The first time I bought the mock chicken salad from Whole Foods, it was for a road trip to Des Moines, where I was singing for the summer. Eric and I like to pull off and picnic when we travel, rather than stopping at roadside restaurants, which can be hit or miss, expensive, and inevitably take more time. We stock up on delicious and healthy goodies and enjoy sitting under a tree somewhere. This time, however, poor vegetarian Eric didn't get to eat any of the salad, because I was utterly convinced that a mistake had been made and it was real chicken. The texture and taste were very realistic.
He has never let me forget this.
We love that mock chicken salad --- I prefer it to the real thing --- but it is expensive, and one of the reasons it tastes so good is because it's made with mayo. So I decided to try to recreate a less expensive, healthier version at home.
I started with a package of Delight brand soy protein patties, and thus the first disclaimer: although generally speaking, we try to avoid a lot of processed foods, this is definitely processed; but it doesn't have a long list of ingredients. Non-GMO soybean protein (sadly, not organic), soy fiber, condensed wheat protein, soybean oil, sea salt, vegetarian seasonings. Not too bad but still a treat to be enjoyed in moderation. The cost was about $5.49 for 10 ounces --- not cheap, but a lot cheaper than the prepared chicken salad from the deli counter.
I tore the patties into small pieces and mixed them with a dollop of plain nonfat yogurt; a tablespoon of honey; a double handful of pecan pieces; tiny, sweet champagne grapes which are deliciously in season, and salt and pepper to taste. I wish I had had some celery and poppy seeds to add; next time. I had a few leftover shallots so I threw them on top; also very tasty, as would a few chopped bits of sweet onion. The result is a very meaty and satisfying "chicken" salad, great on sandwiches or a big pile of lettuce leaves, which is how I enjoyed mine, because ...
... it's time for Beck refresher course.
I have not been happy, over the past several months, with the direction my waistline has been taking, and even more importantly, with how I've been dealing with food. I can't remember the last time I wrote a food plan, and although I am much more fit than I've ever been, and remain conscious of what I put into my mouth every day, there's no question that there's been some slippage.
I said to myself, back in 2008 when I started this journey, that I would not set a magic number or size that I wanted to be; that I would watch and listen to my body and see where it seemed to want to settle. I think that I got a little lower than my body's comfort zone; still not slender by anyone's standards but not plus-sized either. I'd like to get back closer to that weight and size. It was here:
This, perhaps, is not the best comparison pic, since I'm wearing a lot more layers of clothing and Princess Leia hair (which looks a lot better under a bonnet), but this is the most recent pic I have:
That's the Act I costume of my most recent gig, The Daughter of The Regiment at the Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Festival. Again, perhaps not the best pic for comparison ... but better than the one with the giant hoop skirt that makes me look rather like a short, fat toilet paper doll. Seriously, judge for yourself:
Act II of Fille du Regiment, with Javier Abreu as Tonio, Courtenay Budd Caramico as Marie, and Matthew Lau as Sulpice. Photo by George Kwain, and it really is a lovely dress ... but check out the comparison below.
Well, I digress. But nevertheless, I'm not completely happy yet with my body; but I'm even less pleased with how loose I've gotten with my eating habits. I've been complaining about this for a long time, and I've been working on it, but it's time to work harder. My life has changed a lot since I started this journey and this blog; I'm busier, and on the road more, but that cannot be an excuse.
So, I'm going to start the Beck Diet Solution over again from the beginning. It's what got me going the first time. I've already begun writing my list of reasons why I want to lose weight, and when I finish this post, I'll be working on my food plan for tomorrow. It's just time for a refresher course. I always knew this was going to be necessary; that I wouldn't just reach the end of the road and never have to work at health and fitness again. I may have underestimated the amount of energy and inspiration it takes to keep going, day after day. But the good thing about energy and inspiration is that you can always find it, if you look.
The toilet paper doll is pretty inspiring, if you ask me.