Posts Tagged ‘Food’

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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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Eggplant Gender

January 10, 2017

Two Eggplants in Round Bowl, High Angle View

Today’s tip comes from a client of mine who shared a tidbit learned when he studied at the CIA.

( The CIA he is referring to is the Culinary School of America, where he studied to be a chef, not a spy, he quickly pointed out.)

It seems there are both male and female eggplants, and the taste is different among the two genders. Who knew?!

via Plant-based Paradise

via Plant-based Paradise

The female eggplant has a long brownish slit-like indentation at the bottom. The male’s marking is more round. The male eggplant has less seeds and tends to be less bitter, making it a better choice for cooking, especially for dishes that are not heavily sauced.

Thanks for the tip, Bob!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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A Cut Above: Food Cuts

July 13, 2016

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There are lots of ways to cut food; julienne, dice, and chiffonade. You can grate it, shave it, mince it, cube it or brunoise it. Anyway you slice it, food is food, right?
Wrong! The cut of the food plays a role far greater than aesthetics. Cook time, texture, and how the seasoning is absorbed and distributed is effected by the size and shape of it.

A recent article on NPR’s The Salt takes the issue to the experts. Chef Brendan Walsh of the Culinary Institute of America states,”If you put a vegetable that is more rounded in your mouth, your mind is generally going to be thinking about something that has more of a succulence to it. Something cut in squares is going to be a little bit more toothsome, with a jagged edge, and will give the impression of something rugged or tough. Your mind will think something is flavorful if it is smoother.”

Bill Fuller, of the big Burrito Restaurant Group contends that texture and aroma are different depending on how the food is cut.  “Flavor is the taste of what is in your mouth, but it is also partly textural,” he says. “If you slice a radish really thin, you just get the flavor without the snap, pop, crunch, which is really an important part of the radish.” He also states that shape can effect the aroma of the food, which contributes to the flavor. Fuller says, “With a tomato, if you slice it and spread the slices out on a plate, you’re going to get a lot more of the tomato smell than if it’s quartered and piled up,” he says. “So you’re getting a lot of tomato aroma when you eat. I think a wedge of tomato doesn’t taste nearly as good as a slice of tomato.”

Food science plays a big role in aroma. When you cut into a fruit or vegetable, cells are broken open which release an enzyme that produces a chemical reaction. The more you cut the item, the more enzymes you release. For example, the more finely one cuts onions or garlic, the more flavor is released. The size and exposed surface of the food deterimine the cook time, and how much searing, browning or charring will occur.

Whether it is about texture, aroma or how quickly it cooks, the experts clearly agree…it’s time to sharpen up those knife skills to make your meals a cut above the rest!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Asparagus Frites

May 9, 2016

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With spring comes showers, flowers and of course, asparagus. We usually roast ours, often with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. This unrecipe takes our asparagus game up a notch, by coating it with a blend of breadcrumbs and parmesan and baking it until it is crispy and crunchy. The best news is that because they are baked and not fried, they still maintain their healthy status!

oven fried asparagus

Asparagus Frites:

Wash the asparagus and trim off the tough ends of the stalk.

Cover a baking pan with parchment, and spray or brush it with olive oil.

Prepare 3 dishes for breading: 1 with flour, 1 with an egg whisked with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and another with breadcrumbs ( you can use regular, whole wheat or panko, a Japanese bread crumb, or a mixture of both) blended with an equal amount of grated parmesan cheese, and a little salt and black pepper to taste.

Roll each asparagus spear first in the flour, then the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumb / parmesan mixture. Place the breaded asparagus on the prepared pan and spray with olive oil.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, turning after 8-10 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven when they are golden brown and cripsy. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste, and enjoy!

For a more decadent experience, dip them in lemony hollandaise sauce!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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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!!

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Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Portion Planning

November 10, 2015

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When planning Thanksgiving, it is always difficult to figure out just how much to make of each item. With so many delicious side dishes stealing the show, how much of each is the right amount? We did a little research, and came up with the calculations, so you don’t have to.

Hors d’oeuvres: I struggle with this every year, as I hate for people to fill up on appetizers when the real deal is coming right up. You do need something, so that people aren’t sitting around starving and worse yet, getting drunk before dinner. Consider 3-4 bites per person, or about 3 oz. each for a dip or spread. I often serve shrimp, and some kind of cheese straws or crackers and some spiced nuts to nibble on. I try to keep the preparation simple, since I am already spending two days in the kitchen getting the main meal ready, and don’t want to fuss with appetite spoilers.

