When is enough, enough?

En route to the gym yesterday, I heard a story on NPR focused on digital detox. It is no secret that many if not most of us are naked without our quick connection to technology. I know that I most certainly am. With conviction, my husband often threats to take a boat out to sea and toss my iPhone into the great abyss. A total catch 22. I love my phone but also recognize how attached to it I am. Honestly, without sounding crass, I have a new found respect now for addiction. Case in point, we travel to a new city. I am glued to my phone. Are we moving in the right direction? Turn on navigation! Are we seeing everything we need to see? Refer to one of my trusted blogs! What to eat in this restaurant? Have we captured it all? In this quest to be armed with all the necessary details so as to ensure we do not skip a beat, I miss out not being in the moment. One of the folks on the program asked, are we bored? Are we addicted to this constant connection, which is no longer a luxury but rather a need. It seems that we are stimulated by any sort of news, whether it be relevant or not. We experience dopamine rushes when the phone pings or blinks indicating that we have a new message. Such a sound can disrupt dinner. All in all, what are we doing? 

I love such dialogue because again, I have full throttle succumbed to the madness. I only got an iPhone a year ago. Prior, I was a disciplined user of the Blackberry. In hindsight, it was crippling in terms of the access it offered. I love always having an answer. Whether I have a query in the workplace, kitchen, city or even the gym, access is at our fingertips. We just finished a Making of the Murderer marathon. In lieu of discussing the show following the last episode, we both took to our phones to learn more. Every day, someone on Facebook poses a new theory or new evidence. Been there done that but I have to know. What is it? I got my hair colored after work yesterday. As I was waiting for the dye to set in, I picked up my phone to send an email to my mother. Never a dull moment! A woman my father's age smiled and said, look at how many of us are on our phones. Once upon a time beauty parlors were hotbeds for gossip, chatter, dialogue and friendship. Now, we don't connect because we find solace and happiness with our phones. I relayed to her the message I heard that morning on the news. She spoke to the use of phones on her son's college campus. I told her none of my peers had Smartphones back in 2002 when I was at Chapel Hill and we still managed to have the time of our lives. And then some.

Anyway, food for thought. On the topic of food, I have jumped on the Gwyneth Goop detox band wagon. I look forward to her mail every year because let's face it, who doesn't want to emulate Gwynnie behaviors in the food department? She looks fabulous. Now, yes, I know she exercises way more than I do but she loves to cook and loves to eat and for that, she is a girl of my own heart. For the sake of reality and sanity, I have tweaked her version a bit to suit us. I will state right here and now, we will adhere to this "cleanse" Sunday through Friday lunchtime. Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, it's game on. We continue to cut out dairy (which I rarely eat anyway owing to the fact that I am lactose intolerant). If we do eat cheese, it is most always the sheep or goat variety. This said, I am a glutton for occasional punishment and if you put a gooey wedge of brie, a zesty piece of Roquefort, Ben & Jerry's (cookie dough please!) or even a thin crust pepperoni and mushroom laden pizza in front of me, there is an outstanding chance that I will enjoy it. And suffer the consequences later. Such moments however are few and far between and I am a believer that life is short so one must enjoy. Plus, we exercise regularly or at least I do. I try to get a run in four times a week. Now of course, owing to manic schedules sometimes this does not always happen but I am fortunate in that I can stop to use the gym at my parent's apartment in uptown Charlotte or if traffic isn't too terrible, I can hit up our local Y. Either way, I know that to look close to how I want to, I have to exercise. Sadly, this one was not blessed with good genes in the metabolism department. I struggle with my weight. It piles on easily and losing it is tantamount to pulling teeth. I used to obsess but I think age has given me a different vantage point. This said, I am thankful for everything else I inherited!

As per my blog, you will also see that I rarely, rarely prepare anything with flour or gluten. We make a very concerted effort to eat clean during the week because we like to enjoy ourselves on weekends. By enjoy, I mean go buck wild. What more can be said outside of the fact that I am a Breyer and we love our food. My family's best memories always took place around dining room tables. Either my mother's or that of a restaurant. Whether in Dallas, Charlotte, Cape Town, London, Boca Raton or New York City, we make family history (usually grand but sometimes not so) while eating. I think I have shared this passion for food with my Matthew. He is always on board for something out of the ordinary or delicious. We actually plan trips around where and what we will eat. No shame there! Yes, we love potatoes (I didn't live in Germany for six years for nothing) but in terms of churning out anything with "carbs" in the title, I don't go there during the week. We stick to meat, fish, poultry, pork and vegetables. I love big salads. We are also newly besotted with sweet potatoes. Sugar we can do without. Touch wood neither of us really have a sweet tooth. I don't have to make stops for candy at the convenient store. Not to sound like a total nerd, but if I do have a sweet tooth, an apple with a smear of almond butter traditionally does the trick. This said, I make exceptions for my mother's bread pudding, which is quite simply, splendiferous. And, donuts. I love donuts. Whenever I travel to New York City, I have to get a donut most mornings. But we usually walk around 16 miles a day (our record is 23) so I don't mind bending too terribly. Red meat. Love it and we eat it. I heard the news a pair of weeks ago about limiting it. I am trying. We eat a lot of bison and ground turkey too.

So what are we eliminating during the week? I for one, have cut out alcohol Monday to Thursday. Once the football season is behind us, I will add the occasional Sunday to the roster too. We have cut out legumes and beans. I miss my Rancho Gordos and beluga lentils but they are tough to digest and I think there is a reason that many suggest cutting them out when getting on track. I have a sensitive system and I am feeling great as a result. This said, beans are terrific for some. Vegetarians love them. They are a wonderful source of protein. I have not removed them forever, just now. I have also cut out my beloved peanuts. Peanuts don't really like me anyway but there is really nothing better than a fistful of salty, roasted Planters. And another followed by another. These were totally on board during my South Beach diet days. Anyway, they didn't make the cut. I use nuts in cooking. Toasted walnuts, pine nuts and chopped almonds give life to many dishes when accompanied with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. I don't like to snack on them though. For whatever reason, they do not wet my whistle. This is about it. We are eating delicious meats, roasts and the likes paired with beautiful vegetables and sweet potatoes. I think that sweet potatoes are my saving grace because I don't really feel like I am missing out on anything. Last night we had a thyme and lemon stuffed chicken roasted in the oven alongside quartered fennel and sweet potatoes. I like to throw a couple of halved lemons in the mix because you squeeze them once done and they make a gorgeous glaze.

Please excuse the epistle. Since beginning this journey, I have made no secret of my love of good food (prepared by others) and my cooking. When I am out and about, I will not deny myself of anything. In my family, we have a joke that goes, what would Big Teddy (our father) do? My brother tells a hilarious story of booking himself in the first class cabin of a train ride when in college because he asked himself this very question. Our father appreciates good food and loves to eat. When it comes time to grub, he goes for the gold, procuring the very best and we do too. In terms of cooking, I like to think that I continue to forge ahead in producing creative, healthy and delicious meals in the confines of our little kitchen. But I also love to eat and don't know the term moderation or gastronomic penury. I dare not preach to anyone about what they should be doing, what diet they should be following, how they should be eating. Such foolery is shallow and ill advised. If asked, I will gladly tell but I dare not vomit any "how to's". In short, we are business during the week and party on the weekends. And this balance suits us beautifully.

Despite abandoning beans for the time being, the below recipe for black eyed peas was one I whipped up New Year's Eve and we gorged for a pair of days following. The recipe hails from my beloved Bon Appetit. Again, if you don't have a subscription, what in the world are you awaiting for? It is snowing across the eastern seaboard, Charlotte included. The city is in lockdown and it is quite lovely. Excitement abounds! Follow this space...

Black Eyed Peas
Adapted from Bon Appetit

The Goods

2 cups of dried black eyed peas (12 oz bag)
1 cup of corn - frozen is totes mcgotes okay
2 red bell peppers
2 scallions - thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves - chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup Bragg's apple cider vinegar
Bunch of flat leaf parsley - chopped
1 TBS kosher salt - Love David's
Fresh cracked pepper
4 slices of bacon - organic and no nitrates or anything else gross
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth

Get Busy

1. Add your beans to a bowl and cover with cold water. Let them sit for 12 hours. Then drain. Soaking beans the night before is always the way to go. 

2. In a small bowl, mix your bell peppers, scallions, garlic, oil, vinegars, parsley, salt and black pepper. The recipe says to let this chill for four hours but I threw ours in immediately and it was the bomb.

3. Cook bacon in a deep Dutch oven. You want them slightly brown and the fat rendered. The bacon should not be crisp. Add the beans, corn and broth, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for around 30 minutes. Once tender (the beans), remove the bacon and drain your beans.

4. In a large bowl, add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. You can chill before serving or eat it as is. This yielded serious leftovers and like a fine wine, the flavor became better with time.

I served the above with the raw collards salad and pork chops (my Matthew's favorite). The end result was #bonjourforsure

1 comment:

  1. Good sharing with healthy recipe, yes, apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps to boost metabolism, blocks the body’s storage of dietary fat plus breaks down and dissolves existing body fat. Read more benefits about ACV at: