One of the most challenging things after your baby is born, is to give the baby its due time for breast feeding and being calm yourself. Being worried about your weight does not help. While I do understand the hormones fluctuate and sometimes controlling you moods or being prone to depression comes about as a biological outcome of pregnancy. However, one of the things you first need to do is get rid of the notion that you have to shed weight in a hurry and be depressed.
Establishing some structure and focusing on the food groups to include makes a big difference. So let’s look at these broad food groups first –
1) Whole grains: Among whole grain carbohydrates focus on brown rice, millets and some white rice; here I would say if you avoid gluten from wheat flour, it may help in keeping your weight down. Whole grains and carbohydrate-rich vegetables are known to provide you with the feel-good hormone called serotonin; plus a strong gut, accounts for 90% of serotonin which is the one hormone you need at this point to establish good moods. A good portion-size to include would be 100 grams of any cooked whole grain daily.
2) Protein: In your protein component, add a fair share of legumes/lentils and choose healthy non-vegetarian options (if you are a non-vegetarian), stick to lean meats like fish and chicken, with some eggs. A good portion- size to include would be 90-100 grams daily.
3) Vegetables: Please focus more on all the carbous ones like sweet potato, red pumpkin (lal kaddu/bhopla), and the crucifers: cabbage, broccoli and cabbage. Remember the colours, as they are rich in antioxidants, and you are going to need a fair amount of those to build and repair at this point. A good portion-size to include would be 350 grams cooked daily.
4) Fermentation: I would take your diet plan a step further and add a quick pickle (3 day ferment in apple cider vinegar of any vegetable) or a kanji (North Indian probiotic beverage) to supply your gut with good gut bugs, to keep it all moving. Include 1-2 tablespoons with meals.
5) Healthy fats: These can keep you feeling satiated, and adding chia and flax seeds (1 tablespoon in a day) will bring in a balance of omega 3, fiber, calcium and antioxidants. Including cold pressed oils like: coconut, sesame, mustard or any other that you may like.
So what should you avoid?
- Junk, processed and refined foods (by this I mean foods that use refined flours)
- Refined vegetable oils
- Aerated beverages
- Foods that come out of a box, specially those that have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
While exercise sounds tough, it is one of the building blocks not only towards your weight loss goals; but also supplying you with endorphins to keep the moods stable. Even if you just start with walks initially and some yoga; then graduate to a treadmill, or aerobic form of exercise it would be a huge jump towards both your weight and moods.
Just remember all you need are balanced meals, eating on-time and some supplementation. Here is the calcium-giver recipe.
What is gomashio? The combination of oil and minerals from the salt help your blood condition to stay more alkaline and also gives you the calcium you require.
8 level tablespoons of sesame seeds 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoons of sea salt
- Wash the sesame seeds in a strainer and allow water to drain
- Dry roast the sesame seeds on medium flame
- Transfer sea salt to a bowl in which you can pound them with your hand a pounding instrument (hand pounding grinder preferably not mixer)
- When seeds leave an aroma and start to pop they are ready (keep stirring with a wooden spatula till this stage)
- Add seeds to the grinder bowl, and start to pond and mix and grin in a steady circular motion until 80 to 85% done
- Store in a glass jar, sprinkle on food upto 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon
Shonali Sabherwal is a Mumbai based Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Chef. Author of The Beauty Diet, The Love Diet and The Detox Diet published by Penguin Random House.