We've been trying to take advantage of the last days of summer by keeping our days packed with outdoor activities, so last night we stopped by a different farmer's market than usual and picked up a huge zucchini and three peppers for only $6 total. Having spotted a Mexican restaurant for the second time that we wanted to try, I offered the option of having some chips and drinks — but my husband wanted a full meal, so I gave in.
What a disappointment!
Not only was everything too spicy (even the "mild" salsa), but also, my shredded beef dish had cloves in it, which I've always found to be disturbing even though I know it's traditional in many recipes. How could I have forgotten to ask about that? So I'm kicking myself now for two things: Not sticking to my guns and just enjoying some margaritas, and ordering something without putting my culinary knowledge to use. What. A. Waste.
And although I was about to say that Mexican food always makes me feel over-stuffed and full, I realize it's that I just eat too much of it — apparently, even if I don't like it — and I eat the tortilla chips, even though I'm allergic to corn! I know I've said this before, but I must sound like a crazy person purposely throwing caution to the wind and (irresponsibly) consuming something I know I'm allergic to. No real side effects, of course — I'm not highly allergic — but once I realized what I was doing I did start having sort of a psychosomatic reaction, which is the way it always goes with me. SO not worth it, so I need to remember this next time I'm at a Mexican restaurant...if there is a next time. Sometimes I think it's just better to avoid those situations period, if it just ends up being a trigger.
Which brings me to my other realization, which is how my eating habits are so cyclical...I can't say how often, but I definitely go through phases when I give in to temptation like that, and suddenly there are cookies and ice cream in the house again. I realize how it makes me feel, and I re-establish my commitment to healthy eating for me and my family, too: My son gets excited to eat anything that he hears being unwrapped from plastic, or anything he can shake in a plastic container and make noise. I know I'm making more of a fuss about it than I should, but seriously! It's like my dog, who comes running any time you open up a bag of chips or crackers...that crinkling sound is a dead giveaway. We shouldn't even have that stuff in the house! I want my son to get excited at the sight of a fresh strawberry or blueberry, not a canister of Teddy Grahams or a pack of macaroni.
Hence my renewed commitment. I need to always remind myself to vote with my fork AND my dollar and only purchase/consume products I believe in, not junk just because I want a treat. I know there is room in life for moderation, but what fun is moderation if it makes you feel bad (not guilty, necessarily, but physically bad, heavy, nauseated)? If Lisa Leake can do it for 100 Days with two grown children, I can do it now with my child who still can't even verbally object to what I put in front of him.
So that's the bottom line: You really do have to eat great to be great. Although our night was redeemed by a walk to the park and playground and at least we got out of the house for our little market adventure, sometimes it's the disappointments that lead us back to renewing ourselves and our goals. They're reminders; I was explaining to my husband how next week I'm going to try the local small businesses first for groceries and forgot to explain to him the whole point of it all — that these smaller merchants often have healthier, local, not–mass-produced products.
It's for health. It's for happiness. It's for togetherness, family and feeling good. No sub-par dinner out is worth jeopardizing that!