So I’m probably not going to do an Elmwood recap, since all the different parts about it deserve their own posts. Like, for instance, the cooking demo I got to be a part of on Thursday.
Elmwood is part of Oschner Health System, which is a conglomerate of a bunch of hospitals and clinics in Southeastern Louisiana. As the face of wellness nutrition for the system, Molly works with Chef Mark Gilberti, the head chef for the whole operation. His job includes things like recipe development for the cafeterias as well as redesigning patient menus, so he needs to make sure that the items he creates are consistent with needs of the patients. He also works with Molly on outreach efforts, like cooking demos. Thursday’s was for a leadership development group that meets regularly.
The theme of the day was smart ways to swap out carbs in your dinners. At Elmwood, weight loss clients are advised not to eat starches with their evening meal. Carbohydrates are always used first by your body for energy, which is great in the morning when you’re walking around, taking the dog out, getting to work, heading to the gym, or running errands; but not so necessary when you’re just heading to sleep. If you don’t give your body that source of quick, easy energy; it will tap into stored energy (fat) to fuel the rebuilding and regulatory processes that occur while you sleep. Since nearly every healthy person out there is trying to lose at least a couple pounds, Molly asked Mark to do something low-carb to try and promote this evening habit. Mark created two recipes using vegetables to add bulk instead of pastas, I analyzed each for their nutrient content, Molly added nutrition facts for a comparable recipe made with the normal starch, and we went to the meeting!
The two recipes were Spaghetti Squash Primavera and Zucchini Faux Lo-Mein. As Mark cooked and joked, the bland conference room filled with delicious smells – my mouth was watering! Molly spoke to the group about how a 1/2 cup of your traditional dinnertime bulk-builders – like pastas and rice – contain 100 calories. That’s the amount that would fit into a cupcake wrapper. In comparison, vegetables like spaghetti squash and zucchini take about 3 whole cups to reach 100 calories! That’s a lot more volume for the same amount of calories, and a surefire way to fill you up when paired with lean protein and healthy fats.
Enjoy the recipes!