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Welcome to Praise Seitan! Food, Beer & Travel From the Heart of Seattle. It's a food, beverage and travel blog that combines recipes and globetrotting tales with personal stories about my journey of healing and self-discovery.

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International Women’s Day + Coconut Comfort Fish Curry

International Women’s Day + Coconut Comfort Fish Curry

Today is International Women’s Day, and before I get into it, I want to give a heartfelt message to all women, and all who are in touch with the divine feminine within them:

LOVE YOUR DIVINE SELF!

I recently learned that ignoring this lesson can come at your own peril. Two freak and terrifying accidents within the same five-day time period have shaken me to awareness. So, this day comes at an appropriate time.

My life has increasingly come to focus on women; all of my friends are either women, or men who are beautifully in balance with their own feminine energy. I’m a member of a number of women’s groups.

I’ve also been writing and pitching a number of stories to magazines and websites about women in the beer industry, delving into the lives of trans women and ethnic minorities who have overcome unique challenges and forged thriving careers in industries that would have told them they couldn’t succeed. My heart is calling me to share stories about women beating the odds, and I’m trying to find the right method and medium(s) for doing so.

I’m working to overcome my own obstacles daily. This involves a constant effort to re-awaken and tune into my divine femininity; to recognize and harmonize with this quality in others; and to attract new people who emanate a divine feminine frequency.

“Working” is definitely the operative word. So far, this has proven quite challenging. I’m realizing how out of touch with my own feminine nature I really am; how disconnected from the feeling part of myself. I can identify emotions, but their true source often evades me. I can tell when I feel out of balance, but I struggle to know how to right the ship.

My intellectual and analytical capacities, which can be a great asset in my professional work, are my most formidable enemies when it comes to my soul work. The brain knowing? No problem. But the body and soul knowledge — the deep knowledge that comes from generations of women loving and teaching one another; of being tapped into the universal mother energy that embodies every soul and living thing on this earth; of being connected with that never-separate nature that whispers in my ear that I always know my truth, and I am loved, and I am safe, and I am never alone, because I am that love and that love is me — that is the part that takes effort to truly embrace and comprehend. I can get there, but it often feels almost impossible for me to stay long.

Part of what I am struggling to fully get in touch with is my sexual identity. I might as well say it loud and proud: I am bisexual. My ability to fully acknowledge this truth and to live it out by pursuing relationships with people of both genders has been somewhat recent. I also have some poly-leaning qualities about me, and while I don’t think I would want more than one physical relationship at a time, I have emotional relationships with a few people that are definitely closer than friendships, and whomever I date next will have to be accepting of those.

I’m realizing how hard it is to undo a lifetime of programming about both bisexuality and multiamory being “bad” or “wrong,” and the internalized shame and guilt that comes with that. I’ve always been actively involved in the LGBTQ community; most of my dearest friends throughout my life have almost all been towards the higher digits of the Kinsey Scale.

This programming comes from the conservative Christian church I was brought up in; from the white-bread community where I lived through childhood. But it also comes from a broader American society that tends to discount bisexuality, especially for women, either as “just a phase,” or as an excuse for promiscuity or indecisiveness. The “pick a side” viewpoint toward bi people is woefully common among both gay and heterosexual people, and even the most otherwise progressive people tend to raise eyebrows at multiamory, dismissing it as a community of sex-crazed lunatics.

While inclusivity in our culture is starting to shift — albeit slowly — towards an ever-widening embrace of the LGBTQ community overall, there is still greater representation in the media for both gay and trans people, specifically, than for bi and poly people. Prejudice is also more rampant toward the latter three of these groups individually than it is when they are taken all together, lumped under the larger LGBTQ umbrella.

Being on the receiving end of such outright prejudice is a new experience for me, and has opened my eyes to the suffering of other marginalized groups everywhere; I feel a new solidarity with those on the margins, and a new drive to fight for their rights and their voice. However, the experience of less overt bias and discrimination is all too familiar to me.

The current political climate and ongoing revelations of the #MeToo era have held a mirror up to ugly truths about our society. The election of Trump forced America to reckon with the fact that, as racist as we might have feared we were, we were even more misogynist. It turns out that people would rather elect the least qualified and the most bigoted, reactionary and fear-mongering candidate who had ever run for the highest office in the land than hand the reins to a supremely qualified person — who happened to be a woman.

