Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Food Fixations

November 2, 2018

Lately, everyone and I mean everyone, has a food thing. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, no soy, no sugar, Paleo, Keto; the list is endless. As a caterer, my job is made a bit more challenging while trying to adhere to all the guests’ dietary issues. As a former trend forecaster, I believe it is going to become even more prevalent, with more restaurants and catering companies (it me!) creating special menus to work around it all. With party season upon us, the owness is on you, as a host to ensure that all of your guests have something they can eat. Here are a few of my pro tips for entertaining in the age of the restricted diet.

 

 

Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions.  

If you know what people can’t eat, it is easy to plan around them. Every dish doesn’t have to adhere to one person’s diet, but you can certainly make sure to include at least a dish or two that they can eat and enjoy. If you are hosting a small dinner party with someone who doesn’t eat gluten, you may want to rethink that pasta-centric menu and choose something else. As a caterer, I often ask if it is an allergy or a preference. I would never try to trick someone into eating something they don’t want, but if it is an allergy, I need to take extra precautions to make sure that the offending ingredient is kept far away from the other foods. That means that I can’t put the gluten-free cookies on the same tray as the conventional ones, or more importantly, that I need to clean the kitchen completely between preparing items that use the allergen, and those that don’t.

Plan a menu that has lots of choices so that those who are eliminating food groups, or just trying to eat more healthfully can find things to enjoy.  

Plan a varied menu with options to suit any diet. This is easier to do than you might think, especially for a buffet or cocktail party. A good host will make their guests feel comfortable. If you are inviting a dairy-free friend to a wine and cheese party, add some fruit and vegetables to the tray for variety. Gluten-free? Those same vegetables can take the place of crackers. A varied menu is more interesting, and a carnivore might welcome some creative vegetable dishes too.

Think about what your guests CAN eat, and less about what they can’t. 

The elimination of multiple food groups can be daunting to a host. Try to reframe the issue and concentrate on what your guests can eat. Often it boils down to vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and lean or plant-based proteins. Use this as the centerpiece of your menu planning and feel free to add grains, carbs, sweets etc. around it for the guests who are able to partake.

As a guest, let your host know in advance of your dietary requirements, especially if a meal is involved.

At least if they decide not to provide anything that suits your diet, you will not be offending them when you choose not to eat. Be gracious about it. Don’t just provide a list of items you have eliminated and expect them to be banned from the party. You can eat healthfully and not come off like a diva. Tread lightly and don’t expect everyone to eat Tofurky for you. (‘Cause that stuff is nasty!)

If you are going to an event that you know is going to be problematic for you, offer to bring a dish that everyone can enjoy with you.

Thanksgiving is a perfect example of one of those meals. Families take their traditions seriously, and many may balk at adjusting their menus for just one guest. ( Or many guests with dueling requests.) Bring an interesting salad or a non- cheesy, sugary, marshmallow-topped side that fits your dietary requirements. Who knows? It may just become a new tradition for your family!

Don’t be a pusher.

As a host or a fellow guest, don’t try to push foods on those who don’t want them. “Just a taste” is a rude and manipulative gesture to those who wish to abstain, as is a grand announcement of their food choices. Putting other guests in an awkward position and making them feel uncomfortable is unacceptable. Don’t do it.

Making your guests comfortable shouldn’t make you uncomfortable.

Catering to guests’ dietary issues shouldn’t make entertaining more difficult or unpleasant for the host.  Opt for some simple additions or changes, and get on with your cooking. You shouldn’t have to make multiple versions of things or tailor the entire party around one person or group of people. (See Tofurky comment above.) That said, I have I taken a single portion of many Thanksgiving sides and used margarine instead of butter, or eliminated sugar or nuts to feed a guest with restrictions. In doing so while I was cooking, I gave the guest a special version without much additional effort on my part and gave the rest of the group what they wanted. That gesture of compliance was greatly appreciated.

Food is something that brings us together and preparing it can be an act of love. Don’t lose sight of that as you enter party season, dietary issues and all!

