Happy New Year! The split pea and sweet potato soup we’re sharing today is such a favourite, made with red lentils or split peas the sweet potato and lemon create a flavour very similar to tomato, which as a nightshade fruit I am intolerant to and love. It’s also less acidic than tomato, which is a bonus for everyone, and more filling and nutritious too. I wanted to share another staple food in our home, that never fails to make us feel good and nourished and is perfect for this time of year when the weather is cold and you need warming up.
The last stretch of my pregnancy is here! and food like this soup will be even more of a good friend to us in times to come, meals that you can batch make and that also can be used to create other meals too. You can use this soup as a base for a curry by browning onions and spices, and adding chickpeas and vegetables. It freezes well, keeps well in the fridge, and will give you plenty of filling, nutritious and easy meals. BIG TICK. (I just wish we had a bigger freezer…).
I am getting quite enormous now! It’s not easy for any woman, and with my complex health problems it’s grueling and has been at times quite overwhelming. After months of a bad chest infection made worse by asthma and constant colds, and other life stresses that make me feel insecure about the future when I should be feeling safe, I have been often exhausted and increasingly anxious about the birth and how on earth I will find an ounce of extra strength, before, during and afterwards. The prospect of parenthood itself is seriously intense!! But now I am feeling stronger, and really positive about bringing our child into this world, who we are already so bonded with and love so much. I’m determined to keep it as natural as possible and to harness my strength as a woman, which is an awesome force! I believe in my body, in the power of my mind and the love and support that I have from Dan, and I am informed about the birth process and also risks of medical intervention. The well-loved and respected Ina May’s ‘Guide To Childbirth‘ as well as prenatal yoga and the support of a doula (two in fact, who are volunteering and sharing the job! We secured funding for a doula through Doula UK’s Access Fund, which pays for a doula’s expenses) has given me so much. Knowing that a doula will be there to support us is just such a wonderful thing, their experience and ethos of supportive understanding and belief in a woman’s ability to birth their child their way is just everything I need. They are fantastic. The support other women can offer is so precious, all pregnant women so much need love, support and encouragement, to feel valued, and this is even more important for the birth.
Being labelled as ‘high risk’ is stressful, as a type 1 diabetic the medical presence during my pregnancy has been intense, it is an awful lot of pressure from every imaginable angle. My diabetes is very complex to manage and no-one can understand it as well as me, not even a specialist doctor. The chances of me being induced and ending up having an emergency c-section are higher, As a diabetic, my doctor referred to my labour as ‘the operation, assuming I would have a c-section after being induced on the date they set. As someone with fybromyalgia and arthritis I came to assume I would need pain relief, that things would inevitably be medicalised and that I have little say in the matter because what do I know? But I have learned otherwise. As someone who copes with a lot of chronic pain I am used to pain, I have well established mental strength in this area.
I am open to different scenarios ultimately, I have to be, we all do. I am having a hospital birth and will be monitored and on a glucose drip and sliding scale, and birth can be unpredictable, but I am a 100% committed to pursuing as natural a birth as possible, in order to protect my baby as much as I can from the risks of complications, on creating a low-stress environment and tuning into my body and my inner power, which is what giving birth is all about. I will follow my intuition. It may lead me in the direction of an epidural, if that is right (I have a code word ready – cabbage!) or I may have to make other difficult decisions and take professional advice to go a route I didn’t want to go down. But I also know that I am strong and capable and this mindset will give me the best chance of the best labour I can have. It won’t be easy but we’ll do it, and it will be wonderful. I am actually looking forward to it now! Let’s go through this awesome adventure, get her out and start the next stage of our life together! I will miss her being inside me too, this precious time with Dan, it’s so extraordinary, so right, but at this point, legs swelled like tree trunks, waddling about, I see the positives of post-birth life too!! I imagine her as a baby, looking into her eyes, sharing her smile, and as a woman, stepping out into the world with her head held high. I’ll give her all the wisdom and love that I have. And good food will play a big part in that,
good wholesome natural foods that will give her and us what we need to live our best life.
Blog-wise, these past months I can hardly taste food I’ve inhaled so much olbas oil so brewing recipes has been impossible. I think that over the next months the blog will inevitably further slow down, to be picked up again come summer. In that time I will get even bigger, give birth, and start this next and completely epic stage of my life and our life together. I’m looking so much forward to creating whole food recipes to nourish and inspire better health and happiness.
So here’s to life, (soup) and really going for it!
don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, just believe in yourself and do your best ♥
- 1 cup dried split yellow peas
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 large onion
- Dash of olive oil
- 1 heaped tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 tbsp bouillon powder, optional
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to refresh
- 1 tsp unrefined sugar, fruit syrup, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
- Approx 8 cups filtered water
Rinse and drain the split peas. I find it best to soak them in water overnight or for at least an hour or so to reduce cooking time and make their texture smoother, but if you haven't then don't worry it is not strictly necessary. If you like you can also use red lentils, they also make a delicious similar soup, but I like the split yellow peas best.
Bake the sweet potato and scoop out the flesh from the skins (do eat the skins they're delicious!), or alternatively, especially if you're in a hurry then chop raw and add straight to the soup.
Saute the onion with oil, salt and bay leaf on a low heat with the lid on until browning, stirring occasionally.
Add the peas and water with the sweet potato and bring to a simmer, with the lid on for half an hour or so until soft, timing depends on the age of your split peas and whether you've soaked them, until the split peas are softened. Remove the bay leaf. Blend the soup. We often only blend half to add texture.
Garnish with fresh herbs, my favourite for this soup is thyme. A dollop of coconut yoghurt on top is also delicious!
Serve with a hunk of seeded buckwheat bread for a match made in soup heaven.
Refresh with a squeeze of lemon, and find the balance of salt, lemon and sweetness that works for you xx
I’m listening to… Roots Manuva ft. Wildflower ‘Baptism’