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Salad Feelings

Salad makes me sad.

It always has, and it probably always will. Every once in a while I'll come across a salad and go "Oh hey, this is actually pretty tasty!" Then I realize that it's tasty because both meat and cheese (usually in excessive quantities) are involved, thus negating the entire reason I was eating salad to begin with. Which is To Be Healthy.

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On a theoretical level, I know that I need to change my diet. Probably drastically - I'm far too fond of cheese and bacon. But on a practical level? I really, really dislike most foods that are deemed healthy. See above re: salad. Why is that girl so happy? Seriously, WHY?! She's eating a tiny portion of the saddest food I've ever encountered. While I was eating my salad today, as I am committed to at least trying, my friend looked at me and started laughing. When I asked her what was up, she was like "You just look so SAD! You keep rooting around like you're looking for something that just isn't there!" I was. I was looking for something tasty. Sure, I had some cherry tomatoes in there, and sure they were delicious, but 90% of the salad was just lettuce. Putting it together this morning made me sad, knowing that I would then have to eat it later in the day.

My issues with food notwithstanding (hey, misophonia, my old friend, go die in a fire!), I really want more veggies in my diet. I feel better when I'm eating balanced meals. There is a part of me that enjoys the concept of vegetarianism (that part of me gets ruthlessly squashed, she just doesn't understand the joy that is a platter full of cured meats). For a while, I've thought that making myself eat salad for lunch was a way to bring healthy joy to my life, that if I could just get into the habit I'd start to love it. Boy, was I wrong.

So, I've started tricking myself. I hide kale in smoothies, spinach and broccoli get blended up and throw into marinara sauce. Squash and peppers and carrots get cooked and blended into creamy soups. Asparagus and I have been in a love affair since I was about 9, so that's not going anywhere anytime soon. Eggplant and cabbage make me want to weep, so they are just not involved in my life at all. Anything that can be roasted first gets a maple syrup glaze. Potatoes are pureed into creamy bliss, while their sister sweet potatoes are studiously ignored - seriously, why do people like them? I do not comprehend. But even so, I suspect this is just not quite good enough.

Fruit is not a problem. Except for bananas, I will eat it all, and I will love it all. I can live with a chronic potassium deficiency, bananas are the food of the devil. Things like apples and kiwi have the magical power of hiding the taste of kale, allowing me to drink my precious green juice whenever I want, and feel good about it because KALE. Blech.

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Now, I realize how privileged I am that this is even a problem for me. Every day I feel blessed that I'm able to feed myself, and feed myself well. Cooking is cathartic for me, and preparing a difficult meal has been my go-to therapy through many a tough time. Working at a food bank, and getting extraordinarily dirty in a community garden, are my absolute favorite ways to volunteer. But I can't bring myself to love vegetables, and it makes me feel crappy both physically and mentally.

So, dear friends, how do you all do it? Do you have go-to recipes that you use when you just need a veggi-rific meal? If something's about to go bad, what do you do to it so that you don't waste it?! Will I ever be able to love salad, or do I need to just move past that and on to greener pastures?

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