Today It Starts

Today J and I are going on a low carb and sugar diet. We’ve eaten about a small army’s worth of tortilla chips lately so we’re taking some time off. Gretchen Rubin mentioned in “Better Than Before” how she cut carbs, which she didn’t like much anyways, and lost a ton of weight.

I’ve also started and am loving “Unprocessed,” about a woman who didn’t eat processed food for an entire year. I really want to try baking my own bread sometime so I can know that it’s not full of wood chips.

Going “no carb,” though, is just not in the books for me because literally all of the food I like has carbs in it. Fruit? Yes. Yogurt? Yes. Fuck. 

I googled Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet recipes and they all look pretty heinous. Like, really gross. So, if you know of any low-carb recipes that I have to try, let me know! Also, if you have any tips from your experiences with this kind of eating, let me know.

As a friend would say: Here. We. Go.

Food Stuffs

Let’s talk about all the things that I’ve been eating recently that have made me feel awful. 

For starters, I’ve realized that I snack too much at work. We have mini Snickers and Hershey’s nuggets and M&M’s just lying around. Initially, I was pretty addicted these. I’ve pretty much toned it down to 2 pieces per day. But I’m still reaching for the junk even though I’m not hungry. It’s just there, right? So, it’d be rude not to partake. I made the decision a few weeks ago to start ordering apples, so apples and peanut butter is a go-to snack of mine in an attempt to keep away from the shitty chocolate.

I think coffee may be making my head hurt, too. I only drink one or two cups a day, but I need to drink more water. (Which I have been, but I need to drink more because: hot weather.)

But let’s talk about the baguette I ate last week. 

I’d packed my lunch – super healthy grilled chicken and zucchini noodles with pesto sauce. But I was like, “it’s shark week and I’d like something heartier to go alone with all of that healthy shit,” so I went to Eataly, which is conveniently located across the street from my office, and walked around until I found a small counter that sold baguettes for two dollars. I immediately bought one and I ate about half of it with lunch and throughout the afternoon.

When I say I felt like trash for the rest of the afternoon, it is a complete understatement. I felt like steaming hot trash that had just been bathed in a tub of burnt olive oil.

I don’t have celiacs. I’m not glutarded. I’m not giving up all bread because bread is great. But based on the complete meltdown that my body had last week when I consumed a stupid amount of baguette, I think I should lay off the bread that’s void of any nutrition at all. 

I think I could’ve trained myself not to be OK with feeling like shit after eating bread and pasta. I used to consume a ton of pasta and I ate regular bread all the time. Usually when I buy bread, I’ll buy Ezekiel, which is gluten free, and the last time I made actual pasta (and the only time that I even have a faint memory of) was July 4th. After J bought the Inspiralizer for me, I haven’t made an ounce of pasta. 

But lesson learning is never easy so I had to eat bread once again on Saturday night. More specifically, garlic bread. These were small pieces and there were four of them. I only ate two because of The Baguette Incident. Luckily, showing some restraint paid off and these didn’t actually make me want to start clawing at my stomach. Still, I was incredibly sad to be leaving two gleaming pieces of garlic bread behind. This is a feeling that I will have to learn to deal with. I hate wasting food. 

The margaritas I had later that night had zero effect on me. Nor did the tortilla chips (thank goodness these are GF) and queso. 

I have a love/hate relationship with my consciousness around food now. I notice when things make me feel like dying and I make a conscious decision not to fuck around with those foods anymore. This is for the best, but it also sucks. Who doesn’t love a good bread basket?

Aside from cheap chocolate and bread, what isn’t making me feel shitty? Fruits, vegetables, and smoothies. Pretzels are toeing the line right now. I would really, really, really like to eat a burger or pizza right now but I don’t want a food hangover. 

I made this dish last night, complete with spiralized sweet potatoes, red pepper, green pepper, yellow squash, a little bit of cheese and spicy black beans. It was delicious and I didn’t want to die after. I have to start making more dishes like this again. 

The Weekend

This weekend was oh-so nice. It started on Friday night when J and I went down to The Library (the bar at the Public) to celebrate his birthday with his friends, many of whom I just adore. It was super fun, though we both probably consumed far too much alcohol. 

We ordered in carb-loaded breakfasts from my local diner the next morning to fight our hangovers before going to see Avenue Q at New World Stages. It was my first time seeing it since 2005 or 2006 and it totally holds up. I’ll write about it more in depth later on but it’s still so great. J loved it SO, SO much. He couldn’t stop talking about it the entire weekend. Now he’s all, “I’m sure Hamilton’s great, but is it funnier than Avenue Q? Probably not.” 

