Healthy Recipes and Food Religions

Hint: This Ain't One of the Healthy Recipes.

So this post was originally going to be called: "Cauliflower, It's a F--ckin' Miracle!"

But too many people hate cauliflower. (Including, sadly, the Lobster). And since I'm hoping to elicit some help in finding new meal ideas, I didn't want to scare all you cruciferphobes away.

But since the webworld is FULL of recipes, you may be wondering why on earth I'd ask for help in finding a few easy healthy recipes?

Well, here's my dilemma:

What the Heck is a "Healthy: Recipe?"

One thing I've learned is that this is a very individual, subjective concept. Unfortunately, my current definition of Healthy doesn't seem to line up with any of the handy established Dietary Religions.

Fast Food Worship: Still Quite Popular!

This means I must alter recipes when I encounter them. If you are as untalented in the kitchen as I am, improvisation is not usually advisable.

The picture above is not mine, but could be.

Anyway, what's my current dietary denomination?

I'm a Healthy Hedonistic Quantitarian.

Yep, I am a devoted disciple of The First United Church of Big-Ass Portions of Food. In my religion, gluttony is not forbidden! I eat all day long with no guilt.  But wasting calories on food that could do unfriendly shit to my body one day and doesn't even taste divine? That's an absolute sin.

My religion shares some similarities with other faiths, like Primal/Paleoism, Mediterraneanism, Veganism, LowCarbitarianism, LowCalitarianism and even the Puritanical Pritikin People. We all worship at the altar of the Most Holy Vegetable.  Craploads and craploads and craploads of vegetables.

Yet all of these other religions, and their respective Food Bibles and/or Cookbooks, encourage things I don't eat and forbid things I do.

Mostly my diet has to do with having found what seems to be the nutritionally blessed combination of foods that lets me eat like a pig (but healthy) most of the time, yet still have room for out-of-control snack and dessert rampages at parties, or during costco runs where I'll find myself scarfing up dozens of samples of Evil Things that I feel compelled to consume because they're free.

But since this stuff is so personal and particular, I do understand why no one else seems to be a member of my church.  So I've been alone in my quest for easy recipes that optimize all my favorite ingredients without taking hours to prepare. Yet it would be awesome to find some sort of Dietary Bible that somehow incorporates all these rules:

Crabby's Ten Weird Dietary Commandments:

1. Thou shalt go pretty easy on carbs, even healthy ones like beans and whole grains and corn and potatoes. Most of my carbs come from dump trucks full of vegetables, dark chocolate, and red wine.

2. Thou mayest eat nuts and seeds and olive oil and avocado and other healthy fats in generous but not completely unlimited portions.

3. Thou must avoid processed foods, refined grains, sugar, excessive sodium, weird chemicals and transfats, unless one is on a Rampage.

4.  Thou shalt not embark on Rampages on a daily basis.

5. Thou shalt get plenty of protein. Thou mayest eat meat and animal products if efforts are made to secure these from organic grassfed sources. However, thou shalt not consume processed meats.

Wait, is this starting to sounding a little Primal?  Eh, maybe not so much ...

6. Thou shalt not eat a lot of saturated fat and shalt go easy on even 'natural' sources like lard, butter, etc.

7.  Thou mayest consume fruit in addition (not instead of) the Most Holy Vegetable.

8.  Thou mayest consume dairy, though to avoid Excessive and Almost Comical Stomach Bloating, goat milk sources are preferred.  (Though it's almost impossible to find these low fat, damn it).

9.  Thou shalt be mindful of calories. Thou shalt not partake frequently of high calorie low carb concoctions that replace high glycemic carbs with boatloads of fat, unless thou art willing to keep portions small, and what the hell are the chances of that happening?

10.  Thou mayest use stevia or even splenda in lieu of sugar.

Yep, I am a Church of One. (Especially with #10 on there, but screw it, I'm not yet convinced by the research that either of these is all that dangerous.)

So where does this leave me?

Very happy, actually!

Crabby's Boring Daily Dietary Details

My general eating pattern is to start my day with a couple large cups of coffee with generous portions of goat milk.

Then after I work out, I have a HUGE vegetable/fruit smoothie (nearly a whole blenderful) with a big plateful of scrambled eggwhites (with more miscellaneous vegetables, onions, garlic, nutritional yeast and some pecorino cheese).

A couple hours later I'm hungry again and have a monstrously large salad with some sort of protein in there and "fun" ingredients like walnuts and goat cheese and pears. (I'll spare you the salad dressing detail, but it's mostly a fruit puree with olive oil.)

For dinner, there's usually some sort of lean protein, plus vast acreages of roasted vegetables. Or sometimes it's a stirfry or casseroley thing.  When I eat starches they tend to be small portions and are (currently, as an experiment) nonwheat stuff like quinoa, winter squashes, little blue potatoes, or even those weird shiritake noodles.

Treats are mainly red wine, dark chocolate, and then there are the aforementioned Rampages where Anything Goes.

The Cauliflower Miracle

So this is where the cauliflower came in... through reading 45 and 304  I was led to a chicken/cheese pizza crust, which was tasty but challenged my religious beliefs by being a bit too heavy on the saturated fat in the cheese and a bit too high in calories, given my liberal view of portion sizes. But this then led me to a low carb cauliflower pizza crust recipe and discussion of something known as "cauliflower rice."

Of course the cauliflower crust still had too much cheese, calories, and saturated fats for my religion, but it worked just fine by taking out some cheese, and adding a bunch of onions and garlic.  Suddenly I had a low cal, low carb, low fat, somewhat bread-like thing that was mostly made of vegetables!  (It crumbles when I pry it off the pan and is best eaten with a fork, but whatever.)

The discovery of the starch-mimicking properties of a healthy cancer-fighting vegetable like cauliflower was, like the discovery of kale chips or winter squash, a dietary miracle worth celebrating.  So I've been celebrating it... A LOT.

Now, if I get off my lazy ass and experiment, I'm fantasizing about things like vegetable-based crackers, wraps, loafs, etc.  Could there be guilt free low carb, low cal, vegetable-based desserts made with stevia? That would indeed be Heaven. Or does that violate some natural law or something?

In the meantime, I'm eating quite a bit of cauliflower since I don't hate it and it seems to bulk up all kinds of recipes, from scrambled eggs to soups to faux-crabcakes.  Which is healthy, right?  I can't imagine anything could go wrong with that plan.


So What's Your Food Religion and Where Do You Get Recipes?

As I said, I don't expect anyone to subscribe to my singular and eccentric Healthy Hedonistic Quantitarian religion.

But do you have "miracle" discoveries in your dietary faith? And where do you get your recipes?

(Note: if you've got a good healthy easy recipe that other folks might want to hear about, consider a guest recipe post here at Cranky Fitness! Just email me. That is, if you're a regular reader or blogger and not a PR person trying to pimp a large commercial website.)

Photos Credits: Awful Supper at; Squash disaster by technodad; Mrs Cauliflower at FreakingNews

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