Controlled Food Lust

I wrote not long ago that I might start a food blog. At this moment, I doubt I will. But I may assemble all of my food posts from years past into a resource from which I write a longer blog post or, perhaps, a separate page on my website devoted exclusively to food. That I am thinking of such a thing during the early stages of Phase I of the South Beach Diet is testament to my insanity. No, not really. Actually, though I’m sticking pretty closely to my personally modified version of the South Beach Diet’s first phase for a week or two, I plan to use the diet’s philosophy to guide my eating habits and train myself to exercise self-discipline, rather than use it as a cudgel to beat myself into weight-loss. I’ve done it before and it worked quite well; I simply allowed myself to deviate from perfectly comfortable good habits, drifting into wanton gluttony.

Back to the food blog or food section of this website or whatever it may become: I find the challenge of creating tasty but healthy recipes and meal plans enticing and exciting. The idea of focusing on using readily accessible and cost-competitive alternate ingredients to make gloriously appealing and satisfying—but high-calorie, high-carb, high-fat—dishes into healthier, easy-to-make, affordable meals appeals to me. I have no interest (at least not today) in becoming a food ascetic; I want to continue to eat and enjoy food as much as I do now and have for as long as I can remember. The solution (assuming controlled gluttony is a solution) is to create satisfying dishes that remain healthy, even in “healthy” portions.

The results of my latest effort to lose weight (with the objective of fitting more comfortably into my snug clothes), now only beginning its fourth day, are impressive: I’ve lost 6.6 pounds while eating reasonably well. This first week, I’m not starving myself, though I am limiting caloric intake as well as carb intake rather dramatically. Yesterday was the first day my caloric intake exceeded one thousand calories (and only slightly). I do not plan to do that for long, as I suspect such a practice long-term would do more harm than good.

My wife was impressed (as was I, I must admit) with a dish I created a couple of days ago using frozen cauliflower, frozen spinach, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, pan-fried purple onions, store-bought curry powder, garlic salt, and a very tiny bit (less than four ounces) of lean ground meat. The recipe yielded what I intended to be two servings, with a total of 424 calories (212 per serving). As it happened, we used the leftovers (yes, there were leftovers) the next day to supplement a very low-calorie, low carb lunch. The meal was cheap, easy, filling, and healthy (save for the high levels of salt in the canned tomatoes). That’s the sort of thing I’d like to create on a regular basis. And, in fact, I’ve done that for some time. I just want and need to keep doing it and to document the recipes I create. Tasty, inexpensive, easy-to-make, healthy meals as alternatives to tasty, price-irrelevant, effort-irrelevant, not-so-healthy meals.

While the first few weeks will be alcohol-free (with an exception for an already-planned dinner party), going forward, I’ll limit myself to an occasional glass of wine. Alcohol is highly caloric and tends to accumulate around my waist. Now there’s a challenge: creating (or finding) a substitute for alcohol that’s low-cal, satisfying, and lubricates social interactions as well as booze. If I can come up with that, I’ll not only be healthy, but people will call me wealthy and wise.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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