Weekly Dinner Menu
1. Vegetable Frittata, country bread
2. Roasted Salmon & Lentils
3. Hot dogs with poblenos, pepper jake & tomatillos, creamy cilantro lime slaw, whoopie pies (Sunday family dinner)
4. Chicken B’Stilla
5. Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon & sage
6. Pork Chops, couscous, green beans
7. Ramsay’s Pasta with bacon and peas
I have a question to ask you now. Does this sound like a menu for a person on a diet?
I didn’t skimp on breakfast. I ate lunch and would have a snack if I wanted. I never gave up chocolate.
The above is an actual menu I pulled from January 2011 when I jumped in to cooking more than the average dinner for myself and my family. I had been cooking before this time but I’ll be honest, I hoped to land myself in culinary school and then in a kitchen, maybe even one of my own. A slip with the knife and I got scared and dropped that goal like a bad habit. Thing was I couldn’t resist the urge to cook. The kitchen was and continues to be my little zen spot to relax and get my head on straight.
The funny thing that happened was while I was busy chopping leeks, braising oxtails, melting gruyere, and even doing Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, a strange but wonderful thing happened. The weight I was struggling to lose and was making me tired and sick, just slowly melted away.
I had tried like crazy to lose weight. I managed at one point to get myself to the gym and lose about 10 lbs of it but the gym trips started to make me one cranky woman as getting to the gym, working it into my schedule, the drive, the shower after and finding someone to watch my sons who couldn’t go with me made the whole thing no fun, and me one stressed out woman. The weight came right back with a bit more.
I tried the Special K diet. What a freaking joke that was. Ever really looked at the chemicals and sugar in that stuff? What was I thinking is beyond me but I must have bought into the advertising. I tried a few other things but nothing worked. I might lose 5lbs but it came back. I was still tired, run down. miserable and not leaving the house much. My skin was broken out and I wasn’t happy.
Somewhere I had heard that Chef Gordon Ramsay had been a little over weight at one time and had worked on changing recipes to be more healthy. All I know is I sort of became smitten with the hot-tempered chef. Not because he’s handsome but I admire his work ethic, his cooking and his love for all things fresh, seaonal and to be the very best!
I was reminded of when I was 16 yrs old and was very ill. So ill that if I watched tv in a dark room I had to watch while wearing sunglasses. My immune system was shot. Doctors didn’t know what I had and I was a mess. Mom had tried all the doctors but the test were coming back with nothing. She took me to doctor who mixed both eastern and western medicine. It was on a diet with herbal remedies and lots of fresh food, I was healed and feeling better than I could ever remember. My candida and epstiens bar syndrome were gone. My skin cleared up too. Of course over the years I fell away from eating that way. But whenever I was feeling that familiar run down feeling I would eat fresh foods and soon was feeling better.
So I just decided I want to get back to that and Chef Ramsay had rekindled that passion that was still in me but I had forgotten over the years of caring for five kids, and a house and all the stuff that comes with that. I was ready to make lasting changes in my life.
I cooked with passion and with love and my extra weight slowly but steadily went away and lo and behold I found my waist. Something that had been missing for a few years. I found myself wearing clothes I had put away thinking I would never wear them again. My skin cleared up, my cycles became more regular. I didn’t have crazy mood swings. I found I had more energy and a feeling of wanting to live life not just watch it go by as I sat on my growing rear.
I ate foods I never tried from new vegetables to meats like goat and offal. I went to the farmer’s markets and bought fresh produce and local cheeses. My husband and I ventured to some of the better local spots that I knew used local ingredients and had seasonal menus. I would taste a dish, come home and try to recreate it in my kitchen. I was in heaven.
It’s funny to think that food was the answer to my weight. Most people think you have to avoid it to lose weight and improve their health. In three months I lost 27 lbs. With no extra excerise beside a nice walk with the dog. It was later that I would find out dairy was causing some other health issues and my body reacted by loosing some more weight as it detoxed and set itself right but I have kept and managed my weight without much thought. Ok my only thought is to enjoy my food and savor the experience.
When you lose weight after hiding in it you start shedding things in your life you don’t need. I admit this was where going to school at IIN and being able to talk with other health coaches who had been where I was wonderful. Not everyone around you has the ticket to accept the changes that start naturally happening in your life. I needed the support from others.
I’ve kept the weight off nearly two years now. It hasn’t been a struggle. I eat what I want and even now and then eat things one would consider “bad for you”.
When some folks find out I lost the weight and have kept it and always ask how I did it, I love to say it was by cooking my ass off. Hey, it’s the truth if you saw the jeans I use to wear.