Monday, January 18, 2010

This is not a food blog

The world of weight loss is fraught with advice on how to shed excess pounds. Some of it works. Established methods, like Weight Watchers, seems to work for many Americans. My mom is a lifetime member and is as trim at 71 as she has ever been. A close friend of Mary and me just lost 69 pounds utilizing the Weight Watchers program.

For others, all the advice in the world seems to do little, or nothing to move them from the world of weight gain and fretting, to loss and then, the hard part, maintenance. The reasons for this, I think are fairly complex. One person's weight loss success story is another one's recipe for disaster. That's why everyone has to find something that works for them.

Sometimes I think the answer lies less in denying ourselves food than finding a way to enjoy good food, in smaller amounts. Michael Pollan touches on this in his books, most notably, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Notice that "eater's" is in the title.

For both Mary and me, we're less about cutting foods from our diet than eating smaller portions, giving exercise a prominent place in our lives, and enjoying food in a way that we haven't before. Good food is good fun. Locally grown foods, particularly plant-based have found their way into our diets in many new combinations, and methods of preparation.

One of my favorite sandwiches is a Reuben. Not a new food, and certainly not a low calorie one, or low fat by any stretch of the imagination. Corned Beef is a fatty meat. Swiss cheese isn't too bad as cheeses go, and sauerkraut might be one of the healthiest toppings you could add to any sandwich. Russian dressing isn't going to make it onto any top ten lists for diet condiments.

Not only do I like Reubens, I love french fries with it. That means that a meal with a Reuben can be loaded with calories and wouldn't be something that weight conscious folks would keep around, right?

Actually, I enjoy a Reuben fairly regularly. I still like french fries, although Mary and I have tended to make our own oven fries, courtesy of a recipe from one of the Moosewood cookbooks.

This weekend, we added a new twist to our Reuben and fries routine. Mary went to the farmers' market in Brunswick and at my insistence, picked up turnips from our friends at Six River Farm, in Bowdoinham.

As a German, I have an affinity for root veggies--carrots, turnips, rutabaga--all of them are wonderful to me.

Several weeks back, we sliced up some white turnips, drizzled them with olive oil and baked them in the oven. They were a wonderful accompaniment to pork chops. Amazingly sweet, and a lot less calories than traditional potatoes.

Well this week, we used regular turnips (not as sweet as the white turnips, we thought) and sliced them like french fries and did the olive oil and baking routine (with a dash of sea salt).

What an awesome alternative to traditional french fried potatoes, and a new accompaniment to the Reuben sandwich.

I enjoyed a nice Belgian dark ale with my meal.

This might not work for everyone looking to lose weight, or maintain a 52 pound weight drop, but it's working for Mary and me.

Calorie count:

Reuben sandwich 425 calories 44 grams of fat
Turnip fries 250 calories 20.5 grams of fat
Belgian dark ale 155 calories

No comments: