The Fresh Food Controversy

Are you South Asian Indian? Have you ever heard either your mother or some other Indian aunty (or I guess, our generation now since a lot of us are moms) who says that food has to be fresh and nothing else is good enough? Are you or someone you know the type that will only eat food that has been cooked that day and anything else should be thrown out?

I grew up with a full-time working mom in America which means we were all about leftovers. And we grew up loving them. There’s nothing better to me than pasta or chow mein that has had a day to soak in its grease and spices. It is amazing. Even now, I meal-plan so that we have leftovers for at least a day (I also have no capability of controlling how much I make when I cook so inevitably, we end up with at least 2 times the amount we need).

My sisters and I are some of the healthiest people I know. We don’t get sick too often, are fairly active, and in good shape. So I’m wondering about this whole “fresh is best” idea.

Is there a valid point to be made? Does something lose nutritional value or taste sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two? Or is it just a preference? Other than straight up mold causing sickness, is there anything wrong with eating something for a few days?

Can you even argue with someone who claims that food is only good for that day? Or can you just happily take their leftovers because they refuse to eat them?

I also wonder if this claim is something that is made by people whose strength is cooking. Do they just like the idea of making something new every day? Does their self-esteem depend on it?

I like eating fresh food but I have no problem eating leftovers as well. To me, it’s all food. If it was good before, it’s good after. If it isn’t good, it wasn’t good to begin with.

So….what do you think?

I Hate The Way I Look Post-Baby

I hate the way I look right now.

Granted, I had a baby 6 weeks ago. I was literally only cleared by the doctor to start working out yesterday. I don’t have as much time to do my hair or makeup with 2 kids running around.

But, in this world of social media, I see these women (and I’m talking about women I know or that are friends of friends) who look awesome and thin and wear the prettiest dresses. (Side note: I don’t compare myself to actresses or models. Their jobs required them to look good all the time so they have to make the time to work out.)

And it makes me feel really bad about myself.

I know it’ll take time before I feel good about myself physically again. It takes time, patience, and dedication, all of which I had and will commit to because my self-esteem relies a lot on how I look as well as who I am.

I know that I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Our bodies go through so much to bring a life in this world and our most of our time afterwards goes into taking care of that life. It would be nice if we could feel great about ourselves after right away.

Normally, I’d try to find a solution to the problem in my post, solutions such as write in a journal or try to find ways to boost your self-esteem emotionally and mentally to make up for the physical for the moment. But it’s hard right now because sometimes, when you feel bad about how you look, you just feel bad about how you look.

It’ll just take time (and exercise) to change that feeling.

All we can do is be patient and work hard to achieve our goals.

Ask

Have ever had one of those days where the thoughts are just running crazy through your head? How about one of those days where you think that no one can possibly feel the way you are feeling right now? Things can seem overwhelming with so many thoughts and emotions. And you end up feeling completely alone because everyone else seems to have their lives together.

The big question is when do we stop and ask for help. Asking for help is difficult because we always think that we can get through whatever we are going through without it. We also don’t want everyone to know the things we think or feel. What if they think we’re weak or crazy? Maybe others won’t understand what we are going through. Maybe others will judge us and make us feel like we are worthless or stupid for feeling the way we feel. Maybe we are the only ones who feel that way and there isn’t a point in asking anyone else about it.

I’ve gone through some rough things before and I’ve been down the therapy route. I am a big proponent of it. Eventually, I stopped going to therapy for the simple reason of living too far away from her. I haven’t looked for a new therapist in the meantime because I was doing much better and I was able to cope with my problems without help.

Even having gone to a therapist before, I still hesitate before I ask for help. At some points in my life, my problems were extremely obvious. I feel like others will judge me because, right now, I don’t actually have anything really wrong with my life. But, in holding back anything I’m feeling, I alienate myself.

I realize I’m happiest when I’ve connected to others who can understand the thoughts I’m having. I realize I feel better about life when I know that I am not alone in anything.

My point of this article is this:

You are not the only one who thinks it. More people than you know are dealing with different thoughts or feelings. Even if we feel alone, we are not.

It’s okay to ask for help.

Someone I Love

In my last post, I talked about passion versus validation. Now I want to talk about something related but in a different way.

