Tuesday, June 5, 2012

water quality matters, and a trip to White Castle

I've been out traveling around for my vacation, on a 1600+ mile road trip to Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.  It's been a really wonderful time.  As I mentioned in the last blog, I've got a foot pain problem; though I had intended to continue running 2.6 miles daily while gone, my foot actually ruled that out for the entirety of the trip.  Today, foot pain or no foot pain, I will get out on the bike simply because my body is screaming for exercise (and pedaling is lower impact than running).

While I used to drink very doctored-up coffee every morning (sometimes up to an entire pot of the stuff before lunch, back before I made the "one cup per day" rule, around which I could skirt by using a travel mug that held most of a pot - hey, it's only one "cup"!), and I still really love coffee (though I doctor it less and less over time), in the past year I have taken more and more to drinking hot tea instead.  Coffee is now just an extreme rarity for me.  I have a collection of all manner of teas stashed in my kitchen and in my desk at work.  Among my favorites are peppermint, ginger peach green tea, raspberry pomegranate green tea, a black tea called simply "Awake," and white jasmine tea.  I often drink it with (locally grown) honey, which has moved me from needing allergy meds annually to not needing them at all, but I also like to drink it unsweetened. 

I made an intriguing-to-me discovery while I was on vacation - water quality matters far more than I had ever guessed, where tea is concerned.  At home and at work, I just make it with tap water.  My raspberry-pomegranate tea has always been a very, very subtle flavor (which has always surprised me, because pomegranate is anything but a subtle flavor, you know?)  While visiting my friend in the mountains, I made it with *her* tap water.  Which is...MOUNTAIN WATER.  You know, where they go to get the good stuff to put in bottles?  The first time I made my tea there, I was shocked - the raspberry pomegranate is not subtle at ALL.  It is full-flavored WOWEE yumminess.  It was like a whole other tea than what I'm used to, though I had brought my bags along with me and they were the very same thing.  

I can be hard-headed, so I decided it probably wasn't the water - it was probably just that I was more relaxed and unknowingly gave the tea bag more time to do its work before starting to sip.  On the way home I (almost sort of accidentally) tested my theory at another friend's house, where their water is so rusty that they are told not to drink it (and not realizing, I just boiled some up and made tea with it).  That tea tasted like - nothing.  Like just a cup of terrible tasting water.  And then this morning I put my Brita-filtered water in with the tea - still, back to the "subtly" flavored tea.


And I am now thoroughly convinced, even despite my hard-headedness, that water quality matters much more than I had ever guessed.  

In other news, I tried White Castle for the first time while coming home through Indiana, having been told by several friends that basically one hasn't lived yet if one hasn't tried those little sliders.  I followed a sign that took me 3 miles off my path to get to it - after all, it was still vacation, even if I was just on the way home, and there was an experience to be had!  I got the #1 meal, which gave me 4 little sliders (yes, I got them "with cheese"), fries, and what the heck, I added a large sweet tea as well (sometimes if you're gonna be bad, you just wanna be bad, you know?)

I shoulda tried it sooner.  Like, before I started this now 18-month adventure of letting God teach me to love my body.  Cuz back before that, I'll bet I would have TOTALLY loved those little suckers.  But interestingly, my body has really learned to love, and to crave, stuff that is good for me.  The sliders...eh...they were fine, for fast food.  Trouble being I have been HEALED of my love of/need for fast food.  It tastes to me now like what it is:  an assault on my health, and also more a "food-like substance" than an actual food.  A couple of days earlier, I had eaten at a steak house that reminded me of the old "Ponderosa" where we used to go when I was a kid.  That day, I got a huge plate of cooked veggies and beans, a huge plate of salad with tons of chopped raw veggies on it and vinegar and oil, and just a few bites of meat with one corn muffin and a small serving of mac-n-cheese for dessert.  That day, my body was happy and I relished the food in a major way.  THAT DAY.  Instead of the day of the sliders.  

This is just one of the many ways that I know what the Lord's been doing in me (in case anyone has forgotten:  I am surrendering to let Him teach me how to love my body) is the real deal, and not just a phase that will end in me returning to eating garbage and regaining all the weight.  Cuz now I crave what will improve my health and maybe even extend my life, when once I craved what would destroy my health and probably shorten my life.

God's ways are higher than our ways.  He says so, and more and more, I notice He ain't lyin'.

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