So I have been thinking about posting for a while now! However, time just seems to get away from you when you have a new baby!
And really, that is ok. Giving birth and the recovery process is a strange, beautiful, hard, wondrous unfolding of growth and change. It is a receiving….a receiving of help and advice… a welcoming of change and interruptions … a major personal and relational growth spurt. I am currently in the middle of it (can only boast being about one month into it) and will be in it for awhile yet!
When more awake (or at least in a semi-state of sleep deprived consciousness!) I have been itching to share the things I have learned and of course, many things food-related. This post will have to be short and sweet, but it gives a snap shot into a few things…
What I am Eating
I honestly feel like I am eating EVERYTHING! Hunger while breastfeeding is no joke!! Fortunately, if has stabilized a little bit for me as I have settled into more of a routine and I find that I don’t have to pump all of the time to supplementally feed our Munchkin.
At first, these waves of hunger and desire to eat were so strong they almost felt alarming to me. After having a history of food cravings, pregnancy actually gave me a sweet relief from that. Once I moved past the horrible months of morning sickness, I found that while I could eat a little more, I didn’t crave food the same way I had prior to pregnancy. I felt sensibly in control of what I ate and satisfied.
Pregnancy only requires about 300 extra calories a day (more if you are having multiples) which surprisingly, isn’t much for growing another entire human being! I didn’t feel compelled to count calories or worry if I was meeting that mark. I ate intuitively since I wasn’t having out or this world cravings or anything. I gained a healthy amount of weight slowly.
Breastfeeding hunger; however, has brought back a lot of the same old feelings of munching and eating as before pregnancy. I won’t deny that I have been worried that I have been eating too much and munching my way into weight gain (which would be a pity since I have already lost all but 4 Lbs of the baby weight by day 8 post partum! They naturally came off when baby was born!). I have experienced a certain measure of fear that I was not doing this right and lack of control. Somehow, being a Dietitian made me feel like I was supposed to be immune from these struggles. But I am human too. And that is why I share the struggle here.
I am learning or re-learning many things…to roll with the waves, to deal with cravings, and how VITAL it is to manage blood sugar well. When dealing with fear I have had to cultivate the right mindset and remind myself that breastfeeding is a major endeavor that requires roughly 500 extra calories a day (MORE than pregnancy!). Also, although I am a Dietitian and food is my thing, I am a human first, and have struggles like everyone else. Just like weight gain during pregnancy is GOOD, so is eating more while breastfeeding. I am thankful to have an amazing milk supply and do not want to do anything that would compromise that (which a caloric restriction can do). Remaining sensible, mindful and realistic is also REALLY important.
So am NOT restrictive in my eating by any means. I am not on a diet. I eat wonderfuly nourishing foods and limit the refined foods that just aren’t helpful to me, my baby, my hormones or healing. I focus on protein, veggies and blood sugar management. I embrace carbs from whole food sources and delight in chips (while trying to practice moderation!!). I drink tons of liquid all day (and night!)!! I still eat a snack after my midnight feeding sometimes. I have enjoyed a late night dessert of Tillamook Mint N Chip ice cream because my husband bought just for me when I had a really rough day. (I was going to eat a "healthie dessert" but he wanted to get me a "real sweet" just for me. So he bought me ice cream! I enjoyed every bite with no guilt!).
Despite my time taken up with my sweet baby, I have found my way in to the kitchen to make healthy snacks (see below for one of my new favorites!). I am enjoying the rediscovery of fun cooking once more!
A Reading Resource
I am so excited to have ordered the book,Real Food for Pregnancyby Registered Dietitian Lily Nichols. Despite no longer being pregnant, I wanted it for a reference for myself and others. After reading about the author and her approach, I couldn’t help but pre- order it! It is SUCH a wonderful book (only part way through it currently ).
Perhaps it resonates with me more since the Lily’s approach co-insides so much with my own—a focus on whole foods, moderate to lower carb intake (while focusing on quality carb sources!), and overall balance of nutrients.
To me, Lily seems to be one of the new generation of Dietitians whose approach to nutrition does not follow the blind path of traditional dietetic training that can has led to diet therapies that aren’t as effective as they claim. Instead, her understanding incorporates new research and a holistic approach that is refreshing, effective and trustworthy. She includes some meal plan ideas as well as recipes. (stay tuned for some recipe sharing in the future!)
Her book is full of information of the “why and the what” behind eating , movement and mindfulness before, during and after pregnancy.
For this reason I recommend this book for the women who are thinking of getting pregnant, currently pregnant or just post-partum (like me!). The Author includes helpful information and guidance for the “4th trimester” which is the recovery period immediately after giving birth. (I have loved this section!)
Now let’s get to the food! I have LOVED these wonderful snackl bites! They contain fiber from the coconut flour and flax meal (not to mention a little bit from the dried fruit you choose to use). The sweetness comes from natural sources of dried fruit and honey (or see my note in the recipe about making this lower in sugar by using stevia instead of honey). Cinnamon helps with blood sugar control. The fatty mouth feel from the coconut (oil and chips) is very satisfying!
Blueberry Coconut Snack Balls
1/3 Cup of Coconut Flour
1/3 Cup of Dried Blueberries (or any dried fruit. I used chopped apricots!)
1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil (or half of each)
2 Tablespoons of Honey ( To make this a lower sugar snack I personally I would omit this. It won’t affect the texture or liquid amount too much. You can use Stevia to sweeten instead. Sweeten to taste and to NOT substitute 1 tablespoons of stevia for the honey!)
1 Tablespoon of Ground Flax
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup of Toasted Coconut, Pulverized (Skip the toasting if you want)
In a medium bowl, add the coconut flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a whisk. In a separate bowl whisk together the honey, oil, vanilla and lemon juice. If using coconut oil, melt it just until runny. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and blend with a hand held mixer. Fold in the dried blueberries/fruit.
Place your toasted coconut in a mini food processor or use a mortise and pestle to pulverize the coconut flakes.
Now, scoop the dough into seven tablespoon sized balls, and roll in the pulverized toasted coconut.
Refrigerate and enjoy!
Source: Sam Eats Her Nutrients-- https://sameatshernutrients.com/2018/02/26/blueberry-coconut-balls-nut-free-paleo-scd/comment-page-2/