I structured this challenge so that I could start with what I think is easy and end with the shroomage that truly disturbs me, thereby building up my tolerance and ability to deal. Today I had a great meal. While mushrooms are the bane of my existence when it comes to dining, there is one kind of mushroom that I can eat without any negative repercussions at all. That mushroom is the morel.
I might even call it a super mushroom for its ability to be eaten. It’s not rubbery and is actually kind of meaty. Now, I don’t dabble in mushrooms. I know that I hate them and I avoid them; however, I spent this summer harvesting morel mushrooms in the wild and after days of back-breaking work figured I should try them and see what all the hype is about. Great decision. For real. They are a truly tasty fungi and this kind only grows after a forest fire so that’s kind of bad ass. Also, they’re slightly toxic. So that’s like bad-assery on top of bad-assery. As long as they’re cooked properly that toxic factor doesn’t do any damage.
Since I knew I could handle this mushroom, I knew it would form the basis for my first meal. As I figured, day number one went off without a hitch. I don’t have any false hope here. I know that today was a give-me and that each day is going to be progressively harder. Well, actually, in a couple of days it’s going to feel more like I just dove off the high board into the deep end. Given that I’m forcing myself to eat the worst thing in the world (to me) for nearly a month, going off the deep end seems pretty fitting.
Today’s Fungus Feast:
Morel mushrooms, Dill, Rotini, Feta, Spinach & Garlic
For all the ins and outs of this undertaking, check out the “current challenge” section up above. Below, I posted the background from the challenge parameters so you can see what it’s really all about and why I’m doing something that seems almost contrary to what the Exit Sideways Challenge Series is all about. It might seem that I’m just a glutton for punishment and I’m putting my body through hell, but it’s actually about overcoming obstacles that my mind/brain has created and projected.
I hate mushrooms. As a child, they have made me upchuck and as an adult I still have a gag-reflex in place that mushrooms can extract from me. I am somewhat of a mushroom detective in that it doesn’t matter how carefully concealed those shrooms are – I will find them. I will find them and I will remove them from my meal no matter how impolite it is because barfing all over dinner is, well, much more impolite. It’s not so much the taste, although that does give it away that there is a mushroom lurking nearby; it is the texture. Rubbery, an unappetizing form of chewy, and often slimy. There’s also the physical appearance which is quite *blech* for me.
Everything that we think and feel is a matter of the mind. My body might physically reject mushrooms, but it is only because my mind tells it to. I do not have an allergy – I just have a weakness. With this challenge, I am attempting to eradicate this intense fear/hatred/dislike/disgust of mushrooms by changing my mind. The mind isn’t an easy thing to change, but it can be done and if you can train your mind – if you can change it – about the most intense thing that you dislike (mushrooms) then you have so much more power over what you can and cannot do. Hate, mixed with a gag-reflex, is possibly one of the hardest things to overcome (for me). This challenge may seem to be about mushrooms, but it is not. Eating mushrooms is just the vessel.
Although not rigidly following the idea of 21 days to make or break a habit (or 28 or 30 or whatever number so-called studies advocate for) the challenge grew from this. While there isn’t an real number to how many days something takes because each person is different and each task they’re taking on is different, the concept is still there in which you keep doing something in an attempt to train yourself into making the action an inclusive part of your life. I am going to attempt to eat mushrooms each day for 25 days and by the end I want to be able to eat them without inciting the gag-reflex. I am not trying to create a habit of eating mushrooms. I am just trying to overcome how I feel about them and how I experience them when they’re on my plate.