You Are Not Alone

Dr. David Kessler's "The End of Overeating"I’m reading a book my trainer recommended that I just have to share. It’s been absolutely revelatory.

After years of knowing that my eating was out of control, but feeling powerless to change, feeling shame for eating in ways I didn’t want to but couldn’t seem to stop, and wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t muster the willpower to change, not only did I learn that I’m not alone in this matter, but that there are scientific explanations for my experience and that the food industry is actively capitalizing on this science in its relentless pursuit of profits.

In The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, Dr. David Kessler dives into the science behind what he calls “conditioned hypereating,” which seems to be driving much of the American obesity epidemic. I was galvanized by the opening passage, in which I saw my own reflection clearly:

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Busy, busy, busy. Who has time to cook healthy?

Busy CookThat’s what we thought, too. Perhaps that’s because when we used to cook at home, we always made a big production of it. Used every pot in the cupboard. Layered one dish on top of another until we put away more leftovers than the food we had consumed. My sister used to tell me “every meal doesn’t have to be a gourmet extravaganza.” Still, we tried!

As a result, we usually ended up with one of us exhausted from cooking and the other stuck with cleanup — scrubbing all those pots and pans. No wonder we preferred the convenience of eating out! When we began to contemplate the notion of cooking healthy, we expected that the effort required to make things healthy would be greater, not lesser. Not so, as it turns out.  Continue reading

Grilled Pork Chop Salad

Grilled Pork Chop Salad
The hogs at South Texas Heritage Pork are raised roaming the pasture and grazing naturally. They are never confined nor fed like factory-farmed hogs and this results in extremely lean cuts of pork. We are lucky to have them nearby and to know the fabulous folks who own and run the place! They sell their products through many local restaurants and at the Pearl Farmers Market near our house every Sunday.

This meal featured five ounces of grilled pork chop served over mixed greens and tomatoes. We did use just a little bit of low-fat dressing on the greens, which typically wouldn’t be allowed with meat from the “lean” category, but since this pork is so much leaner than supermarket pork, we figured we had a little leeway.

Pesto Shrimp & Veggies

Pesto Shrimp & VeggiesChopped up a bunch of basil we needed to use up, put it some vegetable stock and added some garlic, salt, and pepper and pureed it and then poured it over the shrimp to marinate for a few hours.

Parboiled some chopped dandelion — or, as Brian says, “dandy lion” — greens and set them aside. Heated up a couple of teaspoons of oil in our trusty dutch oven and sauteed some julienned summer squash and red peppers until they were about half done, removed them from the pot and set aside with the greens. Threw the shrimp in the pot to sauté. Added the greens and veggies when the shrimp had mostly turned pink and tossed it all together until veggies and shrimp were cooked through.

Grilled Garam Masala Lamb London Broil

Grilled Lamb London Broil
We love lamb and the London broil cut has become a favorite of ours. Lamb is on the “lean” list, so we’re only permitted five ounces cooked, but it’s so tasty it’s worth it! The London broil cut is great for grilling. We rubbed this one with garam masala spice blend before tossing it on a hot grill. We also sprinkled some onto the zucchini before grilling that, which tied the two together nicely. The cinnamon and clove notes from the garam masala really highlight the lamb’s flavor and add a lovely fragrance to the experience.

Working with Leftovers

Kimchi Chicken Stir Fry

Kimchi Chicken Stir Fry, made with leftover Kimchi Chicken and fresh veggies.

Between overestimating the amount of raw protein we need to yield two five-, six- or seven-ounce portions, and sometimes having to purchase more than we need for a meal for two (two-pound bags of frozen shrimp come to mind), we sometimes end up with leftovers — usually an odd size: not enough for another meal for both of us, too much for a meal for one.

Because we’re controlling our food intake and measuring everything, and only eating the one meal per day, it would be easy to let these leftovers go to waste. It would also be easy to stray off program by snacking on them spontaneously, just because they’re there!

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Veggie Frittata

Veggie Frittata
Eggs are a great meatless protein source. Three whole eggs constitute a serving of lean protein and 14 egg whites — which is a lot of food! — are a serving of leanest protein. (Need a refresher on the lean, leaner, leanest concept?)

For this meal for two, we used a half-and-half approach. The recipe used one full serving of whole eggs and one of egg whites. This yielded two generous servings that were half lean/half leanest — which we treated as leaner, and therefore used a bit of healthy fat in the prep. (The egg whites really bulked up the meal, hence our use of them to achieve a greater volume of food.) Continue reading