My Pregnancy Weeks 10 & 11: Broth Love

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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 Weeks 7 & 8: REST REST REST

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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 Week 6: Food in My World

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As an ayurvedic practitioner and public health consultant, I know that eating well during pregnancy is important. However, I think very few of us, including myself before my last pregnancy, understand what that actually means. I remember searching for hours to understand what actually made sense to eat during pregnancy. Please keep in mind, that is also my personality. I like to understand and research everything that is out there. Luckily, during my public health studies, and after I gave birth to my son, I was able to spend some serious time researching what western nutrition and Ayurveda have to offer during pregnancy. What I found helped me to both relax, because I was already doing a great job, and to understand the components that are most important, even when feeling crummy. I personally found a lot of balance and reassurance by comparing Western research with Ayurvedic science. I learned that both sciences recommend eating frequently, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating lots of high quality fat, lots of good quality carbohydrates and lots of dairy. What Ayurveda offered me that went beyond basic western nutrition, was a better sense of how to tailor my diet based on the trimester, and my specific imbalances.

Now, I will admit that eating well during these first few weeks/months is tough. AND I know that eating something is better than eating nothing at all, so that means I'm trying to make the healthiest choices I can from what sounds ‘eatable’ in my pregnant, morning sick world.

In my case, from an Ayurvedic perspective, I know that my Pitta, or the heat in my system is slightly elevated. I am experiencing morning sickness, irritability, and mild indigestion.  It also happens to be 100 degrees right now in Texas, which is making me even hotter! This means I need to be particularly good about avoiding spicy or fried foods, because they are extremely aggravating to my Pitta dosha. Instead I need to favor those cooling foods to honor my Pitta dosha, and juicy, liquidy foods to nourish rasa and rakta dhatus during these first few months.

So what am I able to eat? The most nourishing foods are cooling milks, sweet grains, puddings, juicy fruits, oatmeal and soups. I am also eating lots of good quality hard cheese and crackers, cottage cheese, and sprouted spelt bread with cream cheese. While these foods may not be ideal, I also don’t think they are horrible, and they seem to take care of the nausea when I need something to eat fast. Yes, I am currently eating some high quality humane meat, because it tastes good to get some more protein.

While they might not seem like a big deal, I am learning that avoiding spicy foods is really important for me. I can usually get away with a spicy Indian meal once in a while, but not right now. The other night I ate some spicy Indian food, and not surprisingly, I had indigestion all night. So back to simple foods, and lots of liquids.

As always I would love to hear from you!

With Love, Kerry

My Pregnancy and What Ayurveda Has to Say

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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