Today (after a two week, work-induced hiatus) I want to talk about one of the decisions I habitually make which has allowed me to enjoy a healthier -- but still extremely fulfilling -- diet. What makes a diet fulfilling? For me, it's the ability to satisfy cravings, occasionally overindulge, experience new flavors and revel in good comfort food while still finishing a meal and feeling like I fit in my own skin.
So, one choice I make which has helped create a Healthy Hungry Sam is the choice to make substitutions. On of my favorite substitutions: Bison for Beef.
Bison is a lean, low cholesterol, lower calorie version of it's more domesticated cousin. It is, of course, another red meat (and thus to be enjoyed at a rate 20% lower than once before =) but a more virtuous variety, both healthier for me and generally for the planet (because bison tend to be grass-fed and raised using best environmental practices). I've now had bison a few times and prepped it a few different ways, but where it really shines is as a canvas for a spicy, intensely flavored burger.
Using about 90% lean bison ($5.99 at Whole Foods; seen cheaper at Wegmans), I made a pair of 1/4 lb. patties, mixing in a steak spice rub I make and keep on the spice rack (salt, paprika, pepper, cayenne, rosemary, garlic). These I threw on the Foreman, grilling until medium rare. I sliced a firm, just barely ripe avocado into thick, half-inch-thick coins and whisked a few generous pinches into a scoop of low fat mayo. If my estimates seem imprecise, it's because they are; I rarely measure. For "buns," I used some whole wheat bread, toasted.
As a side, I made my own sweet potato "fries" by slicing one up, tossing it with some olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin and chipotle and baking at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Excellent choice. The final effect:
Mmmm. I know a healthful substitution has gone well when I finish and feel stuffed but comfortable. I plowed through two burgers and a helping and a half of potatoes, trying to savor the burgers of my labor but with each gulp just kind of thinking about the next bite. Pretty damn spicy -- I recommend enjoying with milk.