Summer is here and time to get beach body ready...right?
Hell no, not me.
Let me tell you my summer fun plans.
This summer I plan to use my food processor and slow cooker more often and truly expand my food palette. I'm going to dust off all my cook books and make my grocery lists. Heck maybe even splurge and buy a new stove and oven.
What? No plans to hit the gym harder and fit into that new tankini?
Hell no! And luckily for you I don't own a tankini or any beach wear right now.
Come on people. We are halfway through June. Before you know it, it's back to school time and fall. Why bother to get in shape to just lie out in the hot sun, get sand in places you shouldn't and swallow salt water as you fight ripe tides?
It's way too hot for that nonsense.
It’s too much pressure to work that hard for three months (less than that now) of possible beach time. It’s more likely that you'll spend weekends mowing the lawn or running from thunder storms than lying on the beach sipping Margaritas (although that sounds good).
Plus if you're just getting beach ready now...IT'S TOO LATE. Even if you started to exercise and follow a strict diet it takes 4-6 weeks (half your summer gone) to start seeing results. And it's not like you are going to wake up tomorrow and BOOM your mind is reprogrammed to follow a full-proof diet and exercise program.
In fact my brain on summer mode screams outdoor grilling and frozen mixed drinks!! (Oh and ice cream but we all scream for ice cream don't we?)
And to top things off, I still have cupcakes in my fridge that need to be eaten. And, leftovers and BEER.
I have that bottle of Bacardi rum….oh wait…nope that’s done.
And that’s just the stuff in my fridge. My freezer is packed with good stuff too.
I have a few friends who typically start a diet by discarding these "bad" foods to avoid temptation.
Those people are insane!
Why throw out perfectly good foods like frozen tamales, burritos, a pint of Breyers Rocky Road ice cream (my all-time favorite…hint…hint), some Klondike bars and frozen pizzas. You know darn well that within a week you will crave those foods and be right back at the store buying more.
Food is too precious to WASTE...especially good stuff and all that I just mentioned is good stuff….trust me.
Shame on you, wasting food and money like that.
So instead of trying to make DRASTIC changes in a short span of time, I'll create a long term goal.
This summer I’m making a list of new things I want to experience and that lists includes new recipes and culinary food choices.
I'll start by using what is currently in my fridge and freezer in creative new ways, like maybe bacon wrapped burrito bites. Or mix some of that ice cream in a banana, raspberry smoothie.
I plan to try new foods, especially new recipes all while making healthier choices. Start off by cooking things I've never tried before.
And of course I will try and get some exercise in as much and as often as possible.
But maybe this summer I'll try activities I’ve never done before like a mixed martial arts class, a real boxing class, learn to water ski or take up underwater basket weaving (Is that really a thing?). Sometimes, when you least expect it, a new experience can transform you in ways other things can’t.
After all it was the summer of 2010 when I randomly signed up for derby as a reporting assignment for the newspaper. The thrill of a new sport and group of friends resulted in an effortless 50 pound weight loss. And I kept it off until I stopped skating at the end of 2014 (Stupid concrete floor crashing into my shoulder like that).
Now I'm not knocking the beach or those of you who plan to DIET themselves to skinny and a cute new 2 piece bikini. Have at it and I wish you success. But the beach is not really my thing.
Kayaking down a river and jumping in to cool off every once in a while sounds better to me. Or finding a secluded but safe lake or swimming hole.
And I have been trying my hand at growing my own food, something people call gardening and farming (both VERY foreign to me, for sure).
That adventure actually started last year, also in the dead of summer, with two bell pepper plants.
And I got nothing. Zip. Only one small tiny pepper and the plants looked dead.
BUT THIS YEAR THINGS ARE LOOKING UP.
It turns out I didn’t kill my bell pepper plants like I thought. I ended up transferring both plants from their pots to the ground. I waited until recently to do so because I had kept them indoors during the winter.
At first, it appeared things would go south (again). The leaves looked like they were dying, despite my best efforts.
Not one, two or three but six. Yes, count them, six whole peppers are sprouting on one plant. My other plant, which is a bit smaller, has two and this is after I already harvested one large bell pepper just a few weeks ago.
Food. I grew my own food. Pretty darn cool.
Okay, I would starve if I had to just live off the few peppers that are starting to pop out but I SUCK at growing things and could literally kill a cactus, so being able to produce a few peppers is, as Trump would say, HUUUGE.
And I actually found out I enjoy gardening...AND I KNOW I ENJOY IT MORE THAN GOING TO THE BEACH.
So I went hog wild this past weekend and instead of dragging out a cooler, blanket, towel, chair and everything else you need for a fun day at the beach...I bought seeds and plants and added to my garden. I’ve transplanted some basil and rosemary from their pots to the ground. I also planted, from seed (which is how I started my pepper plant and is much more difficult to do) some lavender, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, lemon, cilantro, summer squash and zucchini.
I see a vegetable lasagna in my future, all from stuff grown in my front yard (unless of course they all fail to sprout, which is another HUUUGE possibility).
All that gardening led to some serious numbers on my daily step count and Fit-bit. In fact I sweat my arse off this past weekend...It was like doing exercise without realizing you are actually working out.
Gardening is no joke!
If I manage to produce a healthy, sustainable garden and can efficiently use the stuff in all my NEW recipes then maybe...just maybe...I can try a new project the following summer - producing my own eggs (From chickens not from me...jeez get your minds out of the gutter).
And honestly chasing chickens around my yard...or better yet chasing my cats away from the chickens...and then keeping the dogs away from the cats and chickens..still sounds better than a day at the beach for me.
HOWEVER...nothing...and I mean NOTHING...beats a NIGHT at the beach!!! (Just a few good friends, no crowds, a bon-fire, marshmallows, cold beers a cozy walk and maybe even a midnight swim).