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Miyuk Gook — Korean Postpartum Soup to Increase Milk Supply

February 26, 2013
seaweed soup
Thank you to Stella Kang for sharing the links below. Stella was able to increase her milk supply with a Korean seaweed soup that her family brought to her throughout the first 6 weeks postpartum. This soup is traditional in Korean culture and referred to as “birthday soup.” Stella drank this soup everyday and is successfully breastfeeding without any supplementation.
Her grandma insists that using pork instead of beef is better for breastmilk production in this soup. It can also be made without beef or pork.
And here’s one that I found:

Gluten Class: For Free!

January 16, 2013

baby 2 web

Miguel web

Thank you so much to Tara Rota of We Holistic Lifestyle Coaching for coming to talk to some homebirthers about Gluten. Nutrition Classes will be a part of the Wisewoman Childbirth Traditions 2013 Fitness Program. Any of my clients, past and present, are invited to attend for free. Gosh, you could even host a class yourself if have something about a healthy, nutritious lifestyle that you would like to share.  Tara web

We started the class by sampling some gluten-free, buckwheat crepes. The basics of this recipe comes from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. Elizabeth put together the Pumpkin Bars with hazelnut flour from Elana’s Pantry (I would substitute Coconut Nectar for the Agave) and Harmony made the Scones with Almond Flour from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

elana's pantry elana amsterdam gluten free almond flour cookbook

I think we all liked the scones the best.

Gluten FreeAt the table web

Stay tuned for next month’s Nutrition class from Wisewoman Childbirth Traditions!

How to Survive the Holidays with Gestational Diabetes

January 2, 2013

Thanks to Liz Farsaci for this helpful post. Even though the holidays are over, these are great suggestions for all year round!

I found out that I had Gestational Diabetes two days before Christmas. However, a nutritionist couldn’t meet with me until after the holidays. I felt unmoored in this no man’s land between the knowledge that I had GD and lack of information about what exactly that meant for my diet. The only thing I did know was that I couldn’t eat sugar or bread. On Christmas day, I sat in a crowded restaurant, drinking water, eating celery sticks and feeling extremely sorry for myself.

A week later, I was able to speak with a nutritionist and get more information about the diet I needed to follow, if I wanted to keep my blood sugar levels down. Although I couldn’t eat any sugars and had to monitor starches such as bread, potatoes and beans, I also learned that there were many other foods I could eat. These included all the vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheeses and meats I wanted. I started to explore some recipes based on these ingredients. Below are some of my favorite meals and treats.

Following a GD diet and exercising after meals was difficult. However, because of all my work, I was able to give birth at home to a beautiful, healthy, 6 lbs, 15 oz boy. As I snuggled him to my chest, I knew that all my efforts had been worth it, and I couldn’t ask for a better prize. If I could do this, you can too!

All You Can Eat GD Recipes

Spice up your salad using a variety of greens such as spinach, arugula and romaine lettuce. Avocados, nuts and cheeses add important protein and good fats and they made salads delicious, so you can pile those onto your greens. Roasted red peppers always add flavor and color.

This dish feels fancy and all of its ingredients – vegetables, cheese, meat (optional), and eggs – are “free” when you’re on a GD diet. Preheat the oven to 400. Sauté the vegetables and meat with olive oil, adding salt, pepper and any other spices you like. Put the vegetables and meat into a baking dish. Beat the eggs (usually about 8-10) and pour them over the vegetables. Sprinkle on the cheese, most of which will sink to the bottom (that’s fine). Put the frittata in the oven for 20-30 minutes – this depends on the size of the baking dish you use. You want the frittata to be fully cooked through (test with a knife) and then slightly brown on top.

Tapas are delicious, and you can eat many of them while still maintaining your GD diet. These include: asparagus or jumbo shrimp sauteed in olive oil, salt and garlic; onions, red peppers and eggplant; chorizo sausages; olives and cheese… the list goes on. You can also have Spanish tortilla, as long as you measure how much potato you put into it. When I’m looking for tapa ideas, I like to go eat at Esperpento on 22nd Street.

Vegetable soup is a nice warm, wintry dish. You can make the carrot soup recipe that Maria previously posted (just don’t put the agave on the pecans). I also like to make a red pepper soup, simply using the peppers instead of the carrots.

