I’ve lost 8-9 pounds in the last 6 weeks. I’d like to credit the new size to diligent exercise and proper, healthy eating, but I can’t. I’ve had to take an introverted look at myself to pinpoint the trigger.
It started with eating something that didn’t sit so well with me in Mexico last month. That caused an immediate elimination of 4 pounds. Stress is a constant factor, so I was sure that most inconvenient reality of most our lives kicked in, too, setting off another series of weight loss. Seeing 1/2″ off my arms, thighs and stomach, motivated me to start eliminating some things from my diet. I was so curious to see how far I could go. And how long it would last…
I got rid of milk (well, switched it for half & half for my espresso–another story for another day), eggs (unless I’m tasting a new flan) and eating random food at random hours of the day. I did start doing strenuous exercises at home and that kick-started some serious calorie burning. I started seeing some additional inches fall off, but the stress factor was still there. You’d think I’d be excited to do a full cleansing of my diet and start incorporating more appropriate foods, particularly vegetables. As much as I like to eat, I have the hardest time eating fresh veggies.
I go for the good, good, stuff! Meat, rice, beans, bread, tortillas, cuban pastries, cakes, ice cream and everything in between! Clearly, greens, vegetables and fruits have not been a priority in my daily intake.
Shame.on.moi. I know! BUT! As the pounds kept shedding and the stress starting dissipating, and with a big birthday just 2 days away (in which I had promised myself I’d look like I did 10 years ago), I realized that I need a major overhaul of what I was putting in my body. I also started noticing that my body feels better all around! More importantly, I love the way the slimmer bod looks! My clothes is looser and my face isn’t as pudgy and it normally is!
So, with the 3 material considerations in mind, I decided to make a concerted effort, not a shabby, half-assed one, to eat better more often. The fastest and easiest way to do that was to have a mental love affair with salads first and then morph into an edible one. For most of my adult life, I’ve loathed salads. Unless they were replete with candied something and plenty of cooked protien, I wasn’t remotely interested. It’s almost as if I were allergic to a plate or bowl full of greens. By far contrast, both my parents can eat a dinner plates worth in addition to a main course. Watercress!?!?! Ugh, yuck and ick! My dad eats it like he’s a lone horse in lovely pasture.
But, again, I knew it was the most efficient approach at eating better (while keeping the weight off) and keeping my mind off the good, good, stuff. However, whatever salad I invited into my repertoire has to be colorful, super flavorful and filling enough to keep me satisfied. I make this, this and this salad and just love them, but it wasn’t until this revelation and committment to myself that I really embraced the idea of having them as full meals.
Over the last few days, I started playing with different ideas and all have satisfied me for the most part. I started considering what was in season and felt kind of limited. Tomatoes and corn are out the door in these parts of the world….so those were an unlikely staple.
Another epiphany! Who the hell cares?! If I want to eat it, I’ll eat it. If I can find a juicy tomato to enjoy, then I’ll have a juicy tomato. Could it be deemed culinary irresponsibility or insensitivity? Possibly. But at this juncture, I need to make it work which ever way I can.
And so, I came to this salad. A happy medium of flavors and seasonal byproducts.
Perhaps not the ideal fall salad, but I have a rack of tomatoes, a whole bag of cucumbers and 10 packs of halloumi cheese… boom! A crunchy and savory salad. It was missing some additional green and some aroma, so I added fresh mint. And of course, I needed a dressing. The most fabulous marriage ocurred in my kitchen today!!
Lavender vinegar blended with fig balsamic and a dash of honey! AHHHHHH!! What a marvelous salad. It had the perfect crisp I was looking for, the right amount of sweetness (though I’m thinking some candied pecans would not do this mix any injustice) and the right point of saltiness via the cheese…a wonderful cheese from Cyprus.
Fusion at its best.
I loooved it, friends. Took less than 10 minutes to make, and all of 5 to sabor. Now, you know this chica hates cooking for thy self, let alone eating alone, so this is something that will pacify those urges to enjoy something good w/out the grunt of cooking an elaborate meal.
I am one happy, lighter and on the road to a greener diet gal!
What would you add to this salad? I was thinking some lavender flowers. And, what’s your go-to salad?
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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Cucumber & Tomato Salad With Fig & Lavender Vinegars*
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup halloumi cheese, cubed
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp. fresh mint, smaller leaves or minced (optional)
In medium bowl, add all ingredients and toss well. Make your dressing toss into salad. Serve on plate.
*dressing provided under separate post here.