Friday, March 28, 2014

Gradually Eating "New" Foods

This post originally appeared on Have Your Health, a blog of mine active from 2013-14, which no longer exists.


Over the last few months I've slowly introduced some "new" foods into my diet here in South Korea. I use quotation marks because they're not new at all, but I wasn't eating them last fall.

"New" Foods of Late

Oatmeal

After discovering iHerb, which ships to Korea from California for $4, I purchased and have regularly been eating oatmeal. On the weekends I make steel-cut oats and add some brown sugar and a spoon full of peanut butter to my bowl.

I do have some instant packs of oatmeal for weekdays when I have less time. However I don't use a microwave to make them; I add boiling water using my kettle.

Eggs

Next I started to eat eggs, which happened as a result of reading about them so often in Tim Ferriss's The Four-Hour Body. I added eggs to whatever I was making that day: soup (egg-drop), rice, rice pasta with tuna. Now they're a regular item I always have in my fridge.

Raisins

When I was a child, I remember we had this big, round yellow tupperware filled with raisins in the kitchen. We'd always snack on them, just reaching our little hands in and eating. I have no idea when that container left our house, perhaps it was when we moved, but without the raisins around I stopped eating them. I never purchased them living on my own post-high school.

I saw some small boxes on iHerb, so I ordered a pack of six. What a great little snack! I have a box in my desk at work in case I get hungry or forget to eat breakfast some morning.

Bananas

Just the other week on some IBS forums I read about bananas being a good fruit for IBS sufferers. I hadn't bought bananas because I'd only seen big packs at my grocery store (10+ bananas), and I wouldn't be able to eat them all before they'd go bad. So I just never bought any in the first place. A few weeks ago my Korean friend told me that he's now eating 10 bananas a day. While I wasn't going to try to reach that extreme, our conversation put bananas back on my radar.

On my next trip to the grocery store I happened to see a smaller pack mixed in with the rest: five bananas. Perfect! In the past week and a half since, I've purchased more bunches, and now eat a banana in the morning for breakfast and another when I get home from work.

Last week I even mushed up a banana and mixed it with some eggs, cooking a sort of banana pancake!

Gradual Changes

These are very simple, basic foods to have added to my diet. I'd like to stress how the changes happened, though: gradually. Over the course of many months. The "new" product was usually initiated by exposure: in books, blogs, websites, and conversation. These food items have completely replaced the processed "treats" and "snacks" I had been purchasing in convenience stores, which can be found on every Korean street.

Heck, I've been gradually changing my diet for years. Comparing what I eat now to what I ate six years ago is a night and day difference. And I'm still working on it, slowly but surely.

It's a lot easier to focus on just one food item than to change all your eating habits at once. So start small, and over time that one food will become something you don't even think about. You'll regularly buy it and eat it. And then you can focus your energies on another food item to introduce into your life. Just take it one at a time, and little by little you'll replace old shopping/eating habits with new ones.

What food should I start eating next?
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