Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A few words about salad

Trying to grate baby carrots on a micro planer is futile, and trying to shred them with a vegetable peeler isn't much better.  I made these helpful discoveries when I was going through the arduous task of creating a salad for lunch today.  I'll tell you: if I had enough money to meet all my needs and had plenty left over for my wants, I'd hire a personal salad chef.  Most people I've spoken with agree that salads taste way better when someone else makes them. 

But since I don't have funds to hire a personal salad chef, and since my friends and family seemingly have better things to do than prepare veggies for me, the task is mine, all mine.


As a child, my idea of a salad was a handful of torn up ice berg lettuce swimming in a pool of syrupy Italian dressing.  Not any more.  I've had enough grown-up salads (made by Not Me) that I want something more and usually start my salads with those plastic (petrochemicals!) boxes filled with beautiful purple & green leaves.  Add some more vegetables (at least one), maybe a little fruit, some nuts and just a little cheese and Ta Da!  Salad!

But by the time I get to opening that box of purple and green lettuce, some of those lettuce leaves have turned midnight purple or even black around the edges, so after washing it I go through leaf by leaf, discarding - with a mighty flick of the wrist - those leaves which are on their way to becoming soil for new lettuce plants.

Next there's the pressure buying locally-grown produce (in Ohio in winter!!!) so as not to contribute to enormous carbon footprints; or, when that fails, selecting produce which wasn't on last night's news as the latest carrier of e coli.

All I want is someone to do all the thinking and prepwork on my salad so that I can eat it happily and without the weight of the Ozone layer on my shoulders.  I don't want to think about pesticides or even about composting worms.   I just want a little fiber, a little sweet, a little salty, and a little crunch.

I want to savor my salads the way I was meant to: like a guinea pig in a field of clover and dandelions: munching & savoring, happily oblivious.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The value of sticker shock

Lately I've been thinking a lot about motivation and wondering where I'll find mine in the cold days ahead. If this year is like its recent predecessors, from now till April I'll have to battle the instinct to bulk up and hibernate as ice makes the world a little bit scarier. 

I thought about Lighten Up 2012 and how awesome it would be to have that to look forward to.  If I were a contestant this year, I wouldn't psych myself out, I'd just psych myself up, totally focused on me and not the other contestants (See?  I learned something!).  But I had my chance.  Note: It's an incredible opportunity and I can't wait to follow this year's contest.

I thought about The Biggest Loser and how amazing that experience would be (Any producers reading this? Pick me! Pick me!).

Right now I've got a houseful of celebrities nagging -- I mean encouraging -- me to eat right, move more, and follow them to a new me.  Ali Vincent's face smiles radiantly at me from the Official Biggest Loser Weight Management Program I happily received for Christmas.  When I was vacuuming under the bed yesterday, I found my long lost The Biggest Loser book, complete with Bob Harper's heart-stopping smile on the cover.  And in today's mail Jennifer Hudson implores me to Believe and return to Weight Watchers.

I'll tell you where lies my real motivation for healthy eating just now: my wallet.  Though I stopped eating meat this fall, it wasn't till today that I took my first trip to Whole Foods.  Inspired by a recent post by my favorite blogger, I took a couple loved ones with me for a 20-minute drive and found myself in healthy food heaven.

I'm still overwhelmed by the amazing, beautiful selection and I'm also still a overwhelmed by sticker shock.  But while it's true that actual good-for-me food is initially pricer than some the food-like products, when I factor in things like health & nutrition, today's grocery bill was a bargain.

So.  I've spent a little more on groceries for myself than I'm comfortable with.  (I say for myself because most of what I bought is to help me in my meatlessness.)  Know what that means?  I'm holding myself accountable.