This is the story of how I became Choosy Chia, a superhero who is able to clear huge mounds of salad in a single bound, to snarf a bowl of oatmeal in record time, and to eat around non-vegetarian dishes with grace & aplomb!
I grew up in a Foodie Home, where eating was an art & a dare. Foodie Mom effortlessly & diligently presented nutritious & beautiful home-cooked meals. Foodie Dad made it his mission in life to expose us to all sorts of cuisines & eatables. I was the Black Sheep in the family – I never quite relished the tasting of Scorpion Toast or Fish Eye Balls (read Eye Balls, not Fish Balls) or Snake Soup or Half-Formed Duck Chicks eaten straight from the egg.
The first couple of years in college, I lived in a dorm; I subsisted on a diet of Rice & Soy, instant noodles & Mac n Cheese (horrifying, I know). When I finally got an apartment of my own, I ventured a little further and started to prepare simple food which I missed from home (fried noodles, spring rolls, chicken curry) and adopted many delectables from the Texan community in which I lived (Monkey bread, burritos stuffed full of everything, chicken fried steak). My taste in food, however, remained rather conservative.
When I returned to Singapore and started to work, I worried about Client Lunches. How on earth was I going to cope with the exotic (read: Chinese) dishes which were the staples of any business lunch (Shark’s Fin Soup, Wiggly Things in the Cold Dishes, Strange Brown Things which appeared all in the same dish)? So, I hatched a clever plan: I would tell my clients that I was vegetarian – vegetables were easy to eat & fairly safe, after all.
And so it began. Avoiding meat things spilled over from Business Lunches to outings with Friends, and finally, to Family meals as well. I became adept at eating around dishes & foods which contained meat. I also started hanging around folks who were Mostly Vegetarian, so it inevitably became a life-style choice.
The superhero in me only started to emerge and come into its own in the last decade or so. My Doc threatened to put me on iron pills if I didn’t get my iron count up. I went to see a Nutritionist, and in Superhero style, I applied myself to getting myself enough non-meat protein & the iron that comes with it.
Today, I am a Defender & Champion of the Superfoods: Chia, Pomegranate, Dragonfruit, Avocado, Kiwi, Oats, Brussel Sprouts, Almonds, Brazilnuts, Apples, Berries, Flax Seeds. They have become part of the Super Friends Team. Together, we fight for better eating & health in our family. Through social media, I hope to inspire others to try new things & eat differently.
I am Choosy Chia! and I choose to eat healthy!
Featured image: bananas, pistachio & red dragonfruit chia pudding with low-fat Greek yogurt.