Placenta encapsulation has become something of a buzz-topic lately in the parenting community. Love it or hate it, consuming your placenta has gotten some press and many women are now taking the precious organ home with them after having their babies.
My own experience with placenta encapsulation
started after the birth of my first daughter. After struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety for her entire first year of life, I knew when we consciously conceived our second child that I would do everything in my power to have a different postpartum experience. I read books, got attuned to reiki, watched documentaries, and somewhere in the process of learning everything I possibly could about having a healthy, natural pregnancy and birth, I came across the practice of encapsulating your placenta. One of the benefits, I learned, was to balance your hormones and avoid PPD, so I was on board. I may have been vaguely aware of the option to possibly consume the placenta raw in a smoothie, but that sounded so terrible to me at the time that I didn't even look into any options besides capsules.
Fast-forward to now, my second daughter is almost 5 years old and I have been encapsulating placentas for families ever since her birth. My experience with consuming my placenta was so empowering and the effects so noticeable, I knew I wanted to share this practice with others, and I recently had the opportunity to consume my placenta a second time after giving birth to a baby as a surrogate. I recommend taking home your placenta to all surrogates if you can!
I've learned that placenta smoothies, while not for me, don't have to be as gross as it sounds. With powerful blenders now available such as Vitamix and Ninja blenders, texture isn't really an issue- it's more of a mental hurdle I hear. I personally still haven't made a smoothie for myself (team capsules for me!), but in the last five years I've learned that there are many more options available than I first realized, and I'd love to share one of those options with you here!
Why would you want to cook your placenta vs. encapsulate?
One big reason to take your placenta home and create a meal with it rather than putting it in capsules would be cost. For the price of some simple ingredients you might already have on hand, you can create something nourishing and beneficial, reaping the benefits of your placenta, without the hefty price tag.
You might also consider the benefit of combining the nutrients of your placenta with the supportive nutrients of the other ingredients. Nutrient-dense, warming foods are already an important staple to healing postpartum, so why not throw in extra nutrition that has the benefit of balancing hormones, reducing mood swings, and replenishing lost minerals and iron.
Women who cook with their placenta describe the experience as something grounding, empowering, and even sacred. It is like a ceremony that closes one chapter- pregnancy- and opens the next- motherhood.
This recipe is one I adapted from the book Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra. If you have any fascination or love for placentas, Robin Lim will make you fall in love with this part of birth even more in her book about the often ignored organ. She shares a recipe in the back of the book for a Placenta Pate, that I found so intriguing I came up with my own version of the recipe. My addition and changes of the recipe come from my Natural Chef background, and to simply add nutrient-density to benefit the postpartum mother and for taste.
She shares in her book the benefits of consuming the placenta for all mammals, including humans:
- Increased effectiveness of mother-infant bonding
- Reduction of postpartum hemorrhage
- Protection from ill effects of placental cells that may remain in the uterus after birth
- Replenishment of mother's nutrients
- Documented experiences link ingestion of placenta with a reduction of symptoms of postpartum depression
- Supports lactation
- Reduces the mother's pain after childbirth
I experienced these positive effects and more myself!
So let's get cookin'...
a recipe adapted from Placenta: The Forgotten Chakra, and the kitchen of Jasmine Rose
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/4 onion, shopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt
- 1 small piece of kombu (dried seaweed; optional)
- The best parts of your fresh placenta, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup water or homemade mineral broth
- 2 tsp cognac (for a more "classic" version) or red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp hemp oil (optional for healthy fats. Skip entirely or replace with vegan butter for taste and texture)
- black pepper to taste
- sourdough baguette, toasted, to serve
1. In a large pot, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes, until soft.
2. Add the garlic, mushrooms, herbs and salt to the pot, sauteing for a minute more.
3. Add in the placenta, cooking and stirring occasionally for 3-4 more minutes.
4. Once the placenta seems browned, but not cooked through, add in broth or water and the kombu. Cover and simmer until cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and let the placenta sit for 5 more minutes, or until cooked through.
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the placenta, and herbs to a high powered blender or food processor. Throw away the kombu. Begin to pulse, and then blend. While the blender is running, add in the hemp oil if using, or butter/vegan butter. Continue running and add cognac or red wine vinegar, and blend until completely smooth.
6. Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning. Cover and let chill in the fridge for a minimum of 90 minutes.
7. Spread on the baguette to serve. The pate will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
If you create this Placenta Pate, I'd love to hear how you liked it! Comment below or find me on Instagram @jasmine.rose.doula