Archive for April, 2014

Veggie Popcorn – Is That Redundant?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

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I Came. I Saw. I Ate It!

I grew up appreciating a good meal. And I don’t mean a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with potato chips. I mean a filet mignon at La Vendon in Quebec or an authentic meal of Sukiyaki (pronounce Ski-yah-kee) prepared by one of the international students who stayed with us from time-to-time. While others my age were buying Villager clothes (remember those?), sporting around in new Corvettes and swooning over the latest Beatles album, I was being dragged all over the country in, first, a 1959 Nash Rambler station wagon, then a ’66 blue Plymouth station wagon (with a third seat that faced backwards! THAT was safe in a rear end collision) and then a ’71 Plymouth Satellite wagon, all of which could house two adults and four girls, plus suitcases, make-up cases, games, food, drinks, pillows, a grill and maps in relative comfort if we all pretended hard enough, all the while trying new foods like we were searching for gold treasure. In high school, while friends showed off their new Bass Weejun loafers, I, in my Buster Browns, wanted to yell, “Yeah? Well, WE just got a crate of live lobsters in from Maine and they are still waving their claws!” It was all about priorities: Appearance or stomach – decisions, decisions.

And so, I have had a love affair with food that has been passed down from generation to generation (just look at my family cookbook at the website) and which has made it very difficult, as I grow older, to face the fact that ‘food’ and ‘older’ don’t necessarily mesh well. Having a thyroid condition hasn’t helped matters, either, and never mind that aerobics or walking is out of the question at this stage of two broken feet!! All of a sudden, I’ve had to start paying attention to Dr. Oz’s latest diet or researching the Paleo diet, the Fungus Connection, and the South Beach diet, Weight Watchers and, my favorite,, in order to look forward to my twilight years as something slightly smaller than a Beluga Whale. In my research, I have discovered that a Boca Burger has nothing to do with a tasty treat at the sunny beaches of Boca Raton, Florida (can we say, “Ick?”) and that a low-fat, protein shake, no matter how masked by strawberry or chocolate flavoring, is still disgustingly similar to a barium cocktail at your local gastroenterologist. While I love a salad, a perpetual menu of spinach, kale, lettuce and tomatoes renders me boringly unable to carry on a conversation about world affairs because I’m too busy visualizing a sirloin steak with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes.

I have portion control down to a science – digital scale and all. I’m so efficient that if we eat out, I can divide my meal into halves or thirds or fourths and know exactly how many calories I’m NOT getting to enjoy. But with all of my careful calorie counting, organic and all-natural food purchasing, fat/carbohydrate/protein calculating and the purposeful attempt to drown myself in gallons of filtered water (I swear that when I walk, I sound like the tide rolling in at Boca Raton, Florida) I haven’t been able to lose a single pound. In fact, I’ve gained a few more. And I have a bigger problem. I like to snack. Life is not fair.

Four weeks ago, my endocrinologist made a suggestion to try something called the 5/2 Fast. She told me to research it and that she thought it might jump-start my metabolism. I started it three weeks ago and I have to admit that I am feeling really good. AND I have lost three pounds. The kicker is that I’m not having to focus so much on my daily menu. That is really, really, really nice. On Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, I eat normal meals of 1250 to 1500 calories per day (totally lenient span there) and then on Tuesday and Thursday I do a semi-fast of 500 calories per day. That really isn’t as hard as you would think. On those two days, for breakfast, I have one egg, one piece of bacon and a half a piece of toast. For lunch I have an apple or orange and for dinner I have 3 oz of baked or grilled chicken, all of the steamed veggies I want and a small potato or 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes or 1/4 cup of rice. Knowing that I get to have normal food the next day, makes my ‘days of want’ easy to get through! My head feels clearer, although Mr. Fix-It may tell you THAT’S all in my imagination, and my insides feel better too. Really.

As I said, I like to snack and so on my days of ‘fasting’ I’ve come up with a ‘snack’ that I can tolerate. I like crunchy stuff but popcorn, Cheetos and Cracker Jacks just don’t qualify as diet friendly foods. So, I’ve started cutting up celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and any other veggie I have on hand and mix those pieces together in a closeable refrigerator dish.

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Then, I add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp. of a dry dressing mix, like Hidden Valley Ranch, and toss it in with the veggies. I taste to see how much I want. Just a little is needed because as the mixture sits, it absorbs the flavor.

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I keep this “Veggie Popcorn” (alright, I realize that popcorn IS a vegetable, but, heh) in the frig and when I get the ‘munchies’, I put some into a bowl or bag and carry it around with me. As great as I was at pretending that I was comfortable, all those years ago and packed into a car like a sardine, I’m still pretty good at pretending I’m snacking too!! I’ll keep you posted on how the 5/2 diet is working. Hopefully, by next time, I’ll be on the cover of Vogue in a svelt Villager dress and Bass Weejun loafers.

Happy Calorie Counting!

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