“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
I did it.
I made it forty days and forty nights with
no very few sweet treats. It was hard at first. After a couple weeks, however, it was easy and felt really great!
Even though I ate a few things here and there, I was definitely not bingeing on cookies, sneaking brownies or scarfing down chocolate during stressful times.
We have been eating more fruits and veggies and dabbling in alternative “sweets” (I’ve included a recipe for butter mints at the end of this post!). I’ve been sleeping better, feeling more energetic and saving money, to boot.
Some might say that this was, in fact, not success. I cheated, right? Didn’t I say I’d given up sugar?
For me, success used to be measured by grades, performance reviews, and praise from others. It meant accomplishing something without cutting any corners. It meant making money. It meant dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s with flying colors. I was a perfectionist, of sorts.
It turns out that perfectionism has its useful moments in agriculture, but that discussion is for another day. After working in small scale agriculture for several years, my definition of success has evolved. To be fair, it probably would have changed in multiple other professions, as well. The farmers I’ve worked with start every spring with many expectations and many questions. We expect to produce enough for a set number of consumers (30 CSA members plus 30-50 market and farm stand customers per week) over a mutually understood amount of time (June through early October). How long should we wait between successions of crops? What sold well last year? What kind of weather is predicted for year? Are there any new varieties that are improved for our zone?
Now, success is measured more by the feelings associated with work. My acknowledgement of success doesn’t just come at the end, it happens throughout an experience or task. The weeds are taking over one bed, but the one next to it is gorgeous. As soon as the weedy bed is cleaned up, the once gorgeous bed is, once again, infested! While the abundance of rain has caused some carrots to split, it has made the brassicas huge. Overall success with bumps along the way.
Especially now that I have a child, I often don’t have the luxury of completing tasks in a timely manner. If I waited to finish duties in order to count a success, I’d be waiting quite a while in some cases. Of course, the success feels better when something has been completed, but it cannot be the only way to feel a sense of accomplishment.
A few weeks into lent. I felt it. Success! I no longer craved sweet things. I didn’t even count on the alternatives I had been substituting once in a while. The last few weeks of lent didn’t feel like much of a challenge. Then I thought, maybe that’s what something like lent is for–supposedly habits are made after three weeks of consistent practice. Changing an undesirable habit is a huge success, even if that wasn’t the intentional goal. Eating a few bites of cookies or candy here and there over forty days doesn’t equal failure if a sugar addicted habit is changed!
In farming, some livestock is lost, some crops can perform poorly. From what I’ve seen in my farming experience, however, is the impact it has on others. As a farmgirl, I’ve seen how workers thrive in the labor they are performing; as a consumer, I’ve seen whole diets transform into something nourishing and life giving rather than empty and possibly damaging; as a community member, I’ve seen neighbors chatting and exchanging ideas. Even if some produce is lost here and there, the impacts of small-scale farming are outstanding. Success is measured in more than the projected outcomes. I love when the unexpected is better than the expected.
So until next time, Farmgirl sisters, what is success to you?
Wishing you peace, love and success in all things,
Alex, The Rural Farmgirl
Oh! And the butter mints recipe I promised you. I found it at Empowered Sustenance. They aren’t “sugar free,” exactly. They are made with honey, and I used raw, local honey from a friend’s beehives. I also made mine with lavender in lieu of mint, because mint isn’t recommended for nursing moms! They were very yummy and popping one nickel sized bite at a time really helped me get over the two week hump! Ava liked them, too. Enjoy these easy, seemingly decadent morsels:
Butter Mints for Sugar Cravings
- 1/2 cup butter (pasture butter is best!)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
- 3 Tbs. raw honey (I only used 2)
- 10-12 drops peppermint essential oil OR 1/8 – 1/4 tsp.peppermint extract (I used lavender oil. I think many other flavors would work, too–lemon? bergamot? almond? vanilla mint?)
- optional: 2 Tbs. cocoa powder.
- Taste and adjust amount as necessary.
- Have the butter at room temperature. Stir together all ingredients and add more peppermint extract to taste, if desired.
- Scoop mixture into a pastry bag or zip-top bag. You can stick a fancy pastry tip into the end of a zip-top bag and then cut off a corner of the bag -OR- If you don’t want to use a tip, just snip of the corner of the bag.
- Squeeze bite-sized buttons onto a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. Place in the fridge until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a storage container and store in the fridge.