Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40 Days and 40 Nights

Prayer. Meditation. Fasting. Repentance. Forgiveness. Focus. Intention
For me this is what the Christian observance of Lent is all about. I know that a lot of people (even many Christians) do not observe this time and that it is often times seen as a strictly Catholic holiday, but I was raised a Baptist in the South and for as long as I can remember I have observed Lent. Even now when I have no affiliation to any church in particular (mostly because I am no happy with what is available around me) I still choose to observe. I feel that fasting during this time is like a full essence cleanse. So many people are quick to cleanse their livers, kidneys, and colons but they forget that their minds and overall spirits need to be focused on and realigned from time to time as well. And I mean this for everyone, regardless of your faith (or lack there of) we all need a point where we can just let go of the things that bind us to our Earthy selves and turn our attention inward.

With that said I would like to share my Lent experience here for 2013. This year I decided to relinquish processed foods. Of course on the surface this seems simple, right? No packaged cookies or sodas and that's that, right? Well, we've grown to lean so much on foods that are not really food anymore that we fail to fully adhere to the concept of what a processed food is. Think about it: dried pasta, canned foods, cereal, ice cream, marinades, frozen meals, boxed anything, all of this we use for convenience sake without thought to what is in it or what it takes to really make it. Now, I will be doing this with in reason; I mean I work full time, tote a kid across town for gymnastics, have philanthropy obligations, and a budget to stick to. I plan to allow pre-made dairy/dairy-like items such as plain yogurt and Almond milk. There will be lots of rice and grains of varying kinds. Foods that have been dried for me like seaweed and beans are also permitted. Milled flour and rolled oats are fine, but to deter myself from overly processed gluten products I will not be consuming dried pasta or shelf stable bread. If I want pasta it will need to be made fresh from scratch in my kitchen, the same goes for breads. This will of course bleed into my eating out patterns, which I believe will not be too difficult since I live in the wonderfully progressive culinary town of Austin.
I actually tested it out this past weekend when my husband surprised me with reservations to the Italian restaurant North.
Fresh Pesto Strozzapreti with Scallops

I was super excited because they make all of their pasta dishes from scratch. So the whole dish was simple, fresh, and amazingly delicious. I added scallops to it just because they were calling my name softly, sweetly, tenderly. And I am so glad that I did because they were sweet, salty, tender, seared perfection on a plate. They tasted as if they had been flown in that morning; which is terrible for their carbon footprint, but was wonderful on my palate. When it comes to food, I rarely find myself disappointed that I live where I do and lovely finds like this is one of the reasons. Though more often than not these finds tend to be located in much more unexpected places. 
Well today, being Ash Wednesday marks the official start of my fast and so far things have been simple. Fortunately for me I like to cook, but what will this look like 20 days in when I need to go grocery shopping, we don't get paid for another 5 days and I'm exhausted after a full day's work, working out, and wrangling kid puppy and hubby? What I do intend to do is share the new creations that I take part in so that I may satisfy my cravings that are so often made with convenience packaged foods. Maybe a few prayers and revelations will be shared here as well. We shall see what will remain sacred and what shown to me as needing to be shared with you here. 
Peace and Namaste Ya'll

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