I loathe most vegetables.
When my big brother and I were kids, he used to tell me that I had "green and purple cooties". As far as I was concerned at age 5, which has not changed yet at age nearly-44, most green veggies are just Big Green Cooties.
I have recently given up on the idea that I will ever be able to force myself to eat foods I dislike. I can't tell you the number of times I have filled my refrigerator with nothing but healthy, beautiful produce foods, spent all my money on them and had no more for anything else. And then stood in front of the refrigerator until the hairs in my nose frosted up (to quote Erma Bombeck there), starving -- and then walked away hungry. Repeatedly. Until I was in a "health fast for days" and the produce was composting in the fridge. When you will literally STARVE rather than eat something, it's pretty apparent you don't like it and that mere 'suggestion', including 'driving hunger', is still not enough to force it down your throat.
Why on earth I ever thought that "just because I was on a diet plan" I should miraculously be able to eat Big Green Cooties is beyond me.
It seems evident that my primary weight gain and maintenance of that despite obviously insufficient calories over the years, aside from probably relating to thyroid/adrenals and other hormonal issues, is at least in part an issue of malnutrition. Massively insufficient protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. for most of my life. My body's adapted to it somewhat -- by slowing my metabolism down somewhere below that of a tree sloth -- but that doesn't make it ok, it just keeps me fat.
So I asked myself what I can do to increase my intake of "things which are good for me."
I came up with the following list. This may or may not be a good list. I'm not suggesting it is a list for anybody but me. I'm just thinking out loud here because I have a blog and other people can be tortured by it I guess. I welcome any advice in the comments though.
1. Take vitamins. A good liquid multi is my base. A good (big dose, 4-10K iu daily) D3, E, K2, B-spectrum also.
2. Take minerals if not covered in the multi. Calcium, magnesium, potassium. (Did you know potassium deficiency has the same symptom-set as low thyroid and low oxygen?)
3. Take herbs where possible. The idea that I'm ever going to drink herbal tea regularly is right up there with the likelihood that I'm ever going to eat a lot of green veggies, despite what a charming fantasy that was in my head. I imagined me sitting down quietly with green tea each morning, with incense and classical music and -- ok, not gonna happen. So if herbs enter my body it's got to be in capsule form or as a spice, and really, how much spice can you eat anyway.
4. Take other supplements that my reading suggests might be useful. The research reports on capsaicin are mind blowing. Also I got cinnamon. And supplements such as gluten-ease for when I'm eating something with gluten or unsure if I am, and acidophilus for good-gut-critter well-being, etc.
5. Take supplements alleged to be important for thyroid. Lugol's Iodine Solution is famous but after further reading I decided that Carlson Lemon Cod Liver Oil and some Norwegian Kelp Tablets would do instead though I might add Lugol's later. Also, supplements alleged to be important for viral, parasite and bacterial immunity, such as apple cider vinegar. These are 'folk remedy' items but after seeing the number of testimonials regarding both I'm willing to extend some benefit of the doubt.
Which leads to the eating portion of the list...
1. Eat what I CAN eat in the 'green' category and eat a LOT of it.
OK let's see. What do I like?
A. I like Greek Salad. Mine, not anything bought. I chop to fingernail-size all ingredients: romaine lettuce; red or green leaf lettuce or baby spinach or all of them; green onions (scallions or spring greens) or red onions if you don't have those; tomatoes (paste like roma); peppers (of every kind and color possible); a few kalamata green olives; add some vinegar and oil (I use red wine vinegar and quality olive oil, though I once used avocado oil); then add some crumbled (I like garlic-herb type) feta. It is very different when it is all chopped small like that, vastly more moist, so that part matters. You let it sit in the fridge for quite awhile to 'merge flavors' which due to the small equal chop it does much more than anything normally called a salad.
I went off lowcarb several times when eating this because my now-ex-and-this-is-partly-why husband insisted on making (whole house overwhelmed with smell of it) and offering me garlic bread (in great quantity) with it, the ultimate accompaniament. But the salad is surprisingly decent. The feta and the vinegar and oil and the small pieces make it taste quite different than ordinary salad which I am generally not fond of. Please note the original Greek Salad should also use cucumbers, which I don't like and are carbier anyway, and often has those sweet pepperoncini peppers, and some people add herbs to their oil/vinegar combo. I find this best to eat when you have 'something else too' -- obviously, protein.
OK. So it means I have to eat a lot of it, because making it is a pain in the butt with all the chopping, so it's a lot easier to make a LOT of it and eat it regularly (also otherwise the remainder of your lettuce is composting etc.).
B. I like Everything-Salad-with-Chicken-and-Blue-Cheese (dressing that I make myself). This has basically everything that greek salad has except no olives or vinegar/oil and a larger size of ingredients, plus it adds anything possible -- cubed hard cheeses, nuts/seeds like pecan pieces or sliced almonds or unsalted sunflower seeds, cubed avocado -- and then adds bits of chicken either baked and chopped/shredded or stir-fried, and uses a yummy homemade blue cheese dressing, diluted/mixed with water to thin it out a whole lot.
