Six years ago, I embarked on a new way of living and being.
After battling the scale for most of my life, I finally decided to accept the unattractive truth that diets only encouraged weight gain. I’d been on them in one form or another since the age of 10, when my well-meaning father drove me from our home in Lake George to Albany for an appointment at the stately Madison Avenue offices of “The Diet Doctor.” I’ll spare you the details with this simple spoiler alert: the food plan was so strict, the Marquis de Sade would have been proud. The end result: it made me more obsessed with food … which caused more weight gain … which fueled self-loathing.
Not exactly ideal circumstances in which to spend adolescence.
So by the time I stepped on the scale that fateful day of January 5, 2009, and watched in horror as the digits registered 345, I knew it was time to take some action. I also knew it could not in any way resemble a diet. Instead, I embarked on a self-devised prescription that included tuning into to my hunger cues, paying attention to feelings (something every emotional eater must do), and being more aware of the nutrients that went into my body. I was also very careful not to let things get too out of hand in terms of severity. I wanted habits that could be lived with long term, so pleasure was an immutable part of the deal. When I really want something decadent (and I’m not misusing it as an escape) I have it in moderation, enjoy it thoroughly, and then move on.
For those treats that I eat on a more frequent basis, the solution is simple: make over the ingredients into something cleaner, less caloric, and more nutritional. Take the banana ice cream in my cookbook, “Clean Comfort,” for example. It’s so simple in composition, when I first was introduced to it, I disbelieved that it would resemble ice cream in any way.
A good friend of mine who eats clean gushed to me how good banana-based ice cream was, but I had no desire to try something that sounded so boring. Last summer, I decided to give it a whirl. Call it the effects of being crazy from a heatwave, but I found myself fantasizing about walking up to the window of my neighborhood soft-serve and ordering a giant … oh, never mind. You get where I’m going. They were quite crafty, these invisible, whispering demons that beckoned me to the land of sugar cones capped with puffy white frozen vanilla cream. That’s when I knew it was time to throw a few bananas in the freezer and prime my food processor. That’s really the only other key ingredient you’ll need for this concoction. If you’re craving a chocolate version, baking cocoa powder works fine. That’s it … no sugar, no cream, no emulsifiers … nothing but bananas.
Did I like it? Well, I actually ended up loving it. The taste and texture of this dessert are superb. But I won’t toy with you and say it’s JUST like ice cream. No cream means a cleaner, lighter taste. The absence of fat is noticeable in terms of how it sits in your stomach. There’s no, “must rest and regroup now” feeling that comes from downing a pile of cold cream, but that’s OK … it’s an easy feeling to get used to.
Stacey Morris is a Loudonville resident, cookbook author, and wellness blogger who has maintained a 180-pound weight loss for more than five years. Her website is www.staceymorris.com.