Ambrose Bierce —
Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.
Rice salad-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.13.14 Vegetative State

I know a true vegetative state is no joke, but I couldn't resist this as the title for my current vegan existence. On day 12 of the Spring Detox/Cleanse, I am more than halfway through and I can officially say that this has not been about feeling limited or deprived. If anything, I have noticed how comparatively little food I need to feel nourished and full, and that is without consciously trying to reduce my intake. Although the cleanse calls for three meals a day—with the last one being a simple bowl of soup—G and I have mostly been satisfied with just two. I think this is because we eat our biggest meal of the day somewhere between 3pm and 5pm, something I doubt we'll sustain as it's just not that practical given our work schedule and our desire to socialize with others. Come Friday, I tend to like a cocktail, but have been content with my latest obsession of coconut vinegar with seltzer. Cinnamon tea and the occasional medjool date have been enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. As for some of the vegan dishes I've been enjoying (already previewed on Instagram @LauraSilverman), please read on...
Gillian Welch, "Hard Times" —
Hard times ain't gonna rule my mind no more
photos by gluttonforlife

4.8.14 Energy Crunch

It's day five of my 21-day vegan cleanse. It's not really going to be a big deal for me, I told my health coach (discover her wisdom here). I basically eat like this all the time. Plus I'm not an emotional eater. Right.

My coach told me to use the advent of spring and the inevitable awakening and clean-up of the garden as a metaphor for my own self. And on Sunday, as I knelt on the still-frozen earth, hacking away at dried twigs and grasses, pushing aside sodden and broken-down leaves and pine needles, I saw that I, too, was badly in need of a refurbishing. It became clear that the extra pounds I have acquired over the last 5 years may well have helped buffer me against the particular pains and hardships of that time. Though I may not be the kind of emotional eater that relies on chocolate to mask a feeling of vulnerability, I am no stranger to taking comfort in food. But things have changed: my husband is healing; spring is here; I am reconnecting with a kind of movement and wholeness that I had begun to forget. Oh, and the cleanse? It's also meant a renewed commitment to daily meditation, which is good since my mind has been racing a lot. Could be that no sugar, no cheese and no alcohol really does have an impact on me. I've been falling asleep early, sleeping for 9+ hours and having vivid dreams. Tectonic shifts. I fear many things, but change is not one of them.
Mark Twain —
The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.
photos from the interwebs

4.1.14 Make Peace

As I write this, there are two tiny ants crawling around on my desk: proof positive that the world is waking up and spring is imminent. I heard the low trill of an Eastern screech owl the other morning and witnessed four robins sprinting across the lawn. There have already been rumored sightings of bears. Soon the frogs will come out of their deep thaw and the woodland orgies will commence. Tempers can run hot at this time of year, as even emotions lie dormant and come bubbling up as we begin to move and shake our creaky limbs. Be gentle with yourself, and with others. Stretch. Stimulate your blood flow by taking a natural bristle brush or a dry loofah and brushing your skin in long strokes toward the heart. Lighten the load on your organs (especially the liver and gall bladder) by eating fewer processed foods and meat and increasing your intake of greens, especially the bitter ones like dandelion and the chicories.

I was lucky enough to jumpstart my seasonal transition with a few days at Kripalu, a wonderful yoga and wellness center in Lenox, Mass. I've been there several times and really appreciate all it has to offer: yoga, massage, hiking, meditation, privacy, community and delicious, healthy food. As it happened, my reading for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers took place there on the last day of my stay, so it was incredibly serendipitous and convenient.
Lady Astor —
One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.
photos by gluttonforlife

3.26.14 Days of Wine & Roses

I snagged that title from the 1962 film starring Jack Lemon and Lee Remick as a husband and wife who both succumb to what is referred to as "the alcoholic lifestyle." The pain of such an existence—of any addiction, really—is unfathomable. Life is hard enough without that continual struggle. Both of my mother's sisters were alcoholics and they had complicated lives full of drama. My cousin Lisa died at the age of 48, her liver destroyed, her name still on a long waiting list for a donor organ.

In a recent intervew in Shape magazine, Sharon Stone talks about how, at a certain point in her 40s, she went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine, locked the door, and said, "I’m not coming out until I can totally accept the way that I look right now." (Hey, everything's relative.) Later in the article, she says that, despite her great love of wine, she has given up drinking alcohol because it makes women over 40 look splotchy, puffy and bloated.

So, what am I trying to say here? I guess it's just another opportunity to consider moderation and mindfulness. Too much booze is not a good thing, but I'm pretty sure we can say the same thing about vanity. Which is why I'm not hesitating to offer those of you who can tolerate a little tipple this recipe for a delicious French apéritif called vin d'orange.

Percy Bysshe Shelley —
O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?
photo by gluttonforlife

3.21.14 Spring Forward

Can you feel it? The axis of the earth is increasing its tilt toward the sun. Days are longer and filled with more light. I’m not fully rejoicing yet because I hear there may be another nor’easter in our near future, but I’m getting ready for greatness. Our palates are preparing for the change, eager for the delicate flavors of spring: fresh goat cheese, the first slender stalks of asparagus and rhubarb, tender greens, sweet peas. These lighter foods act like a tonic upon us, awakening what has lain dormant, much as the sweet air brushing against our skin is revitalizing. This is a wonderful time to do a detox or a cleansing fast, to purge, freshen and take stock. There is something about that sparkling feeling, wiping the slate clean, that allows us to move ahead with great optimism. I urge you to shed some layers and wipe away the cobwebs—literally and figuratively. Soon we will be loosed from the shackles of winter and there is promise of great things to come.