Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Peaceful Eating

Sometimes a change is in order. I've been trying for years to lose weight, but with no longterm success. Finally I decided that maybe I needed a little more than a new diet—maybe an attitude adjustment.  You Peaceful Weight Loss graduates already know what I'm talking about, but for anyone else, I'll explain.

Several years ago I spent a long weekend at Yogaville, VA, with Becki and Telisha, my daughter and daughter-in-law. It was a peaceful yoga retreat. We came home refreshed and filled with good intentions, so Yogaville seemed like a good place to begin my search.  And sure enough, there it was, a Peaceful Weight Loss program. I signed up and spent six days eating like the yogis—all vegan--except for a few pieces of contraband cheese and a couple of cups of coffee.
There was nothing fancy about the food, lots of good fresh vegetables and salad greens, beans, rice, pasta--and oatmeal for breakfast.  Let me tell you right from the beginning: not for me. I need at least a few eggs, some fish and a little chicken to keep me going. Once in awhile I crave red meat and BACON! 

However, after two days with none of the above, I felt better. And after six days, there seemed to be a real difference.  The other elements of the program were also helping:  eight hours of sleep each night, meditation, if you chose, and gentle yoga at least once a day. These were the tools we were encouraged to use to nourish ourselves. We recorded how we felt after our experiences.  I think they already knew what our answers would be.

We had classes twice a day to talk about the whole process. We talked about moving and breathing, being more attentive to scheduling, and making menus.  All of these things combine to lessen anxiety and stress which should eliminate anxious eating--eating anything in sight when you don't have the right foods available.  We were encouraged to experiment with different foods and routines to find our own best program. (More info on Peaceful Weight Loss.)  The bottom line was to discover things that really made us feel better, rather than eating as a hopeful quick fix. 

As I said earlier, I don't think I'll ever be a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but I have recognized that some foods make me feel very sluggish, some foods just make me eat more, and some foods take forever to digest.  I also have to admit that having the right foods available, and not waiting til the last minute to plan a meal eliminates a lot of bad choices.  

So far, the two things that have made the most difference in feeling good are practicing gentle yoga for 30 minutes every day (I will slowly add to the time) and having planned menus--putting the things that I know make me feel better first.  I'm learning.  They say it's a journey.  Well, I'm strapped in and ready for the long haul!

I'm calling this process Peaceful Eating--no anxiety--and adding a Peaceful Eating category to the recipe list.  Here are a couple of recipes to add to your menu if you're living on the edge.  Hope you enjoy!!

Seared Sea Scallops with Ginger Pea Purée and Cilantro Gremolata
Recipe adapted from: TasteFood From Food52

Cilantro Gremolata
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
One-half teaspoon each salt and pepper
One-half avocado chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
Zest of one lime
1 T fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Gingered Green Pea Purée
2 cups green peas cooked in salted water just until done, then drained. Reserve one-half cup cooking liquid
1garlic clove roughly chopped
1 T fresh ginger, grated
2 T lime juice
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Add drained peas, one-fourth cup cooking liquid, and remaining ingredients to food processor and purée until smooth, but not too thin. Add more liquid if needed. Set aside in warmed bowl and keep warm until ready to serve.  (This puree reminds me of hummus made from green peas and would be a good dip or spread--try it!)

Seared Sea Scallops
One and one-half lbs. large sea scallops, patted dry
Salt and Pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T butter
Salt and pepper both sides of dry scallops. In medium sauté pan over medium-high heat add one tablespoon olive oil, then one tablespoon butter. Add half the scallops and cook until browned on bottom. Turn and cook until browned and done. Remove from pan to warmed plate and cook remaining scallops in same way.

To serve, add purée to bottom of plate, then add scallops and top with Gremolata. This recipe is equally good served as an appetizer portion (ie Serve one or two scallops on pea purée in martini glass topped with gremolata. Add cocktail fork and garnish with slice of lime.).

Cedar Plank Salmon with Rosemary Orange Sauce
Adapted from: Guy Fieri

2 tablespoons oil
1 jalapeño, discard seeds and cut into rings
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 cup orange marmalade
2 large or 4 smaller cedar plank pieces
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned and boned
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (3-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
Zest of one lime

Soak planks in water for about an hour.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat.
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil. When hot, add jalapeños and sauté until caramelized. Add garlic, and before it begins to brown, deglaze with white wine. Next add mustard and orange marmalade and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes and let completely cool.
Lightly salt and pepper salmon.
Place the planks on the grill, and when they begin to pop, turn them over and place salmon on planks.
Place a rosemary sprig on each fillet, and liberally apply cooled orange marmalade mixture.
Cover grill and cook for 20-25 minutes, until salmon is done.
Garnish with lime zest.