There are days like today when I remember that the sweet success of self control can taste better than two slices of pumpkin cake with butterscotch filling and brown sugar icing snuck from the fridge when no one is looking.
Better than spoonful after spoonful of peppermint brownie batter from the stand mixer bowl when you find yourself baking for lab meeting at 10pm on a cold and kind of rainy Tuesday night. (How else are you going to distract everyone from the fact that absolutely zero of your experiments are working? Here’s to crossing our fingers for scientific success in the new year.)
Better than Hershey’s candy cane kisses that you always somehow manage to eat twenty of even though you swear to yourself up and down, every time, that you’ll only have one. (Why do you ask the impossible of yourself when it’s so much easier not to start than it is to stop?)
All of which are absolutely delicious, don’t get me wrong (and are all coincidentally going on my kitchen. Right. Now. Save. Me.)
The feeling of waking up and knowing that you held the reins. That your stomach isn’t crying out in sugar overdose. That you actually are capable of doing this.
Tastes way better than the transient pleasure that a slice of cake can afford. And it’ll stay with you for much longer.
(NOTE – Remind me of this in a few days when I’m knee deep in flour, butter and sugar again and that container of cream cheese frosting in my freezer sounds like the cure to any and all holiday baking stress. Mmkay?)
(NOTE x2 – Why do I even do things like freeze cream cheese frosting? I’m totally asking for it. How is that a good idea? Ever?)
As you may have guessed, I’m on a bit of a high at the moment.
A I-have-three-kinds-of-cake-in-my-fridge-right-now-and-didn’t-eat-any-of-them-last-night-though-I-really-wanted-to high.
A I-lost-1.2-pounds-this-week-even-though-I-went-out-to-eat-and-ate-the-creamiest-butternut-squash-soup-of-my-life-and-dessert-times-three high.
A yay-my-pictures-of-eggplant-soup-don’t-look-quite-as-much-like-vomit-in-a-bowl-as-I-thought-they-would (!!!) high.
A I-tried-on-a-dress-on-Monday-and-didn’t-need-to-medicate-myself-with-chocolate-afterward high.
This is the good stuff, people. Inhale. Deeply.
This week was yet another reminder for me that every day does not have to be perfect in order for me to be successful. Which is so hard for me to internalize because for some reason, I’ve ingrained this idea that being healthy is black or white. Either I am or I’m not and once I indulge for the day, I might as well throw in the towel and go all out.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Because it’s not the one slice of cake that’s going to do the damage. It’s all of chocolate and the cookies and the peanut butter I’m going to eat afterward that do.
To combat that, this week. I planned.
I planned light dinners on days that I knew that there would be lunch out. Lots of exercise on nights that I knew would involve birthday cake. And it worked. Fancy that.
One of those light dinners was this curried eggplant soup. It’s sweet and spicy and has a lot of staying power due to the white beans that are pureed into it and all the fiber from the eggplant and apple that are mixed in there as well. (Yes, there’s an apple in it. Trust me. It’s a good move.)
And, um. Minus the feta I threw on top for photogenic-izing purposes. It’s vegan.
Speaking of veganism (and inhaling), let’s talk Bill Clinton. Whatever you feel about his reign as president or political ethos or sexual antics, I think we can all agree that it’s pretty amazing that the man who was a total burger/steak/cholesterol fiend has lost 24 pounds by switching to a vegan diet. (I realize this is old news by now, but to some of us who don’t own a tv and sit in lab staring at glowing cells all day…it’s pretty much front page stuff. So humor me.)
This week at Eat.Live.Be. our theme is to find inspiration from television and to my non-tv-owning-self, YouTube is television. So here’s a clip of Clinton talking about his weight loss and dietary change. Proof that eating plant-based meals, even if not all the time, is such a great and easy way to help you get healthy. Load yourself up with veggies and that piece of cake (or two) you ate after dinner aren’t quite as bad as if you ate them with after a burger and fries.
So tell me, what are you guys doing to counteract all of the indulgent food we are inevitably going to be eating this week? What is your damage control plan-of-action?
And here’s your daily dose of inspiration. Love this. Because while the going (and the sacrifice) isn’t always easy…it’ll be worth it when we get there.
Curried Eggplant Soup
Serves 4, adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tart apple, Granny Smith or Braeburn, diced
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 1/2 tbsp good quality curry powder
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp honey
- 15 oz can great northern or white beans, drained
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- cilantro and feta cheese, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Peel the eggplant and slice it 1/4-inch thick. Place the slices on a sprayed baking sheet and cover with foil. Roast until eggplant is very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant from the oven and allow to cool. Put the slices into a large pot. Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth and bring to a low simmer.
- Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and get it hot. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the diced apple and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato, curry powder, cayenne, soy sauce, and honey and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved 1 cup of broth and cook another minute. Pour this mixture into the pot with the eggplant.
- Add the beans to the pot. Puree using an immersion blender (or put in a food processor/blender and process). Stir in the milk. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes.
- Serve hot or chilled, sprinkled with parsley or cilantro and/or crumbled feta.
I am submitting this to Souper Sundays hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.