Digital & In Person Meal Trains

A meal-train is a scheduling tool that allows friends and family to sign up and deliver food to you. This is an extremely helpful resource during postpartum and I highly recommend setting one up. For me, having clear and strong boundaries was really important during my postpartum period, while also being open to support. You can read more about how I set boundaries, and what boundaries I set, in Chapter Three. For me, the combination of boundary setting with my meal train setup was vital.

In some moments I felt like, ‘wow, this is too much to ask of people’ because I had a lot of boundaries and food restrictions.  When that feeling crept up, I reminded myself that the people who didn’t think it was too much would be there to lovingly help and, in fact, would love to know exactly what I wanted and needed. I recentered myself and focused on the vision of what my most ideal support looked like. I allowed myself to really dive deep into what the most pleasurable support would be. If you aren’t clear about what your most ideal support looks like, I recommend taking some time to journal and reflect.

When we created our meal train, I included a PDF (which grew into this book) of my favorite recipes along with our usual shopping list. I let our community know that if they didn’t have time to cook a meal, even picking up some groceries would be a huge help - and it was!

Digital Meal Train:

Along with our meal train for our local community, we also decided to create an online meal train. Daren and I have lived many places throughout our relationship which has left us with dear friends all around the country and world. So many people wanted to be a part of our support team after Daelu was born and really, we needed all the help we could get!

Our digital meal train was focused on helping us keep our pantry stocked. For this, we simply created an Amazon Wish List with all of our ideal pantry items and I can’t begin to express how important and helpful this was! We still have food from our digital meal train 3 months later! And we were able to receive items that we otherwise wouldn’t have invested in - because, you know, having a kid is expensive. At one point we had 6, SIX, jars of our favorite cashew butter! A spoonful of that nut butter was the perfect fuel between meals and kept me from getting depleted many times.

Setting Up Your Meal Trains:

There are lots of websites that offer easy meal train set up. We used, but if you give a quick search online, you’ll find lots of options. Using an online scheduling service is a great way to make meal delivery & dietary instructions accessible and easy to understand.

Another option is to appoint a point of contact. After being hospitalized, our friend Amber stepped in as a point of contact for us. All of the folks who wanted to help us, bring us food, offer cleaning support, or any other gift, contacted Amber to set up delivery. Plus she was able to keep everyone updated throughout my time in hospital so Daren & I could focus fully on healing & parenting.

Amber put out a request call to the group anytime we needed something and was able to pull in resources from those who had space to give. She brought us meals at the hospital and filled our fridge & freezer for when we returned with food from our friends.  At a time when we didn’t have much energy to write emails or texts, when we couldn’t keep track of who knew what, Amber’s support made a massive difference.

Before going into labor, it’s a great idea to consider who your point of contact would be if anything were to happen.  

Here are some things to consider before asking your ideal point of contact:

  • Do you feel safe with this person?

  • Is this person reliable/punctual?

  • Do you feel comfortable being vulnerable with this person?

  • Can this person listen deeply without offering unsolicited advice?

  • Would this person respond well to your boundaries/needs in the moment?

  • Do you feel comfortable being naked in front of this person? (you never know what situation you might find yourself in or who might see what if it’s an emergency)

  • Would you feel comfortable with this person in your home when you’re not there

Have a chat with your ideal point of contact before going into labor and ask if they would be available to hold this space for you if anything were to happen.

Sending Out Your Meal Trains:

Before going into labor I made sure everything was prepped and ready for my meal train. I wrote out the emails for both our local community and our community at large, added all the links & documents, compiled all the email addresses, and saved it as a draft. When Daelu was born, Daren added the relevant information that we couldn’t prep ahead (like birthdate, weight, length, etc.) and sent it off to our community.

We waited to send the meal train info until it was time to make the birth announcement to ensure that meals would be delivered during postpartum.  If we had sent it out ahead of time with our ‘guess date’ (how I refered to my ‘due date’ because all due dates are really just guesses), there’s a chance some meals would’ve arrived while I was still pregnant. Daelu came early (49w5d) so we would’ve been okay, but for mamas that may go 2-3 weeks past their guess dates, I imagine receiving meals early would be a bummer. Yes, it’s helpful during late pregnancy, but I found it meal support to be vital during postpartum.

Meal & Pantry Prepping

During postpartum we did a combination of pre-made meals, mealtrain meals, and pre-prepped meals. Now that we’re on the other side of postpartum, we still rely on pre-prepped staples.

How We Prep:

Rather than making a bunch of meals ahead of time, we usually opt for chopping up our staple ingredients for easy & quick cooking. During postpartum we did make a lot of bone broth, some soups, and some stews for the freezer. Since we don’t have a ton of freezer space though, we wouldn’t stock up for the full 6 weeks.

