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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breaking Bread

Social eating is fun. For some maybe a little too much too often. Could there be healthier ways to break bread and keep the good relations flowing?

Of course. For everything there are probably multiple solutions and I don't claim to know them all. I do find that good eating tends to elude people when they are busy, pushed or just don't know how it all works together.

For many of us eating out was not a daily ritual growing up. In my own family it was a special treat to go out and that meant special foods, bigger portions and a lot more oil and sugar. These once in a while pleasures didn't effect our waistlines and if they effected health, it was temporary because it was so out of the normal realm of what we consumed. Big thick milk shakes, huge slices of pies, cakes or concoctions, giant pancakes, fried sandwiches, or rich sauces were not something we ever saw at home. Restaurants want you to be happy and come back again. They use strong flavors and oil helps to bring out those flavors as well as fill you up. You can ask for what you want though, even if you don't see it on the menu. Ask for less or no oil in the preparation of your order. Have tea for dessert or maybe some fruit if your digestion can handle it. Remember if you ate beans in the meal to steer clear of dessert for a couple of hours or you might be in for some pretty heavy wind. While fruit after a big meal may seem refreshing, it will putrefy in the intestine waiting for the meat and potatoes (or anything else you ate.) to move through the tract. That also translates into bloating, gas and being uncomfortable after the initial pleasure. I wonder if the aristocratic eaters we see portrayed in films often found themselves needing ant-acids from the rich food followed by sweet treats? Certainly by just looking at the array and large shelves filled with bottles and pills to alleviate such conditions now would suggest that many people find themselves with poor eating choices often.

If I am eating dessert, I will plan for it. What that means for me is very little bread perhaps if any with that meal. I might eat lighter on purpose. I call it saving room for dessert. Instead of gobbling my food I try to enjoy the company, eat slowly and chew well. No one notices really if I'm not eating all that much, especially if it is some place like an Indian restaurant where we are all sharing the food. It's the quality of the time I'm having and I'll be much happier if I walk away from the experience feeling good. Sometimes I will make two starters my main meal. The small tastes make me happy and are quite often lighter than the main courses with sides. I've been known to re-invent menus as well. I'll see what they have and create a plate from the offered sides or have a sandwich that wasn't on the menu before if it's a noon time spot.

These are just a few creative ideas to have more healthy options while eating out. What are some of yours? Share your answers here or at www.susanmarque.com

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