My Pregnancy Weeks 10 & 11: Broth Love

photo (55)

The return home from retreat was a little tough, but I am slowly reintegrating. One of the biggest challenges in returning was once again finding food that was easy to make, and that I wanted to eat. I am still not wanting to cook, which makes meals challenging. This week to help with meals, we decided to make a huge pot of chicken broth. While it may seem like an odd choice to help with preparing meals it worked really well. I had been enjoying soup on retreat, and having the broth around allowed me to make quick meals that I could tolerate. I could easily put rice, rice noodles, some cut veggies (broccoli, green beans, kale, carrots, zucchini) and protein (chicken, beans etc.) into the soup for a quick easy and nourishing meal that was easy on my stomach. All of these foods are very bland in flavor which I am finding very soothing to my system. The bland flavor doesn't aggravate my Pitta, and the cooked vegetables and warm broth is very soothing to my Vata. In terms of nourishment this month from an Ayurvedic perspective, we want to continue having lots of liquids. In addition to medicated milks, Ayurveda suggests adding honey and ghee to cow’s milk. Since I have a mild allergy to cow’s milk, I haven’t incorporated this drink as much because it hasn’t sounded appealing, but if it sounds good to you, go for it!

But the bone broths feel great! You might be surprised to hear that Ayurveda recommends animal products during pregnancy. Garbhini charyas are the regimens for pregnant women in the ancient Ayurvedic texts. Each rshi (sage, seer) had particular advice. For example we see that Sushruta recommends eating food with jangala (wild meat) during the 4th month, and by the 8th month we see a recommendation to eat meat soups of wild animals until delivery. I am finding the broth extremely nourishing and balancing, and if you are open, we highly recommend giving them a try.  As I was talking to Sunny after I wrote this post, she said she "really" wanted to emphasize bones soups for pregnancy and postpartum because if they are one of the BEST forms of nourishment you can bring into the body. We are both using them on a daily basis. If you don't like to eat meat, just use the broth to make a veggie soup - Give it a try! We've provided a recipe below...

Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (or frame of chicken, we often get backs from whole foods if we can't find them at a local market)
  • 2 sweet bay leaves
  • any vegetable scraps you have to throw in
  • filtered water

Instructions:

  • Place one whole chicken or frame into a slow cooker with sweet bay, black peppercorns and any vegetables you have on hand. Cover with filtered water and cook on low 24-48 hours.
  • Another recommendation, which comes to us from Jenny at Nourished Kitchen, is to have warm broth on hand all week (She calls this "perpetual soup"). So you keep your slow cooker on low and after 24 hours take from it as you like! This means that as you need it remove some broth, strain it through a mesh cloth to clarify, and replace the same amount of liquid removed with filtered water. At the end of the week, strain off remaining broth and discard or compost the bones. You will notice they are pretty soft at this point, and may crumble between your fingers.
  • Enjoy!!!

As always we would love to hear from you!

With Love, Kerry

My Pregnancy Week 9: Role of Stress

photo

I just had the amazing opportunity to go away on retreat to see my teacher in upstate New York. I was reluctant to go on retreat and leave my son for five days (for the first time), but my husband lovingly forced me. He knew, even if I couldn't see at the time, that seeing my teacher and having space to reflect would be really good for me. Let me tell you, I have never had so much gratitude for his urging, and the ability to take that time away for myself. There are so many aspects of this experience that have been amazing, and honestly really surprising for me in relationship to my pregnancy. Before heading on the retreat, as you know, I was exhausted and a bit overwhelmed. The two weeks leading up to the retreat were tiring for me, and certainly increased the amount of upward moving wind in my system (Ud?na Vata), leading to more anxiety and stress. This increased anxiety lead me to have thoughts I normally wouldn’t, such as, "would flying be okay?, would something terrible happen on retreat?" and other irrational ramblings of the mind.

What was amazing to me, was that within a day of arriving on the land with my teacher, my body felt different in a good way! My nausea subsided a bit, and my energy level increased. By the end of the week I felt great. I felt a sense of energy, clarity, and radiance that I hadn’t felt in a long time, and certainly hadn’t felt since being pregnant. This, of course, encouraged me to reflect upon what had changed. How could I go from being exhausted and anxious to completely happy, and energized within a few days?

First and foremost, I know it was seeing my teacher. I hadn’t been able to see him physically since before I was pregnant with my first child, and it allowed a deep surrender in me that I know transformed everything. But in addition to that, I think several other factors contributed to the experience. Factors that we all know are good, but that I sometimes forget about, or at least forget the power of, when faced with my busy life.

Changes that Made Me FEEL GREAT!

1) I did a lot of SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AND MEDITATION. This is always helpful for me, but having a container to practice in, was huge, and helped all the little stuff naturally fall away. As women, we need to make time for this every day...or at least as much as we can.

2) I had time to REST. At home I have a two year old to take care of along with my work and household obligations. While this may not seem like a lot when you are used to it, it really is. On retreat I had the opportunity to lay down and sit a lot, my body desperately needed this. Finding more time to rest is tough, but at least setting the intention can help.

