We keep reading about clean eating and its importance; I even believe in it and try to accommodate it for at least 70% in my weekly plan, but what are the other types, read along and reflect on your day.
1. FUEL eating, which in other words is clean eating. When we eat minimally processed food to nourish ourselves.
2. FUN eating: eating what we love; it tastes wonderful and maybe does not give any nourishment in return.
3. FOG eating: eating with 0 awareness. You know you are fog eating when suddenly the plate is empty, or you do not remember what and how. Yes, eating kids’ food crumbs count too!!
4. STORM eating: this is the definition of binge eating; you are aware, you want to stop but just cannot. This leads to a dramatic cycle of shame and deciding to start dieting on Monday.
Now that I explained these four, briefly reflect on your week or day. What happened, when it happened, and how do you feel? You cannot fuel eat at 100%; we are humans, and food is a pleasure. Aim for 80% fuel 20% fun. If a storm or fog happened today, observe and reflect. There is always a next meal where you can give yourself better care. Take it one meal at a time, no restrictions, no shaming.
Every day is an opportunity to take care of ourselves, and every meal is an opportunity to nourish our bodies. Our eating habits go way past our generation; we inherited many of our habits from our parents and grandparents. While so many are still in place, unfortunately, our obesity rates have increased, and people suffer from chronic diseases starting at a very young age. Below are some points to consider if you decided that today is the day to live a better life.
When I was introduced to mindful eating, I thought it is a magical diet where my mind will control my appetite and lose all the extra weight; oh, I was wrong !!!
Mindful eating is not a diet; it is the practice of trying to be present and paying attention to the Now! Most of us are wired to be on autopilot when it comes to food; we eat because it is time, or we just finished work or want to finish and do other essential things. Too much distraction is standing in our way.
Mindful eating is observing our body, what it needs, and what it wants. Putting all distractions aside, stress, drama, boredom, news, all of that. Just find a place to sit and eat that food; I recommend reading Tich Nhat Hanh’s books on mindful eating, including “Savor.”
Please do not focus on what you eat and how much at the start; observe and notice your body and its messages.
Food Labeling: Good vs. Bad
Are you familiar with the forbidden fruit syndrome? The fruit that is forbidden is the most we want to have. It is funny every time I visit a diet center and receive a diet plan with a red list; I start craving these right away!
Labeling food as good or bad reflects how we perceive ourselves; we fail if we eat bad food and feel proud if we survived all restrictions for a day or a week before we fail again.
Try this instead, look at food as joyful nourishment; remember your body needs carbs, protein, fat, and fiber. Look at your week plan, you have at least twenty-one meals. Aim to eat in moderation for most of them; it is ok if some were less nutritious. Practice self-compassion and enjoy the food; if you see a pattern in your food choices, look a bit deeper; maybe there is a reason behind it.
What is in your shopping trolley
This is one of the best practices to start with; remember, we do not need to label food as good or bad. Think about it this way; grocery shopping is investing your money in what adds value to your nutrition:
– We want food that is the closest to its nature: the best example is fresh produce. – We want food that sustains our energy levels and filled with nutrients – We want carbs, proteins, fiber, and fats. – We want food that makes us happy after we eat it, not starving, regretting, nor shaming. – Always keep a room to try a new item, one new item to explore.
Do not go super strict on yourself, neither waste your money on short-term pleasures. Swap your money with valuable nutrition.
Get Label Savvy
How much do you know about food labeling? We do not need to be certified nutritionists to have basic knowledge about what goes in our mouths. I’ll give you some quick tips below:
1. Ingredients: this is where all that goes in your food is listed. All ingredients are listed in order by weight, so if the first item you read is sugar, then most of that food is sugar!! Try to look at the back of a chocolate bar, 99% chance the main ingredient is sugar, even if it is promoted as 75% dark chocolate 2. How many ingredients: the best clean food is the one that has no label, no ingredients, but 100% pure something. If you read up to five ingredients, still you’re in an ok zone. More than that, you’re eating processed food. 3. Labels: this is where you see a breakdown of nutrients, calories per serving and how many servings the pack includes. Pay attention to the number of servings, especially the lightweight food such as cereals, Biscuits, and similar. 4. Fancy attractions: beware of fat-free, light, 0, reduced. This kind of food marketing is a trap when you do not read the labels carefully.
