Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Steamboat Springs Consider the legume. This odd-sounding word resembles the noise you produce when you have a swollen sore throat and can barely swallow. Or the choked-up noise a clogged toilet makes when you try to flush it.
Legume rhymes with baboon, doom and gloom. And according to many food articles I read, my diet is suppose to be chock full of legumes such as black beans, chick peas, black-eyed peas and lima beans. This is a hard thing to get excited about and not exactly a motivating force to spring out of bed in the morning. It doesn't constitute a food reward, either, as in: "I am going to finish this column, go on a bike ride and top it off with a spoonful of succotash."
And so, the question arises, to bean or not to bean? How hard could it be to add a little health to our lives? Feeling virtuous, I decided to make brown rice, lentils and caramelized onions for dinner. It was economical, quick and sweet Vidalia onions were in season. The mushy result in the pan produced the following responses:
"Blech," said my boyfriend.
"Blech," echoed my son.
I choked down a few spoonfuls and said brightly, "Maybe it will be good compost."
Brown rice and lentils are not visually appealing. Maybe presentation had something, or everything, to do with it. Maybe it needed a few sprigs of parsley to brighten it up. Cooking by color was an important consideration for my mother. We had to have a white thing, a green thing and a brown thing, which translated to meat, potato and a vegetable. Two white things such as potatoes and cauliflower could never appear on the same plate.
Eating is supposed to be a joyful experience, and it's hard to turn handstands over succotash, lima beans or chickpeas. Be honest now, on a hot summer afternoon do you crave a nice, cold ice cream cone or a glob of black beans?
I thought so.
Healthy eating is not easy. I know I am not alone in this struggle because as I walked through Art in the Park, I noticed a line for funnel cakes, a line for kettle corn and a line for the gyros, but no one, I repeat no one, was in line for the organic salads and healthy wraps.
I lined up for my annual funnel cake and chased it down with 32 ounces of lemonade. Even though I split the greasy dough ball topped in powdered sugar with my son, later in the afternoon, I found myself in a prone position on my bed with a stomachache.
My momentarily snarky boyfriend - who ate a corn dog - said, "What should I say at your memorial service?"
"Just say I died insanely, madly, over-the-top happy," I snarked back.
One of my very nice friends said kindly, "You must have shocked your system. You surprised it with a massive dose of grease and sugar."
This is one of the many reasons she is my friend - because she knows I am full of good intentions. But the sad truth is, it was neither a shock nor a surprise. It was the highlight of my day. The sadder truth is that healthy things are a shock to my system.
Last week, I also tried making a smoothie with flax seed, kale and fruit. My son took one look at it and pronounced it "the nastiest thing on the face of the earth." I don't even think a sprig of parsley could have rescued the seed smoothie.
And so I have decided the only reasonable course of action is to take lots of daily vitamins and line my multi-grain hamburger bun with as many leafy greens as it can embrace.