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,
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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!