Friday, February 9, 2018

The Happygirl Wellbeing Experiment #1: Whole Roasted Cauliflower


 I don't prefer cauliflower.

My friend Megs laughs (hard) when I say I don't prefer something because it means I must REALLY hate something. This is true especially with cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts.  I hate the smell, the texture and the taste of these cruciferous vegetables, which are so good for you.  Still, nope. I just don't prefer it.

There is an old saying that goes like this: You can't expect different results if you're doing the same thing you've always done.  Last week I started a weight loss program, but when I thought about it, it wasn't just my weight I wanted to change, it was my lifestyle, my wellbeing. In order to lose weight, to be the best version of me, I had to change what I had done in the past, from my food to my way of thinking. So, I'm going back to my roots, to experimenting but this time, instead of with happiness, it's about wellbeing. To be honest, I think when you work on balancing your wellbeing, you'll find your happy too.

Going forward, each week I'll be trying something new that will enhance my wellbeing. I've been doing research into diet/lifestyle programs and I keep seeing recipes for roasted cauliflower. So, I thought this would be my first experiment. Cauliflower has so many benefits. It's high in fiber, antioxidants and can help fight inflammation. Read more about this vegetable's benefits here.  The question is: Can I add cauliflower to my diet and feel happy about it? That's the thing. I don't want to be miserable on an eating/lifestyle/diet program. When I started my program last week, I cut out coffee because one diet ("The Fast Metabolism Diet" by Haylie Pomroy) I was incorporating into my program stated absolutely no coffee. But I was so miserable after one day that I wanted to quit the whole thing. I decided coffee was something I wanted in my life. However, instead of artificial non-dairy flavored creamer loaded with sugar, fat and chemicals,  I would add an unsweetened coconut product which although doesn't have that same sweet, creamy artificial taste, it was still coffee and I was happy and still on program. I didn't want to live a cranky life because was on a diet. This was a lifestyle change in my wellbeing and I wanted to set myself up for success.

I tried cauliflower pizza in the past and it wasn't so bad. However, that's because the crust was covered in cheese and sauce. I bought a head of cauliflower at Trader Joe's and decided to use this recipe from The New York Times. There were just four ingredients and the preparation couldn't have been simpler.

Then I almost set the kitchen on fire.

The recipe calls for coating the cauliflower in olive oil so I liberally poured olive oil on the cauliflower which pooled in the pan. I heated the oven to 400 degrees (heeding the reviewers suggestions) and slid the pan in the oven. Almost 20 minutes later I smelled smoke.  I opened the oven door to billowing white smoke and spitting oil which was hitting the heating element on the top of the oven. Our smoke alarms went off which sent messages to L's phone (he is in London) alerting him that there was smoke in our home. The baby (who was sleeping) was startled and she started to howl.  I turned the oven off, opened all of the windows and texted L that the house was not burning down, that I had burned dinner and to go back to sleep (again, he's in London and this was dinner time in Seattle).

About 15 minutes later I opened the oven door to just a little residual smoke. I realize my problem was that olive oil has a low smoke point and that what I should have done was drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto the cauliflower on a plate or bowl first, then place it on the pan. Since the cauliflower itself wasn't burned, I took the pan out of the oven, broke up the cauliflower into smaller pieces covering the whole pan and placed the pan into our tabletop convection oven, still at 400 degrees. With the cauliflower covering the whole pan,  after another 20 minutes, the cauliflower was perfectly roasted and golden brown.

I tossed it with a little salt and added it to a pretty bowl. Instead of standing at the counter, I sat down to savor my dinner, unsure if this was going to be an epic fail.

It wasn't. It was actually delicious. The olive oil roasted the vegetable into a perfectly soft, carmelized version of itself.  I loved it. I ate every bite. I felt good about what I was eating. I didn't feel like I was on a diet program. I just felt like I was doing something good for my body and that I was satisfied and proud of myself for trying something new.

After dinner, I did some research into issues of eating too much cauliflower and it turns out that yes, you can eat too much cauliflower.  Eating too much of this vegetable can interfere with the absorption of iodine, which can lead to hypothyroidism which can lead to a lower metabolism and weight gain. Read more about the side effects here.

In the future, I'll definitely make this again but I'll work on my portion sizes.

Week one weight loss so far: 6 pounds

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