I just ate a bowl of beets for lunch, and you know what? I’m full and happy.
For years and years and…well, let’s be honest here–for well over a decade, I never really knew what it was to be satisfied. I ate so much, but even when I was distended and uncomfortable and considering making myself throw-up just to feel a little bit better, I still wanted more. I don’t really remember a day that I ate a plate of food, sat back and said, “I’m done. I’m good.” I always wanted seconds of something–in retrospect, it was usually whatever had the most carbohydrates–and I always wanted dessert. Always.
Do you get me here? Do you understand what that was like? If you do, I am sorry, because it sucked. It sucked SO MUCH.
Then, a few months ago, when I started playing with paleo, I suddenly learned what it was to be done eating and OK with it. I had been weening myself off of sugars for a few weeks the first time I really noticed it was happening. It was a Saturday night, I was going out with friends in the evening, and I didn’t have much time to throw together a meal for myself. So I just steamed a bunch of broccoli real quick, and reheated some grilled chicken. I ate my sad little dinner in about 4 minutes…and I was full. Not stuffed, but no longer hungry. And even better, I wasn’t sitting there thinking, “You what would be really good right about now? Ice cream or garlic bread or 17 Reese’s cups.” I was totally and completely satisfied. Mind=BLOWN
When I eat a healthful, low or no sugar meal, I get to enjoy that feeling. It is only when I allow myself unfriendly foods that I backslide into the hell that is over-fullness and still wanting more More MORE. Last night at a family gathering I was being “good”: I ate a big salad, some fruit, a couple bites of sub-par pasta salad, and I was pretty much done. But–oh, of course there’s a but, there’s always a but–then the cheesy potatoes came out of the oven. And then the cake was served. (THIS is the problem with having a large Italian family that gets together all the time) And in true Pamela form I caved.
Why, oh why, do I always fucking cave?
It was the only meal I ate yesterday, so I didn’t completely screw myself, but I did leave that party feeling…blah. Just too full. And I had cake on the brain the rest of the night.
[Christ, do I hope this is the last time I have to write about losing another battle against sugar. I know eventually I will win the goddamn war, but I just have too many tales of defeat.]
But then today, I eat my eggs for breakfast and BOOM! Full. Four hours later I’m not yet truly hungry but I know I should eat so I enjoy a bowl of roasted beets, enough that my tongue turns a lovely shade of magenta, and I am totally satisfied. It’s such a fabulous feeling.
Since going (mostly) paleo, I can make a meal of such simple things and truly enjoy it. A green salad with thinly sliced beef and just a little bleu cheese: killer and filling. A can of tuna (yeah, freaking tuna) with capers, red pepper, and celery: perfect and I’m perfectly full. When I roast a head of cauliflower, I need nothing else. (That said, I will pair it with a lovely protein, but the point is, I don’t need to to feel satisfied.) In fact, roasted cauliflower may be my very favorite food now. Shall I share my recipe?
OK, twist my arm, why don’t you.
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, at least
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Note: Just the above ingredients together are fabulous but I add these additional seasonings for something a bit more special.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin (freshly ground if possible)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon tumeric
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Toss your florets in the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet OR grease the baking sheet with half of the oil and drizzle the rest over the cauliflower (I prefer the second method because you may end up using less oil–gotta watch those omega 6s). Evenly sprinkle the cauliflower with seasonings (and by all means, try any seasoning you like!) but be sure to be generous with the salt. Then pop the baking sheet into the oven until you can smell the cauliflower (it’s a great, nutty aroma, you’ll know it when you smell it), or about 15 minutes. Turn the florets, and then bake another 10-15 minutes, or until evenly browned. The more browned they get, the more condensed the flavor gets, but then the texture is less al dente. So kinda play with the recipe until you find what works best for you. Finally, eat, love, be satisfied.
It’s moments like this when I don’t understand why I bother with sugar. I mean, OK, sometimes it’s just worth it, (I will probably go to Inn Season cafe for the world’s best chocolate mousse on my birthday) but normally it’s just…not. I feel so much happier in brain and body when I eat my simple paleo-friendly foods than I do when I ingest even small amounts of sugar. I need to remind myself in those pathetic moments when I’m considering allowing my addiction to rule my actions that I will feel so much better if I resist the carbohydrate siren call. I need to remind myself of how I feel right now: happy and satisfied…and proud of my purple tongue.