Tag Archive | 500 Word Challenge

Day 24 : Pre & Post cooking work

Our food is now greatly simplified. We just eat salads for lunch and dinner every day. The vegetables vary, dressing remains the same. The prep time is very time consuming, may be not that bad if it comes down to 2-3 hours for 3 days’ worth of food. And then packing the food in containers layering it from one of the greens , quinoa/cracked wheat/brown rice,  lentils of variety (one type every week), two steamed vegetables ( carrots, broccoli, beets, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts), I shop for veggies every 3 days so that they do not sit in the refrigerator and escape my memory. I have been diligent about that lately as I often forget and throw out the veggies. Bringing in only when I plan to cook is greatly helping me.

This obviously entails cleaning of veggies, chopping them, steaming and packing the food in containers. And all of them should be done in a day. I have also stopped using canned products that requires me to perform additional two steps of soaking a day before and cooking them. But, that is a lot of work as I am greatly un-coordinated and inefficient in the way I organize my cooking. Additionally, I make spicy peanut powder inspired by one of my favorite chef’s recipe, along with dressing. These items all combined make up for a fulfilling meal and I cannot be happier to have found something that is sustainable. The dressing which is supposed to last for 3 days usually does not. I think we overdose ourselves greatly. Still, not very bad compared to my earlier days of trying to make homemade food. Let’s just say I am able to manage and see a scope for improvement on being more efficient with my energy and time.

When I have some time and mood for cooking, I make a simple Italian, Indian or Mexican dish to satiate my taste buds or find a new recipe to play with. Then comes the cleaning part, which is where I am still struggling with, I am trying to wash them off immediately but the constraint of storing wet dishes makes it challenging. I have timed it several times, the dishes are done under 10 minutes’ tops, but motivating myself to do that work takes hours of cajoling. Additional stress if I have guests over.  And that is why, I have not been keen on inviting anyone over. Sure, we can order food outside, but it undermines the whole idea of saving when we are tight on budget. It’s any day cheaper to cook healthy meals at home than eating outside.

This is partly bragging as well as ranting about the benefits and dis-advantages of homemade meals and where I stand. Hope you have ignored all my rants and took only positive aspects. After all, in America – those added sugars, salt, canned and refrigerated goods are neither tasty nor healthy anyway.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~Hippocrates

Now, your turn – speak up about your cooking adventures.

Day 16 : On being Judgmental

One day, I met one of my friend who is a pregnant, wanted to find someone in her neighborhood to share experiences, essentially looking for a like minded person to make friendship with. She was driving me back to my home, and while passing I spotted a lady with a toddler and dressed for summer and there is something about her personality from distance sounded like a confident personality. I pointed to her and encouraged my friend to chat with her. My friend immediately retorted saying that how could you judge a person like that based on their appearance. True, you never know until you spend some time with her and the situations that arise will only speak if they are at your frequency.

We judge people inadvertently all the time that we come in contact with in our own limited capabilities. When we have conversation with a friend, stranger or colleague – we immediately react if that is in conflict with our ideas. Is it even possible to emotionally detach and absorb the information and not judge the person but act on the information by providing facts irrespective of whether you like it or not? How do you handle?

I have a friend who comes across as very judgmental and strongly opinionated. I used to avoid sharing information about my life, or family or discuss certain topics knowing well that she judges and defends her points without knowing entire context. I only speak up with her when I think it is important to show her another point of view on certain things that are important to me and she is aware of it. I like her, she is an extrovert and sweet, but that’s her personality and is neither harming nor hurtful. It is also refreshing for me to hear different perspective expanding my point-of-views for a given topic. There was an instance where one of colleague preferred cats to having kids. She has been harshly judged by my peers at work and was made fun of behind her back. When I asked what’s wrong with that choice?  All I understood was, they were trying to project their way of life onto her.  I feel, majority of us are always trying to project our views onto others and expect others agree to what we say or treat that as normal.

We judge people all the time based on our experiences and knowledge. It takes a considerable amount of effort in not judging self and others. Being emotionally detached and having presence of mind is something that comes with practice. Clearly that is not easy. Having compassion for every human being and not being judgmental is something that I try to remind myself every day. The world will be a better place had we been less judgmental and more compassionate humans.

Here are few quotes that I found more apt for the topic:

Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.  – Swami Vivekananda

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.  -Dalai Lama

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.  -Mother Teresa

What is your take on this?

Day 12: Showing up

I have been reading this book by Scott Adams, a Dilbert cartoonist, who emphasized the fact of showing up whether you feel like it or not. The context is more specific to exercising. Of course, he spoke about many aspects of his life and some take-a-ways that may or may not apply to everyone, but it gave me an interesting perspective in certain spheres of life. Early winter time and getting late to bed at times wanted me push aside my daily yoga routine. This is when, I willed to at least dress up, show up at class even though I did not do my best in doing Asanas was one thing I consistently did. In the last month, I can say I did yoga 80% of the total time allocated, which is a great achievement for me.

Although, I could not extend this to other areas of my routines yet, I am planning to expand it slowly. The author Scott Adams emphasized on setting up the system and not goals. What he means by it is, system is a routine and you would most likely to continue. Whereas, goals once achieved, we usually feel satisfied and give up on them. Also, if we fail in the system, we do not feel that bad but when we fail to achieve goals we do get de-motivated. Slight shift in perspective and changing the attitude will go a long way in times of trying to achieve something.  Due to my recently acquired habit of rising early, not only was I able to have a discipline of exercising , eating, sleeping all on time, but also I feel great and happy for achieving just those in my life.

There are many areas that I could just show up even if that is for other’s benefits. Showing up to support them in their endeavors means a lot to them. For instance, I am not a big fan of attending baby or bridal showers unless I am actively participating in organizing the event. You barely get to talk to the host, showing up means to have given a precious gift of time and attention to them, and other material gifts of course.  If the hosts show up late, that is totally different thing, which happens more frequently in my universe.   Does it happen to you?  Baby showers, birthdays and farewells are the most common thing at my work place, I show up, it’s simple, small and we all participate in organizing, decorating, brainstorming ideas and getting gifts. Most importantly it is one of a kind bonding with colleagues. It’s fun afternoon. Short is sweet.

Writing blog every day is like showing up, I think about it and hardly get to write. Writing a blog post itself presents challenge, but writing 500 words is clearly the most difficult task. Don’t you all agree? I have hit writer’s block several times. I cannot begin to tell you – how thoughts do not flow many a times. No wonder, you see delay in my posts. I hope to come back to this place sometime sooner than later. Until then, enjoy the end of year!