As I mentioned, last week I celebrated three entire years dating the coolest dude I’ve ever met. For those of you who don’t know Jim Kettner (affectionately known as Kettnerd or Kett) is an amazing artist, and an all around excellent human being, and the apple of my eye. I want to go on every vacation ever with him.
I wish I could say I captured a picture of the pillow-y vegan chocolate chip cookies placed on our bedside table upon our arrival, but instead we jumped up and down on the bed (very adult, right?) and hung on the deck until it was almost dinnertime.
We had a reservation at 6:00, and when we arrived I was super stoked to see that not only was the dining room full of windows and gorgeous, we were also basically the first people there. We were happy… and then the eating begin! First, of all, the first thing out of the waitress’ mouth was “would you like some complimentary gluten-free bread with your meal?”I wanted to scream “YES, BREAD ANGEL I WOULD LOVE SOME COMPLIMENTARY GLUTEN FREE BREAD”, but I think I just politely nodded. In addition to the bread, we were served a super thin slice of tiny radish with a dollop of sweet and spicy red pepper sauce and creamy kale sauce. It was refreshing, light, and delicious. Then came our second round of appetizers. We split a Caesar salad with gluten-free garlic crostini and glazed tofu. There are no words for how good this was. The lettuce was perfectly fresh (from the garden at The Stanford Inn, in fact), the dressing was creamy, the crostini was crunchy and bursting with garlic flavor. The tofu was tangy and warm and a perfect compliment. My entree was a Cauliflower Napoleon with fingerling potato wedges. it was prepared in a stack with grilled tomatoes, onion, and zucchini, nut cheese, and a balsamic reduction. It was IN-credible, although at this point I was really slowin’ down in the stomach space department. I set most of the potatoes aside, because I knew if a vegan and gluten free dessert came a-knockin, I was gonna answer the door. (Oh yeah, Kett had the BBQ plate which included cornbread, BBQ’d portobello, potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. He enjoyed it very much.) Now, my friends, I would like to introduce you to the most beautiful thing I have ever seen Vegan and gluten free shortbread cookie. stack of carmelized pecans. scoop of maple ice cream on top. *DIES* This dessert was perfect. I wish I could have its taste tattoo’d on my taste buds, that I could live out this life recalling the whole thing in extreme detail. DAMN, PECAN TOWER. YOU ARE THE BEST. There could not have been a more perfect meal to celebrate the deep and awesome connection I have with this man that I’ve chosen to spend all this time with. We were happy! Very, very happy. Post dinner, we went to the solarium (!!!), hung out in a sauna, got toasty in a hot tub, and swam some laps in the pool. Once we got back to the room, we tried to build a fire, which I caught in the five minutes that it was actually going well. (we were fire failures.) After we gave up on the fire we read The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman out loud to eachother (gross, I know ) and passed the eff out. What a great day.
In the morning, I lounged in the hotel robe while Kett swam laps, because that’s how I do. I also captured a few vignettes of our beautiful room. And then of course there was breakfast, which was INCLUDED in the price of our room. Man, The Stanford Inn sure knows how to make a couple of vegans feel rad. Kett got a chickpea omelet with grilled sweet potatoes, a glass of orange juice and coffee. I got the tofu rancheros, with grilled veggies (again, from the garden), corn tortillas, homemade pico de gallo and a side of sweet potatoes. To be honest, I was still pretty damn full from the night before but hey! Sometimes a celebration fills more than your heart. The Stanford Inn and Ravens Restaurant were perfect in every way. I loved seeing the garden, I loved that that the coordinator of their wellness program/nutritionist introduced himself to every single table (Hi Sid!), I loved smelling the ocean and eating the food and for goodness sakes, wearing the robe. (This review was not paid for, and I didn’t receive anything to write it! I just havn’t heard many vegans mention this place before, and I want to share the love)
This month has included a lot of kitchen time. I am making meal plans for a handful of clients, which means countless hours of sifting, marinading, baking, sauteing, searing, and chopping. I have been covered from head to toe in tahini and lemon. I have thought long and hard about my clients and their food rules, I have taken their tastes into deep consideration.
“How would someone who eats animal products feel about this cashew cream sauce?” I’ve asked myself. “How can I make authentic foods with a simple dedication to health in mind?” In addition to my food rules, I now have Adam’s food rules, and Teresa’s, and Laura’s on lock. I put myself into their shoes as much as possible and I just cook.
At the end of the day, it can be hard to remember not only who’s tastes are who’s (whom’s tastes are whom’s?) but which tastes are mine. The past couple of years have been almost entirely devoted to listening to my heart, my mind, and my body when it comes to how I eat. For posterity’s sake, I would like to share with you my non-negotiables.
