I’ve gone Bananaloupe!

I woke up today and had an irresistible urge to make a big change in my life. So, when I got to work, I geared up by immediately eating a ridiculous amount of miniature Milky Way Midnight bars (the important first step in any big life change). In truth, it was probably equivalent of 3 normal sized bars. After a few hours of reeling from that rich, dark chocolate coursing through my body, I knew it was time. I had sufficient levels of caffeine, flavanoids, and antioxidants (go dark chocolate!) and felt confident I could proceed.

I strode down to our company’s cafeteria in my burgundy Capri pants to join my friend for a very quick lunch. I ordered a spinach salad with carrots, egg, cheese, beets, kidney beans, and a dash of Ranch. Then I did it, the moment I was dreading… I swiftly grabbed a banana, asked my friend how to tell if they are ripe, and proceeded to the check out lane. I had to run back to the cooler to purchase a bottle of OJ that would serve as the magical elixir allowing the banana to make it past my teeth.

I’m turning a new leaf, er, probably a lot of Spinach leaves, because I’ve decided to go veggie. Actually, I woke up this morning determined to eat healthier for once and for all. As a long time wannabe vegetarian, I figured I’d just go for it all at once. Today was the day I’d quit making excuses for not trying new, healthy foods. Today was the day I’d begin the battle with my two worst enemies: cantaloupe and b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

This breast-feeding, working Mama of an almost 11 month old is weary. And if I’m not hopping on a treadmill anytime soon, the least I can do is jump start my lost energy by eating better. With my personality type I knew I’d have to go about it renegade style. No “easing” into it, or burn in period. And how could I rationalize raising my daughter vegetarian (so far) if I was stuffing my face with meatier fares like grilled chicken and pepperoni pizza?

If you know me, you know my eating habits leave nothing to be coveted. I am utterly unadventurous when it comes to food. While I typically have no problem forgoing greasy, fattening food or red meat, I instead choose plain, boring, unadorned meals. Think turkey, cheese, and Spinach on wheat. Or Cheerios. Every single day if I could. Granny Smith apples and green grapes are the only fruits I’ll even look at, and there are only a handful of vegetables on my eating resume. “Ethnic” food? Not a chance. I love beans, soups, sandwiches, and chocolate. Boooor – ing. For Pete’s sake (poor Pete), I didn’t even know how to tell if a banana was ripe.

At lunch, my friend laughed and looked away (another banana hater) as I tore small pieces off, shoved them in my mouth, and immediately swigged orange juice. The gag reflex kicked in a few times but I managed to get it down. The entire freakin’ banana. Just now, I almost gagged just thinking about it.

On my way home from work, I called my Mom in Indiana and proudly proclaimed “Guess what? I ate a banana!” She immediately understood the magnitude of the event. I felt so damn proud. And then, all day long, I sang the annoying theme to the old kids show “Bananas in pajamas!”

Tonight after grocery shopping, I stocked my fridge with some items that have never seen the light of…my fridge. Ever. Like cantaloupe. And peppers.

For dinner, I stuck with a favorite (black bean and cheese burrito on whole wheat tortilla) but added spinach and salsa. Then came the time for the cantaloupe. Aughckk (that’s the sound of my gag reflex). I remember growing up and watching my folks eat cantaloupe. It was gross then and was gross tonight. After asking my husband how to cut a cantaloupe (and getting the blankest, slow blinking stare ever), I chopped it up in the smallest pieces I could without feeling like a complete wimp. With two bottles of water in hand, I sat beside my husband, who was engrossed in the finale of Lost. I breathed deeply and shoved two pieces at a time into my mouth. Seriously, it was like Fear Factor, but with cantaloupe. My eyes clenched and I tried not to breathe in through my nose for fear I’d catch a whiff. My husband noticed my agony and commented “You don’t look like you are enjoying that”. I managed to huff “No, I hate it” in between one of the rounds and gagging fits. And when it was done, I felt proud once more. But that didn’t stop me from rushing to the kitchen for something to take away the awful, canteloupy taste. Yes, a handful of bittersweet chocolate chips and Double Bubble Gum was perfect! Nevermind that the first piece of gum that I grabbed from the bag was Watermelon flavor. Enough with the melons already! I traded it for Sour Cherry instead.

So, really, what’s up with me? Am I a glutton for punishment? No, I’m just sick of making excuses, of waiting for that perfect time, that perfect “push” to just eat right and get over it. I’m gonna have to fake it till I make it. With some big life changes and possibilities on the horizon, I truly believe that a change in the way I nourish my body can complement and enhance the changes in my spirit (and visa versa). I want a head start. And armed with inspiration from the mucho groovy website Worlds Healthiest Foods (thanks, Mama!), I feel prepared for this challenge.

I just really wasn’t prepared for all the gagging drama.

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