Real Food Has Curves : How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat
CURVE YOUR APPETITE.
Dumping the fake stuff and relishing real food will make you feel better, help you drop pounds, and most importantly, take all the fear out of what you eat. Does that sound too good to be true? It isn't--despite the fact that lately we've given up ripe vegetables for the canned stuff; tossed out sweet, tart orange juice for pasteurized concentrate; traded fresh fish for boil-in-a-bag dinners; and replaced real desserts with supersweet snacks that make us feel ridiculously overfed but definitely disappointed. The result? Most of us are overweight or obese--or heading that way; more and more of us suffer from diabetes, clogged arteries, and even bad knees. We eat too much of the fake stuff, yet we're still hungry. And not satisfied.
Who hasn't tried to change all that? Who hasn't walked into a supermarket and thought, I'm going to eat better from now on? So you load your cart with whole-grain crackers, fish fillets, and asparagus. Sure, you have a few barely satisfying meals before you think, Hey, life's too short for this! And soon enough, you're back to square one. For real change, you need a real plan. It's in your hands.
Real Food Has Curves is a fun and ultimately rewarding seven-step journey to rediscover the basic pleasure of fresh, well-prepared natural ingredients: curvy, voluptuous, juicy, sweet, savory. And yes, scrumptious, too. In these simple steps--each with its own easy, delicious recipes--you'll learn to become a better shopper, savor your meals, and eat your way to a better you. Yes, you'll drop pounds. But you won't be counting calories. Instead, you'll learn to celebrate the abundance all around. It's time to realize that food is not the enemy but a life-sustaining gift. It's time to get off the processed and packaged merry-go-round. It's time to be satisfied, nourished, thinner, and above all, happier. It's time for real food.
Shape your waist, rediscover real food, and find new pleasure in every meal as Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough teach you how to:
* Eat to be satisfied
* Recognize the fake and kick it to the curb
* Learn to relish the big flavors you'd forgotten
* Get healthier and thinner
* Save money and time in your food budget
* Decode the lies of deprivation diets
* Relish every minute, every bite, and all of life
REAL FOOD. REAL CHANGE. REAL EASY.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Really loved this book
Posted April 28, 2011 by Laura Borden , Cheney, Wa.I am so glad I found this book. My life has changed for the better since reading it. I learned so much about healthy eating and have put into practice so many of the ideas from this book. I am already feeling better and living a healthier life, and it has only been a few weeks. This book was written in such a way that it seemed so easy to make the changes necessary for better eating. If you haven't read this book, do it soon.
December 01, 2010
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Real Food Has Curves by Bruce Weinstein
Learn the Secrets to Satisfaction
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Bite into a tasty peach
Connect memory to taste
Eat with several senses at once
WHAT WILL YOU DISCOVER?
The complexity of our sense of taste
The necessity--and the trap--of a bolus
The basic textures of food
Eat a Peach
A ripe, irresistible peach is one of nature's better pleasures. Our first step is to celebrate it.
How do you find a great peach? Begin with your nose. If a peach doesn't smell like anything, it won't taste like anything. Search for that tantalizing fragrance. The best peach might not be the first one that comes to hand. Dig in the bin; smell the peaches one by one, particularly at the ends where their stems once were.
Got one with an unbelievable perfume? Look at it for a second. See that rosy blush over the dappled yellow? That's a sign you've chosen well.
Now gently squeeze the fruit. Although it's heavy to the hand, there's a delicate give beneath the skin--nothing squishy, just a little fragile, stocked with juice.
Once you've chosen (and paid for!) that peach, take a bite. Don't be shy. The juice bursts from the pulp, pooling in the corners of your mouth.
Chew a few times, then gently push what's in your mouth up against your hard palate, the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth. Take a slow breath to draw in that sweet fragrance.
Swallow and take another bite. Because the miracle wasn't really that peach. It's what happened to you. You just took a step away from all that is processed, packaged, low nutrition, and poor quality. You just started down the road to enjoying food more, weighing less, and being more content with your life.
All that from tasting a peach? Absolutely.
