Monthly Archives: May 2015

Stories I loved this week.

Photo by Garrett Carroll

Fresh for the weekend, here’s a collection of stories and podcasts that I’ve found interesting this week – enjoy!

This boy is defying the stereotype of the typical teen (Guardian)

An oldie but a goodie – what doctors don’t know about the drugs they prescribe (TED)

Goop is gettng on board with fermented foods! (Goop)

Cholesterol is OK now – the US finally changing their dietary advice! (Times – paywall)

It’s official – going to bed early is a good thing. (Stylist)

Lovely food swaps, hacks and tips – pair veg with fats to help your body absorb nutrients more efficiently. (Goodness Direct)

I love this podcast – Michelle’s son, the Double-Os are adorable! (Nom Nom Paleo)

There’s no such thing as balance.

Photo by Nelly Volkovich

It’s that age-old bloggers lament – “I haven’t posted in ages!” And there are a million excuses that you can give, but the reality is that sometimes, especially if you’re not yet making a living out of it, something has to give.

And for me, right now, trying to fit in working full time, studying (I’m really supposed to be writing a paper on Crohn’s disease right now), being a wife, keeping a home, being a mom to a very active and funny 21 month old boy, keeping everyone fed and happy, figuring out how to grow a business and finding a bit of time for myself is a challenge. Yes, it’s challenging being a mom. I’m not complaining or going into stereotypical mom mode of “how does anyone get anything done around here?”. I’m lucky that these are my dilemmas, my challenges.

But it makes me question the articles I see in women’s press like ‘how to find balance’ or ‘how to do it all’ (that old stereotype) or ‘finding work-life balance’.

It’s impossible.

The reality is that there might be one day, one week even when everything balances out and you feel like you’re winning at life!

But more often than not, there will be times when work becomes more important and you need to spend every evening catching up on email or you might miss a few bedtimes that week. Then there are other times when you need to put everything into your family life, times when your child is sick, they’re going through a developmental leap and really, really need you as a point of stability or you need to have time with your husband so that you still have a marriage.

All of this is okay. It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay not to have a balanced life. As long as you see the woods for the trees and know when things getting too tough, too overwhelming, then that’s what I would call success.

Changing my eating habits.

After reading Amelia Freer’s wonderful book, Eat. Nourish. Glow, I resolved to stop snacking and to make sure I was eating enough food at my main meals. And guess what? It’s working!  

Once I made sure to eat enough at each meal, it was relatively easy to maintain awareness of my sense of fullness. I used this as a signal to myself not to snack. What also helps immensely is the fact that we’re not allowed to eat at our desk at work! Oh and that I’ve also stopped buying my usual snacks of dried mango! 

Eating enough at each meal is key. And it’s not just that, it’s eating the right things. Lots of proteins, lots of fats – things that take time for the body to process. 

My typical day of meals looks like this: 

Breakfast: Two-egg omelette with kale and some leftover protein, anything from beef to crab to chicken, cooked in coconut oil, a few tablespoons of sauerkraut and a glass of my morning eye-opener (fresh squeezed lemon juice, with freshly grated turmeric & ginger in water)

My usual big ass omelette with avocado and kimchi.

My usual big ass omelette with avocado and kimchi.

Lunch: I’m a creature of habit and love the build your own salad places that are popping up all over London. I typically have a salad with deli leaves, broccoli, grated carrots, grated broccoli, sundried tomatoes, chopped bacon and cooked shredded chicken, dressed in lemon, oil and hot chilies. I could eat this everyday. I find it so filling and satisfying. 

A big ass salad from Chop'd!

A big ass salad from Chop’d!

Dinner: This varies, depending on what I’ve got in the fridge, what I’ve prepped on the weekend and frankly, how tired I am. This week, we’ve had slow-cooked pork with carrots & butternut squash, lamb bhuna and bunless burgers, some of it homecooked, some of it from great local takeaways, like Holy Cow.  

Slow cooked pork with apple, butternut squash, carrots and onion.

Slow cooked pork with apple, butternut squash, carrots and onion.

Eating enough of the right food at each meal and drinking enough water has meant that I’ve been able to break my long term snacking habits and lose a few pounds as well!

Post-natal depletion.

photo-1433208406127-d9e1a0a1f1aa

Photo by Aaron Burden

Goop published a very interesting article on post-natal depletion back in May and ever since, I’ve been thinking about this condition and how many women I know have it. The term post natal depletion has put into words how I’ve been feeling since my son was born two years ago. That feeling of being nearly recovered, but not quite there. You know, the one where you think, “If I could just get a week’s worth of full night sleeps, I would be okay.”

Physiologically speaking, the newly acknowledged post-natal depletion condition is interesting, as it is an acknowledgement that pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding and the act of taking care of a child is physically and emotionally draining. It counters the Western idea that mothers should bounce back by the time the child is three months old and acknowledges that because pregnancy and breastfeeding are about growing and nourishing the child, they have the consequence of being physically draining on the mother, depleting her vitamin and mineral stores, stores that take a while to recover post-partum.

For example, the body stores three months’ worth of iron, a mineral that is rapidly depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Pair this with now all too common post-partum bleeding and a less than optimal post-partum diet, it takes a while for the body’s iron stores to recover. This condition becomes even more interesting when you realise that the placenta passes nearly 7 grams of fat a day to the growing baby at the end of the pregnancy term, while also tapping into the mother’s iron, zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B9, iodine, and selenium stores—along with omega 3 fats like DHA and specific amino acids from proteins.

This condition, and the fact that some women still suffer years later, really highlights the need for better support for post-partum mothers, on a micro and macro level. Better support from community health visitors to assess both the mother and baby, more family support so the mother can focus on caring for the baby and not a myriad of household and personal tasks, better maternity leave with better support for mothers returning to work, that acknowledges that having children alters perspective and that it takes time to get back into the swing of things with a young child. It is not just up to the mothers to demand support, as they may not realise they need it (raise your hand if you’re familiar with the ‘just soldier on’ mindset!). It’s also up to the people around these mothers to give help before it’s asked for, as a matter of course.

From a nutritional perspective, the importance of a proper nourishing diet becomes even more important for post-partnum mothers. I’m not talking about new mums whipping up big meals everyday, but rather better education on shortcuts to better eating. So, having lots of fruit to hand, things to make salads (with one hand!), meal planning so there is always something good in the fridge (even if has to be eaten cold!) and taking advantage of weekends when others are around to do lots of meal prep for the week. There are many nutritionists would be happy to help with meal planning, supplements and general nutritional support.

What’s your experience of post-natal depletion?