Recommended Choice of Vegetable for Confinement
Kai lan, sweet potato leaf, sawi, red and normal Bayam, pumpkin, beetroot, long beans, French beans, zucchini, chili, coriander leaf, Bok Choy.
Avoid: Cabbage, white cabbage, radish, cauliflower, broccoli, capsicum, cucumber (these vegetables are Vata aggravating that cause wind and gas, thus during this confinement time we should avoid. However if you crave for it, then add more organic black pepper, mustard seeds, sliced ginger strips to cook them before eating).
Most western nutrition practice will not assess the vegetable and fruit property to lessen the wind and bloating (caused by Vata movement in our body) but look at the nutrition value to eat.
Cooking method: use loads of ginger, black pepper, fennel, cumin, chilli flake to cook your vegetables to lessen wind build up while the body is recuperating from child birth and at the same time increase absorption of good nutrient from these vegetables. Or you can have bone broth soup boiled with some green leafy vegetable with fried shredded ginger strips.
Favour fruits: Apples, papayas, bananas, oranges, pears, cikus, cherries, stone fruits to be eaten on it own at least an hour after meal and not after dinner. Also, fruit to be eaten at room temperature and not straight from the refrigerator.
Avoid: Watermelon, guavas, star Fruits.
The Malay community believes that women should increase their intake of turmeric and ginger after childbirth. Today many new urban mothers in the Malay community find themselves unable to fully observe the practise of traditional confinement for many reasons such as non availability of extra help from mothers or mum in laws, special carer. This problem is also faced by other communities in Malaysia.
Special arrangement of massage, cloth wrapped around the waistline with herbs to reduce wind and bloating is also practised along with the prescription of protein enriched food that are cooked with spices such as lemongrass, lime leaf, pepper to name a few.
For the Indian community, it is also the same belief that new mums are offered specific food to speed up recovery and to provide vital nutrients to the new mother and the new baby (through her breastmilk). Most of these home cook food are calcium rich, laden with ghee and high protein enriched food.
Along with these spices and herbs are used to detox to clear the wind. Spices and herbs used are ginger, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, cumin to name a few.
Thus for all Asian communities, all the practise areas are quite similar in terms of restrictions, and the focus is on rest and diet. We have to adapt to some simpler nutritious cooking that have been shared in Ayurveda nutrition as I had spoken earlier to use more pungent spice and herbs into their cooking and to follow the post natal recommended cooking recipes to adapt to their respective community cooking.