I have reviewed a lot of diet menus lately and I have noticed that most serving sizes call for 4 ozs of protein (beef, chicken, fish or pork, etc).
Initially when affronted with the seemingly small serving size of 4 ozs, I felt gyped. Four ozs! That seems so small. In a world where we are conditioned that bigger is better, where mammoth sized burgers are the standard, where buckets of chicken and racks of ribs are the norm, 4 ounces seems so…well, puny.
However, if you are like me and like to eat mountains of food, the best way to do so may be the following. I have found that combining those few ounces of animal based protein with tons and tons of non starchy veggies makes an extremely filling, low carb, low-calorie and healthy meal.
First off, we have to figure out what four ounces looks like. Without getting involved with measuring cups, scales and the like, I’ll make it easy for you. Most meats, chicken, fish, etc. are sold by the pound. All you do is buy 1 lb of your whatever meat you want and take it home. Once you are home, simply lay it on a cutting board and cut it in half. Then, take that half and cut that half in half again. Voila! Four 4-ounce portions ready to cook. Don’t worry if it is not exact. The food police will not come and arrest you. Wrap the other 3 pieces up and freeze for another time.
Saute 1 pound (or more) of your favorite non starchy vegetable (broccoli, string beans, spinach, asparagus, etc) with a little garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, pepper etc. and add your newly measured, sliced or cubed 4 ounces of protein and stir till cooked through.
Depending upon your taste, I like to add a tiny amount of chili paste, sesame oil, chopped onion, chopped celery, diced water chestnuts, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Consume the entire mountain of food – guilt free.
Making a mountain (of healthy yummy veggies) with a molehill (of your favorite meat) is the perfect way to eat till you are stuffed without feeling cheated.
As mentioned in my last post we are “stay-cationing” this Spring Break. In lieu of spending thousands of dollars on a family friendly get-away, we are using those funds to renovate our little beach house.
Since I have been on a cooking frenzy since starting the I Love FOODDiet, I knew right away that I had to get a new stove. The former one we had – an old 18″ cheapo electric model with raised electric black coils was certainly not going to make me a culinary master. Besides being super tiny (18 inches!), it took forever to heat, was extremely difficult to clean with those damn coils and on top of that would often blow a fuse.
I splurged on a new deluxe stove/oven. This full 30 inches model is super powerful, heats quickly, has a smooth glass cooktop for easy cleaning and is energy-efficient. Now, there is no excuse not to cook healthy, fresh and low carb meals.
Unfortunately I have yet to break it in as we are still waiting for the electrician to arrive and hook it up.
So, for the past few days, we have been forced to eat take-out food or dine-out every meal.
Although this may not sound like a major problem for most of you, the fact of the matter is that it is darn hard to manage your carb and calorie intake when someone else is doing the cooking. Further its just so tempting to steal a few french fries from your kids plate or dive into the bread basket that they serve at restaurants.
When you cook your own meals, you know exactly what you put in to the pot. You are in control of your portion size, the ingredients and the preparation. You can prepare healthy low carb accoutrements to serve with your meal. When someone else is in the kitchen, the only thing you are responsible for is…. well, eating.
Such was my case the other night when we ate at the local Italian joint. The kids shared a freshly made thin crust pizza and I ordered a big platter of their special seafood platter. When queried about what exactly is in the special, the waitress enthusiastically described a large bowl full of fresh seafood, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari and scungilli in a fresh tomato sauce.
Everything sounded great except the scungilli. I tried scungilli before and was never a big fan of this sea-snail. The consistency is a little too tough and chewy for my palate. I asked the server to “hold the scungilli” which they thankfully did.
The kid’s pizza came out first. Now I have a love/hate relationship with pizza. I love to eat, but I hate what it does to my figure. Usually I can exercise self-control when around the individual pre-sliced kind you can order at pizzerias in NYC. However, wood-fired, brick oven, fresh pizza pies are my nemesis. I find a hot, bubbly, thin crust freshly baked pizza difficult to resist. I preemptively told me kids, “Don’t let mommy steal any of your pizza,”. They happily obliged and quickly pulled the gorgeous fragrant pie over to their side of the table.
