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What Good is Cheese if You Can’t Put It On A Cracker or Pasta?

April 14, 2011 by Joan Nova in Low Carb | 23 Comments

We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the past 3 years and I hope you’ll agree that FOODalogue has always tried to present tasty, colorful and relatively healthy food choices for readers. And, what I suggest to you is what I eat myself.

Over the same period we’re talking about, I put on some unwanted weight. Yeah, I’ve also put on 3 years and been somewhat lax in my exercise routine spending more sedentary time on my laptop writing to you all. But, still…NOT FAIR! I got ticked off.

Even though you’ve seen 100s of pasta dishes here, according to the current guidelines, they were all healthy since most were vegetable-based and many featured whole grain pasta.  A good case-in-point was the ‘free form, low fat vegetable lasagne’ recently posted. All the flavor and none of the fat.

I’ve been all about whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed foods. You’ll find no duck-fat-potatoes, sugar-laden desserts, creamy soups, butter or Alfredo sauces in my recipes. And, there’s no Kung Pao style in my Asian-inspired dishes, just clean ingredients and unmuddled flavors.

A Blogging Aside. I’ve found that my style of eating and blogging, while appreciated by a small cadre of readers with discerning taste :) is not widely popular online. The world of food blogging seems to be heavily-weighted toward baking and desserts or following the recipes of established chefs, which I have to say “I just don’t get.” If someone wants a recipe by Giada DeLaurentis, for example, why wouldn’t they just go to Giada? So, “being good” and “being original” has somewhat curtailed my online activities. But, that’s a whole other story best reserved for another day.

Back to me (and maybe you). According to the common wisdom, I could not improve upon my food choices and I had already cut back on portions.

The only thing left was to SHAKE IT UP and go NO/LOW CARB. Start eating more of what I was avoiding and less of what I was embracing. I wasn’t happy but I was curious. Adios pasta, bread, wine and fruit. :(

Breakfast is hard. YAY…fried eggs. BOO, no toast to dip.

Lunch and dinner are easier.

A breadless Muffaletta.

Short Ribs and Spaghetti Squash

Some days were harder than others, as witnessed by this post on Facebook.

And, some days I had carbs.

Good News/Bad News. My last few posts have been low carb and based on the comments received, a lot of people are doing the same thing. So I’m happy to report…the SHAKE UP works. After several weeks, I’m down 10 lbs.  No-carb diet plans have had peaks of popularity (Atkins, South Beach, etc.) interspersed with the balanced-plate-club of protein, carb, fat, etc. And maybe, just maybe, that is the answer…SHAKE IT UP every now and then. That’s the good news.

The bad news is next week is Easter (another excuse for a big family dinner), followed closely by a trip to New York and an 8-day cruise the beginning of June.

What’s a Gal to Do? I’m resolving to stick with ‘the plan’ a little longer to offset the inevitable. I figure a holiday, trip to NY, and a cruise is good for +5 lbs. (even skipping desserts and the midnight buffet).

Maybe I’ll start a new series called “Low Carb Cruising”. That’s just a ‘maybe’ folks.




NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. You’re brave!! And I’m glad to know I’m a “discerning” fan. =) Happy to help you out with one of these meals!

  2. Oh Joan…….I feel you!!!!! I tried to slow down with blogging (and eating) and it is slowly coming off but I love the lunch!!!!! This is inspiration so thanks and just do a bit at a time while ‘grooving’. LOL

  3. bellini says:

    I think we are allowed to indulge a little once in a while Joan. Easter would be a good example. As long as you go back to your “no carb and everything in moderation” diet it is all good!!!!

  4. Peter says:

    I say everything in moderation. Denying yourself the foods you love will cause you to fall off the wagon…hard. Instead of no toast, why not have one? Smaller pasta portions and less of it…ya know? Keep us posted and start looking for that bikini!

    • Joan says:

      Actually, that is the way I had been eating. Very carefully and in moderation. No carb is just a temporary measure to shake it up and it seems to be working.

  5. Arlene says:

    I’ve tried–several times–but I simply cannot give up carbs. The best I can do is TRY to limit them, but it’s so, so hard and the weight has never stayed off because sooner or later I cave. Ten pounds is a spectacular loss, so good for you.

  6. Susie says:

    Yep, I’ve been finding out that the more recipes you try out….the more recipes you eat….it’s funny that way….glad your new shake it up is working….I need to start shaking something soon!

  7. Katie says:

    More power to you, Joan! I’ve never tried a low-carb diet just because I don’t think I could stick with it (although the dish with short ribs and spaghetti squash looks like it would be awfully motivating!). Congratulations on your success so far.

  8. norma says:

    I have no self control, as you know and no blog for now. I have always looked up to you for your sticking to the plan and I know that evrything you make is tasty and good. When I leave your company I come home and follow your lead for a few days and then I go for the sausage, pasta, and so on….Great Post, Amiga!

  9. Good for you! I have a friend who recently went on a diet where she only drinks lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10 days. (That is hard!)
    Anyway, enjoy the cruise and the Easter dinner, forget the diet for a few days and get back on it, is my way to look at it.

    • Joan says:

      Yes, I will enjoy in moderation. I don’t believe in total denial…and I would never do anything like your friend’s plan which I personally think is crazy!

  10. You look in great shape Joan. No to total denial. Still can’t get over the no wine bit though – not a diet I am ever going to follow!

  11. redkathy says:

    Hooray for you Joan. I’m a dessert loving, carb eating fool YET I love your style and your dishes. ALWAYS. But you knew that already :)

    My hubby lost 65 lbs in about 8 months doing the no carb thing. He makes it a point NOT to give advice as everyone is different. Your shake it up theory works I think because it causes a chemical change in the metabolism.

    Keep doing what makes you happiest is my motto!

  12. Acky says:

    Ciao Joan, you look wonderful! :-) I agree with moderation and no total denial. But I don’t have much selfcontrol…I’ve been blogging (and eating) for less than a half year and I just feel havier! I should shake it up too! have a nice week end!

  13. Robin Sue says:

    Ugh blogging is bad on the hips. In the first two years of blogging I gained cough cough 20 pounds. Took me over a year to lose it all. So I CrossFit and Walk. But I found that execising also keeps my headaches to a minimum. You will be fine with your travel! Just ask yourself if it is worth the calories. I have taken the first bite of something and if it is eh, I don’t eat it. Moderation in moderation I say!

  14. OH how exciting~ the NY and cruise! :)
    I agree, a lot of the popular blogs are desserts, or re-dos. Weird.
    I like the low carb options, AND people do lose weight with it. o, go for it, but also enjoy your life. Everything in moderation… :)

  15. Congratulations on the weight loss. I never gained weight from blogging, but I never lost either. hehe. So, I just recently changed my eating to lower carbs and lost 8 pounds, but I’m still 10 pounds from my goal and am getting ready to do the 24 day challenge from advocare. I’ll let you know how that goes. I LOVE YOUR LOW CARB PICS. True, the googling is lots of desserts.

  16. Mark says:

    Your photography is stunning. So many colors. I love the fish with sesame seeds, looks to die for. Thanks for the post!

  17. Suzy Eats says:

    Congrats on your weight loss. I love cheese :-)

  18. I’m doing a low carb diet (I don’t think there’s any way I could give them up completely!) I only eat 3-4 servings (70-100 cals each) per day. Or at least that is what I’m trying to aim for… sometimes I give in to cravings.
    Congrats on the weight loss!

  19. Fran says:

    I am in the same camp. I often think my cooking (on either FRANtasticFood or now, ThinRecipes) is not mainstream enough and that’s why I can’t break through. Or maybe it’s my writing, but I’m not going to start cooking food I don’t enjoy putting planning for, cooking AND eating. :)

    I also feel your weight gain pain. In the past 4 years I’ve eaten so much butter, and olive oil that it’s embarrassing, but I think I’m on track now. I just hope I can keep it up.

    I’ll have to keep abreast of what you’re doing to help inspire me.

    The photos are beautiful as always.

  20. like the wise said…everything in moderation…EVEN moderation! sometimes a good glass of wine, even in a hard low carb regime, is just right. Great job and keep up the hard work.

  21. Dear Joan,
    We bloggers are faced with this eternal question: pleasing the crowd (when the crowd is not very coherent, judging by the success of “only bakery” blogs, or doing our way..After my Foodbuzz experience (where you were the 1st one to talk bravely & openly) I decided to ignore counts, sponsors, giveaways, and all that stuff… My blog is mine, and I do what I want with it, when I want, and I feel much happier now!
    As for diets, I follow the French example: I eat everything, trying to favor veg & fruits, but don’t deprive me of my glass of wine with meals, and a tiny sweet thing from time to time..and then yes exercise!!! 3 times a week! That works for me!

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