Taste: A Seriously Underrated Sense
When we taste something wonderful, we experience some familiar physical reactions: the saliva in our mouths and a gurgle in our stomachs. But other, less familiar reactions are even more important: released chemicals in our brains set us up for both anticipation and its coming fulfillment in the neurons all along our digestive tracks, from our mouths to our stomachs and beyond.1 If we take into account the run of chemical changes among those receptors, as well as the targeted preparations from our brains to our pancreases, taste's only rival may well be sexual arousal.
We don't even need a peach. If we imagine it, our brains instantly release those chemicals that drive us to find one and relish it. MRI scans prove that when we think of a specific food, our brains light up the same way they do when we're eating it.2
As you were reading about our perfect peach, you probably started salivating. Your brain was just doing its job: priming you for a peach although there were none in sight, not the slightest whiff of the fruit, just some words on a page.
Go Get Some Peaches
Put down this book and fulfill that desire. But don't just get one. Get a bunch. After you've tasted that peach to find the ways it connects to deeper pleasures in your mind, try one or both of these recipes.
Don't worry about changing any other food choices in your life. Keep doing what you're doing. Just focus on that peach--as well as these ways to upgrade its flavors. You'll notice that the recipes at the start of our journey are simple. We want to focus on tasting elemental flavors.
And one more thing: since you're going to be doing some cooking on your journey to real food, Bruce and I should offer you a few tips for kitchen success:
1. Before you begin a recipe, read it through, headnotes and all.
2. In general, Bruce's recipes call for ingredients the way you find them at your supermarket (for example, 2 celery stalks). However, when less than a whole is called for, the ingredient is measured out (like ? cup diced red onion).
3. Before you put a pot over the fire, gather your ingredients and put them out on the counter.
4. Make sure you've prepared the ingredients themselves. If the recipe says 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, it's telling you that chopping will not be a part of the recipe itself. In other words, chop before you cook. By the way, chopped, diced, and minced are not clich?s but real directions:
Roughly chopped yields uneven pieces up to 1 inch wide;
chopped, slightly smaller but also more uniform pieces, about ? inch on each side;
cubed, small, ?-inch cubes;
finely chopped, smaller still but less precise, about ?-inch pieces;
diced, ?-inch cubes; and
minced, the smallest of all, less than 1/8 inch, usually made by rocking a knife through an ingredient.
5. It's better to make substitutions and changes the second time you make a recipe.
FRESH PEACH SALSA
There are no tomatoes here, just sweet peaches. Tomatoes are firmer and almost meatier; by contrast, peaches offer a luxurious richness. That said, if you can't find a good peach, go for plums, apricots, or nectarines. Try this easy salsa on top of a baked potato with a dollop of sour cream or alongside some rotisseried chicken picked up at the market. Keep connecting the taste of those peaches to pleasure in your brain.
1? pounds ripe medium peaches, pitted and diced (about 4 or 5 peaches)
Up to 1 medium fresh jalape?o chile, seeded and minced
? cup red bell pepper, seeded and diced (see Note)
? cup red onion, diced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves, 2? tablespoons stemmed thyme leaves, or 2 tablespoons minced mint leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
? teaspoon ground cumin
? teaspoon salt
Stir everything together in a serving bowl. If you want to make the salsa ahead of time, omit the salt and store the mixture, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days. Salt will leach liquid from the mixture, turning it watery during storage--so stir in the salt at the last minute.
Note: To seed and core a bell pepper, stand it up on your cutting board with the stem end facing up. Holding the stem, use a large knife to slice one side off the pepper, leaving the seeds attached to the core. Continue making more slices around the pepper, always leaving the seeds and core intact. Once all the wedges have been removed around the pepper, slice off any white membranes on their insides, discard the core, and prepare the pepper as directed in the recipe.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
A minimal amount of cooking highlights the fruit's natural sugars by concentrating the flavors. Try these poached peaches for a midafternoon snack, a dessert at night, or even breakfast in the mornings. (Store them in the fridge for up to three days.) Serve them warm (either fresh off the stove or reheated in the microwave) with some of the poaching liquid and a little plain yogurt on the side.
