It’s hard to know where to begin. This is a scary yet liberating, bittersweet post that I’m about to write. It doesn’t totally feel like an end, though in a major way it is, and the new beginning I have in front of me, while fresh and full of possibilities, feels daunting.
Which means this must be the right thing to do, right? The best decisions I’ve made in my life have always been preceded by a moment of doubt and a twinge of fear, that queasy, uneasy feeling of standing on the precipice of solid, familiar ground and stepping out into the unknown, bolstered only by the faith that you’ll find footing once again.
So here it is:
This is the last post I will publish on GF in the City.
A lump just rose in my throat and my eyes started to fill as I typed that last sentence. So much hard work went into creating this site and the content here. There was a moment in time when I had molded it into just what I wanted it to be and I felt so much promise and excitement about how it would continue to grow.
But life certainly has a way of changing things, and there were moments along the way where I questioned the longevity of this site. Some of these things were maybe a bit silly and finicky, but plagued me nonetheless. For instance, if we ever were to leave this city, and especially if we ever wound up in the suburbs, how could I continue to write a blog that had me so pinned geographically? Then my life took a turn nearly three years ago that made the conundrum of potentially being “GF in the City in the Suburbs” seem small: I became vegan.
Veganism changed everything for me. It healed my body and opened my heart and eyes. I struggled for a long time with sharing things that related to veganism or plant-based nutrition on this site, not necessarily because I was struggling with those things myself, but because this didn’t seem like the right place. This is GF in the City. Not GFV in the City.
I pushed through and shared pieces of my journey anyway, though more carefully and less frequently than I might have in a space where I’d felt more comfortable. I was wary of people finding this site looking for information about gluten-free living and feeling blindsided by posts peppered with vegan ideology. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to share what I’ve learned and hope with all my heart that it reaches outside of the veggie audience—it’s just that living out my increasingly crunchy ways under a header that promised something else felt disingenuous.
Plus there is the problem that the majority of my recipe archive contains recipes that now conflict with my personal values and promote the use of ingredients that, for a plethora of health reasons, I could never recommend in good conscience, not even to my worst enemy. While I considered it momentarily, it felt too painful to simply delete all of that content, all my hard work and photography, the stories of my life contained within. But to leave it all meant that this would never be a vegan blog.
About a year or so ago I came across a comment somewhere. A reader had linked to my Buffalo Chickpea Dip, saying something along the lines of “Great recipe, but she’s not vegan. She uses eggs.” I knew where the comment came from (a lot of my old recipes contain eggs and other decidedly un-vegan ingredients) and that it wasn’t personal, but it stung nonetheless. But I am vegan! I wanted to shout through the screen.
As uncomfortable as it was in my first months as a vegan to accept that people were going to look at me differently, that I was going to wear a new and unfamiliar label, it felt downright bad as a veggie with a couple years under her (faux leather) belt to have that part of my identity questioned. I am so proud of my values and feel immensely thankful every day to have found them.
Much like there came a point where the old leather living room set just had to leave our cruelty-free home, it’s now time for me to set myself up online in a 100% veg-friendly space.
So yes, this it the last post I will publish on GF in the City. All the content will remain, so you’ll still be able to find your favorite recipes, and I will continue to publish comments and respond when able.
From here on out—and this is where it gets scary!—I will be writing and sharing recipes at Leaves of Kale. As I’m writing this post, I keep looking at the blank space of this new site. I can imagine what it might look like one day, but it’s unnerving to go from hitting publish on a site with a cushion of 175 posts, to putting those first lines of text on a quiet, stark white space.
I am excited, though. I’m excited to share all the new things I’ve been making, the awesome vegan cookbooks I’ve found, the cruelty-free products that we use daily in our home. I’m excited to be unapologetically crunchy and hopelessly hippie. I’m excited to be making a fresh start.
