How to Nourish Your Body After Giving Birth
Sep 01, 2021 - Nida Safdar -
If your core muscles are to get strong again, if your stretch marks or C-section scar are to heal on the outside, and if your body is going to really heal on the inside, you need good nutrition. You can’t expect your body to repair itself on poor fuel and a lack of essential fats, proteins and nutrients. To support healing, eat more foods rich in protein and alpha-linolenic acid (essential fatty acids found in fresh vegetables, flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cold water fish, such as cod and hake). Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains will also provide your body with an abundance of phytochemicals – natural plant-based chemicals that promote healing.
This is not a diet, but there are a few guidelines that will help keep you on track. To follow my system, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, more ‘good fats’, more ‘good protein’, less grains and NO processed foods. That’s it in a nutshell. But here’s a bit more detail to help you create new healthy eating habits.
1. Avoid processed and refined foods
Keep your food as close to its natural source as possible. If you can’t identify a natural source, don’t eat it. This means NO ready-meals, pastries, biscuits, cookies, cakes, take-away food, fast food, sweets, white bread, bagels, cereal bars, packaged cereals with added sugar, or fizzy drinks (diet or otherwise!).
2. Eat loads of fruit and vegetables
At least three times a day, eat fresh fruit, raw vegetables, or green and colored cooked vegetables – and lots of them. Homemade smoothies are a great way of upping your intake.
3. Drink lots of water
Drink lashings of straight-up purified water, herbal teas, very diluted fruit juice, green tea… and more water.
4. Eat these things at least once a week
Eat each of the following at least once a week, as an alternative to red meat or dairy-based protein: oily fish, other fish, pulses or beans, lean white meat (preferably organic, definitely free range), free-range eggs.
5. No more chocolate binges
The only chocolate to eat is organic dark chocolate, with a minimum of 70 per cent cocoa solids. And have no more than a couple of squares every other day.
6. Limit caffeine and alcohol
Ideally, cut out alcohol and caffeine. I know that we mums often live for our morning coffee or ‘wine o’clock’. So, drink a maximum of one daily cup of coffee, and have one glass of wine no more than three times a week.
7. Eat these at least twice weekly
Eat each of the following at least twice a week: oily fish (such as sardines, salmon or mackerel), a few glugs of good oil such as extra virgin olive oil, hemp or avocado, a handful of nuts and seeds (such as hemp, pumpkin or sunflower).
8. Avoid grazing
Think about alternative strategies to help you avoid eating for reward, comfort or boredom. Identify your eating habits and think of something else to do if you’re eating when you’re not actually hungry. Do you ever even really get hungry? Avoid constant grazing and snacking, which prevents your body from even knowing when, or how much, it really needs to eat.
9. Eat mindfully
This means sitting at a table, using a knife and fork and a plate! TV dinners, take-outs, eating on the go – all these habits discourage us from actually enjoying, thinking about or even looking at what we put in our mouths. So stop. And eat
mindfully and even drink water and tea mindfully.. You may find you think differently about your choices.