Category Archives: Health Shit

Vitamins

My body has never held up well in the fight with nature. I think I’ve spent two weeks out of every month since this past fall with some kind of congestion cold. I’m sure that hanging out in a sweaty yoga studio doesn’t help. My colleagues keep telling me to go to a doctor, but I’m not in a hurry to waste trips and co-pays just to be told the obvious; “Yup, you’re sick. Drink fluids. Rest. Have juice. Eat healthy.” Thank you, oh wise health advocate. What would I do without you?

So, in an attempt at self-help, I’ve built a vitamin regimen for myself. I’m posting it here to a) help me understand what everything is and b) as reference for making modifications later. If you’re knowledgeable, please feel free to comment and suggest modifications too.

  • Women’s multi (miscellanous stuff, I guess)
  • Vitamin C (immune)
  • Iron (energy)
  • B-12 (metabolism [and to recover from my vampire draining, obvs])
  • B-100 (energy)
  • Magnesium (muscle health for yoga)
  • Metamucil (digestion)
  • Melatonin (at night, to help my sleep patterns extend)

The Final Frootcamp Entry

At last, the end of the road. I did eat the final fourteen fruits over the course of two years. Who never abandoned their posts and did something else instead? Watch as I force these sugary, horrible items down my gullet for the love of the battle. ….You can’t, because I went to grad school and did stuff instead. Woops.

I’ll confess to including tomato, olives, and multiple versions of zucchinis in the final fourteen. Ah-ah-ah, I’m not cheating, Newman! Look that shit up. Fruits that fake out everyone and parade as vegetables have been my only consolation on my health drive. Grad school drove me to binge on many a sugary carb, and I fell off the wagon more times than I climbed on. However, I graduate next May, and I occasionally reappear at the hot yoga studio, so I truly don’t regret how long this took to finish. It’s been a ride, fruit, and I still don’t like you, but now I can respond “Actually I have tried it, and it blows major chunks, thankyouverymuch” to any and all indignant inquisitions.

shakehead


Frootcamp: Week 13, Horned Melon

hornedmelon

Look at this freaking thing. I admire the spikes–it adds a whole new flare to the food, even a tinge of grunge. Orange is also one of my favorite colors (thanks to my Halloween fervor that borders on obsession). No one’s denying this is an alternative, attractive specimen. But there are few–perhaps in fact NO–meals in my life where I want to have the opportunity to ask, “What is this green goop in my mouth?” Horned melons don’t need the horns to avert potential predators… it is literally the most disgusting fruit I’ve attempted to eat yet. I actually thought it might be rotten, and so I took to google to investigate. But it turns out these busted innards are perfectly normal.

prince_no


Frootcamp: Week 12, Watermelon

Ah, watermelon. Wherefore art thou fruit? A food by any other name would taste just as sweet….

watermelon-slices

I guess it’s official. This project has produced three or valuable experiences that lend to long term change: the regular (read: DAILY. Yeah, for real) consumption of bananas, apples, and now watermelon. Once there’s three fruits I tolerate on a regular rotation, I can no longer label myself a fruit hater, right? Touche, Frootcamp project…. well played.

Watermelon has no fat, saturated fat, sodium, or cholesterol, and it tastes just fine–like a watery diet food that’s actually edible. I don’t think there’s a single downside to this fruit. It can even be carved into badass shapes. …….Have I met my match?

This is how I imagine watermelon’s reaction when I bought it for the second time: I’m a fruit, and you love it! …….. dealwithit

 


Frootcamp: Week 11, Nectarine

“Try the nectarine,” he said. “No, it tastes nothing like a peach, whywouldyouevenaskthat,” he said.

Well, I’m sniffing it, and it smells like a peach. So, I already know we’re going to have problems here. I don’t even want to take a bite because already today I’ve been LIED TO re: peachhood.

 

swanson

 

I do NOT. TOUCH. PEACHES. This was the agreement when I took on this project. I will force-feed myself any fruit EXCEPT FOR THE PEACH. Apparently the nectarine is like a peach lite, a mini peach, an orange mush-ball aspiring to full peachitude.

Fuck everything.


