Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dinner #1--Red Beans and Rice

We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking. ~Steve Elbert

When I started thinking about the For-Granted Diet, I was calling it (secretly in my head, of course--I don't need to be politically correct there) the Third World diet. To understand what we take for granted, I need to understand what people who don't have what we have eat and what they feel like.

Realizing that that may be somewhat insulting and revolting to some people, I changed the name. The idea is the same, though. People in other countries, and even some people here, survive on much less than I do. Happily, healthily. They make do in their lives with just the bare necessities.

So, with this spirit, I went to the grocery store, looking for something simple to make. Something that wasn't meat (a delicacy to many people in third-world countries). I didn't want something "quick and easy" although it turned out to be that way.

The goal was to find something that would be simple, yet fulfilling. I am a picky eater. I don't like mushrooms, I have tactile issues with tomatoes. Basically, I'm not a vegetarian and could never survive as one. So I need flavor, rice, substance.

With that said, I found a lovely red beans and rice meal in a box (helpful since I'm kitchen-ally challenged). Another standard it must meet is that it must be MSG-free. (Darling husband and I are arguing over whether or not I should inform you it is from a box, but I'm not going to lie. Perhaps, in the future, I will make my own, but not at this early stage in the FGD.)

The directions were simple:
Water, butter, packet from box. Bring to boil. Simmer 25 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes, dip pita bread in, eat.

The result was wonderful. A beautifully seasoned dish, whole wheat pita bread since I didn't have any naan bread on hand.

I was a bit nervous to share it with Darling Husband (since he up until this point did not know about the FGD) and my almost three year-old Eldest Son.

But Darling Husband loved it and the red beans and rice even got a thumbs up from the Eldest Son! Maybe the FGD could work after all!

I'm on that diet high. The first-day-I-can-do-this-and-no-one's-going-to-stop-me high. I know it will come crashing down, particularly since I am going out of town to the beach for the weekend. However, I am still going to be conscious of what I am eating and try my best to simplify, simplify, simplify...except for the key lime pie...

In the Beginning...

Our life is frittered away by detail ... simplify, simplify. ~Henry David Thoreau

Every year I teach Transcendentalism in English class. During this unit I challenge students to live simply for one week. No TV, or video games, or internet, or cell phone, or iPod. They can choose any or all of these things to give up. The goal is for them to spend time outside, in nature, just Being.

I don't know if it does anything for them, but it really does something for me. I realize that I take a lot of things for granted and that when I get back what I gave away, I am amazed at how wonderful, new, and fresh those things are.

In the spirit of simplifying, of making my life better in some way, I've decided to start the For-Granted Diet. Simplifying eating. Taking away all I take for granted--the desserts, the meat, the luscious delicacies I live for but eat faster than you can blink.

It's not really a diet for losing weight. It's a diet for simplifying and appreciating what we in the United States are so used to taking for granted. It's a diet that will allow me to look at my life, and my food, in a new, fresh, exciting way.

If you're a vegetarian, this could be the place for you; though I am definitely not one.

If you're sick of your menu, this could be the place for you; I definitely am sick of mine. The mac-n-cheese for the boys, meat and potatoes for me...

If you're tired of snacking on junk and not being able to stop, this could be the place for you; it's definitely the place for me.

I'm not promising answers. Heck, I'm looking for them myself. What I can promise is a journey. Maybe a journey of self-discovery, maybe a journey of new, interesting foods. Whatever it is, it will be a journey, of that I can offer a guarantee.