Resign from the clean plate club
Raise your hands if you grew up in a home where clearing your plate is your only way to have dessert, playtime, or even excused from the table.
Our parents had the best intentions to provide us with nourishment and grow respect for the food on our plates. But, unfortunately, we grew up ignoring our body signals, building unhealthy habits, and struggling with our weight to too many. If you’re a member of the “clean your plate club,” here is your way out:
– Start with meal prepping: if you cook nourishing food, everyone will end up with the right choice. – Serve smaller: you can try serving on smaller dishes, or serve a smaller portion than usual, allowing a second refill if needed. – Fight the food waste fear; if you leave food on your plate, you do not necessarily need to throw it. There is always a container, no matter how small you leave. – Leftovers are perfect for new recipe recreation. – Be mindful; check your hunger/full signals. – Work it one meal at a time; you’re breaking a lifelong habit.
As a mom of two, I know I have pushed my daughters to eat and finish their greens when not hungry. I even ate their crumbs so many times. Mindful eating helped me to start right and making things better, one bite at a time. There is always the next meal to make it worth it.
Every weekly grocery shopping, I always buy at least one kilo of baby marrows; I love their taste, color, tenderness, and adaptability to any flavors. In my hometown, Marrows are staple veggies in every house. The perfect recipe is stuffed marrows with rice and minced meat, or call them “Mehshi Koussa.” I promise I will post this recipe soon.
To make this savory tart, you need to build three equally important parts: the crust, the marrows, and the filling. When I say tart, you may think about the immense amount of butter I need to make a perfectly baked pâte brisée, but this recipe is different. Keep on reading!
My recipe is a bit different from others because I love to eat as clean as possible and always attempt to increase nutritional value and minimize unnecessary calories.
Part one: The Crust
A bit of flour and extra virgin olive oil can do wonders; I used a 20cm round baking pan:
250 grams flour of choice (I recommend an equal mix of cornmeal and wholemeal)
70 grams extra virgin olive oil
60 ml water
One garlic clove minced
Salt & pepper
The steps are as simple as 1,2,3: mix the olive oil with the flour and seasoning. Add the water little by little until the dough forms. Transfer the dough to a baking pan covered with parchment paper and try your best to apply the same thickness on the bottom and sides. You need two to three cm sides (enough to cover the width of the marrow).
Once done, with a fork, try to poke the dough and bake for five minutes in a medium heat oven, just enough for the crust to harden. Set aside to cool.
Part two: The Marrows
Marrows are tender and filled with water, so the best is to bake them a little before building the tart to avoid the moist.
Half kilo of marrows, around six medium-sized marrows (hint: this recipe is perfect with eggplant and zucchini)
Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast (they are an excellent addition for their nutritional benefits, cheesy flavor, and flaky texture as bread crumbs)
Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cut the marrows into slices of 3 mm; you do not need very thin slices as they will burn and very thick will take time to cook. Mix with the seasonings and olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes in a medium to high heat oven. It would be best if you had them soft enough to shape but not well cooked. Set aside to cool for ten minutes.
Part three: The filling
This filling will be the glue in this recipe; Marrows are known for their mild flavor. We do not want a strong filling taste to hide the marrow’s flavor.
One cup of milk of choice (I used low-fat milk)
One tablespoon of flour
Salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, garlic powder
No need to cook the filling, whisk and make ready.
Building the marrow tart
I use the word building a lot, probably because of my architectural educational background. For me, a recipe is built the same way as any other project. Importance must be given equally to all parts and steps.
Now we can lay the marrows over the crust, trying to shape them like a flower; they look beautiful once baked. Pour over the filling and cover with shredded cheese. The tart will need twenty-five minutes to bake at medium heat. Let rest ten minutes before slicing.
This recipe can be a side dish, but it is perfectly filling on its own. Pair it with a nice bowl of your favorite soup, and you can call it a treat.
If you like this recipe, please press the like button. I will be happy to see your version when you bake it; feel free to tag my Instagram and Facebook pages. Use #bakewithyasmine.