Et Cetera, Meals

Maple Salmon

Last week, I decided to cut sugar and refined carbohydrates out of my diet for a month (note that I didn’t say I cut out carbs — that would be impossible for me!), and although I’m doing well so far, I did find myself craving something sweet (other than fruit) for dinner. By the way, I’m not going to bore everyone with the reasons for my little dietary experiment, but for those of you who are interested, more about the sugar- and refined carb-free stuff below the recipe and pictures. I also had a strange desire to eat salmon. So, when I came across this maple salmon recipe, I knew it was the ticket.

This was so, so easy. It took me three minutes to throw the marinade together, and 20 minutes to bake. The marinade is amazingly delicious. Even the boys, who aren’t into fish, gobbled up their salmon fillets. The flesh was tender and juicy, as salmon often is, and the sweetness of the glaze perfectly complemented the salmon flavor. I’ll be making this over and over again. You can serve it with all kinds of sides — brown rice, a salad, a crusty loaf of bread, steamed veggies, etc.

Maple Salmon from Allrecipes.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of skinless, boneless salmon, cut into fillets
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Place the salmon in a small baking dish, then pour the marinade over it. Cover the dish and set it in the fridge to marinate for half an hour, turning the fillets once halfway through the marinating time.

While the fish is marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When the oven is heated, place the baking dish into the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Transfer onto plates and serve immediately.

OK, so, my dietary experiment: While I was in Michigan, my mother-in-law told me about an article (or articles) she’d recently read in the New York Times about the addictive, toxic qualities of sugar, and how pervasive sugar is (e.g., in many savory bottled sauces and dressings, crackers, chips and the like … not just sweet foods).

None of this was news to me, but when she talked about how she was thinking about cutting out sugar from her diet, just to see how it affected her, it got me thinking about my diet. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink a ton of water, watch my calorie intake and seldom skip a workout, but when I really analyzed what I ate (other than produce and meat), there was lots of sneaky sugar and refined carbohydrates — I have a weakness for white bread, white rice, white pasta (what?! Everyone knows real Asian food tastes better with white rice and white noodles! ;)), Goldfish crackers, and of course, desserts. I never sat around just eating candy or drinking soda, but I concluded that I still ended up taking in plenty of sugar and white carbs along with the healthy stuff that I do eat. I don’t think it’s done any great amount of damage or anything — I’ve been lucky to not struggle with my weight (other than what my vanity dictates ;)), I am a high-energy person by nature, and I don’t have any averse reactions to sugar and carbs that I know of. Still, all the discussion with my in-laws about sugar got me wondering: Would I reap any benefits from cutting down on the amount of sugar I ate? I mean, who knows, maybe I’d be Superwoman if I got sugar out of my system, what with everything else that I’m supposedly doing “right.” A few women on a fitness Facebook group I belong to (oh, OK, FINE, it’s a Facebook group of fellow lululemon addicts, but hey, we’re into fitness!) have told me that once they cut out sugar and refined carbs, their skin improved greatly (and I do have very sensitive skin on my face, which has always bothered me), their energy levels soared, and their workouts yielded even greater results. I don’t have high expectations, but at the very least, I figured it’ll get me to explore a wider array of carbs and protein.

I’m also cutting out refined carbs because those get converted to sugar right away once ingested. There are many definitions of what is a “refined” carb. I almost fell asleep reading a thread on a food forum about whether potatoes and carrots are refined carbs. Honestly, they lost me at “glycemic index.” What I’m defining it as is a carbohydrate that has been stripped or processed (other than to remove it from the plant or to clean it). So, I’ll eat all fruits and vegetables because they exist in nature (although I won’t eat too many white potatoes). I’ll also eat breads and crackers made with real whole grain, as long as their ingredient lists don’t include sugar (it is very difficult to find a whole wheat bread without sugar! I finally did; I’ll also make my own sometime soon). Maple syrup (as in this recipe) is also OK with me because it came straight out of a tree. So, it might not be totally “right,” but it makes sense to me. I don’t think I’m doing anything too extreme — really, just cutting out sugar and “unnatural” stuff.

