If you are one of the 38% Americans who decide to lose weight after New Year, you are probably smack in the middle of the buyer’s remorse period: the enthusiasm and hot-headedness of the first week of intense dieting and exercising had already worn off; you’ve toned down your exercise intensity, but you are still feeling bad about quitting your diet and holding on for dear life. Food seems boring, bland chicken breasts get stuck in your throat and you find salad mixes atrocious. Yep. Been there. Done that, too.
For me, the difference between this year and all the previous… hmm… 20+ years of starting over is — I am not doing it alone this time. My husband and I both committed and took on a major challenge. We devised a detailed plan of attack, and we are taking on monthly challenges that we both must follow, and on top of that, individual 30-day challenges which can be picked from the list. If you fail one day, you are starting over, until you complete 30 days straight.
Our common challenge this month is no added sugar (or honey) in anything for the month of January. And my individual challenge has been 30 days under 30 grams of carbs – in other words I am in the induction phase of the low-carb regimen. So far it has worked well, I had to restart my challenge twice, because I went slightly over 30 grams a couple of times, but I am not feeling bad — this low carb way is good for me, and it makes me feel awesome. I have lost around 8 pounds so far, and keep counting…
One of the challenges of the low-carb life — limited vegetable intake. Some of my most favorite vegetables, such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, even spinach — are packed with carbs, so I have to watch my intake. One of the ways to reduce the carbs is fermenting/pickling. This is why my fridge is packed with sauer kraut, pickled celery, squash and eggplant right now.
The other way is — mix the lower carb fresh veggies with heavy proteins. And this is a very good way to go.
This particular salad wasn’t specifically designed for a low-carb lifestyle, but it fits very nicely. You mix soft fresh cheese, such as ricotta, farmer’s cheese or even dry curd cottage cheese with crunchy spring vegetables, such as cucumbers, radishes, green onions. You add a pinch of salt and fresh chopped herbs of your choosing, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt on top, and you are set. I love it! It’s filling, but not heavy, it’s dense in calories, calcium and vitamins, but doesn’t make you feel like you just ate a bowl of grated cardboard.
Try it out!
Cheese and Spring Vegetable Salad
One individual serving
- 3-4 oz (1/2 cup) of ricotta, farmer’s cheese or dry curd cottage cheese, such as Friendship California Style cottage cheese
- 5-6 un-pealed slices of cucumber, quartered
- 2-3 fresh un-pealed radishes, sliced
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- fresh herbs, such as dill, mint or parsley, chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the above and enjoy.