We are in the midst of week two of summer vacation, and I’m still trying to figure out the summer. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that it takes a bit of time to switch gears from the end-of-the-school year mayhem into summer mode. I’ve yet to crack the code on how to slow down while driving one kid to soccer camp and the other to golf practice—and then trying to do something useful with the free hour or two I end up with in between. One thing I do almost immediately, however, is punt the whole meal-planning routine and let our full-on sit-down family dinners take a hiatus for a couple months.
Photo by Laura Hobbs
Since moving to Boulder, my life has become an all-out yoga fest. I’m the managing editor for the yoga-heavy Elephant Journal, I’m the social media ambassador to one of the hippest yoga studios in town, I’m connecting and networking with amazing yogis from all over the country (Seane Corn kissed me on the cheek—I can die now), I’m going to yoga class every day, and I even got the chance to check out the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park a few weekends ago. I’m living and breathing the yoga life, and I’m loving every second of it.
How to Spring-Clean Your Eating Habits
It’s a natural impulse to purge your closet this time of year. Who wants itchy, pilling sweaters when they could be wearing crisp tees and cute sundresses? I also get the urge to clean my windows so I can get a better view of the (sometimes) blue sky and flowers on my trees. And I can’t wait to finally put away the stack of hats, gloves, and snow boots that has overtaken my entryway (since it snowed this past weekend, I’m going to wait a week or two on that one).
When I got married, my sister gave me an herb garden planted in a giant galvanized metal tub. At that time in my life, the only plants I’d ever kept alive were a couple scrawny succulents on my dorm room windowsill, and while I already loved to cook, I had no idea what to do with nine varieties of fresh herbs. Needless to say, I was intimidated. The plants died a slow, neglected death, which I rationalized as okay because all the herbs I ever needed were available at the grocery store.
Sixteen years later, I’ve come full circle on the idea of growing my own herbs (although that tub is usually used for keeping beer cold at parties). Now I grow herbs in pots, and here are some good reasons why you should, too.
- Cooking with fresh herbs is fun; it feels very “chef-y” to do things like chiffonade.
If not, you totally should. Even if you’re not gluten-free, it’s still okay to eat more vegetables. And this is one wicked awesome way to do that.
The statistics are astounding—the average American generates 4 pounds of trash every day, which adds up to a whopping 1,460 pounds in a year. It takes a plastic water bottle 450 years to break down in a landfill. And in every single square mile of ocean, there are more than 40,000 pieces of floating plastic debris.
Free the gluten! That is, free gluten from misconceptions about its health risks and benefits.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It helps with the elasticity and chewiness of dough. It is commonly found in bread, bagels, baked goods, pasta, cereals, sauces and salad dressing. It’s also found in malts and food coloring. Foods that are naturally gluten-free include rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans and nuts. Wine and hard liquors are gluten-free but beer is not.
This time of year, people tend to go in one of two directions, eating-wise: Either they double down on their dedication to a healthy diet and forego every sugar cookie, candied pecan, and cheese plate they encounter—or they say some version of “screw it” and dive head first into the buttered mashed potatoes (or cookie platter).
A friend recently reported to me that she was taken to task by a green-leaning colleague for selecting a juice box to drink at a networking function. Juice boxes, the eco-narc proclaimed, were NOT recyclable in their municipality. My friend sheepishly sucked on her tiny plastic straw, convinced that all her attempts to live green — riding her bicycle to work, growing her own organic produce — were wiped out by this one transgression.
When Sarah Matheny, creator of the popular blog Peas and Thank You, decided to eliminate animal products from her diet, she knew there’d be skeptics. Her grandpa was a butcher and her mom cooked with no fear of butter. But now Sarah is a mom who wants to feed her children right. Her new book, also titled Peas and Thank You, is a collection of recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not-so-mainstream diet. It’s filled with healthy and delicious versions of your favorite foods, but with no meat, lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of nutrition for growing Peas. From wholesome breakfasts to mouth-watering desserts, it’s easier than ever to whip up crowd-pleasing meals that will have the whole family asking for “more, peas.” Here are Sarah’s thoughts on dinner, along with a few delicious recipes from the book.