Lentils and Self Reflection

I want to revisit this loneliness thing. My sister and brother-in-law went out-of-town and the day before they left I felt this suffocating dread. I realized how much I rely on her down here. How much I lean on her to be my sister, my best friend and my companion in all things.

Healthy? Absolutely. I’m so lucky to be this close to my sister (and my whole family, for that matter), being best friends with her is one of the greatest things in my world.

We all know that I’m not good at being alone. That’s why I didn’t leave home until I was 25. Yet here I am, living in this vibrant, young city where I know very few people. My sister knows how this feels, when she moved down here three years ago, she went through the same thing. The difference is that my sister thrives off being alone. She’s good at it.

Me? Not so much.

So last week I found myself freaking the fuck out. What would I do with my time? Why am I such a failure at making friends? I have this weird instinctual self-judgment button, something I find myself pressing when I’m alone.

Guys! Guess what?! I survived! Not only that, but I did find myself enjoying it. I took long walks with the dogs, I threw myself into work, I did a lot of yoga and I spent a mess load of time in the kitchen. The first friend I made in Austin came to visit me at work, and for some reason he has become this person I unload all my doubts on (I think it’s his very yoga, zen like outlook on life.) We sat in the sunshine and I brought up my fear and failure with loneliness and solitude.

His answer?

Loneliness is practice for growing into a stronger version of ourselves.

Amen to that. Here’s to a stronger, more well-rounded me.

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Warm Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad

Inspired and adapted from Clean Eating (serves 4- or in my case, leftovers for days)

  • 3 red beets, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into cubes
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms of choice, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Start with the beets and sweet potatoes. After cutting them into cubes, toss the beets with one Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on one baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and put on another baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally.

Move onto the  lentils. Combine the vegetable broth with the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Sautee the red onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 5-7 minutes, waiting for them to start caramelizing. Add the mushrooms and the red wine vinegar. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in 3 Tbsp of lemon juice to reduce the sticking in the pan, and aid in the caramelization. You want to sautee everything for about 15 minutes, then keep on low while the rest of the vegetables/lentils cook.

Remove the beets and sweet potatoes, drain the remaining liquid from the lentils and serve. I ate mine over a bed of arugula, because that stuff is like crack to me, but the original recipe calls for sauteed kale or mustard greens. Do whatever floats your boat.

This is a great recipe that fills you up and is perfect for my cleanse- 9 days in! WOO HOO (I feel like a million bucks. For real)

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Nut Balls.

So I am on day three of my cleanse and I have already failed. However, I feel no guilt because my “cheating” involved adding chickpeas and quinoa to my diet.

Yeah, getting crazy.

Here is why I decided to derail myself. With the first week of the cleanse they say that, “you may feel lethargic, we recommend light stretching as your form of exercise.” I’m sorry, what?!? That just isn’t do-able for me. I have a marathon to train for. I have a dog to walk. I have yoga to do. “Light stretching” just isn’t my scene. This means I was eating constantly. I had my morning smoothie, went on a walk and then became ravenous again.

Sigh.

I suppose lounging around and lightly stretching would burn a lot fewer calories, and also bore me to fucking tears.

It felt so good to put a chickpea in my mouth today. You have no idea.

As I mentioned before, I am doing the cleanse with my bestie/roomie…which really makes this whole thing a lot easier. We have fallen in love with the nut balls. We pop those babies in our mouth like WOAH, as they are like a little smack of energy.

We spent Sunday snowboarding, and had mild panic attack about how we would possibly remain full with our breakfast of a kale smoothie and a banana. Don’t you worry, pop a ball or two in your mouth (this still makes me giggle like I’m a 14-year-old boy), and POOF eight more runs, NBD.

These will definitely become a staple in my life, cleanse or no. Here is a little run down of the recipe if any of you are hankering for some homemade, healthy, energy balls.

Nut Balls

-Dried cherries, prunes, apples and apricots

-Mixture of cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts

-Sesame seeds

  • Combine dried fruit and nuts in a food processor, blend together until everything is chopped into nice itty bitty pieces.
  • Mush these itty bitty pieces into a golf ball sized mound and roll in sesame seeds.
  • Eat like crazy when feeling ravenous from lack of protein.

Yeah, I should probably write recipes for a living.

Note: no measurements for nuts or fruit… meh, who needs em’? You just combine some shit with some other shit until it tastes the way you want it to taste. BOOM.

So the moral of this story is to adjust your cleanse according to your lifestyle. If you are a sloth, eat kale for three weeks. If you are active, add some shit here and there so you can function like a normal human being.

The End.