They’re Not Just Blueberries

by Karen Amster-Young

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Leave it to Oprah.  Just as I was struggling to find the best words to talk about  blueberries and write my first post, I picked up the July issue of O magazine and  decided to relax and just do some mindless reading. And there it was:  a great article about food, featuring the perfect quote from Winnie-the-Pooh that somehow made it all come together.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”  What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?”  “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.  Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

And that’s exactly it.  Or at least that is what blueberries have come to represent to me – exciting possibilities. For the last two years I have told myself that I need to eat blueberries every day or at least “frequently” because they are one of the most healthy foods – packed with antioxidants that counter bad habits (and I certainly have some), low-calorie and easy to eat.  In fact, experts say just a handful a day can do some great things. According to studies, blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit, aid in reducing belly fat and are natural anti-depressants!  But blueberries are more for me — they represent something “different”; something so simple to incorporate in my diet but yet so elusive these last two years.  I have told myself that if I can successfully consume them daily, they will be a powerful statement that I am starting on a new and different path. For approximately 24 months I have purchased them, even splurging for the organic variety, and they remain uneaten in my refrigerator. The best intentions are soon followed by an inevitable craving for carbs, eggs or something else in the morning.  Without fail, they sit in the fridge, taunting me, changing each day from a vibrant, bluish-purple hue to slightly brownish color, shriveling symbols of failure.  In fact, I can not even tell you how many times I have disposed of a container of blueberries, uneaten, raisin-like; tossed in the garbage.  For me, they are not just a fruit; I imagine one huge blueberry as the mascot for feeling a bit “stuck”.  If I could truly eat them, enjoy them a bit, then for me, like Pooh, it would represent something more – moving in the right direction, being “unstuck”, sticking to goals.  It would mean that something exciting could happen.  So for this week, I bought blueberries on Monday and was determined to eat them every day for a week.  And I did.

I can’t believe I am launching this Blog and have committed to this 52 week “do something new, challenging, different” each week experiment. Some people may think, “What’s the big deal?  “I always do something new or change things up”.  Well, great; good for you.  But I am fairly confident that if you’re around a certain age life gets in the way; old habits die hard and there is stuff you are not getting to. Hopefully, in the end, this project will inspire some and show others that there is always something on the list.  I know that many of my 52 things over the next 52 weeks may seem ridiculous to some; even “old hat” to others.  Or, you simply may just not “relate” to what I am doing. But there is one thing I am sure of:  you will relate to the emotions that are part of the ride. It’s all about getting off your ass and just doing it — “it” being very personal of course for each person.  The universal message here though will hopefully inspire others to make changes and move forward.    They could be seemingly small things, some “bigger” and sometimes Pam (my brave Blog partner) and I will venture out together. I am sure some weeks we may feel like doing nothing for the sake of doing nothing and we’ll blog about that too.  It is real life after all and life gets in the way sometimes.

So back to my blueberry week. Last Monday I ventured out to a top NYC gourmet market and spent too much money on organic blueberries (again).  There they were, sitting on the shelf, those ubiquitous plastic containers holding dozens of those things at a time. I grabbed two containers and went to pay. Maybe it was my imagination but I could have sworn the cashier was laughing at my determined expression.

From past experience I knew this was only the first step; it would mean nothing if I threw them out again.  I also knew I could not go “cold-turkey’ and skip carbs completely. So on the first day, just to have a laugh and ease into it I playfully threw a handful on my half a bagel with cream cheese. I am not kidding. That’s what I did.  The next day I had a handful “on the side” with my eggs and toast – a colorful accompaniment. By Day Three I smiled as I ate them simply on yogurt. Progress. I was getting there; all of a sudden I felt the satisfaction that only happens when you say you are going to do something and actually stick to it.  By week’s end I was simply on the run, having a banana and a handful of those blue things on the way to the gym an hour earlier than usual.   Hey, I was on to something.

