On Friday, I went to the Farmers Market to stock up on veggies for the end-of-cleanse soup. It was wonderful to be out in the spring sun, handling peppers and tomatoes right off the farm. I carefully avoided the cheese wagon (my meat cravings are long gone, but my obsessive affection for cheese has held on kicking and screaming through this whole process) and relished taking several trips to my car with bags of goodies. Bell peppers of every color, stacks of red and yellow onions in buckets, mushrooms and sugar snap peas in their little boxes, mounds of fresh corn fluttering ends in the breeze, piles of cucumbers and zucchini balanced precariously on a table, soccer-ball sized heads of cabbage crisp in the shade. I wasn't sure I could wait another 36 hours. This from the girl who would sit at the table for hours as a child, refusing to eat the five green beans on the plate before her.

Today is our last chew-free day. I can hardly believe that my food addict self has been on a liquid diet for the past 13 and come out emotionally balanced and full of energy and focus. I spent most of this morning washing, slicing and dicing away at the mound I had brought home. Every time I went back to the fridge, there was another bag, another layer of freshness ... it quickly became clear that my eyes had been bigger than BOTH of our stomachs! ALL of my counter space (not much to start with, let me assure you) and the table was COVERED in water drips and veggie leavings and a growing stack of zip-lock containers of diced up yummyness. I 'cheated' and chewed on a carrot and a slice of red pepper, before spitting them out. I can promise you I have never in my life enjoyed the taste of a fresh vegetable more. I had to empty the entire fridge to find room for all of it - complicated by the fact that we have a flat of Wheatgrass taking up most of top rack (it's behind the OJ in the photo - click the link to see the whole thing.)

I have considered becoming a vegetarian on and off for years (with cheese, of course!) but always have hard time imagining pulling it off. I am product of a cattle ranching family in Texas, and growing up on steak at Thanksgiving and Christmas is hard to buck. (They say there are no true vegetarians in Houston, because there are actual particles of meat in the air ... ewwww.) The fact that I've never been fond of vegetables is a big sticking point. Now that my kitchen looks like a rainbow, though (and the Moosewood cookbook is cracked open) I think it may not be so far fetched after all.

Along the same lines, 0ne poster on the Forum told me about the plan her Naturopath put her on: 80% fruits & veggies - mostly raw, 10% animal - meat & dairy, 10% grains & sugars. A simple plan for a healthy approach to food. This type of thing is nothing new, I know, but it is certainly a fresh perspective as I start with a fresh palette - one that is looking with relish towards that pot vegetable soup. As Mama Hen said, "here's to moderation in all things." And I think that's what I need to head towards through all of this.

In the end, it all comes down to balance.

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