My food cupboard, my garden of health

I don’t have a green thumb, I have a floury thumb. Hahaha! But I do come from a family of aunts and cousins who proudly display their gardens blooming with flowers and vegetable plots that make you feel like you’ve just stepped into an Alice in Wonderland storybook. It’s lovely, it’s lush and it’s colourful, it’s mouth-wateringly pretty and it’s brimming with vitality. But personally, I just don’t have a green thumb.

What makes me tick is the power of dates, different types of flour, the discovery of new ingredients in the aisles of grocery stores and farmers markets. My personal garden consists of the treats I make myself. Does that count? Let’s just say it does. Apparently, we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.

I love the colour green. I love natural light that amplifies the beauty of flowers. I like to run in big city parks, to follow long, winding county roads where you happen upon breathtaking landscapes, I love green for its energy and freshness. Running or biking in areas of the most outstanding natural beauty is one of my greatest pleasures. But I don’t have a green thumb. It’s terrible. I can barely keep a plant alive. Have I tried talking to them? Yes. Do I water them? Yes… well, at least I think so. Would I like to have a house with a lush garden awash with colourful flowers? Yes, but the only plants that manage to survive are perennials. In fact, I should thank my perennials for fooling everyone in the neighbourhood into believing I’m a talented landscaping artist. I’m good at deciding where to put plants and at planting them, but from there onwards, oh boy…. I just cross my fingers and put my faith in Mother Nature. But that’s perfectly fine. The way I cultivate my inner garden is different.

To make it sound positive and full of imagery, I could say I own a ranch (!!!) which I’ve divided into three gardens: 1) my lush green playground of vitality (which boils down to my strong need to be active and keep fit), 2) my Japanese water garden (in my imagination – hahaha!) because I’m Zen and I’m convinced I can help improve the health of all human beings (yes, you read that correctly) with my recipes that are sweetened with date puree so we can say “bye-bye to refined sugar” and 3) my inner courtyard where I keep all my ingredients: my food cupboard. Do you find that funny? Maybe, but it’s still true.

Have you ever thought of considering your food cupboard as a sanctuary for your health?

A secret hiding place to store all the ingredients you need to treat yourself to the things that will bring joy and happiness. The only place in your home where you stockpile your daily fuel. What’s in there? What’s your star product? What does it need to contain for you to feel at peace? Which ingredients or foods in your cupboard make you feel as if you have lots of yummy, wholesome options to feast on? Dates, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, flours, natural extracts, essential oils, plant-based milk (in an unopened container, obviously), milk or dark chocolate chips? Chia seeds, flaxseed, wheat germ, oat bran, shelled hemp seeds? By the way, did you know that, of all the seeds and nuts, pumpkin seeds and hemps seeds are the two that contain the most protein? Ever heard of chocolate bark? Among all the edible things on this earth, this little-known superfood is the one that contains the most antioxidants. It’s insane!

My “real” garden is in my food cupboard. It’s amazing all the things that you “grow yourself” in the kitchen when you do a bit of home cooking. Don’t you agree? Cookies, bars, energy balls, muffins, cakes, puddings, etc. Cooking, like gardening, is an art. It’s the art of nurturing your health by choosing to eat homemade and home-cooked food. Now that I see it that way, I’m proud when I say I don’t have a green thumb, because instead I have a thumb bursting with nourishing ideas.

What’s really amazing (and I’m barely exaggerating) is that if you’re able to put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir, then you have everything it takes to spread love in your kitchen.

If you have a hiking or cycling buddy with a green thumb, why not whip up a batch of gourmet treats sweetened with date puree for your next running, walking, biking or swimming outing? I’m convinced your friends will consider you lucky to have such a wonderful culinary garden. Let’s tell it like it is: a batch of nice plump and tender Labriski energy cookies or muffins sparkling in the sunlight on a picnic table will be the envy of even the world’s most talented gardeners.

While on the subject, let me introduce one of my cookies which I like to eat after training: an energy cookie that’s chock-a-block with coconut and protein called the Bonhomme Carnaval. Bon appétit!


Mériane aka Madame


Article from one of my contributions to the magazine MIEUX-ÊTRE, Fall 2019.


Photo credit: Audrey McMahon

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