Search Results for: what to eat in troubled times

what to eat in troubled times

A friend, an indefatigable defender of human rights and environmental causes, writes to me and asks what to eat in troubled times. I reply,

You should eat the foods of the people from around the world who now need your strength of resistance.

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Figs Image by Couleur at Pixabay

Rice and beans, collard greens,

Tzimmes, hummus, dahl
Fatteh, dolma, kibbeh, Chicken soup with tortilla or matzoh ball.

Figs, plantains, chiles, dates, Guacamole, and holy mole, spooned upon the plates.

Of course, some xocolati, I mean chocolate, dark
Lots of tea, a handful of nuts  All strengthening for the heart.

And, don’t forget the grits. You will need them for the soul.

Please click on the links in the captions of the My Plate photos. These will lead you to the amazing food blogs of incredible women who are not only very talented cooks with fascinating (and mouth-watering) recipes, but also writers, photographers, educators and cultivators of cultural cuisines and relationships. Also, explore some of the other foods mentioned here if you are not familiar with them. This will take you to both far off lands and perhaps kitchens right in your own neighborhood!

Stay strong.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

                                                                   My Plate Plates

My Plate Song

The world’s spinning madly, it drifts in the dark, Swings through a hollow of haze

A race around the stars, a journey through the universe, ablaze with changes.

by Phil (Ochs) 

What to Eat in Still Troubled Times

June 2020. This is a revision of a blog I posted on February 9, 2017. Though the struggles don’t seem to cease, this year, our experience during the Covid-19 Pandemic and the fight for black lives, racial justice and an end to police brutality, demands some extra nutritional fortification and strengthened immunity.

A friend, an indefatigable defender of human rights and environmental causes, writes to me and asks what to eat in troubled times. I reply,

You should eat the foods of the people from around the world who now need your strength of resistance

kim-daniels-yItVmeh1XA8-unsplash

Beans, collard greens,

Tzimmes, hummus, dahl,

Fatteh, dolma, kibbeh,

Chicken soup with tortilla or matzoh ball.

Figs, plantains, chiles, dates,

Guacamole, and holy mole, spooned upon the plates.

Of course, some xocolati, I mean chocolate, dark,
Lots of tea, a handful of nuts 

All strengthening for the heart.

And, don’t forget the grits. (Basic or Savory) You will need them for the soul.

The concurrence of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a bright light on the social and health disparities in our country, and the dire consequences for black and brown communities of color. As such, the topics of diet, nutrition, food systems, and food access, which I have previously written about, have been reverberating more loudly of late.

An appreciation of the factors which have contributed to this maleficent situation need include an understanding of the history of the African-American diet–from its African continent roots, the insults of slavery and oppression, to the implications of its modern-day corruption. A discussion of this can be found in An Illustrated History of Soul Food, by Adrian Miller.

Along the continuum from past to present, through the generations, are two African-American women notable for their contributions to the food, nutrition, culture, and community narrative. One is chef, teacher, political activist, and author, Edna Lewis, (1916-2006). “Lewis cooked and Picture 1 of 1wrote as a means to explore her memories of childhood on a farm in Freetown, Virginia founded by her grandfather and other black families freed from slavery. Long before the natural-food movement gained popularity, Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine and farm-to-table eating.”

“She was a chef when female chefs–let alone African American female chefs working in restaurants–were few and far between. She authored what are considered some of America’s most resonant, lyrical and significant cookbooks” including The Taste of Country Cooking*, The Edna Lewis Cookbook*, and, In Pursuit of Flavor*. Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You A Pie*, is a children’s book/cookbook about Ms. Lewis by Robbin Gourley; and, At the Table with an American Original*, is a collection of others’ essays about her life, edited by Sara B. Franklin.

The other is Haile Thomas. At just 19 years of age, this remarkable young woman is a “youth health activist, vegan food and lifestyle influencer, cookbook author, speaker, founder/CEO of the nonprofit organization HAPPY-Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth, and a Wellness and Compassion Activist”. A Wellness and Compassion Activist–so needed. I will let her own words speak for her.

Questlove and Haile Thomas Bring Nutrition Activism to All Communities

Haile Thomas: The Happy Organization/Keynote Speaker–FoodTank

Haile Thomas: Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power and Feed Your Potential (due to be released end of July 2020)*

* Please check out these black-owned bookstores for purchase of any of these books: @marcus.books@esowonbooks@peoplegetreadybooks, and @unclebobbies.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following, and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Be well. Take care. Stay safe. Let’s heal.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Morose Meals and Human Bites; Of Poverty and Light; A Cinderella Story; Love Is Love

Living Lively

Haile’s My Plate

My Plate Reflection-The American Stew of Privilege 

Every immigrant group could look down on them. There was always a bottom that you could be hostile to and that was useful in bringing the country together into the melting pot. What was the basis, the cauldron, the pot? Well, Black people were the pot. Everyone else was melted together, and American.

by Toni (Morrison)

Photo Credit: Grits and Collard Greens–Kim Daniels on Upsplash

 

 

Les prix de l’académie

Yesterday, I ran to the supermarket for a few items.

