Archives for: April 2008
Never have I needed Spring more than this year. I have been silently watching the branches outside my window, eagerly awaiting the new leaf buds bursting, the fresh blush of green amongst the dried, brown grasses. But I do live next to the Rockies and our Springs are generally punctuated by storms of heavy wet snow in and amongst the warm sunny days, and this year is no exception. And after a winter colder than I can remember… in so many ways… I am so ready for the warmth to slide in and rest amongst the new buds for awhile.
So while I wait for the warmth to return on the outside, I find myself on many a cold morning returning to the comfort of warm cooked oats for breakfast. There is something so elementally satisfying about oats… whether using rolled oats, steel cut oats, or oat bran…. that warms from the inside out. I usually cook my oats in water, with a little grey Celtic sea salt. And instead of adding maple syrup or honey, I like to top my plain cooked oats with prunes that have been stewed with a small slice of lemon and a few crushed green cardamom pods or a small stick of cinnamon if I am feeling decadent. So easy to make stewed prunes… just place the desired number of prunes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a small boil, then reduce to barely a simmer for about 20 minutes. Adding the spices and lemon make the prunes taste more like a special treat and a far cry from the “grandpa” food association. And a hefty sprinkle of lightly toasted or raw walnuts gives the oats just enough protein-ness to assuage that sleepy, hollow feeling that can sometimes accompany a morning bowlful of oats.
I like to cook steel cut oats in a mixture of water and goats milk. Sometimes I toast the oats in the saucepan before I add the liquid. With steel cut oats, I make a topping of dates, vanilla and a pinch of ground cardamom made just like stewed prunes, only adding the spices after the dates have been taken of the heat. Stir in the spices and the dates turn into a paste like consistency. Wonderfully fragrant with just the right amount of sweetness. Or instead of the date topping, I add chopped apples, ground nutmeg, a drizzle of maple syrup and dried blueberries in to cook with the oats. Warm cooked apples with oats are so delicious!
I also eat oats on occasion in the evenings, just before bed if I have had an especially stressful day. I cook them up and eat them sprinkled with a flavorful salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Relaxes me like nothing else.
Ok Spring… take your time… my oats will keep me warm and peaceful until you’re ready.
I have had this image floating through my brain for some time now...
I am at the edge of a swiftly flowing river, afraid of being swept away in its powerful currents. There is a tree on the bank of the river and I am clinging to one of its branches that extends out over the water. I can feel the river rushing beneath me as I cling to this branch for dear life. But the branch is not strong… it is old and brittle and about to break. It can no longer support me.
These past few months have brought a host of major changes in my life. And although these changes have been a long time in the making, they finally culminated into the action phase on the physical plane. My marriage of almost 20 years came to a definite close. And although the marriage itself had long been over, we had been living in the same house for the past couple of years trying to figure out how to move forward. It was like that carton of milk in the back of the fridge that begins to sour and you aren’t quite sure if it has indeed gone bad so you keep it… just in case… until you notice that it has definitely curdled and no use to anyone any longer. I don't mean to be flip or disrespectful here... that is just what it felt like. And we had our children's lives to consider as well.
I glance down the river and see that the current is not as swift as I had believed. I see it bend and curve and disappear in the distance. I become curious as to where the river will lead. And I have grown tired of clinging to that which no longer supports…
So here I am in a new phase of life, living on my own for the first time in over 20 years, and going through a career change as well. And in the midst of all this, The Genotype Diet is released. I was very excited and wanted to jump right into nomad land but my initial dietary changes did not produce such favorable results. Mainly, I noticed my blood sugar levels crashing which had been my Achilles heel prior to the BTD. That did freak me out a little and gave me pause…. Perhaps on top of everything else my diet changing rapidly was not the best thing for me. Some things we have no control over. But others we can take our time with. I decided to take my time and see how best to incorporate the Genotype Diet into my life in a way that works for me.
And I am one of those that tests to be better suited to the BTD. But I do feel that certain aspects of the nomad diet, like gluten intolerances, are spot on for me. I have cut all gluten out of my diet… except for spelt flour which I combine with rice and/or oat flour for baking the occasional treat. Most of my recipes have happily adapted to just rice flour. That was a pleasant surprise! And my body will no longer accept spelt bread nor Ezekiel bread… just doesn’t want it. I started replacing sugar with honey and brought back memories of baking only with honey many years ago. I do need to be a little careful regarding my blood sugar… especially when hiking as it is not yet as stable as I’d like it to be. But I’ll get there… I am getting there….
I reach down and feel that the water is not as icy cold as it looks. I decide to let go of the branch before it breaks completely. And so with a deep breath, I relax…. and let go.
I am in the river now.