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Postpartum Recovery With Mum Of Three Shelley Mckenzie

In our recent event, 'Nutrition: Back To Basics' with Nutritionist, Naturopath, and Founder of Freedom Wellness Shelley Mckenzie, mentioned how controlling and optimising Nutrition can change through motherhood.

Shelley just welcomed her third child into the world a few weeks ago, and as a young mum with a nutrition background, we thought, who better to ask some postpartum nutrition questions?

Postpartum recovery is so so important to me. It’s something I start working on during my 3rd trimester in order to set myself up for not only the best birth outcomes (hopefully) but also how I heal post-birth. Once we give birth, we have a tiny human depending on us every minute of the day, and if you have other kids thrown into the mix, that’s just another ball game!

You've just had a child; how are you managing your Nutrition now?

I am looking for quick and easy options. So, lots of smoothies full of fruits, vegetables, good fats and my postnatal supplements. Omelettes are also a go-to and often something I cook for the next day when I am making dinner. I try to eat small meals regularly and am utilising the slow cooker and eating lots of warm and hearty foods. Stews, soups, curries, etc bring warmth to the body and assist in healing. These also provide leftovers which is amazing. These sorts of hearty meals are also an easy way to get in bone broths daily, which is infused with collagen and helps to heal wounds, rebuild tissue of the uterus, and help strengthen abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

What's your go-to feel-good meal?

A smoothie. I find this such an easy way to get in many of my vitamins and minerals for the day. I like to add 1 cup of vegetables (cauliflower, spinach, zucchini), 1 cup of fruits (pineapple, mango, banana), avocado, protein powder and my supplements.

You mentioned in our recent event that you've tried many different 'diets'- have any of these stayed with you over the years?

No, I now try to listen to my body, and I will take elements of these diets and add them in when needed. I think most diets and ways of eating only last for so long and only offer results for a period of time. That is why listening to your body and its cues is so important.

What would be your top nutrition tip for someone feeling tired and fatigued?  

Add more good fats to your diet. Good fats help stabilise our blood sugar level, which helps if you are experiencing energy fluctuations throughout your day. I like to add one source of fat to breakfast—three sources for lunch and one at dinner time.

Being a new mother can often be exhausting. Do you have any food prep tips that have helped you stay on top of your Nutrition?

On a Sunday, we always plan our meals for the week. We write down our dinners and then shop for enough ingredients for dinners and leftovers for lunch. We then go to the market and get everything we need, which saves going to the shops more than once a week.

If the week is looking busy, I will make some easy meals that I can put in the freezer and pull out on the day (curry, butter chicken, pasta, risotto, etc.) If I am making the meals as we go. I at least chop up all the meat and put it in zip lock bags before freezing. This means I only must chop the veggies, and it saves a bit of washing up. I also always have ingredients chopped up and frozen in zip lock bags for smoothies. Then all I have to do is grab the bag, put the ingredients into the blender and add water. This ensures I am not skipping meals if I am short of time for breakfast or lunches. I blend and take on the run with me.

In the postpartum period, women often experience a lot of cravings, particularly sugar cravings. Do you have any effective ways to manage these cravings without overloading with sweets?

Yeah, often, this is because we are sleep deprived and stressed. I don't believe in deprivation. Instead, I like to look for healthier choices. If chocolate is your craving, try and switch to Lindt 85% dark chocolate. This is full of magnesium and low in sugar, and being dark chocolate, usually, two squares will satisfy the craving. If you crave ice cream, a healthy alternative would be Denada sugar-free ice cream from the supermarket. If it is lollies, go for the Sunday Sweets. All these things satisfy the cravings, and the less sugar we have over time, the more our taste buds change and the less we will want.

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