Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Focus on your assets

Marjorie Spitz Rento1 Comment

I have many good qualities and strengths. Cooking and organizing just don’t happen to be my best. I will keep trying though! I sense it will be a lifelong journey, and I’m game for that.

With a small NYC apartment (and kitchen), whipping up gourmet meals on a daily basis is just not realistic, nor expected, especially with:

  • The heat of the summer (who wants to turn on the oven?)
  • Our choice of three world-renowned gourmet markets within a 5 block radius, all stocked with gorgeously prepared meats, fishes and veggies for consumption (at a cost less than the ingredients to make it myself)
  • An overflowing schedule and client deadline
  • A propensity for dishpan hands

Instead of feeling sheepish and incompetent about my lack of domestic skills, I focus on my strengths, which in this case are:

  •  Scoring a delicious, balanced and affordable meal at the local market of my fancy
  •  Displaying it beautifully and colorfully on our pretty dishware
  • Enjoying every bite, guilt free (and with few dirty dishes to boot)

I dream of a day when I have a beautiful open kitchen, and overflowing dining table. Of when I can massage every ingredient and experiment with delightful recipes. That day is not today!

This became especially apparent this week as yesterday I started a 10-day no hidden sugar, no alcohol experiment. I like to practice different dietary theories from time to time, to learn, cleanse and share. This time, I am using the JJ Virgin Sugar Impact Diet as a guide. I like her and enjoy her enthusiasm, but who has time to make the suggested menu? Check out the first two days lunch and dinner:

Lunch: pan seared salmon lettuce wrap made with rice tortilla, easy roasted asparagus with red palm fruit oil

Dinner: spice rubbed beef tenderloin with raw tomato salsa, ½ baked sweet potato, classic creamed spinach

Lunch: Turkey burger with goat cheese, sautéed onions, and cucumber salad

Dinner: Pesto-topped sea scallops with asparagus, served on a bed of brown rice. Warm Napa slaw with shallot dressing.

Sounds amazing, but I’m afraid I don’t have a chef or that kind of time to spend in the kitchen this week!

What DO I suggest we all make time to prioritize? To educate ourselves about what ingredients we’re ingesting (in this case understanding the many names for sugar), and the makeup of our current go-to foods. My mother has already seen a weight loss, just by learning what’s in her usual food and making some simple switches!

For example, Mom and I were at an appointment that took a LOT longer than expected, and we were both hungry.  Dear Mom had a Special K Chocolately Pretzel Cereal Bar in her purse which we were considering gobbling up when we took a closer look at the ingredients. Holy moly! “But its only 90 calories” she countered. Yeah, but 90 calories of junk. Check it out:

Ingredients: Cereal (Rice, Sugar, Whole Wheat, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Germ, Salt, Wheat Flour, Malt Flavoring, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Niacinamide, Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Reduced Iron, Folic Acid), Corn Syrup, Sugar, Pretzel Pieces (Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Malt Flavoring, Salt, Soybean Oil, Yeast), Fructose, Vegetable Oil (Hydrogenated Palm Kernel, Coconut And Palm Oils), Dextrose, Sunflower Oil With Tocopherols For Freshness, Contains Two Percent Or Less of Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Sorbitol, Dried Whey, Glycerin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Caramel Color, Maltodextrin, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Niacinamide, BHT For Freshness, Soy Protein Isolate, Almond Flour, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6). Contains Wheat, Soy, Milk, Almond And Peanut Ingredients. May Contain Other Tree Nuts.

The items in bold are especially offensive, and either another name for sugar or questionable.  This is an item that gets a 5-star review from Walmart customers. Sigh.

It was Michael Pollan who said: Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants.  INDEED!

So, focus on your assets!  Whether you’re a gourmet cook, or reach for the frozen dinners section, make an effort to understand what’s in your food and choose items with ingredients you can pronounce, understand and are whole. Fine tune along the way – baby steps, right?

Cheers to an interesting 10 days!

Sugar free,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™