Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spices and Seasonings: Kind of Important

I've never really been into herbs and spices. The closest I ever came to actually seasoning something was when I put oregano on my pasta. I just didn't understand the point, and I hated having to floss when the damn herbs got caught in my teeth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Watch Food Inc!

So as many know, Food Inc was my inspiration to begin this food journey that I'm on. I know a lot of people are busy or don't want to take the time or money to rent the movie, but I think it's so important to see. Luckily, PBS is showing free online for the next few days. This is something that I think is so important to see, and it will at least get you to think about what you're putting into your body.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Farmers Markets > Supermarkets

There were no strawberries at the first Thanksgiving. Wild New England cranberries, perhaps. Strawberries, no. The Pilgrims naturally worked with local produce and what was in season. So did our grandparents and more remote ancestors. Tomatoes in December? Try South America. Canning and mass global distribution of produce have conditioned us to expect food all year round. I myself have been beguiled by the engineered good looks of off-season produce, but one taste of cardboard is enough to send me reaching for my napkin to expel the offending counterfeit. Nothing is more flavorless than a supermarket tomato in winter, but a true vine-ripened specimen in summer is nothing short of divine.

If there's one thing that's become apparent, either through Mireille Guiliano or Michael Pollan, it's that shopping in supermarkets simply won't suffice. Which is unfortunate since our cities and suburbs are designed for everyone to drive to their giant grocery store in their giant SUVs and buy enough processed foods to last for a month.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Recipe of the Moment: Asparagus Flan

This recipe is based on Mirielle's recipe of the same name. Oddly enough, I didn't change much from the original.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recipe of the Moment: Cheese-Roasted Broccoli

This recipe is dedicated with love to my good friend's recipe Paremsan-Roasted Broccoli. As with anything I do, I had to change things up a bit since I don't feel like buying the ingredients I don't have. I loved this recipe, and so did the people I'm staying with, so hopefully you will too!

"If washing an extra plate seems a bother, how does it compare with getting fat?"

I've already discussed how difficult it was for me to eat less. Mireille also has her sections on how you should eat less and stick to three meals a day. She also introduced the idea of courses to me.

I generally only think of courses as things in fancy restaurants. Sometimes I would groan because I wasn't sure how I could manage to eat a salad with heavy dressing, a giant pasta dish, and then a chocolate dessert. But even though I was worried about my stomach exploding, I always managed to eat everything and enjoy it. This was not the same thing.

The French word menu not only means "bill of fare," for which la carte is the more common term in France, but also "little"; and by its use in relation to food, we mean to suggest our sense of small offerings. The essence of French gastronomy is to have a little of several things rather than a lot of one or two.

Let us consider the French plate. It's strange for us to have a whole meal on one dish, stranger still to see any plate covered with food. The arrangement of a course in the center of a plate is part of French enjoyment. Changing plates not only compels you to concentrate on what you are enjoying at that moment, it slows the meal down, improving digestion and promoting contentment. The faster you eat, the more you'll need. If washing an extra plate seems a bother, how does it compare with getting fat?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Superbowl Adventures aka Why I Decided to Not (Totally) Gorge Myself

I had been on my healthy eating kick for 2-3 weeks when an event came up that worried me: the Superbowl.

I was doing so well in my attempts to be healthy, and I had almost figured out when I was hungry and when I should stop eating. I had even taken a free cooking class at The Green Grocer, a Chicago based grocery store specializing in organic and locally produced foods, to get more ideas about healthy cooking.

Recipe of the Moment: Mango Guacamole

Most people become very suspicious when guacamole is changed. Especially when you add fruit in it. I understand their concerns. I had them as well. Plus, I wasn't a huge fan of guacamole in general. But when I tried mango guacamole at my free cooking class, I loved it. So did everyone else who tried it. This was my first real attempt at preparing food from scratch. I admit, I had to have someone supervise me, and I had to have my supervisor figure out what was missing from the original recipe. But other than that, it was all me!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Don't forget: 8 Glasses Each Day!

Whoever said that drinking a glass of water before a meal (or whenever you're hungry) will ease the hunger pains lied. I tried it, and drinking a full glass quickly just makes me feel bloated.

I started drinking a lot of water though. I had a full glass in the morning (since sleeping dehydrates you), and I would attempt to drink one full glass, about the size of a Silo cup, every hour. It wasn't that I planned to drink one every hour, it was that when I started drinking more water, I started getting really thirsty. Not sure why.

And yes, this meant I had to go to the bathroom almost once an hour. But I found that I didn't mind that much because it was good to get up and walk around instead of sitting at my desk.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Round Up the Usual Suspects"

During my fast, I was supposed to meditate on all the reasons I was unhealthy and figure out why I wanted to change. I didn't think too long. I knew I wasn't doing it for someone or something (like the black dress I bought over Christmas), I was doing it for me. I was tired of being unhealthy, it's as simple as that. (Plus, I was slightly horrified by what was happening to my food.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Version of a Fast.

So a big part of French Women Don't Get Fat are stories from Mireille Guiliano's childhood, as well as stories about her friends. She starts off explaining how she came to America to study as a student (and again when she studied in Paris) and became overweight. I'm sure her story is one that many people can relate to: a love affair with chocolate and pastries. She has this wonderful doctor (whom she refers to as Dr. Miracle) who gives her all sorts of advice about what to do. He also sounds a bit like a psychologist... I'm pretty sure my doctor would just tell me to go on a diet and move on to the next room. Maybe prescribe some diet pills, I don't know.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Opting in to the French Paradox.

So after Michael Pollan told me everything I've ever eaten was wrong, I decided I needed to start over, adopt a French grandmother and learn to cook.

I researched quite a few French cookbooks before deciding on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.* Apparently the woman knows what she's talking about.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Don't Eat Too Much.

So the whole message of Food Rules in a nutshells is this: Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. In the first two posts about the book, I mentioned that finding real food and eating leaves were incredibly difficult. I suppose they were, but the third section was by far the hardest for me. It turns out I eat a lot, and my body didn't like it when I tried to stop. Most of these rules basically say the same thing, so I'm grouping a lot of them together.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eat Food. Mostly Plants.

So while you can't really go wrong when you're eating real foods, it turns out that some foods are better for you than others. This section is probably the hardest for me. It tells me to eat things that I don't mind eating, but aren't my favorite. But since I've cut out 90% of the things I was previously eating, I had to eat something. A lot of the rules in this section I've heard before and ignored, so I'm leaving out some of the common ones (especially since I'm still ignoring them!).