Friday Food Post-Garlicky Kale Salad

In the midsummer of 2011 I had a life changing experience.  Seriously! Life changing. Huge…
I was introduced to a big bowl of Garlicky Kale salad.  I know, I know. Anything involving kale isn’t generally what most people would describe as life changing. In fact, the general response I get from mentioning any recipe involving kale is “bleh.”  I want you to hear me out though.  When this salad is busted out at a gathering, you can find a group of my friends flocking around it–similarly to those seagulls in the movie Finding Nemo,  “Mine! Mine!”  (You know what I’m talking about, right?)
This salad is the perfect amount of sweet and savory, heavenly deliciousness..oh…and it’s healthy.
Kale is one of the most healthy vegetables on earth.  It has a high content of fiber, calcium, vitamin B6, and an even higher concentration of vitamins K, C and A.
It’s not just the kale that makes this recipe so healthful, the garlic, raw honey, nutritional yeast all are packed with nutrients.
I am happy that this dish is so healthy, because when I got pregnant with my second child it’s pretty much the only thing I wanted to eat. I knew that I was growing a healthy baby every time I took a bite.
Now that I have you on the edge of your seat, let me share the recipe with you!

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Garlicky Kale Salad (adapted from a Whole Foods original recipe)

1 Bunch of kale–Any variety, my favorite is the curly type because it drinks up the delicious dressing
2 Tablespoons tahini or peanut butter or a combination of both
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (tamari or soy sauce would work too)
4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast– you can find this at most health food stores in the bulk section.
Several cloves of garlic (as much as you desire)
1 Tablespoon of raw honey

Place all of the ingredients (except the kale) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, add water a teaspoon at a time to reach your desired consistency. 
I like mine on the thick side, especially when using freshly washed kale, because the residual water on the kale makes it thin out quite a bit after you apply the dressing.

I also like to make this dressing in large batches and use it as I would hummus.

Pour dressing over the kale and use your hands to massage it into the leaves until the kale is fully coated. If you are patient enough, let it sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors absorb. If not, eat it and enjoy!  

You’re Welcome!

My Milk Obsession

There are so many weird and unusual things that I now think about constantly that would have never crossed my mind before having my son. Poop. The color, smell, texture, quantity of the gross stuff. Its always on my mind. Has he pooped? When did he poop last? I’m always concerned. Having said that (Oh gosh, did I say poop again?), the single thing that gives me the most pleasure, pride and strife (and is directly related to poop) is my milk supply. I am certifiably obsessed with it.  To think that I am solely sustaining another life through my breasts is amazing and terrifying. What if I don’t have enough milk? Is he getting the fore milk instead of the hind milk? How is his latch? Am I exposing myself too much when I feed him in public? Is my diet good enough to provide the nutrients he needs to grow and flourish? etc, etc, etc.
Sometimes I sneak out to my deep freezer to look at the stash of milk I have frozen. My soul fills with such pride and accomplishment staring at all the little bags of frozen milk. Every so often I will count how many ounces I have left, always fearing its not enough. I feel like a hoarder. Never wanting to give any of it away but also knowing I will eventually need to use it. I’m so hesitant to use any of this liquid gold that I would get up 10 times a night to feed my son vs having my husband take a shift with a bottle of the frozen stuff. He asks me constantly what I’m saving it for if its not to feed the baby. On occasion, when I pump during the day and my husband is home, I’ll run out of the room with a half bottle of milk in my hand exclaiming, “look how much I pumped!”. A huge smile on my face as if I just climbed Mt Everest. He never seems as excited as I feel at that moment. How can milk bring me so much joy?
Everyone swaps stories about how they have an oversupply or under-supply. “I make so much milk my baby can’t drink it all! I have to donate it!” or “Whats that herb, funkygreek? I heard you can increase supply” or “I’m back at work and I barley can pump 2oz all day!”. Its a constant topic of conversation.
The one thing that puts everything in perspective is at night, when I put my son to bed. I stare down at him, latched on, like there is nothing better in the world. He makes soft, sweet sounds and I feel my milk filling him up with nourishment and love. I am there for him in a way no one else in the world an be. My milk will sustain him for as long as I am able and those moments are to be cherished. All the worry and concern diminish when he pulls off my breast and looks up at me with a big smile, milk running down his check. He is satisfied and so am I.576315_4195781646455_117146974_n

Stretching

This was originally posted to my personal blog in June 2009. My daughter is 4 now, and she still thinks my belly is the best. 

