I know, I’ve been bad about posting again.. but this time, it’s a little more complicated than being just busy with clients and launches and projects (though those have been uncharacteristically numerous lately, too)!
You see, a little less than a year ago, O and I decided to go “mostly vegan”, and I started a “mostly vegan” blog, in addition to The Stylist Quo, which was my anything-goes blog. Then I realized, uh, keeping up two food blogs is pretty dang tough, so I merged them into what you’re now reading, 40 Aprons. Dig? Dig.
But since then, O and I experienced a few months of pretty strict veganism, followed by a decision to begin incorporating local, humanely raised eggs into our diets and to cut out soy for the most part. And then for the entire part. And then grass-fed butter started popping up, and organic chicken thighs and..
And then I felt pretty guilty, because the most popular recipes I’ve written lately tend to be vegan, because I figured that was my niche, my blog’s personality, I suppose? But then I stopped caring so much about that, because I realized I had some pretty obvious symptoms of low thyroid function and less-than-stellar metabolism–like a super low body temperature (high fives all around if I ever hit 98º!) and the not-that-slow packing on of about 10 pounds from between April and September. 10 pounds that only continued to slowly increase, no matter how little I ate, and no matter how “healthy”, which is especially unusual to my body, which has never had a problem losing weight whatsoever. A totally zapped appetite and the unprecedented desire to nap each day at 3 p.m.
Yuck, right? So I realized that I’d been on ultimately very restrictive diets for a while now and fought against my natural cravings, which probably only added onto the stress my metabolism was feeling–low calorie and low fat, neither of which is good for a rumbling, raring-to-go metabolism. But then I come back to the time I posted a grass-fed ice cream cone on my Facebook page and was slammed by some militant vegans about dairy being “bloody”, and my approach to food isn’t quite so clear any more, at least not when it comes to the blog.
So meanwhile, I’ve been learning all I can about a truly healthy, nonrestrictive diet–one that works well for my body–reading Diet Recovery and Eat for Heat and the Nourished Metabolism and RRARF’ing and doing all of these things to help fix my metabolism, but without saying anything about it, for fear of the response from the vegans who think I’m theirs and for fear that they might unsubscribe to my posts and I’ll forever vanish into the blogosphere’s limbo, creating recipes that are no different from anyone else’s with photos or–worse yet–just not that exciting.
So, this weird silence has put a massive damper on my culinary creativity and I’ve had no desire to create or photograph or share recipes, all because what I felt I had to produce no longer “jives” exclusively with part of the brand I once was.
But, well, now here I am, saying something about it. I can’t claim that my dietary approach won’t change yet again, but for now, we just eat.. everything. Nothing’s off limits (well, besides non-fermented soy products), and I love that! My temperature’s slowly rising, and there’s such little stress when it comes to dining out with O or my family (“Where can you eat?”). We’re spending a bit more on groceries, but my hormones are leveling out from cutting out the soy. And there’s also this sheer passion that comes with excellent butters and cheeses and a perfectly browned chicken skin–a passion that I’ve been afraid to share with you!
So now I’d like for you to share your opinion–can a blogger go back once she’s gone vegan? Is a blog a “brand” or is it simply you?
And because I know you don’t come around these parts for the rambling, here’s an excellent, simple dal palak, full of earthy ginger and mustard seeds and powerhouse turmeric and wilted spinach leaves. Perfect for a filling lunch atop steamed basmati rice or alongside a heartier curry for dinner. Otherwise in no way related to my verbose confession, but make it anyway! It’s delish.
- 1 cup urad dal
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 inch ginger , minced fine or grated
- 1 small green chile , minced
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder/hing (optional)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
- ¾ - 1 cup water
- 2 or 3 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil (for vegan)
- salt , to taste
Pick through lentils and wash well, then combine lentils with turmeric powder in a large pot or pressure cooker. Cook until soft and mushy (follow package directions), then drain and mash. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat ghee. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds, then add the minced or grated ginger and fry for a minute. Add the chopped green chile and fry for 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, red chili powder, and asafoetida powder / hing and sauté for 7-8 minute or until the spinach becomes soft and stops releasing water.
Add the mashed lentils and combine well with spinach mixture. Add 1/2 cup water and stir to combine, then add up to another 1/2 cup water, depending on desired consistency. Add salt to taste and then turn down heat to low and simmer the dal palak for 6-7 minutes.
Serve over steamed basmati rice with naan and raita.