Monday, February 24, 2014

Smoothie + I'm boring

I was never a smoothie person, but when my midwife told me that I wasn't eating enough I started experimenting. My favorite so far is PB + Choc + Banana. Here is the basic structure:

Two tablespoons of PB
Generous tablespoon or more of cocoa powder
1/2 to one whole banana (the riper, the sweeter and the frozener, the colder, obviously)

That's all. You could enjoy this during Lent if you use coconut milk or whatever. It's a good way to get outside of some peanut butter without having to eat another sandwich. I throw in some yogurt these days and I have been very naughtily sneaking in a spoonful of Nutella because I'm trying to get rid of it before Lent. But to balance out the naughtiness I also have been including:

-Liquid whey left over from cheese making (I don't have to tell you how smug I feel about being able to say that... don't get too impressed though, all I did was dump old kefir in a t-shirt over a bowl.) Whey is pretty much pure protein which is why muscle people take it. It's also probiotic since it's from kefir.
-Nasty sweet Omega 3-6-9 oil that I must take for my baby but hate to slurp alone
-Elderberry syrup, which is very sweet and delicious but also very good for you, so I think I won't stop taking it during Lent (because it's MEDICINE)
-Whatever fatty or fermented dairy is in my fridge
-A raw egg yolk (pastured! fresh! local! don't hit me!)

It basically tastes like a milkshake and makes me feel like a champion. It's a pretty enjoyable way to get some protein, and other than the Naughtella there's nothing in there I wouldn't feed to my own child.

I thought I had something to say that didn't have anything to do with food but now I can't think of it...

Looking forward to watching a college production of the Scottish play this weekend, having some girlfriends over, and going to really long services with lots of prostrations every day next week! The Canon of St. Andrew comes but once a year...

I'm reading Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica. It's very good, although I have a hard time concentrating on spiritual writings. It takes a different kind of attentiveness than writings which develop an argument. It requires more meditation than ratiocination, and I'm not very good at that.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

a proposed lenten diet for pregnant cook and non-pregnant eater; filthiness of past eras

Matt and I are trying to figure out how he can fast for Lent when I'm not. The Nativity fast was weird. At first he tried just fasting during the day when we were not together, then eating whatever I made in the evening, but he said that it's pretty hard to get into the swing of things that way, and eventually we just stopped trying. We both felt rather disconnected from the rest of the parish without fasting. Lent offers more opportunities to go to services and eat with the rest of the church, and there's not that whole distracting secular Christmas preparation thing, so I think it will be better. But we both still want to make some kind of effort. As for me, I don't think it will hurt my baby a bit for me to stop eating sugar and checking Facebook. Matt feels that this is rather a low bar for him, though, so we thought for a while about how he could fast to some extent without feeling like we're on totally different programs.

We came up with an idea that might work. I'll prepare some chicken and ground beef and freeze it in individual portions, which I can then add to the leftovers I eat for lunch at school. I don't really need to eat meat more than once a day, if even that, especially if the rest of the meals that I prepare are high in vegetable proteins. There's nothing unhealthy about the way we eat during Lent, since it's mostly lots of vegetables and legumes, usually cooked in olive oil or coconut oil. It's just that I don't want to omit dairy and meat products. In fact I think that I'll probably end up eating more protein this way than I am now, since I will eat the beans and stuff I make for Matt as well as the meat I make for myself.

This seems like a good way for me to get the protein etc that I need from meat, without torturing Matt by roasting chickens and broiling lamb racks willy-nilly.

By the way, 100 grams of protein a day? Good lord. That's one recommendation that I just read. (Others say 70 grams.) A can of tuna has 40 grams, an egg has 6, a glass of milk 8, a 4 oz hamburger 28. Most beans are 7-10 grams for a half cup. It seems to me that it would be pretty hard to get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. It would be possible but I can't imagine eating that many beans. Soy could get you there, but I have beef with soy and hardly eat any except tofu once in a while.

