Cut the Crap: In which yours truly undertakes an actual diet

04.07.11: Leo's 34th Month

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Time to lose weight. I seriously just spelled that W-A-I-T then had to go back and correct it. Yes, it is definitely time, right about ASAP. That’s me in the photo staring down my 34th birthday cake last week, thinking “the diet starts tomorrow.” I told Aaron I need to lose 15 pounds (well, he probably knows that, so I guess I just told him that I know it) and he was very supportive until I mentioned Weight Watchers. “I support you finding a plan to stick to, but I don’t think you need to sign up for Weight Watchers,” he said. I didn’t really want to anyway, so okay!

I briefly wondered about an iPhone app that would, you know, make me skinny. Anyone tried one? But then I turned to my usual source for food inspiration: a food mag. In its January issue, Bon App featured Mark Bittman’s diet, which he calls “vegan-until-six.” And that, my friends, is the plan. I am, like Bittman, allowing myself milk in my coffee in the morning, but am otherwise eating no meat, dairy, egg or fish until dinnertime, along with as unrefined a diet as possible all day. And this is helpful, in that I am quite hungry!

Here is what I have been eating for breakfast: oatmeal; brown rice; whole wheat bread with almond butter, honey and bananas; fruit; whole grain cereal with soy milk; miso soup with tofu. For lunch: salad; baked tofu; brown rice and beans; lentil or veggie soups; hummus with whole wheat pita and veggies. For snack: dried fruit and nuts; more hummus; veggies and fruit; whole grain crackers.

Here is what Leo eats: everything I don’t. And man does it look good. This is the crux of the matter. As my mom always says when the topic of weight-gain in the parents of toddlers comes up: “It’s not that you don’t eat what’s right, it’s that you eat what’s left.” Hah hah. But yeah, not polishing off Leo’s ten-billion snacks is probably going to help me lose weight.

If you’ve ever embraced a vegan diet, please let me know what you did to keep daytime eating interesting. I’m…sick of hummus. On the bright side, I feel slimmer already. And I’ve developed a very tasty Red Lentil—Sweet Potato Spread that can be varied to suit people of all ages (just sweet potatoes, or just pureed lentils and sweet potatoes for babies; the spread without harissa hot sauce for toddlers; spiced up and garnished with cilantro for grown-ups). It makes a refreshing alternative to hummus. What’s your favorite vegan/wholegrain recipe?

Recipe: Red Lentil—Sweet Potato Spread for Grown-Ups and Babies

This hummus-like spread can be varied to suit people of all ages: serve just sweet potatoes, or just pureed lentils and sweet potatoes for babies; serve the spread without harissa hot sauce for toddlers; spice it up and garnish with cilantro for grown-ups.

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.