What To Eat After Giving Birth

Byline: Julia Jones

Pregnancy is a time of wonder, hope and anticipation. But after that little bundle of joy arrives many mothers find themselves struggling. Postnatal depression and divorce rates are high, and breastfeeding rates are low.  Over 80% of new mothers say they feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

But before I scare you away I want you to know it doesn’t have to be like this. After giving birth women have very special physical and emotional needs, recognised by hundreds of different cultures for thousands of years. Anthropologists Stern and Kruckman found that cultures with low incidence of postpartum mood disorders share a range of protective social structures that provide support and care for new mothers.

Similarly, anthropologist Dr. Dana Raphael studied how humans have managed to keep their babies alive for so long when breastfeeding seems so hard. She found the same pattern occurring in nearly 200 cultures around the world. Ancient communities appreciate a new mother’s needs, not the least of which is your need to be nurtured and loved and cared for in the same way that you nurture and love and care for your baby.

Why hospital food is the worst thing you can eat after birth. And what to eat instead.

One of the key universal features of postpartum care around the world is warm, nourishing comfort foods. Soups, stews and puddings feature on international postpartum menus and are always cooked for the mother, not by her. Different cultures have variations in detail. I cook Ayurvedic food for my clients, based on ancient Indian medicine.

Ayurveda is an elemental science, meaning it is based on the five elements – earth, fire, water, air and space. If you picture a pregnant woman you can see her abundance of earth and water! Childbirth is the biggest and fastest change in a woman’s life. In just a few hours her body loses vast amounts of earth (for example the baby and placenta), water (in amniotic fluid and tears) and fire (through her blood and sweat). Ayurveda emphasises balancing the elements in your body, meaning you need to replace the earth, water and fire that is lost in childbirth.

Even if you normally enjoy eating raw foods, Ayurveda teaches us that different foods are appropriate for different stages of life. Raw foods are suitable for people with strong digestion and lots of earth and fire. New mothers on the other hand are already high in air and space. The qualities needed after birth are sweetness, warmth, oiliness, simplicity and moisture. Soups, stews and puddings, good fats and good sugars will give you the energy you need, but to digest them you will need to add spices and keep meals simple and regular.

An Ayurvedic postpartum diet is like weaning a baby. When you eat after giving birth, start with soft, warm, soupy foods that are simple to digest, gradually introduce more texture and variety, and eventually, as your appetite and energy return you can go back to your regular diet. Sit down to eat fresh, homemade food regularly. If you only do one thing – eat cooked food.

You can see how standard issue hospital food does not fit the postpartum bill as it is often old, cold, dry and heavy to digest.

This is a recipe I suggest instead, as it aids digestion, has instantly accessible energy and builds blood. Rice pudding is a wonderful food for friends and family to bring you in hospital in a thermos, so add this recipe to your birth plan.

Nepali Rice Pudding Recipe

rice pudding

Cooking time 35 minutes
Serves 3—4

Ingredients

  • 5 cups pure water
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup jaggery
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

Bring water and rice to a boil in large pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally until it begins to thicken. This should take about 20 minutes.

Add the sugar and spices and ghee. You may need to add an extra cup of water at this stage if your pudding is too thick.

Continue to cook slowly; stirring as needed. When gelatinous consistency add milk. Cook for a few more minutes to thicken.

Serve hot, with sugar and ghee to taste. Serve as desired throughout the day.

This recipe is from my book Nourishing Newborn Mother – Ayurvedic recipes to heal your mind, body and soul after childbirth. You can check it out at www.newbornmothers.com.au.

mailchimp size profile picJulia works with pregnant women who want to find peace and joy in motherhood and is the founder of Newborn Mothers. She is an Ayurvedic postnatal doula, recipe book author and creator of a weekly free pregnancy podcast. Click here to listen to her free podcasts.

Diet Smiet: Listen to Your Body + Smoothie Recipe

Diet Smiet Listen To Your Body(1)Byline: Rachael Alexander

Have you tried a gazillion and one diets only to find that you never stick with anything? I certainly have, and I’ve even made myself feel guilty about the whole ordeal. I’ve been a strict vegetarian, a strict vegan, and even a strict raw vegan, and each time  I’ve “fallen off the wagon”.

