For a person who is regularly bemoaning the complexities of adult life, a three-day juice fast provides a wonderful simplicity. When you remove the daily tasks of buying, storing, preparing, eating and cleaning up after meals, you find yourself with this new and unusual void of time—and in it, a surprising clarity about the rest of life. In those borrowed hours, while you toss a football in the park, while you paint for hours at the table, while you read novels in bed to your heart’s content, all when you normally would have been cooking or eating, you realize something about food you’d never before seen. Because food, in all its forms and flavors, is such a constant, consuming, captivating part of life, even the not eating of it carries weight and significance.
Here in our Nashville kitchen, Tim and I are just coming off a three-day juice fast. While we didn’t plan the fast as a way of gaining perspective, in many ways, that’s exactly what it was. We started Tuesday morning, the day after we’d flown back from Chicago. In Chicago, as you’ll remember from the last post, we’d spent a full few days meeting friends at restaurants and ever feasting at my parents’ house. But that trip had followed two or three weeks of frenzied work and social activity around here, in the midst of which we’d hosted family, hosted friends, took on more work projects, watched our to-read piles grow, talked about the future and, more than once, together tried to get my prone-to-wander mind to calm down. All weekend in Chicago, people had told me I looked tired, but when we came back Monday, boy, I felt like it, and with a headache, to boot; that night, we unpacked and bought fruit and then, collapsed into bed at 9:30 p.m. So in the morning, when making breakfast meant pouring coconut water and juicing lemons, I didn’t complain.
All Tuesday and into Wednesday and Thursday, our eating routine was the same: juicing in our citrus press, pulling out juice from the fridge, sipping one of the homemade teas Tim had made and chilled for the week. There was no meal-planning to think about, no need to start dinner prep around 4:30 or 5 p.m., no dishes to clean beyond the glasses we drank from each day. And what we discovered as we found ourselves giddy with unexpected chunks of free time was just how much time the making and preparing and eating of food has been requiring in our lives. There are many reasons this is a good realization—food is necessary, and it’s beautiful, and it brings people together in more ways than one. Investing in what you eat is such a gift, both to yourself and to your loved ones, and it’s one of the earliest things I can remember bringing me sheer delight.
But food is also just one part of life, and that’s good to remember, too. It’s a wonderful part, the kind worth building a blog around, but still, just one indeed. This seems like a funny statement to make here, in a space filled with what we eat. Yet saying it makes this place so much more whole. And this week, stepping away from food for a few days, experiencing how we can find joy and happiness and satisfaction even without it, has enriched our understanding of food and of eating and of the gifts those things give.
So about those hours spent painting: Head over to the Etsy shop and check out the new prints! This shop gives us a lot of pleasure—especially for me, when I think about things that I enjoyed painting being things you enjoy having. If you have questions about products or want something customized, it’s always possible—just contact us on Etsy or via the contact page!