He had to run home and I had to go home to see my cat and take a nap, but we met back up later on to go meet his friend from DC who he hadn’t seen in 3 years. We attempted to go to Flatiron Hall, but it was packed, so we went across the street to a mostly-empty bar (I can’t remember the name) and didn’t leave until probably 1am. So late. It was so exhausting but it was fun. (I nursed one beer the entire time because the thought of drinking more hurt my face.)

Sunday included a trip to Book Culture to take advantage of their 20% off sale. I hate buying books simply because they’re cheap, but I bought a Kon Mari-esque book called The Joy of LessYes Please by Amy Poehler, and Just Kids by Patti Smith. I cooked this sausage/kale/carrot noodle soup from the Inspiralized blog (it’s SO GOOD) and we watched “The Invasion” on HBOGo (it was entertaining and I’d recommend watching it if you’re bored, though it was 100% ridiculous). 

After an hour or so in the gym, I made sausage/carrot noodle/spinach/siracha rice wraps. So good. The rice wrap is kind of hard to handle but worth it not to have all the carbs of a regular wrap. 

We ended the night watching Show Business and later watching Game of Thrones (he watched, I played with my cat). I hadn’t watched Show Business in so long. It brought back so many good memories. To my shock and delight, J found it super interesting and loved seeing the progression of Avenue Q, in addition to watching Raul Esparza do theatre (currently he only knows him as DA Barba on SVU).

Overall, a solid weekend. 

Future Obsession: Inspiralizer

I first learned about the Inspiralizer instagram account from Well & Good or Gabby Bernstein’s Instagram. I don’t remember which, but it was one of those. I received a tiny, hand-held vegetable spiralizer for the holidays and I’m still getting the hang of it and learning how to use it.

I’ve been watching a lot of Ali’s (founder of the Inspiralizer website and blog) videos and last night I made the baked chicken parm with zucchini noodles (and some quinoa spaghetti) that she makes for dinner in this video

It was so good and even Justin didn’t completely hate the zucchini noodles. After we watched a few more of her videos together, he asked if I’d really use the Inspiralizer and I said yes, so he insisted on ordering one for me.

Now we can eat noodles made of vegetables all the time. I’m especially excited to make this shrimp scampi and carrot noodles.   

I’m very, very excited to spiralize all my vegetables. 

My Post-December Detox

I eat pretty well on a regular basis. Ask my boyfriend. He’s continually astounded by how well I eat. I don’t think it’s THAT good, but he does, so let’s go with that. But then the month of December comes and the snacking goes to shit.

December is always a difficult month – lots of crap to eat in the office and then the holidays come and you’re told to splurge because “it’s the holidays,” and then before you know it, you’ve gained 5 pounds. Let me first say that 5 pounds is no reason to get your panties in a twist. Honestly, between water weight and what we’re eating on a daily basis (did you eat a burger last night or a salad?), I don’t think it’s crazy to fluctuate in the 3-5 pound range from week to week. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m just going off my own experiences and things I’ve read.)

Even though I was making my own lunches (and oftentimes my own dinners), exercising regularly (5-6 days a week), and living in a city where your feet are your main mode transportation (I ❤ you, NYC), I think my weight still went up a bit in December. At the beginning of the month I was still hopping on the scale every few days. But after I realized that the number was making me feel like shit, while I didn’t physically feel like shit, I thought that I’d better cool it. At least for December.

And so that’s what I did. I splurged, ate what I wanted (but not to the point of sickness), exercised a lot, and didn’t step a foot on the scale. If I felt sluggish one day, I’d work out some more (having a gym in my building’s basement is the best). But now… now December is over, New Year’s Day is over, so it’s time to get my eating back on track. There won’t be cookies and chocolate in the office anymore so this should be relatively simple. Here’s my detox plan…

Replace coffee with green tea: I’m not totally getting rid of coffee – I love making coffee in the morning. The process is almost therapeutic for me. I love the smell and setting the timer for steeping. The only thing I don’t really like the taste. Of the coffee. So sue me, but whatever, that’s why there’s honey and whipped cream. I’ll continue to drink coffee in the morning because it’s my crack but I’m going to go back to drinking tea first (which is something that I always used to do before I started getting into the groove of using my Fellow). I’m generally of the belief that drinking caffeine on an empty stomach is a recipe for feeling like shit. It sends your digestive system into overdrive and bloats you.

Go to the gym three mornings per week: Thirty minutes on the elliptical and I’m golden. I was doing four mornings before the New Year, but I want to have two mornings to wake up slower, do my 8-minute flow, and drink my tea in peace.

