As I write this, it is February 8th, and high time I say something about Valentine’s Day. Sadly, Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with big satin-covered, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in many a mind. If you are thinking “But… but… it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without chocolate!” I am here to dissuade you. Surely there are other tokens of affection your Valentine could offer that would warm your heart. How about:
* Flowers. Need I say more?
* Romantic dinner for two. If you’re willing to brave the Valentine’s Day crowds, make your reservation at a restaurant that excels in simple, classic protein dishes – steaks, seafood, or the like. I hate going out on Valentine’s Day, finding it much more intimate to stay home, but I have no children. Accordingly, I cook a special Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband and me.
It is remarkably easy to plan a romantic low carb dinner. Filet mignon (or my favorite, rib eye), seared duck breast, lobster, salmon steaks, lamb chops, all can be the centerpiece of a fond tete a tete. Add a green salad with a classic vinaigrette or some roasted asparagus, along with the requisite candlelight, soft music, and a bottle of very dry wine (the driest wines run about 1-2 grams per glass; ask a good liquor store or wine steward to guide you), and you’ll have a meal out of a romance novel. (Check out a few of my recipes here, or scroll down for fast and fancy recipes of salmon and asparagus).
* Champagne. Champagne ranges from very carby to quite low in carbs, depending on the variety. Don’t be fooled by “dry” on the label – it’s actually pretty sweet. The driest is “extra brut,” and runs 1.5 grams of carbs in a 5 ounce glass.
* Jewelry. Sounds expensive, right? If you’ve got both the budget and the yen for diamonds, fine, but jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful. You might drop a few hints – or outright suggestions – about costume jewelry you’d enjoy wearing. My husband has learned to expect the occasional email with a link and the message “This would make an awesome present. Just sayin’.”
* Romantic movie. This requires finding one you both find romantic; so often partners differ on this. Rom-coms have their place, but how about a movie you went to on an early date? For That Nice Boy I Married and me, Monty Python’s Holy Grail is a romantic movie.
* A gorgeous hotel room. If you have kids, this is the ultimate. Hire a baby sitter or take the kids to Grandma’s for the night, and stay in a luxurious hotel with a view. Bonus points for a hot tub.
* All of the above. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
One more thought. I mentioned that many will think “It’s not Valentine’s Day without chocolate!” It is time to get over this kind of thinking. You tell yourself that a little treat for a holiday will be harmless, but therein lies peril. It is a quick jump from “I can have a treat on a holiday” to “I have to eat cake, it’s a wedding!” and from there to “But Jim at the office was having a birthday, and the boss popped for pizza and cake.” Once you tell yourself that certain days merit, nay, demand, undermining your program, it becomes easier and easier to justify more of those days. There is no better use of your creativity than coming up with celebrations that won’t undermine your health.