I used to be the perfect mom… Before I actually had children. I thought I would spend all my free time with my kids, and I would cook and clean while they napped or blissfully played on their own. Fast forward a few years…
As a pregnant woman, everything was perfect. I earned my Masters degree, wrote a few more books including Well Rounded – The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Raw Food Pregnancy, I cooked every single meal from scratch including all the juicing and blending on the side, ran a non-profit group which provided my community with at-cost organic produce, ran an online superfood store… I felt invincible. My husband and I played disc golf, did some traveling, and basically had a great time.
Then, on November 13th 2010, at 2 am, my water broke. Against my better judgment, I opted for a hospital birth and spent the next 35 hours trying to give birth, naturally at first, then with a whole cascade of interventions. Once I finally gave birth to my healthy baby boy, I found out that the epidural I had been given had penetrated my spinal fluid, and basically spent 2 weeks without being able to lift my head and neck for more than 2 minutes. And finally, once I recovered from that, I had to get used to the fact that my son never, ever slept. It would take 2 hours of rocking, singing, hugging, cuddling, shhh-ing, and more to get him to fall asleep… for 20 minutes. Forget using the juicer or blender, even a car door slamming down the street would wake him up! And when he was awake, he hated the swing chair, hated tummy time, and even hated the sling for many months. Only my arms would do!
What to do?
The first months were tough. But I learned so much from this time spent giving, giving, giving, and getting very little back. I learned that a community, preferably around you, but at least online, is vital – talking to other women who are going through the same thing, or who have done it and survived, is extremely important. And, I learned that some food staples that are healing, nourishing, strength building and full of vital nutrients aren’t actually time consuming or complicated, and can really help you be a better mom by keeping you happy, healthy, and energetic.
Food Staple for New Moms #1: Kefir
Kefir is a cultured drink which enhances digestion, helps clear skin of blemishes, boosts energy levels, balances gut flora, and more. Kefir is a wonderful food, and it’s really, really quick to make. You’ll be done in less than 5 minutes, and you can do it all with baby on your hip while you bounce him (yes, I’ve tried!). Kefir is so delicious, I feel it feeding my soul every time I drink it. Kefir can be made vegan or vegetarian. For the vegan version, use frozen young coconut water, available at most well stocked health food stores.
Food Staple for New Moms #2: Salad dressings
I like eating plain lettuce on its own. But, if my early motherhood years had been filled with naked salads, I would have felt deprived and resentful. As it turns out, you don’t need to buy store bought dressing (which, by the way, is full of unhealthy, rancid, ultra-processed oils and additives). The first many months, I made my dressing with a baby on my hip, blending oil, vinegar, garlic and whatever else I liked with a hand blender. Dressing can keep for about 3-4 days in the fridge, and when well blended, it should not separate.
Food Staple for New Moms #3: Green Smoothies
Did you know you can make 3 days’ worth of green smoothies in 15 minutes? Not by blending it all, but by pre-chopping everything and storing servings in boxes. I call them “green smoothie boxes,” and they’re so handy! Just dump everything in a blender, add a couple bananas, a little water, and blend. In The Milky Way – The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding on the Raw Food Diet, I explain: “Each box can contain the ingredients for one batch of green smoothie, minus the bananas, which don’t store well in the fridge. One box could contain strawberries, blueberries, and pitted cherries, with a big handful of Swiss chard, all cut up and washed. Another one could contain pineapple and mango chunks, with a handful of spinach. Just add bananas to the blender, a little water, and that’s it! ”
Twice a week, make new boxes. Use frozen fruits so you don’t need to chop or wash anything. Easy!
Food Staple For New Moms #4: Chia Pudding
When my son was under 1, he would always wake up at… 5 am. Well, I obviously wasn’t going to start running the blender at 5 and wake everyone else up! So what did I do? I would zombie walk to the fridge and serve myself a big bowl of chia pudding. When my son got a little older but would still get up early, he would eat some with me as well. Chia pudding lasts for as long as nut milk does, about 4 days. So, make a giant batch, keep it in the fridge in a sealed container, and you’re good to go! Faster than a bowl of cereal :-)
Food Staple For New Moms #5: Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut lasts for months in the fridge, is full of nutrients to keep you well fed, and keeps your digestive system healthy. Sauerkraut is a true youthing food, and it tastes great too! When my son was very little, I’d invite friends over and we’d take turns shredding and pounding cabbage while getting some much needed “women time.” We’d then split the resulting veggie mix into jars, and each take a few. We’d then schedule a new meeting a few months later. Whenever I’m hungry but too busy to prepare something, I just pile up some sauerkraut on top of an avocado, and I have a quick, filling, and super nutritious snack. My son now loves sauerkraut too, as well as kimchi. I’m so proud!
Motherhood is time consuming and demanding, and you deserve to be healthy and happy while giving your all every day of the year. One good habit to have is to feed yourself well, to stay healthy and clear minded. Eating well as a new mom is easier than most people think, and the five foods above will help you stay nourished and nurtured while raising your little firecrackers of energy!
Via Joanna Steven and Bethanne Wanamaker – join their Remineralize Your Body program to remineralize yourself and restore your energy, hormonal balance, and natural beauty! Learn all about juicing, blending, seaweeds, cultured drinks and fermented vegetables, phytic acid breakdown and nutrient activation, and much more, along with daily coaching with our remineralization team.