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Spinach and Proscuitto Flatbreads, #CookingLightDiet Style

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Spinach, onion, proscuitto, and fresh mozzarella make for a delectable flatbread combo. Added a cup of tomato soup for a light mid-week dinner. My kind of diet food!

Diet Has The Word “Die” In It For a Reason

I hate diets. I hate listening to people talk about diets. I love food. I love listening to people talk about food.

I hate that this is the season for dieting. It’s not fun. Dieting is so boring. People everywhere depriving themselves of life’s culinary joys in order to fit in those jeans…it’s just not worth it. People are hungry, cranky, depressed. Ugh.

Now I’m not talking about those people who have serious health issues as a result of their weight. For those folks, it’s life or death. I support and applaud those who have chosen life and have become happier and healthier because of their extreme dieting.

For the rest of us, we just want to lose 10, 15, 20 lbs. Now that I’m in my 40s, I realize that my habits have to change to some extent. I start to panic when I think about giving up things. So to calm myself, I’ve come up with a list of things I refuse to give up at this point.

Foods I Will Never Give Up As Long As I Live So Help Me God:

  1. Chick Fil A- I get a kid’s meal. Please, this is not worth discussing. I go no more than once a week. Usually.
  2. Fabiano’s Pizza- Life is not worth living if I can’t have a slice of spinach/artichoke/feta or classic pepperoni. One slice, for pete’s sake.
  3. Chips and Salsa- Salsa is vegetables. I can even do baked chips if necessary. Best. Snack. Ever.
  4. White Wine- Yeah, no one wants me to give that up, now, do we??!!
  5. Tea (specifically black, green, chamomile, iced, hot)- One word: antioxidants. Good for you. No brainer.
  6. Brisket Tacos from Taqueria del Sol- They must put crack in them, but I don’t care.
  7. Cheetos- Also crack in the ingredients. Check the label! Keep bringing me the crack cheetos.
  8. Sprayberry’s Chopped Pork BBQ Sandwich with Slaw- I’m a Southern girl and we will litrally die if we don’t eat bbq.
  9. The Varsity’s Onion Rings- See #8, i.e. Southern, and I live in the ATL area.
  10. Five Guys Burgers and Fries- Y’all know you crave these burgers and fries from time to time. It’s not like I go there every day. I would if I could. Well, maybe every Tues/Thurs. I get the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger. Junior! I share fries. What the hell is wrong there? Nothing.

Well, now I’m starving. And, I’m realizing that the above list would also count as my last meal. I’m oddly fascinated by that phenomenon. Why do we allow that, really? “We’re going to kill you, because you did xyz horrible things to innocent people, but hey, here’s some of your favorite foods that YOU’LL NEVER HAVE AGAIN BECAUSE YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE. Bon appetit!” So weird. But I do like to think about what mine would be, and now I have a list in case I find myself on Death Row, which should not happen unless somebody forces me to diet and I get reeeeeeeeal cranky. Is it just me, or have you thought about it, too? What would be your hypothetical last meal?

I do care about my health, especially since an asthma diagnosis in 2009, so I choose to approach eating from a health and wellness perspective, rather than whether I can fit in $200 jeans. After being so sick for a couple of years, I really started paying attention to what I eat. Conscious eating, really. Obviously, the above list shows that I still eat treats but on a daily basis, I do try to cook at home and cook with real food. As long as health food tastes good, I’m in. Kale salad, Meatless Mondays, and a bonafide Sunday home-cooked dinner have become mainstays in my household. The other big thing I’ve been obsessed with is smoothies. They taste good, are super healthy, quick, and relatively inexpensive to make. What more could you ask of a health food?

I like to make them with Greek yogurt, frozen berries, bananas, frozen peaches, pineapple, and greens. My green smoothies often turn out brown, yuck, so I finally wised up and today, I made the prettiest, tastiest one ever. Here’s what I did:

smoothie 2

Pretty Green Smoothie:

This picture has everything you need. I have an individual smoothie maker, which makes it even easier.

Put frozen yellow fruit (peaches, pineapple, mango) in smoothie cup/blender.

Add frozen green grapes.

Pour in a slosh of OJ.

Add a layer of Greek yogurt (I use vanilla flavored.)

