Healthy eating hack: eat some baby food

The thing about vegetables is that they’re stupid. They’re basically the worst.

GoGo Squeez (nom nom nom)
GoGo Squeez (nom nom nom)

Well okay, not all vegetables. Acceptable vegetables: potatoes, peppers, onions cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower (only when it’s pretending to be mashed potatoes) some lettuces. That’s all I got.

I’ve never been a huge fan of vegetables. Fruit always gets my vote. Fruit just tastes better. I’ve tried a million experiments with vegetables and I just can’t get excited about them if they’re not on my acceptable vegetables list.

Health and fitness bloggers always be like OMG THESE KALE CHIPS ARE SO GOOD.

You know what’s gross? Kale chips. You know what’s delicious? Actual chips (also, plantain chips are pretty ballin).

So the point here is that I’m a friggen adult and I know I’m supposed to eat my stupid vegetables. I can’t spend the rest of my life just eating peppers and potatoes. I mean, I totally could but I might get sick of them. I’m a creature of habit so the chances of me getting sick of peppers is unlikely but I don’t like to press my luck. Then my Chipotle burrito bowl would be down one ingredient and I can’t have that.

My solution? Eating like a toddler.

You know who shares my veggie hate? Toddlers. They get it. They know vegetables are stupid, too. So parents trick them into eating them. They give them soups with hidden vegetables, pasta made out of vegetables, and these gems…

Vegetable and fruit sauce. I don’t know if that’s what these are actually called. It always sounds weird to say “vegetable sauce” and saying “vegetable and fruit sauce” basically takes forever.

I remember talking to my friend Page about this healthy eating tip a while ago. I don’t remember if she brought it up or I did or where the idea came from (somewhere on the internet to be sure) but we both agreed it sounded like something worth trying. A woman always on the go and in need of an easy/tasty way to get more vegetables in her life?

Veggie and fruit sauce!

just a sleepy morning trying to meet USDA guidelines
just a sleepy morning trying to meet USDA guidelines

I love eating these things. I get extra veggies in my day. The veggies are mixed with fruit so I’m not just eating green bean sauce (ew) or whatever. They’re shelf stable so I can take them with me on long trips or when I’ll be out for a while (although I think they taste better refrigerated). There’s multiple flavors so I don’t get bored. They aren’t full of crazy additives. The pouches are fun colors.

Fine, the color of the pouches doesn’t really matter but who doesn’t want more color in their life?

When I first started eating them I tried to sneak ’em so no one would see. Now? I have no qualms. It’s not like the pouches are full of breast milk. That might be weird. But no, it’s just me eating a pouch full of fruits and veggies (and lemon juice) mooshed together. There’s no shame in my vegetable hack game.

Pro tip: the GoGo Squeez are the best. I’ve tried at least half a dozen brands; some are way too sweet and some are just super gross. Whether you’re buying these for yourself or for a picky toddler, I recommend GoGo Squeez all the way. Just be strong and try to ignore the unnecessarily misspelled brand name (it’s tough, I know).

So go on and eat some toddler food. Eat your vegetable pasta and grab yourself a box of these little sauce pouches. I would say you won’t regret it but I don’t know, you might. It might get weird for you. You might start to question your other life choices. You might start drinking formula. I just don’t know. I can’t predict the future.

22 days to move 500 miles

Around this time two months ago I had my first interview for a new position.

Around this time one month ago I was packing up to move.

And now? I’m 500 miles away from the place I called home for 11 years. Welcome to New Hampshire. Live free or die! (No pressure.)

In a matter of two months almost everything in my life changed and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t nerve-wracking.

63366David and I have been talking about packing up and leaving Virginia since we met. At times we would consider the possibilities of buying a house, settling in, and staying in Virginia for the next 5-10 years. It would mean staying in Virginia longer than we wanted but the stability and the familiarity were appealing.

As our professional lives evolved (see: multiple layoffs) and we hopped from one rental to another before moving in with family (see: broke) it became clear that staying in Virginia was just not an option.

A friend asked me before we left what I would miss about living in the area and I couldn’t say our friends and family. I didn’t have anything to stay. The traffic, the cost of living, the live-to-work mentality, the huge population, the suburban sprawl, these aren’t things I will miss. I didn’t have anything to say except the people. We have an amazing network of people we love and that’s what I knew I would (and do) miss.

Obviously, the longer we’re here the more we have the opportunity to compare this place to where we lived previously. I’ll be honest and say that there are things we realize about the city we’re renting in that make it clear we won’t be this city permanently but we’re also having fun getting to know the surrounding cities. And we’re happier here. It’s not perfect and I never expected it to be. But it fits.

moving-dayI think something shifted for me around my birthday last year. The excitement over the wedding was long gone, my name last name was back to what I wanted, I had changed jobs multiple times due to layoffs, and I celebrated my birthday by shaving my head to fund research for cures to childhood cancers.

There was so much tumult in my life and I spent the morning of my birthday trying to do something to help children struggling with much bigger things than I was. Then I rolled around DC with a shaved head. I kayaked and went out for pizza with my husband and our friend, and later went out for my favorite cuisine (Mexican – real or fake) with family. All day I just felt so simply good and refreshed.

I can’t even count how many times since my birthday I thought “This isn’t where I belong.” If you’ve never felt that feeling – and I don’t mean in a group of people but in your life or in your day – then it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s this feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you something needs to change.

I was ready to go.

So I did.

The interview process for my current job took place entirely via phone and Skype (and writing prompts via email) which was fantastically convenient. When the job offer came I accepted without hesitation. The job was right, I got along well with the team, the offer was great, and I knew I was accepting a job with an intentionally-recognized company. I was excited to move to New England. I was ready and I said “yes.” David and I drove up amidst a snow storm for a whirlwind weekend of apartment hunting in a city that doesn’t offer much in the way of dog-friendly housing. We applied for an apartment and found out we got the place on our drive back up.

newhampshire-stampThere was just over three weeks between the offer and the day we moved. It was barely any time at all although the stress of it made it feel like the move would never come. It’s been almost a month since our move and the time has flown by. We’ve settled in, unpacked most of the boxes, found local hangouts we like, and started trying to find new friends.

This move brought me and David ten steps closer to the life we want. We see each other more, we relax more, we experience more, and we explore more. We’re doing more with our lives and we’re happier here. We miss the hell out of our family and friends (your invitations to visit never expire!) but other than that, it’s pretty easy to see we made the right move.

I lived in Upstate New York for 16 years before my dad moved the family to Virginia. I was so angry with my parents for moving. I didn’t want to leave everything and everyone I knew.

And now, 11 years after that first move I actively chose to leave everything and almost everyone I know again. But this time I’m not angry.

I’m excited.