Interesting quotation from Anne Lamott in today’s Washington Post, “A Few Quick Thoughts on that Diet You Are About to Fail.” (I’ve read her non-fiction books but could never get into the one novel of hers that I tried. She can be pretty strong stuff, both in subject matter and language, but I have really enjoyed Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, and Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.
So, at first you thought I’d made a typo, right? Shouldn’t it be “you eat what you crave”? That could also be said, but with the switched terms Lamott is addressing the question about the origin of our cravings. (This saying is not original with her.) What you feed grows. That’s true for our food cravings, which is her main point, but it’s true across the board. Remember yesterday’s principle, “What you focus on increases”? Same thing.
Or, to use a proverb that is completely misunderstood and has nothing to do with actual illness: “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” I just did a Google search on this saying and got nothing but medical advice, either for or against the idea. Here’s what the saying actually means:
If you feed a cold, you’ll soon have a fever to starve.
In other words, if we take “cold” to mean a (metaphorical) small illness and “fever” to mean a more severe one, as would be true even today, then what we’re being told is this:
Indulge (“feed”) a small problem, and you’ll soon have a big problem that you have to overcome (“starve”).
Doesn’t that make a lot more sense?
Okay. Enough of that. I’m planning to include ideas periodically this year about healthy, delicious things that I eat, in the hope that a) I will be inspired to eat more stuff like that, and b) you will, too. I’m always running into this idea that it’s too hard to eat well, too time-consuming to eat in a way that you lose weight, should you need to do so. (Many, many years ago I had a friend who told me earnestly that she and her daughters couldn’t possibly lose weight because they were just too busy to follow an eating plan that would bring such a thing about. Only by the greatest self-control did I refrain from saying, “You mean it takes more time to eat less?” But I digress.)
So the picture at the top of this post is of what I ate for lunch today. It’s not the greatest picture in the world, not because Jim didn’t do what he could with it, but because I foolishly put the bowl on the floor in front of our west-facing patio door, so the light was too bright and the shadows too dark. As I’ve said before, this isn’t a food blog, and I’m not a food stylist. So let me tell you what’s in this salad:
- Some washed and torn-up lettuce that had been in the fridge for awhile and needed to be used up
- Some leftover green beans from Friday night’s big dinner party that had been buttered and seasoned with lemon pepper
- Two hard-boiled eggs, the only item I had to fix on the spot (I don’t like soft-boiled eggs, so I make sure they’re well done by covering them with cold water, salting the water generously because I read somewhere that that does something or other, and piercing one end of each egg with a push-pin, which seems to make them easier to peel, bringing the water to a boil over high heat, turning off the burner [if your stove is electric] or putting it on its very lowest setting [if your stove is gas] snd letting them sit, covered, for 15 minutes. I pour out the hot water and cover the eggs with ice and cold water, letting them sit for maybe 10 minutes, and then crack them all over and peel. I then, perhaps wastefully, cut off the ends of the egg that are just whites and throw them away, as I don’t like them. So shoot me! The cats won’t even eat them. I chop them up coarsely—the eggs, not the cats.)
- Some homemade croutons that I had on hand—I try to keep a bag of them in the freezer.
- Some homemade salad dressing, this one based on lemon juice and rice vinegar, that I also had on hand. May I put forth a suggestion here for making your salads better in every way and also saving some money? Quit buying bottles of salad dressing and instead buy the ingredients to make your own. You’ll get rid of that awful clutter in your fridge door shelves and you’ll be able to control exactly what goes into your dressing.
I had a lovely lunch, with vegetables, protein from the egg, and carbs from the croutons. For dessert I had one half-ounce square of dark chocolate (containing 6 grams of sugar). That, plus the tablespoon or so of maple syrup that I put in my morning coffee (about 12 grams of sugar), accounts for almost all the added sugar I typically (plan to) consume in a day. You’ll notice that the following dressing recipe has a little honey in it, but the entire recipe has at most four teaspoons of sugar in it, or 16 grams, so if you used two tablespoons on your salad you’d only get about three grams. Assuming that I don’t consume any other added sugar today, that will put my total at about 21 grams, well below the maximum recommended limit of 25 grams per day, or 100 calories. And I did feel that the dressing was a little too sweet. I plan to make the changes indicated in the recipe to make it less so next time.
1 heaping tsp. honey mustard (or Dijon mustard if you want a less-sweet dressing)
1 T. rice vinegar
2 T. lemon or lime juice (I used lemon juice from a bottle, which is perfectly fine.)
1 T. honey or to taste (I plan to use less next time I make this.)
1 tsp. dried tarragon (I was out of this.)
1 T. fresh chives (I was out of this also—It’s better with the herbs, but perfectly fine without them.)
1/3 cup veg. oil (not olive—I always have peanut oil on hand, so that’s what I used.)
Easiest way to mix this is to put all ingredients into a container that will accommodate a stick blender, and then blend away. You mess up only one container plus the detachable mixer arm of the blender. This dressing keeps well in the fridge as it doesn’t have anything in it to spoil.