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!

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.

“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!