This sour bitter salad as been my go to all summer long, and I can not believe I haven't shared it yet!!! Dandelion greens have been my absolute favorite cleanse helper these last few months.
I stopped nursing Baby Zand earlier this year. So after two years of either being pregnant or nursing, I just really felt like I needed to cleanse my body. While I do eat very mindfully on a daily basis, I just felt like there was a lot of stuff accumulated in my body. It was never about losing weight for me, but about getting rid of toxins. We left China and all its environmental pollutants a year and a half ago. If you have never been to China, let me just say that on most days you can't see anything outside of your window... not because of fog, but because the air is so dirty. After having spent most of my life in Asia, I just knew there was a lot of build up I had to get rid off once I moved to a cleaner environment. On top of that my eating habits during the pregnancy were not the most - mmmh how should i put it?!? - liver friendly. I did not touch a single vegetable for the first trimester (bye bye green smoothies!), and throughout most of the pregnancy, vegetables made me absolutely nauseous. I survived on white wheat crackers to keep my constant nausea at bay, and I had a two week period of eating bacon. Yes, you read that right: bacon! And not just regular bacon, but candied bacon. My husband had to stand in the kitchen every few days, basting the bacon in a mix of maple syrup and cayenne pepper, and baking it for hours. If that sounds delicious to you, then let me tell you, IT IS!!!
Anyways, why am I telling you all of this? Because if you are pregnant or nursing or thinking about either, I want to let you know it's normal. It's normal to at some point feel disgusted with your body, even if you are really embracing your glowing pregnancy. (If you are really glowing, I am super jealous. I looked more beaten up from all the vomiting!) It is normal to want to have a day without weird cravings, that in any other life setting would make you feel disgusted with yourself. It's normal to want to go on a harsh diet and exercise regime to conquer your body back. Everything you are feeling on this crazy emotional roller coaster is normal!
But just take a step back. The reason you are pregnant or nursing is because you wanted to bring a human being into this life. And yes, that does carry with it a certain responsibility for this little bundle, that can not take care of itself yet. So everything you eat, drink, do, say, and even think, influences the wellbeing of your baby. I don't know any mother, who would purposely harm their baby. And yet, a lot of the actions we take as soon as the baby is born are not healthful to the baby. I have sadly come across too many moms, who have come to me for fitness or nutrition, and wanted a tough regime to lose the baby weight as soon as they got the all clear from their doctor. And it's completely understandable. I have been there, and I have felt that way, too. I couldn't wait to start running again, to feel free without a baby hanging on my breasts 24/7. I couldn't wait to have my core again, so I could get out of bed without pain and needing my husband to roll me over. And most importantly, I couldn't wait for clothes to feel comfortable again without cutting off all my circulation. But all of that was nothing, compared to the wellbeing of my baby. The thought of baby Zand not being ok was so much more pain than anything I was feeling and going through. I decided to see the bigger picture. I knew there would come a time beyond nursing. A time when I would have the luxury to completely focus on myself again. And when that time came, I would embrace it fully. Until then, I would do whatever I could to make myself feel better, while taking amazing care of my baby.
I decided that if I can't eat the way I want for myself, I will eat to be the best milk producer ever! And I was. I ate in a way that nourished baby and me from the inside out. It was a long term plan, since I nursed her for 15 months. But the beautiful thing is that with that, a lot of other things fell into place. My baby weight came off without even trying (I know, go ahead and hate me!). I started to feel more energetic again, even with a lot of sleepless nights. My hormones adjusted themselves so gracefully, that my monthly cycle came back after just two months. And Baby Zand was thriving!
If you are in a place of struggling with your body right now after a baby, just think of this: if you decide to diet or cleanse or detox or train intensively, all of that will also affect your child. If you detoxing toxins out of fat deposits (which is where most of your body's toxins are stored) into your blood stream, they will immediately go into your milk and to the baby. If you decide to cut calories and diet, your milk production will go down. Your body requires a lot of energy to make enough milk to keep another human being alive. And if you decide to exercise so intensely that you have a big lactic acid build up, this will change the milk composition and taste. I am not saying this to scare you. I am letting you know that there is a milder, gentler way to take care of you and your baby at the same time. Find the balance within you. Listen to your body, not your head.
Now that the time has come to focus on my wellbeing again, I have fasted, and cleansed, and continue to eat mindfully. And to come full circle, dandelion leaves have made an appearance in most of my green smoothies, salads, and even this pesto. This was a very long winded way to say, try this salad! It is so yummy and so nourishing. And it is definitely a mild way to take care of yourself, even if you are still pregnant or nursing. And making the salad will take less time than reading through all of this :-)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes 1 serving:
8 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 handful of dandelion leaves, finely chopped
1 handful of baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
½ avocado, finely chopped
½ yellow or red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by adding the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine.
Now add all the other finely chopped ingredients, toss, and eat.
So simple, so delicious!