Over the past month, I have embarked on a healthier, fresher diet. For moral support (and also because he is more talented in cooking) I have insisted that my boyfriend join me on this journey. I am a firm believer that summer or autumn is the best time to introduce healthy changes. The days are longer and the weather is mild so there is less of an impulse to seek comfort, whether that be a duvet or box of cookies.
Removing pasta, rice, bread, cereal, potatoes and corn from our meals has been surprisingly easy. I had convinced myself that no matter what was being served, I would need a “base” of penne or rice or mash to accompany it. I couldn’t be more wrong. Cooked spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggs or even the lowly greens are all delicious on their own or in a stir-fry upon which you can lay some fish, tofu or meat.
I have rediscovered an addiction to avocado and beetroot, although I couldn’t eat beetroot every morning. Romaine lettuce is my favourite for tuna salad or smoked salmon, it’s crispy and sweet to perfect proportions. I have it chopped into little strips which somehow makes it so much more appetising than leaving it in giant folds and much more manageable.
Unexpectedly, removing the “bad” carbs also makes it much healthier in terms of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the main culprit being potatoes. Before it was a regular in my routine and inevitably it would be baked, roasted or fried which in terms of TCM energetics contributes a lot to give the meal more “heat”. Now our meals tend to be steamed or stir-fried, with some meat cooked in on a really hot pan or wok with little or no oil.
The time it takes to plan the meals has probably been the hardest thing to work into our lives. Preparing the food required an almost military strategy when before I used to just stroll into the kitchen and pour muesli and milk into a bowl. We have had to not just ensure we have breakfast ready in the early morning rush, but also so that we minimize waste. When you rely on vegetables so much more (now that there is no more macaroni and cheese nights) means that I’m at the shops more often during the week than I would like. Surprisingly, we have not had to throw anything out since our month-long experiment began, whereas before there was the occasional bag of moldy something that had lost its enticement contest to the lovely slice of cheesecake.
This was meant to be just a month of sensible detox after my slight splurge on cake products (I blame it on my birthday) and yesterday I survived my first outing to a restaurant where I hadn’t pre-checked the menu. Besides the small scoops of mash with my scallops it wasn’t that hard to negotiate the menu. I am ready to continue on so that when January rolls around, I am well and ahead of the typical “New Year Resolutions” pitfalls.
Have you tried an change to your diet and how did it go for you?
Photo credit: Ben Ostrowsky via flickr
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