Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors

 

Okay, when I picked myself up off the floor from this . . .

Why would today’s topic make me laugh?

For a couple of reasons. First, it was my birthday yesterday, which meant healthy eating was the last thing I worried about.

Second, because yesterday was also when we “spring forward” — and I can’t tell you how much I resent losing an hour of sleep ON MY BIRTHDAY. I take it very personally.

However, for the most part, healthy eating is more the normal part of my day than the exception. Why? Because when I eat properly for my body and my life, I feel better.

I rarely drink soda, and never “diet” soda. I eat very little junk food or processed food.

I’ve cut way back on sugar, especially refined sugar. In my baking, I’m working on substituting honey for sugar whenever possible, and then adjusting the rest of the recipe around it.

I don’t use fake sweeteners.

I do, however, drink whole milk, use real butter, etc.

I also grow as many of my own herbs and vegetables as possible. I believe in the mission that Edible Landscapes teaches, “Have your yard and eat it, too!” I currently rent, which means much of what I plant is in containers; but when I own my own place, there will be very little traditional lawn, and very much wild space and native plants — and many more vegetable beds.

I love to cook, and that helps me eat healthy, too. I read cookbooks the same way I read novels, and with the same pleasure. You might even say I “devour” them. I own many, many cookbooks — and even use most of them. I often use the recipe as a baseline, and then experiment from there.

The cookbooks I use most frequently and can’t live without are:

MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT FAVORITES
THE NEW BASICS by Julie Russo and Sheila Lukins
THE MOOSEWOOD COOKBOOK by Mollie Katzen
MARCELLA CUCINA by Marcella Hazen
THE NEW ENGLAND COOKBOOK by Brooke Donny
THE WAY TO COOK by Julia Child
JULIA’S KITCHEN WISDOM by Julia Child
THE POOR POET’S COOKBOOK (I bought that for 99 cents in San Francisco in the 1980s and still love it) by Ann Rogers
BEARD ON PASTA by James Beard

I often test drive cookbooks by checking them out of the library and cooking a few recopies from them. If I like the book enough, I buy it.

Control the food, control the population. Food is a social justice issue for me as much as it is a pleasure. We have the right to access fresh, healthy food. That means we have to put people into government who do not destroy environmental protections. If the soil and water are polluted, our food will harm us instead of keeping us healthy.

If we allow corporations to use pesticides to kill bees, we won’t have food. If we allow sterile seeds to be our only source, the corporation who creates the sterile seeds can decide not only WHAT we eat, but IF we eat.

That is not acceptable to me.

Growing as much as I can keeps me connected to the process — there’s a lot of joy as well as a lot of flavor in eating something you grew. I also know that the soil is good and free of contaminants, the water I use the same.

I am still an omnivore, although more and more of my choices veer away from red meat, and, over time, over meat in general.

Cooking makes eating healthy much easier. I enjoy cooking. I don’t believe it’s “too much work” to cook for myself (although I often cook for more than myself). I believe I deserve healthy, well-prepared meals. I enjoy the process of making them. Granted, vegetarian meals tend to require a great deal of chopping, which means you need a good set of knives. But it’s worth it.

Roast chicken is easy — half an onion and lemon juice in the cavity, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper over it, 5 cups of water in the roasting pan, cover, put in an oven for 2-1/2 hours and it’s tender and delicious.

Mashed potatoes are easy, and the secret is to warm the milk before you add it to mash (and always use whole milk and real butter, along with a bit of salt and pepper).

Steamed broccoli is great with a little seasoned salt over it.

Steamed green beans get an extra kick from some lemon juice or hollandaise sauce.

Moosewood Favorites has a great eggplant stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes — the potatoes are mashed with cream cheese instead of milk and butter. There are a mix of spices in it, along with diced red peppers, carrots, and peas. The filing can be eaten on its own or used as a side dish for other food.

Dice up a few fresh tomatoes, add some cooked corn and diced onions. You’ve got a salsa that’s great with steamed fish. Add some parsley, fresh spinach, oil and balsamic vinegar, and you’ve got a salad.

Fresh herbs can brighten up even the most boring meal. And no meal needs to be boring. Experiment.

If it doesn’t work, you’ll know and try something different the next time.

I never enjoyed eating until I started to cook. Once I enjoyed cooking, tasting and eating are part of that. I used to only enjoy cooking for others. But I got tired of both the expense and the quality of eating out.

My rule of thumb when I’m in a restaurant is I only order what I wouldn’t/couldn’t make at home. As my home-cooked repertoire grows, what I order when out shrinks!

The positive part of that is it makes me try new dishes instead of ordering the same old, same old when I’m out. It also encourages me, when I like something I’ve tried in a restaurant, to figure out how to cook it at home.

Decide what foods make you feel good, not just while you’re eating, but after. What fuels your body and your spirit? If you genuinely listen to your body instead of stuffing it with empty calories, you’ll start to align with foods that are better for you and that you wind up enjoying more.

