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!

I came, I saw, I ran…

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A journey begins with a single step. Taking care of yourself is a holistic approach – equal care is required for the mind, body & soul.

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.

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!

“He is a wise m…

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“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

On this day of thanks, what are you thankful for? When your thoughts take you to a low place, make a list, either mentally or physically, to remind you of life’s many gifts.

“Turn your mess into your MESSage”

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There’s a wonderful relationship coach whom I follow on Twitter named, Tony Gaskins, Jr. (@TonyGaskins) He publishes a newsletter in an attempt to motivate and guide folks to their path. He recently wrote, turn your mess into your message.

Think about it, we all have at least one mess in our lives. For some it’s career – can’t find a job, can’t keep a job, can’t find career fulfillment. Their mess can be found in the deep breaths taken when the alarm clock shouts signaling another day at work has arrived. For others, it’s money. Whether it’s trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents, saving for retirement, or digging out of debt, financial woes plague many of us.  Their mess can be found in crumpled up ATM receipts revealing balances too low to make them feel secure. There are people who struggle with weight and body image issues. They move around this world feeling inadequate and confused on how to make and stick to an active and healthy lifestyle. Their mess can be found in empty boxes of junk food, over or under-sized clothing or medical charts warning them a change is needed.

My mess is simple. My Achilles heel is relationships. Have you ever heard the song, Indestructible, by Robyn? 

She sings, “let the bad ones in, let the good ones go.” Well, I have never met Robyn, but I am pretty sure she is singing about me. For as far back as I can remember, I have had a crush on some boy. In pre-k, it was a sandy-haired boy named, John. My heart belonged to Jason each summer from ages 7-10. My first kiss at age 12 was to a rambunctious kid named, William. Those were all harmless crushes punctuated with cheesy notes passed back and forth between friends. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that the heartbreak began. In all the years that have followed, I still haven’t been able to get it right. That’s a post (or perhaps several posts) for another time… But for now, just know that I have a mess too.

This space is titled, Questions, No Answers simply because I do not pretend to know what the hell I am talking about. However, that does not stop me from having a lot to say, questions to ask, and answers to seek. Let this page be the beginning of a community for people to share their own messes and just read about my own.

ASK MORE QUESTIONS, my people… because only through knowledge can we empower ourselves to be better than we were yesterday. In the meantime, grab a broom and let’s try to tidy up our mess!