Red Pill, Blue Pill… and choosing food for mind and body

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 08/21/15: “Red Pill, Blue Pill.” If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Buddha's Brew TangerineThe short answer is no,  because I would hate to give up my favorite foods and drinks, including coffee, Boyfriend’s chocolate chip and double chocolate peanut butter cookies, and the wonderful dinners that he prepares us out of simple but healthy ingredients, pizza, hamburgers from Mighty Fine, fresh squeezed orange juice, Buddha’s Brew kombucha, and many other tasty items.

courtesy of infowars.com

My next answer is that this reminds me of Alex Jones, the well-known alternative media man from Infowars.com and Infowars radio, who talks about taking the red pill or the blue pill to know the truth or to stay in the dark about the reality of our world. He often plays a clip from the movie The Matrix, with Morpheus offering Neo a way to learn the truth for himself.  Before you leave my page due to mention of a “conspiracy theorist”, I urge you to check out Infowars.com because it is a great place to find out what is really going on in the world and the articles usually offer supporting links so you can do more research. Ok, now back to food.

I am skeptical of quick-fix solutions in general, and I am assuming that this nutritional solution would be produced in a lab, likely making it chemical based and/or genetically modified. Not that I am a perfect, healthy eater, but I try to avoid regular consumption of fast food, modified, GMO, HFCS, artificial dyes/colors/etc. whenever possible.  I don’t eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Whataburger, KFC, or any of the other similar restaurants because of the quality and content of the food. The place I fall down on this the most is at work when the department is celebrating a birthday or holiday, and I decide to have the piece of cake, despite its foot-long list of ingredients.

Boyfriend's cookies going into the oven
Boyfriend’s cookies going into the oven

Boyfriend and I have done our research and have learned what we can and should eat based on how our bodies react to food. We do not react well to the fake, “pancake syrup” given for your waffles or pancakes at many restaurants, often feeling sluggish and tired after dousing our food with high fructose corn syrup. Both of us were really excited to find out that Kerbey Lane, a Central Texas restaurant that serves breakfast 24 hours a day, has both “pancake syrup” and the real maple syrup, which they will give you if you ask. We are willing to pay the extra dollar for real maple syrup, and we are both happy that this restaurant sources a lot of its ingredient from local farmers.

Food is really important for nourishing your mind, body, and soul. I realize that food serves a purpose and is necessary for each of us to survive, whether it is tasty or not, and whether it is affordable or not, but being able to choose your food is satisfying. I have taken people to get food at a food pantry as a function my job, and I have delighted in seeing people be able to choose between chicken noodle soup and sirloin vegetable soup, or between wheat bread and French bread. Food takes us to another part of ourselves through our senses and our memories, good and bad.

rutamaya-mediumroast-I remember cutting vegetables with my grandmother and eating cucumbers while I helped her cook, and that crosses my mind when I am making myself a salad. Tasting one of Boyfriend’s wonderful chocolate chip cookies makes me feel loved and reminds me of making cookies to share with others while I was growing up. Each and everyone of us has a story about a meal, a place he/she used to go for family celebrations or a smell that would permeate their home at a special time. Why would we completely give that up for convenience in pill-form, when eating at McDonald’s is bad enough? The conspiracy theorist in me is sure that the powers that be already have the idea for us to consume our nutrients and whatever else they feel is good for us in the form of pills, capsules and other devices with no other choice sometime in the future.

Until then, I will eat my salads, my golden scrambled eggs, grass-fed beef or bison, seasoned organic chicken with Brussels sprouts, home-made cookies, Ruta Maya coffee with Mill-King organic whole milk and other tasty items made with real ingredients that make me happy, if nothing else.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Tourist Trap ~ NYC

Rock CenterIn response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 02/21/15: “Tourist Trap.”

