a reminder!

Just a reminder:

My new blog address is:  www.thewholeplate.com

Google reader doesn’t appear to be recognizing the old feed, so to keep up with new posts, please change your subscription to the new address!  Thanks! :)

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new blog address!

Please update your Google readers, bookmarks, blogrolls, or anything else you might use to access my blog:  I’ve moved to my own domain!

www.thewholeplate.com

See you there!

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delighting in the daily experience.

I promise I will actually share some kitchen creations again (starting tonight!) – I’ve been doing quite a bit of running around recently, and my knives and cutting boards have sadly been neglected.  Last night, I enjoyed dinner courtesy of Beam Green, the raw food community I was happily invited to by Gena last month.

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When I arrived, I immediately found the lovely Danielle and hit up the buffet for vegan sushi, raw zucchini lasagna, and other assorted goodies.  I may have returned for seconds.  

The evening’s speakers consisted of Gene Stone, a writer and founder of the Manhattan dairy free ice cream shop, Stogo; Gil Jacobs, a highly knowledgeable cellular cleansing specialist; and David Philips, an expert spiritual counselor on Kabbalah.

I settled down to listen with green juice in hand (a bit different from my last glass of a similar shape!).  I later won a gift certificate to Liquiteria, which is wonderful, as their juices are both delicious and expensive.  Now I get $20 worth!

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Like the last meeting, I left with many thoughts running through my head.  [Although we were all a bit distracted by the bombshell that this was the last Beam Green meeting ever.  No explanation as to why!]  One comment, however, stuck with me, from Gil Jacobs.  His words:

“Find the daily experience that works for you.”

One of the main reasons I enjoy a life full of whole foods is because the options seem limitless.  I find excitement in anticipating the produce that will next come into season; I find joy in combining and experimenting with different foods and flavors.  My lifestyle is not strict.  It is not work.  It’s fun.  Otherwise, I don’t think I could live it.

It doesn’t end with food.  I’ve dabbled in different forms of exercise, and I’ve kept my mind open to learning about health-focused lifestyles (high-raw, for instance) different from my own.  As my knowledge grows, my philosophies develop, and that constant state of being a work in progress is what makes this life a true joy to live.

Jacobs stressed that if one is counting the days until the torture of a healthful life is over, then something has to change.  It should never be painful; it just requires some experimentation to find the mix that works for you.

If we open ourselves to walks of life, to eating styles, to dogma foreign to our own, it may be uncomfortable, strange, and different.  But if we never take the chance, we’ll never experience the beauty of personal growth and change.  Missing out is too much of a shame.

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I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to miss my sample of Stogo’s coconut milk ice cream.  I love my healthy life.


What delights you about your health style?

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channeling the yogi.

The final panel at the summit last weekend, prior to a free giveaway-palooza, was a casual talk by the planning committee entitled “Fitness for Everyone.”

Each blogger shared personal fitness-related stories, whether it be Kath biking to the supermarket or mowing the lawn, Caitlin and Tina navigating injuries, Meghann training for marathons, or Heather displaying a yoga-running balance.  The overall message was that exercise should be a priority, but that it should also be enjoyable.  There is no mold that perfectly fits us all, and we all have different activities that suit us best.

Then Jenna stood up and cemented that point.  She faced us without Powerpoint slides, without notecards, without any pre-planning.  She told us how running continues to disagree with her body and expressed that it’s likely she will stop entirely after her half marathon this fall.  What will she do then?  Yoga.  Just yoga.

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When I arrived in Boston, I knew I would be spending two days mingling with many, many runners.  I had prepared myself to be upset, to be frustrated, to be angry with myself and my knees.

But I wasn’t.

In my first couple months of physical therapy last winter, I tried yoga out, but I couldn’t focus.  I was counting the days until I’d run again, and I felt neither commitment nor connection to yoga.  But when my knees flared up again, I chose to give yoga another chance.  Somehow, in just a few short months, it has become just as rewarding to me as running once was. 