Soup: We love to start with a butternut squash or pumpkin soup. The rule of thumb is to make one 8 oz. cup per person, since there is a heavy meal to follow. We serve our soup course in delicate antique teacups and find that is just enough as a prerequisite to the big event.

Turkey: Figure about 1 to 1 -1 /2 pounds per person. Since quite a bit of this is weight comes from bones, this amount should ensure that everyone is well fed and leave you with the requisite leftovers. If the breast meat is the most popular in your home, consider a smaller turkey, and an additional turkey breast to make up the difference. If you buy a boneless breast, consider 8 oz. per person the magic number.

Gravy: Everyone we consulted cautioned against running out of gravy. The Food Network recommends 1/3 cup of gravy per person, and an extra cup for every six people. That means about three cups for every 6 guests.

Potatoes: The quantities varied on this one, so err on the high side if you have potato lovers in the group. Suggestions ranged from 1/2 to 1/3 to even 3/4 pound of potatoes per person. It is probably best to just go with one potato per person regardless of weight. For those giant sweet potatoes and yams, figure 1/2 per person. If you are making both sweet and white potatoes, take that into consideration and err on the smaller amount, as people will likely take a bit of each.

Cranberry Sauce: Our homemade cranberry apple compote, aka Cranberry Jones, is always a hit. Figure 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce per person. We can’t attest to how much of the jellied kind that comes out looking like a can might be consumed.

Stuffing: Figure about 3/4 cups of stuffing for each person. We like to cook some inside the turkey and another batch cooked separately in the oven. People tend to for one or the other, as the consistency is different. The stuffing cooked in the bird is moist, and the other tends to be crisp. To each, his own!

Rolls and biscuits: Go with about 1 1 /2 rolls per person, unless they are homemade, in which case I would consider 2 per person. I usually round it off, depending on the yield of the recipe. For 10 people, 18 rolls or biscuits should be fine.

Salad and Vegetables: With everything else going on, this category seems to get left behind. I always make the mistake of dressing a large salad, only to toss it at the end of the evening. Where I would normally figure a large handful of greens per person, with a couple of extras for good luck, others recommend just one ounce of greens should do the trick. For other vegetables, the magic number seems to be about 4 oz. per person. That means a pound of green beans will feed about 4 guests.

Pies and Cakes: While one pie yeilds about 8 slices, this is the time to aim high. My daughter always requests an extra pumpkin pie for the next day, when she and her grandfather eat it for breakfast. I usually offer a few desserts, but the pies seem to be the highlight on Thanksgiving. For 8-10 guests, make sure to have 2 pies.

With all the dietary issues people have, take that into consideration when planning. The vegetarians won’t touch the turkey, but they will likely consume more of the side dishes. Gluten free types won’t be indulging in rolls, pie or stuffing, but they may make up for it in by eating more of other foods. It is easy to be accommodating, if you plan ahead. While there is plenty to eat regardless of your diet, and I don’t think additional dishes are necessary, it is nice to use vegetable broth in the side dishes instead of chicken broth, if you are hosting vegetarians. One year, I took a scoop of every side dish as I was cooking and made that portion vegan. The guest was very grateful and able to enjoy the foods of the season and feel like they were part of the festivities. Nobody is expecting gluten free pies and breads, but the bulk of the side dishes should be edible for the gluten free crowd. Consider using corn starch instead of flour, or setting aside some gravy before it is thickened to accommodate their diet.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Culinary Medicine

September 11, 2015

 

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The medical community is finally putting their money where their mouths are, by adding culinary medicine classes to the curriculum for doctors in training.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the most important factor in staving off premature death and disease is a proper diet, yet many healthcare professionals don’t understand nutrition well enough to properly dispense dietary advice. For some medical students at the University of  Chicago, that is about to change.

It is recommended that medical students receive 25 hours of nutritional training, yet only about one quarter of the medical schools in the United States offer this program. In Chicago, some students are moonlighting at a top culinary institute to get schooled on healthy eating, through a grant funded pilot program.

The classes begin with a lecture on diet related disease and how to treat it with food, followed by hands on cooking sessions where the budding doctors learn to prepare dishes that they can recommend to their patients. It is hopeful that when doctors fully understand the effect that healthy food has on disease and know how to make a variety of dishes that can prevent or treat various health problems, they will be more likely to share the information with their patients.

It is still in the early stages, but the organizers are looking forward to the day when it becomes part of the required curriculum.

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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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!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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