Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Do When You've Gone on a Food Bender and a New Recipe

I received a question from a reader a few days ago and I thought that it was such a great topic to share with you. "hey there food guru. i am looking for some motivation/inspiration/support/someone to yell at me. the past 2 weeks or so have been less than ideal moving quickly towards, and now arriving at, very very bad. having a hard time staying on track at the moment. any words you can share? maybe a song and dance number??? thanks so much."

Here's what I have learned:

1. Let it go. Becoming a healthy eater/achieving a healthy weight is not a perfect race to the finish line. In fact, there is no finish line. You may get to a healthy weight, but maintaining it takes more work than getting there did. Beating yourself up about not eating perfectly is perfectionism coming out and that is not going to work over the long haul. Slip ups happen, how you handle them is what counts.

2. Do not use a slip up, no matter how big or small it was, to convince yourself that you should just give up on this whole eating healthy thing. That mentality is quite common amongst food addicts, myself included. But I don't think like that anymore and you don't have to either. Again, the past is the past and you can't change it. And oftentimes what we think was such a horrific food bender really wasn't that bad. We make it worse by beating ourselves up about it. What are you going to do right now? That is what matters.

3. Speaking of the past being the past, you should not skip the next meal in order to try to make up for a past slip up. That is setting yourself up for more disaster. Make a commitment that the next meal will be a healthy one. If you try to skip a meal, chances are extremely high that when you finally do eat, you will be like a crazed lunatic and all of the calories that you skipped will be more than made up for when you do eat again.

4. What about the future? Make a commitment to have one good day. That's it right now. Just one. I suggest having a solid plan for this one good day, i.e. write down exactly what you are going to eat for the whole day and make the commitment to not waiver from this plan. If other food magically shows up, just say to yourself, that is not on my plan so it's out. No mental debate about it. Not on your plan. One good day can change your whole attitude and set you on a better course.

5. Speaking of plans, all of the great intentions in the world are meaningless without a plan, so make sure you have one that is comfortable for you. For me, this started out with Weight Watchers, progressed to a combination of Weight Watchers and Eat to Live, and short dabble with Raw Food and now a comfortable, mostly vegan, mostly no-added-fat diet. What is your plan?

6. Clean house. Get rid of all of your trigger foods. I'm not joking. Get a big black garbage bag and fill it up with anything that might give you a problem and throw it in the trash. Let go of any guilt about this. It's either trash in your body or trash in a landfill, so where would you rather put the trash? It's amazing how much easier and simpler it is to stay on your plan if you are not surrounded by your trigger foods. When these foods make their way back into your home, as they inevitably do, get rid of them as soon as you can. Never have them hanging around. You know what happens when they are there!

7. Breathe. It's amazing what a few deep breaths can do for your well being. Breathe deeply, slowly, in and out through your nose for 30 seconds. If you can remember to do this under times of stress or aggravation, you will be far less likely to turn to food in these situations.

So there it us, my advice for slip-ups. I hope it helps! And if anyone out there has thoughts to add to this list, please leave a comment following this post.

Here's a new recipe that I tried last night. I thought it was incredible. My husband wanted more heat, so that part optional depending on your taste buds.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Casserole
Based on a recipe from Clean Food by Terry Walters
serves 8

Cashew Cheese
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp canola oil

3 large sweet potatoes (more is better than less), washed and poked with a fork
juice of 2 limes
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of scallions-sliced thin and separated white bottom part from green top part
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup corn kernels, defrosted if frozen
2 tsp sea salt
14 soft corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups prepared salsa
optional: 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake for one hour or until soft. Remove from oven and carefully slice in half to let heat escape. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, as sweet potatoes are in the oven, prepare cashew cheese. In a food processor (a mini one works fine for this), grind cashews to a fine meal. Add nutritional yeast and process briefly to combine. Add oil and process until you have a moist meal. Do not over process or meal will become dough like. Set aside.

In a large bowl, place the black beans, white part of scallions (sliced), diced tomato, and corn.

Peel sweet potatoes and mash with lime juice and salt. Combine sweet potato mixture and bean mixture. Optional: if you like heat, now is the time to add a dash of Cayenne pepper to this mix.

Turn your oven up to broil.

To assemble, spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with 3 whole tortillas and 3 tortilla halves. Place 1/2 of the sweet potato mixture onto the tortillas and gently spread to cover. Repeat tortillas, sweet potato mixture, and tortillas. Spoon salsa over the top and spread with the back of a spoon. Place in oven a broil for 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and place cashew cheese in clumps evenly on top. Broil for 2 more minutes, watching closely to keep from burning.  Remove from oven and top with the green part of the scallions (as much as you want--you need not use the whole bunch) and, optionally, chopped fresh parsley. 


SunnyHawk said...

RE: thing I try to use to keep myself on track is focus. You get what you put your focus on. So, if you are focusing on the 'mistakes', then that is where your attention is. (Look at that word...mistakes...I think of that like mis - in Take One, Take Two, like movie lingo. So, get up have an unlimited amount of 'takes'!).

Focus on what you CAN do; not what you did wrong or whatever. Like you said, Wendy, it's what is next that matters. There's a great video blog from Kris Carr on youtube about your 'inner kiddo'. Check that out. It brought me to tears. We are so mean to ourselves sometimes. Stop it. Let's all just stop it. Be your own best friend.

Focus on what we are doing right. A little bit of momentum goes a long on the positive.

I love your info and recipes, Wendy--I think I mentioned to you before, your blog is what helped me get started. Now I am 33 pounds lighter and oh, so much healthier. Thanks so very much.

Sue M.

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

Sue-You have no idea how good your comment makes me feel! I am so incredibly happy that I can help another person on their journey to peace with food. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!!!

Alisa said...

Wonderful tips.I have to keep these in mind especially with the coming holidays.

David said...

I recently found this recipe and made it, and wow, was this good! The sweetness and texture of the sweet potatoes is a great combination with the southwestern veggies.

I didn't add any extra spice because my wife doesn't like it, but it would have been good with a little heat. I used whole wheat tortillas, fresh cilantro instead of parsley on the top, and canned and drained organic, low-sodium, fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead of fresh.

I served it with an avocado and greens salad drizzled with fresh lime juice. Yum!

Wendy, your nutritarian recipes rock - keep 'em coming!

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