34 Pounds of Flour and Waffles

Yesterday we cleaned out the freezers. The one attached to the fridge, and the chest freezer in the basement. In the process I discovered I had 34 pounds of flour.

And I rarely bake. What am I doing with all this flour?

Oat flour, quinoa flour, Pillsbury Unbleached while, Bob’s gluten-free baking flour, Superfine rice flour, coconut flour, King Arthur’s Flour. Arrowroot, and yellow corn meal.

I must have acquired all this flour during my IIN training when every week I was trying a new way of eating. I tried Vegan and Macrobiotic, and Paleo. I tried Vegetarian and Pegan and Atkins and Whole 30 and Clean. I tried every diet known to human kind. That must be why I have quinoa flour, and spelt flour and teff flour.

The other morning when I was complaining to Vince that breakfast was hard for me because I am allergic to eggs, he gave me his gluten-free waffle recipe to try.

(He’s kind of obsessed with waffles.)

IMG_1694

Yesterday he posted this on Facebook about consensual sex.

http://magazine.good.is/articles/tea-never-looked-so-good

And then he commented this:

Waffles are not tea. But waffles are waffles. And waffles want to be eaten.

I do not assume that everyone wants tea who once wanted tea, but waffles are for the world. The world needs waffles.

I don’t know what “Waffles” represent here, but his recipe turned out great.

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Food Update

It’s been 10 days since I’ve had coffee, sugar, alcohol, eggs or wheat and I am feeling really good. I feel calmer, more relaxed, still a little on the tired side, but I think that is more a function of the weather (cold, cloudy, spring-resistant) than my diet.

I had a great talk with Jennifer last week and she recommended a tincture and some supplements which I immediately mail-ordered and now everything is here, and I am ready to go into the supplement phase.

My eyelid is improving dramatically since I stopped putting Royal Glow on it. (How could I use something  everyday for 2 years straight with no problem and then suddenly have a BIG problem with it? Mysterious.

Whatever.

Today I did my weekly food shopping and in addition to food I picked up 2 magazines: The Intelligent Optimist and Experience Life.

The cover story on The Intelligent Optimist caught my eye because it was “Why taking supplements leads to enlightenment,” by the famous shaman, Alberto Vilodo. He  said we have to clean up our bodies, and more importantly, our brains, if we want to access  shamanic states of ecstasy.

How? Give up sugar, dairy, coffee, and gluten. Take Omega 3s, Vitamin D3, turmeric, trans-resveratrol and coconut oil (which he calls “jet fuel for the brain.”)

Also: get our intestinal flora active and healthy via probiotics.

He claims that if you go radical and extreme with this diet it will take you 6 months to get there. This article gave me fresh motivation to continue on.

The article that made me pick up Experience Life was, “What Your Skin Is Trying to Tell You.” And once again, just as I suspected, it’s all about what you eat and your gut health.

(Everything is about what you eat and your gut health.)

I have been dealing with my eczemic ear canals for years (4 or 5) and it is time to get to the bottom of this. I am going all in.

Add to that the prospect of shamanic states of ecstasy?

Oh yeah.

Elimination Diet Begins Tomorrow

I have no idea what to write tonight. This is my 34th post in a row. I started out on February 18th, Ash Wednesday, with the goal to post every day until Easter, which I believe is April 5th.

But tonight I am hitting the wall, I am scrounging for content.  But I will not let myself break this streak.

A streak, is something you do for as long as you can, all the while knowing that you probably can’t sustain it forever. A streak is like a game: it’s fun to see how long you can last.

In the past I’ve had “yoga streaks” and “workout streaks” and “writing streaks” and “meditation streaks.” I once had a two and half year streak in 750words.com.

Tomorrow I am starting an elimination diet, which is a kind of streak. (A really hard, pain in the ass streak.) I am going to see how long I can eliminate  known inflammatories like wheat and eggs and coffee and alcohol and sugar from my diet, in the hopes that I can get to the bottom of this patch of red and scaly skin on my right eyelid which has been bugging me for a number of months now.

I  suspect that it is some food that is causing this reaction, so I am going to do some detective work. I am going to eliminate certain foods and see if this eyelid thing goes away. Then I will slowly introduce foods back in to see what triggers this allergic reaction..

Tomorrow morning, no coffee. I have gone off caffeine  before and it’s not pretty. But it has to be done.

Some streaks are easier to sustain than others. This one is going to test me

I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck. I’d be really interested to hear any success stories about elimination diets. Did anyone have great luck? Do tell.

The Mindful Meatloaf

The other day I decided to make a meatloaf. I came across a recipe online and bought a pound of grass fed beef and a lot of expensive spices and exotic ingredients so I could try it. It was a pretty complicated recipe for a meatloaf.

But I delayed making the meatloaf because my life suddenly became really full and complicated with lots of stuff that needed my attention, pronto.

But then I looked at the expiration date on the meat and I really had to make it.

