“Washed Up Tree Trunk with Roots,” memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

On Valentine’s Day 2022, it is my 14th anniversary eating low fat whole food plant based (and vegan) and the 26th anniversary of receiving the diagnosis of MS. I try to mark this day each year with a post. This year I’m obsessed with the idea of roots and foundations. This tree with its root ball currently washed up on our beach has kept this image in the forefront for me.

As you all know from my recent post “In The Running,” I serendipitously took up jogging one morning on the beach last August, to lift myself out of the sadness of missing my dear foster grandbaby. I haven’t looked back since. Every morning on the beach or on the streets of my little neighborhood if the tide is too high, Cotton and I are jogging. This has caused some stir of notice from my friends and neighbors here—since they notice I have more energy and am doing something I didn’t seem like I could ever be able to do.

I’ve noticed it’s made my legs stronger as well. The other day I was squatting in the yard to plant some early greens in a pot in seed form and I noticed with delight that I was quite comfortable just squatting there and would have no problem getting up. My legs have become strong enough to allow this more easily, and I am glad, because it’s one of my favorite positions and I have been sad to see my stamina in it erode slowly over time. I welcome this noticeable improvement.

It’s easy to say it’s the jogging every morning bringing about these improvements in stamina. It reminds me of when I got Romeo years ago and people started to notice I was walking all over the place with him back in Moscow. They immediately attributed this ability to his presence.

And it was his presence, just as the jogging has improved strength and stamina and losing those last couple of pounds (though I don’t weigh myself or count). But what everyone is so willing to miss –because they don’t want to have to do it themselves?—is that the way I eat provides the foundation that makes these things possible. If I was eating any other way at this point in my life, I’d be fighting to keep myself out of the wheelchair—or would mostly likely already be in it.

So this this just a little reminder—and a salute—to the way I’ve eaten for the last 14 years—and how it’s strengthened my body and clarified my mind so that I could realize a relationship with a dog I’ve always wanted, and I could find the wherewithal to try jogging several yards on the sand when I had no idea if I could. Eating low fat whole plant foods makes all the best things in my life possible. And so, Happy Anniversary to me! And deep gratitude to this movement that has rescued the quality of my life and lifted it to such a wonderful experiential viewpoint. And thank you to you all for wanting to read along about the good things that have come into my life as a result—which includes all of you. Much love, dear hearts, this Valentine’s Day and always.

Heart Envelope chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Heart Envelope,” chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

 

Maria (moonwatcher)

PS: If any of you, especially long time readers, have favorite or memorable blog posts from here, please tell me which ones in the comments. Thank you!

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Squash Milk

by Maria Theresa Maggi on January 28, 2022

I was recently reading a LiveKindly article about how mainstream chefs are being compelled into plant friendly and vegan recipes by the rising tide of interest in eating vegan. The article also touted young food influencers eating and cooking and foraging vegan–and in this mix, along with The Korean Vegan and Alexis Nicole (blackforager on instagram) came the name Carleigh Bodrug along with the mention of butternut squash milk as one of her creations–and an admonition not to knock it until you’ve tried it.

Always a fan of what the younger generation is up to, my curiosity was peaked, aided by the fact that it’s been hard to find the organic soy milk I regularly buy, and my laziness about making my own (long soaking period, removing skins, cooking, straining). So off I went to google “squash milk.” And lo and behold– easy recipes for squash milk. And though I didn’t find Bodrug and PlantYou with that first search, I did see you could make it without soaking the seeds or separating them from the orange fleshy strands they are tangled in.

I didn’t happen to have a butternut squash, either, but that didn’t stop me. I had two delicata squashes awaiting me from my last Misfits Market order, so I decided to cut one open for roasting, and if the seeds looked healthy, I would give them a milk making spin.

The recipe I read suggested adding two dates and 3 parts water, but I didn’t exactly measure. I seemed to have about a cup of seeds and goop, and so I used about 3 cups of filtered water. I also added one date, just for kicks. The result is surprisingly delicious, and as you can see the color is a light orange that reminds me of a fifty-fifty popsicle. It’s not as sweet and not quite as creamy as a popsicle of course, but it is lovely nonetheless. It approximates the texture of rice or almond milk combined, and it’s good enough to just drink from a glass if you are so inclined.

I’ve used mine in a kitchari recipe from Minimalist Baker that my son turned me onto, and this big giant pancake bake I make by putting a mixture of oats, fruit or squash and plant milk, coconut water, a little baking powder, soda, a dash of AVC and spices spun in the food processor to make batter, which I dot with blueberries and bake for about 35 minutes at 350.

I’m on my second batch of squash milk, and I love using the seeds in this very non-labor intensive way. I don’t have a high speed blender, just an old  timey Oster, and still it works great.

Keeping things easy but still nutritious is keeping me going through these challenging times, and fueling my new jogging practice. I hope you all are finding healthy vegan comforts as well. Let me know if you try this!

Maria (moonwatcher)

 

 

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Season’s Greetings, Doodles, and Stories

December 13, 2021

Holiday greetings, my dear readers, however you celebrate, It’s  been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would try to catch you up a bit. As I may have mentioned, one of the things I turned to that helps me cope with missing my foster grand baby is what I call “doodling.” Months […]

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The Quality of Mercy. . .

October 31, 2021

. .is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. . –The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare Though my neighborhood is not formally a retirement community, the lion’s share of my neighbors are retired. in addition […]

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In The Running

October 7, 2021

When we head down our street toward the beach each morning there’s two ways we can get to the access. One is to turn left and the other is to go straight and into what looks like a dead end with a house facing the ocean before turning left and eventually ending up at the […]

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In Honor of The New Moon

October 3, 2021

I have a new post about my slow miracle in the works, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you all another slow miracle accomplishment. I have finally, with the help of friends, figured out how to get paid subscriptions up and running to my Substack Newsletter, Maria’s Star Garden. If you enjoy […]

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Pieces of Process

September 6, 2021

The emptiness that engulfs my family now that my foster grand baby has been returned to their birth mom is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It has been nearly two months now, and so far birth mom has only responded minimally to emails and has not responded to any requests for visits, in […]

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Lazy Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes

August 25, 2021

I’ve had this book since before I got the diagnosis of MS, so it has to be longer than 25 years. I remember standing in a bookstore chain that no longer exists in the days I was a Laurel’s Kitchen vegetarian and being drawn in by the lovely art and the stories and all the […]

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An Announcement to My Subscribers

July 27, 2021

Hi There Dear Long Time Readers and Subscribers, If you are subscribed to get e-mail notifications when I put up a new blog post, the service that used to provide that, Feedburner, is discontinuing this function. So Susan Voisin, my host at Fat Free Vegan, graciously signed my blog up to a new, free service […]

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The Golden Light

July 7, 2021

Up in the loft at my house there’s an old window facing west at the end of the house. The glass of this window is textured and tinted harvest gold, and has probably been there since the house was built in 1976. Some people call it “church glass.” In the summer evenings, as the sun […]

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