Tuesday, 18 December 2012

On Sexting and Assumed Consent

sexting, along with sexy emails, are something i am in theory totally down for - they are an extension of our sexual expression and experience, additional ways in which we can engage with each other in hot and enjoyable ways.

that said, i have often felt violated upon receiving these messages; here are some of my thoughts on why that happens and what to do about it.

when we send a sexy message, it is a reflection of the space that we are in: likely kinda horny, thinking about sex and/or about the person we are messaging, and potentially not distracted by or focused on other things such as work, family, self-care, or other aspects of daily life. that's great! but the person receiving the message is fairly likely to be focusing on something else at that moment.
in the same way that we are thoughtful of our partners(s) emotional, physical, and mental mood/desire/consent/space in our face-to-face (or preferred position) intimate time , we need to take these things into account before hitting send buttons.

if i had just had an emotionally heated conversation with my mother and then you and i are alone together, what's the first thing you'd do? probably ask me how i'm doing, we would talk about the situation for a bit (if i needed/wanted to), and then potentially, if body language, verbal consent, or 'vibes' seemed right, we might slowly begin to move towards sexual intimacy. the fact that we are in the same space allows for us to use many tools and levels of intuition to asses each other's boundaries and emotional states.
those same signals aren't inherently present in text land, and we need to be cognizant of this.
if i am having that same conversation with my mother and hear the little 'bring' of a new message, and distractedly read "i was just touching myself and thinking of you," i will feel not only awkward, but thrust into a type of interaction i am not in the mood for and do not consent to.

i truly want sexy messages to be part of my healthy sexual relationships, but i've found that most of the time i am so caught off guard by the sudden assumed intimacy that i feel violated, upset, and disgusted by the person who sent it. i don't want to feel this way at all, let alone about someone that i trust and have generally positive and sexy feelings about!

so here's my plea:
keep being sexy. keep being sex positive and expressing yourself in ways that work for you and your partners, but ease into sexting in the same way you ease into sex. check in on what your message recipient is up to, since you aren't around to see. consider writing something like "i'm having sexy thoughts about you, would you like me to share?"
it might feel awkward and like it wrecks the spontaneity that makes sexting fun, but remember that those are the same arguments that many people make the first time they learn about the importance of explicit consent for physical sex. once you get used to it, it will enhance your experiences and relationships by ensuring that folks feel respected and are accountable to their needs and desires.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

arugula-cucumber-kimchi 'sushi'

today i went to a neighbourhood that isn't normally on my route, and happened upon a place i've  meant to check out for years (since they opened).
Granger Grocery, home of Connie's Cookin', is a mini corner grocery store with a super small scale korean kitchen where Connie, a lovely and sweet foodie, makes a different meal everyday and when you go, that's what you get. she also makes her own kimchi and sells it in the shop (see where i'm going here?).
i'm not usually running around town looking for new small businesses- sure, i'm glad they exist (relative to big business) but it takes a personal connection for me to actually care.

back when i worked at a bakery on main street, Jamie (co-owner with Connie of the grocery store/diner) used to come into the shop about once a week and buy 12 loaves of bread. he refused to call ahead so we could be prepared with the bread sliced and packaged when he arrived, and preferred to slow the errand down as he chatted with us about the excitement and frustration of starting his business. taking his time was an important part of his ideal business model. needless to say, if you've every worked in service, people like this are memorable and definitely make the job much more tolerable.
i had mostly forgotten about though, until i started working at the farmer's market where Jamie also regularly orders from the farm i work at. so there he was again, hanging around and chit-chatting. my curiosity was peaked as he mentioned the kitchen element of the shop and promised me that if it wasn't too busy Connie would surely be able to cook me something that would fit my diet.
so today, i was at Heather and 16th for a bodytalk session, and saw this cute looking grocery store. then i saw "Connie's Cookin'" and Jamie's friendly face inside the window. i stopped in.

i'm not going to go on about the character of the place, for that you should check out this article about Connie's Cookin' where someone with a good camera and nice words can give you the picture much better than i.
what i can say is that Jamie and Connie are nice. Connie really cares about food and promised to cook some millet and freeze it so it would be ready the next time i come in, and i agreed to get them some garlic from the farm as they've been too busy to come by recently.
i also bought some amazing kimchi that Connie made. if my memory is correct, she said it has in it nappa cabbage, pear, carrot, green onion, ginger, garlic, and just a little bit of hot pepper. it is fermented, no added sugar, and not canned (ie killed).

so i got home and was hungry and wanted to do something special with my treat.

