New Experiences – Eating Kumquats

Eating Kumquats – a metaphor for an interesting and fulfilling life! (I think my titles are definitely improving). 

Now I am new to the World of eating kumquats and frankly I can’t believe I’ve been missing out for so long. Maybe at some point a bit of one was shoved on a plate in a fancy restaurant – I probably took a nibble and though ‘eugh too bitter’ and that was that. But I am a reformed kumquat eater, in fact I am now a super-fan, and there is much to learn from the experience.

Related to my new Kumquat-take on life is a great book that I’m reading called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. He has many top tips for how to take up better habits and try & discard our not so helpful ones. He starts however by explaining how much of our everyday life is just a series of unconscious habits. We all generally have clear daily routines around when we get out of bed, breakfast, what order we wash or brush our teeth etc. We don’t think of them as habits but they are and they are mostly unconscious. 

And we have habits and rituals throughout our lives. The Friday night glass of wine on the sofa. Always going to Park Run on a Saturday morning. Always having a lie-in on Sunday. Perhaps meeting the same friends regularly or doing the same hobbies. Always checking your phone when you wake up etc etc. Similarly a lot of people frequently eat the same foods. It’s not uncommon for a household to have a staple 5-6 evening meals that get rotated or to always eat the same few fruits or veg. Peas anyone?!

Now you might think there’s nothing wrong with these habits. After all they create a sense of routine, security and predictability and for a lot of people that can be quite comforting. But it doesn’t inject any excitement or newness into life. When we do different things we have more to talk about to our partners or friends. We can learn and experiment. We can stretch out of our comfort zone into new experiences that may challenge us in different ways – mentally and physically. We may discover new passions .. like me and the Kumquats. And in turn it gives life a vibrancy, like a fresh coat of paint and a spruce up, and it’s generally great for our relationships and our mental health. 

But sometimes we try something different and we’re not sure. It might be too out of our comfort zone, feel a bit uncomfortable and we might feel it’s not for us and give up too soon. This could have been the case with the Kumquats.

I saw them on sale at Riverford and decided to buy them. I know how much our happy friendly gut bacteria appreciate variety in the foods we eat and so I like to try and vary our fruit and veg a fair bit. I tried one when they arrived – straight in, hard core and OMG it was a flavour explosion. But not, to be a fair, a wholly enjoyable one as Kumquats are quite bitter. Also it had a pip or two in which didn’t add to the experience. At that point I might have given up but I hate waste so decided to try them out later on the kids. 

This time I sliced them lengthways and took out any obvious pips then we popped a half straight into our mouths. The kids’ faces were hilarious .. this is a very hardcore fruit. I’d given them a couple each and they were making comments like ‘These are disgusting’, ‘Never buy these again’ etc and I was a bit tempted to agree. But there were still more to eat and I didn’t want to waste them. So the next night we did the same again. And the next. By which time I was starting to like them and the kids were moaning a lot less. Roll forward a few weeks and I’m buying 2 bags a week and we all love them. They are still hardcore but now that flavour explosion is intense and fun and you can still taste an enjoyable hint of kumquat a couple of hours later. 

In short we had to get out of our comfort zones AND persevere for the rewards. As with life. And our habits. 

I’ll end this with 2 suggestions. If you’ve never had a kumquat, try investing in a bag … and seeing it through to the end! And secondly have a think about what aspects of life have become a bit stuck. It may feel like there’s no reason to change but as the old saying goes ‘A change is as good as a rest’ or should that be ‘as good as a Kumquat’. Please like / share / comment … any other Kumquat lovers out there?? Sue x

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