4 ripe but firm peaches, halved through the stem ends, the pits removed and discarded
2/3 cup white wine or unsweetened apple juice
2? tablespoons honey
1 cup regular or low-fat plain yogurt
1. Place the peach halves cut side down in a skillet. Pour in the wine or apple juice, then add just enough water to come halfway up the peach halves.
2. Drizzle the honey over the peaches and into the poaching liquid. Set the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
3. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer just until the peaches are tender when prodded with the back of a flatware spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a large, slotted spoon to transfer them cut side up to a platter or serving bowls. The skins may be loose, may even come off. You can remove them if you'd like (although they're fully edible, of course).
4. Crank up the heat to high and bring the liquid in the skillet to a full simmer. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced down to about ? cup, stirring occasionally. Set off the stove to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then spoon this liquid over the peach halves. Top each serving with ? cup yogurt.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
Remembrance of Food Past
When I was a kid, my family vacationed in Colorado. One of my fondest memories was of our annual hunt for fresh, pan-fried trout. We'd look for the perfect little restaurant: family-owned, never hyped, lots of booths.
Even today, I remember the sizzle from the kitchen after our order was placed. And I distinctly remember the year I was old enough to get my own trout. I gingerly peeled back the skin to find the tender meat inside. I felt like such a grown-up!
Decades later, I'm driven to find and relish trout. Bruce roasts it some evenings with herbs layered in the belly. It's invariably satisfying, a link to my childhood.
That's the true power of taste. It isn't just in our mouths. It's mostly in our memories.
When we bite into something--already primed with chemical anticipation--our taste buds pick up various flavor molecules (like natural sugars or sour acids), then ping neurons in our brains keyed to those very molecules. One taste bud is saying to one neuron, Here's something you like. Except everyone's talking at once. Constantly. And insistently.
Plus, it's not just a set of person-to-person calls between taste buds and neurons; it's a convocation of conference calls. Our taste buds first ring up neurons at the base of our brains, near the structures that regulate basic life functions like sleeping and breathing. Those neurons then ring up others in higher level structures, the ones that stimulate pleasure and satisfaction--and most specifically, the ones keyed to our memories. So the pleasure we experience is based on a connection to the past.3
Taste strikes both at our cores (where we operate as living creatures) and also up at our cognitive centers (where we are thinking, feeling beings).4Congratulations, our brains tell us, you found something that both supports life and makes it memorable.
Memory stands at the center of our sense of taste--more than any other sense. Let's say your grandparents had a swing on an old oak tree. You probably don't sigh every time you pass an oak these days. But you probably do sigh every time you remember some wonderful dish your grandmother made. There it is: the essence of taste, that connection of memory and pleasure. It drives you to make food choices in the world around you.
But do you find real food, like that fresh trout sizzling in the skillet? No. Mostly, you find fish sticks, made from extruded, low-quality fish, fried in tasteless, heart-damaging oils--foods that don't satisfy because they connect inexactly and poorly to memories.
Which then drives you to try to find something that does. Unsatisfied but still stimulated, you search for more. And more. And more.5 When all you want is a flavorful meal. Like this one:
Try this simple recipe for boneless, whole trout, a perfect, straightforward, and pleasurable dinner with nothing more than a green salad on the side.
Two 14- to 16-ounce boneless, cleaned trout
? teaspoon salt
? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Various herb sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano, tarragon, and/or dill (see Note)
1 medium lemon, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425?F.
2. Blot the trout dry with paper towels inside and out. Season the fish with both salt and pepper on the inside.
3. Divide the herbs and lemon slices between the two body cavities, sandwiching them closed to hold in the herbs and lemon slices.
4. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. A seasoned cast-iron skillet is really best. Swirl in the oil, then slip in the stuffed trout. Cook until the skin on one side has begun to get crisp, about 5 minutes.
5. Use a large spatula to turn the fish, then put the skillet in the oven and continue cooking until the meat will flake when gently pulled with a fork, about 8 more minutes.
Note: Good herb combinations include oregano and rosemary, thyme and parsley, tarragon and thyme, or parsley and dill. Plan on five to seven sprigs per trout (but in any case, no more than one rosemary spear per trout).