Our weekly prep looks like this:

  • Cut 2-4 bundles of dark leafy greens into thin ribbons

  • Thinly chop a handful of sweet potatoes

  • Cut carrots into chunks & wedges - stored separately

  • Shred 1 head of cabbage

  • Chop mushrooms

  • Roast 1-2 squash

  • Roast 2 heads of garlic

  • Roast a few sweet potatoes

  • Dice 2 onions

  • Jar of homemade sauerkraut

We also always have bone broth on hand and usually roast a chicken and crock-pot some shredded beef. After Daelu’s digestive system settled in we also added 1 head of broccoli & 1 head of cauliflower to the prep list. We just de-stem and roughly chop them.

From this combination of prepped vegetables we can easily make things like pureed squash soup, morning bowls of sweet potatoes with leafy greens & eggs, steamed cauliflower, or sauteed carrots & broccoli. We also have carrot wedges for quick  snacking.

We also keep a well stocked pantry full of our favorite items which allows our cooking to flow effortlessly.

This is what you can always find in our pantry:

  • Black Vinegar

  • Black Sesame Seeds

  • Sesame Oil

  • Coconut Oil

  • Trace Minerals

  • Cassava Flour

  • Almond Flour

  • Big Jars of Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts, and Almonds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Turmeric Powder

  • Nut Butters

  • Collagen Peptides

  • Grass-Fed Gelatin

  • Organic Green Powder (for quick smoothies)

  • Coconut Manna

  • Probiotic Powder or Pills

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Some Quality  Salt

  • Tahini

  • Nutritional Yeast

  • Some type of noodle - our go to grain free options are mung bean noodles & sweet potato noodles

  • Simple Mills mixes like grain free bread mix and grain free pizza crust mix.

Along with these staples & pre-prepped vegetables/broths, we also like to keep a stock of lemons, limes, apples, bananas, freshly dried herbs like rosemary & thyme, and nutrient dense items like nettle leaf, kombu, maca, and cacao. I like to consider these nutrient dense items, as well as items we only eat in moderation, ‘pantry bonuses.’

Our Pantry Bonuses:

  • Nettle Leaf

  • Red Raspberry Leaf

  • Maca Powder

  • Cacao Powder

  • Reishi Powder

  • Chaga Powder

  • Kombu

  • Wakame

  • Dulse

  • Nori

  • Jujubes

  • Brain Octane Oil

  • Refillable growler of Kombucha

  • Cacao Butter

  • Chocolate!

  • Siete Grain Free Tortillas

  • Siete Grain Free Chips

  • Capello’s Grain Free Fettuccine

  • Simple Mills Crackers

  • Simple Mills or Cappello’s Grain Free Cookies

My Postpartum Diet

During my postpartum period I opted for a very refined diet. As much as I wanted to help my baby transition into their body gracefully, I also wanted to remove as many obstacles as I could for myself. I knew I was going to breastfeed Daelu and I also knew how intense it could be to watch a breastfed child scream and cry when they’re hungry but not want to eat because of gas pains. I knew that would be really tough for me emotionally so it felt easier for me to limit what I consumed rather than trying to figure out what, if anything, was causing an issue.

There was another upside to this choice: physical energy conservation. I focused on eating easy to digest meals and, after being hospitalized, I basically ate the same 2 meals for the following 6 weeks. My body went through so much within the first week after giving birth and I really needed every single spec of energy I could find within myself. Eating easy to digest food meant that the energy in my system that would’ve gone towards digestion was now available for healing.

This is what I didn’t eat during postpartum:

  • Gluten

  • Dairy

  • Soy

  • Grains

  • Refined Sugars

  • Nightshades

  • Cauliflower & Broccoli

  • Uncooked greens

  • Super cold foods (like ice cream)

I’ve been gluten free for 7 years, already ate limited refined sugars, no soy, and had cut out nightshades a few months before birth. So, while this may seem extreme to some, it wasn’t that big of a leap for me. Plus, my husband was eating grain free already so our kitchen was well prepared.

This is what I did eat during postpartum:

  • Vegetables

  • Meats & Bone Broths

  • Nuts & Seeds

  • Eggs

  • Healthy Fats

  • Fermented Foods

  • Limited Fruits

After being put on high doses of antibiotics, I also cut out fruit for a few weeks - which was super difficult for me. But I was really dedicated because I didn’t want to deal with thrush (yeast overgrowth) after already having so much on my plate. Once I finished all rounds of antibiotics, and spent about 2 weeks rebuilding my gut flora with lots of pro & prebiotics,  I reintroduced fruit. I waited a bit to feel confident that I wasn’t so vulnerable to thursh and then I also added some grain free, refined sugar free cookies because this shit was emotional!

As you can see from my list of ‘yes’ foods, these recipes are not vegan friendly. Some are but most aren’t. Also, most of these recipes are not going to be vegetarian friendly, but you could sub your choice of veg protein in some dishes.