Yoga has made me more connected and aware of my body than ever before.  I used to say that about running, and it was true to a point.  I could tell when I was underfueled, overworked, or just right, depending on how I felt on that day’s run.  But having that awareness didn’t necessarily mean I listened to what my body was saying.  

When I ran, I was always planning.  5 miles today, 3 tomorrow.  Long and slow today, tempo tomorrow.  Yoga is different.  I can do it for twenty minutes or an hour and a half.  I can shake and stumble out of poses; I can also shock myself and balance with strength I never knew I had.  I can feel sweat coat my body, and I can also relax, letting my mat simply be a place for a gentle stretch.  Most of all, I never choose what to do in advance.  I allow the moment to guide me, and my body tells me if it needs work or rest, if it’s ready for a new and challenging pose, or if it needs to resettle in the familiar.

I still love to run.  I was only able to enjoy it for a year, but it was a wonderful year, and I am glad I was able to participate in the running community for that time.  I’ll always know I have the heart and the drive to run long distances.  But putting my sneakers in my closet and shutting the door is a decision I am not only proud, but content to have made.

I believe our bodies were meant for activity.  But I am also a firm believer that we each have our own unique niche.  Some people run.  Some walk.  Some enjoy the gym.  Some dance. [Have I ever mentioned I took twelve years of ballet lessons?]  Some people swim, some bike, some climb.  And some practice yoga.  

Exploring the many different forms of movement can be half the fun of staying active.  The other half, at least for me, is finding the one that’s right for you, falling in love with it, and treasuring its sweet release.


What is your exercise release?

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the organic question.

When I revamped my eating habits a few years ago, I did it for one reason, and one only: vanity.  In that world, people ate fruits and vegetables not for health, but because they had less calories.  People didn’t exercise for enjoyment or mental clarity; they suffered through it to burn off what they ate.

I never could have predicted the journey that an awareness of health would take me on.  With both the good and bad, it has ultimately transformed me for life.  Perhaps what I’ve come to enjoy most is that my approach to health is in  a constant flux: I am always learning more, about nutrition, about myself, about exercise and my relationship to it, about my decisions regarding food.

One piece has remained in the background up until the past few months.  I’ve developed a strong sense of responsibility to support local farmers, and I try to shop at the farmer’s market when I can.  But, when I stand in the aisles of the supermarket, staring, for instance, at the brands of Greek yogurt I eat daily, I am hit with a dilemma: organic or not?  To be perfectly honest, I very often go for conventional.  I see the price difference, I know I am on a strict budget, and money wins out.

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At the summit this past weekend, the speaker that truly moved me was Regina Beidler, an organic dairy farmer.  She spoke with passion and conviction, presenting the life she leads as a farmer devoted to a responsibly produced product.  She really got me thinking.

While I believe I have an open mind when it comes to eating styles, as I feel strongly that the elements of a person’s diet are personal and unique, I nonetheless wish the fresh foods I adore could become more of the norm.  It would be nice to join friends who might not care about health at a restaurant and not feel I need to dissect the menu and pay $15 for a salad that wouldn’t fill up a five year old.  

One of the ways I support this way of life is through the groceries I choose to buy, particularly farmer’s market or local produce.  Leaving processed foods with unpronounceable ingredients on the shelves and opting for whole foods allows me to do my small part in supporting a more natural lifestyle.  Regina Beidler’s speech alerted me, however, that I am choosing to see only a piece of the big picture.

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I support naturally produced foods.  How is it ok then, to purchase, for instance, a conventional dairy product?  Knowing full well, as Beidler emphasized, that the cows who produce that dairy are anything but responsibly raised?  Beidler showed us pictures I had seen before, of cows lined up in miniscule, individual stalls overflowing with corn and grain.  Leaving the inhumanity of an animal who never sees the light of day aside, the entire process of overfeeding a cow with chemically-infused feed she was never meant to eat, simply to produce an excess of hormonally-altered milk, is anything but natural.  How can I support that when I have the option to buy organic?