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
(CAN BE HALVED OR DOUBLED)
The Problem: Eating Without Tasting
Very early one morning last summer, Bruce and I were in the Hartford Airport, waiting to catch a flight to London. Checked in and through security, we found a place serving breakfast, ordered egg sandwiches, and took them to the gate. I soon caught myself eating like this: chew once or twice, still holding the sandwich near my mouth; chew a couple more times; the minute there's room, take another bite; chew some more; swallow a partial bite; keep holding the sandwich near my mouth; take another bite when there's room; swallow partially; and on and on.
It was hardly a pleasurable meal. Sometimes, food is just fuel. But in all honesty, Bruce and I eat like this more often than we'd like to admit. And we're not alone. Over the past year, we've watched people at the mall food court, in adult casual restaurants, and even in high-end restaurants eat exactly the same way: the fork poised over the food before a bite is gone, the next in before the last is out, a sort of unconscious conveyor belt of eating, a few chews and then more in the mouth, never a full swallow--and never much thought to what's happening on the plate.
The pleasure of food has been short-circuited; its connection to memory, almost nonexistent. Deep inside, we're waiting for it, primed and standing by, the brain rush in full gear. But since we're not finding satisfaction, we just keep eating.6
But here's the strange thing about that brain rush: it starts out at almost full blower. Remember those MRI scans that showed the mind lighting up at the mere thought of a peach? Everything's firing full out. However, our sense of pleasure doesn't get any more intense the more we eat. In fact, it lessens.
Thus, by the third bite of those breakfast sandwiches, Bruce and I weren't tasting anymore. We certainly weren't getting any measurable pleasure. We were just eating to scratch an itch in our heads. And eating. And eating. Until we'd forgotten the point. Which is to thrive and be content.
One Solution: Eating with All Our Senses
Let's go back to our peach. It was crucial to begin by experiencing a bit of real food with all our senses. We smelled that aroma, held the fruit in our hands, saw how beautiful it was, and heard its delicate crunch.
In other words, we tasted it fully. We took that crazy chemical dance in our heads and turned it into a slower, more elegant waltz by complicating those brain signals with more sensory input, forcing our minds to process even more information. That way, we got even more pleasure out of what we ate. We moved away from the chemical wash that is purely taste and pushed the experience into multiple senses, the better to enjoy it longer.
So here's to eating with all our senses. Can we every time? No. But can we most of the time? Yes. If we but take the time.
And there's the rub: time. Because eating just to fake ourselves out is efficient and quick. Relishing food takes time. It's passionate. It requires that we taste fully and deeply.
Every day, we come across a host of things we love but eat without thought: chocolate cookies, butter pecan ice cream, banana pudding. If tasting requires time, we have to learn to make these things a meal--or at least savor them.7
So here's a plan: no more eating on the run, in the car, on the train, while walking down the street, or while talking on the phone. If we're going to have an ice-cream cone, let's sit down and have one. If we're going to grab a chocolate cookie at the mall, let's order a cup of coffee, too, and stop to enjoy them both slowly, eating with all five senses.
Another Solution: Finding Flavor Overtones
The more memory connections we find in taste, the more pleasure we'll experience in food.
And as we begin to use all our senses to slow down how we taste, we'll begin to experience flavor overtones--faint flavors that ride up over the top of what we taste.
A processed egg sandwich at an airport will have few if any--and thus less pleasure bite per bite. Processed and packaged food lacks a range of overtones--because the fats are tasteless, the sugars are nothing but a vague notion of sweet, the salt is packed in with a heavy pour, and the flavors are ridiculously simplified.
By contrast, a nicely prepared breakfast of scrambled eggs, crunchy toast, and some fruit salad will have many overtones, each connected to its own, distinct flavor memory, a gorgeous dance that brings deeper satisfaction.
My mother loves vanilla, doubling the amount in any recipe. Her snickerdoodle cookies are redolent with the stuff! These days, I can catch a vanilla overtone in a glass of red wine or a slice of cantaloupe. It brings me more pleasure because it connects to more memories, most of the time not even consciously.