3) I had NO STRESS. This goes along with rest. I would say I have a pretty stress-free life most of the time. But even the daily stressors build up, and tax the body. Stress reduction techniques, and minimizing stress is important!

4) I had MEALS COOKED FOR ME. Like many pregnant women, I am having a tough time cooking in the first trimester. The smells and whole general cooking experience make me sick, and I generally LOVE to cook. On retreat every meal I had something fresh and healthy waiting for me. I didn’t have to make a decision about what sounded good, or what to make. This was HUGE for me. A major take away from this was my need to ask others for help, and to encourage my husband to make more decisions around food. I think the decision about what to eat at home was almost the hardest part.

5) I was in COOLER WEATHER. As we know from an Ayurvedic perspective, heat increases nausea and diarrhea. During pregnancy our heat naturally rises in the body, and living in a climate that is HOT (90-100 degrees every day) builds even more heat in the system. Cool weather helps to cool the body down, which allows the heat to naturally lessen. Nothing to do about this if we live somewhere warm :(

6) I WALKED A LOT. At home it’s so hot I am having a hard time getting outside to walk. On retreat I walked a lot through the forest every day. Nothing difficult, but simple walking and stretching. It felt awesome, and I think it helped my body. Walking is good, I am going to try and do more in the morning or evening.

It’s funny because all of these changes are generally advised during pregnancy, but I don’t think I understood the magnitude of their importance, and the HUGE difference they all make together. Specifically, how much stress (even minor stress) affects us physically, and the power of being cared for, nourished and stress-free. Upon returning home, I asked my sister-in-law (an obgyn) what she sees in her clients during their pregnancies relative to stress, and she reiterated that it makes a HUGE difference in a woman's health during pregnancy.

I obviously can’t take the next 9 months off and go on retreat in the mountains, but I can remember that nourishing myself, resting, breathing, and doing spiritual practice really helps me stay balanced AND helps me feel better. I can remind myself that, Yes, these changes help with all the physical imbalances! They really do...

As always we would love to hear from you!

With Love, Kerry

My Pregnancy Weeks 7 & 8: REST REST REST

Lotus_-_flower

Whew, these last two weeks have been really tough! I have been continually feeling more tired. My husband has been out of town on retreat for the last week, and my son hasn’t started school yet. This equals one tired pregnant momma. I don’t mean to focus on the negative side, but I think it’s okay to admit that sometimes it can be hard and overwhelming to be pregnant. I also remember from the last pregnancy that even without a 2 ½ year old, these few weeks may have been my hardest during the pregnancy. The fatigue is tough. I know it's normal, but it's hard to be so tired. So what does Ayurveda say about rest during these first few months? I find it re-assuring that Ayurveda recommends allowing the body to rest during this precious time and allow the body to do what it KNOWS how to do, unimpeded. Charaka recommends allowing changes to unfold without putting any barriers or road blocks in the way. To me this means nourishing ourselves, and resting without any guilt.

In Ayurveda, the texts further suggest avoiding massage, sex, long road trips, hot baths, exposure to toxic substances, radiation, and even too much yoga or exercise. During this time, if you are like me, you might naturally notice that you don't want to do much, and even yoga seems too intense. According to Ayurveda, and my personal opinion, we need to honor this!! If you really want to be active try some gentle meditation or walking.

Yoga Nidra really is currently my best friend! I love Rod Stryker, introduced to me by Sunny’s husband Daneal during Ayurvedic school. If you are looking for a free version I recorded a 20 minute version, I am happy to send along.  Just drop us a note and we will forward it.

As always we would love to hear from you!

With Love, Kerry

My Pregnancy and What Ayurveda Has to Say

IMG_3066

As women, one of the most powerful actions we can take during pregnancy is to provide ourselves and others with love and support. I believe that no matter how much one prepares to bring a child into the world, or ‘understands’ the progression of pregnancy, it’s still a unique journey every time a woman embarks on it. One that carries with it a tremendous amount of vulnerability, and exciting but also scary ‘unknowns.’ “Will I be okay, is this little cramp a big deal, does this headache mean something, is the baby okay” etc. As you may already know, one of our biggest goals through Mam?yurveda is to provide you with support, understanding, and nourishment for your journey. In that vein, I have decided to write about my personal experience during pregnancy.

Yes, I’m pregnant! My little munchkin is currently about 10 weeks old (12th week of pregnancy), but since I have been away for these last few months,  I wanted to share some of what I have already experienced and then move forward with my pregnancy. I hope to share with you some of my personal experiences, what has worked, and what Ayurveda suggests during different stages of care. I have already noticed that even though this is my second pregnancy, it requires the same amount of vulnerability and surrender to all that may unfold. I would love for you to share your comments and experiences, and hopefully we can create a fun, supportive dialogue and online community!

Thanks for reading!

With love, Kerry