Tonight, I am going to tell you all a story. This is a story about a time in my life when the basic living necessity of BREAD was taken from me. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I, like so many great weight-loss-aspiratives (I made that word up, I know) before me, was once deprived of the great fundamental of life called GRAIN.
Long story short, we moved to Los Angeles a few months before our wedding, got fat, and needed to slim down in about 36 days in order to fit into our wedding outfits. Hello, Atkins? Can you help us?
That’s how it went. Plus a lot of miserable grumpiness.
Okay, ‘miserable grumpiness’ is a massive understatement. In October 2007, just a month shy of our Big Day, we decided to start the Atkins Diet, in order to drop pounds quickly to fit back into the outfits we’d fit so nicely in before we moved to Lack of Physical Activity and Abundance of Tacos Land (otherwise known as Los Angeles).
Here is how a typical day went for me: extreme sausage sandwich without bun from Jack in the Box (two sausage patties with an egg). Garlic pork with CABBAGE instead of rice from yummy Thai place next to my job. Pile of deli meat for dinner. Yes, just deli meat. I’m talking a plate of hard salami, proscuitto (if we were feeling extravagant), and pepperoni. And nothing else. It was like a pizza without the pizza crust. In other words, wholly unfulfilling.
I will also add here that the Atkins Diet makes you mean and grumpy and horrible and cranky. It is like the protein translates in your body’s system as merely testosterone, and so you are like a bodybuilder gone wild. I wanted to punch everything I saw, except dogs. Dogs, I was always like, “You guys were meant to survive on meat, help me out here!” I was pleading with the yorkie next door to give me some tips on how to get through this. Maybe it got better after the first month, but I never had a chance to find out.
So this is why we almost didn’t get married in November. If my husband hadn’t been a Taurus (stubborn), and I hadn’t been a Libra (determined to make everything work out), our wedding probably would not have gone off so well. Or, alternatively, someone could have handed us some pieces of toast before we stepped on the plane to Pittsburgh, and we might have been just fine.
Now I will tell you the story of how desperate we became as non-carbers. Every two weeks during this diet, we were allowed a ‘carb-out’ day. This meant we could eat anything in the entire world for one day, the idea being that we would provide our body with the necessary carbs it needed to function for the following two weeks of deprivation.
One of these weeks was around my birthday, and we went to Timmy Nolan’s, the Irish pub behind our house, and the first thing we ordered when we walked in the door was a bread basket.
No one goes to a respectable Irish pub and orders a bread basket!
(It was the best bread basket of my life.)
Anyway. We lived through the experience, each dropped between 15 and 20 pounds to fit into our outfits, and had an amazing, fantastic, beautiful wedding full of lovely pictures that we still adore looking through. It worked out. And then, I thought I would never, ever, EVER eat low-carb again.
We are leaving for the West Coast on Monday, and we haven’t exactly been as dilligent about healthy living as we’d hoped in these past two months (whatever, our jobs are TOUGH and STRESSFUL!), so we decided to do a week of low-carb. I mean, it’s just to give ourselves a little boost before the trip! It can’t be that bad, right?
Well, wrong. Of course, I’m getting crave-y about carbs, and we’re morphing back to Arnold Schwarzenegger-style protein-consumption, BUT, we have solved one issue in this week, and that is a delicious, filling, but low-carb meal for our Elaborate Homecooked Meal of February.
Michael was the one who came up with the idea of bacon-wrapped scallops, so I must give him his due. He also constructed the recipe, because despite the massive amount of sites that pop up when you Google ‘bacon-wrapped scallops,’ there are not a whole bunch of ways to make them.
I handled the side, which was panko-breaded zucchini fries. I learned, while on Atkins, that I need a certain number of carbs to survive without having Parkinsons-like shakes. There are 19 carbs per serving of panko breading, and each serving of zucchini had half a serving of panko. Win!
Step One for Michael was to make the bacon. We used real, honest-to-goodness bacon, except the low-salt kind. On Atkins, you can basically eat whatever you want calorie- or fat-wise, as long as it’s low-carb, but since I was trying to have enough carbs that I didn’t stab someone, we decided to watch our salt as well.
And one more picture of that sweet beast – here she is, expectantly watching the oven and wondering when it will ‘be zucchini’. We learned that she has a hard time chewing zucchini, but overall, loves the breading!
And here was the assembled meal: all told, it was less than 25 carbs, and had the potential to be delicious. Unfortunately, we underestimated how long it would take the scallops to cook (these are the larger, bay scallops, and we usually prefer the smaller sea scallops), so the zucchini was a bit chilly by the time we served everything. But flavor-wise, we couldn’t ask for more. The panko-breading tricks your mind into thinking you’re having a big carb load, even though you technically aren’t.
Oh, and did I mention? If you’re eating low-carb, wine is still well within your reach. You can’t have dessert wines or the sweeter varieties, but feel free to dip into a dry red or white while enjoying your meat!
Am I thrilled that my low-carb endeavor will end Monday morning when the flight attendant serves me my cup of apple juice? Yes. But am I glad that we tried out a low-carb meal? Definitely.
And I swear that I will not ever grow to loathe bacon-wrapped scallops the way that I can’t eat Trader Joe’s hard salami (sorry TJ’s! – I can still eat everything else there!). But I promise that when we get to Timmy Nolan’s on Monday night, I may not get a basket of bread, but I am not going to turn away their famous Irish nachos. Or breaded cheese sticks. Or that fantastic honey-sticky honey mustard that goes with their BREADED chicken fingers.
I can handle an elaborate low-carb dinner, but dear lord, I love the bread!