Postpartum Nourishment – Soups on!

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Soup is a quick and easy meal for postpartum, and is also a great choice for preparing ahead and freezing. The best way to make your soup as healing and sustaining as possible is to always start with a rich bone broth base. Bone broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons; like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, that are sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. It is the part of grandma’s chicken soup that really did the work of healing.

Making a really good bone broth is actually quite simple. Start with the leftover bones of your latest meal – that Thanksgiving turkey carcuss languishing in your fridge is the perfect place to begin! Because bone broth must simmer for a very long time, I use a crock pot (or slow cooker) to make it, but it can be made in a large pot on the stove top as well.

Place the bones in the crock pot and cover them with water.

Add a tsp or two of salt. I recommend Himalayan pink salt for its mineral content, but sea salt is an acceptable substitute. Then add a T of apple cider vinegar and a couple smashed cloves of garlic – just because I LOVE garlic – but let’s say it for the antibacterial properties….

Now you just need to be patient.

Set the crock pot to high until it comes to a boil and then turn it to low and let the magic begin. I usually let it simmer overnight. 12 hours minimum, but up to 24 if you are using larger bones like beef. The longer it simmers, the more goodness is leeched out of the bones.

After you are out of patience take a look at your broth. Pull out a bone – it should be absolutely clean. If there is still joint material or meat clinging to it it is not done. You want all of that cartilage to be cooked down and become gelatin in your broth. When you are satisfied with your broth, let it cool for a while and strain it though a fine mesh strainer.

Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use. (You can even freeze it in ice cube trays and defrost a few at a time!) I generally like to skim the fat off the top of my broths after they cool, but a new mom can really benefit from these fats so use your own judgement.

You will know your broth is full of wonderful healthy goodness if it turns jiggly – almost jelly-like when it is placed in the fridge. No need to worry, just like Jell-o, it will liquify when heated. But all of that gelatin and collagen is so good for you.

Gelatin has been found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their diet. The collagen found in home-made bone broth is a “super-food” when it comes to cellular integrity and has even been shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite, wrinkles and stretch marks!

Your bone broth is the perfect soup base, but is also a nutritious substitute for liquids in many recipes. Use it to cook grains or pastas, for steaming vegetables, and for making sauces and mashed squash or potatoes.

There. How easy was that?

Easy Chicken Soup

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This is one of those recipes that really isn’t a recipe. Start with the bone broth and throw in whatever you have that sounds good to you. I believe we often crave what we need….
In case you are not feeling inspired or creative, here is the list of ingredients from my last batch.

2 Qt. Chicken Bone Broth
1C. Chopped chicken (left overs)
1C. Chopped Carrots (as you can see in the photo I skipped the chopping and used bagged shredded carrots)
1C. Chopped Kale (I used bagged frozen)
1/4 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. Quinoa (rinsed)
1 clove garlic minced
(I love the frozen chopped garlic at trader Joe’s)
1 tsp Sriracha Sauce – (cause that’s how I roll)
Salt and pepper to taste

I usually get carried away adding stuff and end up with soup that looks more like stew. Then I just add more broth until the proportions look good.
Bring to a boil and then simmer 30 min or until quinoa is cooked.
I delivered some of this soup to a dear doula sister on the recent birth of her son Hunter. You’ll have to ask her how it came out….