Ever since I hit puberty I’ve had these little indentations on my skin, right at the base of my spine. I used to run my fingers over them, unsure of what they were, intrigued by the texture of my skin there. I remember being on the beach and a boyfriend asking about them, but I just shrugged and said it’d been there forever. I never thought much of it until I got pregnant. Right around the seventh month of my pregnancy a little pink scar appeared, to the right of my belly button. A stretch mark. I cried. Over the next couple of months they fanned out covering most of my belly. They appeared like flames on my breasts. I noticed them appear on the tops of my thighs, and I even got a few behind my knees. I’m not overweight, I drank plenty of water and ate a very healthy diet, and I moisturized. Even so, I soon found myself with what felt like an entirely new body, one that I regretfully admit to have mourned in those first few months.
In those early days I scoured the internet for the secret to removing them all. I wished them away. I even took a mental inventory of my life, wondering what I had done to deserve them. I found websites dedicated to normalizing a mother’s body- because it is, in fact, normal. Some days it would help to see other mothers and I would feel inspired and confident, but other days it would depress me to think about it all so much. I’m self-conscious even admitting that I dedicated so much brain space to this, considering the beautiful new baby I had next to me that whole time. Over time, I started to think less about them. I worked on accepting them. I fell madly in love with my child and with motherhood, which only helped. My partner would run his fingers over them and tell me he loved how soft my belly was now. They faded and my belly shrunk, and I started to feel more like my old self. However, I still have days where I feel dissatisfied, despite my efforts to be totally accepting and to “own” them as evidence of my strength and growth.

Recently my daughter started giving “schmoozles”. Some people call it “blowing a raspberry”. Basically, she lifts my shirt, puts her mouth next to my skin, and blows air against me making a surprising noise. This makes her giggle like crazy. She’s learned to say the word “belly”, and loves to point to her own and find other people’s bellies hiding under their shirts. I have to say though, she seems to like mine above any others. When we nurse, she often smiles and says “belly”, pushing into it and giggling. She touches it softly when she’s falling asleep. She smooshes her face into it and looks at me with nothing but love and fun in her eyes. There’s no judgment. She loves my belly. I love that she loves it. It was her first home.
I effortlessly see other mothers as beautiful just as they are, although I’ve found that it’s something that I have to work at in myself. I think this is a reality for many women. I guess now I feel like I’m still mourning, but I’m not mourning my scars. I’m mourning the fact that we live in a culture that nurtures an unrealistic and superficial ideal, openly criticizing those that don’t fit into that criteria. It doesn’t help that we often compare and criticize each other, seeing other women as competition rather than part of a sisterhood. That’s not the world I want to live in, and I think that now more than ever I have a responsibility to help change it for the better. If not for myself, then certainly for my daughter. I don’t have the secret to acceptance and self-love. I will say, however, that I’m grateful for each of my scars. They help me to think about my life in a more honest, less shallow way. They free me up to believe in my true worth, and the worth of others. I’m only a better person because of them.

Cool Creamy Oats and Quinoa

Quinoa and Oats are good for you

This post was written by Courtney Blake, a local Placenta Encapsulator, mother, student, and friend.  Thank you so much for contributing to the Sacred Roots Community!

