Monday, August 19, 2013

The Real Deal

A few years ago, I moved to my lovely city (Boston, if you don't know) with a close friend of mine. At the time she was suffering from some pretty serious and mysterious health problems and, after a lot of trial and error, began some radical changes in her diet that have helped her tremendously. 

During that time, through her extensive research, I also started to learn about the amazing changes diet alterations have brought to people with autism, chronic fatigue, lupus and other serious mental and physical ailments that do not have "cures". 

These discoveries really got me thinking about the many unknown ingredients I'm constantly putting into my body. So many of my friends, only a few decades in to the long lives we live thanks to modern medicine, are already struggling with debilitating health problems that often can't be diagnosed or resolved with pills, creams, or any other quick fix. And more often than not, it seems changes in their eating habits start to give them some relief.

And really. . . is it any wonder? I was born in the late eighties and raised in that happy, roaring decade of the 90s craving Lucky Charms, Kool Aid, and Hamburger Helper. I've been consuming man made powders, chemicals, dyes, and protein chains transformed into "food" my some incredible technologies from my earliest days. It's no surprise  my friends and I seem to have bodies that are falling apart at the seems already with this list of faux nutrients? 

I'm ashamed to say that, despite this new awareness, it took me awhile to climb fully aboard the "real food" movement. Mostly out of laziness, I think, knowing it would mean a change in much more than just what I put on my plate. I finally am making some real changes, however, and it feels exciting and great! 

 Earlier this summer, I made the commitment to start eating about 80% real food on the regular. This seemed like a realistic goal without going crazy and failing right off the bat (which would happen if I deprived myself of ice cream, lets be real). I haven't been perfect, and have certainly had weeks where I've gone of the deep end. . . but, because this is a long term lifestyle change I'm striving for, I'm sticking to it, and being gracious with myself when I fail.

My hope is that, in the next few years, my diet will contain almost no chemical preservatives or processes foods. 

I decided to blog about some of the biggest challenges I've experienced so far in making this lifestyle change, mostly because any time I mention my goals to people, I hear the same thing. Something along the lines of, "Oh, I'd really like to do that, but I don't know where to start!" It seems like we're scared of using real food! And since I dove in with the benefit of some healthy eaters going before, and sharing knowledge and resources, I want to pass it along!

I'll be blogging this week about the change in food costs I've noticed this summer but, until then, here's a new favorite recipe of mine for when I'm craving carbs. 


Whole Wheat Tortillas:
(this recipe is only very slightly altered from here)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

++In a stand mixer mix flour, oil, and salt until crumbly, scraping as needed. If you have a dough hook that would work, but I just use my standard paddle.
++Keep mixer running and slowly added warm water and mix until dough is smooth. At this point, I remove the dough and kneed it on the counter for a bit. If you use a dough hook, no need to knead (get it? hehe)
++Diving the dough into 12 pieces, roll each into a ball and flatten in out on a pan or board. 
++Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temp for 15 minutes to an horus
++Heat a skillet over med-high heat with a little coconut oil (or other favorite oil)
roll out the tortillas using a very small amount of whole wheat flour. I usually make mine about 8 inchesaround. 
++Transfer to the hot skillet and cook about 30-45 seconds on each side.
++Be sure to eat one when they are hot, fresh and amazing! The rest can be stored in the fridge or freezer to use later!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Well, hello! 

See what I did there? Took the summer off and didn't even tell ya'll.

I guess I figured if I was too busy soaking up summer to write, you were probably too busy to read (at least that's what I've been telling myself. . .)

Between apartment sprucing, weekends away, and summer fun with friends, I decided not to stress the blogging.

A recent slew of goodbyes to friends headed on their next adventure has got me writing, again, however.

My friends, Hannah and Joanna, recently left Boston for the warmer streets of Nashville, after 2 education-minded years. Closer to home for them both, but just plain far away for their friends here in the North East.

These lovely women were the latest in a line of friends and acquaintances who've taken part in a mass exodus from Boston this year. Since May they've been trickling away in fits and starts leaving those who are staying behind to look around at the empty spaces. We are waiting to see who will be left when the dust settles (to be perfectly cliché).  

These many goodbyes are not the first of my life and certainly will not be the last. While I know that, truthfully, we cannot all stay together forever, it hasn't stopped my compulsions to grab tight for hands around me as they go (or stay) and insist that we all be the lifetime sort of friends. No matter how often or familiar the sad task of saying goodbye comes around, each time I  feel that deep and throbbing pain in my chest at the thought being separated from another friends. And, truth be known, I feel a welling of self pity at the injustice of my having to say goodbye to someone when I just don't want to.

Wouldn't it be easier if we always could be close to the people we love most? If they were forever just up the hall, or down the street for a chat or a hug, and we didn't have to just suffice with Facetime or texting or phone calls (although, I'm mighty thankful for all of these means of communication!)

As often as I've been tempted to give in to that pity party these past few days, after this particular departure of my sweet friends, I've also been reminded that this sadness is really a byproduct; a longing in our hearts for something much deeper.

It reminds me that in the beginning, when Adam and Eve were new and full of wonder, and before they made other, more knowing decisions, there were no sad goodbyes. Only sunny day spent together and cool evenings strolling in the garden with their Father friend.

But then, without knowing really what they were doing, they chose, among other things, separation. From their Friend in the garden, from the garden itself, from each other, and their children and the list goes on. It was here that the jagged edge of "saying goodbye" must have been realized.  To begin to bridge this gap, there was another great separation, between a Father and his Son. The Son coming to earth as a man. Living among us, making friends, building relationships only to have to leave them behind. 

I imagine Jesus had more pressing matters on his mind those nights before He died. But I also wonder if He thought of his friends who had stuck close to him. If He thought of how He would no longer spend his days with them, joke with them on the road, or pray with them. I think, because he was fully man, that he did.

I know that when I call out to Jesus with sadness at the new distance from a friend, he doesn't just hear me. . .he knows intimately what I am feeling because he felt it too. And He knows that ultimately what I'm longing for is an end to separation from Him and His Father. 

For those of us in Boston who are not so transient, it seems a cruel decision we've made: To live in a city full of people always leaving. But for those who have chosen to believe what I do, let it be a reminder to us that the sorrow of parting will one day be erased. One day, we will be surrounded by all our precious friends on a cool, evening walk in the garden with our Father,  and there will never be another whisper of goodbye.