Posted by: cmittermeier | January 17, 2016

Week one of coaching, pondering vegetable boredom

Okay, so my weekly check ins are on Tuesday’s, but I don’t have a lot of time to write then.  I like my new coach.  Though this week was different in that it had a lot of appointments and running around, it wasn’t extremely high in stress.  Having said that, if I did not have a coach to answer to, I would have given up on the plan Thursday night, and also in Friday, and Saturday, and uh, today!  I would have gone back to a dinner of protien and potatoe, sans veggies.  That had became my old stand by when time ran low.

Yet, each day, I buckled down just that little bit more to prepare all the vegetables.  It meant running to the grocery store basically every day since Thursday… It’s a little hard thinking far enough ahead vegetable wise.  Each day, between their suggestions and my experience I was able to come up with something to make, and then the next day I was back to “what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?” Consistency…This really is a different life for me.

When we stopped eating processed, I was pleased as punch to be able to do the standard meat/veggie protein pod[ I would make up large batches of my beans etc. And freeze them in  1 cup servings], potatoe, veggie each night…  I even had portions okay to keep my calories in line. Over time,when time got tight, or my stamina low, the veggie would go. This non-processed routine was a good step, but the scale wasn’t budging.  I knew the nutritionist was going to bring the veggies back, but I hadn’t expected to loose the carb corner of the plate.  It’s a good strategy though, it is really forcing me to get used to veggie side dishes.  In the past I can do it for a while, then boredom sets in.

My lunches have gone back to a salad with beans for a protein.  It’s quick and easy, but I know I will need to change the dressing up every two weeks or boredom will set in.

Ah, food boredom.  Why is it that carbs never get boring, yet veggies do?  I really want to think about this. I know potatoes, all carbs really, are comfort foods that stimulate your happy stuff, but, what about veggies?

 I am a middle northern girl – mid-Northern European ancestors moved to Canada, married British ancestors who had also moved to Canda, another mid-north climate. We aren’t super far north, where diets have adapted to extreme cold by eating fatty fish, but, our diets had adapted to where we lived.

Ancestrally, we would have only had fresh vegetables for part of the year.  They ate what feels like darn near everything to me.  Even my grandparents generation knew more leaves, fungi, berries, and other live plants to eat than I can imagine.  The problem is, it wasn’t everything… Some could kill you.  My father taught my sister and I how to make rose hip tea, and there were many Sunday afternoons at road sides picking berries when I grew up.  That was the extent of my tutoring! Yet, there was a time that every walk would have given you a basket of various leaves you could eat or use medicinally.  You had to eat, so you are almost anything you could.

We would have had root vegetables and persevered ones for the winter months, along with dried goods and meat either from fishing and hunting, more likely salted or otherwise preserved (smoking for instance). Perserved vegetables means pickles, sauerkraut and such.  They pickled everything back then.  Asperagas, beets, cauliflower, every letter of the alphabet folks.  Different herbs were used too, it wasn’t dill everything.  Others, like cabbage, only needed salt (sauerkraut) as a seasoning to go along with the vinegar.

 Root vegetables were the only “fresh” in winter, and they had a much greater variety than we do. Carrots came in a rainbow of colours, along with turnips, parsnips, even the potatoe had greater diversity.  Though there would have been more common types, they knew the dangers of relying on single source food.  Bugs, disease, weather.  Rarely would they target an entire group, but they would specific strain, so every farmer knew each year would favour different crops.  It was foolish to plant with little diversity.  

Many things were also dried, like beans and peas.  Even there, the diversity was much greater than we normally experience.  Peas were the live or die crop in Tudor England for many, it was the main source of protein to carry you through the winter months.  As one historian said, your pea crop literally meant life or death.  Legumes were life, at least for the common man of which I descended.

One historian estimates that we ate routinely 200 different plants over the course of a year, just to survive.  No wonder I get bored with my little list: carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, zuchini, celery, mushrooms, peppers, and onions.  My leaf list is far longer, I like the fancy mixes with small leaves, leaf lettuces, romaine, spinach, kale but I do like them with dressing and that gets boring after a while.  Still, my total list is super small compared to my ancestors.

Yup, I’m going to have to expand my vegetable base and train myself to enjoy routine vegetables over these lean winter months.  I get bored with them because my diet would have evolved to be expecting different ones as the months changed.  No wonder I always crave Asperagas at Easter, it was the first spring crop and it is nutritionally packed, a real powerhouse for us when we at our most deprived! Lots to learn from history 😀


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