Monday, June 7, 2010

Nutritional Value

Now, I know that's an odd title for a blog post, but my day yesterday was all about food.

If you knew me, you'd know that I forget to eat.  I do, it slips my mind.  I'm not a foodie like my friend Heidi, she makes penguins out of olives and cream cheese.  No, I'm more of a necessity eater...I eat out of necessity, only when I'm hungry, and it usually doesn't have to be something contrived or well thought out or whatever.  I'm simple.  I like comfort foods and I'm usually not too adventurous either.  I live in a world where I order my hamburgers without onions, if I can avoid peppers, I do at all costs unless my recipe calls for bell peppers and onions that are cooked well and meant to season a casserole I'm making.  When I cook mushrooms to go with a steak, I cook them with onions and then pick through the onions to get to the mushrooms.  What's the point of using the onion then, right?  I just do it for the flavoring.  What can I say?  I'm a picky eater.

Something else you'd know if you knew me really well is that all my big ideas always come to me when I'm in the shower.  Odd, I know.  Some people get their big thoughts on the treadmill at the gym, other people go for walks, some just sit in the dark.  For me, if I need a big idea, I hit the shower.  I'd like to think it's something related to the steam or heat of the water, but, really, I think it's because my mind relaxes when I smell the wonderful soaps and shampoos I have.  My favorite scent in the whole world is coconut.  My Bath and Body Works repertoire of scents stay with the fruits, from Coconut Lime Verbena to Black Raspberry Vanilla, Strawberry Lemonade to Freshwater Cucumber.  To me, there is no more fantastic smell than the one of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil.  My favorite drink is even with coconut, my ever famous Malibu Madras, which is Malibu coconut flavored rum mixed with orange juice and cranberry juice.  I even order it with heavy cranberry because it makes the flavor of the coconut shine through even more.  It's Vitamin C with a kick for me, besides the fact it tastes like Coconut Kool-aid or some sort of tropical smoothie.  But I digress, I need to get back on topic of the shower and my big idea.

Ok, so I'm in the shower, the tropical smells are hitting me and just as I'm kicking myself for forgetting to go to the mall to pick up more Clinique face soap, I started to think about what I was going to make myself for dinner. Suddenly something in me just craved a salad.  Now, I'm usually not one to crave salads for dinner.  I'm usually very freaky when it comes to dinnertime.  I like to make sure I'm eating some sort of big meal, such as a steak or pork chops or a roast or something with a lot of protein in it, and it has to be a hot meal.  Otherwise, I get freaked out and feel like I'm starving.  But, standing in the shower, I was overwhelmed by a need for a crab and hearts of palm salad.  The thought of a salad I'd not had in a long time was just too delicious to ignore, and being as I eat alone, there was nothing to stop me from driving to the store, getting what I needed and making myself a phenomenal salad.

After my shower was finished, I primped and preened, only so much as to not look like I'd been through the wringer all day long and was nice to look at, I dressed, threw on my flip-flops, grabbed my purse and headed for the local grocery store.

First stop, the produce section, I grab a head of Romaine lettuce, carrots and a couple of tomatoes.

Second stop, the canned food aisle where I searched for jars of hearts of palm, but no luck, they only had cans.  So, I grab a can of hearts of palm.

Third stop, the meat counter to pick up some imitation crab meat.  (I'm on a budget, ok?)

Fourth stop, I grab a can of black olives and a bottle of Italian salad dressing.

While I was in the produce section, I picked up a package of cherries (another favorite food) and a cantaloupe so I have some fresh fruit to snack on for something sweet around the apartment (remember, I don't like candy very much).  Then, since I was out of juice, I grabbed a bottle of apple juice and a bottle of black cherry soda (another pair of favorites).

So with all of my shopping needs covered for my salad plus a few needed extras, I hit the checkout line.

Lugging all of my groceries up the stairs in one trip (big smile on my face being able to do that), I put away the juice and soda pop in the fridge then grab a pasta bowl and begin to construct my salad.

I washed the lettuce, then cut it into pieces, then, as Remy said in "Ratatouille", I composed the salad like I was painting a picture. Greens on the bottom, then I chopped the hearts of palm into small bite size pieces, then doing the same with the crab, then I cut up a whole tomato and threw it in there, then threw the carrots and olives on, finishing it by drizzling the dressing gently over the top.