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Find Your Comfort Zone

April 7, 2016

 

4989100064_compYou know that commercial for Weight Watchers, where Oprah talks about how much she loves bread, and how glad she is that she can lose weight and still eat bread everyday? I hate that commercial.

I hate all the diets that let you eat sweets, and bread and pasta. I cringe at celebrities and models who say that they believe in moderation, not deprivation, or even worse the ones who say they don’t diet or exercise, and fill their Instagram feeds with In and Out burger photos and triple scoop icecream cones, all while having a flat, toned midriff.  Or Kim Kardashian’s nutritionist discussing her 1800 calories per day diet, which includes 4 oz. of cheese, and how it is very restrictive to help her lose the baby weight. (1800 calories for not very active 5’2″ woman is far from restrictive!)

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Why do I hate all this? Because for me, none of that works. And because some of them are out and out lying.

First of all, for those of you that I haven’t met, let me state that I don’t have a weight problem. I am on the small side of the equation, but an extra few pounds really shows up on me in all the wrong places. I work out 5-6 days a week, and I walk almost everywhere I go. I eat a healthy diet, but I go rogue every once in awhile and it gets a bit out of control. Because of my usually healthy lifestyle, losing a few unwanted pounds means I need to resort to drastic measures. Calories in and calories out does not work for me. If it did, I would weigh 27 pounds. Nor does “moderation’, eating sugar and carbs, or drinking alcohol.

I don’t think that I have any major food sensitivities but after eating a refined carb heavy diet, or increasing my sugar intake from 0 to daily for awhile, I start to bloat up. I get a gut, and it is a gut that is upset most of the time. It isn’t how I want to look, or feel.
After doing a couple of Whole 30s, I have discovered that I fare best on a fairly rigid program of eating only vegatables, fruit, chicken, fish, eggs and some nuts. When I know that a cookie, or french fries are strickly off limits, I simply don’t eat them. If I try to eat them in “moderation”, I tend to fall off the wagon and over indulge. And it is a wagon I am comfortable being on, most of the time.

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I think it is important to figure out what type of diet and exercise person you are, and figure out how to make that work for you. It may in fact be comprised of a little of everything, or it may be a strict regiman that is completely different from mine. For me, staying the course for at least 30 days, and then allowing pre-meditated treats, works. That means deciding to have a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine at a nice dinner out, but not wavering, just because its Tuesday and there’s cookies in the office.

Exercise follows the same idea. If you find what you like, you will actually do it. In my case, a very set regimen is key. I get up, I go to the gym. When I get too relaxed about it, I find I don’t go, or go so late that my window of opportunity has closed and I am not performing at my best. I know I need to shake it up, and try to diversify my workouts so that each day is different from the one before it. I build in rest days, where I can regroup and recover. Much like my diet, if have to I miss a day or two, I don’t get crazy, and go back to my routine as soon as I can, but I never simply don’t go because I don’t feel like it. This keeps me on track, feeling energetic and strong. If I adopt a “whatever” attitude, I know I will lose the momentum that I have spent years establishing.

I see a healthy lifestyle as important as anything else…I schedule in exercise and plan ahead so that I am not stuck in a situation where I have to eat something unhealthy and unenjoyable, simply because I don’t have a better option. If I am going to eat something that is off my regular diet, I want to enjoy it and move on without regret. I wouldn’t blow off a business meeting, so why should I skip out on the gym? You may find that going for a walk a few times a week is all you need. It really is a matter of to each his own.

Now that I finally know what type of plan works best for me, I can comfortably follow it without feeling too restricted or deprived. That is, as long as Oprah stops talking about all that bread!!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Food Fatigue

March 25, 2016

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I’ll cut to the chase on this one… I am on day 40 of another Whole 30. Yes, that’s right. I am 10 days past the program deadline, and still compliant. Why, you may ask? Because I am food numb.

