With the bombardment of temptations in our paths every day, it ain’t easy staying healthy. Salt-ladened this, sugar-soaked that, it’s no wonder dieting is an American pasttime — one that isn’t fun or productive. The real way to take pounds off and keep them off is to make permanent life changes. Easier said than done, of course. But here are ten easy, delicious ways for a foodie to start moving in the right direction.
1. Eat more green leafy salads. Once per day with a variety of vegetables (and/or fruit). Choose ingredients that are very fresh, seasonal and organic if possible. Raw veggies have their nutrients intact (cooking often removes them) and they keep you “regular”. Avoid bottled salad dressings since they often contain added sugar. To stave off boredom, experiment with many different dressing recipes, like Garlicky Lemon Vinaigrette or Ranch Dressing. Read more »
America’s wine lovers — both new and experienced — have come a lllooonnnngg way in the past twelve years or so since I’ve been writing about my favorite beverage. Old and young, female and male, we have spoken and have gathered together to become the planet’s thirstiest country for wine. More on these impressive stats in this infographic
Read more: Infographic: Uncorking the numbers behind America’s love of wine
Can I get a whoop-whoop? I think we Americans are finally moving in the right direction. At least, from a wine perspective. Have you noticed that many people are reaching for and craving something out-of-the-ordinary, the unexplored, the less commercial? Let me know if this is all in my head because I’m heels-up in love with this trend… authentic, well-made wines made by people who actually care. Toto… have we escaped from Kansas? This impassioned love affair revealed itself at the Rhône Rangers event in San Francisco. The sole reason Rhône Rangers exists is to introduce unique California-made wines to the American public, one consumer at a time. Hundreds of thirsty people crowded a waterfront warehouse to taste wines made only from grape varieties hailing from this lesser-known region of France. Nary a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Cabernet in sight. Practically heaven for this wine writer.
Read more: White wines from the Rhone: Looking for love in all the right places
Pork tenderloin, the other white meat, can be as bland as the first, official white meat, chicken. But like chicken or especially tofu, it absorbs spices like it’s begging for them. Szechuan cuisine (aka Sichuan or Szechwan) is a type of spicy cooking developed in southwestern China. Unlike Americanized moo goo gai pan or wonton soup, Chinese Szechuan dishes offer super bold flavors calmed by the addition of peanuts or sesame (tahini pastes sometimes) and punctuated by hot peppers and pungent ginger. It’s Chinese food with a kick.
Read more: Recipe for quick yet super tasty pork: Chinese Szechuan Pork
Some of the other homework was easy. Craft beer is huge and growing nationwide. Yet in Florida, it’s still in the toddler stage. Anyway we knew there was room in the marketplace and Cigar City Brewing had opened up a few years back and really blazed the trail. With that info we also ascertained that there was a growing demand for fresh, local, craft beer in this metro and that this Bay area thirst would continue to increase for quite some time.
Read more: The adventures of opening a brewery: Fun, work, headaches, beer
About five years ago, after a lifetime of eating and drinking carelessly, I started putting on the pounds. At 5’2″, my height to weight ratio had topped new levels of embarrassment. That, and my clothes weren’t fitting anymore and I’m too cheap (or lazy?) to shop for new clothes. So for the first time ever, I had to watch what I shoveled into my mouth. Mind you, I’ve never shoved junk or processed food down my gullet but mostly gourmet this, housemade that. It turns out even gourmet and homemade can be the wrong this and that. Here are my four guidelines for how to keep wine off your hips or tummy.
Read more: How to stay thin when you drink wine for a living – four nutrition guidelines
The Doppelbock, a high-powered version of the German Bock, is a favorite of mine. It’s darker, chewier, heavier, sweeter, and higher in alcohol than its goat-labeled little brother. Doppelbocks originated in Munich during the late 18th Century where the Paulaner Monks brewed it as “liquid bread”, which isn’t a serious naming stretch since grain is used and it’s certainly not a watery brew. Those crazy Bavarian monastic peeps even dubbed it “Salvator”, which translates to “Savior” and many of my friends believe beer to be theirs. Paulaner owns the trademark to “Salvator” but many breweries add the “-ator” ending to their own take on the style.
Read more: Doppelbocks: Two liquid bread beers to seek
Temperatures are hitting the eighties here in Sonoma County and my hands are reaching for some chilled white wines (and rosés, but that’s another column). They seem to go down smoother and easier than the lonely, almost dusty Cabernets and Syrahs in the wine rack. And with more and more thirsty folks branching out from their normal white wine routine, I thought it appropriate to introduce a couple of other soft, aromatic, mouth-watering whites: Tablas Creek 2011 Cotes de Tablas and David Hill 2011 Pinot Gris.
Read more: Sippin’ and chillin’ white wines for spring: Tablas Creek & David Hill
A Session Beer is a beer that is relatively low in alcohol (5% or lower), balanced in character, and ideally suited for enjoying one after another. I’m getting just a little annoyed by extreme beers. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those striving to be the “hoppiest” or the “strongest” or the most peculiar. When I see brewers boasting that their new ale has more IBUs than ever recorded in history I simply can’t walk away fast enough.
Read more: Session beers: Desperately seeking moderation
Sure, bottled salad dressings are quicker and more convenient. But homemade salad dressing tastes SO much better and fresher. This one takes 5 minutes to assemble, uses heart healthy condiments most people have on hand, and isn’t full of the scary preservatives found lurking in most bottles. This tart, lemony vinaigrette keeps for about a week in the refrigerator and can be tossed with salad greens, drizzled over steamed green beans, or even used as a marinade for meat.
Read more: Easy salad dressing recipe: Garlicky Lemony Vinaigrette