What inspired you to focus on meals catered to the whole family vs. just littles?
In Indian & Congolese (my daughter is half of both) culture, it’s nothing new to feed your baby whatever the rest of the family is having. You’ll see a baby eating roti dipped in curried lentils or plantains and foufou. When Havana was past the pureed baby foods, I started to look into essential solid starter foods, and everything just seemed so bland. I know you can’t bombard your baby’s palate with spice, but we can still give a little flavour, plus it saves you time rather than having to create a whole separate meal for the baby. Of course, there are modifications made to her food sometimes, but my upbringing and culture brought about wanting to focus on whole family meals.
Your sister is a Holistic Nutritionist and helps you navigate gut health and tips within your recipes. Do you think you’ll be interested in becoming a Holistic Nutritionist like your sister?
Angie has such a passion for what she does. I feel like to truly excel in something; you need that passion. I don’t have that for holistic nutrition, I love learning about it and applying it to my meals, but I like asking her! I would love to get into Early Childhood Education. That’s my plan for when Havana’s in school!
Currently, what is your favourite breakfast with your daughter Havana Ocean?
Green eggs & avocado! This was one of the first recipes I shared on my blog. It’s super easy and is such a tasty and easy way to incorporate many veggies into the first meal of the day. It’s just pureed spinach, garlic, onion & peppers whisked into an egg and scrambled. Havana’s obsessed with avocado, so I always add that on the side, plus it’s full of healthy fats, so this one’s a popular breakfast in our household.
Can you share with us an easy recipe for postpartum to help with recovery or breastmilk supply?
My sister made my homemade granola batches when I was freshly postpartum using oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, olive oil, salt & goji berries. I would snack on it or put it in a bowl with oat mylk and eat it like cereal. Oats were one of the foods that worked wonders in boosting my breastmilk supply.
Quarantine has been all about comfort and food. I think those two go together. I’ve had no shame just walking around in an everyday bra and sweats at home, haha. Are you in the same boat?
Comfort is key for me, and my husband always jokes that Havana and I are the same because we like to walk around the house in our underwear. She’s 16 months now, but I’m still nursing, so a comfortable nursing bra has been vital for me. You want it practical, but you also want to feel stylish and sexy. I bought 2 of the Bravado original nursing bras and alternated them; it was one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made. I’ve lived in them for the past year.
What do you love most about Bravado Designs?
I love that they’ve created a functional and stylish nursing bra at a reasonable price point. As a first-time mom, when I first started looking at nursing bras, I was overwhelmed; there’s so much out there that isn’t very clear. Bravado is straightforward. I understood what the product was, and it made it that much easier for me to purchase and be confident in my purchase. Plus, they’re cute – big bonus!
Which bra from their collection would you recommend to mothers with children the same age group as Havana?
The original nursing bra is still my favourite. It’s cotton and easy to maneuver while nursing a rambunctious toddler. If I can clip & unclip with one hand, then it’s a winner!
What do you recommend for quick healthy snacks for your children around the same age as Havana?
Fruit is my usual go-to. Havana loves oranges, blueberries & strawberries, so I’ll always keep them in the fridge and chop up a quick fruit salad. I also make batches of mini muffins (another recipe on my blog!) They’re so easy to whip up and freeze quickly, then you pull them out as needed and defrost in the microwave when the hunger hits!
Where do you find your inspiration when it comes to food?
Everywhere! I’ll see a recipe on Instagram or Pinterest and modify it into my own, or I’ll see what my friends, other moms etc., are cooking and take inspiration from them. My mom wrote down all her recipes in a book for me one Christmas, so I reference that a lot as well! There could be a sale on butternut squash at the store, and I’ll think I could make something with this’ then go home and experiment. I think that’s the beauty of food, and there’s inspiration everywhere!
Did pregnancy change your tastebuds for anything you loved before motherhood?
SPICE! Oh my gosh, I used to handle any spicy food thrown my way, but my palette is so sensitive to it. I’m determined to build up my tolerance again.
Do you feel the same way you do with food health and the products we use on our bodies (beauty, skin etc.)?
I do. I’ve never been one to wear a lot of make-up, so the right skin product is key. I switched over to all-natural products a few years ago, and the difference is night & day. It’s worth spending more on quality, natural products and even better if you can support local!
What are your favourite skincare products?
My mother-in-law, Jeanne Zita has been making her beauty products since she lived in Kinshasa, DRC, and they’re amazing. I use her mango & shea body butter from head to toe daily (on Havana). She also has a mango sugar lip scrub I use and then finishes with her rose lip oil. K’Pure Naturals is also a local brand. I switched over to her ‘Get Closer’ natural deodorant a couple of years ago, one of the best decisions I’ve made (especially when you look into all the harmful toxins that are in regular deodorants!) Her overachiever balm is also excellent, and it’s what we use on Havana as a diaper balm. My splurge product is by Penny Frances Apothecary, and it’s her Cucumber Rose Eye Serum. I’m 33 now, so having a good eye serum is key to graceful ageing (in my opinion).
When you get a quiet moment, what do you like to do the most?
Depending on the time of day, it involves a cup of orange pekoe tea or a glass of red wine. Give me either one on a sunny day on my balcony, and I’m content. On a rainy day, it’s the same, just indoors with Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
Lastly, who is your Mother Muse?
My mom is my always and forever my Mother Muse. Becoming a mother made me appreciate what she’s done for my sisters and me even more, but now seeing her be my mom and a fantastic Nani (grandma) to my nieces and my daughter, I’m always in awe and learning. There’s also a mother I follow on Instagram, Tisha Lopez Haynes. I love her vibe, and I feel a lot of similarities in her energy. I’ve loved watching her beautiful family grow and how she’s navigating through motherhood!