Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cooking for a Sensation of Vitality

When I got out to eat, I want either spectacular flavors, or else to be moved by refinement and subtlety. I need something to happen. A lot of people try to recreate the restaurant experience at home, which makes no sense to me. At home, I aim for a feeling of vitality, even if nothing particular is "happening". I don't sit with perfect posture, elegantly flairing my nostrils as I appreciate the perfection of my efforts. I'm not this guy:

Nor do I eat in a sloppy, unconscious rush. I savor, but it's a different kind of savoring. Rather than be all involved with the exquisite depth of my demi-glace, I bask in the afterglow of thoughtful, healthful cooking. Jean Georges is 10,000 times the chef I am, but he cannot offer this. I may leave a restaurant savoring with my palate, but never with my whole body. Wellness isn't the goal, and it's not to be found (even in so called health food restaurants). This is something restaurants don't do - can't do - and it's what I've spent the past 10 years learning to cultivate.

It's a question of finding, via experimentation, an optimal balance of carbs, proteins, and fats, while ensuring that carbs are complex (no white sugar or flour), fats are healthy (e.g. extra virgin olive oil), and proteins are lean and "clean" (pepperoni calzones are not an apt protein). Cook from whole foods (lowercased), not processed. And ease off with the salt (here's a trick).

The last time I wrote about this, I offered this experiment:
If you're unsure of what it even means to feel great after eating, I propose the following experiment. Here's your shopping list:

A jar of organic raw almond butter (budget around $17; this stuff's expensive). Note: I'm not an organic extremist, but concentrated foods (e.g. nut butters, juices, oils, etc.) concentrate pesticides as well as nutrients, so it's worth it to shell out for organic versions.
A loaf of high-fiber, high-protein, whole grain bread (look for at least 4g of fiber and 4g of protein; 5g of each is even better - e.g. Milton's 100% Whole Wheat Bread, available at Trader Joe's)
Some natural, unsweetened no-fat yogurt.

Ok, here's what you do:

Eat a good healthy breakfast, including some "clean" healthy protein (lo-fat milk, egg white/spinach omelette, etc).
A couple hours later, before hunger turns ferocious, toast a slice of the bread and slather it with a tablespoon and a half of the almond butter (mix in the oil if it's separated).
Eat the toast and the yogurt (if you must, mix in a teaspoon of honey).
Set an alarm to go off in 45 minutes.
Go do something productive. When your alarm rings, observe how you feel.
So here's another, using only foods available at Trader Joe's:


Low-Sodium Chicken Stock (packaged goods aisle)
Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains (refrigerated section)
Frozen Artichoke Hearts (frozen)
Sprouted Tofu (near cheeses)
Baby Spinach (produce)

Boil a half cup of chicken stock (along with a bay leaf if you have one, and perhaps some hot sauce or chili powder).
Add a few artichoke hearts, spinach, and cut-up pieces of any leftover vegetables.
Add half of one of the tofu blocks, roughly diced
Reduce heat and stir frequently.
Once the frozen stuff is warm, add half the container of lentil soup.
Stir violently, cover, and cook 3 minutes on low heat.
Serve into bowl, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil (I like TJ's "California Estate" oil).

The flavor should be a solid 7.5. But see if you have even the slightest cravings afterwards. See how you feel.


My series "How (Perennially) Fat People Diet"
...and A New Way of Healthy Cooking

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