I eventually developed a true love for vegetables after weight loss surgery. Today at Trader Joe’s, the celery, Persian cucumbers, kale, spinach, and peppers were calling out, “Take me home with you!”
Written July, 2012, 14 months post-op weight loss surgery
I grew up with parents who loved gardening. Really it was more like farming. They both grew up farming out of necessity during the depression. I heard so many stories about how most everything served at their kitchen tables was grown in their back yards.
In my back yard, we had a huge avocado tree. We also grew tomatoes, squash, melons, lemons, and more. In the 1970s, our local Parks & Recreation officials opened a large plot of land between the library and fire station for community members to farm. As long as your part of the plot was well maintained and you produced monthly receipts to demonstrate investment, you could keep farming.
My family got in on the ground-floor of this community endeavor. We hauled away brush, got the rototiller out there to refresh the earth, and planted our seeds. Over a period of 10 years, my family enjoyed a cornucopia of produce. Most Saturday mornings were spent working on the farm while Saturday afternoons were spent cleaning vegetables and catching the random runaway snail or worm on the kitchen counter. My mom canned, juiced, cooked, dehydrated, and froze scads of vegetables. She was the resourceful pioneer woman.
But while I had lots of fun days working on the family farm, I unfortunately didn’t enjoy the harvest quite as much. I ate the occasional ear of corn or leaf of lettuce on a burger, but that was about it.
Yes, I grew up with an avocado tree in my backyard but I hated guacamole!
I can remember my mom slicing a tomato, and after adding only a little salt & pepper she’d eat it the way I ate ice cream. “Oh it’s so ripe, it’s just perfect! So juicy and sweet!” I wondered how a tomato could taste like ice cream to her when to me it was just a tomato.
Looking back, I should have loved it too. What wasn’t to love? We were growing our own organic vegetables. But my finicky taste buds knew better than to like tomatoes better than ketchup, or homemade eggplant Parmesan instead of pizza. Thankfully I’ve grown up and so have my taste buds. I believe it comes from understanding the nutritional benefits of eating healthy food. Combine this knowledge with fresh vegetables, mix in my aging process and the desire to feel better, and you have a love for vegetables!
My kids are in the process of developing their own relationships with vegetables since we are eating more of them since my weight loss surgery. Tonight my son Adrian cooked dinner with me, and he had a second serving of vegetables. Awesome! But my daughter wouldn’t touch them, and instead microwaved frozen broccoli. By the way, Adrian won’t touch broccoli with a 10-foot pole.
It takes time. It wasn’t until my mid 20s that I started enjoying vegetables. Over the years I’ve tried getting more of them into recipes.
But since weight loss surgery I’ve really embraced them.
My mom still lives in the same home where I grew up. So now I enjoy the avocados I avoided as a kid, and I love guacamole!
Since having weight loss surgery last year, I cook all the time. I used to love going out to eat. Now it’s rare. And although my back yard would be the perfect place for it, I haven’t started farming yet.
WAIT! There’s still some summer left. “Kids….get the rototiller!”
Love, light, and peace to you.
Note: My mom died in 2013, less than a year after I wrote this. That spring, her avocado tree produced the most delicious, buttery avocados…ever. And so, in my mom’s honor, we gave avocados to her family and friends at the church when they came to say goodbye. Some even planted the avocado pits and grew their own trees. My mom must be pretty happy about that.