Easter at my mother's house: beautiful surroundings, beloved company, a good, healthy meal, and, as is typically the case with holidays and social gatherings that center around food, too much dessert.
|Easter dinner offerings: butternut squash and asparagus.|
I know a few people who can sit in front of a table loaded with temptation and make relaxed and rational choices, but there are so many of us who can't. Sweet and fatty treats are fun, but so is humor, a nice cup of tea, a bowl of raspberries.
How did we get to the point where anything short of excess seems meager?
I would like to change this dynamic. I'm not anti-treat. It's just that I would like everything I offer my loved ones to be supportive of their health.
|Macaroons. My sister-in-law made these, and a special plate just for me of the chocolate ones, gluten- and sugar-free.|
As for myself, with so little that I can control about my health these days, the little that I can control feels supremely important. I am hyper-aware of the connection between cancer and diet, and between estrogen, the primary hormone driving my particular cancer, and excess body fat. I'm concerned about the international obesity epidemic and how this plays out in my own family. And I'm especially attuned to my own struggle to strike a balance between eating just enough of the treats on offer so as not to feel deprived but not so much that I regret it after.
It feels like a sinister game of limbo. Temptations multiply while the out-of-bounds regret line moves steadily closer to "not one bite." Wherever I set the line, once I've crossed it, and I almost always do, I feel a quiet, underground panic as I feel my resolve and sense of control slipping away. I can't be the only one. Why do we do this to each other?
In order to escape doing harm to my body I find myself pressed up against the emotional mirage of deprivation. It is most definitely a mirage. I know this. I am well and plenty fed. The only real lack is of the relaxed and pleasant conversation (or not so relaxed but all the more essential sharing) that might fill a gathering not so centered around food.
On Easter Sunday, I failed as usual to find the (forgive the pun) sweet spot between indulgence and regret, but I had my camera along and managed to push away from my plate in search of photogenic distractions.
Thanks to mother nature and my own mother's talent for beauty, I managed to find plenty.
|Eying the bird feeder.|
|A kitchen window.|
|Avocado pits, poised for sprouting.|
|My mother's china cabinet.|
|Holiday dinner aftermath.|
|Out the back door.|
|Back home, trying something new: horned melon. Bright orange outside, jewel-green inside. |
Grassy tasting, mildly sweet, a bit like honeydew only slimier and seedier.
Okay, I admit it. Not my favorite.
|A treat at my house: cashew cream (in the food-processor: tofu, cashew butter, lemon juice, agave nectar, vanilla, nutmeg) served with fresh passion fruit.|