Mommy & expert talk with Andreja Radovanovic.
Founder of Blooming Postpartum and postpartum and Ayurvedic chef.
Proper nutrition, like sufficient sleep, is one of the fundamental human needs. Deficits become particularly apparent in extreme situations and stressful life situations. Birth, whether by caesarean section or naturally, is one of these extreme situations. Proper nutrition not only contributes to general well-being, but also helps to substantially relieve inflammation, activate the healing process and accelerate the regeneration phase.
But how exactly does it work and why do we need nutrition-supporting regeneration now more than ever?
Welcome to the individual age. Today’s time allows us to make decisions quickly and implement them; many things that were once out of reach are now a click away. Accordingly, over the last 20 years we have experienced a change towards the individual, and with it a departure from traditional, community-oriented and cross-generational values.
We are also experiencing the same change with regard to our diet. Natural and nutrient-rich food plays a fundamental role in all healing processes of the body and mind and is one of the building blocks of our health. If today we quickly resort to a pharmaceutical to relieve a stubborn flu, in the past this meant boiling bones and plants for days to create a healing broth.
The personal development of our current expert Andreja is also based on this change, who suddenly found herself in an environment in which women were left to fend for themselves in critical phases, without the support of a large family in which traditions and values are lived, and without the affection and love that is needed to overcome these situations.
Especially after a birth, the focus these days is primarily on the offspring. The woman’s healing, which was previously considered a 40-day recovery period, often takes a back seat. Nowadays, mothers are also quick to rush back into everyday life and, thanks to the rush of adrenaline in the days after the birth, they take on too much, which slows down and makes the physical and mental healing process more difficult. Often with the consequence that the female body can no longer fully recover from the strain of childbirth. In the medium and long term, this can manifest itself through weight gain, sensitivity to stress and pain, exhaustion and hormonal disorders. Blooming Postpartum was born from this motivation. An offer that enables women, especially in the postpartum phase, to support the healing process with traditional and particularly nutritious food.
What is the importance of nutrition?
Nourishing is the simplest and most direct form of care you can give yourself or from outside. Psychological well-being is significantly influenced in this process.
Food is also fundamental as the foundation for everything important that lies ahead and should play a major role in life. The process starts with planning, goes through purchasing, preparing and preparing food, to enjoying and consuming the food, and ends with the utilization of the nutrients in the body. The love and dedication with which dishes are created and prepared also play an important role.
Nutrients supply the body with vital substances every day, provide energy and ideally keep you healthy and fit. If the food is “optimal”, it provides the body with all the nutrients in the necessary quantities that the body needs to balance out broken down and excreted substances.
How did you come up with the idea of a “postpartum food delivery program” and where did the idea of a 40 day rest period come from?
The postpartum period is one of the most important phases on the path to motherhood. Currently, it is also the most neglected phase in the mother’s healing process. Especially in the first week, mothers should only lie down, not get up, just regenerate. Nowadays, families and fellow human beings pay particular attention to the newborn.
The 40 days of rest after a birth mentioned at the beginning are interculturally anchored. In Latin America, this time is called “la quarantena” and is considered an important recovery time for the mother and the baby. In Western cultures we also speak of the lunar time after birth, which lasts about 28 days. The Chinese plan the time after birth with care for mother and child.
The number 40 is basically an important number in our lives. Behavioral psychology also says that new behavior can be changed and adapted over 40 days.
Women who become too active too quickly after giving birth risk suffering from symptoms such as weight gain, sensitivity to stress and pain, exhaustion and hormonal disorders in the medium and long term.
How did you find out which foods are really important for mothers?
In order to understand the meaning of food, I dedicated myself to intergenerational exchange at the food level. Food has always connected families and generations together. A particularly close connection between food and family is often found in cultures where people live very old. This inspired me.
In addition, midwives, doulas and birth attendants have contributed a lot to the program. The Western world thinks very factually about which ingredients and additives you need during pregnancy and afterwards. Influences from Ayurveda and Chinese medicine form a bridge between nutritional cultures and round off the program.
What are the tasks of nutrition during the postpartum period?
A balanced diet contains sufficient micro and macronutrients, which perform different tasks in terms of physical and psychological regeneration. Our menus basically contain both types of nutrients. The macronutrients are more likely to be found in healthy fats for sufficient energy supply and micronutrients in the form of trace elements, minerals, minerals and important metals such as iron. A woman usually loses between half a liter and a liter of blood during childbirth, which leads to a loss of iron, folic acid and iodine. In addition, after birth, all organs have to find their way back to their correct place, which can take up to 2 weeks. During this time, spontaneous bowel movements can also occur.
The diet helps stimulate the digestive fire. The food should be sufficiently moist, i.e. contain nutrient-rich liquid, to give the intestine what it needs in the beginning. Diet also plays an important role in psychological well-being, especially when it comes to the nervous system. The nervous system can be calmed with warm and light food, for example a broth or a special tea.
Basically, it is important to understand that nutrition has a particularly healing effect when the connection between body and mind is stimulated and is therefore diverse.
What makes a traditionally prepared soup so special and what makes chicken soup so special?