When I was dating, I figured out something: 1) I could either be the person that I thought the other person would be attracted to or 2) I could become the person that I would have found attractive. I know that, growing up, we focus a lot on what makes us cool and popular. We want to be wanted by the person we are attracted to (and maybe even the people we aren’t attracted to). We like the things that we think others will want us to like and we do the things that everyone else does. But is this really us? Do we respect ourselves? If we were on the opposite side, would we want to date the person we are?

This is something that even relates to my life today as a wife and mother. Stepping into that role really messes with your self-esteem in some ways. I mean, doesn’t long-term get boring? Especially after you’ve had a kid? Now, you’re tired and have gained weight and don’t have the same social life going anymore. How can you get your significant other to even notice you?

My insecurity levels have definitely gone up after having a kid. I feel like my husband has continued to move forward career wise and can do a lot more things than I can at the moment. Being stagnant hasn’t been the best place for me. The feeling was worse right before and after I had my baby. A few months after the pregnancy, it started getting better. But I still felt really dependent and kept wondering if he was still even attracted to me or if he still loved me.

I hate that feeling! I don’t like questioning how he feels about me and I really despise myself for thinking negatively. I realized that the problem wasn’t him. The problem was myself. I haven’t been attracted to myself. Not necessarily looks-wise only but also my personality. If I was someone else, I would never look twice because I’m emitting qualities that I am not crazy about.

So I’m going back to my dating mantra. Become the person you would be attracted to. Do things that make me feel good about myself. If I ever question how someone else feels about me, I know to tell myself that I’m being the best person I can be because I really do like who I am.

The only person that is responsible for making me feel good is myself. And I deserve to be with someone that really loves me. I’m lucky that I also have my husband and family and friends but the only person that is required to love me all the time is me. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Be someone I love.

Emotional Abuse….Let’s Talk About It

Emotional abuse. Does that phrase even have meaning in the Indian culture? 

Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control.” We know what this one means. It means that someone is abusive through their words or how they say something. 

I got the following list from this link: http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-emotional-abuse.html

“A few indicators of emotional abuse might include the following:

  • The behavior in question doesn’t stop or even pause when the recipient begins crying or asks for time to cool down. In fact, abuse may escalate as the abused person becomes more and more vulnerable, demeaned, afraid, and upset
  • The behavior is frequent – several times a week or month, as opposed to very rare (once every few years, for instance.)
  • Vulgar language, completely baseless accusations
  • Insulting or demeaning words in front of other people
  • “Arguments” are very one-sided; one person does all the talking, never listening, and is not kind to the other.
  • Threats of violence
  • Blatant cruelty
  • The abuser does not apologize
  • The abuser will not recognize the validity of anything his or her victim says”

I want to talk about this last one. This is the one that really affected my life. Obviously, there are many forms of emotional abuse as mentioned above but I think this last one is one that is so subtle sometimes that it’s not recognized as emotional abuse as often as it should be. 

Have you ever said something to someone about how you’re feeling only to have them tell you that it’s your fault for feeling that way? Or they will tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong and you should feel this way instead?

Our feelings are our own. No one has the right to tell us that what we are feeling is wrong. No one has the right to make us feel bad about what we feel. No one has the right to make themselves more important than your feelings. 

I’ve noticed two types of people (I’m sure there are more but these are the two that I have come across). The first type believes that what they think or say or feel is right and there really isn’t any other way. There is only a right way and a wrong way. The second type understands that there are many types of people in the world and every single one of them is going to have their own thoughts and own opinions and sometimes, we have to be able to see something from someone else’s point of view. 

I’ve found the first type of person to be the type that tends to disregard something someone else says if it doesn’t agree with their own view. This is the person that will ignore the feelings of someone else if it doesn’t align with what they think. 

Invalidation of feelings leads to other issues. You start questioning yourself and your thoughts. You start thinking that maybe your feelings are wrong and that you should be reacting a different way. You lose trust in yourself and who you are as a person. You become a victim. 

That sounds like emotional abuse to me. 

I think this is an issue in the Indian culture that has been left unaddressed so far. We are just starting to understand that there are ideas beyond duty and responsibility. We’ve stumbled on freedom and happiness. I think it’ll be a while before we fully get to giving the problems of emotional abuse the attention they deserve. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with emotional abuse, please ask someone for help. Most people are ready to help you. Most people will help you get into a better situation than the one you are in. Just take the first step and ask.