But I also had to do a lot of other things, too.

But I also needed something for dinner.

But I also needed to attend to my things.

So there it went, back and forth, back and forth, like that, in my brain.

I went into the kitchen and started to assemble the thousand ingredients for this complicated meatloaf, all the while questioning my decision, given all the other, you know, things competing for attention.

And then my brain hit overload.

So right in the middle of the kitchen, I stopped the meatloaf prep.

“Okay, Kath,” I said. “Here’s the deal. You are either going to totally commit to this meatloaf, or you are going to totally abandon it right now. Pick. Because you can’t do it like this, hon.”

And that’s when I made the conscious commitment to the meatloaf. I even put my hands together in prayer position and bowed to the meatloaf and said, out loud, “I am going to fully commit to you for the next hour, Meatloaf.” “Namaste.”

And with that, I set to the task of measuring and mixing and stirring and chopping. At the end of the hour the meatloaf was ready for the oven, all the prep dishes were cleaned up, and I was calm and happy.

I had really enjoyed the whole process. I was present for the whole thing. And now I was free to go on to the next thing.

And what I had learned in making the Mindful Meatloaf was that all I needed to do was pick a thing, commit to it for a specific amount of time, and then just focus.

The reason I am telling you about the Mindful Meatloaf is that I often ask my yoga students to create an intention for themselves before we start practicing yoga.

Many times, I too, have been asked to create an intention for myself before yoga, and I was often confused about what an intention was, exactly.

For a long time I confused “intention” with “goal.” But an intention isn’t a goal. An intention is just a promise you make to yourself to focus your attention in a particular direction for a particular period of time. That’s so when your focus wanders, and it will, you have your promise to bring you back.

What will happen the whole time you are making the Mindful Meatloaf, is that your attention will constantly be pulled toward all the other stuff you need to do, stuff that’s way more important than the meatloaf.

Your other projects will wail and scream. You will deeply question your bad decision to make this stupid meatloaf now, on this especially crazy day.

But then you will remember that you pledged your allegiance to it until it got done, and you will not entertain the possibility of moving on to another activity, another “meatloaf,” until this one is in the oven.

You will not listen to those wails and bids for attention from your other projects. You will stay with the meatloaf. You will be like Odysseus, and not plug your ears to the songs of the Sirens, but instead tie yourself to the mast of your meatloaf, listen to them, and sail on!

So now you can use the Mindful Meatloaf as your personal ADHD dispelling magic word any time you feel like you have too many things to do and not enough time to do them.

In those moments, just put your hands in prayer position and whisper, “mindful meatloaf” and commit to it with your whole heart.

***********

Oh. And that meatloaf?  Terrible. I mean, truly awful. Worst meatloaf I ever tasted. I threw the whole thing in the garbage.

But the making of it was transcendent.

Gadgets and Gizmos and Chicken Soup

I’ve been reading Bringing Home the Dharma in the mornings. It’s my new ritual, this reading in the morning. I have broken my Ultimate Yogi streak and am now contemplating  starting all over again and trying to make it to 108 Days.

I have a hard time when my streaks end. There’s a lot of mourning and self-recrimination. I have my rules and all, but it’s still hard. With the Ultimate Yogi it was a matter of not being able to fit in the hour-plus every day. All of my problems are with time: the desire to do so many things, but then running out of day.

Why is it that some people seem to have, or are able to fit in, so much more into a day than I can?

Time Management. Energy Management. Putting the Big Rocks in first. Battling the Resistance Monster. These are my ever-recurring themes.

Part of the problem is that I tell myself that there are certain conditions that need to be met before I can do other things. Like I need to start cooking in a clean kitchen, so dishes need to be done first. Or I can’t work on writing or computer projects unless my surroundings are neat and orderly. But taking time to pick up and put things where they belong takes time away from the activity that I want to do once the space is free of clutter and chaos. And there is never a lack of clutter and chaos.

And how come it is that once I’ve created order, I have now run out of the time to do the activity that required the order? And on top of that, I have now expended so much energy cleaning, that now my tank is totally empty for creating?

Errrr.

Okay. Switching topics.

G comes home today. Here is what I have been doing in her absence: I have eaten cookies. And the pie she baked (and left). I also ate a bagel with cream cheese. I have had 2 glasses of wine every night. I have been drinking caffeinated coffee. I have also been enjoying my Verismo and my frother.

In the past month or so I have acquired a number of new gadgets: a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer, a Cuisinart (which is not actually “new” it’s just been sitting in a box in the basement because I wasn’t psychologically ready, until now, to deal with learning “blades.”) I have also recently gotten a Verismo and a milk frother. Add this to the VitaMix and the Juicer and I now have no counter space. But, I have a shitload of gadgets.

Just to clarify. I love gadgets, maybe even more than I love the word “gadget” itself. I also love the word “gizmo” and I often have “gadgets” hang out with “gizmo” so that they form a little two-thing gang called “Gadgets and Gizmos” kinda like Bloods and Crips, but friendlier.

