Last week, I was waiting for the elevator in my building on my way to my food writing class. Two of the three elevators were out of order and after seven minutes of waiting, I felt a familiar pressure creep into my chest, coursing through my veins and into my head. The racing thoughts had begun and I was getting hot. I looked at the time and took a deep breath: I had exactly fifteen minutes to get through rush-hour traffic, onto the University of Toronto campus, and look for a parking spot. I had just rushed home from an exhausting day at work to quickly walk and feed my dog, and was flushed after quickly photographing a recipe and cleaning the kitchen just in time for my Airbnb guest. This elevator-fiasco was the last thing I needed, and for a minute, I felt as if I was melting into a puddle.
I used to have terrible anxiety and overcoming it was not easy. My therapist helped me reframe my thoughts and a few months ago, I decided I was well enough to stop seeing her as frequently. In the past two or three weeks, however, my anxiety has come back full-force and I have been a bundle of stress and nerves. It is painful when something unexpected—something that I can’t control—happens, like long elevator wait times and traffic jams. Most of my friends can’t envision me having road rage but Lewis and my sister Justina can confirm that my road rage is, in fact, off the charts.
I feel increasingly overwhelmed, probably because I have increasingly become a Type-A-Overachiever-Perfectionist and this is doing me more harm than good. I have a backlog of photos and blog posts to edit, I’ve signed up for too many professional development classes to keep up with, I started a new job last week, and being an Airbnb host isn’t always a piece of cake. I want to “have it all”, which is, frankly, an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation that no one should hold themselves to. And when I take a step back, I realize that these “hardships” are actually privileges and opportunities that anyone would be grateful to have.
One morning last week, I decided to spend some time doing things I actually enjoyed. I slept an extra hour and poured myself a bowl of my favourite muesli when I woke up. I made myself a good cup of coffee and sat down to write. I sent an email off to my therapist and put on “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree, a song that never fails to make me feel better. My anxiety isn’t going to just magically vanish into thin air, but these baby steps will get me back where I need to be. In the meantime, I will keep reminding myself, as Lewis often does: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
SPRING EQUINOX BROWN RICE BOWL
Yields 2-3 servings.
- 1 cup brown basmati rice + 2 cups water
- 7 small radishes (527g) + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 1/2 cups (340g) mini cucumbers
- 1/2 cup (20g) curly parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup vegan kimchi
- 3 1/2 cups (203g) brown mushrooms + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 205ºC/400ºF.
- Rinse the brown rice with water and drain. Pour 2 cups of water into a small pot and bring it to a boil on high heat. Add the rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 35-45 minutes until tender.
- Peel and slice the radishes. Melt the tablespoon of coconut oil and toss with the small radishes. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the radishes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes when they finish cooking.
- While the rice and radishes are cooking, prepare the cucumbers. Slice the mini cucumbers and roughly chop the curly parsley. Toss together in a bowl with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- Peel and mince the garlic cloves and slice the mushrooms. Sauté the garlic on medium heat until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook until soft. When the rice is done, remove the pot from the heat and allow the rice to sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. “Fluff up” the rice and give it a stir before serving.
- Assemble the bowls by placing 1/2 – 3/4 cup of brown rice in each bowl. Add the radishes, cucumber salad, mushrooms, and kimchi.
Your edible plant enthusiast,