I was the strange one that decided to change years worth of horrible eating habits, right around one week before Christmas. Of course, those 48 hours of torture I put myself through, raging with irritability every other minute, when my junk food cracked out brain imagined how good a cronut from five daughters bakery would be, all of a sudden made me so aware of the damage I was doing to my body.
Within those 48 hours under the water board, I was gluten free, dairy free, and every other kind of ‘free’. I heard of kale before. In fact, I faintly recall a cartoon show on sprout (a kids network; a staple in our house) that dedicated a whole 30 minutes of programming, to honor and persuade kids (and adults, I’m sure) to enjoy eating kale; that’s probably the only reason I picked up a bushel of kale in Whole Foods. What a catchy toon, that kale song.
That was the first time I tried kale. I heard it was bitter, but I dug into a bowl full of those green crispy leaves with a fighting mind, fighting the urge to disconnect the communication between my brain and the impulse to spit out something far from the taste of a delicious pad Thai or 5d cronut (yum).
It turned out to be not that bad.
Weeks of giving into eating traditional holiday food has passed, and now I’m back on the kale band wagon. Once again, I’m back at it, crunching away and geared up with my fighting mind, but now, I’ve come up with a better way to stay firm on the kale track.
Its time to take the taste of kale to another taste level. So, I came up with a little recipe for a dressing to make my kale salad taste like heaven.
I’m no chef, and I just recently conjured up enough confidence to try my recipes, other than boiled noodles, on close friends of mine, so bravely making this vinaigrette up on the whim (posting it on Instagram stories before tasting it-geez) is new for me.
1 lime, 1 avocado, a handful of blueberries, and a dash of balsamic vinegar later, I created a kale bath masterpiece; Blueberry-avocado vinaigrette. Enjoy! And never forget that Kale is #foodforpeaceofmind. Eat kale daily 💚
1/2 lime squeezed
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup blueberries
= put 1-2 tablespoons over a handful of kale, toss, + eat! (Keeps for about a week, stored air tight in fridge)
Its Sunday morning and I’m lying here in bed in a strange headspace. The weight of depression that pains my brain still consumes me, but I don’t feel the familiar unstoppable thought in my mind, the thought that says “ugh I don’t want to do anything”. Instead, mindfulness illuminates my cloudy vision. I can’t help but notice how the light from the sun that inches through my curtains, brightens my bedroom in a way that gives me a sense of comfort. This is the second day in a row that I have gotten the privilege to wake up like this; what a weekend I have had.
Saturday morning didn’t quite begin with the comfort of the morning sun softening the blow to my overweight brain. I was awakened by the exuberant sounds of Sydney laughing, singing, and doing her routine ritual of creating music that would evoke us to run to her aide. For some reason, on this particular morning, the coma like deep slumber that only my prescription can bring these days, didn’t let me sleep through those innocent sounds. I didn’t have the thought of “ugh I don’t want to do anything”, but the grogginess from taking my sleeping aide less than 5 hours earlier (wasn’t smart), made me want to stay glued to that one comfortable spot in my bed. Luckily, the will to push through that feeling was present for once, but the strength to get up still lagged; I rose up anyhow with the strength of the love I have for my girls, which often times is my only savior.
I felt proud to have been able to get up quicker than usual, not having to battle against ill will and quietly tip toe out of the room to give my husband a break that he rarely asks for; he’s been so patient and understanding about this new reality, which gives me hope when hope is not there. Getting the girls ready for the day felt much more fluid and free of the static mini battles against energy that have often interrupted my time with them. Though I am sad to admit, but faithful to my transparency, knowing that I would have to push through what little energy I had to do the things that I have a responsibility to do for my children (fix breakfast, fix formula, come up with new activities to do daily etc.), made me loathe waking up in the morning; but not this Saturday morning.
As the girls ate their breakfast with much contentment, I walked to the fridge with the will to try and quench an appetite that has been lacking, when all of a sudden, the urge to WANT to do more to show appreciation for my husband’s daily sacrifice, came upon me again. Standing there at the refrigerator in front of an open door of misplaced food that would have givin me angst long ago, I felt my eyes fixate on the carton of eggs and package of bacon I had forgotten I had bought a week ago. The ability to concentrate and think about doing things that were beyond the task of fighting a war against negative thoughts, had been a dream for months until at that moment. I WANTED to cook; and not just cook, but create a display on a plate that looked like a feature in a food and wine magazine.
So I pushed forward to carry out this task, because you know depression was on it like a lion attacking its prey, telling me that “it’s too much work”, “you don’t have enough energy” and so many more life robbing thoughts. The energy it took to ward off these thoughts began to make me anxious, but using my new coping mechanism of positive self-talk, I told myself that “it’s ok not to cook a lot of food, so cook a little food which is better than nothing”; “this is still major progress”. My coping helped calm my racing heart and relieve me of the tingling sensation that floods my body during intense moments of anxiousness, and the next thing I know, I cracked three eggs into the pan and delicately layed out five slices of bacon on another pan. I started to feel like I was the barefoot contessa, as if I was smiling outwardly while telling an audience about how to get the perfect crisp on the edge of the bacon slice and how to create fluffy cheese eggs that would make your mouth beg for more. Depression seemed like an afterthought in that moment, even though I knew it was still there.
The warm and inviting smells of cooking bacon filled the house as my husband continued to sleep without disturbance and this feeling of mental euphoria intensified. My girls played quietly in sights view and I waited with excitement, as well as imagined how I would adorn the plate of food in a way that would make my husband not want to touch it; or at least smile so bright at the thought of digging into it.
So I placed the scrambled eggs on a plate and layered the slices of bacon on the side in a top chef manner, sprinkled the plate with beautiful green parsley, and covered it gently with a glass cover; I felt accomplished. I enjoyed that moment, a moment that I had not had in a long time; that moment when all you want to do is be the best wife, with the colorful apron and all the right ingredients on a plate that would win you the best homemaker award for the century (a girl can dream, right?). Nevertheless, I felt good and was anxious more to experience the reaction of my husband to what I had done, like I was a school child receiving a trophy for the first time. In reality, this was the first time in a long time that I felt like being a homemaker.
The girls and I waited patiently for Derrick to come down and claim his prize. I felt even more accomplished that my daughter was able to enjoy a meal that I had prepared instead of prepared by the beautiful packaged meals at publix; my most reliable companion in this fight.
At this point, the energy I developed lingered and I felt the enjoyment in playing simple games and sharing laughter with the girls. Then we heard the unique footsteps of the man I was looking forward to more than ever; Derrick called down from our bedroom with curiosity. It brought fuzzy warm joy inside to hear him excitedly ask me about what that smell was that filled our house. Depression had no leverage in that moment. I waited with even more elation, for him to walk down those stairs to see my presentation.
The smile on his face was more than priceless. We celebrated a milestone of epic proportions; me doing something I love and depression not keeping me from it. PROGRESS.
I appreciated him supporting me by applauding my efforts and sacrificing, once again, a part of a monumental moment that I intended for only him to enjoy, but he made it a moment we enjoyed.
I may have only cooked three eggs and five slices of bacon, but my ability to weather through the storms of negative thoughts that would have kept me from this experience, was a feat that I would be remiss to acknowledge.