2017-10-25 / Editorials

I never liked Brussels sprouts

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

I started doing a lot of things in 2017 that I never thought I’d do.

I hired a personal trainer. God bless Chelsea for her talent and ability to inspire me to reach my goals.

I actually got up off the sofa and started moving. Slowly and clumsily at first, but as I got stronger, the long walks and the exercises became easier. Not that they weren’t challenging. But my body was more ready to do the workouts.

I joined a gym. A year ago, the only way I thought I’d write that sentence was if I were writing a work of fiction. But here I am. Almost every day.

For just over a half hour, I do resistance training and I lift weights. Then I do about 40 minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical. Chelsea calls the elliptical the best full-body workout. I call it an instrument of torture. Two days a week, I swim laps in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which often feels like I’m swimming from New York to London.

And I completely changed the way I eat, virtually eliminating cheeseburgers and fries, which I once thought was a necessary food for survival.

Instead, meals are filled with lean fish, pork or chicken and healthy portions of fruits and vegetables. I find myself trying new recipes every week. Snacks no longer consist of cookies or chips, but fresh fruit, cheese or almonds.

In putting together a plan she thought I could follow, Chelsea even allows me to have the occasional bacon cheeseburger — no condiments, no bread and no fries. But it’s a compromise I can live with.

I’ve always loved vegetables, even as a kid. My mother always made sure our meals included plentiful helpings of peas, butter beans and corn. She also served green beans, which I hated. But I grew out of it, and now I love green beans.

Recently, though, I’ve been trying to come up with new recipes for vegetables to bring more variety to my meals. Man cannot live by steamed broccoli alone.

“Have you tried Brussels sprouts?” a friend suggested.

“I’m not that hungry,” I responded.

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I’ve never liked Brussels sprouts. Fortunately, my mother seldom cooked them. But when she did, it was torture trying to choke down those little boogers. It would have been easier to eat a tennis ball.

“You’ve just never had them cooked the right way,” my friend said, and she offered to share her mother’s recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts.

What did I have to lose? I did want some variety, and the worse that could happen would be I still hated Brussels sprouts and I threw them out. I initially thought I could give them to Milly, the liver and white springer spaniel who lives at my house, but then I realized it wouldn’t be nice to make her eat something I wouldn’t eat.

So last week, I made roasted Brussels sprouts. Cut the sprouts in half, placed them on a baking sheet, sprayed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little parmesan cheese. Roasted them in the oven for a half hour.

I grudgingly admit that they were delicious. After years of complaining about how awful Brussels sprouts were, I’m man enough to admit I was wrong. And I’m happy I’ve added another vegetable to my diet.

But I still ain’t eating mushrooms.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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