We are currently living with friends, which brings us face to face with other – and it turns out different – food (and life!) patterns. This morning we shared our two breakfast smoothies with our friends. The first one is quite green: fresh kale from a community garden that has been frozen and thawed a few times and is still producing; alkalized water (http://cerrawater.com/store/cerrawater-pitcher); a frozen banana (definitely neither local or in season here in Cape Breton!); frozen strawberries (sadly, not picked this year from down the road as our freezer is unplugged and stored in a friend’s garage); and a healthy teaspoon of spirulina. Alkalized water is particularly helpful if you eat a lot of acidic forming foods (particularly processed ones, with refined sugar, etc.) as it helps our bodies maintain a higher pH in order to effectively fight off diseases. So this smoothie helps us to eat more whole plant based foods (our mantra!!) and take in some alkalized water too!
But we shared two smoothies. Why is that? The simplicity of the first smoothie wakes up our digestive systems gently without offering our bodies anything too complex to process. A wise thing to do whenever breaking a fast, which we are in fact doing every day at breakfast! Ideally this initial smoothie should not contain frozen fruit either, as this too can act as a shock to the digestive system upon waking and contribute to poorer digestion throughout the day. But we sometimes make choices that are maybe not the best, but good enough – a middle way – that satisfy some emotional need. Our second smoothie comes about an hour later and contains the more complex foods our bodies want (homemade almond or coconut milk, chia seeds and/or hemp seeds, a date, cacao powder, a frozen banana), and tastes just like a banana chocolate shake!
We happen to have landed in an incredibly compatible household – with the added benefit of two sweet and rambunctious boys who are gluten free and fun!! However, when we started to sort out shared meals beyond smoothies, we discovered a hole in our harmonizing. We arrived with a fresh batch of sauerkraut and two extra organic cabbages, several heads of broccoli, and some other goodies from the brassica family we were excited to share. As Nicky eagerly imparted the news of what was in the half gallon jar she proudly introduced to the counter, Ashlee recoiled, Matt flared his nostrils, and the two boys had never even heard the word “sauerkraut”. It turns out that the smell of cooked cruciferous vegetables (and fermented ones) can empty this particular kitchen and draw forth groans and rolled eyes even from adults! So we have quickly used up our cabbages (rubbed with garlic and roasted with oil and salt and pepper – so simple and so yummy – a carmelized goodie. And yes, we still eat some cooked food!) and put together another batch of sauerkraut.
Some of us also love potatoes – in any form for Matt and Eli and Jai and I — but Ashlee needs to avoid them because she is having trouble with any of the solenaceae or nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and – go figure – the superfood, goji berries), and they sit heavily in Nicky’s stomach regardless (or perhaps because of) her draw to them.
Perhaps most importantly, we all love raw chocolate! While we are moving ahead with our tiny house on wheels plan, we are also moving ahead with introducing delicious, nutritious gourmet raw food to our small corner of Cape Breton. Nicky has come up with the wild and crazy notion of being a sort of travelling kitchen extravaganza – bringing recipes and samples to friends and friends of friends – thus encouraging them to create such foods for themselves. Our focus, given the holidays, has been mostly on desserts. And she has been experimenting and offering her new ideas to our housemates to sample. They are a big success!! Five year old Elias is already asking for her to design a kids raw chocolate workshop, and his older brotherJai has offered his feedback: “Awesome!!” We are keeping Matt fueled for the design phase of our tiny house planning with a wide variety of raw chocolate truffles and some fantastic new raw cacao bark additions such as fresh organic ginger, dried cranberries, and hemp seeds and figs & hazelnuts.
As we have negotiated our way to shared meals, we’ve come to realize, once again, how deeply patterned our attraction to and resistance against certain foods is. We’re also quite fascinated these days by studies about the gut microbiome and how it/they influence our ability to digest certain foods (http://www.gutmicrobiotawatch.org/gut-microbiota-info/) and add to, or detract from, overall health and well-being. If you start to read the research (way too numerous to cite here) there is evidence of bacterial influence on mental health and many other diseases.
So, we’ve added our own flavor to this family’s rhyming idioms. In addition to the old and new favorites like “Guess what? Chicken butt!” “You know what I mean, jelly bean.” “In a while, crocodile.” “Heard what you said, pumpkin head.” We now have: “Look out, sauerkraut!!”