eating off-white in a “white” world…. (quinoa recipe included)

They say you can’t go home again……and I think they are correct.

This weekend my husband and I went to Northern CA to check out his new grad school (UC Davis) and visit family.  Food issues have always been a family affair for me.  Dad was overweight and had a stroke in 1995 and mom shared my love of cake frosting and baked goods most of my childhood.  I’d say to some degree we all had an eating disorder.  Never was there left-over ice cream or desserts in my home, no matter how large a package was purchased.  I simply thought it was normal.

So here I am, with my high maintenance diet, going home.  I know where all the treats hide: chocolate chips in the outside freezer, homemade biscotti in the spare bedroom, ice cream in the kitchen and whatever was baked for the weekend’s bbq is probably resting in the laundryroom.  Yes, I come from a long line of food hiders.  Either because the family would eat all of the goodies, or because ants would find their way into the cupboards, food was always kept anywhere BUT the kitchen.  There were stashes everywhere, which meant that I adopted a pattern of ‘sneaking’ from a young age.

For the most part I faired well.  My mom tries to supply me with healthy options, but unfortunately her Splenda-baked lemon cheesecake just did not work out (no dairy and no Splenda for me).  She also lovingly made a HUGE tray of lasagna for everybody to eat….well, except me, as I best not have dairy or white flour.  Nothing like watching others eat homemade lasagna while you chomp down on a green salad with chicken to make you want to devour a whole tray by yourself.

So what did I end up doing…..”sneaking”, of course!!!  I dipped my hand into the Ghirdhelli chocolate chips several times when I was near the outside freezer. I could feel the tension in my stomach and I did not enjoy them at all.  “so this is what I was like growing up…”, I thought to myself.  It was all about getting what I was NOT supposed to have.

The good side of ugly:  compared with past visits, I did relatively well at staying away from the white stuff.  I declined an offer for Starbuck’s drinks when everbody else was slurping down latte’s.  I did not eat late at night when I arrived on Thursday evening, despite a growling stomach.  Choices I make past 8pm are never in my favor.   I even resisted the peanut butter, cheesecake, cheese and ice cream.  I did have a homemade biscotti, and damn was it good!

Other off-white survival tips I use:

  • Start every day with warm lemon water.  This helps keep the GI track a flowin’.   Lemon water also kills a craving, especially if you add tons of lemon.
  • Distract myself when food becomes tempting and I’m not hungry.  My 4-yr old nephew was a great distraction, and he was up for a little fun anytime.
  • Make a dish of my own for family picnics, etc.  I chose quinoa date salad (recipe below) and tabouleh (from Near East).
  • Tell your family about your food limitations. I couldn’t be chowing on peanut butter because everybody knew that it wasn’t a great food choice for me.  I was rigorously honest so I could keep myself healthy.
  • Become your own observer.  I enjoyed watching myself get into ‘sneaky’ eating mode and seeing how I felt, thought and acted. It really was like Jr. High again.  Consequently, Jr. High is when I started obsessing on sugar for the sake of control/rebellion/pleasure.

Quinoa date salad

Serves 4
3/4 cup quinoa, not soaked
1.5 cups water
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp each: cinnamon, ginger, cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup chopped dates

Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil and then simmer covered until quinoa absorbs the liquid.  Just after the boil add vanilla, salt, and spices.    Chop the dates and almonds finely.  Add to quinoa 2-3 minutes before cooking is complete.  Serve warm or cold.

One thought on “eating off-white in a “white” world…. (quinoa recipe included)

  1. Carrie April 22, 2008 / 5:41 pm

    Yes, I whole heartedly agree that we can’t go home. Unless, of course, one hasn’t evolved much from ‘home’. I too just recently experienced the challenges, or best said, the possible challenges, when I went home a few weeks ago. Knowing well about the family drama I was about to embark on and how it plays on my ego that triggers emotional eating, I worked with supporting my reaction(s) to the family members. It was work but worth it. I also enjoyed documenting my observations of myself during the experience(s). Who says an old dog (and I’m not really referring to me just human behavior) can’t learn new tricks.

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