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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

The other day, I ran across this Chinese proverb:

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.

While this concept is something I’ve always known, I never gave it much thought until I saw it in writing. Maybe it stuck with me because I had just gone for seconds of an Asian cashew dish I’d made, and within 3 bites of the second helping the flavor I had found so irresistible had suddenly become revolting.

For days the proverb rolled through my mind. Such a simple way to say, “don’t overeat,” but with more conviction, more reason.

I should confess that I have an addiction to food. More specifically, I have an addiction to the taste of food. If something doesn’t taste sigh-worthy delicious, I won’t eat it. But when it does induce sighs of pleasure and little dances of happiness, I will not stop eating it until I’m stuffed. All other senses disappear and I get consumed (no pun intended) by the rich or salty or sweet or simply decadently wonderful flavor of the food, always having to have just one more bite…and then another…and another…until I’ve eaten double or even triple a sensible portion size to get that next fix of fabulous flavor.

While there is the occasional binge on junk food, most of the time these flavor binges are on meals made from whole ingredients. That’s what makes the flavor so irresistibly good! Luckily, binges on brown rice (drizzled with a sesame sauce), tofu (topped with cashews and green onions), pasta salad (made from whole wheat pasta and fresh zucchini and carrots and locally made beef smoked sausage), and other such kitchen creations carry some of the benefits of whole foods. If I were binging on refined grains and fast food, I wouldn’t be able to maintain an ideal weight – or my health. Regardless of how nutritious the food is, too much of anything is a bad thing. A swollen belly from too much tofu and vegetable stir-fry is no more attractive than a swollen belly from too much hamburger and french fries. Trust me. Too much of any food can cause heartburn and knock your body’s metabolism out of whack. And even though I don’t blow a day’s worth of calories on one meal (except the occasional movie theater popcorn), I still eat more food (and calories) than my body needs. And now we know why no matter how much I work out, I never loose those last 5 pounds.

With this lovely little proverb stuck in my head, I began paying attention to the portion sizes on my plate. And by the end of last week I’d lost 1.5 pounds. Really?! I couldn’t believe it!

Obviously, that last stubborn 5 pounds of “I got married” weight could be lost! This week I’ve taken it a step further and established a daily caloric-intake goal (gasp!). I’ve been adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying calories based on amounts of the ingredients in my food – and I’m recording them (in an excel food log…). And there’s more! I color-coded the foods on my food log, to see at a quick glance what I needed to increase (fruits, veggies, whole grains), decrease (sugar, oils, dressings, fats, refined grains), and maintain (low-fat dairy, meat and protein). Could I get any more OCD after reading one little proverb?

But you know what I’ve noticed? Apples are really sweet and pair perfectly with roasted almond butter, espresso has a deeper flavor with less cream, fish is tastier sauteed in lime juice than olive oil when being served in warm tortillas, and dessert is extra special in small packages.

I’m not on a diet. I’ve restricted no food. There will still be bacon crisped, cupcakes baked, and pizza made in my kitchen. I’ve simply downsized the mega portions to normal portions. I’m combating my addiction to the taste of food by savoring the flavors and putting down the fork or spoon when that magic calorie number hits. No more swollen belly from gorging every last bite of flavor until it’s gone. No more “I ate how many chips with that salsa?!” guilt. No more foods rendered too distasteful to look at after gluttony robbed them of their complex and delicious flavors.

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor. ~ Chinese Proverb

Sliced Apple

Sample of my excel food log (PDF)
*Calorie counts from this website and labels on the foods in my kitchen; may not be exact

My food log, pg. 2, goals (PDF)
* I used this web page to calculate my BMR (basal metabolic rate), and this one to calculate BMI (body mass index)

Have you ever heard of an addiction to the taste of food?

Have you ever seen a random quote or proverb in passing that stuck with you so profoundly that it sparked a change in your behavior?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Gala Apples

Today at lunch, I made the girls apple pie smoothies.

I had 5 Gala apples that needed to be used today, a girl who’s been sick to her stomach for days who needed nutrients, and another who deserved something sweet just because. Heck, I needed something sweet just because.

APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE
Apple Pie Smoothie (downloadable PDF)

  • Core and chop 5 small Gala apples into large chunks, leaving the skin on if desired.
  • Place apples in blender, add about 1 – 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain soy milk.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon almond butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • Blend again until smooth, adjusting cinnamon and honey to taste.

