Tag Archive | Veganism

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

IMG_3308

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)

 

 

 

the tables turned

Or, how I was outed at Trader Joe’s.

So you know how the employees at Trader Joe’s are all chipper and friendly? Well, my checkout clerk on that Friday afternoon was no exception. It was the end of a long work week, and though I was tired and anxious just to get home, there was still the shopping to get done. I wove my way quickly through the store, stocking my cart well. As I rounded the final corner from the far aisle, I was glad to see that there was an open checkout lane. With the late hour and the subsiding commuter traffic, this was likely to be my last stop for the day.

refreshment-768743__180The checkout set up at Trader Joe’s is unusual. Your cart goes one way, while you go the other. Rather than allowing for the often awkward and yet inward zen task of unloading your own groceries, here, by receiving your full cart, the clerk both unloads and scans for you. Here you come face to face with your clerk more immediately and this results in your connection unfolding both more quickly and more intimately–and usually quite cheerfully. They maintain greater contact with your food–that which you have selectively chosen to feed yourself and maybe your family–than at most regular markets.

Having just turned over custody of my cart, I suddenly found myself in a conversation about cats. Apparently, if not for her mother’s allergy, my adorable, young clerk would have a cat because she loves them. I quickly realized that the cat food I was purchasing had prompted the comment and suddenly I was revealing that I had two cats. Most people I work with every day don’t know that about me.

I tried to bring the topic back to groceries by offering to help bag, but that resulted in a friendly argument. She counseled that I take the checkout experience as an opportunity to relax while I insisted that I did not find bagging to be stressful and that my help would expedite matters and could get me home sooner. I won that one, but clearly, in the process, our professional/client relationship had deepened. While I usually conduct my nutritional assessments and evaluations in the privacy of an office, this dedicated professional offered her services right in the checkout lane. As my purchases transferred rhythmically from her hands to mine, she hesitated and looked me in the eyes, and said, “Oh, I thought you were a vegetarian.”  I looked down as she passed me the plastic-wrapped piece of salmon that was swimming along solo in the long queue of plant-based products.

I stuttered and stammered. Believe you me. I have stood on many a grocery-style line with a keen eye going through the contents of the carts around me. I am a nutritionist so I am apt to assess for the number of essential amino acids, calculate the percentage of the daily value for manganese and vanadium–and to make judgments. But, here, the tables were turned. The little punk of a young woman had my number. The words fell clumsily from my mouth as they tried to follow orders from command central. I could have just said it was for my cats. But, instead, I explained that I was a vegetarian, but that on occasion I do eat some fish. “Oh”, she corrected, “A pescetarian.” I balked as I felt I was being assigned to the wrong religion, maybe like being called a Methodist when you were, in fact, a Lutheran.

The arena of eating patterns does not make easy allowances for any gray areas. You either are or you aren’t. But still, I doth protested. The date of this encounter coincided with my 40th anniversary of becoming a vegetarian. It was a long time ago–I was a teenager– but I am pretty certain that it was in the month of May. During these forty years, I have only once eaten meat when I chose to have a few bites of turkey at a NOFA conference in Vermont. And, only a spoonful of times I have allowed a chicken stock-based soup to pass my lips.

But it is true that I have eaten fish and seafood. I have had years where I did not eat any, and in recent years have largely avoided it due to myriad reasons, but more than not it has been there as a backup. Some of these were times of surrender like when I needed to appease my mom; or when traveling made vegetarian options hard to find. But, more often it was a conscious choice–albeit a choice of exception. I mainly choose “pesce” when eating out–especially when at a seaside location; when I feel like my body needs a denser or “yang” protein; when I think that I might benefit from a dose of fish nutrients; or when it will just be nicely satisfying. A fish-based soup on a cold winter’s night might fit this bill. I eat fish maybe once per month. That piece of salmon that I just put into my shopping bag was likely to find itself shelved in my freezer for a while and might eventually be consumed by Pete–a 41-year long vegetarian who also just occasionally eats fish.

There is no arguable rationale, but I still clamor to consider myself a vegetarian. I carry an identity with this definition and it guides my ethical and social compass. In some ways, it does serve as my religion and it begs many questions regarding behavior as religion is apt to do. It is most certainly my favorite cuisine and I bask in nature’s brilliance and creativity of plant offerings. Nutritionally, it seems to serve me though I have little data for comparison. Forty years of many types of beans, kernels of grains, colors of vegetables, with nary a need for a table knife most certainly buys me membership in the club–maybe within an “essentially vegetarian” or “low pescetarian” category. At least, I should not have to be explaining myself or justifying this to a random check out clerk, right? Even if her parents are vegan and she’s been vegan her entire life as she then did go on to share with me at the end of my babbling. I would peg her at twenty-two years at best, so I still have a few nuts and seeds on her.

