The food scene in Houston was so trendy to me...so many great restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers markets. I lived in Central Market and Whole Foods. There were so many fresh, whole foods for me to try and experiment with. I met my culinary match, Danielle, who would eventually become my roommate. Together we explored the city, scouting out the best restaurants we could find. One of our faves was T'afia whose chef/owner, Monica Pope, gave me a whole new approach to thinking about food. Whole foods only, local if possible, and even more minimally process than my past diet. I ended my use of ALL artificial sweeteners and also lightened up on my low-fat lifestyle...fats from nuts and avocados (and even cheese) didn't have to be bad for you!
After the internship, I stayed in Houston to dance for the Met and do weight loss and sports nutrition counseling at Life Time Fitness and Danielle stayed to work as an out-patient breast cancer dietitian at M.D Anderson. During the time we lived together, we had mutual effects on each others diet. She passed her anti-cancer eating habits of more veggies, fruits, whole grains and less meat and sugar onto me...and her love of ethnic foods. I passed my all-things-in-moderation lifestyle onto her, including my new found "fats are good for you" belief (she was previously a low-fat girl too)...and my cajun culinary roots.
So what did I eat while I lived in Houston? My breakfast was plain Fage sweetened with frozen berries that I stewed (berries, lemon juice, and a little sugar), an English muffin with cashew butter (CM makes the BEST multi-grain EM's...I buy several bags every time I visit Danielle these days), or steel cut oatmeal with fruit and nuts. Lunch was either a salad or a sandwich...typical. Snacks included the same breakfast yogurt combo, hummus with veggies, and fruit. Dinner was often an omelet with lots of veggies (an easy post dance class meal), some kind of homemade soup that I had stocked in my freezer with a thick slice of delicious whole grain toast (with butter), or a prepared meal from CM (I love their tarragon apricot chicken salad and the orzo, feta, and shrimp salad...served over a green salad of course).
In Houston I had a lot of time to cook and access to all sorts of fun ingredients (not to mention a roommate who loved food as much as me), so I took advantage of my situation and did a lot of experimenting. These experiences in Houston (and also my dance and nutrition ones) would all prove valuable once I was back in Louisiana.