I was nearly thirty-five when I went to massage school. I had been a credit union employee for several years at that point. My roots were in North Dakota. I was raised on the family farm in the heart of cattle country. Self-care wasn’t exactly taught. Sit down and rest for a few minutes was about as good as it got. That didn’t even really happen because it just extended the work that needed to be done, so massage school came as a shock. It was a vegan school. I didn’t even know what that was.
One of the classes in the curriculum was raw foods. Food having energy was discussed a lot, but in a way that was new to me. I knew that food gave you energy, but I never really thought of food as being infused with its own energy. It was easy for me to make that connection with plants. It was harder for me to wrap my mind around the emotions of an animal at slaughter, like fear, being infused into the meat. It made me more mindful of everything I put in my mouth. At one point I lived mainly on pomegranates and rice. I didn’t know what a good choice looked like anymore, but I was learning.
I learned how to make almond milk, lasagna in a dehydrator, and tofu cheesecake. Then there was wheatgrass. I’ve seen fields of wheatgrass. It’s real pretty in the spring, but we grew it in trays and juiced it. It smells like the barn; processed greens. The smell makes me gag. I stuck with it though because the pros outweighed the cons, and I couldn’t eat pomegranates and rice forever.
I slowly adopted many great new habits. When I returned to North Dakota the following spring friends commented on how radiant my skin looked. I jokingly called it my high pro glow after a popular dog food commercial.
Life resumed. Bad habits came back little by little. I never forgot what I learned, but it wasn’t exactly the easiest lifestyle to maintain in an area where few people were interested in the benefits of a vegan diet that included wheatgrass. My raw foods recipe book started to collect dust while the hand-me-down cookbooks from my mom emerged.
Twelve years later I have found my balance and it is centered around mindfulness. Wheatgrass still makes me gag. I prefer a variety of greens with ginger, mint, or apples to make it something I look forward to. I’m lucky to be married to a man who enjoys chugging his own glass of greens, but he also likes to eat what many people call, real food.
Real food is often that which I try to avoid, like gas station donuts. They do not offer the kind of energy I want for my body, in fact; they don’t offer anything I want. Donuts are not on my go-to list at all, but I’m not single and my husband likes them. I don’t want him eating gas station donuts either, so I make my own. I mindfully choose ingredients like organic wheat flour and coconut oil. These donuts will dry out or mold in a few days and that’s how food is supposed to be. I never have to worry though because they go too fast. In all honesty I may have one or two just to make sure they turned out ok. 😉
This is a lifestyle I can stick with; mindfully choosing ingredients, and preparing food with love and care. In my world it’s okay to have green juice and the occasional homemade donut.