Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Foodiness

Archive for the tag “diet”

Sometimes life gets in the way

Whoa. I’ll be honest, I knew it had been a while since I’d posted something, I did. but I didn’t realize it had been quite this long–two and a half weeks is quite a gap.

I’d like to explain. You see, I’m coming to the end of what may be the busiest month of my life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m involved in theater and am currently in production for a cabaret-style show going up TOMORROW NIGHT! (Yikes!) Needless to say, that has encompassed an exorbitant amount of my time lately. One of my best friends from college also got married last weekend, and so wedding preparations and travel also added to my load. The last few weeks have been meticulously organized, with every minute of my days after I leave the office planned out.

Unfortunately, this kind of overload does not leave much time for culinary explorations, or even food shopping for that manner. So, I have been largely subsiding on frozen meals, take out and the occasional vegetarian treat from the cafe down the street from my office. The quantity, overall, as well, has often been minimal.

This feels like a dirty, dark confession from a self-proclaimed foodie and food blogger, but nonetheless, it is life. Sometimes we’ve all been just too swamped to sit down and prepare a delicious healthy meal or savor a wonderfully prepared dinner from our favorite restaurant.

I’ve been trying to get better about making something out of nothing–that is, looking in the fridge and pantry and trying to assemble a meal from what’s there, but it’s been pretty scant–perhaps I just lack the creativity and inspiration to create a fantastic meal out of deli ham, greek yogurt and plums. (Seriously, though, if anyone has suggestions I’d love to hear them! Let’s get creative, folks!)

Now that the weather’s warming up (though that’s a relative statement–it’s been an unseasonably warm winter) I’m getting inspired to expand my culinary repertoire.  I don’t know the first thing about gardening, but I want to grow fresh herbs. And I want to have picnics by the water. And I really can’t wait to bust out the grill again.

But right now I’m just trying to get through opening and closing night, so if that means subsiding on pizza, Kind bars and alcohol for the rest of the weekend, so be it. We all deserve it sometimes, after all.

But this situation has inspired me–what is your biggest gastronomical “sin?” I’ve actually had a double-whammy this month (whoa baby, I’m gonna be in trouble for this one):

  • First, the wedding prep. I borrowed a gorgeous dress from my younger sister for my friend’s wedding. But my sister is skinnier and narrower than me, so the dress just fit. Therefore, I was determined to drop a couple of pounds by the wedding so I could actually have some wiggle room in the dress. (Because, come on, I wanted to EAT! Is there any doubt about that one?) So the last two weeks were focused on a high-water, low-sodium diet culminating in a week where I ate a LOT of celery, yogurt and peanut butter and drank a ton of peppermint tea. Result? The dress fit with room to spare and I admittedly (and probably expectedly) gorged myself at the wedding. (Cocktail hour was mostly great with a few misses, same with the Viennese dessert table. The actual dinner? Barely touched it, didn’t even need it.) Fun note: By the end of the night, I indirectly got the entire bridal party drinking French martinis–and I wasn’t even in the bridal party! Such a trendsetter I am.
  • The second one’s no secret–the aftermath of the wedding diet resulted in me laxing up even a little more than usual on what I eat. I tend to try to stay pretty healthy with obvious and acceptable exceptions here and there. This week wasn’t awful, but more exceptions than I usually make. Plus, living off of frozen and drive-through food isn’t the healthiest, no matter which way you slice it (and definitely the antithesis to my low-sodium kick of the past weeks.)

However, we all do it, and we all recover. When life gives you lemons, sometimes you have no choice but to make really sweet, terrible-for-you lemonade. And you know what? You enjoy it.

**So tell me–what’s your biggest gastronomic offense? Trust me, I’m in no position to judge!**

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Eat This, Not That: An Ode to Dave Zinczenko

Cover of "Eat This, Not That! Thousands o...

Cover via Amazon

While I’m somewhat of a foodie, in my day-to-day life I do try to keep a heavy emphasis on nutrition, but I’m not a dieter. I simply try to lead a healthy lifestyle, eating the healthiest foods I can and making healthy swaps, like the ones frequently highlighted in Eat This, Not That.

Eat This, Not That is the brainchild of the editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and Women’s Health, Dave Zinczenko. In addition to the Web site, Zinczenko has written several books, as well as multiple variations including Cook This, Not That and Drink This, Not That.

Zinczenko takes an unconventional, but simple approach to weight loss and healthy eating:

” Smart weight loss isn’t about starving yourself, or eating only grapefruit and tofu, or running everything you eat through a juicer (which really ruins the pizza experience, by the way). The smart path to weight loss is about smart choices—choices you make every day. With Eat This, Not That!, those choices just got easier…

A diet only works if you have control over what, how, and when you’re eating. And as you well know, most of the time, you don’t have control. Sure, you can cook your own dinner. You can brown-bag your own lunch. You can spoon yourself some yogurt in the morning and eat a healthy snack before bedtime. (And yes, there ARE healthy and delicious snacks to eat before bedtime.) But you can’t control what’s on offer at the office cafeteria (unless you own the company), or what’s being served at Mom’s house for Thanksgiving (unless you’re Mom). And you can’t stand in the kitchen at Olive Garden or Mickey D’s and tell the chef to go easier on the vegetable oil, either.”

Eat This, Not That offers food and beverage swaps for restaurant chains all over the country to help provide healthier eating options without complete deprivation. It is the self-proclaimed “No-diet diet,” and that sounds good to me.

I’m somewhat in love with Eat This, Not That and its variations, and I read Zinczenko’s tips by the Twitter feed-full. Besides the basic swaps, he offers health and nutrition advice, like the more broad, lifestyle-driven “20 Habits Skinny People Live By” and its counterpart, “20 Habits That Make You Fat.” While I don’t agree with everything he says, (for instance, skinny habit number three is to “eat a boring diet,” but I wholeheartedly believe healthy does not have to equal boring. After all, variety is the spice of life.) his overall advice is great and focuses more on small, manageable lifestyle changes rather than strict, impossible-to-stick-to diets. He takes the healthier, more long-lasting approach of eating an overall (relatively) healthy diet rather than get-thin-quick fad diets.

Besides, any “diet” than encourages eating dessert is a-O.K. in my book.

Zinczenko acknowledges that one habit that promotes weight loss is regularly reading nutrition and fitness tips. So follow him on Twitter and follow Eat This, Not That. Consider that step one. That was easy.

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