My own kind of foodie

Breakfast splurge at Sucrose in St.Charles, Mo.

Country life vs. city life for sure. I’m a forever foodie – but maybe not in the traditional sense? It’s not always about aesthetics but often about nourishment (as in my new fascination with foraging wild foods) but today, in the big city of St.Louis, it’s about splurging on some higher sugar and fat than I would ever have at home. But still, made in house daily by a small, local business.

While some might call me picky, persnickety or snobbish when it comes to what I ingest – that’s their prerogative! I am picky because I care about certain issues like where my food came from, the possible ethical issues tied into the procuring of the food (Ex. Coffee and the workers involved, dairy and the cows and factory farms involved), the packaging of the food and its environmental impact, the corporation who owns the establishment vs. supporting local businesses etc!! I generally enjoy this process – it makes me feel empowered and I feel health is one of the highest priorities. Without it, we can’t do anything else, right?! And remember, WE LITERALLY ARE WHAT WE EAT!

Over the past years – since starting the Zero Waste Lifestyle and realizing how good it felt (perhaps surprisingly) to be deprived sometimes – I have redefined what my daily eating intake looks like. I no longer eat three meals a day, I don’t snack in between the meals I do eat, I stay hydrated with water, I don’t eat unless I am feeling hungry, I look at my eating seasonally – saying goodbye to blueberries, tomatoes and cantaloupes etc in the winter. For over a year, I have been practicing intermittent fasting – meaning I go as long as I can overnight not eating. I shoot for at least 12 hours and easily go 14 or 16 hours a few times a week. Suffice it to say, I am working on my durability! Remember, IT’S OKAY TO FEEL HUNGRY sometimes! In fact, it’s good for us! Our bodies were designed for feast and famine, but when’s the last time you’ve experienced famine?! And this is where some fun challenges come in for me. I can hold out and find a local cafe over fast food. I can eat only what I find at a farmer’s market and create my recipes from that – rather than driving all over town looking for specific ingredients that may be out of season or in disposable packaging. I am not addicted to coffee, so I will hold out for my ethically sourced, rain forest certified cup and pass up the Folgers.

I would like to end by acknowledging that I am a privileged, white woman who has enough money (& a vehicle etc) to make some of these – what some may deem – elitist choices. I still stand by the fact that there is a way for all people to have some of these same choices and to embrace the Zero Waste Lifestyle, but it may take education and some sort of external help, guidance or initial monetary investment to get there. The truth is getting back to nature and learning about the plants around us holds all the answers. Living simply and letting go of the perceived standards of living, which are guided by consumerism, will be our salvation. It’s not about choosing and paying for organic food, it’s about putting some seeds out in your backyard or in your windowsill. It’s about researching what all the different “weeds” are surrounding your apartment complex or in the field across the street and then consuming them! It’s about cutting back on your meat intake – saving money and packaging – and being nourished by extremely affordable dried beans, legumes and fresh vegetables or eating the meat you hunt (deer, anyone?!) It’s not about only being able to afford Folgers coffee, it’s about finding some Yaupon Holly from a friend (in the South and Midwest) and harvesting North America’s natural caffeinated beverage!

Talk about bringing things back to local!

I know I’m an optimist. I’m a believer. But simplicity is the key. Less is more. Excess will be the death of us. The priority of comfort will be our downfall. Embrace discomfort. Become durable.

Extra little references/thoughts:

Marie Kondo has a new Netflix show helping people to downsize and keep only the material things that bring them joy. Based on her book, “The Magic Art of Tidying Up”. Remember – when cleaning out, donate your belongings and recycle everything possible before sending to the garbage!

A reminder for those who would consider themselves to be followers of Christ (& everyone else too!): Jesus had no belongings. For all accounts, he was a homeless, shoeless, dirty, long haired Middle Eastern hippy who preached “its easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven.” And this is why Jesus is my homeboy, for reals. But why, in a country that is majority Christian, are we ACTUALLY ruled by the economy and consumerism?? I hear Christians talk about the Bible passage that says “you cannot serve two masters,” and Its references as man or government vs. God. I ask you today to contemplate replacing “man” with words like the economy, materialism, money, or excess food and see how that strikes you. Contemplation = good.

Now, amen and namaste’ y’all!

