managed to test 6 recipes (with more made outside of the testing and more to come!). Since I did test so many I’m keeping the information about the recipes shorter so that I don’t have a novel on my hands!
Bacon & Spinach Frittata
Avocado Antioxidant Fruit Blend
Chunky Minestrone Soup
Breakfast Wake-up Bars
Sicilian Quinoa Bowl
You can imagine my husband’s delight when I told him that according to the book bacon is good so the first recipe to be put to the test was the Bacon & Spinach Frittata. We love frittatas anyway and this looked and sounded so good. It was really easy to make and absolutely delicious and the perfect weekend brunch. I can’t wait to make this again!
Next up and I moved onto the “Boosters” section and tried the Avocado Antioxidant Fruit Blend. With mango, strawberries, avocado and pomegranate juice in it I knew it was going to be good and it was! Super easy to make because you just pop everything into a blender, blitz then enjoy! Even Wee One loved this breakfast smoothie.
Following hot on the heels of the Avocado Antioxidant Booster I was excited to try the Green Energizer the next day. I was a little more dubious about this one since it had cucumber and spinach in it but the worry instantly passed with the first sip because it too was fabulous! Again you just put everything in the blender so super easy to make and I felt good having it!
Recipe number 4 to be tested was the Chunky Minestrone Soup for a lovely healthy lunch on a cold day. Again easy to make (just lots of chopping of vegetables and some stirring) however I did have to make a few adjustments. I had to double the quantity of stock to make it a soup (and to look like the picture!) and I also added 1 tablespoon of tomato puree, some dried herbs and a touch of chilli because it was a little on the bland side if I’m being honest! However by the time that was done it was perfect and I loved it! (Scott enjoyed it as well but not quite as much as me.) My quantity definitely served more than 4 so we were able to enjoy it for a few days for a really hearty, nutritional and delicious lunch.
I was enjoying cooking from this book so much that on the same day that we had the last two recipes I also made the Breakfast Wake-up Bars. Unfortunately these weren’t quite such a success as all of the previous recipes. The paste you make was so thick so it was really hard to mix everything together. In the end I had to use my hands. The finished result was as I suspected really dry, to the point that some of the bars just deteriorated into a pile of granola when I tried to cut them! Still the taste was good so I would make them again but perhaps would try adding some apple juice or something else to make them not so dry and I wouldn’t include so many goji berries as the ones on top burnt. Mine definitely did not resemble the ones in the photograph although they still tasted good!
The final recipe to be tested was the Sicilian Quinoa Bowl which I made for lunch. Made with tomatoes, celery, olives, roasted peppers, red onion and a herb-packed dressing I was super excited to give it a go. It was straightforward to make – just a bit of chopping of the vegetables and the cooking of the quinoa. The dressing is made in a food processor so very easy. The final result was delicious…. And I mean DELICIOUS, however there was too much stock in the quinoa so it didn’t absorb enough of it… In the end between the soggy quinoa and the amount of dressing it was definitely what I would call sloppy but the flavour was fantastic. I will definitely make this again although I will cut back the amount of stock v quinoa!
As well as the above “tested” recipes I have also made the Zucchini & Chocolate Brownies (Very nice and not as dense as I was expecting – a lovely treat that wasn’t too sweet) and I am making the Roasted Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup with Hemp Pesto for lunch today.
As well as all of the recipes I have tested or made I have also bookmarked the following recipes and can’t wait to try them out….
Indian-spiced Onion Hummus
Indonesian Chicken with Buckwheat Noodles
Roasted Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup with Hemp Pesto
Lebanese Fattoush Salad with Sumac-roasted Chicken
Spiced Chicken Patties with Mango & Cilantro Salsa
Spinach, Walnut & Roasted Pear Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Mixed Seed Crackers
Vietnamese Turkey in Lettuce Wraps
Pomegranate-glazed Lamb with Herbed Couscous
Sensational Spaghetti & Ragu Sauce
Chilli-glazed Salmon with Cucumber & Lime Salad
Quinoa & Feta Burgers with Tomato Relish
Specialty Ingredients? Yes – lots! For this book a trip to my local health food store was definitely in order but I really enjoyed buying the new ingredients and felt quite virtuous in doing so!! Some of the things I had to buy included Shelled Hempseeds, Almond Butter, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Xylitol and a few more items. Everything else I pretty much had or was able to pick up from my local supermarkets. It’s not cheap but worth it for me.
Learn anything new? I was reassured to know that we already eat all of the main foods she suggests and therefore have a very balanced healthy diet. Obviously we tried some new recipes with new ingredients which I loved and I will definitely continue to make and use those ingredients.
The recipes are really easy to follow and the majority of them are accompanied by beautiful photographs. I did have an issue with a few recipes but they were easily fixable so definitely not what I would consider to be a fail.
There is so much important, useful information in this book for anyone wanting to adopt a healthier diet. I know this is targeted at couples wanting to get pregnant but really to me what that is saying is to get pregnant you want to be as healthy as you can be so ultimately this is just a really fantastic book for ensuring you get all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need for a healthy body. It’s definitely not a diet book as calorie counting is not a part of this but it is full of amazing recipes that I loved and want to make over and over again! I almost wish the book had a different title as I really do think it would appeal to many people who would otherwise be put off by the name, however whether you are thinking about starting a family, adding more to your family or even just want to eat that little bit healthier then this book is for you! It has so many fantastic recipes that will leave you feeling in tip-top shape and I love it!
Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West absolutely gets the Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops stamp of approval!
*Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West is available to buy from Amazon.com and other good book retailers.
**All opinions expressed for the purpose of this review are my own and have not been influenced by anyone else.