Johnson’s Backyard Garden

Oh, and by the way…

My Johnson’s Backyard Garden CSA membership is FREAKING AWESOME! I get tons of these beautiful little vegetables in a box every week, and a half dozen of good happy grass-fed eggs for Marty, and I transfer it all into my pretty rainbow bin and bring it home and then we EAT IT!

So far it’s fairly similar to Greenling, except more of my money goes to the people who grow the food, and I have the opportunity to swap veggies if there’s something in my box I’m not crazy about. (I haven’t bothered yet, because I’m having a great time learning how to eat new things, but it’s really nice to have the option!) I also don’t have to make sure to be home watching the gate like a hawk to make sure I’m there when my delivery comes, and I have a nice four hour window to pick my food up. I rather think the veggies look better from Johnson’s than Greenling’s local box; this may be because the produce takes longer to get to me with Greenling (and is out of the ground longer), but I’m not sure. I love all the pretty colored peppers and little yummy tomatoes and gorgeous white radishes. Marty says he will be using those radishes to bonk shy-guys, but I have insisted that we EAT them. Yesterday, we made delicious vegetable stew!

I’ve also discovered that since we buy almost entirely raw produce now (wow. when did that happen?) I need more crisper space! I’m not completely clear on this crisper thing, but the greens in the crispers survive the week much better than the ones in the fridge proper, so it has me wondering if i can buy some kind of extra crisper for the upper parts of the fridge. I’m going to have to read up on veggie cold storage. I don’t want to have to cook very much of it if I can avoid it (though our plans for the stew include eating some for lunch and putting it in meal-sized bags in the freezer for easy defrost & devour once we start to run out of food).

For those of you still wondering, I have to say this: We’re eating organic produce, a lot of it raw, and we’re not buying very much packaged food (plastic, glass, paper, jars & whatnot). I am almost 100% certain now that eating a diet of organic produce is less expensive than eating almost any other typical American diet, with the possible exception of the stomach-turning Walmart diet, which I would not wish on my evilest, worstest enemy. So if you’ve been complaining about organic and natural and pesticide free being too goddamn pricy… you’re depending on packaged food way too much. Or maybe meat.

Okay, now I’ve done my food-related people poking for the day. You totally owe me a zucchini for making your life better.

Stew ahoy!

Don’t let THAT stop you!

Over the past few years I’ve made a lot of dramatic changes in the way I eat. I nixed corn syrup, then wheat, then sugar, then meat, then dairy. I eat almost none of that now, with very few (and very particular) exceptions. At first, as you might imagine, it put a cramp on my social life because eating out was no longer my default activity. Not only did restaurants not serve the kind of fresh raw and vegan food I wanted, they had all these items added to almost everything on their menu—even when it wasn’t actually necessary. (If you ever give up wheat, you will be shocked at how often it’s added to everything under the sun—same with sugar, same with dairy! Don’t even get me started on corn syrup.)

Because of my sudden seeming restriction in food choices, I started to realize other things about typical restaurants and the food service industry in general—mainly that meals out are almost always ridiculously overpriced for the startlingly low quality of food. I can eat fresh produce for a fraction of what I’d pay at a restaurant. Why eat out at all?

I’m sure there are exceptions—Casa de Luz notable among them—but I haven’t found many.

If you’re a meganpreneur (or indeed, any flavor of businessperson) you’ll have noticed another wrinkle: Business meetings. I was suddenly aware that having meetings for business was going to get a lot more complicated, because I simply wasn’t interested in eating out (or even having coffee) and that had been my primary method for making new project connections. Everybody eats. Everybody drinks coffee (or some other Starbucks fare). I no longer had any desire to meet new contacts at the local coffee shop, because there simply wasn’t anything I was willing to ingest there.

In fact, it was a happy coincidence that I changed the way I accept new projects—otherwise I’d be in a quandary!

This all happened fairly recently, but I think I’ve reached a nice lull; I almost never go out to eat and I like it that way. I’m hoping to even further decrease my likelihood of doing so, because it just doesn’t feel right to me for the most part. I do the things that feel good—Casa de Luz is one of them!—and try NOT to do the things that don’t.

So it was a nifty discovery this morning when I caught up on Steve Pavlina’s blog and found that as part of his juice feasting experiment he’d written about this exact issue—meeting and connecting with other people without needing it to be about food. I loved hearing his insights—and if you’re interested, they’re worth a read.

I was very lucky that my current business partners were willing to work around my sudden wont to decline Chuy’s meeting invitations, and that some of them are as interested in natural health cuisine as I am. I am very lucky that I have a good space for business meetings in my living room, and that I almost always have business meetings with people I know well and am comfortable inviting over. (Someday I will need to confront my hermitude and invite people I don’t know yet, but that will happen in good time.)

