This blog was birthed out of the desire to be well.
At the time I started this, I was at a bit of a crossroads, or, an impasse if you will. On the outside, I still looked fine but I felt desperately unwell. I was constantly dealing with uncomfortable mouth ulcers (which I didn't really know what to think about except for the fact that I felt like they were a clear sign from my body that something was off, out of whack… out of balance). At the same time I was dealing with chronic fatigue (no doubt contributed to by bouts of insomnia), unexplained muscle aches and pains, and unpleasantly frequent intestinal issues that almost always culminated in sleepless nights of pain where I could be found, in the fetal position, wrapped around the porcelain throne.
Not a pretty picture. I know.
I have since learned that several of these symptoms can be caused by depression. The thought had just never occurred to me that I might be depressed. But our bodies, being the glorious creations that they are, do have ways of trying to clue us in when something is awry.
I am, admittedly, a bit of a slow learner. Some might even call me… ehem… stubborn. So, it took pretty drastic discomfort in order for me to get a clue.
One of my very best and dearest friends once put it like this - she said, "If you have a broken leg but you don't do anything to fix it, it will just keep getting worse and worse. The pain will intensify until one day you just can’t ignore it any longer. You can't deny it. You can’t keep telling yourself it will just go away or get better on its own. The only way to get better is to take action; make a change."
For me, that action was leaving a job that was a bad fit to pursue/find/ discover who I really am and what I love to do. What am I passionate about? Or, what are some of the injustices, disparities, atrocities in the world that strike a particularly loud chord with me that I would like to play a part in changing?
Here, I'd just been praying that God would grant me peace, or make me feel better… heal my body of all these mystery ailments… when really, my body was just trying to do right by me by sending a message that my brain could understand in the form of pain, exhaustion, and an overall sluggishness that characterized both my overall mental and physical mood pretty much 100% of the time.
I made several changes in my life, diet being a major one of them.
Now, I'm a woman. And I, like so many women, have struggled greatly with body image, eating, loving my body, etc. It would be fair to say that I had "food issues." There were periods where I adopted unhealthy habits where food, eating, and me were concerned. My goal at this point though, as I mentioned at the outset, was to be well.
In spite of my unhealthy relationship with food, I have always had a voracious appetite for knowledge on the subject of health and nutrition. I guess that's what… Irony? Anyway, so I read books.
After leaving my job, I sort of threw myself into this kind of literature. If there was something I could do to help not just my body but also my heart, mind, and soul I wanted to try it.
Books such as: The China Study, The Seven Pillars of Health, Eat To Live, Fasting and Eating for Health, Pottenger's Cats, and Eat & Stay Thin were my bread and butter, so to speak. My appetite for knowledge was insatiable.
In addition to this, I recommitted to focusing on my faith, making it a priority in my life as opposed to an afterthought. As time progressed, reading the Bible became a daily goal. I sought out literature that spoke to my personal struggles such as Beth Moore's Breaking Free and So Long Insecurity. Also, C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and Norman Geisler and Frank Turek's collaboration on I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist were particularly impactful on me as well.
Now, I am most certainly NOT a nutritionist. But, am I better informed about how the food we eat effects our bodies and thusly our health? Yes. Check. Most Definitely. And believe me, the adage is true, "Knowledge is Power," and conversely, "What you don't know can hurt you," especially nutritionally; what you don't know can actually kill you.
With a greater understanding and insight, I started looking at food not as the enemy, a chore, just something I did to try to counteract boredom or fatigue. No. I started looking at food as medicine. To quote one of my favorite lines from The China Study, “The process of eating is perhaps the most intimate encounter we have with our world; it is a process in which what we eat becomes part of our body.” [i]
Food is a gift. It can be a pleasurable experience and it can be received with thanks (without a side of guilt, I might add, even when you indulge in something that is "not allowed" or would typically fall in the "off limits" category). Food is a wonderfully powerful tool that we, especially in this great country, are so blessed to have in abundance.
This blog is simply an overflow of this new form of self-love I've discovered. Cooking, and cooking good food that's good for me, that promotes wholeness, wellness, and life, is one of the best ways to care for yourself and to show how much you care for others.
To some degree, I think we as human beings, with all our instincts and what not, have an innate sense of what is good for us and what is not.
I chose "Surprisingly Satisfying" because I mostly feature recipes that are meat and dairy free. I believe that a diet that predominately consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains is the best way to fuel our bodies.
Deep down, I think every one of us knows that eating whole foods is better for us than eating some of the other fried, dyed, plastic-wrapped and tied things that might make up more of the majority of the standard American diet.
I will share original recipes with fun pics taken right in my own kitchen. From time to time, I'll also share my thoughts on life, which are just that, thoughts (which might be inspired from any unexpected arena of life such as a trip to the garden center or just oversleeping in the morning).
I have under gone a revolution of sorts in my thinking where food is concerned.
I'm feeling much better physically and I'm happier knowing that now, with each sip, taste and bite, I'm doing right by my body - giving it good, life promoting food.
My recipes are based on what can essentially be considered a vegan diet. I really love cooking and baking and, if there is a way to make something healthier then I'm all about that. Often times, dishes based on vegan or whole foods, plant-based diets are much healthier and just as delicious as their meatier counterparts.
However, I recognize that I live in a world of carnivores. I am not personally of the mindset that it's not a meal if there's no meat but I am married to a wonderful man who loves him some animal protein. I have read enough literature on nutrition to know that, when it comes to the consumption of animal protein, the less you eat, the better off you will be in the long run. However, as adamantly as I may feel that less is more when it comes to eating meat, I feel even more strongly that it is not at all my place to try to convince or cajole my husband, or anyone else for that matter, into a lifestyle that they do not personally feel convinced to adhere to. So, that being said, I will also from time to time, share recipes that do contain meat or dairy.
This blog is meant to be a celebration of food and an exploration of what it really means to live.
Life, to me, is really about the people in it. The lives you interact with and where your story and someone else's become irreversibly intertwined. In all of human history, in every civilization and culture, I would be willing to bet that most often, it is around a table of food that many, if not most bonds such as this are formed.
I do hope that you will join me and enjoy, as I continue on this journey to finding fullness, living life and eating well.