The other day I made a homemade chicken noodle soup with a leftover rotisserie chicken. While the chicken was cooking down in a pot of water, I sent 4 huge carrots through the slicer on the Cuisinart, followed by 3 stalks of celery. I then changed out the slicer for the chopper blade and chopped an onion. I minced 4 cloves of garlic in my hand mincer and in the blink of an eye I had saved myself a good half hour’s worth of chopping.

I used the “Heady Garlic” olive oil I got at F. Oliver’s to saute all that veggie wonderfulness, and the resulting soup was so so rich with flavor I wanted to invite the whole neighborhood for lunch. I boiled up a big batch of fillini (which is my fave “soup pasta–egg noodles are gross, I think) and kept them in a separate container and just add them to the individual bowls of soup so they don’t flab out, or muddy the broth with starch.

That’s going to be the “Welcome Home” dinner for G tonight. Maybe I will even stop at Wegman’s  on the way to the airport and get a nice loaf of crusty bread and a little “sumpin'” for dessert.

(Do you know that “desserts” spelled backwards is “stressed?”) Turns out the antidote is contained right inside the poison.)

Excellent.

Food Sins

Last night I came home from my wild and crazy Fall Flow class, starving. On the counter stood a warm rotisserie chicken and a bottle of wine at the perfect temperature. Oh god, it was the sight of heaven.

I fixed a plate, poured some wine and settled into the couch for a DVRed episode of The Amazing Race.

Ever since I have come off Clean, I have been super-aware of the effects of food on my mood, my sleep and my energy levels. This past weekend, for example, I indulged in pulled pork on a roll and, of all things, Cheese Balls.

Yeah. You know, cheese balls–those things that come in a jumbo plastic jar that are nothing but salt, preservatives and chemicals? Yeah, I ate those. After the 10th one I felt like I was going to throw up. Seems I no longer have the “palate” for crap I used to.

Cheese balls

The white roll that housed the pulled pork was this tasteless piece of “meh” that didn’t even offer that chewy, doughy, satisfaction of really-bad-for-you carbohydrate. It was just a hunk of processed white flour posing as food.

Last night though, the chicken was tasty and greasy, the wine fruity and satisfying. Alcohol has not been a big player in my life for the past 2 months, so as I sipped this nice Cline Zin (on a Monday, no less) I was aware that even though this probably wasn’t the best thing for me to be drinking, it nourished my soul.

The biggest problem with me and wine is not the wine itself, but how it lowers my resistance to other things. Like chocolate.

After I drained the first glass, I went to the kitchen for “just a splash more” and returned to the couch with my splash, plus a square of Ghiradhelli.

And then another one.

I went to bed and slept the sleep of the dead.

For 2  hours.

Then I was UP.  Chocolate at night. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I looked at the clock at 1:30. Then again at 2:45. Then at 3:30. I adjusted pillows. I started the fan for some white noise. Squinted at the clock again at 4:45. I planned my NaNoWriMo project in my head for awhile then woke with a jolt at 8 AM.

I shuffled to the kitchen and made a big batch of amaranth cereal with apples and dates, and while I ate it I said 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys.

Clean slate.

Recipe for Amaranth cereal:

3 cups almond milk

1 cup amaranth (find this in the bulk food section of Wegmans, near the candy)

1 apple and 5 pitted dates pulsed in the food processor until they are in little pieces.

A good healthy shake of cinnamon.

Put all of these ingredients into a pot and bring to boil. Continue to simmer uncovered until the cereal is of the consistency you like. For me, this takes about 20 minutes. It makes a lot, so save it and heat it with a little almond milk the next day.

Amaranth is an ancient grain with a lot of protein, fiber, lysine and magnesium.  It will absolve you of the sins of cheese balls and chocolate and wine at night. I hope.

On My Plate

Because the weather was kind of meh, we jumped into the car and headed for Wegmans by way of Target, Panera, TJMaxx and Bon Ton.

I saw a woman in a turquoise polyester pantsuit.

I had a tall soy latte.

I said “Hi” to one of my yoga students in Target.

I had black bean soup at Panera.

I bought a lipstick that looks like a crayon in Bon Ton.

By the time I got to Wegmans, I was whoah, kinda done.

I picked up a bag of frozen shrimp, a box of couscous, a bag of snowpeas, and a piece of ginger root, in addition to the other stuff on my list, and made this for dinner:

gingery shrimp and couscous

It was fast and easy and yum. After the turquoise pantsuit, it was all I had the energy for.

Gingery Shrimp and Couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

1 cup white wine

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

8 ounces snow peas, cut in half on the diagonal

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 10 ounce box couscous

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Nestle the shrimp in the onions and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the snow peas and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to direction. Spoon the shrimp and snow peas over mounds of couscous on a plate and serve.