My friends and always gracious hosts, Janet and Paul had invited me over to watch the Academy Awards. This has been a ritual of ours for the past few years. Together we had watched the debacle when La La Land mistakenly was announced as Best Picture instead of Moonlight. Thankfully, that shocking moment was resolved and had a good ending as we laughingly bid each other goodnight. Unlike another shared TV experience–2016’s Election Night–which ended in tears.

Berries and Cream Crepes - These amazing crepes are filled with a cheesecake like filling, and sweet juicy berries for a decadent breakfast or dessert

This year’s text invite asked the guests if crepes were ok for the evening’s fare. Mais oui, I responded and asked if I could make any fillings. Within seconds, Janet confidently suggested Caramel Sauce or Lemon Curd. I declined on the Caramel Sauce but offered that I would bring Lemon Curd–which I had never made before–and whipped cream.

So mid-afternoon, there I was in the store in search of lemons, heavy cream and a few other things. While I was standing by the nuts, thinking they might be something else I could bring to the fête, I noticed a man near me, also musing on some shelf options. He was holding both a bag of Oreos and a bag of either hot dog buns or sub rolls. I am not sure which. There was something in the juxtaposition and composition that struck me. Maybe it was the way he was carrying them rather than pushing them around in a cart. My mind fleetingly registered some run-of-the-mill judgmental thought, equating him and those exposed milled white floured and sugared products. It then returned to thinking about nuts and chose Salt and Vinegar Almonds.

At the check-out area, I was glad to see that the Academy Awards did not provoke the same food shopping frenzy as the Super Bowl. I picked the “fewer than 14 items” lane for the sake of time. I was starting to feel rushed as there were still lemons to curd and cream to whip. However, after unloading my cart onto the belt, I discerned there was trouble at the register. The older, slightly disheveled man checking out in front of me was having some difficulty with the credit card machine and his pin number. I exhaled and told myself just to be patient. Besides, Janet and Paul would amicably rewind to the Red Carpet segment if I missed it. No longer having a forward-moving agenda, I looked back and saw that the Oreos and buns man was right in line behind me. Inhaling a Zen-like attitude, I acknowledged his presence and didn’t care at all about what he was choosing to buy and eat.

Things remained stuck at the register. That man was trying to insert his credit card in different ways and had tried different pin numbers which then led to the transaction being declined. The cashier called for help. Two managers arrived at the scene. I began to try to see if I could see what the man was doing wrong–thinking that I might prove helpful. The Oreos and bun man then spoke up, and said, “Try this.” I turned and saw that he was holding out his credit card to pay for the no more than fourteen groceries being held hostage in one bag.

I was surprised by the kind gesture and wondered how long I would have stood there without a similar solution. I said to him, “Wow, that is really nice of you.” “How much could it be, $20?”, he replied. It took a moment for the troubled customer to take in the offer but he appreciatively waved it away as he pulled out another credit card from his wallet. The manager affirmed that this card would not require a pin for payment–and the transaction was approved. I did not see the total amount.

In no time, we were all back in the flow. The man who’d had the problem looked at me and said, “These things are complicated sometimes.” I smiled at him and agreed that was so. Next, having paid, in cash, for my own purchases, I turned to the Oreos and buns man and wished some blessing on him in return for his good deed.

Back home, I squeezed, zested and whisked those little lemons into a lovely curd with a nice dose of some white sugar. Tres bon. I spooned the curd into two cute little Oui Yogurt jars to carry over to the gathering. And to hasten my arrival, brought the cream with me and whipped it there–no sugar added, just a touch of vanilla. Janet and Paul served up a light repast of delicious crepes and other goodies.

It was a very nice evening even though I did miss the Red Carpet and lost at the category voting game. I laughed and cried. Animal-rights activist and vegan Joaquin Phoenix won for Best Actor and asked us to be kind, to give second chances, and to not hurt animals which I am sure has sparked some controversy. But largely, all was well at the Academy Awards.

I thought about the guy who had cared to help his fellow shopper. He deserved a little award too. He showed me that good actions speak louder than patient waiting.

Notes to self–Do not judge people by the color of their flour and sugar– nor their proclivity to Oreos; and when life gives you curds, make lemon curd.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

C’est la vie, Elyn

Related Recipes: Lemon Curd by Sally’s Baking Addiction; Vegan Lemon Curd by Loving It Vegan; Vegan Lemon Curd with Maple Syrup by Minimalist Baker

Related Nutrition Information: Health Benefits of Lemons by LiveScience/World’s Healthiest Foods

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My Plate Plate

 

My Plate Poem

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree’s planetarium.

by Pablo (Neruda)

Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.

by River (Phoenix)

 

 

 

michelle, my first lady

Dear Michelle,

I have been worried about your husband Barack’s eating habits. From following him on the campaign trail during these very arduous times, it seems that news items abound about him chowing down on ribs, chili dogs, pizza and pastries. Yes, I know that he needs to go meet and greet his constituents and that he is eager to support small business owners around the country. This does mean that he must go and find where the people gather–and that is often in settings that involve the communal act of the serving and eating of food.

