As many mama will agree, you don’t experience real hunger until you carry a baby inside your belly! Through my experience of bearing and breastfeeding my one year old son, I believe that the eating habits of mamas are simply an amplified action of womanhood. Our intuitive nature is the greatest gift and oftentimes our physical body is the greatest prescriber. After pregnancy, the ancient ingrained technique of healthy cravings is in the best interest for baby through mama’s milk.
With August being Breastfeeding Awareness month, fennel came to mind as a lactation nourishing food. It is commonly found in milk-brining teas and has been passed down as an effective remedy for centuries.
According to Wise Woman’s Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan S. Weed, fennel seed tea, as well as promoting breastmilk, helps prevent morning sickness and heartburn during pregnancy. It eases digestion and can also relieve colic in a newborn (either through the breastmilk after mama drinks tea or baby can sip warm tea directly). It should not be used in excess as a herbal tincture supplement because it can suppress appetite (not good for those eating for 2). Therefore, it makes sense to me to incorporate fennel into the breastfeeding-mother’s food.
The entire fennel plant can be eaten and is a nice mild substitute for onions in salads, soups, stir-fries, etc. I recently ate some fennel cooked directly on the Kiawe Grill served with fish, which was delicious! The following recipe, by my mama from Heart of Raw Food, uses a whole raw fennel and is a refreshing salad for hot summer days. It includes healthy fat from the macadamia nuts and enhances hormonal balance and fertility from the maca powder.
Image Credit: Guri Bigham