Sunday, October 18, 2009

You make the time for what you want to do

I just spent a couple hours in the kitchen - making a healthier version of The Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli soup. Mine is made with lean ground round, drained after browning, vegetable macaroni instead of regular, green beans, cannelloni beans, zucchini, unsalted tomatoes and unsalted beef stock. Of course, I added some salt along with other spices to make it nice and yummy. It's still a calorie-dense soup but it is healthier and tastes better than the restaurant version. This soup will be my lunch 3 days this week.

While the soup was simmering, I smashed up two sweet dumpling squash that I had baked earlier this morning. I added maybe a teaspoon of sugar, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. I'll finish it off by adding two eggs and some buttermilk - and baking until set. This will be part of my breakfast a couple of days this week. Along with home made yogurt and frozen blueberries.

What's the point of my telling you about my culinary exploits? Almost every day I get comments from co-workers about what I eat and how I cook and almost always, those comments end with "I don't have time for that."

I told myself "I don't have time for that" or "I am too tired to do that" so many times during my obese days. I used those two phrases as an excuse to make McDonald's a mainstay in my diet.

I could probably save some steps in my cooking by using processed foods. In fact, I used some today. Canned beans. Pomi tomatoes (carton instead of can), Kitchen Basic's Unsalted Beef Stock. For me, that's a compromise. I didn't want to buy canned soup. I don't want to eat canned soup. With these few compromises, I can easily avoid the chemicals that go into processed soups. It takes some time in the grocery store to learn which of the basics are healthier - we are opting for more and more unsalted organic products whenever possible. And yes, it certainly takes more time to make the soup than it does to buy 3 cans of Campbells. And it might cost a bit more money.

But buying those cans of prepared soup don't leave me with the feeling I have right now: one of peace because I took some time to make sure I had high quality, nutritious food for the week. I'd much rather spend my Sunday afternoon doing that than going to a movie or shopping.

Cooking healthy food and exercising are two time consuming activities that I will make time to do. It's how I stay healthy. And a side reward is watching some of my co-workers begin to adopt my mindset about food - it should be as unprocessed as possible, healthy, and satisfying. It's great fun to go in on Monday and learn what they cooked over the weekend.

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