Tag Archives: food

Dessert Snobs

P1010682The one thing that has made the biggest difference in both my body and my lifestyle is savoring my food.  Paying attention while I eat leaves me satisfied after every meal, even with smaller portions on my plate.

Imagine a moist dark-as-night piece of chocolate cake is placed in front of you.  Most people take one bite, emit some sort of grunt of delight, and then shovel the rest of the cake down their gullet in less time than it takes for a toddler to discover how to unroll toilet paper.  When they finish the last two bites, slowing down at last because they see the end is nigh, they sigh and wish for more because “that was so good!” This is how I used to eat cake.  And lasagna, and fries, and ice cream, and cereal, and steak and everything.

Next time you have cake, try this instead: savor every bite.  That’s right, EVERY bite.  Take a bite, emit grunt, take a bite, make mm-mm-mmm! sound, take a bite, paint the inside of your mouth chocolate with your tongue, and so on.  Pay attention to the texture, the flavor, the contrast of cake and icing.  I guarantee that by the time you’ve finished your piece of cake, you will not want a second piece.  Why?  You’re bored!  Seriously.  Five or ten minutes of thinking only about cake is way more time than you need to cover all the bases.

The definition of savor is to “taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely.” Food as entertainment; what an interesting thought!

2014 March 005When I savor my food, I find myself feeling grateful for my abundance and for my taste buds.  If you look at the anatomy of the human mouth, we were created to enjoy eating.  Carnivore teeth can bite and swallow, but not chew.  Herbivore teeth can chew, but really, how many taste buds would you want if you were chewing lunch for the fourth time?  Don’t get me started on jellyfish; their mouth is also their anus, so you know they thank God that they don’t have taste buds.  (And I thank God that I’m not a jellyfish!)  The point is, God created food to have flavor and our mouths to detect those flavors.  Just as I realize how blessed I am with my family when I pause and think about it, I am more thankful for my food when I pause and think about it.  (If I’m inaccurate with the biology lesson, forgive me; I’m still convinced that humans have the best deal meal-wise.)

Paying attention while you eat is harder than it sounds.  I never used to sit down to eat without something to do: talk with someone, read something, watch TV.  It still feels weird to sit at an empty table and focus on my food, but I enjoy what I eat so much more now.

P1010687About a year ago my mom said something that sounded crazy to me at first.  She said, “I’m not going to eat Hershey’s chocolate anymore.”  But Mom, that reduces your chocolate options by, like, 90%!  What kind of insanity is this?!

She loves Harry and David’s dark chocolate truffles and she has good reason to: they’re awesome.  They’re so awesome, in fact, that Mom decided not to waste her time, money, or calories on sub-par chocolate.  She became a chocolate snob.  And she should be applauded!

We need to learn not only to enjoy our food while we eat it so that we don’t wish for more when it’s gone, but we also need to learn to stop eating foods that are not worthy of our time, money, and calories.  At church potlucks and family dinners, I used to finish anything I put on my plate, whether it was fabulous, fairly good, or future compost.  Now I try many things, but only finish what tastes fabulous, especially when it comes to desserts.  If I’m only supposed to consume X number of calories per day, I’m not going to waste them on mediocre food.  Does that make me a snob?  Yes it does.  But I’d rather be a food snob than eat like a garbage disposal as I used to.

037newThere’s one exception to savoring your food, of course: vegetables!  Feel free to shovel your veggies in like you’re stoking the engine of an express train.  Don’t get me wrong, vegetables can be fabulous (if yours aren’t, try adding garlic) and they should be savored.  But if you don’t particularly like veggies and you’re only eating them because they’re good for you, then don’t savor them.

You know how sometimes you just want to plant yourself in front of the TV and stuff your face?  You’re not hungry, particularly, but you want that repetitive plate-to-face action happening?  Choose a veggie.  It’s mindless eating, so do it with a food that won’t hamper your goal when consumed in large quantities.

