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Just saw this recipe on the Cultivating Sustainability blog over on FoodPress.com. This one combines sweet potato and kale. I will be trying these during an upcoming kale week, a week when my family tries kale in 7 different recipes in hopes of learning to love it. Check out Sweet Potato, Kale & Black Bean Fajitas and check leafy greens off the daily list and sweet potato off the three-times-a-week list. Add avocado or guacamole and check that off the list as well.

Until Alton Writes A Book

On Live and Let Diet, Alton jokes about writing a book. The book is featured in the episode, it’s called Buff Like Me. Sadly, it’s not a real book. There is talk that he will be writing a book at some point, but until then, there is some guesswork involved.

For instance, dessert is on the once-a-week list. Does that mean that nothing sweet should pass your lips except for that one precious dessert? And when you have that dessert, what size should it be, what should it consist of? Is it ok to eat 2 pieces of cheesecake for your one dessert? If you choose a candy bar for your dessert, do you have to eat it all at one sitting? I’m pretty sure I know the answer (everything within reason, aka, only one relatively smallish piece of cheesecake).

Avocado is a three-times-a-week food. Does that mean you should eat a whole avocado 3 times a week, or if you have a few sliced on a sandwich does that count? Carrots should be eaten everyday. How many carrots? Just orange carrots or do the fancy organic red carrots count too? Are baby carrots just as good? And tuna counts as oily fish when it’s fresh, so if I have sushi 3 times a week, am I fulfilling the quota?

Until Alton writes his book, I think ‘do the right thing’ should be our motto. I know that for me, 3 avocados a week might be too many, but if I can eat 2 as guacamole, and another half or so on a sandwich, then I feel like I’m doing good. I keep to the dessert once a week rule as much as possible, however, I did buy some dark chocolate and have a square when I’m feeling like I want dessert, but know I can’t have it. Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you, and it’s not sicky-sweet, I only have a little at a time and I feel ok about it.

A Huge Alton Fan

Wow. I just found Lisa Hechesky’s blog, All About Alton Brown. She is a HUGE Alton fan, complete with photos of him, autographs, etc. She’s done a couple of posts about his Live and Let Diet show. Check her out.

It’s school vacation week here. I spent one of our vacation days taking my son to the planetarium and as I was driving home I spent some time thinking about how Eating Like Alton compared to the way I would have eaten in the past. Here’s a comparison:

On the way down I stopped at Cumberland Farms for coffee. You can see my earlier post about how I like my coffee, so I was off to a bad start, but my son reminded me that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and that I should get something to eat.

ELA choice: Coffee with cream and sugar & a Fiber One bar
Past choice: Coffee with cream and sugar and at least 2 donuts and maybe some candy

There was a cafe at the Planetarium with a full range of sandwiches, pastries, pizza, sodas, etc. After a little exploring, I chose

ELA choice: a chicken salad wrap with lettuce and tomato, a bag of Terra Chips and a bottle of water
Past choice: a reuben panini, a bag of Lays chips and a bottle of Coke

After the planetarium we stopped by the mall for a quick clothing exchange.

ELA choice: nothing
Past choice: another coffee from Dunkin Donuts, quite possibly a donut, or a cookie or pretzel from another food court vendor.

Then we stopped at Target to get some Method cleaner (this is the BEST stuff). It was getting late in the day at this point and I was weighing our dinner options. We were about to drive down a strip with all the fast food options imaginable, which of course is on the NEVER list. So, at Target we…

ELA choice: Kashi TLC Fruit & Grain Bars in Dark Chocolate Coconut and a bottle of water
Past choice: 10 piece chicken nuggets, large fries and a Coke at McHorrible

Then, if I’m being honest, I probably would have stopped in at a gas station or another fast food place and gotten another Coke or coffee and candy or a bag of chips or something else horrible. Instead we drove directly home, not stopping for snacks and feeling pretty great about it.

My conclusion was not that I was able to eat amazingly well and by the list, but that I ate dramatically better than I would have in the past and much, much less.

Today is Valentines day. My husband made us a great, Alton list-approved dinner: roast pork, green beans, baked sweet potatoes. We used our once a week dessert on cheesecake. And it was delicious! Hope you had a happy and healthy Valentines day.

