I'm not usually the New Year's resolution sort. I've made a few half-hearted attempts in the past, but they never seem to stick. I guess I find something odd in the idea that this date is somehow different from any other when it comes to making a change. I've certainly made resolutions in the past that I have successfully met, but never on January 1. I've found that making one small change at a time, when the time is right, works for me.
That said, I do have a few changes I would like to make in terms of food and cooking choices. And I might as well announce them now, since I hope you'll see a difference here, although I am by no means promising to take on all these challenges fervently and immediately. Instead, I'll try to make these changes a little at a time, gradually building speed, until they become habitual.
1) Eat more fish. A few years ago I started cutting back on meat. I had no intention of going completely vegetarian, but after reading a lot on the subject, I became convinced that most us here in the US eat way more meat than is necessary or healthy. I also wanted to cut back on my grocery bills, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to buy less meat. Pretty soon, we were down to about one meal with meat per week and still getting a balanced diet thanks to other protein sources like beans and dairy.
However, with all the strength training I've been doing this year, I really needed to increase my lean protein consumption, and for health reasons, I can't eat too much soy, so we're back to eating chicken or turkey two or three times a week. Fish is an excellent alternative, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart and your brain, so I'd like to work my way up to eating fish at least once per week.
2) Drink more green tea. I drink A LOT of tea. Seriously. I give my husband a hard time about drinking a whole pot of coffee by himself every day but I definitely rival that with my tea consumption. Especially now that I work from home, it's all too easy to pop in to the kitchen and fix another cup of tea. Now, there are worse vices, of course, but since I drink so much tea, I'm going to try to swap some green tea in for my normal cups of Irish Breakfast or Constant Comment. I drink my black tea, whatever the flavor, with some milk and one teaspoon of sugar. It's not terrible, but when you drink as much tea as I do, it sure adds up. Switching to green tea for two or three cups per day will help me cut back on sugar and its empty calories. Also, while tea in general is loaded with antioxidants, higher levels are found in green tea, so that's a plus. For more on the health benefits (and risks) of green tea, go here.
3) Use my cookbooks more. I have a great collection of cookbooks, some handed down to me, some purchased, and some received as gifts. I particularly love my regional Italian cookbooks (Tuscan and Istrian) as well as the Thai, Armenian, and Japanese ones. With the exception of the Japanese, I've made at most one recipe from each of those books - and some I have never used. I love to look through the books, read the recipes, get ideas, and drool over the amazing photography, but ingredient lists of fifteen or more tend to earn a "no way" from me. As I've mentioned before, patience isn't one of my strong suits, and I'm more apt to fake it by picking out the few strongest flavors and tossing together whatever I have in a simplified mock version. While there's no way I'm going to start grinding exotic spice blends in my mortar and pestle on a daily or even weekly basis, I really ought to try to make some of these recipes as written once in a while. If I'm feeling up to the challenge (and the cost of the unusual ingredients), I may even have to look for the most complicated recipe from each book and give each one a shot. At the very least, this year, I want to make one recipe from each book that I have not made before and without cutting corners.
So there we go. Three food-related resolutions that I hope to achieve at some point over the next year. What about you? What changes do you want to make in 2009? Don't forget, you don't have to have a Blogger account to comment!