Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Protein Rule, and, What Would You Cook?
January 5, 2005 I established the following rules:
Prepare and cook all of my own food, so no fast food allowed was a given.
no foods excluded, including carbs, fats, candy, etc..
As long as I put the first three rules into place and kept my calories at 1200 approx., and I say "approximately" because I did not want to turn into the kind of person that journaled 8 calories for a carrot stick....but that's just me. I knew at around 1200 calories daily average the weight would fall off of me...and it did.
My reasons for listing my rules in this order is that I had a big interest in becoming a better cook, in fact a huge interest in becoming a really good cook! I had been taking cooking classes, at least once a week, if not twice and three times, for over 1 year. It occurred to me one night as I was attending yet another class that if I just spent the two hours at home cooking in my own kitchen, instead of sitting in a class room kitchen watching someone else cook I just might improve my own skills a little bit quicker! It was the last cooking class I ever went to.
Vegetables first. I like eating a lot of food and, until I don't, which I'm totally open to, I like the feeling of a full tummy. I knew with my new calorie guidelines the only way to increase the volume and portion sizes of my meals was to do it with the least calorie dense foods possible, and those foods are vegetables, plain and simple. Little did I know two other really cool things would happen! I felt healthier than ever, not just because I lost weight, but because of the nutritional value of the vegetables I ate regularly. And I pretty much know how recognize, prepare and cook any kind of vegetable my little heart desires! No more broccoli and cauliflower just because I didn't know anything else!
I also want to add that for two years I never bought an organic vegetable (on purpose). I regularly shopped at a Vietnamese and Mexican market close to my house because the selection was nicer and the prices where much, much less expensive. I'll write about how and why I did eventually start buying only organic, but I've come full circle and these days I buy a combination of both. I successfully lost over 100 lbs never buying organic vegetables.
Protein....ah, protein! Since I'm not a vegetarian, meat tops my list of proteins. Any kind of meat, and with my pressure cooker, any kind of cut of meat. Since I don't blame "fat" for making me fat I never buy lean cuts of meat for the sake that they are lean. If I buy something lean it's because I want that particular kind and cut of meat, but usually I buy the least lean 100% of the time. Fat is flavor and satiation, in my experience, and it hasn't let me down yet. I successfully lost over 100lbs never eating only lean cuts of meat.
No food excluded. Let me first write about carbs and sugar specifically. Yes, when I do eat less "carbs" I think I feel better, but the truth is probably closer to when I don't overeat carbs I feel better! The same goes for sugar in the form candy, cookies, ice cream and cake. I never restricted these foods from my diet because I knew these foods were not making me fat. What was making me fat was overeating. I knew plenty of "regularly sized and healthy people" who ate all foods, bread included, so it must not be the bread.
I know I've already said it, but I'll say it again. I successfully lost over 100lbs, and have kept it off for, going on, 8 years by sticking to these rules, I made for myself based on my own common sense. I am now convinced that creating new habits starts with making rules and sticking to them.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my mornings to cook and write. If I don't go to the market the day before then I'm pretty much stuck with what I have in my fridge and freezer since I start around 4:30am. I did not go to the market yesterday! So I had to take quick inventory of what I already had on hand...veg and protein first.
Onions (always), celery, red chard (just the leaves, no stalks), jalapeño, cilantro, parsley, a hoard of purple and white Japanese sweet potatoes, butternut and kabocha squash. cabbage, and frozen tomatoes.
1 pound each, ground beef, ground lamb, lamb sausage.
I made two large meals, and I'll be happy to tell what I made, but first, what would you cook using these ingredients, or what you have in your fridge right now, and your own pantry staples?
This post was supposed to be about protein! Mostly because my idea was to ask you all what you would make if you only had ground beef and lamb and lamb sausage! And I want to write more, specifically about protein because I hear all the time how difficult a lot of people have making sure they get enough. How much is enough? Well, until I write more about it, it's not so much that you get enough, it's more about not choosing that bagel, pastry, crackers, bread, and cookies instead! Maybe it's time for you to make your own "protein rule"!