Category Archives: Food

Food: Yes, You can Feast on This Beauty

redbuds

I wait for them.  Yearn for them, all through winter’s grey.  And then one day, they appear.  A few paces in time behind the ever-brave forsythia, they infuse the still-leafless forest with extraordinary splashes of magenta.

A feast for the eye and the heart. And also, I’ve learned, an edible treat!

Cercis Canadensis, the Eastern Red Bud.

Light and tangy.  Buds and flowers.  Perfect for sprinkling a bit of extra magic on a lush Spring salad shared with friends.

I know folks whose Ozark wildcrafting wisdom expands far beyond Red Buds.  Their resourcefulness, sometimes cultivated across generations, stretches from poke to greens to mushrooms and more.   For them even everyday chickweed and dandelions easily translate into nutritious treasures.  How I admire this knowledgeable, respectful linking with the land and its bounty; this way of being in touch, in harmony, in place, and in the moment with the Earth’s vitality.

Foraging, of course, isn’t a realistic option or necessity for many of us.  But for most of us choosing foods and related rituals (preparation, eating, celebration) that boost and integrate our spiritual, psychological, relational and physical vitality is viable . . . . at least from time to time.

I would love to hear about your wildcrafting adventures and/or the personal foodways which vitalize your everyday life and being.

 

 

Food: Digesting a Garden Smorgasbord

lauritzen

Visiting a northern botanical garden in February with two toddlers in tow hints at limitation — in time, attention, flora variety and color.   Thus, my expectations were set just slightly higher than pavement level when our snuggly packed chevy sedan pulled into the nearly empty parking lot of  Omaha’s 100 acre Lauritzen Gardens located in the heart of the city’s riverfront hills.

My sister and brother-in-law, who frequent the gardens, had pre-chosen two kid-friendly destinations:  the lushly tropical, invitingly warm Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory and the windy bluffs, home to two of world’s largest retired locomotives.

The contrast was striking.

train

Organic vs Machine.   Life vs Death.

exotic

But both evoked awe.

big boyBoth had a story.  An appeal.   A part to play in the modern psyche:  the pull of the exotic, Nature’s enchantment,  power’s thrill, the rise and results of fossil fuel-based  “progress.”

My mind’s been digesting this experience for  2 weeks, ruminating on a smorgasbord of questions about Life’s directing influence and cycles,  creativity and choice, the power of desire, and the inherent human capacity to stand in the present, eyes perceiving, heart open, hands ready, feet on the ground.

hands

Which distilled down to this:  the urgent necessity of tending and feeding our togetherness.   Here.  On this small planet.  Now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: A Taste of Modern Love on South 50th Street

Modern Love

Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad (photo from modernloveomaha.com)

Last weekend I drove north, traveling through rolling Missouri farmland and gradually climbing into the sun-drenched high plains, until finally crossing the Missouri River at Council Bluffs seven hours later to arrive in Omaha, Nebraska, for a visit with my youngest sister and her family.

This journey yielded an unexpected opportunity:  dinner at Modern Love, an all vegan restaurant.

Tucked into a cinder block building enclosed by a triangle of bustling thoroughfares, the non-descript eatery seems, at first glance, hard pressed to fulfill its promise of “swanky vegan comfort food.”   I had my doubts.

But step inside. The staff, the lighting, the aromas all emanate health.  Welcome. Vitality.  Quality.  Omaha, in its commercial revitalization, seems to excel in offering superb experiences in unlikely spaces.

I have eaten a vegan diet for twenty years or so.   To hold a menu where every  single item from robust appetizers to yummy desserts is a real possibility stands as a rare joy!   No need to inquire about the presence of milk, eggs, or meat.   No need to settle for romaine lettuce and a baked potato. Just let the stomach and the intuition decide.

I chose the Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad.  Bliss!

And yet beyond the food’s tantalizing texture, color and taste, the greatest benefit of dining at Modern Love, without a doubt, rested in my sister’s heart-full company and our shared conversation.

Indeed, in our technology-centric, disconnecting world, an essential part of modern love certainly exists in appreciating small moments with family and friends . . . hopefully over good food.  Regardless of one’s dietary preferences.  Whether on South 50th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, or in  locations far afield.

