FIRST 42 DAYS: Birth Recovery Stew
Updated: Aug 8, 2018
Out of all of the recipes I follow for postpartum moms, this one is definitely a top 5 for me. I ate it a couple times each week in the six quiet weeks that I spent healing and bonding at home with my little guy. Below I’ll share all of the simple cooking details, but first some ayurvedic insight as to the healing properties in the ingredients used.
A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that this recipe is great for the body during any sort of recovery - period! She was on the mend after a pretty major surgery and was home resting, enjoying this recipe as her body did some deep replenishing and rehabilitating.
A CLOSER LOOK
Lets go ahead and talk about a few of the key ingredients. We know during postpartum that Ayurveda is really big on using the properties of warming, grounding, heavy, oily and moist, smooth, easy to digest and stabilizing. These are some of the qualities that balance vata dosha (more on that another time!)
The first ingredient used is ghee - an ayurvedic staple, especially after just having a baby. Ghee (clarified butter) is a carrier of nourishment deep to the depleted tissues and the large intestine, meaning it helps to move things through. It also gently stimulates digestive fire (agni) while penetrating and dissolving ama (undigested toxic matter) in the body. I’ll take all of the above!
The long cooked vegetables in the dish, including the potatoes give the dish a sense of rootedness while eating. The way the vegetables are cooked along with the spices used (cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric and cinnamon) healthy absorption is promoted within the digestive system while vata dosha is calmed for digestive ease. This blend works to eliminate bloating or other digestive discomforts.
Believe it or not, using fresh ginger in your cooking has an entire textbook full of benefits for our bodies, and especially for times when extra efforts are being made to stimulate digestion and gently invigorate circulation. Ayurvedically, ginger is used in most meals to awaken the taste buds which play an important role in the early digestive process, before the food is even swallowed!
And finally I used millet in this dish - and it is added almost last. If you are preparing this dish for yourself or for a new mama in your life, I recommend swapping the millet for quinoa if its going be eaten in the first couple of weeks after birth. This way the dryness and astringency of the millet does not stop elimination. You'll notice that this dish comes out soupier than what you may be used to if you regularly use quinoa or millet. This is really important for digestion during the First 42 Days. For nearly all of what a new mama puts in her belly, soupy and warm are top priorities on the menu.
Here we go with the recipe! I always start with a clean kitchen and clean hands. From there the chopping and other prep begins! This recipe will make about 8 bowls.
1 c raw cashews
3 Tbsp ghee
1 yellow onion
2 leeks (just use the heads)
Dash sea salt (skip this in the first week after birth)
4 medium carrots
3 medium russet potatoes (make sure these are organic)
4 medium tomatoes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
6 c vegetable broth
1½ c millet
1 c coconut milk
1 large handful of green beans
1 tsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
Begin by placing the cashews in a bowl of water to soak for about 1 hour. They soak much quicker than almonds as they are a softer nut, without the skin.
Rinse and prepare all ingredients. Roughly chop the onion, thinly slice the whites of the leeks, peel and cube the carrots and potatoes, and gently cube the tomatoes so as to keep the juice as best as possible. Chop the green beans into bite size lengths. When the cashews are done soaking you can chop them into halves.
In a large pot heat the ghee and then add in the onions, leeks and salt when hot. Stir gently and allow to roast until golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes.
Next add the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, all spices and broth. Bring to a boil and keep temperature at medium-high. Cook this way for about 15 minutes, uncovered.
Add the millet at this point and bring heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 more minutes.
Add in the coconut milk, cashews and green beans. Cook for 10 more minutes with heat at low. Keep pot covered.
Serve warm with fresh lemon or lime juice squeezed over to taste.
This recipe was inspired by The First Fourty Days by Heng Ou.