Lately, there have been pregnancy announcements, births and newborns growing around us. Just yesterday, I did a newborn lifestyle photoshoot for friends as I cooed over their little boy! It’s been making me reminisce joyfully about my early postpartum days and all the things I treasured. I thought I’d share some things that I have been asked as of late while I can remember!
When you say K-Pop or K-Drama, everyone now knows what that is. When I first moved to England, many people didn’t know much about Koreans let alone K-Pop! I was once asked in London, ‘What are you?’ They tried guessing my heritage by asking if I was Filipino, Chinese, Thai…until they gave up. I said I was Korean and I kid you not, their response was, ‘What’s that?’ Thanks to K-Pop and K-drama, some are just beginning to learn about Korean culture and I am now greeted with excited gasps and phrases said in their best attempts at Korean.
One of the questions I get asked most about is Korean Cuisine. People left and right ask me how to make a certain dish. Honestly, I’m quite surprised because there is Google, but I don’t mention it because I am honoured to be considered on par. So when it comes to postpartum mom life, ofcourse I’ll share on one of our most prized foods. For centuries, Korean moms have been eating this one soup day after day after giving birth to their precious babies. Some eat this one soup alone for…get ready for it…1 WHOLE MONTH! Yes, I’m not sure I can think of anything I do well for my health for one month. So did I do this too?? Believe it or not, I almost kept to the one month rule except I also added other soups to my postpartum diet.
So what is this dish and why are Korean moms stocking their whole fridge with it? It is called Me Yuhk Gook [미역국] aka Seaweed Soup. It is packed with iron and known for its healing and restoring properties. This is great after losing all that blood during labour. Oh, I hope you knew about that part. It is also believed to aid in increasing breastmilk supply. No wonder Korean mamas are eating this literally by the pot after child-birth. Many put sesame oil in it and in Chinese culture, this is believed to aid in shrinking that uterus back! Not that we would see it! I have heard somewhere (don’t quote me on this) that it’s great at removing toxins from our body as well!
While I always knew it was a traditional Korean birthday meal (with a healthy scoop of rice), I recently learned it is to honour your mom who would’ve eaten this after birth. I think it’s a beautiful tradition, but also something that my Korean-American family rarely kept! It is my mom’s favourite soup and to this day, every single time I have it, it warms my heart because I think of her. I hate that we live so far away from each other! I miss her so much! While my husband makes it great, there’s nothing like my mom’s Me Yuhk Gook.
Believe it or not, one of the initial things I asked my husband to do after moving to England was,’ Who is going to cook Me Yuhk Gook when we have a baby and where the heck am I going to get seaweed in this country?’ Obviously, this was before I knew about England’s K-town, New Malden. Thankfully, my thoughtful husband remembered this and when we got pregnant, he asked me to teach him how to make it. (Thankful for his heart) He actually makes it better than me now somehow! Additionally, my mom was able to fly out for almost 2 weeks to be with us and it was such a beautiful and deeply meaningful meal to have with her. It was like I always imagined it to be. Because I breast fed, I believe little one got to have my mom’s cooking too!
This is also something I have been eating after my Laparoscopic Myomectomy. This time, without my lovely mom. I knew my husband would be busy with our toddler so I decided I would make a huge batch before surgery and had plenty stocked up in the fridge and freezer.
What do you think, would you want to try this soup for one whole month postpartum? If I have a lot of interest, I’ll post my recipe! As much interest Korean cuisine has gained, I’m not sure how well known this would be.
What’s your favourite healthy post-birth meal? I’d love to know why!