Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some days are harder than others

Today has been one of my roughest days so far. I'm not really sure why!

OK, first thing's first. After having read Get the Sugar Out, I have decided to give up diet sodas again, and experiment with club soda for those times I want some fizz in my drinks. Reading about how NutraSweet and Aspartame are serotonin suppressors kind of freaked me out. Here's what sold me on giving them up, found on page 156:

"Without adequate serotonin, the body experiences intense sugar and carbohydrate cravings, which can lead to uncontrollable binge eating, which -- guess what? -- leads to more weight gain."

Wow, right? I mean, I've heard bits and pieces of info about how diet sodas don't do your diet (and I mean your overall eating, not a diet) good, but this really brought it home for me. I had been in the middle of a can of diet Pepsi while reading that, and decided right then and there that was going to be my last. It feels like a good, informed, intelligent decision that I know I can live with. The book also mentions how Stevia is a sweetener that can be used with no ill effects, so I may look into that more. I know, no groundbreaking news here...

I was invited over to lunch last week to my friend Anne's house, and she made an awesome fritatta that had shrimp, black beans, and corn in it (among spices and other good stuff, I am sure). It was delicious. I never really thought about combining shrimp with black beans before, but seeing how I love both, it made sense. Of course I had to try my own version at home, and I've already made it a couple times -- and believe it or not, it is as satisfying to me as the very fattening beef and black bean burritos I used to make. Here's how I do it.

Amy's Anne's Shrimp and Black Bean Fritatta


Olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan when you swish it around (or, cooking spray)
1-2 hot chile peppers (I used Island Hellfire chiles that we grew, you can leave this out if you don't like spicy), minced
A clove or two of garlic, minced
1-2 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

1 can of black beans (15 or 19 oz.), drained (Anne used dried, soaked beans, I think -- they have a nice fresh taste! You can try that, too)
1/2 lb. cooked or raw shrimp, shells off
A few eggs (I've been experimenting with this and it seems you can do anywhere from two to five, depending on how much like a pie you'd like it to be), beaten
About a half dozen cherry tomatoes or a small tomato (preferably heirloom and freshly picked from your garden), chopped
A sprinkle of the cheese of your choice (or not -- Anne's did not have cheese and it was still excellent; I've been using a cheddar-jack combo)

Dashes of the following: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin. I also have a wonderful cocoa-chile powder that I love to use in Mexcian-inspired dishes like this)

Optional: Sour cream, salsa, black olives, sprigs of fresh cilantro

To make:

Turn on your broiler.

In a large (12") oven-proof frying pan, heat the oil, and add the chiles and garlic. Let the aromatics sizzle a bit, and then add the green onion. When the green onion has softened, add the raw shrimp and spices and cook until the shrimp curls and turns pink. If using pre-cooked shrimp, you can add it now with the spices, but cook it just enough that it starts to curl and gets covered with the aromatics -- it obviously won't take as long as the raw shrimp.

Add the can of black beans and let simmer two or three minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour your eggs over the concoction as evenly as possible, and then sprinkle the tomato pieces on top. After a minute or two, add about a handful of cheese (or less, or none, if you prefer). Cover for two or three more minutes, until the cheese has started to melt. Remove from heat, uncover, and place under the broiler for another minute or two, until everything is pretty well set and very lightly browned.

I like to eat mine with a dollop of sour cream, some salsa and/or hot sauce sprinkled liberally, and a little dish of black olives on the side. I haven't had any at home, but I would also happily top it all with plenty of fresh cilantro, but I'll leave that to your preference.



It's like, my new favorite meal. I owe a big thanks to Anne for having me over for lunch one day and being willing to cook for me within my eating limitations, and totally inspiring me! Note that she also served hers with a some mixed greens on the side, which is very nice.

One other thing I've been eating that I realized wasn't exactly on the no-eat list is popcorn, which is filling and tasty.

Wow, can you tell that I am obsessed with food today? It's the first time since I started this experiment. I can't stop thinking about it. Well, anyway, for dinner we're getting the gyro place in town, only I am going to have the open chicken souvlaki, sans pita. That should be good and filling. I've been lazy today and just haven't felt like doing anything.

And, if you were wondering... um, I have not yet started walking regularly for no good reason. Didn't I promise? Ugh. I'd better get on that. Sometimes, though, I have to admit I get into the mindset of "One thing at the time". This eating thing is a challenge, you know? It sucks to take on everything at once. For now, I'm definitely eating less and eating much better than I used to, which is great. I'm frankly not going to beat myself up too much about everything else for now.

I will get through today without succumbing to my cravings, by the way. I'm pretty dedicated to doing this full-on, it's just that I'm having a hard day. This too shall pass!


  1. You wrote this yesterday -- so I hope today was a much better day for you! Good for you giving up diet soda. I've fallen into a bad habit of drinking soda again - mainly for the caffeine - but hopefully I'll get it out of my diet soon enough.

    I hear you on the "one thing at a time" thing. Have you make sure that you're not being overwhelmed, that this is something you can do for the long-term -- which involves easing your way into it.

    I have two goals for the week: 5 days at the gym (I only made it 3 times last week) and no eating out by myself. Eventually I want to be much further than just 'not eating out by myself' -- but for now, that's the commitment I can make.

  2. Woo hoo, a recipe! Thank you. And good job on the soda pop thing. I've been reading Jiilian Michaels "Master your Metabolism"; it really underscored my decision (last Oct.) to stop drinking diet soda pop.[or any, for that matter.] I wasn't even a 'big drinker'. One thing that stood out in her writing was simply that soda pop is a weight loss inhibitor. Plain and simple. Obviously there is also plenty of complicated, detailed explanations and such, but that was my take away that I could explain to family & friends. [& self]

    I am so proud of you for 'overhauling' your overall eating. Great job!