My head is spinning with all the information regarding healthy eating, leading of course to beneficial food preparation. All of my adult life I have relied on the concept that balance and moderation is the best way to maintain good eating habits. And, each year I gained another 10-15 pounds of unwanted weight.
The only way weight loss has ever worked for me has been to go on a drastic diet (you name it, I've tried it) and the minute I have gone back to my "balanced" eating style the pounds start to come back with a vengeance. I was 60+ pounds over weight when I learned what healthy eating really means and I am absolutely astounded.
Where to begin? I began watching a show featuring Dr. Furhman. Although much of what he said seemed too difficult to me, the science he offered seemed solid, so I decided to give it a try. Within a week I purchased a book by Dr. McDougall who was a leader in Furhman's school of thought. It made so much sense to me and turned my thinking around.
Also, his wife Mary McDougall, created many recipes with a style of preparation which showed that unlike many who offer "nutrition cooking tips" she understands food, flavors and texture. The first indication was based on the simple mirapoix which I use to begin 75% of my recipes and is the first rung of the flavor building process: saute onions, carrots and celery in good quality olive oil.
There are two problems with this technique. The first is that it adds 100 calories per Tablespoon of Olive Oil (I generally used 3-4 Tablespoons) and the second is that Olive Oil is fat. So, before beginning any soup, sauce or gravy, I added 300-400 unnecessary calories. Not exactly healthy cooking. Whew!
It was obvious that a nutritious meal couldn't begin with so many added calories, but what then could be the bottom rung of the flavor ladder? I tried several methods which included simmering in hot water, simmering in spicy vegetable juice and sauteing in a dry pan. None of these methods yielded the rich, deep flavor that I was looking for.
Finally in desperation I ordered a Cusiniart Electric Skillet (CSK 250) with a petroleum-free, ceramic-based, nonstick interior. What a difference! I sprayed it with a very light coating of Olive Oil and then proceeded to saute the carrots, onion and celery.
It is important to be vigilant for three or four minutes while the vegetables begin to soften or else they will burn. If they seem like they are beginning to scorch, turn the heat to a lower temperature. You will be amazed at the results: eliminating approximately 400 calories without losing any flavor. Personally, I cannot imagine sauteing any other way!