Mamas holistic helpers; tips for nourishing parents

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Being a mother is an amazing experience.   But let's be real, it can often be an experience that is also messy, exhausting and one that will try your patience!

The demands on a parents never ends, there is always more things to add to your to do list, more errands to run, a child who needs help, attention and love and on top of that we have our own lives and partners to tend too, being a Mum (or Dad) is literally 24/7

The key to juggling all of this, with your sanity intact is to look after yourself.  Really, truely look after yourself, eat nourishing foods, support yourself with calming herbs and taking time out just  for yourself.  Here are my tried and tested tips that will hopefully become your very own holistic mamas little helpers.

Eat to heal and repair and replenish your body.  One of the best way to do this is by eating foods that are rich in gelatine and collagen and here is why; Collagen is an important protein in connective tissue, skin, and bones; you actually have more collagen in your body than any other type of protein. A lack of collagen can cause problems from skin wrinkles to osteoporosis.  Gelatine is important because it contains several amino acids. Amino acids are compounds that combine to make proteins, which makes amino acids essential for the proper functioning of various organs, as well as for providing energy for us to keep up with our busy lives! Giving birth, breast feeding and running around adjusting to being a parent can really deplete the body, so its important to nourish and provide the body with the building blocks it needs.  I know, it may not sound the most appealing but bone broth is rich in both gelatine and collagen, which helps with cell regrowth and the integrity of the gut.   You could either purchase bone broth or make your own with the following recipe.  Chicken frames are great to make a subtle, pleasant tasting broth or you could use beef bones for a stronger, meatier flavour.  Bone broth is amazing and I try to have it 3-4 times a week.  When I do, I notice it makes a huge difference to my health.

Bone broth recipe :

Purchase 1-2 organic chicken frames from your local butcher or health food shop (organic chicken frames are around $5) and either cut the frames up using a sharp knife or smash them with a mallet to break up the bones a little.  Place these broken frames into a slow cooker and pour over 2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar.  Allow this to sit for 20 minutes, the apple cider vinegar helps to dissolve the bones a little and release nutrients.  Then top the slow cooker up to just under the brim with cold water.  Roughly chop 2-3 cloves of garlic, and a generous knob of ginger and add this to the pot.  Then add 1-2 Tbs of turmeric powder and a couple of twists of salt and pepper from a grinder.  I like to add in half a cup of dried, powdered nettle leaves for extra nutrition.  Stir and cover the slow cooker with the lid.  Turn the cooker onto low and allow it to cook for 24 hrs.  Once done cool and strain out the broth through a muslin cloth so that you are left with a clear broth.  The bones etc can be discarded.  This broth is excellent to add into meals (eg, risotto, soups) or drunk hot on its own.  It will keep for 5 days in the fridge or can be frozen in portion size for later use.

Another option is Apple and Cinnamon Jellies, theses jellies are great for kids snacks too.  You can replace the apple for fresh or frozen berries to change up the flavour.

Fruit Jellies:

Place 3 Tablespoons of gelatine in 1/2 cup water and leave it to ‘bloom’.  Heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of stewed apples.  Add in 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Add in the gelatine to the hot ingredients and stir till gelatine is dissolved.  Pour mixture into a mould and let it set in the fridge.  You could make one big jelly or get cute shaped moulds that appeal to children (big or small!) Once set it is ready to eat.

Rest and relax.  This is a big one!  Rest is so important as it allows our body and minds to reset and repair, but as a busy parent it unfortunately often falls to the bottom of our ‘to do’ list.  Try to get as much sleep as you can at night, and certainly take naps during the day if you need one- self care is nothing to feel guilty about.  If you have a bath in your house, start taking a bath at lest once a week.  Turn this into a lovely ritual of self care. If you don't have a bath you could try just having a relaxing foot soak.  There are many wonderful ingredients you can add into your bath/foot soak, to make it even more beneficial and healing.  A few to consider are:

Epsom salts: Epsom salts allow us to absorb magnesium through our skin and work magic with relaxing sore tired muscles.

Essential oils:  Essential oils are great to add to bath water.  Simply add tablespoon of milk with 4-8 drops of your essential oil into your bath, or add your chosen oils to a cup of Epsom salts and add to your bath.  Great essential oils for Mums recovering from birth are Lavender for its healing and calming properties, Roman Chamomile, for helping reduce anxiety and stress and for helping in reducing eczema.  Geranium, for helping to balance hormones and reducing the pain of back ache.  Rose, a tonic for the womb and a great mood pick me up.  Make sure you use high quality essential oils and never apply essential oils undiluted to your skin (there are exceptions of course, but ask an aromatherapist first to ensure safety). 

Loose herbs:  Some herbs are wonderful to add to your bath water to help enhance relaxation or improve skin health.  It is best to put these herbs in a tea ball or a cloth bag so you don't have a huge mess to clean up after your bath!  Herbs that can be used are; Lavender, Chamomile, Rose petals and good old Oats.

Tea blends:

Herbal teas or infusions are a fantastic way to nourish and support your body.  You can make your brew with one dried herb or mix a few together that suit your needs and build a more interesting flavour.  Herbal infusions can be made by the cup or you can make up a big pot and enjoy it throughout the day, as they taste great hot or cooled. It goes without saying really, but please be sure to avoid herbs you may have allergies or sensitivities to!

Green oats; A brilliant, highly nourishing herb for calming the nervous system and helping build stamina.

Tulsi; An adaptogenic herb that helps to support the body with life's daily stressors, this herb is just what every parent needs! It tastes lovely and pairs well with chai type spices for a lovely brew.

Raspberry leaf; Raspberry leaf has long been used to repair and restore tone to the womb, so it's a good pick for new mums.

Nettle; rich in both chlorophyll and essential minerals, nettle is a great choice to use in a herbal infusion.  I like to add the juice of a lemon to my nettle tea.

Lemon Balm; with its subtle lemony flavour, lemon balm is a great herb to calm emotions, brighten  moods and can help soothe digestive upsets.

If this article has got you interested in having a naturopathic consult, or if you would like a custom herbal tea blend, or an essential oil blend, please contact me, I would love to hear from you.  Happy parenting!