Monday, April 16, 2007

The Dreaded "D" Word

April 16

It's happened again. Someone took a quick picture of me and when I saw it I realized she is back.

She is a woman of my approximate age and size, who wears my clothes. From time to time, in fact practically every time there is a camera handy, she jumps in front of me to get her picture taken. Nobody ever sees her, not even me, but she's always right there in the shot, blocking me out and looking exactly like me but older and much fatter. It ruins almost every picture ever taken of me.

I can outsmart her if I watch what I eat, but the pictures I saw on Friday convinced me it's time for a full-out diet. No cheating, no kidding myself, no snacks, no desserts. I've been loosely following Dr. Atkins for a couple of years, and over that time my weight has varied about four pounds down and then back up again. I think it's that "loosely" that did me in. I weigh once a month, and the scales were back up where I started two years ago.

The time has come for a new plan. This time I'll use "The Snowbird Diet," one I found in a bin of reduced-price books about 15 years ago. It promises 12 Days to a Slender Future -- and a Lifetime of Gourmet Dining! -- so from time to time I trot it out. It's a very low-calorie, low fat diet created by bariatric experts and Paula Wolfert, well-known cook, teacher and cookbook author. Its recipes are good and its plan, although developed for people with a more serious weight-loss need than mine, is not impossible to manage.

Today is Day One, and I just had a soft-boiled egg on a piece of my own homemade whole wheat bread (the diet specifies 2 pieces of Kavli) and a sliced kiwi fruit.

Okay, so you're not on this diet with me. I think you'll still be interested in what I'm having for dinner so I'll share the recipe. It's for the ubiquitous diet food, chicken breast, but prepared in such a light and delicious way you'll be happy to serve it to guests, your kids, or anyone. I wouldn't tell you about it if it wasn't good.

Here's the Snowbird recipe, serving 2:

Ginger Chicken

2 7-ounce chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1 ounce fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
4 water chestnuts, sliced
4 scallions
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup cooked rice (I use brown rice)
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped

Place each piece of chicken in its own piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (of course you can use parchment for this). Sprinkle each with pepper, ginger, and sliced water chestnuts. Top each with 2 whole scallions. Divide soy sauce between each packet, sprinkling evenly over all. Seal tightly and steam 25 minutes in over at 350° or in steamer. To serve, open packet and pour juices over cooked rice. Arrange chicken on the side and garnish with chopped parsley.

I am to have this with steamed fresh Chinese pea pods, which I don't care for so I'll substitute spinach (not butter today; I'll just a fraction of a tablespoon of olive oil and lots of fresh lemon juice). Also I get Swiss Chard Salad, but there wasn't any chard in the market yesterday so I'll use romaine, with a low-fat dressing; and yoghurt with fruit for dessert.

I've got 12 days ahead of me with such food, and then I'll step on the scale again. Maybe I'll show you a before and after picture, as long as that old fat woman isn't around to get in my way.


Whinin' iron said...

I have an idea, Fair Food.
Not being much of a cook, I always look for someone to make my cooking life easier, if not to do the actual cooking. I've always thought if I ran the kitchen, I'd write a cookbook called something like "cooking for dummies", and I'd tell them exactly what to buy and what to do with it and when, from the seafood to the saute pan. Right now I'm busy fending off agents for the last book I haven't written yet, but I'm still hungry. It happens every day around this time. So I won't be writing this book any time soon.

Now. You have some good recipes, and I'd try them if I had a ready breast & ginger root or some fresh spinach, or chards & whey. Whatever.

Since you've got 12 days ahead, how about breaking it into, say, 3-day chunks and telling me what to go buy at the store. Just for dinner, not the whole life cycle. And don't tell me why. Then you can cleverly reveal to me what to do with the food I bought, and I won't be in for any disappointment. And I will be in for three good dinners. And you'll have a faithful reader for three days in a row, or else I'll be stuck like I was today eating leftover easter candy. Then when I get my life squared away, I'll maybe get 'round to writing that book, and I'll cut you in on a piece of the pie.

Mary Lois said...

Your suggestion, whinin', is eminently doable, since the Snowbird Cookbook gives detailed shopping lists. "Shopping List for the first three days" and the like. I'd say why don't I just lend you my copy, but it's an unsubstantial paperback that is literally falling apart and I know I'd never get it back. I'll bet has this book for about $0.75. But don't forget it's a diet book so the recipes might cause weight loss, or worse, hunger.

By the way, what's a whinin' iron? Is that some kind of fish?

Mr said...

I like the cooking for dummies idea.

Mary Lois said...

I can't help but think there is a cookbook out there already called Cooking for Dummies but I don't know.