Day 3: Detox Salad (and taking time to rest).
This morning marks the end of the Week 1 of The Cookbook Diaries. Hard to believe, that after so many years of dreaming, that this is actually happening! Starting next week, there will be weekly newsletters for those of you who've signed up (and if you haven't, just enter your email in the sign-up box on the homepage - the recaps will be worth reading, I promise!). My head is swirling with so many ideas right now – podcasts, videos, new recipes, dinner parties – but I feel like I'm always two steps behind. Do you know the feeling? Like you can't keep up with yourself?!
But I've decided, thanks to some wise words from a friend recently, that this is going to be a project of grace. I've started a marathon, and if I leave the gates sprinting, I will most certainly burn out. So I'm trying to ease into things, to be kind to myself, and to throw the idea of perfection out the door. (Because perfect is boring, right?!) This project is meant to be life-giving – for me, and hopefully for you all too! – but if I'm not careful, it can and will absolutely suck the life out of me.
I've been learning some hard lessons lately about the importance of rest (i.e. what happens when you don't!). I woke up this morning planning to write about something else, but changed my mind after reading an incredibly raw post from my good friend and fellow blogger Megan Gilger, about feeling completely burnt out. After hearing her honesty about a subject that is so familiar to me, I knew I needed to write about this. Because I totally get it. That's been me so much of my life.
The cycle goes like this: I say yes to everything (sometimes out of desire, sometimes out of guilt, and sometimes out of a fear of missing out), leave no margin, and when when something's got to give, I start sacrificing the things that are most life-giving to me. First goes exercise, then healthy eating (no time to grocery shop!), then time with my husband, time with good friends, time with God, and finally, sleep. Not to mention things like reading (when was the last time I did that?!) or sending a handwritten card to someone. It's a sick cycle, that little lie whispered in your ear: you can do a little more. Come on. Just another 30 minutes at the computer...which turns into an hour, and two, and three.
Eventually, of course, you can't sustain it. Your body gives out. I've had countless cases of strep throat – to the point of considering getting my tonsils removed – and the type of exhaustion that just leaves you feeling comatose. It's a crash and burn cycle, where sickness forces me to slow down for a few days, and then I get up and do it all over again. For the longest time, I justified these unhealthy patterns by telling myself, "This is just what you have to do to get ahead," and worse, "At least you're only hurting yourself." Of course, both of these are lies. Being exhausted is considered a badge of honor in NYC, but by walking around like zombies and mistreating our bodies, are we really succeeding?
The biggest wake-up call came recently, though, when my I realized that my burnout patterns were affecting my marriage. It never dawned on me that by not sleeping enough, and by over-working, that it would take an emotional toll on me. And that by default, that would spill over onto Brandon. It wasn't until I saw the effect my unhealthiness had on him that I realized something needed to change.
And so, I've decided to reorder my priorities. Work is still work, but it's not everything. While in the midst of this project, I'm trying to carve out time for the things I need the most. Like starting out the morning with prayer instead of rushing to my laptop. Or scheduling a workout and giving it the same priority as a meeting. (I went to yoga a couple days ago for the first time in 2 months. It felt really good). By going out on dates with Brandon. And by setting a deadline to turn off technology at night, so we can start winding down before bed.
This may sound rigid, but I'm realizing that healthy habits don't happen without some planning. Which is where this Detox Salad recipe comes in. This is my go-to lunch when I take the time to plan ahead. I like to stock up on already prepped stuff (cooked quinoa, shredded carrots and cabbage, roast chicken) from the Whole Foods salad bar at the beginning of the week, so I can toss this salad together in 5 minutes. It gives me lots of energy and leaves me feeling great. Just a small way I can show kindness to myself.
I am so looking forward to this weekend. We're heading out to a BBQ with some friends in Brooklyn on Saturday, but on Sunday, we've committed to taking a day of rest. I, for one, am planning to spend the morning drinking coffee and reading the New York Times in my pajamas - an old tradition that got abandoned in the craziness of the past few months. And if I'm feeling motivated, I may whip up a batch of my favorite Pumpkin Spice Pancakes. What about you? How are you going to rest this weekend?
Have a great weekend, and see you all Monday!
(All pictures in today's post were taken with my iPhone.)
DETOX KALE SALAD
Serves 4 to 6
4 cups chopped kale (curly, lacinto, red, or mixed) or 1 (5-ounce) clamshell
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1 cup cup shredded red cabbage (from about 1/8 head cabbage)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 avocado, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt + pepper, to taste
Combine the kale, carrots, cabbage, quinoa, and avocado in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and the olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and another splash of lemon if you like. Serve immediately.
SERVING SUGGESTION: This is delicious with roast chicken or grilled salmon.