art III: What I Eat in a Day
As you’ve learned, real whole plant foods are crucial for postpartum health. Personally, I choose to eat a Whole Foods Plant Based diet that includes organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats, because that is what feels good for me and my body. I am currently eating us out of house and home, as I literally eat all day long.
My body is still in recovery and milk-making mode. I don’t count calories. I just focus on eating what feels good for my body, my digestion and my appetite. Having a meal plan and a nutrition plan in place is absolutely crucial for me, because I need to have food prepared that I can easily snack on or whip up in little to no time. As I’m sure you do too! Here’s a little preview of what my day looks like:
First thing I do when I wake up is drink 8oz of water. This helps to mobilize your metabolism and wake up your cells. Hydration is ultra important postpartum for healing, cell regeneration and milk supply production.
Before eating my regular breakfast, I drink about 16oz of celery juice every morning. This is something I started during pregnancy to reduce inflammation, stimulate my digestion and clear my gut. I’ve carried this ritual with me to postpartum and it’s given me so much energy in the morning. I’m not drinking coffee or caffeine in the early months post partum for a few reasons – it makes me feel totally insane and wired and when you need to sleep this can be a problem; it comes through my milk and keeps my baby awake, oh hell no; it stresses my adrenals and impacts my hormones which are already working very hard to readjust to post pregnancy levels. So, celery juice it is! Depending on the morning, I usually let this digest for about 15-30 minutes and then have my real breakfast.
I eat this every single morning. For me, it never gets old. It’s so warm and comforting especially during this rainy fall season. I cook organic rolled oats on top of the stove. Pour into a big bowl and top it with half a banana, ground flax seed, chia seeds and walnuts. Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon. This is not a measly portion of oatmeal; I’m talking a big giant bowl. Again, listen to your body and determine what and how much feels right for you. Bonus – oats are a great source of fiber and also increase milk supply.
I try to make this smoothie daily and sip on it either before or after lunch. It helps keep me hydrated first and foremost, and it’s a great smoothie to aid in healing and recovery of the body post birth. It also makes a great post workout meal or snack, particularly once you get back into exercise and movement while you are still breastfeeding. It includes: banana, blueberries, spinach, spirulina, flax seed, chia seed, almond butter, nut milk and water, ice. Full of fiber, antioxidants and healthy healing fats.
I eat this while I am making salad (below). I prefer to sit and eat my meals in peace because it’s much better for your digestion, but I’m usually starving and being yelled at by my toddler for more food. She eats the same meals that we do, so that makes it easier. But she also has absolutely no patience when it comes to mealtime and likes to eat RIGHT NOW. I pop a piece of Rockhill Bakehouse 8 grain bread into the toaster. Once it’s toasty and warm, I top it with half a mashed avocado and sprinkle it with crushed red pepper, oregano and Himalayan sea salt.
Big Green Salad
I like to use a medley of seasonal organic greens from the farmer’s market. Most days this includes kale, spinach, and arugula. I like to chop this up in the morning to save time later in the day. I throw in some leftover roasted sweet potatoes, chopped apple, pumpkin seeds, shallot and homemade olive oil/apple cider vinegar/dijon dressing. I’m typically sharing this with my two year old, so I like to make extra.
This includes roasted sweet potato with cinnamon, chili powder and turmeric, sautéed garlic kale, cooked quinoa, Mexican inspired black beans and a tahini-maple dressing. This meal is giving me life right now and I like to incorporate it in our weekly round-up twice. It’s my current favorite.
Kale + Lentil Soup
This is made with du poy lentils and red lentils, veggie broth, turmeric, kale, garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Comes together in about 30-45 minutes and is super delicious! Makes for great leftovers for later in the week when we’re too busy to cook. Other seasonal soups I like to include in our weekly repertoire are: Carrot Masala soup, Kale + White Bean soup, Butternut Squash soup, and Spiced Lentil Soup. Soups are a great way to nourish your body during the postpartum period – they are full of super healing vitamins, nutrients and minerals and they’re an easy meal to heat up quickly when your hands are tied the next day.
These have been such a game changer for us. The recipe I use makes about 15-16 burgers and we use them as leftovers throughout the week. They’re made with chickpeas, oats, zucchini, red onion, tahini, sriracha and seasonings. I bake them in the oven to make them nice and crispy and eat them over spinach salad or in between two slices of bread, or open faced on a single slice and top with avocado and spinach.
Sweet Potato + Black Bean Chili
There are so many great variations of this chili. Mine includes a red pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, sweet potato, black beans, vegetable stock and diced tomatoes. It’s perfect for the fall and winter as a cozy home-cooked meal that is warming and grounding for the body. Many of the foods and spices included in this chili are medicinal in property and are great for cell recovery and healing. They’re also great to include in your diet to help boost your immune system particularly while you are getting less than ideal sleep during cold and flu season.
Having healthy snack options in your pantry or fridge will make all the difference in those post-breakfast morning and late afternoon hours when you are starving and in need of something fast. Keep your fruit drawer stocked with seasonal fruits – like apples and pears. And keep your pantry loaded with snacks you can eat on-the-go from your hand, like nuts and seeds. Snacks I’m enjoying over the past couple of weeks:
Apple with Almond Butter
Coconut Yogurt with Fruit + GrandyOats Granola
Many of these recipes can be found in my Fall/Winter Plant Based Meal Guide. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about meals during pregnancy and postpartum, as everyone has their own nutritional needs and there is no one-size-fits all approach. I’m happy to support you in both journeys.
And remember. Everyone’s postpartum journey looks different. No postpartum experience is the same. Don’t get caught up in comparing your healing to mine or anyone else’s you see on social media. We are all different, every pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience is unlike the last and we should honor our body’s unique recovery process while nourishing it as best we can.
If you are preparing for postpartum, in the throws of it, or just looking for a stimulating read, get yourself a copy of Angela Garbes new book, Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy. It’s a refreshing read on the realities of pregnancy and the shit storm that is postpartum. You may even laugh!
In Health + Healing,