I started this blog five years ago today. While I haven’t been actively writing here for quite some time now, it seemed wrong to see the date marked on my calendar and not acknowledge it somehow. Even though I’m not posting regularly anymore, this blog is still an active entity and the recipes I published here are still being made, which I think is totally crazy and awesome. It’s still this thing that I created and love and think of often.
When I got pregnant, I imagined I’d continue creating and sharing recipes and start posting lots of things about my new life as a mother. For a long time I was still writing posts in my head and anxiously waiting for the time to begin typing them out, but the truth is that I just haven’t yet gotten to a place where taking that time to really write (and all the things that go along with that—recipe development, photography) feels like what I should be doing.
I’ve found that mothering in the way that feels best to me (which is not to say that it’s better than any other way) takes a lot of time and a lot of myself. And I’m okay with that. It wouldn’t feel right to me to do it differently. I’m a home-birthing, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, babywearing, bed-sharing hippie and I love it. I mother with the knowledge that I will get more and more Me Time back as our son grows and try to enjoy all the ways he needs me now as deeply as I can—even when things are challenging.
And I’ve found other ways to channel my creativity in the meantime—things that don’t require the full attention and immediate response of lit burners and oven timers.
They put our baby up on my chest as they were wiping him off. He was perfect. Round little head (even after an hour of pushing), pink skin, and all his parts were exactly where they were supposed to be. Except for one major surprise. That head of black hair that I had expected? It was strawberry blonde.
Shortly after I got back into bed I started feeling contractions. They were mild, but definitely more than Braxton Hicks. I was able to sleep through them pretty well until about 5am, when I woke and decided to time a few. They felt solid at this point and were coming regularly, but weren’t anything that I felt worth waking Chris up for yet. I got out of bed, grabbed a coconut water and a protein bar and went into the nursery. I bounced on the yoga ball for a bit, but spent most of the time bent over the heating unit, looking out the window at the city. As the contractions came, I began making low moaning noises to get through them.
At about 7, I went in and woke Chris up and let him know that I was in labor. We timed a few contractions together before I went ahead and called Stacey. She was happy to hear that things had started, told me to have a good breakfast while I still felt like eating, and to let her and Ali know when things got more intense and when I called our doula to come. I told her that I was managing things pretty well and actually wasn’t sure that I was going to need or want the doula there but that we’d see. As I was getting off the phone with her, I could feel another large gush of fluid, after which the contractions began to feel stronger.
Chris made us tofu scramble and brown rice English muffins for breakfast. I texted our doula as I was eating to let her know that things had finally started and that I’d keep her posted as they progressed.
Shortly after breakfast, I was standing near the kitchen and a particularly strong contraction came on that brought me to my knees. When I got up, I was shaking and felt suddenly cold. Knowing that these can be symptoms of transition, I asked Chris to call the midwives while I got into the shower. I needed to warm up and I also wanted to get one last shower in while I could.
This is the story of my homebirth, told in three parts (to give your eyes a rest). I couldn't cut it down or it would have been incomplete. And let's be honest, a couple days of water breakage plus 16 hours of labor isn't exactly going to be a quick tell. A word of reminder to my male and/or squeamish readers: the following is a birth story. I'm going to talk about my underwear and use words like "discharge" and "placenta". You've been advised.
And to give a little more background, we had two midwives at our birth. Normally it would have just been one midwife and an assistant, but our midwife Stacey added another midwife to her practice halfway through our pregnancy. Ali started out working in hospitals (where Stacey also started out and where most midwives practice) and was attending Stacey's births alongside her while she made the transition to being a homebirth midwife. So we kind of lucked out and got two midwives for the price of one. We also had a doula, Jax, present for our labor. We feel so lucky to have had each of these women as part of our "team". They were all wonderful and each contributed to making the experience truly special.
One month ago Chris and I officially became parents.