Treat Yourself

We all like to have fun and treat ourselves during the holidays. Often, we do this by drinking, smoking and eating sugary foods. Obviously, when you’re pregnant and have gestational diabetes, you have to think of alternatives! The good news is that there are delicious, healthy foods that can be your holiday treats. Here’s a list:

– Nuts or cheeses you love but don’t usually buy because they’re expensive
– Raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, combined with nuts or Maria’s amazing cashew cream
– Fancy olive oil and vinaigrettes from Olive This, Olive That in Noe Valley. Seriously, these taste way better than the olive oil you get for everyday use.

Perfecting the Paleo Pumpkin Roll

December 11, 2012


The Bay Area Homebirth Collective had their annual Winter Gathering last Sunday which allowed me a second attempt at a Paleo Pumpkin Roll. I’m happy with the cake roll: nice texture for rolling, easy to make, tasted good. The filling still needs tweaking though. For Sunday, I made a chestnut whipped cream filling from organic heavy cream and Chestnut creme. Chestnut creme is a French product that is usually found around the holidays. It is a chestnut puree with regular, old sugar. It is a nice compliment for the moment, but future Xmas events means I’ll have more opportunities to test out this recipe, especially with cashew cream.

The technique for the cake portion is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible. The ingredients substitutions are mine.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe: Cake


1/4 cup plus 2 T. coconut sugar

6 large eggs, separated

1/3 c. plus 1 T. hazelnut flour (you can use almond flour, too)

1/2 c. pumpkin

3/4 t. cream of tartar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 17 x 12 inch jelly roll pan by lining it with parchment paper, then spraying the paper with a spray cooking oil.

Beat 1/4 cup coconut sugar with the egg yolks until light in color, around 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin and 1/3 c. hazelnut flour. Beat until just combined.

In a different bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat a little longer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 2 T. of coconut sugar until stiff peaks form.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out until it is even. Bake for 16 minutes.

This next part is important to be able to roll the cake well: Wet a clean dish towel and wring it out well. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Dust with 1 T. hazelnut flour and immediately cover with the wet towel. Let cool at least 30 min.

Make the filling while you wait for the cake to cool.


1 c. heavy cream

1/4c. chestnut creme (optional) Instead you could sweeten the whipped cream with 2 T. maple syrup

Beat the whipped cream with a balloon whisk until it forms stiff peaks. Stir in the chestnut creme.

Once the cake is cooled, slip it out of the pan onto a flat surface. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake, leaving a 1/2 inch border along the edges. Gently roll the cake, removing the parchment paper as you go.


Haitian Food

August 19, 2012

Dina, Ami and I are now in Haiti on our third trip with the non-profit, Midwives for Haiti. I wanted to at least tell you about what I am eating (especially since I now have free and easy WiFi). Most of the Haitian meals are centered around a literal mound of carbohydrates: mostly rice with a few beans, polenta with bean sauce or bulgar wheat with beans. You top this with a sauce that is slightly spicy and contains a little bit of protein. Today we each got a chicken leg because it is Sunday. Every Sunday, the children at the orphanage where we are staying get one chicken leg each. They eat spaghetti for breakfast most days and rice and beans always.

We bought watercress and a red and yellow pepper at the market today that was part of our meal. Avocados are in abundant supply, so we’ll have that almost every day.

Here is what we had at Matthew 25 on our first night in Port Au Prince: polenta with bean sauce, pikliz which is their spicy coleslaw, avocado, fried plaintains and acra. We are happy here in Haiti and I hope I will have more opportunities to share some of our food experiences with you.

You can follow along with our midwifery experiences on my birth blog at Women in Charge.

Carrot soup with oyster mushrooms and candied pecans (vegan)

August 3, 2012

SF Midwife Food Blog: Carrot Soup

Here’s a wonderful post from my amazing and inspiring client, Holly Pepper:

Being a type 1 diabetic, no one would expect me to be interested in a home birth.  After seeing my sister give birth in a birthing center in Maryland, I was convinced I wanted to attempt a similar birth, if possible and safe for all.  The more I became informed about birth, the more I came to realize the hospital just might not be the best place for me to deliver my first baby.  As long as my blood sugars are in absolute control, I can have a normal pregnancy, natural delivery, and healthy baby.

