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"Momma's Going to Make Pho!"

It’s a new year and I woke up thinking about what my family said last night when I asked them “what were some of the best things that happened to you in 2016?”

One unanimous response I got was “Momma learned how to make Pho!”

The fact is, I’d learned how a few years ago, but I always thought it was too much bother to go through when I can easily drive to the nearest Pho joint and get a bowl for less than $10. However, over the years, my husband and daughter developed intolerance for the MSG restaurants often put in their Pho broth. It’s a way of adding more flavors without incurring costs of extra beef bones.

In 2016, I took my daughter for a trip to Vietnam. On this trip, we signed up to a cooking class in Hoi An, a small coastal town in Central Vietnam. One of the dishes we learned how to make was beef Pho. The recipe wasn’t different from what I’d learned before. However, after this trip, I was inspired to try the recipe on my own.

On my first try, my pho came out cloudy, but it tasted pretty good. The second and third time, I tweaked the recipe a bit and added more meat. I have to admit, my pho is really good now! My family thinks it’s better than the restaurants’ versions and they don’t have to suffer the after-effects of the MSG.

So, all this happened because I made a shift in my thinking.

Before, I thought the whole process took too much energy and time. I didn’t want to “waste” 3-4 hours of tending the pot and all the preps needed to create the perfect pho. However, my trip to Vietnam stirred my curiosity to try the endeavor. By doing that, I started the process of action! After the first try, my brain started to rewire to figure out how to do it better and with practice, I was able to do it quicker. I learned to use the passive cooking time to do yoga, meditate or work-out. The 3-4 hours of labor got incorporated into an experience of self-care and instead of being a chore or “unproductive” time as my mind used to think, it became a process where I nourish myself and those around me.

For me, the key is to put in the initial effort to start the wheels moving. After that, I picked up speed and soon, the whole process is like an enjoyable drive.

This is how we grow and expand.

We have to first be willing to put in the effort and get over our limiting beliefs.

My husband asked whether the recipe I got from Vietnam was different and a quicker way to make pho. No, the recipe to success has always been the same. What changed was my willingness to give it a try. By doing so, I realized my belief that cooking pho is an unnecessary chore was really just that: a belief. It can be a chore if I make it out to be so. But with anything, you can discover the process isn’t as bad as you’d imagined and your brain can even find a way to make it enjoyable.

Now, I love seeing the joy on my children’s faces when I declare: “Momma’s going to make Pho”!

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