Logan currently has five days left to lose 6% of his body weight. While he’s made significant progress, he’s still got a ways to go if he wants to meet his goal. Luckily for The Dude Diet, Logan’s competitive nature has kicked into high gear, and he’s determined to win this bet at any cost. He is definitely getting a little nervous in the home stretch, meaning that he’s been weighing himself three times a day, threatening to go on a crazy crash diet and/or juice cleanse until Friday, and waxing poetic on the sacrifices he’s made on the food front in the past three weeks. For the record, Logan does not have the will power necessary for a crash diet, and I’m pretty sure a cleanse would kill him. Also, crash dieting goes against the two pillars of The Dude Diet: moderation and being less of an idiot. So, I’ll be putting in some extra hours on The Dude Diet this week, making sure that Logan stays happy, healthy, and drops those last few lbs like it’s his job.
|5 more days to a wonderland beach body.|
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, Logan has been doing remarkably well on The Dude Diet recently. However, despite all this “healthy eating shit,” he’s been frustrated that he is still weighing in at just under a deuce. I too was curious why he wasn’t slimming down faster, since The Dude Diet has provided him with such excellent weight-loss tools. Last week, I finally figured it out. I had the pleasure of spending five days in California with Logan, during which time I was able to observe his eating habits in minute detail. It was eye-opening, to say the least.
After our first full day in California, it became clear why Logan wasn’t shedding his “fun pounds” more quickly. The dude is confused about portion sizes. And by confused, I mean that he is blissfully unaware of their existence. The smoothie that Logan made for himself in the morning was twice the size of a normal human’s, he was eating nuts by the handful, snacking on pounds of deli meats, and he ordered a 14 oz filet mignon at dinner. None of the actual foods that he ate were terrible from a health standpoint, but the amounts consumed were truly terrifying. When I asked how many calories Logan thinks he eats a day, he said, “2,000.” Logan is delusional. That’s when I realized that it was time to have a little chat with him about portion control.
Needless to say, “the talk” wasn’t easy, but it had to happen. I told Logan that eating healthily is great, but he also needs to eat LESS. “Healthy” is not synonymous with “calorie free,” and this must be taken into account. I explained this principle using the pounds of almonds that he ate last week as an example. When I informed Logan that he had easily consumed 1000 calories a day worth of almonds, he panicked. “What do you mean?? I thought almonds were healthy. How could you not tell me this?!!! Why didn’t you stop me??!” I calmly replied that it would be awkward for me to comment on his almond eating and/or take them out of his mouth in front of my family and friends. Things like that are best done in private and on this blog. I then went on to explain that almonds are good for him, but they are also fat and calorie-dense, and one serving is about a handful. Logan was devastated by this revelation and went on to admit that he had been rolling the almonds up in salami with cheese and thinking it was Dude Diet-friendly. Apparently, this snack was "like a fucking Chex Mix in [his] mouth.” I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I moved on to outlining portion sizes of the major food groups.
|Confused Logan googling portion sizes.|
Unfortunately, Logan is not the only dude that is confused about portion sizes. In fact, most dudes take down disgustingly large amounts of food without thinking twice. I largely blame society for this nutritional idiocy, but it stops now. For your convenience, I have outlined the appropriate portion sizes of the most common foods below.
Dude Diet Serving Size Guidelines:
-Pasta, rice, quinoa, and other grains: ½ cup as a side dish, 1 cup as a main course. 1 cup is about the size of a tea cup, not a Big Gulp.
-Meat, fish, and poultry: 4 oz, which is about the size of your fist. Unless you have freakishly large hands, you have no excuse to be eating giant hunks of meat.
-Cheese: 1 oz. This is the size of one string cheese. They are individually packaged for a reason, dudes.
-Nuts: ¼ cup. This is about a handful. And honey-roasted, candied, or heavily salted varieties are not healthy snacks. You know this.
-Fruit: 1/2 -1 cup depending on the fruit. You should be eating about 3 servings a day. Remember fruit has a lot of sugar, so please don’t sit around eating bushels of bananas as a snack.
