Before we get into the recipe and share some ideas worth talking about, it’s important to note that one person’s potion could always be another person’s poison.
As I have been navigating my second pregnancy, there are a number of things I have done completely different this time around: one of them being the daily incorporation of smart animal products. Beef, venison, and butter. Pastured eggs, raw milk and cheese. Fish. And….wait for it…..beef liver!
For 10 years, I practiced and was committed to 100% plant-based eating with majority of those years being 100% vegan and a couple years here and there of raw veganism. It was my answer to everything. But, as always, the “body keeps the score” and I actually experienced a loss of menstruation for a straight 6 years. I also have to preface before I adopted a wholesome, plant-based, mostly vegan diet I was raised on processed foods and then went straight into an extremely malnourished period of disordered eating from late teens to early twenties. Plant-based eating was my answer to both eras. Restrictive, hyper-clean eating felt and sounded amazing. And I could still hold onto that light feeling I loved from my stint with eating no food haha…
Fast forward 10 years and I am pregnant with my son still adhering to an entirely plant-based diet with some eggs and cheese here and there. Pregnancy, his growth, our delivery was all beautiful. It was the postpartum that was a sh*t show. I truly felt like I had nothing left of me after he was born. I produced milk, just enough, but was extremely depleted feeling for the first 2 years of his life. I couldn’t focus, Laka took a turn for the extremely floppy, and my anxiety/depression was a daily affair. I consumed my placenta daily, but it was apparent there was no reserve.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second, I instinctively knew I had to do things differently this time around. I truly can’t afford another 2 years of complete depletion and neither can my work! I thought back to my acupuncturist I used to see during my transition from no food into mostly raw, vegan food. His advice for me coming to him with no menstruation is build your blood with liver. Ditch the kombucha, warm up your body, and your body will start working again.
So as I approach my month 9 of pregnancy, with a prenatal regimen of lots of smart animal foods and less supplemental minerals in a pill or powder form, I feel whole knowing that I am letting go of the plant-based pride that plagued my mental state for a decade for the sake of postpartum reserve energy, mood, libido, and sustenance.
Some things I have been focusing on this pregnancy:
1. Bioavailable, food-based supplementation versus pill-based supplementation
2. Coffee no more than 2x weekly to preserve cortisol for night-time feeding. Laka Matcha most days, with some days the ping for no caffeine and instead a Saffron Latte by The Fullest.
3. Iron and copper from both plant and* animals sources: pumpkin seeds, dark greens, beef liver, beef, eggs, cashews
4. I’m not too sold on prenatals. The more I study, the more I find that animals have so much more bioavailability for a pregnant woman and *good* prenatals that don’t constipate are really hard to come by. Whole, complete prenatal essentials from whole, earth-based forms is my priority. I have taken more desiccated beef liver than prenatals this pregnancy as I learn more about how iron gets trapped in our liver, and we need retinol to release the insane amount of iron we do* have.
5. I treat any days I am eating animal products with a garnish mentality. Sprinkle ground beef, sliver as thin as possible your steak over your salad, toss a tiny amount of raw cheese, and get an egg or 2 every few days in. I still enjoy 90% plant-based meals and it’s bountiful!
Only time (and blood panels) will tell if the reincorporation of animals is keeping the score of my body a happy 10, and I encourage anyone and everyone to explore what is best for their energy, metabolism, digestion, and overall health. That being said, I think there is a movement fast arriving that is just as fierce as the plant-based movement to better understand how to do animals right. For the sake of human health, the planet, and societal sanity.
So here’s a recipe idea that feels like pregnancy food p*rn lately.
ANCESTRAL TACO SALADS
Makes 1 salad, multiply as you need to feed more mouths
-1/2 cup ground beef or bison cooked with dried lemon, garlic, sea salt, and a little bit of grass finished butter
-3 cups mixed greens massaged in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
-1 large carrot (slivered) and 1 cup green beans sautéed in olive oil, minced garlic, chili powder, sea salt, and black pepper
-1/2 cup white rice (cooled prior to eating to turn resistant)
-Taco croutons* (optional)
-Green onion (optional)
-1/4 cup re:light dressing for digestive enzymes*
For the croutons, I just slivered organic corn tortillas super thin and toasted at 400 until crispy, tossing every 5 minutes.
For the dressing, whisk together:
Layer your bowl and finish with dressing, green onion, optional taco croutons, and your favorite salsa verde.