 P1010356So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15

Plan Your Produce

imageCooking meals at home helps your family eat healthy and save money, but if you don’t shop with a plan, you can end up throwing expensive produce away. It’s happened to most of us at some point. You head to the grocery store with good intentions, buy a lot of random produce,—because with ten pounds of broccoli in the house, you can’t fail to lose weight, right?—and then half of that produce spends the next two weeks being nudged closer and closer to the back of the fridge before it’s finally tossed in the trash. It’s frustrating and discouraging. For you and for the produce.

2014 June 003The solution to this problem is to plan your produce. Here’s how.

  1. Choose one day a week to sit down and plan your meals for the week. If you’re new to cooking at home, pick one or two meals. Baby steps, baby spinach, baby bellas, baby got back on track. Try to choose menu items that share common vegetables. For example, a bag of spinach can make a spinach salad and a mushroom spinach omelet, or one head of cabbage can make Mu Shu Vegetables and Fried Cabbage. As you plan, make a shopping list of what you need to cook the recipes you’ve selected.

 

  1. 2014 March 007Take your list to the store and don’t stray from it. There are going to be produce items that you always keep on hand like garlic and onions, and items that you only buy when you need them like bell peppers and broccoli. It all depends on your family and your preferences. For example, I always have carrots in the house. My boys like to snack on them (when given the choice of carrots or nothing), I like to mindlessly crunch them in front of the TV, they’re cheap, and they’re useful in a plethora of recipes. It’s a staple. Cauliflower, on the other hand, only comes home with me when I have a plan for it. It’s like the out of town relative you enjoy having over, but feel like you have to entertain.

 

  1. End the week with either a batch of homemade vegetable soup or veggie stir fry. Take your leftover bits and stems and combine them into something wonderful. Now your fridge is reset for the week to come and nothing goes to waste.

 

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. Genesis 25:29 (NIV)

Plan Your Produce

imageCooking meals at home helps your family eat healthy and save money, but if you don’t shop with a plan, you can end up throwing expensive produce away. It’s happened to most of us at some point. You head to the grocery store with good intentions, buy a lot of random produce,—because with ten pounds of broccoli in the house, you can’t fail to lose weight, right?—and then half of that produce spends the next two weeks being nudged closer and closer to the back of the fridge before it’s finally tossed in the trash. It’s frustrating and discouraging. For you and for the produce.

2014 June 003The solution to this problem is to plan your produce. Here’s how.

  1. Choose one day a week to sit down and plan your meals for the week. If you’re new to cooking at home, pick one or two meals. Baby steps, baby spinach, baby bellas, baby got back on track. Try to choose menu items that share common vegetables. For example, a bag of spinach can make a spinach salad and a mushroom spinach omelet, or one head of cabbage can make Mu Shu Vegetables and Fried Cabbage. As you plan, make a shopping list of what you need to cook the recipes you’ve selected.

 

  1. 2014 March 007Take your list to the store and don’t stray from it. There are going to be produce items that you always keep on hand like garlic and onions, and items that you only buy when you need them like bell peppers and broccoli. It all depends on your family and your preferences. For example, I always have carrots in the house. My boys like to snack on them (when given the choice of carrots or nothing), I like to mindlessly crunch them in front of the TV, they’re cheap, and they’re useful in a plethora of recipes. It’s a staple. Cauliflower, on the other hand, only comes home with me when I have a plan for it. It’s like the out of town relative you enjoy having over, but feel like you have to entertain.

 

  1. End the week with either a batch of homemade vegetable soup or veggie stir fry. Take your leftover bits and stems and combine them into something wonderful. Now your fridge is reset for the week to come and nothing goes to waste.

 

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. Genesis 25:29 (NIV)

Mouth Shoveling

2014 blog 005I’ve been shoveling a lot lately. No, no, this is not another gardening post. I’ve been shoveling food into my mouth.

The change from savoring each bite to racing through my plate has been gradual, but at this point I feel like one of those guys in the bowels of a ship shoveling coal into the furnace as fast as I can go, but without the well earned bulging biceps.