-Vegetables: ½ cup is one serving. You should be eating at least 5 servings of vegetables a day, but feel free to eat more if you like. They should not be smothered in ranch dressing, drenched in butter, or coated in cheese. Duh.
Logan is slowly and painfully internalizing these serving size guidelines, but he still needs some friendly guidance, which I am happy to provide. He was in Philadelphia on Friday, and he called twice to say that he was starving and the entire city smelled like cheese steaks. Knowing that Logan was going to come home tired, hungry, and feeling like a Dude Diet martyr for turning down Philly’s finest culinary offerings, I whipped up some light, portion-controlled comfort food. I give you Individual Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pies:
These Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pies are the bomb. Seriously. Packed with vegetables and lean ground turkey, the filling is hearty, comforting, and virtually fat free. The combination of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika provides the perfect balance of sweet and smoky flavors, and a little bit of cayenne gives it a slight kick. If you’re already bitching about the lack of mashed potatoes in this recipe, relax. I promise you won’t miss them. The incredibly healthy cauliflower puree is silky smooth and just as delicious. I even gave you some cheese on top. For the record, Logan loves cauliflower puree. The first time I served it to him, he said, “These potatoes taste kind of funny, but I like them!” Yes, I’m sure they did taste funny, since they were not potatoes, but there was no need for him to know that until after he’d already finished the meal. Now he eats cauliflower puree all the time. You should too.
My favorite thing about these shepherd’s pies is that they are perfectly portioned. Logan got very excited when I told him he could eat THE WHOLE THING guilt-free, and that he would still be on track to winning his bet. He was even more psyched after he finished eating, when he was full and satisfied but didn’t need a Zantac or a belly rub. (I felt the need to remind him that this is how normal people feel after every meal).
|Yes, you can eat the whole thing.|
For the record, there is something about individually sized meals that is very attractive, probably because most people don’t like to share their food. (Logan certainly doesn’t.) Plus, making shepherd’s pies in ramekins really ups the fancy factor, meaning that you could easily serve these at your next dinner party...
If you don’t own ramekins or oven-safe bowls, I suggest you invest in some. You can get them for about four bucks a piece, which I know for a fact because I bought them on Friday. Ramekins are cute and versatile, which are pretty much the criteria I follow when making any purchase, and I guarantee that you’ll find lots of uses for them. If I have not sold you on the ramekins…you can make this shepherd’s pie in a regular 9-inch baking dish. Yes, it will taste just as good. It won’t be as pretty to look at, but that’s on you. Regardless of how you choose to serve your shepherd’s pie, you should know that comfort food is totally in vogue right now. As always, I’m keeping you on the cutting edge with this recipe. You’re welcome, dudes.
Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pie: (Serves 4)
12 oz ground white turkey
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
½ cup green beans, finely chopped
1 garlic clove minced
½ cup frozen green peas
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 cup vegetable stock
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
For the cauliflower topping:
1 head cauliflower florets
1 quart skim milk
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Preparing your Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pie:
For the cauliflower puree:
-Put the cauliflower and milk in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a simmer. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender.
-Strain the cauliflower, reserving the cooking liquid.
-Puree the cauliflower with ¼ cup of the cooking liquid in a blender or food processer until smooth. (Obviously, you can add a little more cooking liquid if necessary.)
-Pour the puree into a bowl and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
For the filling:
*Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
-While your cauliflower is simmering, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, carrot, green beans and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the frozen peas and cook for 1 more minute.
-Add the ground turkey to the vegetables. Cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until the turkey is no longer pink.
-Mix the tomato paste into the turkey and vegetables and allow it to cook for 1 minute before adding the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and vegetable stock. Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
-Divide the turkey mixture among 4 medium-size (12-16 oz) ramekins or oven safe bowls. If you don’t have ramekins, it’s not the end of the world. You can make one large pie in a baking dish.
-Top each ramekin with the cauliflower puree and sprinkle with about ½ tsp grated parmesan cheese.
-If using ramekins place them on a baking sheet before putting them in the oven.
-Bake your shepherd’s pie(s) for 15 minutes. (If you are making one large pie, bake it for 25 minutes). Serve hot. Party on, dudes.