In yoga class, one of my favorite teachers opened class with, Let’s talk about tourists. You know how they have the ability to take up a whole block, standing there, gawking at something we’d normally ignore, pass by? And isn’t it your first inclination to say, GET OUT OF MY WAY! Everyone in our class nodded because we’d been through this scenario more times than we’d like to admit, and our teacher joined in the chorus but then added, But here’s the thing. We should be grateful for tourists because they teach you wonder. They teach you to stop and pause on the monuments, buildings, sites of which you’d normally overlook. My teacher continued with this concept throughout class, inviting us to be a tourist of our own bodies, to see and experience it as if we had encountered ourselves for the first time.
I’ve been thinking about this notion of being a tourist because lately my body feels foreign. While it’s true that I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt, and while it’s true that I’m losing weight and fitting into some of my old clothes (as well as a few new ones), I’ve been battling a chronic daily itch, a very minor, yet irritating, version of the GLUTEN APOX of last month. To be candid, I’m baffled. I’ve been eating a clean, gluten/dairy/yeast-free diet, however, I’ve had the occasional blueberry and lemons in my dressing (two foods I’m supposed to avoid, but do they have the ability to keep me itching THIS LONG?!). And while I’m slowly being accustomed to the fact that I can’t have blueberries, sweet potatoes, millet, bananas, turkey, grapes, cranberries, and a list of other foods for at least six months, I’m struggling with the fact that I may have a sensitivity to something else? Or is this my body’s way of cleaning itself out? I read somewhere online (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’m seeing my nutritionist tonight so I’ll stop playing armchair doctor) that hives can last as long as six weeks, and I pray that these unkind invaders take their leave of absence soon because this consistent itch has certainly made me feel as if I’m a guest in my own body.
On the flip side, I have noticed CHANGES. I have noticed how I FEEL on a mainly plant-based diet. I’ve noticed my glowing, clear skin. I’ve noticed the increased stamina during my workouts. I’ve noticed my energy, how there’s so much of it. I’ve noticed that I haven’t had coffee in a month and I don’t miss it. I’m noticing ME, as if I’m meeting myself for the first time, and here’s me shaking hands with my new self, exchanging pleasantries, and saying aloud, I could get used to this new life.
Most recently, tipped off by a reader (I can’t remember whom!), I purchased the Oh She Glows cookbook, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I nearly earmarked every other page because they vegan recipes were simple, attractive, and the ingredients compose most of my pantry. Last night, mid-itch, pre-Benedryl, I fixed up these veggie burgers and they were THE. BEST. OVER. Not mushy, flavorful, spicy, filling and DELICIOUS, not only did these burgers fill me up, but I felt good knowing I had a healthy, protein-packed meal that would sustain me until morning. AND they freeze well, so right now, as I type this, I’m thinking of all the myriad of ways I can use my burgers this week (lettuce wraps, crumbled up in salads + the like).
So here’s me being a tourist who snaps photos of her meal. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS: Slightly adapted from Oh She Glows
For the veggie burgers
1 can (14 ounces) black beans (about 1 3/4 cups), drained, rinsed and mashed
1 cup carrots, grated
1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. gluten-free tamari (soy) sauce
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 large egg, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
For the guacamole
1 ripe avocado, mashed
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
juice from 1/2 lime
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased tin foil.
In a large bowl, mash the beans into a paste, leaving a few beans in tact for texture. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. You might think this won’t come together, but it will, trust me. Mix well to combine.
With slightly wet hands, shape the dough into 8 patties. Pack the dough tightly to help it hold together during cooking and place the patties on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the patties for 15 minutes, gently flip them, and bake for 15-20 minutes more, until the patties are firm and golden. While the patties are baking, make the guacamole.
When your burgers are down, plate on a bed of spinach, and top with the guacamole. Dig in!