August 02 2019 – Sophie Ward
You have a new baby, and maybe some other kids too. When do you make time to eat? Are you eating well? Nutritious food? Is someone cooking for you? If not, you may be asking, what should I fill my fridge with before the baby comes and how can I make this easy? Here are my top ten recommendations for must-have items in your fridge, pantry and freezer.
1. Eggs. Poached, soft boiled, fried, scrambled. An egg is a perfect food. Packed with protein, iron, choline for brain health and saturated fat for hormonal balance, eggs are easy and nutritious. One of my absolute favorite things to eat is in fact a salted fried egg – with my bare hands. Crispy, gooey, hot and salty. (Note that the lightly cooked yolk is more nutritious than a fully cooked one.) Eggs are also very affordable. Make sure to buy the eggs in the cardboard boxes to ease the load on our mother earth, and if you can find them, pastured, local and organic eggs are a top choice.
2. Sprouted bread. Let’s be honest, bread is easy. But not all bread is created equal. Sprouted bread is more digestible than regular bread as the grains have become little plants (sprouts!) before they are made into flour. If you’re not able to make your own sourdough, I recommend filling your fridge or freezer with sprouted bagels, raisin bread and any sprouted seeded sliced bread you can find in your area. Sprouting also makes the nutrients in the grain more available to your body. A plus for those times when we need a little extra.
3. Avocadoes. They take nine months to mature on the tree, and they house a little baby seed inside them. They are shaped like a uterus and are packed with folate. Is an avocado not mother nature’s most perfect creation for mothers? Rich in good fats and so so satisfying – mash half an avocado on your sprouted toast, add an egg, some salt and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ll be satiated for hours. Remember you can also spread a mashed avocado on your face for a nourishing evening face mask.
4. Coconut milk in a can, full fat. The coconut is another of mother nature’s most generous offerings – the water, husk, meat, fibers, nectar and wax of the coconut plant are all utilized in industries worldwide. Shaped like a breast, the coconut is similar to mother’s breast – the fatty acids in its milk contain 60% lauric acid, a potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal substance. In comparison breast milk is 20% lauric acid. We were designed to receive this protective medicine! Coconut milk in a can is rich, creamy, anti-inflammatory and forms an easy base for puddings, spiced milks and porridges. Look for cans with a BPA free lining. Wholefoods brand, or Native Forest are good options.
5. Cacao. Raw, organic, cold-pressed, heirloom – look for the highest quality cacao you can find but focus on the raw and the organic. When not exposed to heat, the cacao bean retains all of its nutrients and medicinal potency. Cacao is your coffee substitute for the mid afternoon slump. It is packed with theobromine which is a natural mood elevator and gentle stimulant. It is said that cacao opens the heart – which makes sense considering the mood benefits as well as the iron and magnesium which tone the blood and promote healthy blood flow.
6. Coconut Oil. Like coconut milk, coconut oil is a wonderful source of lauric acid with all its medicinal benefits. Blend with almond butter and your favorite spices, dried fruits or cacao for a tasty fat bomb. Blend with cacao or some turmeric, coconut milk and black pepper for an easy and rich medicinal latte. During postpartum it is very important to add healthy plant fats to the diet to assist in digestion, lactation and brain clarity. The MCT (Medium Chain Triglicerides) in coconut oil are a favored brain fuel – add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee and blend for an added kick.
7. Almond Butter. When it comes to the pantry, you have to have satiating whole food options on hand or you’ll be elbow deep in the cookie box. Almond butter is high in protein, calcium, magnesium and healthy fats. It is a whole food and easy to eat – spread on toast with some mashed banana or use as a dip for some pear or apple slices. Blend with coconut oil and your favorite galactagogues (see my Milk Making Nut Butter Bombs recipe!) for a lactation boost whilst satiating your hunger.
8. Ghee. Ah, ghee. It is clarified butter, strained of milk solids and other problematic milk ingredients. Ghee is butter champagne, sunshine in a jar. It is rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D + E and butyrate, which is the main food for the cells of the gut lining, therefore aiding in function and regularity of digestion and metabolism. Ghee is also excellent for eye and brain health. It aids in lubricating the entire body and provides fat for the brain as well as for other nutrients to be taken into the body via the cell wall, which is made of fat! Ghee tastes like a toffee caramel treat and can be whipped with honey and frozen in silicone molds for a ‘salted caramel’ fat bomb. Stir it into your morning porridge, your coffee, cook your eggs in it, your greens, and more.
9. Oats. Affordable and accessible pretty much anywhere, oats are a whole food rich in a powerful soluble fiber called beta glucan which benefits digestion and heart health, sweeping the arteries and like as street sweeper. Beta glucan is also present in mushrooms (including reishi) and is thought to boost the quality of breast milk. Oats are rich in antioxidants, improve blood sugar and lower cholesterol. They have a huge amount of protein per cup, and loads of iron too. Soak them overnight or for at least 15 minutes before cooking, and then strain and rinse them before cooking with enough fresh filtered water to cover the oats. You can boost your morning oatmeal with a pinch or more of turmeric, some fresh ginger, ghee or coconut oil and fresh fruit like banana, blueberries or mango. Make a raw lactation cooking by mixing some oats with almond butter, coconut oil, shatavari, cacao, shredded coconut and a little coconut sugar for an easy treat.
10. Kitchari. This nourishing and easy Ayurvedic meal is perfect for postpartum for many reasons. It has just under a dozen different spices as the base, cooked with split mung dal, rice, water and your vegetables of choice. Mothers like it because it is easy to digest, contains no garlic nor onions, is packed with warming spices and freezes easily. It’s vegetarian, and very easy to prepare in a big pot before your due date. Fill small lasagna trays with kitchari and then freeze them (write the date on the top and what it is!) During postpartum you can bring one out to defrost in the fridge or countertop before warming gently in a pan with some extra water. It’s best to eat your foods fresh, but if you cook and freeze food immediately, it will retain all the nutrients you put into it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of the top 10 foods I recommend for postpartum.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!