By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Mar 24, 2018,
This morning I took a walk. It was the first time I’d had the opportunity to get outside in awhile as it had been raining for almost a week. Everything was slick, and wet, and muddy, and just downright bleak. The trees were overburdened and awkwardly bent from multiple downpours, and the air was heavy with misty fog. The creek on our property was loud as the fresh water rushed down the mountain into our neighbor’s ravine.
I was rather dreary myself, irritated at the mess, and restless with the cold winter that was seemingly unending. I had been complaining loudly to anyone who would listen, about the inconvenience, the annoyance, and the ugliness of sunless gray days.
As I walked, I suddenly started to think about the hundreds of bulbs that I had planted so lovingly and carefully in my garden last fall. I remembered how I spent a week intricately designing the layout of the flowers. I had thoughtfully spent time planning how the tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth would be placed in order to make the most glorious spring display. As I walked, I began to realize, with startling clarity, how much those forgotten cold bulbs deep inside the earth must be appreciating all this rain. It dawned on me that this lovely long week of rainfall was literally bringing life to those soon-to-be flowers that I love so much. It made my heart smile and it made me glad for the rain.
Perspective changes everything…
I have always loved eating delicious food, watching scads of Food Network cooking shows, gathering recipes from gorgeous food magazines, collecting beautiful glossy cookbooks, but I never really enjoyed cooking. It was just a means to an end, which was food in my belly! I thought I knew how to cook, but all I really did was combine boxes, cans, packages, fry some edible food-like substances, throw it all together and call it dinner.
I spent all last Sunday alone in my kitchen batch cooking the Clean Food Dirty Girl meal plan. As I was working it occurred to me how much my attitude towards food and cooking has changed since adopting a Whole Food Plant Based way of eating.
It’s no longer a mad rush every night trying to get dinner on the table.
It’s no longer a chore to figure out what to eat.
It’s no longer going to the grocery store multiple times during the week and spending too much money.
It’s no longer a maudlin task to cook and clean up. Actually, it has become a very empowering and grounding experience to take pure, unprocessed, simple plant ingredients and turn them into sumptuous creations beyond my wildest imagination.
It’s become a completely therapeutic and wildly unexpected way in which I nourish my body, feed my soul, and practice self love.
Perspective changes everything…
A life lived in simple gratitude is the only kind of life worth living. Even in the most excruciating of circumstances, where grief, pain, anger, and heartbreak surround you, it is possible to be grateful. Even in the midst of the worst thing imaginable, if you can think of just one simple gesture, something as small as a kind smile from a friend or the opening of a door by a stranger or that breath you just exhaled, anything at all, and then whisper a heartfelt thank you to the universe, it will be the beginning of a new day. And that day, in which you can bravely walk through your life in thankful awareness of the love around you, will be the day in which your eyes will open to new chances, new people, new adventures, new opportunities, and new life.
When we start to look at things differently it doesn’t change the situation or alter the facts. None of the crappy things that this life throws our way just suddenly vanish. Sometimes, life just sucks. And sometimes life can be undeniably unfair, outrageously unjust, and astonishingly cruel.
However, when we start to look at the situation in a new way, or in a different light, how we feel and how we respond are what change! Our attitude is the key to surviving any situation. Whether it’s a small disappointment or a horrendous disaster or a terrifying tragedy.
Changing one’s perspective does not happen overnight.
It took me a fucking long time.
I’ve been to hell and back many times. I’m not a Holly Golightly, Pollyanna, or Mary Poppins (choose your movie…) who has led a charmed life and casually throws out platitudes and clichés.
I do not view life through rose-colored glasses: always positive, always cheerful, and always superficially idealistic. I know the pain, fear, and desperation of which I write. I have been in the trenches, hopeless, humiliated, terrified, and totally broken.
There was a time when I was homeless, friendless, jobless, and penniless.
There was a time when I was abandoned by family, friends, church, and God.
There was a time when I suffered such abuse of body, mind, and spirit, that I thought survival was impossible. There was a time when I faced legal uncertainties and an unknown future.
There was a time when I was raging from full-blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, paralyzing anxiety, and mind-blistering depression.
There was a time when I was barely holding it all together, and only then with tape and glue. There was a time when I was dead inside.
I’ve come to realize, after many years of personal growth, reflection, and maturity just how much those scary, dark days were needed!
Just like the harsh winter days that wipe the earth clean and allow it to start all over again in the next season…
Just like the rains that nourish the flowers and plants and trees and sustain our rivers until they burst forth into new life…
I needed it all to become the authentic, open, loving, empathetic person that I am now!
It’s all part of this crazy, uncertain, outrageous adventure that we call Life. Yes, I have deep regrets and would change so many things in my past if I had the opportunity, but that is not an option. Instead, I can appreciate, enjoy, and delight in the present moment and focus on the future.
The years I suffered, barely putting one foot in front of the other taught me strength, endurance, perseverance, forgiveness of self, and it allowed me to emerge with joy and new life. Now, I can bravely and courageously fly on the wings of experience and knowledge.
