Monday, May 10, 2010

When I See an Elephant Fly

Hell has frozen over.  I'm attempting a diet.

It's not one diet in particular - I'd rather die than cut out carbs - rather, it's an examination of what I am used to putting into my body on a regular basis and what I should be putting into it instead.

I'm not attempting anything drastic, here, I just haven't been feeling as good in my clothes as I'd like.  At my "best," I'm 135, and I'm currently rocking 148 (hey, at least it not the 160-something-or-other I peaked at in college ... Jumbos, indeed).

I tried the South Beach Diet once and made it one whole day before vomiting up a stomach full of raw broccoli, deli meats, and Starbucks coffee.  That was enough to turn me off of strict diets forever.  Recently, my diet guru Erin mentioned a website called My Fitness Pal which allows a user (free of charge!) to enter their parameters and goals and then keep track of their calories ingested and burned.  "How fabulous," I thought.  And it is fabulous. 

But it also sucks.

The magical calculator spit out my daily caloric limit: 1,320/day.  Having absolutely no idea what that meant, I shrugged and thought, "No biggie."  What I learned IMMEDIATELY is that I can easily eat and drink 1,320 calories in one meal.  I realized that I need to gain perspective before I gain any more weight.  As I near my 30's, my metabolism certainly isn't going to improve.

I'm still starving by the end of the day (keep in mind that I'm only on Day 4), but my guru assures me that it'll get easier.  I hope to grow accustomed to the limitations, and upon eventually reaching my goal, relax my guidelines and enter into the lifelong "maintenance" phase.

This evening, after starting my day with a Dunkin' Donuts Wake-Up Wrap (nasty) and having a Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teryaki 6 incher for lunch (meh), I was craving a fresh, homemade for dinner.  I had some zucchini that was about to go bad and some shrimp in the freezer, so I threw together a haphazard Mexican meal as a bit of an experiment.  After I finished, I entered the nutritional values of all of the involved ingredients (aside from the spices) into an Excel sheet and added them up.  579 calories was more than I was expecting, but I walked to and from work today (about 1.5 miles each way), which bought me a couple hundred calories.

I feel satisfied ... for now.  Check back in with me in 3 hours when I'm huddling feverishly in bed, haunted by images of KFC's Double Down.

It's a process.  I'm working on it.

(original photo)

Makes approximately six servings
Takes 30 minutes from start to finish

12 - 18 frozen jumbo shrimp, thawed and shelled (heads removed)
1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 large red onion, minced
1 medium jalapeno, minced with half the ribs and seeds removed
8 oz. light sour cream
1-2 tbs cumin
1 tbs ground chipotle powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbs canola oil
salt & pepper

1 package flour tortillas
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 cup salsa
1 package prepared curry rice

Place the frozen shrimp into a bowl in the sink.  Fill the bowl with room temperature water and then leave the water running over the bowl for a minute or so.  Turn the water off and let the shrimp sit, submerged, for several minutes.  If using fresh shrimp, you can obviously skip this step.

Start the rice, following the instructions on the box.  I used Goya Curry Rice with Carrots & Onions (Arroz Curry) - my favorite.

Mince the onion.  Rinse, dry, and dice the zucchini.  Mince the jalapeno, removing half of the ribs and seeds (remove all of them if you'd like your filling to be mild, or leave in them all if you want a real kick!).  Empty the beans and corn into a colander and rinse thoroughly - I used Trader Joe's Whole Kernel Corn and Organic Black Beans.

Remove the shells and heads from the shrimp under lukewarm running water.  Place on a paper towel to dry.

Heat 1 tbs canola oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.  Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Place the shrimp seasoned side down in the hot pan.  Season the other side while the first side cooks.  Flip after 1-2 minutes.  Cook the other side for 1-2 minutes more, until the shrimp are pink, opaque, and curled.  Remove and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat.  Add 1 more tbs of oil.  Add the red onion the zucchini.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the jalapenos, corn, and beans.  Dust with the cumin, ground chipotle pepper, and turmeric.  Stir and saute for approximately 5 minutes more.

While the vegetables saute, remove the tortillas from their packaging.  Place on a plate, cover with paper towel, and microwave for 30-60 seconds until soft and warm.

By now, the rice should be done.  Turn off the burner and stir to fluff.  Turn off the other burner, add the cilantro to the cooked vegetables, and stir.

Assemble your burritos: spread 1 tbs of light sour cream (again, I used Trader Joe's) down the middle of a tortilla.  Place your shrimp (3-4 per burrito) on the sour cream, and add 1/4 cup of the vegetable mix and 1/4 cup of the rice.  Roll tightly, tucking in the sides.

Enjoy with your favorite salsa if desired.

Nutritional Facts (1 burrito)
Calories: 579
Total Fat: 21.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2.25 g
Trans Fat: 0
Cholesterol: 48 mg
Sodium: 1267.5 mg
Carbohydrates: 79 g
Dietary Fiber: 8 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 19 g
Vitamin A: 8%
Vitamin C: 10%
Calcium: 15%
Iron: 39%