Getting started, or, Taking it slow with vegetables

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I love it too much. I spend most of my time thinking about what I just ate. Or what I am eating. Even while I’m eating, I’m already looking forward to what I’m going to eat next.

I live in Boston, which means that there is good food everywhere. I don’t have a car, which means that I’m either being lazy and going broke eating delicious and expensive restaurant food, or pulling a muscle in my shoulder from carrying too many grocery bags too far. I’m hoping to find a delicious and painless happy medium.

I’m not a good cook. I’m an okay cook. Sometimes I can whip up something awesome like lemon chicken parmesan with a white wine sauce and (instant) mashed potatoes. Sometimes I’d rather just have cereal for dinner. I have to call my mom with questions a lot, like “How can I defrost the shrimp right now because I’m starving, without giving myself food poisoning?” (Answer: there is no fast way. You will probably eat so many Wheat Thins while waiting for the shrimp to defrost that you won’t be hungry when it’s ready to cook. But then you’ll have to cook it anyway.)

Despite what it sounds like (as if I’m constantly stuffing my face), I try to eat healthy. I’m in a pretty new and fragile relationship with vegetables. We’re taking it slow. We had an incident with stir fry that made me feel like I was moving too fast, so I’m going to have to learn to trust that it will all be okay and not horrible.

Food is essential. Calories are essential. Counting calories is bullshit. Eating healthy should be saying no to ice cream sometimes (which, if I’m being honest, is something I have never done), or getting an apple instead of a candy bar, or going for a walk instead of going for a beer (I know… also impossible). It should not be getting angry with the cute old woman who brings her homemade chocolate chip cookies in to work to share because they were made with love and also 400 calories. What a manipulative crone.

Food tastes good for a reason. We crave things for a reason. We are supposed to enjoy food. Not to the extent that we sit on our couches eating our way through delivery pizza until our muscles atrophy, but also not to the extent of hating on that avocado because it is just too fatty. We need food to live, but if that were all, we would just eat tofu or rice or something else equally boring, just to fill our bellies and move on. But we don’t. Just look at the obesity rate in the United States.

Each week, I hope to give a normal (well, somewhat) person’s perspective on things like grocery shopping, dieting, cooking, failing at cooking, restaurants, and all the millions of other things that involve food. Really, when you think about it, what doesn’t?

6 Responses to “Getting started, or, Taking it slow with vegetables”
  1. Kathryn says:

    “Food tastes good for a reason. We crave things for a reason. We are supposed to enjoy food.”

    I had almost the exact same discussion with my mom the other day. Well, less of a discussion and more of a monologue, really, since I talked and she mostly nodded. I recently had to move back home, and since living in a house with stocked pantries and no grocery budget I’m beginning to notice an upward change in my weight. But I love food and I’m not going to starve myself so that I look at 26 like I did at 16. I look forward to reading! And not least with the hope I’ll learn some secret trick that makes veggies taste like candy.

  2. Anna says:

    Hey friend–I saw this linked on TWITTER of all places. I know you’ll appreciate that. :) However, I must disagree with you on one point–counting calories is not always BS. I view it as the easiest measure for myself to stay aware of how much I’m eating and it’s worked like a charm thus far.

    That said, I’m pretty excited to read about these interesting things called vegetables.

    • Jill says:

      So weird to see my name places… no, I’m totally with you, Anna. I think it’s a very good way to become aware of what you’re eating and what to avoid, especially if you have weight loss goals. You are also a very healthy and disciplined person–I think lots of people end up using calorie counting as an excuse for restrictive eating and unhealthy habits, or they cut back too far and end up binging on other things because they’re hungry.

      That said, I’m not a diet expert in any sense of the word. I just know I’m not disciplined enough to count calories :)

  3. Discovered your webblog via google the other day and absolutely adore it. Continue the excellent work.

  4. Lindsey says:

    “Even while I’m eating, I’m already looking forward to what I’m going to eat next.”

    You have no idea what a relief it is to know I’m not the only person who does that! I eagerly await more of your normal person’s perspective!

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