My lunch for tomorrow.
When he came downstairs, Steve saw this on the counter and said “damn, that looks good.” And it does (and I made something similar for him). However, this bowl of goodness illustrates something I am always trying to get across when discussing eating healthy for life. Yes, this lunch looks great to me. It will look even better when I chop up tomatoes and hot peppers into it tomorrow and mix it all up. But but… if I had to eat this every day? It would kill me. Mentally, I could not stand it. I would curl up in a teary ball every day and refuse.
And that, my friends, is why I believe, passionately, in learning to cook.
The one time I lost a bunch of weight before, many years ago, tuna and turkey sandwiches and raw fruits and vegetables… along with *gulp* packaged low-fat dinners… were my life, for about a year. I thought there was no other way. Of course, it didn’t last. How could it?
Tuna, turkey, raw vegetables, yogurt, fruit, greens: all of these foods are tasty and wonderful. I love them all. But I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t love them anymore if they were my only options. If I saw this bowl of lunch today and thought “god, I am dreading having to eat that tomorrow” how long do you think it would be before I gave up and gave in and ate heavy greasy ANYTHING out of sheer depression and frustration?
These very lean and low-calorie foods should never be diet meals. They aren’t. They are I need to detox for a couple of days meals or honestly, I am cleaning out some vegetables from my refrigerator meals. They are only for once in a while, and the majority of other days, I have leftovers from dinners the night before: stir fries, soups, chilis, one pot pastas. I must. If I don’t, I am left with alternatives that, for me, aren’t alternatives: buy quick takeout that lacks nutrition or decent flavor (the more important factor for me!) or eat the same foods day after day… after day after day. These are not options.
As I see it, the only option is cooking. If you don’t love it, I know it may seem like a chore, but just like any other habit, it gets easier and faster every single time you do it. And then you start getting creative and it becomes fun. I started cooking at 31 with absolute zero know-how. The first time I cut up an onion it took me a good 10 minutes. If I can do it, anyone can.
So, on this day, when everyone is writing down their goals for 2013 that include “eating healthy,” I implore all of you to think about what eating healthy really means and how you can do it for the rest of your life without wanting to throw in the towel.
(And if you need resources or starting points, my Ask box is always open!)
This is great advice, especially for any new-to-this-scene-resolutioners.