So it’s not my intention to turn this into a food blog – I’ll leave that to my pal nopogal (check out this post about the barbecue we had here) and to Mariannika – both of who were definite inspirations for a healthy and yummy eating lifestyle.  And food has become my current obsession so I thought I’d share a bit.

Food has always been an interest of mine – I love to cook (well, mostly bake) and I definitely love to eat.  Lately though, it has caught up to me in weight gain & just generally unhealthiness.  So I picked up Mark Bittman’s Food Matters and it really struck a chord with me.  It really just came at the right time – I also loved Michael Pollan books but I don’t think I was in the right mindset to dive into that eating lifestyle – strange I know.  It also helps that Bittman has some great recipes included in his book.  It’s really become my go to cookbook.

I’ve started his food suggestions this week – “almost vegan” before 6, then anything goes.  Really, it has been fairly easy for me at the moment.

For one thing, moving back to Portland at this time of year is a huge help.  This city is fresh/organic/local produce king -withing walking distance or a short drive of my home is a Trader Joe’s, a wonderful tiny family run market, a food co-op, and New Seasons – for those outside of Portland, it’s what Whole Foods really wants to be.  There is also a Whole Foods not far away, but I don’t really have any need to go there – everything else is closer, more local, and better prices.  But my favourite is the multiple Farmers Markets held all over the city on a daily basis.  I usually only go to the Hollywood District one every Saturday morning & it is such a delight to the senses.  Not only do they carry local produce, but also local meats, cheeses, breads and other fun things. It’s getting busier every week – today is a coolish grey day but it was packed – we PDXers love our food.  Check out an example of my haul today.

strawberries(my fave), garlic, green onions, green peppers, zuccini, tomatoes, and a cucumber. As well as my favourite market bag - funny enough, made in Lowell MA

So really – it’s easy for me to follow Bittman’s suggestions with such easy access to wonderful produce.  After the summer & fall, it may not be as easy (or more likely, more expensive.)

Also making it a bit easier now than before is living alone.  While I miss CoffeeBoy more than I can say (not to be all melodramatic, but really is like a physical pain being so separated), I can choose to cook & eat whatever I want without having to think about someone else.  I eat lots more fruit & veggies (again, easy access is helpful – while I was in Lowell I had to rely on CB for transportation for the most part) than I did before and I’m enjoying it.  I still eat meat but veggis play a a much bigger role. Check out my dinner last night.

pork, eggplant, bell peppers & asparagus. I actually only ate half of what is here - except for the asparagus - I love asparagus

I’ve also been branching out with beans & whole grains – while in MA, we discovered the delights of couscous & polentta, but I’ve also purchased bulgar, chickpeas (well I’ve always liked them but have never cooked them), and flax seed.  I’ve been making my own bread (using Bittman’s recipe) – this was my first time without a bread machine actually.  I’m pleased with it – most of the breads I’ve tried recently just wasn’t what I wanted – whole wheat with lots of seeds.  So while it’s ugly, it sure is yummy.

So week one of eating like Food Matters has been a success – since Monday morning (or rather, Monday afternoon, after dropping off CB at the airport that morning, I bought a fast food breakfast sandwich.  What can I say, I wasn’t in my right mind) I’ve had almost only food I’ve made myself – other than “whole foods”, the only other items I’ve had has followed the rule of knowing exactly what the ingredients are (and being able to pronounce them!) and avoiding HFCS & other additives.  I think the only things that have fallen into that category has been tortillas and sour cream actually.  I knew limiting meat would not be much of a problem – I normally only eat meat at dinner anyway – but I though dairy (especially cheese) would be a bigger issue.  Honestly, not really – I mean, it’s not like I completely cut cheese out, just limiting it during the day.  And I don’t really crave it at all – breakfast is usually coffee with a little soy milk and toast or Bittman’s recipe for Breakfast Couscous.  Lunch I’ve been making homemade chips (also from Bittman – told you it’s my go-to book) and eating those and carrots with hummus.  Usually I then have some berries – I could eat fresh strawberries, blueberries & raspberries all day long.  Dinner is something like the photo above and I’ve also made stuffed veggies and spicey turkey burritos this week.   Maybe for desert  more berries & cream and a small piece of dark chocolate.  So I don’t feel like I’m restricting myself at all.

Of course, the big thing about this is actually losing weight – which means both eating right and getting myself to the gym.  I’ve been slacking lately but still trying to stay active – working in they yard and going for long walks.  I just can’t get motivated for the gym though – I know when I go I feel so much better, it’s just getting there is the problem.   So that will be my next focus – exercise.

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