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...
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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.
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.
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.

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.

photos by gluttonforlife

3.12.14 Tea Time

Though the skies are perpetually grey, snow still covers the yard and a sleeting rain is now falling, I know that spring is coming. For one thing, I saw a green hellebore bud forming on a plant that's one of only a few not under snow. Oh, joy! For another, the cat keeps standing by the back door, waiting anxiously to go out to the porch. (She never lasts out there more than a minute or two, but still.) And there's my own restless anticipation. I am on a detox this week, having mostly smoothies, fresh juices and green soup. Visit that post and you'll see how last year at this time I was doing exactly the same thing. If you're at all connected to your animal instincts, you've probably noticed the way the body prepares for the change of season. I crave green.
photos by gluttonforlife

3.6.14 A New Leaf

I have a culinary crush on Alison Roman. She's an editor at Bon Appétit and, lately, so many of the recipes I grativate toward there are created by her. The magazine has a one-page feature towards the front that always showcases a single ingredient—like grapefruit or peanut butter or pomegranate—and several interesting ways to cook with it. In the March issue, it's cabbage and, though all three recipes look great, it was Alison's that really jumped out at me. It's for cabbage chips, an unusual idea and especially timely now that kale chips are wearing a bit thin. (Blasphemy, I know.) Pieces of tender cabbage—you're instructed to use the inner leaves—are roasted in a low oven for a couple of hours. They pass through a slightly stinky phase, when the cabbage wafts a bit of sulphur, and wind up with a sweet, concentrated vegetal flavor and a nice crispy crunch. I devoured these and felt positively virtuous.
photos by gluttonforlife

2.28.14 Love & February Hot Links

It's bloody cold. There have been snowstorms, ice storms, windstorms and rainstorms. The grey skies have wept frozen tears; these have melted and re-frozen, accumulating in big crystallized drifts that are beginning to lose their charm. And there's no end in sight. We're heading to Florida for a few days next week to visit G's parents and I'm looking forward to a little sun on my face. My bones are cold. But my heart is warm and it's filled with love. I know, kind of corny, but I think this meditation practice has really helped me. I've also been reading Pema Chödrön's Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living and it's given me so much to think about. You might be the most depressed person in the world, the most addicted person in the world, the most jealous person in the world. You might think that there are no others on the planet who hate themselves as much as you do. All of that is a good place to start. Just where you are—that's the place to start. In other words, don't wait until you're better, or thinner, or happier, or richer, or less stressed. The time is now. For what? For whatever you've been putting off. Like loving yourself. Having real compassion for yourself. Start there.
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2.24.14 Go Bananas

If there are any Puerto Rican, Dominican, Nigerian, Peruvian, Honduran or Jamaican people in your neighborhood, there are probably plantains in your local market. You've seen them in those dusty bins next to the waxy brown yucca tubers, hairy coconuts and ancient sweet potatoes, right? I'll bet you've never even given them the time of day. But if you've had Cuban food, you may have experienced the unforgettable pleasure of digging into a pile of soft, caramelized plantain slices, right next to your moros y cristianos (black beans and rice). It's hard to imagine that this delicious golden sweetness can emerge from such a black, wrinkly source, but plantains are sort of the culinary equivalent of pearls from swine. Read on for a gateway recipe to this ghettoized ingredient.
kissing cousins

2.20.14 City Mouse

About once a week, the Glutton and consort abandon their coveralls and shit-kickers, their nature walks and woodpiles, for the hustle and bustle of the big city. How else can we keep up with all the important goings-on and connect with the clients who make this rural existence possible? A mere two-hour drive southeast and we enter another world, far removed from our daily existence and yet deeply familiar—after 25 years of living in Manhattan, it's in my blood. My life is utterly changed from when I used to inhabit those mean streets, and I truly do prefer our little country cottage, but I can still appreciate all the city has to offer. It's actually been hard for me to relinquish that sense of being so plugged in to the latest restaurants, the new boutiques, the exhibits and plays that are the cultutral currency of a true New Yorker. I can't help imagining myself as both country mouse and city mouse.

You remember that children's story, right? Beguiled by his sophisticated city cousin’s amazing tales, the country mouse ventures into town. But his cousin has neglected to mention the deafening noise, the frighteningly tall buildings and those dangerous dogs! The city presents a spectacle at once gorgeous and disturbing. In the end, the reader comes to understand why the city mouse loves his exciting life and why the country mouse is content with his peaceful home. With a foot in each camp, I try to make the best of both worlds.