Sunday, June 24, 2012

Walking the path as best I can

Since I've been unemployed (or 'retired' as we might say, nicely) I've opted to make the transition from eating three meals per day to only two, following the Buddhist tradition. That means breakfast and lunch, but no solid food after lunch.

It was a little harder to do when I was working, and frankly, I found that what I really needed to make the transition was a new mind-set. I've eaten this way at Bhavana and other Buddhist centers and it's not a problem for me. The problem was in retraining my mind to the idea of cooking and eating my main meal of the day for lunch, rather than dinner.

But, like all things, the mind can be trained for this. By now, it's become second-nature and I've found many good points. Most notably, with the onset of the heat of a Georgia summer, I can cook in the early part of the day while the kitchen is cool. Last summer and the previous summer as well, I found that despite a plethora of wonderful veggies in the garden, the last thing I wanted to do late in the after noon when the house is at its hottest is cook. So much of what I grew went to waste. Secondly, it's kind of nice to not have to think about what to eat three times per day. Even better not to have to cook it. So, this has become my new norm, and I like it.

Not that I'm a purist, because I'm not vegetarian, as most Buddhists are. Thus the ground beef (natural and hormone-free) in the above photo. Other than the beef, everything in that photo came from my garden: fennel, onions, garlic, romaine lettuce, basil, rosemary, thyme, and lemon thyme. Yum. Most meals are more interesting than this, but just in the past few days, as the temps have risen, the romaine has turned bitter and isn't as tasty for salads any longer. It's still filled with nutrition, however. And since I've never been fond of ground beef (I can't afford the premium beef in any form but ground), a good one-pot meal was in order. You do what you can with what you've got.

Right now, with the body needing to heal the insult from the doc and grow lots of new tissue, I'm really opting for serious amounts of animal protein, since these are the best building blocks for such things. At other times, I depend less on animal proteins and am content with beans and lentils and such. I'll get nothing else, of course, at Aranya Bodhi, the Goenka Center and Bhavana, and I'm good with that.

I'm also not a purist because sometimes I have a bit of home-made almond butter in the evening, for a hit of protein and healthy fats, or a glass of milk, which I believe is OK, since it's liquid and not solid food. Yesterday I baked a tiny blueberry cobbler. There may be some home-made ice cream in my future later today, if the mood strikes. Each day around 5pm when the heat is worst, I long for something frozen and cool. Yeah, it's a craving, but nobody said I was perfect. I'm just walking the path as best I can. I have not reached the farther shore.

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