Eating New or Eating Ewwww? Trying New Foods – Week 1

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Eat what you want, what you don’t want don’t eat.” – My Mom

Photo Credit: CytoonThat was the advice straight from my mother’s mouth when I was a toddler and then repeated many more times until she realized her pearls of wisdom created one picky eater who refused to eat fruit, vegetable or any other foreign object placed on her plate. Now, some 30 plus years later, here I am. I insist on referring to myself as selective, but lets face it, I have never even tasted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (For those in shock, I urge you to accept this reality and trust that one day I will try it. Maybe). My mom, a straight shooter, typically had sound advice, but she missed the mark with this one.In the spirit of self-improvement, I challenged myself to expand my culinary horizons and try new foods. Now in my second week, I can share some feedback about my leap into eating what I DON’T want and staying away from the tried and true staple foods.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I shocked my system with in week one.
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Grapes
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Parsley tea

I can feel your eyes judging me as you read. Now I’m sure this is all very basic for those of you with a normal upbringing, but for me, this is a big deal.

Of the 5 new food items, I can peacefully rock with three, the other two, (yeah I’m talking to you, oatmeal and yogurt), I cannot. Well, at least not yet.

SERIOUS QUESTION: Do people really like oatmeal?  In the three days I tried it, all attempts resulted in failure. Day one was an instant packet I popped in the microwave. One and a half bites later and I threw in the towel. Oatmeal 1, Me 0. Day two I decided to jazz it up based on people’s recommendations. This meant preparing it on the stove top and adding cinnamon. Two bites in and I was feeling better about it, so good, in fact, that I decided to toss in some apples. Abort! Abort! Couldn’t get down a single additional spoonful after that screw up.  Oatmeal 2, Me 0. Day three I abandoned all the bells and whistles and opted for a pragmatic approach.  I reasoned with myself. First, I went over the health benefits; good source of fiber, slow burning carb, yadda yadda. Next, I rationalized how silly it was that I, a grown adult, couldn’t finish a tiny bowl of oatmeal. I recalled all previous athletic accomplishments and academic achievements to psych myself up. The result? Oatmeal 3, Me 0. The taste and the texture are not for me. I imagined the experience to be more like Farina, a childhood favorite. It’s not.

Yogurt wasn’t nearly as bad. I opted for the French Vanilla variety from Yoplait; fewer calories, less processed sugars, etc. Once again I’m working without a point of reference, so without knowing what it’s supposed to taste like, it started out just fine. There was a slight hint of vanilla and then, wait what is that?  What the heck is that taste on the back-end?  My limited food vocabulary prevents me from even describing the taste, so I will simply label it, WEIRD. Is it rancid? (Checks expiration date: Nope, it’s fresh). Ultimately, I was able to endure just over half before my palate took over and shut me down. I still have hope that I can make this yogurt thing work, so I’ll consider this half a win.

My “Trying New Foods” score for Week One is 70%.

Catch up with me next week when I tackle zucchini, peanut butter, salmon, avocado and pumpkin seeds.

Until next time,
ASK MORE QUESTIONS

What Kind of Book Will you Write?

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Cheers to prosperous start of 2014!

Volunteering at City Hall

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The local City Hall organizes a Toy Giveaway for underprivileged children in the community. Volunteers wrapped gifts for kids up to 12-years old. I met some great people and was moved by the generosity of strangers who donated such wonderful toys! I’m so excited for the wonderful surprises that await the children! Happy Holidays!

The Week Ahead (aka my long walk back from a broken heart)