Now I personally don’t believe that there is a wagon that you can fall off of, and that life is more like a flowing river. And like the river that has many twists and turns so to will your diet or what you choose to put into your body. I’ve learned to let go of the strictness of it all, and ditch the religion of any one diet (which is a continual journey) and learn to do one thing: listen to my body. Another thing I’ve also found is that it doesn’t matter which diet you choose, every diet should include fruits and veggies.

In the process I’ve educated myself  and as a health coach know a lot about different diets and ways of eating. But even before I became a health coach the one thing that stayed consistent and has kept me at optimum health is listening to my body.

Here are some things I learned to help you do the same.

Diets Low in Processed Foods, Dairy, and Gluten

What makes me feel awesome no matter the diet, is consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. I’ve learned that whether I call myself a vegan, vegetarian, raw foodist etc., what makes me feel freaking amazing are whole fruits and vegetables. I’ve also learned by listening to my body that consuming a lot of processed foods that are high in dairy, gluten, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and all the other no-no’s as it concerns a raw vegan diet makes me feel less than awesome.

I’m not strict, and of course living in American society, I do sometimes consume processed foods if I’m in a sticky situation or feel like “cheating”, but for the most part it’s whole fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts & seeds, and other non-animal protein like tofu or tempeh. I don’t want to tell you what diet you should choose, but I’d like to give you some brief information on a few diets that are low in processed foods and high in whole foods.

The following diets are taken from Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal from Chapter 4 on Dietary Theory (a great book and read).

Vegan

A vegan diet is one that is consisting of fruits, vegetables, lots of leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. This diet also abstains and restricts all animal products and by-products including dairy, eggs, and honey. Veganism rejects the commodity status of sentient animals, followers often extend this principle into all areas of their lives and oppose the use of animals or animal products in any way.

5 Element Theory

A 5 element theory diet is one that originates from the ancient Chinese belief system that says that we are surrounded by five energy fields: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Keeping these elements in balance promotes harmony in our surroundings, and in ourselves. This theory promotes eating foods from the five phases including grains, tubers, beans, vegetables, and fruits. It restricts meat, sugar, overly processed chemical foods, deep-fried foods, liquor, beer, and wine.

Raw Food

A raw food diet is one that consists of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, sees, sprouted grains, and seaweed. It encourages that 75 percent of the diet must be raw and also that raw foods are foods that when cooked are cooked under heat no higher that 116 degree Fahrenheit. It restricts meats and dairy products.

Paleo Diet

The paleo diet derives from the philosophy that our bodies are designed to thrive on foods that were available to our early paleolithic ancestors from 10,000 years ago. It encourages foods that are grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. It restricts grains (flour), beans, dairy products, potatoes, refined sugar, salt, and processed oils.

Ayurveda

This diet is an ancient healing system from India that emphasizes eating in accordance with your individual body type and the seasons. The system promotes health and disease prevention through balancing the mind-body types (also known as doshas). This diet encourages that a basic meal should have something warm, something with protein, a salad and/or vegetables with good oil, spices and flavorings, a small sweet for dessert, walk, and rest. Each meal aims to cover all six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter. It restricts foods that are heavily processed, have excess sugar and caffeine, and that have large amounts of animal protein.

Macrobiotics

Macrobiotic means “great life”, and is based on the philosophy that it is best to eat only natural foods, and balancing the yin and yang in the body is important. It encourages whole grains, fresh vegetables, beans, soups, sea vegetables, and fish. It restricts dairy, meat, eggs, refined sugar products, chocolate, tropical fruits, coffee, hot spices, and nightshade vegetables.

There are so many more diets that exist out their and if you are interested you should definitely do some research, but I want to stress the importance of not adopting a diet over what your body is telling you. Your body knows best, and no dietary theory can replace its intelligence.

Listen To Your Body

Did you know that you have an internal healing and intelligence system within you? Your body knows exactly what makes it thrive and gives you the best energy, better moods, and allows you to live with vitality and abundance, all you have to do is listen to it. I discovered this when I started experimenting with different foods from all the diets I was trying. I would try a food and then pay attention to how it would make me feel after I consumed it. I concluded that if I didn’t feel awesome, more clear, more alert, or whatever ‘feel-good’ feeling I was going for then I didn’t need to consume it. It was really that simple.

