First, let me clarify - a shrimp po' boy the size of an adult woman's head is not a healthy choice. My sincerest apologies if the only reason you clicked on the post was to learn about the new fried shrimp and baguette diet.
Now, let me explain the title. In my Monday post, I mentioned the Mardi Gras party we went to this weekend. That morning, I woke up early to get things done beforehand, but I got so wrapped up in checking items off my list, that I completely forgot to eat more than a quick snack. Normally by 2 pm, I've eaten breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, and my stomach is just starting to rumble for an afternoon snack. As you can imagine, when we got to the party and I was confronted with an array of food trucks selling every fried food you could think of, my self control was limited to none. Especially after throwing a few beers into the mix. I'll save you the gory details, but lets just say the day culminated in me devouring a shrimp po'boy approximately the size of my head and then having a passionate conversation about the importance of nutrition, all while shoving cheese sticks down my throat. Oops.
So no, while po' boys, fried cheese sticks and a few too many beers are certainly not healthy, sometimes it's healthy to indulge in them - guilt free.
It thrills me to see the growing sense of health awareness in the general public. Thanks to a powerful and vocal food movement, most people now understand the danger of processed food. But sometimes I worry unhealthy foods have been demonized to the point of interfering with normal eating. We feel guilty for enjoying an oreo or choosing coffee over green juice in the morning, habits that should be 100% shame-free.
Normal eating, as described by super dietitian Ellyn Satter, is the following:
“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and 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 give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. 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 mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. 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 so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be 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 hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”*
It is not normal to eat perfectly every single day. It is normal to make a conscious effort to be your healthiest self...and totally fail on occasion.
I've discussed my concept of worth-it splurges in previous posts - those foods you absolutely love, regardless of whether it's healthy or not. No matter the calories, ingredients or sugar content, it's worth every bite. Think thin crust pizza in Italy, that cheesecake you only make for the holidays or the perfect pimento cheeseburger from the neighborhood burger joint.
Now, the po' boy I ate doesn't compare the to the ones I enjoyed in New Orleans. The fries I stole from my husbands plate? Well, I don't even like fries! And the cheese sticks I devoured tasted pretty much like the ones you get from the freezer section, which if I'm being honest, are pretty delicious. Sometimes it's not the quality of food that makes a splurge worthwhile, but the experience. I had such an amazing time with our friends. And we had a great laugh over "the po' boy incident" at a birthday dinner this week (I ordered a much needed salad, btw). Sure, I could have cooked a healthy lunch at home and went to the party later. Yes, it would have been a better choice to pack snacks since I knew we would be there most of the day, but I didn't. And that's okay!
Your attempt to live a healthy life shouldn't get in the way of living life to it's fullest. A healthy, balanced diet should enrich your life. Sometimes you need kale and quinoa, other times, it's a massive shrimp po' boy and cheese sticks!
*Copyright © 2009 by Ellyn Satter. Published at www.EllynSatter.com. For more eating competently (and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, Kelcy Press, 2008. Also see www.EllynSatter.com/shopping to purchase books and to review other resources.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
Happy Monday! I hope you are starting your week feeling refreshed and revitalized. We had a really lovely weekend here in Columbia. Friday night we stayed in and watched Ken Burns documentaries on Netflix, cause, you know, I'm turning 30 in exactly 32 days so I guess I better start acting like it. Saturday was decidedly more lively. We celebrated Mardi Gras at City Roots, our local, organic farm. They had great music, local brews, and food trucks set up around the farm. It was so much fun to be outside with friends in the beautiful, almost spring-like weather. Then on Sunday, I spent most of the day on the front porch (in a t-shirt!!) working on lesson plan for an upcoming class I'm teaching (more on that later). All this lovely weather and short-sleeve wearing got me really excited for spring.
Then I suddenly had a moment of panic when I realized, oh my goodness, I have the perfect fall/winter recipe sitting in my archives and I'm running out of time to share it! Is sharing a pumpkin recipe after Thanksgiving the blogging equivalent of white pants after labor day? Eek, I hope not!
These are some of the best veggie burgers I've made. Considering I try a new veggie burger recipe a couple times a month, that's saying something. I hardly adapted it at all from the original recipe on Sprouted Kitchen, really, I just added a little extra smokiness with smoked chili powder. This is a really versatile recipe. You could serve them in a burger, maybe with a slice of tomato, avocado and pepper jack cheese. Or, make a miniature version to stuff in a whole grain pita, then serve it with a fresh salsa of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes and sour cream. I served it over a kale salad, which turned out kinda blah, hence me not sharing the recipe. If you do go the salad route though, make sure you include pomegranate seeds - their sweet crunch was the perfect foil to the pumpkin patties.
One more thing before I share this recipe - if you live here in the Columbia, SC area, I hope you'll join me for a class I'm teaching this Saturday the 8th from 1-2 pm at Sozo Fitness in Irmo. I'll be covering a topic I'm sure you know I'm passionate about, plant-based nutrition. In the class we'll cover subjects like....
- What is a plant-based diet? How is it different from vegetarian or vegan diets?
- What are the health benefits of a plant-based diet?
- How can I plan plant-based meals the whole family will love?
- Should I be concerned about getting adequate protein?
- Fiber (basic, but you just can't teach a class on digestive health without it!)
- Prebiotics and probiotics
- Fermented foods
- Low FODMAPS diet - a new dietary approach to managing IBS that has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms in 75% of IBS sufferers
- Gluten-free diets and who can benefit
- The mind-body connection in digestive health
Pumpkin Black Bean PattiesServes 4
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked chili powder (or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/3 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Place garlic, scallions, pumpkin, olive oil, chili powder, salt and cumin in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add the rice and beans and pulse a few times to combine. Don't let it become a paste - you still want chunks of beans and rice in there. Add the flaxseed and oat flour and pulse to combine.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Make 4 patties. Fry in coconut oil for 3 minutes per side. Serve as desired.