It's Friday: My favorite day of the week. This is also my day to asses the past week, and give myself a grade as to how I dealt with life -- and my diet -- which are totally interchangeable.
This week: I give myself an A for three reasons:
1. And this is the most important one of all: For the first time in years, I feel really in control.
2. I exercised daily.
3. I made terrific food choices.
Although I have divided the reasons into three separate categories, I know my feeling of control comes from the fact that I ate well and exercised. Without Nos. 2 and 3, No. 1 cannot be my reality. The main problem here is that I have done this in the past, but without consistency, I backtracked and slid into my old life very easily. This time, I am taking precautions not to let this happen.
A huge accomplishment was signing the exercise contract with my friend Ann. Since we both signed our commitment to walk at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, we have both not missed a day of exercise. In addition, I found yoga, and try to make three or four classes each week. And once a week, I give up all artificial or natural sugars, not because I have to, but because of the discipline.
I also took Andrew Weil's "Eight Weeks to Optimum Health" to heart, and ate salmon not once, but twice this week, and broccoli twice. Can't wait to read Week 2 to find out what nutritious foods I'll be adding next week.
I've also tried some new recipes -- both really yummy -- just to keep things interesting.
The result: I slept great each night, have lots of energy, and my clothes are fitting better. I am thinking long term here, knowing that this time next year, I will have reached my goal and will be much healthier, but only if I stay the course.
I really am not about to backtrack. And anyhow, if I do, I know Ann will be there to nicely scold and get me back on track. I really do have a new attitude.
The first new recipe I tried was from "Clean Eating" magazine, a pleasing mix of sweet (cherries) with hot (jalapenos), for a taste that explodes in your mouth. The second is from the good doctor Weil, and will become a mainstay.
SWEET AND HOT SHRIMP TACOS
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted red cherries (if frozen, no need to thaw)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, cut in half and seeded
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and quartered
4 tsp. raw honey
24 large shrimp, shells and tails removed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. olive oil
8 whole-grain corn soft taco shells
1 small head radicchio, thinly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and grated
Cilantro leaves for garnish
• Place cherries, jalapeno, ginger and honey in a mini chopper or blender along with ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth (there may be small bits of cherry).
• Season shrimp with salt.
• Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil and shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until shrimp are pink on the outside but not cooked through.
• Reduce heat to medium and carefully add cherry mixture. Simmer for about 2 minutes, until sauce is slightly reduced and shrimp are cooked through.
• Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees and warm taco shells for 2 minutes. Spoon 3 shrimp and 1 tablespoon cherry sauce into each taco and top with 2 tablespoons each radicchio and carrots. Garnish with cilantro. Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 348 calories; 11g fat; 39g carbs; 5g fiber 14g sugars; 528mg sodium; 172mg cholesterol.
GRILLED OR BROILED SALMON
1 cup sake
½ cup natural soy sauce or tamari
½ cup grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 Tblsp. dark-brown sugar
Salmon fillets, 6 ounces per person
Lemon wedges for serving
• Mix sake, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and dark-brown sugar.
• Rinse salmon under cold running water, place in a glass or ceramic dish, and cover with marinade. Cover dish and place in the refrigerator 1 to 3 hours, spooning the liquid over exposed fish parts one to two times.
• Prepare grill of preheat broiler to high.
• Drain fish. Place on foil on grill or rack in oven. Cook until desired doneness, but do not overcook. Serve at one with lemon wedges.