Tag Archives: healthy eating

in the garden



this morning’s harvest


I always suspected that I’d like to garden.  There was a point in college where I filled every nook I could find with houseplants, and my mom complained that my room was starting to smell like a cow barn. But other than a few potted tomatoes and hot peppers, I never took up serious vegetable gardening until this year.  Supported by Jack’s penchant for hard labor, we built a tremendous garden, which has been very successful considering our lack of experience.   Even the “failures,” such as our winter peas, teach us something, and I appreciate them. 

What has surprised me the most is the pure  joy I feel when sharing our harvest. I’m almost always ready to eat, but even more than even more than chowing down on the bounty myself,  I love sending friends from our home with arms full of delicious veggies, fresh eggs, pungent garlic.  I’m currently at the Phoenix airport, waiting for the plane that will take me to Houston, and I have eggs, squash and tomatoes tucked safely away in my carry-on. Luckily TSA hasn’t identified garden produce as a security threat, as I’m eager to share the fruits of our harvest with my family. 

Its about more than good food, although I’m not afraid to say it: our veggies and eggs are de-lish! There is a simple beauty in every tomato, a sublime wonder in the crookneck squash.  Our garden is something that we worked hard for, watering in the heat day after day, cleaning the chicken coop, digging and mulching and weeding.  But despite the labors, every time I pluck a zucchini or gather an egg from the nest box, it feels like a gift, a small miracle. Our food speaks to me on a deep level, and its no surprise: our garden is sustainable nutrition, aesthetic perfection, spiritual wonderment, community connection. And its an archetypal experience too, coaxing life out of the ground as humans have done for thousands of years.  It is the past, the now, and the future. It is a simple, humble thing, but I believe having a garden has been the most important recent development in my life. 

So, inspire me with your stories of gardening. I’d love to hear about them.

a spoonful of sugar


Under more normal circumstances, I’m part of the Food Police. If not the commisioner, certainly an officer, maybe even a sargeant. While remaining open to the occasional donut, I’m very into vegetables, preferably locally grown and/or organic, eating very little meat, consuming lots of wholesome foods, rarely anything from a box, etc. Probably my only vice is exceeding, on a weekly basis, the daily recommended allowances for alcohol- but some of us don’t see that as a problem. My good eating habits help balance out the fact that I really like to eat– a lot. My philosophy is, if you are bad at portion control, you better fill that giant plate with veggies.

Well, it doesn’t help that I’m in one of the most obese cities in the world under stressful circumstances, but I tell ya– the sugar is flowing through my veins, and its not all-natural, nor from organically grown fruit sources.

I got my first taste of this phenomenom, to use a bad pun, in the waiting room for my mom’s first visit to the lymphoma clinic at MD Anderson. A volunteer came around with a beverage cart, and the choices were hot chocolate or decaf coffee. Distrustful of the decaf, which smelled a bit like a chemical dump, I went for the hot chocolate. And how soothing that was! It was a slice of childhood, when my friends and I would buy the watery, brown beverage, barely recognizable as hot chocolate, that squirted out of a machine at the local ice arena. One of those childhood slices that probably wasn’t all that wonderful at the time, yet irrationally provokes nostalgia. And here I am, in 2011. Yes, my mom has lymphoma, and sitting in that waiting room was certainly the manifestation of a terrible nightmare. But as I slurped up that reconstituted hot stuff, I felt a bit of peace.

I’m going to try to be patient with myself, and allow a certain amount of liberties (ice cream with Grandma!). But I also remember that I feel better when I eat better, and a belly ache after that big sugar binge is a gentle reminder that there are better ways to cope with stress. Like breathing deeply, taking walks, exercising, drinking extra water. I need to be loving to myself so I can be there for my mom.