A never list is a double-edged sword. In the past when I’ve tried to diet eat healthy I often create my own ‘never’ list. It’s easier for me to never have chips than to try to have a few and stop eating them. It’s easier for me to just know I can’t than to know I can within reason. I actually think the never list is easier than the once a week list. With the once a week list I have to be on the honor system with myself. I have to remember if I had dessert last Saturday, or was that Sunday? Am I in the clear to have it again or not? Or can I just cheat since it’s only one more day… But the never list. Well, never is a mighty long time.

Fast food: No matter how hard the Mc’s and the King’s try to convince us, we all know that stuff is bad. Tasty, but bad. It’s mass-produced, created with not nutritional value, but corporate bottom line in mind. I can avoid fast food. Where there’s a fast food restaurant, there’s usually a gas station or convenience store near by. And if you look hard enough in those places you can find granola bars, fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese, pretzels and bottled water. You can make a good lunch out of those things, and never ingest a fried or heat-lamped anything. I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, be sure to watch Super Size Me. It’s not going to cure you of wanting fast food forever, but it sure will make you think.

Soda: Soda is bad stuff. Just google tooth in soda and you’ll see some nasty stuff. However, in my head, soda is linked to a lot of things. I really like a good cold fountain Coke at a restaurant. And it’s such a habit that sometimes I catch myself mindlessly ordering one and then have to take it back. In a store, it’s easy select 100% juice, or water, or tea. In the year before I had my son I gave up soda completely. I was trying to avoid all those chemicals and knew that since I wasn’t drinking soda I’d be drinking much more water and milk. The day my son was born they brought me a cup with ginger ale and chipped ice. It was amazing. Not as amazing as the birth of my son of course, but I do remember it quite well. Soda, you sure do make it tough on a girl.

Processed meals/frozen dinners: I talked about this one some before, but I do have to believe that there are exceptions to this one. I think if you do the work and find natural meals, without preservatives and other yucks, you can find good food that Alton would approve of. You’ve got to read the labels. Don’t eat anything that is cheap in price, cheaply made, or sold based on how stupidly heavy it is. I do think there are some companies out there that are elevating frozen meals. Kashi, evol, American Flatbread, they all seem to be doing it right.

Canned soup: I’m not a big fan of canned soup. If I’m really sick, I might seek out a traditional Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, but that’s about it. I know salt and MSG are two of the big problems with canned soup. The other is that it’s so dang easy to make your own soup. When you make your own soup, you can also add in so many of the items on the daily and three times a week list (barley, brown rice, leafy greens, carrots, fish, broccoli, sweet potato). Make 2 soups on the weekend and eat them all week-long for lunch.

“Diet” anything: This one I think is the easiest. I haven’t found anything yet that there isn’t a regular version of, and when there’s a regular version why or why would you want to eat the diet version?

 

Green Tea For Me

I am not a tea drinker. I’m not even a coffee drinker unless the coffee is on ice and loaded with cream and sugar. It’s sort of like a cup of melted coffee ice cream at that point and we all know it would be crazy to drink melted coffee ice cream…right?

On Alton’s Everyday list is green tea. When I have on occasion had tea, it has been something orange or peachy. When, on occasion, I have tried a green tea drink I have not been a fan. There is something about the flavor that I just do not enjoy. After reading over Alton’s lists, I knew I needed to find a green tea that I could drink everyday. I had my work set out for me.

Picture me in the grocery store, in the tea aisle, carefully inspecting box after box of any tea with ‘green’ in the title. There’s straight green tea, green tea with lemon, with mango, blueberry, organic, a ‘loose weight’ version and more. There was a jasmine green tea, and I like jasmine rice, so naturally I thought I would give that a try. I compared the ingredients in that tea to the ingredients in Stash’s Chai Green Tea. I ultimately decided upon the Chai version.

This tea is great. It doesn’t have that green tea taste that I have disliked in the past. The cinnamon, clove and cardamom flavors make this a warm, delicious tea. The directions on the box say you can make it with milk and that might make it more like a chai you’d get at a coffee shop, but I actually have been making it with hot water alone and it’s still really tasty. This tea also has caffeine, so if you’re a coffee drinker for that morning pick-me-up, this might do the trick.

At a workshop the other day, I was able to try the jasmine green tea. Not as good. I’ll be sticking with the chai green tea. Now my only problem is remembering to drink it every day.