Still, the encounter did make me ponder my attachment to this aspect of my life and what it represents. Though maintaining a non-carnivorous diet is a lot easier than it was forty years ago, with vegetarian and vegan options now more widely available and even commonplace, the whole matter of who we are as eaters has become way more complicated with many different belief systems to be an adherent to. What did I need to defend and what else would I defend so stridently?

As I finished up my bagging duties, she said, “Oh, I see you didn’t purchase many dairy products”, further assessing the plant-based percentage of my diet. She actually got a good glimpse and did a pretty good analysis. Such work is much easier from that platform instead of relying on diet recalls or scribbled and food-stained dietary records as I traditionally have had to do.

I paid for the consult, I mean groceries and loaded the bags back into the cart. I started for the exit thinking we were done. But, there was one more thing. “Oh”, she giddily exclaimed as I walked away, “I love your socks!” Once again she had surprised me. I realized I was wearing a funky yellow paisley pair that was peeking out from the bottom of my skirt and through the top of my shoes. I smiled. Maybe we could just be friends.

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

vegetables-1085063_1920

Vegetable My Plate                    Image by Deborah Breen Whiting from Pixabay

 

My Plate Haiku

Do you carrot all for me?

My heart beets for you, with your turnip nose and your radish face,

You are a peach. If we cantaloupe, lettuce marry.

Weed make a swell pear.

Author unknown

vegan envy

“As some of you already know, it is Meat Week here on Morning Edition“. So starts Steve Inskeep in a report on NPR last week– which means that a few million people did actually know. But, coincidentally, or as I prefer to think, karmically, it was also Vegan Week here in my little village, and my, what a Vegan Week it was.

For a little background on Vegan Week, visit my post, Be Kind to Animals, which gives the history of this event– which was until recently known to about seven people. However, this time around, the Village Veganistas took on a few new cocktail-concocting guests. One evening we were barely contained in our host’s small home as our table grew to eleven. And, the next night we literally spilled out onto the porch as our numbers increased even more–along with the temperature. The word was out. Our giddiness, fueled by the exquisiteness of the meals–plus the fresh strawberry cosmos and daiquiris–could no longer be contained. The curious fringe came circling, like lions ready to pounce on some new meat–but alas, all that they found was some kale salad with fennel and cannellini beans, vegan egg rolls, and some rice stuffed cabbage. Ah, but they pleaded to stay and begged for more.

As I listened in on Meat Week’s offerings with its stories of the evolution of carnivores in America, my single compartment stomach churned and felt a little queasy. Reported was that Homo sapiens evolved as meat eaters– which apparently accounted for the increased size of our brains. Even so, eating meat was essentially a game of catch as catch can for many a good year. The advent of animal husbandry increased access to and consumption of meat, but for the most part, it was tendered to the reigning aristocracy. It was here in America, due to the vast amount of pastureland plus some good old ingenuity, that meat became amply available–and at a cheaper price– thus elevating meat-eating to a national pastime.

The rest is a mere hundred plus-year-old history that brings us to today and the 30 million cows we now have in this country. Some standard meat factoids are that: it takes 20-30 pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef; it takes 53 gallons of water to produce one hamburger; one-third of all crops grown are fed to animals; two-thirds of the water that we use is for agricultural purposes; cattle raising contributes to vast deforestation and air and water pollution; and, Americans eat 270 pounds of meat, per person, per year.

Two hundred and seventy pounds? Per person? Per year? That is like 10 ounces per day. The world average is 102 pounds and all those people in India are consuming only about seven pounds. Only folk in tiny Luxembourg eat more, but Australians are right up there as well. Though people are eating less beef, chicken has quickly taken its place because of the work of Frank Purdue and others who fostered industrialized chicken production only a few decades ago.

Apparently, though, there is a turnaround trend occurring and people are starting to eat less meat. It seems that this is mainly due to economics but also to concerns about health, the environment, and animal welfare. This news left me ruminating. How primal is this need for meat? Could a week of eating a diet entirely devoid of animal products provide some answers to this evolutionary debacle?

