My friend, Diane, turned to me last Saturday night, and pointed down at the chocolate dessert that had just been placed in front of her. It had a fluff of whipped cream on top and a slice of white chocolate on the edge. “See that, Jackie,” she said, “that’s why I could never be vegan.” I looked over at her and smiled, but didn’t say anything. I went back to my fruit plate, perfectly content.
I felt so great that evening, dessert really wasn’t an issue. I was sitting at a table with my wife and ten wonderful friends. I had even bought a black, ruffly top to wear on top of my pants, pants that had once been too tight. We were attending the 24th annual Women’s Dinner Party to raise money (and have a good time) for Boston’s Fenway Health. I turned back toward the stage, reveling being in the midst of fellow activists, luxuriating in my good health and grateful to the max for my good genes. For three years now I’ve been a vegan and working hard to stay fit. It was all paying off.
What we eat every day makes a difference. It makes a difference in how we feel, how we feel about ourselves, and certainly in our health. I’ve stayed a vegan because I know how the growing of food affects our environment – for its detriment or for its continued evolution. I also stopped eating meat to protest the sickening abuse of animals in factory farming. Eating is a political act as well.
I think about food all the time: what to eat for my next meal, do I need to shop, who’s growing the food, where is it from, what’s in it? I read vegan recipes like they are treasured works of art. What else am I passionate about? Women, strong women who dare to make a difference. It’s always hard to challenge the status quo, to do things differently. I adore good wine. The combination of a great meal with a perfectly paired wine is heaven. I love to read, especially novels. And now I, too, am working on my first novel. I use to think running marathons was tough. Writing is definitely more challenging. But oh, those moments when a great idea for the story comes to me, when I find the exact work I was searching for or finish a pivotal scene … that’s pure writing bliss.
This morning I was looking through a cookbook, Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas, to find something I could do with the collard greens I had just bought. I found a recipe for a “Green Velvet Smoothie with Banana & Avocado.” Now that made my “greens” fun and filling! Before I returned to my computer, I flipped open to the middle section of the book, the part with all the photos. “Curried Sweet Potatoes with Chard and Chickpeas” caught my eye. I am always looking for new recipes that are tasty, yes, but also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, ingredients that are good for me. I am not the most inventive in the kitchen but cookbooks, blogs and finding delicious food out at restaurants keeps me going. With my weight where I want it to be, my stomach flat, I can do anything! Silly, isn’t it? But true. I feel strong. Invincible.
I’ll find that perfect vegan chocolate dessert for Diane. Meanwhile I have so many recipes, blog sites, books, facts and, hopefully, wisdom to share. Please join me. I’d love the feedback.