Friday, January 15, 2010

More on Grapefruit and Resolutions

For my first actual content post relating to my experiment in fat happiness, I want to kick it off with a resolution.

My first happiness resolution is in the Health category.  In my own interpretation of HAES (Health at Every Size) I subscribe to the whole "varied eating with fruits and veggies" theory of healthy eating, but frequently fall down in practice because I don't make time to prepare daily complicated meals.  It's so much faster and easier to make a plate of nachos or a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner so that I can get back to the day's project.  But I do feel a physical difference when I'm eating a more varied diet with unprocessed ingredients.  I feel better, my energy is lighter and cleaner, and my mood is elevated.  I know that for a lot of people it makes no difference at all in how they feel (or not enough of one to compensate for the trouble).  So all FDA claims aside, is this actually something that would improve my personal health or do I just get a "feel better" feeling from eating "right" according to pop theory which then wears off when it becomes routine?
So I'm starting a resolution that is also an experiment.  Each week I need to choose a new base food (an unprocessed fruit, veg, meat, grain, etc.).  It should be something in one of these categories: 

1. Something I've never tried before.
2. Something I haven't tried in years since I hated it as a kid (our tastes change as we get older!)
3. Something I've made but only have one recipe or preparation I make over and over again.

I have to eat that new thing at least once per day during that week, each time prepared in a different way.

The theory is that doing so will force me to widen my options and explore new foods.  There's no restrictions on how I prepare it.  

So, for the next week, I will be eating Grapefruit.  I've only eaten it in the traditional diet prep many years ago: raw with artificial sweetener.  It was miserably gross.  I've always associated Grapefruit with dieting, which made them too bitter on many levels.  But now I can go and re-visit them as a "real" food, instead of some kind of obligation.   By the end of this week I'll know for sure if there's such a thing as a Grapefruit I like.

I'll find some help from the all-knowing google, including:

By the way, a real Mexican margarita is made with grapefruit juice, with accents of orange (triple-sec) and lime, not the sickening-sweet fake-lime stuff you get in stores and restaurants.  I usually make them with Squirt soda as the base: a trick learned from my parents when they lived in Ajijic.  I wonder if my "no restrictions on how it's prepared" rule extends to booze? :-)

Also, I'm adding the following to my Reading list, based on Gretchen Rubin's recomendations:

Reading List:

Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Why the Meaningful Life is Closer Than You Think
Daniel Nettle, Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile

David Lykken, Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment

Gregory Berns: Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment

Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness

Kahneman, Diener, Schwartz, Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology


Heidi said...

I would highly recommend seeking out red grapefruit instead of yellow ones - red/pink ones tend to be much sweeter! I adore grapefruit but can understand why people wouldn't :)

Anonymous said...

This is my favourite way to eat grapefruit. It might seem like a lot of work, but the sections are much sweeter with all the chewy bits removed.

Miriam said...

I'm with anonymous on the making grapefruit sweeter, though my own practice is to just peel the thing and then peel off the clear skin from each section, leaving just the juicy pulp. I started doing this because the kids liked it better and it was easier for the two year old to eat (he tended to gag on the skin).

Also, I think "try new foods" is a great idea, just in general.

If I might make a recommendation... when undertaking something like this, keep it simple as possible, whenever possible. You'll find plenty of complicated recipes for things, but really, many foods are yummy without much prep at all.

JoGeek said...

Thanks for all the tips! I love having a lot of ideas to pick from.

@Miriam: I love to cook complicated sometimes, but I think you're right about trying for overall simpler recipes with the new foods. I like Einstein's version though: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler". For example, I have an ice-cream maker and a Grapefruit-Champange sorbet sounds full of awesome :-)

Anonymous said...

I love grapefruit! I just cut them in eighths, eat them like I eat orange slices. I eat 2-3 week. Never tried cooking with them, nor can I imagine sweetener on them.

Anonymous said...

I think what you are doing with your happiness project is great. I plan to follow along and work with you and follow you as best I can.

I have been depressed most of my life. I never thought I could be a happy person. The best I could hope for was not so much intense pain. Now that I have it in check I am starting to think I actually could be happy.
From JennyRose -

It must have been a sour grapes attitude but I always thought happy people were kind of boring. It is not that I thought depression made me interesting but it was all I had. I felt if I let go of it I would have nothing left. The depression was such a big part of my life I couldn't imagine being without it. I wanted to be happy but I didn't know how. Maybe I also thought I didn't deserve it.

I am so happy you are back.

Anonymous said...


Sonja Newcombe said...

Thanks for the reminder! I need to pull my socks up in the cooking department and eat far more vegetables.

Stir-fries are great for that. They take more prep than other meals, generally speaking (though you can buy pre-cut veg for stir-fries), but are fast to cook.

Anonymous said...

So happy to see you posting again!

Due to allergies, I am having to try new things on a regular basis to prevent boredom induced madness. The biggest help for me in this is definitely web searching.

This week I discovered that I don't hate brussels sprouts. I don't love them, but I've tried them a couple of different ways and they aren't awful. The trick is to not over-cook them.

I just type the name of the thing I am trying, read a few blog posts, and find out everything I never realized about a given food. Last week, it was chickpeas. Turns out that I love those. I never knew!

I hope that trying new things brings you many happy discoveries!