Hello, Autumn, you beautiful season.
Your vibrant colors and warm days and crisp evenings with a promise of cooler temperatures to come hang heavy in the air.
And so does the promise of seasonal sickness.
As soon as the first fall snap whips us in the bums, the first sickness of the season starts seeping into our schools and homes. It’s suddenly everywhere. There are a multitude of ways we can boost our immune systems, but one time-tested method to supporting our bodies before, during, and after illness is with FOOD. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, nothing you have to special order or sign up for.
My favorite way to keep my body in good health during the colder months is with warm smoothies. Yes, you can call it “soup”. But I like the savory warmth of this first thing in the morning, and calling it a smoothie helps me accept it as a breakfast food, even though it is not a traditional way to start the day.
When I was responsible for producing milk and feeding my son exclusively, green vegetables and healthy fat gave me a great boost, especially on days when I was away from him. I also noticed my body was more resistant to colds and sickness when I consistently gave it good fuel. I’m not saying this is a cure, but when I cut out sugar and start my day with a blast of healthy, real, whole foods, sickness skips me. Or at the very least, it doesn’t stick around for long. Considering I can make it quickly and I don’t have to use any real precision with measuring ingredients, this is ideal for my morning routine.
Adding a few leaves of fresh basil not only adds flavor, but can contribute to increased supply if that’s something you need.
One small handful of the following:
- sliced, frozen carrots
- frozen green beans
- frozen peas
- chopped zucchini (I use frozen for the sake of convenience, but fresh is also okay.)
- 1 cup water or broth
- 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or other fat
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 leaves of basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small sauce pan, combine water or broth, and all the veggies except the spinach and basil. Cook on high until veggies are bright green and tender (about 7 minutes).
- Transfer cooked veggies and broth to blender. Remove center circular piece on the blender lid. (*This is VERY IMPORTANT.). Cover the blender pitcher with the lid, and cover hole with a kitchen wash cloth to prevent splattering and burns from hot liquid.
- Blend on high, adding basil, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar as it blends.
- As soon as the soup is smooth and well blended, pour into your favorite mug and sip away!
This stays good for a day or two in the refrigerator. You can also add other veggies like broccoli or swiss chard. You can get creative. But this is a great base with a ton of flavor, great vegetable based protein and fat, and gives your body the fuel you need to keep going.
*Blending hot liquid with a tight-fitting lid can cause heat and pressure to build up and blow the lid off the blender. You have to leave a way for heat to escape safely, otherwise you risk burning yourself. I fold up the kitchen cloth and hold it lightly but securely over the small opening in the lid when I start the blender. I remove the cloth when the liquid stops splashing up the sides (usually within the first 5 seconds). BE SAFE.
*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.