Ditch the diet and focus on a ‘healthy eating life plan’ this fall | HOT FROM THE OVEN!

Diet to me usually means you have to give up eating the foods that made you squishy to begin with. Which is why I prefer to call what I’ve been doing for the past four months my “healthy eating life plan.”

Colunist Carolyn Ossorio with some of her apple haul.

Whenever I have gone on a diet, I have failed. Not a miserable failure mind you, but there was just one problem, and admittedly it was a biggun: I was unable to sustain, ummm, not eating.

Besides, cooking and breaking bread with family and friends is one of the joys of my life. So not eating or cooking for my family feels a bit like the antithesis of living life to its fullest.

If it were up to me the word “diet” should be eradicated from the planet.

Diet to me usually means you have to give up eating the foods that made you squishy to begin with: no more cupcakes, spaghetti Bolognese, peanut butter cookies or fudgey chocolate cake.

Which is why I prefer to call what I’ve been doing for the past four months my “healthy eating life plan.” It connotes focusing on habits and foods that are better for your body and soul and on not giving up anything.

Diets always remind me of fads, anyway. And, with a few exceptions (like the Rubik’s Cube), generally, no good can come from fads.

Which is why I have stayed away from quinoa. Obviously.

Of course no one ever thinks that fads are annoying in the “hey day” of the fad, you just continue munching on that Kale-quinoa-turkey ball and say, “I’m Gluten Free.”

It’s only afterward, when the fad becomes ridiculous and ironic that you realize the error of your ways. Besides, no one likes the person who suddenly changes their eating and exercise habits and then lords it over everyone else.

Which is why if asked, I simply say, “healthy eating life plan” or to my foodie friends: “I was tired of feeling like a deep fried Twinkie and wishing to be a Petit fours.”

These days I’m going for balance.

Which means this time of year I still make my family’s favorite Back-to-School snacks like granola, chunky apple sauce and homemade honey’d peanut butter.

Getting ready for school is always hectic as kids are both excited and nervous about their classes. For all of us, it feels like an opportunity for a fresh start AND it is literally the most organized I will feel all year.

So between the mad dash of cleaning, school shopping and getting paperwork in order at school (I have one kid with asthma and tree nut allergy), the family took some time out to grab some free apples to stock up the pantry with my delicious Chunky Pippimamma Apple Sauce and Apple Butter.

We came by the opportunity to pick our fill of apples from the “Buy Nothing Renton Highlands” Facebook group. The group’s philosophy is about giving, sharing and community.

Essentially, if you have something you no longer need and want to freely give to a neighbor in the community, you make a posting and people who want your free stuff respond (in our case we wanted the apples). The owners of the fruit trees couldn’t bear the idea of all the fruit falling to the ground and going to waste and invited a few neighbors onto their property, asking in return for a few jars of apple sauce or whatever was made with the apples and plums.

This past Sunday we showed up at our neighbor’s house bearing four Mason jars filled with jam and the kids and I walked away with five bags of apples and a wonderful experience of picking and climbing the trees together.

This is a great time of year to get started on some positive changes in your life. Whether it’s your own version of “New Healthy Life Plan” or reaching out to your community, or some other goal.

In full disclosure, I did try my own recipe of Quinoa Turkey balls, because, well, I was hungry. Afterward, I decided that I am so ok with being a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

So long as it’s a rice cake with my homemade Honey’d Peanut Butter topped with Apple Butter and thin apple slices, of course!

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