Sunday, August 31, 2008

Food Changes.

I've been experiencing a strange transition phase in my diet ever since a few months back. Don't worry, I haven't evolved into one those food-hating, holier-than-thou, health freaks, counting calories inanely and abiding to the bible of diets (Atkins is it?) religiously while constantly telling on the people around them about health facts and secretly despising the normal human for even eating. Not yet, at least. In fact, I've been oddly craving for things that I used to loathe before and recently developed a strange penchant for my all-time sworn enemy in food, the vegetable (a.ka. the greens) which I used to take pride in in declaring myself a carnivore, as could be seen on the blogger profile.

1. I eat vegetables (and secretly like it!)
One of the many tags that came along with my name when mentioned was that I hate greens and personally, I really hated greens. It has become mutual understanding among family members even, having them already given up on trying to feed me greens. Growing up, I've never much taken greens - except for an amazingly small range of selection which I was usually tricked to consume, cleverly disguised by amah in her dishes and later which I got used to (think long beans). Other than that, I've always had it in mind that vegetables make me hurl and I completely hated the fact that I couldn't discover anything nice in it, despite having everyone telling me to try it often given its "sweetness". Well, I never got the hang of it and I guess, psychologically, my brains did a splendid job in telling my innards to churn or my throat to gag when green approaches. Sorry, I was (and still am!) a very proud self-declared carnivore!

But things changed somewhere along February or March this year. I started taking vegetables out of no substantial reasons that I can't even explain to myself. It's like I woke up one morning and had an odd craving for the crunchy texture and the bitter taste of vegetable - result from accidental consumptions or tricked meals, traumatizing enough for me to remember it - to go along with my meal and voila! it was there, so I picked it up and I've never looked back. I've gotta confess though, I'm relatively new to this experience, therefore, my selection of vegetables are still on the narrow path given that I only recognize them by their physical appearance when I try to relate to mom what kind of veggies I prefer on the table. Mom being mom, already remember those few choices by heart and has been slowly trying to introduce other new types to me.

And yes, I still get a little nauseous from time to time when I have a head-on collision with reality. One of those "omg-what-am-I-doing-eating-veggies" reality check and then I hold back my breath to stop me from puking. Overall, I'm glad to say I can now actually have cravings for veggie, even simply prepared ones like cabbage in soy sauce which is a big change from what I used to be. Oh, I even have lettuce and tomato in my own-made sandwiches now though still richly slapped with mayonnaise and other cholesterol boosting stuff.

2. I like assam laksa (and I don't know why!)
I've never liked assam laksa before in my 18 years of life. Well, I don't really fancy laksa to begin with. My closest encounter with laksa would be when amah used to cook it and that was only on rare occasions when I succumb to her lemak laksa (a vast variant from the above mentioned) and that was even served without the necessary garnish - a selection of mint leaves, ginger buds, pineapples and etc. All I had was noodles and the soup and that was as far as I went with laksa, meaning that I've never had a bowl out of the home-made one.

That was up till about a month or two ago when I just had an inexplicable craving for assam laksa, which was totally weird beyond my wonders. The thing about it was that it came so randomly too. I was at the stall with the rest of the family when I just gave in to my urge while chowing down on something else and practically finished mom's bowl of assam laksa at the name of trying, having my face drenched in sweat by the end of the spicy ordeal (and even craving for more!). That particular bowl of assam laksa even came completely garnished and the surprising thing was that I didn't even seem the least bit bothered about them. Can anybody help explain this sudden phenomena? I remembered that I enjoyed it too, if I'm not mistaken since I haven't had a chance to have another bowl after that fateful day. Still, the craving do come on and off.

I'm just hoping this stays cause if it does I can finally be in the ranks of jie and mom where I can freely accompany them for their occasional laksa indulgence. I still gotta find out.

3. I like my Char Kuey Teow normal (cause I'm bored of mine!)
As I might've mentioned, I don't do spicy and greens and my greens used to include bean sprouts. All these while, I've always ordered my hawkers delicacy with the two elements removed. I've used the line so much that sometimes I think the hawker might already know what I'm going to say, especially the ones I visit often. The result of my bizarreness is to have my order like char kuey teow looking sickly pale in comparison with the normal ones and the greater gravity of this is to have nobody wanting to share it with me. At one point, I even felt childish as most children I saw in hawkers have the same pathetic looking char kuey teow as mine, which I managed to get out of my system since I really couldn't tolerate the spiciness and the raw taste of the chili and bean sprouts.

Again, I had one of my inexplicable random revelations and suddenly craved for a regular char kuey teows. This one has been going on for quite sometime but I only dared took the plunge about 2 weeks ago where I ordered a normal one (oh, the liberty of not needing to say anything extra besides "a plate of char kuey teow"!) and had a kick with it. Minor beads of sweat breaking out at the forehead was all the trouble I faced. Important thing was, I managed to gorge down a complete plate of regular char kuey teow and am looking forward for the next one - until I find one whose chili I can't bear, then I'd probably re-think it again. I always got my line learned, "No chili and bean sprouts!" memorized clearly in Hokkien dialect. Come to think of it now, was all the hissy fit and tantrums I used to throw at my parents when they get my order wrong necessary? The regular one doesn't taste as bad as I thought it would. Oh, and from my observation, some shops do add bean sprouts and reduce the noodles which annoys me totally.

4. I can take spicy food now!
Well, not all that spicy, but from all that assam laksa and regular char kuey teow, I guess its safe to say that my spiciness tolerance has improved. At least I hope so. I'm not sure if it's the beefing up of my senses or that this is part of my unconscious chase for the excitement in life that I've been missing - the adrenaline rush to downing noodles (or whatever) which causes a wildfire in my mouth seems encouraging enough for me to keep on going instead of having to put my tongue out in defeat. A real difference compared to a few months back when I won't even give spicy food a second look but now even McDonald's Double Spicy Chicken McDeluxe or KFC's Zinger Burger suddenly looks inviting enough, though I have yet to muster the courage to take that feat down. Haven't really taken the car out for a real ride, you know. I've even adapted a new found tolerance for the spiciness of nasi kandar dishes and even regular mee goreng at mamak stalls. I still sweat during those meals, but not as much as I used to and my dependency on iced water during those meals has reduced also. I take less sip in between my chewing.

I don't know. Am I suppose to feel proud about this?

Ok, so I realize even with me appallingly accepting vegetables, it still won't counter the amount of unhealthy rubbish ranging from fast food, hawkers and mamak stalls (nasi kandar) that I consume on a daily basis. However, I'm still equally baffled to what might've brought about such drastic changes in my food intake. Is this psychological or is this for real, real? I wonder if its got anything to do with turning 18 this year. I've heard people say in my defense over the years of taunting from others that my herbivorous nature need not be forced but it will eventually come in time. Is this the time? Or am I facing something bigger - a personality change perhaps? I know for one that I'm not succumbing to the pressure of the community who associates spiciness tolerance with the coming of age and maturity or even worse, the parent's training. Correct me if I'm wrong but I've always thought that it's a matter requiring more complex explanations regarding the uniqueness the human body and how it is special and different from everyone.

Well, it should be - so that others in the same boat wouldn't have to go through the belittling and mocking of an ignorant community. What's so wrong with not being able to take spicy food? It's not a crime. And to those who've always linked me being overweight to my habit of not taking greens, time's a changing now.

Wait, doesn't that mean I'm going to have to come up with a new 'About Me'?