FOOD BY THE BOOK: Self-actualization can lead to transcendence

Transcend the ordinary sloppy joe by adding fresh ingredients. The kids will love you for it.

The renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered near the end of his life that his famous hierarchy of needs had a transcendent apex beyond self-actualization. He was just beginning his study of what comes next when he died abruptly, leaving his work unfinished. Decades later, Scott Barry Kaufman, a college professor well known for his research into human potential, discovered Maslow’s unpublished works and felt an instant kinship with him. The product of his discovery is a new book, “Transcend, The New Science of Self-Actualization” (Tarcher Perigee, 2020).

Uncovering facts about Maslow, such as that he never created a hierarchical pyramid defining the needs leading to the development self-esteem or reaching self-actualization, Kaufman lays the foundation for his expansion of Maslow’s work. Rather than a pyramid, Kaufman suggests a sailboat model for the new hierarchy, with security needs (safety, connection, self-esteem) as the hull and growth needs (exploration, love, purpose) as the sail. Above that lies transcendence.

At the bottom of the hull lies safety, such as having sufficient food or being free from trauma. With current economic conditions, which were bad for children before the pandemic, and with Oklahoma’s children facing a high level of trauma, this rung of the hierarchy is extremely important. These would seem dire circumstances that certainly take their toll on an individual, but Kaufman assures us that people can endure and grow beyond these early conditions, the primary message of the book.

Brimming with scales and challenges for measuring our own degree of completeness on each level of the hierarchy, Kaufman leads us to our own self-actualization with the hope of transcendence. His advice to live mostly in what he terms the B-Realm is based on Maslow’s Being-Psychology, a positive approach in which the individual is constantly moving toward becoming and potential. What Maslow envisioned as a new image of humanity, Kaufman has further defined for us in a new and hopeful way.

Food, especially vegetables, is often problematic with children. Ellyn Satter is a dietician and family therapist who believes that eating should be joyful. Her institute helps parents stressed out by picky eaters through guilt-free and struggle-free mealtime principles. Check out her website at Try this sloppy joe recipe with added vegetables for those hard-to-reach kiddos. All the same ingredients as the canned mix, but fresh.

Sloppy Joe’s with More Vegetables

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1/2 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped

1 medium Roma tomato, chopped

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup catsup

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 tbsp. minced fresh or dried basil

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. cider vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 pound lean ground beef

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

Sauté all the vegetables in olive oil until tender, approximately 10 minutes. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, about 8 minutes, breaking up into crumbles. Drain; add vegetables to pan with meat and mix in remaining ingredients to combine. Cook, covered, on low until heated through and flavors are mingled, approximately 20 minutes. Serve beef mixture on toasted buns.

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