Put in a splash of vanilla extract. Oh yeah.

Squirt a lil’ honey on it. Why use honey instead of sugar?

Put a nice bunch of spinach up in there.

Blend that baby up. If it just stands still, you need more juice.

Too thin? Add ice.

When it’s done, this is what you’ll get:

smoothie 3

She’s purty, ain’t she?

smoothie 4

I promise it doesn’t taste like spinach at all. Enjoy!

For now, this has to count as dieting for me. It’s protein, calcium, vitamin C, fruits and veggies…the ideal diet food all in one glass. You can keep all of the ingredients on hand to make for breakfast, snack, lunch, or dessert. Of course, if you want to avoid the calories, you can omit the yogurt and add ice; I like the yogurt and don’t drink milk so I want that extra calcium. If you invest in the individual smoothie maker, your kids can make their own and even invent their own flavor! They may not care that it’s healthy…but they’ll know it’s delicious. In fact, it’s so delicious, I may just have to add it to my Last Meal list.

What are your favorite smoothie recipes? What are your guilty pleasures and what are your healthy food standbys? Do you eat to live, live to eat, or a little of both? What foods can you not live without? I’d love to hear from you guys.

As always, thanks for reading.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

YDC

More good reasons to drink green smoothies:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/294762-green-smoothies-weight-loss/

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/healthy-meals/green-smoothie-recipes

http://www.doctoroz.com/slideshow/9-slimming-smoothies

A January Cliche

One of the first things you learn as an English major is to hate cliches. I internalized that rule so much that I try not to use them when speaking, either. But that’s hard. There’s no way you can avoid speaking in cliches and I struggle to not write with them. The upside of not being able to use cliches for me is that I can never get them right, anyway. I always confuse multiple cliches into one, and then sound not only uncreative but also stupid. I am constantly writing that character in my head, trying to remember my worst attempts and write them down to use for her.

A frequent one I confuse that comes to mind involves “skin,” “nose,” and “teeth.” For example: “I made the team by the skin of my nose.” Or, “I avoided hitting that car by the skin off my teeth.” What is the correct usage of those? What do they even mean? I hate cliches.

I also hate being a cliche, or when others are cliches. It’s just so boring. When I see middle-aged men driving sports cars, or hipsters being hip, or blonds being dumb, or when I wear yoga pants while drinking Starbucks in my SUV…ok, back off the moms, ok?! My yoga pants are all I can fit in, my Starbucks keeps me fueled so I can drive your ass everywhere, and you keep growing so we had to get a bigger car. We are doing the best we can. We gave birth to y’all, so give us some Respect. 🙂

Right now, I am not only a mom cliche, I am also a January cliche. I am trying to organize my house, minimize my life, and lose weight. I look around, and lo and behold, so is everyone else! If we are all going to be cliches, at least we are all in it together. I have a new Fitbit and have some lovely Fitbit friends who are helping encourage me. I am walking with friends. I am eating better with my husband. I am getting tons of organizational tips from magazines and Pinterest because that’s what everyone else is talking about, too. Maybe being a cliche isn’t so bad, after all.

After the holidays, we are all spent. In every possible way. Mentally, physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually spent. Excess has given way to less is more. I want to throw everything out. No more clutter, no more holiday knick-knacks, no more Christmas candy (except maybe that chocolate over there), no more stuff. No. More. Throw it all in a tub, pack that tub away, and on to the next. Call the ReStore and tell them to take it all. Did you hear about the guy who bulldozed his house with everything in it? He was in the middle of a reno and just had had it up to here, and just bulldozed that sucker to the ground. I get him. I truly do. We’ve all been there at some point where you just think, let’s get rid of it all and start over.

February is coming and then March and then Spring! Being a January cliche might just start the year off right for me. It’s not about being a sheep-le, it’s about hope. It’s about rebirth. A new you! say all the weight-loss companies and gym commercials. Maybe not new, but a better you, with an uncluttered house and mind, a clearer vision of where you’re headed, and energy and strength to get you where you want to go. If wanting that makes me a cliche, so be it.

Here’s to being yourself in 2015! If it means you are on the same positive path as a lot of other folks, then you won’t be lonely along the way.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

YDC

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