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Let them eat cake! ;)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

... or not, LOL!

This year's Birthday 'Cake': A wedge of triple cream brie, dried prunes, and clementine zest!

Today is my 53rd birthday (my 7th with SparkPeople.. yikes!)....

I wasn't going to say anything, but a dear SPARKLing wished me well and inquired as to what I substitute for birthday cake. In light of PaleoCon (finishing up tomorrow) I thought this was an opportunity to show you some applied Paleo from my own life.

The question came on the heels of a discussion about 'treats' and I said:

You know, the only thing that made any difference for us was re-thinking what constituted a 'treat' and 'acceptable' food in general.

'Treats' in our house are no longer food. Food has been elevated far and above anything so commmon and hollow.

Food is nourishment (which is more than simply fuel), and nourishment is our birth-rite, not a pale-by-comparison 'treat'.

It took a while to get us here. LOTS of soul searching was required, and we still have to walk through the mental process occasionally. It's definitely easier that we did this as a family... so, unlike so many SPARKlings, I never have to deal with my husband/child eating anything to which I might be attracted, but no longer choose to consume.

Our new 'treats' include really good coffee with full fat cream, or expensive fruit out of season, or a new book/movie, or a bright nail polish (for Miss O and I), or a half hour to please only myself, or a board game played with great glee. More and more, 'treat' identifies time spent in special ways, or in less common activities. 'Treat' is an extension and expression of who we are, not what we consume.

We now celebrate Hallmark moments with our hearts, not with our stomachs. There is nothing in our life that is about the food in some significant way. I clearly remember the first Christmas I spent where I no longer cared what I ate... when the company was what made it Christmas. I felt such a sense of freedom and peace and joy. I was satisfied beyond any experience food had ever given me.

I remember when, two years ago as a family, we figured out how to truly celebrate every meal, and when eating at home became as special as going out to a restaurant.

You know you're a 'bad' mother when...

We had to redefine what was important about certain ritual acts (and ritual acts remain very important to our identity as a family). The more we talked and questioned, the more we realized that the particular food itself was a much smaller part of any experience than we first believed [and were perhaps taught].

...And please, don't get me wrong... food remains quite central to our well-being... yet the time invested in it is more wholesome and balanced emotionally. Our meals are delicious, beautiful, appealing to all of the senses, yet always nutritionally luxurious and good for us. How sweet and caloric the food no longer defines the 'splurge'... it is the quality and nutritional value of the ingredients that does.

We live in a 6-months-of-the-year-frigid, land-locked area of the world. If we really want to be decadent about our food, we very occasionally spend $90.00 on three lobsters and glory in the quality butter running down our chins. Or we eat a bag of clementines in an evening while reading our favourite book together, licking juice off our stinging lips (last year we flew some FRESH picked oranges and grapefruit in from Florida). The variety and richness of our diet is fit for any king anywhere.

...Or we eat a birthday cake sized wedge of double cream brie with quality prunes and laugh at how silly we might look to other people, yet value how much more we enjoy food these days. Tonight my baby-bird-girl licked oozing cheese off my fingers as I stuffed creamy brie covered prunes into her mouth (occasionally trying to get some on her nose) between bites of my own. My husband tried to bite my fingers, making our daughter giggle with delight. Cake would not have created that sort of intimacy, or fun.

We certainly are not any less happy than we were here:


(previous birthday posts... it's really interesting to look at myself in a yearly mirror...)

...in fact, I am so much happier! I'm 60 pounds lighter, and I am experiencing true wellness for the first time in my life.

No cake, sugary confection, slice of fresh-backed-oven-warm French bread, carnival midway offering, Starbucks franken-coffee, or ice cream tastes as good as THIS feels.

I realize that sounds trite and almost dismissive of the struggle... and I know it's not an easy process to get to this point of believing. I don't judge anyone who is still trying to find their foothold on this path... I just want to convey that the path is not a mirage, or fairy tale.

What I can say with a certainty is that once you stop allowing any food to function as a 'god' in your life, the world opens to so much more... more possibility, more intimacy, more joy, more grace, more health, more of who you really are meant to be.

...and maybe who you are is someone who doesn't need a cake (or any food) to reflect or reinforce your value in the world.

It's worth considering, isn't it?

Even if today isn't your birthday, find some way to celebrate yourself... receive life like a gift, and release life like a present!

May you find peace within and all around you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith and desire. May you answer your call and use those gifts that you have received to pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content. May the presence of God settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love beyond your wildest imagination. May you enjoy the fullness of enduring good health, fitness at every age, and JOY in the life God gives YOU!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

"I dedicate myself anew to You, O Lord.
I will serve You whatever the cost or the consequence.
You are my God.
I will praise Your name and proclaim Your love to men all about me."

...Because every minute of every day, YOU are worth celebrating!



UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures FEBRUARY 2014!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror... and I update whenever I feel the need... to either see for myself what feel like significant changes, or to encourage myself to keep the faith when I feel no change at all despite my efforts)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Leaving NORMAL... In Pursuit of Happiness

Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga


Words CAN Be Enough... page 3

Paleo... Do you really know what you're talking about?

In Answer to Your Questions (Letter to Our Family Regarding Our Nutritional Plan: RESEARCH LINKS)

Comparison Chart: Primal/Paleo/Ancestral, etc.

