Salad is Not a Comfort Food, But if I need Comfort…

A lot of salads. A lot of really nice salads, too. Most especially Shari’s new amazing Strawberry -candied pecan (skipped them) blue cheese, bacon, sesame dressed version. I made a close replica of it at home the other night. I didn’t have the luxurious blue cheese nor the sesame dressing. But, it was still delightful. Not exactly comfort food, though, is it? 

But then I asked myself…do I really need comfort food? Not really, but I DID need to eat two of my homemade chocolate chip one bowl brownies last night. I enjoyed every last bite of them, and my weight is still the same today. I am still hovering at about 128 on most days. Yes, this is up from my one-time 123, but I have been running, and I think I look more fit and firm even at five pounds up. On a 5’4″ frame, I am not complaining. 

Salads as a meal are really quite perfect in many respects, but I wonder about something. We went to a large chain restaurant the other night (IHOP), who now has the audacity to post its menu choices CALORIE COUNTS. How horrible! I now don’t want to order a thing on the menu, and end up ordering the stupid “Fit Fare” choices. Now, according to the low-carb theory, I shouldn’t have to worry about calories, but you have to understand. These numbers blew my mind. OK, an omelette- over 1,200. (veggie?!) The omelette is a standby food choice for me when eating out. With all that egg and cheese goodness, ok, I guess I can get it. But let’s look at the numbers. One egg has 90 calories. How many eggs does one omelette have? 20 ? So, then we have cheese. I can only guess how much is used. But if one little cube has about 100 calories, I am guessing about a cup of cheese is used in their omelettes. Alright, it’s starting to add up. 

But the salads. Ok, a grilled chicken salad is somewhere between 800-1100, if memory serves, and I can’t fathom it. 

So, I ended up with the Fit fare, as I stated. This omelette was just the egg whites, a lot of veggies, and I can’t recall there being any cheese…It was adequate, but I missed my fat. 

The good news is, I don’t need to worry about the fat, and so some of my choices will be high calorie. One thing I have noticed is that while keeping all things low-carb, too much protein, not fat, causes me to gain. I am pretty sure my mentor Low-Carb Confidential stated the same thing in his blog, but I really didn’t get it until I realized it was happening. 

Also true is that exercise alone is not enough to make one lose weight, unless you’re my husband. He eats whatever he wants, including ice cream after a big dinner several nights per week and doesn’t gain weight. He did, though, before he started running, which he does about 3 days a week, and he goes longer and faster than I can. I do believe that regular exercise causes us to burn more energy, but I mean regular, not the sporadic once or twice a week mini jog around the block twice. I mean mileage, or working in a very physical job, like Navy ship or steel mill or pro ball player kind of physical. 

I ran my first 5-k on the 2nd. It was a blast! I did it, and I even had energy to power in to the finish! It was a great feeling of accomplishment, and I look forward to doing it again!

Here’s my version of the Strawberry salad…PSYCH! No, this is the photo of the Panda Express my husband ordered, because I was a secret shopper, and got one meal free for rating the place. I had to send in a photo, and I guess I didn’t save that photo of the salad like I thought. FAIL!! That spicy walnut shrimp IS quite tempting and tasty, but let’s move on. Ok, so the photo below this one is the salad. I had not yet drenched it in homemade ‘ranch’ because I wanted to show off the gorgeous ingredients. Some un-candied pecans would have been a nice touch. I admit it, I tried one of those candied nuts, and it’s a very tasty…dessert. But not for me. I had my brownie splurge last night, after a fabulous steak and veggie salad. 

About food: nobody’s been grocery shopping this week, and I’ve had to be creative. Tonight I whipped up meatballs, pizza sauce and parmesan wrapped in that big name refrigerated crescent roll dough, and baked till golden brown for my spouse, and I had the meatballs and parm with sliced tomatoes and onions. It was easy and different, and I heard no complaints from K. Not that he complains much, anyway. He’s too nice. 

So, the update is: I gained five pounds back two months ago, but I feel I look fitter, and my pants still fit well. My new job keeps me walking hard, bending, kneeling, climbing, etc. So I am fitter, not fatter. Well, that’s my story anyway, and I am sticking to it. It’s not like I’ve gone back to my old eating ways. Not even. I still allow that OCCASIONAL splurge, like the brownies, but then I get back on the horse. I end up feeling pretty guilty about those indulgences, and get even more strict the next week or two. 

That’s it, low-carbers and gentle readers, for the update. All is well in pre-maintenance phase, if that’s where I am. I have a very low tolerance for carbs and have found that consistently going over 35-40 grams is the path to gain, and staying at about 30-35 maintains. Twenty to 25 causes a loss, but not until after about nine strict days of adherence to that number, counting everything. I have mostly internalized my understanding of gram counts, but sometimes I still mess up and realize I am already at twenty grams and I still have dinner and any snacks left in my day. That’s when the bacon and egg dinner comes in really handy. Lately, I’ve had a thrice-weekly strawberry harvest from our garden, and so the berries you see in the picture are fresh and organic. YUM! 

A final note on comfort food. Comfort comes from warm blankets, a nice bath robe, a lovely hot bath, even a cashmere sweater. It doesn’t need to come from food. However, when it does, a good rib eye or chicken/veggie soup works just fine. Bon Appetit` !ImageImage