My father occasionally refers to my adoration of all things good and wholesome as if it were a drug seeking behavior.
"Do you have to be so obsessed?" he'll hiss when I add a pound full of some green vegetable to what would otherwise be "a perfectly good pasta dish".
It could be worse. I tell him. I could be snorting it.
This week at Eat.Live.Be. we're talking about some of our biggest challenges in regards to leading a healthier life. When I was first trying to lose weight and get healthier, about four years ago, a huge challenge for me was having to deal with the people around me - I was changing, but my environment wasn't. My parents still insisted on dousing everything with oil, eating dessert with every meal, and making the most monochromatic dishes known to man. And it wasn't just them. It was everyone.
And I think we can all attest that while it's easy to eat healthy when you are preparing each and every meal for yourself, all hell can break loose as soon as you're let out into the real world.
Temptation lurks around every corner.
People ask if you're sure that you don't want seconds.
And they put tortilla chips on the table. To snack on. Sigh.
I know. It's rough.
But here's my solution. Be obtrusive.
If you're going over to a relative or friend's house and you know they have a certain proclivity for deep frying everything in sight and putting little bowls of M&M's on every counter? Insist on bringing a dish that you know you can feel good about eating. This way you'll have an option. Sure, have one of those crab cakes that is literally sitting in a pool of oil. But then also reach for a helping of whatever it is that you brought. You'll feel better the next day. I promise.
If you're going out to eat and the restaurant pairs everything, including pasta, with a side of fries? (Well, first of all, why are you going to this restaurant again?) Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. I don't eat fries, so I'm constantly cajoling waiters into giving me a side salad instead. I know you're going to feel incredibly obnoxious doing this, at least the first few times. But eventually you get used to it. Or you realize they don't really care as much as you think they do. Who knows.
So now, I want to know - what is your biggest challenge and how are you approaching it? Write about it in a post or leave a comment letting me know! Next week we'll be writing about our favorite healthy change and how it's helping us to better our lives.
And check out the posts from the other Eat.Live.Be. bloggers:
- Sarah Caron - www.sarahscucinabella.com
- Cate O’Malley - www.sweetnicks.com
- Maris Callahan - www.ingoodtasteblog.net
- Chris Arpante - www.melecotte.com
- Faith - www.clickblogappetit.com/
- Kristen - www.dineanddish.net
- Emily - http://andersonfamilycrew.blogspot.com/
- Jenna - FireMom - http://stopdropandblog.com/
- Casey - http://www.thestarnesfam.com - e-mail
- Patsy - http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com/
- Tri-Fit Mom - http://trifitmom.blogspot.com/
- Claire - http://cookiedoc.blogspot.com/
- Allison - http://sweetflours.blogspot.com/
- Jen - http://njepicurean.blogspot.com/
- Leslie - www.thehungryhousewife.com.
- Rivki Locker - http://www.healthyeatingforordinarypeople.com/
- Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook
- Jennifer Schulz - http://lick-a-plate.blogspot.com/
- Sarah Rogers - http://sarahssweetcreations.blogspot.com
- Denise and Lenny - http://www.chezus.com
So in contrast to my last post in which I tried to convince you that I bring nothing but temptation, doom and destruction (in the form of pies with flaky buttery heavenly delicious crusts) when I am invited to other people's houses. I will have you know that I do actually practice what I preach.
When my mom called me to alert me to the fact that we were going to my aunt's house, I had a vision. A vision of every single artery clogging food that was going to be served to me. A vision of every glass of champagne that my mother was going to have as she got increasingly belligerently drunk. (Not that that really has anything to do with anything. I just thought I'd share with you. My mother gets irrationally belligerent when she's drunk. So it goes.)
And then, after my vision. I had a dream. A dream that I would put an end to the intense anxiety that I felt at having to eat all of that terrible horrible no good very bad food. And how would I do it? By bringing this salad.
I first encountered this salad on 101 Cookbooks but then doctored it up to suit my needs. I added white beans, because they are beautiful. I added ginger because the dressing tasted a little...well...boring without it. And I doubled it so that I could at least pretend that I was bringing it to share with other people.
Sometimes, I can be selfish in such an altruistic kind of way.
And in the end, everyone actually did eat it. And like it. Except for my father who said that it was good, although it had some kind of spice that he didn't like. By which he means that it had spice and so he didn't like it. But I commend him for trying even though it was way outside his comfort zone.
See what I mean? Altruism. I'm expanding horizons, one pumpkin salad at a time.
Roasted Pumpkin, Wild Rice and White Bean Salad with a Ginger Sunflower Dressing
Serves 12, adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 cup white beans, cannellini beans, or flageolets, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 large butternut squash, about 6 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
fine grain sea salt
3 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups wild rice
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray the pumpkin/squash with cooking spray and toss with some fine grain sea salt. Place onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the red onion quarters. Roast both for about 45 minutes or until brown and caramelized.
2. In the meantime, cook the beans and the wild rice (separately) according to package instructions.
3. To make the dressing, combine the sunflower seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, salt, and honey in a food processor or blender. Puree until creamy. Add a few tbsp of warm water if it's super thick, although mine wasn't. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. In a large bowl, toss the wild rice and beans with a dollop of dressing. Mix in the onions and the squash, gently tossing with your hands. Top with remaining dressing.
I am submitting this to Souper Sundays, hosted at Kahakai Kitchen, Meatless Mondays hosted at My Sweet and Savory, and the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.