I don’t have a specific craving for anything, my energy level is fairly high, and my stomach isn’t filled with hot lava anymore. All good. Except that I am so bored, I don’t even want to bother eating anymore. During the last 10 days, I have loosened up a bit. I sprinkled a tiny amount of soy sauce on something. I ate a French Fry. I even used a dollop of non-compliant mayo on my tuna fish. Part of the reason to do a Whole 30 is to change your relationship with food. Mine has certainly changed. Food has become completely dull to me.

There are plenty of foods that I can enjoy on this diet; vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, eggs and most nuts. Olive oil, coconut oil and ghee. Surely, I can put together something that stirs my senses, yet I keep going back to the same few dishes.

I need to find some balance in my eating life, to sustain the positive effects of an extreme Paleo diet, sans meat, and a regular American diet filled with processed carbs, sugar and even more meat. I get irked at all the recipes and food photos that pop up on my various feeds, because everything seems to have butter, cheese, sugar, or is fried. My own site is filled with non-compliant recipes and decadent baked goods available to order. Yet, I can’t eat any of that. And while clean eating and a healthy diet is great, a little flexibility and, frankly a little enjoyment isn’t a bad thing.

After my last Whole 30, I had a little fear that once I started to go rogue, I would fall back into bad habits. And I eventually did. I want this time to be different. I want to be able to indulge a little, and go right back to what I hope to be the new normal. I know it works for me, but is there a really good reason to leave out all grains, legumes and dairy? I need to explore what does and doesn’t suit MY body, and tailor my eating accordingly. While Whole 30 and ultimately Paleo focuses on a meat heavy diet, I can’t tolerate meat. But maybe I can tolerate the yogurt, rice or beans that I left behind. It is time to gently and slowly start exploring other healthy food groups and see how they make me feel. And a glass of wine after my event tonight might now be a bad idea either.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Paleo Hummus

February 22, 2016

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Sometimes, when I want to eat something I know I shouldn’t, I ask myself which I want more: flat sculpted abs, or that treat. While the answer varies wildly, right now I am hedging towards the first choice. Flatter abs, more energy and less stomach aches to be precise. The only way I know how to achieve all that is to go back to the extreme version of Paleo that I was on successfully last summer.You can read about it starting here.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say it is a little harder in the winter. Harder to go out in the cold to buy all the foods I need to have on hand to make this work. Harder to be seduced by all the fresh produce lining the stalls in Union Square, when there are only a few vendors selling the basics. Due to the fact that I don’t like meat, it is much harder to get that warm, comforting feeling that we all want in the winter. Most of the time it isn’t really that difficult to eat this way if I am prepared. I can have all the vegetables, fruit, poultry and fish I want. But in eliminating legumes, grains, and dairy along with sugar and alchohol, sometimes it just gets dull. I mean, giving up all beans, dairy and grains for an almost vegatarian is a bit of a sacrifice. Just one of those categories would open up the menu choices dramatically.

I stumbled upon a recipe for Paleo hummas on Livin Paleo, and had to give it try. The chickpeas are replaced by, of all things, CAULIFLOWER! Is there anything that ball of white florets can’t do? It is truly the chameleon of the vegetable world. It can fake us out for mashed potatoes and rice, masquerade as a pizza crust, and stand in for a steak. This time, it acts as a base for a creamy, somehwhat spicy hummus.

Cauliflower Hummus: (adapted from Livin Paleo)

Clean one head of cauliflower and separate it into florets. Toss it lightly in olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Peel a couple of cloves of garlic and and toss them in. Roast in a 500 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft.

Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic into the food processor and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 cup of tahini and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Blend until smooth. At this point you can adjust the seasonings to taste, adding a little more lemon,garlic, tahini, salt or cumin to the mixture.

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy with cut vegetables.

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Unbelievable

January 22, 2016

We try to keep up with the innovations and discoveries in the health and wellness genre, as recent studies reveal better ways of eating and exercising all the time. While many findings are premature and only point to certain conclusions, they come from reputable sources and are worthy of a look-see.

