Food serves a purpose. Multiple purposes in fact. To fill the body with nutrients so it can burn calories to use for energy, but it also serves to nourish us. I mean truly satisfy the inner parts of us all that find joy from sitting around a table giving each other the ultimate gift which grounds us to the Earth. By creating flavorful dishes but more so by sharing with the intention offering food as love, we nourish one another.
I’ve watched my grandmother tirelessly bake a twelve-layer lemon cake year after year just as my great-grandmother did in the years past. It’s not because she loves spending hours baking the layers, cooking the lemon curd or finally icing each layer and carefully placing one on top of the other. It’s the joy she see’s on my grandpa’s face when he takes a bite. It’s the slightly higher pitched crack in her grandson’s voice when he asks if she had the time to make it this year. These are the feelings that make our souls full.
I crawled out of the bed one morning and headed up the stairs from the basement into the kitchen where cinnamon overloaded the air. It smelled so strong as if someone had lit cinnamon sticks on fire mistaking them for incense.
I had been at my retreat in Vermont for two nights and had been missing a bit of my normal eating routine. And there, on the bar was one of the most beautiful sights.
The sky was misting that morning, releasing energy as we had as a group the past day of our retreat. We woke up to a much cooler day, less sun than prior and yet so much more life in us.
I took my orange tea out on the wooden deck, pulled my hooded raincoat over my head and began to sip. I watched as Black Jack, the black stallion, paced along the fence. The foliage peaked through the wet fog. Sip. I drank my tea, outside in the rain. I never do that. Something about the air in Vermont made me want to be outside all of the time. Any chance I got, I was taking in the environment around me and using it all as my living room. It was as if there were whispers from the air, “Get outside and absorb me.”
One of my favorite staples while being on the Autoimmune Protocol, especially given the fall season, are roasted vegetables. I swear, put just about any veggies on a pan in the oven with some good quality oil, and you’re golden…or they are for that matter ;). Roasting them brings out their sweetness and gives them a rich melt-in-your-mouth texture. Both carrots and beets made a large appearance during my first month AIP since I had removed starchy vegetables, and all sugars, including fruit. I knew that my body initially needed to remove some further inflammatory foods, but it wasn’t until I started the protocol that I realized how easy this transition of eating could be. Thankfully, it’s simple and delicious, like these carrots!
There’s raw broccoli and a bag of sweet potato chips on the table. Both Paleo foods and both ready to eat immediately. Which do you choose? The choice is obvious here, but it’s a hard one to make when you aren’t really able to understand what the options in front of you mean for your body. Time and time again in all aspects of my life, I was choosing the chips, not realizing yet how the decisions I was making were affecting my body. I don’t mean I was literally eating chips all the time (wouldn’t that be nice?) but what I do mean is I wasn’t fully aware yet to my own body’s needs. Having been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at 15 and most recently diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue and a significant hormone imbalance, there are key things my body needs and I hadn’t yet figured out what they were.