The pressure of being thin is always there if youíre female and overweight. You may say that youíre comfortable with the way you look, as Iíve done, but youíre lying, as I was. I learned this early and knew it to be a truth when I went back to school my senior year, looking like a different person. Before Iíd been kind of a lardo, now I was not.
I was beautiful.
And the boys flocked around me as they never had before.
But what sacrifices. Iíd gone that summer without dessert, without my grandmaís delicious Spanish cooking, without my mamaís scrumptious Mexican feasts, without, without, without, what a horrible way for someone who loves eating to live.
I was voted homecoming queen. Went to the senior prom with a very popular guy. Then came the summer before college and I had to face the hard facts. My body had grown up and it wanted to be fat. No longer could I pig out, but I couldnít go on eating only two skimpy, tasteless meals a day, either.
I drove up to Santa Barbara alone to start college. Itís a lovely drive and there is this gorgeous stretch of the highway that is lined with tall trees. It was there that I made a promise to myself. I was going to start eating again, but I was going to do it differently.
I cut out red meat entirely with only one exception, Dadís chili. No more candy bars, ice cream, junk food, fast food, in-between-meals food. Cakes and pies I left in, but only as dessert after a healthy meal and only a couple times a week. I wasnít going to be a calorie counter, never ever that, but I reasoned I didnít have to be if I used a little common sense and stuck to my promises. Also I told myself that Iíd eat a big breakfast, a tiny lunch and a reasonable dinner. Start the day off right, I told myself, finish it that way too.
Till then I was never a big fan of fruit, but you can eat a lot of that stuff and not gain weight, so I started experimenting with different ways to use the stuff that grows on trees and came up with a lot of ideas. Like this delicious coleslaw recipe.
Captain Katieís Fruit and Sour Cream Coleslaw 4 cups shredded cabbage 2 thinly sliced apples 1 can pineapple chunks,juice drained 1 cup green grapes or half cup green and a half cup red
1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup sour cream 4 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste 1 dash salt and pepper 1 dash ground cinnamon or to taste
Shred cabbage very fine, place into covered bowl or plastic bag and chill.
Dressing: Blend together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Chill. Drain pineapple very well, wash grapes and add to pineapple; chill. Just before serving, wash, core and slice apples into thin slices, then in half again. Mix apples along with grapes and pineapple into cabbage. Toss to blend well. Add dressing and toss to coat. Don't add dressing all at once in case you don't need it all. This is a little different than the usual coleslaw, but very good and easy to prepare. Prepare ingredients ahead of time, then put salad together whenever you wish.
Comments: I know there is mayo (and not low fat, yuck that stuff is awful) and sour cream in the above recipe, but remember I said I wasnít going to count calories, just apply a little common sense to my eating habits. Iíll have a bowl of this for lunch and nothing else.
Though not a dedicated fan of fruit, Iíve always liked grapefruit and as you can see from the next two recipes, grapefruit isnít just for breakfast anymore.
Captain Katieís Avocado and Grapefruit Salad 1 large pink grapefruit 1 large avocado
Peel and section grapefruit, removing all of membrane and seeds. Cut sections into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel avocado and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Cut slices into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss avocado and grapefruit pieces together in bowl. Yields 4 servings.
Comments: Yes I know the bad rap avocadoís have gotten, but I donít gorge myself on them. Iím not into calorie counting, remember?
Peel grapefruits with sharp knife and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with tequila and marinate 20 to 30 minutes. Yields 4 servings.
The next two flirtations with fruit are Caribbean-style desserts and both are scrumptious. They both use honey instead of sugar, but again, Iím not into counting calories. I donít eat Frozen Snickers, Eskimo Pies or Hagan Das anymore, so a few times a week I can eat a dessert that I whipped up myself without whipping myself about it.
* Select large plantains that are almost ripe, but not completely; they should not be mushy.
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Immediately add the plantains which have been washed, cut into 4 pieces each, unpeeled. Cook until tip of sharp knife will pierce skin easily, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer to colander to drain and let cool briefly. Peel plantains and place into blender. Add margarine, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Puree coarsely, not completely smooth. Divide among 4 serving dishes, top with sour cream and sprinkle with more fresh ground nutmeg if desired.
Captain Katieís Caramelized Rum Bananas 6 bananas 4 tablespoons butter juice of 1/2 lemon 1/2 cup honey 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum ground cinnamon
Butter a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter; or use solid margarine, not the soft diet type. Peel bananas and leave whole or cut into 3-inch pieces. Place in a single layer. Sprinkle with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Pour honey on top evenly and dot with remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Turn bananas once or twice as they are baking. Sprinkle with cinnamon or a few grains of nutmeg if you prefer. Just before serving, heat rum carefully and ignite. Pour over bananas and serve immediately.
So I suppose youíre wondering how I look now and have I ever eaten red meat again. The answer, I look pretty darned good, and no, not unless Iím eating my Dadís chili with him and Mama and that usually only happens once or twice a year.
Next Guide, ďTwo Ways to do the Chili.Ē Do you think doing up my Dadís Atlantic Crossing Chili might be one of them? Till then, Happy sails to you and healthy eating, too.