This is about our seventh seasonal celebration of Vegan Week. We are usually corralled to gather when my next-door neighbor Carrie clears a spot on the table of her own busy life to find the space for our culinary, dietary and social intention. I was actually quite surprised then when the summoning email arrived this time, as Carrie is a candidate for the NY State Assembly. She is already busy campaigning around our district, making appearances at various, sometimes hot dog hawking, events. But true to her commitment to community, she did not forget the Veganistas.

This Vegan Week held now the excitement of  Carrie’s candidacy. We sometimes had to save a plate for her as she arrived late due to some campaign work. But that was not the only thing that marked this week. All the meals that we share are incredibly good, prepared by some excellent cooks. However, on Thursday night, unassuming and sweet Danielle, a relatively recent addition to the circle, brought Vegan week to new culinary heights. Her menu began with a vegan version of the traditional Italian soup Pasta Fagioli. She used those adorable little ditalini noodles accompanied by a homemade, perfectly fennel-seasoned gluten sausage. We were just getting over that flavorful experience when we beheld her main course, a Seitan Picatta.

This dish consists of a baked potato cake, topped with a tofu-based creamed spinach and a seitan cutlet with a lemon and caper wine sauce. She obtained the recipe from “Chef’s Table, The Kitchen of Angel Ramos” the head chef at Candle 79, a vegan restaurant in Manhattan. Danielle’s execution was exquisite. She made her own seitan cutlets which were the most tender I have ever tasted. The presentation was beautiful as well. After our first bites–we squawked like happy free-range chickens. Oh, and yes, dessert. A perfect chocolate cake. Our newbie guests were amazed.

Couldn’t this great fare appease us modern Homo sapiens? Exquisite taste with a  slightly chewy bite? Might less meat possibly expand our “knowing man” taxonomy to also include “homo ecologicus, homo amans, and homo poetica”–ecological, loving and makers of meaning?  Let’s chew on that at the Interdependence Day BBQ.

According to Meat Week, 7 billion hot dogs will be eaten in the US this summer. Given that about twelve ordinarily carnivorous individuals consciously chose to avoid any animal-derived products on this last week of June, let’s make that 6,999,999,988.

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

Related Resource: LIVEKINDLY

Related Recipe: Seitan Picatta

Danielle’s My Plate Plate

My Plate Haiku

Grasses, grain, fruit, wine

Garden flowers produce joy

Kitchen flours bread. By Gordon

 

 

 

 

by the time i got to woodstock

There I was having a mindful eating moment. Though I teach others the importance of this technique frequently, I rarely slow down enough to practice it myself. What it took for me to have my own blissful experience–where you sit in total oneness with a food or a meal fully attuned to the multi-sensory act of eating–was the result of a harmonic convergence between my teenage daughter and not one, but two teenage boys.  

It was a beautiful warm Friday in April when Zena and I found ourselves perfectly aligned to spend the afternoon together on the last day of her school spring break. Easily, the legendary village of Woodstock presented itself as the mecca for our little excursion. Morning obligations tended to, we hopped in the car and headed out. About a third of the way there, Zena decided to see if she could reach her summer camp friends, Ethan and Josh, who live there. Despite the fact that the two had school that day, and were actually in it when she contacted them, in vague teenage boy fashion they arranged that they would meet her somewhere after track practice.

It was the kind of day where you celebrate shedding the cumbersome clothing of winter and first drive with the car windows down. Whenever I go to Woodstock, the songs of The Band drift easily into mind, as I was once fortunate to see them perform there–in their adopted hometown. Little did I know that just a few days later, word of band member and Woodstock resident Levon Helm‘s death would pass a cloud over this sunny musical epicenter. But that day, it was all sunshine as Zena and I browsed the little shops, bought T-shirts and sunglasses and walked our way into that wonderful space where appetite is earned and asks to be rewarded with something special. We checked out a few little spots, yet in Goldilock fashion, it was not until we came to the Garden on the Green did we find the cafe that was just right.

Though the beautiful outdoor garden area was closing down for the afternoon, inside provided just as warm and welcoming a place to please my palate. Every inch was aesthetically charming. Ah, but there was more. The menu consisted of purely vegan offerings created from local provisions. We were giddy. Though I am no stranger to vegan and vegetarian restaurants when available, eating out in most places usually entails rapid eyeball movement over the menu to find the few non-meat selections. Here, every choice was seductively available.

