The Bearitage BearAs with any new year, many of us will decide to turn over a new leaf. To make positive changes in our lives so that we will be happier and healthier and all that jazz. With the new year looming just around the corner, I too am planning on making resolutions to change certain habits that I currently have. One in particular is to get back on the South Beach Diet. My family went on the diet last year and it worked very well. 95% of the weight that I took off has stayed off. The diet was fairly easy to stick to and the food tasted good, however in today’s American culture, it’s easy to fall of the wagon.

Since the summer my diet has been a downward spiral into fast food and junk food. To be honest, it’s not that the food tasted any better. It’s not as if a Big Mac is a culinary delight, it’s just easier. When your day is stressful and you’re looking to cut a few corners to get through it, it’s just easier to eat at McDonald’s than it is to go home and cook.

On top of that there’s been the holidays. Spending the holidays in Nashville would be hard enough, but having the holidays in Louisiana is a whole other bailiwick. Every time we go to Baton Rouge, Holly and I graze from one side to the other. Holly and I have been to Baton Rouge three times over the past two months, so we’ve gone back in some cases for thirds. They say that food is life. If that is indeed the case, then life in southern Louisiana is good. Just to give you some idea of what I’ve had to eat over the past two months, here’s a quick run down.

» Pocorello’s Casa D’Italia: Italian sausage po-boy (twice)
» The Chimes: fried alligator, raw oysters on the half shell, cheese fries with brown gravy, fried seafood platter (shrimp, stuffed shrimp, catfish and oysters)
» Dean-O’S: Large Cajun Executioner (twice), Large Meat Lovers
» Raising Cane’s: chicken strips (three times) with texas toast and french fries
» Po-Boy Express: Shrimp Po-Boy (at least 4, 2 of them large)
» Mary Lee Do-Nuts: Hot glazed doughnuts (too many to count)
» Great Wall: their Chinese buffet (twice)
» Parrain’s: fried crawfish platter with hush puppies, salad and french fries
» Louie’s Cafe: their world famous hash browns, two eggs, grits, toast and sausage
» TJ Ribs: Prime Rib and stuffed baked potato
» The Silver Spoon: Miguel’s Burger and fries
» La Madeleine: Chicken la Madeleine

I’m sure that there is more, but I just can’t recall it all. Plus, this isn’t counting the home cooking for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Couple this with the increased alcohol consumption of wine, scotch, bourbon and martini’s and it looks as if I’ve been involved in a two-month long Bacchanal. And perhaps that’s what it’s been. Knowing I’ve been off the South Beach wagon, I’ve denied myself nothing, because I’ve always known that come the first of the year, it will be time to get back on that wagon. It’s been a race to see if I can get in all the goodies that I like before the end of the year.

Although, given my eating habits, it may appear this way, I’m not actually dreading going back on the diet. I felt better when I was eating healthier and I had more energy. I miss that, I really do. I also miss being in the kitchen and preparing food for my family. Yes, it’s a lot of work making all of your meals, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s not that bad. I received a lot of encouragement from my friends in the gifts that they gave me. Some of the highlights include a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated and the cookbook Uglesich’s Restaurant Cookbook. I’ve been out of the kitchen and into the to-go bag for too long. It’s time to get back in the kitchen.

Until then, I have two more days to load up on junk, sugar and bad carbs. I may not have the delicacies like I would in Baton Rouge, but I’m sure I’ll make the most of it with what’s available. I’ll cap it all off with some champagne at midnight and then turn over a new leaf. Cheers!