About that Kale Salad

So I have been getting really creative in the kitchen when it comes to dressings and sauces and such. I will generally just throw together ingredients and flavors that I think might work well together and it magically works out. I made a mustard sauce a couple weeks ago that I just about ate with a spoon. I put it on a bunless hamburger wrapped in lettuce and served with tomato and it was one of the best flavor profiles I have ever experienced. The burger was also perfectly cooked and I was seriously disappointed that I was all alone to experience it. So of course I held the burger in one hand while the juice was dripping all over the plate, and took a photo with the other to share via instagram. I have been using the hashtag #whatsonmyplate, to try and share my healthy/whole food options. I try to eat as minimally processed food as I can.

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of my salad the other day, OR today when I had it again for lunch. But it was GOOD. In the bottom of the bowl, I drizzled some garlic olive oil. Then I squeezed in half a lemon, added salt and pepper and a squirt of spicy mustard. I stirred that all together and then added half an avocado, some cooked quinoa, shredded lacinato kale, a big handful of red grapes and some diced fresh mozarella cheese. It was a totally random combination, and might have been missing some crunch.. but it was just SO flavorful from the lemon and garlic, and the grapes were just a burst of juicy sweetness that off-set the acidity of the lemon. I’m going to try the dressing as a marinade next time I cook fish or shrimp. MMM!

Carpe Diem

note: This is kind of a rambling post that doesn’t make much sense. I’d usually just not post such disconnected nonsense, but CARPE DIEM!)

Someone asked me the other day what inspires me to eat healthy and exercise. Aside from wanting to look and feel my best, it goes back to 1 significant event. My mom had a heart attack when she was 38. That is only 7 years older than I am now. My grandfather had had a heart attack when he was 42. Talk about a reality check for a young teenager to face. The frustration with my mom began at that point, and I am sad to say that she has suffered many more health challenges since that time. It is the single most frustrating thing I will ever experience in my life. She is a wonderful person. But has become a victim of her own behavior. Like so many Americans I guess… Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc. etc. ETC. I have begged, pleaded, screamed and cried to try and encourage her to make the changes that will save her life for as long as I can remember. I know it seems so easy from this side… and it is a constant struggle to let go of the frustration and try and accept that she isn’t going to change. How can you accept the fact that your mother is slowly killing herself?

I don’t know what else I can do but love her anyway. But I’ll never give up hope for the change that will save her life. Maybe having grandchildren will give her a renewed purpose and encourage her to place more importance on taking care of herself?

So, I know that heart disease runs in my family. In the same way I can’t change my mom, you can’t change genetics. So I made a decision when I was very young, that I was going to do everything I could to tip the scales in favor of a long and healthy life. I don’t work out as much as I should, and I sometimes eat and drink things that are bad for me, but overall, I feel pretty good about my health at this point. I found a sport that is motivating in addition to giving me a huge group of awesome friends who are like-minded.

At the same time, I also feel that it is important to have balance. Everything comes with a price, and one of my life motto’s (which my dad engrained into my head from a very young age) is: “Is the risk greater than the reward?” I feel like my dad has encouraged me more towards the “YES, the risk of _______ is not worth the reward”. In true middle-child-rebellious fashion, I more often than not answer that question with an enthusiastic “NOPE”! Maybe some day I will settle down and the risks will indeed be greater than the rewards… but for now, I am reaping the rewards in almost everything I do.

The fact is… we aren’t going to live forever, and who would want to? My grandmother (on my dad’s side) is slowly losing her mind to Alzheimer’s. She is combative and stubborn and very difficult to take care of. She is approaching 90, and has no other health problems. She could live for another 10 years! It breaks my heart to watch not only my grandmother lose herself, but my dad struggle to take care of her. I have found myself praying for mercy for both of them. It is such a long, frustrating way to spend the final year’s of your life. SO, while I want to live a long and healthy life, I’m not going to obsess over it.

I might get hit by a bus next year. Who knows. I’m gonna go eat a kale salad and drink a beer.