Writing a blog isn't as easy as people tell me. For one, I have too many ideas and thoughts that blast my brain into tiny bits of intellectual, informational, and emotional shrapnel. Then the artist and craftsmen in me tries to put it back together in some pleasing, thought-provoking, and well-crafted relational mosaic of words. Now, here comes the second part: allocating time to allow those thoughts to come together, write, and then publish them.
I decided today that if I worked a little bit in my little vegetable garden under this crazy blue summer sky my thoughts and ideas would come together and make friends with one another. Today's task in the garden was about making room: physical room to allow more sunlight to reach the cucumbers; pulling weeds and the remnants of the early spring mustard to plant more basil (because we all know, there's always room for more basil--it's like the cow bell herb of the rock star garden); then pulling a few lettuce heads to make room for fall harvest beets; and transplanting the zucchini plants into larger pots to make room for their roots. (The zucchini gets a whole "room" of its own because it is the bossy-plants--yes, pun intended--when it comes to space in my small garden.)
The skin under my fingernails began making room for the dirt that weaseled up under them. I splayed the wire 'legs' of the tomato cages to make room for the roots they would surround. I set sunflowers in a large planter in a way to make room for the morning glories that will grow up around them: all this to make space, to 'make room.' This is where physical act of visualizing space and creating space for things to grow connected with what my original blog idea was going to be about which was the perspective of viewing the glass half full instead of half empty or how to make room in our lives for new ideas, new thoughts, new ways of looking at things.
The metaphor of a glass being half-full or half-empty is about perspective and it was coming to mind often when I was hearing statements like, "I am on an elimination diet. I can't eat anything!" or (if you are eating only plant based foods) "what can I make for you if I invite you to dinner?" From my perspective, all of these statements are born from the perspective of glass half empty, or a perception of lack or restriction or "there's room but I can't, am not supposed to, or don't know how to, fill it (for one reason or another)." I don't find these statements intentionally negative. They usually are said because of limited information and/or conventional mindset, but I invite everyone to consider a new angle and shatter the glass-half-empty perspective around diet and food just by switching some word choices to rewire the brain into perceiving the glass is a vessel of unlimited abundance and potential, way beyond half-full.
First word: diet. Ugh. What a word! So many connotations, and not kindly ones, either! The first definition of diet is the friendlier one according to Google definitions:
1. (noun) the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
Word use: " I enjoy a plant based diet."
The other 2 definitions weigh in a lot heavier psychologically because they imply that one is being denied something by constraint or restraint:
2. (noun) a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
3. (verb) to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
Here's Google's word use example that is used for the verb, diet: "It's difficult to diet."
Thesauraus.com defines diet as "abstinence from food" and uses dietary, fast, regime, regimen, starvation, restriction and then finally, nutritional therapy and weight-reduction plan as synonyms. What does this tell you about how we perceive diet? A healing perspective would focus on the first Google definition which implies permission and necessity.
Whether we're cognizant of it or not, the diet (restriction) culture has really made us see the glass half-empty when it comes to food. How about we change the lexicon to the glass-half-full perception?
Exchange diet for meal: "I enjoy a plant-based meal plan." Look up the synonyms for meal here. You will find much happier connotations such as feast, repast, din-din and refreshment. These words make a person want to join someone for dinner and overflow one's life with good food, friendship, and conviviality.
Exchange elimination for discovery when the phrase elimination diet is used: "I am on a discovery meal plan." Now look these words up at Thesaurus.com and compare the synonyms. Under discovery, you'll find words like revelation, learning, and ascertainment. The word switch doesn't change the intention, it changes the feeling from one of denial to one of possibility. When one goes on a discovery meal plan, she is inviting new foods, new recipes, new culinary adventures into her life and lifestyle, making room for "new-trition" (My new word! Ha, ha! Punny, huh? Yep, I'm a dork!) and new healing possibilities to grow.
When I teach and coach people about food and healing, I tell them, "It's about the food, but it's not about the food." There is so much we bring to the table when we try to nourish ourselves. Partly, it's the words we hear in our heads, the bombardment of cultural terms and connotations and our beliefs around them, that make it hard to make room for a new perspective of possibility, enrichment and healing. What are the new words, the new meanings, the new feelings? Step back and create some space for change if the glass is looking half-empty. Feel and assess. Weed out what is no longer serving you. It takes time, yes, and it's sometimes hard to know which weeds are friendly and which are invasive. A synonym of "make room" is "accommodate." Find out what needs to go and what needs to grow the glass half-full.
Thanks for reading this rather lengthy blog post. I will end it by telling you to not be afraid of asking me or any person who eats plant based meals to dinner. For most of us, it's about the company, not the food, and that is very, very true in my case. So when I see the distress in the face of someone asking me to dinner and not knowing how to accommodate my meal choices, I immediately feel the love of someone who wants to please, to show their love and appreciation through the act of preparing and serving food which brings people together. I also see the omnivore's worry, "There's nothing she can eat." I take no offense. My wish, my goal, is for everyone to be comfortable eating and preparing and sharing food and my role in this is to be of service, to help ease any fears or discomfort around food and food issues.
I view my food choices as abundant, a glass overflowing with possibility. I have never gone hungry and I am so very grateful for this. Yes, I always will bring a salad or something to share (because I like to share) and like I said, it's about the food, but it's not about the food. Thanks for making room for me at your table. There is always room for you at mine.
My mom Polly used to tell me, "You'll get your reward in Heaven." It was her quirky way of saying, "Thank you." May all of us find rewards wherever they present themselves. Hopefully you will find a little bit of heaven in these recent and always delicious plant based meal choices. Just click on the photos below to explore these delicious recipes:
Hi! I'm Beth and I'd love to share with you my passion for living a fabulously healthy plant based lifestyle to help you on your wellness path, one delicious bite at a time. And, by the way, I'm a ceramic artist who is passionate about putting plants on pots!