Introducing *lighter

At the moment, I’m trying to lose some of that weight I put on during my vacation where I indulged in the delights of suet pastry and other things (And well, there’s some pre-vacation gain there to lose too.) This means of course that dreaded word, dieting. I do prefer to use the term “food intake adjustment” though. It sort of sounds more scientific.

It’s quite a difficult thing for a serious foodie to go on a period of intake adjustment. Let’s face it, we are more interested in food, good food, than the average human. Quite a lot of good food however makes our middles get bigger. When I go through an “eating lighter” stage, I tend to go back and forth between three states:

  1. I will use my culinaric skills and creativity to make delicious yet low-calorie foods!
  2. I’d rather not think about food and cooking. I’ll eat to live, not live to eat. Let me face my unadorned tuna and green salad and munch on boiled egg whites and carrot sticks and get me away from the table as quick as possible.
  3. Aaargh! I want a bowl of mashed potatoes with butter! Butter I say. BUTTER!

Most of the time I try to balance between state 1 and state 2. On most good days I’m at state 2 for the daytime meals, which I usually eat alone anyway, and try to get more creative at dinner.

State 3 is difficult to overcome, though I’ve discovered that I mostly get State 3 late at night, so I try to just go to sleep instead (it’s amazing how much you crave chocolate and potato chips when you’re tired). I also have what I euphemistically call around here a F*ck The Diet Day once in a while, where I eat whatever we want. I figure that it’s better to have these once in a while for the sake of sanity. (Gyoza day on Sunday was a FTDD…I rather over ate those lovely dumplings, but I have gotten back on the wagon as it were, so all is good.)

Anyway, I’ve decided to start a new category here called Lighter, where I’ll post some of my better efforts in State 1. Lighter for me means that it’s rather low in fat and calories. My goal is to use fat and oil sparingly, as a flavoring rather than as a lubricant for cooking. Most dishes start out with a big amount of vegetables, a small amount of meat or other protein, and a small amount of complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or whole wheat bread. I also try to stay away from refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, and sugar, or use them very sparingly. I'm not really following any of the popular programs such as Atkins or South Beach or whatever - just trying to keep the general calorie count down. (Incidentally, I don’t use some of the artificially “lite” products that abound in the US, simply because they aren’t available here in Switzerland. Besides, stuff like low-fat cheese tastes like plastic. I’d rather not eat plastic.) The bottom line, though, is that it has to taste good. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

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Introducing *lighter

I'm thrilled that you've made a whole category for this! I've been trying to do the same thing lately, so now I'll be less lonely... ;)

Krista | 26 August, 2004 - 16:34

Introducing *lighter

Hooray! I am trying too, so new recipes will be welcome ...

Lauren | 27 August, 2004 - 01:19

Introducing *lighter

Double hurray! After a summer of irresistable fruits from our garden and way too much indulgence on testing out dessert recipes I've decided I need to fit into my clothes again. Am looking for light dishes to try out - perhaps a whole month devoted to salad. This cucumber recipe looks delicious.

elise | 30 August, 2004 - 03:36

Introducing *lighter

You probably get tons of diet advice, but since I am a nutritionist and deal with this on a daily basis, I thought I'd put in my 2 cents: focusing on calorie and low-fat is a good start, but not the most effective way of losing weight. Your body needs (good) fats, so try to reduce sugar and bad fats, but don't worry too much about the "good fats", like olive oil. A great book (and very effective diet) is by Patrick Holford: "the 30-day fatburner diet". Highly recommended. And since it doesn't restrict how much you eat, and gives you plenty of ideas for new, healthy recipes, it is also easy to follow. Good luck!

Sasha | 5 September, 2004 - 15:49

Introducing *lighter

Amen, sister. It's so much easier in summer, when tomato + corn + salt = meal. However, here's another all-season recipe that is improbably delicious:

Peel & grate some raw beets. Dress with white vinegar, sugar & salt - proportions to taste, but probably not unlike those in the scandinavian cucumber salad in the next post. Mix in chopped parsley, or dill, or cilantro, depending on what flavor you like. Eat right away or let marinate in the refrigerator; it keeps nicely.

This mixture is sweet, earthy, tangy, nutty and crunchy. With a bit of grilled chicken or some bread & cheese, it's a nice light but filling meal, especially in the winter. Also good as part of a full-on central-asian, mittel-european or middle-eastern spread.

foodnerd | 16 September, 2004 - 17:59

Introducing *lighter

I actually find being somewhat food obsessive to be helpful during dieting. It means that I know very well how to add flavor with herbs, citrus and small quantities of strongly flavored cheese. It also means that I know where to get all the best veggies!

Hope you enjoy this undertaking.

Kaetchen | 19 November, 2004 - 18:58

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