I think of Karin as a sort of baby/mummy whisperer… and that’s no exaggeration! She is a special type of midwife and nurse, helping women in Sydney find their Mumma groove, through her business Soft Landings Midwife. It’s not a simple task and I feel so grateful that I got to know Karin when my daughter was very little and as a result she was able to help out many other Mummas in my life. 

Sh*t don’t get more ‘full on’ than having a baby and becoming a first time Mum. I can’t stress enough the importance of building a strong support network for this epic time in your life… and lucky for me… Karin was one of the key members of team baby Mackenzie. 

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Karin on the blog this week for the V&M Veggie Lover interview. She is a mum, wife, dedicated healthcare professional and a great healthy cook.

Karin Birkner

As a mum of 4 kids, a Registered Nurse, Certified Midwife, Childbirth Educator & a Child & Family Health Nurse, what do you wish all parents knew before they had their first child?

I think the most important thing would be to know that your life is going to change in immeasurable ways. Nothing will ever be the same. Your work, your relationship, how you see yourself and how you will be seen. The changes won’t all be negative, some will be wonderful, but they are changes.

What are your top tips for new mum’s when it comes to looking after themselves while doing the hardest job in the world (being a mum)?

Sleep when the baby sleeps! I know, boring. It is true though. Also, accept people’s offers of help, it really does take a village. Make time for yourself every day, even just a 30 minute walk with the pram will lift your mood.

Why is self-care so important for Mums?

Mum’s are the glue of the family. Without a healthy you everyone else will suffer.

Why is good nutrition important for expecting and new mums?

An expectant mum is building a baby, as is a new one. In the case of breastfeeding the “building” continues. Good nutrition is essential during this time. The pregnant and or breastfeeding woman supplies her baby with all it’s nutritional requirements, sometimes to the detriment of her own body. Eating well means that your body will have the necessary fuel to do such an important job. Being a mother comes with a responsibility to care for yourself so that you can care for your family. Nutrition is the beginning of good health.

What does health and wellness mean to you and your family?

Health and wellness is so important to me and my family. When we are well we are happy and able to work and play. I never take our health for granted and feel blessed that we are all free from chronic illness.

How would you describe your approach to food?

I think I am pretty relaxed about food. I really enjoy fresh veggies and salad every day. I also enjoy the occasional glass of wine and the odd treat. I try to live by the 80/20 rule, trying to watch what I eat and drink 80% of the time.

What are your best tips for including more fresh fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet?

I am a vegetable “hider”. I grate veggies into pasta and pizza sauces, risottos and veggie pies. Most meals we have include hidden veggies as well as the ones the kids can see. I give my kids cherry tomatoes, carrot, cucumber or capsicum sticks and two pieces of fruit most days with they school lunch. In summer I offer frozen grapes and oranges, which they love for dessert or after school. My older kids love green smoothies, my nutri bullet gets a good workout.

Are there any books, films, or groups that have forever changed the way you look at self-care, health, wellness and nutrition?

My latest obsession is with sugar. I had gestational diabetes with my last three pregnancies and realised then how much hidden sugar there is in processed food. I try to avoid all processed food but admit that it is a necessary evil when you are a working mum. I watched That Sugar Film and was shocked. I enjoy reading Sarah Wilson’s cookbooks and anything about Clean eating. I attend an all female fitness group, Stella Performance, and we recently had a sugar free challenge. It was great sharing recipes and tips with a health minded bunch of ladies. The challenge really reminded me of the importance cooking healthy, fresh and unprocessed food for my family. We all feel better for it.

How do you get inspired to prepare a meal?

I read cooking magazines and cookbooks for fun. I also love walking around my local green grocer, seeing what looks good, this often inspires my meals!

Karin has share’s one of her families favourite meals here. This is Karin’s famous “Greek Pie”. She says there is no pastry but lots of veggies and it is always a winner with a nice salad.

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Greek Pie
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 500 grams of ricotta
  2. 150 grams of fetta
  3. 200 grams of cottage cheese
  4. 2 fat cloves of garlic, grated
  5. 2 eggs, beaten
  6. 1/2 cup of Kale, shredded and stems discarded
  7. 1/2 bunch of silverbeet, shredded stems discarded
  8. 2 large zuccini grated
  9. 1 onion finely chopped
  10. about a tablespoon of fresh dill
Instructions
  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 180.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan.
  3. Saute the onion with a pinch of salt.
  4. Add 1/3 of the garlic then the veggies.
  5. Cook until wilted then remove from the heat to cool.
  6. Mix the cheeses, remaining garlic and eggs together.
  7. I add another good pinch of salt.
  8. When vegies are cool, squeeze out excess liquid and discard.
  9. Add the greens to the cheese mix and combine.
  10. Add the dill.
  11. Put into a lightly greased baking dish. I use a large pyrex one.
  12. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on top, cut side up.
  13. Drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven for about 30 mins.
  14. I have cooked variations of this using grated pumpkin, asparagus and spinach and it tastes great.
Veggies & Me https://www.veggiesandme.com/