Now that I’m aware of it, I’m returning to square one: slow down and savor my food. No more Eating AND: Eating AND watching TV, Eating AND cooking, Eating AND reading the Bible over breakfast. If I’m eating, that’s all I’m doing; it’s a form of entertainment. I love food that tastes good, so I need to pay attention and truly taste it…or eat plain lettuce, a shovel-approved food if there ever was one.

2014 blog 004Why is it so important for me to slow down and savor? Because I eat less when I eat slow and I enjoy my food more.

If you’ve gotten off track over the winter like I have, don’t despair. Get your wheels back on track and let your bicep boys – not your fork – shovel you to victory! Who are your bicep boys in this analogy? Um…I don’t know. How about we end this post before I lose you completely?

Today I wish you booooon aaaappeeetiiiiite! Slow motion. Get it? That was so corny, you can taste it.

May your every bite be satisfying and a blessing to your body!

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;

    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalm34:8

Can I Eat That? Random Leaf Stirfy

2014 April 004This week we ate the first fruits of our garden!  The turnip plants were about four inches tall and I thinned them and tossed the rejected plants into some stirfry with delicious results.  For you non-gardeners out there, “thinning” plants means pulling (or cutting) the extra baby plants from a row to give the plants that remain room to grow.  The “baby” plants are what you see sold in stores in plastic bags and labeled…wait for it…baby kale, baby spinach, baby arrugula, etc.  Baby plants are popular because they’re tender and sweeter than the grown up plants.  Ever eat overly mature greens (spinach, kale, turnip, etc)?  If it weren’t for the wilting, you could make shoes out of them.

2014 April 002I used to pitch the pulled plants along with the weeds, but then I discovered that you can eat them!  You can eat the leaves of turnips, radishes, beets, and broccoli, as well as the obvious “leaf” plants such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale.  When I found out that we can eat the whole plant, I was thrilled.  My kids were not.  I’m under no delusions: my present goal is not to make my kids like vegetables; that will come in time.  My goal is to convince them that they can eat a green leaf from the garden and not die.  I suppose I’m trying to convince a few of you readers as well.

Let’s do a quick science class review.  The parts of a plant?  Root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, seed.  Depending on the plant, you can eat some or all of these parts.  Quick quiz!  Ready?

Which part can you eat from a carrot plant?
Root.  Nice work, too easy.

2014 April 003Green bean plant?
Fruit and seeds.  Excellent.  The bean is actually the seed pod (fruit) and as the pod matures, it gets thin and tough and the seeds inside become hard; these seeds are what we see in the stores as dried beans in bags or canned beans (think Baked Beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc).  Cool, huh?  This summer I’m going to plant some dried black beans from the store and see what happens.

Turnip, beet, or radish?
When it’s young, you can eat the whole plant!  Root, leaves, stem.  Once it flowers, the plant is so tough; you’d be hard pressed to choke down any part of it.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you run outside and begin eating anything green in sight.  No, that would be crazy.  When you find a plant you think is edible, you should first Google it and base your consumption on unverified comments from an unqualified person on a random website.  (I’m kidding! Although that’s exactly what I did….) What I am suggesting is that you try a new vegetable this week!

“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19a

3 More 100 Calories Snacks

Geese keep flying north past my house, so in honor of Mother Goose…yadda yadda yadda, let’s get to the food!

March 2014 0051. The Creamy: 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, a teaspoon of jam, and some berries.  To make cottage cheese, a chemical called rennin is added to milk and the proteins either clump together (curds) or stay liquid (whey).  Since we’re eating our curds and whey, I call it the Little Miss Muffet.

 

P10208772. The Crunchy: 1 Tablespoon of hummus and a plate full of vegetables.  Disclaimer: to keep the calories to 100, there should only be 10 carrots on the plate, but it sure is prettier this way!  I call it the Jack Sprat.  “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean…”

 

2014 March 0073. The Vegetative: A peck of (non) pickled peppers.  Or about a dozen small sweet peppers if you’re counting.  I call it the Peter Piper. Pick yourself a peck and happy munching!