Lessons from Oranges

The day was a crisp, sunny day with soft white clouds juxtaposed against the sharp edge of the early winter breeze that tickled the nose until it ran. My neck was bundled in a new fluffy scarf, my hands were protected from the wind by my sturdy black gloves. 

There was nothing openly gloomy about this day; that didn’t stop my mood from souring. Today was an off-day. I felt…disconnected and internally shaky and tired and anxious. I felt out of control and out of luck and out of time and out of mental capacity.

It takes me 37 minutes to walk to the Uni. It didn’t matter that I gave myself plenty of time, I still felt really rushed. I felt like I was late. I felt like I had to hurry myself on up. 

I stopped by the market on my way home from Uni to get groceries for the next two days. I’m usually quite the fan of grocery shopping and meal planning, but for some reason it took me ages today to think about what I wanted to create. And again, anxiety oozed into my grocery shopping experience. I started to think about all the other things I could be doing with those 6 euros I was going to spend. I started thinking about all the other things I could be doing with the time I was wasting staring at rows of seasonal veggies. 

I couldn’t plan very well and I couldn’t deal with my own lack of indecision, so I grabbed what was on sale. I found myself shuffling home with a net of six oranges, a jar of local honey and a bag of frozen vegetables. 

After stumbling around with the key in the lock, I threw open the door to our flat and hobbled to the kitchen table, plopping down on the squeaky chairs feeling rather defeated for no understandable reason.

My stomach started growling so I grabbed the oranges. As soon as I started digging my fingers into the thick orange peel something changed. The citrus tang began to laze its way up into my nostrils, dancing with my sinuses and trickling down my throat. The first orange wedge was almost miraculous; my teeth aligning perfectly with the natural edge of the slice, the juice flooding my mouth and going to join the scent of the orange down in my throat. 

Suddenly my posture became straighter. My shoulders relaxed. I sighed deeply and tucked my knees into my chest, feeling the weight of the day lift off as I finished my orange. 

I know what you might be thinking; what a dramatic rendition of a moment eating this orange, you diva. But this is almost exactly how it happened.

I love nutrition. I love macronutrients. I love planning a day around obtaining as much nutritional balance as optimally possible. Moving to a new country hasn’t left much opportunity to prioritize nutrition. I didn’t expect it to but I shouldn’t have forgotten about it. 

My meals haven’t necessarily plummeted in nutritional value; however, they have become much more processed. I definitely have spent a fair number of dinners feasting on cereal or on plain cooked pasta or on crackers and peanut butter. 

I’ve oscillated between plant based vegetarian and vegan for a time now. It comes down to the simple fact that my body really likes whole foods. My body responds really well when I chalk it full of veggies and fruit and nuts and green tea. I got distracted and negligent and I forgot to listen to what my body was trying to tell me. 

Maybe for you too eating something with a lot of nutritional value could have the power to transform a day. What it comes down to is more than that, though. You have to know thyself. You have to listen to thyself. You are the one who meets your needs. 

Peace and Blessings,

Josie

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