My Second Food YOUtopia Experience

I am driving through Arizona’s desert during a business trip. While my colleagues chatter about the day’s excitement, I find myself finally able to retreat with the new Shins album. I have been saving this music for a good moment for this first listen. I place the buds in my ears. It drowns out their chatter so I feel as I am totally alone at last.

I look out the window and my eyes notice the different landscape. The cacti and tumbleweeds appear to have an inverse relationship with the Tumbleweed smoothie I am drinking.

It bursts with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sugar, soy milk, and cream. With each sip, I feel the seeds from the berries; it lets me know this drink is fresh and was prepared just for me.

The Shins fill my head with the nourishment it needs while the smoothie does the same for the rest of me. This fuel allows my eyes to take in the landscape.

The landscape changes as I notice 3 colorful hot air balloons lifting into the sky. I watch them float and wonder what they are able to see from their direction. The birds fly by through my personal movie. The birds seem to be mocking two larger flying creatures: two hang gliders float among them.

I wonder how I can be so lucky to be able to enjoy this moment. I feel so small among all of this creation and movement.

I am saturated by the sounds in my ears, the sun’s warmth on my face, the taste of the cool berries, and my eyes bounce hoping to absorb all of this. I realize I will never be on this road again. I will never be in this city again. I will never be in this moment again. I say to myself: enjoy it and be grateful.

The sun starts to set as I see a dune buggie drive by. Will I experience any other joys today?

Through the music, I hear my smoothie’s straw slurp noise. It lets me know this food utopia is about to end. The sun sets just as we arrive to our destination.

I will never be back and that is okay. I will remember it and that makes me smile. I am grateful my food fuel allowed me to experience and connect with my soul and the earth.

Food and Youtopia: How It All Began

It is the first unofficial day of Spring one day in March 2005. The season has changed as evidenced by the sun, high in the sky, feeling so warm and perfect on my face. It is also the first day I want to drive with the windows down.

I finished work early today. To celebrate the rest of the afternoon to myself, I drive to Coldstone Creamery in Friendly Center. The annoying teenagers working behind the counter do not annoy me today with their obnoxious greeting. The sun’s warmth shields me from annoying people today.

I order a Love It Cake Batter with Cookie Dough. I take my order and walk out the door. I get into my car and as it starts, I hear a song that makes me just feel so grateful and optimistic.

Luckily, I manage to hit every red light on the short drive home. This allows me to finally taste the unbaked goodness. Each time I take a taste, my body surges with happiness and childhood memories of sneaking swipes in the bowl of the cake batter.

As I get closer to home, eating the amazing ice cream, feeling the warm sun on my skin met with the perfect breeze and harmonious sounds, I wonder if this moment can be any better. I am contemplating this and notice something out of the corner of my eye:

I see a little blond-headed boy moving in my direction on the sidewalk. He is riding a unicycle. He sees me see him. He waves.

The sun, the sounds, the sights stayed connected through savoring the taste. I call this sequence of events a food utopia. Everything during these moments felt perfect and the moment could not and would not have occurred if I worried about how many calories I would need to burn off for this Love It from Coldstone. It would not have been complete if I chose a dinky 60 calorie fat free sugar free yogurt. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the food. You will have a food utopia too. This way to zen.