kimchi sushi:
toasted nori wraps
leftover quinoa and fermented millet porridge (use whatever grains you have, you just need to make sure it's sticky so cook with a lid on and extra fluid/time, or use something porridgy like i did..)
sesame oil

cook/reheat your grains to get the right texture(sticky, but not too moist. think of sushi rice but it can be more blendy than that). add sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. allow to cool.
take a nori sheet and place on clean/dry counter-top, shiny side down.
spread a thin layer of your grain mix on the nori, about covering just under half of the sheet.

it begins

put arugula (or any soft greens will work), cucumber, any other veggies you like, and some kimchi on there too. when it comes to nori wraps, remember, less is more. you don't want it to be too big to get your mouth around, or it's a kinda hard to eat.

ready to roll

 roll, starting with the covered side, and when you get to the edge dip your fingers in your kimchi brine and moisten the edge of the nori sheet. then finish rolling it. the moist edge will help it stick together.
i prefer not to cut my sushi, as it's hard to get right without a pretty damn good knife. i eat it like a burrito.

ready to scarf by candle light


Monday, 3 December 2012

Tarts for Breakfast

Or perhaps some pudding instead?
As someone who doesn't eat sugar (including many natural fructose sources) or almost any flour, it can be pretty hard for me to create treats, sweet breakfasts, or desserts that will not contribute to my health problems. That said, it's pretty fracking exciting when I find or develop a sweet treat that fits into my diet.
The following recipe is something I created this past weekend to bring to my dear friend's family's holiday gathering. I can't tell you how good it felt to be indulging in dessert along with the family  - there is something so affirming about eating alongside with people, and especially when other people are eating the same food as me (and, needless to say, the opposite is also true: it's very isolating and sad to be unable to enjoy food with the people I love, or to have everyone else indulging in one thing while I have a compensation prize).

the amazing spread! my tarts are the ones in paper

If you've read other posts in which I mention the principles of food combining, you will notice that this recipe does not comply with those guidelines. I have realized that my mental and emotional health (intrinsically related to physical health) are so enriched by having 'treats' and eating with people that the minor slowing of digestion caused by 'improper' combining is barely worth blinking at.

SO! here's my recipe for gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free squash tarts/squash pudding:

Squash Pudding:
-enough for one 9" pie OR 12 tarts, plus a little extra to bake as pudding
3 cups purreed sweet meat (or other sweet) squash
3 tb xylitol (more if you eat a lot of sugar, I do not so this tasted plenty sweet to me)
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder (or fresh ginger)
1 tsp 5 spice
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup kefir*
12 frozen/fresh cranberries (optional - to decorate tarts)

*I use goats milk kefir that I make, because it is the only creamy product I can digest (the fermentation converts lactose into lactic acid which makes it much more digestible, but also gives it a tart flavour). Coconut milk or whole cream would offer a sweeter flavour, so feel free to use whatever works for you.

Tart/Pie crust:
-enough for a 9" pie or 12 tarts
3/4 c quinoa flour
2/3 c millet flour*
1 tb xylitol
1/2 c very cold butter
cold water

* I couldn't find any at a store so I just put some millet through a coffee grinder which I don't use coffee in.

Preheat oven to 450 F
First, cut your butter into small chunks and put it in the freezer. Mix all the pudding ingredients together and set aside. In a food processor, combine flour and xylitol. Take your butter from the freezer and add to food processor. Pulse until it is mixed and crumbly, with small bits of butter throughout. It will look very dry, and perhaps only be a doughy texture at the bottom of the processor bowl near the blades. I added some cold water (only about a teaspoon) and pulsed a bit more. Dump out 'dough' (will still look very dry) onto a plate or directly into your 9" pie plate if you're making it a pie. If you grab a handful of the mixture, you should be able to press it into a clump in your hand (if not, add a tiny bit more cold water and mix in). Press dough into pie plate or into muffin cups. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed without any super thick or super thin spots.
Take your pudding and poor into pie/tart crust(s). Fill them as high as you can without spilling. Add a cranberry to the top of each tart if you like. Pour remaining pudding into an oven safe dish.
Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce heat to 350 for another 25-30 minutes. If you put a clean knife into the center of a tart, it should come out clean. Depending on what size/shape of dish you put your extra pudding into, it may cook faster or slower.

they should look something like this, but nicer in better lighting
Enjoy as a dessert, a healthy sweet snack, or as part of a lovely breakfast. I the pudding would be extra delicious with some warm carrot cranberry lime sauce on top! Yum.