Monday, August 24, 2009

Why I don't diet (much)

Yesterday I was starving all day. I thought I'd eaten well, or well enough. Healthy high-fibre snacks, plenty of veges, pulses and protein and not too much cheese. But then after my after work run, I had a look at my spreadsheet, and roughly totted up the calories, and saw that without having had dinner, I was already at around 1500 for the day. Eek!

Somehow it ceased to matter that I'd swum over 3000m in the morning, and that I'd been out for a quick 3 mile run in the evening. Even though I focus on "net" calories and rationally I knew I wasn't too far off my ideal, the thought of having eaten 1500 calories without having had dinner completely upended me and instead of leaving work on a high, full of happy running vibes, and virtuous "getting my 12 hours of training in this week" thoughts, I felt flat and blue, and my mind was occupied with thoughts of "you're useless", "you'll be fat forever", "you could've at least done 45 minutes!", "WHY OH WHY did you have a pre-run snack?".

Then, when I was working my way to the supermarket counter, I remembered the english muffin that had somehow gone unrecorded. The memory hit my stomach like a stone: "You mean, I've eaten 1620 calories without having my dinner?" I scurried through the supermarket and made my way home, bargaining calories with myself and making promises I couldn't keep.

I've felt like this before. I cried in the car with Phil one Monday, not long after I started my nutritionist approved plan last year. I'd worked a full day, gone to swimming from 7-8pm, and the thought of whatever my allocated portion of pasta was at the time filled me with gloom, and an overwhelming feeling of failure. It no longer mattered that the extra banana I'd had before swimming filled me with energy, and I'd kicked some serious butt over a tough hour long workout. Instead, all that mattered to me was the fact that I couldn't stick to my nutritionist's guideline day to the letter.

THIS is why I don't diet. Why I don't want to count calories. It does help to know that I'm overdoing things a little even when I'm feeling good about my eating, and to be reminded that healthy food still contains energy, but it doesn't help when I'm left doubting myself, and trusting an arbitrary number instead of trusting my body.

Don't worry, the story ends happily.

Last night I finished my supermarket shopping, bought lots of fresh veges and fruit, and went home to make the divine white bean stew I'd been planning. I munched on a piece of wholemeal tortilla with a teeny bit of cheese, and picked at some carrot stick so I didn't faint while the rosemary and basil flavours worked their way through the eggplants, peppers and zucchini in the stew. I poured a splash of the delicious pinot gris I've been drinking for the past week or so, into the stew, and another splash into an empty glass. And I sat down with a novel, a healthy, hearty stew, and a splash of tasty white wine, and I remembered that while I should strive to take care of myself and my body, given the choice between weighing 65 kg, being healthy, having energy for my workouts, enjoying the odd splash of pinot gris, and not fainting while I cook dinner because I've worked out after work and it's 9pm, and being 59 kg and having washboard abs, I would choose the former. Every time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spring is sprung!

I can afford veges again! Well, kinda.

I just love this meal for a simple, semi-quick, meal for one. It's just sauteed veges (tomato, onion, zucchini) and a plain omelette, accompanied by a Villa Maria Pinot Gris that was on special (highly recommend it!. Last time I made the veges, they were lacking a certain something or other, so this time I splashed some balsamic in, and what do you know? They were divine. Plus, there were enough left to add to some leftover pasta and reinvent it for today's lunch. I had been looking forward to going out and trying a new lunch place in town, but I'll just have to indulge myself some other way :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make it yourself!

I've had some loverly black beans in Mexican restaurants recently, so I decided to branch out and go for black beans rather than refried (which I actually have a love/hate relationship with) in for my last mexican feast (Mexican food gets a bad rap, but it is SO SO easy to do "healthy").

I wasn't sure if people used canned beans, or what, so I went to the supermarket and explored. No black beans in the Mexican section, so I grabbed a backup tin of refried and checked out the normal bean aisle. Loads of options there, mostly around $3 per can.

The next day I did a brief google to see what people were up to, and I took away a few hints from various sites (if only I had the foresight to take notes). When I got home, I got to play!

I cooked an onion with some garlic, then added beans, stock, cracked pepper, chilli powder, cumin and (because I'm lazy and it's awesome) some Old El Paso taco mix. Partially crushed the beans with a fork and let them cook!

They were just divine :)

I grabbed a w/w tortilla and made a quick quesadilla, and served it with a tasty mexi-salad.

I ate part of the quesdilla opened up and stuffed with salad. MMM!

The beans froze well, and I enjoyed 3-4 meals from that can. Will definitely be putting black beans on my list of staples. Any suggestions for making great beans onion free (hubs is mental and doesn't like onions... sigh)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Normal eating"

from Nutrition by Eve:

Definition of ‘Normal’ Eating

“Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint in your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, most of the time, but it can also be choosing to munch along. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste wonderful when they are fresh. Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.”

“In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, hour schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food.”

Satter, E. (1987). How to Get Your Kids to Eat: But Not Too Much. Bull Publishing. ISBN 0915950839.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank you blogosphere!

Thank you to:

Megan: for making this polenta bake and bringing it to my attention. My husband will love you forever!

Meghann: for reminding me of the delicious-ness of carrot and raisin salad.

Kath: for teaching me how delicious almond butter is in a bowl of porridge.

Gena: for showing me the awesomeness of dates.

And to so many others for day to day inspiration and recipe ideas!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brunch: slow roasted tomatoes with feta and basil

We've started a "brunch group" with three other couples who are former Wellingtonians and now live in Auckland. We hosted in April, I think, and it took four months to arrange the next one!

F and N hosted yesterday, and the simple main course they served was so good I had to share it:

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Feta and Basil:

Tomatoes (probably 1-2 per person)
Olive oil
Fresh Basil
Grain toast

Wake up early, slice tomatoes and spread in a single layer in a roasting dish. Slosh olive oil reasonably generously over the top, and add a couple of drops of balsamic to each tomato. Go back to bed, or out for your run, as you roast at a low temperature (I think 100 degrees c would do it) for 1-3 hours. Serve warm on grainy toast with plenty of chopped feta (don't skimp!) and fresh basil.

Simple, practical, delicious. Perfect brunch-time entertaining recipe!