Some, however sound too good to be true, perhaps because they are.
My Facebook feed is full of people posting that certain things are good for their health, because they so desperately want them to be. Diet soda better than water? A glass of wine the equivilent of an hour in the gym?  A chocolate bar a day for weight loss? Pretty doubtful. Yet these are actual headlines that have popped up recently, that people have taken seriously.

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The University of Alberta, in Canada found that rats who consumed one glass of red wine per day had similiar benefits to an hour of exercise. Hmm. Although many studies have lauded the resveratol found in red wine, we find this one a little hard to swallow. Compared to an hour in the gym doing what? Drinking wine?  I love a glass of red as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I am going to give up on the gym quite yet.

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That study that found that drinking diet soda is better for weight loss than drinking water?Funded by an organization that has Coke and Pepsi execs on the board. The researchers were also paid a stipend by the group, and the lead author was paid by the British Sugar Bureau. Of the 55,000 studies carried out, only the information from three of them were used. Only one of the three was able to show a weight loss benefit for the diet soda drinkers, as compared to those that drank water. Credible? We say highly questionable.

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John Bohannon, a journalist embarked on a prank study which bestowed the virtues of eating a chocolate bar a day to promote weight loss. While the news from the faux German study swept the world, the conclusions were, in fact unfounded. You can read Bohannon’s account of the hoax here.

Like with anything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before you settle in for a night of Netflix, accompanied by a glass of wine, a bar of chocolate and some diet soda thinking it is a magic bullet for weight loss, I’d like to chat with you about purchasing a certain bridge in New York.

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Body Love

August 26, 2015

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Body acceptance is a hot topic these days. The media is reaching out to encourage women everywhere to love their bodies, regardless of how they look. Body shaming, and setting an unrealistically high (and often photoshopped) bar for beauty is the subject of many news stories and ad campaigns.

I completley agree. Women should be able to go to the beach without panicing about their “beach body”(something I am completely guilty of). A jiggle here and a bump there shouldn’t keep women from enjoying their lives. A few extra pounds or a little “junk in the trunk” is nobody’s business but our own. Every story about women being fat shamed, or called out by total strangers for exposing thier stretch marks from childbirth on the beach makes me cringe. It is time that society comes to terms with our imperfections being part of who we are and move on.

Ok, so here comes the kicker. I mean, you knew there was going to be one, right? If we should love our bodies regardless of thier flaws, than shouldn’t we love them enough to take care of them? And by taking care of them, I don’t mean going on an all kale diet, exercising three hours a day, or being a size 2. I don’t mean never leaving the house without full pagent makeup and a fresh blowout. I do mean eating healthfully most of the time, getting a moderate amount of exercise and maintaining a weight that prevents chronic and serious illnesses to manifest. I would never, ever make a rude comment to someone of any gender about their weight, or how they look. It is rude, and frankly, none of my business. But, I have a hard time condoning a lifestyle that allows people become so over weight that they develop heart problems, hypertension, diabetes or even joint issues as a result of over-indulgence in food, and a lack of significant movement. Just walking at a moderate pace is considered exercise, yet I watch people circle the parking lot, looking for the closest possible parking spot so they don’t have to walk a few extra feet. Should we tell those women (and men for that matter)that it is ok and they should love their sick, unhealthy bodies as they are?

It is all a self fulfilling prophecy. Once the health issues begin to set in, physically being able to exercise becomes more problematic. Once the bad eating habits form, it is very hard to break them. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you aren’t going to eat all the foods you are used to and stop cold turkey. Super clean eating requires discipline, both in choosing to avoid the unheatly items,and in buying and preparing the right ones. There is not a fast food, convenience store version to fall back on. I get it. Its not easy. Busy women with families and jobs don’t always have time to exercise, and commuting by foot or by bike is often not an option. So is the solution to say its ok, you are beautiful anyways? Isn’t that a twisted way of objectifying women? As health care costs rise, isn’t it cheaper to eat well, and less time consuming to exercise than take time out for frequent doctor visits and sick days?

