What Green Pea Guacamole Taught Me

by Carol Hess on April 25, 2011

This past weekend, I found myself making green pea guacamole, a recipe my weight loss coach had given me.  I have to admit I was skeptical.  It sounded way too healthy to be tasty. 

Oops!  “Healthy food doesn’t taste good.”  I’ve got to snag that unproductive and downright inaccurate belief and reframe it asap.  The truth is healthy food can be delicious, even to overindulged taste buds like mine. 

The green pea guacamole was yummy – so sweet with just the right amount of tang from the onions, garlic, and coriander.  Plus it was pretty – such a cheerful light green that seemed to just shout health and rebirth and renewal. 

I’m No Health Nut

After I put the green pea guacamole away in the fridge, I just stood and stared at the inside of my refrigerator.  Whose fridge was this?  Certainly not mine.  It was full of vegetables and fruits and precious little else.  This was a refrigerator of a health nut!  How could that be?  I’m no health nut. 

 “Health nuts,” I could hear my mother mutter dismissively as I swerved out and around the bicyclists on the narrow road.  “They’re so damned smug,” she continued.  “They annoy the hell out of me.” 

At the time, I had thought her attitude was a bit over the top, but I didn’t say anything.  It wasn’t worth getting into an argument about.  But I was wrong.  It was an argument worth getting into.  

That kind of attitude didn’t serve my mother well and probably contributed to when she died and what she died of, to say nothing of the dementia that took its own terrible toll the last few years of her life. 

I Know Better

I have inherited some of my mother’s attitude.  And it doesn’t serve me any better than it served Mom.  My mother didn’t know better.  But I do. 

Here’s what I know.  My lifestyle choices will determine how long I live.  They will determine whether my later years are about vitality and good health and thriving or whether they are about lack of energy, chronic poor health, and surviving (or not).  

I’ve already experienced a taste of the latter, and I don’t want to experience any more, thank you very much.  If being a health nut is what it takes to not just survive but thrive as I get older, then so be it.  I will become a health nut. 

How I’m Wired

Who me, a health nut?  That’s a lot to wrap my head around.  I have never in all my years on the planet every thought of myself as someone who takes good care of herself.  If there’s a healthy choice or an unhealthy choice, I’m going to make the unhealthy choice.  It’s how I’m wired. 

Or is it?  Can I change how I see myself?  Can I change my definition of myself?  Can I rewire myself? 

In a word, yes.  I’ve done it two times already.  

I haven’t smoked a cigarette in six years.  I haven’t had an alcoholic drink in thirteen years.  Many people who know me now can’t imagine me with a cigarette or a glass of wine in my hands.  Neither can I.  But there was a time when I couldn’t imagine myself without a cigarette and a drink. 

I Recreated Myself

I rewired my brain.  I recreated myself. 

Of course it didn’t happen overnight.  I had to play make believe in the beginning.  I had to pretend I was a non-drinker and a non-smoker, and I had to do (or more to the point not do) what they do.  I kept playing make believe until one day I was no longer pretending. 

And that’s what I need to do with the healthy lifestyle I want for myself.  I need to pretend I’m a health nut and do (or not do) the things a health nut does. 

Like eat green pea guacamole and let myself like it.  Like let myself become a full-fledged, card-carrying health nut.  (And, Mom, I promise not to become smug.) 

What image do you have of yourself?  Is it serving you?  Have you ever reinvented yourself?  Tell us about it in the comment space below.

by Carol Hess

4 comments

Categories Healthy Lifestyle, The Mind Game

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Rhonda April 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Green pea guac actually sounds divine! Where is the recipe??

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avatar Carol Hess April 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Hi there, Rhonda. It IS divine. And the recipe should be there now — published today (Tuesday, April 26th).

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avatar Evelyn Kalinosky April 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I know exactly what you mean, Carol, about re-wiring our brain and how we think. From the time I was 3 years old (and spent 57 days in a military hospital in Tehran, Iran recovering from injuries I sustained in an accident) I learned that the only time I received love and attention from my parents – consistent, positive attention – was when I was injured or sick. It’s a lesson that replayed itself over and over as I grew up until as an adult I had extreme difficulty seeing myself as a “healthy” woman, and instead thought that the only way I could be loved and paid attention to was to be sick or hurt.

Not exactly a healthy way to frame or form relationships, and the irony is that in my mid-40s I became seriously ill with an incurable and life-altering disease. All of a sudden I was face-to-face with this belief I’d been carrying around with me my whole life, and I had to deal with all the feelings that came with being a “woman with a disease” who no longer wanted to be a “diseased woman.” There was this massive tug of war between the sick child who needed to be fed love and attention and the strong, powerful woman I’d become who knew I deserved to be loved and appreciated – period. Not only if I was sick. Not only if I was hurt. But in sickness AND in health, and I had to retrain my brain to feed the strong, powerful woman more and the sick child less, until eventually she receded into the past.

It’s a process, and some days require lots of time spent questioning outdated beliefs, but it CAN be done. But we can’t simply rid ourselves of these outdated beliefs. We have to replace them with something else. Something that helps us to redefine who we are and how we see ourselves. I have faith in you, as so many others do, I’m sure. When you have those low days and “I’m really struggling” days, let those who believe in you carrying the vision for you until you are able to see it for yourself again.

Evelyn

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avatar Carol Hess April 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Evelyn, you have most definitely redefined yourself in such a strong and lasting way that who I see (and who I think most people see) when I look at you is a wise and powerful woman who is amazingly healthy both emotionally and spiritually considering the challenges your (physical) disease presents on a daily basis. You’re one of my heroes.

Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone on those days I struggle. I have the carriers of my vision — my very own Carol’s Crew of Starpolishers — who are going to help me shine no matter what. That’s a good feeling. None of us can do this alone.

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