Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baked Fish with Shallots – Naturally Gluten-free (Poisson en Papillotte)

Life is continually changing, that is a constant we can count on. It seems things are in an interesting place for many right now. Of course, there is the tragedy in Japan. Along side that, so many are meeting the diagnosis of chronic or previously undetected illnesses which are forcing them to face potential life-changing aspects of their being which, perhaps, they would not have the courage to face were the threat of death or ill-health not confronting them. We can ask why, but…why? It does no good. We have control over so little, yet so much, for it is our thoughts about what is happening in our lives, which truly determines our response to life’s events. The events after all, are simply events.

This is not to understate or fail to recognize the severity of many of the situations, which others are currently facing. That is not the intent of my statement. What I am asserting, however, is that so much of what we encounter as pain, stress or unrest is simply based upon our thoughts surrounding what is happening, rather than what is really happening. I refer more to everyday events in life rather than catastrophic or tragic events, which may present themselves in our life’s path.

Take for example the diagnosis of celiac or gluten intolerance. We have all faced that moment of panic of, “How can I live without…?” The continual, “But what will I eat, everything contains gluten?” It seems too challenging to consider, living a life without eating gluten products. But when you really think about it, there are a myriad of foods from which to choose…what does it matter if one category is no longer an option if one wishes to maintain good health and optimal well-being? It doesn’t. It’s our response to the idea of not eating cake, or pastries, or pasta, or bread, etc., that makes it stressful. What if you no longer had that stress? What if all you had to do was release the idea of attachment to these food items to feel free? It really is all that is needed. Just let go of the thought of these foods. Take them out of the realm of possibility and do not carry the thoughts about not having them. Just let go and move on to the options that are available. Make it an adventure, an exploration. The journey is quite amazing…

I know many folks who traverse this journey by trying to replace those items they miss so with alternatives, impostures. Breads, cakes, cookies, etc., made from substitute grains to emulate what they so desire. That is not letting go. That seems as going against the grain to me, bending it, if you will. And if that works for you, okay. But what about considering that which is naturally gluten-free, that which was never intended nor never did contain gluten…that which your body, without any adjustment or accommodation, can openly welcome without reaction, without hesitation, without question? I see that as true freedom, and that is where I have come in my journey with food…and this translates to where I intend to go in my life. But we are talking about food here, our relationship to food, the thoughts we carry surrounding food and the impact those thoughts have on our food choices. The choice is yours.

I have been down the road, and even have momentary cravings, which sometimes I attempt to satiate with “substitute” foods. My challenge is heightened in that I am allergic to most “grasses”, so rice, oats, corn…all of those I must meet in strict moderation. Okay, once in a while, I suffer through the consequences. Why? Because I still allow those thoughts to control my choices rather than allowing myself to release the thoughts and be free. It doesn’t happen often, I’m pretty well at peace with what my body needs and love how I feel when I listen to it. Do I want to feel bloated, gassy, crampy and disconnected or do I want to feel vital, alive, experience a fluid GI process, and approach life feeling clear headed? I choose the latter. I choose freedom.

I am not saying it’s easy. There are days when it comes more naturally to release those thoughts than others. It is a process, as well, rather than any type of event. So, being gentle with ourselves is an essential element to meeting success. We can, however, by taking baby steps, achieve a more peace way of being by altering our thoughts about food…life, expectations, relationships, money, etc. It’s all the same process. And as you approach this attitude of changing your thoughts toward food, you will likely find that you realize how your thinking affects those other aspects of your life such as I have mentioned…and you will begin to see just how much influence you have over your own life, just how much power your mind has. I do believe the mind is so much more powerful than many of us recognize. I do believe we can all empower ourselves by becoming aware of our thoughts and coming to recognize how those thoughts shape our responses to life…and choosing to have thoughts that support our optimal wellness, and the life we want to be living.

I have read a few excellent books of late, two of which I would like to share with you. They have helped and are helping fortify my journey through life. One is titled, The Untethered Soul and it is written by Michael A. Singer. This book was the perfect complement to the other modalities I am employing of late on my quest for better understanding. It’s not about food; it doesn’t have to be. The other book is written by a woman with whom a dear friend of mine, Pam Christiansen, has studied and she integrates the methods of “The Work” of this book into her own workshops. She is amazing and conducts workshops here in Seattle. The book is entitled Loving What Is. I think the title says it all, it is written by Byron Katie. Perhaps you will find one of these to speak to your own journey.

Some days I still feel like an infant in the understanding of the mind’s power, of my mind’s power over my life, but that is okay. It’s just a thought and I have the power to change it.

In peace.

Baked Fish with Shallots – Naturally Gluten-free
(Poisson en Papillotte)

1-1/2# True Cod, or other firm white fish
1 c. finely slice organic French shallots (go generous)
4-5 sprigs fresh organic thyme (or 2 t. dried)
2 organic bay leaves, fresh preferred
1 T. organic olive oil
1 T. Madeira
1T. Cognac
4 large organic romaine leaves
Sea salt
Fresh ground organic pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté on medium flame, add the shallots and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add the Madeira and Cognac; sauté until tender and translucent, incorporating sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Rinse the fish in cool water and pat dry. Place in a casserole with a tight fitting lid. (Conversely, you can prepare this in foil to be sealed during the baking process and place on a baking dish.)  Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground organic pepper and the thyme leaves. Cover the fish with the shallots, distributing them evenly. Place the bay leaves atop and place the romaine leaves as to fully cover the fish. Cover (or seal folded foil edges) and place in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes.

Remove the lettuce leaves prior to serving.

Serves four, adjust for additional guests.

Bon appétit!

copyright 2011 Taylor Donovan


Patrick Donovan, N.D. said...

My dear wife, every time I read one of your postings I find myself smiling at the creative joy from which they are written, deeply moved by the wisdom and degree of observance of life I see expressed in them, drooling at the anticipation of gustatory delight (and in many cases the memory of eating said delight) due to your sensually stimulating descriptions, and finally, often moved to tears at the gratitude I feel for you being in my life.


Taylor said...

I must be the most fortunate woman alive, for I have a husband as wonderful as you. If all could know such connection, such appreciation, such love, then the world would truly be the most wonderful place in which to live. I am truly blessed. Eternally we are as one...

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