Never say never

I am not a quitter.

I am opposed to the idea of all or nothing.

I believe in MODERATION.

Even when we’re talking about bad habits. After all, everyone has one (or, in my case, five…… thousand).

One of them was my dependency on soda. A can of soda first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I was having about 3 to 5 a day. It was my pick-me-up, my panacea, my crutch… If I didn’t get any, I would get cranky — okay, MORE cranky.

Finally, two years ago – after much nagging by family and friends – I made the bold decision to cut out soda from my life. I was getting older, gaining weight, my sleeping pattern was wacky and I was not bouncing back as quickly from the abuse I was giving my body.

At the beginning, I kept failing at it. I was sneaking it in when no one was around. I would lie if anyone asked if I had had any soda. Then I’d be plagued with guilt and shame. I felt pretty pathetic. And I really thought I couldn’t do it. That I was doomed to age badly with osteoporosis.

But then a friend pointed out that if drinking soda was one of the worst things I was doing to myself then maybe I just need to relax – to quit being so hard on myself. There were worse things I could be doing. And so I thought, “What if I just cut back instead?” A little soda wasn’t bad. It was that I was drinking it like water. Suddenly a gigantic eco-friendly light bulb went off in my head!

So when I said cut out I didn’t mean never ever. And it’s that distinction that has allowed me to dramatically cut down on my soda intake. I went from having soda every single day to once a month – if that.

The key has been not saying NEVER. Allowing myself to have it on very rare occasions has made avoiding it so much easier. It’s not draining on my self-control and I feel a lot happier. It’s a little way of tricking myself but it has made all the difference.

And when I “slip” I’m a lot kinder to myself. There’s no beating myself up. There’s no disappointment. There’s no feeling of failure. There are no late night soda benders – where I’m up all night and I wallow in self-recrimination the next day. Because no one’s perfect. I would love to tell you that as a yogi I eat well and do well all the time but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. By taking the word NEVER out of my vocabulary I am loving myself better. I don’t get as easily derailed and I’m more likely to get back on and start again. To relax, relate and RELEASE!

So write NEVER on a piece of paper, rip it up and throw it away. You can thank me later. I accept cupcakes as a form of payment.

And if you have any tips that you use to stay on track, please let me know! Let’s get some ideas going!

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How to deal with your non-drinking friend

As you know, a group of us are going alcohol-free for 30 days starting February 1st. There have been a variety of reactions to my plan ranging from a congratulatory hug to visible recoil. It is pretty interesting to see them and get a feel for other people’s relationship with alcohol.

But let’s not forget that drinking has a huge social component to it so here is how you can deal with your alcohol-free friend (whether her sobriety is temporary or permanent):

1.  Do not talk her into having a drink.

2.  Do not treat her like a social pariah or like she’s lost her mind.

3.  Do not give her the “head tilt – I’m so sorry” look every time you see her.

4.  Do not hide your alcohol from her or flaunt it in her face either.

5.  Do not explain to her why you would not give up alcohol.

6.  Do ask her how she’s feeling and provide encouragement.

7.  Do continue to invite her to your parties and get-togethers.

8.  Do treat her like nothing has changed.

9.  Do buy her a juice or soda if she’s at a bar with you.

10.  Join her. You might be surprised at what you will discover about yourself.

It’s not hard. It’s not weird. And  you will help your friend accomplish something good. If you’re on Twitter, follow along and provide support with the hashtag #dry or #drinkstrike. You can also leave a comment here or on my Facebook Page.

Below is the list of intrepid individuals joining me in February:

1.  My husband, Warren
2.  My sister, Mary Jane
3.  My friend, Joylette
4.  Danny Stewart
5.  Lisa Byrne
6.  Shonali Burke
7.   Vanessa French
8 .  Michelle Nguyen
9.  Krista
10.  Jeff (aka) Malnurtured Snay
11.  Danielle Ricks

It’s not too late to join us! February 1st  is only TWO days away… Are you ready?

Attack of the killer veggies (Changing eating habits)

The second batch of vegetables from our CSA was a little more exciting than last week’s. I can’t wait to see what hubs will do with the eggplants and the portobello mushrooms!!

In case you were wondering what exactly all the hoopla is about below is our list of vegetables for this week:

1 Pint Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
2 Italian Eggplants
1 Bag Mixed Baby Sweet Peppers
1 Head Red Romaine Lettuce
1 Bag Chioggia Beets
3 Green Bell Peppers
1 Bag Sweet Onions
1 Head Green Savoy Cabbage
1 Li’l Sweetie Cantaloupe
1 Bag Garlic
1 Package Portobello Mushroom Caps
1 Bag Red Gold Potatoes
1 Bunch Curly Parsley
4 Ears of Corn

I’m lukewarm about the beets but I think I’ll live. Maybe I’m a 100% convert after all?!?

How I learned to stop worrying and love the CSA

For a few years now, my husband (a.k.a. “the cook”) has been enamored with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). He liked the idea of supporting a local farm where he would receive high quality vegetables (often organic) and where growers  and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. Sure, he would have no control over the seasonal vegetables that he received but that’s part of the culinary adventure! (Oh boy!)

We finally signed up and waited eagerly (him)/anxiously (me) for the first pick up. He could barely contain his excitement. I, on the other hand, was filled with trepidation at the veggies (a.k.a. my green nemesis) that were to come. As a child I was a really picky eater and it always turned into a vegetable showdown between my grandmother and 10-year old me. Sometimes she won and sometimes I sat at the dining room table for several hours – taking on the challenge of not leaving the table until my plate was clean.

Luckily, my husband has been patiently introducing healthy items into my diet over the years (i.e. I no longer bleed bacon grease.) He assured me that he could prepare all the CSA food in a way that I could ingest it without gagging. All he asked was that I be willing to try.

This week we picked up our first full share and to my horror our first delivery had okra in it. OKRA! I hate okra!! I have childhood memories of my grandmother force-feeding me okra! ::shudder:: (Unfortunately, my petition to rid the world of okra failed miserably.) But we survived this near disaster by swapping out the okras with green peppers. ::whew:: That was a close one!

But then another problem presented itself. We had a busy weekend planned and it would require several meals being eaten outside of our home. Now we were in danger of food going to waste. A prospect neither one of us could stomach. But at what price? I didn’t want my life to revolve around food! Something I swore I would never do! Plus, it’s still nice out! I socially hibernate during cold weather so I have to get all my socializing in now before I have to whip out my long johns! “I refuse to stay home!” I loudly declared. “Well, I’m not throwing food out!” he yelled back.

It resulted in a tense standoff with hubs on one end holding a zucchini and me on the other holding a beer. Who was going to win this showdown?

Vegetable Showdown

Ultimately, we both did. Like all great peace treatises, we compromised. We tweaked our going-out plans a bit to allow us to eat dinner at home before heading out with friends. Crisis averted. For now.

It is not always going to work out so neatly and it will take some major adjustments so that we don’t end up wasting food. But I am proud of this commitment and I hope that it will make a difference. Good for me and good for the environment.

I will let you know how we fare at the end of this vegetable experiment.

Only 18 more weeks to go… ::sigh::

If you have any advice on getting through and thriving or if you have any experience you’d like to share, it would be really appreciated!

Image via Flickr (creative commons) by twodolla.