I used to hate the way I acted on my period. The mood swings, the clumsiness and the unexplained eating habits. And in Orthodoxy, women’s health is kept private. Heck, there’s even a canon that forbids women from receiving communion on her period.
But this natural biological process shouldn’t be awkward but empowering as I heard another strong woman once say that isn’t Orthodox. I thought about that for a moment: periods, empowering, taking care to live your best life, owning who you are, why not?
In ancient Christianity, women aren’t seen as punishment nor should they feel havinf a menstrual cycle is God’s way of punishing them for their sins. Women don’t have to leave church, they can read the Bible and in many of of our churches, they are open to receiving communion while on a menstrual cycle. We also have more scientific evidence and a working knowledge of the reproductive system to understand this is natural. Remember the woman with a flow of blood? Jesus did not deny her, he healed her. That was one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. (Mark 5:25–34, Matthew 9:20–22, Luke 8:43–48)
As uncomfortable as it does make me feel though, I am totally supportive of empowerment through clean and wholesome eating when my body needs it especially when I’m menstrual. I crave cozy, comfort meals like much everyone else but don’t want to be standing around making my feet anymore sorer than what they are during this time. I think nice green soups that only take 15 minutes to simmer before they get pureed to velvety smooth perfection in the blender. I know Vitamixes are ungodly expensive if you can’t get a good deal, but a high speed blender like a Ninja or Blendtec will be your yellow brick road and savior for creating nutritious vegan soups during Lent like this one.
Perhaps instead of shying away from our truths, we should learn to embrace them because today’s strong women can create future strong daughters.
Pea and Asparagus Soup
130 calories per 1 cup
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced, with leaves
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped (it’s allergy season after all!)
1 large (1-pound) bunch asparagus, separating one stalk for asparagus ribbons.
2 cups green peas, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon pink sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Fun fact: You can’t spiralize asparagus! Vegetable peelers are the go to for making ribbons out of asparagus. Unfortunately, vegetable peelers are this one kitchen tool I oddly can’t use despite being shown. It’s like sewing to me. Being menstrual is so easy to focus on the cants for me. But that’s not a real positive mindset. Stop that, head!
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in 5 cups water, sliced asparagus and peas. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until asparagus is very tender, about 15 minutes.
Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender. Strain the soup through a sieve, pressing down on any solids with the back of a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible. Pour it back into the pot. Place over medium heat until just simmering. Stir in salt and lemon juice.
Run a vegetable peeler over the reserved asparagus stalks, making asparagus ribbons. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with a few asparagus ribbons and dill.