The first and best news is that since we were last together is that I’ve lost four pounds and Jim’s lost 6 ! We’re so excited and are still really enjoying the diet ! Next stop? Ralph Lauren Blue Label ! Well, maybe not quite the next stop but I’m about 20 pounds away and I’ve promised myself that I’m not accepting any substitutes!
Wandering around the 5th floor of Bergdorf’s last week I realized just how long it’s been since I really had fun shopping for clothes! My style has changed and it’s not that I mind the way I look, in fact I don’t think that I do too badly for a 52 year whose clothing staples used to be mini skirts and really tight Tshirts! However I want the opportunity to turn down clothes because I just don’t like them, not because I’m afraid to even try them on. I’ve hidden behind expensive perfume and Chanel lipstick for a very long time and obviously this hasn’t been a poor trade! However eating this well is helping me to see that maybe there’s still a bit of life in me yet and I still want to play dress up, the way I used to when I was just a girl!
Like I wrote in my last note, I’m not using any particular cleanse. For years I’ve tried everything, but not with any lasting results. I’ve decided to create my own, using a combination of the French techniques that I love , Asian foodie wisdom and a bit of alchemy and last week I bought what I now consider to be the 2nd most important piece of equipment that I own, my Le Creuset Wok ! Talk about a brilliant blending of cultures…and only Le Creuset could do it! It heats perfectly, nothing sticks (and it’s not Teflon!) and it’s not just for stir frying anymore. I’m using it for quick braising, stir frying and stewing and all of these things I can do using a fraction of the fat. Mostly I’m just using a good nonstick olive oil spray that I buy at Whole Foods. What’s happened is that the flavor just explodes and as someone that’s passionately driven by her sense of taste and smell this is the most important thing! If it doesn’t taste or smell good, I’m definitely not going to eat it and will immediately reach for the fatty andfilling substitute; 3 cheese, prosciutto and pesto pizza anyone?
Herbs and spices play a huge role here, and this particular way of cooking serves them well. I use herbs and spices not just for flavor, but for their properties, one little known part of my life is that I trained for over 10 years with one of the most amazing herbalists I’ve ever known, your classic “good witch in the woods” , LaWanna Rine.
She taught me that food IS medicine, long before most 20th century physicians ever thought about it that way. Everything brewing in her kitchen had a purpose and she wildcrafted most of it as do I to this day; the exception being when the snow is flying. In the winter, that’s what Penzeys herbs and spices are for and if you’ve never tried them, they’re absolutely wonderful. Their spice and herb blends can make a decent cook out of anyone who thinks that they can’t cook. I do use supplements but my tastes prefer them as close to the origins as possible when I can get them that way. Real food is live food and that’s what I believe that you need to create real wellness.
These days I’m drinking a simple tea in the evenings evening that I make from fresh ginger root, cinnamon, valerian and honey which settles my stomach, relaxes me and balances my blood sugar so that I’m not ravenous come morning, which means that I’m getting a much better nights sleep. It also smells and tastes incredible which is all part of the process. Fairly soon I’ll begin drinking my favorite morning cleansing drink which is pineapple juice, fresh chard, lemon juice, a 1/4teaspoonful of good olive oil, Chinese five spice powder, honey and cinnamon, which a healthy dash of homemade bitters and believe it or not a teaspoonful of French green clay! I take all of it and throw it into my Vitamix with a handful of ice and blend quickly. It’s delicious and the French clay is one of the best detoxifiers that I use, having literally brought animals (and friends) back from brink of death and real illness with the stuff. There’s nothing better in an emergency situation where an animals been poisoned, the stuff draws out impurities like no other. I tend to avoid commercial smoothie and mixed drink powders, because every time I try them I hate the taste, but occasionally I will add some nutritional yeast and lecithin.
Come March I’ll be talking about wild ramps ; a delightful forest garlic which is one of the best blood purifiers that I know and I love to stew with chicken for a really healthy broth. This year I can’t wait to put them to the test in my new wok. The flavors and aromas that I get with wok cooking surpass my expectations and bring a new depth to my experience of cooking. For me cooking is alchemical, much like some of the natural perfumers that we love. A bit of sage, a pinch of fresh rosemary and a few lavender buds stewed with a bit of white potato and leek turn a simple chicken breast into a fragrant and soothing dish that settles my stomach easily.
That same chicken breast, piece of tofu or fish when it’s quickly stir fried with a bit of bok choy, sweet potato, onion, garlic , chopped peanuts , cayenne, cinnamon, ginger and allspice turns into a very warming dish that doesn’t need anything extra in the way of carbs and is completely satisfying on a really cold evening without any of the bloating side effects. For anyone allergic to peanuts I’ve discovered spicy tamari pumpkin seeds; these are so satisfying for anyone with a ground nut allergy.
The final piece of the puzzle is presentation. Make sure you sit down to eat, put everything on a pretty plate, use a cloth napkin (better for the environment) and treat yourself well because you deserve it! Put on a yummy perfume! ( Today's scent is Opium!) Turn on some music. Chew and breathe. Relax and make everyday into a day for candles and wine (or a steaming cup of herbal tea!)! This is about having a real relationship with your food and allowing it to love you back. If you’re joining me on this journey, leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing! It’s great to have playmates and I’m thankful for you all!
Eat Well, Be Well, Live and Love well!