Here are some clues to help you understand how to listen to your body. Experiment with some of the diets or foods mentioned above. Try different breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Keep a food diary for however long you plan on doing the experiment, I’d say at least 3-4 weeks. That way you can have a week dedicated to each of the experiments. Every time you consume a food item write down or take a mental note of how you feel after eating that food, then wait 2-3 hours and write down how you feel again. Do this for every meal.

Start to notice whether a food gives you gas, makes you feel bloated, gives you a boost that lasts, gives you a boost then a crash, makes you feel sleepy, makes you feel grouchy, or makes you feel moody. Now after the experiment is done circle all the foods that made you feel awesome, energetic, alive, and clear and aim to eat more of those foods. Simple.

Here’s a great smoothie recipe you can try for one of your experiments.

Glorious Green Smoothie Recipe

Serves 1-2 Depending on Your Appetite :)Glorious Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pears
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of compassionate milk (I’m using almond milk)
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 cup of pineapple

Directions

Add the kale and compassionate milk into your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the remaining fruits to the blender + some ice if you want it cold and blend until smooth. Then take a moment of gratitude and give thanks for this awesome delicious smoothie and enjoy!

 

Social Media Pic2Rachael Alexander is an Artist, Author, Health Coach, & Mosaic Soul. She is the creator of ENDIGO RAE, Home for Mosaic Souls: Individuals that are using their multifaceted nature to make their lives their art and masterpiece. ENDIGO RAE is a multi-platform lifestyle brand, online blog, and entertainment company that represents Rich Artistic Expression. It chronicles Rachael’s creations on how to be bold, be fearless, and be her most authentic self while helping others at the same time. On the journey to becoming our authentic selves, she focuses on life, health, creativity, and spirituality. Follow Rachael on Facebook, Instagram, and her Blog.

How Life Energy Foods Helped Me Heal

Byline: Patsie Smith

Prior to life with wholesome, fresh, organic, life-infused foods, I carried within my body traces of major imbalances from my history of depression which later built into alcohol dependency, chronic digestive inflammation and chronic fatigue. These issues were a cry for help from my body, that was crucially in need of a major overhaul.

Vegetarian asian noodles

I chose to heal myself to rectify these imbalances, this may or may not be the right choice for everyone. However, it was the only choice that felt right for me. Using pharmaceutical drugs to mask symptoms simply didn’t make any sense. So I embarked on a journey of self-healing like my Beagle Charlie, when he’s onto a scent, almost totally obsessed.

Self-healing meant harnessing my body’s innate healing power using all the tools and knowledge from natural and ancient health wisdom. Healing on all levels of my being i.e. mentally, emotionally, spiritually and hence physically also entailed a more challenging and confronting journey but the result was true healing and a transformed being at the other end.

What are healing and life energy foods?

We all know about the rich nutrients in fresh wholesome foods, but foods that aid in healing should also be full of life energy. The way you grow, obtain, cook, eat and digest your food all goes into determining the amount of life energy that helps you in your healing and health.

You are essentially energy and to be alive and thriving, the living energies in your body need to be balanced and replenished to optimum levels. This life energy or life force, also called chi, ki or prana in eastern medicine and energy arts, is the underlying basis for health and healing. Fresh plant foods contain life energies they absorbed from the natural elements of the earth, water, air and sunshine.

Foods grown yourself with love and care, then freshly harvested and prepared with love and mindfulness are infused with higher energetic vibrations, which you then put into your body. Foods that have been stored extensively (for transportation and on supermarket shelves), microwaved or highly processed and overcooked are depleted of their life energy (life force).

Ideally, grow your own patch of organic fruits and vegetables, or buy them fresh from your local farmers markets. Growing vegetables is extremely fun, grounds you with the earth and is most rewarding come harvest time. Going to the farmers markets supports your local farmers, encourages sustainability and develops wonderful friendships with other conscious eaters and the farmers themselves.

Preparing and cooking foods with a peaceful and happy demeanor and atmosphere, then eating them with mindfulness and gratitude further raises the vibrations of the food you consume. Being fully present when eating, you will savor and enjoy the tastes, textures and sensations of all the flavors while chewing slowly aids in optimum digestion. Food digestion begins in the mouth, not in the stomach.

