Health

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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.
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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.
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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.


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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.
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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.
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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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photos by gluttonforlife

1.28.14 Greens Keeper

Wherever you live, if you're mired down in winter you've probably grown sick of root vegetables and chicories and begun eyeing a bunch of foreign-grown produce, am I right? Stray not from the way of locavore righteousness! Instead, follow me down the garden path to these wonderfully-comforting-yet-healthy-&-nutritious creamed winter greens. I've discovered that you can make a very respectable béchamel sauce with buttermilk (the real, filler-free stuff) and it is the perfect foil for toothsome leaves, like mustard greens and kale. In a strange twist, I found myself craving this intensely green dish for breakfast. I like to start the day blowing on a spoonful of something hot, and when it's not oatmeal, a baked sweet potato or a bowl of miso soup, this does very nicely. It's also great for lunch or dinner, obviously, can be made ahead and even freezes well. Unlike me. Enough with the sub-zero temps.

(By the way, the reason I am not yet posting more on Oaxaca is that I am pitching a number of stories to a certain magazine and I am waiting to hear back on what, if anything, they would like to publish.)
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1.23.14 Armed & Dangerous (& January Hot Links)

I know you're probably expecting more posts about the Oaxaca trip, and I promise those are forthcoming, but my re-entry has been a little wobbly so I'm trusting you'll bear with me. Yesterday was my birthday and the evening before I hosted a "suprise" dinner party that was the final celebration of G turning 50 earlier this month. I use the quotation marks because evidently I am not as sneaky and clever as I thought. Anyway, it was a fantastic multi-course meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar that culminated with beautifully tender and crisply lacquered rotisserie ducks presented with Bibb lettuce, scallion pancakes and all the trimmings. (Incidentally, if you live in New York, the "large format" dinners that Momofuku offers are a great value and a marvelous way to dine with a big group.)

My own birthday celebration was a bit quieter, though I was inundated with love and good wishes (especially on Facebook - one great reason to join) and I was treated to a delicious lunch at the new Gotham West Market. More on that later, as well as details on my favorite present, featured above, and an assortment of links for you to explore and enjoy.
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photo by gluttonforlife

12.9.13 Wrap It Up (and a Caramel Giveaway!)

First of all, to those of you who left comments on my last post, thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful memories and appreciation of your most treasured gifts. I was really touched and heartened to see that the ones that truly matter are those that come from the heart, that are carefully considered and laden with emotional significance. (Through random selection, the winner of the set of Mirena Kim nesting bowls is Janet Prince! Janet, please email me your mailing address at gluttonforlife@gmail.com.)

This week, there will be another two giveaways, starting with this jar of my famous sea salt caramels in two flavors, very voluptuous vanilla and sultry chocolate-chile, the latter made with my favorite bittersweet chocolate from the awesome Askinosie. The gorgeous new packaging is the result of my collaboration with the groovy design team at Mother. Trust me, you want to win. Next year, these may be for sale in the pop-up shop, but this year, here's your only chance. Just leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday telling me your favorite candy from childhood. And now, read on for this year's gift guide.
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