We sat at the table by the large front window overlooking Woodstock’s little village green and ultimately decided to share a warm lentil pecan pate with sage, Tuscan arugula, and white bean salad and a wonderful black bean and roasted corn quesadilla. We settled in looking at all the pretty things that surrounded us. However, just as the food arrived, Zena said, “Oh, there’s Ethan!”  and went running out the door to greet him. I turned to find her in that kind of exuberant silly hug that teenagers enjoy with one of those Skinny Boys. She ran back in and asked if I would mind that she go hang out with him, concerned about leaving me alone to eat. I said I didn’t mind. We asked the waitress for a to-go container and I packed up a little picnic box for her to take outside–complete with the nice silverware–which we returned later.

So there I was, alone with this beautiful food. Right away, I knew what I needed to do to fill my time. I had already embraced my surroundings–taking in the other diners, the waitresses and trying to interpret the Spanish conversation coming from the kitchen. I now needed only to address all of my attention to this amazing meal. With each sense engaged, I looked at, smelled, and lingered over every single bite. I considered the textures–the creaminess of the pate along with with the crunchy crust of the bread it spread itself upon, the lovely bitterness of the arugula mixed with the tender softness of the white beans. I chewed incredibly slowly, which is not something I ordinarily do and really appreciated the unique meal. And, yes, as I tell my clients is apt to happen, I sensed my satiety rather quickly. I was actually a little bummed. I could have easily eaten all of the food that was before me while I waited for Zena to return, but with careful listening, my body said it had enough. I was determined to honor it.

Right about then, I looked out to the window and my maternal lens caught a view of Ethan loping away in one direction while Josh came bounding in from another. Zena came heading back into the cafe. She asked for more time, mentioning something about guitar lessons. On most other days or in some other place, my patience might have waned, but not there and not then. As she skipped out again I perused the very vegan dessert offerings and extensive tea listing and chose a Chinese Sencha Tea with which to extend my experience. I had recently read about specially harvested Sencha teas and was excited to try one. I stayed committed to my mindful intention and inhaled the pleasant aroma with each tiny sip.

Not too long after, a parent-propelled car pulled up in front of the cafe and whisked Josh away–and Zena rejoined me. Though the teenage boys had vanished with a cinematic flourish, my satisfaction lingered. Since then, I have been more conscious to calm myself and to eat more slowly when I bring myself to the table.

Time and again in my work I am reminded how important mindfulness is in regard to eating. Mindfulness, or simple but exercised awareness, is essential for a balanced relationship with food. In the big dietary gestalt, we tend to focus the problem on what we are eating and to seek answers in changing dietary content. I myself am apt to tend and mend in this way as well. However, commonly what is revealed in the real story of eaters, is that a deeper conflict exists. Even in those whom I assume must have their inner compasses precisely calibrated and their plates all balanced, I eventually divine the agita, angst, stress, and shame that accompanies how people feel about how, why and how much they eat. This is often more so the problem that is seeking attention and assuaging. These principles are ably addressed and applied at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Slowing it down and paying profound attention ultimately can change the patterns, often dysfunctional, that repeatedly dictate our feeding relationship. From thoughts to actions, mindful eating can be a powerful tool for increasing compassion towards ourselves, helping to reassign food to its proper place and for improving physical health. In its most simple sense, it will increase the ability to truly taste and savor food. More profoundly, it can provide more information than most diets do; affords permission to eat and decreases deprivation feeding behaviors that usually backfire. Ultimately, it allows one to derive more pleasure with less intake. It can be practiced with one tiny piece of chocolate or with an entire meal. It can be explored casually or studied diligently.

Two books that are in my midst these days that address mindful eating are, Eat, Drink and Be Mindful a workbook by Susan Albers; and Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga by Brandt Bhanu Passalacqua. I recommend them both. I also invite you to choose a moment this week to eat mindfully. I would love to hear about your experience if you care to share it in a comment. Who knows, you may find that you shall be released and or that you begin to know better the shape you’re in.

Enough with the obtuse song references.

In health,

Elyn

My Plate

My Plate Haiku

Spread peanut butter

On whole grain sweet dark bread

Raspberry jam-yum.    by Barb

be kind to animals

It is Vegan Week in my anachronistic village. Almost a year ago, when I first began to dispense my little stories about food and eating, I was about to join with a few neighbors in adhering to a foodscape that did not include any animal products for one week. To celebrate this intention, we were to share dinners–with a different person hosting each evening.