After meals I can now feel every cell in my body buzzing with life. Real foods are one of my passions for I value them with a sacred respect as part of life’s great gifts for replenishing and restoring my being.

Here is one of my favorite recipes using the foods I grow or buy at the market. It’s easy and delicious and no cooking is required.

Vegetarian Asian Noodles

  • 1 pkt of fresh or dried egg/rice/kelp noodles
  • 2 stalks of fresh shallots/spring onions (finely sliced into strips)
  • 1 large carrot (finely sliced into strips)
  • 1 cup fresh home grown mung bean sprouts (or fresh bought sprouts)
  • 4 leaves of perpetual spinach (or any other spinach) cut into segments
  • 1 handful of chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 4-5 fresh or dried Shitake mushrooms (or any other preferred variety of mushroom)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds

Sauce

  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw honey

Directions

  1. Soak the noodles and shitake mushrooms in separate bowls of hot water to soften if using dried ones. Then drain and squeeze residual water out of mushrooms. If using fresh noodles, rinse and place them in a big mixing bowl. Rinse fresh shitake of all debris and cut their stems off. Slice the mushrooms into 3 segments. Add them to noodles in the bowl.
  2. Set aside half the amount of sprouts and seeds, place all other remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix them gently in with the noodles.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all sauce ingredients and stir gently till honey dissolves. Add Tamari sauce to taste.
  4. Drizzle sauce over noodle mix, a little at a time, intermittently tossing to mix the sauce thoroughly and evenly throughout the noodles and vegetables.
  5. Serve onto plate and scatter remaining sprouts and seeds set aside in step 2 over the top.

Have you healed yourself too or are you ready to help your body to heal? Please share with us in the comments section, your experiences and wisdom and what special foods you’ve found to be amazingly life restoring? Blessings to you…namaste.

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Patsie Smith is a spiritual author and guide, intuitive and energetic healer, meditation and yoga teacher. She helps facilitate healing on every level of one’s being. To connect with her weekly wisdom, meditation and guided healing journeys visit www.spiritpond.com

5 Tips To Build And Maintain Your Digestive Health

Byline: Connie Trowbridge

9604712_sOur digestive system is the most important system in our bodies. We don’t realize the importance of proper digestion until we begin experiencing problems. When it’s working properly, it takes the food we consume and produces all the ingredients our bodies need to operate. It then removes any unneeded, unused or unwanted materials from our body. When it’s NOT working right…well…it can be pretty damn uncomfortable.

All diseases start in the gut. ~Hippocrates

The digestion process is complex and involves many, MANY steps. If something goes wrong along the way, it can manifest as several problems.

Poor digestive health can be linked to:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Food allergies
  • Heartburn
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Leaky gut
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Fatigue
  • Acne
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcers
  • Improper absorption of nutrients
  • Low B12 levels
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Acid reflux
  • and so much more

Many people have no idea just how critical digestion is to our overall health. Nor are they aware that many of their ailments can be relieved and/or cured by simply IMPROVING their gut health.

A well-functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health. And, just as a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive wither a well-functioning digestive system.  ~Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

There is no need to sob in a corner, caressing your bloated stomach; digestive health can be easily improved with a few added daily habits. Take care of your gut, so it can take care of you in return.

Probiotics

Probiotics – often called “good bacteria” – work hard to keep a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. With everything that goes on between the walls of your colon, taking good care of your gut is highly beneficial to your health. Take a high quality probiotic of at least 25 billion strands. This good bacteria helps maintain digestion balance, and keeps your immune system (70% of it is your gut) working perfectly.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help break down the nutrients in food, making them easier to digest and absorb. Since many of us consume liquids with our meals (drinking with your meal dilutes the natural enzymes in your saliva, making it harder to properly digest your food) taking an enzyme before you eat is a great way to boost your digestive health and reduce/eliminate the common after meal bloat and discomfort. *Take a high quality digestive enzyme 15-20 minutes before eating your meal*

Ginger

Whether in the form of food, supplement, tea or oil, consuming ginger daily will help begin to get your gut back on track. Ginger helps to stimulate digestion, which as we are learning, is the basis of health. Ginger helps the body to release the proper enzymes to break down food so nutrients can be easily absorbed.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is largely made up of medium chain triglycerides. When consumed, coconut oil’s anti-microbial properties become activated and work to provide the strongest germ killing effect. Basically, coconut oil eradicates the bad bacteria in our digestive tract. By regularly consuming coconut oil, you will help your body restore balance and stability.

