Monday, December 26, 2011

Food Glorious Food/I Don't Wanna Go On a Diet

Last December I decided to dedicate a year to my own health and fitness. I did jump into a daily exercise routine. I did NOT want to go on a diet! I've done it a bunch of times, and it does not work for me and from what I've heard it doesn't work for MOST people. So, NO diet for me! I love food. I love to read cookbooks, follow food blogs, go to restaurants, and COOK! I am not going to subsist on carrot sticks and lettuce leaves. It's just not going to happen. I am also not going to go hungry. So that said, I did decide I wanted to be more mindful of my food.

I hear you saying "Wow, Erin Rose, you lost 30 pounds last year, imagine what you might have lost if you had gone on a DIET!" Well, yes, I may have lost more than 30 pounds, or I may have thrown a temper tantrum and skipped the whole thing. I do not do well with feeling deprived. I get depressed and feel crabby. Gimmicks and forbidden foods just bug me. I just wanted to eat good food and enjoy cooking for my family and feeling great. So I decided to eat birthday cake at every family birthday, wedding and on my anniversary. Have you met my family? We have a lot of birthdays. I also keep chocolate in the top of my closet and I eat some almost every day.

Treats. Yes, treats! I love cookies, cake, brownies, the new cupcake craze, ice cream, and I'll eat a donut if I have to, but they are not my favorite, well chocolate cake donuts with chocolate icing, OK, I could eat 4 of those. So healthy casseroles aside, I could definitely adjust my diet.....a little. I decided to save treats for special occasions, except for my little chocolate bites.

I raised my family on a diet of homemade soups, casseroles, whole wheat muffins, veggies and a huge stainless steel bread mixing bowl of fresh fruit on the dining room table. So I started with a stable background. However I did get to 222 pounds somehow so..... I decided to take the good in my food world and build on it.

I'm really good at eating fruit. Next year I plan to keep a chart of my apple consumption. I bet I ate 1000 apples during 2011! I usually eat 2-3 a day. I am NOT so good at eating vegetables, so I decided to start there. I love most veggies, but I'm kinda picky about them. I like salads someone else made. My own salads? I don't know, not so great. I like a few raw veggies, but do you get that weird burning feeling on your tongue if you eat too many? I do. I keep lots of frozen veggies in the freezer and they are by far, my best fall back item. I would love to cook fresh vegetables every day, but I leave for work at 7:00 AM, and what with the gym and all, I usually get home at 8:30 or 9:00 PM. It's a long day without much time to cook. My best strategy is to cook lots on the weekend and eat leftovers. It works pretty well.

I adjusted a few things. Sometimes I drive through McDonald's when there's no other option. I used to order a double cheeseburger (no ketchup) with a chocolate shake or a Sprite or both (a girl gets thirsty you know)! Now I order a classic grilled chicken sandwich with no sauce, and an ice water (or two). If I'm going straight home or can sit down, I get the side salad (or two!) with the Newman's Own balsamic vinaigrette. If I get the salad, I drizzle a little of the salad dressing onto the chicken sandwich bun. One packet of salad dressing is enough for 4 salads. The chicken sandwich is a lot more expensive than the burger, but the salad is 99 cents and the water is FREE!

I knew I needed to increase my veggies so who better to ask than the vegetarians. King County Library System has many, many, vegetarian lifestyle and cookbooks. I have gleaned so much good info from them and one book leads to the next as they tend to mention their favorites. I've even bought a few books.

Now for the heresy. I think I know more than all the doctors, dieticians and health gurus. I know, I know, I don't have a big degree and I'm a fattie, but deep down I know I'm right. I may have to eat my words when I stop losing weight and balloon up to 350 pounds, but until then I think I'm right. I believe, to be healthy and to lose weight, you have to eat! No starvation, no going hungry, no counting calories or points, and no restrictions. Just sensible eating. That's it! That's my plan.

So this is what I choose to eat. Lots of fruits and vegetables, a little meat, whole grains, fairly low fat, fairly low sugar, and treats on special occasions. Pretty simple, no big deal. I do need inspiration to figure out what to eat. Who wants a pile of broccoli next to a hunk of chicken breast and a scoop of brown rice? I take Vegetarian Times magazine, I have several year's worth of Eating Well magazine, I have several vegetarian cookbooks (my best one is Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites) and I check out two or three or five or eight cookbooks at a time from the library. I follow a couple of food blogs, notably 101 cookbooks by Heidi Swanson.

I love to eat out, but time and money prohibit all but special occasion dinners out. Thank goodness the menus of restaurants are online. Poppy! Have I mentioned Poppy at the North end of Broadway in Seattle? Yeah, I am in love with Poppy. Please go check out Jerry Traunfeld's (formerly the chef at the Herbfarm in Woodinville) menu. Oh my, oh my! The 10 item thali is inspiring. The whole idea is 9 little dishes, a few bites each with a big Naan (flatbread). I LOVE to copy restaurant meals. I can't usually produce 10 dishes on a particular day, but I can produce a colorful plate with 3-5 delicious veggie dishes next to a casserole or grilled meat. Voila! Poppy, it is not, but using yummy flavors makes a little more interest on my plate. I call it Copy from Poppy, cute huh?

Preamble complete.

The yummy stuff:
Roasted beets with spiced croutons (Copy from Poppy)
Steamed broccoli or asparagus with lemon zest
Microwaved or roasted whole sweet potato with black beans and salsa
Roasted whole onion with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey
Steamed spiced carrots(cinnamon,cumin, and orange)
Mustard carrots with dill
Steamed potatos with green beans, tomatos and garlic
Garbanzos, spinach, garlic and parmesan
Orzo with green herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, and of course garlic with a little olive oil)
Spinach Gratin (Copy from Poppy) they use Swiss Chard
Curried potato, cabbage and garbanzos in a tortilla
Frozen corn tossed with garlic and chili powder

And then there are the soups:
SPLIT PEA!!! (my ultimate favorite)
Lentil with Isernios chicken Italian sausage
Minestrone (tomato based soup with a few veggies but always a green, a bean and a pasta)
Butternut squash creamy soup

There you go. A casserole, a soup and a couple of veggie dishes in the fridge and a bunch of apples, oranges, grapes (I don't eat bananas!) and I am set for the week. What do you think? Am I on a diet? I guess anyone who eats is on a diet, but I don't feel restricted. It's been working for me!


  1. You are an inspiration! I have the desire to cook, but when I have the time, I don't do it! Enjoy your delicious food, exercise, and week off!

  2. I totally agree that salads taste better when OTHER people make them! Here's an idea,... I'll make yours and you make mine! Ü

    Hugs, Suzanne

  3. You updated your blog, not just once, but twice!! I loved reading about your weight loss journey. I do have to say I've benefited from your yummy vegetarian dishes, although you left off your to-die-for brussel sprouts that I couldn't stop eating on Thanksgiving. Usually I'm all about the mashed potatoes, but this year it was definitely those brussel sprouts. You know you're a good cook when you can even get brussel sprouts to taste amazing!!

  4. My Momma is so smart! I love the way you eat, I love the way you cook and I love that you have taught me to eat and cook in the same manner! Good cooks of the world UNITE. And Emily is right, those brussel sprouts are addicting. I have made them three times since Thanksgiving!

  5. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)