Tag Archive for: nutrition

Postpartum Congee Recipe

Postpartum Chicken Congee Recipe

Postpartum nutrition is an extremely important part of the mother’s recovery and can be as nourishing and healing as it is delicious.

Qin Zhu, L. Ac. shared another traditional recipe that can be helpful for new mothers.

Why postpartum nutrition is so important:

  • It takes 9 months to grow a baby, after which the body is tired.
  • Labor is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. It is important to take the time to heal.
  • Decreased micronutrient stores can increase the risk of postpartum depression.
  • Breastfeeding can place high energetic and nutritional demands on the body.

How you nourish your body in the postpartum period is important, not just for your own health, but also in order to help your baby grow strong and healthy. A healthy postpartum eating plan should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats.

4 secrets of healing postpartum food, according to East Asian Medicine

  1. Eat warm and digestible foods. Soups, congee and stews make great postpartum meals.
  2. Eat a nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory diet. Think colorful produce, healthy proteins, fats, and certain grains. Try to include different colors in one meal, for example, green leafy vegetables, yellow bell peppers, carrots, red iron-rich protein and brown rice.
  3. Eat collagen-rich foods to support tissue repair. Collagen is a super nutrient for rebuilding tissues, collagen-rich food includes bone broth, skin-on chicken, skin-on sardines or Salmon. Don’t forget about adding some berries and aloe vera juice to your diet too. They help your body build collagens.
  4. Hydrate often. For breastfeeding mothers, 10 to 15 glasses of water a day are required to quench thirst and produce enough breast milk. Plus, the more fluids you consume, the faster your body can rebuild and regenerate.

Below is a traditional recipe for chicken congee.

This rice soup is ideal for new mothers because it includes ingredients that nourish and support the energy of the body. Try to drink this soup at least once a week for the 8 weeks following birth. It is easy to make a large batch and freeze individual portions.


  • 1 cup rice (½ of brown rice and ½ of white rice)
  • 4 cups chicken bone broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup carrot or broccoli
  • 1 skin-on chicken breast
  • Sesame oil, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Black sesame seeds, to taste


  1. Place rice, bone broth and water into a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer, for 1-2 hours or until rice takes on a consistency of congee. Stir every now and then, adding a bit of extra water if the rice becomes dry.
  2. Cut carrots or broccoli into 1 inch pieces and throw into the congee and boil for another 20 to 30 mins or till the vegetables become soft.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pat chicken breast dry, then season with a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil. Place in a roasting dish and bake for 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the juices run clear. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
  4. Season the congee lightly with salt, pepper and sesame oil.
  5. Serve each bowl with a generous handful of shredded chicken, a few sprigs of cilantro
  6. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds on top for taste. Black sesame seeds nourish the reproductive system, build blood for postpartum recovery, and boost milk supply.

Chinese nutritional principles herbs can be very effective in the treatment of postpartum recovery.

If you would like to know more about how acupuncture and herbs can be helpful for you, give us a call for a free 15-min consultation!

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Nutrition for IVF | Acupuncture and IVF San Jose

Nutrition for IVF

3 Nutrition Goals when Pursuing IVF

Prior to and during an IVF cycle, there are 3 major goals when it comes to nutrition.

  • Replenish with key nutrients
  • Support stable blood sugar
  • Reduce inflammation

Attention to nutrition offers best possible IVF outcomes due to the impact on egg quality, sperm health, uterine lining, hormone signaling and more. The benefits impact you beyond IVF. You also maintain mom’s future health throughout pregnancy and postpartum, and lay the foundation for a healthy baby.

It’s a great idea to be conscientious about your nutrition at least 3 months before starting fertility medications. Then throughout the IVF cycle, each of the 3 nutrition goals must be addressed: replenish key nutrients; support stable blood sugar; and reduce inflammation.

Replenish with key nutrients

In the weeks leading up to egg retrieval, replenishing key nutrients tops the list of the 3 nutrition goals. While a good-quality prenatal supplement is a good idea, also focus on nutrients from fresh food.

Amp up your diet by including:

  1. A wide diversity of vegetables helps to ensure you’re getting a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to prepare your body for the nutrient-intensive journey to come. Make it a goal to incorporate dark leafy greens and seasonal produce every day.
  2. Omega-3 fats from cold-water fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring), oysters, flaxseeds, chia seeds and pastured eggs.

Some key nutrients come from animal sources, so if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, we suggest seeking the support of a nutritionist.

Reduce inflammation

Leading up to and through transfer is the time to place extra attention on reducing inflammation in the body. Excess, chronic inflammation leads to high output of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol disrupts hormone balance, egg maturation, as well as implantation.

In addition to actively incorporating a diversity of seasonal vegetables and sources of omega-3 fats:

  1. Avoid processed and fried food as much as possible. Packaged food is an unfortunate source of chemical additives and industrial vegetable oils, and fried food also delivers a dose oftrans fats. Cooking at home or selective sourcing of meals is the best way to avoid these inflammatory ingredients.
  2. Reduce refined sugar. Excess sugar is known to be inflammatory for anyone, and not only problematic for those with metabolic conditions like PCOS or diabetes. Instead, experiment with including a portion of sweet whole foods into your meals. For example, sweet potato, beets, carrots, butternut squash and seasonal fruit.
  3. Reduce gluten and dairy. They’re known to be inflammatory for many, and while you may not need to remove them entirely, you can benefit from minimizing them on your plate. For example, instead of a sandwich, toss the same fixings on a bed of quinoa and leafy greens. If you had cheese on the sandwich, add vitamin and mineral-rich avocado instead.

Support stable blood sugar

Blood sugar that stays relatively stable throughout the day is optimal for health, especially during an IVF cycle. Otherwise, extreme dips and spikes in blood sugar negatively affect IVF outcomes, in part due the impact on hormone balance and inflammation which have implications on egg quality and implantation.

A couple key principals do wonders to help keep blood sugar relatively stable: 

  1. Eat regular meals. An IVF cycle is not the time to skip meals. Rather, have breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up or soon after morning physical activity. Eat a satiating meal midday and again in the evening at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. If there’s longer than 6 hours between meals, be sure to have a snack as well.
  2. Fill your plate with PFF, that’s protein, healthy fats and fiber. These combine to slow the impact of higher-glycemic foods on your blood sugar. Protein can come from animal or plant sources. Healthy fats include avocado, olives, coconut, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and organic dairy. For fiber, think about adding a plant, especially a vegetable to your plate. Each time you eat, do a check for PFF.

Bonnie Burgess - Burgess WellnessIf you are interested in nutrition support for IVF, but have more questions, we encourage you to reach out for a free consultation with Bonnie at Burgess Wellness. Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, and a trusted partner of Lokahi Acupuncture.


Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health and fertility including patients undergoing ART. She uses a “food first” approach to determine individual nutritional needs coupled with lifestyle modifications and possible nutrient supplementation. Bonnie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she serves an international client base through a 100% virtual consultancy at Burgess Wellness.