During a recent session with Emily, we were discussing how I could get more vegetables in my life because although I get a few here and there, I really just don’t eat as many as I would like. I like how they make me feel but they definitely don’t take center stage in my food-life. We were discussing some of my obstacles to this when I had a revelation regarding vegetables. A vegetable epiphany, if you will.

When I was growing up, the vegetables in my life were canned corn, canned peas, canned green beans, or if we were feeling fancy we had a salad with lots of Thousand Island dressing glopped on top. And these vegetables were eaten mainly at dinner time, as an obligatory side to the meat and mashed potatoes & gravy.

Simple, easy, predictable.

No fuss. Just open the can, pour into a pan, add some butter, heat it up. It was barely a thought. This was in the 70s and 80s when my mom was bringing home the bacon and “having it all” except she probably felt like she had too much, and was too tired to think of anything other than canned corn. (It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I discovered frozen corn, peas, & green beans at a friend’s house and I was amazed at how much better they tasted than the canned variety.)

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Libby’s Libby’s Libby’s on the label label label! (Remember that jingle?) 

(source)

So, back to my epiphany. For the first 25 years of my life, vegetables were simple and easy and I really didn’t give much thought to them. Then (dun dun DUN!) the Dieting Years hit me and suddenly I was supposed to eat ALL THE VEGGIES. I had to buy, chop, store, prepare and eat exotic vegetables such as broccoli and red peppers…I mean, how the heck do you even chop broccoli, I wondered. What do I do with a zucchini? Are baby carrots different from regular carrots? Why is this mushroom the size of a Frisbee? And if I didn’t eat them within a couple of days, I’d find them sad and wilted in the bottom of the crisper drawer and I’d have to toss them in the trash, an unceremonious funeral for my exotic veggie guests.

As I reflected back on all this and discussed it with Emily, she made the astute observation that somewhere along the way, vegetables became frustrating for me.

*Explosions! Fireworks! Lightning! Loud crashing noises!*

VEGETABLES ARE FRUSTRATING FOR ME!

This makes so much sense!! I like a lot of vegetables, I really do, but the money and the time and the cleaning and the chopping and the steaming/roasting/boiling/grilling of it all leaves me a little fatigued, honestly. I have this preconceived notion that VEGETABLES ARE WORK and are something I have to really plan for and think about. I rely heavily on bagged salad because there is literally no work involved – open the bag, add some dressing, BOOM! DONE. But I get tired of all-salad-all-the-time, and now that I know I have this limiting belief about veggies, I can break on through to the cruciferous side. So even though it might hurt my wallet’s feelings to buy precut broccoli & cauliflower, I think it will be worth it while I’m making them a habit. When celery and I become BFFs, then maybe I’ll buy the whole veg and chop it at home myself. Or maybe not – maybe this will be a small thing I splurge on because it’s worth it to me.

Either way, it’s awesome to finally know what my deal is with vegetables and now I can work on finding new and delicious ways to incorporate them into my life.