This has been the week I was waiting for. The week when it would all start to click, when I would have my “aha” moment, when the frustration of the past fourteen days would finally seem worthwhile. I really feel a change within myself, and without.
This week also saw me face, and pass, my biggest test to date – cottaging with friends for the August long weekend.
It’s hard not to love a good raw lasagna. It takes all the best elements of a quintessential comfort food and turns them on their head, transforming a typically heavy, calorie-laden dish into something light, summery, and delightfully unexpected.
Well, the second week is over and I’m (mostly) none the worse for wear. I’m definitely relying on the extra-dark chocolate to keep me sane, but it has become pretty easy to limit myself to a small amount and only once per day. Whenever I start to feel bad about making that exception, I remind myself that refined sugar is the enemy, not cacao! And anyway, I don’t want ever want to get to a place where, because I’ve limited myself SO much, one bite of sugar sends 5 pounds-a-packing onto my hips. No thank you.
This week was less emotional than last, but some of my initial zeal has worn off and is being replaced by the occasional bout of apathy. I think I secretly believed all my problems would be cured instantly, miraculously, once I started doing this, but the changes are much more subtle – a little more energy during the day, a little less bloating after meals, a bit more self-confidence, a few less cravings. It will be interesting to see what happens as the month goes on.
That being said, welcome to Week 2!
This marks the second installment of a series of posts I will be doing over the next few weeks as I attempt to kick my sugar habit for good. I sat on the idea of blogging about this for several days, so I apologize for being a little behind on the updates. Sharing your weaknesses with the world is a heck of a lot more intimidating than sharing some recipes, let me tell you. Fortunately, I kept plenty of notes, so you can still follow along my progress from Day 1.
I’ve written about my sugar problem before, though perhaps not as frankly as I’m about to, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to share this struggle so truthfully with the world. I’ve been trying to slowly reduce my intake over the last several months, but aside from a few lifestyle changes (no sugar in my coffee, no candy, and no chocolate bars, unless it’s organic dark chocolate), I haven’t been particularly successful at it. Every day after lunch or dinner I crave something sweet. And every day I give in to that craving. Sure I generally make good choices about what I feed my addiction – homemade treats sweetened with honey, maple syrup, or dates; high quality chocolate; raw vegan desserts – but that still doesn’t make it an acceptable way of being. And now that the heat is on here in Toronto, I’ve been having gelato whenever the mood strikes me on top of whatever else is coming out of my kitchen.
I thought I’d share with you another article I wrote for Collective Evolution, you can see the original post here and check out more of the site here. Enjoy!
Last year the Brazilian Ministry of Health did something pretty radical: they created a food guide that actually reflects healthful eating habits.
The new guide offers a holistic, comprehensive, and ethical approach to diet, and the result is an incredibly refreshing (and quite radical – more on that later) manual for living a healthy life. Rather than dividing foods into subgroups in the typical Western, reductionist manner – carbs, protein, veggies, fruit, protein – and recommending what, in the Canadian context at least, feels like a simultaneously restrictive and unattainable number of servings to consume each day, Brazil’s guide breaks down foods in a much more natural way. Their four food categories are:
- naturally or minimally processed foods;
- oils, fats, salt and sugar;
- processed foods (these include bread, cheeses, cured meats and pickles); and
- ultra-processed foods.
This recipe probably looks pretty familiar to some of you. If it does, don’t worry – you haven’t gone mad.
I have decided to revamp and reshoot some of my old recipes (in between posting new content) in order to give them the love and attention they truly deserve. After making these many times over the last year I’ve come up with a few little tweaks which I think make them even better, which, to me, is a natural part of the cooking process. It would be unfair not to share those improvements with you. More importantly, my photography skills have improved significantly since I began this blog just over a year ago. A quick peek at some of my earlier recipes will make that abundantly, cringe-worthily clear. It requires a real effort in mindfulness for me not to agonize over some of those earlier photos! At the same time, it is also really rewarding to see how far I’ve come.
This recipe has been a rather long time in the making. It started with a feeling of nostalgia, evoked from photographs of our travels in Austria. I can still recall the sublime beauty of that country as if I had just returned this morning. I remember the overwhelming awe and gratitude I felt in the presence of the vast mountain range that surrounds Salzburg, and the sense of wonder, of having travelled through time, while exploring the ruins of Durnstein castle, once home to an imprisoned Richard the Lionheart.
I’m absolutely in love with this dish. I’ve been making a variation of it for the last year or so, and it always makes for a perfect dinner. Satisfying, wholesome, and flavourful, it can be ready in under 40 minutes but tastes (and looks) like it took two hours. The marriage of classic Italian flavours – parsley, basil, olive oil, and sundried tomatoes – with the rather more Canadian textures of the squash and fiddleheads is really quite exciting. On weeknights it makes for an indulgent-feeling meal, but since there’s no pasta, it’s hardly an indulgence in the usual sense of the word. You’ll be full without feeling overly stuffed, which is something I will always endorse.
As some of you may be aware, I am now the full-time editor, as well as a contributing writer, for Collective Evolution. I recently wrote a short piece for them about the importance of doing what you love, inspired by (of course) my own transition from a job that I hated to one which I love. I think it’s something which can’t be said enough, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share my experience with you all here. I tend to learn life lessons the hard way, but I’m still hopeful that this might motivate someone to make a change in their life and take the risk of finding happiness.