farmer's market

Silencing Your Inner Critic, Seasonal Eating and Veggie Gumbo--OH MY!

When I began posting this recipe I thought, "people aren't going to want to eat this in the summer! It's hot! Post a recipe that's about fresh, raw veggies to promote the idea of eating with the seasons!" Those limiting thoughts. Those negative self-defeating patterns. MY GOODNESS, how persistent (and detrimental) they can be!

Then I thought to myself, "self, you are being judgmental and critical. Stop it. Gumbo is eaten in places where people are hot almost every day of their gosh darn lives. I can teach people about eating with the seasons AND post a hot recipe. Both can happen."

See how easy that was?


This post is about silencing your inner critic, eating with the seasons (as a dietary theory) AND making easy and amazing vegetarian gumbo.

Ready, Set, GO!

Silence Your Inner Critic:

This is an easy concept but it's difficult to practice. Basically, my suggestion is the next time you have a limiting thought or a negative self-defeating pattern rears its ugly head---notice it (you can see me using my spiritual practice here) and replace it with a positive one. Literally change the way you're talking to yourself.

Catching yourself doing it is the key to changing it. It's like 90% of the work. That's why I speak about mindfulness so much because it's the THING that's the difference between knowing what to do, or what you want to do and actually DOING it. If you're not aware of what you're thinking or how you're talking to yourself, you can't change the inner dialogue to be less critical of yourself. 

How can you become more mindful? You have to just do it. You have to press pause long enough to catch the things you're thinking and saying and doing. People struggle with this because they run like robots most of the time. 

Once you notice that you've said something critical, re-word it to be more inspiring, empowering or more supportive. See my example above. 

Eat with the Seasons:

Also a fairly simple idea, but often difficult to practice. The goal is to focus your daily diet around what is growing locally around you and in abundance at a specific time of year. For example, since our summer was a bit delayed here in Boston this year, the Farmer's Market is selling a lot of veggies plants and leafy greens--the best their crops can do right now. In the coming months, there will be an abundance of veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, etc. As the summer ends and fall approaches, you'll see tons of squashes, apples and root vegetables like carrots. Your body may naturally crave the foods that are aligned with the growing seasons---as the weather warms, you will crave light, crunchy water-filled fruits and veggies. As the weather cools in the fall, you will crave rich, warm soups, stews, etc. This theory is awesome and I follow it as much as I can. The biggest bummer for me is finding leafy greens once they disappear from the summer fields of Massachusetts. The ones shipped from Cali just don't do it for me because by the time they arrive, they're pretty wilted and worn out.

If you live in Boston, however, and you have 45 degree weather in mid-June, warm vegetarian gumbo sounds absolutely perfect.

So, here you go! I snagged this recipe from a magazine and don't remember which one so I hope I don't get found out. 

Vegetarian Gumbo

Buy this: 

1/2 cup sunflower or coconut oil

1/3 cup flour

1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups fresh or frozen green beans

3 carrots, sliced (2 cups)

1 parsnip, diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen sliced okra

1 Tbs. ground cumin

1 Tbs. paprika

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Do this:

1) Stir together oil and flour in heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.

2) Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add remaining ingredients a 4 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 40 minutes or until carrots are tender. Serve over rice, quinoa or millet.

Serves 8

Here, the rich dark roux of a Louisiana style gumbo is laced with okra, parsnips, carrots and green beans, but feel free to substitute any vegetables you choose (good opportunity to use what's growing in season...)

Simple, fast and it makes plenty of leftovers.


;) Silence the inner critic, cook what's around you (when you can) and make food that is healthy and leaves leftovers for later when the pace of your week picks up.


This coming weekend, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2nd to be exact, I am going to be standing at a table talking to people all day long about health coaching.

Yes, that's right. I get to stand and talk about myself all day!

Well, that's not entirely true. I am going to be spending most of that time LISTENING to people, particularly about their attendance at an event entirely about ALL THINGS LOCAL in Boston (and some surrounding areas, ;) )

COME and check it out! It's FREE!


My table/booth is C35 and I am super-dupa excited to be a part of this event. I firmly believe the more we can invest our money in local food and local business, things in our immediate community will improve on a daily basis. I also believe in local because most often it yields better quality per hard-earned dolla bill I spend.

Here's an example...

yesterday I needed groceries to make some simple meals, but I was on foot and pretty darn exhausted. On my way home, I cruised by Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis SQ in Somerville and bought some cut meats and cheese, a few squashes and zucchinis from local farms as well as some broccoli. OH! and a great loaf of bread (unsliced) from a local bakery.

This yielded: an AMAZING sandwich yesterday and now several more this week, fresh veggies for sauteeing for dinner a few nights AND it was fast, convenient and extremely FRESH! I got about 6 meals worth of food (for $29.00) when I could have dropped those dollars on something far less nutritious and maybe would have made it to ONE batch of leftovers.

Not convinced?

Another example?

I had three bunches of bok choy from the Davis Sq farmer's market ($3.00 for 3 big bunches) sitting in my Crisper drawer and it was almost 7:30 and I was starved and tired. Yes, I capitalized Crisper.

What to do? Well, my lovely partner took a quick walk down the street to a local Thai restaurant (Thailand Cafe in Arlington, MA) and grabbed a big 'ol batch of their delicious pad thai for about $6. We put some toasted sesame oil in a pan, wilted down the bok choy and put that right alongside the pad thai. Ideally, we would have meal-planned a bit better to make our own pad thai to join those delicious, nutritious greens but----we are busy and imperfect people! Because we have been eating more slowly and intentionally, our appetites are smaller and we even had leftovers for the next day. Awesome.

Thailand Cafe saved the day AND we matched it with some local greens that we prepared ourselves. Not every meal can be handmade when you're on the go and working long hours but you don't have to live on sandwiches, oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs.

Local means fresh.

Local means fast.

Can you use more fresh FAST food in your life?

Start investigating the healthy options in your community and mixing and matching when time is short.