–I eat at least twice the amount of recommended servings of fruit and vegetables per day, because my body is worth way more than the bare minimum, and because I like them. A fair amount of people have asked me why bananas are “so fattening” lately, and I’ve struggled to respond with anything but more questions. Who told you bananas are fattening? What does fattening mean to you? Have bananas proven to be “fattening” for your particular body? (no one has ever answered yes, although, I am sure people with very low tolerance to carbs may have difficulty with this fruit. ) I love bananas. I consume them almost daily, in addition to tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, kale, berries, cucumbers, lettuce, dates, and avocados. Some fruits and vegetables may not be my cup of tea, but I consider them all to be good.
-I don’t eat animal products. This is an ethical, environmental, and health based decision. I don’t want them, and I don’t need them.
-I eat a lot of carbohydrates. For a good year of my life, I fell pray to the idea that carbohydrates were inappropriate fuel that would destroy the lean body I have worked so hard for. That might be true for some people, it is not true for me. Grains, beans, corn, fruit, and starchy vegetables feel awesome to consume. I am not really into sweets, generally, and gluten feels like shit to me, so refined carbohydrates naturally weed themselves out of my diet for the most part. I feel great about that.
-I consider calories, but I do not obsess about them. I know that on the rare occasion that I want dessert, I probably want it to be a piece of raw vegan cake, and that 9 times out of 10, those will basically be a coconut oil block with nut spread as frosting. I am aware that even one slice has probably more calories than I usually consume in an entire meal, and that it might make sense to eat some lighter stuff during the times around my delicious cake, or maybe split the piece. I am not going to feel unnecessary hunger over a piece of cake I ate last week, I am not going to crave the cake relentlessly but not allow myself a bite. My body and calories have a very mutually respectful relationship, and I don’t distrust my body to give me appropriate messages about what I should eat. Part of my body is my brain, though. I listen to the whole of me.
-I enjoy fats. I am ambivalent about oils, but am remaining curious. For now coconut and olive oils are the only ones that I use and I am leery of canola oil. Soybean oil can go fuck itself, as far as I am concerned. Really, I prefer my fat be coconut, nuts, or avocado, as those are whole foods.
– I don’t drink. For me, there is really no use for alcohol. I think it is totally unfriendly to my body composition, it dehydrates people, and I feel hung over if I drink even a thimble full of boozy brew. I used to kind of like to get drunk, but now I feel significantly more stoked when I can find an uproarious good time completely sober. It’s true, it doesn’t happen as easily, but when it does, it feels more real.
-I eat dark chocolate daily. I am not tryin’ to be all I eat it for the antioxidants, because whatever, I eat tons of fruits and vegetables, it’s not like I need to supplement my diet with a chocolate injection. I just like it! One square always satisfies.
-I don’t eat high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oil. Like gluten, those things are bullshit for my body, and I am entirely comfortable without them.
I am someone who loves my body, as it is, right now, and I have food rules. This is not in opposition to my position as a body image warrior and an advocate for finding health with any body, at any size. I am someone who eats intuitively, who’s rules come from experience, not societal constructs. I don’t feel the need to break my food rules 99% of the time, because they haven’t been instated by someone aside from myself. No one else made these rules for me, and they don’t exist out of fear.
My rules for food exist out of love for myself.
(Some people will find my comfort with food rules to be an assault to body image activism, and I will respectfully disagree. Some people will find my food rules to be entirely too loose, and again, I will respectfully disagree. I tell you my food rules, because more and more lately, people ask. My food rules should never be your food rules, I hope you know that. What I do has almost nothing to do with what you will choose)
How do you feel about food rules? What are yours?
Lately, my life has been moving very quickly. Between seeing clients, making meal plans, recipe testing, writing, keeping myself healthy with awesome food and exercise and blogging, I feel like days are gone in the blink of an eye. I’m definitely not complaining- things are actually straight up amazing- but I am making an effort to slow myself down. Inspired by the weekly love lists on Bonzai Aphrodite, I have started bringing my camera out a bit more, stopping a little more often to try to smell the proverbial (and literal) roses around me.
Like Ferris Bueller says: “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
I have been vegan for most of the past sixteen years, but it wasn’t until I listened to Rich Roll podcast #93 with Sharon Palmer, RD that I actually decided that maybe it was time to get a B-12 supplement. Feel free to message me if you wonder why I think it is important.
I baked a cake, it tasted like heaven and included vegetables.
Prepping for that post workout life, courtesy of Vega Sport in chocolate. Peanut butter, because duh.
Meal plan recipe testing! Plantain flap jacks, roasted red pepper soup, roasted garlic and coconut quinoa, kale salad with toasted almonds and shaved cashew parmesan, creamy olive oil mashed cauliflower, and miso glazed eggplant.Until next time!