"No fruits and vegetables."
Some mothers avoid eating all fruits and vegetables during the confinement period. This ritual is most likely a misguided attempt to avoid food that has 'cooling/cold' properties under the Chinese dietary framework.
It is true that 'cooling/cold' fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber are best avoided during the confinement period. However, this does not mean fruits and vegetables are to be avoided altogether. There are a number of non-cooling fruits and vegetables to choose from, such as grapes, plums, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. These alternatives are easily accessible in Australia, and are considered 'neutral' in thermal properties under the Chinese dietary framework.
The total avoidance of fruits and vegetables actually works against the benefits of the mother. In Western medicine's perspectives, a lack of dietary fibre will lead to constipation along with its associated discomforts and complications. Chinese medicine believes in a balanced consumption of meat, vegetables (including fruits) and grains in each meal. Chinese medicine does not endorse the total avoidance of fruits and vegetables during confinement.
Confinement Care recommends a diet that has a balanced inclusion of fruits and vegetables. As the consumption of protein increases during confinement, so should the amount of fruits and vegetables.
Try to vary your use of fruits and vegetables in each meal, and include fresh ingredients of different colours. The mix of colours will not only brighten your meal, you will also benefit from the bigger variety of nutrients they contain.
During confinement, it is wise to chose fruits and vegetables with neutral or warm properties, such as peaches, pumpkins, leek, and corn. You can also add warmth to the properties of your dishes by including ginger, garlic or onion in your cooking.
Cooking makes your food easier to digest, and easier for your body to absorb. Therefore, mothers should eat more cooked vegetables, rather than cold salads.
When it comes to fruits, keep a basket of fresh fruits on the kitchen bench, so you are not eating them cold out of the fridge.
Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables are vital to the well being of mothers throughout her whole life, including the confinement period. So, remember to include fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables in their cooked form, in your confinement diet.