Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life in the Produce Lane: One day at a Time.

Fruits and vegetables!
With me, there had to be some kind of miraculous revelation to get me to willingly and whole heartily embrace eating healthy and living a healthy life style. My decision was not to vainly get healthy and decrease in size to fit into an outfit or for the up coming high school reunion. My health and weight was spiraling out of control and I knew in my inner self, plus several urges from my higher power that it was time or I might not live very long. I certainly have a will to live so that I can do all that I have not done yet and to see my unborn grand kids. Mind you, my only daughter is not even married or seeing anyone yet, but I can hope.

The elusiveness of this life style had evaded me many times before and I had to figure out why or what made every other past attempt fail, at keeping the weight off. You see, it is easy for some to lose weight but the challenge is keeping it off. So, I did some soul searching within myself because I know this time has to be different. I am not getting any younger, just the opposite in fact. I figured out that I had the wrong kind of relationship with food and I was living to eat and not eating to live. I actually loved all the wrong kinds of food and to much of it. It was my friend, I could control it and it did not talk back. I had to learn and realize that food does not have feelings and is incapable of loving me back. I soon came to the realization that my desire to get and stay healthy is stronger than my desire to constantly eat. This time I am maintaining a healthy weight in order to live to see the full second half of my life. Granted, we do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I'm not done yet. Furthermore, I might actually make a meaningful difference in some one's life, in some may that matters, including my family.

If any of this resonates with you, I compel you to do the research and see what works for you. I have embraced cooking light with the freshest of fruits and vegetables. I already love to cook and am kind of good at it so it was not so much of a leap for me to jump right in by looking for recipes in healthy magazines and on many different websites. Also, I spent time in several of my favorite grocery stores in there produce section. I have found very different kinds of vegetables that I have never eaten or cooked like leeks, butternut squash and kale, just to name a few.

This wonderful mixture in the photo is a great recipe that I got out of the January 2012 issue of Cooking Light called Mushroom brown rice risotto. Some of the ingredients are porcini and cremini mushrooms, short grain brown rice and parmigiana-Reggiano cheese. It was completely new to me, but the rustic taste was delicious. The dish had no meat and it was so filling because of the fiber and texture in this dish.

This is the finished dish. Anybody wanting the recipe to this scrumptious dish, send me a message. The fun part was hunting done all of these special gourmet items to complete dishes like this and some of the ingredients can be a bit pricey.
Although, the grocery stores are becoming quite conscience of the need and desire for people to get healthy and they are acting accordingly by stocking the shelves with lots of whole grain and wheat products, right next to there not so healthy cousin at an affordable price.

My biggest nemesis was unhealthy carbs which are basically empty calories but they taste good. I had to re-wire my thinking to embrace the grains, the wheats, lean protein and carbs that are a resistant starch. That only means that the carbs
in the brown rice for example, takes longer to digest, hence keeping you full longer because of the fiber richness. It's a bit more to it than that but lets not get to technical.

I also really enjoy roasted butternut squash eaten as a snack or one of the ingredients in recipes. For instance, I made a dish called farrotto with butternut squash and Gruyere cheese.
farroto is an ancient grain and the texture is suppose to remain aldente. This dish is very earthy and great in winter months.

Here is the finished farroto dish that also called for leeks.

Let me not mislead you in any way, there are times when I crave familiar foods from my past that I used to eat, that are unhealthy. So I try to turn that unhealthy dish into a healthy dish by altering the ingredients. Sometimes it works and sometimes I still want the familiar. However, can an alcoholic have one drink or can I have one piece of my favorite candy or a few greasy french fries. I have found that for the most part that it is better for me to abstain because I might go over board. Until I can eat one small portion of my old favorites and stop right there, then I am not ready to go there.

I am happy to report that I have lost 48lbs and still counting. Everyday is a new day and I just take it one day at a time as I enjoy my life in the produce lane.

Turn that frown upside down and go after your new life and I'll See you in the Kitchen!

Love AJ 

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