 

 

Food: When the proverbial cupboard is stripped bare, thrive on the Good

Beer Can LitterThis week a dear friend called and told me of enduring public demeaning by an angry spiritual colleague.  She had walked away with her emotional reserves stripped bare; her dreams of cooperation suddenly starved of possibility.

After countless prayers and uttered affirmations to the Heart, it’s a painful irony that spiritual circles can deliver devastating putdowns wrapped in packaging of “intuitive wisdom” justified by “Guidance.” Have you been there?  I have.  It’s a shocking, empty place to suffer.

Like this wasteland, most crises, whether deeply personal or planetary, are burning grounds offering a challenging gift: an abundant opportunity to regenerate and thrive. A key power point exists in choosing what to consume.

Avoid Self-numbing trash.   Revive and thrive on the Good.

I visited my friend the following morning. She is a strong, vivacious woman. She spoke lucidly about what had occurred and what she will do differently if another such circumstance arises. Still her anguished paleness shocked me. But by afternoon, her voice carried a note of heartiness.

“I’m resting at the base of my altar,” she said. “I’m watching the trees and the sunlight. I have talked to another supportive friend.”  She was feeding on the Good.

Do you know what truly nourishes and revives you? What replenishes your vibrancy, strength, and Heart? And what, in contrast, undermines your well-being despite its appetizing appeal?

Meditation is one of my go-to renewing “foods.”. I’m also actively training to choose push-ups or a power nap over even brief facebook carousing.  The latter while appearing relaxing, stretches me into all kinds of de-energizing, extraneous details.

Can you engage your fit choices in an instant?   Practice when your days are easy. Practice when a day is hard.  Seek help when needed.  Next time an interaction or event raids your cupboard of cherished confidence, plans, or friendships, you’ll be better prepared to thrive your way out of the emptiness . . . and, as I’ve been learning in karate, perhaps to avoid the situation in the first place.

One situation we cannot avoid is our planetary circumstance.  Choosing to thrive on Good may seem a tiny bulwark against macro economic, technological and political forces promoting endless consumerism and a rush toward an ecological wasteland. But it is a choice within our power, and thus it is an essential, nourishing, goal-fit choice to make.

Food: Loving to Eat Well When the Emotional Munchies Strike

Garden Peas and Chard I Love to Eat.

Breakfast. Lunch.  Dinner. Snacks. Hors d’oeuvres. Tasty, fresh food is a treasure, especially when shared with friends.   Over the years I’ve focused on bringing more vitality, joy, and wholeness into my diet. I prefer eating vegan. Mainly because I feel clearer, lighter and leaner; also because of my concern for animal suffering.

Eating vegan isn’t the best choice for everyone; I get that. What does seem key is stoking the instinct for what truly nutrifies, particularly when contrary, munchie forces are at play.  I suggest as well that experimenting with food excels as an actionable metephor for finding and choosing what fortifies and alternately de-energizes many aspects of ourselves: our creativity, relationships and Heart’s Desires.

This past week I started the 3-week alkalinizing experience outlined in Kris Carr’s book Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat your veggies. Ignite your spark. And live like you mean it. My friend, Carrie Marry, who offers intelligent, heart-full health coaching, turned me onto this resource a few years back.   The book contains a lot more than information on alkalinity, but this is the part I use.

There are two main things I appreciate about Carr’s approach. One: I (you) actually get to eat. No days and days of just drinking lemon water or juices. The focus is on food choice.   On a day to day basis I find my food selections stand pretty solid. But undertaking this 21-day alkalinity shift shows me where I am weak. And this brings me to appreciation number Two:   I value what I call the agonizing liberation. By that I mean those cellularly palpable, difficult, revelatory moments when I’m craving the easy fix . . . the popcorn stress snack at work . . . the emotionally comforting chocolate . . . the quick energy boosting slice of small-batch brick oven baked sourdough dipped in olive oil.  Not that popcorn, chocolate or hearty bread necessarily constitute poor choices. However, the habits and feelings that sometimes push me toward them indicate deeper, entrapping imbalances.

In these cleanse crises, I try to exercise evolutionary strength. I make myself pause. I let my body remember the tastes it truly desires:  Fresh. Centering.  Vitalizing. I recognize the stresses and needs pushing toward the surface and affirm that they are better faced from a healthy foundation. I put down the popcorn, sip my luscious green smoothie, and reach for the quinoa salad.  Yum.