Dr. Weil and Jambalaya

Jan. 4. My first day back at work after the holidays and a very good reminder of why I so desperately need this project. It’s 8 p.m. and I’m exhausted. Also, a little cranky. 

Talked to my dad today. He and my mom went to a New Year’s party. 

“We managed to stay until 12:15,” he said. “Us old folks have a tough time making it to midnight.” 

I didn’t tell him that the dear fiance and I were already in bed by 12. Now who’s old? 

I just can’t help but think that this can’t be right. I’m 24. Shouldn’t I have enough energy to keep me going into the wee hours? Actually, screw the wee hours. I’d just like to be able to see 10 p.m. on a weeknight and not feel like that’ s pushing it. That bums me out. 

Enter Mini-Resolution #1: View Dr. Andrew Weil’s program 8 Weeks to Optimal Health. 

Dr. Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health

My loaner copy of Dr. Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health

 

I have a lot of good to say about this one. In part, because dear Dr. Weil has given me eight weeks of exercise, nutrition and mental/spiritual tasks that will help me meet the ridiculous quota I’ve set out for myself with this project. But also because it’s Dr. Weil and even if you don’t agree with everything he says, you can’t help but love him. The man’s half-Santa, half-yogi. 

Anyhow, the DVD is actually a spin-off of Dr. Weil’s book of the same title. Which I should probably read. But let’s face it, who has time for books? 

What I do have time for is reading Amazon.com’s review of said book: 

“Health,” Dr. Andrew Weil writes, “is a dynamic and temporary state of equilibrium destined to break down as conditions change.” In other words, there’s no such thing as the type of health that allows you to feel equally great every day of your life. Instead, Weil suggests, your goal should be to improve your resilience to disease, and while you’re at it, feel more joy and strength. 

More joy? Sign me up. 

Dr. Weil relies on an eastern-inspired school of  thought which suggests that health is not just an absence of disease but rather an inner resilience — or “bounciness” as the Santa-yogi puts it. It’s being able to deal with deleterious things like germs without getting infected, allergens without having allergic reactions and carcinogens without getting cancer. It’s the ability to maintain a balance. 

Love it. 

Also love that Dr. Weil takes a more holistic approach than one would normally expect from an American MD. Among his advice: buy flowers and then just have them near you to enjoy. Well-being, he says, can be improved simply by being in the presence of flowers. 

That, I can get on board with. 

What I can’t get on board with is Dr. Weil’s Week 3 suggestion to rid oneself of electromagnetic pollution. This includes electric blankets. He says there’s reason to be concerned about all those coils and wires sitting right next to your  body for long periods of time. He says they generate large electromagnetic fields that are suspected of deranging the body’s natural healing system. 

I’m wrapped in an electric blanket right now. I spend most of my evenings wrapped in an electric blanket. I dig my electric blanket, in a must-have-on-a-desert-island kinda way — that is, if the desert island happened to have electricity. 

Despite this small drawback and a few others (the amount of organic produce this guy suggests buying would put Donald Trump in the poorhouse), I’m going to give Dr. Weil’s eight-week plan a try. Read more in Mini-Resolution #3. 

Mini-Resolution #2: Use that damn slow cooker 

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

My Slow Cooker Jambalaya. Believe me, it tasted better than it looks here.

 

Yesterday, I set myself the task of finally using that $10 slow cooker I bought on a boxing day high at the Home Depot. 

This mini-resolution happened to coincide with Movie Night. 

Movie Night, by the way, is capitalized for two reasons here. First, to emphasize that it is not just any movie night. Oh, no. Movie Night at this writer’s residence is more than just renting a DVD. It’s renting a DVD and then planning and preparing some kind of meal and/or appetizer inspired by the rented movie. 

It was my dear fiance’s idea. 

That’s the second reason it’s capitalized. To emphasize the pain in my ass it is. 

I kid, I kid. 

(Kinda) 

We both love it. 

(Once the cooking’s done) 

Anyway, yesterday after committing to create a snack for Movie Night in my slow cooker, I scrambled like a lunatic Googling movie-inspired menus. I found a lot for last year’s Oscar nominees. Among them, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

“A-ha,” I said. “A movie neither of us have seen that we both actually want to see and it comes with a ready-made menu!” 

Ready-made indeed. For sensible people who don’t lock themselves into written contracts to cook only with a slow cooker.  The menus I found included oysters, crabcakes and blackened catfish. Not exactly slow cooker-friendly fare. 

But the menus did inspire. I started looking into other New Orleans fare and finally found the recipe I’d been searching for: slow cooker jambalaya

It turned out great. As an added bonus, it also turned out pretty healthy, coming in under 100 calories per serving, a little more when served over some brown rice.  Low in fat. A good source of protein and Vitamin C. 

Not too bad, if I do say so myself. 

Of course by the time I finished cooking the damn thing, my dear fiance was falling asleep on the couch. Trooper that he is, he bucked up to eat a bowl of jambalaya and also stayed awake through the whole movie — which was, for the record, just as good as it had been built up to be. 

*two thumbs up* 

Now it’s tally time! 

Days to go: 361 

Mini-resolutions to go: 258 

And with those overwhelming stats in my face, it’s time to commit my silly self to the next task. 

Mini-Resolution #3: This one comes straight from the moth of everyone’s favourite Santa-yogi. In Week 1 of his eight-week program, Dr. Weil asks his viewers/readers to purge their cupboards and fridge of some particularly unhealthy crap. Specifically, all polyunsaturated vegetable oils and everything containing hydrogenated vegetable oil, artificial sweeteners and artificial colours.  

I will attempt to do this, with a slight twist.  

I can’t bring myself to actually throw away this food. I have my reasons. They’re twofold.  

First, it goes against my upbringing. I can’t in good conscience throw away edible — if somewhat unhealthy — food. When my parents told me to finish up my what was on my plate because there were starving kids in Africa who would love to have it, that stuck! Consequently, I’m not one of these Women’s Health girls who will eat half a piece of pie and throw away the rest just to “cut the calories in half.” That’s ridiculous. Wasting food is ridiculous. I won’t do it.  

Secondly, my fiance didn’t sign on for this. He’s got a couple packs of Pilsbury danishes sitting in the fridge that he’s just dying to dig into. I know they’re full of hydrogenated vegetable oil, but I can’t deprive him of this small joy and the many others lurking in our kitchen that are likely on Dr. Weil’s purge list. 

I will, however, find all these culprits and quarantine them safely away from my Dr. Weil-approved foods. I will avoid them (at least for the duration of the eight-week program) and see what impact this has on my health. 

I’m my own little science experiment. 

P.S. Remember how my dear fiance made those resolutions to eat better and work out more? Well he had four Pogos for supper and he hasn’t been to the gym yet. Alison – 1, Nicholas-0.

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