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I was struck most by a question asked of Beidler towards the end of her speech.  Over lunch, I spoke with a couple bloggers who grew up on farms, and I questioned how it felt to eat meat from animals they had known and raised.  Beidler was spot on in her response, as she presented the two options we have.

In one, we choose meat from a package in a grocery aisle, with no concept of the animal it came from, the farm it was raised on, or the way it was processed.  The other: we know the animal, know it was fed grass, as it is naturally meant to, know it was allowed to pasture and didn’t live its life in a pitch dark barn, and even know that it died in a humane way.  She emphasized that she eats and enjoys all forms of meat and has never intended to become vegetarian.  She simply wishes to support responsible and sustainable farming.

I’m not going to stop eating dairy.  And while I very rarely eat meat or poultry, I’m not going to stop having bites of my dad’s or limit myself should I want to eat it myself.  But, I am going to make more of an effort to know where my food comes from.  I never want my dollars to go to conglomerates who are modifying the product I buy.  So, if that means spending a few extra dollars on organic, I am going to find a way to make that work.


Is organic important to you?  

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home cookin’.

Happy Monday evening, everyone!

I’ve unexpectedly ended up staying in Connecticut for a couple nights, so tonight I took advantage of my mom’s home cooking.  

I can attribute my enjoyment of kitchen creations to my mom, whose cooking expertise and adoration seem to have skipped over my sister and been passed straight to me.  We differ, however, in one major capacity:  I am unable to adhere to a recipe, and my mom swears by her cookbooks.

She has often called herself an adept recipe follower, rather than a cook – personally, I think she doesn’t give herself enough credit.  Her thirtysomething years in the kitchen allow her to doctor up recipes quite well.

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The recipe she followed tonight was for a white “gazpacho” – which seemed oddly titled considering tomatoes were nowhere to be found in the ingredients list.  According to the Boston Globe article where she discovered it, gazpacho can be the name of a chilled vegetable soup that does without tomatoes altogether.  Who knew?

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Unfortunately we all agreed that though the soup was photogenic, it was as bland as its color.  

Along with the light soup, my mom sautéed a slew of vegetables, along with pinto beans, cumin, and chili powder.  I served mine over baby spinach, alongside local roadside corn.

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The farmer who sold my mom the corn had grumbled that the vegetables this season are somewhat water-y due to the absurd amount of rain we’ve had.  He was right – the corn was disappointing, and I so look forward to corn on the cob this time of year.

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On the plus side – it was a visually pleasing meal, a fresh and home-cooked one, and it was eaten alongside my lovely parents.  Not every meal can be five stars.


Are you a recipe-follower or a more creative cook?

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normalcy.

After ten days of beachside vacationing and a fully packed weekend in Boston, I have had some wonderful experiences away from home.  Now, however, I am more than ready to get back to normal.

Throughout the past couple weeks, I have eaten a great host of delicious food.  I’ve had a glass of wine nearly daily, which I don’t mind a bit.  I’ve gotten lots of fresh New England air.  I’ve hugged and laughed with my family and my best friend.  I’ve made new friends in Boston.  My summer is coming to a perfectly lovely close.

It’s time now for some comfort and some routine, some home cooking and farmer’s market foods.  I cannot wait to fill my week with my favorite “ordinary” things…

oats and coffee

Stovetop oats covered in almond butter.  I was going through withdrawal.  This bowl was so good this morning.

salad

Ridiculously-sized salads.

outlet purchases

An opportunity to play with my vacation outlet purchases.

thrifted accessories

New thrifted items.

avocados

Avocados!  I am digging into one with a spoon at lunch.

fruit bowl

A stocked and diverse fruit bowl.  I love having options.

barney butter

Almond butter (courtesy of the swag bag!).  Nearly two weeks with no peanut or almond butter – far too long!

battery park

Some New York.


How do you get back to normal?

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