Happy July 4th, bloggies! (And happy be-lated Canada Day to my Canadian friends! You will be happy to know I celebrated with you... sure, it was only by embracing maple syrup, but that counts, right?)
[red (strawberries), white brown (cinnamon-filled oats), and blue (blueberries and black raspberries)]
Around this time of year, Canada (1 July), the US (4 July), and France (14 July) all set aside time to celebrate their countries' values. In America's Declaration of Independence, whose birthday is celebrated today, all men are said to be created equal and assured the basic rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
[My foodie pursuit of happiness led me to kabocha. Naturally Nutty's Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter was the icing on the cake.]
This July 4th, I have noticed that the value of liberty has become quite a prominent theme in my life. Naturally, I started to see this because of yoga.
[Side note: yoga is very much apart of me and I think that is why many things I observe result from it. Also, yoga definitely clears the mind and opens one up to reflection.]
[While yoga has helped me discover so much, only bloggies could introduce me to this two trends: kale chips and humnut sauce.]
[Enjoyed with black beans, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and red pepper, this meal was better than I could have ever imagined. Lots of dippaged most certainly occurred.]
One of my yoga mentors said something that really struck a chord; freedom is the state in which we are not caught in the past or troubled by always looking to the future. Instead, freedom is living life today by savoring every moment and staying in the moment.
[A spur-of-the-moment decision to make something creamy, cheeze-y, and veggie-filled ended like this.]
[Millet + ~3 tbs almond milk + 1 tbs nooch (& more for veggies) + 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color) + dashes of Parma = LOVE, veggies included.]
[If your body decides in the moment that you want the same dinner, why deny it that? Even repeated things can be enjoyed with the same love as the first time.]
With this mindset, I have been able to also free myself of worry and doubt. Over the past year, I have really taken hold of my life and freed myself of many of these emotions consciously, but not necessarily through tangible means.
[The natural sweetness in strawberries and kabocha is so overwhelming that sometimes it seems too good to be real.]
However, I have even noticed a few freeing moments in the past few days. I think a great, concrete example is how I am now able to do adho mukha svanasana (handstand), or at least attempt it. Before yesterday, I was sure that my body was just built in a way that would not allow handstands because I could not find the power to kick. In reality, I was just afraid to take the leap of faith and still retained the mindset that I was inflexible and incapable. With some encouraging words from two of my mentors and a few alignment adjustments, I was up, up, and away. Although I am still getting used to it and cannot always get up, I feel like a weight has been lifted off me, even though I did not even know it was there. I am strong. And more importantly, I am free. Free to play, free to explore, and even free to free myself of whatever holds me down.
What are you free to do? What would you like to free yourself of?
Be it freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or even the feeling that we are free to be who we truely are (such as unconventional choices that Avery has talked about), I am extremely thankful to live in a country that assures me of personal freedom. Just like in politics, not everyone may agree with my lifestyle or choose it for themselves, but at least we are free to do what works best for us.
And since this is a food blog, of course I could not help but show you where my lifestyle took me this weekend. Since I moved to a new house this weekend (and accordingly am now forced to share a smaller refrigerator, instead of having my own, larger one), I have been increasingly aware of the necessity of produce in a vegan diet... lots, and LOTS of produce.
Luckily, my mom and I make it a point to go to the farmer's market every weekend. This weekend, we were lucky enough to have J join us. With an already good start, it is no surprise that our fresh finds were amazing as well.
The cauliflower, broccoli, and leaf lettuce are all from my favorite local growers. Since these are all staples in my pantry refrigerator, I have really gotten to know the vendors and we look forward to seeing each other every week. I love that I can actually talk with the farmers face to face. Talk about knowing where your food comes from!
Zucchini and yellow squash are also staples in my fridge. When they are in season, I go nuts. I bought way more than what is pictured; I could not help myself since they were so fresh and full of character. I also bought cucumbers (local), lemons, limes and Brussels sprouts (such a lucky find, especially because they were enormous... as big as the lemons and limes!)
On the fruit front, berries are a must. Nothing says summer like fresh blueberries (x2), blackberries (x2), and strawberries (x2; 4 pounds worth!).
Whenever possible, we try to buy from our (now former) neighbor's stand. She has been so kind in the past and today was no exception. Her produce skills are impeccable; she is able to tell us what produce is the freshest and always picks out the best she has for us. Just check out the juicy blackberries she selected for us! I have never tasted such succulence!
Not only did she give us the best berries my taste buds might have ever had the pleasure to indulge in, but she even gave us another box of blackberries and a bag of cherries when we were on our way out; it was totally spur-of-the-moment! What a treat! (Trust me, all the explanation points are completely necessary.)
As you can see, today I was also lucky enough to find a box of fresh figs (and J got some of his favorite fruit---plums x2).
I do not think I have actually ever had fresh figs. However, I do like the dried version (which is saying a lot since I do not usually like a lot of dried fruit) and will even admit to being quite a fan of Fig Newtons when I was younger.
[Fun fact: in eight grade, we were required to participate in a competition called Math and Physics Olympics. My team's name was the Brainy Bunch and our banner explained Newton's Laws using Fig Newton wrappers.]
Naturally I was so excited about my special find that I had to see what was inside. Even the insides of the most wrinkly one was beautiful... and delicious! Have you ever had fresh figs? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?
Whether it be handstands or fresh figs, all I can say is let freedom ring.
How are you celebrating July 4th? What American (or other country's) value really strikes a chord for you?
Have a lovely day July 4th holiday weekend!
P.S. In honor of most people's decision to travel on this holiday weekend, check out this article on traveling as a vegan (click here). I am doing a road trip in August, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.