Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is everyone hanging out without me? (and a few healthy comfort food recipes)

I love The office... And every character on it, with the exception of Dwight. (Although an integral character, he kinda creeps me out.)

That's why I was super psyched when my fiance surprised me with Mindy Kaling's book Is everyone hanging out without me? (Did you know that she and Rainn Wilson are real life "frenemies"??)

Although I'm only on page 24, I'm finding it hard to put down. So hard, that I opted to take the local train instead of the express to work this morning, just to get a few more pages in.

However, you should probably know that this isn't the first ridiculous thing I've done for the love of Chick-lit...

I once feigned an "upset stomach" at work to finish a chapter of Chasing Harry Winston. A dirty move, I know, but in my defense we were super slow. (It was during the recession and everyone was casting out in LA instead of New York, and bla bla bla.) Plus we had really nice private bathrooms that reeked of LA looks and Axe body spray. (This was zen.)

OK. Back to Mindy.

So far she's been talking a lot about her chubby childhood and love of food. And the weird thing is, I'm finding myself relating more to her than the "health enthusiast" I've become.

But then again, it was in fact, my processed carbs and ice-cream addiction that started me down this path...

After years of headaches, fatigue, and stomach problems, I finally discovered a holistic way of eating, and immediately noticed results. I felt better than ever, and simply put, my love of feeling good trumped my love of food. It just did.

But, let's be real. I'm human, and an American at that. And while I do find a nutritious way of eating very satisfying, there are still temptations to fall back to my old ways.

While the new Stephanie wants to be like "Mindy, I can TOTALLY help you overcome your margarine and diet-soda addiction!" The old Stephanie wants to be like "Hey Mindy, want to go back to my place and eat Pop-tarts and Phish food til we pass out?"

So how does one manage these conflicting impulses? For me, it always comes down to the following question:

"What will make me feel good and live a long, healthy life?"

And even though I've been known to derail from time to time, it's my desire to be the best I can be in both mind and body that keeps me on the health track. And so far, I think it's a pretty sweet track to be on.

What are some other ways I stay on the health track? That's simple! Finding healthy alternatives to the comfort foods I love! Here are a few of my faves!

Chocolate Banana Pudding (recipe adapted from Diary of a nutritionist)

1 medium-large ripe banana
1/2 large avocado
2-3 packets of powdered Stevia
2 drops organic vanilla extract
5-6 tbsp cool water
1 pinch of sea salt
1 squirt Agave Syrup (aprx 1-2 tsp) *Optional
2 tbsp raw cocoa

Blend all ingredients in your blender or Magic Bullet. It makes about 1 serving.

French Toast

(makes 2 slices)
1 organic egg
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 drops organic vanilla extract
2 slices 100% Whole Grain or gluten free bread
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

Beat egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla together. Heat griddle or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and dip bread in egg mixture. Place on griddle and cook for 3 minutes on one slide. Flip and cook for one more minute until egg is cooked through. Drizzle with organic maple syrup and more cinnamon if you wish.

Mac & "Cheese" (compliments of The Kind Diet)

3 cups elbow pasta (I use gluten free quinoa elbow pasta).
1 cup organic soymilk (you can use coconut or almond milk here…or any plain non-dairy milk, really)
1/4 cup tamari
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 cup canola oil (I use olive oil instead here)
salt & pepper

1) Cook the pasta al dente.

2) In a blender/food processor combine the garlic, nutritional yeast, mustard and paprika. Blend to chop garlic.

3) While the machine is running add the tamari, soymilk and canola oil and blend until creamy.

4) Heat sauce and mix with cooked noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste.

What are some of your fave comfort foods? Can you think of ways to health 'em up?

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