It all started on one of the r-e-a-l-l-y cold days we had this winter in the middle of a string of cold days when I spied a recipe for a farro, kale and butternut squash soup on the online food magazine Relish (relish.com).
It wasn't the recipe that caught my eye as much as the deliciously colorful picture that looked wonderful in contrast to the white and gray snow that had surrounded me for weeks and weeks. Yet another glance at the ingredient list and I almost turned the page without second thought. Here's why.
When I shared my Fat Free Chocolate Cake on "Good Morning America" back in 1994 Joan Lunden and Spencer Christian raved about it. Plain, fat-free yogurt stepped in as the chocolate cake's unique fat-fighting ingredient.
As years went by, I discovered drained, unsweetened applesauce worked magically as a fat substitute and made better chocolate cakes and desserts, like my Decadent Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake or Double Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies. I left fat-free yogurt back in the '90s and continued to explore ways to make chocolate work in a lean diet plan.
Years ago I stumbled across persimmons in an Asian market. I picked up a soft, almost spongy fruit but put it back dismissing it as overripe. That was an error in judgment; I didn't know any better.
Even if I had brought it home, what would I have done with it? If I cut it open would it look like a pomegranate with wall-to-wall seeds, or an avocado with a huge pit. Should I crunch into it like an apple or peel it like an orange? Out of the thousands of recipes I'd collected over the years I didn't have a single persimmon recipe.
This month many of us swore off fat and calories and signed onto salads.
For many of my "less-than-lean" years a wide wedge of iceberg lettuce drenched with Thousand Island dressing was a favorite salad. Later, I learned that a 2-tablespoon serving of that dressing delivered 111 calories and 10.5 fat grams.
Ten years ago there was a paradigm shift that affected millions of hearts, but first, a very short story.
In the late 1990s, I stood at a checkered tablecloth covered table in front of a store in Northgate Mall that was selling my cookbooks and offered tasting samples from those books. A normal-sized, healthy looking young man walked up to me, asked for a small brownie sample and then questioned me closely about the fat content in my recipes. Overcome by curiosity, since more women than men buy my books, I asked him if he cooked.
Before Christmas and uncertain that Santa knew exactly what I wanted; I gave myself a gift: a new bundt pan to replace my 20-year-old pan that was too thin, too dark, scratched-up and barely nonstick any more.
Holidays, food and families have interwoven themselves, like braids on a loaf of challah or strands of colored beads on a Christmas tree, since time now forgotten. That continues to be true for me.
When I was a kid, this season’s parade of holidays always stepped-off with Thanksgiving and since my folks couldn’t decide whether we should be with Mom’s or Dad’s family, we settled on -- both. This didn’t happen just once, but for many years. If you ever wondered how I got to be over 300 pounds, knowing just that bit of holiday history should be enlightening.
How times have changed.
In 1990, Thanksgiving made me uneasy.
Not about getting together with my family. No. That year I'd lost more than 100 pounds for the first time and in my family, Thanksgiving dinner triggered the start of a food-centric race running for the next six weeks. T-Day 1990 marked the single toughest meal I'd faced that year.
If controversy and confusion caused weight loss, anyone considering intermittent fasting (sometimes referred to as IF) would lose weight just by reading about it.
Intermittent fasting is this year's most popular no-calorie-counting, no-fat-gram-counting, fast-track to weight loss diet. When I wrote about David Zinczenko's "The 8-Hour Diet" book earlier this year I had no clue how widespread the IF trend was about to become. Head over to Amazon.com and you'll quickly find more than 100 books on the topic, each one slightly different; many with glaring similarities.
By far the most popular vegetable in America is ... the spud, yup the good ol’ potato. However, when it comes to per capita potato consumption, American’s turn out to be laggards, since Poles consume more than twice as much. Peru, potatoes’ first home, equals our potato consumption, while Indonesians consume an infinitesimal amount.
A friend recently described, in loving detail, a tangy-sweet broccoli salad with raisins, nuts and bacon and expressed disappointment that the salad couldn't be purchased by the pint. His reverent praise drove me to my not-exactly-organized recipe piles to see if I could find something that matched his mouth-watering description.
Darya Pino Rose likes creating new words like "foodist" and "healthstyle," and loves to eat and write about food — healthy, real food. Rose also makes lists; lots of 'em (more about that later).
Some folks love it; others can't stand it.
What is it?
By the numbers, few folks like lamb, let alone love it, and over the past 40 years we've come to like it even less.
Most medical and nutritional professionals agree: ultra-high protein, low-carbohydrate, high fat weight loss plans not only aren’t healthy, but sometimes trigger health problems.
Weight loss is rarely an easy journey and celebrity chef Art Smith knows that first hand.