Simple can be delicious.

mangoToday is day 8 of my Leap program. I feel like I have come really far. It has been interesting to see what kind of food I come up with. This is my list of approved foods:

Proteins: catfish, sole, clams, tilapia, tuna, chicken, pork

Starches: oat, buckwheat, amaranth, sweet potato

Vegetables: beet, cucumber, celery, yellow squash, string bean, tomato, romaine

Fruits: apple, pineapple, cherry, cranberry, raspberry, mango, fresh peach, blueberry, strawberry, pear

Dairy: goat milk, plain yogurt

Nuts, Seeds and Oils: sunflower, pecan, peanut, olive (black olives are an okay food too)

Flavor Enhancers: lemon, dill, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, honey, sea salt, distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, baking soda

When I first looked at my list, it seemed really daunting. Honestly, it seemed pretty oppressive. Now, I honestly feel a little ashamed of hating on my list, because I belong to a support group and some of my new compatriots don’t have a single flavor enhancer.

Bland food is my killer. I have weaned myself off of fatty fried foods, fast food, burgers, etc., but I never got over yummy exotic flavor, like a big hot bowl of well made phở – yummy star anise, fish sauce, lime, jalepeno, soy sauce, omg I can’t take it – things like that. At the beginning of the week, I was abusing the “use minimal garlic” advisory that Dr. Joy had given me, but she said to knock that biz off and I’ve been a good girl.

But not that good. I’m supposed to try as many of these foods as possible, and I haven’t gotten to all of them. I haven’t eaten a single one of those sea foods (I haven’t even bothered to get any of the Trader Joe’s tuna she mentioned). Something happened to me over the last few months and I don’t really like seafood anymore, besides shell fish, and I’m not brave enough to try cooking clams. But I found one thing out…

I LOVE GROUND PORK. Oh my gosh, I would marry it. You barely have to do anything to it, and it has incredible yummy flavor. Tonight I added oregano, salt and cracked black pepper, and pan fried it into little sausage patties. I wrapped those little bad boys in big lettuce leaves and went straight to food heaven.

I hate buckwheat. I’ve tried multiple times, and I just can’t do it. Buckwheat groats have the mouth-feel of… it’s like bloated rice made a baby with Kashi cereal. They have this odd exterior that gives your teeth just a little resistance, and then… squish. They are also somehow simultaneously soggy and dry. Ugh. I have somewhat been able to tolerate buckwheat noodles, but I only liked them in soup. Overall, buckwheat has a kind of earthy flavor… kind of like dirt. But not as bad as beets. Beets don’t taste kind of like dirt. They just plain do. Unless buckwheat and beets were the only two foods on my list, you can rest assured I will live without them.

I haven’t tried the amaranth yet – when I opened the bag it smelled like buckwheat and beets had a baby. I shut the bag.

All the other veggies and fruits are quite delicious. I had also been avoiding all dairy, and enjoying yogurt has been a real treat.

I tried making peanut butter and oat muffins tonight and they were an epic fail. But because I’m a fairly accomplished cook, I think I know just went wrong and I’ll give them another try. I was pretty disappointed – the batter tasted amazing.

The weirdest experience so far has been how I’m almost never hungry. Half the time, I have to force myself to eat. I enjoy my food, I am experiencing the flavor and… honesty of food for the first time in years. Each food is a gift in and of itself and it has its own purpose. I have been having a good time finding out the purpose.

So far, so good, folks. So far, so good.

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