Okay, so for my first post I thought I would go a little deeper in to why we started this blog.
Firstly, it occurred to us that there seems to be a lot of parent blogs out there, all either from the Mummy’s point of view or the Daddy’s. But not one from both parents on the same life post-baby. Since having Bernie it has been highlighted to us that we have very different views on a lot more things than we previously thought so this blog seemed like a good idea for us both to voice our opinion. I guess you could call it an experiment to see how we both think things can be done differently and whether it all makes one bit of difference in the end!
I am sure every parent will agree that having a baby changes your lives completely and definitely puts pressure on even the strongest of relationships. You face the challenge of having to work together as a team on something that, let’s face it, leaves you feeling pretty clueless. Even now, eight months in, I still feel like I am just finding my feet. No, scrap that, I feel like I don’t have a bloody clue what I am doing most of the time! But Bernie is happy, he laughs a lot, smiles when he sees us, is putting on weight (he weighs a tonne!), and is clean (most of the time) so we must be doing something right? Right??
We also wanted somewhere where we could record all the ups and downs, highs and lows, laugh out loud moments (like the time we needed Bernie to give a urine sample – have you ever tried firstly getting a baby to wee and secondly getting them to wee into a little funnel-shaped ‘thing’) and the ‘quietly rocking back and forth in a dark room’ moments (like the time he cluster-fed literally from 6:30am – 7:30pm and would have kept going had Stefan not come home from work and given him a bottle so I could go upstairs for a lie down!) that come with parenthood. Be honest, we all experience them!
The second reason is that along the way, we also lost sight of our relationship with food and BOTH put on a decent amount of weight. It all came down to being exhausted, grabbing whatever was convenient and involved the least cooking and washing up. I suppose that is all part and parcel of being in those whirlwind early weeks where you are adjusting but we definitely let it go on for too long.
As I explain in our About Us page, despite my best intentions regular workouts have become a thing of the past. Whether or not I can fit in a workout when I plan to simply comes down to what kind of a day Bernie is having. If he naps there are usually a hundred and one things that need doing around the house and let’s face it, exercising doesn’t just consist of the workout itself – you also have to factor in time to shower, wash your hair, get dressed etc afterwards and, I won’t lie, sometimes all I want to do after a busy morning out and about is have some peace and quiet and a cup of tea before he wakes up (yes, I know that will all change when I head back to work so I’m savouring the moments now!). I also suffer from lower back problems which has been exacerbated by all the lifting and sitting on the floor since having Bernie so the level and frequency of exercise I can do varies from day to day.
Time is also a big factor in Stefan’s lack of exercise. Whilst he plays football regularly after work and will go for a very quick run now and again, he is at work all day, with broken sleep at night and along with any other Dadmin that needs doing (you know, jobs like taking the bins out, cutting the grass, fixing things etc) meaning he is often exhausted and wants to spend what precious time he has spare with Bernie.
From my point of view I try to incorporate lots of walks into our days (British weather permitting!) but I have found that the changes I have made to our diet have made the most difference. Don’t get me wrong exercise is really important, not just in order to lose weight quicker but also to establish a healthier happier you. As they say, you can’t out-train a bad diet. But, as parents, exercise is often difficult to fit in and so eating correctly is even more important.
We all know that we should be eating more fruit and vegetables and eating less processed food. But have you ever considered eating less meat and dairy and eating more plant-based meals? This is what we have been doing and it has been making a massive difference. By cutting down on the meat and dairy products you automatically cut out a lot of extra calories and add a lot more fruit and veg into your diet without even realising. I would point out that we haven’t cut them out completely. I think that meat and dairy have a valid place in our diets and you need to be careful with going completely plant-based as you need to replace the vitamins and minerals you are no longer getting from meat and dairy with other sources.
Everything in moderation, as they say!
Another consideration when reviewing our diet and lifestyle was the environmental impact the lives of humans are having on our planet. Let’s face it, we are slowly but surely destroying our planet and environmental considerations need to become a regular practice in all of our lives. For anyone who has been watching David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II recently, the first episode in particular actually brought me to tears. It showed us the story of the polar bears in Antarctica and their home which is literally melting away. His message could not have been any starker – we all HAVE to do something to change the way we live for the sake of our planet and everyone and everything living in it. If David Attenborough says it then it must be true!
It got me to thinking what kind of world are we leaving for our children? What are we doing to the planet our children will call home for years to come? Stephen Hawking has already pointed out that humans need to explore other planets to find a second home, given that we are running out of natural resources at an alarming rate and destroying our planet through climate change. Scientists have identified over-population as a factor that will lead to us running out of food and water in the next 50 years. I sincerely hope this is not the case as it breaks my heart thinking about Bernie or his children witnessing a crisis like this in their lifetime.
I will admit, the environment is not something I ever thought about before we had Bernie. I would do the odd bit of recycling when I remembered and would try and avoid products with palm oil in where I could (the pictures of a starving orangutan mother unable to feed her baby really hit home) but I would think nothing of leaving a tap running for longer than necessary or chucking out a load of food in the fridge that was past its sell-by date. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of these people who is on the ball with all these things I just try to make more conscious decisions about my lifestyle day-to-day than I did before. I try to buy locally and not waste resources like food, gas and water (by the way, those formula packs that tell you to cool the bottle under running water?? No, no, no! Stand the bottle in a jug of cold water; you’ll waste less water and the bottle actually seems to cool quicker!) but I can’t help thinking that unless everyone gets on the bandwagon and does their bit, are we indeed all doomed? Surely all these experts can’t be wrong!
Anyways, I digress! The simple point I was making was that eating less meat and dairy products not only makes us healthier it also benefits the environment as the processes which go towards farming and producing meat and dairy are more damaging to the environment. So it’s a win, win in my opinion!
I am sure you have all heard that meat, especially red meat, takes longer to digest than other foods but drinking less milk is also something that can greatly aid digestion (great for losing weight!) and your overall health and risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. The theory behind this is that the growth hormones in cow’s milk (i.e. the sex hormones that the cow generates in order to produce milk) are intended to help young calves grow into cows. We don’t need these hormones in our bodies – in fact, even babies and young children know to wean themselves off breastmilk eventually so why do we still include milk in our diet at all after that age?? Well, it does taste great in a cup of tea I will admit (plus I think I am addicted to greek yoghurt!) but the main reason is that it is a source of protein and calcium which are important nutrients that our bodies need and which can make you unwell if you do not replace them, in the right quantities, from other sources. Bernie certainly needs these nutrients in the right quantities. It is all down to your particular diet and lifestyle choices but, for us, cutting down on dairy and meat products seemed like the perfect compromise. And so far it seems to be doing us (and our waistlines!) a world of good! The recipes on this website are therefore conjured up with all this in mind so I hope they inspire you to give it a go with us!
Until the next post…