Mom of the Month: Isabella Gambuto
Posted on July 13 2021
Meet Isabella Gambuto
Natural Chef • Recipe Developer • Food Stylist • Mama-To-Be
Your baby is currently the size of an artichoke (now I'm craving artichokes)
Boy or Girl ? Boy!
Top 3 go-to people for baby info and advice My mom, my friend Lola who had a baby last year and my sister in law (Ana Gambuto)
What are you reading these days ? The Bone Collector (I love scary serial killer stories even though I hate horror movies) and Bumping a book on pregnancy
What are you eating these days ? Whatever my body craves at that very moment. I am a natural chef so I tend to eat pretty healthy, lots of vegetables and whole real foods but the beginning of my pregnancy was rough (24/7 morning sickness) so it was very simple carbs for a while. Now that I'm feeling better I try to eat a salad every day and get a good portion of vegetables in but sometimes I just crave a burrito! I've been eating lots of pasta and making homemade pizza once a week, must be the Italian girl in me.
How has your diet changed since you have been pregnant? I am still trying to eat real whole foods but my body has been craving things I would usually eat in moderation and I have been giving in to those cravings! Dairy and carbohydrates are the biggest ones. My midwife told me to eat as much dairy as possible for the calcium to help the baby's bones develop. If I don't get enough calcium the baby can actually take it from my own bone density! So I've been having lots of yogurt (9% Siggy's Skyr) is my favorite, cheese and started drinking whole milk in my coffee again. I don't find that it upsets my stomach like it used to, which is truly remarkable and a great example of your body telling you what it needs. I've also been eating a lot of good breads and grass fed butter. I try to eat a salad and a large portion of green vegetables every day for digestion (pregnancy constipation is real!) as well as a lot of healthy fats like avocados and high quality oils to help avoid stretch marks. Overall, I've been focusing on intuitive eating and giving my body what it craves.
How did your food journey start? and why did you start your food prep service? I grew up in food, my father owned Italian restaurants and I took over and relocated our original location when I was 24 years old. When I was 27 years old I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, a uterine disease that causes chronic pain and can often lead to infertility. After receiving successful laparoscopic removal surgery in 2015 I was worried about the endometriosis coming back and affecting my future fertility. At 27 I wasn't ready to be a mom but I knew it was something I definitely wanted in the future. I spoke to my surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Levy about it and he recommended I see a nutritionist and change my diet. After years of treating women with endo he believed a holistic approach that focused on diet was the most effective way to avoid further complications. I went on an anti-inflammatory diet - cutting out nightshades such as eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes and tomatoes (very hard for an Italian girl) as well as most dairy and processed carbohydrates. While I also tried diets such as Paleo and the Whole30, I ultimately found a whole foods diet that focused on real nourishing foods worked best for me, and ultimately found a happy medium of eating anti-inflammatory 80% of the time and enjoying my favorite foods (tomato sauce, crusty breads, soft cheeses, desserts!) 20% of the time. In 2018 my father and I sold the restaurant and I went back to school to study nutritional culinary arts. I graduated culinary school in 2019 and was excited to start helping others use food to heal! I started meal prepping for my own clients as well as Meal Prep Chef that summer and have been doing it ever since, along with catering events and making watermelon cakes. Almost all of my clients have some form of chronic illness, including diabetes, PCOS, lyme disease and cancer. I create custom made menus for them based not only on their dietary restrictions but importantly on their taste preferences, so they can eat for their optimal health while still enjoying their food!
What is important to you as you grow your business? I'm at a very weird time in my business, especially as a self employed business owner. It's important to have a good work life balance, especially as a new mother. I find myself stepping back from weekly meal prep clients, preparing for having less time when the baby comes. I'm planning on taking at least 4 months of maternity leave so I will be giving up all my clients by mid-October. I am trying to focus more on catering events this summer rather than finding more weekly clients, so I won't have to leave anyone this fall. And also looking into monetizing my online presence more - working on a weekly recipe club that focuses on easy weeknight meals perfect for growing families like mine! I also hope to start a postpartum meal delivery service for mothers once I am done with maternity leave, creating nutritious meals to post-partum mothers in those tough few first weeks or months after giving birth. I am looking forward to using my own experience as a new mother to develop recipes and menus that are geared specifically toward this!
To vaccine or not to vaccine? I found out I was pregnant after getting my first covid vaccine dose! I thought the nausea I felt right after was just a side effect but after 24 hours it didn't subside I took a pregnancy test. So at the very least the baby will have it's covid vaccine!
How are you preparing for baby's arrival? I just hired a doula I love and who makes me feel so good! I'm looking for a homebirth midwife right now. And I'm collecting all the hand me downs I can get a hold of!
Favorite prenatal workout? I have been too sick to work out and when I have energy I use it to cook. But I want to start taking advantage of all of LA's incredible hikes.
Pregnancy gives you all the feels, how are you feeling right now ? A mix of excited and overwhelmed! Things just started getting really real - I found out the sex of the baby and felt him kick for the first time!