“Tell us about food subsitutes…trying new tastes and how those have helped, or not helped in the process?”
What an adventure making a life change can be! I always thought of myself as having a fairly mature flavor pallet, which includes cooking with a large variety of herbs and spices. I even cook with herbs usually not used by the conventional cook…such as lavender, fennel, cardamom, and lemon verbena. Little did I know that my taste experience was about to be challenged, and greatly expanded…not just regionally, but into the wide world of flavors.
At the beginning of this whole medically necessary, health-inspired lifestyle change, I will confess my tastebuds were challenged. Gone were the comfort foods and regular old friends I was familiar with, while new flavors and textures were being introduced on nearly a daily basis. Gone were beloved potatoes, rice, and my “go to” protein sources, such as beef, which were being replaced with the whole new concept of cauliflower rice and zoodles made of zucchini or yams, and legume combinations I’d never heard of. Vegetables that I had grown up enjoying were taking on whole new food genres, suddenly becoming unfamiliar, and venturing into entirely foreign territory. It was a challenging start…for both Jamie (the Accidental Nutritionist and chef extraordinaire), and me. But the only option was to persevere and keep moving forward through this dietary fog, believing we’d be reaching the end of it to find a view well worth the effort. I was placing my faith in Jamie, and Jamie was putting her faith in me. She would research and create recipes within the strict guidelines we’d been given, and I would be open to trying new things and broadening my concept of what food should look and taste like, while letting go of my own historic notions of food…and then stick to the new.
As recipes developed and menu options grew, so did my concepts of food and taste pallet. I was being taken on taste tours and introduced to Asian, Moroccan, and new flavors from around the world. Has it been successful? Well, you decide. Towards the end of last week, which had been a particularly challenging week at work, and usually one of those circumstances when I would have gravitated towards an old favorite comfort food, I instead grabbed one of Jamie’s prepared meals, heated it up, and sat down to enjoy it. And I did truly enjoy the green Curry chicken over cauliflower rice, and I smiled. Curry…no, really, Curry had just journeyed onto my list of “comfort foods” and I had to call and let Jaime and Drew know. They are my team, after all. You see, I’d only had Curry a couple of times before this and was not a fan. But during one of our Friday “trial” meals, Jamie had cooked up several different Curries as an introduction. Green curry made the most immediate cut, and Jaime filed this information away for the next round of menus. And now, hello expanded pallet; Curry was a success! And this is how, about seven weeks into this life adventure, through trust, determination, and acceptance, I’ve begun embracing the new, releasing the old, and no longer thinking of myself as missing out. Instead, more and more I’m thinking, “How have I lived this long without knowing how good this really is?!”
I cannot say this enough…when life throws a snowball in your face to get your attention, and you have to stop, evaluate the situation, and create a plan to climb past that snowball; your determination to move forward, no matter what, has got to start and remain with you! No one can make this decision for you. No one can live the changes that you must make, in your stead. You have to come to terms with what the change or changes must be. If you embrace this challenge as the next great adventure, and you set your determination before you to start clearing the way, you will succeed, and you will grow as you progress forward. If you’ve already started your own journey, I wish you success. It all starts with the right frame of mind…where “have to’s” change to “get to’s”; and “can’ts” change to “cans”…even if they come from a new place. You will succeed at the level you believe in yourself. Think big. Believe hard. Don’t give up.