A journey I know all too well

By Chef Don Bingham

My wife is a great cook, and with three chefs and a family of culinary experts, we love cooking and all epicurean delights. We enjoy the color and fellowship of food.

I’d like to say that I look forward to the health and wellness issue of 501 LIFE, but it serves as a yearly reminder of how much work there is to be accomplished in my current weight control initiatives. It’s nothing new: I have lost over 5000 pounds in my history of health and wellness, which, for me, is another word for DIETING! I’ve tried all the gimmicks, the programs, the grapefruit diet, the boiled egg and spinach diet, intermittent fasting, and I will never forget the years when the diet cookie was the fad! I couldn’t wait to drop 75 pounds by eating cookies! I should have known something was remiss when the popular diet cookies were available at the local gas station.

Photo by Mike Kemp

I have enjoyed success at times. During my health and wellness love affair, my favorite period was many years ago when our local family physician and dear friend, Dr. Bob Bannister, did a house call to tell me I had lost enough weight. They were such sweet words to my ears! But that only happened once. I have a lifetime subscription to the big and tall publications, though I know the “tall” part of this equation is a marketing tool that should just read “Big and Bigger,” not unlike the film “Dumb and Dumber.” 

There are always signs of the impending health and wellness season of my life. I can’t tell you the joy of being able to fasten the seatbelt on the plane for our recent trip to Alaska. And another sign, I was not mistaken for a specimen on the whale sighting tour – such relief! And yet another sign I received was when I ordered a 3X shirt online, all in good faith. The price and color choices were great, and the fabric was of my liking. As you might expect, the delivery took six months because it came from Zamgoddia, or something close to that, and when it arrived it was pink, looked like a size “unrecognizable” and was fully tapered! 

Perhaps our male readers will know what that means; the shirt is ballooned at the neck and begins a gradual loss of fabric and shape, as though the pattern was an upside-down triangle, which would be perfect for the ripped chest of a 16 year old. And to top it all off, they sent two! I didn’t have time to seam the two together for the 3X, but perhaps that was their point.  At any rate, the time has come; time for the health and wellness check!

My usual procedure, after a successful weight loss, and before the gradual up-tick begins again, is the exhilarating trip to the resale shop with all my “oversized large” clothes. They know me on a first-name basis, and I am always met with glee “Here comes Mr. Bingham, again!” Each time this happens, I vow not to be so quick to dispose of every pair of slacks I own, just in case.  This time, I will reserve that favorite pair (in black of course) while embracing another season of my “health and wellness” diet!

Included for mine and your enjoyment are two of our favorite healthy alternatives to the local food truck options. The Avocado Toast and Shrimp Salad are favorites!

Enjoy!

Avocado Toast (Serves four)

4 sliced rounds of French bread, lightly buttered and toasted

Olive oil

Seasoning blend of salt, pepper, poppy seeds, sesame seeds

Mashed avocado

Diced grape tomatoes

Baby arugula

Mash 1  large peeled, seeded avocado. Spread toasted French bread rounds with mashed avocado. Place diced tomatoes and arugula in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil and seasoning blend, then place diced tomatoes and baby arugula on top of bread rounds to serve.

Shrimp Salad (Serves four)

2 pounds boiled shrimp

1/2 cup diced celery

6 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 boiled eggs, minced

1 1/2 tsp. salt

Place fresh or frozen de-headed shrimp in a saucepan covered with water.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to water. Cook until the shrimp is pink and flesh is done, two to three minutes. Drain and pour ice cubes over shrimp to cool. Peel and devein, then cut each shrimp in half or thirds. Set aside to make dressing.

Shrimp Salad Dressing

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and eggs.  Taste for seasonings, adding salt if needed. Then, mix cooked and cooled shrimp with dressing. Spoon onto lettuce leaf and serve.

Don Bingham