Monday, May 15, 2017

Salad days

One of the more unexpected outcomes in this part of my life is that my sisters look forward to my salads.

They are picky eaters. I am too, but our pickiness doesn't have a lot of overlap. I am carnivorous; they don't really care for meat. I am okay with some melted cheese toppings, or some accents, but they like chunks of Gouda and cheese in a can, and cheese in all of these ways that gross me out. I am more adventurous with different cuisines and spices, but I can't stand hummus, which they love.

Maybe it makes sense in a different way. They do like a lot of salad bars (which I generally find disgusting (except for Sweet Tomatoes). That makes it necessary for me to be able to make my own salads, but also perhaps they were predisposed to being okay with salads.

The first sign was the blueberry carrot salad, which they loved. They would even eat it as leftovers, which is big. That could have been a fluke, and them eating different kit salads doesn't prove anything, but the Brussels sprouts salads might.

We have heard good things about Brussels sprouts for a while. "Oh, they are sweet like candy!" That was obviously not true, but if someone could say it then maybe they were at least not as gross as I have always thought. "Just roast them with olive oil!"

I could not swallow even one that way. I think any cooking at all brings the sulfur. I know it doesn't work that way for everyone, but this was not going to be an option. I didn't want to give up though; they are supposed to be really good for you. With a little more research it appeared that they could be shredded raw and used as a salad base.

I tried it first as a sweet salad (raspberry vinaigrette, dried cranberries, pecorino cheese), and everyone liked it. I tried it as a savory salad (olive oil, feta, bacon crumbles) and that was well-received. I like the sweet better, but it's nice to have options. I believe it could also work with a sesame dressing and won ton slices, or something like that.

I hope that there are a few lessons in here. One should be that it's okay for different people to have different tastes. There are so many different fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dressings, meats, grains, and cheeses that not only should there be something for everyone, and but also no one needs to like everything.

What may not be obvious is how you need to keep trying. Disliking three vegetables doesn't mean you hate vegetables; it means that you need to try different ones, at least or cooking them in different ways.

I have been frustrated with my own aversion to "healthy foods". I can't stand fish or walnuts and until this latest development I wasn't very good with cruciferous vegetables. There are enough other things that I do like, and I continue to try out new things. It's fine. It may take some creativity and persistence. It definitely takes some availability and knowledge, but I am not going to take on food deserts and lack of cooking knowledge at this time.

Right now I just want to take on that despair or sense of hopelessness about eating well. The diet mindset - where the only thing important to health is body size - makes that worse because it is often based on deprivation.

When I wrote up Moderate Changes, the best thing about it may be that its focus is adding good things rather than removing "bad" things. Give to yourself.

I am not perfect at it. I have gotten so sick of eating oatmeal lately. I have gotten better about getting whole grains in at other meals, but at one point the bowl of oatmeal made starting the day right easy, and there has been a change. I can adapt to that.

A lot of trying to get my head right comes back to believing that I am worth something. No matter my size, or my quirks, or my weaknesses, I deserve good care, which I am also responsible for providing. Deciding that I am dirt doesn't help anyone.

So tonight I am working with asparagus and yellow bell peppers. I may use some brown rice or barley. But also, I'm making chocolate chip cookies, which are better for the soul than the body, but are nonetheless fine.

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