It’s been five days, and easier than I thought it would be. Day three was my low point — we were out at Ikea, and I was ill-prepared (hadn’t brought my own snacks), and whereas normally I would have just eating ice cream cones at the Ikea food court along with the rest of the family, I couldn’t do it while conducting my no-sugar experiment. The stubborn side of me refused to cheat on day three, so I muddled through while becoming very snappy at everyone. 😉 Luckily, I’m now stocked with an arsenal of great snacks — whole wheat crackers (kinda like Triscuits), whole wheat bread, no-sugar natural peanut butter, unsweetened/unsulfured dried mangoes, cheese sticks, edamame, roasted seaweed (which I’ve always loved, anyway!), hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit and veggies, just to name a few. Those basically cover any sweet/salty cravings I may have, and strange as it sounds, when I find myself wanting ice cream or some of the kids’ Goldfish, I drink sparkling water, and that helps a lot. I guess I drink so much still water that substituting sparkling feels like a “treat.” LOL. I think the hardest part will be not drinking alcohol (since that gets converted to sugar straightaway, too) when we have guests over. I’m not a big drinker, but I do like to drink socially. Red wine is supposedly OK, but it is the form of alcohol I like least (surprise, surprise, I’m a mixed drink, white wine and Mike’s Hard Lemonade kind of girl).

As for how long I’m going to keep this up, I’ll be strict for a month and see how I feel. So far, I don’t feel a huge energy difference (although, as I mentioned, I’ve always had high energy levels), but I do feel less hungry between meals, and when I do get hungry, the snacks I choose fill me up. One big upside is that I’ve managed to lose the 3 pounds I gained in Michigan in the last five days. However, that probably has less to do with my dietary changes than with the fact that I’m no longer around my in-laws, who spoiled me with nightly wine with dinner and delicious toasted coconut ice cream. 😉 Anyway, after the month is over, I plan to eat sugar- and refined carb-free as much as I can, but not go crazy trying to restrict myself — I’ll have a drink or two when we have guests or go out with friends, I’ll eat the ice cream cone in the Ikea food court if I’m starving, and I’ll never be that person who doesn’t eat what everyone else is eating at holiday meals. Life is meant to be enjoyed, after all. But, for the next month, I’ll be adhering to my rules as much as I possibly can. I don’t know yet whether I’ll make special sugar- and refined carb-free desserts. My philosophy about desserts is that if you’re going to sin, sin big ;). Use the butter, the sugar, the white flour. So far, I’ve felt that I would rather have frozen banana slices than some dessert made with fruit, maple syrup, honey, etc., as sweetener (speaking of sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, are also out, but I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners anyway), but I know some of you will want some dessert recipes, so I’ll do my best to oblige.

So, there’s my novel about my “new lifestyle” (for the next month). Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

About Saucy Mommy

I'm Beverly, a mom of two who loves to cook and write. Check out my blog at www.saucymommy.com for family-friendly (but tasty) meal ideas and pictures of bento box lunches.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Maple Salmon

  1. Yum this looks divine! But question isn’t maple syrup loaded with sugar? Or did u use a Special kind? Trying this soon!

    Posted by Nicole | August 20, 2012, 8:51 pm
    • Nicole, I guess that depends on what you define as “sugar.” Yes, maple syrup is very sweet, but I consider it (at least the 100% maple syrup that I used; the Aunt Jemima stuff, obviously, is totally processed ;)) a “natural” sugar because it came straight out of a tree. I’m cutting out the white stuff (and brown, since it’s just sugar + molasses), but I’m OK with a small amount of natural sweeteners. There’s so much discussion about what should and shouldn’t be included in a sugar-free diet that I decided to draw the line at “does it exist in nature in this form? If so, I can eat it.” 😉 Now, I should say that although I’m OK using the maple syrup in this recipe, I wouldn’t go around dousing my whole-wheat pancakes or waffles with maple syrup. For some reason 1/4 cup of maple syrup used in a marinade for 1 pound of fish that serves 4 people seems acceptable to me; maple syrup poured onto a pancake for MY consumption alone seems less OK for my experiment. Does that make any sense? LOL.

