Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What’s the best thing about healthy eating? A ramble

Nutritionista has recently started a good wee series, Profile of a Healthy Eater.

Of course I sent off my submission. And I won't go through that unless it's published. If it's published :), but one of the questions did get me thinking, and I'm going to talk about that.

What’s the best thing about healthy eating?

I answered along the lines of, "the best thing for me about healthy eating is that it has encouraged me to be creative." I didn't even realise as I was writing that I was totally copying Ms Nutritionista herself, because it's Just So True. I don't know why, but trying to focus more on eating healthy, whole food has made me miles more creative with my meals. I've tried new ingredients, new combimnations, new methods.

This has led to (or is the result of) less waste. I'm less concerned about whether things "go", and am getting much better at dumping piles of random veges into salads, stews, sauces and stir fries, and thinking about creative ways to use what I have before buying more.

Anyway, I digress.

The other side effect of eating healthy and the resulting creativity, the one I want to talk about, is the mental satisfaction I get from creating something ("creating" in the sense of "building" rather than "inventing")- and the reason I want to write about it is that it led to a bit of a Eureka moment.

The time is 9-something on Monday night and I've just got home from work, bloody hungry, and struggling through the door with a heavy swimming bag, backpack full of running gear, handbug bulging with empty pottles and extra work, and two bags bursting under the weight of $50 worth of groceries (side note: $50?!! Seriously?!! I don't even eat meat!) I stumble in, cast my eyes around the messy house, think about my tasklist and take a deep, deep breath.

Then I pour myself a wine, whip up a "marinade" (really more of a gloss, or a rub),slice and draine tofu, chop fresh veges, empty the dishwasher, baste and bake tofu, stir fry veges in leftover sauce, make bircher for the morning, and whip up a batch of no-bake pb cookies. Phew!

And then, even though it was nearly 10pm, and my house was still a mess, and I was still looking at a pile of documents the size of my lounge, I felt in control, I felt relaxed, and I felt proud. Both the tofu* and the no-bake cookies were new things, and both worked out brilliantly.

This is probably more a story about me being a neurotic type A control freak than about eating healthy, but the realisation that for me it wasn't just the healthy meal that was worth the extra effort (I know, I know, baked tofu, brown rice and veges is hardly gourmet cuisine, but it's harder than a frozen meal or a grilled cheese!), it was the experience of creating itself. I think that little piece of inconsequential knowledge will help me through the next few months.

*I've eaten tofu plenty, and cooked it before, but I've never quite nailed it, and baking it was new.


  1. I completely agree with you. I'm way more adventurous now with cooking than I ever was. I think it will only get better!

    I think I need that baked tofu recipe. My tofu anything has always turned out not so hot.

  2. Britt-

    I looked to Caitlin and HTP and Whit (at for inspiration)! Food blocks rock :)

    Basically, I drained a block of sliced extra firm tofu, then brushed it with my marinade, which was just a mish mash of rice bran oil, soy sauce, chilli, garlic and honey. Then sprinkled the tofus with sesame seeds and baked in a reasonably hot oven for 20-30 mins, I think- until it was nice and golden brown and cirspy on the outside. In the end I actually OVERcooked it the first time, because I was so eager to avoid that ooky mushy milky tofu thing.