My toddler is kicking around in the tub, squealing as he dives from the faucet into a near miss at the other side of the porcelain coated metal. Most of his dinner sits at the table, uneaten. This isn't unusual in our home, unless we're serving slices of pizza, tomato soup or lentils. They know that I take their opinions of the food personally, and my partner and older son tell me how delicious dinner was.
Everything on the table tonight was "cleanse friendly." In two days, we start the 21-Day Purification and we are gearing up. I bought two heavy bags of groceries at the Alberta Cooperative this afternoon: frozen berries, bananas, heirloom apples, purple cauliflower, yellow kiwis and red carrots. I've got bags of locally harvested, dried mushrooms and lots of jars of sunflower butter (no nuts on this cleanse.) Dark green pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and a big jar of mineral rich himalayan salt are sitting on the counter next to a bag of ground chicory that may help allay some of the coffee cravings for my man.
The beauty and color in everything I purchased today has reminded me about how radical this slice of life is. We spent the morning at a soccer game, where our goalie son repeatedly worked up the courage to kick the ball out to his team. After this, we mozied over to the Harvest Festival for his elementary school and drank some fresh pressed cider. The kids took turns hammering acorns and grinding the meat into flour. A man roasted chestnuts and handed them to families in warm cones of newspaper. Young friends ripped open boxes and slid on sleds of cardboard down a dry grass hill. I watched it all while savoring the taste of a bright green matcha latte, a last cup of vice before we get down to caffeine-free cleanse business.
Tonights dinner was a plate of roasted beets and eggplant (made two days ago), topped with warm red pepper puree. I steamed and mashed a celery root with some ghee and stir fried cabbage with fresh lemon and Hawaiian salt. Simple. Easy. Quick. My husband and I were stoked. My kids tasted it, but didn't want to eat it. Not any single part of it. Sigh. And here it is:
I am so excited to be embarking on this cleanse with my partner. I love that we've been planning food together and talking about what's going to be the hardest for us to give up: caffeine, caffeine, caffeine. I am excited to simplify all around and have a focus on more meditation, tai chi, yoga and daydreaming. Yet, my mind cannot wrap around the part of this configuration that includes two children.
As a family, we eat an 85-90% plant based diet. I know our kids eat really well and they are willing to try new things. They grab fistfuls of kale from the garden and happily shove them, uncleaned and raw, into their mouths. But it's not easy to feed children. After a decade working as a professional cook and helping to create plates for a number of picky folks, including some well-known celebrities, I can tell you this: I have never worked so hard to please another human being and felt as if I had continually let them down, over and over again. My homemade pizza, sourdough crust and herb-filled sauce, never compares to the cheap cheezy pie joint down the street.
For me, this cleanse is bringing up a lot of anxiety around how we plan meals with our children and eat together as a family with gratitude in our hearts. I know that my husband celebrates a good purple carrot, cooked to still-firm perfection. We are thankful as we sit next to each other. But how do we hold that thankfulness when we don't see it easily mirrored back in our children? This is a meal-time meditation for us, a part of what we are going to have to be present with.
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