October 2nd, 2010 Archive

Food Just Right

October 2nd, 2010 by Ric in Lifestyle

We’ve been in the Philippines for almost three months now,  and one of my biggest fears is that my pants would shrink during our stay here. I thought some of the local delicacies, which include unborn baby chicks (balut), smelly shrimp paste, and blood stew, just to name a few, would turn me off, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The local cuisine is just so irresistible that restricting your diet simply isn’t an option. It doesn’t help that everybody here insists that you try this dish or that. I’m not complaining—no way! Liz and I love sampling new dishes, and if somebody offers us a new dish to try, you better believe I’ll try it. In fact, I’m enjoying every last bit (well maybe not the balut).

So, have my pants shrunk yet?

This may come as a shock (it actually surprised me a bit too), but they haven’t. In fact (and this is the really surprising part), I’ve actually LOST an inch since being here. . You see, one thing I’ve learned from the many people who contribute to our magazines is that balance is one of the keys to enjoying life. I can’t deprive myself of the fantastic flavors the Philippines has to offer. I can, however, take control of the amount of food I send down my digestive tract.

With food this good though, practicing some self control isn’t easy. Fortunately, Bob Weinstein shares Six Tips to Control Portion Sizes with us up on Healthy Wealthy n Wise, and they are:

1. Purchase snacks in single serving size.
2. Learn how to visualize the proper portion sizes for vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, peanut butter and others.
3. Share a dessert.
4. Put aside half of that restaurant meal and have it packed by the waiter before you begin eating.
5. For those foods you tend to overeat, portion out snack-sized plastic baggies with the standard portion sizes.
6. Never eat out of the package.

Bob also shares a pretty interesting study done at Cornell University where guests at an ice cream social were randomly given either a large bowl or a small one, as well as a large or small spoon. The results? Those with large bowls ate around 30% more than those with small bowls, and those with large spoons got 15% more ice cream than the others. Those are significant results, and you can bet I’m grabbing some smaller tableware the next time we grab a bite to eat.

Another one of our contributors, Paul Jerard, has 16 Quick Tips for Eating at Restaurants or Work that he also shares on Healthy Wealthy n Wise. I won’t list them all here, but I will share some of my favorite ideas.

“When eating at a restaurant, eat half a portion, maximum, and wait five or ten minutes. Restaurant portions are commonly two to four meals on a single or double plate.”

We’re doing some of our own cooking now, but we eat out every now and then so we can taste some of the local dishes that we haven’t checked off our list. To make sure we don’t stuff ourselves silly, we don’t order a dish each. Instead, we order just one or two dishes that everybody shares.

“Do not make comparisons to other people. Eat to live and enjoy your food, but do not use someone else’s over indulgence as an excuse for your own.”

Many of the locals eat an astounding amount of rice. Two to three cups of rice with each meal seems to be the norm around here, and some even go beyond that. There’s no way we can match that – half a cup to a cup of rice is enough for me. Besides, less rice means a little bit more room for other dishes.

“Make your meal a meditation. Pause every few minutes, think about the amount you have eaten, be thankful for your life, and breathe.”

This one is easy. I just look at my wife Liz, and at my boys Chandler and Stefan, and I’m immediately thankful. I see how much fun we’re having now, and that feeling just grows in me.

We have definitely not sacrificed eating out, trying new things and really enjoying the great food here. I’ve tried tons of new stuff, have had a lot of great meals, AND I’ve lost a whole notch on my belt. It’s not sacrificing – it has definitely been the best of both worlds – and with my birthday recently, yes, I got to eat the cake too.

Itadakimasu!
Ric


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