This idea had sprung from the fruitful minds of two of my neighbors–extraordinary women though just ordinary carnivores. One beautiful, sunny summer day, Carrie and Sharon had taken a day trip to the Culinary Institute of America, where it just so happened that in the bookstore, or perhaps more aptly, cookstore, of all things mind you, it was a vegan cookbook that caught their eye and nipped them in the tongue. The drive home stirred up their giddy excitement of deciding to live in the colorful, ingredient-rich world of the herbivore–for a week. They laid out the table and one night invited me–the vegetarian next door–over for a beautiful and delicious repast.

We all live within the confines of some dietary codex whether we are conscious of it or not and we get quite cozy there. My own vegetarian diet has certainly lost some of its philosophical punch throughout the decades that I have been living it and my food choices can be mundane. So, even though I have many days where my eating may be vegan, when the opportunity arose to be part of the spontaneously conceived next seasonal Vegan Week, I chose to participate.

Our little neighborhood group now has a few Vegan Weeks under our belts. We stroll leisurely over to each other’s homes, sit and relax, eat amazing food, discover nuances and ingredients that a truly vegan dietary requires, hear how badly someone is dreaming of a big, juicy burger and home we go–with no dishes to do. We once shared a vegan picnic at our local performing arts venue.

I realize that for the meat-eaters in the group, going vegan is a big and abrupt change–and they have all been really good egg-replacement-products about it. They have to plan all their meals differently, buy some special ingredients and do without that big chunk of flesh on their plate. By week’s end, they begin to feel the effects of the dietary change usually in a positive way. They seem to appreciate the change though admit that it is not easy.

However, even for me, for whom the omission and inclusion of these foods are not as extreme, the very act of dietary consciousness applied to each bite is profound. Ordinarily, one does not experience this, unless related to a religious ritual like Lent, Ramadan, keeping Kosher or fasting. Or, when going on a diet.  Personally, this week brings up a lot for me to think about.

To begin with, it heightens my vegetarian consciousness. It makes me think about my relationship with the animal world as it relates to the procurement or processing of eggs, dairy, and even honey. How many big resources of the animal kingdom does it take to bring me the little gifts my vegetarian choices allow?

It then makes me wonder about choosing to eat for health, kindness, philosophy or sustainability; and the difference between feeding my mind, my taste buds or my body.  Is there compatibility or dissonance between these concepts? Though I am a very happy plant-eater, I must see if my body feels it needs some of the energy provided by animal food; and, I have to decide if I am comfortable with some of the substitution processed foods sometimes used in a vegan diet.

Lastly, it makes me very mindful of the fact, that every day as a nutritionist, I am asking each and every client who sits before me, to make a commitment to some form of conscious dietary change–and usually, not just for a week, but possibly for the rest of their lives. As Vegan Week was approaching I was doing a lot of doubting. I’d had a lot going on lately and was not sure that I had it in me to pull up the resources I would need to get it together for hosting, extra cooking, special shopping–let alone the sacrifice and consciousness required. This made me appreciate that this is the same resistance that even just the thought of scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist raises.

Interestingly, last November, just after my first Vegan Week, Carrie and I went to see the film, May I Be Frank, about a guy from Brooklyn, whose life is changed when he accidentally steps into a raw food, vegan cafe called Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco. I wrote about this in Meditation v. Medication. A few months later, Carrie was in San Francisco. She ate at the restaurant, texted me a photo of her gorgeous meal and came home with a copy of the cafe’s beautiful cookbook, I Am Grateful.

As my resolve to do the week was weak, I curled up with my now own copy of the cookbook for some culinary inspiration–much like I had done with Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and shared in So, What’s the Dilemma? The story of this film, the restaurant, the cookbook and the people behind it, Terces and Matthew Englehart is quite remarkable and I invite you to get a glimpse or a taste of what they present as a possibility for both eating and living. As the restaurant’s name suggests, gratitude is the foundation of their purpose. Each recipe is named with some affirming attribute like I am Ravishing, I am Whole, and I am Courageous.

Thus informed, I planned my menu which included the cafe’s I Am Giving Marinated Kale Salad and was on my way. I am glad to have the question of what am I grateful for placed before me right now. At this moment, I am grateful for all who share their stories with me and who are open to some dietary consciousness change; of incredible food and the creative people who know what to make with it; and, for my charming neighbors for choosing a culinary theme that includes and nourishes me on many levels.

Is there any particular diet or food change you would like to consider being conscious of making now? Would you like to know what we ate this week? What are you grateful for?

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

Related Resource: LIVEKINDLY

Related Post: Vegan Envy

IMG_1672

My Plate Plate

My Plate Haiku

Food made joyfully

As a gift of time and self

Feeds body and soul

– Anne Marie