Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, the mother dear and I took the Friday and Monday off work and drove to Riding Mountain to stay at a resort for a few days. We just wanted some time out of the city; a little mini-break holiday to relax and be pampered. And pampered we were!
The room at the resort had a fireplace in it, so we spent much of our time curled up in front of a crackling fire, reading novels and drinking tea. We had intended on going cross-country skiing but the weather was too warm so the snow had melted considerably, making it treacherous for skiing. So we changed our plans a little: instead of skiing, we went hiking! Although our hikes were short treks, they were still challenging because we were trudging through snow and the trails were hilly (unlike walking around in our flat city of Winnipeg). On one of the trails we had a little adventure, too: the trail led out onto the lake, which would have been fine in the middle of winter when the lake is all frozen over, but by this point it was definitely not safe to venture out there. So instead we had to forge our own path through the trees to meet up with the road. A fun and unexpected detour!
The mother dear, before becoming a veterinarian, used to work as a naturalist in this particular national park. She enjoyed showing me where her old house had been and telling me stories from the late 70′s. When I was a little kid, my family and I used to come up to Riding Mountain all the time to go skiing, and my parents actually met at the resort that we stay at, so there’s something very special and nostalgic about the place.
I was a little anxious about whether my disordered eating would crop up again, but luckily it did not! We ate out at the resort restaurant and had plenty of snacks in our room; when we went grocery shopping and bought chips and cookies in preparation for the trip, the mother dear was laughing at the “look of glee” (her words ) on my face. Yes, sometimes it can be a little fun to indulge (even if it is dark chocolate and Guiltless Gourmet chips)!
Since our weekend, and since my most recent struggles with disordered eating, I’ve decided to try a little “experiment” of incorporating some dairy back into my regular eating. While we were at Riding Mountain, we ate smoky Gruyere cheese with apple slices, and it was incredibly swoon-worthy. I resisted buying cream cheese at the store a few days ago, but I think I may start buying really good quality cheese- smoky Gruyere or jalapeno cheddar or brie- and having small amounts of it at a time again. I prefer to drink non-dairy milk for the present and not go overboard on the dairy, and I do want to try to stay vegan for at least a few days each week, but I also know that it’s important right now to be careful with my restrictions. I don’t want to be vegan if I feel deprived; that’s not the point of being mostly-vegan. When I eat as a vegetarian or as a meat-eater, I do it because that’s what I feel like at the time; if I eat as a vegan, it’s because that too is what I feel like doing in the moment. And that’s crucial: really listening to the body and being mindful of it. Being healthy for the environment and being healthy for our own bodies is critical to truly living healthy, but at the same time our mind and hearts have to be in it. That’s why I think it would be good for me to have cheese on hand for the occasions when I’m more in the mood for cheese than I am in the mood for veganism.
Can I live without cheese? Sure. Can I live with cheese? Sure. But I don’t see it as all-or-nothing. And mentally, that’s a good place to be in.
Do you like cheese? Is it a staple in your fridge? Have you taken a weekend off lately? What sorts of plans have you recently “adapted” due to unforeseen circumstances (eg. a super-early spring causing the ski trip to turn into a hiking trip, or creating a path through the trees instead of following it out onto a lake)?