Such a simple little thing that is good for you. I did it. This little, stupid change has pushed me out of the starting gate. I hope it will be the fuel I need for the next 51 weeks. I hope that on the 10th week or the 25th week or the 46th week or whatever week I set out on bigger challenges I will be inspired by my blueberry project.  Regardless, Week One is over.  I hope I don’t have to ask myself “what’s for breakfast?” going forward.  I hope blueberries and other good things find their way into my meals without even thinking about it. I doubt it will be fool-proof but I can hope.  But, I do live in New York City:  home of the best bagels in the world. Thank G-d they will always be just a block away. I wonder…do they make blueberry cream cheese? Till next week…

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categoryPosted: 06/28/10 3:00 AM

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

pam June 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

To 51 more weeks! Good job, partner! P-

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rochelle June 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Can’t wait to hear about your adventures and challenges! You inspire those around you- good luck, rochelle

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Lorri Hochman June 30, 2010 at 7:31 am

Good for you!!! I love blueberries….now i dare you to grab your girl & go pick some!!!

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Sharon June 30, 2010 at 7:36 am

Congratulations Karen! Very inspirational. For me its water. I never drink enough (of that). Best of luck on your next 51 challenges. Looking forward to following. Sha

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Karen Amster-Young June 30, 2010 at 10:04 am

Water is another one for me too but I need to get out of the kitchen next week! 🙂

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Ellen June 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

You are off to a good start! (And I actually had blueberries this morning!) Looking forward to the next 51 weeks!

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angie June 30, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Let’s cut to the chase… When will Nora get the screenplay and who will Meryl portray? 🙂 Best of luck to you both in your new endeavors!

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Karen Amster-Young July 1, 2010 at 9:17 am

Do you really think I haven’t thought of Nora here?:) Thanks Angie!

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K July 1, 2010 at 7:47 am

Love this post I feel the same about blueberries. I always see them in the fridge in their carton and think “I don’t have time to wash those little guys…i’ll eat them later for sure”…yeah right though haha.

Buying pre-washed blueberries always keeps me from procrastinating when it comes to blueberry consumption 😉 can’t wait to see what you come up with in the next 51 weeks!

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the mama bird diaries July 1, 2010 at 11:41 am

Love the idea behind this blog. Very cool. And I love blueberries.

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Ben July 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

So impressed with you – congrats to you and Pam!! Looking forward to seeing if I will benefit from the remaining weeks…..

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Randi July 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm

And I thought I was the only one having a blueberry dilemma! How funny!
OK, here’s the solution: put them in granola. Then you satisfy the carb craving which must be satisfied, esp in the morning.
Looking forward to frequent visits on the blog!

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Laurey Bennett Levy July 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I will never look at blueberries in the same way again! Creative! Loved the article. And you!!!!

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Marinka July 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Great blog idea. I love blueberries too. But I don’t love them when they’re tasteless.

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Juliet July 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I like your blog!:) Maybe next time I have a bagel, I’ll put blueberries on it!

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DJ July 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Great article! Now I am craving blueberries and recalling picking fresh blueberries during summer camp. Unfortunately, I am stuck looking at black top and car roofs in a god-awful corporate park in Westchester on this beautiful day. When I get home tonight, I will buy some blueberries to cheer me up.

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Dr Move July 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Weaving, blueberries and getting things off the ground…perfect summer fare. Hey did you have to negotiate with the Suess heirs to use their quotes? Love the musing amusement throughout.

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Marni Heller July 1, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Awesome! Had blueberries this morning and really enjoyed! Will be sure to tune in next week!

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Ana Quillinan July 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

You know, this is the perfect blog to have come across today (I’m a fan of your lovely design agency on Facebook). Blueberries – yes, I’m finding myself not eating enough fruit and blueberries – YIKES – the least favorite. But, I’m willing to give it a try and join you on this 52 week journey. Thanks for the inspiration and the kick in the ‘butt’ I needed…

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Maura July 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I have been so busy with all those life things like work and husband and friends, and I thought I could not find the time to read your blog this week. Finally I found a moment, and I think I am already addicted to it! It is inspiring and I think it will be worth the effort for you and everyone who finds the time to read it. Congratulations on getting that big first step done.

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Lisa July 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm

OH – My – Goodness. I cannot tell you how much money I have thrown out with the trash, doing the same thing with containers of blueberries. I’m with you girl. I think though, I will venture to the store today, buy some blueberries, BUT I think I will try them as my last evening snack. My breakfast is sacred so I’ll start with baby steps.

Good luck!

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liz July 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm

i don’t think there’s blueberry cream cheese but they definitely make blueberry bagels…look a little moldy…funny, I have so many vices and things I wanna start doing — I actually have blueberries pretty frequently…buy em from those guys who sell fruit on the corner…don’t even wash them — I figure they can’t be any more dangerous than tasting that salty water from the Nick Hotel : )

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