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Broccoli for Valentine's Day

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January 28, 2010

By Trista Cornelius, Contributing Writer

I don't really like Valentine's Day. In fact, I stage a quiet protest by wearing black. It's subtle, I know, but it's not like I'm against love, in fact, I'm all for it. What I don't like is the way the holiday puts pressure on couples to be all warm and fuzzy and force romance simply because it's the 14th. Or worse, the way the holiday manages to make even my happiest single friends come undone by the end of the day. If the day were about real love, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. kind of love, or animal sanctuary kind of love, or "I love you even when you're sick and haven't showered in two days" kind of love, I'd douse myself in pink and party with wild abandon-or at least not protest the day.

Waiting at the dentist's office a couple of years ago, I read a health magazine that dedicated the February issue to the heart, the heart of the cardiovascular system, the one made of muscle and valves, the grisly-looking one that you are not likely to see on the cover of a valentine. The articles in the magazine gave information about how to cultivate and maintain a healthy heart-how to eat right, exercise, reduce stress, etc. I liked this and imagined giving Valentine gifts of fresh fruit and yoga CDs instead of candy hearts.

What if, instead of Hallmark cards, we traded recipes for flaxseed muffins and lentil pasta sauce? What if we gave bouquets of carrots and boxes of organic oats? What if, for Valentine's Day, couples of all kinds set aside time for a vegan feast romancing kale and cabbage and tempeh? What if, on the radio, we heard our friend in the flaxseed business reminding us that every woman wants flax in her Valentine's Day breakfast?

Well, however you celebrate, protest, or ignore the holiday, happy Valentine's Day, and until my dream of veg love comes true, I'll be wearing black and giving out bouquets of broccoli.

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