It has the same rule as the Greek Salad: if I eat it at all, it's better to make a bunch of it and have it for more than one meal. Leave the dressing (and meat) off these until eating obviously.
C. I sorta-like Egg-Frittata/scramble. Basically just scrambled eggs but with chopped scallions and all kinds of peppers and roma tomato and sometimes some kind of meat. OK, I can eat that.
D. I simply adore Pico de Gallo. This is fine-chopped tomato, onion, peppers, fresh cilantro, with a little bit of lemon juice, salt and garlic, mixed together and let sit a bit in the fridge to blend. This is what you often get at mexican restaurants along with sour cream and guacamole on various plated foods. I have not actually tried making this to eat it on or in meats but I really should since I suspect I could eat it on nearly anything.
E. But my favorite food of all; if it could be categorized a food group, life would be better; is PESTO. Basil pesto. Versions of this vary in quality and taste for certain, but this may be the most wonderful food that ever saw green. You can usually buy this in containers in the deli, and you can freeze it for longer-term storage. It's not cheap, though I'm told Sam's Club has big economical containers of it. If you want to make your own, the ingredients are: fresh basil chopped fine; finely ground/powdered fresh parmesan or romano cheese; crushed pine nuts (in a pinch use some other kind of mild nut); minced or pressed garlic cloves; quality olive oil enough to make it thick-creamy but not liquidy, and some salt/pepper. You can eat too much pesto, if you try; your elimination habits will tell you their opinion.
My love for Pesto knows no bounds. Red pepper flakes may be the only 'supplement-food' I have ever loved as much or eaten on as many diverse things (meats, salads, eggs, etc.). So I thought I would record my few current foods that I use pesto in.
Have suggestions? Let me hear them! There are never too many ways to eat pesto!
Mix it in with scrambled eggs. If you are able to eat lowcarb wraps of some kind, put it on the wrap and then put your scrambled eggs-etc. (best with peppers/onions/cheese) into that as a breakfast pesto burrito. Yum.
Spread it over a plain hamburger.
Mix it in with the hamburger before cooking.
Use it instead of mayonnaise in any kind of sandwich, wrap, even if on lettuce leaves or flax bread or anything else. Pesto with turkey and provolone is wonderful!
Use it instead of red sauce on lowcarb pizza-style stuff. In fact the first time I ever had pesto was on a vegetarian pizza my friend (a chef) made me! It is wonderful. Yes it even works on the Deep Dish Pizza Quiche. As well as on the many other ways to make pizza-variants (from savory mock danish and bowl-muffin and flax-bread or flax-muffin options as base [I've seriously wondered about just dipping the Protein Powder Donut Holes, that's how crazy I am), to the lovely Cleochatra's innovative cauliflower crust) -- whatever works for pizza-ish stuff, works with pesto.
Make any kind of meat but chicken/turkey is good for this, and get it into small pieces (small-piece stir fry is ideal here). Mix pesto into it when it's done cooking. If you add chopped peppers and scallions and tomatoes it's really great, even better. If you add more greens you end up with the chicken salad I described above except with pesto instead of blue cheese dressing and eat it hot instead of cold.
If you're going to add cheese to anything that has pesto I recommend either parm/romano or, if it's a hard cheese, something lowcarb and a little bland like jack.
As a cold variant on the above, make chicken/turkey salad (you can add boiled eggs if you like) but use pesto instead of mayo (or in addition) and ditch any mustard/relish. So: small-chopped chicken, chopped hardboiled eggs, chopped onion, chopped peppers, chopped tomatoes are good to add, a little bit of shredded jack is good here, and pesto, stir really well and refrigerate. It's a good cold salad if you have a fridge at work and it has both protein-meat and greens and certainly plenty of herb in the basil -- what's not to love?
Mock danish is normally something like 2-3oz cream cheese (nuke till soft), 1-2 eggs, sweetener (any kind) and optionally spices (eg vanilla, cinnamon), mixed up real well and nuked for 1-3 minutes (depending on size & ingredients) until mostly-not-too-wet. Some people add a little almond or flax or coconut meal to this to absorb liquid (esp if using DaVinci SF as sweetener/flavor) and/or to make it slightly more solid. It ranges, depending on ingredients and ratios, from being like bread-pudding to being like a wet sort of cheesecakey-muffin. Some people actually grill that like a pancake instead. Anyway, this base recipe is one of those (like bowl muffins or the pizza quiche) that literally has more variants than you have time left in your life to try, and is totally up to your imagination. They can be savory not just sweet.
Once, I added chopped chicken, rosemary, and I don't remember what else or the detail but it was 'ok'. Tomorrow I'm going to add some diced pepperoni, tomato, green onion, jalapeno (hot) or anaheim (mild) and coconut meal and a tiny bit of cheese, and then spread pesto on the top like a big muffin and see how that tastes. I'm guessing it will be wonderful. I'll let you know!
If you have ideas for pesto foods that I have not mentioned, please share them!
P.S. And ideas for getting veggies down your gullet when you don't like them are welcome too. ;-)