Sunday, October 10, 2010

Busy and sick (boiled or sauteed shrimp)

This week, and especially the weekend, has been a doozy.  Between dealing with my health and attending a celebration for almost every person or organization I know or am involved with, let's just say I've been busy.  Last time I wrote, I was determined to follow the diet more strictly, but that's proving more difficult if one actually has a life.  I'm really trying, but so impatient.

I did okay for a couple of days.  On Day 2 (Bovine Day as opposed to Chicken Day 1) I have the following options:

Proteins:  Grass fed beef, Lobster, Sole, Shrimp
Starches/Grains:  Wild Rice
Vegetables:  Asparagus, Carrots, Fennel
Fruits:  Apple, Cranberry, Lemon
Dairy:  Yogurt, Cheddar cheese
Nuts/Seeds/Oils:  Butter
Flavor Enhancers:  Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, Parsley, Dill, Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon, Fennel

It's a nice day with plenty of good choices except that the proteins are all a little high maintenance.  I have to go to Whole Foods to get grass fed beef or sole, lobster...well, that's just ridiculous.  But maybe I could have it at a restaurant if I was out, steamed with lemon and butter, so that's nice.  Then shrimp, well, I live in New Orleans and we are picky about our shrimp.  I got it at whole foods last time and it wasn't that good.  So the seafood markets are better for that (or the farmers market).  And then cooking the shrimp is tricky.  You have to time it just right.  I boiled some fresh from the farmer's market last night for 3 minutes and it was a tad overcooked.  But check out this recipe for boiled shrimp that was pretty flavorful and stuck to the diet without using Zatarain's or store bought shrimp and crab boil:

1 lb of fresh shrimp in shells
1 lemon, sliced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cumin, coriander, parsley (or to taste)
1 1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs salt
Water to cover shrimp

Melt butter, add spices, saute a little, add lemon (squeeze slices to get a little juice out before setting in butter), then add enough water to cover your shrimp.  Add salt, bring to boil.  Add shrimp for about 2 1/2 minutes.  Drain quickly.

VARIATION:  if you can find shrimp already peeled and deveined, even better.  Reduce the spices, butter, lemon to taste (especially the salt--the shrimp will absorb everything more easily without the shells).  Saute the spices in butter, add lemon, sprinkle the shrimp with salt, add them and saute until just pink on both sides.  It is tricky getting the timing right, but yummy when you do.

Served it with steamed asparagus and carrots.  It was delicious!

Having said all that, getting to that point yesterday was a victory of grand proportions.  Last day 2 I started getting a sore throat.  At first I thought it was the fennel I had slow cooked.  Or maybe the dairy I had eaten (plain yogurt with cinnamon and apples).  I have had throat problems with dairy before.  Anyway, the sore throat was better the next morning and I continued the next day as well as I could.

Day 3 is nice too--lots of vegetables and grains I like, and then that night Day 4 began. Pork is on it, but I didn't have anything defrosted, so I decided to let the rest of the family eat leftovers and I would bake a sweet potato and eat some deli ham.  It is nitrate/nitrite/antibiotic free but it does have some sugar and "natural flavor" whatever that means.  It's better than the bacon I ate last time, but still not quite in line with the diet.  Anyway, the sore throat came back and it's been with me ever since.

But that was nothing compared to this weekend!  One event after another and very little time to prepare snacks to take with me.  Went to a birthday luncheon for some dear friends on Friday at Commander's Palace.  This was a scary adventure and I dragged up all my courage to the surface to ask Commander's to accommodate this diet.  I called ahead and offered to fax a list of the things I could have either on Day 4 or day 1, since I was on the cusp.  I was told they were sure they could accommodate me as long as they had the proteins I needed, which they did.  Just give the list to the table captain when I got there and he would take care of me.

Truth is, they had never seen anything like this before, and I don't think they took it very seriously. They basically just looked at the menu and said, you could have this without this, this, this, and this.  I ended up having the leg of lamb, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, sauce on the side, no spinach, no bleu cheese.  It was delicious, but the first thing I noticed was all the pepper on everything.  I specifically said, salt, no pepper.  Who knows what kind of oil it was all cooked in or what other spices were in there.

By that time I had watched all my girls drinking their 25 cent martinis, eating their appetizers and discussing dessert, and I was starving.  I ate every bite.  And left before dessert.  I did enjoy the event because of the company, but was sad that the experience was less than it could have been.  And my sore throat was worse than ever.

I came home, made myself a couple of hard boiled eggs and left for a pre-army/tulane game party with some of my husband's friends.  The food there looked lovely, and I ate grapes.  Even that was a stretch.

Came home from that, had another hard boiled egg, some quinoa, and left for the amusement park for the kids' back to school night.  Ok, there was no food there I wanted anyway, so that was okay.  But needless to say, I was exhausted.

The next morning (yesterday) I went to the farmer's market after a little breakfast.  Seems safe enough, right?  This adventure had mixed success.  First, I found lots of vegetables I needed, cheddar cheese AND grass fed beef, naturally raised pork, and fresh shrimp.  Plus Isabella, my daughter, had a ball trying all the samples.

They had pralines to sample, and milk, and natural popsicles, and homemade jams, and I just couldn't resist.  I didn't try the pralines, but I had a little chocolate milk sample and finished Isabella's mango popsicle.  Okay, it could have been worse.  But for the rest of the day my head felt stuffed up, my ears felt pressure for the first time in days, and my throat just kept hurting.  I got a rotisserie chicken that I nearly devoured whole from the grocery.  It was mislabeled, so who knows what was in it?  It said plain whole chicken, and that it only had rosemary and chicken.  but that wasn't rosemary, and I saw some paprika in there too.  But, too hungry to resist.

I took some chicken and a peach to the army/tulane game, and once I got home, still exhausted, I made myself the boiled shrimp described above.  Back on the horse!  Today we have a school picnic (they provide the food)  I can only hope that they will serve burgers which I can have, though I doubt it will be grass fed beef.  I'll bring some snacks, I guess.  At least this is more casual and I won't feel I'm missing out too much.

This morning, my throat is scratchy but not too sore anymore.  Am I sick, or is this the allergies acting up because of all the little cheats?  I don't know.  Just have to keep going.  I know that even the cheats are "healthy" cheats and I am better off than before.  Just gotta keep going and do my best.  Hope this week will be a little calmer.  I could use some rest!

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