Saturday, April 5, 2008

Comments of the Week

This week, Monica and Dani offer takeout advice, Leanne devises a chicken dish shortcut, Dialectically_Yours has a few great cookbook suggestions, and lots of folks have lots to say about confronting loved ones on weight and money issues.

As always (well, as of the last three weeks), some comments were edited for length.

Healthy Takeout on a Budget

Indian: Saag paneer and aloo gobhi are also on the healthy end, as well as most vegetable curries. Yes, they're both made with butter, but they're mostly vegetables in butter, which is better than lamb in butter. If you have a Korean takeout nearby, bibimbap has infinite variations and most of them are healthy as takeout goes, although not quite as healthy as my home bibimbap. Finally, Greek delis often have wonderful bean salads and marinated vegetables.

In Australia, all Asian takeouts have a plain stir fried vegetable dish which, with rice makes an ample meal.

Sweet Victory: Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce

Leanne: At the end you pour pan juices AND sauce over the chicken. But, wouldn't it be easier to combine them and make it one "sauce"? I think I would sautee the shallots in the chicken pan after the chicken is cooked, deglaze once with chicken broth, and then proceed with adding vinegar and jam.

The Dos and Don’ts of Buying a Cookbook

COPY OUT the dozen or so recipes you use most from one cookbook. If you're having trouble cutting the list DOWN to twelve, it's a keeper … Cooking is as much about memory and tradition as it is about nutrition, so DON'T gut your shelves over a new diet, ESPECIALLY if it's a result of health issues.

Touchy Subjects: Confronting Loved Ones About Weight and Money Problems

Here is my suggestion if you are concerned about someone's weight: ask them to go for a walk with you. Also, be aware that weight is an incredibly private issue for some people. Some people would rather die than talk about it. Just because someone isn't harping on it, doesn't mean that they aren't thinking about it and trying.

Anonymous #2: Ive been overweight my entire life, and my ex-husband, who eats at least twice as much as I has always been very thin. Even his "gentle" comments were offensive to me becuase he has absolutely no idea what it is like to be in my shoes.

Anonymous #3: I have been married to a women for 30 years. ... She has added 5 - 10 pounds every year or so and now is about 60 -70 pounds overweight. I never said a word about her weight. … Sad point is, it affects our social life, our sex life and her health. I seem to have two choices, accept it or divorce her. That is a sad situation to place a devoted, loving partner. Any suggestions from people on either side of this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Kinder: My mother-in-law has a quickly worsening weight problem. At some point, I asked if she wanted to work out with me, under the pretense that it would be a positive social experience, a time to bond. But she bailed out after three trips (once she realized that going to the gym entailed doing exercise). I said nothing about her diet of baked goods and fried food; I was silent about her complete resistance to an exercise routine. And now I'm just exhausted. I actually really dislike going to the gym, but I do for the sake of my children. I'm kind of hurt by my mother-in-law's aggressive inactivity, but I want to help her have a better life. And I want her to be there for her grandchildren.

Anonymous #4: I have two cases - one friend, one relative - who constantly complain about their weight, who feel free to comment on my not being overweight, etc. My favorite was the friend told me I must be so skinny because I drank grapefruit juice. Never mind the fact that at the time I was an avid cyclist, and had ridden over 200 miles that weekend. … I do worry about their health, I would love to say LET ME HELP YOU. … It kills me because I know it's killing them. … So yeah, it would be lovely if these two would LET me be eyes on the paper. But it's hard to do when they keep waving their paper under my nose.

Anonymous #5: "Mind your own business" on these issues is a fine philosophical position - as long as it's consistent. If a person's actions are self-destructive, and they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions, then they have no claim on you for assistance when they've messed up their own lives.

Julia: Re: "I wonder: is there 'an enjoyable social experience' you can share with somebody who suffers from poor fiscal management?" What about asking them to take a financial workshop or course with you like the Dave Ramsey course? My dad took it and asked me to join him. I know it was his way of giving me financial advice without US actually having to talk about it.

Jeff S.: It's always important to remember that while your choices are your own, they can affect the people you love. These people may have to care for you when you are incapacitated, nurse you when you are down, or mourn for you when you have passed away. If you really want to avoid their input, then you may as well break all ties now, because they have a vested interest in seeing you happy and healthy. Unconditional love is not the same as unconditional acceptance of all of your choices.

Ering: I have changed a few habits and they way I did it is to use the challenge on ZenHabits website. Leo has a forum where you state the habit you want to create (i.e. eat healthy instead of stop eating badly) at the beginning of the month (or whenever you find out out about it!) and then you make a commitment to two things 1) meeting your habit and 2) report on it daily.

Anonymous #6: Justifying an intervention because someone's weight inconveniences your friendship is no more right than raping a friend because you feel a child will make her happy one day.

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