Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.
Ayurvedic medicine sees healthy fats as an important addition to a postpartum diet. Not only are they essential to hormone health, but they also play a role in fat loss and the rebuilding of depleted tissues. And that’s just the beginning.
During the postpartum sacred window, new mothers are trying to find balance in many different areas. Healthy good quality fats help balance many of the imbalances that arise. Using fats especially in their oily, warm, liquid form can bring great healing to a new mother.
Let’s start by looking at the wonderful healing qualities of healthy fats according to the Sacred Window School founder Ysha Oakes:
“Fats serve many roles, including soothing roughened and depleted tissues, as a carrier of nourishment through the lipid based cell walls with which to feed your rebuilding processes, to create healthy cell walls (along with any sulphur-bearing proteins like fresh cheeses), hormone production, to assist in the gentle ushering out of impurities, to help alkalize acidic wastes, as usher for outward bound impurities, and to make cholesterol out of which to build hormones.” (Touching Heaven Vol. 1, p. 37)
Ysha recommends incorporating fats during postpartum more than one normally would because they also assist with lactation and weight loss, two things many new mothers end up thinking a lot about. Postpartum depression is another frequent concern among new mothers — and according to Ayurveda, fats can also assist with that. Low levels of lipids (fats) in the blood usually show up when hormone levels are low and signs of depression are present. Increasing fat intake postpartum can keep hormone levels balanced and lead to a happier mood.
Ayurvedic postpartum care wisdom recommends that immediately after birth through the first two weeks, mothers be given 2-3 tablespoons of ghee per meal.
However, there are some contraindications for this guideline. Mothers who have had a cesarean birth should consume minimal amounts of fats until their incision is healed. Mothers who live in a Kapha-like climate (damp cool/damp warm) will also need less fats. Also it is important to note that mothers with gallbladder or liver issues should consult with their doctor or an Ayurvedic practitioner on the correct amount of fats to consume during their sacred window.
For success in healing with fats, follow these key principles:
- There is a difference between healthy fats and unhealthy ones. It’s important to stick to the healthy ones. These are the “monounsaturated” and polyunsaturated” kind of fats. Or simply stick to the suggestions below.
- Choose organic products free of environmental toxins.
- Gentle cooking with slow heat will preserve the healing qualities of these fats.
Here are 3 Wonderful Fats to Consume during The Sacred Window:
Also known as clarified butter, ghee is rejuvenating, soothing, integrating, ignites agni, and enhances nutritional and healing properties of foods and herbs warmed in it. Ghee absorbs acidity and so is alkalizing. Another great healing property of ghee is it washes wastes out of deep tissues into the channels for elimination.
Tip: Make “panchakola ghee” from Touching Heaven’s recipe book to add to soups, porridges, or to take in hot water. This is a simple ghee infusion made with five spices: ginger, black pepper, pippali, chitrak, and tulsi.
2. SESAME OIL
The default best for most mother and baby massage unless prone to rash. Second to ghee, it is also good for cooking, being gently warming, mildly astringent, antiseptic and antibacterial. In congestive conditions, sesame oil is preferred over ghee since it is gently warming and lighter for kapha types.
Tip: Roast some kale with 2-4 tablespoons of dark toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
3. COCONUT OIL
A cooling oil, great for cooking. To balance agni, season your coconut-oil-infused dishes well. It is mildly antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.
Tip: Replace ghee with coconut oil for a vegan-friendly variation of many postpartum recipes.
Food Feature compliments of
Yoga Teacher, Blog Contributor
Danielle Kramer is passionate about self care, holistic health, and the magic of intuitive living. With over a decade of experience in the yoga industry, 1,000+ hours of training in various styles of yoga, she holds a Masters of Arts in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University, is a certified massage therapist, and health coach. Danielle is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Postpartum Caregiver Program and lives in Venice, CA with her husband. She is brand new mama to a beautiful baby girl.