Food for thought—ha! ;}

Multicolor Sunday

Images from Multicolr. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Today I’m taking it easy. I’m about halfway through my mandatory tasklist, but the most important things aren’t on the tasklist. Those accomplishments include Shiva Nata, and plenty of sitting outside on the porch… doing nothing.

Feels really good.

The CSA Greens

Zom-B-Mart (1)

CSA” stands for community-supported agriculture. It means that you pay the farmer, and the farmer feeds you. No stores. No markets. No middle men.

I looked for CSA programs around Austin when I moved here, but I didn’t find any; I had the CSA “blues”. But I signed up with Greenling, discovered Wheatsville Co-op, and was quite content. Wheatsville is as close as I’ve gotten to a perfect grocery—they really care, and they’re exactly the right place for me to get almost everything I need. But I still wanted a CSA.

Zom-B-Mart (2)Johnson’s Backyard Garden, a little family farm not too far from me. To my utter astonishment, I found that they had a CSA program with great reviews. I leapt enthusiastically onto their waiting list! I didn’t know when (or if!) I would get in, and I didn’t care. Mad visions of vegetable prep parties danced in my head.

This week, I got into the program. I have been doing crazed jigs of glee. I had no idea it would happen so quickly. Oh, the vegetables I shall reap! If I’m not going to garden myself, I want to put my money in the hands of the people who grow my food. I want to know who they are. I want to interact with them, value them, trust them. And this is the first step that I can take towards that goal.

Zom-B-Mart (3)I don’t know how it will go yet. I haven’t even gotten my first share! But I know that this path resonates with me and I’m going to give it the fair chance it deserves. I’m tired of encountering this weird un-food mentality where we disconnect from the things we eat and have no concept of where it came from, or how it got to us. We’re told stories about food that have nothing to do with what the food really is, and I’m tired of participating—I’m choosing something else. Something a little (a lot) more real.

These vegetables will be harvested the same day I pick them up. That’s pretty damn real.

I get my first share on Wednesday. I’m insanely excited. About vegetables. I’m still going to shop at Wheatsville, because I adore them and want to support them (and the CSA will only provide part of our grocery needs). If you need organic produce delivered straight to your door, I’d go with Greenling. But if you can… support the farmer.

That’s what I’m trying next.

Absurdly entertaining zombie concept drawings courtesy of the great Martin Whitmore.

Cow Juice Jihad

I’ve had a sinus infection for the last week or so. I’m very close to being healthy again—I am still easily exhausted and have to be careful about how hardcore I work, and my sinuses still feel very tight, but most of my other symptoms are gone and I feel fine otherwise.

I am 95% certain that cheese caused this sinus infection.

As such, I am 95% certain that dairy in general is responsible for the unending string of sinus infections—exact same symptoms, exact same progression, every single time—that I’ve experienced over the last ten years. Ten?? TEN. I know, it sounds crazy, but I remember this same problem in high school and college. Then it was about the dust; if I had a staged performance where I had my face near the floor for any length of time (Hansel and Gretel, for instance), or if I accidently breathed a gust of dust particles on a windy day in the city, I’d find myself fighting one off. But recently, it’s also about a growing sensitivity to dairy—and dairy might have been part of the problem all along. In the last few months I’ve stopped eating anything cheese-like, or milk-like, as an experiment. And then I had some rice pizza with cheese on it, and a nice man at a coffee shop unknowingly gave me regular milk instead of soy in my chai, and then I had this delicious creamy soup… and the rest is history. Because my sinuses were feeling great before that happened.

There’s still plenty of possibility that I’m wrong. Hell, I could be making it all up! But we’ll find out soon enough, when I stop eating dairy for the rest of my life and never again have a freaking sinus infection!!

Now that’s battle cry worthy.

Last night I had a dream that I was devouring a huge cheese pizza with a bunch of friends. I got halfway through and looked down at all the pizza and felt my full stomach and shrieked, Aaaaa! What am I doing!?

It was funny.

Maybe you had to be there.

People I Adore (part two)

Here are the next three items from yesterday’s People I Adore post—I didn’t intend for them to be separated into neat little categories, but that’s what seems to have happened! The next three are all people that I’ve never met in person, but have nevertheless managed to have a profound effect on me.

