Breaking the Food Rut

Not even going to lie, we have been eating a lot of tater tot casserole and scrambled eggs at our house. Usually when I’m on duty in the kitchen – my husband is still feeding us well without resorting to the easily unhealthy comfort food I’ve been dreadfully attached to lately. In my defense, I haven’t eaten grains or legumes of any kind (I’m still eating white potatoes and some refined sugar, so I dare not say I’m eating paleo, lest I offend the paleo purists of the world). About six weeks ago, I was getting terribly sick every time I ate, to the point it became debilitating, and I have long suspected (okay, known) that grains and legumes give me trouble. It was painful enough that I had a real come-to-Jesus moment and finally realized I couldn’t go on eating the same way I always have. Already being gluten-free due to my son’s celiac disease, this meant that I needed to jump off the proverbial cliff into no gluten-free grains anymore either… so no rice, no corn, no oats… do you know how many things are made from those three grains? Plus no legumes… so not only no beans, but no peanuts. And while my digestive issues are cleared up at six weeks off that stuff, I’ve not been excited about food. I don’t care what people say, it’s a rough way to eat, especially after 30-some odd years of enjoying all the baked goods and starchy comfort foods I’d wanted. I’m just not the kind of person that can enjoy cauliflower “rice” and I hate sweet potatoes. I’ve tried them too many times in too many ways, and it still amounts to depression on a plate for me.

So eating and cooking have been hard, and I haven’t felt inspired to cook. But we’ve been doing better with other things lately (we’re going out for proper wilderness hikes every weekend for 2-3 miles, and walking a few nights per week around the neighborhood) so I didn’t want to fall into another lazy food dinner pattern of nuggets and fries. So I hit my Pinterest boards to actually make something I pinned for once, and settled on an unwrapped potsticker meatball soup. The kiddo and I worked on it together, and it was the first time in a long time we cooked together, instead of me just throwing something together in haste. It was a wonderful experience and the soup was tasty. And then fortunately, I felt that little spark of food joy, and maybe the tide is turning. Now I’m thinking of things I’ve been missing that we haven’t made in awhile, like leek and potato soup and tonkatsu. Never mind that I usually serve the tonkatsu with a side of rice; steamed broccoli will be just as nice instead. And then my Pinterest boards offered up more appealing possibilities – chicken saltimbocca and taco-stuffed sweet peppers (no need for forbidden GF tortillas). So a grocery list was created and the dreariness of eating the same old calories day after day is subsiding into memory. And hopefully it stays that way for awhile, because food ruts take the joy out of eating, and since it’s such a fundamental activity, shouldn’t it be more than a chore? I’m cautiously optimistic that maybe someday I’ll be able to eat grains and legumes from time to time as a treat without doubling over in pain, but time will tell. Until then I’ll try find the sparks of food joy where I can. And today, it was in unwrapped potsticker meatball soup, lovingly crafted with my real joy of this life, my son.