At the last Mommy Dinner, we landed on the topic of bacon. I learned that every mom in attendance cooks bacon by microwaving it.
This was a revelation to me– “Won’t the microwave catch on fire with all that grease?” Then I learned there was a special microwave plate you can buy just for nuking bacon. When I told Kurt this, he nodded in agreement and told me his mom had one when he was growing up, but he personally felt microwaved bacon was not as good as frying it on the stove or baking it in the oven (our preferred way of cooking those luscious fatty strips of cured pork belly).
Shortly, one of the moms began to rave about turkey bacon. Turkey bacon? I’ve tasted it and it doesn’t even look like bacon, let alone taste like it– except for the saltiness. And absolutely no CRUNCH. However, I was recommended a specific brand (which supposedly crisps like real bacon in the microwave); I can’t remember the brand name, but I don’t think anyone in my family would go for it. I recently introduced the the boys to turkey kielbasa, which received a “meh” review. (Mommy Diners, let me know the name if you remember and I’ll try it one weekend).
I know these mommies are trying to do less red meat, less fat, etc., but I’d rather go without than eat tan strips of chopped up turkey meat and God knows what else. Maybe it’s because I now primarily buy locally sourced bacon which is beyond compare to store-bought , but bacon is one of my “will never give up” foods in the quest for a healthier diet. Everyone has at least one. For Kurt, it’s the need for full-fat dairy products– no reduced-fat or “lite” mayo, sour cream or cream cheese for him; although I often tell him that one day I’ll make the substitution just to see if he can tell the difference. For both Ken and Kurt, pasta is a “don’t mess with it” food. I tried to make meals healthier by using whole wheat pasta; I tried to get rid of pasta completely once with spaghetti squash, cooked up the way Dr. Oz says to serve it. No dice– they said they’d rather not eat pasta anymore if they were limited to these healthier versions, especially the spaghetti squash which Kurt said “has a disgusting texture.” Drama llamas.
My strategy, for the time being, is to do what thin people do– eat those calorie-dense foods once in a while and in moderation. I think my family can do this, but portion control has always been an issue for me. Like Grace’s husband, I will continue to eat something I enjoy regardless of whether I’m hungry, just because “it tastes good.” The key will be to limit amounts, or, as my sister says “measuring.” Ugh. I feel like such a freak even in the privacy of my own home, when I pull out measuring cups and scales to measure and weigh the food I’m about to eat. Tina claims I’ll eventually be able to determine portions, but I’ve never lasted long enough on the weigh-and-measure process to become proficient. However, she has given me a new technique– “the plate method” for people living with diabetes. This method is from the ADA (American Diabetes Association) and it’s way easier; one-half of your plate should be vegetables (the non-starchy kind), one-fourth is protein (meat for our family– I tried seitan once with Grace at a vegan spa and it was not a pleasant culinary experience) and one-fourth starchy vegetable or carbohydrate (for my guys, this is where the pasta and bread enter the stage).
I tried the plate method yesterday for lunch. I used a lunch plate and one half was roasted brussels sprouts, one-fourth was roasted pork and the last fourth was barley. Easy. Dinner was harder since I made pancit which is a one pot meal. I’m sure the ratio of vegetables to starch to protein isn’t 2:1:1, but I’m not sweating it. I was at least aware of the fact I should try to limit how much I actually ate (which is a challenge with all those yummy slices of Chinese sausage in almost every bite).
Tina’s comment on my post about getting healthier was “Small steps, small goals work best. Weekly, you need to focus on what is possible in the short term.” I think I’m off to a good start.
What not-so-healthy foods will you never give up and how do you incorporate them into your diet?
I was just about to publish this post and I sent an email to Tina to see if she could find a public image of the ADA plate for me. Her response was “Which plate, the one from the feds or the one for DMers (people living with diabetes)?” So I feel the need to post the plate method for the rest of you, as well as a link to the site:
This website, from the USDA, is full of information about nutrition and becoming healthier; I haven’t navigated much through it, but I think it’s a good resource for anyone who wants to live healthier.