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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ready, Set, Blog! (Why The Svelte Gourmet is The Next Food Blog Star!)

The freedom to choose is a wonderful thing. For all intents and purposes, the world is my oyster (literally, as I live in Charleston, South Carolina where oysters abound!). I am fortunate to be in a time and place where I can choose who I want to be, where I want to go, and what I want to eat.

Choosing what I want to eat is the tough one. I like to try everything, and I like everything I try. I suppose being a picky eater would be worse, but my situation is not without issues. Let's put it this way -- no one has ever accused me of eating "like a bird." I'm not proud of this, but I'm over it. It is what it is. I love to eat.

Food is trendy. It's a good time for us! Eaters rejoice! Then repent. Because it seems to me that in our world of choices, the hardest decision we have to make is between eating "healthy" and eating "tasty." My life used to be in a perpetual state of turmoil. I was eating out, enjoying my social life and on a culinary adventure. Or I was on a diet, bored and deprived -- but thrilled with the results! I would work really hard to look fabulous in that dress so I could go out and....eat. Vicious cycle.

But we're not really eating that badly, are we? We grab lunch at the deli or eat out on weekends. We have a milkshake, but we'll skip lunch to make up for it. Not too bad, right? That's what I used to think, but now I know better. There's an obesity epidemic in this country, and it's no wonder. And we're drawn to a good deal, but guess what? We don't need to eat all we can eat! A little digging elucidated that the milkshake with all fresh ingredients I was having "as lunch" had 2,000 calories -- more than I should be eating in an entire day! During my diet phases, I'd stick with a salad that I later learned had 1,200 calories in the lunch portion. Wow. Who knew? More digging proved it -- eating out was a losing battle in my battle to lose.

I'm tired of choosing. I want both. Healthy and delicious. The Svelte Gourmet was an experiment -- a challenge. Could I create food that was both figure friendly and foodie-approved? Could I come up with recipes that were special enough for a dinner party but simple enough for a Wednesday? Could I publish a cookbook that would give us a month of variety without cheating on our diets? I don't want to choose anymore -- and I'm sharing my successes, failures and follies with you so you don't have to either.

So why should I be The Next Food Blog Star? Because I'm having a blast. And I've learned that I'm not alone in this. Many of us struggle with this every day. You've told me your stories, you've inspired me to keep writing and you've challenged me to recreate your favorites so you can eat them more often. I'm happy because I'm making you happy. I've loved every minute of it, good and bad. I'm putting myself out there and I've had my share of ridicule. Maybe I'm not "authentic" in my cuisine or educated on the "proper" ways to prepare dishes, but that's ok. Thai Tuesdays at the Foxes satisfy our cravings despite the substitution of whole grain pasta and bean sprouts for rice noodles in my Pad Thai (and if you're like me, you'll understand why finally finding seedless tamarind paste in Charleston raised my heart rate more than any sweat session at the gym!). "Unfried" Fridays rival our old nights out on the town (and the "Faux"jitos don't hurt, either). Make-your-own-pizza night is a family favorite, and the fact that it's healthy gets lost in the fun.

I write for the "every day cook." Those of us who love to (have to) put meals on the table every night -- after we get home from work. Those of us who want great food without having to spend hours in the kitchen followed by hours at the gym. Those of us who don't want to choose between healthy and tasty.

I'll keep writing whether I win Project Food Blog or not. I've tried to make changes so my life didn't revolve around food, but it didn't work. This blog is my outlet and you're my muse. If you enjoy what I write and love what I cook, please vote for The Svelte Gourmet. Thank you for reading!

To vote for The Svelte Gourmet, please click the Project Food Blog Official Contestant box to the top left of this post. Voting on this first challenge is open September 20-23. Thank you!


Megan said...

So many people don't know about the hidden calories in restaurant food. It's definitely an important issue more need to know about. Good luck in the challenge!

Unknown said...

Great post. You've got my vote. Good luck with the competition.

Jason Wong said...

Hope get through with the vote.

Unknown said...

Hey Jenny, I totally agree with your philosophy that healthy food should also taste great! I'm a sucker for fantastic flavorful food and I devote my blog to delicious recipes for the everyday healthy cook! You've got my vote! Hope you'll check out my site as well!

@lickmyspoon said...

Keep having a blast eating yummy healthy food! Just voted for you!