Living simply

The longer I eat a live plant-based diet the more I crave simpler foods and less clutter in my eating patterns. In fact, I’m finding I want less clutter in many aspects of my life. Perhaps it is an ageist thing. Or perhaps it comes with moving far too many times in my life and shifting direction in my career too often. At some point simplicity takes precedence and finding aspects of my life that I can simplify.

I recently read a blog post about meditation and realized that meditation has its formality and structure in one’s life. But also there is a meditative spirit and appreciation of the moment that should encompass daily living. There is something so simple and pure as articulating one’s gratitude on a daily basis. My life partner has been especially good at reminding all of us who work at Rawsome Living Foods Cafe and Juice Bar to be thankful for something each and every day as he gently checks in with us, “And what are you thankful for today?” Even a momentary reflection takes us out of our busy-ness and allows us an opportunity to negotiate time within a momentary period of grace.

When I think about the people who come into our cafe – some of whom are conflicted with health and life challenges – I am struck by those who are looking for a refuge not only within our physical space, but through the healing and nurturing foods and drinks we make. They come looking for food that is made with integrity. Food that knows its source – whether local or global. And food that is vibrant and alive in colour, temperature, and presentation. Food that has been made with intention and by hand, not mechanized, packaged, and processed. A meditative mindfulness has been applied to its production and presentation.

Recently I came upon another food pyramid displaying the portions and quantities one should consider in a live plant-based diet.

Two things strike me about this visual representation of a live plant-based diet – one it looks almost too complicated in the variety of foods one can eat. However, the outstanding piece that I love is it simply states what one can eat most of for essential wellness – greens and vegetables. The other simple piece of this pyramid is that it takes the guessing game out of how much is too much of a good thing. With words such as most, much, portions, bit, hint, and least – you know when enough is enough and more is ok. There is such a thing as too much dessert – even when it is live and plant-based.

There is a frugality to this kind of living. Being frugal with one’s decadence by taking delight in the simple unadorned nature of live food. Being thoughtful about what you purchase and where it comes from – seeking reliable local and global sources. Approaching life within sensual parameters – that is, taking note of just not the taste, but the smells and appearance of your food – real colours, textures that are alive, food that gives back and feeds you rather than dulls and depletes your senses. Food that can’t be rushed but rather suggests you need to take your time chewing and tasting each mouthful. Food in its most basic, simplest and natural state – fresh and alive.

In keeping with living simply, I’ve decided on a very simple recipe for this week -

Watermelon

One of our patrons mentioned to me that once a week she goes on a watermelon fast. She simply eats watermelon for the day. It is full of nutrients and it hydrates at the same time. I love watermelon at this time of year. I especially love local organic watermelon. Even if it is not organic, it is considered safe to eat – being among the fifteen most clean of the non-organic fruits and vegetables.

Watermelon is low in calories because it is mostly made up of water. It is an excellent source of Vitamins C and A. Surprisingly it has nutrients such as B1 and B6 and lycopene – an anti-oxidant which protects us against a growing list of cancers (including breast and prostate). In addition, it contains minerals magnesium and potassium.

A simple way to eat is a mono-meal – a meal made up of only one ingredient. It’s easy on your digestion. Another reason for eating single ingredient meals can be that some foods cause you discomfort. If you’re suspecting allergies or food sensitivities the only way to find out for sure where the problem lies is trying to eliminate certain things for a while or consuming only one type of food for several hours, or even for a few days at a time. It’s a great way to consume large quantities of some of your favourite fruits when they are abundant and in season. It’s not something I would do all day, everyday. But it is something I do for just breakfast or lunch.

Living simply takes many forms. Summer is a great time to think of ways to simplify your life, your emotions, your diet. The more entrenched you become in your chosen simplification, the greater the possibility it will stick with you well into the fall and winter. And who knows, perhaps living simply will simply get better and better.

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