Well, after nearly three full weeks of feeling unmotivated and lackadaisical about my healthy living goals, this week I finally have pulled it together. I was planning to do another cleanse, as a sort of jumpstart to re-amp my routine. But life got in the way, and what I think I have instead is even better. I finally feel like I’ve found common ground. I’m not depriving myself absolutely, but at the same time I am being very cautious. I think this is the best technique because I don’t risk feeling like I can overindulge when a cleanse is over after a certain amount of time. This is a more lasting solution (hopefully!).
Since I laid out my formula several weeks ago, I haven’t changed what I am doing for my diet. I’m still avoiding sugar, gluten, dairy, meat, processed foods and alcohol as much as possible. That’s a long no-no list, and I realize it is crazy to think I can sustain like that for too long. But the difference between two months ago and now is that I am willing to compromise. Last night, a friend was in town unexpectedly and wanted to go to dinner. I was supposed to be cleansing this week, but rather than sit there and stare at the menu, feel sad, and end up cheating more than I intended, I got the healthiest salad on the menu that still sounded appetizing, and I put a piece of salmon on it, because I figured I might as well have the protein while it was around.
I’m compromising in other ways, too. A big cheat for me for the last two months has been through trail mix. Nuts, dried fruit, and something sugary. Not too bad. But the problem was portion control. I’d get a half a pound meaning for it to last half the week, but instead it would last a day and a half. Instead, I’ve been eating larabars. It’s so much easier to monitor portions because it’s a bar, a singular piece of snack. They are mostly made of dates, and then there are a variety of flavors. Currently, I am partial to chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate chip peanut butter. But the thing about them is they contain neither cookie dough nor peanut butter. Just dates, a few chocolate chips and either cashews or peanuts, respectively. I have come to accept that a small handful of chocolate chips will not cause my entire demise, and it’s a lot better than a Snickers. FYI they look like this-
I’ve also found compromises in the other direction. Last week I talked about my guilt over eating my friend’s delicious pasta dinner. It really was so good though, so I got the recipe from her. However, instead of using wheat-based pasta, I used spaghetti squash. Even though it still tastes a little like squash, it is a fantastic substitute for noodles, because after it is cooked it breaks apart into noodle-shaped strands. I wasn’t too confident in this recipe because I didn’t know how the ripe, springy tomato-basil taste would mix with the more autumnal flavors of the spaghetti squash, but I was not disappointed. It was perfect. The original recipe calls for parmesan cheese, but in the spirit of compromise I left it out. I missed it a little bit but not enough to change my opinion on this meal’s success. Plus, the whole thing is crazy easy to make, and will be a lovely dinner when it starts getting really hot out in the summer.
Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro
- 1 Spaghetti Squash
- 2 Cups OR 3/4 Carton Cherry Tomatoes (I used a whole tub but that was too many.)
- 1 Tbsp Diced Onion
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Basil (you can use less, I just like basil)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven for 375˚F. Grease a baking pan. Poke a few wholes in the squash. Bake the squash in the pan for about an hour. Cut the squash in half “on the equator” and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, scoop out the pulp and seeds. Once they are removed, use a fork to scrape down the sides of the squash. The fork will help get the noodle effect you want from the squash. Place in bowl, mix with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt & pepper.
Chop all tomatoes in half. Mix with diced onions, garlic, and 1/3 of the basil. Top with salt (if desired). Then cover in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and mix.
Finally, add the tomato mixture to the spaghetti. Drizzle with remainder of olive oil. Mix. Top with black pepper and the remainder of the basil. Enjoy!
I really like this recipe, and I like that it is different from what I normally eat. The flavors worked together surprisingly well. And even though the squash takes a while to bake, the prep time is not too extensive. Definitely recommend!
So, hopefully my new upswing will last a while. I expect ruts are a natural part of this process and I can deal with that. But I’m hopeful that if I keep finding nutritious ways to trick myself, like Larabars and spaghetti squash, the downswings will be fewer and farther between.