BTW, skinny shaming people, such as celebs like Amal Clooney and Guilianna Rancic is just as offensive. Sometimes being overly thin is a natural state, but it can also signal health issues. We are very quick to say “eat a sandwich” to someone who is very thin, but not so quick to accept someone saying ” put down the cookie” to someone who is over weight. Until we can come to terms with the equality of the situation, we aren’t ready to embrace body love fully.

Are we, the media and society in general doing women a great disservice by focusing on accepting how our bodies look, vs.how our bodies function?

Sound off in the comments below!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Re-entry Phase

August 4, 2015

Upon finishing the Whole 30, I was at a loss as to what to do next. I knew the next steps were the purposeful reintroduction of eliminated food groups, but with a flat stomach, and a general feeling of well-being, I was hesitant to try adding things back. Fear of feeling sick, re-awakening cravings,gaining weight and bloating up again was holding me back. I stayed the course very happily for the rest of the week, and as the weekend approached, I was so used to my eating plan, that I didn’t really crave anything new, even that glass of wine I wanted so desperately a couple of weeks ago.

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Then I got to thinking. If Whole 30 was about having a healthy relationship with food, was my fear of “off roading” a little disordered? I felt like I had to “break it,” and move on before it became a more serious issue.

One of our previous Saturday night rituals was sharing a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine while Netflixing. ( Yeah, we really are that dull!) Although I wasn’t dying for it, I decided that I needed to reintroduce some foods at some point, and if I didn’t do it properly, the last month of restriction would be a big waste. I popped the corn in coconut oil, and amid much dissent, did not add any butter to it. I had sparkling water instead of wine. Baby steps. If I added butter and wine to the equation and I didn’t feel well, I would not know which item was the culprit.

I awoke thinking that the experiment went well, and the popcorn seemed to “agree” with me. At lunchtime, I was complaining that I felt “blah.” I had trouble getting up. My strength and stamina at the gym was a little subpar. My legs felt like jello. I didn’t want to do anything except sit in the air conditioning and relax. I chalked it up to working out pretty hard the previous week, the heat ( it’s been in the 90’s for the last week or two,) and it just being one of those days. Then it hit me. While any or all of those excuses were valid, was it the popcorn that didn’t agree with my newly cleansed body? I often felt like this on the weekends, and just chalked it up to it being tired and my body relaxing. Because I had been feeling so good, feeling like this was very noticable. When something doesn’t “agree” with you, it doesn’t always mean an upset stomach. Sometimes it is in the form of malaise, skin problems or inflammation. I went back on the Whole 30 plan,( as instructed after trying a new food group ) and then I will try to introduce another group in a few days. In order to know if the popcorn  did in fact effect me negatively, I will need to try it again. It may really, have just been one of those days. Or it may have been the corn. Time and another trial will tell.

Sigh.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Propensity for Obesity Declines

July 30, 2015

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The obesity epidemic in the United States seems to be showing signs of slowing down.

The New York Times reports that the decade long slide into obesity is on the decline. Using statistics collected from barcode data and food production estimates, this is the first sustained decline in the 40 years that diet and calorie consumption has been tracked.

Children are showing the biggest difference, cutting back an average of 9% of thier intake since 2004. The average adult has cut back to 2195 calories per day, from the 2003-2004 amount of 2269.

Non-diet soda consumption fell 25% since the beginning of 2000.

Before we get all excited about the positive change, we still have a long way to go. Almost 35% of all adult Americans are still obese, with high risks for stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers.

While there is a drop in non-diet soda consumption, Americans are still drinking an average of 30 gallons of it annually. Worse yet, diet soda is a petrie dish of chemicals, linked to it’s own laundry list of health woes.

Americans are not coming close to meeting their ideal targets for eating fruits and vegetables. According to LiveScience, we are only consuming about 13% of the recommended daily requirements for fruit, and 9% of the required vegetables.

The best news is the change in children’s intake, marking a shift in awareness. Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move and healthy eating programs seem to be having a postive effect on this age group and their parents. Let’s hope that schools and families continue embrace a healthier lifestyle for their children.