It turns out that as progressive as we thought we were; as far as we thought we’d come; as polite as we might all act in public; maybe we all just got a lot better at hiding it. And now comes the reckoning.

Ask any woman you know, and she will tell you of times she was harassed, aggressively pursued, pressured or even outright raped or molested — often by someone she knew in her personal or professional life. We’ve all missed opportunities for jobs and promotions because of what’s in our pants; we’ve all been grossly underpaid for the same positions while doing the same work (or better) than men doing the same tasks. These things have become a sad fact of the female experience in America.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can change our reality.

The best way to do this is for women to band together. While popular media too often depicts females as jealous creatures, “catfighting” over everything from shoes to sexual partners, my experience — and the experiences of most of the women in my life — has been quite the opposite. This is just one of many cultural lies perpetuated to keep women pitted against each other: The dudes bro out while we bicker. This just simply isn’t true; at least, not in my world. And we all create the worlds we want to live in.

The time has come for the truth to be revealed; for women, those who identify as women and those who support us and champion our equality and inclusion, to stand up, speak out and claim the seat at the table we so rightfully deserve. And we can, and should, join forces with the LGBTQ community and other marginalized people to fight for the greater good.

But most importantly, this should be a fight of of nonviolent resistance, of words and deeds and solidarity, of political and legislative acts — of action, yes, but action in love. Always in love. Violence and anger and aggression beget violence and anger and aggression. Love and peace and positivity and inclusivity begets more of the same. I think we could use a little more of that, don’t you?

Today is International Women’s Day, but we shouldn’t have to mark a calendar to recognize ourselves, and to be recognized by the culture. There’s no International Men’s Day, to my knowledge, and that’s for a reason. Their day is every day. Now it’s time to make ours so much a part of the fabric of society, it doesn’t warrant a special acknowledgment.

Keep the spirit of this day alive in your hearts, ladies. Honor and love your divine self every day of the year. xxx

coconut fish curry

One way I’ve been working on nurturing my divine feminine self is through learning the alchemy of the elements and how food affects my energetic balance. This has been the greatest challenge of all, as I tend to plan my meals a week at a time, simply based on what sounds fun to make. However, one dish has become my go-to: the meal that seems to never let me down if I’m feeling a bit frazzled, used-up and worn out, bones rattling like the leaves in the wind. And yes, it’s seafood… I have returned to my pescetarian ways. Never, ever, ever meat… but seafood has its seasons with me.

I share this recipe with you on this special day; may it bring healing and nourishment to your body as the divine feminine love and connection brings nourishment to our souls.

xxx

Coconut Comfort Fish Curry

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 onion, diced

2” piece ginger, peeled and diced

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

½ - 1 tsp red chili flakes (depending on heat preference)

¾ tsp turmeric

1 ½ tsp cumin

¾ tsp Sri Lankan Curry powder from World Spice Merchants (or a similar curry blend of your choice)

1 leek, chopped

1 fennel bulb, white part only, sliced to ½” or smaller pieces

1 can coconut milk

1 can water (using coconut milk can) + additional water if necessary

¼ - ⅓ lb white cod, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings of your choice: I like coconut or regular yogurt, a neutral-flavored sauerkraut or fermented topping (I use White Kimchi from Britt’s Pickles), toasted cashews/walnuts/almonds, hemp seeds, chopped herbs such as chives/parsley/cilantro and slivered avocado

Heat the oil until shimmering. Cook the onion with a little salt for 5 minutes, then add the leek and cook for another 5 minutes, until soft. Add the spices and cook for another 30 seconds to one minute; then add the ginger and chili and cook for another minute-ish.

Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Add the fennel and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until soft to your liking. (You can add other vegetables at this point, if you wish, and simmer until softened; squash or eggplant would also be good, and I added carrot on my first iteration.)

Add the fish and simmer for 3-5 minutes longer, depending on how big your pieces are, until just cooked through. Serve over rice, quinoa or any grains of your choosing — and be well!

Inspired by Gordon Ramsey’s Southern Indian Fish Curry recipe.

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