I deeply appreciate that he is of the people and can get down and chow down with the common folk. I also know he is a very generous guy and stories have reported that he is sometimes buying goodies to bring back to his hard-cranking campaign workers or public servants in the numerous locations where he has touched down.

Michelle Obama - white house kitchen garden

Michelle Obama’s White House Garden

 

I do not mean to undermine his profound need for nourishment to keep him going, but it seems that a lot of yellow and red light foods are speeding their way down his own gullet–with obvious gusto–and with no traffic infractions being incurred. Just for those of my readers who don’t live in the world of nutrition education, the traffic light metaphor refers to a system of identifying foods as either green, yellow or red light signifying always, sometimes or rarely ever to be eaten.

I am reminded that when Barack’s friend and mentor, former President Bill Clinton was in office, his legendary appetites were the subject of much attention and downright mockery. I remember hearing he lusted for Philly Cheese Steaks. So, why are your husband’s eating habits not garnering the same scrutiny? Unfortunately, unlike pudgy Bill, it is because he is thin–actually, it is worse than that. He is skinny. I say, unfortunately, because being skinny can sneak up and bite ya. I imagine it must have been a bit disconcerting for you when that burly pizza parlor owner, came right over and just picked poor Barack right up off the ground with that big bear hug.

With all the attention on obesity, we forget that the non-obese can suffer health consequences as well and are equally vulnerable to the effects of poor diet, smoking and stress–which I know are issues your husband contends with. These can be more detrimental than just extra pounds alone. I think I heard that he has quit smoking–so that is good.

I will assume that when at home, our dear President consumes lots of White House grown organic vegetables, and grass-fed, hormone-free animal products prepared by some of the best chefs in the land. And, that he plays basketball and does other activities to stay fit. Hopefully, he also has a team of massage therapists and other holistically-oriented practitioners to assist with his well-being. Maybe he just eats these ‘red light ‘ foods when he is on the road–like kids who go crazy for sweets at other people’s homes when such foods are forbidden in their own.

Believe you me, I do know that it is impossible to control our husbands’ behaviors. Here I am a nutritionist, and my own hubby has quite the pedestrian sweet tooth. No amount of my homemade kale chips can keep him from occasionally going out and finding a bag of Cheeze Doodles and the perfect dish of ice cream. I bet Hilary knows what I mean. Still, I am wondering, if given your highly touted platform and efforts regarding the urgency of improving nutritional status and decreasing the burden of illness on our nation, whether Barack could and should be modeling more healthful eating behaviors.

I was troubled by a story I heard on the radio just last week. NPR reported on what Obama and Romney were doing to sustain their non-stop high-energy requirements on the final leg of the campaign. This was right before Hurricane Sandy changed the agenda. They interviewed some campaign assistant who started out by saying that when Barack got off the plane that morning, he headed right over to get some Krispy Kreme doughnuts. You probably don’t know that I have a little, shall we say, vendetta against Krispy Kreme, so you may want to read my posts, Kicking Butt with Krispy Kreme and Magic Doughnuts–The Nutritionist’s Nemesis. So, upon hearing that, I was all ears.

It got worse. I was shocked to then hear Barack himself saying something to the effect that all that nutrition stuff is your thing, but he doesn’t care. It is an election year and the White House will be giving out lots of candy for Halloween. My, I don’t know how you felt about that, but I was disappointed to hear such an off the cuff remark that indicated to me a disregard of the real importance of proper nutrition in improving the health of our citizenry.

To really turn the tide on the dire consequences attributable to the Standard American Diet  (SAD) will take more than lip service. It will take courage to exhibit true leadership in this matter–and leading by example. Sugary sweets are not a substitute for the relief this electorate truly seeks, and perpetuating good-natured excuses and exceptions for our food behaviors will not reduce our massive health costs and its drain on our economy. That quick sugary fix will ultimately lead to a massive crash in mood and energy.

Never you mind. Your husband still has my vote. Yet, I am writing this with trepidation as the election is still a few days away. I do wish for him to have four more years–healthy years– in office. I hope it will not take a quadruple bypass surgery for him to appreciate and attend to the benefits of a healthful and vegan diet as it did his friend Bill. It would have been nice if while stumping in North Carolina he had stopped in at that wonderful restaurant, The Laughing Seed Cafe that I mentioned in Forks on the Road.

Though Barack might not need them, the future of health care, Medicare and Social Security are seriously on the line right now–and we need him to make sure that those programs are there for those of us who will. Perhaps too, with a second term, he can work to integrate some more holistic preventive health measures into Health Care reform. Please, keep up your good work and see if you can get Barack to eat his beets. I read that he does not like them. Do let him know that betalain-rich beets are blessed with many health benefits. Great for the cardiovascular system and the lowering of high blood pressure. And, that makes those beautiful red gems a nice little aphrodisiac food too–wink wink

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Respectfully,

In health, Elyn

P.S. Congratulations on your beautiful new book, American Grown, The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.

Related Recipe: Minted Spring Pea Salad from American Grown courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

American Grown (Michelle Obama book).jpg

Michelle’s My Plate

My Plate Grace

We hope we live long and strong.

by Obama Family