The Summer I Learned New Tricks

I’ve been in maintenance mode since the end of July and have successfully stabilized my initial weight loss while managing to drop even a few more bringing my total to 37 pounds. It has been a journey with unexpected twists and turns, as promised by the Can’t Lose Diet philosophy. I remember Pat Hall saying that my body would reset and stop craving the foods that make me gain weight. “Yeah right” was what I was thinking in the back of my mind. I’ll believe that when I see it.

One of those evil, danger foods that has always tripped up my past efforts has been pasta. I’ve never been able to resist it so I’ve been fearful of adding it back into my menu, even in the smallest quantities. And with summer comes my annual roadtrips to friends and family where I would usually be faced with all kinds of pasta salads that I just can’t say no to. But to my surprise, this years visits taught me a few new tricks that will definitely keep starchy carbs off my plate for the long haul!

We went to my sister-in-laws new lake house in July and they pulled out their latest kitchen contraption called a Vegetti. It looks like a pasta maker but instead it turns healthy veggies like zucchini into long pasta like noodles. I eyed it suspiciously as Patty assured me how easy it would be to spin the green and yellow squash through the machine. It looked difficult to operate and even harder to clean, but to my surprise I whipped through 8 zucchinis in about 5 minutes easily filling a bowl with perfect looking noodles—nicknamed zoodles—which we boiled in water for about 2 minutes. Once drained we topped our overflowing plates of zoodles with a homemade marinara sauce and parmesan cheese tricking our eyes and stomachs into believing we were stuffing ourselves with fattening pasta. I vowed to order a Vegetti online the next day.

As soon as the new machine arrived I proceeded to concoct recipes to satisfy my addiction for noodles—Spa-Zoodle and Meatballs, Sesame Chicken Zoodle, Chicken Zoodle Soup, Zoodle Au Gratin, Beef Zoodle-Noff, Zoodle Ramen—are just the beginning. The list is endless and I’ve been easily satisfied with no desire to cook up a pot of pasta. In fact a few times when feeding a group I’ve boiled up some pasta in case someone didn’t like the zucchini substitute, and the pasta sat uneaten, as even the big guys loved the healthier, lighter option.

A few weeks later I drove up to see my childhood friend in Peterborough, Ontario. Sharon lives on a farm, is a long-distance runner, and vegetarian. Needless to say she grows and eats her own organic vegetables whenever possible, devising countless strategies for freezing to extend the bounty into the winter. When I arrived she had two huge spaghetti squash already roasted with a fresh marinara sauce bubbling on the stove. She sliced the squash in half, flaking the pasta-like interior from the walls, piling up a bowl of what looked like spaghetti. Duh—that’s where it gets it’s name from I thought as I smacked my forehead. As I sat around the dinner table with Sharon’s husband, three strapping sons, and their girlfriends, not one person asked for pasta. Plates were wiped clean.

Typically I would head into fall heavier from bbq feasts, picnics, and celebrations of the summer. Not this year. And because of the new tricks I learned not I’m not worried about the upcoming holiday season one single bit!