Are y'all ready? This is going to be one of my first food journal entries on this site. And the weighty topic that was chosen??? BOWLS.
Yes, you heard me right! Bowls.
There are few Absolutes.
I should start in a different place. Let's start here: I used to be a very exclusionary eater. I have been gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy-free, sugar-free, etc. Most had to do with my body - whether it felt right, "looked" right, or hit the correct number on the scale. Well, that's not 100% true - the elimination of animals had to do with the LIFE-CHANGING movie Babe. I fell deeply in love with pigs and their complex emotions and thoughts. But I also never step on bugs after watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids as a child. Anyone else, profoundly affected by children's films?
Nonetheless, realizing that I needed to find balance came shortly after I read about the number of animals killed to protect vegetables (squirrels, mice, frogs, ducks, snakes, etc.). Even with the most well-intentioned diet, there was cruelty, murder, and big business involved. Hear me, I do NOT buy the argument that Vegans kill more animals than meat-eaters, in the least bit. But at that moment, I did take a full examination of my eating habits, my intentions, and my body's response. So for example, I know that there is only one pain (for me) that hurts worse than eating multiple cruciferous 🥦vegetables at one time, and that is adding beans to the mix. The bloatation, gas, and abdominal pain are NO JOKE. Then there was the awareness that my weight fluctuates based on the circumstances of my life and stress gave me indigestion EVERY time. So, understanding the lack of absolutes brought me to discover the inner-workings of my body. I'm slowly starting to appreciate how deeply my mind, my emotions, my shame, and my guilt are tied to how my body feels, looks, and performs. I'm also really examining🤨 the need for women to be "small" and questioning beauty standards
But that’s a different journal entry.
To bring me back, recognizing that there wasn't an ABSOLUTE answer to eliminate ALL cruelty and ALL body issues led me to re-shape and re-frame my relationship with food.
Finally, we are going to talk about BOWLS.
Anyone else singing, "throw them BOWLS" (-Ludacris voice)? No?!? Cool, me neither.
BEFORE CONTINUING, WE NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE ASIAN CULTURE FOR BOWL-EATING. Although it's trendy in Western culture, Asian folks have BEEN enjoying the deliciousness of #bowllife for centuries.
But honestly, my paradigm shift from being an exclusionary eater (I cannot eat...) to focusing on inclusion has been LIFE-GIVING. It's been my focus for the last five years, and studying longevity has done nothing but cement it firmly into my life. In each meal, I focus on what FUELS me (whole food, plant-based foods). I try not to overthink what I shouldn't eat. So, I load a bowl with plant-based foods, and if my body (emotionally, physically, craving, or taste-wise) needs more, I add it.
An example is that I LOVE chocolate in the mornings. And so, I adore making an oatmeal bowl (PB*) in non-dairy (preferably homemade coconut) milk, topped with unsweetened coconut (PB*), chopped nuts (PB*), some unsweetened dark chocolate/cacao chips (PB*), and some brown sugar. On the side, I have water, coffee, and a banana. You're welcome.
But now, I am ahead of myself... I think. I am obsessed with "Nourish Bowls"/ "Buddha Bowls"/"Power Bowls"/ food out of bowls. It has to be years since I realized that I can always make a tasty meal if I put it in a bowl. As a family, we eat a nourish bowl almost daily (although for my boys, I often separate the components).
BASE: 🍚 whole grain (red/brown/black/multigrain rice, whole wheat noodles, quinoa, barley, oatmeal, etc.), potatoes, or greens
VEGGIES/FRUITS: 🥦🍎I LOVE a mix of pickled, raw, and cooked. LIKE love it. BUT NEVER multiple cruciferous ones (read above for the reminder that they BLOAT ME)
FAT:🥑 avocado, oil, nuts, etc.
SAUCE it up: 🍯soy sauce, hot sauce (I got hot sauce in my bag swag), oil, tomato sauce, salad dressing, honey, salsa, etc.
SPICE/HERBS/SALT: 🧂MY FLAVAH.
PROTEIN: 🍤beans, fish, meat, tofu, tempeh, lentils, egg, etc.
TOPPINGS:🧀 dairy (cheese, dairy, etcc.), crunch (wonton strips, tortilla chips, crackers, etc.), yeast, chia seeds, protein, etc.
I rummaged through Shalom & Polepole on Pinterest and found the following helpful guides:
Hear me, I don't want to sit here and pretend that I eat EVERYTHING. I DON'T. I also don't want to act like I didn't just eat a stack of 🧇waffles (made with white flour), topped with homemade mixed-berry preserves, and whipped cream. I DID.
I am somewhere in the middle, I think, closer to the "eat everything" side of the spectrum. That said, I am at more peace than I have been (for a while) when it comes to food and for me, that means a WHOLE lot. I pray that you, too, are at peace and if not now, you are becoming ✌🏾...
Shalom AND polepole, Friends.