"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Monday, March 14, 2011

Domestic Observances from a SistahDiva

Working out in Paris

Amy, one of my dearest Sistah-Girlfriends, writes a wonderful blog: Domestic Observances. She chronicles her life and adventures as a 20-something student, wife (she's got a tres yummy-hubby), and 'mamma' to an adorable pooch named Olive: "searching for style in [her] everyday." I love her unique writing style and her determination to discover and explore the healthiest and most realistic ways possible of living an organic life - with a healthy splash of cocktails and revelry in the mix. And somewhere along the way, I changed my life.

"30 Days of Vegan" looks delicious, huh?

I've been closely following Amy's series: "30 Days of Vegan"  Of course it never crossed my mind, for a scintilla of a second, to become a Vegan. I'm a meat eater and proud of it! But Amy's detailed posts (with photos that were admittedly yummy looking, see above), along with some great menus, really got me thinking about finding ways to eat healthier in my everyday life; and to enact a healthier way of living for my entire family. 

Williams-Sonoma: The Weeknight Cook Cookbook (@$25)

In July 2010 I blogged about my newfound struggle to stay at a comfortable weight (How to Work It Like a French Girl). Well, soon after I tried to adapt a Parisian foodie-city-lifestyle to my American suburban life, I realized that it's practically impossible. The shopping is SO different (in quality, availablity, and spirit). So, with a lowered head, I left on my 2010 Paris trip hating my body, uncomfortable with my weight. You can't imagine my surpise and joy to discover, when I returned, that I had lost the 5lbs plus a few more! Imagine my dismay to discover that by Christmas I was back in the same yucky-body-boat (EEK)! Nevertheless, I was determined to: a) figure out what it was about my Parisian trip that enabled me to loose the weight; b) how to adapt that knowledge to my state's side life. As I was considering my conundrum, I began reading Amy's Vegan posts. Unknowingly to her, I'm sure, Amy simultaneously gave me the half the answer and inspired me to completely renovate my eating habits.

Shrimp Scampi - my 1st home-cooked dish, in my new life.
The photo is from the cookbook, but my dish looked exactly the same (it really did!)

Now, I've never been a cook, but I love good food - hence the first part of my problem. I knew that I had to make a drastic change, and I was ready to do it:

*The 1st thing I did was stop eating any and all fast food- NO exceptions (Sushi doesn't count, right?)

*2nd, no more pop/soda in my house (I never order it when I go out, except for when I ate fast food). 

*3rd, I made the total commitment to cook every meal at home, using the freshest ingredients I could find. But I made allowances for the realities of my life and the fact that I live in the U.S., not on rue Cler [frown]. For example: I use store-bought chicken stock and ready made salad greens (sometimes)

*4th, I bought the Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Cook Cookbook/@ $24 (love, love, love Amazon.com!).

*5th, I started cooking, everyday, every meal. And I love it! I'm actually pretty good - who knew? My first dish was Shrimp Scampi, and with that success I have not looked back.

After 2 weeks I noticed a change, not only in my body but in my family's attitude. They love that I cook every meal for them. And they don't seem to notice that there's no more soda in the house. Also the kids are much more adventerous in trying new foods - everyone's been so supportive!  Moreover, there's something wonderful and powerful about cooking: selecting the menu, buying the ingredients, chopping, saute-ing, simmering...et voila! A beautiful, tasty, satisfying meal for everyone - that you made yourself!

And I cook with real butter and cream; meat, poultry, and seafood; spices and brandy; rich yummy flavors and still see positive results.  

NordicTrack iFit Live

My next step - get my ass moving!
For nearly a year now I've not been able to attend ballet classes - motherhood and career are just too damned demanding! But when I returned from my 2010 Paris trip, I knew that a major factor to my short-lived happy good-looking body was due to the hours I spent walking daily. Still, at this time, Chicago(land) was in full-fledged winter. And while Coco and I love our daily 2 mile walks from May to November, it's impossible for me and my girl to walk outside from December to April - no Parisian woman has ever had to contend with below zero temps and 5-26 inches of snow to drag their asses through on a typical midwestern winter's day! So when Mr. Gorgeous asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him - a treadmill. As soon as it was delivered and installed (mid-January 2011) I started walking 2 miles as day, at least 4 days a week - I love this thing! I'm proud to say that I've whittled down my 2 mile walking time from 45 minutes to 31 minutes! I'm a late night walker - after Pete, mom and the kids go to bed; I grab my iPod (with a special workout mix I put together) and head down to the basement. Coco has a special Diva-perch next to my prized treadmill (she totally doesn't get the whole walking in place 'thang).

The new me ;-)

I'm happy to share that, after 4 months of 3 meals a day/7 days a week Temple-home-cooking; and 2 1/2 months faithfully of 2 miles, 4x a week walking on my treadmill - I'm only 2lbs off my ideal weight. And I know that those last 2lbs are holding out because I refuse to give up Champagne or Red Wine - but we all have our crosses to bear. I'll just have to keep it up - oui?!

So thank you, Paris & Amy for inspiring me to find a way to live healthy and live DIVA!

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


I'm with Coco!

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