I’ve been MIA on the blog but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. First I drifted away because I simply was bored with food. I started relying on Everyday Food, the monthly Martha Stewart magazine, to do the thinking for me. Meals were just okay , not much to report.
Then, I heard about a nutrition class focused on the anti-inflammatory diet. The idea of focusing meals around vegetables and fruit, with a lesser emphasis on meat and starch, has always appealed to me. I’ve long struggled with a couple of skin conditions that flare up randomly. Neither my dermatologist nor allergist have determined a cause so I suspected certain foods could be a factor. Taking the five-week class would give me and my husband a chance to experience the anti-inflammatory way of eating as part of a group while learning the science behind it. We signed up.
So what’s the big deal? Well, we’re entering our third week of the elimination phase which means a big NO to alcohol, dairy, sugar (all sweeteners), wheat, beef and pork, canola oil and the usual suspects (preservatives and things you can’t pronounce).
The result: We both feel great. More energy. Better sleep. Less snoring for him and itching for me. 4 to 5 pounds of weight loss each. And everything tastes better. It seems our taste buds have gone through a cleansing process. Speaking of tastebuds, we continue to eat well. It just takes a bit more effort to plan enough vegetables and fruits to make the 2:1 ratio at every meal and two snacks per day. I sometimes find it difficult to squeeze in a snack because my appetite has lessened. And thankfully, I have fewer cravings for carbs and sweets. Mostly I miss red wine and chocolate. Only unsweetened chocolate is allowed during this phase; not so bad if you tuck it into a bing cherry. It’s too bitter to nibble it on its own!
What are we eating? Check out the new meal plan page for our nightly dinners. Breakfasts are always 50/50 veggies & fruits to protein; every other meal is 2/3’s veggies and fruits, 1/3 protein and grain.
With a few minor tweaks, a lot of the recipes we already enjoy comply with the plan’s criteria. Such dishes as South American Quinoa Salad from PCC; Mark Bittman’s asparagus with scallops (or shrimp); Deborah Madison’s Silken Tofu in Spicy Red Coconut Sauce.
While I thought we ate healthy meals before this switch, I’ve learned certain ingredients can easily tilt the nutritional balance in the wrong direction. Consider our meals the week before class started:
Pasta with sausage, leeks and lettuce – This dish contains Italian sausage — something I missed most at the beginning of the A-I diet. Now I’m wondering how to use up that sausage stockpiled in my freezer.
Salmon with brown sugar and mustard glaze – Salmon, a thousand times yes. The glaze is a big NO with its 1/4 c. of brown sugar.
So the experiment continues. I see far more quinoa in our future.