By the time my dish came out, I was ravenous. As described, heaping mounds of piping hot fresh seafood was blanketed in a lovely fresh tomato sauce. I tied the plastic bib that the restaurant provided around my neck and dug in. Everything was going well until I reached the lower 1/3 of the bowl. There, concealed by the shellfish was a lovely little pile of homemade spaghetti.
Uh oh. I said as I pointed to the offending carb laden pile.
“Well, you don’t have to eat it,” my husband said to my shell-shocked face.
“I know, but the waitress didn’t say there was going to be pasta,” I stammered, …”and ….the sauce is so good ….and its homemade pasta and…. its been soooo long.” Suddenly, before I realized it, I had greedily slurped a forkful of that delicious pasta into my mouth.
OMG! Its been so long since I had REAL semolina pasta. Having avoided pasta for so long, I completely forgot what it tasted like. And you know what? Its goooooooooooood! I slowly savored two more delicious mouthfuls and then passed the rest to my 9-year-old son. Those three generous forkfuls, along with the mountain of fresh seafood that I just consumed, was just what the doctor orderd. I was full. I was satiated. I was happy.
Its OK to cheat a little. In fact, since I had not eaten pasta in such a long time prior to last night made my little pas de deux with the noodles so much more special. Read my old post “Three Steps forward, TwoSteps Back” for further explanation. You have to indulge at least a few times a week. This is the I Love FOOD Diet after all. 🙂
Why is it that I lose all self-control when offered a freebie?
Perhaps this can be attributed to my “penny conscious-dollar foolish” parents who often cut Mc Donald’s coupons for their 2 for 1 Big Breakfast deals, paying the $1.99 on their way to a $100+++ per person golf game at their country club.
Or perhaps it’s because I live in NYC and the price of everything is so jacked up that when presented with an opportunity to save a few cents, I jump.
Or maybe its simply because I was hungry.
Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that when offered a freebie, I usually takie.
Such was the case, a week ago when I met some friends for dinner at Cipriani Wall Street. One of my dinner companions was friends with the manager and she told us to ask for him upon arrival. Upon entering this overly styled (but in a good way) restaurant, we were offered complimentary flutes of their signature (but carb- filled) Bellini cocktail
Cold refreshing champagne with a healthy dollop of the most delicious fresh squeezed peach juice was too good to resist. Never mind that I was carb counting. It was free, it was good and I downed it. When the fine gentleman came around again offering to refresh our glasses, I surreptitiously accepted. At that point, I had already gone over the 50 grams of carbs a day I try to limit myself too and decided to “go crazy” and dig into the bread basket and sample some of their famous carb filled pasta. Although both bread and pasta are big no-no’s on the I LOVE FOOD DIET, I resolved to follow my own sage advice from my post “Three Steps forward, 2 steps back,” and dig in. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.
The other day when I was walking home from dropping off the kids at school, I noticed a young woman eagerly handing out what looked like packaged candy. Having been down this road before and not wanting to be tempted by carb filled candy, I stealthy avoided her. However after overhearing her say to another passer by that they were “healthy snacks,” my curiousity was peaked. I slowed down my pace and was quickly ambushed by her coworker urging me to sample the freebie bar.
Healthy candy bar? Hmmmmm. let me see. I looked at the label. the 4 oz bar contained 230 calories and 36 gm of carbs. I should have dumped it right there and then, but I was hungry and it was FREE.
The first bite was good. Crunchy, sweet and nutty. The second and third bites were equally good. However after the 4th bite, the bar was almost gone and I was still hungry.
I cursed myself for having consumed that completely unnecessary breakfast bar. This freebie was going to cost me 40 minutes on the treadmill. 😦
The next time you are offered a freebie, just make sure it is low carb.
I love food. I love everything about it – from the smells, to the taste, to the consistency, to the euphoria one feels after eating the perfect fois gras. Having successfully lost 10% of my pre-diet weight I am now going to try to do the impossible and lose ANOTHER 10% more.
Now for those of you who have recently seen me, you may think that I am being…well…a little crazy! As I have already achieved my weight goal, why would I possibly want torture myself to lose even more weight???
Well, in fact the I LOVE FOOD DIET is far from torture and actually is quite fun. Further, in the interest of Science, not to mention my own dying curiosity, I really want to see how much weight I can lose on my own invention. Bottom line – I am putting my carb-free food where my mouth is and see how well this regime can work.