Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rate My Look: Cucumber Salads are Working Out

In October, I went with my boss to the Chicago Bridal Market. We ate a LOT of really great food while we were there, but when I got home I felt pretty gross. I immediately made the decision to eat healthier foods in general, and just like that I had made a new lifestyle choice.  I don't want to call it a "diet," because that word has such negative connotations. Also, anytime someone goes on a diet, there's the implicit idea that at some point they will no longer be dieting. Whether the diet gets the better of them, or they just lose enough weight that they feel they no longer need the diet, there is something about that word that says, "I'm temporary."

Anyway, I knew I wanted to just make healthier choices in general, and in the past I'd had a great deal of success with eating clean and low-carb choices like the South Beach Diet. I basically took all my favorite things about both ideas and incorporated them into my own eating lifestyle and it's been pretty great. I "cheat" every now and then, but for the most part, I've tried to cut out processed foods as well as carbs in general and high-fat proteins and dairy.

Breakfast usually consists of an omelet and coffee, or a breakfast sandwich made with Ezekiel bread. Lunch is most often a salad of some kind. Dinner is some type of protein with some type of veggie. Without turning this into a food blog, I'll let you know some of my favorite foods lately:

Broiled broccoli with garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese is an ideal "filler." I eat it as a side dish or in place of something like pasta. Sometimes I use cauliflower instead. Sometimes I use brussels sprouts. I've poured homemade meatballs and red sauce on top of it and never even missed the pasta.

My favorite breakfast sandwich uses two slices of Ezekiel bread (regular or sesame) grilled with a fried egg or egg white and a slice of American cheese. I've never tried it with bacon, but I'll bet that's delicious, too.

For lunch, almost every day I've been eating what I call my "Weird Cucumber Salad." It's basically a cucumber, chopped into bite-size pieces (skin on) with a scoop of non-fat cottage cheese and a few sliced Greek olives. It sounds really weird, but for some reason it works. The cottage cheese is so creamy, and the olives make it so savory and rich. The cucumber is really a vehicle for the brine-y cottage cheese/olive combo. Plus, I've been told that since cucumbers are so full of water, they're perfect for trying to lose a little weight. My mom makes a version of the salad with tomatoes in addition to the cucumber. She also adds some more spices like black pepper and Spike.

Apparently my weird cucumber salads have finally paid off because the skirt I wore to work yesterday was way too big in the waist. After complaining all day about how unflattering it looked, I had one of the talented seamstresses in the store zip it through the sewing machine and in no time at all, she'd shaved three inches off of it! I was pretty psyched over the difference in how it fit me. It's amazing how clothing that's actually fitted to you is so much more flattering than pieces that don't fit quite right.

Anyway, enough exposition, here's the photo of my outfit:

I apologize for the grainy photo. I snapped it at the end of the day at home where the lighting is just not that great. I'd just finished eating an amazing grilled sandwich for dinner, actually. It's a combination I created with McKenzie one day and it's really delicious. Her version involves sourdough or some type of panini bread. Mine uses Ezekiel bread. They're both equally delicious:

I'd eaten half of it before I thought to snap a photo! Anyway, this grilled cheese sandwich consists of two slices of Ezekiel bread, a slice of cheddar cheese, a slice of pepper jack cheese, 7-8 slices of jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced fresh tomato and half an avocado. It was beyond amazing. I think I'll skip the weird cucumber salad tomorrow and have this sandwich for lunch instead.

But what should I wear?

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