The Meaning of Food

Lewis Carol said “life is but a dream”… the other day I was sitting in my car, in traffic, (I live in Los Angeles, and some of my best ideas come from hours on the 101) and for some reason I really got to thinking about what that meant. We are constantly living in this story of past and future, making everything we do and see sacred in some way. Creating little landmarks in our mind. When you take the way we look at food, different types of food especially, in some way or another it triggers a memory. When we have an abusive relationship with food, the dream we relive every time we indulge is nothing but a volunteered repeat of our past.

I believe that the most difficult times for us as adults are the ones we create for ourselves. You have the power to change your approach about anything including your health at any moment, and what better place to start than with food. Don’t just change the way you eat, take it one step further and change the story, the dream, and the everyday experience you have with your food. This will make your experience so much more successful. Lets lay out a few simple rules that I apply to more than just my eating habits:

1. Don’t approach your diet, or change in general, as something foreign. Make an effort to really buy into what you are doing. A lot of times our most continuous and negative feelings insist to exist because we buy into them so much. One of my worst and I know is hard for a lot of people is disapproval. What we don’t realize everyday is by buying into our own disapproval we are PRACTICING disapproval. The more you do it, the stronger the quality becomes. You essentially become an expert at causing this harm to yourself and subsequently, others at times. Take this negative power that you have given yourself, and turn it on itself. Buy into the change you are making in choosing to eat better. When you buy into it, you are practicing it, thus strengthening the habit and becoming an expert on fueling your body efficiently.

2. Set yourself up for success. If you are trying to quit smoking do you leave packs of cigarettes laying around the house? Probably not. Ill say this a million times, you cant eat the bad stuff if it isn’t there, so get rid of it. Empower yourself by taking out the trash.

3. Make a conscious choice. If you are going to change the way you eat, do it and do it all the way. You don’t need to wean yourself off of McDonalds. I understand that sometimes food can be your go to- to feel safe, to become calm- but the point of choosing to become a happier, healthier you, is to create a new safe place for yourself. Take a deep breath, and find the safety in moving forward in a better way for you and those you love. This is a form of acceptance, and a form of respect for the legitimate fear you have in becoming a slightly different person. Embrace it, love it, and be proud of yourself for being ahead of the curve and doing what’s best for YOU.

As we start to work on cooking processes, you’ll start to realize what a few little changes can do, but more importantly, how good they can taste. Lets start with the recipe for today. Get yourself a fresh chicken breast from your butcher. When you buy fresh, you are able to maximize on the flavor of that product, and minimize the amount of calories consumed. Dust that chicken with a little salt and pepper and that’s all you’ll need. Toss the garlic on when its ready and pay attention to it while it cooks, making sure its never over done. When you don’t use a marinade or excessive seasoning, the only issue you can really run into is over drying of meat. Cook the chicken until it’s just done, take it out, and allow it to rest for a couple minutes before serving. Don’t forget that the internal temp of the chicken will continue to rise slightly after its been removed from the oven, and the cooking process continues as it rests. With the green beans, this is a classic side dish you’ll find at many restaurants. The process of blanching the green beans (which is briefly cooking in boiling salt water, then removing and placing immediately into ice) is a great way to get the perfect crunch to any veggie, while still hanging on to the nutrients. The almonds throw in a great taste and positive nutritional value, all together a great side to pair your juicy chicken.

Try this out tonight. Don’t be afraid to throw your favorite herb on your chicken. Going for maintenance and not so much weight loss? Season some cooked quinoa with salt and pepper and place ½ cup under the chicken before serving.

Enjoy and be well.
Cassandra