My older Sister is a personal chef and birth enthusiast. Her name is Mandy Unruh and her blog Mama Mandy is an amazing resource for current and future Mamas and Papas.
I am truly excited to share this recipe for Cool Creamy Oats and Quinoa with the Sacred Roots Services LLC family. The ingredients in this recipe are known to be excellent in helping mamas milk supply. That being said, you don’t have to be a Mama to indulge in this amazing hot or cold treat.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 8 servings
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup quinoa (rinsed in a strainer for one minute and drained)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 droppers full liquid vanilla stevia (I prefer Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup roasted mixed nuts, chopped
1 cup blueberries
In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the oats and quinoa and cook until grains smell toasty. Add almond milk and water. Add salt and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed. Take off heat, let rest for five minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Turn mixture out onto a baking sheet and let cool for 30 minutes.
Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil, maple syrup, stevia, and yogurt. Mix in chopped nuts.
Combine grains and yogurt mixture. Gently fold in blueberries. Serve room temperature or cold. Tastes even better the next day

http://mamamandy.com/2012/06/09/cool-creamy-oats-quinoa/

The Placenta Experience

This post was written by Courtney Blake, a local Placenta Encapsulator, mother, student, and friend.  Thank you so much for contributing to the Sacred Roots Community!

Greetings! I would like to tell you about my experience with Placenta Encapsulation. I have had a very pleasant post-partum period and believe that choosing to consume my placenta via Placenta Encapsulation is a very big reason why.

It really does make sense when I think about it!

The placenta grows as the baby grows and it holds all kinds of hormones and nutrients. Where do those nutrients go after my baby is born? Well, usually the placenta is discarded or used for medical experimentation. I chose to take my placenta home and send it off for encapsulation.

My older Sister had her placenta encapsulated and encouraged me to look in to it. Our mother had terrible post-partum depression with her last pregnancy (me) and my Sister wanted to try consuming her placenta as a means of avoiding post-partum depression. Because she claimed that it worked and she was glad that she consumed her placenta, I took the steps to have mine encapsulated as well.
After doing some research, I also discovered that placenta consumption could help to prevent excessive bleeding, iron-loss, help my uterus shrink back to its normal size, increase energy, help with insomnia, and help with milk production. Why isn’t everyone doing this?  I was sold!

Placenta Capsules
I did my research, contacted a somewhat-local encapsulator and spoke with my Midwives about it at several appointments. Because I was having a hospital birth, I knew that I would have to address the hospital staff as well. When I went in to have my baby, I made sure to show my birth plan to all of the hospital staff and I even attached a separate “Placenta Plan”, that basically requested that no chemicals be put on my placenta and that is was promptly put on ice and saved for me (cord and all).
I brought my own little cooler to the hospital and arranged for my Dad to take it home and then overnight it to the encapsulator for me.
The encapsulator received my overnighted placenta, encapsulated it using the Tradtional Chinese Method and shipped my pills to me within a few days.
I figured that the capsules would help me, but I had no idea to what extent. I was skeptical, but hopeful. I took my first dose and didn’t feel a whole lot different. But after my second and third doses, I could tell that they were actually helping.
After I had Alice, I had this “cry hour”. Well actually it was a “cry three hours”. I would weep from about 5p-8p nightly, until the placenta capsules arrived. Then I noticed that my “cry hour” went away, I had more energy and was actually, truly enjoying being a new Mama.
I was so grateful. I took the capsules for about three weeks regularly and then tapered off to when I felt I needed an emotional boost. I still have some left (my placenta was huge and yielded an unusually large amount of capsules) and I still take them for those occasional, “raw” emotional days. They never fail to help.

I want to share this with all the women I possibly can because I believe that placenta consumption truly does help women in so many ways.

Many mammals (cats and dogs) do it, and yes there is argument that they only do it to keep the birthing area clean, but the hormonal aspect and replenishing the body right away with what is just lost makes complete sense to me.
I have become so passionate about placenta consumption that I have started helping women consume their own placenta by becoming a placenta encapsulator myself.  For more information see my page.