This vegan cardamom pear smoothie is just as soothing and satisfying as it is nourishing. Ripe bartlett pear is blended with frozen cauliflower florets (see this post for more information about this surprising smoothie addition), almond milk, Medjool dates, almond butter, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of cardamom. The result is a creamy, nutty, and subtly sweetened smoothie that energizes.
Remember all that mindfulness, living-in-the-moment chit chat I shared last week? Well, these photos are a product of mindfulness.
With all that rushing I had been doing, many of my photoshoot sessions in recent months were hurried and a bit uninspired. Instead of taking the time to fully plan, prepare, and style, most days I opted to simply drizzle on a topping or two, place on a white board, and snap away.
It might sound silly, but ever since the intense, 100+ recipe photography overhaul I completed for my cookbook two years ago, I've struggled on-and-off with a bit of anxiety around food photography.
There's nothing I love more than brainstorming recipe ideas, testing them, editing photos, and writing up posts. However, when it comes to the actual styling and photography part, I've become increasingly shutter shy in recent years.
To the point that I often feel physically tense before moving from the kitchen to our
guest room makeshift photography studio.
Once I've snapped a few photos and feel good about what I'm capturing, the tension typically dissipates, but there are also days when it lingers through each and every session. And since I batch my work, often photographing three recipes in a single day, this means there are occasionally entire days when I'm experiencing a sense of unease.
If I were to put on my psychologist's hat and analyze the situation, I'd say I've accumulated subconscious fears, doubts, and resistance around photography.
Perhaps because I experienced so much stress and anxiety trying to photograph those book recipes on the weekends (after completing long, grueling weeks at work), I began to associate stressful feelings with food photography. Maybe the weekly occurrence of the experience created a conditioned response (i.e., anxiety) to a once neutral, now conditioned stimulus (i.e., photography) à la Pavlov.
In a way, I think rushing through photography sessions now, all this time later, is actually a mini form of self-sabotage (albeit a fairly innocent one).
You see, some of us—*cough* perfectionists *cough* *cough*—would rather intentionally "fail" or self-sabotage than give something our all and leave it to chance.
So by rushing through photography shoots in a half-hearted manner and fully expecting a mediocre result, a person (read: me) might perceive a greater sense of control over her emotions than if she were to put her whole heart into it and risk being disappointed by the end result despite the effort.
Wacky logic, right? No doubt the inner workings of a fearful ego.
I'm happy to say, though, that with the help of mindfulness, those anxious, worrying feelings that once came hand-in-hand with the sound of a shutter snap have begun to fade away.
By slowing down and experiencing my emotions around photography as they arise in the moment—be them good or bad—I've been able make peace with them. And when I do feel afraid to take photographs (as silly as that might sound), I'm able to sit with the discomfort, acknowledge its presence, and carry on despite it.
All this to say that I've recently been able to give my whole heart back to the photography process. Spending time planning, styling, and rearranging, and feeling better than I have in a long time about the outcome of my efforts as well as my ability to bare a bit of vulnerability throughout the process.
Cardamom Pear Smoothie
- 1–2 ripe bartlett pears, cored (to taste)
- 1 heaping cup frozen cauliflower florets
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 to 3 soft, sticky Medjool dates, pitted, to taste
- 1 tablespoon natural almond butter
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Handful of ice if needed to cool
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender, and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour into a glass.
- Serve immediately.