January 15, 2011
(To learn about The Opposite Diet, go to the right column and click on “About The Opposite Diet.”
The 8th Opposite Diet Tip:
8. The Art of Overeating (TAOO) says “Forget the Food Pyramid and follow the guidance of The Food Circle. That way you can eat whatever you want in any amount you want because all food groups are equal in the TAOO Food Circle.
OPPOSITE DIET Advice: The U.S. Department of Agriculture must have been reading The Art of Overeating because it stole my idea of The Food Circle. However, the Government’s Food Circle isn’t about eating equal amounts of chips, salami slices and fudge pops (or whatever your favorite unhealthy foods are.) Instead, their food circle is divided into 3 sections – 1/4 for protein, 1/4 for grains and 1/2 for vegetables and fruits. And there is a little circle floating nearby for dairy. This is a good recommendation if you want to lose and/or maintain your weight. To make it easier to follow, you can mark a dinner plate with a line dividing it in half and then a line dividing one of the halves. This would work best with a plastic plate or you can even buy a plate which is already marked for these different food groups. Then fill up 1/4th of the plate with protein – usually meat for fish. Fill the other 1/4th with a grain. Any kind of rice will work. The remaining half of the dish is filled with whatever fruit and/or vegetables you like. Don’t say you hate vegetables! Todays vegetables in any good supermarket deli are are very different from the ones your mom tried to shove down your throat. There are many offerings of creatively mixed and interestingly seasoned vegetable dishes. I have even had yummy brussels sprouts (my childhood nemesis!) And you can make a delicious salad. There are secrets to making a good salad and for that information, see my “Rave” below.
One word of caution about following the new Food Circle. Nothing on your plate should exceed an 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in height – except the salad!
My Rant ‘N Rave
When I was a kid, we always had a salad before the main course. It consisted of iceberg lettuce, a few slices of mushroom and a couple of cherry tomatoes. The dressing was always some creamy concoction my mother bought at the supermarket. This did not make me a fan of salad. However, the idea of having a salad with dinner stayed with me. So as an adult, I looked for ways to make a great salad. What I have learned is that the lettuce has to be fresh and crisp, so throw out the wilted, soft leaves. It is much more interesting tasting if there is a variety of lettuce types. If you don’t want to buy whole heads or bunches of different lettuce, then buy a mixed pre-packaged container. (This can even be economical since there is likely to be less wasted lettuce.) Take your cue from restaurant salad dishes. For example, I’ve had salads that have included dried cranberries and/or herbs such as dill and basil and/or fruit such pineapple of mango. When I tried these creative additions at home, my salad was great. Finally, the key to any great salad is the dressing. I actually make my own. I bought a cruet and I follow the indicated amounts on the bottle – athough you can vary the proportions to your taste. I fill to one line with a balsamic vinegar, then I fill to the next marked line with canola oil (or safflower oil or olive oil.) I add a lot of ground pepper and a little salt. Sometimes I add a little mustard. Of course, I shake it up before each use.
If you try my easy dressing recipe, I think you will RAVE about your salad.