Countrygal Citygal

A Thanksgiving Prayer

In our home, we hold hands before meals and in silence, we offer up our own prayers, in the way we want, to whom we wish. I do a lot more meditating than I do praying, mostly because I feel words are often to small to express the complex thoughts/emotions I’m experiencing and that it’s better to sit in stillness and quiet and stay on the “receiving end” of things. When hearing other’s prayers, I often hear the same sentiments – especially around this time of year. Dear Heavenly Father, bless this food that we are about to receive and bless the hands that prepared it. This is a wonderful statement, but there is so much more I feel is missing. I don’t really think anyone in my extended family spends too much time wondering what kind of prayer I would pray if I was ever the one to say it out loud, and I’m not even sure I would have the courage to say all of this in that setting. It’s emotional. It’s messy. It’s ugly. It’s not traditional. It is in fact, the shadow side of this Thanksgiving Day. It is the other side of the “yin yang” that makes it all complete. I feel it’s necessary and it makes me feel so much better to put it out there – bravely, courageously – embracing it all. Not just the food. Not just the pilgrims. Not just the tryptophan, the parade and football. This is what I came up with and pray it will all my heart.

 

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Holland LeDelia ~ November 22, 2018

Mother/Father God,

We kneel down before you now in humility and gratitude – overwhelmed by the goodness and by the abundance that we are lucky enough to receive from you daily. On this day, may we enjoy and be thankful for the nourishing food, the animals that gave their lives, the people that prepared the meal,  and the company with whom we share it.

May we remember that the collective path we took to get here as Americans was fueled by greed and ego. We coveted, lied, cheated, stole and murdered. We remember now the Indigenous People. We ask forgiveness for the sins of our ancestors and we pray that new ways of reparation will be shown to us, so that we may actively care for the Native People now and work to heal what we’ve so badly damaged.

As we enjoy this excess, may we remember those who are not experiencing abundance and those who are barely surviving. They are around the world, across America, and in our town – all around us. May we not take for granted what we have and we pray now for opportunities to help and serve those in need. Give us the awareness to see these opportunities and the drive and energy to take them! To care for God’s people with and open heart and without judgement.

Mother/Father God, we ask to be taught MODERATION. Teach us to live in harmony with nature, animals and our fellow humans. Teach us – on this day of plenty and everyday – to take only what is necessary. Lead us away from greed, gluttony and fear that there is “not enough.” Help us to stay present, mindful and thankful everyday that we receive this gift of life. Help us do our best to contribute positively to others’ lives – helping them in any way we can – to become present, mindful and thankful.

We pray this now to the God of our own understanding. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Marriage Prep

It’s now October 1st and my best friend’s wedding is today. (Don’t worry, I haven’t decided that I am in love with him and that he should be with me instead of his fiancé!)
Not only that, but my own wedding is only 16 days away. (How Kyle and I managed to get married in our 34th year within 3 weeks of each other is truly amazing to me.)

With a large event around the corner, it’s easy to get taken over by ALL the details. Your attention is spread across so many things, from sleeping arrangements to food planning, activities, the ceremony, the weather, and for ours, how to make this a zero waste wedding. About a month ago, I was reminded that I needed to be preparing myself for the actual marriage that was to take place–not just planning the event.

The truth is that I had been on cloud nine since Jonathan proposed back in December. We were having a blast doing everything together as fiancé’s and loving our life by the beach in St. Thomas and starting to make wedding plans. My wake up call happened while I was attending another wedding in August and for two days, I felt fear. Whatever you like to call it–cold feet, anxiety, uncertainty–I was feeling it, and knowing that I could not continue on with those feelings–and I certainly could not walk down the aisle with those doubts.

I spoke to my fiancé a bit, trying not to hurt his feelings with my honesty. I reached out to a couple of friends who I thought could help me sort through, but they were unavailable. I was in trouble, because I remembered–after this blissful eight months of engagement–that I barely even like the concept of marriage!!

I spent years of my life deciding I would not marry for various reasons–many of those stemming from injustice and my rebellion against tradition. Until only recently, one reason I didn’t want to marry was because my best friend, who is homosexual, could legally not! I felt a horrible sting that I was allowed to have this right and this ceremony just because I loved someone of the opposite sex. I secretly told myself, I wouldn’t marry until he could. Another reason–all my friend’s are divorced. I spent my 20’s being in weddings and attending weddings and getting gifts for weddings and then one by one seeing those marriages end in divorce. With each one, I thought, no thanks. Also, monogamy is not actually in our nature. It is unnatural for humans and most animals to be monogamous, so I questioned if I should go against nature. (Especially with what long lives most people live nowadays.) And most recently, with the current Presidential campaigns that are happening, I believe with Secretary Clinton in the running, sexism is rearing its UGLY head. So I dissected the process of marriage:

I don’t want anyone to GIVE me away. I am my own woman! I’m not going anywhere!

I don’t want to be proposed MAN & WIFE. Why not WIFE and MAN??

Why does the woman’s family have to pay for most of the expenses??

Why do I have to give up my name and take someone else’s??