Frootcamp: Week 10, Kumquat

kumquat

The most ridiculous of fruits, kumquat, came in at #2 in the “most looked forward to” category of the Frootcamp lineup–right behind dragon fruit, because, dragons. Look at these little guys. Why should tiny oranges warrant such a hilarious name? They don’t have polka dots, spikes, or humorous genital shapes. Truly I didn’t think they were very special. They were just incredibly tart, poppable oranges (the true poptarts). Like if popcorn were healthy, sticky, and required a whole minute to peel. Like a bag of sour patch kids that aren’t fun to eat and aren’t accompanied by that renegade, digestive glee of breaking down gelatin (‘fiery poops’ if you can’t read between the lines).

All in all they weren’t bad.  I won’t embrace kumquats into my daily lunchbox (as I’ve done with apples, bananas, and watermelon), but I also won’t stick my nose up at this creature of the plant world and say “Nay to thee!” All I can do is the Obama face, really. No other reaction seems appropriate.

obama-not-bad-l


Frootcamp: Week 9, Raspberry

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there, raspberries. I’m not trying to incorporate you into my lunch schedule. I’m not even trying to eat you right now. All I did was put you in my champagne sangria to acclimate my mouth to your flavor so that maybe, mayyyybe I’ll try you for real tomorrow. After all, I can’t think of a better way to deal with force-feeding myself lumpy, red beads with fur coming out of them (?!?!) than to smother said beads in sweet, sweet alcoholic nectar.

———
Next Day Update: I ate one. …Yeah, no. I’m vetoing this week.

caesar


Frootcamp: Week 8, Blackberry

IMG_20130423_134943

So, blackberry, we finally meet. You have fuzz, seeds, and little bulges–all the reasons why fruit is untrustworthy. I gave you a lick, but your sour, seedy skin greeted me with a grimace.  What’s a girl to do, then, but smother you in Greek yogurt? Eating my “berries and cream” concoction was grueling on day 1, but by the end of the week was a pseudo welcome distraction from my otherwise warm, dry lunch. In other words I bludgeoned myself into dealing with it for so long that my taste buds stopped fighting, in the same way that my mother actually thinks diet coke tastes great now (she conveniently forgets about the years she spent calling it “bug juice” while giving me her sales pitch for why I should switch). I get it. It had potential. I like yogurt, and in theory I do like berries and cream…. ice cream, that is. But this notion in healthy form? Eh, diets be hard, y’all.

I’m holding a brunch in two weeks, and I was actually inspired by week 8 to create this wonderment of foodie jello shot, the blackberry bramble jello shot. I may even go through with it! But this brings me back to my blackberry experience: shall I incorporate berries and cream into my normal regimen? It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t amazing. I might do it again…. But for now, I’ve decided to go with the time-honored tradition of “let’s not and say we did.”

On a related note, this week was littered with my mind singing this song unsolicited at 9am:


Frootcamp: Week 7, Elderberry (or in this case, realistically blueberry)

Ah, the letter E. I chose elderberry for this week, although wikipedia failed me. There was a strain listed as “American Elder”, which was supposedly available in the eastern reaches of the continent. …And perhaps it is during summer. I don’t know, friend. What I do know is that it’s freaking April; time to start pounding some berries in my oatmeal, and in my DC metropolis of Wholefood markets there was not an elderberry to be found. I settled for generic blueberries, likely from El Salvador, as I acknowledge it is far from berry season.

Honestly, it wasn’t awful. Blueberries are at least not cantaloupe-level awful. That’s my current scale right now, with apple being “all right, I can handle this 5 times a week” and cantaloupe being “why, oh gods, why this torturous goop?” My success lies in the fact that I ate the entire bowl of berrylicious oatmeal and will likely not give up on this fruit before week’s end. I might switch to blackberry just to balance my taste buds towards a more realistic area of where an elderberry might fall…. and who knows, maybe blackberries will be awesome. I’m not a genie. I can’t just guess. It occurs to me that while previously I had at least an inkling of how a fruit might taste, I haven’t the foggiest foreshadowing for blackberries. To be continued…

By the way, it’s all well and good to plan a healthy and pinterest-inspired snack at work. But don’t be disappointed when it doesn’t quite feel the same as snacking on your country home porch.

