We Are Not Limited to Carrot Sticks

As soon as I received my copy of Kris Carr’s new book CrazySexy Kitchen, I devoured it. It is so full of scrumptious sounding and looking recipes that it re-ignited my passion for eating healthy and with the holidays coming up that can be especially challenging. While a crudite sounds quite lovely, it pales compared to the mounds of cheese and sugar lurking at every table.

Ever since last Thanksgiving when I brought my own pre made vegan dinner from Whole Foods, it became somewhat public that I don’t eat what the crowd does at my family parties. I was out of the closet and the questions kept rolling, along with the laughter about what appeared to be a sad little Thanksgiving dinner not fit for a bird. Like most who follow the standard American diet, it is almost inconceivable to eat a plant strong diet. As I said before, I didn’t grow up this way. It wasn’t nurture that did this to me. My father, a meat, potato and Cheeze-It lover, will have you know he had no hand in this lunacy.

So keeping with this diet is not something that comes easy. I have to prepare and think ahead and make sure that I have something I want to eat at whatever function I’m attending, which means bringing it with me. I also have to be willing to make allowances every now and then and accept that it is okay for me to have fish once in a while or to enjoy a piece of cheese when I simply can’t resist. It’s not all or nothing with me. Deprivation leads to binging.

Still, I try to stay on the wagon. We talk a lot in yoga about dukha, which is translated as pain, discontentment, suffering. However you translate the sanskrit, it’s bad and it leaves us feeling bad. One of my favorite sutras is sutra 2.16: Heyam dukham anagatam, which is often translated to mean: the pain that has yet to come can be avoided. While this holds much heavier significance in other realms, it can also be applied to what we eat. Remember how uncomfortable it is to leave a holiday party after mindlessly consuming and imbibing. Ugh. My belly and head hurt just thinking about it. And that pain can certainly be avoided.

Thankfully, my heroine came to the rescue with such recipes as faux nog, pumpkin bisque, maple candied pecans, edamame dumplings, walnut falafel, wild mushroom croquettes, chile rellenos, cauliflower risotto and countless dressings and desserts. My mission from now until the parties start rolling is to find just a few of these concoctions that my domestically challenged self can whip up and surprise people with just how tasty healthy can be. We are not limited to carrot sticks. We can replace holiday favorites with new ones that taste just as delicious and satisfying but leave us feeling light, so we can still practice in the morning. Avoid that dukha.

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