2016/09/14 by nikkiledford
It’s funny how I have to schedule my blender or food processor usage around the wake and sleep cycle of my baby. If he’s awake, I can blend – sleeping, not so much. If he’s awake and fussy then I’m pretty much banned anything. Any previous dreams of blender creations (or food in general) are crushed under the weighty responsibilities of new parenthood. I swear, cooking has never been more complicated than with a newborn.
I can completely empathize with the Mamas out there who struggle to put together at least one meal for their family, let alone feed themselves nutritious food throughout the day. I’m officially part of the protein bar/smoothie/rolled up deli meat club now. Sometimes you just gotta eat something, one-handed preferably.
One of the most difficult aspects of maintaining health during motherhood is the ability to digest well. You see, when we sit down (note: SIT DOWN) to eat, we should be entering a state of restfulness and calm in order to properly digest our food. This is known as a parasympathetic, “rest and digest” state in our nervous system. Think of the opposite of “fight or flight”. We want our digestive system to be ready to receive the nutrition we are about to ingest. Unfortunately, eating in a hurried or frantic way almost completely sabotages our ability to digest properly. Partly due to our nervous system being on “high alert” and also because we are not chewing adequately. Big food particles are entering our stomach which means our digestion has to work even harder to break the food down into useable nutrients.
I have to constantly remind myself to eat in a relaxed state, chew thoroughly, and sit down. For digestive insurance I take additional HCL and digestive enzymes to help the process along because 75% of the time I’m hurried, standing, and basically swallowing my food whole like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This is not ideal for me or my baby since he is the beneficiary of my nutrient intake. If I can’t digest my food into available nutrients, then those nutrients will not transfer readily to my breast milk for him to consume.
It is very important to make time to eat and eat properly. Not just for your sanity and health, but for the health of your little ones. As mom’s we tend to put ourselves last and hurry through a meal because the baby is crying, will cry, is thinking about crying; but if you can have someone else hold them or distract them with a swing or toy, or eat while they are napping so that you can focus on relaxing and digesting. Good for mom, good for baby.
Here’s a recap of some healthy digestion tips (for all peoples, not just the moms):
- Chose foods that are well cooked or blended, these “cooking” methods help pre-digest the food so your own digestive system does not have to work as hard.
- Chew Chew Chew. I am the chief sinner when it comes to this rule. Even if you are drinking a smoothie, try to chew. This signals acid production and is the beginning step of proper digestion.
- Sit down. Relax. Take a few breaths before beginning. Maybe close your eyes while you breathe to focus your attention and get in that relaxed state.
- Utilize some modern digestive support using HCL with betaine, Ox bile, digestive enzymes, and probiotics. These supplements will help aid your system at every stage of digestion.
This dip is an excellent example of some “pre-digested” nutrient-dense food that is easy to eat and quick to prepare. It’s also appropriately signaling the beginning of the colder months where we rely more on citrus, dark leafy greens, and root vegetables rather than fresh lettuce, berries, and tomatoes.
I have seen beet hummus available in stores, but was never totally sure if it was ideally made with beets AND chickpeas or just beets. Well my fiends, the just beets version is superb and if you add a little orange kick it’s even BETTER! This would be a delicious dip for roasted squash or yam spears and fresh carrots, or use it as a topping for a chicken bowl or turkey burgers!
This hummus is filling, nutritious, and gorgeous. Easily made in a vitamix or food processor. Also, if you don’t have time to steam the beets yourself, buy pre-cooked and peeled beets for even more convenience!
Orange Beet Hummus
1 lb. beets, steamed and peeled
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. tahini
1 orange, juice and zest
1/2 lemon, juice
salt to taste
- Add beets, garlic, tahini, citrus juice, and salt to the blender.
- While blending, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle in 1/2 of the zest.
- Serve with zest garnish.