Every time I get on the internet, I'm bombarded by the new diet: veganism, 30 day diet, paleo, this, that, and the other. Oh, and if you don't do these things, your brain is going to explode or you are going to get cancer. Well, with all these different opinions, it's very hard to parse the information. I've always subscribed to the whatever-I-can-afford + everything-in-moderation diet. But I do have one small problem...I eat almost exclusively bread, cheese, and sugar. In case you couldn't tell by the food I put on my blog, I'll officially admit it now. Clearly this may be an issue...but I just don't like meat or vegetables that much, and I really hate cooking. Plus it's hard to buy and cook anything perishable when you are only feeding one.
I finally had enough last friday when I read the inside cover of "Grain Brain." Convinced I was going to die from a carb overdose, I finally made an appointment with a nutritionist. And by appointment, I mean I met her at a graduation party that night and we talked over sangria and BBQ. It was love at first site. She was very realistic and practical, and does not follow any "diet." She has an undergrad and graduate degree in nutrition and currently works prescribing cancer patients appropriate diets. You'll just have to take my word for it that she is legit. I asked her a million questions and here is what I learned:
1. If you are a relatively healthy young person (like me), everything in moderation isn't too far off...in fact, it's how she lives.
2. But you have to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. As many as possible.
3. Oh, and if you are eating the skins of those fruits and vegetables (berries, apples, broccoli, etc.), buy organic.
4. Never buy deli meat unless it is nitrate free.
5. If you drink milk, only drink organic. Oh yeah, girls out there, did you know you stop absorbing calcium into your bones between the ages of 25 and 28?
6. Try to stay away from processed foods....sorry lean cuisine. You are somewhat delicious and very convenient, but our love affair has to end.
7. Now, what about white sugar? Isn't it the worst thing ever? Well, my very special nutrition friend says no. Our bodies process all sugar the same way (white sugar, organic sugar, honey, etc.). It all turns to glucose in our bodies, so as long as we aren't eating it in moderation, we are good. Thank God.
So the take away from all of this is that I don't actually have to change my diet that much. Really, I'm just going to add milk, as many fruits and vegetables as I can, and take away as much processed food as possible. But I won't beat myself up over the occasional indulgence. Just like she didn't when the options were BBQ and sangria or not eating at all.
Now, I'm not writing this to change anyones mind or rebuke anyone who is on a "diet" – vegan, gluten-free, whatever it may be. I'm writing this for those of you who are like me, and don't want to think or fret too much, but do want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For those of you who get paranoid every time you see a new diet article and who are on a strict food budget. After talking to her, I felt like eating healthy is actually more common sense than anything else.
So with all that being said, here is a cauliflower and cheese recipe. My way of sneaking more vegetables into my life.
2 large cauliflower heads ♥ 2 Tbs. butter or margarine♥ 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour ♥ 2 cups low-fat milk ♥ 1 clove garlic, minced ♥ 2 cups cheese (I used sharp cheddar and monterey) ♥ cayenne pepper + salt + pepper to taste ♥ 2 egg yolks
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Chop up the cauliflower heads. Add them to the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Pour cauliflower into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
3. Melt the butter in a large pot. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly for 1 minutes. Whisk in the milk, garlic, reserved cooking liquid, and cook/whisk for 7-10 minutes. The sauce will thicken.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, salt/pepper/cayenne, and egg yolks.
5. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and fold if necessary.
6. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with extra cheese and continue baking for 10-20 minutes.