After years of persistent and grueling soul work, I have finally pulled myself up by my apron strings. I have now come to life with a change in perspective by using the smells and colors in my kitchen:
The sweet freshness of chopped cucumber, mint, basil, and dill that easily opens my heart.
The intense fragrance of sautéed garlic, mushrooms, and bell peppers that fills me with purpose.
The pungent shock of sliced red onions that brings tears of gratitude instead of tears of rage.
The simple purity of the deep purple in cabbage and the bright green of broccoli and kale that never fail to bring clarity.
The spicy heat of a jalapeño pepper plucked from the plant and broken open that conjures healing pain instead of killing pain.
The astonishing decadence of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries that remind me of a luscious new life.
The calming earthiness of curry, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and the otherworldly hue of yellow-orange turmeric that always makes me smile.
The smell of ripe watermelon, sweet cantaloupe, succulent juicy peaches, and tantalizing mango that brings me back to life and wakes up my spirit.
There is hope, my friend, in everything. I want to encourage, uplift, inspire, and motivate you to get back in your kitchen, on your walking path, in your garden, with your people, your animals, your sanctuary, your world.
And joyfully take back your life.
Thank you, Lyndsey, for another amazing piece.
As the amazing crew in our private Facebook group knows, Lyndsey is a constant source of inspiration to eat more plants. If you’re not already in our group, we’ve got open arms!
A bangin’ tofu scramble is a must-have plant based recipe for your home kitchen. Check out today’s recipe that is hands-down the best tofu egg-like scramble around.
- 1 block firm tofu (14oz / 397g) , drained and pressed (don’t use soft or extra firm tofu, regular firm is the one you want for this recipe)
- 3/4 teaspoon black salt aka "Kala Namak"
- 1/2 teaspoon onion granules
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper about 20 turns
- Take the block of tofu out of the package and rinse it with water. Place the tofu on a plate and then set a cutting board on top of it and place something heavy on the cutting board, like a few cans or a heavy book. Let it set like this for about 15 minutes so the water can drain from the tofu.
- While the tofu is being pressed, add all of the spices to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir together.
- When the tofu is done draining, remove from the plate and press it with a few paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth to extract any remaining liquid.
- Place the block of tofu in the mixing bowl with the spices and mash it with a potato masher until there are no more big pieces of tofu.
- Stir everything together and then transfer to a smaller container with a lid and store in your fridge overnight. You don't have to marinade it over night but this makes it super tasty. If you skip this step, marinate the tofu in the spices for at least 10 minutes.
- When you're ready to have your Scramble, heat up a skillet for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat and then add the tofu and cook for about 5 minutes, flipping over intermittently with a flat spatula, until the tofu is heated all the way through.
- Serve on sprouted toast with thinly sliced tomatoes and chopped up chives, or any other toppings that sound yummy. Sprouts and avocado is also a yummy combo.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with a shift in perspective.
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That, my dear, was lovely.
Thank you, Laura! It came from my soul. Xoxo
Lyndsey Hafer Williams!!!! This. Everything about this is beautiful and true and inspiring, just like you. I can’t even. I am going to guess that there are a whole lot of people who will read this and it will resonance deeply with them. I know it did with me.
You are an amazing and brilliant human. Thank you for sharing this! ❤️❤️❤️
Oh, Betty! Thank you for your kind words! This writing is so personal for me and I’m thrilled at the thought that it may inspire others. Xoxo
A beautiful piece. I am going to try to change my perspective. Thank you
Jill! You can do it! Seriously, changing your perspective will transform your life! Xoxo
This was a most amazing post and thank you. I felt like you were speaking to me, and completely understand my grief and depression. Thank you for helping me see a different perspective and the strength it takes to get there. You rock…!
Oh Amy! I’m right there with you sister! We’ve got this! Xoxo
Thank you for being. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for carrying the fire. Thank you for allowing us a look.
You are appreciated!
David! Your kind words mean the world to me! Thank you.
What an awesome piece Lyndsey!!! I wish you were next me because I’d give you a big hug!! I’m so glad we met when we did because you and your contagious joy have helped me through such a challenging year! I can’t wait to read your next piece!
Big virtual hugs!!
Oh Jennifer! Who would’ve ever thought something as sweet as our friendship would come from something like that! Right? I adore you, my friend! Hugs in person soon!
Lyndsey, I am so grateful for your words! Empowering and utterly joyful!
Hi Sarah! Thank you so much. It was straight from my heart to yours! Xoxo
Lyndsey, you write with eloquence and your heart flows through your words. Thank you for sharing a window into your life and know that I deeply appreciate you, your honesty, your passion, and your loving heart. Perspective IS everything…changing that is a great place to start in creating a beautiful life. ????
Thank you Becky for your kind words! You’re so right, changing one’s perspective is such a key to success! So much love sent your way!
I’m a man. Were not supposed to cry. So much for that.
I’m totally broken physically emotionally financially after a lifetime of “success”.