 

Healthy Reset: Week 4

July 27, 2015
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Beautiful roasted beets. The secret to success is preparation.

This week started off with a stressful bang. While trying to make plans to meet a friend between presentations at a trade show, she remarked that the website listed my presentations on Tuesday. Great, except they were supposed to be on Wednesday.

Yikes! I worked on them all weekend, but they weren’t done yet. I was also booked with another client for an all day meeting that people were flying in for on Tuesday. I am the ultimate multi-tasker, but being in two places at once is not in my repertoire. A marathon ensued, and a mere 15 hours later, I had two presentations loaded onto my computer. All that’s left was trying to figure out what I was going to say, and I’d be good to go. My other client was extremely forgiving. I hope that they are still a client next season.

It's 11pm. Do you know where your presentation is?

It’s 11pm. Do you know where your presentation is?

Getting home from work at midnight usually entails indulging in my favorite  comfort food dinner of popcorn and red wine. Hello Whole 30! No corn, no butter and no wine. Somehow decaf tea and berries with cashews didn’t provide me with any great comfort or pleasure, but it was a far better choice nutritionally. I am however, quite proud of myself for not caving. My energy level has been extremely high, which really helped me cope with the week.

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Late to bed and early to rise, I crammed for my presentations and somehow pulled them off. My stress level was off the Richter scale, yet something odd happened. Throughout the entire ordeal, I had an inner sense of calm, although I was completely stressed out. I was nervous about pulling together the content, an then about getting up in front of a room full of professionals and not knowing what I was talking about, yet the butterflies and tension were fully under control. Is it possible that my healthy diet left me well nourished, moderately well rested (less tossing and turning, and no burning stomach) and therefore more able to deal with the pressure? Is it possible that the junk I consume is what wears me down, and not the stress itself? I certainly don’t want to go through this again anytime soon to find out, but it is food for thought. Literally.

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How could anyone prefer fake colored processed junk to gorgeous rainbow carrots?

How could anyone prefer fake colored processed junk to gorgeous rainbow carrots?

Wednesday brought a huge sigh of relief, as the tension of the previous weeks started to leave my body. I had a work related cocktail party where I happily sipped sparkling water with lime and avoided the hors d’ouerves. Since I got home late, I ordered a Mediterranean Salad without cheese for dinner. It arrived with double cheese which I tried to surgically remove. Feta cheese is soft and clings to everything, so getting rid of it wasn’t easy. If I ended up ingesting a microscopic piece of it, life will have to go on anyways.

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I had an all day seminar on Thursday, so I had some poached eggs and cherry tomatoes for breakfast, and brought a banana and a little glob of almond butter in a jar, “just in case.” I was happy to see that banana, since there wasn’t anything else I could eat. Even the vegan options were carb heavy. When I got home at 3:30 I gorged on cashews. Not the best example of Whole 30 eating, but sometime a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

A business dinner wrapped up the crazy week! Although there was a prix fixe menu, I was able to navigate it. The appetizers, served family style were all off limits, but thanks to my nut binge, I was able to hold off. I dissected a burata and tomato canape, eating only the tomato part, to appear social. While almost everyone at the long community table opted for pasta, I had the chicken breast, which was simply grilled with a few vegetables and a drizzle of flavorful pesto that didn’t have any cheese in it. It was wonderful, and I doggy bagged half of it for lunch the next day. Score! It became joke, since only one person at a table of trend forecasters and fashion experts stepped out of the norm. Rather than make a fuss about my diet, I simply declared that pasta was over and chicken was the next big thing. Comic relief and a delicious, compliant dinner to boot! When dessert rolled around, there was some fresh berry thing in a deep bowl, so I asked for mine without the sauce or pastry. Nobody noticed that my little bowl contained anything different from theirs, so again, I was able to skirt the diet issue and stay on course.

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We are coming into the home stretch. I am feeling energetic, despite the crazy week, and I think my hair seems a little healthier, although that may be attributed to a recent cut. A friend complimented my skin. My supposedly stress induced stomach aches have not ruled their ugly heads during this incredibly stressful time. My usual three to five pound weight fluctuations have stabilized to a pretty consistent number. (I lost a little weight at the beginning, but have not seen much of a drop lately.)

