I get asked quite often by the curious, by those who want to bring about some transformation, what I eat. In a nutshell, I avoid cow dairy and gluten. Not because I’m lactose intolerant or have Celiac Disease, but because my Guiding Lights, Dallas Page and Terri Lange, recommended it. Said it would be well worth the initial sacrifice. Several months later, I’m down 130 pounds…I think they were right.
I’m by no means suggesting that my problems were magically erased by eliminating these two things from my food intake. If only. The whole point of this blog is to underscore the reality that significant excess weight and being a little too in love with food is a complex issue. I required much more than a food plan to heal. Recovery and balance are rooted in the physical (eating and exercise), mental/emotional (riding out the feelings that I would normally douse with the chemical effects of fatty carbs), and spiritual (paying attention to that part of me which is incorporeal, if you will. The essence of who I am).
But bottom line is, I’ve gotta eat, right? When I started working with Dallas Page (www.yrgfitness.com) 10 months ago, I knew some serious fine-tuning of my eating habits was in order (must of had something to do with living on potato chips and clam dip). But I also knew I couldn’t be too strict with myself because otherwise I’d just be looking at my watch counting down the minutes to a prison-break.
Dieting is a big part of what not only got me fat, but got me extremely out of balance on all three of the levels I mention above. Twice in my life I’ve shed 100 pounds and gained it back. The second gain-back turned me off of dieting for good. So I went to the other extreme and ate whatever and I mean whatEVER I wanted for 15 years. Hey, I had a lot of fun along the way. I’m not on a high horse here. Remember Whitney Houston telling Oprah she had some ‘gooood times’ during her drugging years? I totally relate. In some ways the 15 years of eating was a spiritual journey. The bigger I got the more determined I was to prove to the world and our country’s fat-phobic society that I was still a worthy human being. And lemme tell you, if self-esteem can be nailed at 345 pounds, it’s nailed. How I felt physically was another story. I guess in some ways my good genes worked against me: I had no health problems, blood pressure was normal, no family history of heart disease or cancer, cholesterol good, yada-yada. But airplane travel and movie theater seats became unthinkable. And I wore black everyday for 15 years which I didn’t realize until a few months ago, I hated. There was no proverbial dire warning handed to me from my doctor, but I couldn’t deny that my limited mobility was really not that fun to live with. Which is why I became willing to eat less and do the fine-tuning required with certain food choices.
My best advice when people ask me about food is that it ultimately has to be tailored to your preferences and dislikes. Who knows yourself better than you? And that’s how I handled my transition from bingeing to balance. Don’t have a sweet tooth but I love salt and fat. When I crave it I make eggplant latkes for dinner. (Don’t knock it, they’re AMAZING!). And when I’m having a bad day and want to swan dive back into a bowl of clam dip, I make a dairy-free version using tofu cream cheese and a can of minced clams (it may sound lame, and no, it’s not as good as the kind I made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, but I’m down 10 sizes. Fair trade). And vegetables? You could call it a love affair in progress. I’ve never been much of a fan. But my goal is balance, so I incorporate them as painlessly as I possibly can.
Since it’s absolutely freeeeezzzzing where I live, I made a puree tonight that warmed my stomach and my heart. Here’s the recipe if you want to try. Bon Appetit!
1 bag frozen cauliflower florets
3 ounces sheep’s milk feta, crumbled
1/3 cup tofu sour cream or goat’s milk yogurt
1 bunch scallions, rinsed and chopped
Salt to taste
Place cauliflower in large sauce pan. Add enough water to just cover bottom of the pan (essentially you’ll be steaming the vegetables). Sprinkle with salt. Add chopped scallions, sprinkle with a little more salt. Cook covered over medium-high heat until water reaches a boil, then turn heat back to medium and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender. Turn heat off and add feta and yogurt. Cover and let the heat from the vegetables work through it for a few minutes. Then puree everything with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
This is JUST what I needed tonight!