I’m alone in early recovery after 15 years of active addiction living in a mountain cabin in Colorado.
This story may have saved my life.
One day at a time, Jeff. I’d say those were cleansing tears you shed. Out of brokenness come beautiful things. We are all here for you.
Jeff, thank you for letting my words touch your soul! It was very personal for me to write and pretty scary for me to share so publicly. But, I’m glad I did, because it’s helping me to heal and maybe also for you too! I outrageously applaud you for working on your recovery! Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Love yourself with good whole plant based food and other kindnesses. Heal from the inside out! So much love and Hope being sent your way! You’re not alone! Xoxo
I don’t know how to go on. There is so much wrong. I am in chronic pain numb swollen feet (peripheral nueropathy) back and hip pain, had hip replacement right hip now left one going.
I have lost my business and all my money. My job. No where to go.
I live alone on top of a mountain.
Worst I am in benzodiazipine protracted withdrawal.
I have massive anxiety and tension followed by bouts of severe depression.
I am afraid to go anywhere but I do.
My doctors don’t know anything about benzos. No one does. I quit cold turkey 7 moths ago and quit gabapentin 2 months ago. The symptoms are still terrible.
I am doing yoga but not helping.
I am currently seeing two therapists and am in NA. Everyone is trying but I’m so wracked with anxiety about my life an my pain that it just seems hopeless.
What can possibly help me??
Jeff, my only advice is to see your doctors and therapists and be completely honest with them. There is always Hope. Always, even when it’s not in your current sight. Wishing you so much love and healing!
Thank for this. My daughter, who is 19, and struggles with depression, is having a hard time right now. I sent this to her. Obviously this beautifully written piece is not about food, and it is my hope that this gives her some comfort. Thank you for baring your soul. Your willingness to share touches hearts and helps hurting people know they are not alone.
Hi Caren! I’m so glad you appreciated what I wrote and I deeply hope it helps your daughter as well. So much love sent to you both!
You have prepared such a beautiful dish that I am planning to add it to the menu of an upcoming dinner that I am arranging for my family and friends. I’m sure they’ll be thoroughly impressed by my skills. Thank you so much for this lovely toast idea.
I’ve yet to try it out, myself! This is a Molly Patrick special for sure! The pictures are so stunning that I want to eat it ASAP!
Thank for for our beautiful words . . . I swimming in some of those dark places today and you have reminded me that one step, one am,I’ll, one act of gratitude and loving kindness can start creating the shift. My daughter told me the other day that I am just like a water lily . . Right now I am stuck in slime and murky water . . .but soon the Spring will come and I will blossom into something beautiful again, and use all that was cloudy before to fuel and energize me. Thank you for reminding today. Namaste
Hi Dan! Yes! That’s exactly it. One day at a time. Sometimes it’s just one right choice at a time. Just remember, there’s ALWAYS hope! Sending you tons of love, strength, and healing energy as you continue on your journey to Joy!
I just got around to reading this today and it was exactly what my soul needed at this exact moment. Such a beautifully written piece and it really touched me. Thank you for the perspective ❤️
Christal, I’m glad you read it! I’m also glad my words reasonated with you. Sending big love to you!
Thank you for your lovely words Lyndsey!
Sorry to be so prosaic Molly, but how many servings is the scramble for? I am cooking for me and need to learn portion control!
Hi Melané, If you serve this alone, probably one-two servings depending on how hungry you are. If you serve it with other items, perhaps a grain, greens and fruit, it would be more like 4 servings. Hope that helps! ~Karen
Are garlic granules and onion granules the same as poweder?
Hi Vesna, They give the same flavor so either works! I’ve found that powder tends to clump more, and it’s much finer, whereas the granules are larger and easier to work with because they don’t stick to my measuring spoons like the powdered versions do. ~Karen
I was wondering why regular firm is better than extra firm? I am a person who always loved my scrambled eggs pretty “hard” and assumed extra firm would be better for that? I am suuuuper new to the tofu world and plant based eating world in general. Thanks!
Hi Maggie, either firm or extra-firm (tofu) will work in this recipe. Firm tofu absorbs marinades a bit better. Glad you found us! We have a slew of tofu recipes on the blog, including this recent one for an Apple-sage Tofu Sausage.
I’m glad you found us! Here are some newbie links that might be helpful to you.
Since you are new to eating lots of plants, check out this post.
Here is a list of pantry staples for a plant based kitchen.
Check out our Trial plan, too. You can request it here. There are five meals in the plan and you can scale your portions up or down. It’s free and does not convert to a subscription automatically. And, there are two tofu recipes in our Trial plan: Plant Powered Italian Sausage and Monglian Tofu.
Reach out if we can help you with anything! [email protected]
Thanks so much! I have the trial plan and as soon as I can afford it after this pandemic I will sign up for the plans! I’ve been creeping the facebook page for awhile now! Thanks so much for all those links, that’s so helpful!
Either will work!
If you like your eggs harder in firmness, buy extra firm tofu;)