I see so many new mum’s who are doing an amazing job of looking after their newborn but after eating so well in their pregnancy, struggle to eat such a balanced and nutritious diet with their newborn.
I use the word “diet’ with caution because I’m not advocating restrictions as such but reaching for the biscuit tin to boost your flagging energy after a night of uninterrupted sleep is not the best solution.
I slipped off the wagon lately, “celebrating” my birthday for most of June and well on into July with a renewed love of chocolate, cheese and wine taking centre stage. Late dinners and dessert replaced juices and soups and I re-discovered my love of picnic pork pies and Charbonnel et Walker Sea Salt Caramel Truffles. A bikini body they do not make!
Whilst it was fun to indulge and I don’t regret my choices I am left feeling far more sluggish and heavy than normal and have definitely noticed the more I choose sugar and fatty foods, the more I crave them. Not a rocket science admission I know but as someone who generally makes pretty healthy choices, has studied nutrition and has a bookshelf of ways to eat well, what has been a surprise is just how difficult consistently going back to my healthy way feels.
My intelligence and logical mind knows the best choices to keep myself feeling tip top but my taste buds have other ideas.
The simple act of eating and drinking a healthy and balanced diet is VITAL to keeping your resources strong and whilst I am all for treats occasionally they don’t sustain or boost your depleted energy – which is par for the course when caring for a new baby – especially if you are breast-feeding. Keeping your hormones and mood balanced is also a good idea and slow releasing carbs do this best. Sadly sugars do not.
What and how you ingest and digest can make a big difference to you and your baby in the first few weeks. A recent conversation with a new mum whose baby was struggling to settle in to a sleep pattern and suffering from colic/reflux identified that some very simple basics could be changed with the potential for big improvements to both and I am also adding them back into my life.
Here are some of the tips I advised:-
1. Pre prepare. Twice a week cook up a large pot of simple grains such as barley, lentils or quinoa and then keep in the fridge to toss in some fresh vegetable additions (celery, cherry tomatoes, red or orange peppers, broccoli, watercress, spinach or rocket leaves are all great) and/or some halloumi, salmon or chicken for a super quick and healthy meal. If you only have ten minutes to eat, spend time chewing and eating not preparing each day.
2. Pre-soak your grains. To make cooking even quicker and to help your gut and your baby’s if you are breastfeeding , soak whichever grains you are going to cook (over night or minimum 6 hours). Before cooking, drain, add fresh water and a little dried seaweed (to further help digestion and reduce gas).
3. Wrap and roll. Sandwiches can be quick and reasonably filling but replace your bread with Japanese sushi nori – toasted dried sea vegetable sheets – and you increase your protein, reduce your fat and boost your vitamin and mineral intake including vitamin C for a healthier immune system. If you really love bread try rye or spelt blends for a more filling and less bloating alternative to traditional wheat.
4. Juice. It takes less than five minutes to juice and less than five minutes to drink (although longer is better), allowing you to get a super quick and nutritious boost in a fraction of the time it would take to chew a couple of carrots. Remember to make your juices mainly vegetable based as fruits contain a lot of sugars – albeit natural – which can spike your blood sugar levels and give you an energy slump when you least need it (and unfortunately sugars of any kind are stored by the body and turned to fat). My favourite summer blend includes spinach, cucumber, pear and mint. Green goodness at its best!
5. Drink herbal teas to warm and soothe or refresh and gently uplift – chamomile & lemongrass is great for a morning pick me up as is lemongrass and ginger or one of my favourite refreshers is mint and liquorice – great cooled. Cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger will calm the digestion.
I believe in the 80/20 way of living. Make heathy choices 80% of the time and treats 20%. Also E-N-J-O-Y and VALUE what passes between your lips. I had the most delicious warm chocolate croissant and double espresso last week and loved it but know it would lose its pleasure if it was my continuous daily start.
I’m currently re-reading EPJ’s Eat Yourself Young although still include my beloved morning espresso with a side of coconut water.
Let me know what works for you and your attitude to eating. For me it’s about how you feel more than how you look because when you feel great you glow whatever your size but I also know when I fit comfortably in my skinny jeans I feel lighter, brighter and more alive.
Love to hear from you.