Shhh! Don’t Tell Anyone, But…

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but… I think I am a (gulp) clean eater. (And still chillin’ like a villain in Buffalo–I head back to my tropical home tomorrow, fingers crossed.  Just an aside.)

I’m really not the kind of person to categorize what I eat and how.  Yeah, I was vegetarian for three years, but yeah, I gave it up for pork chops in baked beans and chorizo–all in the same day.  I also eat vegan at home 90% of the time, but that’s down to lactose intolerance.  Present me with a steak (or better yet, a piece of pork–I am, after all, a good Puerto Rican girl!) and watch me be your best friend for the rest of the day.

However, a friend was asking me the other day how I eat since I decided to give healthy eating a go (and my old size too-big-for-my-frame pants a miss).  To be honest, I struggled to answer.  The best I could do was, “Well, I don’t eat as much bread as I used to, and I eat lots of vegetables, and… Uh, I don’t know.”

And then she said it:  “So, mostly clean eating!”

And she was right.  Since I’ve replaced the bulk of my intake of bread and rice and pasta with more complex carbohydrates, I’ve felt a million times better.  Ramen noodles and cookies do not make this girl run fast or want to don a bikini (or a carnival costume).  I started to eat less processed food about a year ago now and,  after the initial adjustment–and a vast improvement in my vegetable prep skills–and planning, I just don’t give it a second thought.  Wanna watch me snooze the afternoon away?  Give me a plateful of rice and beans and meaty stew and some plantains and you might just get your wish, now that said meal is no longer a lunch mainstay.

However, I’m not about to start waving a banner about clean eating (because what’s clean for me may still be too processed for others) or categorize myself as such.  I WILL eat hot dogs at family cookouts and I will most certainly partake of my mom’s lemon cake.  If I do this every day, though, I’ll probably spend more time clutching at my disgruntled stomach than telling you about how tasty that hot dog and that cake were.

So yes, my habits have changed.  And, despite my best efforts to eat the way that I eat back in Trinidad while I’ve been in Buffalo, there has been entirely too much of… well, a sweet here and a bagel there and a sandwich with chips at lunch.  This is not about weight (in fact, my clothes are looser since I arrived here six weeks ago)–it’s about bloat in my belly and bounce in my step and a beastly craving for toast at all hours once the two-toasts-for-breakfast line is breached.

Therefore, today’s lunch was a welcome respite from all things wheaty and meaty (and believe me, I’ll take belly blahness for my mom’s and Baby Bel’s cooking any day).  I found myself home alone and with poblano peppers and soft corn tortillas.  Need I tell you what comes next?

Tacos with black beans and green salsa!  Full of vegetable and bean goodness and enough spice that my eye stung like crazy when I accidentally touched it after chopping the pepper.  I present you with today’s saviors, courtesy of Wegmans and Goya:

(I should have shares in Goya.  I probably also should have shares in that most awesome supermarket chain that is Wegmans–but I worked there through college and though it was bearable enough, I’ll give it a pass.)

Into said tortillas (which were warmed on the stove until they were hot and starting to crisp on the sides) went black beans, a handful of lettuce, tomatoes, poblano peppers, a sprinkle of red onion, and a good dose of Wegmans green salsa.  They tasted the way heaven must taste, spicy and crunchy and just oniony enough that I tasted the onion but wouldn’t knock a passerby out from onion breath.

I Tweeted yesterday that the reason I must have missed my flight was to finally watch a movie in peace with my mother.  Don’t tell her, but I think these tacos were the real reason I had to miss my flight.  Karma owed me these suckaz, plain and simple.

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2 Responses

  1. I love that- a clean eater….I’m like you, I get vegetarian most of the time, but I don’t turn down meat, so I’ve been explaining to people I’m a flexitarian, but seriously, what the eff is that? Just a term I stole of someone’s blog and I don’t really like it. So, now I’ll “steal” clean eater from you….it fits better! 🙂

  2. I definitely feel better when I eat ‘clean.’ I’m not 100% — is anyone?! — but I do read ingredient labels closely and try to keep it as easy to understand as possible. For instance, I do eat tortillas and bread but all of the ingredients are easily understood and it’s a short list.

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