Seriously, at every turn, marriage is sexist and kinda crazy. (Note to self: read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed.) To top it all off, my fiancé was raised in a religion that he and I do not practice, but that most of his family still does. We made the decision to ask our families to stand with us and our wedding parties during the ceremony, and although they initially said yes, when this time rolled around, many questions started to be asked about who our officiant was, and what exactly would he be saying during the ceremony (and would that put them in a compromising position according to their faith)?

I’ll jump now to my fiancé and I thankfully getting in touch with our officiant, (the wonderful Matthew Krepps, owner of Circle Yoga Shala in Northwest Arkansas), and talking through these issues over speaker phone on day two of unsettling feelings. Honestly, most of my thoughts did not even have to be voiced, as Matt calmly articulated his plans for the ceremony and spoke to us about commitment we will be  making. Silent tears ran down my cheeks as I felt my fears subside, with my fiancé’s
hand in mine. When we hung up, I felt better, but I spoke to one more friend, who brought to my attention, that my feelings had been a wake up call…and it was time to get to work.

What a gift. I have realized that I have a month and half to DO THE WORK of preparing for marriage.

This is not decorations and ordering dishes and making napkins, this is work of entering into this union without reservation.

My work was cut out for me.

I began in silent meditation–making sure to make time for this daily. I began to sit quietly and actually contemplate marriage. Asking myself what it means for me, what it means for my future, what changes does it creates, what things do I release? I thought through the ceremony–in depth–to figure out how to make it feel holy, scared and equal. While we visited New York City for a few weeks, I joined the Siddha Yogis for Satsangs, chanting and meditations. I’ve contemplated and now I’m writing this blog. I have sat down with my fiancé and had a handful of tough conversations where we brought up questions and possible future problems as we gave ourselves our own “marriage prep counseling.”

I feel exponentially better and truly can’t believe I was going to get married without doing this work!  Still to come, I’d like to journal this process more and work through anything else that comes up. Continue to meditate on accepting this season of my life. That though I feel about 15 on the inside, it is in fact, time for me to move into the season of my life where I will be a wife and mother. I need to spend some time in grief, and mourning the loss of my single life, leaving the life of being only a child, a daughter, a girlfriend–before the responsibilities and growing pains of becoming a wife and mother. Moving through the grieving, and into acceptance with grace, and then by the wedding day, peace, joy, and pure bliss in joining my freedom to Jonathan’s freedom. We are going to form a team and make a difference in the world–more of a difference that we could on our own.

I’ll toast to that. I may even change my name for that.

Through it all, I’ll still be spreading the word–tough–challenging–taboo though it may be, and starting much needed conversations in the world–igniting change and evolution as…

CountryGalCityGal

Love & bliss to you all.

Fight or flight: When to stand our ground and when to walk away.

I have often asked myself when is the right time to stand up and not take any more crap from someone! Of course I am usually asking myself this when I am right smack dab in a situation that demands this decision, i.e. in the middle of taking a lot of crap from someone. (I’m … Continue reading

We made it through the challenge…Summin it up!

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Well, time sure flies when your having fun! Our two months flew by in St. Thomas as we worked at Point Wellness, I teaching yoga and J giving massages. I got to make delicious foods at the delectable Barefoot Buddha Cafe and J headed up the kid’s Shakespeare Festival for Pistarkle Theatre for the second … Continue reading

Half way through the challenge!

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Here we are, already half way through our time on the island this time around. The weather has been beautiful and as I type this from my kitchen table, I have breeze blowing through the screen doors and a lovely view of the Pillsbury Sound–a place where the Caribbean Ocean meets the Atlantic. We are … Continue reading

St. Thomas Take 2, Zero Waste Challenge Week 1

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I arrived back “on island” this week (after being away for 8 months) and immediately started making decisions about the Zero Waste Challenge or ZWC, for short. As ideas started to become realities, it was time to set up some hard and fast rules. As we already established, J (my partner) and I are both … Continue reading

Packing for the Caribbean with Zero Waste in Mind

After floating a lot of ideas around about how to make this challenge a reality, it’s time to start packing. I’m using The Boy Scouts of America’s motto as I go–BE PREPARED. (My best friend, Kyle Dean, Eagle Scout, would be proud.) This is what makes me a meticulous and amazing packer…but also what causes … Continue reading

Here comes the “Zero Waste Lifestyle” Challenge

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Welcome to the beginning of my Zero Waste Lifestyle Challenge…2015…US Virgin Islands. So I’m headed to St.Thomas for a few months. My partner and I lived there last year for 6 months and although it is undeniably a tropical paradise, there was one thing that was practically unbearable for us…total lack of recycling! You could … Continue reading