The Dude Diet: Chinese Food Edition
I’m sure everyone is anxious for an update on Logan’s holiday eating habits. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but let’s just say that he’s on the naughty list. When I met him at a holiday party last Wednesday night, he was already beyond salvation. I actually walked in right as he was aiming for a tray of sliders, and after kissing me hello, he said, “You look very pretty, but you made me miss the slider lady!” I love a well-timed entrance. Unfortunately, things only went downhill from there. He turned up his nose at the chicken skewers (the only reasonably healthy option), crushed several pulled pork sliders, and engaged in some very embarrassing behavior when the pigs in a blanket showed up. To be fair, I didn’t have time to feed him a healthy meal beforehand as I had planned, so that’s on me.
However, while the holidays are a constant threat to Logan’s health, they pale in comparison to The Dude Diet’s greatest challenge to date: Logan Goes to China.
|Logan has been to China before.|
Next week, Logan is going to China for a week-long class on Technology and Operations Strategy in Shanghai,* and then he’s heading to Beijing for a little tour de force. Did I forget to mention that Logan is in his second year at Columbia Business School? Based on this blog, I’m sure you’re very surprised to find out that Logan is, in fact, a very intelligent dude. He is only an idiot when it comes to nutrition. And pop culture. And facial hair choices.
Unsurprisingly, Logan LOVES Chinese food. All Chinese food. I’m talking everything from Mr. Chow to roadside Chinese buffets. The dude practically pees his pants when he sees a Panda Express or a Manchu Wok in an airport. I’ve literally never seen somebody happier than Logan with Orange Chicken during a layover. (He seems to blackout the subsequent heartburn and meat sweats on the plane.) I wouldn’t be surprised if Logan was in business school purely to learn how to franchise a Chinese food chain.**
I’ve never been a huge Chinese food fan, purely for vanity’s sake. I usually wake up the next day looking like a pregnant Jessica Simpson, so I’m pretty opposed to eating it on a regular basis. Therefore, Logan doesn’t actually get to have Chinese food as much as he’d like, which is precisely why it is so terrifying that he is about to be unleashed on a city full of dumplings and lo mein. Unless Logan plans on climbing the Great Wall after each meal, shit is about to hit the fan. On the plus side, at least it takes him off the holiday party circuit before things can get any messier.
I find that most dudes share Logan’s weakness for Chinese food. I’ve been privy to several conversations between Logan and his friends singing the praises of restaurants like Wo Hop, or getting all hot and bothered over the awesomeness of Suzie’s delivery (It just comes so fast!! And it’s so hot!).* Logan even has a friend who eats Chinese food in bed naked on Sundays. When I asked Logan why the nudity was necessary, he immediately answered, “To be comfortable! Why wouldn’t he? I don’t get it.” To be honest, I’m not sure if the person he’s describing is actually a friend, or if it was Logan before we became roommates. Either way, it’s aggressive.
Long story short, dudes, Chinese food is not your friend. Just trust me on this. If you think you’re making a light choice with Chicken and Broccoli or Beef and Broccoli…think again, buddy. The beef and chicken are actually fried in oil before being doused in that brown sauce. And no, dummy, the brown sauce is not good for you. Oh, and Vegetable Lo Mein or Vegetable Fried Rice is not a “healthy choice” because there is “vegetable” in the name. And put down the container of white rice! Do not, under any circumstances, douse it in the extra sauce from whatever other ridiculous dish you ordered and crush it as an afterthought. You just ate a quarter of your daily calorie intake in those few mindless bites.
In case you’re still not convinced, most Chinese food in America contains MSG, a flavor enhancing food additive. I don’t have time to get into the specifics with you, but MSG is bad. It is also known to cause the following symptoms: headache, flushing, sweating, facial pressure or tightness, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, and weakness. Translation: MSG gives you the meat sweats. Unacceptable.
In an attempt to keep Logan from coming back from China as a human dumpling, I’m trying to arm him with some basic nutritional knowledge (such as the information above), in the hopes that he will make better choices. In preparation for his send-off, I also decided to make him a leaner version of an old favorite: Healthy Orange Beef with Broccoli and Brown Rice.
This meal is full of your favorite Chinese flavors, and you can enjoy it guilt–free! The dude loved it. He didn’t actually make it home in time to eat dinner for drinking reasons, but he very much enjoyed the leftovers at 1:30 am. And when he woke up this morning.
|Breakfast of Champions.|
I have to say, this is actually a much healthier late night snack/hungover brunch than Logan usually chooses, so I was pretty psyched. And I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear him order an Italian sub when I was walking out the door. After all, the transition to The Dude Diet lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Logan would probably like you to know that he ran a marathon once…
*I have no idea what this actually means, which makes Logan feel very busy and important.
**This would be a dealbreaker.
*That’s what she said. Sorry. Had to.
Preparing your Orange Beef with Broccoli:
(Cook brown rice according to package directions.)
-In a medium-sized bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, honey, beef stock, cornstarch and chili flakes (if using). Mix well. Add the strips of steak, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 10 minutes to marinate. If you have extra time, go wild with your marinating!
-Heat a wok or large pan over medium heat and add your broccoli along with ¼ cup water. Cover and cook for approximately 3 minutes until the broccoli is just cooked. (It should still be crunchy!) Remove the broccoli from the pan and set aside.
-Remove the steak strips from the marinade and add them to to pan.
-Stir fry approximately 2 minutes until no longer pink.
-Add the broccoli and the steak marinade to the pan. Cook 3 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Add sesame seeds, and toss.
-Serve over brown rice. Garnish each serving with 1 tbsp chopped scallions. Break out those chopsticks and get busy with your guilt-free Chinese feast. No bloating, no regrets.
½ pound flank steak or sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp beef stock/broth
¾ tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 ½ tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp chopped scallions
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup brown rice (uncooked)
Cook brown rice according to package directions.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, honey, beef stock, cornstarch and chili flakes (if using). Mix well. Add the strips of steak, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 10 minutes to marinate. If you have extra time, go wild with your marinating!
Heat a wok or large pan over medium heat and add your broccoli along with ¼ cup water. Cover and cook for approximately 3 minutes until the broccoli is just cooked. (It should still be crunchy!) Remove the broccoli from the pan and set aside.
Remove the steak strips from the marinade and add them to to pan.Stir fry approximately 2 minutes until no longer pink.
Add the broccoli and the steak marinade to the pan. Cook 3 minutes until the sauce has reduced. Add sesame seeds, and toss.
Serve over brown rice. Garnish each serving with 1 tbsp chopped scallions.
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