Seth Godin, agent of change. I don’t even remember when I discovered Seth’s work, but he has become such a powerful and positive influence for me that it hardly matters. I could tell you a hundred different awesome things about this man (not the least of which are his sense of humor and engaging personality) but I’m going to settle on just a few: He is a maker of tribes and inspirer of leaders. He wrote a book called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us that cracked open the top of my head and flooded the room with light, you think I am kidding? I am not kidding. I have not grokked a tiny fraction of what he has planned, but I know it’s gonna be good—and I’m looking forward to it. If you haven’t read his book, it’s next on your list. (I know these things.)

Steve Pavlina, developer of smart people. Ooh boy, the crazy things I have done to myself after reading Steve Pavlina’s blog! I will just tell you the big one: For at least four months in 2008 I was single-mindedly dedicated to seeing if I could become a polyphasic sleeper on an equiphasic schedule—that means 20 minutes every four hours. I did some amazing things in those four months. I ate mostly raw, and discovered surprising things about sleeping and eating patterns. I also discovered a lot about myself, strengths I didn’t know I had, weaknesses I wanted desperately to improve. Steve made me a willful proponent of self-experimentation, and opened my mind to incredible possibilities. His blog and list of podcasts are still first on my recommendation list for people starting to explore their own personal development. Even more, Steve is a seriously good guy, a clear thinker, and a builder of potential (in himself, and in others). Trying to put him and Seth in the same post is ridiculously stretching my ability to write concise paragraphs, I’ll tell you that.

Havi Brooks, great destuckifier (and Selma, fabulous duck!). Ask me and I’ll tell you about the unbelievable dream I had, in which the answer to my question was Shiva Nata—but for now, I’ll tell you about Havi. One of the many wonderful things Havi teaches is a yoga-like practice that creates and connects new pathways in the brain: That’s Shiva Nata. This is something I had been searching for for months; I tried creative learning exercises and looked for specific kinds of games, and had no idea this practice existed! Shiva Nata fell into my lap precisely when I needed it, just by randomly clicking a link in one of Havi’s posts—it was one of those awesome bombs, and it has been amazing see it change me, bit by bit. Because of how important Shiva Nata has been to me in the (very!) short time I’ve been practicing it, and because of how useful and phenomenal some of her posts are, I couldn’t help but add her to this list.

I promise to finish in the next few days. Thank you for reading about my fantabulous list of awesome!


The neighbors downstairs are thinking, wow, how about that huge poundy rock they keep dropping on the floor up there over and over again? But no, it’s just Marty, cracking open another coconut.

For me.

With his machete.

Am I wrong to suspect this is too much fun for him?

Filing this under “things that don’t fit in Twitter”...


The last few days I haven’t been feeling all that well—just the usual monthly whathaveyou. So I determined that I would snuggle up in a warm blanket in my comfy armchair with my computer, and good food, and lots of water, and do whatever seemed to make sense at the time.

I wouldn’t force myself to work—I wouldn’t even think about doing work.

But once I really cleared my head and got relaxed (and took some painkillers)... there were all these fantastically interesting things going on. And suddenly there was so much to be engaged in and excited about, so much to make. And I was the one who could do it, so of course I did it—thing after thing after thing. For Marty, for the Usual Error, for the Triiibe. And before I knew it, the few days that were supposed to be my break so that I could rest, my respite from mandatory tasklists… had turned into the most exhilarating, most productive, most bizarrely enjoyable few days I’ve had in weeks.

I say to you: Come again!? What’s that about? I’m getting more done in 24 hours than I’ve done in the last week. Is there some kind of boat-tipping effect, where I add more and more to my schedule and get more and more stressed, but at a certain point I add just enough and all of a sudden I’m swimming in flow? (That was not a cycle joke. That was a Csikszentmihalyi joke.)

I know. It’s too late to take it back. I see it. Go ahead. Laugh some more at the irony.

Flow, indeed.

Sun Food

I just read the most incredible article by Michael Pollan over at the New York Times. It’s thick with information and politic tie-ins, but once you get towards the end you start to realize what’s going on—to see that he’s constructing a world of real food and healthy citizens and nourished children.

The Food Issue – An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief

He moves from industrial food policies to smaller agriculture and then, of course, to private, family-sized gardening (a concept any Story of B fans, like me, can strongly relate to). I didn’t realize he was going to cover such a gamut of topics with one fell swoop, but in nine pages he takes you to an amazing place, talking about the “culinary equivalent to home schooling”. It all fits together, like clockwork, a finely-crafted machine.

I’m all done reading but I’m sitting here daydreaming about fresh produce and responsible citizens and new education and growth and a whole planet busting with health and I don’t think I can stop. This world he’s laid out so clearly, for presidential purposes, is absolutely astonishing. I mean, compare it to the one we’re living in now.