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The Hundredth Time’s The Charm

image of an aloe plant in the corner of a weathered raised bed, sugar and pith
My baby aloe all grown up!

Self care is something I struggle with daily. Sometimes I get in a good groove for a while and it truly strengthens my mental, emotional, and physical health when I do. Last year was incredible for me in so many ways. I finally got the therapy I’ve needed for many years and faced some old trauma and began to heal. I pushed myself to do things I’ve never done (taking a road trip to Oregon on my Vespa!) and to do things I’m uncomfortable with (taking a DBT class). All of it has paid off.

This year the thing I most need to reclaim is my physical health. Part of doing that is continuing to work on my emotional self care to bolster my efforts. But I must do more now and I know that I can. It’s like how I knew I could quit smoking fifteen years ago but I had to quit about a hundred times before I finally got to where I could get through stressful days without smoking. I know I can lose weight and I really need to. This isn’t about vanity, though being obese does constantly undermine my self esteem, it’s about high blood pressure and arthritis and high triglycerides and truly caring for this old meat-cage.

I have to lose 100 lbs. That’s a lot but I need to think of this as a long-haul project because I want to be here for the long haul. I know I can do this and I know that if I do nothing else but keep my calorie count within a certain limit every day for the next year my body will be significantly better.

This is not a weight loss journal but Sugar and Pith is my journal of self care which includes skincare, growing things,  making potions, and mindfulness. So I wanted to share that this year is about regaining my physical health and continuing to strengthen my mental health.

In my garden, my aloe plants represent health and wellness. I use my aloes for burns and sores and scrapes. I thank them every time I cut the tip of a leaf from them. This aloe was a baby of my Queen Aloe who is now itself making little replicas. Every time I spot them in my garden I feel a sense of well-being.

I hope that all of you have some small pleasures that help you stop and take a deep breath.


Purslane as Self Care

Purslane rice salad, rice with tomatoes cucumber and purslaneSometimes I forget to do the things I know make me feel calmer, better, healthier, and brighter. Here’s an amazing fact I just discovered: I can enjoy, nay, LOVE an herb and purslane rice salad without the addition of cheese. Cheese is one of my favorite things, but somehow I forget that food can be good without it.

This salad was inspired by my friend Catherine of the food blog Soup and Sustenance. I had just picked a huge bowl of purslane and wasn’t sure what to do with it. She suggested I make tabbouleh. I don’t love bulgar wheat in the same way I don’t love quinoa and hate millet. But I thought I could make a rice salad similar to tabbouleh. It was amazing! In truth, I don’t even really love rice. I’m a pasta and bread gal. But this was so good.

I’d just walked out on a bad situation and spending some time in my garden and then making this salad felt so refreshing. Simple things like this don’t fix problems, they can’t fix mental illness, and they certainly don’t stop nationwide political suicide from happening, but they ARE restorative and do remind me that there are still good reasons to get outside my head and just breathe.

Self Care.