Tuesday, March 30, 2010

on the subject of eggs and baskets...

its getting close to easter and its time to talk about the egg. more specifically, the egg white. in my debut post, when i disclosed my fear of returning to earth as such, a friend wrote to me and said, "hey! what's wrong with egg white? add a little sugar, whip and voila- you've got meringue!"

now clearly, here is a man who knows how to treat an egg white. unfortunately, meringue isn't high on my menu wish list and egg whites don't meet such a fate (it likely doesn't get any better for an egg white than sugar and whip) in my home.

an advocate for whole foods, i must explain why i am dealing with egg whites to begin with. as with previous posts, this is where i hold my 10- month- old son accountable. imagine! pointing the finger at a small, beautiful, innocent child....

one of finn's first solid foods was egg yolk. rich in iron, vitamin a & d and a range of essential fatty acids, the egg yolk is a glowing orange-ish orb of happiness. egg
whites however, contain a number of proteins which make them a potential food allergen and therefore not the best beginner food for a wee babe (although in typical nutritional fashion, this can and will be debated from source to source). i often do nutrition by intuition and am still serving the yolk straight up.

herein lies the problem. to serve an egg sans white, it means a separation must occur. it means that finn eats the yolk, and i eat the white. sometimes. not often. ok, i've thrown it out a couple of times. my toes just curled as i wrote that and my mind's eye re-reads the bumpersticker i saw today: "where are we going? and what am i doing in this handbasket?"

given the precious resource that food is, and the massive disparities that exist in its distribution, food waste feels criminal. icky. needless. shameful. thankfully such ill feelings have a way of helping me to transform my not-so-pretty habits into something more gracious.

adios boiled egg. hello fried in butter egg.

in hindsight, a change in cooking technique is obvious. being somewhat of an egg novice however, i had to make the following discoveries through trial and error : boiled egg gives way to slimy gelatinous wiggly wobbly gaggy egg white. fried in butter egg makes for crispy, add a little sea salt and call it good eatin' egg white. eating boiled egg white causes slurping noises because even though its cooked, somehow its still runny (ew, ew ew). fried egg white can be chewed normally and its still just as easy to separate the white from the happy orange-ish orb. as a bonus, finn likes it better too.
(nutritional disclaimer: we're sure not to fry the heck out of our precious egg and we only use a heat stable, good quality fat like butter, ghee or coconut oil).

i offer my sincere and humble apologies to those who could have made better use of my disrespected egg white and wish an enjoyable easter to you all. oh, and in case you need somewhere to put the eggs you collect, i do have an extra handbasket.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a carb by any other name, is still a carb

my dear friend jessie came for a visit today. i wanted to feed her. i love having a little something prepared for a guest, especially a fellow food lover. but it was one of those mornings. yes, one of those mornings.

minutes before she arrived, i took stock of what i had ready to go: a choice of 4 carrot butts, finn’s left- over yams and blueberries, 1/3 of an avocado and popcorn that finn salvaged from behind the stove on his daily dustbunny cruise.

enter the rathwell house special: green tea chai with coconut milk and honey. (it is my firm belief that a well-stocked tea cupboard is essential to feeling more together than you actually are).

but today isn't really what's on my mind. today i'm thinking about yesterday.

monday was one of those days where i stood in front of the cupboards, doors open, eyes roaming the same cans and cartons in search of something that i may have missed the first six times i stood in the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing. then i'd move to the fridge and repeat. unfortunately the meghan who turns this into a creative exercise and whips together something strange, yet tasty and satisfying was not home. meghan who eats carbohydrates all day was left in charge.

i'm definitely not a 'don't eat carbohydrates' nutritionist. carbs and i are friends and i can list a number of great reasons to enjoy carbs (though i do admit said carbs will come with disclaimers). what i am is an 'aim for balance, variety and something fresh, green and lifelike everyday' nutritionist. even on mondays.

eating a whole foods diet used to be easy for me. its been a big adjustment to have to work at it. humbling even. and yet i'm thankful. there is always something to learn when our habitual patterns fall to pieces. there is always a freedom in allowing yourself to start over.

ok ok, you're wondering what i ate right? here it is:
rice crackers, rice milk, your plain old rice rice, mochi (pounded rice), a rice flour muffin made with brown rice syrup and rice pasta.

seven different rice products! not green, not balanced, not lifelike, but surely this counts as variety?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

confessions: take 1

in my past life i was a nutritionist: a shopping, chopping, soaking, fermenting, well-fed nutritionist. it started as a hobby, became a matter of study, and for the last 4 years i have worked as a consultant and teacher. i found contentment as a foodie and confidence in practicing what i preached. but that was my past life. 9 months ago, i became a mama.

while pregnant, i imagined that motherhood would further immerse me in the glorious world of REAL food. i would bake bread, and make yogurt while my child played at my feet. my counters would be lined with soaking grains and living sprouts. instead i find myself standing in my kitchen eating a rice cake (eww, a rice cake!) while talking on the phone with my son on my hip distractedly trying to fix his jollyjumper. the counters are an assortment of pots i've burnt, a sippy cup, old carrots that were once good as a teething toy, and a pile of pear peelings.

in a moment of pause, i receive the mental picture of myself in front of my students espousing the mandatory rules of eating for health: sit, chew, relax.

i reach for an explanation. its motherhood. i'm busy, i'm sleep-deprived, i'm breastfeeding, i'm in transition. basically i'm everything that requires even better nutrition but i'm cashing in on the right that all new mothers have to come apart at the seams if and when they need to.

now the powers of justification are such that they enable a grace period before coming to the truth of the situation. what fun its been to allow myself to change my tune! chewing? bah! chewing is for weaklings. whole grains? processed and packaged is much more efficient! but what about nutrient dense foods? slather everything in ghee and don't worry about the rest.

its come to my attention that the grace of my kitchen situation has expired and i'm just stuck with the truth. so here it is: my local, whole food diet, eaten with awareness has gone south.

in my past life i was a nutritionist. at present i am a mother. i fear that unless i tell the truth about how challenging it is for me to reconcile these seemingly opposing forces, my future life may be that of an egg white.

(more on egg white in a future post...)