Sometimes you read a book or an idea in a book and you feel that the author has taken the words out of your head, put them on paper, and made sense of the gibberish of your thoughts. Recently I blogged about the book: “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed. While it is a book of quotes, there are a few sections where she goes deep into her past. It is as though she took the words out of my mouth (much more eloquent than I would have shared).
“It was wrong. It was so relentlessly awful that my mother had been taken from me. I couldn’t even hate her properly. I didn’t get to grow up and pull away from her and bitch about her with my friends and confront her about the things I wished she’d done differently and then get older and understand that she did the best she could and realize that what she did was pretty damn good and take her fully back into my arms again. Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance. It had forced me to instantly grow up and forgive her every motherly fault at the same time that it kept me forever a child, my life both ended and begun in that premature place where we’d left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill. I’d have to fill it myself again and again and again.” Page 68
I do not know whether I ever took the time to forgive my mom for her every motherly fault, I think I just moved on and did not wallow in that — there was enough pain to go around. It did force me to grow up fast (even before she died) and has meant that I am forever trying to bring back the childlike time. My relentlessness, extreme dedication, and persistence has meant that I sometimes have a hard time taking a step back to “play.”
It means I will hold you further away from my core until I can determine if you are going to go deep or stay on the surface. If you stay on the surface, I am not going to waste my time. If we meet in the middle and find that common ground — well the rest it history in the making. My mother leaving me at such an early age means that I will only fill that empty bowl with fruit worth my time, and make sure I constantly remove the rotten versions. I do not want to have to fill it again and again. Instead, I would rather fill it with the best of the best and not waste my time with anything else.
Have you ever thought about bread? I mean really thought about it? Before my pregnancy, I rarely ate bread. Occasionally we would have some at a restaurant, or at someone’s house, but generally speaking we did not have bread in the house. I have always (and still do) feel like bread is a filler food. I am one that believes that we should always fill our bodies with food that is fuel. Such as vegetables and fruit.
Until being pregnant. Now I cannot get enough bread. I have had a few cravings. Nothing too exciting. Chex-Mix, animal crackers, and for the entire pregnancy I have wanted bread. In the form of toast, sandwiches, and pizza. It is the only thing that ever sounds good. My OB said that my appetite would come back in the second trimester. It has not. Nothing ever sounds good. I never really am interested in eating. Except I know when I need to. When I start to get nausea (although I never had morning sickness) I know it is time for a snack or a meal. When that happens I only want bread.
It is comfort food. If you think about it, we have the option for bread in many different meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in different cultures (roti, naan, flatbread, to name a few). Now we even have gluten-free. You can have it plain, or toppings galore. I remember as a young child when I did not feel well, or when I wanted a treat, my grandma would make me toast with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. My dad loved peanut butter on his toast, my mom loved apple butter. At the moment, in the middle of this pregnancy, I want jelly. There have been times though when all I wanted on my toast was melted butter.
Now bread has become a phenomenon via the not so new culinary concept of “toast.” In San Francisco and New York you can find menu items such as buttered toast for $4. Yes. Maybe it is on high quality brioche, but still. I might sound like my grandma but I can almost get a loaf for that amount. In any case, bread, toast, what have you, it is my comfort food of choice as I ease into my third trimester.
Recently I was making more homemade English Muffins, which takes a tablespoon of honey. I had poured the amount into the bowl and decided I wanted the taste of honey, so when I was done I licked the tablespoon. It started my mind wandering with a domino effect from one thought to the next. The first thing I thought was I have not had honey in a while, and it is such a simple pleasure. I started (mind you I did not have much sleep that weekend) to think about how honey is made, and the simplicity of the bees, flowers, and pollination, and that the reward is such a simple sweet pleasure.
The next thought that trickled into my brainwaves was how often we disregard simple pleasures, or maybe we just take them for granted. How often do we pile our plates with a plethora of flavors, overwhelm our senses, and forget that sometimes the simplest dish has the greatest impact. A fresh tomato, avocado, or strawberry just by itself, no extra sugar or sauce needed.
Oh, how honey has made me get nostalgic.
It seems that in the summer months when the days are longer and fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant that sampling local fresh goodies is easy. As the days get shorter and darker, it is often easier to stay inside, work more, and go the efficient route. We tend to stick to soups and stews, and heartier meals, yet that does not mean that we have to miss out on simple pleasures. Like pumpkin, squash, and other fall inspired pleasures that hit the spot.
I have to start my day off right. It always begins with a green smoothie, water, and tea or coffee all before lunch. Those three things make all the difference in my day. For lunch I usually have a raw salad, and sometimes the additional protein on top. In the afternoon, if I am good I will have a clementine or some cashews. All of this is with the intent of consuming only raw foods before dinner. Why does this matter to me?
Over the past few years I have read so many books on health, eating, and fitness. What I have learned and what I have in turn become passionate about is making sure the food I ingest is full of nutrients and vitamins. Imagine if you put fake gas in your car? Would it take you very far? No. It might sputter along for a while only to shut down later, sometimes with damage done to the car. I believe we need to put the right fuel into our bodies on a daily basis. What is the right fuel? To me it is fruits and vegetables, nutrients that are grown by the sun. What is not great fuel? Pop tarts, and other foods that are filled full of preservatives and other crap. Basically any foods that require your body to use more energy to break down the food into usable fuel. Fruits and vegetables require less energy for your body to break the food down and use as fuel.
Green smoothie is an excellent example of fuel for your body. Yes, you probably think that I am a broken record on this topic, but it is true. The blender (my Vita-Mix of course, but any blender will do just fine) will break down the veggies and fruit, so that when your body consumes the nutrients it does not have to work so hard to process and use as fuel. If you were going to eat and chew all the fruits and vegetables in the smoothie, it would a) take too long to eat it all, but b) also take a long time for your body to break down the food and turn it into nutrients. The result: less energy wasted by your body = more energy = happier me!
Do I veer off course? Of course! If you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll see that I love me some chocolate chip vanilla pudding cookies, homemade english muffins, and pretzel rolls, to name just a few. It is always great to pamper yourself with yummy foods, as long as they are in moderation. Usually my rule of thumb is how many fruits and vegetables did I consume that day? Did I stick to my normal raw before 5 pm? Did I have a work lunch were I veered off course? Did I go out to dinner? If so, I might not indulge in breads or sweets. Did I work out today? Did I gorge on something excessive? Did I give my body fuel today? It is a challenge of balance.