Now before you get all upset with me, let me explain. Being a dietitian for almost 20 years and on this planet for close to 42, I have seen diet fads come and go. I have seen research come out and then get debunked. So before you go and jump on the bacon and butter band wagon take a listen.
Bacon and butter won’t #saveyourmarbles. You know it, I know it, heck, we all know it. Deep, deep, deep down in the recesses of your mind, it is in there. You don’t want it to be true, but you know it. Stop kidding yourself. Bacon and butter won’t save you.
Now before you go and tune me out, I will say, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If having 2 slices of bacon crumbled into your salad gets you to have 5 or more servings of low calorie, micronutrient dense vegetables, then go for it! With that said, having 5-6 slices of bacon and eggs swimming in butter is not going to #saveyourmarbles, like ever. Become one with the plants and leave the bacon and butter to where it belongs, as a condiment or gone altogether from the meal. Let the gasps begin!
This is a super easy meal that is ready in about the same amount of time is takes to cook the pasta. I chose tofu, however I am sure any protein (e.g. chicken, wheat gluten etc.) you choose will go well in this dish. Serves 1 and easily multiplied
1/2 cup of water
2 oz onion of choice (scallions or shallots work great), chopped
3 oz chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped tofu
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
2 oz whole wheat penne
1 oz cheddar style cheese (vegan or dairy based)
1-2 oz sour cream or mayo (vegan or dairy based), optional
Cook penne according to package directions.
Boil 1/2 cup of water in a separate pot until boiling.
Add onions & celery and boil until reduced.
Add tofu and buffalo sauce and heat for 5 minutes.
Add cooked pasta, “cheese” and cream or mayo if using.
The United Nations has declared 2016 the “International Year of Pulses” to raise the awareness of their nutritional prowess and sustainability in food production. Pulses refers to the edible seeds in certain plants. This is their way of saying “eat more beans, peas and lentils” my friends. They are good for your body and good for your planet. Most recipes and meal/snack ideas I post will incorporate pulses of some sort. Below is a total treat for me from Taco Bell. Soft bean al fresco tacos (I added some vegan “cheese” I made last night, but they are great without them too), topped with, you guesses it, more beans with red sauce (no cheese), plain potatoes and pico de gallo. Oh and a side of guacamole, of course. A gut buster in more ways than you can imagine. Beans: They really are magical.
Last night we had some Japanese take away with friends for a fun, relaxing evening. After having an avocado brown rice roll, miso soup and a side salad, I was stuffed and ended up taking about half of my main meal of Vegetable Yaki Udon home. The best way to doctor it up so the smaller amount is actually filling? First, boil 3 oz each of frozen broccoli and spinach, 1/2 cup white beans, and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Once the broth has reduced and the vegetables are heated all the way through, throw in the leftover noodles and serve once heated completely. I prefer to reheat on the stove, but this totally works in the microwave.
I am, generally speaking, an incredibly optimistic person. I can find the good in pretty much anything that comes my way. Everything, everyone and every experience has some beauty, some “magic” that ultimately has some divine plan, or at least I like to think so.
Another jam packed holiday season is upon us. It is around this time, every year, that I try to get my home and family in order for the festivities. Part of this yearly ritual for me is to look back to see where I have come. I am grateful for so many things, but what I am most thankful for? My mind and the gift of my memories. This year I learned first hand about the disease that no one wants. A disease that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. This crippling disease that no one dare speak of? Alzheimer’s disease.
My mother was diagnosed officially December 3, 2014 with what the doctor reported as “Moderate Alzheimer’s” disease at the age of 65. You read that correctly, 65. She had no concept of what year, day, season, or month she was in. She couldn’t recall 3 simple words (Yellow, Tulip, Cadillac) after several attempts. I don’t think I will ever forget those 3 words. The list goes on. I knew this was coming after several experiences with her throughout the last 7 plus years. She closed the door on our relationship when I tried to get her help, something I am learning, can be very common for family members to experience. This disease has destroyed my mother as I knew her, revealed facts about her I probably should have never known, and wrecked many relationships, some beyond repair.
There is so much I learned in the past year that I am sure I could write a book about, but for now I will focus on what changed since my mother’s diagnosis.
I started the practice of living, I mean really living. This is still a practice and I am still learning. No longer a prisoner of the past, which I never really was, but now I also let go of what I can’t control: the future. Yoga has been a life saver.
It all became enough: My entire life my mother focused on bigger and better things. When my sister and I cleared out my mother’s house and storage shed we encountered countless, what I will call, “vision” lists about all the things she would attain when she was wealthy. She even wanted a car she could never fit in quite right to drive at barely 4’10”. She never realized all she had. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t strive to do better, it means that I have learned that what I have is always enough. The material doesn’t define me or my happiness.
I started loving me. I love this body I live in. For the last 10 years especially the first 5 of those 10 years, it has been a working body. This body grew 2 beautiful children and fed them each for 1.5+ years each, and at times, exclusively. This body plays with her children and takes them on wild adventures with its partner in crime, Mr. Syto. This body is a warrior.
I learned to take many pictures and to be in as many pictures as possible no matter how my hair, skin or body is performing that day.
I became fearful. I am a dietitian. I know what that pound of bacon will do to my arteries especially the ones in my brain.
From fear I became plant based. I dislike it immensely when someone labels their eating patterns, but the plant based moniker, I love. It leaves it open ended. My choices are plant based. I like the saying: “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want it to be my fault.” You don’t have to agree with my food choices. Living this was keeps me happy, and it gives me hope.
I learned to practice forgiveness. My life has been one wild soap opera. I think we all have these types of experiences throughout our lives. I learned not to ever forget all the trials, to learn from them, forgive (even if it is a silent forgiveness in my own heart), and to move on.
Finally, the most important lesson I learned? First, when you mother doesn’t recognize you, it shatters your world, even when she remembers a moment later. That initial “who are you look” is forever imprinted in my brain. My final lesson? I am a survivor.