“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” ~ Oscar Wilde
When I was young I used to watch a popular cartoon titled Popeye. The main character was a somewhat gnarly-looking sailor man who smoked a pipe and had an anchor tattoo on his arm. Popeye had a love interest named Olive Oyl and a long-standing rival called Bluto. Bluto was a burly fellow who also vied for the attention of Olive Oyl. In each episode of the cartoon, Popeye would gallantly rescue Olive from either a life-threatening predicament or the arms of his rival, Bluto. In either case, he would squeeze the top off a can of spinach and swallow the slimy greens in one gulp, in order to gain the necessary strength to tackle the situation.
This was the extent of my experience with spinach for the first 40 years of my life. I remember seeing it on my lunch tray in the grade school cafeteria and from the color, texture and smell, I determined it was something only Popeye could stomach.
As I got older I realized that spinach could be disguised in a salad with warm bacon and sweet dressing to the point where I didn’t even notice the greens. But more recently, I have learned to appreciate the leafy super food. I put it in my smoothies or sauté it in butter, coming full circle back to the slimy texture of my youth.
Discovering what combination
best suits our own body and our own
lives is a daily practice.
So, recently I came to the end of a particularly bad, food binge. We had company for more than a week and ate delicious carbohydrates and delectable sugary treats. We drank adult beverages each night and started the mornings with warm rolls and pancakes. Our grown kids and grandkids were here on vacation so eating smart took a break too, but once they headed home, I threw out the desserts and restocked with purchases from the produce aisle.
The first morning, I started out with my usual breakfast smoothie. Fresh carrots, cucumber, and spinach, annihilated in my Nutri-Bullet with a frozen banana and some berries. Delicious! For lunch that day, I sautéed spinach with garlic and butter. If you’ve ever cooked fresh spinach you might be aware of how dramatically the spinach deflates when heated. Four cups of leaves cooks down to a few tablespoons of warm greens, so I made a second helping. It was so yummy!
That night my husband and I made salads for dinner and congratulated ourselves for our wise food choices. One whole day of leafy greens, and vegetables and fruit. I could almost hear my body thanking me.
In the morning, I blended another green smoothie. More spinach and carrots and cucumber puree. This is my go-to breakfast and has been for a couple of years, so when my stomach started to rumble not long after I finished my green concoction I paused to consider what might be happening. I think it’s called an unintentional “cleanse.” A little too much greenery in 24 hours for my carb-clogged colon. So, I eased off on the good stuff and threw in a few Junior Mints and fresh bread for fun.
Everything in life requires balance. Activity and rest. Work and play. Spinach and Junior Mints. Too much (or not enough) of almost anything has consequences, so we work within the lines of moderation. Discovering what combination best suits our own body and our own lives is a daily practice. Personally, I need a LOT of practice teaching my taste buds to prefer broccoli over pita chips, but I’m working on it.
I think Oscar Wilde was right. Everything in moderation. Even spinach.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.