A new year on the A-I way

The holiday chocolates have disappeared. Along with the tortillas that I became addicted to during our two weeks in Mexico. Last week seemed almost “normal,” a good time to get back to the anti-inflammatory eating plan that my husband and I count as a grand achievement from 2011.

For our first full-week meal plan of the New Year I turned to a few “semi-vegan” dishes as Mark Bittman likes to call them: Roasted kale with acorn squash; cooked chard with lemon-caper vinaigrette; and a great new grain mix — TruRoots sprouted rice and quinoa — picked up at Costco.  With the addition of natural sausages on a couple of nights, the boys didn’t complain too much.  They actually liked the tempeh bolognese over pasta. Shocking.

DishesMenLike photo

Anti-inflammatory eating with style: Seared scallops over a citrus salad

The issue is: Is this way of eating sustainable in our family?  Can we stick with the anti-inflammatory goal of two-thirds fruits and vegetables and one-third protein/grains on our plate at every meal and snack? Reality is we’ve taken a few liberties with the plan, especially over the holidays.  Those proportions get off balance. But the longer range commitment to quieting inflammation with the right foods has reset our metabolisms. That means vacation margaritas and pina coladas were easily offset by three hours of kayaking a day while we were in Mexico. Despite the occasional lapses, we still feel great, and we haven’t gained back any of the weight lost six months ago.

On the other hand, a few days off-track causes cravings for  sweets and carbs to return. I find myself grazing more. I’ve decided sticking to a meal plan will keep me honest. It’s also encouraging me to prepare meals with unexpected flavors that meet our nutrition goals.  Dishes like a quick saute of chickpeas with spinach for Saturday lunch (smoked paprika is the key spice) and seared scallops over a grapefruit-avocado-mint salad for a leisurely Friday night dinner.

Bring it on!

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