In Ancient Map for Modern Birth, Pam England writes of the importance of “Nourishing the Life Within” with tasty, satisfying, and nutritious food. In this series, we tap chefs, nutritionists, postpartum doulas, and other kitchenistas for their favorite ideas for: pregnant and postpartum parents…sleep deprived doulas, midwives, and nurses…and anyone whose inner spirit is in need of the emotional and physical boost that a delicious home-cooked meal provides.*
Today’s recipe is brought to us by Kaeleigh Terrill, New York City birth and postpartum doula, lactation counselor, herbalist, and host of The Wild Womb, a lovely, inquisitive birth-centric podcast. (She did an episode about Birthing From Within in April 2018.) Kaeleigh’s Vegan Nourishing Herbal Broth and Golden Curry Lentil Stew have some similarities to the previous recipe in this series, with two significant differences. First, the broth draws upon her studies in herbalism, and includes powerful tonic herbs such as the nettle pictured above. (You can click on each herb in the recipe to learn more about its potential health benefits.) Second, the entire recipe is VEGAN! Yay!
Kaeleigh says, “This recipe is full of mineral- and vitamin-rich herbs and adaptogens to help the body heal and manage the stress of it all. It is truly cozy in a bowl.”
Vegan Nourishing Herbal Broth
yields approximately 32 ounces
In NYC, I recommend Flower Power in the East Village for herbs; if you live elsewhere, consider seeking out an independently-owned herb shop in your own community, or purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs online.
3 pieces kombu (medium strips, about 1-2 inches wide and 6 inches long)
1/4 cup miso paste
1 whole onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, loosely chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
vegetable scraps (optional)
1 tablespoon turmeric
ground white pepper to taste
In a large pot or slow cooker add all ingredients and cover with water. Leave on low heat for a minimum of six hours — though the longer the better. I often cook this for up to 24 hours, which is why I prefer a slow cooker – it’s safer than the stovetop for such long cooking times. Add water if needed as it cooks. When finished, strain the broth. (Compost the scraps if possible!) The reishi can be saved and tinctured, or used once more in a second batch of broth. Reishi is a wonderful adaptogenic mushroom with immune boosting qualities, a true superfood.
Golden Curry Lentil Stew
yields approximately 6 servings
1 onion, diced
2 inch piece ginger, grated
5 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups split red lentils
13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk
1 bunch finely chopped kale (or more or less, according to preference)
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
5 cups broth
salt and black pepper to taste
Saute onion, ginger, celery, mustard seeds, and cumin in olive oil until the onions are slightly browned and the seeds start popping and become fragrant. Add carrots and about 1 cup of the broth. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften but are still snappy. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, lentils, coconut milk, and remaining broth. Stir to combine and begin adding the rest of the spices to taste. Let cook on low-medium heat for at least 45 minutes, until lentils are breaking down and stew is thickening. Add kale and lemon. Combine and continue cooking until the kale has softened. The stew tastes better the longer it cooks, because the flavors can really meld together. To finish, add salt and pepper to taste. I like to serve this stew with a variety of toppings — coconut yogurt or cream, kimchi, fresh cilantro, more lemon, toasted nuts and seeds. Be creative!
About Kaeleigh Terrill
I began cooking meals for new parents as a postpartum doula focusing on food as medicine and nourishment for the healing body. Plants are powerful and have the ability to nourish us so deeply. I practice herbal medicine for my own health and love to bring its joys to others! In my work, I help people reconnect to their bodies’ needs and learn how to use plants for empowerment. I focus on infusions and plant-based meals that are simple to prepare for those with limited time and energy. I think we should all be drinking nettles every day, and there is no such thing as too many greens! I currently exist as a birth worker, herbalist, and reproductive health educator. You can learn more about me and my work at wild-womb-doula.com.
* Statements in our recipe and nutrition posts may be unevaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your medical caregiver about specific health conditions and concerns.
Birthing From Within is blessed to have a team of bloggers that includes childbirth educators, doulas, and birth story listeners who, in addition to being deep thinkers and skilled writers, are dedicated to the amplification of the BFW mission and philosophy. Birthing From Within is a collective creation, always evolving to reflect the new layers of understanding and unique approaches to the childbirth experience. Our goal is to change the conversation about birth in our culture, and to uphold the possibility of growth and transformation for birth professionals and birthing people.