They say too much of something good turns the opposite. And rightfully so, as I was set to discover for myself during the lockdown. In a desperate attempt to avoid any news and stay focus on positive things, I created this bubble of cooking around me. I didn't quite realise I was actually experiencing high levels of stress, and cooking was my way of coping with it.
I'd wake up and immediately look forward to what the next best recipe was going to be. Like an alchemist, I would try and marry ingredients together in the hope that my creations will be revolutionary. A culinary masterpiece. My stress turned into adrenaline, padding my judgement and keeping me activated to a dangerous level. High blood pressure, fast thoughts processed all at once, allowed for my creative juices to flow freely into what led me to believe was my new state of wellbeing. From travel writing straight to vegan cooking, plating and indoor photography: my wild adventurous side finally found itself within the boundaries of four walls, happier than ever. I found myself and what I'm good at. Or so I thought...
Too much of something good turned sour very quickly. Like any overclocked processor, eventually, it is doomed to crash. It's inevitable. And so was my fate. Dozens of meals, photos and ideas later, my body started feeling tired. My mind would continue to race like crazy, but I'd sleep more and more every day. I was exhausted, sleeping deeply with the most vivid dreams you could possibly imagine. And then one morning, I lost my will to get up. No hunger, no ideas, no appetite for life. I picked up my phone and scrolled through social media, mindlessly, pretending to read what others say, when in reality, my mind was blank... until a title catched my eye "What you are experiencing right now is grief".
And that got me thinking: stress-cooking, the overdrive of emotions, avoidance of reality, focus on keeping busy. Yeah, I was (and still am) stressed.
I was sad and stressed and angry and I was grieving. I was feeling so many things at once, I didn't even know where to begin. Turns out, a little few articles later, I was not the only one with the same symptoms.
So I had two choices: ignore it and try to go back to normal or drive into my negative emotions, understand them, express them somehow and get out at the other end when it's all over.
There was one trick to it: normality has lost its connotation. Nothing about what we are experiencing right now, it's normal. And so, despite my initial options, I'm realising I'm left with one thing to do and one alone: dive in, nose first and see what happens.
As I wrote on this Instagram post, meddling with your actual feelings is not an easy job. In fact, it can ultimately lead to bringing back memories from old dusty Pandora boxes which are best left alone, in the corner. But this is no ordinary time, and the only self-medication we have at hand is time. And as every wise (wo)man said: time heals everything. So maybe this is the time when rather than seek to keep busy, doing pointless work, futile experiments and wrap our head around fruitless ideas, we shall just be. Be ourselves, with our thoughts and finally allow ourselves to rediscover our inner selves. Amongst those ancient memories wrapped in spider webs, forgotten in the abyss of our brains, might you find the right ways to do the much-needed mental Spring cleaning.
So when all this is over, we emerge as new, stressless versions of ourselves. For now, I'm just giving in. And so, you'll mainly find me on a sofa, drinking Sauvignon Blanc, eating snacks like crackers with vegan ricotta cheese, made with pantry scraps.
How to make vegan ricotta cheese?
Since I've taken a step back from being active and moved into a more passive state, I also started developing quick and easy ways to keep myself fed. And nothing beats a snack in times of need. A little bored with eating hummus or vegan spread for breakfast, I pretty much added some almonds to my chickpeas one morning, poured some nutritional yeast on top and the result was...spectacular.
Add a tiny lemon juice to it, season it with salt and pepper and you've got yourself a thick yet creamy and smooth vegan ricotta cheese which works as a spread for breakfast. I also used it for lazy lasagna and as a sauce for my spaghetti. Turns out, even in a more chilled state you can come up with ideas which work. The whole point is to allow yourself to take it easy and so things in your own time.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.