The morning of the day that I gave birth to Chloe at home, 7 years ago, I met up with a few moms including my friend, Heng Ou, at the park. She talked to me about her three births and how she was nurtured by others in the first 6 weeks after each birth. The theory of nurturing the mother after birth was foreign to me. I had always been focused on the idea that as new mothers our job was taking care of a baby and all of their needs in the first few months of their life, but what about the mother? Birth within itself is a powerful and exhausting experience. A mother needs nonstop nourishment to her own body and soul at this time while she’s also giving herself fully to her sweet new baby.
Heng has been supporting women through this massive transition and adjustment with her incredible food and knowledge for years. As new mothers we read so many books to prepare ourselves for our new baby and their needs. Heng’s new book, the The First Forty Days, is an essential read for filling a new mama’s soul for her postpartum journey. It includes nourishing soups, to help with milk production as well as tons of restorative recipes to revitalize her body.
I first experienced the ancient Chinese tradition of zuo yuezi, or sitting the month, after the birth of my first daughter. Just days after little Khefri’s arrival, my Auntie Ou, a long-time acupuncturist, showed up at my door bearing a satchel of strange looking ingredients (think: chicken feet and goji berries) and a list of clear commands_ I was to trade work, hosting, and any other kind of stimulation for rest, warmth, and quiet bonding with my new baby. I was also to eat nutrient-dense foods that support lactation and healing. This focused period of rest, recovery, and specialized eating after the birth of a baby is not unique to China. Cultures around the world believe that taking time to retreat and heal after your baby’s arrival will lead to long term health and vitality, and a happier mother and baby. Whether you have forty days to dedicate to recovery from pregnancy and birth or a much shorter window, eating the right foods can help balance your hormones, boost your energy, and increase your milk supply.
Chicken, Red Dates and Ginger Soup is one of my favorite dishes to make for new mothers as it is deeply warming and makes for a hearty meal for the whole family.
Chicken, Red Dates and Ginger Soup + Giveaway
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds whole chicken or parts
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, peeled
- 2 inches fresh ginger, unpeeled and halved
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 Chinese red dates
- 3 tablespoons dried goji berries
- sea salt
- Place the chicken in a medium pot, and add enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered.
- Once boiling, add the onion and ginger to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the lid occasionally to skim any foam off the top and discard.
- Remove from the heat. Move the chicken to a plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken. Return the chicken carcass and 1-2 cups of the shredded chicken back to the pot. (Save the remaining shredded chicken for another use.)
- Add the carrots and dates to the pot, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add the gogi berries and cook an additional 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
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Oh I bet this is a fantastic read!!
What a wonderful idea!!
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This book looks interesting. I think it will have a lot of great recipes. I don’t think people really understand the days after a woman gives birth. Society has taught us not to rest but to jump right back into life where we left off the day before the baby was born.
Would love to get this book for my next pregnancy,
This book looks very interesting! I wish I would have come across this book before I had my children.
would love to win this book!
great idea to share such healthy recipes for mothers!
Interesting and good giveaway, I am expecting my third baby at the end of this month, but I think it will be sooner than that!
totally believe in this concept. i felt abandoned in many respects after giving birth and believe women so need this type of support.
yum hope to win
This looks absolutely wonderful! I lovedhow the women and mothers on Maui took care of me when I had my baby there. Just starting to form a community here in Seattle. I know several expectant moms.
Sounds like a wonderful book. I’ve got a mama group, and some of us are starting to think about #2. This book would give us some great ideas on how to take care of each other.
It is great to read about ways to support mothers.
This looks like a great cookbook. Thanks for sharing.
Wow- I’m really looking forward to reading this!
This is as very interesting approach – I currently have a five week old sleeping on my chest and wish I had read this before delivery!
This looks amazing. Simple yet super healthy. Can’t wait to try it.
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I posted on Pinterest
This sounds like a lovely book to have. We’re moving away from family and so won’t have my Chinese grandmother around to make these types of nourishing foods for me when our 2nd comes along.
What a lovely, eye-opening and supportive post … thank you.
I would love to win this! I’m so intrigued by this book. My Asian mom often indulges us with food like this soup. Good luck to all!
what a great recipe!
If c-section, replace chicken with pork
This soup sounds very nourishing for new moms as well as women in general. A must try in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing!
This sounds interesting-every mom should have these recipes
Wow! I wish I knew about this book with my first child!
This cookbook sounds so interesting and delicious!
In my younger days, I use to make fun of some of my Asian ancestors’ practices but I have always embraced the nutritional offerings. This Grandma has been looking for a recipe which will boost Grandpa’s immune system an this “fits the bill” – sounds like a wonderful publication as it falls in line with the newest western craze of “bone broth”
This sounds like an amazing tradition and great book!
sounds like a wonderful book!
My mom, who is Korean, always made seaweed soup and pumpkin juice after the birth of my two children. That soup sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for posting!
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Thanks for the opportunity to win!
What a wonderful give away! Thank you for the opportunity.
This soup sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try it.
Beautiful story. This inspires me to keep up meal calendars for my new Mommy friends.
What a beautiful book and tradition!
Can you substitute medjool or other dates for Chinese red dates?
Yum! Will be trying this recipe. Would love a chance to own the book as well.
My whole family, including two toddlers, loved this soup!
Having just delivered my last of three children, I’ve never valued these traditions as much as I do now. My mother and mother-in-law from the time I was in the hospital till I came home, my fridge had a constant supply of ginger chicken broth that I would drink throughout the day. Thank you for touching on this chicken soup tradition of healing the soul. We tend to forget about the moms once baby arrives!
I would really like to read this!
I’m expecting my second baby in November and would love to have this book!
What a lovely giveaway! Thank you for such a great opportunity to win this fabulous book!
Wow!! I can’t wait to make this great recipe.
Wow, I’m expecting my 2nd baby and I wish I had known some of this for my 1st. I’d love to win this book!
My sister is having her first baby in August. I would love to provide her a copy of this book and help her in the first few postpartum weeks while I am still visiting where she lives. Thanks for sharing!
I shared the giveaway here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/403283341614709896/
This book would be a treasure which I would cherish. Creating lovely appetizing coups and meals is wonderful. Thanks.
This recipe looks so delicious and the book sounds great!
The soup looks great. Looking forward to giving it a try. The book sounds very interesting. Thank you for the recipe an chance at winning the book.
I’m an acupuncturist and this book would be amazing to have to help new mothers in my practice recover after giving birth.
Never thought of using dates like this!! I have to try this.
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