Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Food Tourist part 2

I'm a self-ascribed vegetarian tourist. I love taking periodic trips to Veggie land (I try not to stray off the road into Vegan land though), taking in some of the sights, and then coming home to my normal life. In fact, I'm a regular. I probably do it a few times a month. The trips are pretty short though - only for a day or two. That's enough for me though. I'm happy just visiting. I don't want to live there, but I wouldn't mind if they knew me on a first-name basis. I call it "tourism" because to me, it's just that. You're there to see the sights, take a break from your normal life, and then head home when you're all done. It's just more symbolic than literal.

Good things can happen as a result too if you let them. Whenever I travel, I find that I see myself from a different perspective during and after the trip. This in turn usually gives me a moment of self-realization, which can be followed by self-improvement (if I feel like it). I also find that my horizon expands, which leads to incorporating new things back in my "normal life."

The same thing can happen with trying out a new food lifestyle. I think that the biggest change I've experienced so far is that I notice a lot more foods. It's definitely been a gradual process. Each new "trip" has added a new level of awareness. In the beginning, after I started cooking seriously for myself, I started to notice the parts of the grocery store that were not processed foods. Then, I began to see the difference in quality of food. Vegetarianism opened up my awareness to more vegetables (duh). French cooking exposed me a huge amount of things one can do with butter, cream, and eggs. The Raw Food trend made me aware of edible wild plants (aka weeds). The list goes on and on.

Our one Raw Food "trip" so far was pretty miserable, though Chrissie and I can laugh about it now. We went on a 5 day smoothie/raw food cleanse. You actually have a lot of options for raw food, but we ended up going smoothies because we thought it had the highest probability of success. We piled up a bunch of fruit, veggies, and juice on Sunday and planned to go Monday through Friday on the diet. I didn't even last a day. I couldn't handle having nothing but smoothies. Tuesday, I started going out for lunch, but I still did smoothies for breakfast and dinner with Chrissie. That definitely stung me with shame and self-loathing. I felt like one of those tourists that goes to a foreign country and eats at McDonald's.

Chrissie was a trooper and finished the diet, although she was miserable the entire time. After a while, she didn't even bother having dinner. I think that happened in a couple days. She just couldn't consume that much smoothie. So, in the end, her tact was the opposite of mine. Instead of being a cheater tourist, she was a starving tourist. I think she lost 5 pounds in the end.

From the experience, I learned that taking smoothies is a great way to get your fruits and veggies. The ingredients aren't cooked so they retain all of their nutritional value and it doesn't take a lot to hit your daily allotment of fruits and vegetables. It's my plan to make these for breakfast one day... once we're totally over the shock of the smoothie cleanse experience. Until then, we'll keep things the way things are - vegetables cooked and fruit whole.

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