   Let me explain a bit.  Type 1 diabetes (formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes) is an auto immune disease that attacked my pancreas at a young age.  Unlike type 2 diabetes (95% of diabetics), it is unrelated to diet, exercise, and weight.  The leading research correlates Type 1 diabetes to multiple genetic factors, early introduction of cow’s milk, lack of/minimal breastfeeding, and a couple specific vaccines.  I was 8 when I was diagnosed and I have always lead an active lifestyle and I think my diabetes has given me extra incentive to stay healthy; in some weird way and certain situations, I sometimes feel fortunate to have this condition.  Whereas my blood sugar control is imperative in a quality life, it’s crucial in pregnancy.
    In my adult life, I’ve gotten very involved in racing and pushing my body and all the time realizing the longer the race, the more mental each race is.  I’ve completed several half marathons, marathons, Ironman triathlons, an ultramarathon, and many adventure races.  I never set out to do all this; each year I made new goals to challenge myself.  My family thinks I’m crazy and maybe I am.  During pregnancy, I’ve slowed down a bit, literally and figuratively, though I have continued to race.  Challenging myself in different ways and definitely being challenged by my body.  Maria has been a support during this time and she told me to listen to my body and I’ve always been true to that comment.
   This is a food blog though, right???  After reading the China Study, my husband and I challenged the idea of a non-processed whole foods plant based diet for 40 days at the beginning of this year.  Basically, it meant no animal products, no additives, lots of home cooking and creativity, and more greens and beans than you thought you could muster.  I was healthy eater compared to most before but this was quite another level.  The 40 days of strict eating was hard, but afterwards there were many features of the eating plan my husband and I decided to keep.  There were obvious benefits too, my total cholesterol dropped from 192 to 152, and my blood sugars were much more balanced using even less insulin than before.  So now, we stay vegan in the home (except for very special occasions and visitors) and when we eat out, we eat all types of food though keeping healthy eating in mind.
    We’re excited to bring a new baby into our home and share our great flavorful recipes with him.
    Vegan cookbooks tend to lack in flavor and fall far from exciting.  This is a recipe my husband created and used to cook in a fine dining kitchen in his younger years.  This soup is a very smooth, fresh, thick soup – so simple to make but with bursting flavor.  Because you’re blending up the carrots, it makes a nice rich soup and perfect for San Francisco weather.  Feel free to spice it up with more or less of anything according to your tastes.  Toast up some bread for dipping to add to the meal.

Carrot soup with oyster mushrooms and candied pecans  (vegan)

-3 lbs carrots
-1 medium onion
-Just enough bean stock, vegetable stock, or water to cover the
carrots (Bean stock is just the water you boil beans in)
-Salt and fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper to taste (the more, the tastier!)
-1 tsp olive oil + more for sauteing mushrooms
-4 ounces oyster mushrooms
Candied Pecans (see #2 below for how to make)
1) Boil carrots, onions, salt and pepper in stock or water (stock is
preferable) until tender.
2) While the carrots are cooking, make pecans in oven or toaster oven.  Toss pecans in a light dressing of olive oil, agave nectar, salt, splash of vanilla, cinnamon.  Sit for 3-5 minutes, then take out of dressing and place in toaster oven on 125 for about 10-15 minutes, checking frequently.  Very easy to burn.
3) Once carrots are tender, blend them up in blender (including the liquid) with 1 tsp olive oil until smooth.
4) Saute mushrooms over medium heat until light brown and crispy,
season with salt and pepper.
5)  Spoon soup into bowls top with mushrooms and candied pecans.
Garnish with olive oil and fresh ground pepper.

Grain Free Waffles for Breakfast

July 21, 2012

A Saturday morning. A bike ride to the Haight to weigh Melanie Gensler’s 10 day old baby boy. And back home to make grain free, gluten free waffles for breakfast.

San Francisco midwife Food Blog

Cashews are so versatile, they are the bulk of this waffle batter as well as the cream on top. Enjoy! The recipe here at Real Sustenance is a guest post from Danielle Walker at Against All Grain. The waffles turned out amazingly tender and were so yummy with berries and cashew cream (what wouldn’t be!)

Click here for the link to the Grain Free Waffle Recipe.

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