East Meets West – Teaching the (Almost) Worst Cook in America

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foodheartChris’ story and how this blog came to be…

I’ve started a second blog in response to a challenge from a friend of mine.  Her name is Sobha Vadlamani and she, like many of my friends, is sad that my eating habits are so awful.  I wouldn’t quite make it onto the television show Worst Cooks In America because I do know how to boil water without burning down the kitchen, but my cooking is affectionately referred to as slop in our house.  As a teenager I had to cook meals for seven people, and do it with the cheapest ingredients possible.  If you need someone to whip up a kettle of stew to feed an army, I’m your gal.  Delicious meals?  Well, that’s what we’ll be working on now.

Sobha and I were chatting the other day and she volunteered to create a week’s worth of menus if I would promise to make them.  The thought of spending so much time in the kitchen scared me, but I stopped myself before flat out refusing.  I made it into a double challenge by telling her I’d do it if she’d blog about it with me.  She’s been wanting to write but can never seem to make the time to do it, so I called her bluff.  Then I wrangled my photographer spouse, Cee, into taking pictures of my creations.  So the three of us will be cooking and sharing it with you.  Sobha was born and raised in India, but has been living in the US for almost twenty years now.  I love it when she cooks for me, so her challenge meant I’d be getting some tasty Asian cooking… favorite meals from India, Thailand, and China.  Yum!

Here are the things about me that I want to change:

  • Obesity.  What an ugly, ugly word, and one that I never thought would apply to me, but it does.  I’ve just lived through twelve years of medical and financial crisis in our family.  As the years went by and the stress mounted, I didn’t have the strength to exercise and eating seemed like the only enjoyable thing left in my life.  No excuses, but that’s what happened.
  • Youthfulness.  More of it, please.  I don’t look my age, in part due to my father’s genes that are keeping my hair its regular color (which at age 61 is fabulous!), but I sure feel my age every time I have to stand up.  Losing the weight and eating with nutrition in mind will make a big difference.  I’m on the other side of menopause now, and my body reacts to food and exercise differently, so I have to adapt to that as well.
  • Alignment with my personal philosophy.  This is a biggie!  I am studying and practicing Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I’m doing so much to improve my own quality of life, and eating well is important to that.  I want to infuse my food with love and good energy so that it works for me, heals me, and gives me vitality.  The discipline of Qigong and the Taoist practices it comes from demand mindfulness, an awareness of what I am preparing, how I’m preparing it, and stayed focused on my eating while I eat.  This will be a major lifestyle change for me.  I spend my life multitasking, including eating in front of the computer or television, and that has to end.  I need to slow down, be aware, listen more to my body and love myself.

Over the last couple of years I find myself becoming more and more vegetarian, not because I have any particular beliefs about the ethics of killing animals, but because meat isn’t as appealing to me any more.  I don’t like to handle it.  I don’t like the smell of it.  Maybe it has to do with all the awful stuff they feed the animals, but something in me has changed, and I’m letting my body tell me what it likes and doesn’t like.

So that’s my journey.   I’m making this commitment to me and my future, and welcome you to do the same.

Virtual hugs,

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