Last night, despite being tired from a long day, we stood for 15 minutes listening to the doorman of our building telling us his stories, of faith, of family and of life.
When the conversation ended and we rode the lift to the fifth floor, and entered our apartment, Juan and I looked at each other, and without even saying a word, I knew he had the same thoughts that I had; I knew he felt the same emotions that I did.
Through snippets of the conversation with our doorman, Gabriel, we’d realized that economically we’d taken so many things for granted.
Gabriel had told us he used to go to Lujan, a small city-town in the province of Buenos Aires for religious trips, but that now he couldn’t go as often because the bus far was fifty pesos, something he exactly couldn’t afford.
Juan and I strongly agreed that when we hear things like that, we feel almost bad for being able to afford so much more; it was the same feeling that gripped me when I toured India, appalled at the state of deprivation and the heart of poverty whose roots ran deep and thick, and which made me feel both grateful but terrible at the exact same time.
You see, over the past month, we’d been undecided over where to go to for our holidays.
Despite having rent to pay now that we’ve moved out to live on our own, we wanted to take a short trip somewhere to relax before the year really started again. But between Mexico and Brazil, we eventually decided on the latter, which was much nearer and naturally much cheaper.
We’d lamented on the fact that we couldn’t choose Mexico, our first choice, and how expensive it was to travel these days, feeling upset that being grown ups and having financial commitments like rent, things were no longer as easy as they used to be.
But when Gabriel told us about not being able to afford a fifty peso bus trip for a religious trip, I felt myself grimace at my ungratefulness. I’d forgotten to be thankful and glad that I was able to travel and relax by the beach, fallings into thoughts of complaints and unhappiness. I was thoroughly ashamed of myself.
Today, as I read Kelsey’s New Year post, I found myself nodding to her always-wise words.
“We can stop what we’re doing at any point of the day, month, year and say hey, you know, I think I’m going to try doing things differently from here out.”
I’m pressing the re-set button once more; despite us being two weeks out into 2014. I’m going to take a hold of my thoughts and be thankful for whatever little or much that I have. And I’m going to treat people with more kindness than is necessary, because everyone has their battles to fight; it’s not my call to judge.
I will be kinder, I will be more grateful.
And since we’re talking re-set buttons and new year resolutions, let’s also talk about food.
I know you already know that I’ve made a resolution to eat healthier – to consciously choose whole foods, real foods, eliminating as much processed foods and sugars from my diet as possible. But what I’m most happy about is that Juan has also signed up to keep this resolution (this took me completely by surprise, given how much he loves his pizza, pasta and empanadas!) – and together we’re pushing for a healthier, happier year ahead.
So far, I’ve gone about a week on the whole-foods lifestyle, and going strong. I’ve realized that eating less refined foods and cutting out wheat as much as possible makes me feel less lethargic during the afternoons and I feel much more satiated and don’t end up having mad afternoon cravings for sweet foods. One thing that might be difficult for me though, is to reduce eating pasta. I’ve gone about two weeks without pasta already, and while it wasn’t impossible, there have been many days that I’m tempted to eat pasta.
If you’re like me and pasta and noodles are a weakness of yours, but you’re trying to cut wheat from your life, this bowl of eggplant spaghetti bolognaise will keep your tummy warm and trim and your noodle cravings down.
What’s there not to love?
EGGPLANT SPAGHETTI BOLOGNAISE
1) 3 large eggplants, peeled and shredded (I used this julienne peeler)
2) 500g of minced beef (or meat of your choice)
3) 2 garlic cloves, minced
4) 1 large onion, peeled and diced
5) 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
6) 2 cups of tomato sauce
7) 1 tablespoon of tomato conserve
8) Olive oil
9) Salt & pepper to taste
1) Mince the garlic cloves, and dice the onion and tomato
2) In a large pan, pour a few tablespoon of olive oil and coat the surface of the pan well
3) Saute the onion and garlic until onions are slightly brown
4) Add in minced meat and cook until meat is browned throughout
5) Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato conserve, mixing well and let it simmer (if sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water)
6) Add salt and pepper to taste
7) While bolognaise sauce is simmering, peel then shred eggplants using this julienne peeler
8) In another pan, stir fry shredded eggplant with a little oil until cooked
9) Divide cooked eggplant evenly into two bowls, and top each bowl with abundant bolognaise sauce
* Note: I strongly recommend using this julienne peeler (see picture below) if you don’t already have one. It has made my life so much easier whenever I want to make noodles from vegetables, such as zucchini noodles, these eggplant noodles, or just a simple Asian slaw!!
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m trying to eliminate wheat from my life, I strongly recommend Wheat Belly – a book that will empower you and make you determined to get rid of wheat and it’s terrible health effects!