Wednesday, November 25, 2015

365 True Things: 241/Food

A little over a week ago, we embarked on the Whole30 Diet, which is akin to the paleo diet. In fact, today marks day 10 (of 30), which according to the "timeline" in the book is, together with day 11, one of the hardest days. "By this point the newness of the program has worn off. You've already experienced most of the unpleasant physical milestones, but you've yet to see any of the 'magic' the program promises. You're still struggling to establish a new routine (you are so tired of eggs), and while you've been trying really hard to have a good attitude, today you are incredibly aware of all the foods you're 'choosing not to eat right now.' "

Well, maybe for others, but I've experienced none of the difficulties outlined in the book. No hangover; no urge to Kill All Things; no lethargy (except for that day out hiking). On the contrary: I've been feeling great. I've been getting a pretty good night's sleep, getting up early, and getting a lot accomplished during the day. Today, for example, not only did I meditate (see yesterday's post), but I cleared a shelf in my office, I edited the bibliography of a book I just started work on, I started writing a short story, I got tomorrow's turkey brining (a Whole30 recipe), I hacked a few Ingress portals while walking the dog, and I made no-bean chili ☟, which was really yummy. (Ours was sans squash and avocado, though it does look good, doesn't it? Maybe next time.)

not my photo
I did, I confess, yearn a little bit for some grated cheddar cheese to throw on top, and some cornbread to go with. But the green salad added some variety, and now I'm pleasantly full.

Yes, I miss tortilla chips (a salty snack), ice cream, granola with yogurt and blueberries, and I wouldn't mind being able to meet a friend at R.G. Burger for a bacon–blue cheese burger (I suppose I could order a plain patty and some salad without dressing, but I think I'll just wait until this month is over). But I'm not yearning for food I can't have. Not even wine.

And I'm rather enjoying the food I can have. It's an unusual diet for me, and very tasty, all round. Lots of good veggies, and although I've never been much into fruit salads, I certainly am now. Kiwi fruit, pears, grapes, apples, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, oranges—what's not to like?

The hardest part of this diet is all the cooking! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, conceivably, could involve a cooked meal.

We've figured out that leftovers are one basic way to survive this diet happily. Today for lunch, for example, I had leftover chicken sausage, leftover chard, and leftover fruit salad. Easy!

Tomorrow's meal will include mashed cauliflower (instead of potatoes, though potatoes are allowed—this just sounded healthier), green beans, and "creamed" spinach (the cream supplied by coconuts), as well as the brined turkey stuffed with apples and a separate paleo stuffing. Here's the recipe. It looks pretty good.

Paleo Sausage, Apple & Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 Tb Italian seasoning
  • 2 apples, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F

1. Brown sausage in skillet with olive oil and garlic. Set aside.
2. Sauté chopped celergy and onion in 1–2 Tb olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle parsley into mixture during final minute of cooking.
3. Toss apples, raisins, cranberries, sausage, onion and celery together. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add the chicken broth and wine and mix together.
5. Pour into a 9" x 12" baking dish.
6. Bake covered 30–35 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from over, toss, and serve hot.

My current enthusiasm aside, though, I'll say: ask me in another week. I may just be on very different schedule with this diet than everyone else. Maybe days 14 and 15 will be my days to wonder why the heck I was ever crazy enough to do this. But by then, I'll be halfway through, so . . . might as well carry on to the bitter end. No?

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