As Christmas crept closer and closer last year, more and more plates of cookies found their way to the office. And as my schedule got more and more hectic with moving and holiday travel, I was cooking at home less and less. By the last week of December, I was unabashedly committed to eating office Christmas cookies for both first and second breakfast.
And with that came more coffee, more restaurant meals, and more drinks to spread the good cheer. I had Christmas dinner with my family, Christmas dinner with my boyfriend, and a third Christmas dinner with his family, featuring a vat of delicious fondue and an array of sauces that would have put Martha Stewart to shame. By the time January rolled around, I was begging for vegetables and brown rice.
Then I remembered a recipe from The Kitchn that I love for it’s flexibility and simplicity. It’s so dynamic that they refer to it as a “template”. Just choose a grain, a protein (they option for vegetarian choices like tempeh or tofu), vegetables, garnishes and a sauce. If your kitchen is anything like mine, you already have all the ingredients you need to make a delicious, simple, and very healthy meal. Add some flax seed or psyllium husks and it becomes downright cleansing.
|From The Kitchn|
My at-work option is an even simpler variation of the same recipe: I cook up a pile of brown rice before the week starts and refrigerate lunch-sized portions in individual containers. Then I just grab a container and a bag of frozen veggies on my way to work in the morning. At lunch time, I microwave some of the veggies on top of the rice and then give them a good dousing with low-sodium soy sauce. Asian-style dressings are also delicious, but the soy sauce doesn’t even need to be refrigerated. It hardly takes any time at all to prepare, especially the day you’re going to eat it, and it’s healthy, filling, and really cheap.
And since I’m eating healthier, I’ve taken to drinking my coffee with cream or low-fat milk, but no sugar. A good afternoon “snack” in the office is one of my favorite concoctions: one part apple-cider vinegar (a tablespoon or less) and two parts blackstrap molasses mixed with warm or cold water. It’s so flavorful that it curbs my cravings for sweet pastries at 3:00 in the afternoon. By the bye, it’s also a good substitute for sugary, additive-laden sports drinks, as is coconut water.
|I get Bragg apple cider vinegar at the grocery store.|
Be careful with this drink, though, because the cleansing benefits can sneak up on you!
I also have to make sure I drink lots of water every day because my intake of coffee, soda and alcohol got a little out of hand during all those Christmas celebrations.
I’ve always wanted to do a proper, lengthy cleanse like the Master Cleanse with its tasty lemonade (also great for hangovers, anyway), but by the time I’ve skipped lunch on the first day, I’ve started panicking on a level that I can’t reason with. For me, a slower, gentler recalibration (think French Women Don’t Get Fat) has always been a more sustainable solution when I have to get rid of a few dozen second helpings.
And lest I sound like calorie-counting boomerang dieter, I’d like to explain here that I’m not. Eating too much in general and too much sugar in particular makes me feel like crap, and once I’ve opened that Pandora’s box, I have to be intentional about slowly decreasing my sugar intake. I already love vegetables – raw, steamed, roasted, boiled, or mashed – so it’s usually just a matter of making sure I only have one cup of coffee a day and I don’t spend the eight hours a day I’m at my desk eating handfuls of chocolate and spicy potato chips.
Only now all I can think about are those delicious chips…