Roman Raphael LoSacco was born at home on January 26 at 5:57pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 6oz, measured 22 inches long, and arrived with a head full of surprising strawberry blonde hair. His first name is a nod to his place of conception (something I'm sure he'll love hearing as he gets older)--though, truth be told, it was also the one name that Chris and I agreed on. His middle name was given in honor of Chris' grandmother, Raffaela, who passed away last summer.
Giving birth at home was an incredible experience; even the prenatal care that we received in planning for a homebirth was so special and amazing. Chris and I couldn't be happier with our decision and can't imagine having done things any differently. I'm still gathering my thoughts and working on writing it out, but I will definitely share the story of our little man's birth in a future post.
When I announced that I was pregnant back in August, I didn't intend for that to be the last post I'd write for nearly five months! I really wanted to start churning out recipes again and sharing all the beautiful and delicious details of our trip to Italy with you. Part of the reason I haven't yet is because I literally don't have enough space on my computer for the photos from our trip, and the task of creating space is just as big and looming as actually sorting and editing the photos. It's starting to look like an Italy recap may be a slow project for sleepless nights as a new parent. As far as new recipes go, pregnancy has made my tastes and appetite a little wonky and, honestly, creative cooking just hasn't been as much of a priority these days.
I did want to pop in before the year officially ends, however, and at least give you all an update on things.
I can hardly believe how long I’ve been absent from here, and how much has happened in my time away.
Our trip to Italy was incredible, so much so that, even after three weeks, we still wished we’d had more time (details to come). On the day that we left for our trip, we walked a few blocks down the street and signed a lease on a new apartment in a new building in our neighborhood—a decision that we had only begun seriously investigating with the arrival of our lease renewal a few days earlier. We moved about a month after we returned home. A week after the move, Chris’ grandmother—the most selfless, kind-hearted person I’ve ever known—passed away.
It’s been a lot.
But one of the very biggest happenings has been less obvious. It’s still not something that many people know or that anyone at this point would readily guess.
Sometime in early February or so, Chris and I will be adding a furless baby to our family.
Mother's Day is usually a day for flowers, brunches, spa certificates, and warm celebration. It's a day where we think of and share our love for all of the mothers in our lives. I, of course, am thinking of my own mother and how grateful I am for all that's she's done and all that she is. I am also thinking of my mother-in-law, who brought my best friend and husband into this world. Additionally, I am full of warm thoughts for my extended family members and dear friends who have taken on this incredible role.
But today I also have another group of mothers in my thoughts--the ones who are exploited daily and aren't allowed to live out their motherhood as a result of our dietary decisions. Below are a few articles I've come across that speak to those uncelebrated mothers and felt poignant for this day.
If you're not already vegan, maybe try avoiding eggs and dairy--just for today. Do it for the mothers who aren't voiceless (they cry out for their babies), but whose voices don't sound like our own and so go ignored. For as Sayward Rebhal said in her piece:
"...we are responsible to one another. To stand with mothers—all mothers—in honoring that precious, primitive, magnificent act of mothering."
Okay, actually “today” is about a week ago. I’m writing this before we leave for Italy, so that you will see it on the appropriate date; I’m not planning on doing any active blogging while we’re away. As you’re reading this, we’ll have just spent several days in Rome and will be embarking on our first in Florence. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that we’re having a really good time.
For this anniversary, I don’t have any crazy insights about blogging to share. I don’t have a redesign to launch. I don’t have a recipe (though if I were going to celebrate with one, this would be it). Maybe it’s because I’m writing this a week early, or maybe it’s just because things feel so blissfully comfortable here lately that it feels like enough to simply give three years a nod.
And to say thank you.
These past few months have seen me through a lot of personal changes, and there were many times when I was nervous to share them here. You guys have been so incredibly supportive, lending kind words of encouragement and continuing to read. I can’t thank you enough for that. I really love creating and sharing in this way, and it means a lot that you’re here—even if I have become a kale-lovin’ vegan yogi.
I'll have at least one more post lined up for you while we’re away, and then I’ll be back with a debriefing about Italy. Stay tuned.