You don't have to eat Rice everyday
Despite popular belief, you will not blow up or turn into a pumpkin if as a Haitian person you don't eat rice everyday. I know this is shocking. It was to me as well. But after extensive research and triple blind testing, I have realized it is true indeed. Rice, especially white rice(yellow rice is no better), is full of empty calories and has very low nutritional value. Meaning it is not adding any essential things to your diet. Thus, when you eat that rice and beans, that rice and djon djon and then more rice the following day, you are simply adding more pounds to your thighs. And for you gentlemen: that infamous pot belly that use to be associated with being wealthy back in the days, can simply be looked at today as a sign of over consumption of rice and/or other carbohydrate laden foods. They were not false in their assumption that those big bellies were a sign of wealth, what poor person could afford to eat rice everyday?
How do you stay away from the rice? You don't have to stay away completely. I am a strong believer deprivation only encourages overbinging at a later time. Thus it is best to just eat in moderation. If you must have rice, go for a long grain brown rice. It's full of the fiber that you need to keep you full without having to eat a whole lot of it. On other days, try a sweet potato or yam, or other root vegetable as a side dish. You may also utilize veggies such as string beans, spinach, carrots or a whole wheat pasta as other alternatives. Vary your meals and have fun. Experiment until you find other things you like.
Minimize the Frying
Many people can't imagine Haitian cooking without fried food. Actually it is pretty difficult, however with the advent of modern technology such as the oven, we can minimize the amount of frying we do. I love Griot. However, many New Years ago, I too decided I wanted to lose some weight. The most common rule of weight loss or leading a healthy lifestyle is to stay away from fried foods. What to do what to do? How do I have griot without frying. I decided I would bake it. However, I found that often time, it would get dried out. That is the most common complaint of oven baked griot. But I discovered there is a nice way to avoid it. Be sure to boil your pork chunks to a nice soft consistency, more soft then usual. And when you spread them out in a baking sheet to bak(don't stack), place your oven on the highest possible temperature. This will allow it to get that nice crisp coating in relatively short time, and therefore prevent it from drying out. Go ahead, try it!
Everytime I go eat at a relative's house, I am amazed at how much food is placed on the plate. While this is a beautiful gesture of welcome, it is definitely not a healthy one. It is important that we control the amount of foods we consume at one time. The way our food plate probably currently look on a regular basis is 60% carbohydrates(rice) and 40% protein(meat). We need to shift that quite a bit and include vegetables to that equation. I know for me growing up, salad was a special occasion item. However, it is important to include a salad or other kind of vegetable to your daily diet. In an effort to keep that goal and lose the weight this year, and train yourselves to be more conscious of your diet, I say follow this rule: 50% of your dinner plate should be vegetables, 25% protein (meat, chicken, fish) and the remaining 25% carbohydrates (rice, potato, pasta).
I have learned, albeit the hard way, it is almost impossible to lose weight and keep it off strictly from working out without making a change in one's diet. So this new year, along with your arsenal of new gym memberships, various at home equipments, include a new way of eating as one of your tools to beat the battle of the bulge! Guess what
To your health!
*Nadege Fleurimond is the owner & business manager of Fleurimond Catering, Inc.(**www.fgcatering.com* <http://www.fgcatering.com/>*) an off-premise
catering firm serving the NY/NJ/CT/MA areas. For questions and comments you
submit thoughts and questions pertaining to the column via email.*
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