There are changes happening in my kitchen.
I've always loved food and I've always eaten well, often too well. Without wanting to dig too deeply into the psychology and conditioning behind how I eat and why I eat, I'm aware that in recent months I've gotten very lazy about feeding myself. I've reached far too often for packaged convenience and, while eternally trying to shovel wholesome goodness into my children's mouths, far too often I've settled for peanut butter toast late at night for my own dinner. Old habits die hard.
But at the start of this year, I promised myself I'd address the old energy issue. I'm tired of dragging myself out of bed in the morning, counting down the minutes till the first coffee, scraping my way through the afternoon, and then hitting my stride sometime mid-evening and thus ending up in bed far too late, only to wake up and do it all over again. I'm tired of being tired.
And I'm better at making massive changes than gradual ones, so I decided I needed a big jolt, a big wake-up, something to strip me back to basics. So I've just come off a three-week elimination diet. It was fairly extreme - no sugar, wheat (or grains of any kind), fat or dairy for three weeks. No alcohol. No bread. None. At. All. I got through it, much lighter and clearer as a result.
It wasn't necessarily difficult, but it was boring. I was on a culinary desert island where I found myself fantasising long and hard about food. I rediscovered my cookbooks (and added to my collection as well.) I found myself drawn to blogs about real food and whole food. I toyed with previously unconsidered notions such as gluten-free and sugar-free. I lay in bed at night creating incredible meals in my head.
And now I've begun the part where I introduce foods back in. There's still no sugar and wheat, for the time being. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this process doesn't reveal any sort of gluten intolerance. I know I have to cut back on the bread and the baked goods, but I can't stomach the thought of never enjoying them again.
But what I'm really excited about is something that's becoming clearer every day in my mind - an approach to food and eating, a philosophy, if you will, that I want to apply to how I feed myself and my girls. I hope to share more here in the coming weeks.
This past Saturday I travelled an hour up the highway to buy an organic chicken straight from the woman who raised it. Yesterday, the girls and I enjoyed it with roasted sweet potatoes, parsnips and beetroot. I made a delicious side of sautéed black cabbage and kale (bought direct from a woman who described herself as a kale specialist). The girls wouldn't touch that, so the leftovers went into a frittata for my lunch today. This afternoon I picked the chicken carcass clean then boiled up the bones for stock. I used a little of it to make a sauce with carrots, peas, a little creme fraiche and the leftover meat, which Pearl and I wrapped in pastry and called a pie. The girls devoured it, Lola declared it the best dinner ever, and then they insisted I pack the leftovers in their lunch boxes for tomorrow.
Winner, winner, organic chicken dinner.