Hello there! Good news- We had our new baby just over a week ago and she is PERFECT, as you can clearly see from the photo above. If you want to see more little life moments like these, I’m on Instagram! And if you’re into birth stories, I wrote about Ava’s here and here.
Ok, so back here at the ranch I’m still trying to figure out how I want to handle this whole “maternity leave” thing. See, I LOVE blogging… heck, I was even blogging steadily during the week my dad died. It’s therapeutic for me. Yes, it’s work… But since I love it so much, it doesn’t feel like a chore to me.
But there is the small fact that I now have TWO DAUGHTERS in my life (aaaaahhhh!) which is so totally awesome. And thanks to those two little darlins’ I find it challenging even to sit down and savor a cup of coffee, let alone carve out hours here and there to edit photos and compose new posts.
So I’m working up a new posting schedule that jives with our new family dynamic. I was really a fan of my previous schedule (a new post every four days)… but it’s definitely not doable for the current season, so I’m playing around with the idea of posting new content once a week for the next few months while we find our new family groove. Perhaps you could weigh in on this topic too? How often would YOU like to see new content up on the P/H blog? (And if you say once a month, you might hurt my feelings. I’m hormonal, remember?)
Anyway, in keeping with the theme of my life right now, I give you this special smoothie recipe. My post-partum smoothie! (It would actually be a rocking addition to your healthy eating plan, regardless of your status as a pre, post, or non-partum person. But it’s an especially good recipe for new mommies, for reasons I’m about to elaborate on… so if you happen to know a new mommy, be sure to send this link her way!)
I make a lot of smoothies around here because they are a great way to incorporate vegetables into my family’s diet any time of day, even first thing in the morning! They are also a great vehicle for lots of dietary superstars I would otherwise struggle to consume enjoyably. Case and point: Among other things, this smoothie contains apple cider vinegar, maca powder, and psyllium seed husks. (All of which I daresay you would NOT enjoy eating on their own… but in this smoothie, they work!)
So let’s talk a bit about the fabulous mess that is the post-partum body and WHY this particular smoothie is so awesome for new mamas!
1) Maca Powder–
This mild, malty/sweet powder is awesome because of its ability to balance and stabilize the body’s hormonal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Because of its hormone-balancing properties, maca can aide a new mom in coping with stress, stabilizing her mood and energy, and even improving her libido (after full recovery, of course.) And let me tell you, if there’s ever a time in my life I need a little “help” balancing out the ol’ hormones, it’s during these post-baby weeks! I mean, the night we brought Ava home from the hospital, I literally dreamt that a crazy religious cult kidnapped her. My hormones are raging! But back to maca… it’s a 100%-natural plant food and is chock-full of minerals and trace elements, making it a nutritional powerhouse for anyone’s diet, especially new mommies. It’s most beneficial to the body when taken in small, frequent doses (rather than large, occasional ones) so adding up to 1 tsp. to your smoothie each morning is a terrific way to incorporate it into your diet.
Ok, I’m going to have to commit a blogging sin here and discuss the “p” word. Poop. I promise never to do it again. But if you’ve ever had a baby… you really don’t need me to elaborate, do you? Suffice it to say that that first “PPP” (Post-Partum P**p) is a pretty terrifying ordeal. If you should find yourself in the post-partum state sometime in your life, I would highly recommend you take ALL possible measures to pamper your nether-regions in the weeks following labor & delivery. So how does all this relate to psyllium seed husks? Well, they are a unique ingredient that supplies you with both soluble fiber (to soothe the digestive tract) and insoluble fiber (to sweep the colon free of damaging build-up and toxins.) In layman’s terms, they help you take better #2s! In fact, for this reason, they are commonly used during dietary detoxes and cleanses. (Though they are completely fine to use as part of a regular, everyday diet.) Psyllium seed husks are amazing because they work to accommodate your body’s needs (either helping to get your bowels moving more smoothly or helping to slow them down, whichever happens to be needed.) Also a plus, they help to reduce bad cholesterol and they aid digestion and weight loss… a huge benefit for new moms looking to drop the baby weight.
Apple cider vinegar is shown to have a boosting effect on digestion and weight loss, and many even believe it amps up the metabolism! Actually, consumption of any type of vinegar is a healthy choice, because vinegars promote a feeling of “satiety” (or fullness) which helps us consume fewer overall calories. But Apple Cider Vinegar has the added benefit of reducing blood sugar levels and stabilizing triglycerides, cholesterol, & blood pressure. Wow! As for incorporating it into your diet, I actually enjoy the taste of ACV quite a bit… but it is admittedly quite strong when taken by itself. When added to a smoothie though, it just adds a little zing (similar to what a squirt of lemon juice would do.)
4) The power of green veggies!-
I know you don’t need me to tell you this, but I will anyway. Spinach is awesome for you! It supplies you with fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, insane amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, I could go on and on. It basically prevents every disease you could ever hope to prevent. And it also happens to add bulk to your diet for very few calories, which is very helpful when one is trying to slim down. A smoothie is one of the more appetizing ways to incorporate it into your diet (in my humble opinion.) Oh sure… a gooey, cheesy vat of spinach artichoke dip is also another appetizing option, but far less slimming and cleansing than this smoothie.
Besides being a splendid source of soluble fiber, plant sterols, and complex carbohydrates, oatmeal is also believed to promote good lactation! I will say that the connection between oatmeal and better milk supply is not supported by cold hard research, but it is definitely supported by years of anecdotal evidence and numerous lactation consultants. At the very least, oatmeal is a healthy choice for a new mom, and at best, it is a simple way to increase milk supply. Why not add a serving to your smoothie?!? (Note: The oats do make this smoothie a bit gritty in texture. For a creamier texture, you can omit them.)
The remaining ingredients in this smoothie have numerous nutritional benefits as well, but I won’t elaborate on those here since they apply to anyone (and not specifically to new moms.) The main stars of this smoothie are the ingredients I’ve discussed above!
And of course, I would not be recommending this recipe to you if it weren’t also tasty! I enjoy this particular drink for breakfast multiple times a week. It is very satisfying and indulgent-tasting! Just be aware that it is definitely a complete meal in a glass. Sometimes I think smoothies can be deceptive when it comes to estimating their calories. There is a lot of food pulverized into one glass here, and also I think the fact that it’s a “drink” can sometimes throw people off from feeling like they’ve consumed a full meal.
Another note: It is a good idea to swirl the first few sips of a smoothie around in your mouth before swallowing. When we eat a meal, the first steps of digestion take place in the mouth as we chew and our saliva coats the food with digestive enzymes. This important step is often skipped with smoothie-drinkers because they just chug it down. Take a moment to “chew” your smoothie a bit to aide the digestion process even further.
I’d love you hear some of your secret weapons for returning to “normal” after pregnancy. Enjoy the smoothie and happy recovery, new mommies!
Here’s the recipe:
Post-Partum Super Smoothie!
1/3 C. frozen chopped spinach
1 banana, cut into chunks and pre-frozen
¼ C. yogurt (or yogurt substitute) of choice (I use Vanilla Greek yogurt)
1 packet stevia (or 1 Tbsp. honey)
¼ C. rolled oats (optional)
1 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
1 Tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar, well shaken
1 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks
½ tsp. maca powder
1 C. water or almond milk (add an additional ¼ C. if too thick)
Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender and liquefy well. This recipe yields one large serving or two moderate sized servings. Enjoy!
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