Get By With A Lil Help From My Food

So there I was at 23 weeks pregnant saying all sorts of positive things like "I feel great", "no aches or pains" and "I love being pregnant" and all of that was very very true, but I think the universe got a little bit sick of hearing those things and she threw in a rotten cold to restore balance. Twas about last Thursday when I was struck down by... The Cold. Oh you know the one - runny nose, sore throat, violent cough, eyes weeping, and generally feeling like utter crap. At the best of times this is a time where simple things like just moving yourself off the couch or pouring a glass of water seem like one great big effort, but pregnancy added a whole new level of fun to the mix.

You see, there is a little thing that people generally take to make themselves feel better when they are sick. MEDICATION! And guess what you can pretty much have NONE of when you are pregnant? Yep! If I hear another person offer me a paracetamol... I am no advocate of drugs but this cold was at the point where I needed something to sooth my throat and chest, needed something strong to relieve my headache, needed a cough-bottle, and needed some Lemsip Max. So off I trotted to the lovely Lloyds Pharmacy in Crumlin (the pharmacist in there is SO nice and helpful by the way) and I explained how I felt (just about, talking hurt) and the lovely smiley pharmacist started listing things that he would recommend. He was practically picking them off the shelf when I said "oh and I'm pregnant so I suppose there might be some things I can't have" to which he responded "oh, you actually can't have any of this, just paracetamol". I think at this point I was ready to have a little cry. So off I left, feeling sorry for myself and as I was strolling out the door he said "I feel really sorry for you, you poor thing, you look really sick". Thanks chemist man... ah but he meant it in a nice way, he was lovely. I left with some paracetamol, surprise surprise. Again, I am not an advocate of taking unnecessary medication but this was necessary and I so needed something to make me feel human again.

So that was that, pregnancy = paracetamol for pain relief. I'm glad we've cleared that up. This is going somewhere I promise... Sit tight.

This leads me to the real reason for my post. It's food related and anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE cooking, eating out, trying new recipes or even just looking at food blogs and cooking programmes (Nigella Lawson once sent me a message on twitter you know... Clean up on isle 4, Tracey just dropped a name). I started doing a bit of research about more holistic ways to make myself feel better and clear up this godforsaken cold. It was living in my body rent free for 5 days at this stage (don't worry little baby, you are allowed to be in there).

As we all probably know, the food we eat has a great bearing on our mood, our health, or weight and our, em, hunger (duh). Turns out that there are foods out there that are as effective if not more effective in healing our bodies than any medication could be. This made me consider that maybe I could take a more holistic approach to making myself feel better and eat the kind of foods that heal our bodies from within. I learned that some of the foods that are really good for clearing up a cold are tomatoes, garlic, spices, vegetables in general and anything high in Vitamin C. That night for dinner I asked the lovely man in my life to prepare his famous casserole that is literally one of my favourite foods EVER, and just so happened to be tomato based, spicy,  full of vegetables and had garlic in it too. Did I also mention that it is DELICIOUS? It was a win win! I put a photo of the finished product on Instagram and a few people have asked me for the recipe so here it is. I give you - Spicy Sausage, Choritzo and Chickpea Casserole.

You Will Need -

- 1 punnet of mushrooms
- 2 Peppers (whatever colours you like)
- 1 Courgette
- 3 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
- 25g of Choritzo
- 1 packet of sausages of your choice (ensure they are at least 80% pork or they are utter crap)
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 1 can of chickpeas
- Smoked Paprika
- Cayenne Pepper
- Salt/Pepper
- Rice to serve it with

Recipe -

1. In a saucepan fry off the sausages so that they are just about cooked, or totally cooked is fine. Transfer         to a bowl with  the juice from the saucepan (very important, juice = flavour)
 2. Chop peppers, mushrooms, garlic and courgette (I like mine quite chunky) and add them to a frying pan        with some olive oil or 1kcal spray oil.
 3. Chop up the chunk of choritzo as small as you can and add to the pan with the vegetables. Keep stiring        and fry all of this together for 3/4 minutes.
 4. Add your can of chopped tomatoes to the pan.
 5. To the empty can add 1 stock cube and fill it up with boiling water. Stir and add to the pan.
 6. Add half a teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon if you don't want it spicy) & add 1                        tablespoon of smoked paprika (so important, this stuff packs in the flavour).
 6. Add the sausages (and juice from them) and the can of chickpeas to the pan. Stir & combine everything.
 7. Add Salt/Pepper to taste and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.
 8. After 20 minutes it will reduce quite a bit (leave for longer if not).
 9. Serve with rice, potatoes, gnocchi or whatever takes your fancy.
10.Sit down and enjoy the moment. It is delicious!

         The beginning stages when the sausages gave been cooked and the veg is cooking in the pan.

                                      Adding the cayenne pepper and the smoked paprika.

              The finished product. Look at that casseroley goodness! Served with white basmati rice.

And the best part of this dish? LEFTOVERS. Mix any remaining casserole with any remaining rice and it's like a beautiful risotto.

So there we have it. I am still not 100% but I am feeling a million times better than I was at the weekend. In general I've been thinking a lot about healthy eating and how important it is for me to feed my little growing baby the best vitamins and nutrients that I can. I am making a huge effort to eat as healthily as possible, eat lots of fruit and veg, drink loads of water and just look after myself because I really do believe your health is your wealth.

The holistic approach followed me to work too... Healthy ham salad sandwich and a beautiful orange for Vitamin C. I've also been having smoothies in the morning and a spoonful of honey. Yum Yum!


Hope some of you will try the recipe, and if you liked this post please tell me and I will do a recipe post every week. Wellness my friends, making sure that your mind, body and soul and feeling good and what we eat has a huge affect on all of those things.