"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Culinary Rediscovery

About fifteen years ago, I became a vegetarian. It didn't happen overnight, but I eventually phased out all meat from my diet, except for the odd bit of tuna or fish 'n chips introduced in later years. I can't remember why I chose this route, but I was a vegetarian for at least ten of those fifteen years, not eating any animal flesh, including fish and seafood. Soon as I started to let in the fish, I stopped calling myself a vegetarian, but I still wasn't eating any meat that came from flying or walking creatures.

For the last year or so, I've debated reintroducing chicken into my diet. I eat fish, so why not chicken? Every time I'd have a bite, it would be all right, but nothing to write home about. I didn't like the pasty nature and unless the meat was highly marinated, it tasted like, well, chicken. It wasn't very inspiring.

Since I've started to track my food intake in Fitday, I've begun to realise just how imbalanced my dietary intake is, with fat reaching about 35% of my daily caloric intake with protein being at 15%. Those numbers should be reversed. It didn't take me long to conclude that animal protein, like fish or chicken, were my best bet for boosting my protein numbers without upping the carb and fat numbers, too.

At a salad bar this week, I loaded up on all kinds of wonderful veggie dishes, but added one bite of marinated chicken. It went down fine; the marinade was nice but the chicken had that pasty texture that turns me off.

Feeling emboldened, I stopped at the grocery store yesterday and decided that I wasn't walking out of there without some chicken to prepare for dinner. I decided to use my fish-introduction method: buy ridiculously expensive pre-seasoned meat. I spent a good twenty minutes looking at all my options and decided that a package of two Maple Leaf chicken breasts marinated in a 'Santa Fe' sauce made the most nutritional sense. Unlike a lot of other products I'd looked at, this was 100% chicken with real ingredients, not 'chicken product' with a bunch of chemicals on the label.

I assumed that 'Santa Fe' marinade would be rather 'tex-mexy', so I picked up tortillas (on mega sale, woohoo!) and a yellow pepper. At home, I popped the chicken in the oven, then set to work sauteing sliced onions and peppers.

I then made up the tortillas fajita-style, using a bit of cottage cheese in lieu of sour cream (but, of course). The result was surprisingly satisfactory. I only ate one of the breasts last night, of course, and I didn't dread eating the leftovers for lunch today.

Chicken has yet to wow me, but I'll keep working at it. If this weekend has been any indication of future success, I'll do just fine.

But, please, don't expect me to tuck into roast beef within this lifetime. :)

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