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Last week I promised to introduce a new weekly piece titled, The Week Ahead. The root of the idea is simple. I need to give myself SOMETHING ELSE to think about and stop looking backwards. The goal is forward progress and it’s impossible to do that if we are tethered to situations that no longer exist (past relationships, former jobs, lost friends/family, once-healthy savings accounts, foreclosed homes, or whatever is the thing keeping your mind and energy focused on everything except the present and future. http://www.flickr.com/photos/girolame/5032449047/in/photolist-8EGBLT-9E5NgN-8ooRS5-8SMrbV-8yRs8Z-8yRspk-hKq8Qi-7L9zwE-7F7JZk-a5b5zZ-988kNb-9E5KAE-7MBEbV-9E2UaZ-7F7K2F-7FbBZJ-7F7KdV-7FbBVL-bukMRo-7F7KwH-7FbCjs-9swg2U-8jA5mE-7FbC8y-hKqeS8-hKqnSN-7F7KmB-7MZpfZ-aidBjH-aidBbc-crJMfm-7Ekeey-9JvD6h-8suWSZ-8GWUQP-9ckWkm-9stgXg-7LnhgU-cRJUtJ-8H14Hb-8H12AS-9fFrko-8jA7W7-7Ek96o-7Ek7Bo-7QWiTw-ejzKUC-eju5bn-eju3Ut-ejzM2d-aUr9wD/lightbox/Let’s be clear, I am not trying to over-promise to you or to myself, which is why it’s the WEEK AHEAD and not the 30-60-90 or 120-day plan. We can all manage a week. Once we make it through this week, we can reevaluate and go for another 7-days. These weeks will become our mile markers.  The mile markers will soon add up and reveal how far we have progressed from where we are right now.

How will you support yourself this week? What goals or plans, big or small, are on the to-do list? 

Here is what I have lined up for myself:

  • Begin training for an upcoming 5K race.  In my previous post, When did I become that girl (& why I took myself off timeout) , I challenged myself to compete in my first Spartan race. Well, training begins this week. My program will consist of strength training and conditioning. Running is my nemesis, but these two apps are my keys to success.
  1. C25K – 5K Trainer – this free app is for new and novice runners and requires a 3-day per week commitment. Expect a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down with a mix of jogging/walking intervals to build up your stamina and condition your body to running. I used this for my first 5K in August and I highly recommend it, besides it’s FREE!
  2. MapMyRun – another free app designed for outdoor runs. Start this app before your jog and the built-in GPS will track your run by recording your pace, duration, distance and more. The upgraded version of the app will even suggest routes in your area.
  • Meal Prep! I love cooking, but the truth is, cooking solely for myself isn’t much fun. However, the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is in the food you consume. Check back later this week for a fun snapshot of my handiwork.
  • Volunteering at City Hall – there is a toy drive at the end of the week for children in the community. I will spend at least one evening this week assisting officials in wrapping presents, on behalf of Santa, of course.
  • Mani/pedi time – we don’t always have to be so deep with our actions, do we? Ladies or fellas, treat your hands and feet to the tiny miracle of a manicure or pedicure. Use the time to zone out, read a book or listen to that new Beyonce.

There it is… small actionable items to make this week better than last week. Share your ideas below.

As always, ASK MORE QUESTIONS and take care of you.

When did I become that girl (& why I took myself off timeout)?

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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/violarenate/

Photo Credit: Violarenate

Last week I asked the question, Is Dating with a Broken Heart a Waste of Time? After writing the piece, I released the thought. Rather than force myself into a decision and plan of action, I allowed myself to just BE. Be sad. Be angry. Be confused. Be the person that naps. Be hungry and eat unhealthy food. Be lazy. Be quiet. Be still. This weekend while I was in the middle of nothing important aka flipping channels on the couch, the answer to my question came to me as easily as my name. Take care of yourself before others! At our core, I firmly believe love is what connects us as people, but right now, I am not doing much in the way of connecting, unless you count connecting to Netflix, HBO Go, and X-box.

Much like the character of Bubble Boy, I have been keeping life at an arm’s distance. Working from home and winter’s arrival helps facilitate this nomad lifestyle. However, I am woman with interests, ambition and a love of trying new things. Where is she? Fitness, my elixir for a bad day, has taken a backseat to my pity party. For the past month, I have put myself on timeout and only Ben, Jerry, and local delivery restaurants were reaping the benefits.

Timeout is over. This would be a perfect place for a motivational phrase, but instead I will just fill you in on my plan.

  1. Get out of the house! I hate to disagree with Ernest Hemingway who famously said, never mistake motion with action, but he must deal with heartbreak differently than I do.  Going for a simple walk means feeling the cold air on my face, hearing the sounds move around me, and exchanging pleasantries with passersby.  It awakens my senses and reminds me that life goes on with or without me.
  2. Set a goal.  On April 12, 2014, I will participate in my first Spartan Race. This will give me something tangible to work towards that I can control.  My goal is to throw myself back into fitness. Let me clarify; this is not a typical tale of transforming my body so if the day ever comes where my ex and I cross paths, he rues the day we ever parted.  No. Working out brings me back to center.  It calms my mind and my outlook improves. It is the very best thing I can do to take care of myself.
  3. Put the pause on dating and relationships. It is not the right time for me.  The man of my dreams could be sitting next to me as I type this and I would be too blinded by the past and my heartache to notice. I need to own where I am right now, and by no means am I in a dating state of mind.

