a month without white: basil unleashed!

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Truth be told, the notion of dieting gives me a rage blackout. For years I raged a war with my body, denying myself strawberry syrups and tarts with whipped creme, calculating calories much like how one would balance a checkbook, and punishing myself for indulging in an occasional cookie. I remember being that obnoxious girl in the dressing room bemoaning the fact that a negative integer wasn’t a size. I remember feeling lean and nervous in my leanness, because if I wasn’t careful, if I wasn’t mindful, I would burst at the seams.

Last year I brokered a peace treaty, and I shifted my attention from the concept of skinny to the practice of being healthy, to the art of being mindful. This is my one body, and I’m going to spend the rest of this life in love with it. Instead of padlocking the kitchen, I turned my attention toward celebrating the foods I adore, and I challenged my body with bootcamp, cycling and grueling cardio classes. After a three-year break, I returned to the mat and resumed a deeper, more satisfying yoga practice.

And I didn’t punch myself in the face for eating a damn cookie.

So when a few of my friends asked about “my new diet,” I visibly cringed. Calmly I explained that this month free of white flour, sugar and dairy isn’t about a number on a scale (I haven’t weighed myself in a decade), isn’t about a “cleanse” or some such nonsense, but rather it’s about me being a barnacle to a tired diet and the need to break free. This month is about resetting the clock, discovering new foods and new ways of preparing them, and so far I’m having a blast.

Imagine my joy that I have the gift of time! A day off to prepare a sweet, flavorful lunch filled with basil. You will love this simple dish because of its flavors, its colors and the fact that you’re absolutely full when you’re done. Who knew!?

SIMPLE BASIL PESTO
1 cup of basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup garlic-infused olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
Salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Blitz until you get a luscious pesto paste.

FRUIT + ARUGULA SALAD
2 cups of arugula, packed
1 ripe peach, skinned and sectioned
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup edamame
1/4 cup diced cherries
2 tbsp basil pesto

DIRECTIONS: Toss the salad with the pesto + serve!

SIMPLE PESTO PASTA
1/2-1 cup of dried whole wheat rigatoni
Homemade pesto

DIRECTIONS: Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, and toss with pesto. Add salt/pepper to taste.

Serve + fall in love with food all over again!

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