I'm still thinking about summer reads, but wanted to go in another direction for a bit.
Food is on my mind a lot lately.
I know that I don't eat the right things or the right amounts and probably not even at the right times. So I've admitted that.
Now I'm trying to eat better and take care of my body. To that end one step I've taken is to make more smoothies.
That sounds ridiculous if smoothie makes you think of what I call candy smoothies - the super sweet drinks that may or may not have fresh fruit in them that we pay $3+ for from chains.
But that's not where I am on the smoothie continuum. A few weeks ago an herbalist I know recommended that I eat more dark, leafy greens to address a health issue. She suggested kale, spinach and collard greens. And she mentioned that I could cook them.
And while I am a Black woman from the south, I cannot cook greens. Well, I don't cook greens. I could, but I don't.
Because I wanted to start changing my life right away - and cooking a pot of greens wasn't going to be the quickest route, I looked up recipes for kale and found green smoothie recipes.
Greens in a smoothie? Sounds like something I would try. (I'm a veggie dabbler - love the idea of being vegan - but am so easily tempted by bacon, *sigh*)
So I tried a green smoothie - with a big leaf of kale, banana, and some other fruit - can't remember - with soy milk and honey. I added the honey because I was afraid I'd need to cover the taste of the greens.
It was great. It is not a candy smoothie - and my kids tried it, but after timid sips decided they would pass.
But I kept making them for myself, every day. Sometimes with kale and spinach. I have used apples, frozen mango, frozen blueberries, strawberries, peaches and grapes in the smoothies.
And I think it is helping me. But continuing to overeat and eat meat and dairy is not. So I need to try harder.
All this to say that Sistah Vegan, edited by A. Breeze Harper (@sistahvegan on Twitter), is on my reading list. As a Black woman who wants to eat better (healthier, slower, more ethically) I'd like to read what the racial/social perspectives are on vegan living.
And Soul Vegan Kitchen, by Bryant Terry (@bryantterry) has been on my list for a year. I need to just stop playing, buy it and make time to cook. He has another project in the works and mentioned that the African diaspora will be in full effect in the new cookbook. Can't wait to see that one as well. I love to look through and try things from cookbooks - it always feels like so many possibilities for joy.
Tonight - by grabbing the links above from Amazon - I saw By Any Greens Necessary, by Tracye Lynn McQuirter. Yes, I want to buy it from the title alone. Here's the product description:
* The first vegan guide geared to African American women
* More than forty delicious and nutritious recipes highlighted with color photographs
* Menus and advice on transitioning from omnivore to vegan
* Resource information and a comprehensive shopping list for restocking the fridge and pantry
Selfishly, I'd love to see these three books bundled with a membership to an organic food co-op. And a Vita Mix blender. That would be dreamy - and yes, drinking green smoothies has made me have joyous thoughts about green leaves and beautiful fruit.
There's so much more in all of this - how far we've moved from not even ancestral diets, but just the basic vegetable staples we had growing up - or some of us had. How much difference it makes what kind of stores, restaurants and advertising are in your community (I'll have to come back and post about my recent grocery story experience and memory) and how we've become a foodie culture but we're ruining it by slathering on cheese.
Not that I don't like cheese - I do. But I know I need to walk a different way.
Anyway, I'll leave you with a few smoothie ideas:
1 big leaf fresh kale
1 banana - frozen if you can
1 - apple
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup soy milk
Take the basic and tweak it - add a cup of fresh spinach leaves or leave out the apple and add a cup or two of berries and another cup of mango or peaches.
Through in grapes or blueberries for a purple/green smoothie.
Tonight I threw in one small carrot stick. Add more or less or make a carrot focused smoothie.