Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11: Protein Power! {31 Days of Making More Milk}


 Day 11 is all about protein, baby!

As a nursing mama, there are extra demands placed on your body, and the food you eat not only fulfills your nutritional needs but also enables your body to produce milk. Just like when you were pregnant, your needs will go unmet to be sure that the special needs of your baby are fulfilled.

So even though you're no longer pregnant, you still need to eat the highest-quality food you can, with a special focus on protein. Amazingly, an infant who weighs only a few pounds receives nearly 1,000 calories per day in breast milk!

Protein isn't energy, it is bricks and mortar. Foods rich in this macro-nutrient are crucial for supporting mom's healing and recovery from birth and to make sure that baby is getting the essential amino acids needed for mental and physical growth. There are more scientific ways of explaining how protein works and why we really need it, but I appreciate the simple way Dr. Sears describes it:

"Just as workers at a construction site need a steady supply of building materials, tissues undergoing repair and those that are growing need a steady supply of protein to build and rebuild organs, muscles, antibodies, hormones, and enzymes - every kind of cell in the body. At eight months or eighty years, bodies need protein." 

Milk-Making Protein Sources

This list was built from a compilation of sources, but primarily Hilary Jacobson's book, Mother Food. Check out her book for more great information!

Animal Products

These foods are best eaten in their most natural state: organic, whole fat, grass-fed and pasture-raised. If you can find raw and you trust the source, even better! While it’s not always easy to find farm-fresh eggs, the taste and quality is incomparable.

Whole-milk yogurt & full-fat Cheese
Heavy cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized, or UHP)
Eggs, especially the yolk (only eat them raw if you trust your source)
Liver, beef and chicken (grass-fed or pastured, if you have access)
Poultry, especially turkey and the dark meat
Seafood, especially wild salmon
Milk Kefir

Grains, Beans, Legumes, Nuts & Seeds

Preparation: Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid and may be hard for your body to digest if they are eaten “as is,” they benefit from an overnight soaking. Put in a glass bowl, cover with warm water, and leave in a warm place overnight. That’s it.

The next day, prepare as usual. The cooking time may be decreased, especially for oatmeal. The only inconvenient part is thinking ahead! Learn how to make "Crispy" nuts at the Mommypotamus.

Almonds
Amaranth
Barley
Black beans
Cashews
Chia seeds
Chickpeas
Kidney beans
Lentils
Lima beans
Macadamia Nuts
Millet
Mung beans
Oats and oatmeal* (rolled or steel cut)
Peas
Pecans
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seed butter (Tahini)
Sunflower seeds
Rice
Quinoa

Protein-Packed Main Meal Recipes:

Breakfast:

Baked Oatmeal with Dried Apricots and Cranberries from Nourished Kitchen
Egg Muffins at Nourished and Nurtured
Quiche from Nourishing Creations
Bacon, Egg & Toast Cups from Martha Stewart
Nut Butter Muffins from Grain-Free Foodies

Lunch & Dinner:

Simple Turkey Meatloaf from Martha Stewart
Minimalist Roast Chicken from Nourished Kitchen
Chicken Pot Pie from ME!
Power Salad with spinach, chicken, avocado and goat cheese from Recipe Girl
Salmon with Fresh Herbs from Ina Garten
Chicken Curry Soup from Savory Sweet Life
Chicken Salad with Sweet Dill Relish from Mommypotamus
Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro-Lime Mayo from Cuisinenie
Spiced Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk from Sprouted Kitchen

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This is eleventh post in my 31 Days of Making More Milk series. Read yesterday's Rules to Eating Well or start from the beginning here.

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