Weird Food

I buy weird food.

I cook weird food.

I eat weird food.

I love weird food.

I tell people that I’ll eat anything, but that’s not really true. I base that premise on the fact that I will eat weird and/or gross things because there’s a benefit to be gained. I most definitely won’t eat anything.

I will pretty much eat any vegetable that exists. Some textures are tough for me. Like mushrooms, depending on how they’re cooked, sometimes I can’t eat them, other times I love them. That’s kinda the deal with all veggies for me, though. It can depend greatly on how they are prepared. The only one I just won’t eat ever is eggplant. Not my thing.

I prefer to eat vegetarian, although I have slacked on this since my family is so busy, and preparing two meals all the time is exhausting. If I could get my kids to like eating their vegetables, that would help. Right now, veggies are just the bribe for desert. However, if I personally have an option, I will choose meatless every time.

I’m not super big on breads. I like bread with dinner when we go out. I’ll eat sandwiches on bread. I like tacos on flour tortillas. I don’t really like cake. Not super big on pancakes or waffles or biscuits. I know, I’m from Georgia, what’s wrong with me? It’s not like I won’t ever eat bread, but once again, given a choice, I prefer bread free meals. For example, give me scrambled eggs and greens over biscuits and gravy any day. Given my love of vegetables, I actually like zoodles and other vegetables used as vehicles for great sauces better than pasta. That doesn’t mean I never eat pasta, it just means, given a choice, I like the veggie loaded option.

My weakness is candy. Sugar is my nemesis. I could go on and on about this addiction that plagues me, but there’s not much candy I don’t like.

I will eat foods I don’t like just because they are healthy.

I will refuse to eat foods I do like because they are not healthy.

My definition of healthy, though, doesn’t always come from popular opinion or science. It’s about my body, how it feels, and what I want it to do.

I am always reading and learning about food, the good, the bad, and the ugly. How food affects performance. Ancient foods, foods from other cultures, I’m a ‘listen to everyone, follow no one in particular’ kind of girl, a food agnostic to use a term coined by Matt Fitzgerald (Diet Cults is a good book; you should check it out.)

Sometimes, I find a health food and LOVE it. Sometimes, I like the health benefit enough to overlook the less than desirable taste or texture. Other times, I imagine I’ve discovered the reason the food didn’t make it out of ancient culture and into modern popular culture.

This is where the weirdness comes in, I think. For example, just because some ancient Greek messenger people ate a particular berry for energy and health on their hundred mile runs across difficult terrain, I decide I need to try it, too. I’ll search for it and eat it even if it tastes like dirt. True story.

That berry is called sea buckthorn, Hippophae. It’s super pretty, and kinda looks like it would taste like an orange grape or at least a grape tomato (two things I love). I read about it in The Road to Sparta by Dean Carnazes. They apparently contain more than 190 different bioactive compounds, and are one of the only known natural sources of omega-3’s, 6s and 9s in a single food. I HAD to try it.

I found it at a little natural foods market next to the place I workout, and bought it in ‘juice’ form. I use that word lightly because this was more like crushed up pulp, which is good, more fiber, using the whole food, etc. It was thick and dark orangey brown. It coated the measuring cup that came with the bottle. It coated anything it touched and stained it a bright orange. I don’t usually like to smell weird foods that are probably not gonna taste good before I eat them, but there was no avoiding it with the way this smelled. Just to round out this description, this is what I found on the internet with regard to it’s flavor, “astringent, sour and oily, unpleasant to eat raw.” I’m thinking to myself, “Yeah, for people who don’t like weird food like I do.” “Whatever, it can’t be worse than drinking apple cider vinegar like a shot.” (Which I do sometimes.) But, see, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

I kinda wish I had filmed the whole thing. If there had been video, it would show my ecstatically happy face (a face like you’re about to realize all your athletic dreams, and finally be fast and strong and run like the Greeks, yeah that face) turn to pure disgust (like I had just put ancient Greek compost into my mouth) the very moment it touched my tongue. Then the wheels start turning in my head, “I’ll put it in my orange juice.” Now the orange juice tastes like ancient dirt. “I’ll mix it into some oatmeal.” Now the oatmeal tastes like ancient dirt. “I’ll just hold my nose and chug it like medicine.” Cue the gagging and spitting the contents of my mouth into the kitchen sink. My stomach revolted. My esophagus went into reverse. My tongue was searching for a way out. This stuff was NOT going down. Perhaps my entire body had decided at once that it would now exact revenge on me for all the crazy dumb things I had forced into it, and I became physically ill. There wasn’t any kind of eating of any kind of substances at that point or for the rest of the morning. I had to forgo my workout, and didn’t eat anything until lunch.

Apparently, this little berry is much more palatable when fermented or cooked. You just can’t get it fresh where I live because, well, I don’t live in Greece. I hear a similar berry grows out on the west coast of the U.S., but I don’t know that I’ll be trying it any time soon. I think I’m just gonna have to get all the benefits of this “oily and unpleasant” berry from other foods, and I can add it to the list of things I WILL NOT eat. So, that’s eggplant and sea buckthorn. For now.

One Comment on “Weird Food

  1. Candy is my weakness too… I have to avoid going into a gas station because I always wind up leaving with two bags of gummy worms!


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