A broth must be boiled for hours so that the ingredients are available in a high form. Typically between 4-6 hours or longer, depending on the ingredients.
Traditionally prepared broths are rich in minerals, zinc and proteins that have anti-inflammatory and decongestant effects. It also contains the most important amino acids and electrolytes, which promote blood circulation. The chicken broth is so special because it contains a lot of gelatin, which supplies the body and intestines with collagen. A positive side effect is more beautiful skin, hair and nails. In our program, we also use the gelatine from bones and marrow in meals other than broth. In addition, chicken broth can be turned into chicken soup very quickly, which is valuable if the woman doesn’t have much time after giving birth.
Can’t I balance out all of these ingredients with dietary supplements?
Basically, one can say that many of these ingredients, such as collagen, are available as dietary supplements and additives and are trendy.
However, broths, especially chicken broth, offer much more than just collagen, which is what makes them so special. Another key difference is that the absorption of the ingredients in broths is significantly higher than in comparable nutritional supplements.
Nutrition contributes significantly to physical and mental health. A nutrient-poor diet, especially in times of extreme stress, can lead to slowed healing processes, mental discomfort, sleep disorders and symptoms of inflammation.
Can’t the positive effects of this special healing diet also be used in other areas?
Of course. Nutrition traditionally plays a particularly important role in any kind of extreme situation or physical and mental stress, be it after an accident, a serious illness or in professional sports.
During breastfeeding, the body will use its good reserves instead of its fat deposits. The resulting symptoms include a slowed healing process, mental discomfort, poor sleep and even sleep disorders and muscular inflammation or tension.
Some of the men also feel like eating our program during this phase; In these cases we cook an all-round program for both.
What are alternatives to chicken soup for vegetarians or vegans?
Basically, there are plant-based alternatives that have similar values but without collagen.
How do you weight the physical versus the mental aspect in the healing process?
There is a direct, reciprocal effect here. People who need psychological support often ignore a lack of physical needs such as sleep, exercise, proper nutrition, etc. If you work in a balanced way, psychological problems can be regulated much better. On the other hand, the body can respond with physical complaints if the psychological stress becomes too high. The effects of ongoing stress often manifest themselves in the form of sleep disorders, physical overreactions or chronic inflammatory processes and even disorders of the immune system. Traditional Chinese medicine and the Ayurveda tradition therefore aim to find a balance for body and mind.
A warm, nutritious meal is one of the mainstays. Sometimes it’s just a hug or someone taking care of your baby for a few hours. Depending on the situation, I always try to give the women a little care and an open ear when handing over the meals.
Do you cook yourself or do you have a team supporting you?
We are a small but nice team of 2 people. This is the only way to create several menus at the same time and address intolerances. Basically, I am responsible for everything, especially purchasing, recipes and creating the dishes. But as is often the case in life, it’s more fun when you’re together.
How do you structure the delivery process and how far away can a customer live?
I deliver the menus myself in order to get a better picture of the customer and incorporate the feedback. I usually travel via Vespa or public transport. I currently deliver within Zurich and the surrounding area; For example, we recently had a customer from Baden.
How do you organize the menus and do the women have to stick to a rigid nutrition plan?
It is important that the menu composition is not one-sided, but contains a little bit of everything. For us, it’s not about counting milligrams on a scale, but rather about traditional, effective and tasty recipes. Our focus is on broths, stews, soups, snacks and something sweet. Herbal infusions that steep for up to a day are also part of the program.
Of course, customers can also cook something for themselves. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the customer. The menus aim to enable the woman in the postpartum period to have the best possible healing process and are also intended to simply provide relief and relief. In other words, they are also light meals that you can easily heat up.
The program also does not include a phased plan; On the contrary, women should be able to draw from the refrigerator according to their needs.
How long does your program run and what happens afterwards or do you also share the recipes?
The program is usually designed to last one week; However, this is often extended by customers for up to a month. As described at the beginning, the female body needs around 40 days of recovery and regeneration after giving birth. We hope that during this time women have also learned to appreciate the health value of our diet and maintain some of it.
To help you afterwards, we are also planning an e-book for some of our recipes.
How does participation in your program work and how can women order?
A customer can currently tell us via email or text message when she would like to start the program. You can currently choose between the trial package or the weekly package.
I usually deliver every other day so that the women can eat something different on the alternating days. You can reorder the program from week to week or take a break between weeks. Of course, everything is freshly cooked and prepared by us.
What is your personal requirement and relationship to this phase?
It seems to me to be my calling. Since I don’t have children myself, I see myself as a link in the chain of helpers with the intention of doing something good for mothers. Not everyone has family and friends and can plan the time after the birth. Women have to do a lot for themselves, especially in the first few weeks after giving birth, before they get caught up in the natural whirlpool in which most of the attention revolves around the offspring.
Finally, how could the world become a better world?
Open yourself to wonder, nourish the heart and the mind. Then you can do many things with a purer heart.
We had the expert talk with Andreja Radovanovic.
Founder of Blooming Postpartum and postpartum and Ayurvedic chef.