I have been hiatus and I didn't tell you! As you all know, life happens. I have had an extra busy few months, and I am looking forward to getting back to blogging. Soon. Very soon. In the mean time to keep your eye on the prize, listen to Dishing Up Nutrition and read their articles (weightandwellness.com).
I am in a bit of a food rut. I've made chili and wild rice meatballs as my main stays for the past two weeks. Don't get me wrong–these are great, balanced meal and snack options. Two of my favorites as a matter of fact. But I am in desperate need of some fresh food ideas, particularly for dinners.
2 Great Low-Carb Recipe Sites
I haven't tried any of the recipes on these sites, but I am looking forward to it. And a bonus: both of these sites work with my recipe manager app for iPad and iPhone, Paprika.
- Elena's Pantry: My sister turned me on to this site, and it looks fabulous. Elena does a lot with almond flour to make paleo baked goods (careful here: still consider things like the Paleo Tag-Alongs as a treat, even though they are a better option than the real thing!). Her roast chicken recipes look simple, easy, and delicious, especially the Rosemary Apple Chicken. She has many gluten and dairy-free options. I am going to try one of her breads and serve it with my corned beef and cabbage this year!
- Simply Recipes: Elena is often inspired by this website written by Elise Bauer. I really liked her take on vegetables (I need to eat more of these!), like the Hoison Glazed Brussel Sprouts. She also has many gluten free options. She does use flour in many of her recipes. Simply adapt the recipes with coconut or almond flour for gluten-free, low-carb eating.
Share your favorite recipe site with me in the comments.
My husband and I are streaming and watching Season 5 of Mad Men (spoiler alert).Last night we watched the episodes in which Betty Draper (now Francis) begins to struggle with her weight, initially because of a growth on her thyroid gland and then because of her overwhelming cravings.
It was eerie to see how well the writers and actress capture her food rituals and emotions as this “always thin and beautiful” woman shifts in her identity. Some examples:
- When she fakes sick to get out going to a party because her dress won't zip.
- Her daughter leaves a half-finished ice cream sunday on the table, and after a couple of beats, Betty finishes it.
- After joining one of the first Weight Watchers groups, she accepts a bite of steak her husband offers her after midnight because she can “count it toward the next day's food.”
- Starving, she runs to her fridge and squirts Redi whip into her mouth, savors it for a moment, and then spits it out, so the calories won't “stick.”
- Nervously discussing the impending Thanksgiving Holiday with her WW group and how they will prepare emotionally. Smash cut to Betty with the most pathetic Thanksgiving plate in front of her–four small bites of each entree and a single brussels sprout lording in the center of the plate.
- Betty catches a glimpse of her ex-husband's very thin wife putting on her shirt. The look on her face is a perfect mix of envy and sadness.
These episodes evoked a variety of emotions in me–sadness, dread, fear. Mostly, I recognized myself and my struggle with weight in every scene. In one episode, Betty is waiting in line to get weighed in front of everyone at her WW meeting, as the “weigher” proclaims “you had a good week!” to one of the women. I was right back in all of the WW meetings I had ever attended. I could almost feel the heat rising in my face as I remembered getting the “good week” message, and the devastation I felt when I got the silent treatment or “next week will be better!” message.
This story arc also showed me how my mother's generation became lifelong dieters, and then passed all that they knew down to my generation (and on and on). This generation forgot how their mothers ate to stay slim, and started blaming themselves for being weak willed and lacking in self-control. They also started trusting experts with products to sell, relying on diet pills, eating processed foods, and going on diets like Weight Watchers that reinforced the idea that their overeating was all emotions based.
We have spent a long time in the wilderness of low fat, low calorie eating. It's been a long time coming for advice like that from Julia Ross (her book: The Diet Cure) and Gary Taubes (his book: Why We Get Fat) to take hold, so women like Betty Draper don't have to suffer. They can finally understand the biochemical connections to their weight gain, and stop punishing themselves for their lack of will power.
Very often, people who struggle with food cravings (and their weight) also struggle with powerful cravings for drugs and alcohol–after all, the same biochemical processes are at work in both situations. Recently, I found out that someone I care about is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I have great empathy for addicted people, because I know what it's like to experience overwhelming cravings for things that damage my health and well being.
Helpful Podcast about Addiction
So, I wanted to tell you about a great episode of Dishing Up Nutrition that helped me understand how good brain health plays a critical role in recovery:
I hope you listen and learn about your own cravings, or pass it along to someone struggling with chemical addiction.
Julia Ross's revised and updated edition of “The Diet Cure” came up today during my nutrition educator training. My fellow nutrition educators were raving about it. My initial thought was, “Ugh, not another diet book.” I have spent so much money on diet books in my life lived with fat, only for them to present such a narrow and incomplete picture of what it takes to lose weight for the long term.
Despite my reservations, I bought a copy, opened to the first page and read this:
“This is not going to be like any diet book you have ever read. I won't mention calories except to forbid you to eat too few! I won't tell you to tune in to your “real” appetite because I know that if you could have you would have long ago. I won't tell you to discipline yourself because I know that your weight and eating habits are not the result of laziness, gluttony, or weak willpower.
You are trapped inside a body that is malfunctioning, and that body needs help. Years of dieting, psychotherapy, and the best pep talks about fitness can't help much when what you really need is a biochemical overhaul.” –Julia Ross, The Diet Cure
I almost cried. “What if I had read this statement when the book came out in 1999?” I asked myself. I couldn't help but think that I could have started to get good information about the real, biochemical reasons for my obesity (I topped out at 270 lbs) a full decade earlier than I did. Would my weight have gotten so out of control had I known about this book? All the time I spent beating myself up over my weak will, would I have felt differently about why I was obese?
I highly recommend this book to you as you start or continue on your weight loss journey. It answers so many of the “whys” of compulsive eating and weight gain. It also includes an awesome section called, “Depleted Brain Chemistry: The Real Cause of 'Emotional' Eating.” I have always thought that the concept of “emotional eating” is code for “you're fat because you can't control yourself and you are weak willed.” Ross clearly outlines why will and emotion have nothing to do with compulsive eating.
Have you read the book? Let me know what you found helpful!