Having blueberry oatmeal at work: The Idea

courtesy of starbucks.com

Having blueberry oatmeal at work: The Reality


Frootcamp: Week 6, Grapefruit

Now my desk is sticky--big surprise there.

the view from my desk throne

I get it. It’s cirtusy, it’s called “ruby red”, it’s the picturesque healthy woman’s breakfast. I appreciate the semantics. But don’t think I’ll go easy on you because I didn’t need to add sugar, grapefruit. This species’ leniency in the “tart” arena is not enough to mollify my disapproval. We aren’t bffs…. but we did speak this morning and put each other’s numbers in our phones for a tentative brunch date. So, progress?

Firstly, the whoreson took 10 minutes to eat, and I feel like all I’ve done is slurp a few spoonfuls of pulpy juice. If I were on a desert island I’d need to slice into and anxiously scoop through 5 grapefruits to get the feelings of fullness I could otherwise receive from a serving of Ritz Bits. Secondly, now I am sticky. Thirdly, my right eye stings because every attempt to carefully excavate the next segment of the grapefruit shot a projectile tart stream into my cornea  Clearly, eating this is an acquired skill.  While the taste isn’t deplorable, the consumption experience is. Mayhaps I’ll just juice you at night and drink your entrails in the mornings from a safe and easy thermos. …Then we can end our tango.

In conclusion, grapefruit… You looked so delicious when I google-imaged you, but then you wiz’d in my eye.


Frootcamp: Week 5, Dates

Dates are fucking disgusting. Moving along.

 

swanson


Frootcamp: Week 4, Pomegranate

 

“Mary, the 4th letter of the alphabet is D”. I know, ass hat. But seriously, dates can go to hell. I am not eating dates. Now a dragonfruit? I’ll take my chances, because, dragons. A store that would actually sell a dragonfruit out of season, however, is on the other side of town, and for some reason pomegranates were on sale at my local mart. Opportunity presented itself.

So I tried the pom, and well, well, well…. we have a sly one. The good news is that once I peeled it up and drained the seeds, I found the fruit actually to be quite delicious albeit exhausting to eat. This might be the least satisfying fruit in existence. I spent 20 minutes carefully separating the arils from the peels under water and picking tiny peel floaters out. Finally, I spooned the arils into my mouth–but lo! What’s this that raps at my teeth? They are but seeds, denying my mouth the pleasure of eating my hard-earned arils with abandon. No, that would be too simple. I have to carefully lower my teeth and let the 1/8th of a spoonful of juice pop out of them, slush their remains around in my mouth, and then spit out the seeds like I’m at a Yankees game. I thought pomegranate would be a refined, dandy fruit to eat, but it turned into a messier sunflower seed experience. I have purple splatters all over my t-shirt, by the way. Thank you for squirting your violent resistance on my clothing as I peeled you, pomegranate. I didn’t need this shirt for work or anything.

Can we talk about how much my intestines regret everything about this week? This horrible week that fate pulled together and tied into one? Can we talk about what the hell pomegranates do to digestive systems? And how I drank a bottle of [diaretic] pomegranate juice to go with my pomegranate seeds the same week I started fiber pill regimens and happened to also buy “fiber plus” brand sandwich bread? Because Activia didn’t make me miserable enough? I’m going to bed. Wake me up when week 5 is here, because I will slay the shit out of a dragon[fruit].


Frootcamp: Week 3, Cantaloupe

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck this shit. Oh my sweet mother jones, this is the most disgusting fruit I’ve ever had. All I could do was grimace as I tried to chew up my first piece. It took about three minutes of grumpy chewing before I could bear to swallow it. I have an entire sphere of this horror left. Cantaloupe, why do you look like a diseased brain on the outside? Why do you look cute like a pumpkin on the inside only then to taste like the slimy insides of an animal carcass? The entire kitchen smells of its over ripe juice, which now coats the sink, the trash can, and Matt’s arms. My manfriend was kind enough to slice it up for me, as I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the fortitude to complete the labor. I surely would have ducked out when the time came  to scoop out the slimy, seeded innards. Vegetables don’t give you this kind of trouble. This is why vegetables and I work so well. That shit is ready to eat. Just rinse and put it in your mouth. Dip it. Tempura it. Put it on a sandwich. You really can’t go wrong with a veggie. If I even make it through a second helping of this damned cantaloupe, I would be shocked and quite impressed with myself. Seriously, though, I am stopping for now. My pride is NOT worth this cold, sticky goop. Are you a liquid or a solid, cantaloupe? Figure it out!

