My clients ask me how closely I follow recipes and my answer is "As much as I feel like". That may be ok for someone who knows their way around a recipe, but for a beginner to deviate from a recipe can be a scary experiment in disaster..and we've all had those! It comes down to comfort level and taste.
Here's a few things to keep in mind:
1) Baby Steps - Only adjust seasonings/spices in small quantity - remember you can always add more but you can't take it out. Small adjustments allow you greater control of the result! Every time you adjust, TASTE it again.
2) ALWAYS taste things...if you don't like the taste of things then adjust accordingly. Add a little bit more of the ingredients/flavor your looking to achieve.
3) It's Black and White - the most basic of seasoning is salt and pepper. Use these as your seasoning for your main ingredient (fish, poultry, red meat, vegetables). A small simple shake at the start of the cooking process adds to the full flavour of the dish your creating. I remember my Chef in culinary school asking that over my shoulder sooo many times that his voice is now the one I hear in my head every time I prepare a savory dish...."Did ya season that?"
Cheers to Chef Phil!
Courageous you is embarking on a healthier approach to food! Good on ya! Keep in mind that your body needs time to adjust, so go easy! I think the easiest, safest and most succesful way to stick to things is to be patient with yourself and allow time to transition. By easing your way into a healthier diet you are more likely to see lasting results. Small changes go a long way, as an example, if you have Coffee with Double Cream and Double Sugar, start by reducing the sugar to a single....over a 30 day period that reduces your calorie intake by almost 500 calories, that's about a 1/4th of a single days calorie intake!