This week, two people who are close to me were waiting for news about their health. They both got the news they were hoping for, and a few days later, my oldest friend welcomed her second child into the world.
Things happen all the time that make us stop and reconsider what we have. Sometimes the things we fear come to pass, and we find ways to move forward, to cope with them, to make peace with whatever realities they bring. Sometimes wonderful things happen, which help us to celebrate the abundance of life. Sometimes we’re caught between two possibilities, and the outcome that keeps us and our loved ones just a little safer is what happens. That’s what happened to me this week.
In all of these cases, it’s easy to pledge more appreciation moving forward, but it’s tough to stay in a heightened state of gratitude for very long. Life moves on, with all of its daily irritations and challenges, and we lose some of the perspective we’d gained. This is natural, I think, and maybe it’s for the best. If we were always hyperaware of the fundamental uncertainty of life and the preciousness of what we have, it could become crippling.
This week, though, I haven’t bounced back to where I was before my loved ones got their news. A sense of profound gratitude has hung around me all week, and it’s still with me today as I write. Plenty of stuff has happened in the last few days—some of it irksome, some genuinely difficult—and I’ve acknowledged it while continuing to feel a sense of bone-deep relief that, right now, things are the way they are. Not always easy and certainly never perfect, but full of blessings.
Such are my thoughts on this game day Sunday. If you’re watching the Super Bowl, I hope that it’s fun and full of tasty snacks. And no matter what, I wish you a week full of things to be grateful for. Here are some recipes and reads.
My friend Brandi has a knack for amazing vegan sauces (a knack for most every kind of recipe, actually), and her pimento cream sauce is definitely calling to me.
Amanda’s sesame Thai rice noodles are so colorful (and they look absolutely delicious).
I love the idea of tempeh taco meat.
Too late for the Super Bowl, but if I’d gotten it together to make something appropriate for the occasion, I’d have made these brown rice black bean sliders with basil aioli. Yum!
I’ve yet to make a vegan version of spaghetti carbonara. Jasmin’s version is simple and looks like a perfect bowl of comfort food.
1. I’ve both seen and diagnosed a lot of malnutrition this year at work. It’s shockingly common in hospital settings, and I’m glad it’s getting some mainstream coverage.
2. A new study suggests that vegan diets may help to boost beneficial gut hormones.
3. I’m a huge believer in the additive value of small, daily movements (chores, walking, cooking, even marching in place) and their contributions to overall health/well-being. I love this NPR coverage, which details new research that links such movements to better brain health among seniors.
4. A cool look at gynandromorphs, also known as “half-siders” among ornithologists, which is prompted by a recent sighting of a rare, half-male and half-female cardinal in Pennsylvania.
5. An interesting, provocative meditation on the way that human beings have conceptualized monsters and monstrosity throughout the centuries, and how that dialog is being affected by contemporary technology.
Happy start to the week, friends. It’s not in time for Super Bowl Sunday, but I do have a tasty vegan chili recipe coming your way.