OH LAWD it smells like trash… like gallons of day old, left-outside-in-the-sun garbage. This is why I don’t care for Bath & Body stores…. you walk in, and its all vanilla this, cinnamon that, and then WHAM! “Here are 30 aisles of melon lotions, fanks for shopping!”


Frootcamp: Week 2, Banana

Ugh, this thing is mushy as hell. In my mouth it feels like something that maybe used to be a solid in the scientific sense, but now it’s mid-transformation to a liquid at the bottom of an ocean. I’ve had this banana bunch three days and it already has bruising. YOU’VE DONE NOTHING BUT SIT IN MY HANGING BASKET, ass hole, how are you bruised? I swear, it was a perfect bunch when I brought it home, all greenish and smooth and on its journey to ripen. I was ready to tackle Frootcamp with a beloved tropical fruit that would likely be the least of my burden. But then you had to be bruised, mushy, and altogether banana-like in my mouth.

Why does everyone like you? Why do the Bluths have an entire business based around you? Why does everyone want to put you in their ice cream and pancakes? Those sugary carb havens are perfect by themselves without being tainted by your presence. I thought eating you for a week might help me understand, but I am no closer to learning your secrets than before. A bunch of great things are named after you, banana. Banana slugs, for instance. Banana peppers. And delicious things regularly rise from the ashes of your ruined, dead remains, like banana bread. So, my question is this: why must you suck so much in your true form?

Doing this to it might help..... (SeriousEats.com)

Doing this to it might help….. too bad that would defeat the “healthy” aspect of my labor. Drats!(SeriousEats.com)

Despite my qualms I’ve now successfully eaten bananas for breakfast, paired with my trusty vanilla Activia (thanks for your concern for my bowels, Jamie Lee Curtis!), for four weekdays in a row. To commemorate my first day I wrote a (non-syllabic rule conforming) haiku:

I tried a banana today
I delt with it and finished the entire fruit
Progress

Indeed, even though it’s Week 2, apple week wasn’t really “progress”, as I can eat the shit out of an apple crisp when I smother it in brown sugar, and truth be told I picked up an apple habit 6 months ago during my intensified workout regimen. I consider tackling the radioactive mush that is a banana to be my first sign of true progress. Actually… I have a long history with bananas in cloth form. I inherited a banana suit from a college friend in 2008. I then proceeded to wear it to townhouse parties, Halloween drinkathons, and two separate anime conventions, because…. who doesn’t like someone in a full body banana suit? No one, that’s who.

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Didn’t believe me, did you? This is a particular moment I don’t remember from 2008, followed by the creation of a header and profile picture.


Frootcamp: Week 1, Apple

In anticipation I technically started Frootcamp during the final week of 2012 to get a head start. Apples aren’t so arduous an ingestion as I anticipate the other fruits to be, but still obnoxious enough to complain about. First of all, it’s not apple season, and so these pups are expensive. Secondly, they are not filling whatsoever. I suppose the same can be said for all fruits…. Has a fruit ever made you feel full? Has it even contributed to your feelings of satisfaction after a lunch? I’m certainly not experiencing that.

Two good things about apples: variety and their baking potential. So far this week I’ve had two galas, a green, and then another gala. If this were autumn I’d throw in a honeycrisp, as I hear those are the best. Interesting factoid: this apple week is not so arduous for a third reason. I actually took up apples last fall in an effort to eat healthier during my gym’scapades. In that time I tried both honeycrisps and galas and dealt with them frequently. Eating apples was actually one of the pushes to inspire this 2013 undertaking. In my youth my mother made apple pies, dumplings, and crisps. I engaged in the dessert ritual of smothering them with brown sugar and oatmeal. Eating them raw currently is not difficult per se due to my history with apples, but it’s still a chore. Maybe by the end of the week my opinion will change…… Here’s to hoping!


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