A Nice Golden Mean: My Philosophy of Eating

Vegetables in Whole Foods Market

In the spring of 2012, I was inspired by vegan friends and the film Forks Over Knives to eliminate all animal products from my diet. Writing eat food. began as a way to share my journey and hold myself accountable to the new choices I was making in my diet and life. To develop knowledge and skills, I completed a certificate in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University online and began assisting at vegan cooking classes through PCC Natural Markets. What my foray into veganism turned out to be, though, was the beginning of a much larger journey.

If you’re doing a journey of self-discovery right, you never know where you’re going to end up. You try a lot of different things and ask yourself a lot of different questions like, what do I think about this thing? Do I like this thing? Does this thing feel right, or wrong? How right, or how wrong? Annoyingly, there are never rarely any clear answers. It can feel like going up and down over mountains. Some days you’re like, “I’m on top of the world!” and other days you’re like, “wading through this stupid bog totally blows.” But you keep going up and down until things sort of level out, or not, but you keep going.

I’m glad that I tried 100% plant-based eating because it is indisputably the most environmentally friendly way to eat and is, based on what I’ve learned, very healthy. But part of my journey has been the discovery that veganism is not what works best for me. Yes, it might be the healthiest for my cells, but I have a soul too, and that part was starving. 

Statue of Aristotle in Thessaloniki

In Ode on a Grecian UrnKeats, quoting Aristotle, said:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” — that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. 

The way I interpret this in terms of food and nutrition is that if you feel great (beauty) then you’re doing something right (truth). And feeling great has to do with a lot more than how your organs are functioning. It has to do with your spirit, soul, being, or whatever it is that makes us humans with a capacity to enjoy and feel happy.

One of Aristotle’s goals was to find an answer to the question, how can people achieve happiness? His Golden Mean, a place where happiness is possible, is the balance of excess and deficiency. Applying this thinking to the American diet, we tend to find excess in eating only for pleasure and deficiency in eating only for nutrient content. In order to really be healthy–physically, emotionally, psychologically–we probably need to be somewhere in the middle: enjoying the right amount of wholesome food. What this looks like for me is probably different than what it looks like for you, and that’s awesome!

So, to summarize, this is where my blog stands: I’m trying to find my nice, golden mean of food and life. I want to dialogue with you as you do the same. I’ll share some recipes, reviews, and information that I think can help. Let’s learn a lot, get to know each other, and have fun!

xo,

Sara

I want to hear from you! Please shoot me an email using the form on the Contact page and let me know what’s up. What’s your story? What do you want to know? What do you want me to teach you? I can’t wait for you to join me on this crazy journey.

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Crock Pot Beef Stew + An Important Announcement

557916_821983746250_2047156700_nI’ll get to the recipe in a minute but first I have an important announcement: I’ve given up coffee. Yes, you heard me, I, Sara Hendrickson, coffee drinker of nearly 15 years (and I’m only 27) is coffee-free going on 3 DAYS. I can’t believe I’m actually doing it but I must say that I feel excellent. I haven’t had any alcohol either and my goals are to stay off the coffee forever (tea instead–I’m doing the green tea thing now) and wait till I get to Paris on October 4th before I have any wine or other booze. Continue reading

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Quick Dinner: Couscous with Spinach, Carrots, and Roasted Pistachios (vegan)

945782_821726621530_1288085247_nIt’s hard to argue with a dinner that takes 20 minutes from start to finish. Light and barely requiring any heat application whatsoever, this couscous dish is perfect for summer. 
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Make-Ahead Breakfast: Peach Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

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Do you remember that part in the Arrested Development pilot when Michael asks George Michael what they always say is the most important thing and George Michael responds with–bless his heart–“breakfast?” (The correct answer is, obviously, “family.”) Well, I have to tell you a secret: every time I manage to eat a sensible, well-rounded breakfast, young GM’s words ring in my ears and crack a smile. Pretty much makes my morning. However, most of the time, I don’t eat breakfast, and my internal response to the idea of it is more like, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Enter baked oatmeal. I whipped up this batch on Sunday while I was making dinner and then popped it in the fridge to nourish me throughout  the week. So far it has performed the functions of its job and gone above and beyond to delight my taste buds and keep me satisfied until lunch. If baked oatmeal had a LinkedIn profile I would TOTALLY write it a recommendation. Continue reading

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Mushroom and Potato Enchiladas (vegetarian & gluten free, vegan option)

Let’s start with the food. (It has been awhile, hasn’t it?) I’ll try to weave in some back story as we go but #1 most important right now is that you know how to make these vegetarian enchiladas we had for dinner last night (and that I just had for lunch–they are even better the next day!).

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Haitus and Thank You!

Dear Readers,

I’m sorry for the long silence. It’s been a long school year, and it’s not quite over yet. I wanted to post some activity on here so that you’re aware I’m not deceased and neither is the blog. Once summer rolls around you’ll be my first priority! In the mean time, what would you like to see? What recipes can I try out and report back on? What do you want to know about? I promise that if you send me an idea you will see something in response!

Xoxo,

Sara

p.s. Here’s a teaser: rice beans sweet potato tofu

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Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins + Days 9-11

I’ve been a fall food fiend these last few weeks, and imagine my disappointment when I realized that I could no longer enjoy (or at least for a month or so) an embarrassingly frou frou pumpkin spice latte from (gasp) Starbucks. All I’ve been craving (besides red wine, chocolate, cheese and poached eggs) is sweet, starchy baked goods. The upside is that, in evaluating my doshic balance, I discovered that my Pitta (characterized by heat, upset bowels and obsessive perfectionism–hmmm, sound familiar?) is out of control and sweet, starchy foods are recommended. The downside? I have to figure out how to make them vegan, and free of gluten, corn, soy and sugar.

It is surprisingly less difficult than I anticipated.

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More Food Than I Know What To Do With (Days 3-8)

This post is one in a series of posts about my journey to better healthy via eliminating common allergy-causing foods from my diet and slowly reintroducing them to rule out and identify what I can and cannot eat. For a little more background, I invite you to peruse this.

Allow me to list for you the things I’ve made since I last posted:


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Eliminatron 5000: Day 2

Allow me to pick up where I left off yesterday which was, I believe, putting my meat and veggies into the crock pot.

After completing that task I had about a million random errands to run including finding some gluten- and soy-free miso and tamari. I figured if anybody had it Central Market would but, unfortunately, they did not. In consolation I got a bunch of veggies and this:

Brown Rice Tuna Rolls, with avocado and cucumber

However, after eating it, my tongue sort of swelled up and got really tingly, so, I’m not sure what was going on with that… Continue reading

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Eliminatron 5000: Day 1

Woke up this morning at 5:20. Made coffee with hazelnut milk, drank on pre-dawn walk with the pup. Although it was completely dark outside, it was a beautiful morning and all the stars were out. Came home, ate a bowl of Udi’s Cranberry granola with hazelnut milk. It was DELICIOUS and then I read the ingredients again and there was sugar in the cranberries. Shit. Maybe this is going to be harder than I thought. Continue reading

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