Three Bites at a Time
Two different threads collided to inspire me to write about food.
One, of course, is Thanksgiving. I cringe at the television, where an Australian says “Happy Turkey Day.” Unfortunately, that’s the way we define the day. What defines a great Thanksgiving meal? Is it in the meat, traditional turkey or something else? Does it come in the sides—green bean casserole and sweet potatoes? Or does dessert take the crown—pumpkin, apple, pecan pies, and more?
This year I would probably vote for apple pie, since I’m celebrating a novella called An Apple for Christmas. But my luncheon today measured how my eating habits have changed.
Earlier this year, doctor’s orders forced me to make small changes in my diet. Half the carbs: half a roll or the bottom of a hamburger bun. I was allowed a normal dessert, and to make up for the carbs, was offered a double portion of protein.
I knew I wouldn’t go hungry, but I went one step further. It was time to practice what so many parents preach: eat at least three bites. All the vegetables I had routinely ignored on my plate dared me to try them.
I already liked peas, corn, carrots—the highest starch/sugary content, more carbs than vegetables. But I had my start. I also loved a lettuce-based salad, which I can chew as long as I cut it up well.
I added the vegetables I used to tolerate, broccoli and cauliflower. I discovered the flowerets, if not overcooked, were quite tasty—I could eat three bites and even more.
Next I explored vegetables that I never would have eaten: summer squash, zucchini, three-bean salad, coleslaw. And guess what? I discovered that I liked parts of all of them.
So yesterday I surprised the cook at the nursing home by requesting a bowl of vegetables. Today my tablemates almost choked when they looked at the Brussel sprouts I dug into with contentment.
I can’t say I like vegetables any more than I ever did. But I can say I no longer dislike them.
Three bites at a time. If that is all it takes to change a lifetime of bad eating habits—let’s give it a try.