I sat at the bottom of a canyon, covered in dirt and sweat, staring at my left forearm, which was now bent at roughly a 35-degree angle.
The year had been full of transitions, including a big fat divorce, but I finally felt like I was picking up the pieces of my life and creating a semblance of something stable. I had moved to Los Angeles (by accident: I went to take a look around and, moments apart, got calls about a potential gig and an apartment, which I took as a sign). My mom was the first person I called. In rapid succession, I was cast in a major motion picture and landed a boyfriend, but now here I was, two days before I was supposed to fly back to Connecticut for the holidays, with two broken wrists. The thought of calling my mother and admitting a setback was painful.
Alone in the hospital, I mustered up the courage, and she did her mom thing, which was to make sure I was okay. She remained calm, which is one thing I love about her: She doesn’t freak out. She stays grounded and really makes you feel like everything will be fine. I promised I would keep her in the loop and let her know how I was doing.
Fast-forward a few weeks. My boyfriend was taking care of me (I couldn’t eat or shower by myself—super humbling). I came down with the flu. I felt horrible and wasn’t getting any sleep. The days were stretching out beyond me in a gray blur. I just needed my mom.
When she arrived, she took my car and stocked up on lots of fruit, veggies, fresh juices, and vegan fare. Luckily, my mom understands my need to be on a clean diet. When she was pregnant with me, she had the strong urge to stop eating meat, but her doctor said she was crazy, that she would be endangering my development as a baby. As I was growing up, meat appealed to me less and less, especially after we dissected a chicken wing in biology class. I brought home weird grain cereal, cruelty-free “meats” and “milks,” and after a few years of seeing me lose a few pounds and feel great, my mom decided to give the plant-based diet a try. She lost 25 pounds, lowered her cholesterol, improved her eyesight, and went off some medications. She even went raw vegan for a while, and I considered her more badass than me about committing to a healthy lifestyle.
Staying with me for two months, Mom would make me a “recovery breakfast” every morning, and we would talk for hours. Finally, I could relax, and heal with her help. She was good luck for me too: The day she left, I got a call for my next film gig. It was as though she ushered me back to health just in time. And I learned the importance of nourishing not only the body and mind, but relationships as well.
Casey McDougal is an actor in Los Angeles, California; she can be found at www.caseymcdougal.com and at Backstage.
Recovery Breakfast (aka Tofu Scramble)
1/2 t. coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 c. chopped spinach
8 oz. tofu
1/2 t. turmeric
optional: 2 links vegan sausage, sliced (preferred brand: Field Roast)
handful of vegan cheese to sprinkle on top (preferred brand: Follow Your Heart)
salt and pepper to taste
whole grain bread
vegan butter (preferred brand: Earth Balance)
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat coconut oil and sauté garlic for few minutes, then add spinach and cook until wilted.
Place tofu on a plate, and press with a fork until it has a consistency similar to scrambled eggs.
Add tofu to the pan, and sprinkle with turmeric to coat evenly.
Add optional vegan sausage.
Over low heat, add cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
Prepare toast and serve with the scramble. And love, of course. Oh, and coffee too.