For this postpartum mama, I’m always looking for new, creative ways to strengthen and heal from my pregnancy.
We get a lot of information about what foods to eat, and not eat, during pregnancy. But what about postpartum???
There are some foods that can actually aid in rebuilding important tissue in your body after you have your baby. In the case of healing Diastasis Recti, eating certain foods can DEFINITELY help strengthen and heal!
I’m less than two months postpartum and my body is still working really hard to recover from the pregnancy and birth of my son Oliver.
During pregnancy most women, myself included, develop a condition called Diastasis Recti. The abdominal muscles are connected by a sheet of fascia (connective tissue) called the linea alba. As our bodies expand to make room for the baby this sheet stretches and thins, pulling apart the “six pack” down the middle. Jessie Mundell describes DR as being like a pair of yoga pants that are getting a little worn and too tight. Separated muscles in our abdomen means a weakened support system. When our core is weakened we are more likely to suffer from back pain. And in my case, during my first pregnancy, DR that is not managed properly can even lead to hernias.
Learning the right exercises to do (and not do) is crucial for healing DR, but a lot can also be achieved through diet.
We are omnivores by nature. Our body works best to replace connective tissue by ingesting connective tissue. The most common sources of this are bone broth and gelatin. Throughout my pregnancy I have tried to come up with creative ways to ingest these things. For some of my favorite recipes check out our blog here.
Gelatin is basically a dehydrated broth powder made up of bones, cartilage, collagen and minerals. Gelatin helps heal DR because it boosts collagen production. But it also has a lot of other health benefits for new moms.
- Wrinkles, stretch marks and cellulite. Gelatin has been found to rejuvenate the skin. For new sleep-deprived moms, any help with the dark circles under our eyes, or the new wrinkles that tend to pop up from months of little sleep is much appreciated! Knowing that gelatin can also help lessen the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite that we may have acquired over the course of the pregnancy is also uplifting!
- Weight loss. Gelatin helps to detox the liver which can aid in fat burning. It is also full of protein which has can help curb cravings and promotes healthy portion control.
- Hormone balance. Gelatin has been found to regulate hormones. After birth our bodies’ hormones do a lot of transition. The placenta, which provided a lot of our hormones during pregnancy, detaches and leaves us skidding down a hormone cliff. This hormonal nose dive is what often causes postpartum depression and baby blues.
For this recipe I went back to my Italian roots! Perhaps having babies has made me nostalgic, but I wanted a treat that made me think about the softness of my Nana’s embrace, the smell in her kitchen. I wanted to feel the indulgence of an afternoon with her, as she was never without a cupboard and freezer full of sweet delicacies.
Panna cotta is an Italian “cooked cream,” sweetened and often flavored with coffee, vanilla or rum. Since I am a Paleo junkie I decided to make this dessert with coconut milk, but for all you non-paleo peeps out there, you might consider it as well because coconut milk can have a LOT of benefits for new moms.
- Coconut milk has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help keep you from getting sick.When we are sleeping less, as most new moms are, we are more likely to get sick. Any help we can get to stay well is welcomed!
- The MCT fatty acids found in coconut milk helps us build muscle and burn fat. Many new moms are anxious to rid themselves of the extra body fat they put on growing a baby. While this fat is absolutely essential to brain development etc, it usually feels good to shed some of it postpartum.
- Electrolytes found in coconut can prevent fatigue Yes! Tired moms around the world can benefit from this!
- The hydrating and filling properties of coconut milk makes it easier to maintain proper portion control and coconut has been found to aid in weight loss because of this.
- Coconut milk aids in digestion and prevents constipation. Maybe it’s me…but for the first few weeks after I got home from the hospital my bowels were NOT the same! Between my changing hormones affecting my digestion and the fear of any further pain “down there” I just couldn’t “go” like I used to.
So back to my recipe…
2 cans full fat coconut milk
4 ripe bananas
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1/2 Cup grassfed gelatin (I use Great Lakes)
*you can also add some espresso if you like the taste
What to do
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth
Pour into a pot and whisk over medium heat until almost boiling.
Slllloooooowwwwwwlllly start to whisk in the gelatin. This will definitely be a forearm workout!
Use a fork to sift off any chunks of gelatin that didn’t dissolve.
Pour into ramekins and put into the refrigerator to cool for 1 hour.
Serve as is or with some fresh fruit.
I decided during this pregnancy that the process was going to feel a whole lot more like spoiling myself than punishing myself. I make an effort to make my workouts fun as well as safe and effective. I do the same for my food. I want to enjoy every bite of my postpartum and I hope that you do too!
Want to know more? We are passionate about helping moms feel awesome in their own skin! We help moms move naturally, eat primally and take unapologetic ownership of their place in this world! We are currently getting ready to release our first 12 week training program for new moms called Fit Mom Foundations! We are so excited about helping moms get all the information that can help them have strong pregnancies and fit postpartums! Want to get on the waiting list? Contact us at email@example.com.