For most of the past 10 years, it has been my goal to get up early in the morning and write. Though I’m not a natural morning person — hopping out of bed before the alarm singing zippity-do-da — I do find that I do my best writing in the morning once I’m up and going. And it only takes about 15 minutes for me to wake up.

The problem? Getting out of bed.

The discipline of rising early each morning seems easy enough. When the alarm goes off, get up. But I have found over the years that being a morning person or a night person (or in my case an afternoon person) is much more complicated than that.

The discipline actually starts the night before in going to bed on time. And to go to bed on time, I have to factor in how much sleep I actually need. And since I have chosen an alternate work schedule at my job, I actually have to be at work at 7 a.m. So to have any significant time to write in the morning, I have to be up by 5 a.m. Getting up by 5 a.m. means going to be by 9 p.m. most nights.

And with that kind of routine, my friends are no doubt going to tease me when I begin to dose off at the symphony at 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Not that that happened last Saturday, or anything.

So, in recent weeks when I have waged the battle with myself again to get up early in the mornings, I began to feel that this discipline of early rising felt strikingly familiar to another habit I had recently changed: my diet.

Though changing from the standard American diet of lots of meat, sugar, dairy, wheat, and added preservatives to one in which all of these things are avoided may seem like a simple act of willpower, I found the complexities reach down into my schedule, my relationships, my identity as an eater, and ultimately the way I feel each day.

So I prayed.

“Lord, if I can completely change how I eat and embrace a completely new diet in just a few weeks, surely I can work through the web of decisions and actions it will take to get out of bed early in the morning. Help me, please?”

Today is day four of getting up early. It’s not natural yet; I’ve fought it every morning. Two days ago, I did hit the snooze once and ended up getting up around 5:15.

But at least it’s a start.

My whole life I’ve used the habits in other areas of my life to persuade my will power toward food. It feels like some small victory to see food in this new light.

Or actually, more like a small miracle.

::

Today, I am also joining Ann Kroeker a day late for “Food on Friday,” sharing a vegan recipe that I made up for dinner Thursday night. It was amazing, if do say so myself.

Roasted Sunshine in a Field of Green

(serves 2 – but easily adaptable for larger groups)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 large yam, peeled and diced
1 small orange sweet pepper (red or yellow would also work)
10-15 cherry tomatoes
10-15 brussel sprouts, cut in fourths
1 small purple onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
Lettuce or salad greens, torn into bite size pieces – enough for 2
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients except lettuce and cilantro in a large bowl and stir to coat the vegetables with salt and oil. Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden. Remove the veggies from the oven and let cool until warm.

Divide the lettuce and cilantro onto two plates, then top with warm vegetables. No dressing needed! Serve with vegan, gluten free cornbread.