Being the true-to-form Virgo that I am (#virgosforever), I like to start planning for things WAY in advance; thus, it should come as no surprise that I’ve already started thinking about and planning for the postpartum healing process that I’ll be undertaking in about 12 weeks time. I’m a strong believer that healing starts from within and that we need to be cognisant of what we’re putting into our bodies. Food has incredible power; it has the potential to expedite the healing process, to help us regain our strength, and to aid in balancing those pesky hormones that we all know can fuck with a new mama’s psyche BIG TIME.
So I turned to our #rebelchef, Shontelle Pinch for some advice as to what kinds of recipes I should consider working into my postpartum diet plan. I loved her ideas so much that I felt compelled to share them with all of you. I assume I’m not the only preggo out there looking for healing suggestions other than “continue taking prenatal vitamins and throw in a stool softener for good measure”, so this one is for all my mamas-to-be looking for natural, non-medicinal ways to help your fragile (yet fabulous) bodies get back to pre-baby function as quickly and as gently as possible. Bon appetit mamas!
DAILY MUST-HAVE FOODS FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY
BY: SHONTELLE PINCH
The following recipes have amazing healing qualities for everyone, but they can be especially beneficial for women recovering from all forms of childbirth (and, of course, each one of them is ridiculously delicious). Enjoy!
RAW CARROT SALAD
To be consumed once or twice a day (before lunch). This salad is a simple solution for keeping bowels clear and for reducing elevated estrogen and endotoxin levels.
- 1 raw carrot washed and shredded
- 1 tbsp warmed coconut oil and ½ tsp of olive oil
- Some sea salt
- Your vinegar of choice (the best quality you can get)
Combine and enjoy
ORANGE CREAMSICLE SMOOTHIE
To be consumed 3 times a day. This delicious smoothie acts as a calcium-packed protein source, which will help to down-regulate the inflammation of prolactin and aid in bone mass maintenance. The gelatin in it helps to improve overall digestion and move food more easily through the digestive tract (which is impacted during ALL forms of childbirth). It has also been known to help tighten loose skin – BONUS! And the ice cream is because you deserve a fucking ice cream after what you’ve just gone through.
- 1/2 fresh squeezed orange juice (pulp removed)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vanilla Häagen-Dazs (no carrageenan or guar/locust bean gums)
- 1 tablespoon Great Lakes Gelatin (order online)
- 1 pinch of salt
Blend and sip
To be consumed daily. Bone broth is probably the world’s perfect food, and one that you should be enjoying daily, pregnant or not. It does wonders for digestion, is ultra healing, and is a nutrient powerhouse.
- 2lbs meaty beef stock bones (with lots of marrow), including some knuckle bones if possible, cut to expose the center marrow, and include at least some connective tissue/tendons for their genatin (ask your butcher; he should know, if he doesn’t, then you’re shopping at the wrong place)
- 1/2lb of beef shank or short rib meat
- Coconut oil or beef tallow
- 1-2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- 1-2 large carrots, cut into 1-2 inch segments
- Handful celery tops, or one large celery rib, cut into 1 inch segments
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- Handful of parsley (stems and leaves)
- 1-2 bay leaves
- Optional peppercorns (3-10)
- Sea salt
Make homemade beef stock by roasting marrow bones & knuckle bones and cooking on a low simmer with aromatic vegetables and herbs.
*yield: approximately 4 litres
I suggest making large batches and freezing in 1 litre containers. (It’ll last in the fridge for five days.) In addition to the basic broth recipe above, feel free to mix it up with some variations in flavour. I like to add turmeric on occasion; and a nice addition to turmeric version of the recipe is dill. I also change the flavour by putting an Italian spin on it and adding basil. Add coconut milk for Thai (or Indian) inspired soup. My personal favourite variation comes from adding cilantro and serrano/scotch bonnet peppers.
- Collagen, elastin, gelatin, and hyaluronic acid to help nourish and strengthen your joints after 9 months of stretching/pulling to accommodate your growing belly.
- Bone broth is packed full of minerals that are easily and quickly absorbed by your body, and better than any supplement you can buy.
- After pregnancy, the liver is still working overtime to return your body to homeostasis in its non-pregnancy state. Bone broth is a traditional liver tonic and can be extremely beneficial as a daily addition to your diet.
- You lose a LOT of fluid during labor- blood, sweat, tears, amniotic fluid, urine. Then your body begins to make breast milk which requires even more hydration. Bone broth is not only hydrating, but as you can see from above, is nourishing as well.
Happy/Healthy healing, Mamas! Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup; don’t forget to take care of yourself first. (For more on that, read THIS POST on the postpartum experience).
Featured image by Atlanta birth and lifestyle photographer, Brittany Knapik.