I have to say, I've enjoyed my foray into the world of blogging. I enjoy writing, and blogging gives me a reason for doing so. I want to do more of it, with a bit more consistency and purpose. But darned if I don't have the hardest time coming up with topics. Except for ONE topic, upon which I can talk and write and think and write and talk for hours on end, which is:
FOOD IS AWESOME. Oh, I love food!!!!
But - don't we all? That's why we're here, right? Because food, glorious food, led us down the path of temptation and encouraged us to stay awhile, like Winnie the Pooh lured by the honey pots in Rabbit's burrow, irresistible! But before you know it, you can't return to the world beyond the rabbit hole... the consequences of yielding to the temptation of food can trap you in.
Food is the enemy. Food is entrapment. Food is out to get you. Food must be denied.
Let me qualify that "no" by agreeing that SOME food really IS out to get you, SOME food really should be denied. Highly processed "food" is manufactured to trigger our basest instincts, while providing us with little nutrition in the bargain. So I'm not talking about that kind of "food" when I say Food is Awesome - mostly because I barely view it as food. It is calories, it is sustenance... and because it is so cleverly constructed it can be compellingly addictive. But it isn't capital-F Food.
But I don't want to focus on these non-foods. I want to talk about FOOD food. The awesome stuff! So I'll leave off on my rant against Industrial Food-like Products with a link to a very good book, highly recommended reading on the matter: Michael Moss's "Salt Sugar Fat": www.amazon.com/Salt-Suga
Now. Back to Awesome Food.
I have been busily reconnecting with food and home-cooking. I've been experimenting with new recipes and trying new ingredients, new cuisines. When I eat out, I've been ordering outside-the-box (but not off the obligatory Lean Menu). For example, I had dinner recently at restaurant with a sort of Italian-West-Coast-Fusion menu... Old Me would have stuck to the familiar lasagne or some other standard-familiar pasta dish. New Me ordered Warm Seafood Salad, "Scallops, prawns & squid sauteed with black beans served on crisp greens with feta cheese." HOLY MOLY was that good! And light, healthful, appropriately portioned. THAT was some Awesome Food!
Last night, I made (for the first time ever) a Tuna Nicoise salad. Canned tuna, sliced cold boiled potatoes, hard boiled egg, olives, over assorted vegetables (lettuce mix, tomatoes, cucumbers) and topped with capers and a tangy vinaigrette laced with dijon mustard and red wine vinegar. BEAUTIFUL!
I pulled the recipe from here: www.foodrepublic.com/201
(with a few modifications based on what ingredients I had on hand, and just how much oil I was willing to put in the dressing). It was so simple to put together (basically, slice the stuff that was in the fridge, and crack open a can of tuna), and so aesthetically appealing... in fact it was almost a creative outlet, assembling it. A Google Image search for "Nicoise" will toss up a hundred different pictures and a hundred different interpretations of how it should be composed on the plate. And was it good? OH YEAH. Ha, my leftover potatoes, an egg and a can of tuna were pretty easy on the pocketbook, but yet (with minimal effort) yielded something that you'd happily pay ten or fifteen bucks for in a restaurant!
Now THAT is some Awesome Food!
I have seen enough people try to "diet" by setting up their relationship with food as if at war, on a battleground. I have seen enough people try to "diet" with approaches such as "if the food tastes terrible you won't be so inclined to overeat." I have seen enough people try to "diet" by substituting flavour with blandness and expecting that their suffering denial-of-enjoyment will earn them a trimmer waistline. "I tried so hard, I gave up so much, I denied myself the things I really wanted! Surely it is only right and fair that I should lose weight!" But - IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT. It is not a game of Sacrifice and Reward.
If anything, the sacrifice part makes it even harder. Because when we give up too much - there comes a day of reckoning, when we rebel.
But surely I am "sacrificing," right? I mean, I've lost 50 pounds in 6 months, you don't get that kind of result without Denial, Sacrifice, Iron-Fisted Control, and "giving up the things you love," right? Well.... I DO sacrifice in the arena of portion size. I eat my Warm Seafood Salad but I pass on the bread. I eat my Nicoise but knock back on the oil and olives a bit. I enjoy my cheese and my ice cream, but only an ounce or a half-cup at a time. And - that's ok. It doesn't FEEL like sacrifice... and why? Because the foods that I am giving myself are so rewarding, so delicious, so appealing, so enjoyable, that I can have my portion and walk away, SATISFIED.
A lifestyle change cannot be grounded in taking-things-away. For me, it's more a matter of giving myself BETTER options. Instead of saying "I can't have that" I will say "instead of that, I could have THIS!" and the result is that, during this so-called "diet" - I am enjoying my food more than I have in a really long time. Appreciating the flavours, the colours, the variety of the seasons, the self-satisfaction of home preparation, the luxurious indulgence of a GOOD restaurant meal...
The less I say "food is the enemy" and the more I say "Food is Awesome" - the better it gets.
I am losing weight by loving food.
Who knew that could happen?