One of my favorite tourist traps is New York City. As I am sure you figured out already, I am a Yankee fan! Yankee Stadium in the lights

After a seven year hiatus from NYC, I took a three-day weekend trip in June 2014 to visit my younger brother, who lives near  East Harlem. This was a pretty relaxed mini-vacation and it was meant to celebrate my brother’s birthday, which was great because I got to spend time with him and a few close friends, meet his girl and relax.  I was on a budget so my goal was to have fun but not buy or spend too much, and I succeeded. Too bad the Yankees lost to the Red Sox! In my previous five trips to the other Yankee Stadium I  acquired a perfect winning record and, I have to say, the vibe was not the same as I remember in the older stadium. Still, I enjoyed seeing the sites at the newer stadium, got to see Derek Jeter play in person one more time, and my brother and his friends were wonderful company. Kid, D-Nice and Marvin

Patsy's PizzaSince I haven’t visited my brother or NYC in a while and I had seen many of the big attractions on past trips, one of my objectives was to see my brother’s daily existence – his neighborhood, his commute to work, the places he frequents, and reacquaint myself with a few of his friends whom I met the year prior when they visited Chicago, as well as play a little tennis. I was very lucky in that the weather was beautiful, my flights were on time and that my brother and I got to really hang out, eat good food and talk, which is not the same over the phone.  My first choice of food was pizza because, regardless of what Texans think, they don’t really know about good pizza. We ventured to Patsy’s Pizza (2287 1st Ave NYC 10035, http://thepatsyspizza.com/), as my brother gave me a walking tour of his neighborhood. We were starving by the time we ate, and I thought it was the best pizza I had eaten in awhile.  If you are in the area, check them out!

RFK Bridge near my brother's place
RFK Bridge near my brother’s place

One thing I didn’t get a chance to do on previous NYC trips was play tennis at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY. Being a tennis player for most of my life, I have watched on TV many great U.S. Open matches, and I was very excited when my brother suggested that we book a court. The rental courts serve as the practice courts during the U.S Open and you are able to walk through the grounds, see outside of the large stadiums, the statues and take in the scenery. USTA statue While I am no longer at my best, we had a great time on the court on a beautiful day and we will both cherish the opportunity to have played where the greats play. I enjoyed soaking in some of the tennis history, reading the list of champions, seeing photos and walking through a bit of Corona Park. I think I even saw the concession stand where George Constanza ate his sundae! As we made our way from the subway, I caught a peak of Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and we took a few pictures by the Homerun Apple that had been a fixture in the old Shea Stadium. Court 17

Armstrong stadium

There is no shortage of places to eat any and every type of food you can imagine, but I can always eat breakfast food and pizza. For breakfast on Sunday morning, my brother and I ventured over to Fetch Bar and Grill, a dog themed-restaurant that partners with Animal Haven to find homes for dogs and cats. The food was good and reasonably priced, and the service was fast and friendly. If it had fit into our schedule, Fetch seemed like it would have been a fun place to grab a drink. Another place we stopped in passing was Pie Face, where I picked up a little birthday dessert for my brother. They had a great supply of mini-pies in many varieties, and upon looking them up, was sad to learn that they closed most of there NYC locations. However, I came across Two Little Red Hens (An American Bakery), which I would like to visit for a dessert on a future trip. Created with Nokia Smart Cam

While I don’t have a return date in mind, New York City remains one of my favorite places to visit. I experienced a lot of the big attractions on my first two trips, and feel fortunate to have seen the view from the top of the World Trade Center five months before 09/11/01. The view was absolutely beautiful, and on my second trip, unfortunately, I saw the personalized memorials and  the last of the ruble and debris being removed. 

courtesy of latitudeslife.com
courtesy of latitudeslife.com

One of the reasons I like NYC so much is that you can find whatever it is that you are looking for –  shopping, culture, art, sports, music, food, indoor activities, outdoor activities, and all walks of life. One suggestion I would make: with a budget, target a few places or activities on your must-do list and plan for them.  Some events and tours required advance purchase of tickets or fill up fast. I have had fairly regimented trips but been flexible and it has worked well.  New York City is one of the major cities that sells a pass that enables you to visit multiple museums and tours for a flat fee rather than paying at each place, including the Guggenheim, the Top of the Rock, MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art and 70+ more places. 

Times Square

Long Island City

 I would personally recommend each of those places, as well as South Street Seaport, the Empire State building, the Staten Island Ferry and the Roosevelt Island tramway, and Yankee Stadium, which I have seen over 6 different trips. My only wish about this last trip was that, other than the Yankees game I didn’t plan much and then learned about places that my brother and I would have enjoyed… I guess they will be on my NYC tour.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

* All pictures unless noted are posted courtesy of Chrellie

Me and my brother