As you begin to taste more carefully and consciously, you'll begin to see how flavor overtones play an important part in satiety. (And you may begin to see that what you've been eating doesn't have many overtones at all.) Be on the lookout for these flavors:
Nuts of all sorts
As you slow down to relish food with all your senses, you'll find even more flavor overtones.8 And that joy of discovery--not just the overtones but the sheer pleasure of discovery itself--will become increasingly essential to finding and relishing real food.
Fresh Is Best--When Possible
Questions of pleasure in food, of finding the best and enjoying it, sometimes call up a weird nostalgia for a blissful past when people supposedly ate right. Once upon a time, everyone walked out their doors, scooped up raw vegetables, took a bite out of a nearby cow, and went about their business.9
Um, no. New Englanders in January of any year before 1900 ate almost no fresh food. They couldn't. Not even eggs. Hens stop laying with the loss of daylight. Everything had to be preserved and cured--for survival's sake.
The same goes for that perfectly ripe peach. There are times when we have to buy a bag of frozen, unsweetened, sliced peaches. Are they the absolute best? No. But do they work? Definitely. They will taste luscious and light, particularly in recipes like this quick soup.
As you prepare one or both of these following recipes, think of a previous time when you had a great peach. Maybe it was just the other day when we were sampling that peach in and for itself! In any case, try to feel how one flavor is connected to a memory, even when encased among other, more complicated tastes. Relish those overtones, which then connect to still more memories and bring even more satisfaction.
CHILLED PEACH SOUP
Peaches aren't just a side dish or a dessert. Their natural sweetness can turn even simple dishes into intense pleasures. Serve this summery soup for lunch with a salad on the side--or make it the first course before some shrimp or chicken off the grill. By the way, when a recipe asks you to whisk something, it means you should use a whisk. Stir means to use a wooden spoon.
2 pounds ripe peaches, pitted and quartered (no need to peel)
4 cups water
? teaspoon ground cloves
? teaspoon salt
One 4-inch cinnamon stick
? cup white wine or nonalcoholic sparkling cider (see Note)
? cup low-fat yogurt or sour cream
? cup honey
1. Bring the peaches, water, cloves, salt, and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the peaches are meltingly tender, about 12 minutes.
3. Fish out and discard the (hot!) cinnamon stick. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches themselves to the canister of a blender or a food processor.
4. Return the saucepan to high heat and bring the liquid to a full simmer. Cook until that liquid has reduced to half its volume, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Pour this liquid into the blender or the food processor. If you're working with a blender, cover it but remove the center knob on the lid and place a clean kitchen towel over the opening to prevent its spewing hot peach soup everywhere. If you're working with a food processor, remove the center of the large insertion tube on top and cover for the same reason. Blend or process until smooth.
6. Pour the puree into a large bowl. Whisk in the wine or nonalcoholic sparkling cider, yogurt or sour cream, and the honey. Chill for 1 hour, then cover and continue chilling for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Note: Although the soup tastes best if it chills overnight, it might also thicken up a bit. Stir it down to loosen it up. If that doesn't work, add a little more wine or sparkling cider, just a splash, to get it smooth again.
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
PEACH AND GOAT CHEESE QUESADILLAS
A little bit of fat (in this case, the creamy goat cheese) intensifies the peachy flavor dramatically. Don't worry about the calories--we're not using that much cheese. Besides, we want to focus on the pleasure of enticing food.
2 ounces soft goat cheese or ch?vre, at room temperature
Four 8-inch fat-free whole wheat tortillas (see Note)
2 ripe peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers or pimientos, packed in water and drained, then cut into thin strips
Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco sauce
1. Preheat the broiler, setting the oven rack about 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
2. Divide and smear the goat cheese on one side of each of the tortillas, spreading it to within ? inch of the perimeter of each.
3. Top two of the smeared tortillas with the peach slices and red pepper strips. Dot with a few dashes of hot red pepper sauce, as much as you'd like for your heat preference.
4. Top each of these two tortillas with one of the other tortillas, cheese side down. Set the tortilla sandwiches on a large baking sheet and place under the broiler.
5. Cook until lightly browned, then turn with a large spatula. If a peach slice slips out, just stick it back in. Continue broiling until lightly browned on the other side. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before slicing into pie-shaped wedges.
Note: Many fat-free tortillas are definitely real food: just flour and water without anything else in the mix.