Thursday, 21 March 2013

Glorious Ghee!

Until about a year ago, I excluded butter from my diet for various reasons. Being vegan for many years meant I obviously didn't choose to eat it, then when I started eating some animal products again, consciously choosing only ethically sourced eggs and fish, I still only ate dairy on very rare occasions. I slowly began eating more organic yogurt and occasional cheese, but butter seemed like an unnecessary luxury to me, one I could happily replace with oils, avocado or nut butters. It's very true! Butter is easily replaced with these creamy, lubricating foods, and I still do love them often in place of butter. However, When I started eating good quality, organic, grass-fed butter again, I wondered how had I gone without for so long?! There is something about its golden buttery texture that is replaceable in my eyes now for certain dishes (like on homemade toast or in my real-butter shortbreads) and after learning about the health benefits of eating real butter (there is a big difference between real, grass-fed butter and man-made margarine, read more here!) I was happily using butter again and feeling good about it.

Now butter was one revelation, but when a friend of mine across the seas started posting her beautiful recipes which included ghee, I was intrigued to try making some. I suddenly started seeing ghee in many recipes I wanted to try, and after a trip to India last year, I was eager to start experimenting. Ghee is butter which has had the milk solids removed, aka, clarified butter, and used as a staple in many Indian recipes. As  the lactose is removed in the process, people who are lactose intolerant can eat ghee with no problems. In Ayurvedic beliefs, ghee is thought to aid digestion, stimulate the secretion of stomach acids and assimilation of vitamins and minerals, strengthen the immune system, balance the nervous system and contain anti-viral fatty acids

Beautiful golden ghee, photo by Lorien of Wholesome Loving Goodness!

Check out her joyful video on how to make your own ghee here! Thanks Lorien for sharing her amazing knowledge, and expect to see more ghee recipes coming soon!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Welcome to my Earth Belly!

I have become a mother! One week ago today, our little girl, Fern Aila Sibley came eathside in our home, very peacefully, easily and lifted up by her daddy assisted by our amazing doula Rachel. She is pure love and we have spent the last week simply staring into each others eyes, sleeping, feeding and loving our lives together as a three. I feel inspired to start a new place to record my thoughts on pregnancy, birth and life as a mother here. I realise that I love to share through my writing on the web, and want to keep my passions of amazing healthy food and mothering in separate places. So you will find my recipes related to being a full time nursing mum, and eventually feeding a baby its first foods here on Earth Belly, and my recipes related to raw, vegan and gluten free foods and my cafe on The Nectar cafe blog. I also wanted to share mine and others birth stories somewhere, so you can find them here. Fern did an amazing job and it was the most enpowering moment of my life! Now, my time with my hands free is limited but being a mum at home means I have more space to turn my spare time to writing and blogging. You will continue to find lots of recipes here, about what I am making to regain my strength after birth and nourish myself as a full time breast feeder! Also meals I love to make for my partner and crafts I am teaching myself whilst I nurture baby Fern. So welcome to my new world. I feel completely transformed in the space of a week, and can't imagine our lives without our little girl now! I feel complete, whole, bursting with love and that my life has purpose I never knew before now. Through my mothering days, I want to share with you my passions for health, vitality and all things natural and organic. Mothering from my Earth Belly. I hope you enjoy reading and would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Love, Jo and Fern Aila x