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Confessions of a junkfoodie

Dear readers,

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope that you've had a pleasant week, thus far.  Believe it or not, we're expecting highs in the 60's - for the first time in 2011 - both today and tomorrow in NYC.  And to top that off?  Not a drop of rain forecasted...at least not until Saturday.

I want to apologize for having gone M.I.A over the past week & a half, or so.  I hate to be inconsistent, especially with posting, but I recently enrolled in 6-week nutritional course.  No, I'm not trying to change career paths or become a part-time dietician - I'm taking this course completely for myself.  Ever since I moved away from home twelve years ago, my diet - and by the word "diet," I'm not talking about a weight loss plan - has, for the most part, been completely imbalanced and lacking in key nutrients.  

This got me thinking: how could I, a food writer - restaurant reviewer - and someone who loves to cook, secretly hone the eating habits of a college freshman?  I grew up in a household with parents who valued a healthy, active lifestyle and refrained, for the most part, from exposing my sister and I to sugary cereals, soda pop, candy, fried savory snacks, etc.  Family meals were always balanced and very delicious.  That was, of course, until I went to university.  Among smoking and drinking, I added junk food to my grocery cart of rebellious habits while shopping at the 18 and Over Super Market.    

  • In the twelve years since I've lived away from home, half of those have been spent with roommates.  From the outside looking in, I suppose that everyone assumes that roommates cook together and share everything.  Well, that's not true.  Each person, at least in my experience, had their own cabinet/shelf and section of the refrigerator that was stocked with their food.  Wars would erupt if someone's box of cereal would magically deplete or if their 6-pack of soda would poof in to a 4-pack of soda overnight.  And hey, I get it.  Don't touch my sh*t! 
  • The issues that I had with preparing meals while living with roommates were due to my own neuroses: cleanliness - I always felt like I had to rinse a bowl/pan before preparing anything because if I hadn't washed it again (this was mainly in NYC, when we did not have a dishwasher), then it wasn't as clean; time - I wanted to cook my meals as quickly as possible so that I did not have to share the kitchen at the same time as my roommates, especially in NYC, where the physical space was so small.  This lead me to buying frozen dinners, ramen noodles, or blowing money on take-out.
  • In the six years that I have not had roommates, not too much has changed.  While I'm less concerned about cleanliness and time, I am conflicted about how to prepare a meal for me, myself, and I.  Plus, many of the foods that I do enjoy are exotic, so I know that recipes would call for ingredients that, quite possibly, I would only use once.  And I find it hard to justify purchasing an expensive bottle of such and such spice for one given dish.
  • So these days, when I have a "night off" - free of a restaurant review, wine club, dinner w/ a friend, etc. - you'll either find me grabbing a $1 slice of pizza, making a quesadilla at home, ordering take-out, or figuring out some way to justify making a dinner out of a pint of ice cream. 
  • Treating my body like this may have been cute when I was 19 but, *newsflash*, I'm 30!  I can't get away with this crap anymore. 

Here is what I have learned about myself, thus far:

  • I love to cook.  For other people.  Just not for myself, necessarily.
  • My daily food intake is completely off-kilter.  I have gone weeks, sometimes, without a fresh piece of produce.  No joke.  This is absolutely humiliating for me to admit, since there are fruit & vegetable vendors on virtually every street corner in NYC.  I don't have an excuse! 
  • A pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream does not constitute as a meal. 
  • Bad habits can take form so easily.  I cannot believe that I've been a junkfoodie for over a decade!  What am I trying to prove and who am I trying to prove it to?    

This is what I would like to work on, going forward:

  • Include more fruits, vegetables, and proteins in my diet.
  • Moderation, moderation, moderation.
  • Don't be afraid to try new things. 

Look, I haven't - or will not - become some psycho health-nut.  I can guaran-damn-tee you that.  However, I am going to try to be more mindful of what I put in to my body.  Plus, I did not want you all to think that I went AWOL - SOS - MIA - or went on sabbatical.  I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere. 

And there you have it, the latest in La Vida Lunch Belle.


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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