And now, after that appetizer of tinted sky, here's the rest of my story. I've been on Dr. Mark Hyman's Ten Day Sugar Detox Diet (similar to the Paleo Diet) for the past nine months. After catching his special on PBS, I decided to try his protocol. It's tough and rigid: no sugar, no wheat, no starchy carbs, no dairy.
Being thin to begin with, keeping my weight up has been difficult. But the diet balances my blood sugar and makes me feel more energetic. This has inadvertently led me to shopping at our farmer's markets. In the past, visiting a farmer's market was something I did for the joy of capturing colorful photographs: grapefruit and radishes piled in picturesque stacks; jars of honey with sunlight illuminating their burnished nectar; orchids too and multi-colored bouquets of ranunculus, carnations and roses sparkling in plastic bins.
My new habit of shopping at farmer's markets began unexpectedly on a three-day getaway to Santa Ynez. There, one afternoon, after exploring the winding roads of Figueroa Mountain and enjoying the pastoral landscape of Santa Ynez Valley with its oak dappled rolling hills, I drove to the heart of the city, and proceeded down highway 246. There I ground to a halt and wound up going nowhere in a traffic jam. It turned out that the congestion was due to the Solvang farmer's market. Rather than sit in my car with a trusty Chihuahua staring at me with large amber eyes, and watching the stoplight change from red to green and back to red again, I decided to park, stroll through the quaint streets of Solvang and peruse their farmer's market.
At the market I was smitten by a box of ripe tomatoes shimmering in the afternoon sun. Without a nick or flaw, and in a rich shade of vermilion, they may have been the most beautiful tomatoes I've ever seen. I purchased three of them, and when I returned to Santa Barbara two days later, I was already regretting that I'd bought so few. I inhaled those tomatoes; soft and succulent, they were the nightshade version of ambrosia.
Once home, I began to dream of them and wonder how I might find more. This urge took me to our Santa Barbara farmer's market, and set me off on a new quest. There, I found fine tomatoes, but no match for the godly globes from Santa Ynez. In the meantime, I also found exquisite veggies straight from the fields still damp with morning dew, and I began to realize that it makes sense -- now that I eat so many vegetables -- to choose from the freshest and the sweetest.
Then there are the live musicians playing everything from bluegrass, to classical, adding rhythm, melody and beat to the experience. There are toddlers too, nibbling on juicy apricots, and a whole scene unfolding before me with its myriad photo ops -- which in between bagging my veggies and filling my rolling cart -- beckons the black little camera slung over my shoulder to join the festival and click.
Stay healthy and happy my delightful friends -- savor your days.
I will return in two months on July 15th.
Until then, my warm regards, ~ Anitra