Next week is looking like it will be a calm one, so I may stay on track for awhile until a reason to go off presents itself. The next phase is re-entry, where each food group is added back individually to see what makes you feel unwell. I am dreading that little journey of self discovery, but it should be interesting. There is no re-entry for alchohol or sugar, since it presumed that everyone feels bad when partaking in them.

Today is day 29 of 30. Stay tuned….I am almost done!

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Healthy Reset: Week 3

July 20, 2015

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Week three began with a lot of stress. There are looming deadlines across both businesses, all culminating in three big meetings this week. It is hard to even think about the shopping and preparing that should be done to keep me on track. I have no specific cravings, but I do have a longing for something that tastes different. I am not sure what I might do differently, but I do know I am in a food rut. The joy of pure food, healthy eating and scrupulous preparation has reduced itself to an “eating for fuel” mindset. I am mulitasking (highly discouraged on Whole30) by typing this as I eat a bland chicken breast with tomatoes and a couple of olives for zip; all I could scrounge together before work this morning.

Wednesday night I met friends at a Japanese place for drinks,which basically translated to a glass of sparkling water with lemon. A quick pre-scan of the menu ( a slightly obsessive habit, but one which allows me to think about what I can eat in advance,) showed that there was absolutely nothing I could eat there. Soy sauce, even the gluten free kind, is off limits (legumes) and rice is out of the question. Even plain steamed edamame is a no-no. I guess it is a good thing that I couldn’t stick around for dinner anyways.

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On the way home, I called my husband and asked him to order in. He read me the menu of the local place we order from that has lots of greenmarket specials, as well as a very vegetarian friendly selection on their main menu. As he reads, I realize there is a deal breaker item in every dish. Asian=soy sauce, Greek, Caesar or Cobb salad= cheese. Crispy=breaded or battered. Many of the salads have farro or quinoa, which is also off limits. I finally had a grilled chicken breast with broccoli, green beans (the only acceptable legume) and slivered almonds. I am sure they were cooked in something I shouldn’t eat, but hey, YOLO! At least it was something different, and I didn’t have to cook it.

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At 11:30 p.m. I was simultaneously, working, blogging, baking and helping my daughter pack for a trip. A glass of wine would have been really, really nice at that point. The good news is that I have had a lot of energy, and I haven’t needed an antacid in awhile. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to throw caution to the wind and eat poorly, and then feel horrible post binge. This is forcing me to stay the course, even during a tough week. Things calm down next Thursday, and I finish Whole30 the following week.

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On Friday night, I wrapped up with the knowledge that it was going to be  a working weekend. The weather was beautiful, and it was a great night to go for a walk, grab some dinner and a glass of wine to unwind. Trying to find a place where I can eat was not the easiest task,  but not impossible. I just had to be “one of those people” who makes special requests. The wine, was, sadly not possible. And I really, really wanted that glass of wine. Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad!

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So far this week, I have made graham crackers and marshmallows for s’mores, chocolate marble cheesecake brownies, and fortune cookies for Indigo Jones Eats. I am developing recipes to go with Pinkberry’s new summer flavors, and I  experimented with graham cracker crust mini frozen yogurt cakes with a strawberry coulis, and freeform cookie cups, with blueberry frozen yogurt and a blueberry sauce. (Recipes coming soon to the blog!) I did not lick a spoon, or taste a crumb, let alone indulge in anything more than that early squirt of Sriracha.  I had to rely on expertise and instinct in my cooking, rather than being able to taste and perfect as I go along. I know this is a good thing, as those little tastes tend to add up, and trigger cravings that make me go “off the rails” a bit.

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Twenty one days down, nine to go! This coming week involves three all-day meetings where it may be difficult to eat a compliant lunch, and awkward to bring my own. I am armed with lots of vegetables and fruits to keep things easy. Stay tuned…this could be interesting!

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