Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the food we put into our bodies. Specifically food that falls into the “life-giving” category as far as I’m concerned. It’s not as if I don’t frequently think about food. In fact between my job as a food editor, blogging and making meals for my family, I think about food 24/7. But the way I think about food had been shifting and changing.
One of my favorite cookbooks is Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson. Although I find some of the recipes hard to execute because of specialty ingredients, the message and mantra behind her book speaks to me in ways that other cookbooks can’t. It’s a book that, like her site, preaches the value of whole foods and quality ingredients. And while it’s not a diet book or even a health food book by conventional standards, her recipes are certainly nutrient-packed and veggie-dense.
Last weekend while my mom was with us, I made a recipe from Heidi’s book for Kale, Coconut and Farro Salad. It was a recipe that combined some unusual flavors including kale, toasted coconut, sesame oil, soy sauce and whole grains. The combination was divine and had all three of us scraping the bottom of our bowls to gather up every last bit of deliciousness.
While I was eating the salad, I felt incredibly aware of how the salad made me feel inside. Not how it tasted but how the ingredients worked together to leave me feeling satisfied, full but not stuffed, filled with energy and ready to tackle the rest of our home-related projects.
I took a minute to let the feeling soak in, then contrasted it with the way I feel after eating a piece of cake, a handful of chips or even a piece of traditional pizza. Admittedly,I don’t eat chips or cake all that often and pizza only now and again, but you get the idea. Night and day I tell you. Kale salads, fruit smoothies, buttery avocado on whole grain toast and even dark chocolate all fall into the category, for me, of life-giving foods. Many of the dishes that come standard to the American way of life (sodas, including the diet variety, pizza, fried foods, etc.) all have a way of physically tasting as if they are stealing away moments of your life. Which is appropriate I suppose considering what they are doing to you inside.
For a long time I thought about food in a much different way than I do now. Everything I ate revolved around how it would make me look on the outside. Would it make me look skinny? Count me in! Eating nothing but processed protein bars and crazy diet shakes? Sign me up. I can’t begin to tell you the number of crazy diets I played with during high school and college.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I gave up the diets and embraced life-giving foods in the form of veggies, whole grains, fruits and the like that I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. And my body responded, too, by dropping the pounds that I had agonized about through the “diet years.”
I’m not entirely sure where I am going with all of this, so please bear with me. I don’t intend to wage a war on cake (I’m not that crazy! I love cake.) but I feel that a shift in the type of recipe content shared on E&C may be on the horizon. Does it make sense to say that it feels more authentic to be sharing recipes that reflect where I am at as a cook? Because if I were to share a new sugar-bomb dessert recipe with you every week and act as if I enjoyed a big piece of cake or a gooey brownie every night after dinner, I’m afraid I would be misleading you and duping you into believing that was the case.
Above all things, I want E&C to feel authentic and real rather than curated and staged. Where I’m at right now is light on the desserts, heavy on the healthy and natural with daily doses of extra dark chocolate. Not because it’s what I think I should be eating, but because it is what makes me feel good and what my body desires. And that feels pretty darn good.
All for now,