Sliced Apple

I must admit, this was really, really yummy. So yummy, we devoured it without taking any pictures of it. Tasted like apple pie in smoothie form. That sweet little girl who deserved something sweet just because? She loved it. And she loved it so much that she was inspired to make her own snack later, with some supervision 😉

She mixed Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, juice of one lime, and 4 sliced strawberries. Love it! I may not get Mother’s Day since I’m not their mom, but I did get them today. And today I fed them sweet, wholesome, good-for-them food that elicited some pretty sweet smiles from two sweet girls.

Gala Apples

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Penne with Spiced Tomato-Pecan Sauce

I love pasta. I’m a carb kinda gal. Tomatoes, garlic, and basil spiced with cayenne is always good. And for a Texas flare, a little added fresh chopped pecans. Topped with shredded Parmesan, and I had dinner.

Tonight's Dinner Ingredients

PENNE WITH SPICED TOMATO-PECAN SAUCE
Printer Friendly Version: Penne with Spiced Tomato Pecan Sauce

  • Fill a 6-quart pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • While the water heats, chop 3 Roma tomatoes.
  • Heat 4 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat in large deep skillet.
  • Add 3 large cloves minced garlic, and salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Let simmer about 10 minutes or until water is boiling and ready for the pasta.
  • Add 16 ounces whole wheat penne to boiling water, bring back to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Continue simmering the tomato sauce, adding cayenne pepper to taste – you want the sauce to have a kick.
  • When the pasta only has a few more minutes and the tomato sauce has thickened, add 1 1/2 handfuls chopped pecans to the sauce, stir, and add two spoonfuls of the pasta water to the sauce to thin.
  • Let the pasta sauce continue to cook while the pasta finished cooking.
  • Drain the pasta and pour the tomato-pecan sauce over the pasta.
  • Toss to coat the pasta with sauce.
  • Add 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
  • Serve pasta topped with additional shredded Parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.

Finished off with brownies and some espresso for dessert, and I was one happy girl. The brownies were from a mix that was made of whole wheat flour, egg white, stevia, and other pronounceable, whole, real ingredients.

Brownies

After hubby and his best friend returned from happy hour, they both inhaled a large bowl each of the pasta, mumbling praise at my cooking between bites. 🙂

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Chilequiles with sides

Last Monday, we went out for Tex-Mex with our neighbors to celebrate one of their birthdays. I had chilaquiles con rajas and was in heaven. I have been craving that dish since, but couldn’t bring myself to go to the restaurant for the super heavy and fattening meal for the sake of my waistline. Instead, I made my own version at home for lunch today, and it satisfied my craving. Plus, I have leftovers for lunch a couple more days this week! 😉

CHILAQUILES CON RAJAS:
Printer-Friendly Recipe: Chilaquiles con Rajas

PREHEAT YOUR BROILER.

SAUCE:

  • Husk and rinse 8 tomatillos.
  • Place in medium saucepan with 1 Serrano chile and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Spoon tomatillos into food processor with about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the saucepan. Discard remaining liquid once no more is needed after the pureeing process.
  • Cut stem off Serrano chile and add to processor.
  • Add 2 large cloves garlic.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Pour tomatillo sauce back into saucepan.
  • Add 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Tomatillos

RAJAS:

  • In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Add 1/2 julienne-cut yellow onion and cook until it starts to caramelize.
  • Add 1 7.5-ounce can of poblano pepper strips and 3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, and continue to heat on low, stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1 large clove minced garlic and salt to taste. Set aside.

TORTILLAS:

  • In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  • Cut 20 white corn tortillas in half, then each half into about 5 strips.
  • Toss 1/3 of the strips in the oil and cook until brown and crisp, stirring frequently.
  • Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining strips, adding more oil as needed.

ASSEMBLY:

  • Ladle a thin layer of sauce in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Top with 1/2 of the tortilla strips, 1/2 of the rajas mixture, a sprinkle of low-fat shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (your desired amount), and 1/2 of the sauce.
  • Repeat one more layer, ending with the sauce.
  • Place in broiler and cook until sauce is bubbly and tops of tortilla strips showing turn deep brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Chilequiles

Serve with refried beans (I bought a can of nonfat refried beans and heated with a little added water to keep them smooth), and shredded iceberg lettuce salad topped with tomatoes.

Chilequiles with sides

Using the nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in the sauce reduces the fat in the recipe. I also use reduced-fat Monterrey Jack cheese, and less of it than the restaurant does. I also added sweet corn because I love the combination of poblano peppers and sweet corn.

Hubby had two helpings of this! I’m so happy I can make this lower fat version at home because I’m totally in love with it and will be making it any time the craving strikes.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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