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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Week of Work Lunches - Marcella

Working a white-collar job involves the constant presence of donuts, cakes, pizza, candy dishes...My colleagues always express sympathy for me and/or wonder at the discipline I must be exercising when I can't partake but the truth is that I consider myself so so lucky that my principles prevent willpower from ever needing to enter into it. That food never registers in my brain as edible. I work out during lunch, and then eat my container of one of the recipes below, plus a salad and am content.

The only difficulty in having a healthy lunch at work could be prep time, so I thought I'd share some ways to prepare easy lunches in advance. Even simpler than the recipes below: you can always buy some cans of various beans and make about 2.5 cups of brown rice or quinoa over the weekend. Then every day, combine 1/2 can of beans and 1/2 cup of rice or quinoa OR a microwaved sweet potato. Have with a side of spinach leaves and grape tomatoes. Pretty easy.

I'm going to post on a few recipes that you can make on the weekend in one big batch that'll last 4-5 days for one person. Just add a side salad and you'll be set. Here's the first:

Black Beans + Quinoa with Pumpkin Seeds and Cilantro
protein-rich and filling
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 c fresh cilantro OR 1 cube frozen (can be found at Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cans low-sodium black beans
In a small pot, combine water and quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes then remove from heat.

Dry-toast the pumpkin seeds over high heat til they pop or are a little darker in color - not burnt.

Combine with the garlic, cumin, cilantro and salt in a food processor and process til well minced.

Stir into the quinoa.

Rinse and drain the black beans and combine with the quinoa.

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Anonymous Farrah Haddad said...

Hi Marcella, I go the GG where Derek is the Director of personal training. We had a nutrition seminar last Sunday for the GG challenge, and I felt empowered with the knowledge Derek shared about his approach to eating healthy.

I went home that evening and was determined to get rid of everything unhealthy in my fridge and pantry. I started with an already opened packet of spaghetti, and since I felt bad about tossing food, I prepared it for an early dinner.

It was a downward spiral after that! I started craving more starches and ended up eating half a packet of family-size Lay's sour cream and onion chips (chips are my weakness, but I had been able to avoid it since the beginning of the challenge. Until that night that is!) Then I craved something sweet and ended up eating 2 cups of ice cream, and it was already close to bedtime.

I woke up the next morning and thought through what happened and realized that it wasn't my willpower at all that failed. I had set myself up for failure by starting off wrong.

Needless to say, pasta and all simple starches terrify me now. Derek told us there is no silver bullet to eating healthy but he actually kind of gave us one. His approach of "protein and produce" has changed the way I look at my meals. Since that dreaded spaghetti night, I have religiously followed his instruction. And I now know exactly what you mean by willpower not being a factor when confronted with junk food at the workplace. With my protein rich meals every 3 hours, ignoring all those sweet and savory Super Bowl left overs was a breeze.

I feel full all day long now; I am buying things at the grocery store I had never even noticed before; I made my first quinoa recipe last night and it was delicious; and best of all, I have not had any simple starches since I started, I do not crave it, and I definitely have not had a hankering for chips!

This 12-week challenge for me was not about the weight loss, but about the education participants receive to make informed decisions. I am so glad I joined because I am receiving what I expected and more. And now I have your website and recipes to help! I can't wait to start trying them out, they all look yummy.

Sorry for the super long comment, but I felt I had to share with you the positive changes that have been brought about by what you are teaching. Thank you so much for spending your time and effort on this, you are affecting more people than you know!

February 12, 2011 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Marcella said...

Wow! I have to admit while reading the first 3 paragraphs I was paralyzed with horror. BUT they just made the second half of your comment that much more awesome. You did it! If you need anything, you know where to find us!

March 7, 2011 at 6:43 AM  

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