Today I want to start with a hypothetical situation. For whatever reason, you are enjoying a nice glass of wine or a fun cocktail or maybe a great beer. It tastes so good you have another. And another. Some time goes by and you realize you have over-indulged. (Remember, this is hypothetical, since none of us ever does this!). Besides waking up feeling like there are sweaters on all your teeth and wondering where the closest Tylenol is, what effect does that night of excess have on your eating? According to Slimming World, a weight loss program based in the U.K., the average woman will consume an extra 2,071 calories the day after drinking too much. I read this in Fitness magazine and it stopped me dead in my tracks. 2,071 EXTRA calories. That isn’t total calories, it is on top of the ones you normally eat. A full extra day of calories all because you are hung over and not making good decisions. Of course working out is not an option because the thought of exerting yourself is enough to make your head pound harder!
Ok, maybe the situation isn’t all that hypothetical. I feel I resemble that statistic on occasion. I enjoy having a drink with dinner. I usually stick to one and pick something that is really tasty so I can savor every sip. Every once in awhile I will have a second glass. I rarely go past that. But it happens! Tomorrow we leave for California. I know there are one or two or a hundred great wineries there. After reading how over-indulging can have such a negative affect on my eating habits the next day (not to mention the calories in the wine itself!), I will be making an effort to keep it all in check. Because, let’s be honest, not only is it easy to drink too much on vacation it is also easy to eat too much, even when you are sober! The study reported that the “unhealthy tipping point” is 2.7 large glasses of wine (5 oz is a typical pour and I am not sure how many ounces make it “large”) so I will try to stick to 2 glasses and be aware of what I am eating as well. I do not want to return from a 5 day trip and find I have to pull out all my elastic waist-band pants! Or maybe I should just pack them…hmmm…
Actually I already have my sneakers and work out clothes packed. I will let you know how it goes next week!
This week's recipe is the perfect way to blend a little indulgence with some restraint. If you have been reading my blog for a while you know I really do not like tofu. So when I come across a way to use it and it passes my taste test, I feel I need to share! I love lasagna, stuffed shells, calzones etc. One ingredient they all have in common is ricotta cheese. Now there is nothing wrong with ricotta. I have been know to eat fresh ricotta right out of the tub. But I also like to make my meals as healthy as possible when I can. This combination of spices and tofu makes the perfect stand-in for ricotta. I won’t eat it out of the bowl, but baked in with other ingredients it is pretty awesome. Just like with ricotta, you could mix in some chopped up spinach, mushrooms or other vegetable (I would cook any crunchy ones first, such as broccoli) before stuffing or layering it in whatever you are making. You can also add your favorite spices. I like to throw in a touch of red pepper flakes, some fresh parsley or even a little rosemary. You can use fresh herbs instead of dried (remember the ratio is 3 to 1, so 3 teaspoons of fresh equals 1 teaspoon of dry). If you have a little more time, try adding sautéed onions and garlic. You could also blend it in your food processor if you prefer a smoother texture. It is a very basic recipe so make it your own!
1 package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained, squeezed and crumbled (organic preferred)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients and toss well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes about 3 cups.