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

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What Kind of Book Will you Write?

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Cheers to prosperous start of 2014!

Why I will ignore your advice this New Year’s Eve

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With less than 48 hours (depending on your time zone) in 2013, the web is bursting at its virtual seams with articles, essays, stories and more on how to live your best life in 2014. There are motivational quotes on Twitter, positivity photos on Instagram, and I am sure a combination of both on Facebook walls everywhere. Here is the thing; I love quotes of all kind. I, too, double tap away on inspirational images and sayings, scripture passages, and fitness triumphs. There are plenty of days when I find myself rereading encouraging words to boost me up out of a funk or to persuade me to modify my thoughts as a means to modify my mood. However, as I turn the page on this calendar year, I do not want to read one more article on how I should feel in 2014.

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The bulk of this year is something I would happily send out into the void along with George Clooney in Gravity. If I had kept count (and I’m glad I did not) of the days I have cried, I am certain it is more than half of the entire year.  I would love to write that it was tears of joy, but assuming you have read previous posts, clearly the tears were of the sad variety. When much of the year has been spent enduring emotional hurt, it is not only unrealistic, but also quite simplistic, to think that said person can simply flip a switch once the clock strikes 12. If it were that easy, wouldn’t we have done it sooner? I will spend the next two days feeling whatever it is I feel at the exact moment I feel it. The past twelve months were rough. I do not want to spend more time wallowing in what was, but I do want to honor my feelings. Yes, there will be confetti dancing overhead, music playing loudly and glasses clinking to toast the start of 2014, but I will still feel the push-pull of what is versus what I had hoped to be.

The trajectory for ’13 was projected to go plenty differently than where I am now.  Unfortunately, broken plans and unrealized promises happened and here I am. The singular truth is that I cannot change past events. No amount of wishing, praying or hoping (all of which I have tried) will force circumstances to be other than this. My heart still hurts but admittedly, some days are better than others. As my eyes move from person to person at the stroke of midnight, I will wish he was beside me. Momentarily, I will close my eyes and imagine him there. The moment will pass and I’ll return to the here and now. I will embrace my friends, sip champagne and make that universal wish that the coming year is the best one yet.

Make New Year’s Eve and the upcoming year your own. Do what feels right to you and forget the rest.

See you on the flip side, and until then… ASK MORE QUESTIONS.

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.

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.