What Does It Mean to Be Fat Adapted?

What Does It Mean to Be Fat Adapted? (Part 2)

Gender Differences in Fat Metabolism

Sweeteners - Take a Closer Look!

PDF Comparison Chart of 300 Sweeteners

Breakfast is Served! (RECIPES)

Focus on LUNCHES... for school and YOU!
(& parent resources regarding nutrition for children)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for giving us a gift on your birthday! emoticon and . . . Happy Birthday!!
    1470 days ago
    I marvel at the similar paths our journeys seem to be taking.

    My birthday "cake" or "treat" this year was a dragon fruit. I had never tasted one, and we enjoyed the unusual colours and flavours together as a family.

    I noticed that during the Christmas season, when I continued to fuel and nourish (you are so right, they are not the same) with healthy and whole foods, that I enjoyed family time so much more as the focus was off the sugary sickly treats that I used to equate with the season. It is so freeing to take pleasure in family and visiting and playing simple games together now.

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    1471 days ago
    Happy belated bday special lady!!!
    I think that photo of your birthday was just as luscious as the gluten and chemical filled cake. I seriously wanted to steal some off of your plate and have some yummy sweet prunes. Yummy!!!
    And how you described your meals truly expresses how much you appreciate your meals, yet do not let them dictate your happiness. I think that non food rewards are such a critical component to reframing our thought process when losing weight and gaining health.

    Your journey is so inspiring!

    1472 days ago
  • TECH1960PS
    Happy Birthday !! emoticon
    1473 days ago
    Gotta say, 'your btd cake doesn't sound.... how can I politely say this.....very yummy.'

    Also gotta say that when I had a piece of DH's btd chocolate cake (made from a box) it tasted..... not very yummy either.

    Am requesting a veggie quiche for my btd cake this year.

    Found this cake: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/reci
    1473 days ago
    I am so blessed to call you friend!
    1473 days ago
    emoticon emoticon HAPPY BIRTHDAY WITH emoticon
    1473 days ago
    Ramona!!!! Silly woman!!!!


    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy Birthday dear Ramona,
    Happy Birthday to you!


    Speaking of which, I found this NPR piece about the song very interesting:

    I love everything you wrote today as well as the "bad" mother blog. I hope my one-day children are as well-rounded and awe-inspiring as the Divine Miss O. Your comments about recognizing fruits and veggies, etc. really resonated with me. I don't remember who it was I was talking to, but they had no idea what a brussel sprout was and they had never eaten ------- ok, I actually forgot what it is they had never eaten, but it was something extremely common and made my jaw drop. It was as common as saying you've never eaten an apple or a cucumber. I could not believe it. It is really pathetic. When we go grocery shopping, pretty much nothing I buy comes in a box. Well, my Morningstar Farms foods do, but I won't be buying those again (thank you, Paleo and Stefani Ruper). But seriously, nothing else. I can't even imagine why you would buy a meal in a box. I can see into my neighbor's kitchen (creepy, I know) and she is constantly cooking out of a box.
    Let me describe the neighbors (two sisters living with their 3 kids) - overweight, smoke, drink, etc. The kids? All conceived during one-night stands while drunk at a party, all conceived under the effects of meth and pot, all with severe learning and developmental disabilities. One of the kiddos, almost 6, can barely speak (forget reading and writing). I often (like, OFTEN), will see these kids running around the yard in the summer carrying a 1/2 litre of coke and a big, family-sized bag of cheetos. That's their lunch. Anyway, I digress, but I'm sure you're getting my point.

    That brie with prunes sounds amazing! I'm dreaming of brie with figs now :) Yum. In Israel, I had a fig tree right outside my house. Since the sabbath starts on Friday, work ends early so that people can go home and prepare - cook, clean, get to synagogue, etc. So at this particular place where we were living (we moved a bit depending on where I was stationed) I'd come home on Fridays and clean the house and get the food going. The final bit was always the floors - I'd let my neighbor know I was almost done, and she'd put the kettle on. I'd finish the floors (also known as doing sponga - basically dumping buckets of soapy water out and then squeeging it out of the front door - every Friday, every house had a big puddle of soapy water outside the front door!) and then go over to my neighbor while they dried. She was usually already done cleaning and her kids were napping. She'd make coffee and we'd smoke (bad, I know)...and eat fresh figs off of the fig tree between our two houses. Oh man, were they good. The juice trickling down our chins, making ourselves sick on those fresh figs. The sense of calm as the sabbath nears and everyone is done with their cooking and cleaning. Saying hello to neighbors as they walked by on their way to synagogue or to family for dinner. And those figs. Yum, those figs *sigh*.

    Thank you for bringing up such lovely memories!

    Happy Birthday!
    1473 days ago
    What a great gift you have written for us on your birthday. emoticon

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    1473 days ago
  • ERIN1957
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    1473 days ago
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    1474 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Hope your day was special!
    May the coming year bring many blessings your way!
    Sending a huge bucket load of good wishes and hugs to you!

    1474 days ago
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    1474 days ago
    emoticon glad you can look on this day and see how far you have come!
    1474 days ago
    1474 days ago
    Amen Sista Sparkling!!

    I like, "'Treat' is an extension and expression of who we are, not what we consume." Gonna post that somewhere.

    1474 days ago
    1474 days ago
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