Mrs. Dave's Beer and I have recently come face to face with the harsh reality that our metabolism is slightly different than it was when we met, in our twenties. At the beginning of the year, we suddenly realized, our portion size was too big, the beloved meat portion dominated the plate and desserts were too common. We needed to take action and didn't want to give up good food.
Within a month we:
• Reduced the portion size of our meal, especially pasta.
• The presence of a vegetable on our plate was NOT an option, but has become a front and center part of the meal leaving the delectable meat portion the dinner-version of a dessert; something to appreciate and savor.
• The starch portion: whether it be pasta or rice has become a much more complex form of grain; a whole wheat couscous, a brown basmati /orzo pilaf, etc. Good alternatives are abundant.
• Legumes are a frequent replacement for meat, lentils especially. Cooked and spiced properly, they are a perfect protein component as satisfying as meat.
• While we're not enemies of enriched unbleached white (I still buy mine in 25 lb bags), we've always been aware of the problem with stripped down unbleached white being the foundation of too many preparations. One minor counter of this, we started having a variety of whole grain cooked cereals for breakfast (an unbelievably nice change) instead of white flour pancakes.
• Incorporating whole grains into fresh pasta (dry and fresh).
• Substitution of a fraction of the unbleached white with a higher grain. While this may bring back flashbacks of the disasters of substituting fat with apple juice concentrate in bran muffins, it is often a substitution yielding great results.
• Fruit is abundant in our home and always available for snacking. Frankie enjoys a ripe kiwi fruit or banana as much as a crappy corn syrup-based Spiderman gummy treat. She gets the latter on occasion, she's a kid.
There are many other alterations to our diet we've made that are not only healthy, but better, give us more variety and are easy to maintain. These changes are part of a permanent change in our lives and we're enjoying food more than ever. Since January, we've lost only a few pounds, but, more importantly, stemmed a scary trend we nearly gave in to as inevitable.
Why the cookie image at the top of the post? Desserts are not only allowed in our diet, but special. These cookies are simply the Toll House recipe on the back of the semi-sweet chip bag - butter and all. These were made by Frankie under the tutelage of Mrs. Dave's Beer substituting only one thing. King Arthur's white whole wheat (a flour I'm enjoying the more I used it, available at Weiland's) for half of the flour bill. Although these cookies are hardly healthy, the substitution afforded a serendipitous benefit. They were actually better than the original. They taunt us whenever we go into the kitchen.
We gave away tons and still have too many on hand. I'm afraid they won't go to waste. It's a bit decadent, but the diet's still reasonably balanced.