Well, I’m here, two-ish days into my 28th year. I’ve been thinking a lot these past couple days about what I’ve managed to accomplish in the past 27 years. I truly believe that we all have a purpose for being on this earth, whether it’s for two minutes or a hundred and twenty years. We make an impact with our decisions, indecision, our words and silence, our actions and inactions. We have a choice every day when we wake up of what we’re going to do that day. Sure, we have work to tend to, making sure we put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads and the electricity on. But how we interact with others, how we treat ourselves – that’s where we have a choice. Life has taught me many things, sometimes I’ve listened, other times I ignored and found clarity the hard way. There are no regrets, only lessons.

So with that, I’m going to brave this online world, use my voice, and share 28 things over the next some-odd days, things I’ve learned, and how I’ve learned them. Hopefully you’ll join me as I dig into my own life, pull out these little gems – some personal, others fun – and impart your own bits of wisdom so that I can, we can, continue learning together, building better communities, shaping better lives for ourselves and those around us.

We’ll start with the category I love most…food. :)

Food things

tempeh with broccoli & white beans, topped with greek yogurt & fresh cilantro

1. Tempeh is an awesome protein sub for you chicken lovers. It’s more substantial than tofu, has a grain texture, kind of like sticky brown rice. The flavor is mild, able to hold sauces well. Tried it because I signed up to do an online vegan cooking class with my friend, Elaine…opened up a whole new world of culinary treasures! Give tempeh a try…it’s now a favorite of mine.

2. On that note, something my parents always encouraged, was try everything once. No matter how bad it smells, how gross it looks, you can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it. That was how I found out surprisingly that I enjoyed escargot. And more recently, pâté. Make it a goal to try out a new recipe once every 2 weeks…maybe even with an ingredient you’ve never used before.

maple glazed eggplant with tempeh & sweet potatoes, topped with feta and fresh cilantro

3. You’re doing okay on your fruit and veggie intake if you eat every color of the rainbow at least once a week. This helps maintain a healthy enough balance in your diet. This comes from my mom, someone who I try to ignore a lot, but mostly because she’s right, and admittedly, I get annoyed when people are always right. Sorry, mom for the backwards compliment. I love you always, and you have great advice, especially when it comes to health and nutrition, seeing as you have like 5 degrees/ certifications in these departments. So I’m spreading the word on your behalf. :) Thanks for the great advice, mom!

4. It’s perfectly okay to indulge every now and again. I think we need it to fill our souls. But that’s just my opinion, and not a medically-sound one at that. But I think there’s something to be said about how our mood can change when we enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie, a hearty portion of ooey-gooey mac & cheese, or a juicy burger. I think the mistakes come into play when we finally get outside for a run and think we can then eat anything we want after that…a run doesn’t always burn enough calories to balance an unhealthy diet.

5. Diets don’t work. I’m not saying this from personal experience, but just understanding the mentality behind them is what bothers me. Diets are fads in people’s minds. It’s something temporary. It needs more to be about lifestyle change. If you’re concerned, start monitoring what you eat, how much you exercise, and see a nutritionist. They’ll help you gain a better understanding of a balance of vitamins, fats, carbs, protein, etc. Even just looking at a log of what you’re eating will probably help you change your dietary intake. Recruit friends to help you accomplish goals, take small steps, understand that it won’t change in a day, and be okay with that. No one is going to expect you to go from 5 cups of coffee a day to none. It just doesn’t work like that. Same with other things. If you’re used to eating red meat and potatoes 4 times a week, you can’t expect to cut it out completely all at once. Start planning your meals ahead of time to make sure you don’t stray during grocery trips, and keep in mind lesson #3 above…

I’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic, things you’ve learned about food…favorites, ingredients that don’t work well together, best cookbooks, restaurants, indulgences, etc…

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