This is a continuation of our conversations regarding the Chinese Postpartum Diet and cultural ideas on post birth recovery. This is fascinating in that it provides ideas, recipes, and nutrition from a different perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
WHAT IS CHINESE CONFINEMENT?
The term 坐月子 (zuo yue zi) or literally translated to “Sitting The Moon” means to allow postpartum mom to do nothing but to “sit” (rest) recover for one month after delivery. This practice has been around for thousands of years and it is still being practiced by most Chinese. It is called “Zuo Yue Zi”, literally translated as “sit for one month”. The post-partum mom will stay at home for at least 30 days or longer to rest and recover from major trauma to her body. Many believe that this is one of the most important periods when the mother must let her body recover in a proper way and nourished with confinement meals or she will have many ailments or weaker body.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CHINESE CONFINEMENT?
1. To allow postpartum mom to fully rest and bond with the baby
2. As the reproductive organs are undergoing some changes after giving birth, confinement allows recovery
3. The confinement food menu also tailored to help accelerate the mother’s recovery from her “weakened” body. This special diet is made up of confinement foods targeted towards specific functions like dispelling “wind” from the body, quelling heatiness, boosting blood circulation, increase mom’s milk supply, revitalizing strength, etc.
4. To prevent postnatal hair loss, backaches, rheumatism, premature again, and other ailments associated with post-delivery.
HOW LONG IS CONFINEMENT PERIOD?
Confinement period usually is done for 30 days but my mom said it’s not unusual to go as long as 40 days.
HOW TO DO CONFINEMENT?
The postpartum mom usually does not do the cooking during the confinement period. In my case, I was lucky enough to have my mom with me as my “confinement lady” . Many women have either their mom or mom-in-law to help them out during the confinement period. It’s not uncommon as well to hire a “confinement lady”. The confinement lady will cook, take care of the baby, take care of the mom, and help you transition into motherhood with your baby (isn’t it awesome?). In western cultures doulas fulfill the role of “confinement women”. Doulas will come into your home for up to twelve hours shifts for the express purpose of serving you as you recover. They are specially trained to help you learn to care for yourself and your baby.
CAMBODIAN PORK OMELETTE (PONG MOUAN SNOL)
- 2 T. + 1 t. cooking oil
- 1 small onion – peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 T. preserved cabbage (roughly chopped) – I sub with preserved mustard greens
- 1/2 lb ground pork/turkey
- 1 T. sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. fish sauce (this has a very strong odor. You may wish to omit)
- 6 large eggs + 1 t. soy sauce – beaten
- Fresh cilantro sprigs
- Preheat the cooking oil on a large (about 12″) non-stick skillet. Add in the onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add in the preserved cabbage/mustard, saute for another 1 minute. Add in the ground meat and use your spatula to break it up. Add in sugar, salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir to mix everything and cook until the pork is no longer pink and cooked through.
- In the same skillet, add in 1 t. cooking oil. Swirl the oil to coat the pan. Add the eggs and tilt the pan so the eggs cover the surface of the pan. Once the egg is cooked spread the meat mixture on half of the cooked egg, fold over and sprinkle scallion on top. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side until the bottom is set and golden brown. Turn it over and let it cook for another minute. Carefully and gently remove from the skillet into a serving platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves