Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Oklahoma anymore

As someone who grew up in Oklahoma, it’s amazing to me that 105 degrees – a state of the art culinary institution “dedicated to live food” – exists within driving distance, let alone in the capital city!

The next time I go home, I may spend one whole day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – in Oklahoma City! Namely on North Classen Boulevard. I’ll have to see if my friend Kim, who lives in a nearby suburb, will join me for at least one of those meals so that I don’t look like quite the junkie.

And if the presence of a raw culinary institute (complete with cafe and gift shop) in Oklahoma wasn’t amazing enough, I also had a very delicious raw meal out in Tulsa while I was home for the holidays at the Pure Raw Cafe (just blocks up the road from my parents’ house)!

My sister and I split a gorgeous green chili soup and a raw pizza that was to die for. We then shared a chocolate brownie with fudge sauce that truly defies description! Seriously, it was one of the best meals that I’ve ever had out in Tulsa.

Who knew that Oklahoma would end up being one of the raw food meccas of the nation?

And don’t forget to check out 105 degrees’ academy if you’re looking to become fully certified! If I could figure out how to move there for three months, don’t think I wouldn’t consider it.

Who said you can’t go home?

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Quick and Healthy Snack Options III – Cashew & Cherry Cheese Spread

Can anyone tell that I am getting ready to go back to work and am in a desperate race against time to figure out what kinds of snacks I can pack now that I am gluten-free and going for at least 75% raw?

Well, today, I whipped this up in my high speed blender, which – trust me – is getting more and more use as the days slide by. To tell you the truth, I’m thinking about getting one for my office!

Cashew & Cherry Cheese Spread

2 cups of raw organic cashews
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons water
1 lemon
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cherries (I found these in the bulk section at Whole Foods).

Soak the cashews for 1 to 2 hours, drain, then toss into a high speed blender (such as Blendtec or Vitamix)

Add agave nectar and the water.

Grate all of the peel off the lemon and add it to the cashew mix. You may want to do this directly over the blender container to avoid making a mess!

Juice the lemon directly into the blender, seeds and all.

Blend until relatively smooth.

[On my Blendtec, I used the dip/sauce/fondue setting. I think I scraped it down and hit for a couple of pulses just for good measure].

Add the 1/2 cup of dried cherries.

Blend enough until the cherries start to break up.

[At this point, the blender didn’t sound happy, so I just used the pulse feature a couple of times and let the cherries do what they wanted!]

This yielded about two cups of a lightly sweet, yet zingy spread. It’s about 120 calories per 2 Tbs, so it’s just a little more caloric than other more common nut butters.

I took two tablespoons and filled up four stalks of celery (which was plenty filling as a morning and afternoon snack)!

Note, the original recipe (which did not call for water and did call for a touch of sea salt) was much, much thicker and quite a bit more cheese-like.

I found this gem (along with several others) at Choosing Raw. If you have any curiosity whatsoever about how to eat well, raw, you’ll get your answers there!

Quick and Healthy Snack Options II – Crustless Pecan Pie Bites

Again, another super quick and easy snack option!

Dates
Raw Pecan Halves

Slice the dates open on one side, then insert the pecan!

If you’re craving pecan pie but you want to avoid all of the sugary, buttery, and glutenous goodness that goes with it, this might be just the thing you’re looking for.

I made these at Christmas and they practically flew off the platter!

Enjoy

Quick and Healthy Snack Options – Raw Chocolate Almonds

Particularly during the holiday season (not to mention just during the cold winter months) it’s important to have healthy snack options around. When you have healthy options around, you’re less likely to reach for the unhealthy crap that seems to just materialize out of thin air. So instead of reaching for a piece of left over fudge or the Christmas cookies that seem to linger until Valentines Day, try these on for size.

Raw almonds (only make as many as you think you’ll eat in the day).
5 or 6 drops of liquid Chocolate Stevia
1/2 cup of water.

Put the almonds – I usually make about 24 at a time to last for the day – in a small Zip lock baggie. I tend to use the snack size, because they’re perfect for making (and storing and packing) this particular treat!

Cover the almonds with water (purified water if you have it) and then add 5 or 6 drops of the liquid Stevia. You can use any flavor, but I’m loving the chocolate these days. You can get liquid Stevia in a variety of flavors, including Cinnamon, Vanilla, Creme Brule, etc.

Zip up the bag and let sit overnight.

In the morning, drain off the water and enjoy!

I originally came across this recipe via a woman named Rose Cole. Check out the video of her making these, below!

If you need a little more encouragement to toss these puppies into your dietary rotation, check out all of the health benefits of almonds!

Enjoy!

KJ’s Favorite Green Smoothie (a/k/a Slime-ade)

For the last two weeks, I have been drinking green smoothies. That is, RAW green smoothies.

For the most part, green smoothies are very forgiving – some of them aren’t even green! In fact, my first one literally looked like a vat of figgie pudding. Well, I assume that that’s what it looked like. Too many blueberries.

Essentially, you put in a lot of leafy greens (spinach, cilantro, kale, romaine lettuce, etc) and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Some people put in a lot of fruit, because they like them sweeter.

I started there, but quickly moved to the less sweet variety.

My favorite to date, is sort of Mexican-y and smells a little bit like a summer garden. Check out the details here.

Over the holidays, I made one every day and split it with my sister. She, who has recently gone gluten-free, actually got a little zing of energy with her first slug. Talk about an instant convert. In fact, before the holidays were over, she had ordered her own high speed blender and packed a smoothie to go for her long drive ahead.

Not everyone in the house, however, was a convert. My parents were not sold – at all. And every time my father saw me with one, he’d just laugh and shake his head (not necessarily in that order).

My father’s snarky asides eventually got so bad that I eventually made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: you stop ragging on me because of my slime-ade and I’ll stop bitching at you about your Vienna Sausages (otherwise known as Viennie Weinies).

Personally, I think he got a pretty good deal. Because there’s a lot more that I could say about the wonders of potted meat than he could about the hazards or fresh, organic spinach.

KJ’s Slime-ade Recipe

Delicious and refreshing. And, according to my sister, gives you an energetic little pick-me-up!

4 cups raw baby spinach
1 medium tomato, quartered
1 yellow (or red) bell pepper, quartered
1 pear (seeds and all), quartered
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup of water, to blend
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Green Tabasco Sauce, to taste

Freshly squeezed lemon (optional)

Using a high-speed blender, add the high-water foods in first: the tomato, the pepper, the pear, and the water.

Blend until relatively smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients: the spinach, the cilantro, the cumin, the pepper, and the Tabasco.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, add some lemon – or better yet, some lime!

Blend until smooth.

This may require that you stop the blender and push things down and start again.

This makes about a quart of yummy green nutrition. Bottoms up!

The Christmas Pants (otherwise known as leverage)

Before heading home for the holidays, I took a long hard look at the closet. And instead of going for glamour, which would be lost on my folks anyway, I decided to pack for leverage. In other words, I did what peak performance guru Anthony Robbins recommends: I packed my tightest jeans – you know, the ones that make overeating a near impossibility?

In my case it’s the size four bootcut jeans from the Gap. Though I also brought the ridiculously tight DKNY sixes. I wore the latter on Christmas Day, just to give myself some slack.

I am happy to say that I am sitting here (and breathing) in the fours (and yes, they have been washed and dried since last Thursday)!

Would I have been more comfortable if I’d done something a little less radical?

Undoubtedly.

Would I have been totally bummed out if I had gotten back home only to find that the jeans no longer fit had I left them in the drawer?

Most definitely.

All in all, the gain (or the relative lack thereof) was totally worth it!

Healthy Holidays!

Holidays – they’re really NOT about the food

This year everyone in my family has a food allergy of some sort.

Unfortunately, none of them (well, other than those of my sister and I) actually match.

She and I are gluten-free. I, however, tend to be particularly problematic, because I also make it a general rule to avoid most dairy, meat, refined sugar, and other forms of processed food.

Her husband, although not gluten-free, has his own issues. Namely, he’s deathly allergic to mushrooms, walnuts, strawberries, and a number of other random things. Notably, he also has come to realize that reducing (though not eliminating) wheat helps his arthritis. As does reducing pork. (Pork?! That must be about all of the chemicals with which most “meat” is processed. I use the quotations meaningfully, as if he’s talking about most processed name-brand sausage, it’s not meat. In fact, I have known vegans who still eat sausage on the basis that there’s practically nothing in there that even remotely resembles flesh. But I digress….)

My mother is on the “white diet.” Meaning that she can’t have anything with fiber. No whole grains, no fresh fruit or vegetables. No tomatoes. No chocolate. No spices. She, hands down, has it hardest and I know that the thing that she’s most hoping for this year from Santa is a fully healed esophagus at the end of two long (and too long) months of pale, texture free food.

And my poor father has been having severe indigestion – agonizing pain that my mother thinks may be related to his gall bladder.

So where does that leave us on a holiday that is typically centered around food? Rich, glutenous foods with lots of spices, grains, butter, sugar, and lightly steamed fresh vegetables?

Well, I brought my blender. And even though I missed having a green smoothie today (the first in a week and, yes, I am feeling it), I got up this morning and had my hemp shake per usual. I did this while my sister and mother enjoyed freshly baked gluten-free corn muffins with Craisins and my father and my sister’s husband went back to bed.

As you might imagine, there’s been a lot of discussion about food. What who can eat and what we’re going to make and when we’re going to make it. But interestingly, unlike other years, no one seems to really be making it and that which is getting made has gone largely uneaten.

There is also a lot of food-related resentment in the house right now. Particularly from my mother, whose diet was imposed on her by medical personnel, as opposed to my sister and I who chose gluten-free freely and with eyes wide open. Mother has also used language which suggests that she thinks that she is being punished. But my sister and I are feeling it too – especially when we offer to make things or do things, which are systematically refused.

My sister, for example, who had just spent the last three days cooking full out healthy meals for my parents asked:

“So what did you have for dinner?”

Mother turned away, looking more like a twelve year old than someone who is all too fast approaching 70.

“Your father had a sandwich and some onion and I had some oatmeal and a piece of toast.”

You could literally see the steam come out of my sister’s ears. But, bless her heart, she held her tongue and proceeded to make my mother some chocolate free pumpkin-butterscotch fudge.

I have no idea what the actual holiday meal will hold. My aunt and her family are bringing over a turkey, the stuffing, and numerous desserts, while my sister and I will make a lot of sides. I’m sure there will be yams, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts and I know that my sister is planning on making a gluten-free stuffing. I may or may not make my infamous almond and date basmati rice (which, is delicious, but, unfortunately for mother, probably has way too much cinnamon).

So this holiday season has really been about boundary setting and trying to make sure everyone (self included) gets their needs met. There has also been more empathy, such as realizing after buying 10 ripe avocados that I really couldn’t (or shouldn’t) make the chocolate pudding I had planned for because mother can’t eat chocolate. But since the avocados were bought, I decided that that was ridiculous. So, in recompense, I made another dessert for mother (crust-less pecan pie bites) that are not only way better for her, but are also right up her alley in terms of taste.

This season has also been about recognizing everyone’s limitations – not just about food, but their physical limitations. We’re getting older – if not just plain old!

The days of the totally magical holidays – resplendent with lights and trees and ridiculous amounts of foods that everyone could and actually would eat – are gone. One way to think about it is this year is about seeing who we are – who we really are – and, in the case of my sister and I – who we are likely to become.

Thankfully we’re still here – with all of our foibles and our dietary restrictions. And hopefully we’ll learn to appreciate one another more fully because of them, as opposed to in spite of them.

My gift to you: Take some time this holiday to focus on your own needs and the needs of those around you. Spend some time meeting the people in your life where they are and try not to cling too tightly to the way you think they should be or how they’ve always been. You’ll all be much happier that way.

Happy Holidays~

The Easiest, Healthiest (and some of the most delicious) Fudge You’ll Ever Make

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to add more raw food into my diet. In fact, I just made the pledge (on twitter @KJLively) that no baked desserts shall pass these lips over the holidays. Somehow, it seems like making a higher pledge (like no gluten, no baked goods) and sticking to it will be easier than making tons of decisions on a dessert-by-dessert basis.

But, not to be a dessert killjoy during the holidays, I have sat up the raw food lab in the kitchen. I have a ton of raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, as well as dates, raisins, bananas, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut oil, zucchini, and (don’t ask) avocado. For those of you who don’t do raw, you’ll be relieved to know that all this does not go into the same recipe. 🙂

I decided to start simple, with Mint Chocolate Fudge balls, recipe courtesy of the Raw Foods Witch, Nathalie Lussier. You can also download her free cookbook: “28 Desserts You Can Eat Everyday,” in exchange for your name and email. Not a bad deal, if you think about it.

I am definitely making these this year at my parents’ house!

Mint Chocolate Fudge Balls

• 1/2 cup raw nut butter of choice (almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, etc.)
• 1/2 cup soft dates
• 1/4 cup raw cacao powder or carob powder
• Drop of mint or peppermint oils

Blend the dates separately first, to ensure that they will be smooth in the final product.
Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until the entire mixture forms into a ball of
dough.

Take pieces of dough and roll in your hands to form balls.

Store in freezer or fridge.

Makes 16 small balls

Per 2: 127 calories, 7.8 g fat, 0.7 saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 12.3 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 6.9 g sugar, 4.4 g protein

These are super easy – and rich enough that the two (or even one) just might do you!

Note: I put these in the freezer and it dried them out enough that they’re more like cookies – think Newman’s Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip!

The Green Smoothie Girl Nutrition Quiz

As you will be learning, I am beginning to get into the whole/raw food thing. I’ve even been making green smoothies (recipes forthcoming), which are not only disgustingly good for you, but are incredibly tasty!

In my quest for new recipes, I stumbled across Green Smoothie Girl! If you’re at all interested in going green (or even raw), check her out! There’s a lot of good information there about why one might want to consider it – if not as a complete lifestyle choice, then as a healthy add-in.

I also took her nutrition quiz and – food geek that I am – got a 95 (or an A)! Which, according to her rubric suggests the following:

90-100 A If you’ve been living this lifestyle for some time, you should be living a vibrant, energetic life with minimal disease risk, and you look younger than your years and peers! What an achievement, inspiration, and example to others!

Now, I don’t know how seriously I would take this, but I did run into an old acquaintance that I haven’t seen in about five years. He didn’t even recognize me! When I told him who I was, he laughed, obviously embarrassed. “Why, KJ,” he said, taking one of my hands in both of his. “When you came over here, I thought, ‘Now who’s that undergraduate coming over here to talk to me?'”

Although he may have been exaggerating (I turn 40 in two months), that exchange was all the encouragement I needed to hop out of bed the next morning, slice of some romaine lettuce, some spinach, a couple of pieces of fresh fruit and blend it up.

Seriously, try it (assuming you have a blender that can handle it). Although it might take a couple of false starts, it won’t take long for you to be pleasantly surprised!

If you want to know how close you are to being a Green Smoothie Girl (or Guy), take the quiz here!

Pretty good (and easy) advice for surviving the holidays without blowing your diet

I am heading home for the holidays, so I have been checking out the resources in my home town.

During the course of my research, I found this rather nice blog post from Whole Foods! Out of all the advice there, the one thing that I need to remember the most is to move away from the food. Like most families, or at least most families in my acquaintance, mine tends to hang out in the dining room – or even worse – the kitchen!

This year’s plan: try to stay focused on the people that I am ostensibly there to visit and the conversations.

How much more pleasant would all of our holiday interactions be if we focused on staying in the moment and really hearing what the other person had to say, instead of wondering – in the back of your mind – how many pieces of pecan pie are left?

And how much simpler would this be to accomplish in the living room (or outside, weather depending) than in the kitchen surrounded by the cloying smells of sugar, butter, and starch?

I am also going to do my best to not eat standing up or anything – anything at all – that’s not on a plate.

I guess this means no more french fries at Elixir!

This is a sad commentary on our nation’s food supply – if you can even call it that anymore!

I particularly liked the quote from the potato farmer who wouldn’t touch the potatoes that he grows for public sale! Nice.

What have we, as a society, been reduced to in the name of big (agri-) business? It’s pathetic.

The irony is not lost that I spent my evening learning to make raw, vegan, organic cookies, while Michael J spent his looking in to buying shares in one of the local year-long CSAs (community supported agriculture)!

Better get that application in before anybody else sees this!

Bon Appétit!

Another “Make-Do Recipe” Does Good

Michael J and I arrived home from a three day cross country jaunt at 4:00 a.m. to an empty fridge, snow on the ground, and workers coming to tear out the basement floor in less than 5 hours.

Needless to say that this morning has been something of a blur – what with the overall tiredness, the generalized burnout, and – now – the buzz of the Sawzall Saw and the all too cheerful chatter of workers who obviously got more sleep than we did.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time; the refrigerator was all but bare. Of course, we could have yet another peanut butter and Ezekial Bread sandwich or ricecakes and hummus (which had been the mainstays on yesterday’s travel fiasco), but the thought left me cold.

In fact, what I really wanted was something warm.

I turned my inner critic off and opened the fridge: couple of cartons of tofu that I had bought for some recipe or another but never used, several packages of Shirataki Noodles, garlic, celery, carrots, and a bunch of broccoli that didn’t look quite fresh enough to eat raw. There were also some sweet potatoes (which would take too long) and some hemp shake fixin’s which would have been great – that is, if it wasn’t cold and the airlines hadn’t lost my blender! (I’ll have more to say about that later!)

As I piled all of the ingredients up on the counter, I got a nostalgic longing for this little hole in the wall Chinese place I used to go to in Indiana. They had this amazing tofu and veggie soup that I ate almost everyday for lunch. I decided to give recreating it a try and though it wasn’t perfect, it was pretty darned good. And, more to the point, it’s definitely going into the rotation as Michael J even had some!

Given that the Shirataki noodles are calorie-free – yes, you head me, so, if you like noodles and didn’t check out the link above, you may want to do that now – I can imagine making this up (or some version thereof) to just have around on those cold nights when I’m coming home late from work and too chilly and too tired to make anything else.

Let me know what you think!

Tofu and Shirataki Noodle Soup

“A very satisfying soup that warms the spirit on an otherwise cold and dispirited day”

1 cup baby carrots, sliced
5 stalks celery, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups of water
3 teaspoons of Better than Bouillon (Organic, Vegetable)
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 – 2 cups broccoli florets

1 carton of extra firm tofu (drained, and pressed to reduce liquid)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 – 2 tsp of San-J Tamari Sauce (or other gluten-free soy sauce)

2 packages of Shirataki noodles (prepared according to package)

Add first ten ingredients (through salt and papper) in a large stew pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are tender (around 15 minutes).

Add broccoli.

Heat oil in a separate skillet; when hot, add tofu and cook until sides are browned. Add Tamari sauce and saute gently for a few minutes to season tofu.

Add tofu and the noodles to the soup pot. Heat until warm throughout. Remove bay leaves and serve

Serves 4 (Generously): 178 calories, 9.8 g. fat, 1.4 g. saturated fat, 272.5 mg sodium, 14 g. carbs, 5.9 grams fiber, 1.2 grams sugar, 13.5 grams protein.

Can someone help me reframe this?

I was in a public restroom and this woman says to me:

“Are you pregnant?”

Me: “No. Do I look pregnant?”

Her: “No. I just thought if you were I’d let you go first.”

Option one: I am about to lose another shirt!

Option two: I don’t look as good as I thought I did. 😦

Option three: she’s one of those nosey people who masquerade as helpful. This is MJ’s interpretation which, unfortunately doesn’t explain why she asked if I was pregnant rather than if I had irritable bladder!

Option four: she has a death wish and routinely asks women in public bathrooms if they’re expecting.

I give MJ full credit for trying to pull me back from the edge. Anyone else care to try?

Leaving on a jet plane….

…and I am literally taking more calories than clothes! It’s crazy!

Michael J and I are going to a two day seminar on the opposite coast and this is just a sampling of what I’m taking, aside from two skirts, two blouses, a jacket, a scarf, and variety of other necessary unmentionables:

Larabars
A gallon bag of salad (no dressing)
Hummus
Multigrain Ricecakes
Carrots
Pink Lady Apples
Bananas
My blender!
Chocolate Hemp Shake Mix
Shelled Hemp Seeds
Nairn’s ginger stem oat biscuits
VerMints
Raw Unsalted Almonds
Prunes (don’t ask)
Green & Black’s 85% Chocolate (for Michael J)
?????

I’m sure I’m forgetting something! But you get the picture!

Last time we were there (back in the good old pre-gluten-free days) we were able to buy a brown bag lunch, but as it all had some sort of wheat that’s no longer an option. And the dinner break is short. Last time 20 participants had gone up to their rooms only to be stuck in an elevator. Thanks, but no thanks!

Luckily there is a grocery store within walking distance (about a mile away) where we can buy soy milk/Almond Breeze once we arrive and additional fruit if need be after our 10 trek cross country.

Despite the potential for food disaster, you might say that I am stocking (if not overstocking) my environment.

My plan: eat small meals every two and a half hours and, as you may recall from my last post, only eat until I’m 80% full.

I will keep you posted!

What are your best travel strategies?

What’s the matter with gluten?

Gluten, for those of you who don’t know, is a protein that is in wheat and barley. Interestingly, 1 out of 40 U.S. adults have some sort of allergy to gluten (and a good portion of those are also allergic to dairy)! Most people don’t know they have the allergy: they just live with the mental cobwebs, the bloating, the inflammation, the digestive problems, the headaches, and the depression – never thinking that the cause is in what they’re eating.

You might be thinking – wheat? What’s wrong with wheat?

What’s wrong with wheat is that it’s in practically everything!

In case you’re not a student of nutrition labels (yes, I am a geek!) so-called enriched flour is one of the most common food ingredients used in food processing. Essentially we were not designed to eat wheat with the fiber stripped out. We were not designed to eat wheat in, essentially, everything we eat.

Did you realize that some ice creams have gluten in them? Soy sauces? Ketchups? Soup mixes? Spaghetti sauces?

Some of the symptoms that people have who have gluten allergies include chronic indigestion, acid reflux, depression, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrom (among others). Go here, for more information about gluten and wheat allergies.

Portion Control: Argh!

I’ve been trying a new strategy: portion control.

Well, not that it’s a new strategy in the cosmic sense, but it is new to me!

I’ve been listening to this weight loss/health gaining program and the instructor talks about learning to stop eating when you’re 80% full.

I purposefully let that awkward sentence structure slide – learning to stop eating when you’re 80% full – because, trust me, if you’re not used to doing it, you’re going to have to learn it. And it’s harder than it looks.

I had no idea that I was a member of the “clean plate club” until I tried not to be. What I found, when I tried to not finish my meal is that it’s a real struggle for me to leave a bite of food on my plate, let alone 20% of whatever I took…unlike my normal weight partner, Michael J, who always leaves a bite or two on his plate! You know, it’s a good thing he’s adorable, because, to tell you the truth, it drives me crazy. But at least not crazy enough, thank goodness, that I feel the need to clean his plate (with my fork!) as I’m putting dishes away! Apparently eating the scraps off of husband’s and children’s plates is a huge weight gain trap for women. So, if you’re doing it: stop it! Just stop.

I do, I admit, tend to eat the last bite out of a container if there’s only one – or two – bites left. Not Michael J, who will all too happily put a two bite “black bean snack” back in the fridge without even batting an eye. Something tells me that I could learn a lot about eating from watching him more closely – not necessarily about what to eat, but how to eat. Again, it’s a good thing he’s cute.

So, back to this 80% rule. Why 80%?

Essentially, it’s because it takes the stomach about 15 or 20 minutes to realize you’re full. So, when you feel 80% full (I still haven’t fully grocked what that means, exactly) you’re actually already full, although your gut hasn’t quite figured that out yet. If you eat until you’re full, technically you’re already over full (around the magnitude of about 120%) When you eat more calories than you need – that is, you eat to over fullness – your body releases insulin, which signals fat storage, etc, etc. I’m sure you get the picture.

Because I have such strong – apparently – cultural conditioning not to waste food (even two bites), my new strategy is to take about 80% of what I would normally take. And I try to eat slow…well, slower…so that my stomache is more likely to get the message before I to leave the table.

It’s really hard. Harder than it should be. But even though it’s hard – I actually feel better eating this way. I don’t miss the “stuffed” feeling, even though it’s been a good companion to me for the last 39 years.

However, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to commit to three changes this holiday season.

This is the first: I am going to walk away from every meal, snack, etc. while I still feel a little bit hungry. If I am still a little bit hungry 15 or 20 minutes later, I may have a little more. Or I might just have a cup of tea and let the feeling pass.

I’ll keep you posted.