So a little while ago a friend of mine said I should write down my diet.
Well it’s not really a “diet”. Diets don’t work. I tried doing a diet once where I wouldn’t eat any processed foods—it was hard. Not the eating of the food, but the finding of the food. Because I couldn’t always bring food into work and finding un-processed food outside of my own kitchen was beyond ridiculous.
Anyway, this had got me thinking in another direction. Which I soon started. The rules are simple; if you make it, you can eat it. Nothing is restricted. Nothing.
You want Ho-Hos? Go ahead.
You want lasagna? Enjoy it!
You want chocolate chip cookies every day? I'm with-ya.
But you have to make it. Everything. From scratch. No mixes, or packaged meals allowed.
It really makes you think, how badly do I want this? Is it worth the effort?
And you’re thinking; I don’t have time for that! I'm a crappy cook.
I don't have time either, but I have learned to schedule one day on the weekend to cook, and when I cook, I make a lot. Like if I make chili, I make 3 months’ worth. I then portion it and freeze it. (I highly recommend saving glass jars, or buying some preserving jars if you do this.) And you're only a crappy cook because you're out of practice.
Currently in my freezer I have homemade ravioli, corn dogs, breaded chicken, spaghetti sauce, sweet potato casserole, rosemary bread, waffles, cookie dough, I could go on. But it is all homemade. No mixes, or instant meals. I do have frozen peas though :) Even ice cream should be homemade. Target has ice cream makers for $25!
Again, a part of the mentality is, how bad do you want it? With the advent of the internet, recipes of all types have become accessible to the everyday person.
In short, the food and meals are better for me. No preservatives, low processing, no extra added salt or sugars. And they are pre-portioned by me. So I don’t over eat, or left feeling hungry. And you’ll eat good, yummy food! The first time you walk by all that pre-made food, chips, cookies, frozen dishes, canned meals in the grocery store will shock you. If you’re consistent with setting one day on the weekend to cook one dish, it will happen.
Plus, if you do this, you’ll get better at multi-tasking your cooking time, meaning; when I make spaghetti sauce, I will also make pizza. When I roast a chicken, (afterward) I also make stock, then soup, and stuffing with that stock, also chicken pot pies. If I’m cooking ground beef, I’ll make chili, taco meat, and hamburgers all on the same day. I try not to waste anything.
How to get started.
How to get started on doing this? Well don’t treat it like a diet. Treat it like a life style change. A change you have to start slowly, or it will never stick.
The best way to do it is to pick a dish from a restaurant you love. A dish that would not last 2 days in your frig as leftovers. Go online and search for a copycat version of the recipe. There will probably be a kazillion recipes, so just be critical with what the author states as the ingredients. For example: when I looked up P.F. Changs Lettuce Wraps, one author stated to use ketchup. Now I know there is no ketchup in the lettuce wraps I’ve eaten, so just watch what they state as the ingredients. Copy it into a word program to save it and print it. Pick something that won’t be too terribly hard to make, or you’ll get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out. Also, before you double or triple the recipe size for freezing, be sure to test it.
Just start from there. Slowly, you’ll replace all the items in your pantry, frig, and freezer with homemade meals, and snacks.
And the equivalency of me ‘falling off the wagon’ is when I eat out, though technically the restaurants (supposedly) are cooking from scratch also, which means I’m still adhering to the rules. And I'm not talking about fast food crap.
*You want potato chips? Fine, make them.
*You want cheesecake? Mmm, cheeeesecake...
*You want pizza? Don’t forget to buy the yeast.
*You want hot wings? Look up a hot wing recipe.
*Mac N Cheese. That’s an easy one, just remember to add some bread crumbs on top for some crunch. 'The Yard House' has a yummy macNcheess-look it up.
* Tacos? Pull out the rolling pin, you gotta roll out some tortillas
* Krispy Creme Donuts....*droool* That's right! Nothing is off the table. IF you make it, then you can eat it. The goal is to try to make everything! Icing and all, from scratch.
One of my favorite recipe sites is epicurious.com. You can build your own recipe box from tons of other recipe sites. You can even make a grocery list off of the ingredients from the recipes you want to use.
This “diet” does not take into account for the fresh vegetables and fruit I buy, but these items have a short preserving life. They are added weekly to the meals I have created months ago. You can preserve them, but it takes dry ice.
There are a few things I do not make such as cereal, spaghetti noodles (because I don’t have a noodle press or hanger) and condiments (though occasionally I make salad dressing, <Old Spaghetti Factory Pesto dressing is to die for.>) I find the preservatives in condiments are helpful if you don’t go through them quickly. I have a bottle of ketchup that will probably last until it expires...
The next step, is of course, having your own garden to cook from...
Mint Chip Ice cream, Krispy Kreme donuts, homemade pizza, pralines, Chinese chicken salad...mmmmm!