Friday, November 28, 2008

Eat what you love...and move on with it

I’ve always been a healthy eater. Hence, when I do choose to have a treat or something “bad” for me, I naturally feel guilty about it later. I say to myself, “Why did I HAVE to eat that?” or
“Why couldn’t I have just grabbed some fruit instead if I was still hungry?”

But the thing is: the times I did force myself to hold back, I never felt fulfilled. I just knew there was something missing.

Therefore, this Thanksgiving I decided to treat myself, but not overload. Rather, I would treat myself to the dishes I absolutely needed to have, those that I truly love. You know those to-die-for dishes you look forward to each and every year. And of course, I loaded up on my dad’s delicious protein filled turkey as usual.

But, I skipped the fat laden string bean casserole this year ‘cause yes, it’s good and all, but do I truly love it? I decided, no, my taste buds (and stomach) could do without it this Turkey Day. And I also passed on the mashed potatoes, and chose sweet potatoes instead-just as fulfilling with a sweet, healthy touch as well.

And at last, I took a nice reasonable scoop of my aunt’s famous broccoli casserole. While it may be loaded with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs, it’s something I anticipate every year, and there would be no way I’d deprive myself of that joy.

For dessert, I treated myself to two mini chocolate coconut macaroons and the teeniest sliver of pumpkin pie cheese cake (just enough to saver the taste). And that was it: I was finished and satisfied.

The best thing about this year’s Thanksgiving was that I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. Yes, I felt a little bloated, but I felt pleasantly full and knew I’d get back on the healthy track the next day.
So, the lesson learned is that it’s very well possible to treat yourself to what you love, and still feel good about every bite you take, on every occasion-not just Thanksgiving.
And the funniest part is that I was too busy enjoying my "treats" and being happy, that I was actually 2 pounds less this morning! Funny how things work how when you’re not stressing over food…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre Turkey-Day Prep (the healthy way)

Well it’s Thanksgiving eve and you know what that means-cleaning, cooking, shopping, cooking, and did I mention cooking?

While the eve of Thanksgiving may be one of the biggest bar nights of the year and a highly anticipated night for many, I find myself slaving away in the kitchen-and I’m actually proud of it.

Since Thanksgiving is all about eating (and yes, family and giving thanks too), what better to do than spend the night cooking in the kitchen?

And no, I’m not talking about the usual mashed potatoes drenched in 5 sticks of butter or grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. While those dishes are delectable indeed, I decided to make our Thanksgiving feast a tad healthier this year, just a little bit “cleaner.”

Don’t get me wrong: my family will devour the broccoli cheddar casserole within minutes and the homemade cheese cake won’t stand a chance of surviving very long, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be healthier options as well-to go along with the traditional artery clogging favorites.

That’s why I experimented this year with some new recipes, which are both healthy and thoroughly enjoyable, and which I hope my family agrees.

*First of all, I suggested a fruit platter this year, with fresh mangos, pears and cantaloupe to munch on pre-feast. Instead of the usual salty, fatty chips and dips, guest can fill up on healthy fruit, both satisfying and high in good-for-you antioxidants.

*Without saying, I now needed a leaner side-dish, so I chose a sweet potato pie, but not your usual fat packed one. Rather, I made a gluten free, dairy free sweet potato pie with eggs, sweet potatoes, soy milk and half the amount of sugar the original recipe usually calls for. Hopefully people will enjoy it as much as I will!

*Lastly, what’s a dinner without dessert? In addition to the typical cheese cakes, oversized chocolate chip cookies and pies (literally in every type you can think of) I decided to change it up this year with homemade chocolate coconut macaroons. I modified the traditional recipe, using only agave syrup (a great substitute for sugar when baking), shredded coconut, egg whites and Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips(which contains no milk and is much healthier for you than using milk chocolate).

So while Thanksgiving is truly about giving thanks and being with family, what better way to celebrate than adding an extra healthy touch…even if it is just a little modification?

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What ever happened to pleasing the customer?

The other day, I was venturing off to yet another day at the library to study for my law exam. And, knowing me and the caffeine addict that I am, I stopped to get some coffee before my day in "jail."

However, my morning coffee dose wasn't nearly as pleasant as I would have expected. In fact, it turned in to a complete horror story.

Well, I decided to go to Sheetz, the little gas station/convenience store down the road, and I ordered a standard iced coffee with soy milk-no extra sugar, no extra cream, no extra whip, just plain coffee, or so I thought.

I even mentioned to the girl making it ahead of time, "Please don't add too much milk. I just want plain coffee. Thanks."

I thought I was being polite, at least.

But when I took the ever-so anticipated sip of my morning java, it came as quite a surprise-straight up sugar would be an understatement. In fact, I couldn't even taste a hint of coffee.

So, I asked politely if I could have another one made, explaining my sensitivity to really sweet food, and my dietary needs. Normally, this would be no problem: after all food venues should please the customers, right?

Well, not today. Rather, she was rude to me and told me I should have ordered a plain coffee, and she said that the unnecessary sweetness was "how they make it here."

I guess the lesson learned for all of us is that we can't always trust restaurants/fast food joints/etc. to make it "our way." Best bet: next time save your money and make your food the way you like it at home.