Posts Tagged ‘Food’


March 10, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been off the strict Paleo phase for about 17 days now. I’m still feeling strong and making different food choices. The thirty days were very effective in breaking some habits.

I’m still in a “try it to see how it feels” phase. I had a couple beans in chili recently. I made banana bread, but I replaced 3/4s of the flour with almond and coconut; I replaced 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of maple syrup and an extra banana. It turned out dense and a little crumbly, but delicious. Not exactly paleo, but it confirmed my suspicion: I don’t need a lot of sweet; and there are suitable alternatives to white flour.

But now I’m shopping at a greater variety of places in order to eat “clean.” Where can I get grass finished beef? Where can I buy pasture butter? Are there price differences in Spaghetti Squash? Why can’t I find canned Icelandic fish? Where’s the best place to get high quality Sardines? Shiratake?

I will spend a good three minutes reading a label like I was a Sanskrit scholar translating a verse from the the Upanishads. I ponder the phrases “organic” when I read them. I consider the meaning of “fed a vegetarian diet.” Not grass fed, but no risk of Mad Cow, I think. Corn is bad, but not many options at this grocery store.

I get veggies from the cheap Asian market: my spaghetti squash, mushrooms, and yams. Whole Foods is expensive in some things, cheaper in others. I’ll go down to Fairway in the city to find less expensive, but organic, meats. Trader Joes has 6 dollar Spanish Olive Oil.

Wild caught fish will be expensive everywhere. So will heritage geese. There’s a greater difference between flours and nuts. Occasionally I find an amazing steal: my Asian grocer sells domestic prosciutto for $10 a lb. Not every grocery store has my fascination of the day.

And I do get canned ingredients – especially in the winter. I had baby corn and bean sprouts in the stir-fry medley of “mixed vegetables” in my pantry last night for a generally paleo thai chicken dish I concocted. It’s a rule I have: use whatever canned vegetable is in your kitchen pantry.

It is probably a rule I’m going to change.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , , ,


January 28, 2010 2 comments

One of the ways I’m managing is by changing in increments, by making small replacements.  I don’t give up the entire ritual, I just make one change that I convince myself is fairly small.

Coffee with Byrne’s Half and Half  —-  Coffee, Black.

Mashed Potatoes and Rice —-  Cauliflower, mashed

Potatoes, generally —–  Yams, sparingly.  Admittedly, I’ve not made the jump from French Fries to sweet potato fries

Vegetable, Peanut Oil and Butter —- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Beer —– Soda Water with a wedge of lime or lemon

Zone Bars —- Larabars

Chocolate —- Figs (?)  It’s better than dirt mixed with water

Maple Cured Bacon —– Applegate’s organic, sugar free bacon.

Prosciutto —- Prosciutto

Candy —- Nuts

Cheese, Crackers and Hummus —- carrots, nuts and dried fruit

Any other ideas for replacing foods?

Categories: Diet, Food, Recipe Tags: , , ,

Temptation #1

January 25, 2010 1 comment

On Saturday night, a couple friends of mine and I went to a little club in Harlem to listen to some world music.  A friend of my lady is in a group that does some pretty fat harmonies.  It’s old school R&B with a little funk.   They were phenomenal.

As it was my first evening out, I was feeling strong and mentally prepared.   I’ve been getting my mind around this for a few weeks, so on the first night,  nothing, at least nothing of the usual sort (an offer to share a bottle of 2005 Romanee Conti might … no would, be an unusual circumstance), could possibly tempt me.  I envisioned myself drinking seltzer water with a little lemon all night, and if we ate, I’d get a salad.

But when I first walked in, my eyes immediately fell on the beer handles.  They had some excellent choices.  Dogfish 60minute; Brooklyn Lager; and a couple other microbreweries that indicated some thought and taste.   My two friends ordered house wines.

The wines weren’t a problem.  It’s an unusual bar that has an excellent house wine.  They were satisfactory for the company, but a poor excuse for giving up the challenge.  I didn’t think twice.  I could tell they’d be tart single note fruit bombs.

The problem was the food.

For most of the evening it was standing room only, but after an hour we were able to get a couple seats at the bar.  Fan and Jen ordered guacamole with chips, plantains with hot sauce, and a Mediterranean plate.   This was my first challenge.

I knew that guacamole was OK.  Plantains, as well.  But the variety on the plate I would have to study.  And I couldn’t dip.  There were no veggies to dip.  Just pita bread and sesame chips.  I took one of the forks and just plunged into the guacamole and the eggplant.  Fan suggested the hummus.  In spite of it being considered healthy by most, it was still off limits.

I guessed that the pickles were sweet and avoided them.  The eggplant, however, had a sweet sensation upon my palate.  It wasn’t cloying; it was a sweetness that I guessed would come from a sort of vinegar.

This is one of the challenges of eating out:  it’s not what one knows – its what one doesn’t know.  I’m going to assume that the sweetness in the eggplant was not sugar.  Fortunately, I avoided all the other carbs that evening.  I didn’t drink anything except water, while my friends finished several glasses of an Italian house red.

Still, that night I my mind was foggy.  I felt like I had a headache, and I hadn’t had a glass.

Melissa Urban remarks that “black coffee is not that hard.”  She’s right.  But there is no getting around that one needs to be tenacious and diligent:  qualities that I’m learning only through brute necessity.  In a soft culture, it’s easy to be soft, lazy, thoughtless.  These thirty days are to learn something different.

First day, complete.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , ,