Some of you may remember that I posted in July about the fact that Jason was starting a new diet at the request of his doctors: a limit of 25 grams of fat a day, and no alcohol. Thank you to the many many people who have asked me since that time how it's going, how he's doing, and who have given recommendations.
The short end of the story: We're doing great.
It's amazing how you just adjust your life to roll with things like this. I was kind of laughing to myself the other day as I bought light coconut milk, non-fat milk, and tofu ice cream sandwiches -- all things I never thought I would bring into this household. We are not complete non-fat freaks now, by any sense of the imagination. We have managed to hold to the things that are important to us and not buy anything too overly processed or fake. We are still mainly eating whole, non-processed foods. He has cut out cheese, and any red meat he eats is a bite from my plate.
We spent the first 6 weeks or so counting everything, adding up fat grams, and weighing ingredients. We both kept our diets in a software program and were able to really evaluate what we could cut out and what we were missing. Through this, we were abe to make some serious adjustments -- the biggest being paying attention to getting enough protein -- it's easy to eat low-fat, but eating low-fat and getting enough protein can involve a little more thought.
Our default cuisine these days is Japanese. It's mainly what we eat when out, and I have been cooking it quite a bit while at home. There is a book that I have mentioned before that I just love, and I have grown to appreciate it even more with this diet: 3 Bowls: Vegetarian Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery.
Between the eat-local month and this diet, we really haven't eaten out since July as much as we used to, but we are starting to a bit more. We have to choose kind of carefully, but he is pretty much able to find dishes wherever we go. It is always nice when he gets to have something and make a decision to add fat (ie., a sauce on the side) instead of having to scrape fat off or pick things off of a dish. We had a great meal the other day at Hayes Street Grill -- naked fish, and a great salad. He added olive oil to the fish as needed.
One side effect of this diet is that I have been able to have very nice meals by myself. I know this sounds weird, but when Jason is working late, or I am having a meal alone, I am able to ask myself what I am really craving, and have that. Instead of my meals alone being an afterthought, they have become nice retreats every once in a while -- a personal celebration of food. It's not as though I enjoy my times alone more than our times together, but this diet has managed to make those times a little more special than they were prior to the diet. If that makes any sense at all.
So when we're together, we have dishes like the one featured at the top of this post: Soba noodles with mushroom dashi, seared ahi tuna, and a cabbage walnut slaw. When we're not, I have dishes like the one featured at the right: Spaghetti with pancetta and parmesan cheese. Both terrific and wholly satisfying. Both celebrations of food, but in different ways.
I am sure that this process wouldn't be as easy with a different partner. Jason is super easy going. He's happy to go to a bar and have an orange juice while I have a martini. He doesn't balk at ordering something fat-free while I have a Caesar salad. And it doesn't really even bother him on the rare instances when I make a piece of meat for myself while giving him tofu. I have found that one of the only things that drives him crazy is the smell of lamb cooking. He was saying the other day that the things he really craves are lamb and avocados.
Healthwise, this change is working. The doctors are very happy to see that his triglycerides have dropped -- and I mean really dropped. We are both enough of A-type personalities that the nutritionist is using his reports to encourage other patients.
Here's my list of things that have been our saviors since this diet:
1. Steel cut oatmeal. A low-fat way to start the day and know that he is getting enough nutrition in his breakfast.
2. Medicine Eatstation. It opened right next to J's work. We both love it, and it is a nice place to go and not have to worry about wading through a menu full of fat.
3. Soba noodles. A good way to eat a noodle-type product that still has some protein.
4. My Le Creuset 9 1/2 inch grill. It's great for making meats and tofu and veggies without any added fat.
5. Roasted turkey from the Whole Foods Deli counter. It tastes so much better than the processed meat products, and I am able to make a quick meal with it.
6. Rotisserie chickens. Great for at least two meals, and he is able to eat the white meat while I can nosh on the legs and wings. A lot of the time, we will eat the chicken as sandwiches for one meal and as chicken tacos for the next.
7. Calorie King. This is the software program we used, and that I still refer to. I have tested a few different programs, and this program has a database that fits our wide culinary lifestyle.
8. A digital scale. It really helped us, especially in the beginning, to be able to weigh out ingredients.
9. Out the Door, Slanted Door's take-out & their veggie spring rolls. A great snack or main part of a meal. Quick, and reasonably priced relative to the Ferry Building's prices (a meal-sized spring roll for $6 I believe).
10. Maki restaurant in Japantown. We go here several times a month, and it has a lot of things that Jason can eat. We both love the wappas, and he usually gets the chirashi. If you call ahead, you can get a great takeout meal that they pay loving attention to wrapping up and making presentable.
11. Our Zojirushi rice cooker. It's one of the higher end ones, and was a bit of a splurge, but we couldn't get along without it. The best part about it is that it has a timer, and that it has a porridge setting for oatmeal. This means that we can have oatmeal ready for us when we wake up, and can have brown rice cooked up even though we've been out all day.