Beautiful Jana, of The Secret Kitchen, chats to us about her journey into Motherhood with her first baby Luka, about her career as a Naturopath and shares a nourishing recipe for Mother and Baby from her award winning book The Secret Kitchen: Intuitive Eating.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I come from a small town in the mountains of Czech Republic and am now living in the Byron Bay, Hinterlands in Australia with my partner and our baby Luka. I work as a Naturopath and plant based chef and am the author of The Secret Kitchen: Intuitive Eating.
Through my work as a Naturopath I specialise in incorporating bio-resonance and metaphysics into my consultations.
You have recently given birth to your beautiful wee boy Luka, can you tell us about that experience?
Birth is a profoundly sacred and spiritual act. I had a vision when I was giving birth to my son, it was so powerful, it pulled me out of myself and showed me the connection all birthing women have. I saw every mother before me and every mother after me. I saw all of us in the throes of birthing, calling on the Divine Feminine.
I know that many women, unfortunately, are robbed of natural birth experience and find themselves in fear and pain. That said, I think any birth can be spiritual, and all birth is sacred. I deeply respect all mothers now. All of them for their journey and uniqueness in motherhood and the strength they each hold.
How did you find the transitional period of motherhood and the fourth trimester?
The fourth trimester allowed me to tap deep into my divine feminine energy and experience unconditional love which helped me to get over some of my biggest vulnerabilities. I had to learn to let go of expectations, to just be and enjoy the daily privilege of being able to look after someone as little and precious as my son. Knowing that some people may never be able to experience this miracle of life.
"I have found that things which were important in the past have faded away and looking in retrospect, some of them seem quite primitive and self-absorbed."
How have you found Motherhood so far
I like to say that the transition has been a natural flow of what I wanted my life to be. I have simplified my life a lot and trust in the power of nature and its natural cycles.
Becoming a mother brings about profound changes in the female mammalian brain. I have experienced that myself and I'm mesmerized how the female body adapts to all the changes. For me sleep deprivation has been the most difficult though, probably more than the birth itself.
I have also found that things which were important in the past had faded away and looking in retrospect, some of them seem quite primitive and self-absorbed. Lots of new priorities have fallen into that space, mainly the ones which are important for me and the future of Luka.
You and your family have recently moved from downtown Bondi Beach, Sydney, to a cottage in the Byron Hinterlands, can you tell us about this move and how it has impacted you?
The move has been a part of that natural life cycle that I believe in- it really feels as though we are meant to be here. I feel very inspired by our new land, its nature and people around us.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is to accept that each day is never the same and to enjoy all that it brings in that moment.
"I don’t have one person who inspires me. It's the collective awareness and power of mothers supporting mothers, the individual strength and journey of each of them."
You are the author of the award-winning cookbook The Secret Kitchen- Intuitive Eating, can you tell us about this project?
Intuitive eating is a passion art project designed to inspire us to shift from rule based eating to intuitive eating, following the senses of sight, touch, smell and feel. Years of ancient wisdom, folk remedies and naturopathic insights are weaved into a collection of recipes, film photographs and poetry to share a memory of the fields of wildflowers where I grew up. It is self-published, 100% recycled paper and section sewn; it won a gold medal in creative print last year and a copy of the book is in the National Library of Australia in the contemporary section.
I hope to inspire people to live the cycles of nature, tune into their intrinsic knowledge and live authentically. The book has never been made about myself but about understanding the power of nature and teaching one to love themselves.
How did it come to be and what did you hope to achieve by putting it out into the world?
My fascination with natural health began long before I spent many years studying it. As a child, growing up in vibrant fields of the mountains of Czech Republic, which were abundant with herbs and wildflowers, folk remedies and nature, I discovered the power of plant medicine and its healing properties and it has never left me.
I have spent a few years teaching people how to regain and reignite their health through my naturopathy clinics now. I have been faced with hundreds of patients who suffer from endless maladies- body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, confusion around eating, obsession with weight, obesity, anorexia and all because they have forgotten their ability to tune into their intrinsic knowledge of their own bodies and how to connect with the natural world and use it as a healing tool, as it has been done for thousands of years.
What does a better world mean to you?
Plants, animals, humans and matter living in a beautiful synergy together without harming one another.
Who is a Mother or expert in the industry that inspires you?
I don’t have one person who inspires me. It's the collective awareness and power of mothers supporting mothers, the individual strength and journey of each and every one, that inspires me. They all are experts in the journey of motherhood.
This recipe from my book is good for both mother and baby in gut healing and required nutrients plus the chamomile has a calming effect on nerves and gut health and is a great option to blend into vegetables. Bone broth is something I recommend making into a weekly staple if you can. I love the nourishing and comforting feeling of sipping a cup of broth on a cold day. You can enjoy this broth first thing in the morning, as a dinner starter or as a base to warming autumn soups.
Simmering bones enable the release of many healing compounds such as collagen (also called gelatine in its more digestible form), glutamine, glycine, proline and other minerals. This is why bone broth is great to support a healthy gut, prevent leaky gut syndrome, boost the immune system and strengthen hair and nails. Ginger, garlic and onion are a combination known as tri-root in Asian cooking. Garlic and onion are known for their ability to support the immune and circulatory systems and act as powerful antimicrobials. Ginger and black pepper add a warming component making this soup a fail-proof immune boosting tonic.
BASIC HEALING BONE BROTH WITH CHAMOMILE
Serves 4 - 6 I Preparation Time: 30 minutes I Cooking Time: 60 minutes
1.5kg mixed beef bones (oxtail, knuckles, neck bones or short ribs) 1 T olive or coconut oil
2 carrots (chopped)
3 celery stalks (chopped)
2 onions (chopped)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 bay lead
Handful dried chamomile flowers A few peppercorns
A few garlic cloves
1 t fresh turmeric (grated)
1 t fresh ginger (grated)
Place the bones in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and roast for 30 minutes. Flip each bone and roast for another 30 minutes. Browning the bones gives the stock its lovely colour and flavour. Chop the veggies while the bones are roasting.
Add the bones, vegetables and all other ingredients to a pot with the water and bring to a high simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 12 - 24 hours. If you’re using a slow cooker, set it to low after you’ve brought the broth to the high simmer. Cooking time is the same for a slow cooker. During the simmer add more water as needed to keep all ingredients submerged. Once the broth is a dark rich brown colour remove from heat. Discard the bones, vegetables and bay leaf and strain through a cheesecloth. Cool the broth to room temperature then pour into jars and let cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
When you’re ready to serve, skim the condensed fat off the top of the broth and heat it up to your desired temperature.
See more of Jana:
I am so excited to share this fortnights beautiful journal with Charlotte from The Living Doula. Many of us have heard the term 'doula' but I've found many Mama's are still a little unsure of the immeasurable support they can offer us, from fertility, pregnancy, birth and into our post natal period, on this often challenging journey. Here, Charlotte shares her take on this important role and offers some very important lessons we should all be taking stock of, mother or not.
We are honoured to welcome Nature Baby to our journal this month. As kind as they are clever, Jacob and Georgia Faull, founders of world renowned baby-wear brand Nature Baby are in a league of their own, paving the way for ethical and organic business. A wee ways back I sat down with the dynamic duo for my book Wild Kinship; Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs and am excited to be sharing 5 questions for 5 minutes about this incredible brand and the work that they do.