I’m my own guinea pig.

I am learning too cook — I mean really cook — and I am the taste tester for my new concoctions.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I am turning away from meat, poultry, fish and dairy and toward plant-based foods.

It’s basically becoming a vegan, although probably not a true vegan.

Mostly, it is moving away from processed foods to foods in their purest forms.

Right now, I am at the stage where I look at recipes and think:

Is that real food?

What is that?

How do you pronounce that?

Why didn’t they make pizza and ice cream good for me?

I look at recipes, and the food looks delicious.

I am going to try and tackle BBQ jackfruit sandwiches with avocado slaw as soon as I learn what jackfruit is.

The recipes call for two 20-ounce cans of young green jackfruit in water — not in syrup or brine.

What?

You mean there are stores that sell jackfruit?

Seriously, are there enough people who eat healthy that it pays for a store to stock jackfruit on the shelves?

Then there is avocado chocolate mousse, which looks amazing, but at my hands, well, we will see — and taste.

I also have a recipe for chai spice snickerdoodles, which seems easy to make, so I will have to give it a try.

Eating healthy takes much more effort and energy than we are used to.

The reason processed foods and fast foods became billion dollar industries is because it preyed upon our laziness.

Everyone wants everything now with little effort. It is much easier to pull a pizza out of the freezer or go through the drive through on the way home than to make a meal when we get home or even plan ahead for meals.

That is what I have to overcome.

You cannot even trust everything packaged in grocery stores. You have to read labels. Packaged veggie burgers are not as healthy as what is made at home.

That may be the biggest lesson, read labels.

Even wheat bread, if it doesn’t say whole, is not as healthy as bread that just states wheat bread. Whole is the key word, and it should be the first ingredient listed.

I also learned that labels on food that claim something is low sodium means the salt may have been cut, but sugar was added to make it tasty.

My head is swimming a little bit as all this new information soaks in, but I am determined to eat healthier, to be healthier, and who knows, I may actually learn how to cook.

 

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.