      Posted by Saucy Mommy | August 20, 2012, 9:03 pm
  2. Beverly, I’ve kind of been doing the same thing since about beginning of July 🙂 I do have a lot of snacks with sweeteners/sugars in them but I try to stick to Kashi and they use agave or evaporated cane juice and I now have a bottle of pure maple syrup in my fridge from Whole Foods and a big jar of honey. I also have a bag of organic cane sugar for when I have to use sugar. I have noticed a difference in my skin, whether it’s from getting more exercise than I ever have, drinking more water or the better diet, I don’t know. I make my own peanut butter with just peanuts and a little honey, I eat sprouted spelt or quinoa for breakfast with either unsweetened vanilla almond milk or plain kefir and maple syrup and usually some ground flax and a little organic almond butter. I made a chocolate chia pudding and enjoyed a delicious green smoothie. Oh, I also made a creamy millet pudding that was reminiscent of of a warm rice pudding. The other morning, when I had my green smoothie, I didn’t have coffee and didn’t feel the effects! Sorry…I am RAMBLING…it’s late 😉 I get a ton of info and recipes from looking stuff up on Pinterest 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t like salmon 😦 I wish I did because I know it’s so good for you and this looks and seems good but unless I’m eating it raw, I just can’t do salmon. Hope this experiment goes well for you!!!

    Posted by Cooking, Crafting & Chaos | August 20, 2012, 9:21 pm
    • Shelly, don’t apologize…I love hearing these things!!!! I want to make all the things you mentioned!! The green smoothie especially intrigues me. (And I want to try my hand at my own PB and nutella, too … thanks for the link the other day!). I am so happy to hear that your skin’s doing so well — it gives me hope that this could be the ticket for me. I’ve long felt that given my other habits (water consumption, exercise, fruit and veggie intake), my skin shouldn’t be this icky (blotchy, sensitive, etc.). No product has really helped. I was told by a few people that sugar has an inflammatory effect, and I’ve certainly heard lots of anecdotes of improved skin from eliminating or greatly reducing sugar intake. So here’s hoping! The skin thing is probably the biggest “vanity” thing I’m after here (although I’m also very eager to branch out in my food choices).

      Posted by Saucy Mommy | August 20, 2012, 10:03 pm
    • Oh and ha, you and I are salmon opposites: I cannot eat it raw!!!! LOL.

      Posted by Saucy Mommy | August 20, 2012, 10:07 pm
  3. hmmm, well okay true confessions … for one who loves sweet stuff i also cut way down on refined sugar and carbs … i mean one pint of Jeni’s since February … my blood sugar was not outrageous when i did blood test in Feb but it was borderline 99 and 100 is supposedly the highest desirable so i just retested last week 88 … always paid attention to labels, but never quite as carefully as i do now … high fructose corn syrup is ubiquitous … and then throw in that gmo corn thing … i don’t miss chocolate as much as i miss ice cream, but i miss ice cream less than i did before … i only buy bread when i go to On the Rise artisan breads here, but that is probably only once a month … even when i was in New York last month, i didn’t order any desserts and i ate a lot of fish … i’m not a freak about it and i still use my rice cooker and i had pasta yesterday for the first time in a long time … but, yeah i do feel better

    Posted by Joseph Gardewin | August 21, 2012, 4:33 am
  4. I like this whole “does it occur in nature” philosophy. And since I normally don’t like salmon cooked, I’ll have to try this. Oh and I’m with you on having bubbly water as a snack – bought a Sodastream to save money on all that Perrier I was buying. But what kind of whole wheat bread did you find without sugar? I was trying to find stone ground, whole wheat at the store, since a dietician one recommended that to me, and I only found one loaf, which was sweetened with honey.

    Posted by Anna | August 21, 2012, 5:38 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: