90 Salads In 90 Days: How a Committed Carnivore Convinced Herself to Enjoy Leafy Greens
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Confession: I hate the green stuff. Always have, since I was a little kid. Maybe it has something to do with my (otherwise sainted) babysitter, who used to boil Birdseye frozen veggies mercilessly on the stove for what seemed like hours, then feed us kids the resultant unidentifiable mush. Later, when I was introduced to salad, I was scandalized. "People eat this stuff? But... but... they're chewing leaves!" To me, it tasted like I imagined cow's cud must, based on the (admittedly few) times I'd been close enough to see a bovine masticating. In other words, vegetable matter was nothing I'd want to be cramming in my cakehole if there was any sort of alternative (like, for instance, cake) in the offing.
Even into adulthood, the list of the veggies I liked was short: asparagus, zucchini, carrots (sometimes mushrooms, and onions only when caramelized), while the list of the ones I couldn't stomach was long: everything else. And worse yet, I only enjoyed my winners when they were prepared in a restaurant, artfully arranged and drenched in butter by someone whose years in culinary school had taught them how to disguise the true nature of what I was eating. I'd rarely be bothered to buy vegetables and keep them in my own fridge; the few times I did they just went bad in the bin.
So. Fast forward to me at 35. I'm a slug who finds herself increasingly craving carbs, baking breads, brownies, and Bundt cakes by the boatload. I've gone from a size four to fat and am gaining weight daily. My self-esteem is in the toilet. I can't get myself to exercise, lay off the cheese, chips, or Chinese food. I've got about the energy of a three-toed sloth (my additional 7 toes don't seem to improve matters appreciably). I'm beached on the couch watching All My Children (yes, I DVR it, and no, I don't know why), devouring a bowl of buttery popcorn and trying not to despair when one night my husband brings home a diet guru's book. (Hubby's not fat, but he's always looking to whittle himself down to more of an Italian Stallion than he already is.) Now, I'm a cynic, a skeptic, and a pooh-pooher par excellence, but I decide to read along.
The guru suggests that I not try to deny myself anything, but simply add healthy stuff on top of my gluttonous glop. "Like, duh," I think. "If I eat all that roughage there won't be room for rugelach." I'm still not biting (as it were). But I read on, and learn that the guru also says to visualize liking the vibrant, green, growing things.
"Hmm," I think. " I'm going to need a little help with that."
And then it comes to me. Out of the blue, fully formed, catch-phrase and all. " I'm gonna eat 90 Salads In 90 Days.
Why this vow? Why this slogan? Well, it starts with principles of 12-Step recovery. Newcomers are suggested to "make 90 meetings in 90 days," meaning they are to attend a 12-Step meeting every day for 90 days, without fail or as close to without fail as they can manage. The idea is to get through the tough beginning phase of recovery with a firm commitment, to deal with the acute withdrawal from one's drug of choice with a blitz of support to fill the void and indoctrinate the mind with another way of living.
What did it mean in terms of my salad commitment? Well, I arbitrarily decided: