Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My love affair with baby bok choy

The weirdest thing has been happening to me this fall: instead of my usual perusal of the chocolate offerings in the candy aisle of the grocery store, I'm hunting down vegetables.

Seriously, what alien life form wormed its way into my sleeping brain?

Okay, I am all about the sugar, but every so often sugar and I break up and I get virtuous.  Here is what I learn every time this happens: if you eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, and zero daily processed sugar, you will suffer horribly for about two days and then feel pretty great with no interest in sugar thereafter.

Also, when you go briefly on autopilot and start cramming cookies into your mouth, you will quickly notice how much your body did not like them and recognize that sugar, however much it pretends to love you, really doesn't.  At all.

Then the next big holiday comes along - something so invested in candy-based festivities that it's buried deep in your psyche as impossible to celebrate without sugar - and you weaken, and after a while of that you think 'well, I don't feel that terrible, and also, post-holiday chocolate is now half-price and it would be fiscally irresponsible not to stock up', and the next thing you know, you and sugar are inseparable again.

When I was in my 20s and learning how to be a bill-paying, gainfully employed adult, it was totally logical for me to have ice cream for breakfast.  I still remember that gleeful feeling of knowing that there were no parents on hand to be horrified.  And honestly: how many kids started those same days with big-time sugar in their frosted cereals?  Not to mention that ice cream is literally full of dairy - good for your bones and so on.

But I am not 25 any more, however much I still feel like I am, and I'm not even having to make a conscious effort to break up this time.  I literally got obsessed with finding baby bok choy, and started stalking grocery stores to find it because for some reason nobody was stocking any when the fever struck.

During my hunt, I found myself staring at a package of pre-washed, pre-sliced organic cremini mushrooms.  I remembered another day years ago when I was similarly struck by the same thing - I was in the midst of what I hope will continue to stand tall as the most stressful time in my life, and I bought ready-to-eat mushrooms and ate them all the way home from the grocery store, raw from the package as I walked.  Well, as soon as I remembered how great they were that day, I bought these ones too.  I waited till I was at my destination to plunge in, but the package was empty by lunchtime.

Gee, I thought when I realized I was down to zero mushroom slices, wouldn't it be nice if these things had some nutritional value?  Because I was pretty sure they don't.  Guess what?  I was wrong!  Among other things, they are great for boosting your immune system.  And boy, do I need help with that.  Thanks to having stumbled onto The World's Healthiest, I also know that baby bok choy works as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. 

Since I finally found a supply of locally-grown baby bok choy I notice I'm eating a ton of healthy things.  Even the so-called 'bad' things - pie and lemon blueberry loaf - are coming from the same bakery vendor at the farmer's market who puts next to no sugar into her baked goods.  And yet: still delicious.

Apple pie this time.  Can't wait to see what's in the next round of pies!

I would hold it out as a further example of my personal crisis that I was incredibly excited to see russet apples at the market this past weekend, but I'm always incredibly excited to see russet apples for sale. They are the ugliest apples and the most delicious ones too, and they're only available for a few weeks every fall.

And how is all this impacting me?  I'm going to assume you're interested, so play along if you're not, won't you?

Well, my fingernails are looking really good.  No white spots, minimal breakage.  I am pretty sure I don't actually have less grey hair than I did because that's not possible is it?  but whatever is in there just looks like highlights all of a sudden. I have definitely lost weight.  And even though I'm still tired a lot - there is a lot going on after all - I am sleeping at night, no problem.

It's such a cliche that girls fall for the 'bad' partner instead of the upstanding, solid, but dull option, and when it comes to sugar, I am so that cliche.  But I really hope that this time I can keep the love alive with the comfort-food partner who's good to me - even though Halloween is imminent and after that, the drawn out Christmas season, aka land of festive baking and endless parties.

Or, worst case, that I figure out a way to have both.  A girl can dream, right?

Cabbage roses have nothing on bok choy ends, *happy sigh*

What's your favourite healthy food?


Marianne said...

It's apple season, so many wonderful varieties in the markets. Pink Lady (my favorite), Ambrosia, Jazz, Arkansas Black, Honeycrisp, Fuji, just to name a few. I love apples!!!

My step-father prepared a dinner that has stuck in my brain and I cannot recreate the recipe. Bok Choy (not sure if it was Baby Bok Choy), apple and an onion. All chopped and put in the cast iron skillet (a large skillet) after he removed steaks. That was the best side dish I had ever tasted and he made it several times. He would never share his recipe, I have "played" with the ingredients for years but have yet to ever come close to the taste. Baby Bok Choy is a favorite of mine also!!

Enjoy the markets, I miss being close to a city to enjoy the markets, our small area has already closed its farmer's market for the year. Have a fantastic day!!!!

Mary Keenan said...

Omigosh Marianne, that side dish sounds incredible! I bet the cast iron skillet plays a part - I find my roast potatoes are SO much better in stoneware than on a metal baking pan - and maybe the kind of apple he chose too? Lots of experimentation potential there for sure, I bet even your 'failures' are amazing :^)

Laurinda said...

Zucchini, as chips with hummus. Or as pizza crust. Or noodles. Or grilled! Just not frozen, steamed or boiled.
Maybe carrots, sliced thin with a peeler, & simmered for at least an hour in homemade spaghetti sauce. Or roasted, with other winter veggies.
Or just a juicy apple (okay, probably with peanut butter)

Mary Keenan said...

Zucchini is fabulous Laurinda, I'm with you! I keep eating it raw. I think I'm actually just lazy about washing pots, and raw vegetables spare me the effort ;^)