Monday, October 7, 2013


Hang out with a kid for a few moments and you'll quickly realize something - adults can be booorrrriiing.

Don't get me wrong, I love adult conversation, tasks, relationships, and responsibility. These and other things add meaning to my life. What I've found however, is adults have a hard time simply relaxing and having fun. Not "haha, I just bought a boat and a condo and I'm so good looking the mirror can't handle it and my wallet can't contain all the bills and my life is so busy and my cell phone won't stop ringing because I'm just that important" kind of fun. 

I mean real fun.

Fun void of busyness, to-do lists, self-proclamation, self-critcism, gossip, cruelty, empty relationships, superficial adventure, alcohol, small talk, and money - essentially fun absent of needing something to get us to fun.

Enter a child.

Kids need nothing to laugh - they laugh at themselves because life is simply hilarious. They play with whatever they can get their hands on and if all else fails, with air  because hey! there's a ton of that. They let their imaginations run wild and then they run wild. Kids fart and spit and get dirty and jumble their sentences in both confusion and excitement and run around naked and sometimes pee their pants but it's all good because life is awesome and the moment is to precious to worry about what anyone else thinks. Kids aren't proper or careful or neat or disciplined. 

Kids are expert be-ers.

Of course we can't live all of life like a kid - there is purpose to our growing up. Amazing things are built on the notion of maturation. 

But I wonder what would happen if we took a bit of child with us. 

For as long as I can remember I have loved to swing. Few things bring me the joy that comes when I'm sailing in the air, feet outstretched just trying to touch the sky, pretending I actually can. Swinging allows me both freedom and control. Faith and tangibility. Gut-busting excitement and unmovable peace. It makes me want to laugh and cry and squeal and listen. It brings out the best of opposites in me each and every time. 

Swinging is my kid-space. 

It's on the swing I allow my boundaries to shrink away and embrace the person I am and the world I live in. I give myself permission to be wholly me and express my emotions is their purest, deepest way. The swing reminds me that this world is good and beautiful and enchanted and worth believing in. The swing is where God speaks to my heart and my mind and every part of me I don't understand and every part I think I do. The swing embraces me in the moment and only asks that I climb up and start to pump, promising to take care of the rest. 

Swinging lets me feel all the realness of heaven while keeping me anchored to earth. 

Living a life of wholeness and health has a lot to do with food, what and the way we eat, but has so much more to do with our experience with living. If you go a day without a genuine smile [tragedies aside], you aren't living a healthy life. If you go a day without meaningful conversation where you both listen and are heard, especially with and by someone close to you, you aren't living a healthy life. If your answer for "how are you doing?" is "so busy" every time, you aren't living a healthy life. If you go a day without experiencing or noticing the hand of the Creator in the world around you, you aren't living a healthy life. If you look back on your day and can't point to a moment of authentic joy and purpose, you aren't living a healthy life.

Health may begin with food but it must turn to life, all of life, to be real and sustainable.

So maybe start by swinging. Put aside how old you are [or think you are] and let your boundaries crash, emotions go and, if only for a second, become a kid again.

Sometimes one second is all it takes to change your life.


1- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 - 2 large bunches of kale cut into small strips
1 large eggplant, roasted and peeled*
1 -2 heads of garlic, roasted**
6 c. white beans [Great Northern, white lima, or bean of choice] cooked, drained, and rinsed
8 c. vegetable stock [recipe below]
2 - 3 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 - 3 T. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Optional Additions: 1 head of lightly steamed broccoli and / or 1 head of lightly steamed cauliflower

*To roast the eggplant: place whole eggplant on a baking sheet. Put in oven with the rack in it's uppermost/highest position and broil on high [make sure the eggplant doesn't touch the oven coil - lower rack if necessary]. Broil until skin darkens and begins to crack, 10 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Hold the stem end with an ovenmit and, using cooking tongs or a fork, gently pull skin away. Compost or discard the skin and set eggplant "meat" aside.

**To roast garlic: preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap garlic clove in tinfoil and place on oven rack. Roast until clove is soft, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully squeeze each clove from the skin. Discard skins and set cloves aside.

In a blender combine 3 cups of the beans, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, ground mustard, cumin, eggplant, and garlic. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute onion in olive oil until just translucent and soft.

Add broth and pureed bean mixture to pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain and simmer. Add the remaining 3 cups of beans and kale. Cook until kale is soft and bright green, about 5 minutes.

Puree some or all of the soup using a immersion or regular blender. 

Garnish with roasted kale strips, gluten-free croutons, toasted pumpkin seeds, or toppings of choice.

Adapted from It's All Good by Gwenyth Paltrow

2 onions, quartered or 2 - 3 large leeks, chopped
2 large, whole carrots, quartered
2 stalks of celery with greens / leaves, quartered
8 - 10 shitake mushroom stems [reserved from past cooking]
3 whole large tomatoes, quartered
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
large handful of fennel greens
large handful of fresh parsley [stems and leaves]
large handful of fresh thyme [whole sprigs]
2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
3 - 4 bay leaves
1 tsp. turmeric powder
2 - 3 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
3 quarts of water

Combine all in a large pot or Dutch oven and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Strain vegetables and bottle liquid. Option to can stock using a pressure canner according to manufacturer's instructions. I like to reserve the vegetables for a second round, adding more tomatoes, herbs, seasoning, and water.

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