This is my 3-step plan to take myself OFF timeout. I invite you to think about what your 3 steps will be. What goal will you set for yourself?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer once a week for a month. (Tip: google “volunteer opportunities in <insert your city>” and watch how many you will find)
  • Clean out and organize your closets, drawers, desk, pantry, trunk of your car, and if you’re perfectly organized, find a friend who needs the help and call it their Holiday gift. Boom!
  • Train for a race (there are tons of free races for all fitness levels and distances)
  • Learn a new skill (cooking, language, web-coding, knitting, instruments, art, etc)
  • Read all those books you promised you would, but never quite opened or finished

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and shared their own stories of heartbreak with me. My intention in creating this space is to ask more questions and share our stories. On Sunday, I will begin a new series called, The Week Ahead, to hold myself accountable to following my 3-steps.

Leave your comments below and share this article with those who may benefit.

Until next time, ASK MORE QUESTIONS.

Practicing what I preach…3 of 7 Complete

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Started the day with an early morning viewing of The Best Man: Holiday. Who could resist the eye candy? If you are a fan of the first film, you will enjoy the sequel. The cast chemistry continues and the story hits both tender and fun notes.

No point in making turkey for 1, so I opted for my beloved, Dominos, for pizza and wings! (Be sure to tip generously, we may be home on Thanksgiving, but they are out in the cold delivering our food).

What better way to pair my pizza than with a little NFL football? Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys is the second of three games on tap for today.

Before the night is done, I plan on seeing at least one episode of House of Cards. Netflix, you’ve been warned!

How are you spending Thanksgiving? Leave comments below.

Are you spending Thanksgiving alone?

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For those of us in the United States, today is Thanksgiving. At its core, the Holiday is rooted in family and food. Millions of Americans are prepping their homes for a wave of adults and children to share a meal and celebrate their connection to one another. For many, it’s their favorite Holiday of the year, but for others, it can be the roughest day on the calendar.

For me, Thanksgiving is a painful reminder of what I have lost and what I still have not found. I am an only child whose parents died many years ago. I do not have any grandparents or cousins. I do have a small group of close friends, but as the years tick away, they have begun to start their own families and traditions. They remain generous in their invitations, however, more and more, it feels like I’m borrowing a family. Does anyone else know that feeling?

There can be a variety of reasons people will spend Thanksgiving solo:

  • Relocated to a new city
  • Working the Holiday
  • No close loved ones nearby
  • Free-will, that’s right, we still have one!

I am writing this because you are not alone! Well, technically, you are alone, as am I, but collectively, there are many of us who exist. Here are some ideas for how to turn Thanksgiving Thursday, into a fabulous day off. Ready?

  1. Give thanks! Huh? I thought I was supposed to take your mind OFF of Thanksgiving? Well, regardless of what day the calendar reads, each morning, I wake up and express gratitude. This morning I was thankful for seeing another day, a restful sleep, a day off from work, and so on… No  matter what emotions Thanksgiving conjures up for you, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
  2. Go to the gym. While everyone is working hard at expanding their waistlines, why not work on whittling yours down? Sounds sweet to me! (see what I did there?)
  3. Volunteer. This one is about feeding your soul by helping others.
  4. Catch a flick. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already purchased my ticket for the 10:45am showing of The Best Man Holiday. 
  5. Order Chinese food (or pizza or <insert non-traditional Holiday food here>. There’s nothing like bucking convention with a plate of beef and broccoli or a pizza pie, right?
  6. Watch sports. There are THREE NFL games on today beginning at 12:30pm EST and the best part, they run until 11:30pm EST tonight. Lose yourself in the pigskin.
  7. Binge-watch. Netflix is your friend. Use today to catch up on that TV show you have always wanted to see. I plan on checking out House of Cards.

I am thinking of all of you, who like me, will be spending Thanksgiving on their own. Enjoy the company of yourself and be thankful you’re good company!