Healthier eating habits


I like to cook, and, at the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m pretty darn good at it. For a myriad of reasons, I was out of the kitchen for a while, but now I’m back, better, and healthier than ever.
Growing up, we just about always ate at home. Most of the time, it was a somewhat healthy meal, but we were poor, so sometimes it was as simple and as cheap as a mayonnaise sandwich. Give me a mayonnaise sandwich over a government cheese sandwich any day. We had government cheese at my grandparents’ house, but we always had fresh vegetables, too. Sadly, I didn’t eat them.
Seldom did we go out to eat, and when we did, it was fast food from a drive-thru. On rare occasion, my mother would utter the words “let’s go somewhere so we can sit down to eat.” Nowadays, families go somewhere to sit down to eat four or five nights a week. I completely made that statistic up, but it can’t be far from the truth.
There was one place we went to often.
We never had the opportunity to eat at fancy restaurants like Red Lobster but did try to eat there one time in Montgomery when we were kids. We were, however, denied service because one of us didn’t have on shoes. Which one of us? I’m not sure. Why didn’t we have shoes? I don’t know. Where were the shoes? Beats me.
These days, I cook most nights, with or without shoes, and I try to eat healthier. I always say healthier instead of healthy, because life is too short not to enjoy ribs, hamburgers, and macaroni and cheese. I do cook vegetables with every meal. I prepare them every way imaginable except fried. Although fried things can be tasty, it fries the nutrients right out of them.
I prefer grilling vegetables. I prefer grilling meat. I simply prefer grilling. I love being outside, particularly this time of year.
Last Saturday, I went to the market at the fisheries at Auburn University and picked up whole trout, tilapia, and catfish along with catfish filets. Fried fish all tastes alike, so I grill, broil, or blacken mine. On occasion, I will pan fry it with olive oil, which is still healthy and still maintains the flavor of the fish.
I also plan on growing a garden this fall. In fact, I will start it this week. It’s a new task for me, but I know I can do it, because it’s in my blood. There’s something about growing your own food. I’m not a hunter but I can certainly be a gatherer of the things I grow. I’m looking forward to growing my own carrots and potatoes so I can drop them in my slow-cooker with a roast.
I can’t believe I’m excited about growing green stuff. I can’t wait to grow broccoli and lettuce and spinach and so much more. I’m super excited to grow Brussels sprouts, and yes that is Brussels with an “s.” For some reason, we say “Brussel sprouts,” but I digress.
I’m really stoked about growing my own cabbage. I love sauerkraut. I grew up on it, and being stationed in Germany, was the icing on the cake. Next month, I’m going to Japan and Korea on a comedy tour for the troops. Perhaps I’ll pick up some good kimchi tips while in Korea. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from cabbage, radish, or cucumber as a main ingredient, although I don’t plan on storing any in jars buried in my backyard anytime soon. Ruby would dig them up anyway. I’ll plant my cucumbers in the spring.
I’m blessed to have made it this far in spite of 41 years of unhealthy eating habits, but I’ve vastly improved upon those habits in the last couple of years, and at 43 years old, I have never felt better. I can partially chalk that up to eating healthier.
Again, I say healthier, because I am a southern boy, so I love my fried chicken. I would do just about anything for a fried chicken plate from the old Dairy Barn on Fitzpatrick Ave. That’s the one place we ate at often. Mr. Littlejohn’s fried chicken was second to none.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at For more information, please visit


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