On the reading front, I finished The Hunchback of Notre Dame a while back. After you get through all the architecture stuff, which I told Matt reminded me of my anxiety in reading the damn catalog of ships in the Iliad ("Am I going to need to know what boat this guy came from later? Will this flying buttress be used in a metaphor about someone's soul?")  it's actually a pretty melodramatic, romantic tale. I would even call it "pathetic" in you know, the other sense of the word. I was surprised at how quickly it read. The main impression that I was left with is that medieval people were pretty savage. I could have been ready to receive that impression because I was also reading Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals at the same time, in which he rhapsodizes (I won't say "argues") that morality and society have much darker origins than we like to think. But Hugo shows you so many scenes of the masses enjoying public tortures or executions that I don't think you need Nietzsche holding your hand to come to the conclusion that 14th century Paris was not a very nice place.

The older I get the less romantic I am about the past, and the more skeptical of any "golden age" mentality. I think when we look back at classical Greece, Holy Russia, American pioneer days, or whatever era strikes our fancy, we should not imagine that the people of that era were basically like us. Although we are often pleasantly surprised by the freshness and familiarity of ancient writers, for example, in many ways they were probably shockingly different from us. Most of the great authors whose works have lasted a long time are writing from a place of great privilege, and you just can't underestimate the chasm between democrats like us and aristocrats. Just read Democracy In America and you will see how even as late as the early 1800s, a man from a country as similar to ours as France found many of the American characteristics that we take for granted remarkable enough to... remark on.

Most of us would be very sad and confused if our time machines broke and we were stuck in an era without separation of church and state, legal enfranchisement of women and blacks, great tolerance and general equality, centralized government, and almost religious respect for individual liberty, among other luxuries like shampoo (however much we complain about the ill-effects of those things these days!) I know this sounds like a very simplistic progressive stance, but I've come to it through long periods of disgust for the postmodern era as well as flirtations with primitivism, so I feel qualified to say that although every pendulum can swing too far, things are actually not so bad now! We've lost some good things, but we've gained some good things too. We may have thrown out some babies, but some of that bathwater was really bad.

We can all at least agree that we are glad that we do not live in Hugo's Paris of the late 1300s, which was very dirty, disorganized, and cruel.

Also, I'm trying to finish Being as Communion by Met. John Zizioulas. I started it when I was a catechumen (so that's ... 6 years ago?) and I keep trying to finish it, but it might just take the stupid courage of my baby brain to brazenly succeed. It ended up being more technical than I thought it was going to be based on the first part, and I'm not sure how interested I am in it any more, but I WILL finish it. Then I would like to read St. Basil's Hexaemeron (on the six days of Creation) for Lent. Recent conversations and the Search the Scriptures podcast have rekindled my interest in the patristic interpretation of the creation accounts, and it's actually rather timely for Lent.

Also, I am trying to figure out how to get the Charlotte Mason books on education onto the Kindle. I read them online at school, which is an extreme juxtaposition. I enjoy them so far. A reader recommended them when I complained that there was nothing for a dame like me to read between the inanity of modern baby books and the insanity of Enlightenment philosopher's ideas about education, and I think that Charlotte Mason pleasantly fills that void for me so far.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Descent into Hades

When I was growing up a nebulous evangelical, the story of Easter was thus: Christ died (which was the way that our salvation was effected,) and then he rose again (which is cheering, isn't it?) There was nothing said about what happened in between those two events, although I did wonder about it as a kid. It's funny to think about it now because the Descent into Hades is THE icon of Pascha for the Orthodox. I embraced that fully and found it oh so much more meaningful than the "Penal Substitutionary Atonement" reading of the crucifixion, but always kind of wondered how the Church knew about the Descent into Hades, since it's not mentioned in the Gospel. Well, I should have read my Bible, because it's right there in 1st Peter 3:

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah....

It's very explicit that he encountered spirits of people from the Old Testament. But just in case you thought Peter wasn't talking about dead people:

For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.

Now I know that the apostles preached the Descent, but I still don't know how exactly they knew about it. A likely conclusion is that it's one of the things Christ told them between his Resurrection and Ascension. It's very exciting to think about all the things he told them during that time. How awestruck they must have been to hear him speak about this event in particular. That would really give me hope that the Resurrection wasn't just for the God-man, but for me as well (just in case the graves opening up in Jerusalem and dead people walking around wasn't enough.)