I’ve been thinking about the food we eat. Have you ever been to a restaurant and ordered a cup of ice cream for dessert? What do they offer you in addition to the ice cream? They might say, “Would you like hot fudge, strawberry sauce or caramel on that? ” Then, they may continue with, “Whipped cream? Nuts? Sprinkles?” What in the world is that all about? Why do we love to add unnecessary calories to our food?
I was the Queen of adding to foods. I felt that if the brownies are good, then they would be even better with homemade chocolate frosting. And if the frosting wasn’t enough, then we should probably add some nuts on top to make it look nicer. And to make it better (or worse), I would then serve that confection with Breyer’s vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup.
I remember one night during my fat days, where John and I were sitting around doing a lot of nothing. We decided we’d like something salty. I had the bright idea of grating mounds of cheddar cheese on top of tortilla chips and baking them for a few minutes in the oven. I could hardly wait for the cheese to melt. I popped the savory treat out of the oven, put it on the couch in between John and I, and dived in. I think I ate two cookie sheets full of cheese and chips all by myself. Once again I had added unnecessary calories to a food.
When I was heavy I also felt like vegetables needed butter, potatoes should be doctored up, and salads weren’t complete without a “good” salad dressing. I was wrong. I was also doing my family and myself a major disservice by glopping up our arteries with high fat extras.
Were you like I was in my former life? Did you used to add unnecessary calories to your foods? What did you like to add? Do any of these sound familiar?
- Salads – high fat dressings, nuts, cheese
- Meats – breaded then fried, cheeses, melted butter
- Potatoes – butter, cheese, sour cream
- Cakes – frosting plus nuts, or candy, or chocolate curls, or ice cream
- Pies – garnishes like whipping cream, ice cream, nuts
- Spaghetti – Parmesan cheese, oil in the boiling water
- Pizza – high fat meats, loads of extra cheese
- Vegetables – bacon fat, butter, cheeses
When you stop to think about it, most of the extras that we add to our food aren’t very good for us. Oily and creamy dressings are high in fat and calories. Frying food should never happen, and potatoes shouldn’t be so soggy you can wring them out. Pastas can be healthy when not laden with creamy sauces and pizza isn’t a terrible choice if you limit the amount of cheese and don’t put high fat meats on top. And it goes without saying that vegetables are delicious by themselves, not floating in grease.
I think that we sometimes forget how our food is supposed to taste. For me, when I was heavy, I had trained my palate to enjoy high fat, high salt foods. It took me a long time to retrain my taste buds to enjoy more simple food. Without all the dressings and fat, food tastes very different. The first time I ate broccoli with just a bit of “no salt” seasoning I thought I was going to gag. After all, I used to eat broccoli swimming in cheese sauce. That’s how I thought broccoli should be served.
Over time I actually developed an aversion to the fat in foods. It made me feel sick to my stomach to eat foods that were fried and full of fat. Now I rarely eat fried foods and most of the foods I make for my family are healthy. This week as you go out to eat and cook for your family, carefully consider what you are adding to your food. Just making the choice to cut back on the “extras” you are adding can add up to huge calorie savings and potential health benefits. Diane