I received a text from Susan asking me to identify a mystery food substance, which she described as poo. But, what is it really, and why in the world would she be eating it? Read on…
For several months now, I think I have sounded a bit like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Remember the old cartoons like the Christmas Special? Whenever they showed Charlie and friends in school, you never saw the teacher herself, you just heard her talking… “Wahhh Wha, Whaa Whaaah Wahhhh…” This droning noise of nonsense syllables that we as viewers couldn’t make out- background noise really. I have been floundering in my diet attempts, and as such, I think I have been saying, quite frankly, a whole lot of nothing a good portion of the time. I have to admit, some weeks writing the blog seems like a chore. How do you write a health blog when you aren’t healthy and your heart and soul isn’t in what you are doing? Tired of listening to me bitch and moan about problems and bad days? Me too- everybody has them, time to suck it up and move on. If you have managed to follow along with me thus far, I encourage you to continue reading the blog each week, because things are about to get really interesting. How so, you ask? You get to watch me, a fat, unhealthy, meat loving, veggie hating woman, attempt to become a vegetarian. Stop laughing and read. :-)
I’d like to say that the people in my life have been supportive of my decision to give up animal products (eggs, dairy, poultry, fish, and meat) inexchange for a healthier plant based diet; but alas, it isn’t so. People just seem to think, well… that it’s weird. The typical comments go something like this: “You’re doing what?” “WHY?!” “You know, you don’t HAVE to eat that way to be healthy…” “Well, uh…Good luck with that…” or simply, “I could NEVER do that!” You would think that I had just announced that I was going to sub-exist on a diet of tree bark, twigs and small insects by the reaction I have been getting. The boys I take care of (cook for and feed) run hot or cold, depending on their mood. Half of the time they are supportive and remind me of the promise I made them to eat in this new healthy manner, and the rest of the time, they are plowing through the juicy chicken or steak in front of them, trying to tempt me into “just one bite, because it’s so GOOD!”
I haven’t crossed the line into complete vegetarianism yet, I still use milk in my coffee in the morning, and get 3 items a week that are animal based, but I am well on my way to giving them up completely. Think about how many snacks and meals you eat in a week, and then think about just 3 items… Grated Parmesan cheese on your pasta at dinner? That counts as one…. Grilled chicken in your salad? That’s two…. Grab a yogurt for lunch while you are on the run? That’s three…. And now you are done for the week- nothing left but veggies and whole grain goodness. Huh. I am keeping an open mind; I promised myself I would try this new approach to eating for an entire month, before deciding if these changes are something that I can live with on a permanent basis. Not watching my diet is no longer an option for me with Type 2 Diabetes looming over my shoulder; however, I don’t have to give up our furry, feathered, and scaled friends and their by-products to control diabetes. So why am I doing it then? All the latest research is producing results that show the cause and effect relationships of animal based diets and many diseases we encounter. It’s not just meat etc… that I am giving up, I am also weaning myself off diet soda, the Equal I use in my coffee, and of course, my cigarettes. I like to think I am taking a crash course in health. :-)
Last week after my Sunday morning workout with Peter and crew, I went to Whole Foods in Ridgewood to peruse the isles in search of vegetarian treats; I was already getting bored with all the salad I had been eating. In the prepared food section of the store, I came across something called Vegetarian Chopped Liver. I have to say I took one look at it and thought, “NO F’ING WAY! Back awaaaay from the counter…” I watched in utter fascination and horror as the woman and child on line in front of me asked for a sample of what looked like a giant pile of “Poo.” I was surprised by their reactions. Instead of spewing the muck into a napkin and violently retching, smiles of surprise and delight crossed their faces and they ordered some to bring home. OKayyyy. I promised to be open minded right? I will admit, if I hadn’t actually seen someone else eat it right in front of me, I would never have dared to try it. So sample it I did, and it really was good, despite its nasty appearance. Filled with veggies, tofu, matzo, and spices, it was indeed a savory pate’- whether or not it really tasted like chopped liver I couldn’t tell you- I have never eaten that. I bought a pound of the stuff and brought it home. I knew the ingredients were good for me, but the nutritional content was a complete mystery- as it was a prepared “deli food,” it had no label. After a fruitless web search, an unreturned e-mail, and 2 phone calls to the store, I finally got the info I needed and was pleasantly surprised. It was as healthy, if not more so, than the hummus I usually eat.
I actually had fun eating the mock chopped liver this week- I horrified everyone who saw me eat it and then pestered them incessantly to just try it before judging- sort of like a twisted “Sam-I-Am” proffering Green Eggs and Ham. Craig told me he was “not a baby bird, and did not need his food chewed for him before he ate it” and one of the mom’s who saw me snacking on it during football practice told me it was reminiscent of “Fancy Feast” cat food and steadfastly refused the offering. Everyone who was brave enough to take a bite did indeed like it, and Andy aka “Torn Spleen Boy” tried to wrestle the container away from me because he wanted more. Go figure; healthy can be good.
I tried another recipe this week- Peter’s Vegetable Soup with Kale and San Marzano Tomatoes. I made a huge pot of the stuff and then gave it a try. It was esthetically pleasing to the eye, smelled great and was packed with filling and nutritious veggies; I was hoping this soup would become a go-to staple in my diet at only 100 calories per cup. The broth tasted great, but the big chunks of veggies were less appealing to me; I wasn’t thrilled with the result. Then I realized it wasn’t the soup that was the problem, it was me. I am not a “Chunky Soup” type of girl, never have been. I whipped out my hand blender and pureed the soup- the results were terrific. While not as pretty Peter’s un-pureed version, with a touch of cilantro added and a dash of hot sauce, it tasted very similar to Tortilla Soup and I was a happy camper.
So the message this week? Stray beyond your comfort zone, try new things, be persistent, learn to make adjustments on the fly, and remember to be open minded; even “Poo” has the ability to surprise and delight you if you are willing to give it a shot…