This seems to be my year to pursue wellness, and one aspect of wellness is nutrition. It was the quest for good nutrition that had me running from one end of Kroger to the other on a recent evening in what I will call the Strange Ingredient Scavenger Hunt.
My food conscience had been nagging me toward better eating habits. You know how an imaginary devil sits on one of our shoulders and an angel sits on the other? I’d been listening to the food devil’s whispers for many months. In spite of successfully maintaining a weight loss of 25 pounds since 2010, I knew it was time for a change. Ice cream, chips, and peanut butter were staples on my grocery list. I’d stopped cooking the traditional way, opting for sandwiches or pre-packaged microwave foods. I used my crock pot and froze the leftovers, but there were days when thawing them out seemed like a lot of trouble.
My nutrition goal was pretty straightforward: I wanted to introduce nutrition into my diet.
While surfing the Internet I had stumbled upon a “jump-start” program of healthful eating designed to eliminate belly fat. It was there that I learned there are two kinds of belly fat: the fat we can see and the invisible fat inside that can wrap around our organs and make us candidates for some serious diseases. Looking for motivation? There you go.
The belly-fat-reducing program provided a shopping list. I had to photocopy it, as I’d never heard of some of the items, maybe because they were fresh. “Cremini mushrooms”? Not only did I not know where they were; I didn’t know what they were. The strangest item on the list was “1-2 knuckles of ginger root.” I wandered back and forth through the produce department, an alien studying the vegetables and fruit to find what sounded like the beginning of a witch’s brew.
The list took me to other departments I had not visited, like fresh seafood (“1/4 pound tilapia and oils (“8-oz. bottle cold-pressed organic flaxseed oil”). If it wasn’t on the regular shelf, I had to look in the organic corner. Luckily I was a woman with a purpose, because my second purpose seemed to be seeing how many times I could cross the entire store to find an item. I wore out significant shoe leather in the two hours I searched for “1/2 gallon lactose-free skim milk,” “roasted or raw unsalted sunflower seeds,” and “7-oz. container of dried plums.” This was just after I’d volunteered for a two-and-a-half-mile walk the next evening.
After the first hour, my eyes were glazing over. I mistakenly got pineapple slices instead of tidbits (Oh, so what, I told myself; if they were cut up, they’d be tidbits.) and blackberries instead of blueberries.
My work was not done when I’d put the groceries away. The belly-fat plan includes the expected eight cups of water per day, but not just any water; water that has to be made ahead so that the flavors can mingle. Spending $89 on the groceries might have been what turned me into an unwavering slave and will explain why I was slicing lemons and cucumbers at 8:00 pm., counting mint leaves, and grating ginger root to make a recipe for water! I measured the ginger root by how long it took to grate the skin off my left thumb.
TIP: 1-2 knuckles of ginger root is equal to 1-2 grated knuckles of Jane.
How is all of this working out? It’s too early to talk results, but the food has been amazing. My meals are relaxing and filling. It now takes me about thirty minutes to eat a balanced meal, as opposed to five minutes for a peanut-butter sandwich.
I’m still committed (to nutrition, not the insane asylum). I’m going to keep educating myself about healthy, natural foods. We’re never too old to begin something new!