I think it is time to write about my one and only true love: vegetables.
I have a total vegetable problem: I think they are gorgeous, I really love most of them, and I, in general, forget to look at price tags when I am purchasing them. Do I want organic asparagus? Well, YES, of course I do, bring on the funny smelling pee! Do I want to pay 7.99 a pound for them? Well, actually, I do even want to spend that much if that is what it takes to get some little green spears marinated in coconut oil and lemon juice and put into my mouth. Desire aside, I cannot afford that shit.
Basically, I need to never ever buy produce from Whole Foods (I have no restraint in the face of all those bright colors in their perfect towers!) but I admit it, sometimes I fail to adhere to this rule. My pocketbook always gives me a gut punch when I look at my receipts and know that those high dollar amounts at the health food store were most likely mostly spent on kale, brussel sprouts, and other things I can easily get for cheaper just about anywhere else. Furthermore- are those Whole Foods veggies local or even organic? Maybe not! I started paying attention to this recently and my mind was kind of blown by how much of the produce there is just regular old conventional, wrapped up in a pretty Whole Foods package. Ew.
Although I love a farmer’s market in theory, the actuality of it is that sometimes the crowds and aggressive samplers give me massive amounts of anxiety. I have leftover eating disorder weirdness about recreational snacking and really prefer to not have people hoisting tiny cups of whatever at me, urging me to try more when I probably havn’t planned 300 bites of different stone fruits into my day. Silly, I know. But also relatively benign in terms of eating disorder behaviors, and so whatever. I do what I can to ease any food-related anxiety and sometimes that means I opt not to try anything, but then end up with some strawberries that are not nearly as sweet as I would like. Sometimes I say “fuck it” and try everything and go home with a raw produce belly ache. I have never been great at moderation.
Anxieties aside, my absolute favorite way to procure vegetables is through a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, I pay a weekly fee to a local farm to have produce delivered to my front-freaking-door. The veggies are picked the night before and come from farms not more than a few miles away. With a CSA, I eat food that is not only local and organic, but also in season. It means that I am forced to experiment with vegetables I hadn’t really known much about previously (radicchio anybody?) and get a really clear idea of what I can and cannot work with in the veggie world (seriously, radicchio fucking sucks. There! I said it!). Its kind of great to get a mystery box delivered to you and to try to race the clock to finish what you get before the next box comes. Like a super-healthy roller coaster ride.
I use Farm Fresh To You, and get to benefit from the service year round because I live in California. (Amazing!) I get a veggie-only box all for myself, which is a bit ridiculous, honestly. This week I got an avocado, three big leeks, two yellow onions, celery, chioga beets, regular red beets, chard, butter lettuce, spinach, nantes carrots, radishes, and butternut squash. I am pretty sure I can probably eat this by myself in a week, but the recommendation for a box this size is for a small family of 3 or 4. To eat it all will take planning and effort, and it will probably mean I don’t eat out very much because I have a shit load of vegetables at home that excite me more than most of the stuff I can buy out in the world and have served to me. I have no problem with that.
My box generally makes up the bulk of my diet. If you add some cucumbers for my morning smoothies, unsweetened almond milk, nutritional yeast, tempeh, Vega protein powder, coconut milk/oil/flour/butter and pasture raised eggs you have my week of food, really. I am not bored with my food, ever-I love the things I cook and wish I could share them with everyone! Also- I am getting stronger all the time- as evidenced by the 20 pounds I have added to my dead lift in the past month.
Before I started eating eggs, I used to love saying that my workouts were 100% vegan fueled. It feels powerful to garner strength in ways that come straight from the ground or some trees and to not need other creatures to attempt tremendous physical feats. Like I said in my last post, I have spent some time feeling both sad and disappointed to not be able to stake my herbivore claim anymore, but with a bit more thought I realized- I am still incredibly vegetable powered! Any diet or lifestyle worth its salt will say to put vegetables first and foremost, and mine is no exception.
My little plant homies will always have the loudest of shout outs when I talk about my health. I am incredibly grateful to have found a way to get my food that feels as satisfying as a CSA does, and I think you should totally try it- even if you have to eat some bullshit radicchio (maybe you can figure out something better to do with it than I did. While you’re at it, I wouldn’t shake a stick at a few recipes for beet greens either. Onion, garlic, oil, yadda yadda, but there’s gotta be something fancier to do with ‘em, right?)