Yoga at least 3 times per week: I’ve been doing yoga 3+ times per week since 2011. I’m going to continue this, obviously. Even if I’m not sweating after every class, it’s still beneficial to move and stretch.

Continue to make all of my own lunches: I need to make more turkey chili STAT and find a few new soup recipes. I’m going to keep eating warm, soft foods during the winter (Ayurveda, FTW). More risotto, too! 

Eat less dairy: Since I consumed my cheese for the year on New Year’s Day, I think I need to eat less dairy. Dairy is gross and pure fat. I’m going to go back to not keeping any cheese in my fridge and only coconut milk.

Drink 3 cups of green day per day: This is just good for your metabolism, so duh.

Bring snacks with me to work: You know what the best way to eat shit during the work day is? Not bringing your own snacks with you. Then you end up eating whatever is left around in the office kitchen, or going out to get a cookie or some other processed nonsense that will sit in your gut for an extra week.

Eat minimal processed foods: My guilty pleasure are the peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets from Trader Joe’s and those are processed, but I can pronounce all the ingredients, so I’m giving that a goddamn pass. I’m really into apples and carrots these days. 

Meditating: Always. Twice a day. I’m going to try to incorporate longer sessions into my evenings or weekends a couple of times a week though. It’s so important and so relaxing.

I think that’s about it. If you see me posting pictures of crap food on my Instagram, yell at me. 

Chicken, Lentil, and Vegetable Soup

This was another soup recipe that I found on Rachael Ray. It’s a basic chicken soup with celery, onion, and carrots, but I also through in lentils and potatoes to make it even more filling. 

I basically cooked the chicken most of the way, set it aside. Then I sautéed the onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery for probably 15-20 minutes, then threw in around 6 cups of chicken brother and let it all simmer for another 20. For the last three minutes, I threw the chicken in.

Super easy and it made enough for like probably 6 meals. Yum. 

New Year’s Day

I never sleep in after drinking a lot and yesterday was no exception. I woke up at 8:30am and after deciding I couldn’t go back to sleep, I finished the last 60 pages of The One and Only (so cheesy; not Giffin’s best) and then threw on my coat and went out to Absolute Bagel (best bagels ever, they’re all fresh out of the oven) to pick up bagels for Justin and I, along with some Vitamin Water (me) and Diet Coke (him). We spent the day, first, in pain, but after the Advil kicked in and the coffee was made, we were feeling 100% better. Still tired and a bit hungover, but ready for a full day of relaxing.

We went for a walk to grab coffee, more carbs, and lastly to pick up some bread and cheese for the grilled cheese and tomato soup I was planning on making.

Another one of Rachael Ray’s recipes, the tomato soup was tasty but the diced tomatoes that I used never really broke up so it was more like tomato sauce. I’m going to blend the leftovers so that it’s more like tomato soup. I like putting apple and jam on my grilled cheese (try it, it’s so good), but he took his straight up.

As far as the tomato soup recipe: sautee onions and garlic until soft, add tomato paste and stir for one minute; then add two 28oz cans of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of chicken broth, and 1 tsp sugar, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes and: soup. 

Carbs + Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese = Best Hangover Cure

Rachael Ray’s Creamy Potato Soup

While I was de-cluttering old magazines, I went through a bunch of old Every Day with Rachael Ray’s from 2013. I think I have to re-subscribe because as cheesy as she is, I love that magazine. Anyways, in an attempt to change my eating to better suit the cold weather, I made this soup. It’s potato and leek and I did everything the directions said and…

It’s pretty goddamn tasteless.

You know what makes it better? A little cheddar cheese and shitload of pepper. 

New York Times’ Turkey Chili

Last Saturday, after yoga, I went to Trader Joe’s and then headed home and immediately began to make turkey chili, for the first time. For some reason I’d always thought that chili seemed like a lot of work, but that night I just said fuck it and hunkered down with Netflix and made it.

As the weather is getting colder (kind of, sort of, sometimes), I turned to my book on Ayurveda and knew I had to change my diet, somewhat. When the weather gets colder, it’s recommended that you eat warmer foods that are easier to digest since your system slows down (we haven’t really evolved completely past the days of hibernating cave men). So that meant no more cold yogurts and salads for me and many more soups and stews.

After chopping up an insane amount of vegetables, I sautéed them, added some broth and tomatoes, let it simmer, and then it was done. Seriously, it was so easy. My life will never be the same again – neither will my diet. In the recipe it was served with sour cream and cheese, but to be honest, I don’t really like sour cream on my chili. It makes it very watery. Ew.

This recipe is so easy and it makes, like, at least a half-dozen servings. Cook it, seriously