Let me introduce myself…I’m Michelle and welcome to by website and bakery Bellaphiya Bakes!
So, a bit about me. I am a Mummy to three beautiful girls, eight year old Isabella, six year old Sophia and three year old Freya. I love spending time with my family and they are the inspiration behind Bellaphiya Bakes.
I’ve always been a lover of desserts and all things sweet, especially chocolate, and checking out the dessert menu was my first priority whenever in a restaurant! However, all that was to change when my eldest daughter was born in December 2011. Little did I know how conscious I was to become about the ingredients in the food we eat. I have been a vegetarian since I was 15, and made the decision to become vegan last year. Prior to December 2011, I’d never really taken much notice about what was in the food I ate other than checking it was vegetarian. All that was set to change though!
Two weeks after my baby girl was born she became really unsettled, vomited after every feed and didn’t gain weight. Initially, the health visitors weren’t that concerned but I was so worried that something was wrong with my baby. Luckily, our GP referred us to the hospital and we saw a paediatrician who after a number of tests thought that she might be dairy intolerant with reflux too. The prescription was for me to give up eating dairy, which was no mean feat for someone who was as big a fan of ice-cream, cake and chocolate as me! Immediately though, I cut dairy out of my diet but didn’t really know what to substitute it with, so I wasn’t really eating much at all. This plus lack of sleep equalled a very anxious, exhausted and hungry mummy. Although the consultant had told us that it could take at least ten days for any trace of dairy to leave both of our bodies, I struggled with my little baby continuing to be sick and not gaining weight, and wanted to see immediate results which were not forthcoming. Unfortunately, I only lasted until she was five weeks old and then took the decision to stop breastfeeding her and she was put on a prescription formula. Stopping feeding her broke my heart and made me feel so guilty but as soon she was on formula combined with Gaviscon (for the reflux), the sickness ceased and she gained weight. This, however, was the start of me learning a lot more about what is in our food.
For a year, my baby girl could not have any dairy in her diet, so once the fog of having a newborn was over I started thinking about the types of food I could prepare for her as she was to be weaned onto a vegetarian diet. I learnt what could be used as a substitute for dairy and really enjoyed weaning and creating healthy meals for her.
Fast forward to when my second baby girl was born, in May 2014. I was adamant that I was not going to give up on breastfeeding this time but I was also very worried that she may also be dairy intolerant. She was sick a couple of times so that was all I needed to take the decision that no more dairy was going to pass my lips. I was much more knowledgeable about what I could eat so it didn’t feel the same as last time and I embraced my new way of eating. As it turns out, she wasn’t dairy intolerant but it kick started a real change in my diet, which as mentioned earlier has seen me embrace a fully plant based diet.
As I mentioned at the start of this very long post, I have a sweet tooth so in my quest to find dairy free recipes I came across blogs all about dairy free desserts which used only healthy, natural ingredients and no refined sugar. I began experimenting and realised that these desserts were not only incredibly delicious but contained only healthy, nutritious ingredients and totally took away my sweet cravings and so Bellaphiya Bakes was born!
Thanks for reading!