Reduce Dairy

Despite all the celebrities and their milk mustaches, when you have gut problems, reducing or eliminating dairy will go a long way to getting you out of that miserable state that only comes when your digestive system is impaired. The sugar in dairy called lactose is rarely ever properly digested. This causes allergic reactions, gas and bloating. If you consume too much lactose, it goes into the large intestine, and diarrhea can develop or worsen. Give your body a chance to heal properly, forgo the dairy and see how much better you feel. Nowadays, there are delicious substitutes that will help fill that dairy void.

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Connie Trowbridge wants to live in a world that’s filthy with organic farms, mom & pop bookstores, and artsy cafes. As a holistic health coach, and wellness writer, she’s been featured in Healthy Organic Woman Magazine, and Life of a Fighter.
When she’s not creating humorous content (that often contains four-letter words) you can find her re-reading the collected works of Chelsea Handler and Paul Jarvis, sampling obscene amounts of chocolate without a trace of shame, and optimistically checking out her window to see if UPS has delivered her latest Amazon present. Her latest ebook —From Doritos to Kale Chips— hit the web in March 2014.
Discover how to achieve rockin’ health with style, simplicity + astonishing ease at Connieville.com

5 Natural Solutions to Eliminate Seasonal Allergies

Flowers smByline: Sara Best

Sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes – the hallmarks of seasonal allergies.

When everyone around you is celebrating the return of spring, are you silently cursing all growing things?

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the pollen in the air triggers a histamine (immune system) response in your body. One of the ways to prevent the horrible symptoms of this reaction is to strengthen your immune system so that it can quickly and easily neutralize the allergens without causing such a dramatic (and miserable) response.

Here are five things you can do to boost your immune system and help end your suffering from seasonal allergies:

1. Improve Digestion

Since approximately 80 per cent of your immune system is located in your gut, it’s no surprise that this is also where a lot of issues around allergies begin.

One of the biggest culprits behind allergies is leaky gut. After years of abuse (poor digestion, undiagnosed food sensitivities, etc.), gaps can start to form in the lining of your intestinal wall. This allows undigested proteins to enter your blood stream, sending your immune system into overdrive. With your immune system on constant red alert like this, it becomes unusually sensitive to environmental triggers and the symptoms of seasonal allergies often worsen.

You can disrupt this pattern by working to rebuild your intestinal wall. For a period of 21 days, try eliminating all common food allergens (gluten, dairy, soy, corn).  During this period also cut out caffeine, alcohol and as much sugar as possible. Replace these foods with nutrient-dense and fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and clean proteins. Add in a good quality probiotic supplement and also look at natural sources of probiotics such as fermented foods.

You may find a significant improvement in your allergy symptoms at the end of the 21 days.

2. Drink Water

Your immune system – like every other system in your body – relies heavily on being properly hydrated to function.  Most of us are walking around in a state of at least partial dehydration for most of the day.

Aim to get your full 6-8 glasses of water a day – more if you’re exercising heavily.

Water with fresh lemon juice is also a great way to alkalinize the body which helps to reduce inflammation and support the immune system.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are like booster packs for your immune system. They feed the production of white blood cells and antibodies.

Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene as well as zinc and selenium are among the most powerful antioxidants.

Great dietary sources of these include berries, green leafy vegetables, carrots, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, green tea, Brazil nuts, citrus fruits, garlic and onions.

4. Sleep

Lack of adequate sleep can seriously compromise your immune system. The number of infection-fighting antibodies and cells in your body are reduced when you’re sleep deprived. In fact, studies have shown that certain white blood cells known as granulocytes are dramatically reduced after just one sleepless night.

Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

5. Cut out the Sugar

Processed sugar is incredibly hard on the immune system. Studies show that just three ounces of sugar can actually suppress your immune system within 30 minutes of consumption–a response that can last up to 5 hours!

SaraBSara Best is looking forward to graduating as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition this May.
She is the creator of the blog If Your Body Could Talk where she is building a community of people who want to better understand how to listen to the messages their bodies are sending them and use them to feel great and love life!
Sara is a writer and mom of two and lives in Ontario, Canada.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter too!