I woke up yesterday morning earlier than usual. It was a struggle to lift my body from the bed. My limbs felt heavy, my mind felt muddled, it was a great day to turn off the snooze. I eventually made it out the door and to an early Pilates class, but even that seemed harder than usual. I realized this was happening because I’ve been in manic mode, trying to pack too much in each day. I reached the point where it was too much for me, and my body was telling me to slow down.
After class, Lindsay, my teacher gave me a card to her friend’s new raw restaurant, suggesting I check it out. “It’s a great place to go on a special date,” she stated. “You should go today for lunch.” I thanked her, as though that was even a possibility. I had an appointment in the mid afternoon, and beforehand, I planned to go Christmas shopping. If I did have any free time, it would be spent productively since the clock was rapidly ticking towards Christmas.
I wandered through the mall without purpose, without direction, my mind and body were too frazzled. I found myself in front of the recommended restaurant and looked down at my watch. I had an hour and a half before my appointment. Typically, I would grab a shake or a salad to go and eat it while on the run, but at this point, I was so exhausted, I decided to actually sit. I perused the menu, intrigued by the delectable dishes.
I have had raw food before on many occasions, but this particular restaurant took raw cuisine to an entirely new level. I felt embarrassed by the decadence of eating such a meal by myself mid afternoon, and then I remembered Lindsay’s words. I didn’t need another person sitting across from me to make this a special date. I was going to have a date with Theresa, and I was going to spoil her without regret.
I ordered a dish from each menu option. It was more food than I typically eat for lunch, but it was raw, it was wholesome so I didn’t restrict myself. This was the first meal I took my time eating in a very long time. I applauded the presentation of each dish, which was appealing and unique. I took my time, savoring each bite, which was satiated with flavor. By the time I was finished with my meal, an hour and a half had easily passed.
When I’m busy, I normally don’t enjoy my food, let alone take pleasure in eating it. I’m not a “foodie,” in fact, I mainly eat for substance rather than enjoyment. Taking the time to treat myself to a quiet moment in the midst of an active afternoon, I was actually able to taste all the flavors, appreciate the creative process that was put into each bite. I delighted in the beauty of each plate as it was presented before me; each dish was almost too lovely to eat.
When I was finished, I felt a renewed energy, and I especially felt that I had taken good care of myself, which I sometimes forget to do. I think it’s wonderful that during the holidays, our focus is mainly on friends and family. It’s the one time of year we put so much thought into others. But while this can be a time of great stress as well as merriment, it’s important to every once in a while put aside some time for ourselves and relish in a little pampering. Whether it be in the form of a meal, a massage, or even creating a quiet niche to take the time to read a book, it’s not only rejuvenating (I feel like a new person today) it’s restorative as well.
Kimchi Dumplings With Sesame Foam and Coriander at M.A.K.E., Matthew Kenney's new raw restaurant at the Santa Monica Place Marketplace.