I had the rather shocking realization the other day that my body hasn’t been my own for over 4 years. Pregnant with Rose, breastfeeding Rose, straight into pregnant with Max and now breastfeeding Max. It’s awe-inspiring what a woman’s body can do, and I feel extremely grateful to experience it first-hand. But I’d be lying if I said it isn’t exhausting and sometimes breeds resentment — the constant worrying, tracking, scheduling, planning. For over 4 years, my body has nourished another, and I can barely remember what is like to physically and mentally live without this symbiotic relationship.
A passing acquaintance recently commented on how quickly I “got my body back” after having Max, and I had to laugh, because I feel far from it on the inside. The notion of getting your “pre-baby body” back is so pervasive in our culture, and I think it is utter nonsense. My body will never be the same, nor would I want it to be. My wider hips, sagging breasts, overly muscular right arm (really need to work on switching sides when carrying around a babe — all are reminders of the transformative events that took place as I grew, birthed and continue to nourish a tiny human. These changes should be celebrated. Postpartum recovery is about so much more than a number on a scale.
That’s not to say we mamas should throw in the towel and offer our body up as some relic child-bearing vessel. The goal should be acceptance of where you’re at on your own personal journey towards health and wellness, rather than an impossible physical standard based on some arbitrary postpartum time period. Max has been out in this world for as long as I carried him inside me, but I’m still on that journey towards finding a place where I feel normal and comfortable in my still-changing post-partum body. This is as much a mental journey as it is physical. All of this is to say, wherever you are at on your own journey, whether you are a mama or not, you are beautiful and stronger than you think. And you get to decide your own narrative. And by the way, mamas, however you choose to feed your child, please know you are doing a great job. Formula-feeding mamas, pumping mamas, a-little-bit-of-everything mamas, I see you. Fed is truly best.
If you are in need of some hormone-balancing nourishment, this yummy shake is my go-to. I’ve been riding the wave of hormonal fluctuations for the past 4+ years during my pregnancies and breastfeeding, and I seem to be pretty sensitive to these hormonal ebbs and flows — physically and mentally. When the effects are particularly pronounced or I am going through a phase of hormonal transition, I like to incorporate maca root into my diet to help my body adapt. Maca is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body better adapt to stress. It is thought to aid in hormonal balance (I swear, it helped bring back my cycle post-birth control and boost my fertility, but that is a story for another day). I use gelatinized maca, which some find easier to digest. I like to incorporate it into smoothies, lattes and shakes, such as this one. It has a pleasant flavor — slightly sweet and malt-like. Perfect with chocolate.
This shake is pretty simple, with the winning combination of banana, date, almond butter, cacao, flax and plant-based milk. Maca, cinnamon, vanilla and, of course, sea salt, really enhance the chocolate flavor, which is always a good thing. If you’ve never tried maca before, start with a small amount — 1/4 teaspoon or so — and see how you feel. Slowly increase the amount to 1 teaspoon if it’s working for you. I use this maca. Important to note: adaptogens have become “trendy” lately, but it is always important to check in with your own body before incorporating a new herb, supplement or medicine into your wellness routine. Do you need it and is it actually doing something for you, or are you buying into a wellness trend? What has worked for me may not work for you. The maca is optional, and without it you are left with a very delicious and nourishing shake. Feel free to add in some hemp seeds and/or collagen powder for a protein boost. Make this for yourself, take a load off and applaud your body for how amazing it really is.
Enjoy! Xo MaggiePrint
- 1 large ripe banana, cut into pieces and frozen
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Small pinch sea salt
- Small pinch vanilla bean powder or a splash of vanilla extract
- Small handful of ice cubes
- Optional: 1/4 to 1 tsp maca powder
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Serve immediately, topping with cacao nibs and a pinch of salt, if desired.
The maca is optional. If you’ve never tried maca before, start with 1/4 tsp and see how you feel. Slowly increase the amount to 1 tsp if it’s working for you.
This smoothie is also delicious with frozen roasted or steamed sweet potato in place of the banana.