Try that this year — grow a few things you LIKE to eat. Take sensual pleasure in cooking, tasting, preparing and eating food, even if it’s for yourself.

Worry less about calorie counts and more about nutritional value, taste, and presentation.

You’ll find yourself naturally gravitating towards healthier foods.

 

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Published in: on March 12, 2018 at 4:35 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 12, 2018: Healthy Eating #UpbeatAuthors  
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Tues. Nov. 7, 2017: Settling into a New Schedule

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for pre-release orders. Releases on Nov. 15, 2017.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise. The prolific Rhonda Pollero is my guest this week, with her newest release, Trapped.

I broke a toe Thursday night. Not a big deal, just painful and distracting, and about the 6th time I’ve broken this poor toe. Not fun.

Busy weekend.

Spent a few hour with a client on Friday morning, then dashed off to another meeting and did errands. Worked on the book I have to review next — will send that off today.

Also did a dump run first thing Friday, and then scrubbed out our garbage bins.

Didn’t get much work done on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. Got some done on Saturday — it’s interesting how differently Doug sees many of the same situations as Willow does. The contrast is interesting, and fun to play with. He’s very much himself, and not a stereotype, which makes him more interesting.

We treated ourselves to fish and chips for dinner. We so rarely eat fried food. Worth every bite.

Watched LOCH NESS (first series) over the weekend. Loved the production values, the writing, the actors — until the ending. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me. But, overall, I liked it. If they do another season, I’d watch it.

Saturday, I did some work in the morning, including some yard work (not that one can tell — there’s far more to do), scrubbed the house from top to bottom.

Then, I went Over the Bridge — a big deal for most people on Cape — because Edible Landscapes Cape Cod did a workshop at the Wildlands Trust in Plymouth.

Wildlands Trust isn’t far from where we did the Mermaid Ball for a couple of years. I’d never been there before — it’s beautiful. There was also someone there from Terra Cura, who’d written an article in Edible South Shore. She talks about creating an Herbal Spiral — something I’d like to try in the spring.

The workshop was in two parts — Medicinal Herbs by Marina, and then Seed Saving by Dave. Marina talked about infusions, tinctures, salves, oils, etc. I’ve always struggled with tinctures, but she presented the information in such a way that it suddenly made sense to me. She also talked about local plants considered weeds (certainly by my neighbors) such as dandelion, burdock, red clover, stinging nettle, and their uses. Then, Dave talked us through seed saving, and taught us how to winnow — a way to use wind to separate the seed from whatever’s protecting it. It was pretty cool.

I bought rue seeds and lobelia seeds for next season, and, from the winnowing, got some scarlet runner beans, anise hyssop, and shiso seeds. Can’t wait! Also learned how to store the cherry seeds I saved, and why the squash kept making blossoms and going no further (other than the fact some critter really liked to snack on the blossoms).

All in all, a great few hours spent in a beautiful location.

Home, wrote up some notes, got some writing done.

My mom is having a hard time with the post-op care. We have to constantly change the dressings (which is painful — no matter what type of tape we use, it hurts her). She can’t lift or bend, which means she can’t do even the most basic tasks, like feeding the cats. An independent person, it’s difficult for her. She gets out her stitches on Thursday, but there are still about six weeks of post-op care after that — hopefully less painful and complicated.

Sunday was all about grocery shopping. I made an Indonesian Rice Salad for lunch at the on-site client’s this week (Moosewood recipe), chocolate mousse (because one doesn’t need a reason to have chocolate).

Finished the book I have to review. Did research on San Simeon for this next, complex section of THE FIX IT GIR. Started one final pass on the proofs for SAVASANA AT SEA, which drops on the 15th.

Up early Monday. Wrote a few blog posts for clients. Site work with one client for the bulk of the day, then a couple of virtual meetings with other clients. Finished the review, which will go out today. Also trying to figure out the problem signing into PR Log, so I can get out the press release for SAVASANA.

Other than client work, the focus this week is on making sure there are no copyediting errors in SAVASANA, whipping into shape the next section of FIX IT GIRL, and starting the Lavinia Fontana play.

Plus, pre-release promotion for SAVASANA, and continuing promotion for PLAYING THE ANGLES.

We decided FIX-IT GIRL won’t go out on submission until January. It’s too close to the holidays to dump anything on an agent’s desk, and I have a policy of not submitting between December 15 & January 15. First queries should go out around the 15th of January, which gives everyone a week or so to settle back in after the holidays.

Also, with TRACKING MEDUSA re-releasing on January 13, I have my hands full.

The deadline for the Lavinia play remains the end of December. It’s mostly shaped in my head; at this point, it’s more getting it down on paper, which means large swaths of uninterrupted work time. I will have to carve some out later this week.

I’ve also got to spend some time on “Miss Winston Apologizes”, which needs to drop by the end of the month. And I need to draft the flash fiction holiday piece I want to put into the newsletter that will go out in December.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing!