by Malia Kirby L.Ac.
So, in a moment of what we may look back on as temporary insanity, Shawn and I decided that we were going to give P90X a try this year. I think my exact words were, “I’d like to be able to bound up the mountain this summer without bitching about it before we reach the summit.” Or, something like that. I’ve been whining about wanting to climb Fourteeners for a while now, and I figure that if I don’t get to it now, it’ll turn into a regret. Screw that noise. It’s time to get back into fighting shape—and if we can, better shape than we’ve ever been in before. Stay tuned with popcorn to see how that goes…
Anyway, the other night, I’m looking over the nutrition plan and I found myself yelling at Shawn from the kitchen, “Honey, we already eat like this!” That is, I should say, until I looked at the recommended portions. I would like someone to explain to me how I’m supposed to eat an egg scramble made of six eggs—but only the whites, mind you—with three ounces of chicken, almost a cup of mushrooms, and some herbs (which are negligible, GI real-estate-wise) with 2-3 slices of turkey bacon and a glass of juice. That’s considered a “small” meal. Even when I was swimming 3+ miles per day, coaching the wee kiddos swim team, taking four dance classes per week, teaching ballet classes at the studio I studied with, and was captain of the drill team, I didn’t eat that much in one sitting. One thing’s for certain, we’re definitely not going to be feeling hungry through this.
Alas, I digress. What WOULD P90X do? I’ve noticed a trend toward demonizing egg yolks, which I find perplexing because that’s where you find most of the nutrition and wasteful because I’m not pitching a dozen egg yolks every day so I can reintroduce them back in with a handful of supplements and a protein drink. Besides, neither of us have a cholesterol problem and contrary to popular belief, you actually NEED fat in your diet to keep your hormonal levels normal. It also appears that no one on their staff understands what “sauté” actually means or why it’s a healthy method of cooking in comparison to how the majority of the population cooks today. Sauté does not equal frying. Period. Last, but certainly not least, with that much protein, I’m eating more vegetables than they recommend, or neither one of us will be taking a poo for a month. They can pry my leafy green vegetables from my cold, dead hands. Other than that, I don’t know that I can say what they would recommend definitively. However, I can tell you about a few ways we’ve modified foods to make them healthier.
1 large lemon, juiced
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 T – ¼ c water
1 c olive oil
½ t fresh tarragon, minced
1 t fresh parsley, minced
½ t freshly ground black pepper
Cover the minced shallot with the lemon juice and macerate to soften the acridity.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor, adding the avocado and the water (add more for a thinner sauce, less for a thicker sauce or veggie dip). Puree, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify. Add the fresh herbs and the black pepper, pulsing once or twice to mix.
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T white wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
Place all ingredients in a small jar. Screw on the top, then hand it to your child to shake (it should emulsify with only 5-10 seconds of vigorous shaking). Drizzle 1 T onto 4 c washed and spin- or air-dried salad greens (if the greens aren’t completely dry, the vinaigrette won’t cling to the leaves and will instead puddle on your plate. Sauce appropriately). Toss until the greens are lightly coated with vinaigrette. Serve immediately, garnished with minced herbs of your choice and a fresh grinding of black pepper.
Instead of using a flour & butter based roux to thicken a soup, transfer ¼ of the vegetables and broth to a food processor (or blender) and puree, then stir back into the soup.
Instead of using as much butter, cream, and/or cheese to sauce pasta or vegetables, consider removing half of each ingredient and substituting in a puree of cooked cauliflower. Sweet potato or pumpkin purees also make great substitutions, depending on the recipe.
Instead of using an ice cream or sherbet base in fruit smoothies, consider using an equal amount of Greek yogurt.
Instead of salting your food, consider using fresh herbs, fresh or dried chiles, vinegar (or other acids such as lemon juice), and fresh oils rich in Omega-3s.
Instead of plating your meals on large dinner plates, consider using your smaller sandwich plates. Empty space on your plate can be a psychological trigger that you’ve been denied your share.
Instead of eating three full meals per day, consider eating like a portion-minded Hobbit. Eating breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner, and supper isn’t such a bad idea after all, particularly if you’re using your small plates and eating smaller portions.
Click here to download a pdf copy