Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pleasure Trap, a.k.a. STAY AWAY FROM THE CHIPS!

I know I have BIG issues with certain foods (and drinks, I might add). You know the saying with potato chips, right? Can't eat just one. And that is really the case with me. I cannot have just one chip. I need the whole package, no matter the package size.  But let's take it a bit further. Here are some other foods/drinks I cannot stop shoveling into my mouth once I get a taste:

kalbi
black jelly beans (I know, gross right?)
candied ginger (or any ginger product)
buttered popcorn w/ arare
pecan pie (let me add coconut pie to that mix)
a great martini or margarita or mojito
squid luau
shrimp tempura

I could go on and on. But these are some major culprits.  Now take a look at them. Each one is either filled with sugar or fat. Or a combination of the two (kalbi and pecan pie are two fine examples that also contain a good amount of salt...the evil trifecta: salt, sugar, fat).

I was reminded of the evils of these trigger foods of mine when I read this article by Jeff Novick. In it he talks about whole, natural foods vs. processed foods and how whole/natural doesn't always equate to good for you. The reading also reminded me of this great youtube video featuring The Pleasure Trap author, Douglas Lisle. Many times, even though you may KNOW the truth, re-reading and re-watching helps you to kick things into gear again.

So no more preparing homemade corned beef hash with a side of hollandaise sauce (who would have known it was so easy to make?) for breakfast or shrimp scampi with tons of garlic for dinner. The pleasure trap will definitely kick into gear because butter is like cocaine to me.


Yes, it looks so delicious and yes, it is a special treat and we all deserve special treats once in a while. But this led to a mimosa and then some salami and a delicious artichoke dip and some shrimp scampi and, oh yes, that is a beautiful spinach salad but the scallops looks so much better! And the madness just continues. So into the trash goes that box of chocolates and down the sink goes the rest of the champagne. I know I am addicted to crap so I will just attempt to keep it out of my reach.

Butter, anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Itʻs All About the Dressing

Dr. Fuhrman, author of the famed Eat to Live book, says to EAT THE SALAD FIRST. I have not adhered to that mantra. I have the magnet on my fridge (two separate ones) and yet I still neglected that all important rule. For me, I don't mind salad and if there are lots of special goodies to go with it, I actually love it. But put anything else on my plate and I will go to it first. And that has got to stop.

In the beginning of my plant strong journey the key to enjoying my salad was a good salad dressing. I blogged about it a couple of times here and here. As time went on what I found was that the salad dressing, while important, became less so. I could actually eat the greens sans dressing, especially if I had a lot of added goodies but usually I needed something to spice it up.

And then I went on a trip to Washington. And found the answer to my dreams: the most delicious vinegars that absolutely wake up my taste buds! I stumbled upon a quaint little store in the town of Camas and after sampling just about everything in there I walked away with 6 bottles of vinegars that go absolutely GREAT on any salad. in fact, I am SURE they will go great on just about anything (I'm thinking artichokes, brussel sprouts, marinade for grilled veggies, and more). Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars rocked my world. After I had time to calm down I realized that there are other towns out there with similar businesses. A couple of years ago my sister in law sent me a great package from a store in Temecula, CA. Same thing! Olive oil and vinegars!

Might I suggest that you check the area you live in to see if there is such a store. And if there is not, maybe check your nearest specialty food store. I don't want you to go in and buy your typical brand of cheap vinegar of the typical apple cider brand. Get something of good quality. Plain balsamic can be wonderful on its own but flavored it will knock your socks off. Imagine wild blueberry balsamic or chocolate balsamic (yes, chocolate, on your salad, OH YEAH!) or honey ginger.

My school lunch with an itty bitty bottle of tangerine balsamic, perfect size for on the go meals


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When In Rome?

You know the old saying? When in Rome? That saying is coming to mind right now as I sit in an all day meeting on another island. I walk into the meeting and fortunately, in addition to the usual pastries, cream puffs, mochi, and chips there is a basket of fruits and a bowl of cut persimmons. Okay. I'm safe. I left home so early I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast. Saved by the fruits.

In no time, it's lunchtime. Hmmm, what's in store? I glance behind me: white rice (when you've eaten brown rice for SO LONG white rice is almost glaringly white, roast pork with gravy, noodles, and the most delicious looking mochiko chicken. Now of all of that what can I eat?

NOTHING...

So guess what I had for lunch? Yup. Persimmons. And someone brought a delicious bag of steamed 'ulu. So I was saved. But I must admit I glanced behind me several times and pondered the thought...just one small piece of chicken. What harm could come of it? I mean when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? I'm no fool. Well I'm no fool today. I knew that one small infraction could lead to another and another. It's my M.O. Same reason I can't eat potato chips.

So here I sit. Everyone else had salt, oil, meat, and refined carbs for lunch. I had persimmons and 'ulu. And I feel great. I'm gonna live.

Heck I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

Update: On the way to the airport, with some time to kill, I stopped at Whole Foods and made myself the most delicious green salad with tons of "stuff" on top. Totally worth the wait.

What are some of your challenges? Do you have a strategy to overcome?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

SAD No More

SAD = Standard American Diet. Read into that: an overabundance of fat, sugar, and salt and a minimal amount, if any, of whole plant foods.
     My mantra for the next six weeks (and longer) is: fruits, veggies, beans, and a few whole grains and nuts thrown in. I don't want to be sad no more.
     So seeing as how I like to do things on the FIRST (hence, December 1), I am now on day 2. Whoop. Dee. Doo. I have a huge challenge in front of me. 1) PMS. 2) Getting over what the doc thought might be pneumonia (so he finally gave me antibiotics). 3) marathon one week from today. Yup. 26.2 miles. On foot. I can barely climb a flight of stairs right now, I get so winded. 4) I missed a whole weeks worth of work so I got a whole lotta work to do (message: stress eating). And I think that's it. Hey, that's not bad!!!
     Just a couple things I'm allowing myself this time around: 1-2 cups of coffee a day if I feel like it, but it has to be black. A bit of honey in my oatmeal if I feel like it. And seafood, but not fried (I live in Hawai'i for goodness sake. MY PEOPLE EAT SEAFOOD! But no fried kole for me).
     Non negotiables: I absolutely will not consume any candy, ice cream (or other dairy products including cheese), meat (yup, even kalbi), or alcohol (oooh, that's a tough one...through the new year! Maybe just red wine, and only AFTER dinner and not before).
     While I don't have any new recipes to share with you, I can share you a few pics of what nutritional food is healing my body this weekend!

Frozen organic blueberries (Costco), unsweetened cocoa powder (Trader Joe's), a few dates, a few lettuce leaves, and organic soy milk

Quinoa (with cranberries, cilantro, toasted almond slivers), vine ripened tomatoes, and an indian curry (sauce from TJs, carrots, onions, celery, cilantro, and garbanzo beans)

Coach's Oats (w/ mac nut bits, cacao nibs, cranberries and a hint of honey)

I could eat salad all day everyday if I had tons of fixins--here is what I prepped: onions, mini peppers, olives, beets, tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans, cranberries and toasted sliver almonds

Organic baby romaine (bought at the Waimea Open Market)

Had two bowls full - I used a fig balsami dressing from Navidi's (best vinegars EVER!)
     What I've re-learned: Simple can be good. Hard to overeat when you eat a plant strong diet. It helps to have friends, near or far, joining in on the fun. It isn't about losing weight, it's about getting healthy. Losing weight is just a side benefit! Bon Appetit!