I challenge You!

There are a lot of challenges going around these days and all mostly fitness related. I myself have participated in some.

But tonight, I challenged myself to something different.

Dinner time I remembered I had lettuce for a salad. It was just after 8 and I wasn’t ready to start cooking. I took out the broccoli, radish, celery, lettuce and tofu.

Step 1: broccoli requires blanching, ok boiled some water.

Step 2: wash the veggies

Step 3: sauce? What shall we do? Oh yes, I have balsamic vinegar. Let’s get that out.

Step 4: the tofu – surely I can’t eat it like that, it has practically no taste, maybe a bit of spice or vinegar? Wait but didn’t I take out the balsamic vinegar? Mhm

Step 5: Charlene, why don’t you do a raw veggie salad? And then I remembered what I wanted to do in August but it never happened.

So yeah, change of plans, turned off the hot plate, chopped up the veggies and bang!

And at this stage I sprinkled some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) over half of the salad, picked up the balsamic and went to sit down.

To my surprise, I didn’t touch the balsamic. The salad tasted so good without anything but the ACV on half.

Last week momma bear and I were having a chat and I told her with my next trip this crazy lady ain’t coming back with a suitcase filled with food. I told her: This is unnecessary! She said: Of course it is! We both giggled. Poppa bear on the other hand commented with: There’s a sale tomorrow, are you coming? It was such a great laugh for all of us cause they know how I get frantic over my food purchases whenever I’m in my hometown. Nobody or nothing can stop me, and yes we hunt down the sales, checking the pamphlets and all that. Forget clothing sales, I’m heading for the food.

Here’s the real story behind it, you know I’m an emotional eater but I’ve made major transformational steps with my eating habits. I’m still moving through the stages, slipping and sliding but I’m definitely at a better place now than ever before.

Background: where I come from a woman can get beaten real bad if she didn’t add any flavour to the food. If you give a man a plate of food with low salt flavour or too much salt, you’re in big trouble. I witnessed this throughout my life with my birth father shouting and screaming over food that didn’t have enough taste, spice, salt, flavour whatever. At the same time, I was married to a man who couldn’t live without salt or flavour. And eventually after I tried to improve his diet due to his hypertension was told I can’t cook or he refused to eat my food coming up with silly excuses. The same reason why I decided to change my diet and lifestyle in order to inspire him – so that he too can make that shift. Backfire! Hahahahaha! It didn’t work.

I watched myself have the same pain my birth mother did.

Close to the end of our marriage, I remember times whenever I cooked what used to be his favourite food and he didn’t even want to touch it. When I put forward something with love, time and effort, it was no longer tasty. And in the end I accepted it and decided to continue taking care of my own temple and leave him to care for himself. Of course I still tried, but the effort became different.

Fast forward, during this time (2016 till 2017) I learned how to get in touch with what I eat on a different level. I changed my relationship and connection with food. I learned how to control food and not the other way, I’m still learning this daily, today’s story is evidence thereof.

During this process, I told myself that I want to experience more of nature’s goodness, and thanks to my love for fruits, veggies and legumes this was easy.

Now, today, after I had my salad ( which was also inspired by a good friend who is a raw vegan) I decided – this shit isn’t even hard.

I came back with spices this time, much less than before. And the way I feel right now, is to get rid of them, in particular the flavoured ones. I’ll keep the paprika, mixed herbs, turmeric, black pepper etc., but the rest, I’m afraid they will have to vacate the premises. I’ll gladly hand them over to someone else.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I will never cook with spices, but I’m challenging myself to work with less. In particular work with what is really needed and forget all the added additives and enhancers. To be in touch with nature, we have to ( I have to) learn to live with less. And in most cases less is best.

Not only so, as you can see in my background story where this comes from, it’s a cycle that I’m breaking. The beauty of it all is that I can exactly pinpoint where it’s coming from. I’m so glad for breakthroughs like this , as Oprah says; the Aha moment! Incredible shit (one day I won’t use this word anymore).

We hold on to stuff, we think we can’t live without certain stuff. When people ask you, what’s the one food you can never give up? I usually say bread and cheese! And I add this is probably why I can’t become vegan. But it’s not even about becoming vegan or not, it’s more deeper than that.

And I’ve lived without those things because out of sight becomes out of mind. For the same reason when I see sugar, I have no feeling or reason to reach for it and add it to my coffee. I just don’t. I’ve trained myself to let it go gradually. I know the damage it can cause and I know how I felt the day I stopped at the very last spoon. And that feeling alone was F fantabulous!

Damn! This was a good story if I have to say so myself. I got it off my chest, off my heart, feels so good!

Some of my personal challenges:

1. I’ve challenged myself to learn how to speak comfortably in front of the camera, it worked

2. I’ve challenged myself to quit adding sugar to my coffee (from 3 spoons to zero), it worked.

3. I’ve challenged myself to try a raw veggie salad without adding condiments, it worked.

4. I’ve challenged myself to take care of my body by enjoying nature’s best, it’s working with some ups and downs but definitely working.

5. I’ve challenged myself to be kind to me, always give myself second chances, it works!

6. I’ve challenged myself to forget the word ‘I cant’ to continue trying, this one is connected to so many other things but we continue to work on it.

7. I’ve challenged myself to take a break when I feel tired, breathe, drink something, close my eyes and rest my eyelids, it Works like magic every time!

8. I’ve challenged myself to continue being my rescue and my own best friend, it works!

9. I’ve challenged myself to call or write to someone when I miss them.

10. I’ve challenged myself to say I’m not okay, and to be vulnerable, this has caused so much growth and moving towards my true self and authenticity.

Life alone can be a challenge. Let’s step aside from all the layers, stuff, things, create your own challenges of growth. Experience the different, experience the growth.