I sat on my couch for over an hour just savoring this fantastic salad.  I filled myself so full of fresh veggies that I was almost ready to pop.  It was the most satisfying meal I had made myself in a long time, and I do have to admit, I've only ever made that salad when I've entertained, with lots of people around to enjoy it, and then I only get a nibble or two of it because I'm busy in the kitchen or serving to really take the time to enjoy what I've created.  That was the first time I've ever really gotten to enjoy a salad of my own personal creation that wasn't at a restaurant salad bar or at a place like Sweet Tomatoes.  I thought of what I wanted on it, went and got the ingredients, then put it together and ate it.  It was fantastic!

What made it even more amazing was that I only dirtied my cutting board, a knife, a bowl and a fork.  I made a fantastic meal that was minimal on clean-up too!  I'm sorry, but I'm just so amazed by it all.  I grew up in a family that if you didn't destroy half the kitchen with dirty dishes in the process of making a meal, well, it just wasn't any good.  Well, there I was, having only dirtied up four things and I had a meal fit for a king (or queen in my case).

The thing that I just kept saying to myself over and over again was, "Hey, it's my dinner, I'll eat what I want!"  Now, I know that sounds childish or immature, but really, it's not.  You have to like what you eat.  How do you expect to feed yourself if you don't like what's going down the hatch?  The other part was that the salad I made was so incredibly healthy!  It had protein, roughage, good veggies with plenty of nutritional value to do my body tons of good.

Nutritional value.  Have y'all noticed that it's my saying du jour?  I keep going back to that phrase, because I think that we can find nutritional value out of everything and everyone.  When you interact with someone, they have a certain nutritional value to your person.  Come on, think about it.  If you have a friend that's tons of fun and you're feeling down, what does that person do for you?  They lift you up.  That lift you get or the fun they inspire is the nutritional value they've given you.  Then there are the people around us that make us think.  They challenge us with different questions about the world, they fuel our curiosity with their own.  That spark of curiosity and wonder they give you is their nutritional value.  Everything, from the food you put into your body, to the people you surround yourself with, to the books we read, the media we watch, it's all nothing but different types of nutrition coming into your body. Whether it's consumed by your eyes, mind or digestive system, it's all got some sort of value.

Think about the eye-candy movies we watch.  You could say they were a waste of time, but, if you look at it as a serving of junk food that's fun to consume, well, that's it's nutritional value.  It's just fun and it nurtures your spirit with it's energy.

So, while I'm amazed at the wonderful nutritional value of  the salad I made last night, I try to remember to be grateful for the rest of the nutritional value I get out of every day.  Whether it's from my friends, the movies I go see, and the people I meet, it's all food for the soul.

At least it's healthy and it makes me feel great.

So, today, do yourself a favor, find the nutritional value in everything that surrounds you.  You'll be amazed at what you'll find.

Also, I've opened up the comments section, so tell me about the cool things you've found nutritional value in.  Remember, it's not only food that provides nutritional value.

Have a great day everyone!


  1. You found the strawberry lemonade body wash?! Doh! They haven't had it here since I heard about it last summer. Doh!!!!!!!! Not that I need it right now anyway but still! :P Bath and body works is awesome but too pricey for me right now. :) I'll get to go again sometime (trying to use all mine up and then go). :P Awesome to hear about the salad. You can catch my blog at:

  2. I think the comparison of frivolous movies to "junk food" is a perfect analogy. The same can be said for magazines like People or Us Weekly. I used to shun both of those things but then one day I was at a friends house and she asked me if I wanted to watch a "chick flick". Wanting to be agreeable I said yes and ended up really enjoying it. As for the magazines, one day I was out getting a mani-pedi with my sister and she said, "let's bring some trashy magazines.", meaning People or Us Weekly or something like that and we had a great time reading them while we were being pampered! Just goes to show you that sometimes "junk food" is not all bad.

    As for you not getting to enjoy your salad at your parties, that is a hostess no-no in my book. You should always take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, ESPECIALLY when you are entertaining. Think of it like this: when preparing for your get-together, prepare it for yourself. You hold yourself to a high standard anyway so people are bound to like it if you do. And then make sure to take time and enjoy it. If your guests see you enjoying yourself, they will have that much better a time.

    Oh, and as for the Olive Penguins, they really aren't that hard to make :)