Hearty Stew to Rebuild Your Postpartum Body

It takes a lot of energy to make a baby! That can leave a new mom depleted. Caring for a newborn makes it even worse – especially if Mom’s breastfeeding. Since babies have to be fed every few hours, the months of no sleep can lead to postpartum depression. Soups and stews are nutrient dense ways to replenish the body after child birth and while nursing. Eating well can mean a great recovery for mom and a healthy start for baby.

I want to share one traditional Filipino recipe with you here so you get the idea of what this food is like. Although it is very nourishing for the new mom, anyone can eat it. In fact, it is on the menu of Wing Command, our local Filipino restaurant.

Dinuguan (Filipino Pork Stew)

    • Oil of your choice
    • 1 ½ cups pork blood

    • 2 lbs pork butt, shoulder, or belly, cut into small chunks. Keep the bones!

    • 3 garlic cloves

    • 1 large onion

    • 2 bay leaves

    • One piece Knorr pork broth
    • 1 cup white vinegar

    • 1 ½ cups water

    • 2 tbsp fish sauce

    • Siling pansigang or long green peppers to taste

    • Salt and pepper to taste

    • Rice to serve


  1. Coat a heavy, deep pan with oil. Add garlic and onion and saute for a few minutes. Add pork and bones. Heat until brown and cooked through.
  2. Add vinegar, water, Knorr pork broth, bay leaves, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the blood. Keep stirring to prevent coagulated clumps. Add salt, pepper, and chili peppers. Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the stew has slightly thickened.
  4. Serve with rice!

Answering your questions!

Where do I get pork blood?

You can get it at an Asian grocery store in the frozen food section. If you are lucky enough to live near a butcher, farmer, or meat packing plant, you may be able to order it. Obviously the fresher, the better. When using meat products, it’s also wise to research how the animals are raised and slaughtered.

What’s the vinegar for?

There are many Asian recipes that use vinegar and lengthy cooking times that can be restorative foods. The vinegar leeches the minerals from the bones making the food healthier.

Why blood?

Blood rebuilds the blood and boosts the qi. It takes nine months to make a baby and four months to 2 years to recover. Eating blood makes the recovery quicker and breast feeding easier.

Are there other ingredients that are traditionally used?

Not in this recipe, but in other recipes for rebuilding the body tomato, ginger, papaya, and seaweed are commonly used. Broths are also big. I wouldn’t reduce it to single ingredients though. This makes it like taking a supplement. Food is synergistic. The intention when making the dish also contains some magic in making it more tasty and healthy.

Western societies expect women to grow a baby with no support and no slow down in their routine. Then we pop it out, put our feet up for a day or two, resume our housekeeping chores, and are back to work in two weeks. It’s ridiculous. Traditional culture honor the cycle of birth by caring for the pregnant woman and new mom. Food is lovingly prepared for her. Mothers, sisters, aunts, and female friends help out to make the transition for mom and child smooth. The mother is the vessel through which this new life came. The child is the future of the tribe. They are so important to the whole cycle of life. A little nurturing and care go a long way. When Nature and family support this process, the future is a lot brighter.

For more postpartum recipes, check out The First Forty Days by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang. Another options is From Mothers to Mother: A Collection of Traditional Asian Postpartum Recipes, a compilation of traditional Asian dishes specifically designed for postpartum recovery. They were lovingly compiled to keep these recipes from being lost.

Posted in ancestors, animism, natural medicine.