Friday, July 3, 2009

Make ahead meals for next week

I have a dear friend here in Athens who, by her own admission is very overweight.  We've talked at length about our mutual weight problems and what they might stem from.  As an overweight person myself, much of my problem is a distaste for pain, and quite frankly, I hate to sweat, (again, why I live in Georgia I'll never know.)  Therefore I avoid the gym or anything that resembles one like the plague.  Recently however I've begun to look at my 2 year old daughter, 5 month old son, and wonderful wife and think how unfair it would be of me to leave them behind because of my selfish desire to still eat what I want, and sit on my ass instead of exercise like I know I should.  My friend and I are both food addicts, and like an addict I need to start avoiding the triggers that throw me over the edge.  As a working Dad, and being married to a working Mom, even though I am a chef, I find it hard to step into the kitchen to cook a regular family meal.  Of course I get very exited, as you've seen, when I develop a new recipe, but really, unless I want to weigh 400 pounds, I can't eat like I write every day.  I also never get exited about salads.  Rabbit food.  Not my thing, but unless I really want my body to continue to become acidic, I need to eat about 70% green, and raw as much as I can.  If  I'm cooking for a living, cooking for myself really does become a chore, and dammit, I want to be pampered during my off times.  Yes I love Chinese take out, and I'm not talking the vegetarian dishes with the tofu, and the crispy stir fried veggies over brown rice.  I'm talking about the General Tso Chicken which literally has 1/4 cup of sugar in every serving, and Mongolian beef, which has a wonderfully tasty sauce that is comprised of mostly brown sugar.  Not to mention the fried chicken, and fried crispy noodles the Mongolian beef is served on.  Granted, these items will feed me a couple of days because Chinese portions are so big, but is that really a good thing?  Do I need what ends up being 1/4 lb of sugar a day in my diet?  How about the sweet tea, or sodas that might accompany them?  Did you know that at the turn of the century, an average person consumed 5 lbs of sugar a YEAR?  Now the average is 3 lbs a week.  No wonder we all have weight problems, and are diabetic.  Am I going to stop eating the way I do?  Probably not completely, no.  I will still relish the Chinese take out when I can get it, but will force myself to limit my portions, and eat a healthy serving of vegetables with it.  I can also avoid the white rice, and make brown at home.  Cheeseburgers are my biggest weakness.  If I were sentenced to death row, my last meal would be a good grilled cheeseburger, and a large side of French fries.   This meal gives me such a rush of pleasure that I might just choose it over well...  you know...  Nah, I'm not that far gone yet.  So do I say, "Dallas, you can never have another cheeseburger again?"  No.  But I don't need one every day or two.  I can actually plan my cheeseburger excursions with relish, and anticipate the event like a steamy tryst of well deserved beefy burger passion.  Like a romantic weekend away with the wife.  

My friend has complained continually about how inconvenient it is to stand in the kitchen after a whole day of looking after her three kids.  Her weight problem has compounded the inconvenience by actually making it painful to stand for long periods of time.  So what I suggested to her is that she cooks every few days, and makes meals that can be planned ahead, and put away.  Meals that can be defrosted and reheated, but are sensible, and good food choices.  I need to do more of this myself, because I find myself on my way from job to job, and I feel my only choices are the drive though windows.  Granted, you can get salads there now, but I don't.  I need to bring my lunches with me, or have the options at home that will be convenient for me to make.  So this entire next week, is dedicated to my friend, and well... to me too.  There will be salad recipes, a meatloaf, some kick butt salad dressings, and a couple of crock pot recipes that will feed a family of five and take little time to prep.

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